[This story takes place at least two years after episode 816, TOW Joey Tells Rachel. (It also flashbacks to earlier seasons.)
Thanks so much to Exintaris, for his help and advice. The Monica/Phoebe stuff is inspired by his "Triangle" story, so check it out.]
Monica came home from a chef's conference out of town. She would have taken Chandler with her on the trip, except that he hated the idea of all that smelly cheese and having to hobnob with boring gourmet experts. Monica had a good time by herself, but decided to come home early and surprise her husband.
Putting down her bags in the apartment, Monica looked around and called Chandler's name, but he wasn't at home. So she went to check Joey's place across the hall, but that apartment also looked empty. Just as she decided to try Central Perk next, she heard strange noises coming from Chandler's old bedroom.
Monica burst in and found a naked couple in the bed. "Chandler!" After the first shock, she gasped again. "Joey!"
Joey scrambled to apologize. "Oh my God, Monica! I'm sorry, I'm--"
Chandler stammered too. "Oh no-no-no! Damn it, you're early!"
"Damn it, you're gay!" she shouted back. This was too much for her. She had to sit down on a chair.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry!" her husband spoke more considerately. "I really love you, I do, Monica! This isn't serious. I'm not--"
"Not serious?!" she stared at him incredulously and gestured to the bed. "So, what, you make a habit of casually sleeping around with our friends?"
"No, just Joey. I mean, I mean--" He sighed and gave up. "Look, I'm sorry." He reached for his clothes. "Let me get dressed and we'll go talk about it okay?"
"No, we'll talk about it right here in your love nest!" She turned to Joey, hurt. "Joey, how could you do this?"
"I'm sorry!" Joey looked genuinely guilty. "I've messed everything up for you guys. Oh God, I'm so sorry."
"It's not your fault," Chandler touched Joey's shoulder.
"I don't care whose fault it is!" Monica screamed in frustration. "You're both cheating on me! My husband, and one of our close friends! Apparently too close," she murmured sadly. "How long has this been going on?"
Chandler winced. "Oh, um, that's kind of complicated."
"What do you mean complicated?!"
"Please calm down, honey--" She gave him a dirty look at the word "honey", and he cringed. "--I mean, Monica. It's, um, complicated because this is not an actual, I don't know, ongoing affair. It's more like a once-a-year bonus night."
"Yeah, you see, Joey and I used to sleep together years ago. On a more regular basis, I mean."
"Well," he shrugged, "it was after I came back from Yemen. Remember, I told Janice I was moving to Yemen, and I had to get on the plane?"
Monica nodded. "Yeah, then what?"
"Well, when I got back, Joey and I hung out one night and discussed all my failed relationships from Janice to Kathy. I said I really thought Kathy was the one, since she was just like me--smart, funny, and with my same taste in books and comedians. Joey said that's why he liked her too, and I joked that maybe he thought of Kathy as me with boobs. Why not just cut out the middle-man and jump me, you know? ...And he did."
Monica was shocked.
"Yeah," Joey added with a shrug, "I guess we'd had too many beers that night. We started kissing and one thing led to another..."
Monica grimaced and turned away. "Fine, fine, I guess I can understand one drunken night, but where does all this 'bonus night' stuff come in?"
Chandler glanced awkwardly at Joey, then explained, "Well, the two of us kept fooling around after that night. I mean, we both kept dating women, but a lot of times I'd come home unsuccessful and Joey would want to comfort me. Even if *he* had a date that night, he'd wait till she fell asleep and then come into my bedroom to wake me up. Sometimes the girl would wake up and hear us, and even want a threesome with us. It was like some surreal, wild fantasy, you know?"
She groaned. "*Please* tell me all this stopped before London!"
Chandler looked guilty, and Joey spoke for him, "Well, actually, if you hadn't been there in London, Chandler and I might have done it again."
"Oh my God!"
Joey nodded. "Yeah, um, when I came back to the hotel room, it wasn't just to get condoms, it was to get Chandler too, but he didn't want to join me and the bridesmaid. I thought maybe Chandler was still mad at me about all the fighting we'd been doing in London, but he made a gesture to me that he had somebody with him under the covers. So I thought we could make it a foursome, but as soon as he saw that look in my eyes, he shook his head and mouthed 'No, this girl won't do anything like that.' I teased him for a while, but finally just went back to the bridesmaid by myself."
Horrified to learn the *real* truth about London, Monica turned to Chandler sarcastically, "Thank you for being so perceptive about me not wanting a foursome!"
Joey tried to make things better, "Monica, I swear, after London, Chandler definitely and completely broke off all our fooling around. He said that he didn't want to experiment with gay stuff anymore, or ruin our friendship, or whatever. I thought it was weird, until I found out that he was actually seeing you, since London. I asked him if he was sure that you didn't want a threesome, and he said yes, he was sure, and he didn't want to mess anything up with you. He really, really loves you."
"Yeah, right!" Monica rolled her eyes. "It means an awful lot to me that he was faithful for a little while, especially since you two are here in bed again!"
Chandler apologized, "I'm sorry, I am! We both are. We didn't mean to cheat on you, Monica! But then Vegas happened--"
"Yeah, um, Joey and I were fighting about his movie, remember? Then you and I fought about you having lunch with Richard. I got depressed, and maybe it was all the oxygen they pumped into the casinos, but I asked Joey up to the hotel room and we did it again."
"*Our* hotel room? Our--" She was horrified. "Chandler, it was our anniversary!"
"I know, I know! But it wasn't exactly like you were moping over me. When Phoebe finally talked me into apologizing, I found you gambling in the casinos."
"Oh God, Phoebe didn't find you together, did she?"
"Well no, not in bed together. We locked the door... and took a while to open it. I don't think she suspected anything, because why wouldn't she tell you about it? Why would she make me go downstairs and make up with you?"
Monica couldn't believe it. "Oh my God, you *proposed* to me that night, Chandler! We almost got married!"
"I know, it was crazy! I was hopped up on the oxygen! So were you! It doesn't matter, because we came to our senses and just decided to move in together."
"When was the next time you did it with Joey?"
Chandler frowned. "Um, the night before I moved in with you."
"What?! You said once a year, Chandler!"
"I know, but this was different! I mean, remember how Joey cried when we told him I was moving out? Then, while you girls were packing up Rachel's stuff, I tried to give Joey some money, but he lost it all to Ross. I'm sorry, I just--it was an impulse. He gave me the big white dog, he said he'd miss me, and he even said he was happy for me and you..."
"So you hopped back into bed for old time's sake! Ugh!" Men! Always thinking with their penises. She was furious. "Chandler, there are plenty of other ways to comfort him besides cheating on me!"
"I know, I'm sorry."
She sighed, almost hating to ask the question, "When was the next time?"
"Well, um," he said hesitantly, "it was when you and I got engaged."
"What? You ruined that night too! Oh my God!"
"I didn't plan to do it! It's just, remember how I had trouble," he coughed, "*performing* in bed that night? It drove me nuts that we were engaged now, but the stress or the champagne or something was messing me up. I mean, we finally got Phoebe to stop singing outside our door, but I still couldn't do it. I know you said it wasn't a big deal, but it was a big deal to me. I couldn't just go to sleep and forget about it, like you could. So I went across the hall, and I asked Joey if he knew any possible way to help me, and well, he decided to draw on his previous experience in turning me on."
"You were engaged to me!" she screamed. "Joey, even as slutty as you are, don't you know that you don't go screwing somebody's fiance' on the night of their engagement?"
Joey looked deeply sorry, but Chandler defended him. "Hey, it's because of Joey that you got back a fully functional fiance' in the morning."
"If I had known, I would have broken off the engagement!" She started to cry. "You didn't do it on our honeymoon, did you?"
"No!" Chandler answered. "I swear, we didn't."
Joey nodded. "Yeah, Mon. I mean, I was the minister at the wedding. Even I knew to keep away from him then."
Monica sighed and wasn't really comforted by that. "Then how many times," she asked Chandler, "since we've been married?"
"Only twice!" He frowned and realized that it wasn't something to be proud of. "The first time, um, was when Joey had just told Rachel about his crush on her, and she rejected him. She made up stupid lies about work just to talk to him, and assumed that his feelings would simply fade away. He just looked so miserable, that I wanted to, you know, give him some closure if I could."
"It really helped," Joey commented.
Chandler shrugged. "And now, um, now is the second time."
"I see." Monica sat there absorbing the full weight of all these revelations. Rachel might have summed it up best. "Once a cheater, always a cheater."
Chandler tried again, "I really do love you, Mon. I mean it. If you can somehow forgive me, I promise I'll--"
"You'll stop sleeping with him?" She scoffed. "Whatever you say or do, you're just going to end up here again."
"I'll go away," Joey offered, feeling horrible. "I'll move to L.A. or something. I'm so, so sorry, Monica!"
She shook her head. "No, don't go anywhere, Joey. I'll go." She got up from the chair and exited.