The One Where Chandler Freaks
--Monica was pacing the floor, waiting for Chandler to come home. She had gone to a lot of trouble to make the place look nice… to fix his favorite meal… to celebrate their 10th anniversary. He was usually home by 6… but it was already passed 7 and he wasn’t home. Lately, he had been distant. Actually, after the birth of their child was when she first started noticing something was wrong. She just assumed it was the stress of becoming a parent… and the fact that she had come very close to death. There were complications during childbirth… they told her later that she had almost died… bled to death. He seemed to hide away within himself after that. She was at a loss for what to do to bring him back to her. She tried talking to him… he just kept insisting that nothing was wrong. That he was stressed from work. But, he hadn’t been ‘with her’ since before Peter’s birth… and he was emotionally withdrawn. She knew there was more to it. She wondered if it was because she had picked up a few pounds, and she started to doubt his love for her. She started to think he was cheating on her… and she started to cry…
Chandler walked through the door without concern, stopping abruptly when he saw the candles and beautiful dinner…
"Oh, wow…" he said softly… "What’s all this for?"
Monica burst into tears and ran into the bedroom, locking the door.
"Mon? What’s wrong?" No answer. "Mon?" Still no answer. "Where’s Peter?"
"Phoebe’s and Joey’s."
Monica opened the door and startled Chandler… "Because I wanted some time alone with you on OUR ANNIVERSARY!" she shouted, then slammed the door.
Chandler stood in deep thought, frantically thinking… trying to remember… "Our anniversary?" he asked himself in a whisper. Then his eyes got wide with realization… "Oh my God…" he slammed his palm against his forehead… "Honey, I’m so, so sorry! I just… forgot! It’s the stress at work… and, and… and, there is no excuse. I am so sorry…"
She didn’t answer, but he could hear her crying.
"Sweetie?" he called to her…
"Go get Peter." She told him… then said nothing else.
Chandler sighed and hung his head, walking towards the door.
--"Phoebe?" Monica asked shakily into the phone…
"Monica? What’s wrong?" Phoebe asked, concerned…
"Chandler is on his way to pick up Peter."
"He didn’t even remember our anniversary! He… he came in late… and he didn’t even REMEMBER what today was!"
"Oh my God, hun, I’m so sorry!"
Joey overheard Phoebe’s side of the conversation and got curious… "What’s going on?"
"Chandler came home late and forgot all about their anniversary." She told him quick before returning her attention to Monica… "Did he say why he was late?"
"I didn’t give him the chance to." Monica explained… "I just ran into the bedroom and slammed the door."
"I just don’t get it! What is going on with him?"
"I don’t know!" Monica cried… "I don’t know! He says nothing is wrong. That he is stressed at work… I don’t think that’s the truth."
"What do you think is the truth?"
"I think he has fallen out of love with me! I picked up some weight… and… he’s just so distant. Like he wants to be anywhere but with me…"
"Mon, you just had a baby! So, you picked up a few pounds! Big deal! He loves you too much to let that bother him! No, something is wrong…"
"I… I just… love him so much. He’s killing me! Slowly killing me with his distance and lack of attention and affection."
Phoebe had never heard her so upset, and she looked over at Joey, her husband of 5 years, the pain in her expression obvious to him. He put his arm around her and kissed the top of her head. They had talked on the phone till they heard a knock at the door… knowing it was Chandler…
"I’ll call you back, Monica. He’s here."
Phoebe and Joey answered the door together… their expressions immediately putting Chandler on the defensive…
"What?" he asked as his friends stepped aside and allowed him to enter…
"Monica called…" Phoebe told him… "She’s in tears Chandler."
"I know. I know. I just… it just slipped my mind…"
"Bullshit Chandler." Joey barked, causing Chandler to become angry…
"Who are you to be angry with me?!"
"You and Monica are two of my best friends! I’m not gonna stand by while one is hurting the other!"
"I’m not… hurting her… trying to hurt her… I just-- I’m under a great deal of stress!"
"Chandler… you might not be trying to hurt her… but you are!" Phoebe informed him. "How could you forget your anniversary?"
"Look… I’ll apologize to her. I HAVE apologized to her! Just… just give me Peter so I can go home."
"Ok, hang on… Chandler. Just hang on." Joey grabbed his friend’s arm and walked with him into the livingroom… "Sit down. Talk to me." Joey kindly ordered him.
"Joe, there’s nothing to talk about."
"Are you-- do you just not love her anymore?"
"No! Of course I love her!"
"She doesn’t think you do." Phoebe said as she handed Chandler a cup of tea.
"Why? Why would she think that?"
"You don’t pay attention to her anymore. You don’t show her love… or attention…" Joey replied…
"She thinks you find her repulsive cause she picked up some weight with Peter." Phoebe added…
Chandler put his face in his hands and sighed… "It’s not her…"
"Then what? What is it?"
"I don’t know…" Chandler seemed distraught… "It’s nothing… ok? It’s nothing!" he went from near sad to almost angry… "I gotta go." He stood abruptly and Joey and Phoebe shared a frustrated glance before she stood and went to get Chandler’s son.
--When Chandler got home, his PJs, pillow, and blanket were on the couch and the bedroom door was locked. He settled Peter down in bed, then tried to get Monica to let him into the bedroom. She never answered him. Resigned, he dressed for bed and slept on the couch.
--Monica heard his apologies through the door… heard him give up and dress for bed… heard him call out ‘goodnight’ to her. After more than an hour, she tiptoed out and tucked him in, kissing his forehead…
"Goodnight." She whispered, then went back into her bedroom.
--Chandler was somewhat surprised to get a call from Ross while at work…
"Hey. Wanna catch some lunch later?" Ross asked…
"Ummm… yeah. Sure. I guess. If it’s a quick lunch…" Chandler replied as he hurried about his job, the phone cradled on his shoulder…
"Great. See you at noon."
--"Thanks for meeting me for lunch." Ross said as they sat at their table.
After they ordered, Ross gently brought up the topic he’d asked Chandler to lunch to discuss…
"So, what’s going on with you and Monica?"
Chandler sighed, shaking his head… "Doesn’t take long for rumors to spread…" he said in a low voice… "Nothing is going on."
"Chandler… she is unhappy."
"Ross, I will deal with it… ok?"
"Is that why you asked me to lunch? So that you too could tell me what a horrible husband I am?"
"I don’t think you are a horrible husband! I think something is going on with you and I just want to help!"
"Thanks, but no thanks. I don’t need your help!" Chandler stood and left the restaurant in a huff.
Ross sighed as he watched his friend and brother-in-law storm out, at a loss for how to help the situation.
--Rachel peeked into the coffeehouse and saw Chandler sitting alone, sipping coffee and looking detached from his surroundings.
"Hey Chandler!" she said as she sat beside him on the couch.
Chandler just sighed… "Not you too…"
"Ok, I forgot our anniversary! I said I was sorry!"
"Chandler… it’s not just about forgetting your anniversary. You have been ignoring Monica for a while now. She’s concerned…"
"She doesn’t need to be. I’ve just been stressed is all!"
"Yeah, that’s what you say… but none of us are buying it! Something is going on with you! C’mon, Chandler… we’re trying to help you!"
"It doesn’t feel like you all are helping me! It feels like you all are ganging up on me!"
"We’re not… really. You have no idea what you are doing to Monica, Chandler! She loves you so much! And she thinks you’ve stopped loving her!"
"But I haven’t!"
"Then, why do you ignore her? Make excuses not to touch her? Come home late? Spend your free time on the computer?"
"It’s… I don’t… I try…" he stammered, then stood with haste… "I love her! I do!" he snapped, then stormed out of the coffeehouse.
--"Monica?" Chandler called to her as he entered their apartment…
She appeared a moment later from their son’s room… "Hi." She greeted him timidly… "I haven’t started dinner yet… are you hungry?"
"No…" he replied with little emotion… "Every one of our friends has taken it upon themselves to tell me how sad you are! How sad I make you!"
She looked away nervously… "I’m sorry. I didn’t ask them—"
"You know… I know I’ve been working late a lot and I’ve had some job stress that has made me a bit distant… but I still love you!"
"Sometimes I wonder… and I know I’ve picked up a few pounds! But I’m gonna lose the weight!"
"Monica…" he interrupted… "I don’t care about that…"
"Ok… then… what is it?"
Chandler shook his head, his eyes showing signs of tearing up… "I don’t know." He said softly, then his demeanor changed, and he seemed distant again… "It’s nothing! It’s just stress… about the job! And being a new parent!"
"Do you regret having Peter?"
"Of course not! I love Peter!"
Monica was getting frustrated… "Then what? Why won’t you touch me?"
"I just… haven’t been in the mood… is all…"
"For over a year?!"
"It hasn’t been that long."
"Yes it has! The last time we made love was before Peter was born!"
"You were the one who said you were getting too big and it was too uncomfortable!"
"Yeah, while I was pregnant! Chandler… he’s 8 months old!"
"For the first 2 months the doctor said no sex! Till you healed!"
"I know that! But that was 6 months ago! And she didn’t say anything about cuddling! And holding each other! And kissing!"
"That stuff often leads to the other…"
"But it doesn’t have to! I just want to be close to you Chandler…" she said, taking a few steps towards him.
He narrowed the gap between them and soon he was holding her in his arms. She felt like her heart was going to explode with love… she had missed his touch so much. But all too soon, it was over. He pulled away abruptly and backed away from her…
"Chandler?" she questioned him, confused…
"I just remembered something…" he said shakily, then ran from the apartment.
--Phoebe was on the phone with a sobbing Monica when there was a knock at the door. Ross stood to answer it as Phoebe continued her conversation with his sister, Joey sat beside his wife, comforting her, and Rachel looked on with teary eyes…
"Hey, Ross… what are you doing here?" Chandler asked as Ross invited him in…
"Joey and Phoebe invited Rachel and I over to play cards. They invited you guys too, but Mon said you probably wouldn’t come."
"Oh." He replied distantly, walking into the apartment.
"I have to go…" Phoebe said softly into the phone… "Chandler just showed up."
"Call me later?" Monica asked…
"Of course! Bye hun."
Joey stood and offered Chandler a beer… "So, what brings you by?"
"I think something is wrong with me." Chandler admitted, a tear trickling down his cheek as he swigged his beer…
"Talk to us…" Rachel coaxed…
"I don’t know… I don’t know what’s wrong with me…"
His friends waited supportively while he gathered his thoughts…
"I love Monica so much. So much. But…" he trailed off, wiping a tear from his face…
"But?" Joey asked, encouraging him to finish…
"I can’t… I can’t… touch her."
"Why?" Phoebe asked gently…
"I don’t know." Was his reply.
"Are you repulsed by her?"
"Are you having… you know… ‘guy problems’?" Ross asked hesitantly…
Chandler just shook his head ‘no’.
"Are you afraid of her?" Phoebe asked, immediately noticing a reaction to her question. It was very slight, but it was there…
"Of course not."
"Are you afraid she’ll get pregnant again?" Phoebe felt she was on to something, and the rest sensed it as well…
Chandler shrugged, looking to the floor…
"Are you afraid that if she gets pregnant again, she may die?"
Chandler broke down and cried, and all his friends rushed to him, holding him…
"Chandler, it’s normal to be afraid of losing loved ones…" Phoebe assured him… "But you can’t let it rule your life!"
"Phoebe’s right! I know what you went through was scary… but you can’t continue keeping Monica at a distance!" Rachel interjected… "You’re hurting her more than you realize."
"When she almost died…" Chandler choked out… "A piece of me died." he told them. "And now… if I allow myself to get close to her again… if anything happened to her I would just die!"
"Chandler, you are NOT going to lose her… ok? I mean, there are no guarantees… but chances are good that you two will live long and happy lives together!" Phoebe told him… "Don’t let the fear win! Go be with Monica! Show her you love her!"
He wiped his eyes and took a deep breath… "I don’t think I even realized…"
"We know…" Rachel stated softly… "You were hiding it from yourself…"
He nodded. "I don’t know how to thank you guys." He whispered as he stood to leave…
"No thanks necessary…" They all hugged him in turn, and he grabbed his coat and left.
"I think they’ll be ok now…" Phoebe said to the group… they agreed.
--Chandler stopped by the store and grabbed an anniversary card, champagne, strawberries, and candles. He was still scared, but now he had a reason and an explanation to put to the fear. With that knowledge he knew he could face his anxieties and overcome them.
--He tiptoed into the apartment and looked around for Monica. Not seeing her, he quickly set up the candles and lit them, then washed the strawberries and grabbed two champagne glasses. The noise was minimal, but Monica still heard him, and she poked her head out of the bedroom in time to see Chandler standing by the candlelit table…
"Chandler?" she called softly to him, and he spun around, smiling nervously…
"Hi." He said softly…
"Hi." She repeated…
"I wanted to make it up to you… that I forgot our anniversary…"
She approached him with a smile on her face… "This is sweet…"
"Not nearly as sweet as you." He complimented her, reaching out to hold her.
He held her tight for a moment, nervous but excited, then he pulled away gently…
"If I turn on some music, will you dance with me?" he asked… she nodded.
He turned on the stereo and took Monica’s small hand in his. He pulled her to him and they started to dance.
Monica’s heart raced as she felt the Chandler she knew and loved holding her, dancing with her… completing her.
--He fed her strawberries and they drank champagne. He gave her the card and she cried when she read it. She didn’t know what had happened while he was gone… but whatever it was, she was grateful for it.
He held her tight to him and kissed her passionately, causing her to ache with need for him…
"Let’s continue this in the bedroom…" she whispered in his ear as she nibbled on it…
"Mmmmkay…" he moaned in response, following her lead.
--Monica and Chandler snuggled together after their act of love and passion, panting and exhausted…
"What happened tonight?"
"I made love to my beautiful wife."
She smiled, kissing his chest before clarifying her question… "No, I mean, before that. What brought on this sudden change in you?"
"I went to Joey’s… to talk. Everyone was there…" he told her… "They helped me realize something…"
"They helped me realize why I had been keeping you at a distance all these months…"
"I was afraid."
"Of you getting pregnant again… and having something happen again… and… I was afraid of losing you, Mon."
"Oh, sweetie… you’re not going to lose me!" she assured him… "I’m fine! There was a complication, sure… but they caught it! And fixed it!"
"I know…" he said as tears spilled down his cheeks… "I guess I thought if I distanced myself from you… if you were to die… it wouldn’t hurt as much."
Monica held him a little tighter, the floodgate of tears opening at finally having answers. And at finally having Chandler back…
"I love you, Chandler."
"I love you, Monica." He whispered, drying his face, then brushing the tears from her face… "I am so sorry I pushed you away, Mon."
She nodded… "I know. Just, tell me what you’re feeling next time… ok?"
"I will. I promise."
He kissed her passionately… lovingly… "I’ve missed this…" he told her between kisses…
"Mmmm…" she hummed…
She loved his kisses… so soft and sweet and perfect.
He loved her lips… everything about her actually. He couldn’t believe he’d lived without her touch for the last several months. They made love for the second time that night… making up for lost time… expressing their love for one another with the most intimate and beautiful act two lovers could perform. They completed each other in a way no one else could.
--"Chandler! Hey!" Joey greeted his friend as he entered Central Perk… "What’s up?"
"Man! I can’t thank you enough!"
"All go well with Monica I take it?"
Chandler sighed, a wide smile crossing his face… "It was perfect. Absolutely perfect."
"Yeah baby!" Joey exclaimed, excited for his best friend… "I’m so happy for you guys!"
"Thanks. You know, once I understood what my problem was… the rest just fell into place!"
"Yeah, Pheebs is great with that stuff…" Joey seemed to trail off in thought… "How did I get so lucky?"
Chandler smiled at Joey, happy that he finally found love… and with one of their dearest friends… Phoebe Buffay. Now Phoebe Tribiani. And it made him smile wider when he remembered how they got together. Joey presided over his and Monica’s wedding, and after the ceremony, the reception. Joey and Phoebe started dancing… and drinking. After the festivities, and enough liquor to make walking difficult, Phoebe and Joey stumbled into his apartment. According to Joey, one thing led to another… and he found himself kissing her and touching her. He couldn’t stop himself… he’d said. And Phoebe made no attempts to stop him. In the morning, they both thought their friendship was ruined forever… but truth was, it was changed for the better. After guilt and confusion came the realization that they cared for each other more then they knew, or had admitted to… until then. By the time Chandler and Monica had come back from their honeymoon, Joey and Phoebe were a committed couple.
"I ask myself that every day my friend." Chandler told him, patting him on the back and heading for the counter to buy coffee…
"It’s my hubby!" Phoebe squealed softly as she entered the coffeehouse… kissing Joey and sitting beside him. "Hey Chandler!" she greeted him when she saw him… "You and Monica have a GOOD night?"
Chandler smiled… "Yes, thanks to you guys!"
"We just helped you see what was hiding inside you. You were just hiding from the hurt." She reasoned… "But you know… hiding away to avoid pain means missing out on the love…"
Chandler nodded, agreeing completely.
--Monica paced nervously, waiting for Phoebe to arrive. She couldn’t tell her over the phone… it was too important. When Phoebe showed up, she let herself in, worried about Monica. She didn’t sound right on the phone when she had called and asked her to come over.
"Monica? What’s wrong?"
"Oh God, Phoebe… I’m scared!"
"Whoa. Slow down. Why are you scared?"
"Phoebe… I’m pregnant again."
Phoebe smiled, then the smile dropped as she saw Monica’s pained expression… "This isn’t good news?"
"Well, yeah… I guess. I mean, I’ve always wanted kids… plural. But, I’m scared…"
"Because of the complications with Peter?"
"Well… not exactly. I’m concerned about Chandler… and how he’s gonna react. I mean, he was so scared of getting close to me for so long! And it’s so soon after Peter… I mean, he’s not even a year!"
"Ok, but that’s ok! They’ll be buddies! Peter and this baby! And don’t worry about Chandler! He’ll be fine! We’ll all be here for you guys!"
"You really think it’ll be ok?"
"Yeah, I really do! And your timing couldn’t be better!"
"Oh my God, Phoebe! Congratulations!"
"I know! I’m so excited!"
"Does Joey know?"
"I just told him this morning!"
"Is he excited?"
"Very! I think his exact words were: ‘Baby?! Yeah baby!’"
Monica laughed, hugging her friend… "I am so happy for you guys!"
"And I’m happy for you!"
Monica’s smile faded as she once again was faced with the knowledge that she was pregnant… "Thanks. I just hope Chandler shares your joy."
"He will. Even if he gets all ‘twirly’… he’ll come around."
"Yeah…" she agreed, but wasn’t exactly sure…
"When are you going to tell him?"
"Do you want us to be here when you tell him?"
"No, I better tell him alone… but could you be… handy? Just in case?"
"Sure hun. No problem."
--Phoebe took Peter for the night and Monica made Chandler’s favorite meal: hotdogs and mac-n-cheese. She sat fidgeting at the table, waiting for him to come home… and when he walked through the door… her heart leapt in her chest…
"Hi sweetie…" she greeted him, hugging him…
"Hi, babe." He greeted her cheerfully… "What’s the occasion?" he asked, gesturing to the fine china and candlelight…
"No occasion… just… wanted to have a nice meal with you."
"Mmmm… so I have you all to myself?"
"Yep. Just you and me."
"I can live with that." He kissed her sweetly, then took his suit jacket off… "Just let me get comfortable…"
--They made small talk over dinner, talking about the day’s events and such… Monica leaving out the fact that she was pregnant of course. She wanted to wait for the timing to be right.
--"That meal was great!" he told Monica as they sat on the couch together… "I still love your mac-n-cheese!"
"Yeah, well, that’s the result of my vast schooling as a chef." Monica joked… "So I can make ‘righteous mac-n-cheese’!"
Chandler chuckled at her joke and pulled her close to him, kissing her softly. Her lips, her earlobe, her neck… and she hummed in response. He loved it when she did that.
"I have to talk to you first."
He continued kissing her… not wanting to stop…
"Please? It’s important."
He pulled back and looked at her, seeing the concern in her eyes… "What is it?"
"Ok… now, promise me you’ll remain calm."
Not a good thing to start a conversation out with…
"Mon, what’s wrong?"
It wasn’t a promise… but it was encouragement to continue…
"I’m… I’m… pregnant."
Chandler’s expression became unreadable as he continued looking at Monica. Then, many emotions flashed across his face. Happiness, fear, love, concern, sadness…
"How far along are you?"
"Six weeks… or so. Maybe eight."
"You don’t know?"
"The test only says ‘positive’ or ‘negative’… it doesn’t give due dates. But judging by my last… you know… monthly ‘visitor’… I’m about 6 to 8 weeks."
"Ok." He acknowledged distantly.
"Are you ok?"
He hesitated before answering… "Yeah. I’m just… thinking…"
She slowly put her hand on his knee, rubbing up and down his thigh, offering comfort… "About what?"
He didn’t answer.
"Chandler? Talk to me. Please."
He didn’t dare tell her what he was thinking. It would hurt her… crush her… he refused to do that to her…
"Well… this is a good thing… right?"
"Yeah." She replied carefully…
"Yeah. So, I’m happy."
"Are you?" she wasn’t sure she believed him…
"Well, yeah! Why wouldn’t I be!"
She could tell he was holding something back, but she didn’t want to upset him… "Ok." She sighed… putting on a happy face for him.
She tried to kiss him, but he pulled away. When he realized what he had done, he hugged her…
"Listen, Mon… can I take a rain check on whatever you had planned for tonight? I’m kinda tired."
"Sure. But can I ask for one favor?"
"Can we go to bed and… and… can you just hold me in your arms?"
He pulled away from their hug and he smiled at her, touching her cheek… "Of course."
Monica knew he was upset… or scared… but being wrapped in his arms made her feel secure in the knowledge that they would be able to deal with any fears that arose.
--Monica and Phoebe planned an informal dinner party with everyone to announce their news. They found out before the get-together that their due dates were only a couple weeks apart, and that Phoebe’s due date was before Monica’s. Everyone was so happy for the 2 couples… and congratulations went all around… but everyone could sense Chandler’s uneasiness. No one was comfortable bringing it up for fear that it would create distance between him and Monica.
--Later, after Ross and Rachel left, Joey and Chandler found themselves in the kitchen alone while Monica and Phoebe talked in the livingroom, during which time Monica fed Peter…
"Dude! Isn’t it great!? We’re gonna be Dads at the same time!" Joey announced as he grabbed himself and Chandler a beer…
"Yeah, it’s great." Chandler did NOT sound excited…
"Hey, man… you ok?"
"Yeah… I guess so. I mean, I have to be, right?"
"You know everything is gonna be alright… right?"
"No, Joey, I don’t know that." Chandler told him, frustrated… "That’s what they said last time and I… I…" tears began to pool in his eyes… "I almost lost her. I can’t go through that again!"
"That kind of thing doesn’t happen all the time! It was a fluke!"
Chandler dried his face and swigged his beer… "Maybe you’re right."
Joey could tell his best friend was just humoring him… but he decided to drop the matter. He didn’t know how to reach him. He would talk with Phoebe later and maybe she could come up with some ideas to help.
--"Tonight was fun…" Monica said as her and Chandler entered their apartment…
"Yeah." Chandler agreed almost mechanically.
"Fine." He replied distantly.
He got further and further away with each passing day since she told him about the pregnancy, and she was worried about him…
Chandler didn’t even look up… "Yeah?"
"About what?" he asked, although he knew very well what she wanted to talk about…
"Us. The baby. Peter. The pregnancy. Whatever you want to talk about."
"I’m tired… can’t this wait?"
"No. It can’t."
He sat on the couch and she joined him…
"Ok…" he snipped… "You start."
"I think you are distancing yourself again…" she told him… "And I want us to talk about it."
"I’m fine, Monica… ok?"
"I don’t think you are."
"Well, maybe I don’t care what you think…" he half mumbled under his breath…
"Look, I don’t want to talk about this!" He started to leave, but she stopped him…
"We ARE talking about this Chandler!"
"Why did you get pregnant?"
"You didn’t tell me you wanted to get pregnant! You didn’t ask ME if I wanted another child!"
"It wasn’t planned!"
"Did you ever stop to think that maybe I don’t WANT another child?!"
"What are you saying? That you want me to get an abortion?!"
"No! Of course not!"
"Do you want me to give it up for adoption?!"
He shook his head… "No…"
"Then what Chandler?!"
"I just… I don’t want you to be pregnant!"
"That’s not an option now… cause I AM pregnant!"
"So, what do you want?!"
"I don’t know what I want!" He got up abruptly and headed for the guest bedroom/nursery…
"Where are you going?!"
"Chandler, we need to talk about this!"
He didn’t reply… he just stormed out, into the guestroom/nursery and slammed the door behind him.
--Months had gone by and the situation had not improved. In fact, it had gotten worse. Chandler spent his nights in the guestroom/nursery… he said because he didn’t want to disturb Monica’s sleep… but she knew that was a half-truth. He even started to become distant with their friends… knowing that they would try to convince him that everything would be fine. He wanted to believe that, but he couldn’t. He had to prepare himself for the worst.
With as much as Chandler distanced himself emotionally, he was physically over compensating. Everything Monica tried to do for herself, he was right there stopping her. He didn’t want her to strain herself, and he treated her almost like an invalid, doing near about everything for her except going to the bathroom. Even then, if she took too long he would be at the door asking if she was alright.
--Monica sat eating a bowl of ice cream while she and Chandler sat on opposite sides of the couch, watching TV. He seemed to almost look THROUGH the television, his body rigid and his brows furrowed.
She sighed as she moved to stand, wanting to take her bowl to the sink, but Chandler immediately stopped her…
"What are you doing?"
"I’m just gonna put my bowl in the—"
"No. I’ll do it. Give it to me." He took the bowl from her hand and rinsed it before setting it in the sink. He sat back down on the couch… and within moments, Monica jumped with surprise… catching Chandler’s attention… "What?"
She looked at him for a second before answering… "The baby just kicked."
He flew to her side and put his hand on her stomach. She positioned his hand where she had felt the kick before, and almost as if on cue, the baby kicked again…
"Did you feel that?" she asked, but she knew he had by the smile on his face.
She took her hand off his, expecting him to remove his hand immediately, but he didn’t. His hand remained on her swelling belly, rubbing softly for several moments before he removed his hand, going back to his side of the couch. It was a tiny victory, but a victory none-the-less.
--Monica couldn’t sleep that night. With her in their bed and Chandler in the guest bed, she lied awake staring at the ceiling. She heard the door to the nursery creak open, then she heard their bedroom door open. She closed her eyes, not wanting him to know she was still awake. She felt him slide into bed… and she felt him staring at her, but her eyes remained closed. He slowly touched her stomach, careful not to wake her…
"I love you, Mon." he whispered, then kissed her forehead.
She thought about opening her eyes, but she knew he would feel bad if he’d thought he’d disturbed her, so she pretended to be asleep. She felt him leave the bed, then she heard him leave the room. Her eyes opened and she looked at the door, deciding whether or not to go after him… then she heard the front door open and close. She wasn’t expecting that… and she jumped out of bed and headed out to the livingroom. No sign of him. She looked in the guestroom… not there either. She ran to the door and out to the landing at the stairs… he was gone. She went back inside and looked frantically for a note. No note. Panic washed over her and she grabbed for the phone, dialing the number by heart…
--"Hello?" Phoebe answered the phone sleepily…
"Phoebe. Monica. I’m so sorry for calling this late…"
Phoebe could hear the distress in her voice… "Mon? What’s wrong?"
"Left you for good left you?!"
"I don’t know! He just… left! No note… nothing!"
"Did he take his stuff?" Phoebe asked as Joey sat up, rubbing his eyes…
"I don’t think so."
Phoebe turned to Joey… "Chandler just walked out without saying anything… can you see if you can go find him?"
Joey was up in a flash, grabbing his clothes and shoes… "I’m on it."
"Ok, Mon, stay calm… Joey is gonna go look for him."
Monica sighed with relief… she could always count on them… "Thank you."
--Monica explained all that had happened to Phoebe, staying on the phone with her for peace of mind while they waited for Joey to find Chandler.
--Joey looked for Chandler where he thought he might be… and rather quickly, he found him. He hadn’t gone far… he was sitting on the curb in front of the closed coffeehouse… sulking.
Joey approached him quietly… "Hey man…"
Chandler looked up abruptly, surprised to see Joey standing there… "Joe? What are you doing here this time of night?"
"I could ask you the same thing." He told him, joining him on the curb… "Monica called. She’s worried sick."
"I thought she was sleeping. I just needed fresh air…"
"She heard you leave. When she couldn’t find you in the apartment… she freaked."
"I should’ve left her a note…" Chandler chastised himself…
"Look, I’m not good at this… ‘feelings’ stuff… but you gotta know… what you are doing to Monica is killing her!"
"I’m not doing anything to Monica."
"That’s just it. You’re ignoring her again! You found out she was having a baby and you just… shut her out again!"
"I take care of her, ok?"
"You treat her like she’s crippled! She doesn’t need that! She needs you! You gotta show her you love her!"
"I DO love her!"
Chandler shook his head and hung it low… he did NOT want to be having this conversation.
"Look…" Joey’s tone softened… "You are my best friend. I love you like a brother. I know you’re all worried cause of what happened with Peter… but shutting Monica out isn’t the answer."
"I can’t lose her Joe."
"I just… I can’t even face her sometimes… you know? It’s like… I see her and all I can think about is how much I’m going to miss her when she dies…"
"You can’t do this to yourself, man! You’re gonna drive yourself crazy!"
"Too late!" Chandler sighed, then he seemed to almost get angry… "It’s like… I see her belly growing bigger… and I find myself HATING that little life that could potentially take her away from me! That’s my CHILD in there! And… I hate it?! What kind of MONSTER am I?!"
"You’re not a monster… you’re human."
"God, Joe… I hate myself so much right now!"
Joey hugged his friend while he cried… "It’s gonna be ok, man. I wish I could make you believe that."
"I wish you could too." He dried his face and stood up… "I should get back to her so she doesn’t worry…"
"Ok. Yeah." Joey agreed, standing as well… "Just tell yourself this… if she were to die, and she won’t! I’m saying if. If she were to die… wouldn’t you want to know you spent as much quality time with her as you could have?"
--Joey had come a long way from the skirt chasing, video game playing, unemployed actor that he once was. Chandler had always loved him… and if it was possible… he loved him all-the-more now. He was a good man and a good friend. He was a great husband and he was soon to be a great dad.
--Chandler walked through the door to find Monica still on the phone with Phoebe, tears streaming down her face…
"He’s here!" she told Phoebe, jumping off the chair…
"Ask if he saw Joey."
"Phoebe wants to know if you saw Joey."
"He did. I’ll call you tomorrow. And thanks for everything." Monica said softly… "And thank Joey for me too…"
"I will. Night."
Monica turned to Chandler… "I was worried…"
He nodded… "I’m sorry I made you worry. I thought you were sleeping. I just needed fresh air."
She approached him and threw her arms around him… "Leave a note next time?"
He held her tight to him, consoling her… "I will. I’m sorry."
It felt so great to be held by him, she didn’t want to let go.
"I love you, Chandler."
"I love you, too, Mon."
She pulled back and kissed his lips… "Make love to me…"
"What about the baby?"
Chandler just looked at her for a moment, confused… "No, not Peter… the baby… inside you."
"It won’t hurt the baby."
"Are you sure?" he asked anxiously…
"Positive." She leaned in and kissed him again, this time more passionately, and she felt him respond… "Come to bed…" she ordered gently. He nodded.
--Things between Monica and Chandler improved over the next few months. He was still nervous, but with the help of everyone’s encouragement, he slowly stopped it from controlling him.
--When Phoebe went into labor, Chandler’s fears resurface… worried about his friend’s health and well being. When all was fine, and Phoebe gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Chandler relaxed some. But when Monica went into labor a week later, he panicked.
--"Honey, it’s ok… just get my bag." Monica calmly told him… "It’s in the bedroom closet."
"Right." He sprinted to the room and grabbed the bag… "Where is Ross?!" he asked, irritated…
"He’ll be here… give him a sec."
Just then Ross came through the door… "Ok… I’m here! Good luck Mon!"
"Yeah…" she chuckled…
Ross hugged her, then hugged Chandler… "It’s all gonna be fine, ok?"
Chandler just nodded as he rushed out the door, almost as if on auto-pilot.
--Chandler paced nervously as Monica’s labor progressed. The nurse and the doctor both tried to convince him that everything was progressing normally, but that offered little to no comfort…
"That’s what you all said last time! She almost died! She better not die!"
"Mr. Bing… just relax."
"I will relax when this baby is out of her and Monica is fine!"
"Sweetie, everything is alright. Calm down…" she stopped when she felt another contraction. Her eyes snapped shut and she winced in pain, breathing quickly to help her cope.
Every time a contraction hit, his anxiety shot through the roof. He paced like a wild animal in a cage as he watched Monica struggle to remain calm. He hated their baby at that moment, for putting her through the pain she was going through.
"Can’t you give her something for the pain?!" he snapped at the nurse…
"We could, but she doesn’t want pain meds."
"Monica! Please…" he was begging her… "Please take something for the pain! I can’t stand seeing you like this!"
When her contraction subsided, she reached for Chandler’s hand and he gave it to her… "Sweetie, I’m fine. I don’t need the pain meds. I’m fine. Relax."
--By the time Monica was ready to push, Chandler was half crazed.
"Can’t you HELP her?!"
"Mr. Bing, calm down and stay out of the way so we can do our job please." The doctor replied shortly.
"Get that thing out of her! It’s killing her!"
"Ok, Mr. Bing, you need to leave the room now."
"I’m not leaving her!"
The nurse took Chandler’s arm and led him from the room… he ranted and raved the whole way out.
"You can return to the room when you can calm down." She told him firmly, then walked away, leaving him in the waiting room.
"What’s going on?" Joey asked as he approached Chandler…
"They kicked me out!" he grumbled… "She’s in pain Joey… they won’t help her!"
"Chandler, she’s fine, ok? They’re not gonna let anything happen to her. I promise."
Chandler broke down and cried on his shoulder… "I can’t lose her. I can’t lose her."
"Dude, you won’t. She’s gonna be fine. The baby is going to be fine."
"I don’t care about the baby, Joey! I know that makes me a horrible person… but I don’t care!"
"Chandler! Listen to me! You have to calm down! Right now!" Joey barked… "That wonderful woman is in there giving birth to YOUR child without you! Cause you won’t control yourself and think of her!" he wasn’t angry, but it was time to be firm… "You take a deep breath and you get yourself in there and you be there for Monica! Got it?"
Chandler knew he was right. He hated himself for what he had become… and he forced himself to regain his composure.
"Ok. You’re right. I’m alright."
"Good. Now go be with her."
He nodded and sprinted back to the room, poking his head in to make sure he was allowed.
"If you stay calm and out of the way." The nurse told him, gesturing or him to come in.
He took his place by Monica’s side and forced himself to swallow his fear. When the baby started to make it’s entrance into the world, the doctor asked if Chandler would like to peek and see…
"No. Just take care of Monica." He said firmly. He had no interest in the baby that was causing his wife’s pain… but all that was about to change.
With the baby’s delivery came relief to Monica. She exhaled sharply and sighed, glad that it was over. Glad that she would soon be holding her…
"Girl! It’s a girl!" the doctor announced, placing her on Monica’s now flat stomach.
Chandler looked at his new daughter, and instantly all his hate turned into the most extreme love he could have. She was beautiful… and she looked like Monica…
"Oh my God…" he whispered as he watched her cry… "She’s incredible."
"Would you like to cut the cord, Dad?" the doctor asked, and without hesitation, Chandler nodded. After he cut the cord they whisked his daughter off to clean her up and wrap her warmly.
"Is she ok?" Chandler asked the doctor…
"Oh, she’s fine! Crying is a healthy reaction."
He realized she meant the baby, and he was talking about Monica…
"No, good… but I meant is Monica ok?"
"Yes. She’s fine. No complications at all."
He sighed deeply, his relief obvious, and he leaned over and kissed his wife’s lips softly… "Thank God."
Monica smiled… "I told you everything was going to be fine."
"I can’t believe what a horrible person I am."
"You’re not a horrible person, Chandler."
"I’m a horrible husband and father. I actually HATED that sweet, beautiful, innocent baby for being conceived!"
"You were just worried about me… and I appreciate it… but everything is alright."
"I will spend the rest of my life making this up to you… and her." Then it dawned on him… what were they going to name their new daughter?
--Monica and Chandler walked through the door with their baby daughter to see all their friends, decorations and banners that said ‘it’s a girl’… and little Peter, bouncing happily on Rachel’s lap.
"Welcome home!" they all shouted softly, surprising them…
"Awww… guys!" Monica gushed… "This is so sweet!"
"You guys are the best!" Chandler added, and hugs went all around.
Joey took his turn hugging his best friend, then quietly asked him: "How you doin’?"
"I’m good." Chandler smiled and stepped aside with Joey as the others ‘oo-ed’ and ‘ah-ed’ over the baby… "Monica and I talked a lot. And I talked with a doctor. I’m gonna start going to a therapist… just to talk about my anxieties and fears about losing Monica."
"That’s great! That’s gonna help!"
"Yeah. I gotta start making all this up to her. I can’t believe how I treated her. I can’t believe she’s stayed with me!"
"Dude! She loves you! She would never leave you… easily."
"What are you guys talking about over there?" Ross asked, and all attention was now on Chandler and Joey…
"Just talking about how lucky I am…" Chandler stated with a smile, then he approached Monica, putting his arm around her. He kissed his baby girl’s head… "Welcome home… to the best home… and to the best friends and family… little Savannah."
Thanks for reading!