When Chandler arrived at their apartment, his arms were full, so he knocked.
"Who is it?" Joey answered after a pause.
"It's me. Can you get the door?"
"Chan--Chandler? What are you doing here?" He sounded anxious.
"I left you a message, but you didn't come for lunch, so I brought it home to you."
"But--but you can't just leave work. What do you think you are, an actor?"
"Joey, I'm waiting with food!"
"All right." Joey reluctantly came to the door and let Chandler in, but he hid behind the door and then quickly got out of the way as Chandler put the take-out boxes down in the kitchen.
When Chandler looked up, Joey was already heading toward his bedroom. "Wait, Joey, where are you going?"
Joey stopped but didn't turn around to face Chandler. "I gotta go rehearse some lines."
"I'll rehearse them with you. Come back, we'll have some food and talk, okay?"
"No thanks. I'm not hungry now. I gotta go."
"Joey, please!" Chandler rushed over to him. "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry!"
Joey paused at his door and took an uneasy breath. "Sorry about what? Wh-what are you getting all emotional for?" He still wouldn't face Chandler, and felt a sinking feeling in his stomach.
Chandler swallowed, and spoke more softly. "I know, okay? I know about last night."
Despite his misery, Joey still put on an air of bravado, "Last night? Come on, that was nothing. I can get any girl I want, and you think I care about, about...?" He trailed off when he felt Chandler take his arm.
"Joey," he whispered sympathetically. "I--I had no idea."
He pulled away from Chandler and scoffed. "No idea? You thought I was serious when you had that panic attack over there. Just, just forget about it, okay?"
"No! Joey," Chandler grabbed him again and tried turning him around. "I know I reacted badly, but we've gotta talk about this."
"You mean talk about how you're not gay?" Joey asked resentfully. "I think we've established that fact just fine."
"I'm so, so sorry! You caught me off guard there. Up until that kiss, I had no clue that you weren't just talking about Ross and Rachel getting together. I didn't know you were, you were having feelings for me. I mean, when did this start? How? I never thought you could be gay in a million years."
Joey sighed heavily and finally turned around, hiding his face a little as he went over to the couch to sit down.
Chandler followed him and watched him anxiously.
"Um," Joey started with difficulty, "um, I'm not sure what I am anymore. I've liked girls for so long, but lately I've been having all these, these new feelings I don't know what to do with. Remember when I told you guys that I dated a girl with a big Adam's apple? You told me she couldn't have been a woman, and it got me all confused, you know? I mean, I can vividly remember making out with her, er, him--whatever!" He put his thumb and index finger close together. "I was this close to sleeping with her before I broke up with her. This close, Chandler!"
He patted Joey's shoulder comfortingly and tried to imagine the predicament.
Joey struggled on. "So then I started wondering what that meant about me. You know, what if I *had* slept with her--and liked it? What if I really like guys too? And I noticed how you and me, we're close and we're always hugging. And whenever Ross and Rachel seemed to be getting together, we'd think it was so sweet, you know, and you'd be touching me and rubbing my back. It--it just felt really good, and it seemed like maybe you liked me too. And I saw you wearing that little hot pink g-string, and um, I thought to myself, 'If I ever did sleep with a guy, it would be Chandler.' But we're buddies, you know, so I didn't do anything."
Joey shrugged. "Anyway, I wanted to do something nice for you, so I paid you back that money, and I got you that bracelet. Even the engraver guy at the store kept looking at me like, 'A bracelet for your buddy? Are you kidding?' but I bought it anyway. When I found out you didn't like it, it hurt me, but then you got me one too, and it made me so happy. Too happy, I guess. Then, then you know about Ross and Rachel kissing last night, and why I did that stupid, stupid thing." He swallowed and shook his head. "I'm sorry, Chandler. I just--I just thought you wanted me too." He put his head down in his hands, feeling depressed and lonely.
Chandler stared at Joey and wasn't sure what to say to all of this. He felt really bad for Joey and hugged his shoulders without thinking. Even after he realized that this touch might be misconstrued, Chandler held on anyway. "I'm--I'm sorry, you know? I mean, I'm really flattered, Joe, and I wish I could give you what you want, but--"
"But you're not gay," Joey finished for him.
Reminded of the hysterical scene he had made, Chandler felt more guilty and repeated lamely, "I'm sorry."
Joey sighed again, and didn't say anything else.
Chandler rambled on. "I mean, if I ever slept with a guy, it would be you too, Joey!" He stopped and frowned when he realized what he'd said. "Um, uh," he cleared his throat and spoke in what he hoped was a more masculine tone, "that is, if I was gay or if I was a girl, I'd--I'd be with you like that!" He snapped his fingers.
"You don't have to say this--" Joey tried to stop him.
"No, no! I want to say it. You gotta know how much you mean to me. I don't wanna make you sad, Joey! Tell me how to make this better."
Joey shook his head. "Just--just give me some time."
But Chandler couldn't stop himself, like a train wreck in the making. "You're--you're so great, Joey! You're fun. You're hot. If you like guys, that just means that you'll have a whole new set of bars to pick up dates from. You can get much better guys than me, I swear. If you want, I can, I can set you up with some guys from my office. Huh, how's that sound?"
"Chandler!" he was getting upset. "What--what I was talking about last night, that was about us. Us! Nobody else. Will you just give it a rest?"
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry!"
Joey got up to retreat into his bedroom.
"No, no, no! Don't go!" Chandler begged, starting to follow him.
"Stop it!" Joey shook him off. "I wish I had never said anything, or tried to kiss you, or..." he choked regretfully, "or seen you wearing that g-string."
Chandler shivered a little at the idea that Joey had been looking at him lustfully and not just mockingly during Susie Moss's underwear prank. "Joey... I love you, I love you as much as I can, but--but," he shrugged helplessly and his voice became strained, "I just couldn't be with you like that. I hear you through the wall all the time, making those girls moan, and I-I can't..." He gulped and couldn't quite breathe. "I mean, I barely put on that hot pink g-string for Susie Moss! If it was for you, um..." His throat went dry.
Joey closed his eyes and admitted softly, "I would've worn it for you."
Chandler's ears perked up suddenly, and his eyes went wide. "You--you would?" He blinked in shock and absorbed the new idea as if intrigued. "Y-you mean if we did it, you wouldn't just assume that I... you know, like your girls? You'd--you'd really do it?"
Joey stared at Chandler and was confused by his stammering. "You're not gay?" he found himself asking. "You just said so, and last night--"
"Yeah, I thought, I thought..." Chandler trailed off into a nervous laugh and came closer to him, unable to get the idea of Joey in a g-string out of his head. "Wh-when I thought it was gonna be you, um, as--as the guy, it terrified me. Still does. But--but if you'd be wearing g-strings," his mind delved deeper into the fantasy, "and, and, *doing stuff* for me..." He ran his hands along Joey's arms with increasing desire.
Joey enjoyed watching Chandler become more breathless and aroused with each passing moment. "I make you hot, huh?" He wanted to hear Chandler admit it.
"Yes," he nodded and licked his lips. "Yes." He kissed Joey impulsively, and liked it. Then he remembered something. "I'm--I'm an idiot. I threw the g-string away already."
"That's okay," Joey whispered back with a smile. "We can be naked."
They kissed again, and then half stumbled into the nearest bedroom and onto the bed, where they frantically stripped and groped each other. Joey eagerly demonstrated the whole range of things he was willing to do, much more than Chandler had ever dreamed likely, and Chandler discovered how much he loved making Joey moan.
By the time that they re-emerged from Joey's bedroom, they had worked up ample appetite for the take-out food that Chandler had brought, and they talked about going down to a store and buying a few g-strings for Joey. Chandler didn't even care about getting into trouble for skipping out on work. His emergency at home had been resolved happily and passionately.