At Central Perk, the gang is there. Ross shows baby pictures to the group.
Rachel grabs the pictures & just wants to kiss him all over. Ross is basically drooling over her at this point. Chandler makes a "pfft" noise at Ross' fawning over Rachel.
Chandler walks over to Joey, who is looking at his check. Joey is in need of some money & asks to borrow some from Chandler. Chandler wants to know where his money is going. Joey tells him he is participating in a research program at NYU Med School. Ross overhears and wants to know what kind of research. Joey tells the group it's a fertility study. The group makes fun of his "contributions." But he gets $700 in 2 weeks for his time. Monica & Phoebe are preparing for a barbecue for Rachel's birthday. Joey & Chandler enter the apartment with charcoal.
Phoebe asks Joey how is his relationship with Melanie going. Joey says it's tough because she wants to have sex but he can't for another week, until he is finished with the program.
Time passes. Ross enters, carrying luggage. He announces he is going to China for a palaeontology assignment. He hands Monica a picture of himself & asks her to go over to Carol's on occasion to show it to Ben, "so he doesn't forget me."
Ross asks if Rachel is here, he wants to talk to her before he leaves. Monica tells him she is out with Carl, a guy she met at Central Perk.
Ross goes outside to the balcony to say goodbye to the guys. He tells them he's going to China before asking who Carl is. Chandler tells Ross to forget about Rachel, move on. He hands a gift to Chandler & asks him to give it to Rachel for him.
Time passes. Melanie arrives. Ross has left. Everyone else is present. Monica gets up to start serving the burgers but Rachel wants her presents before her food. They all walk into the living room. Monica pulls Joey aside, wanting to know how it's going with Melanie. Not good, she wants to have sex later. They both walk over to where Rachel is opening her gifts.
Rachel's first gift is a fruit basket from Melanie. Next is Chandler's, Travel Scrabble. She gives it back to him. She picks up Joey's gift: Dr Seuss book. According to Joey it got him "through some tough times." Next is Ross' gift: it's a pin; the same one she wanted a couple months ago in an antique store.
Monica can't believe he bought something so expensive. Chandler tells the group to remember when Ross, during college, bought Carol a very expensive crystal duck because he was in love with her. Everyone looks at him.
Chandler realizes he just spilled the beans about Ross' feelings for Rachel.
Rachel can't believe it. Chandler rubs his temples in a frantic manner. Rachel is still stunned, she had no idea. Monica is ecstatic about the idea of her best friend and her brother being a couple.
Rachel remembers her first night in the city when Ross asked her out but never acted on it. At this moment, a light-bulb begins to go on in Rachel's head. She pumps Joey for info. Joey tells her he is "desperately in love" with her.
Rachel gets up to leave; Chandler tells her he is in China. Monica says his flight doesn't leave for 45 minutes. Rachel walks toward the door. She has no idea what she is going to say to him, but she knows she has to see him.
At the Airport, Ross has headphones on, listening to "How to Speak Chinese" tape. He occasionally makes an outburst in Chinese when the tape tells him too. He is on the jet-way.
Rachel runs into the airport, trying to catch Ross, moving people out of her way as she calls out his name. She gets up to the jet-way where the flight attendant is. The flight attendant won't let her on the jet-way without a boarding pass. She asks the attendant to give Ross a message.
Cut to the jet-way, the attendant enters and walks past Ross, approaching an older man & his wife, who is also wearing a blue jacket. The attendant tells the old man (who is confused by all this) that Rachel loved the present & can't wait for him to come back.
In Joey's bedroom, he and Melanie are in bed. She starts kissing his chest and he panics. He can't have an orgasm so he tells her he will "focus" again on her. She is surprised.
At Monica's, all 3 girls are there. Monica holds the wrapping paper from one of Rachel's gifts, using it as an excuse to ask about Ross. Rachel is still confused, she never thought of him that way until Chandler brought it up.
Chandler is eating breakfast; Joey quietly opens his bedroom door. Chandler asks how it went with Melanie.
Joey responds with "amazing", not being able to have an orgasm allowed him to go a whole different level when it came to a woman and her needs.
One week later, Monica & Rachel are at their place. Ross' flight arrives in a couple hours. Rachel tells Monica that she thinks the "whole Ross thing" is not good because of all the pressure from the group.
Door buzzer goes off. Rachel answers it. It's Carl. Monica is angry that she is seeing Carl "behind my brother's back." Rachel just glares at her, proving her point earlier about the pressure.
At Joey & Chandler's, Chandler's seated & the apartment is filled with fruit baskets made by Melanie. Joey enters with a $700 check. Project over. He is ready to have sex.
On the balcony, Rachel is having drinks with Carl. Carl is talking about how he hates Ed Begley Jr. Rachel is bored and, in her mind, Ross shows up on balcony and starts talking to her.
He tells her that he can't believe she would rather go out with Carl than him. She tells him to go away, but since he's a figment of her mind, it's up to Rachel. She tries & he disappears. But he reappears, standing closer to her. She can't get him out her mind. She wants to try it with Ross but she's afraid that it will become weird for the gang & weird for her, because he is her best friend. Ross tells her it's simple, she is either attracted to him or not. They kiss & he fades away. Out loud Rachel says "Wow". She leaves Carl out on the balcony and heads to the airport.
At the airport Rachel waits with flowers at the gate. She is sifting through the crowd, trying to get in front so Ross will see her immediately once he walks out. An Asian woman gets off the plane, dropping one of her bags. Ross gets off next, picking up the bag for her before kissing her. It's Julie, his new girlfriend.
A close-up of Rachel, eagerly awaiting Ross' arrival. She has no idea that he's getting off the plane with another woman.