The One With The Emotional Scars
With thanks to Jjaks for comments & suggestions
--Monica trusted Roy… her boyfriend of several months. She had no reason not to. She'd known him for years… he'd taken her to her junior prom… and her weight had never been an issue. Every other guy at Lincoln High avoided her like the plague. Like being overweight was a deadly, contagious disease. Roy didn't care about that… and at least she had someone to take her to dances and the movies. She didn't think she could do any better anyway. So, she trusted Roy… but she found out one horrible night that her trust was misplaced.
--They had gone to the movies… a drive in. He got too touchy feely… she tried to push him away… but he wouldn't relent. She told him 'no'… she made it clear that she wanted him to stop, but he didn't care and he didn't stop. She ran out of the strength to fight him, so she stopped and let him have his way with her.
--They said nothing for the remainder of the movie… they said nothing during the ride home… he said nothing to her as she got out of the car and headed for the front door.
--She didn't even remember getting upstairs and into the shower… she didn't realize she was fully dressed until she absently turned the water on…
"Crap!" she whispered in anger as she stripped the wet clothes off her and threw them out onto the floor.
She let the warm water wash over her, replaying the night's events in her mind. She hurt… physically and emotionally. She always thought her first time would be with someone she loved… who loved her. He would run his hands through her hair and tell her how beautiful she was. He would be gentle… he would take his time and make the inevitable pain bearable. Her tears mixed with the water as it splashed down her face and she grabbed her bath sponge, scrubbing herself nearly raw. She still didn't feel clean. She couldn't wash it away.
"Monica?" her Mom called to her through the door… "Are you ok?"
She couldn't tell her Mom what had happened. She wouldn't understand. She would blame her… she always found fault with her… she would fault her for this…
"Yeah." She said with the cheeriest voice she could muster…
"How was your date?"
Monica cringed… "Fine." She answered simply…
"Good. Your Father and I are going to bed now."
--Monica turned off the water and grabbed a towel, wrapping it around herself protectively. She climbed into bed after dressing, burying herself deep under the covers and crying herself to sleep.
--Monica went into a deep depression after that. Everyone noticed… her parents, her brother Ross, her friend Rachel… they all asked what was wrong, but she would never admit to being upset. She spent most of her time in her room, and her weight started to drop because she wasn't eating hardly at all.
--She avoided Roy and the topic of Roy, but soon the rumor around school was that she and Roy had consensual sex, and because she was 'bad' in bed, he dumped her.
When the rumor found its way to Rachel, she immediately approached Monica…
"Monica! Do you know what the rumor around school is?!" she asked urgently…
Monica dropped her head on the lunch table and folded her arms around her face.
"Monica? Did you and Roy…?"
"Rachel…" she whined softly… "Please. Not here… not now…"
"What happened? Why didn't you tell me? Is this why you've been acting so weird?"
Monica's head was pounding. Too many questions… "Rachel!" she snapped in a whisper… "Not now!"
Rachel put her hand on Monica's shoulder supportively… "Ok, hun. After school?"
Monica just nodded.
--After school… on the way home… Rachel asked again…
"Please, Mon, I'm your best friend! Tell me what happened."
"Ok…" Monica agreed… "But you can't tell anyone! Promise!"
"I promise. I promise."
"Ok…" Monica sighed, gathering her thoughts… "Roy… raped me."
"What?! NO WAY!"
Monica looked away and nodded sadly… "It's true. At the drive in."
"Oh my God! Did you… tell someone?"
"You are the only one…"
"Just me? Hun, you gotta tell your parents! You gotta tell the police!"
"No! Rach, I don't want ANYONE to know!"
"He belongs in jail! He raped you!"
"SSSHHH!" Monica hushed her, looking around to see if anyone overheard her… "You don't understand! We were on a date! No one will believe me!"
"They'll believe you! You HAVE to tell!"
"No! And you promised Rachel!"
"Ok, ok… I won't say anything. But I still think you should."
"So noted, and NO! Ok?"
They walked in silence for several minutes before Rachel spoke again…
"Did he… hurt you?"
"He didn't hit me, but he was rough. I fought him. I said 'no'… but he kept going. It hurt…"
"God, sweetie, I'm so sorry."
Monica just nodded. She didn't want sympathy, she just wanted the pain to go away.
--She slowly got over her deep depression… leaving her 100 pounds lighter and fearful of men. With the thinner Monica she now was, men were asking her out often, but all she could see was a potential rapist. She refused to date, and instead, focused on culinary school. Instead of eating to ease her pain, she became a chef and created edible masterpieces for others to enjoy.
--She had a good life. Good job, nice apartment… friends. She was fairly happy… but something was always looming over her. She knew what it was, but she pushed it from her mind.
--"Hey, Mon…" Ross announced his presence as he entered her apartment…
"Hey Ross! What's up?"
"Well, I have news!"
"Yep! You remember my old roommate, Chandler?"
She remembered him. He called her fat. Her self-esteem plummeted after that. That was one of the reasons she thought she couldn't do better than Roy.
Ross noticed her scowl… "What?" he asked, bringing her out of her thoughts…
She looked at him, blinking with confusion… "Huh?"
"You got a weird look on your face…"
"Sorry. What was the question?"
"Do you remember my college roommate, Chandler?"
"He's moving in across the hall!"
He wasn't expecting that reaction… "What?"
She shook her head, looking away… "Nothing."
"What's your problem?"
"I don't have a problem!"
"Then what's with the attitude? What's going on?"
"Nothing! Ross!" she emphasized each word with anger in her voice…
"Fine! Don't get all PMS-y on me!"
"Bite me!" She marched into her bedroom and slammed her door.
With that, Phoebe walked out of her room… "What's going on?"
"I don't know…" Ross replied… "Monica is all upset about something."
"What is she upset about?"
"I don't know! I mentioned that an old friend was moving in across the hall and she got… all…"
Phoebe was notorious for making up her own adjectives, and Ross just looked at her for a moment before responding… "Yeah."
"I'll talk to her later…" she assured him… "So, tell me about this new neighbor moving in across the hall…"
"Well, he's my old college roommate… and he's funny, and..."
"Great!" she interrupted… "Is he cute?"
"Oh, yeah, he's really--" he stopped himself when he realized what he was saying… "Ummm… I don't judge guys."
"Uh-huh." Phoebe's tone was condescending as she walked away… smiling…
--Monica watched through the peephole as Chandler moved in across the hall. When Phoebe came out of her room and saw Monica's face pressed against the door, she couldn't help but laugh…
"What are you doing?"
Monica jumped away from the door at the sound of Phoebe's voice… "Nothing!"
When she moved away from the door, Phoebe stepped up, peeking through the peephole as Monica had been doing…
"Oooo! Yummy!" she exclaimed, turning to Monica… "Did you see Mr. Yummy?"
"Mmmm… those jeans really accent… stuff…"
"Ok…" Monica replied distantly as she started doing dishes… but after a brief moment, she stopped… "Chandler isn't wearing jeans."
"Well, whoever's butt that is in view IS!" Phoebe turned back to watch out the peephole… "Yummy."
Monica walked back to the door and Phoebe stepped aside… "I think that's the roommate." she surmised as she peeked out again…
"Mmmm. Roommate yummy."
"I'm gonna go meet him!"
Phoebe opened the door as Monica waved her away, dismissing her…
--The door opening startled Joey, causing him to jump slightly and spin around…
"Sorry." Phoebe apologized, smiling…
"No problem." Joey smiled, accepting the apology… "How YOU doin?" he asked in his best flirty voice…
She giggled slightly and extended her hand… "Phoebe Buffay." She introduced herself.
"What a beautiful name." He complimented her, shaking her hand… "Joey. Tribiani."
"A pleasure! I'm your neighbor!"
"Great! You live here alone?"
"No. I have a roommate. Monica Geller."
"Oh! Right! Ross' sister!"
"Right! You know Ross?"
"Well, I met him… he's friends with my roommate… Chandler."
"You rang?" Chandler asked, impersonating 'Lurch' from 'The Adams Family' as he walked out of the apartment…
"Chandler, this is Phoebe! Phoebe… Chandler."
They shook hands as Joey introduced them.
"It's nice to meet you, Phoebe. Monica's roommate?"
"Is she around?"
"Monica? Yeah. Inside."
"I haven't seen her in years! I think I'll go say hi."
Chandler walked into Monica and Phoebe's apartment, scanning for Monica. When she walked out of her bedroom and saw him there, she screamed in surprise…
"Aaaah! What?! Who?!" she stammered, her heart racing…
"Oh, God, I'm sorry! I didn't mean to scare you…" he apologized quickly… "I'm Chandler. Ross' friend? We met once…"
"Twice. I know who you are." Her manner quickly went from scared to stand-offish…
He couldn't help but notice her tone of voice. She sounded upset with him… "Oh. Ok. Well, I'm moving in next door…"
There was an awkward air between them, and the silence that followed seemed misplaced.
"Ok, well, I guess I'll see you around." Her cold demeanor made him ill-at-ease… but he kept his tone and presence light and cheery… she ignored him as he left.
--"Hey Ross! What's up?" Chandler greeted his friend as he entered Central Perk, spotting Ross on the couch…
"Oh, hey Chandler! How's the move?"
"Went off without a hitch!"
"So, where's Joey?" Ross asked as he signaled for the waitress…
"He's 'christening the john'…"
Ross chuckled politely… "Ok…"
"Oh! Hey! Here's a question!" Chandler said as he joined Ross on the couch… "What's up with your sister?"
"I said hi to her and she totally blew me off!"
"That doesn't sound like her…"
"Well, she acted like…" he trailed off, but Ross gestured for him to continue… "She acts like she hates me!"
"Wha--? How? How could she hate you?"
"I don't know."
"She doesn't even know you!"
"There you are!" Joey exclaimed, pointing at Chandler as he walked through the doors… "I go to the bathroom and you disappear?"
"Just taking a break Joe! Relax!"
"A break? A break from sitting around saying: 'Put that over there Joe.'??"
"What can I say? You're stronger than I am!"
Ross cleared his throat… "Hey Joe."
"Oh, hey Ross! Oh! I gotta thank you man! For directing us to that apartment!"
"It's pretty nice, eh?"
"Huh? Oh, yeah, it's great… but man is that babe across the hall HOT!"
"Dude!" Ross barked, upset… "That's my sister!"
"What? No! Not her! The blond! Phoebe…"
"Oh. Yeah, Phoebe's great…" Ross agreed, calming down…
"Yeah baby!" Joey stated with enthusiasm, smiling and nodding…
"Did you meet Monica?" Chandler asked…
"I only saw her for a minute. Nice… kinda distant…"
"She's not normally like that!" Ross assured them… "I don't know what's up with her."
"Up with who?" Monica asked, hearing only part of the conversation as she entered the coffeehouse…
"Oh… ummm… uh…" Ross stammered… "Uhhh…"
"Sigorney Weaver!" Chandler interjected when no one else offered an answer… "What's up with that shaved head?"
"She shaved it for a movie role!" Joey explained… "Actors and actresses do that sometimes for a part."
"Ok!" Ross responded, a little more excitedly then one might consider normal… "So, Mon, have you met Joey and Chandler?"
Chandler waved… "Hi again, Monica."
"Hello." She replied cooly, then walked away…
Chandler gestured to Ross… "See?" he mouthed the words inaudibly…
Ross nodded and signaled for Chandler to stay put while he go talk to her.
She turned to her brother… "What?"
"What is with you?"
"Nothing is 'with me'!"
"You just totally froze him out!"
"Ugh! I did not!"
"You did! He thinks you don't like him!"
"Ross! Drop! It!" she grumbled through her teeth, storming out of the coffeehouse.
Chandler jumped up and leaped towards Ross… "See?! I was right! She hates me!"
"I… I don't know what to say. This is a side to her I've never really seen before." He seemed to be trying to access memories of her past behaviors… "Except for when I'd pin her down and tickle her… or rat her out to Mom…"
"I just… I don't get this!" Chandler griped, smelling his arm pits… "Do I stink? Has my reputation proceeded me?"
"Well, you could use a shower…" Ross joked… "You DID just do a lot of sweating… moving in and all…" he patted Chandler on the shoulder… "Don't worry. I'll talk to her."
--Monica continued to deny having a problem with Chandler, but her attitude towards him told a different story. She forced herself to be cordial, but it was obvious to everyone that something was there. She was civil, but nothing more and only when absolutely necessary. This went on for months, but Chandler continued to be nice, hoping for a turnaround.
--Joey, Phoebe, Monica, Ross, and Chandler were all sitting around at Central Perk, talking and socializing, the tension between Monica and Chandler minimal… mostly because there were more pressing matters to be tended too…
"I can't believe Carol is a lesbian…" Ross whined… "I just… I can't believe it…"
"You know, you just gotta get past this." Phoebe told him… "This is not your fault!"
"You know what you need?" Joey interjected… "You're sad. You're hurting. Can I tell you what the answer is?"
Ross gestured for him to continue…
"Thanks Joey, but I don't think I'll find a meaningful relationship at a strip club."
"You don't look for meaningful relationships at a strip joint! You look for meaningless sex!"
"I don't want meaningless sex! I just want to be married again!"
Just then a very wet woman, dressed as a bride, complete with veil came bounding through the door…
Everyone shared looks…
"And I just want a million dollars!" Chandler announced, looking towards the door expectantly…
"Wait…" Monica said softly as she stood… "I know her…" Monica approached the wet bride… "Rachel?"
Rachel spun around at the sound of her name… "Monica? Oh my God! Look at you!"
"Look at you!"
Rachel smiled sheepishly as she looked down at her soaking wet wedding dress… "Yeah…"
"Well, come meet everyone…" Monica pointed at the couch… "Hey, everyone, this is Rachel Green. Another Lincoln High survivor."
"This is Phoebe, Joey, Ross… well, you remember my brother Ross, right?"
"And…" Monica cleared her voice nervously… "That's Chandler."
Rachel seemed surprised by that, and squinted at him as if trying to remember something about him… "Oh!" she gasped… "Is that the same Chandler that--?"
Monica coughed loudly and looked at Rachel urgently. Rachel took the hint…
"I think I met you once." Rachel covered…
"Twice." Monica corrected…
"When?" Chandler asked, looking back and forth between the 2 of them…
"Thanksgiving 87 and 88." Monica replied as she gestured for Rachel to join them. After a moment of awkward silence… "So… are you gonna fill us in here? Or are we waiting for 3 wet bridesmaids?"
Rachel explained what had happened to her new and old friends as they listened supportively. She just couldn't go through with the marriage. She wasn't in love. After she called her Father and apologized, she decided it was time to break away and become independent. Make it on her own without any help from her family. Monica offered her the room Phoebe had vacated just days before… and Monica and Rachel became roommates.
--Phoebe didn't seem to share Monica's dislike for Chandler, but on some level, Rachel did. She was a bit more sociable than Monica, but when Monica was around… there was something there.
--Chandler was dumbfounded by it all and Ross offered up no reasons or explanations… Phoebe seemed clueless… on many levels… but, maybe Rachel could shed some light onto what was wrong with Monica.
--"Hey Chandler." Rachel greeted him…
Chandler smiled… "Hey Rachel…" he replied as he headed towards the couch in Central Perk. Then, suddenly, he realized she was alone. "Ummm… hey, Rach…" he started as he joined her… "Can I ask you something?"
"Does Monica hate me?"
Rachel shifted uncomfortably, avoiding eye contact… "I don't-- I'm not sure-- Ummm…" she stammered…
"Please, Rachel, I gotta know. I just… I don't get it…"
"Chandler, I really think this is something you should talk to Monica about."
"I've tried! She won't talk to me! Ross doesn't know… Phoebe's… well, Phoebe…"
"I don't really think it's my place--"
"I know. I know this is an awkward position to put you in… and I'm sorry. I just don't know what else to do…"
Rachel could see the sincerity in his eyes… "Ok…" she sighed… "If I tell you this… you have to swear that you won't tell her I told you."
He nodded emphatically… "I won't! I promise!"
"Ok. Back in '87… when you came over for Thanksgiving… she overheard you call her fat."
A shocked expression came over his face as Rachel said those words… "What? I did… what?"
Rachel just nodded…
"Well, that explains things… God! She must think I'm a prick!"
"It really hurt her…"
Chandler put his face in his hands… "Ugh! I'm such an asshole!"
"Then, maybe… but not now…"
Chandler seemed to go into deep thought… "But…" he interjected… "As bad as that was… I kinda got the impression…"
"Well… I mean… she really hates me this much cause of something I called her all those years ago?"
"Well, that started a chain of events…" she trailed off… "Look, I can't say anything more."
"I can't say anything! No one else in the world knows! She'd hate me if I told you!"
"No one knows? Not even Ross?" he asked… "Knows what?"
"I can't tell you. I'm sorry."
Chandler nodded… "Ok. I understand. Thanks for clueing me in a bit…"
--Rachel entered her and Monica's apartment, immediately spotting Monica crouched down by the sink…
"Hey!" Monica replied, not even looking up from her task…
"Just organizing the cleaners. Alphabetically and by room used in!"
Rachel blinked a few times before responding… "Ok." She hung up her coat and headed for the fridge… "Chandler seems nice. Had a nice chat with him downstairs."
Monica immediately tensed up… "Ok…"
"He thinks you hate him, Mon."
"I don't hate him!" Monica clarified… "I just don't like him!"
"Oh, c'mon Rachel! You know what he called me!"
"That was years ago! He isn't the same shallow college boy! He's grown."
"Well, I haven't! And that's partially cause of him!"
"What are you talking about?"
"Because of him my self esteem crashed into nothing! I never thought I would find love, so, when Roy asked me out…" she hesitated… "I didn't think I could do any better!"
"Wait a minute! Wait a minute! You blame Chandler for the rape?"
Monica slammed her hand down on the table and glared at Rachel… "Would you please keep your voice down?!"
"Sorry." She lowered her voice… "Monica, Chandler didn't rape you… Roy raped you. You can't blame Chandler for that!"
Monica refused to cry. She had gotten past the point of crying over what had happened… "I don't blame him for the rape. I blame him for destroying my self esteem."
"You are implying that he is inadvertently responsible for what Roy did!" Rachel reasoned… "Hun, that just isn't fair to him!"
"You wanna talk fair?! What happened to me is far from fair!"
"You're right. What happened to you is far from fair. But blaming Chandler isn't the way to cope with what happened."
"When I see him… all I can see is that stupid 'flock-of-seagulls' hair-do and that word coming out of his smug face!"
"You have to make peace with this. You have to talk to him."
"Mon, he's getting a complex. He's asked everyone what's wrong… he asks if he can help. He wants to be your friend."
--It took Monica several days of soul searching before she finally approached Chandler. Nervously, she knocked on his door…
"Hey! Monica! Hi!" he greeted her, surprised to see her…
"Hi." She replied timidly, looking quite uncomfortable about being there…
When, after several moments Monica still hadn't said anything, he decided to break the silence… "What's up?"
She started to fidget… "Nothing…" She was starting to lose her nerve… and the idea of walking away and going back in to the safety of her apartment was sounding very appealing…
"Ok, but, why did you knock? Did you need something?"
"Well, I just thought… maybe… we could… talk?"
Chandler had to force himself not to smile. "Sure. Wanna come in?"
"Is Joey home?"
She would be alone with Chandler? In his apartment? That idea was not comforting… and he sensed her apprehension…
"Come on in." he ordered gently, kindly, with a slight smile that let her know there was nothing to be concerned about. Reluctantly, she stepped inside.
--She moved slowly away from the door and further into his apartment… her arms hugging herself defensively.
"So…" Chandler gestured for her to begin, but she only looked at him with worried eyes. "Ummm… you want something to drink?"
"You wanna sit down?"
They both sat down and Chandler waited patiently for Monica to begin…
"I know you've been… wondering… why I have been so… distant…"
His expression told her to continue…
"Ok. Back in 1987… when we met… my parents house… Thanksgiving… I, ummm… well, I… overheard you… call me… fat."
Chandler already knew this… Rachel had told him… but he acted shocked…
"I did? I… I don't remember that. I'm so, so sorry!" he apologized profusely… "That was horrible of me to say that about you! Can I do anything? To make this up to you?"
"No. That's alright. I'm ready to put this behind me."
"Well, if there's anything I can do…"
"Thank you for telling me."
"Ok…" she got up to leave and Chandler followed…
"Hey, you wanna… hug it out?"
Monica froze… "Huh?"
"A hug? You know, cause we're friends now?"
"Oh. Right." She extended her arms awkwardly, signaling Chandler that a hug would be fine.
He wrapped his arms around her… holding her. It felt… good.
Monica stiffened in his arms, her heart racing. This sensation was foreign to her. It made her happy and scared, all at the same time. Confused and frightened, she backed away.
He saw it in her eyes… but what 'it' was, he wasn't quite sure. The expression on her face made him want to console her… she seemed almost… lost…
"Nothing." Monica lied… "I gotta go. I'm glad we worked this out."
"Me too!" he agreed eagerly… "Me too."
"Ok. So… see ya."
"Yeah. See ya."
--Chandler stared at the door for a moment after she left. He tried to sort out what had happened… tried to sort out his feelings. He couldn't stop the smile that crossed his lips as he placed his hand to his heart, but his expression quickly changed to that of confusion…
--"So, Mon, how'd your little talk with Chandler go?" Rachel asked as Monica entered the apartment…
Rachel could tell by the expression on her face that there was something wrong… "That is not your 'everything is good' face. That's your 'everything is not good' face. What happened?"
"Nothing. We talked… I told him about the fat comment… he apologized… then we…" she hesitated… "We… hugged."
Rachel could sense there was more to that simple, halting sentence… "And…?"
"There is no 'but'."
"I'm sensing there is a 'but'."
"Well, there isn't." Monica insisted… "Except…"
"See?!" Rachel gloated… "That's a 'but'! It's a fancy 'but'!"
"No, Mon, talk to me! What happened!?"
"Well, nothing… happened… exactly…"
"Then what exactly?"
"It's just… the hug…"
Rachel smiled… "Yeah?"
"Well… I… felt… something…"
"Felt something? Like what?"
Monica suddenly got flustered… "I don't know! It was like this rush of fear, and excitement, and… something…"
"You like him!"
"You like him! You know… attracted to him!"
"No I'm not!"
"Yes you are! It's ok… he's cute!"
"No he's not!" Monica snapped defensively…
Rachel gave her a knowing smile and Monica looked away… embarrassed…
"Ok! Ok! He's cute!" Monica admitted… "But I don't like him! I don't like guys!"
"So now you're what? A lesbian?"
"No, that's not what I meant."
"I don't… like… to date."
Rachel's eyes grew wide as the meaning of that sunk in… "Wait, wait, wait! Are you telling me… you haven't… been on a date? Ever? Since--?"
Monica didn't have to answer. The look on her face told the story…
"Oh my God, sweetie, I'm so, so sorry."
"Yeah…" Monica snipped, irritated… "It's all very sad. Look, I just don't need it! Relationships… all the headaches… no thank you!"
"What happened to your dream? What happened to getting married and having kids?"
"I'll get to that… someday…"
"How? If you refuse to even date… then how?"
"It'll just… happen! Ok?" With that Monica stormed off into her bedroom, shutting the door harder than necessary.
--Rachel sat across from Chandler, nervously fidgeting as she struggled with how to broach the subject…
"You wanted to talk to me… right?" he asked, patiently waiting for her to begin…
"Yeah. This is just… hard for me…"
"Ok. Take your time."
Rachel liked Chandler… he was funny and easy going… *He would be perfect for Monica.* she thought to herself… "Ok. Now, this is important."
"Ok. You remember when I told you about Monica's… you know… problem… with you?"
"And I said the comment you made… triggered… other stuff?"
"Ok. Well, she was really upset about the comment… she cried all night. She cried… a lot…"
"She did?" he sighed, disgusted with himself… "God, I am just so, so sorry…"
"No, no! I know! I'm not trying to make you feel bad! I'm just trying to help you understand." She assured him, then continued… "Monica's mom has never been supportive of her… the kids at school were cruel because of her weight."
"Kids can be cruel…"
"Yeah. Well, see, she kinda had this… tiny crush on you… when you showed up that Thanksgiving…"
"Oh, God, this is bad…"
"It gets worse…"
"Oh God. Ok… go ahead…" he braced himself for what was to come…
"When she heard your… comment… it really did a number on her. Any tiny bit of self respect she had was gone after that…"
Chandler put his hands over his face and lightly shook his head…
"So… she ended up dating this guy… that… well… raped her."
"Oh my God! Oh my God!"
"Ross never told me!"
"Ross doesn't know…"
Rachel shook her head… "No one does. Except you, me, Monica, and Roy."
"After that… she couldn't sleep. She couldn't eat… that's how she lost all that weight…"
"She… she's never… dated. She's kinda… scared of guys."
"She's--? She's never--?"
"And the chain of events all lead back to the one thing. Your… comment--"
"OH MY GOD! It's my fault! The rape is my fault!"
"No, Chandler, you are not at fault!"
"Monica thinks I am!"
"Well, not exactly… maybe indirectly… subconsciously… kinda… yeah."
"She's just… she's messed up Chandler. She's going through some stuff. She's a really great person! Please don't think less of her…"
"I don't. I'm just… floored. This is a lot of information to process here."
"I know. And I really struggled with whether or not to tell you…"
"No, I'm glad you did."
"I think she needs help. I would've talked to Ross… but, you know, he's her brother… and, well… you've met Ross."
Chandler nodded with understanding.
"I know this is… a lot to take… but… she… she… likes you."
"She likes me?"
"I know, I know, she doesn't act like it. She doesn't know what to do with her feelings…"
"Have I made a huge mistake here? Telling you all of this?"
"No. Not at all. I really like Monica. I'll be happy to help any way I can."
"Well, first, you CANNOT tell her we had this little talk."
"Just… don't get easily discouraged with her. And try to get her to open up…"
"I wish I knew."
--Slowly but surely, Chandler and Monica started becoming friends. Best friends. She got more and more comfortable in his presence, to the point of actually preferring to be in his presence. She was aware of her growing feelings for him, but anxiety prevented her from admitting them or doing anything about them. The thought occurred to her many times to distance herself from him… to keep the feelings from growing stronger… but she couldn't imagine NOT spending time with him.
--Chandler knew he was falling for Monica… he could feel their bond becoming stronger… but he couldn't tell her about his feelings. Not only because of her issues and fears, but because he didn't want to scare her away.
--"So, Monica, wanna go to the movies tonight?" Chandler asked as everyone started to clear out of Monica and Rachel's on their way to work…
"Sounds great! I call chick flick!"
He grumbled, like the idea of a 'sappy' movie pained him… "Ok, ok… we can do a chick flick THIS time. But next time…"
"Next time… I get to choose?" he asked meekly, causing her to laugh…
She patted him on the shoulder and smiled… "We'll see." She headed out the door, Chandler right behind.
She loved his sense of humor… it always brought a smile to her face. He made her laugh…
He loved how she reacted to his quips and jokes… her smile was contagious and her laugh warmed his heart.
--They sat in the dark movie theater, watching the movie and eating popcorn, but when Chandler's hand accidentally brushed hers while they were both reaching for the popcorn… Monica jumped…
"What?" Chandler asked, confused and concerned… the fear in Monica's eyes evident even in the dark.
"Nothing. I'll be right back." She stood quickly and made a hasty retreat, Chandler not far behind.
--When she came out of the bathroom, Chandler was right there… "Are you ok?"
He could tell she had been crying… "No, you're not. I'm your friend, Monica. Talk to me."
She couldn't tell him… "It's nothing…"
"You usually cry over nothing?"
Monica suddenly became aware that there were people near by… who could hear their conversation. She sighed and signaled for him to follow her. She walked to a semi-secluded spot in the lobby…
"You are my friend, Chandler… but I can't really talk about this…"
"Can't or won't?"
He could see her pain… it was too much pressure… "I'm sorry…" he backed down… "I'm just trying to understand…"
She knew she had to tell him something. She couldn't just leave it like that…
He could sense her struggle… "Please Monica?"
"Ok…" she sighed… "Ummm… I had… something… happen to me… at the movies… and you just startled me. It just kinda… I… kinda…" she trailed off…
He nodded. He knew what she was talking about, although he couldn't let her know that… "It's ok Monica… you don't have to talk about it if you don't want to." He touched her shoulder gently… "But if you DO want to… you can tell me anything… ok?"
"Thank you Chandler."
"You're welcome." He smiled his most charming smile… "You wanna go back in and finish the movie? I'll buy you your own popcorn!" he quipped…
"That's ok…" she smiled… "I'm ok. Let's go back in."
--"Hey! How was the movie?" Rachel asked as Monica walked in…
"Good. Interesting. Frightening."
"Frightening? I thought you were going to see a chick flick?"
Rachel looked confused… "And it was frightening because…?"
"It wasn't the movie that scared me…" Monica told her… "It was Chandler."
"Chandler? What did Chandler do?"
"Oh, God, Rachel… I made a fool of myself!"
"Why? How? What happened?"
Monica threw her coat and purse on the kitchen counter… "Everything was fine… watching the movie… yada yada yada… and I reached for the popcorn. His hand accidentally touched mine…"
When Monica stopped there, Rachel encouraged her to continue… "And…?"
"That was it! But I freaked out!"
"You're kidding! What did you do?"
"I jumped up and ran to the bathroom… and cried…"
"How stupid was that?! God, I'm never gonna get over this!"
"No, hun, you will…"
"It was just all too familiar. Roy stuffing his fat face with popcorn… the smell of it on him while he was…" she trailed off, getting angry… "Damn him! Damn him for doing this to me!"
"You can't keep letting him victimize you, Mon! You gotta work past this."
"How!? I want to! But how?!"
"You know… maybe it's time you go see… a psychiatrist."
She shook her head emphatically… "No, no! I'm not crazy!"
"No, you're not, I know… seeing a psychiatrist doesn't mean you are."
"That's what it means to me!"
"I'm sorry Monica… I'm just trying to help…"
"I know… I'm sorry… I didn't mean to snap at you. It's just… I'm sick of feeling like this!"
"Chandler thinks I'm crazy now!"
"I'm sure he doesn't think that."
"I acted stupid!"
"Well, what did he say to you?"
"He asked me what was wrong. He told me that if I ever wanted to talk… he'd be there to listen…"
"He's a good guy Monica. Maybe you should take him up on that."
"I can't tell him. I can't."
"I can't explain it… and I don't expect you to understand."
--Chandler walked into Central Perk with purpose, spotting Rachel on the couch as soon as he walked through the door… "Hey, Rach, you wanted to see me?"
"Yeah, Chandler… I did. I wanted to explain… about Monica…"
"At the movies…"
"Yeah, see… the rape… was at the drive in."
"I just… wanted you to know that. I didn't want you to think poorly of her."
"I don't, Rachel. I was worried about her. I really like Monica."
"Ok. Yeah, I'm worried about her too…"
Just then Monica came through the doors, interrupting the conversation… "Hey, guys! What's up?"
"The clouds in the sky…" Chandler quipped… "What's new with you?"
"Well, I got these two tickets for the new exhibit at the museum… and I know it's kinda, well, dorky… but I was wondering… if you'd like to go with me?"
"Sure! And if it's too dorky, we'll make fun of it and get kicked out for laughing too loud!"
Monica laughed… "Sounds good. Followed by dinner?"
"Perfect! What time?"
"Museum at 4, dinner at 6?"
"Great! I'll be by at 3:30?"
She smiled… "See you then."
--"Hey! You ready?" Chandler asked when Monica opened the door…
"Yep. Just let me get my coat."
He stepped inside her apartment… "Great."
He gently took ahold of her coat and helped her to put it on… "Here you go…" His hands rested on her shoulders and she froze…
"Thank you…" she whispered, still not moving…
"You're welcome." He replied softly, sliding his hands feather-soft down her arms, then dropping them to his side…
She slowly turned and looked into his eyes… "We… should… go…"
He smiled sweetly, hoping to put her at ease… "We should." He gestured towards the door and she tore her eyes from his, walking out as he followed behind.
--"I told you we would get kicked out!" Monica laughed as she and Chandler walked away from the museum…
"Yeah, but, it was just so darn amusing!" he laughed…
"I've never been kicked out of a museum before…" she admitted… "I've never been kicked out of anywhere before!"
"Ah, well, stick with me and we'll have your butt aching from hitting the pavement in no time!" he quipped, his lighthearted sarcasm bringing a smile to her face… "So, where for dinner?"
"McDonalds it is!"
Her odd expression caused him to laugh… "I'm joking! How about Tuscan Grill?"
"Oh, that sounds great."
"Ok then…" He extended his arm so that she could link her arm around his… and after a moment of deliberation… that's what she did.
He smiled as they walked arm in arm the few short blocks to the restaurant, and her heart felt like it was going to burst through her chest. Just that simple physical contact was so exhilarating, she almost felt light headed.
--The dinner was wonderful. The meal was good, the conversation was breezy and fun, the company was great.
--When they arrived at Monica's door after walking home, the casual conversation they had been sharing drifted to a stop. They both looked at each other, the silence between them deafening…
"So… this was great…" Chandler finally spoke up…
"Yeah. It was." She agreed quietly, looking to the ground…
Chandler wanted to kiss her… badly… but he didn't want to ruin the perfect night by scaring her away. He gently placed his finger under her chin and lifted her face, looking in her eyes…
"You have beautiful eyes."
Her smile mirrored her nervousness… "Thank you. So do you."
He beamed… "Thank you." He ran his finger lightly across her cheek before dropping his hand from her face… "Goodnight."
She exhaled sharply, almost relieved… "Goodnight." She reached behind her, feeling for the doorknob and he moved slowly to open the door for her. She let out a small chuckle and backed into the apartment… "Thanks. Night."
He nodded… "Goodnight." He waited for her to shut the door before going into his apartment.
--Rachel heard the door close and peeked out of her bedroom… "Mon?"
"Hey! How was the date?"
Monica seemed startled by that question… "Date? That wasn't a date."
Rachel chuckled… "You went to the museum… you went out to dinner… that's a date."
"Everyone above the age of 13!"
Monica just looked at her for a moment, letting that sink in… "I just… had a date?"
Rachel nodded… smiling…
Rachel watched as Monica walked to the fridge, pulling out a bottle of water… a smile accompanying the far off look in her eyes…
"I take it by that smile it went well?"
"We had so much fun. Chandler was making all these jokes… and we were laughing so loud… they kicked us out!"
"It was! Then we went to Tuscan Grill for dinner…"
"Yeah. Then we walked home. And…"
"And…?" Rachel asked anxiously…
"Well, I thought he might… kiss me."
Rachel hopped a bit with excitement… "Really? And if he had?"
"But if he had… how do you think… you would have… reacted to that?"
"I… don't know. But… I kinda… wanted him to…"
"Yeah. I mean, I was scared… more like petrified… but I still wanted him to."
"Yeah! It's a sign you're starting to move on!"
Monica started drifting off again… off into her own world… "Yeah…"
She liked Chandler… a lot… and that frightened her as well as thrilled her. Maybe… just maybe… she could do this. A relationship. With Chandler.
--"Hey beautiful!" Chandler greeted Monica as he entered the coffeehouse…
She looked at him, her brows furrowed slightly… "Beautiful?"
Chandler smiled… "Incredibly."
She smiled shyly in return… "Hi."
He joined her on the couch and produced an envelope from his jacket pocket… "Check it out…" He opened the envelope and pulled out 2 tickets, handing them to her…
"For Friday night?" she asked, reading the tickets…
"You and me?"
"If you'd care to join me… yeah."
"I would love to."
--"Oh, Monica… you look so pretty!" Rachel sighed as Monica entered the livingroom from her bedroom…
"Do you think Chandler will like it?"
"Chandler will love it." Rachel assured her…
Monica smiled, but it soon faded… "Am I ready for this?"
"What if--? What if he--? You know…"
Rachel did know… she knew exactly what Monica was worried about… "Monica… everything will be fine. Chandler is not… Roy."
Just then there was a knock at the door…
"That's him!" Monica started to panic… "I can't do this!"
"Ok, calm down! Deep breaths…" Rachel started demonstrating relaxation breathing, and Monica followed her lead. "Good. Now, you breathe, I'm gonna get the door. You just remain calm…"
"Breathe… calm… got it."
--Rachel opened the door to reveal a smiling and dressed up Chandler…
"Hiya Rach. Monica ready?"
Rachel opened the door wider, giving Chandler and Monica view of each other.
Chandler audibly gasped when his eyes fell upon her… "You look stunning."
"Thank you. So do you."
"What? This old thing?" he quipped, smiling at Monica's nervous chuckle. "Well…" he added… "We should go."
Monica looked at Rachel, who nodded once and smiled. Hesitantly, she walked towards him as he smiled reassuringly at her. She grabbed her coat and he helped her to put it on, being careful not to linger to long with his touch…
"I'll have her back at a respectable time…" he said to Rachel, and she waved…
"You kids have fun!"
--The play was beautiful… Monica had never seen such a beautiful play. Her fears of Chandler and being on the date were at bay while they watched, her focus of attention on the plot of the play… but when the play was over…
"You liked the play?" Chandler asked as they made their way to the exit…
"Yeah! It was so great! The costumes were so pretty! And the love story between…" she trailed off and looked at him sheepishly…
"I'm glad you liked it." He couldn't help but smile, her enthusiasm was endearing… "Wanna go get a cup of coffee at Central Perk?"
"Sure. That would be great."
--The conversation was interesting, but light. No heavy topics… until…
"You know, Monica, I've really enjoyed these past few weeks…"
"Me too…" she replied softly…
Chandler smiled and slowly reached out, placing his hand on hers. When she didn't pull away, he grasped it lightly…
"Is this ok?"
She nodded, avoiding eye contact. He was holding her hand… and, she was nervous, sure… but she wasn't freaking out.
--"How was your date?" Rachel asked, turning off the TV and turning to give Monica her full attention…
"Well, kiss and tell! What happened?"
"Well, there was no kissing… but he did hold my hand!"
"Awww… that's sweet!"
"It really was! And, we're going out again tomorrow night!"
"Wow! Two nights in a row! That's great!"
"So, no… panicking?"
"Well… there's a little panic… but I'm doing ok."
"I'm so proud of you!"
"I'm proud of me too!"
--After dinner, Chandler and Monica arrived home, standing in the hall in awkward silence...
"This was great." He stated softly…
"I had a great time too…" Monica's voice had a slight waver to it…
"Would you… maybe want to… come in?" he asked, gesturing towards his apartment…
"Do… I… want… to…?" she stammered, fear in her eyes…
"You don't have to…"
She hesitated, trying to gather her courage… "Ummm… ok."
"Are you sure?"
She nodded… "Yeah."
He smiled and opened his door, allowing her to enter first. She walked in and stopped after just a few steps. Chandler entered and closed the door, then stood silently behind Monica.
She couldn't turn around. She knew he would be looking at her… with those beautiful blue eyes…
"Mon? You wanna sit down?"
She didn't say anything and she didn't move…
"Mon? You ok?"
He touched her shoulder and she jumped away from his touch… almost as if being burned. She spun around and immediately, Chandler held up his hands as if to show her he meant her no harm.
"I'm sorry, Monica… I'm sorry…"
She shook her head… "It's not you. It's me."
Chandler stayed back, hoping distance would put her at ease… "It's ok, Monica. You can leave if you want to."
She involuntarily took a step towards the door, but stopped and looked at him… "I would like to stay… I'm… just…" she trailed off, leaving the sentence unfinished…
"Well, then, why don't we sit down?"
She slowly turned around and walked to one of the twin recliners in the middle of the livingroom, sitting down in, what seemed like, slow motion.
Chandler joined her, sitting in the other chair… "Would you like to watch some TV?"
She thought about that for a second before answering… "Ok."
He turned the TV on and they watched in silence for nearly 30 minutes before Monica finally spoke up…
"I'm sorry Chandler… I know my behavior doesn't make a lot of sense…"
"You don't have to apologize…"
"But I feel like I owe you an explanation…"
"You don't owe me anything…"
"Can I ask you a question?"
"Why do you put up with this?"
"Me. My… weirdness…"
"You're not weird. You're… shy."
"Well, there's more to it than that…"
"I… can't tell you…"
"It's too hard…"
"To talk about…"
"Then, we don't have to. I'm just happy to spend time with you. You can tell me everything or nothing… or anything in between… either way… I'm here for you."
"You're very welcome." He got off his chair and knelt down in front of her… "You are very special to me Monica. You take all the time you need to get comfortable with me."
"I am… comfortable with you… it's complicated…"
"Well, ummm…" he stuttered… "Yeah." He gathered his thoughts together… "You seem to be really struggling with something…"
"Yeah. I am…" A few tears slipped down her cheeks, and Chandler wiped them away. When she didn't flinch or pull away, he left his hand on her cheek and caressed it softly.
She felt like time had stood still as she looked in his eyes. She knew he was leaning closer, but felt unable to react.
He leaned in slowly, moving his hand from her cheek to her hair. When his lips touched hers, she jumped slightly. He backed off just a little and looked at her. Her eyes were closed, but they opened when she sensed him pull away and look at her…
"You ok?" he asked in a whisper… she nodded. He leaned in again, and when his lips found hers, she didn't startle. The kiss was soft and gentle… the last thing he wanted to do was get carried away and scare her…
He pulled back and tenderly rubbed his thumb across her lips… "That was beautiful."
She was speechless…
"Are you ok?"
She nodded slowly, her eyes never leaving his…
"May I… kiss you again?"
A small nervous smile crossed her lips and she nodded once.
He smiled reassuringly and leaned in, kissing her again. It started out as gentle as a spring breeze, but it slowly increased in passion… their tongues finding each other. When the kiss finally ended, they were both out of breath…
"Wow." Monica gasped, catching her breath…
"Thanks…" Chandler chuckled… "You were incredible too."
"Me? I didn't know what I was doing…"
He looked at her questioningly…
"I've never… really… done that… before."
"I dated… some… in highschool, but that was a long time ago. And he was nothing like you."
"So, you haven't had a date… since…?"
"Why? You are so amazing! Who wouldn't want to date you?"
"I've been asked… I've just always… turned them down…"
"Well, I'm honored you said yes to me."
"To be honest… I don't know why I did. I don't know why I'm here…"
"Well, I would hope it's because you care something for me…"
"I do!" she exclaimed, then hid her face in her hands… "I am so stupid!"
"No you're not!"
"I'm just… I'm messed up Chandler. And you've been… so… patient, but eventually…"
"This will get old and annoying…"
"What? What will get old and annoying?"
"I think it's endearing."
"You're just-- Are you for real?"
He poked himself, showing that he was 'real'… "Yep. Real."
She chuckled, but the smile faded as fast as it came… "You deserve answers… I'm just… not ready…"
"It's ok, Monica… when you are ready… I'll be here."
--The sound of the door closing woke Rachel from her sleep… "How was the play?" she asked as she sat up, having dozed off on the couch…
Monica seemed to be in a bit of a daze… "Huh?"
"The play? How was the play?"
"It was… good…"
"Are you ok?"
"Yeah. It's just that…"
"Well, Chandler kissed me."
Rachel was off the couch in a flash… "What?"
"He kissed me." Monica repeated… "We went over to his apartment… and we watched some TV… and we talked a little… and then… he kissed me."
"Ok! Kiss and tell!" Rachel ordered excitedly, grabbing a bottle of wine and 2 glasses…
Monica hung up her coat and they both met up at the couch…
"Well, at first… his lips barely touched mine…"
Rachel sighed and put her hand to her heart…
"Then he asked if I was ok… and I nodded… so he kissed me again."
"It was beautiful…"
"His lips were so soft… I loved how they felt… and he was so gentle…"
Rachel sighed again… "Then what happened?"
"He asked if he could kiss me again…"
"And you said…?"
"Yes. And this time… it was a real, REAL kiss."
"Oooo! And and and?"
Rachel grabbed her and hugged her… "I am so happy for you!"
"I'm happy for me too!"
--Chandler and Monica went out on several dates over the next several weeks, becoming closer… and she becoming more comfortable with him…
"You gonna be out ALL night?" Monica asked Rachel as she got ready for her date…
"Yep. You?" Rachel replied…
"I'm thinking of telling Chandler that I don't want to go out tonight."
Rachel spun around, looking concerned… "What? Why?"
Monica smiled and shook her head… "No, no. It's not that. I was thinking of… eating in. Eating here."
Rachel smiled… "Are you…? Do you mean…?"
Monica nodded… "Well, first… I'm gonna want to have a… chat… with him."
"You're ready to tell him?"
"I think so. We'll see. I might chicken out…"
Rachel smiled and hugged her… "I think you're making the right decision."
--"Chandler? Monica." She said into the phone… "Sorry to call you at work, but I wanted to ask you… would you mind if we ate in tonight?"
"Ate in? Sure! That's fine. My place our yours?" Chandler replied easily…
"Mine. I'll cook."
"Rachel going to join us?"
"No. She's gonna be gone… all night…"
"Hmmm… ok. So, when would you like me over?"
"Six sound good?"
"Perfect. See you then."
She hung up the phone, her knuckles white from holding it so tightly. She rubbed her hands, easing them back to their normal color, then got started on the preparations for dinner.
--Chandler forced himself to wait till 6… inside his apartment, poised at the ready. As soon as his watch said 6, he grabbed the bottle of wine off the counter and headed across the hall.
When he knocked, she was at the door in a flash… "Hi. Come on in." she stepped aside and he walked in, handing her the bottle…
"I brought you this."
"Great. Thanks." She smiled and he leaned in, kissing her cheek…
"Dinner smells great."
--They ate dinner, then sat with their wine on the couch…
"You are an excellent chef."
"You're just saying that to be nice…"
"Well, I would say that anyway… to be polite… but in this case… I mean it."
He leaned in and kissed her lips lightly, waiting for her response. When she kissed back, he wrapped his arm around her waist while his other hand ran softly through her hair. She ran her hand up his back and grasped his shoulder. When the kiss started becoming very passionate, she broke away…
"Chandler…" she whispered…
He pulled away… "I'm sorry…"
"No, no… it's ok…" she smiled reassuringly… "It's ok."
He smiled in return and touched her cheek…
"I just wanted to… talk to you first…"
Chandler nodded… "Ok. Sure…"
"I know you've been wondering… about me…"
He folded his hands in his lap and remained silent…
"This is hard for me… so… be patient… with me… please?"
"Take all the time you need. There's no rush…"
She nodded and took a deep breath before continuing. She told him everything. She told him about dating Roy, the rape, the way she hid it from everyone out of shame and humiliation. She admitted to eventually telling Rachel, but not trusting another soul with her secret… until him.
He knew how hard it was for her to tell him. He forced himself to keep his expression neutral, knowing that rage for the poor excuse for a human being that did that to her was looming just under the surface. He reached out to take her hand, grasping it gently so she could pull away if she wanted to, but so that she would know he was there for her to comfort her. He wiped away the tears that started rolling down her face… "I… don't know what to say. I am so sorry that happened…"
She nodded… "I just… wanted you to know. It explains why I am the way I am."
"Thank you for trusting me enough to tell me."
"I trust you Chandler. I trust you completely."
He cupped her face in his hand and leaned in to kiss her again. His kisses were soft and tender… loving, compassionate, meant to reassure her that he would never hurt her.
She believed that. She knew he would never hurt her. She broke away from the kiss and reached for his tie, loosening it and removing it slowly. He just watched her carefully. Then she ran her hands up under his suit jacket and pushed it down his arms. He took the hint and removed his jacket, setting it on the back of the couch. When she wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him in, kissing him with fear-laced passion, he knew where all of it was leading…
"Honey, are you sure about this?" he asked in a whisper, brushing his finger across her cheek…
"As sure as I'll ever be… I think…"
"This is a big step… don't think I don't know that. I just… I don't want you to do this… if you're afraid."
"I think I will always have fear…"
"You don't need to fear me… I would never hurt you."
"I know." She started kissing him again, and he responded, kissing down to her neck. He forced himself not to get too carried away… he had to go slow… give her the chance to say no.
She let him lead… not sure of what to do. His hand roamed over her body as he held her with his other hand. When his hand found her breast, he heard her gasp, taking in a sharp breath. He took his hand away from her breast and pulled back to look in her eyes.
She shook her head and smiled… "It's ok." She told him… "You just startled me…"
He smiled and returned his hand to her breast, his eyes never leaving hers. He watched her expression carefully as his thumb brushed her nipple. She closed her eyes, the sensation amazing. Without stopping, he leaned in and kissed her lips… he heard a soft moan escape her…
"Do you like that?"
She didn't answer…
"Monica, tell me how this makes you feel…"
"I feel… lightheaded…"
His grin was brief as he slid his hand from her breast to her side, running his hand up her back. She shivered at the sensation…
"Monica…" he whispered as he took her hands and placed them on his chest… "Unbutton my shirt."
Her hands were shaking slightly as she worked each button, his hands rubbing her shoulders, encouraging her. When she was done with the last button, she looked at him, awaiting further instruction. He slowly removed his shirt, then he pulled his t-shirt up and off…
"Touch me Monica…"
"Wherever you want."
She reached out and touched his chest, her hands trembling…
"That feels amazing…" he assured her, sensing she was unsure of what she was doing…
She smiled nervously, leaning in to meet his kiss.
"If you want to… remove your shirt…" he gently instructed her.
She hesitated for only a moment, then did as he asked. He reached around and unhooked her bra… slowly… then ran his hands up to her shoulders and slid her bra straps down her arms, tossing it to the floor. He kissed her neck, traveling to her shoulder, then down her front to her breast. He lightly rolled one nipple between his thumb and forefinger while he licked the other, then he switched. Her head was spinning out of control and her body trembled with need…
"You're trembling… are you ok?" he asked with concern…
She nodded silently…
"Do you want to go to the bedroom?"
--They walked to the bedroom, his arm around her waist. When they were in the room and the door was shut, he kissed her passionately, wantonly, but sensing her hesitation, he eased up.
"We can stop…"
"I don't want to stop."
"Are you sure?"
"Do you have protection?"
Monica just looked at him for a minute, trying to understand what he meant… then, she got it… "I think Rachel does… in the bathroom…"
He smiled and kissed her lips… "I'll be right back…"
"In the drawer on the far right."
He nodded… "Ok…"
She sat on the bed, her arms folded across her bare breasts…
*Ok…* she thought to herself… *This is it. You can do this. He cares about you. He won't hurt you. He's not Roy.*
Chandler returned a moment later, holding up the little foil package… "Found them."
She smiled, but he could tell it was forced…
"You're petrified, aren't you?"
"No…" her voice quivered…
He sat beside her on the bed and wrapped his arms around her… "Let's take this slower…" He kicked his shoes off and lied back with her on the bed, holding her to him, snuggling with her. "Just relax… I'm only going to hold you for now…"
"I'm ok, Chandler…"
"Ssshhh… I know. But, I have to be sure. I couldn't live with myself if I thought for a moment that you were rushing yourself… or that you had regrets…"
"I want this…"
"I know. But wanting it and ready for it are two different things…"
She was starting to get frustrated, and he could tell…
"I'm not turning you down, Monica. I'm here with you… holding you… caressing you… I just want us to go slow. I think it's important that we go slow."
She sighed, resigning herself to the fact that he was probably right. Once she did that, she almost felt relieved. The pressure was off. She didn't have to be worried about being 'bad'. Or doing something stupid. She just enjoyed the feeling of being in his arms… snuggled up to him as he gently rubbed her arms.
"I'm gonna take my pants off and get comfortable…" he told her… "But I'm leaving my boxers on, ok?"
She nodded… "I'll take mine off too then…"
They both removed their pants, him leaving his boxers on, her leaving her panties on… then they climbed into bed and under the covers.
--The room was so quiet, she could hear his heartbeat… and his breathing. His hands danced across her skin, and it felt better than anything she had ever experienced. She was snuggled up tight against him, but still she wanted to be closer. Sensing her need, he pulled her to him, holding her tighter than before. She wanted to touch him… to show the same affection he was showing her, but she wasn't sure if she should. She wasn't sure how. She felt stupid… and she didn't want him to think she was stupid, so, she kept her hands to herself.
It was like he could read her thoughts… "You can touch me Monica…"
She didn't move…
"Give me your hand…" he gently ordered, and she complied.
He kissed her hand before placing it on his chest, then he placed his hand over hers. She could feel his heartbeat, and a little sigh could be heard as she realized the connection they were making.
"Thank you." She whispered…
"For making this special. For being patient. For easing my fears…" she hesitated for a moment, but he could tell she had something else to say… "And… thank you for sensing I wasn't ready yet…"
"You're welcome…" he kissed her hair… "There's no rush. When it's right… when you're ready… it'll happen…"
--They eventually fell asleep in each other's arms…
--Rachel walked through the door the next morning, surprised that Monica was not awake yet. She quietly knocked on her bedroom door…
"Monica? I'm home…"
Chandler heard her and looked back at a still-sleeping Monica. He grabbed his pants and got into them, then opened the door…
"Morning Rachel." He smiled and gestured for her to back up so he could leave Monica's bedroom and enter the livingroom… "She's still asleep…" he whispered.
Rachel backed up and Chandler shut the bedroom door, then headed for the fridge…
"Did… you guys…?" Rachel asked hesitantly… "I know it's none of my business… but…"
"You're right. It's not." He said with a smile… "We spent the night together, but nothing beyond holding each other happened…" he informed her, still smiling…
"I take it by that smile it was a nice night then."
"It was a fantastic night." He grabbed his t-shirt and put it on, then grabbed his dress shirt... "She wanted to... you know... but she wasn't ready..." He put his dress shirt on, but didn't bother with the buttons... "So, I just held her all night."
"Awww… that is so sweet! So, did she tell you then?"
"About Roy? Yes."
"How did you react?"
"I didn't want her to know I already knew… but I also didn't want her to think I was less interested in her because of it, so, I acted surprised, but… stayed kinda… neutral…"
Rachel nodded, and just then, Monica came out of the bedroom… "Hey Mon!"
"Good morning." Chandler said with a smile… but it quickly faded when he saw the expression on her face… "Is something wrong?"
Rachel noticed it too… "Monica? What is it?"
Monica's stare stayed focused on Chandler… "You knew?"
"Knew?" he asked… "Knew what?"
Rachel looked away and Chandler's expression grew concerned… "Honey, let me explain…" He took a step towards her, but she held her hands up, indicating he should stop right there.
She then turned to Rachel… "You told him?! How could you do that?!"
"She was just being a friend…" Chandler interjected…
"Mon, he was worried about you. He wanted to be your friend. I told him so he could understand why…" she trailed off…
"Why…?" Monica trailed off as Rachel had… "You can say it! Why I'm a mess? Stupid? Irrational? Weird?"
"Monica, sweetie, no one thinks that…" Chandler assured her… then Monica's attention was back on Chandler…
"So, what was all this? Pity?! You just felt sorry for me?! Is that what all this was?!"
"No! It wasn't like that at all! I really care about you… so much…"
"I bet I was just so funny, right?! Silly little raped girl and her fears… right?!"
"No, Monica. No… I never thought that."
"Monica…" Rachel spoke up… "You have it all wrong…"
Monica ignored her and pointed at Chandler… "I want you out! Get out!"
"Monica, please… just… let me explain…"
"Why?! So you can further humiliate me?! Get OUT!"
Chandler looked at Rachel for a brief moment, then grabbed his suit jacket off the back of the couch and left.
Monica was shaking… she felt like she was about to break down… but she wasn't finished yet…
"You!" she pointed at Rachel… "You're supposed to be my friend! How could you betray my confidence like that?"
"I struggled with whether or not to tell him… I really did… but, I couldn't reach you. He wanted to get to know you… I just… helped."
"Helped?! You call that helping?! To get him to be all affectionate with me out of PITY!"
"I didn't ask him to be anything! He asked about you and I told him! The rest was him! He really likes you Monica!"
"No he doesn't! He likes the conquest! Get the shy, stupid, messed up girl to have sex! What a trophy!"
"You're wrong! He didn't have sex with you last night did he?!"
Monica's jaw dropped in shock… "He TOLD you that?!"
Rachel covered her eyes with her hand and shook her head in frustration… "It's not what you think…"
"What do I think?!"
"That he's telling me every aspect of your relationship. He's not. He came out of your room and I asked. Maybe it wasn't my place to… but I asked. He said that he just held you all night…"
That had meant so much to her… and now it was tainted… "I must've seemed so stupid…" she whispered to herself…
"No one thinks that, Monica… except you."
"Chandler thinks it! He has to!"
"Why?! Because you do?! Because if he does, that means you can shut him out and ignore your feelings for him?! Go back to hiding where it's safe?!"
Monica couldn't admit that Rachel's words made sense… "You betrayed me! I tell you my deepest, darkest secret and you blab it to the one guy…" She trailed off, too upset to finish the sentence… "I never want to speak to you again!" She spun around and stormed back into her room, slamming the door behind her. Then, throwing herself down on her bed, she started crying.
--A few hours later… after Rachel had left for Ross' and Monica had re-organized her cookware out of frustration and the need to keep busy… there was a knock at the door. Monica opened the door to reveal a very sad looking Chandler…
"I left my shoes here…" he said softly.
Without a word she marched into her bedroom and retrieved the shoes. She felt like throwing them at him, but she didn't…
"Here!" she snapped, handing them to him… "Now leave!"
"Can I please just talk to you for a minute?"
"Monica, you're misunderstanding this. I want to explain…" his voice was quiet and remorseful… "If after I explain, you still want me out of your life, then I will respect that…"
It didn't matter what he had to say, in Monica's mind… but if she heard him out… she could tell him to leave and he would… he would leave her alone…
"Fine. Sit." She snapped, pointing at the couch.
He walked in and sat down… she joined him, sitting on the opposite side of the couch.
He told her everything. He told her about feeling disliked by her, asking Ross and Phoebe and getting no answers. Then, when Rachel moved in… she had answers. She was reluctant at first to tell Chandler about what was bothering Monica, but when she did, everything made sense.
"She only told me so that I wouldn't lose patience with you. But, honey, I would never lose patience with you. I am not with you out of pity and I'm not with you because Rachel asked me to be. I am with you because I want to be with you. I love you Monica."
Her heart leapt in her chest… "What?"
"I love you." He could see her anger start to fade from her eyes, so he reached for her, holding her. "Please let me make this up to you…"
She nodded silently…
"I am so sorry I hurt you. I told you I never would, and I did…"
"You didn't do it on purpose. I overreacted…"
"You had every right to be upset."
"I think part of it…" she trailed off, and he pulled back and looked in her eyes…
"I think… I'm still afraid…"
"Of a relationship. Of looking stupid. Being angry with you meant I could go back into hiding…"
"We can go slower…"
"We could go at a snail's pace and I think I would still be nervous. I want to get over this… I do… but it's hard."
"Let me ask you… did you enjoy last night?"
She nodded, looking down at her hands as she wrung them…
He placed his hand on hers… "So did I. And that was a big step for you! Don't think I don't know that. Six months ago… could you ever picture yourself being that close with a man?"
"Ok… so, even though you can't see yourself taking the next step NOW, eventually… you will…"
"You think so?"
"But… this has got to be frustrating to you…"
"What? Going slow?"
"Nope! Not at all frustrating. This is the best relationship I have ever had… and besides the fact that it is in part due to you… because it's you… I think it's also because we are taking things slow."
She smiled and hugged him… "I'm sorry I blew up at you this morning…"
"It's ok. I'm sorry I gave you reason to." He pulled back then kissed her lips softly… "So, are we ok?"
"I'll talk to her later."
"Good. She really is a good friend you know."
He kissed her again, then stood, helping her to stand… "You wanna catch a movie tonight?"
"Great. You pick… then let me know… ok?"
--When Rachel walked in, Monica was waiting for her… "Hi." She greeted her, her voice very quiet…
Rachel looked at her for a moment… "Hi." She finally replied…
"Can I talk to you?"
Rachel nodded as she put her purse down on the kitchen counter… "Sure."
"I wanted to apologize… for this morning…"
"I'm sorry too Mon…"
"I overreacted…" she sighed… "And you were right…"
"About pushing Chandler away. If I had a reason to be mad at him, I could hide away and be safe."
"Oh, sweetie, you ARE safe with him."
"I know. I know he wouldn't hurt me… in my logical thinking mind… but in my illogical thinking mind… and in my heart… I can't stop being scared."
"I know. But, you know, you have to just take this one day at a time. One step at a time. Like, don't think about… making love to him. Don't think about where your relationship is going to be 3 weeks from now. Just, think about now. Today. You know?"
"Yeah." Monica agreed, then hugged her… "Thanks Rach. You are a good friend… I'm sorry I said you weren't earlier."
"So, you forgive me for telling Chandler about Roy?"
"Yeah. I'm not happy that you told him, but I also know you didn't tell him just to be mean or hurt me…"
"I didn't! I didn't."
"Ok… so… it's ok."
"Yep. Best friends."
--Monica and Chandler came back from the movies and entered Monica's apartment…
"Hey guys! How was the movie?" Rachel asked…
"Great!" they both said in unison, then chuckled…
Rachel smiled and got up off the couch… "That's great. I'm going to bed now…"
"It's only nine o'clock!" Monica stated as she looked at her watch…
"Yeah, well, I'm tired…" she faked a yawn then headed for her room… "Goodnight."
"Goodnight Rach." Chandler waved…
She waved back and closed the door.
"I think she just wanted to give us time alone…" Chandler whispered as he kissed Monica's cheek…
"You might be right." She giggled, then pulled away… "Wine?"
Chandler made the sound of a whining puppy and that got Monica laughing…
"No! I meant! Do you want a glass of wine? You know… fermented grape juice?"
She poured them each a glass of wine and they met up on the couch. Chandler put his arm around Monica, and she leaned in and rested her head on his shoulder…
After several minutes, Chandler broke the silence… "Mon? Are you up for a serious conversation?"
"I guess. What about?"
"What about him?"
"Tell me… can you tell me what happened?"
She remained silent… she knew what he was asking…
"I don't mean to make you uncomfortable. But, if I know what happened… I can… avoid… doing stuff…" he trailed off…
"How much detail do you want?"
"As much as you're comfortable telling me."
She took a deep breath and let it out slowly, snuggling closer to him. He pulled her in tighter, comforting her… then she began…
"We were at the drive-in. Everything was fine… but then… he started, well, touching me. I took his hands off me… I pushed them away… several times. He'd wait, then do it again. After a few minutes of this, he just kept doing it. I'd push his hands away, and he would just… push back. I got mad. I told him to stop… but he ignored me."
Her breathing was ragged… nervous… and Chandler could tell. He tightened his grip and kissed her head…
"He started to… force himself on me… and I fought him. I told him 'no'… countless times… but he didn't care. I just couldn't… I couldn't fight him anymore… he was too strong. So, I just laid there and… let him…"
"If this is too painful, you can stop…"
She didn't answer, but after a moment, she continued… "He didn't even… remove my underwear. He just… pushed my skirt up and pushed the underwear aside. He even ripped them. I yelled when he… went in. It hurt so bad… cause I was… still… ummm… a virgin."
"Oh my God…" Chandler whispered, burying his face in her hair…
"Then, later… at school and whatever… he told everyone that we had consensual sex. He said I was… horrible… at… 'it'… so, he dumped me."
Chandler kissed her hair several times, as much to comfort her as calm himself from the fury that was boiling within him… "God, I have never hated anyone as much as I hate that bastard!"
"I've hated him… I've felt indifferent about him… I've hated myself…"
"You should never hate yourself! You did nothing wrong!"
"Yeah… I guess. Still, if I hadn't gone… you know… out with him…"
"Monica…" his voice was kind but stern, and he gently sat her up, looking her in the eyes as he brushed the tears from her face… "What happened was in no way your fault. You did nothing wrong! You did nothing to deserve it!"
"On some level I know that… but, if you hear something long enough, you start to believe it, you know? Everything bad that has ever happened to me, my mom makes it out to be my fault."
"You didn't tell your mom?"
"No. I couldn't deal with that…"
"You talk to anyone about your feelings?"
"I couldn't tell anyone else…"
"What about a psychiatrist?"
"No. I'm not crazy!"
"Wha--? Seeing a psychiatrist doesn't mean you're crazy."
"It does to me! And… my mother…"
"Your mom sounds… intense."
"Yeah, that's one adjective one could use…" she chuckled…
"Well, I was trying to be nice…" he smiled, then kissed her softly… "Ok… I don't know about you, but I'm wiped. Wanna go to bed? Or, I could leave… if you'd rather be alone…"
"No, I would love it if you'd stay."
"If you're sure."
A nervous smile accompanied her nod… "I'm sure."
--Chandler stripped down to his boxers, Monica stripped down to a t-shirt and underwear. They climbed into bed and within a few minutes, both were fast asleep. It wasn't until a few hours later that Chandler felt Monica toss and turn in her sleep. He watched her for a moment, deciding she must've been dreaming, but all too quickly he realized more than that… she was having a nightmare.
Without warning, Monica leapt from the bed and ran to the other side of the room. She crouched down and looked at Chandler, (who was now off the bed and watching her from a distance with great concern) with frightened eyes…
"Monica? What's wrong?" he asked very softly…
She didn't answer… she just kept staring at him, obviously terrified…
"Monica, sweetie, it's Chandler. What's wrong?" he asked again…
Her expression changed from scared to something else, then, she burst into tears and went fetal on the floor.
Chandler rushed to her and gathered her into his arms… "Ssshhh… it's ok. It's ok…" he picked her up and carried her to the bed. Gently, he set her down and climbed in beside her, holding her, trying to comfort her.
"I'm sorry…" she cried softly…
"Ssshhh… it's ok." He assured her, kissing her hair… "What happened?"
"I had a nightmare…"
"Yes." Was her only reply, and he knew what she meant by that simple answer… "I've had them before… but when I felt your arms around me…" she started to cry louder, her body heaving with sobs… "I'm so sorry…"
"You have nothing to be sorry about. I'M sorry…"
"You didn't do anything. I like being in your arms…" she told him as she held him tighter… "I just… freaked. I was half in half out of sleep and didn't know what was going on for a minute…"
"Well, you're safe and sound in my arms… and I will never let anything happen to you…"
She sighed, gathering her composure as the anxiety subsided… "Thank you."
"No problem." He whispered.
After a short while, they both dozed off again…
--Monica woke before Chandler, and she stayed as still as possible, watching him sleep. He looked so peaceful… so… handsome. She reached her hand out and timidly ran her thumb over his eyebrows, then his lips, then, she ran her fingers lightly through his hair. This was enough to wake him…
"Mmmmm…" he hummed… "Good morning."
"Good morning." She whispered… "I'm sorry I woke you."
"That's quite alright. This is much better than the alarm clock."
She smiled at his warm smile, but it was gone as last night came back to her… "I'm sorry about last night…"
"It's ok… really…"
"I just… I want to get over this! Why can't I get over this?"
"It takes time."
"It's been years!"
"But, in those years you've never tried to have a relationship. All of this is new to you. You've never really faced these issues before…"
"I know. I'm just… frustrated…"
"I know you are…" he consoled her… "Here… just relax…" he told her as he encouraged her to lie back.
He started to slowly rub his fingers over her face… relaxing her. Over her eyes, her cheeks, her lips, her chin… then he kissed each spot his fingers touched. He moved his touch to her ears, drawing little patterns around each curve, then he kissed her earlobe. Making little circular movements, he tickled his way across her neck, following right behind with soft kisses. He pulled back and watched her face as he slowly pulled her t-shirt up, exposing her breasts.
She opened her eyes and found herself staring at his caring blue eyes. His expression of love was all she needed to see, and she closed her eyes again...
Smiling, he started at her belly button, moving in light circles around it before leaning down and licking it. This caused Monica to moan… he loved that sound… the sound that she was enjoying his affection. He then drew an imaginary line between her belly button and her throat, slowly running his fingers feather light back and forth before kissing his way from naval to neck. Then, he moved to her breasts. He caressed the soft white skin, then kissed where his fingers had danced. He repeated the dance on her other breast, kissing the soft skin there a moment later as well. When his thumb brushed against her nipple, she tensed and arched into his touch. He fondled her for a moment, then leaned down and took the nipple into his mouth, circling it with his tongue and sucking lightly on it. She moaned again, louder, and he removed his mouth from her breast and moved to the other, giving it equal treatment.
When he moved to her hips, touching and kissing, she fisted the bed sheets in her hands and whimpered his name…
"I can stop…" he whispered back…
"Please don't…" she replied, her eyes still closed tight.
He continued… everywhere he touched, he moments later kissed… and licked. When he spread her legs and touched her inner thighs, she gasped for air… the sensations flowing through her were just too powerful.
"Do you want me to stop?"
She shook her head 'no'… her eyes still shut tight.
"Open your eyes…" he instructed her… "I have to see your eyes…"
She opened them and he looked deep into them… there was some fear… but mostly he saw need. Desire. He smiled and kissed her lips…
"Your underwear…" he whispered as he hooked his fingers under the elastic band.
She closed her eyes and nodded her head 'yes'. He slowly removed them, caressing her legs and kissing gently as he went. He snuggled up beside her and wrapped them both in the blanket. Tentatively, he moved his hand down her arms, across her breasts, down to her hips, then he brushed against her pubic hair. He wanted to give her the chance to say 'no', so he waited for her reaction before continuing. After getting the reaction he was waiting for, he moved down her thigh and gently grasped it, applying very slight pressure…
"Open your legs for me…" he asked lovingly, kissing her cheek and lips…
With little hesitation, she did as he instructed…
He touched her with the gentleness of a feather, bringing her closer and closer to the edge of climax. When her release finally overcame her, she gasped and called his name. It was in a whisper, but the urgency in her voice could not be mistaken.
As he felt her relax, he removed his hand and kissed her with tenderness and passion. He broke the kiss and held her tight…
"Are you ok?" he asked quietly…
"Mmmm-hmmm…" she murmured, still in a far away place…
"Are you sure? I didn't want to scare you…"
"You didn't." she assured him… "That was the most amazing thing I have ever had happen to me."
"Wow. High praise…" he chuckled, running his hands through her soft hair…
"I just wish… I could…"
"Return the favor…" Her voice was quivering, and he knew she wasn't ready to make love to him…
She felt him shift his weight, then he reached for her hand. He guided it to his 'tenderness' (as Monica often called it) and helped her to wrap her hand around it…
"Is that ok?" he asked her, but she didn't reply. He removed his hand from hers so that she could pull away… "You don't have to…" he left the sentence there. When she didn't remove her hand, he placed his hand back on hers and slowly started to move their hands together. He couldn't stop the moan that escaped his lips, and after a moment, he removed his hand. She left her hand on him and continued to stroke him gently. His moans of pleasure were involuntary as she moved her hand up and down his length…
"Go just a little faster…" he instructed, his voice hoarse...
She did as he said, gaining confidence as he showed every sign of enjoying himself. The sound of him moaning made her heart beat faster.
"Are you ok?" he asked her in a whisper…
"Yes." She replied, just as quietly…
"Mmmm… honey, I'm close. Don't stop till I tell you, ok?"
When his climax hit he held her tighter and started to tremble.
"Slow down…" he told her in a soft grunt.
She slowed down, feeling her hand becoming wet. Within a moment, he reached for her hand and stopped her movements. He held her hand gently at his side while he caught his breath… then he lifted the sheet and peeked down…
"We have a bit of a mess now…" he told her, pulling back to look at her face… "Are you ok?"
"Tell me what you're thinking…"
"I'm thinking I love you…"
"I love you too. Did this… scare you?"
"No. It was… wonderful. I did… ok?"
"You did excellent. It felt amazing."
"I loved that. I loved bringing you pleasure. Just the sounds you were making… my heart was just racing…"
"I loved giving you pleasure too. My heart was pounding as I watched your facial expressions… as you moaned and sighed… it was such a turn on."
"And now we have a mess…" she chuckled…
"Yes we do."
"You wait here, I'll go get some towels…" she moved to sit up and wiped her hand on the sheets… "And some new sheets…"
"And a washcloth?"
"Ok." She grabbed her robe and draped it around her, then tied the sash… "Be right back…"
--When she walked into the livingroom, she was utterly surprised to see Rachel up and at the kitchen table…
"Rachel? What are you doing up?"
"Couldn't sleep. Thought I'd have a glass of milk and write a few letters to a few friends… until I got sleepy…"
"What are you doing up?"
Monica looked back at her bedroom door, then turned red, blushing at the answer she knew she couldn't tell Rachel…
It dawned on Rachel quickly… "Oh! You guys…?"
"Not exactly…" Monica whispered… "But we did do… other… stuff…"
"And was this 'other stuff' great?" Rachel asked, her smile widening…
"Beyond great. But now, I have a mess to tend to…"
"Ok, ok… but, I want details later!"
Monica nodded and headed for the bathroom. She emerged a few moments later with 2 towels, sheets, and a wet washcloth…
Rachel chuckled when she saw this, but quickly hid it, not wanting to embarrass Monica… "Tell Chandler if he's gonna be wanting to take a shower that I will be taking one at 7, so he should plan accordingly…"
Monica blushed as she smiled… "Ok…"
--Chandler was sitting on the edge of the bed, the sheets still covering him as Monica came into the room…
"Here's a washcloth and some towels…" she said as she handed them to him…
He removed the sheets and blankets and proceeded to clean himself. It was then that Monica realized… she had never actually SEEN him. She quickly looked away, and the abrupt action caught Chandler's attention.
He smiled as he approached her, tossing the washcloth down when he was done using it. He wrapped his arms around her shoulders and snuggled into her hair. As he kissed her neck, he slowly moved his hands to grasp her shoulders…
"Turn around Monica." He urged, physically turning her. He held her tight, his front to her front, then, slowly, he backed away. Her eyes were shut tight and he could tell she was nervous about seeing him naked… "Open your eyes."
When she did, her eyes stayed focused on his eyes. He smiled reassuringly at her, and slowly, her gaze began to lower. When her cheeks turned red and a small smile crossed her lips, he stepped towards her and embraced her. After a few moments, he backed away again, untying the sash on her robe. He searched her eyes, giving her every chance to object, but she didn't. He slowly opened the robe and helped it to fall off her shoulders and onto the floor. His eyes remained locked with hers for a moment, then he lowered his gaze. He drunk in her beauty, smiling as he noticed every curve and detail. He stepped to her again, holding her…
"You are the most beautiful creature I have ever laid eyes on…" he whispered in her ear. He started to sway, as if they were dancing, finding an imaginary beat to lead her to… she followed his lead.
They swayed in silence, enjoying the closeness…
"Oh, before I forget…" Monica interrupted the silence… "Rachel says if you want to take a shower, she takes one at 7 and to plan accordingly."
"Rachel is awake?"
"She couldn't sleep…"
"Well, if she's up, I guess I could take one now."
"Ok…" she replied, pulling back… "I can make you some breakfast if you're hungry…"
"That sounds great." He grabbed a towel and wrapped it around his waist, then kissed her quick… "I'll be out in a few." Before he turned to leave, he picked her robe up off the floor and helped her into it… then kissed her again.
--Monica sat down on the bed, letting her mind wander over the events of the morning. She thought back to his touch, the way he kissed her, played with her… she never felt so alive. She forced herself back into the moment and stood, stripping the bed to change the sheets. As she was finishing up, Chandler walked in…
"Wow. You take fast showers…" Monica noted as he stood before her, dripping wet. "You're adorable all wet…"
"Thanks." He dried off and reached for his boxers… "I think these… are in need of washing…"
"Put them with the sheets…" she told him… "I'll wash them for you…"
"Thanks. Guess I'll go… commando… till I can get across the hall…"
He chuckled… "No underwear. Just pants."
"Oh. Ok…" She watched as he put his pants on, then, feeling brave, she reached out and cupped him…
He startled, then smiled… "Hmmm… I see we like 'commando style'." He moaned, enjoying her touch, then he tried to get his head back… "What, are you testing me for a hernia?"
"Do you want me to stop?"
"No… I didn't say that…"
She blushed as she rubbed him through his pants, enjoying his sighs of pleasure…
"Monica… if you keep this up…" he whispered… "I'll need new pants as well as boxers…"
"Sorry…" she apologized, removing her hand…
"Oh, sweetie, it's ok. It just… feels too good…" he smiled, kissing her… "You have nothing to be embarrassed about Monica, ok?"
She nodded, looking away… "Ok…"
He lifted her chin and caught her eyes with his… "Monica, listen to me… you have nothing to be embarrassed about. Your touch is amazing… but, if I'm ever gonna get to work today, we can't get me… excited… or I'll never want to leave."
She chuckled and wrapped her arms around his neck… "Ok. I'm sorry… I'm just… feeling…"
"I know. We made a real connection… it's very emotional… I feel it too…" He kissed her neck, licking and tickling with his tongue…
Monica felt herself start to swoon… "Stay home today…" she whispered, holding him tight for support…
"I wish I could…" he whispered back, sucking softly on the taught skin of her neck…
"I" ~kiss~ "can't" ~kiss~ "I" ~kiss~ "have" ~kiss~ "a meeting" ~kiss~ "today."
"Ugh… I can't either. Health inspector comes today."
"But tonight…" he said as he pulled back… "I can get off early…"
"Four is good."
"Four it is."
--After breakfast, Chandler cleared his plate and rinsed it, then grabbed his shoes and suit jacket…
"I'm gonna go get dressed…" he told Monica, and she walked him to the door… "I'll say goodbye before I leave…"
He kissed her soft and quick before walking out the door.
Monica turned to see Rachel smiling at her… "What?"
"So…?" Monica repeated…
"So… tell me what happened!"
Monica smirked as she grabbed the remaining plates off the table and headed for the sink…
"C'mon Monica! Spill it!"
"It was the greatest night of my life!" she admitted as she spun around, hugging Rachel…
"Oh! I'm so happy for you! So, what happened? Did you…?"
"No. I just… I'm not ready…"
"But, he… touched me. And I touched him…"
"I never knew I could feel… so… wow…"
"Oh! That is so great!"
"I don't even want to go to work… I just wanna stay in his arms all day long…"
"Yeah, I think eventually your boss may want you to actually go in…" Rachel joked, causing Monica to smile…
"I know…" she sighed… just then there was a knock at the door…
"I'm off…" Chandler informed when Monica opened the door… "I'll call you from the office…" He kissed her then smiled… "Have a good day at work."
--The meeting was long and boring, and all Chandler could think about was Monica. A smile would play on his lips as he thought back to their time together. The way she reacted to his touch… the way she touched him… timidly at first, but with growing confidence. He couldn't wait till he could leave work and be back in her arms.
--The health inspector came and went… giving Monica a 98% out of a possible 100%. Normally, that 2% deduction in points would have bothered her, but not this time. Her mind was too busy with thoughts of Chandler. His hands on her body, bringing her to a place she had never before known. She waited anxiously for his call, and when it came, her heart fluttered…
"Hi. I was just thinking about you." Monica sighed…
"I've been thinking about you too."
"Very good thoughts." He assured her, smiling at the sound of shyness in her voice.
"I was thinking… how about we eat in again tonight…"
"Sure. But, you've been cooking all day… let's just order in. Chinese maybe?"
"That sounds great."
"And I can get off by 4…"
"So, I'll grab the food on my way…"
"I love you. I'll see you tonight."
Monica sighed… "I love you too."
--Monica paced anxiously as she waited for Chandler to arrive. When she heard the knock at the door, she had to force herself to calm down. She took a deep breath, steadying her nerves, then she opened the door.
He greeted her with a kiss as he walked through the door and set the bags of food down on the table, then he spun around and pulled her to him, holding her, embracing her…
"I missed you."
"I missed you too…"
--After they ate, they snuggled up on the couch and watched TV. Nothing that took too much thought or attention though. Not very much later, Rachel came home…
"Hey guys!" she said as she hung her coat and threw her purse on the counter along with her keys… "Chinese food?"
"There's plenty… help yourself…" Chandler offered, his eyes never leaving the TV…
"Thanks. So, whatcha watching?"
"Nothing…" Monica replied…
Rachel chuckled as she grabbed a plate… "Wow. Sounds interesting…
Chandler shrugged… "Eh."
"Well, since you guys are so engrossed in this program…" Rachel stated sarcastically… "Mind if I change the channel?"
"Go ahead." Monica replied, tossing her the remote. "Wanna go to bed?" she asked Chandler…
"It's only…" Rachel looked at her watch… "9:30!"
"Thanks for the heads up…" Chandler joked as he stood, Monica standing a moment later… "What's your point, Rachel?"
"No point…" Rachel fought to hide her smirk… "Night."
--When Monica and Chandler entered her bedroom, he wasted no time pulling her into a passionate embrace…
"You're addicting…" he whispered, kissing her neck… "I can't get enough of you…"
"I'm hooked on you, too…" she whispered in reply, her head high in the clouds from the affection he was lavishing on her…
He ran his hands up under her shirt and unhooked her bra, then he brought his hands around to her front, caressing her breasts. When he felt her respond favorably, he pulled her shirt off over her head and tossed it to the floor… she tossed her bra with it a moment later.
She unbuttoned his shirt eagerly, pushing it down his arms and off, then she grabbed his t-shirt and pulled it out of his slacks. He helped her take his t-shirt off, then he rubbed her shoulders while she ran her hands across his chest. She looked at him for a moment, gathering her courage, then she leaned forward and kissed his chest.
"MmmmmMonica…" he moaned as she kissed and licked him all over, working her way to his lips and kissing him passionately.
He reached down and unsnapped and unzipped her jeans, pushing them down her legs. He knelt down as he helped her remove them, kissing her legs. She held his shoulders for balance as she stepped out of her pants, then he kissed his way back to her lips.
"Monica…" he whispered… "Take my pants off…"
She slowly reached down and started working on unbuckling his belt. When she had the snap and zipper undone, she pushed his pants down his legs.
He kicked them off, then grabbed her, kissing her hungrily. After a moment of unthinking desire, he pulled back and looked at her…
"Are you ok?"
"I'm sorry… for getting… carried away…"
"I like being carried away by you…"
He smiled and kissed her, running his hand through her hair as his other hand found her breast. He cupped it, brushing the nipple lightly with his thumb, and she sighed at the sensation. He hooked his fingers inside her panties…
She nodded her approval, so he gently and oh-so-slowly slid them down to her ankles…
"Lift…" he said, his hand at the crook of her knee.
She did as he asked, lifting one leg, then the other so he could remove her underwear…
"Take my boxers off…" he instructed, slowly guiding her hands to his underwear…
She knelt down and started to pull his boxers off, getting an eye level view of just how aroused he was. She kissed his thigh, and he moaned low in his throat, his knees growing weak. She loved his reaction, so she continued, kissing and licking and rubbing his thighs and hips. She hesitated for a moment, and he opened his eyes and looked down at her…
"Are you ok?"
She didn't answer…
She still didn't answer. Then, slowly, she leaned forward and kissed the tip of his penis. He understood then, her hesitation and silence, and he reached out and stroked her hair, encouraging her…
She kissed him again, then licked… he moaned at the feeling of her tongue on him. He knew where her efforts were leading, and he patiently waited for her to decide if she was ready for such a step. After a few minutes, she stood and wrapped her arms around him…
"I… couldn't do it. I'm… too scared…"
"What are you afraid of?"
"I don't know…"
"Monica, it's ok. You can do or not do anything you want to."
"I wanted to… I'm just scared…"
"It's ok. We can just hold each other tonight…"
"I want more…"
"Let's climb into bed and get comfortable, ok?"
She nodded against his chest.
--He led her to the bed and they climbed in, he pulled the blankets around them and held her tight to him…
"Yes." She whispered in response.
He ran his hands across her body, caressing and fondling her… arousing her.
"I'm going… to do something now. If you say 'stop', I'll stop… ok?"
She looked at him with confusion, and he smiled…
"Trust me Monica."
He kissed his way from her neck to her breasts, paying special attention to each before kissing his way to her belly button. After a moment there, he moved to her hips… then her thighs… then he gently spread her legs. She opened them willingly, and he took his time as he slowly made his way to the core of her femininity. He licked and kissed her, pleasuring her, causing her to whimper and squirm.
She repeated his name over and over, overwhelmed, grabbing at the sheets as her orgasm shook through her. When he sensed her start to quiet, he stopped and crawled back up beside her…
"Are you ok?"
"Did you… like that?"
She chuckled… "That's an understatement."
"Good…" he chuckled in response… "I'm glad."
"I want you to make love to me."
"Are you sure you're ready?"
"I'm ready. I love you… I want that connection. I want you…"
"You have me. I'm not going anywhere. Don't do this for me… only do this if it's right for you…"
"It's right. I'm ready…"
"If you change your mind, you can tell me to stop at any time. Any time. And I'll stop."
"Do you have protection?"
She pointed to the nightstand and he reached in the drawer, pulling out the little foil packet and setting it where he could reach it easily…
--He touched her and kissed her, arousing her again, adoring her body with his hands and lips. When he sensed she was ready, he grabbed the condom and opened it, putting it on.
He held her tight, kissing her neck, whispering 'I love you' in her ear. He felt as nervous as she did… he didn't want to hurt her.
"Monica? Are you sure?"
"Spread you legs…"
She did, and he positioned himself between her legs. He gathered her into his arms once again, holding her, slowly entering her. When she gasped, he immediately stopped…
"I'm sorry… I can stop…"
"No, please, don't stop."
"I don't want to hurt you. I couldn't live with myself if I hurt you."
"You're not hurting me Chandler… it's… good…"
He smiled, then kissed her lips softly as he started moving slowly, sliding in and out of her gently. They found a rhythm, moving together as they held each other tight.
When they both reached their peaks, Chandler right before Monica, they grunted and groaned and called each other's names…
--They basked in the feeling of bliss that followed after, panting heavily… still linked together, body, and now soul.
"Oh. My. God. Monica, that was… phenomenal…"
"I didn't… hurt you? Or scare you?"
"No. It was perfect…"
He rolled to his side, continuing to hold her… "I love you, Monica."
"I love you too, Chandler."
They kissed tenderly, passionately, hungrily touching each other's bodies.
"How are your fears?"
"Not feeling especially afraid right now…"
"It feels good not to feel afraid…"
"You never have to be afraid of me… I could never hurt you. Ever…"
"I only want to bring you pleasure… and happiness…"
"You do. You bring me both. And so much more."
--Chandler backed out of Monica's bedroom, tiptoeing, trying not to wake her. When he turned and saw Rachel watching him from the couch, he startled…
"Ah!" he yelped, holding his hand to his heart… "You gave me a heart attack!"
"What are you doing up?"
"You seem to have that problem a lot…"
"Yeah. I know."
"Anything I can help with?"
"Not unless you have a brother like you."
Rachel sighed… "My love life sucks."
"Oh! Nope, no brothers…"
"Monica is really lucky to have you…"
"Thanks. I love her so much. Like, I-want-to-spend-the-rest-of-my-life-with-her kind of love."
"What? You're gonna… propose?"
"Well, not today. But… I can see a future with her… yeah…"
"Oh, that is sooo great!"
"She's amazing! Y'know? She's sweet and funny and loving, and…" he trailed off as he noticed Rachel's expression change and her gaze move past him… "And, she's right behind me, isn't she?"
Monica smiled as she stood in the doorway of her room. Rachel smiled and nodded slightly, and Chandler slowly turned around…
"Good morning." He said cheerfully… "How did you sleep?"
Monica approached him and wrapped her arms around him… "I slept wonderfully… till I felt you missing beside me…"
"Sorry…" he kissed her cheek, heading for her neck… "I wanted to make you breakfast…"
"Thank you…" she kissed him before he turned to walk away… then she added… "I think you're amazing and sweet and funny and loving too…"
His walk to the kitchen halted briefly as he blushed… "K…"
Monica and Rachel giggled at his embarrassment… "He's so cute when he turns red…" Monica whispered, but Chandler heard her…
"Yeah, well, so are you…" he mumbled, a smile on his lips as he wandered around the kitchen, trying to figure out what to cook…
"I heard that!" Monica announced… "What did you say?"
"If you heard, why are you asking?"
Monica grumbled… "Fine… don't tell me…" she snipped, smiling… Chandler could tell she was just having fun.
--"So, you and Chandler, eh?" Joey asked as he, Monica, and Phoebe sat in the coffeehouse…
"Yep." Monica replied with a smile…
"I have never seen you so happy!" Phoebe interjected… "Dating him obviously agrees with you…"
"It agrees with Chandler too…" Joey added… "He's totally 'gaga' for you!"
"Well, I'm pretty 'gaga' for him too." Monica was happy to inform…
"Who are you 'gaga' for?" Ross asked as he approached the couch where his friends were sitting…
"Well, Ross…" Monica started… "There's this guy I've sorta been seeing really seriously…"
Ross looked shocked… "Really? Wow! That's so great!" He was genuinely happy for her… "For how long? Who is he? When do we get to meet him?"
Everyone shifted uncomfortably as Ross asked Monica the questions to which the answers would forever change Chandler's and Ross' relationship…
"Well, that's the thing, Ross, you already know him…"
"I do? Who is it?"
"Ok, now, promise me… promise me you won't get all 'big-brother-y' on me…"
Ross scoffed, as if the very idea of what she was implying was preposterous… "Ok…"
"It's… it's… Chandler…"
Ross' smile was forced on his face as those words sunk in… "Chandler?" he said with a slight chuckle… "Chandler? As in… my old roommate? As in 'can't make a relationship last longer than a carton of milk' Chandler?"
"Ross… you promised…"
"What? I'm just… just clarifying… we're talking about Chandler BING…"
"Ok! Alright! K!"
"Ross?" Monica could tell he was ready to snap…
"Chandler. And my little sister…" he mumbled to himself as Joey and Phoebe got up slowly and moved carefully towards the counter…
As timing can be perfect, that's when Chandler walked in… "Hey children!" he greeted everyone cheerfully, unaware of the explosive situation…
Ross was up before anyone could intercept, and he stormed towards an unsuspecting Chandler. Monica and Joey sprinted towards them…
"Ross! Wait!" Monica cried out…
Joey grabbed Ross and kept him from reaching Chandler with his fist…
"What the hell is going on?" Chandler asked, confused…
"I told him…" Monica stated softly, reaching for his hand…
Chandler grasped her hand and nodded… "Ross, you don't understand…"
"Oh! I understand!" he snapped… "And there are RULES against this!"
"Rules?" Monica asked…
"It's a guy thing…" Joey whispered to Monica…
"I know, man…" Chandler apologized… "I know… and I'm sorry I broke the rule… but with reason. I love her Ross."
"What?" Ross' temper seemed to subside…
"It's true Ross…" Monica added… "I love him too…" She wrapped her arm around Chandler's waist and rested her head against his arm…
Chandler kissed her temple lovingly…
"Wow! You're… you're in love?"
They both nodded, smiling…
Joey felt Ross relax and let him go…
Happily, Ross reached for Monica and Chandler and hugged them… "I'm so happy for you guys!"
--Monica and Chandler snuggled up in bed, recovering from their previous act of passion…
"So, Chandler, tell me more about this 'guy rule'…"
"It's a simple rule… you don't date your friend's relatives or old flames…"
"And you broke the rule for me?"
"Well, not really. See, at first, I just wanted to be your friend… it developed into more. That's not technically against the rules. If we were just casually dating… or just a one night stand…"
"So, from the very start of our relationship you thought it was more than casual?"
"You didn't? Think it was more than casual…?"
"I was too busy being afraid…"
"Ah." He pulled her to him, holding her tight…
"I guess I didn't really think that far ahead… y'know? I mean, Rachel was telling me 'one step at a time… don't look beyond today…', so, I didn't…"
"Do you ever think about marriage?"
"What do you think about it?"
"That eventually, I would like to get married…"
"Yeah. Of course. What about you?"
"It's been a dream of mine since I was little to get married and have a family…"
"So, you're all for it then…"
Monica chuckled… "Yeah…"
Chandler sighed and kissed her hand, then cupped her face gently… "I like where I see this going…"
Monica smiled… "Me too."
"But, I wonder…"
"Well, you've been with Mr. Butt-Sniff and… well… me."
"So, do you think… that settling down after really only dating me… is something you would want to do?"
"It doesn't matter how many guys I date… when you find Mr. Right, dating Mr. Whoever is kinda pointless… don'tcha think?"
"Yeah, I suppose so. I just don't want you having any regrets--" He stopped short of finishing as her last words sunk in… "You think of me as Mr. Right?"
"Well, that's perfect… cause I think of you as Ms. Right."
"Absolutely." He pulled back away from her just enough to see her face, then he ran his hand through her hair… "You are… so beautiful…" he whispered, then kissed her lips delicately…
Monica realized in that moment… Chandler was everything she'd always dreamed of having… her life was finally complete.
Thanks for reading!