"Chandler, hey," Monica whispers, lightly tapping my arm and bringing me back. "You awake?"
I sleepily stir and move before managing to let out a simple word. "Barely," I mumble.
"Can I ask you something?" she insists, and I half-open one of my eyelids, my vision going straight to the clock on her nightstand, which marks 2:13 AM. No idea for how long I've been drifting off, but our bodies seem to still be entangled in a mess of limbs under an even bigger mess of blankets.
"Yes," I croak, nodding my head against her soft skin.
"Have you ever wondered why we work so well as a couple?" she asks out of the blue after a second of hesitation, apparently wanting to enjoy some kind of deep, post-coital conversation, me wanting to enjoy some kind of deep, post-coital sleep.
I pull her even closer to me, repressing an out-of-this-world yawn. This is such a guy thing to do, but I can't be faulted—sex with Monica can be pretty exhausting. "What do you mean?"
"Well, you know what I mean," she says.
"Don't think I do."
"Well, I mean, on the one hand, I'm a bit neurotic, and more or less obsessive, and I kinda order you around," she suddenly notes, physically ticking off the points on her fingers.
"No, you don't," I spit out in an almost whisper, my gut telling me it's the right thing to say, but not even bothering to open the eyes that have magically closed back again.
"Such a bad liar." Monica rolls her eyes and drags a hand across her face—all very dramatic for such a late hour. "Don't lie to me, Chandler. You know I hate that."
"And anyway, then, of course, there's you," she says with, maybe, I don't know, disdain, my eyes shooting open as soon as I register her words. "You are awfully nervous, and miserably panicky, and God, so immature most of the time," she continues, innocently picking imaginary lints from the blankets. "Jeez, and let's not talk about how clingy and insecure you are. I mean, look at you right now, for God's sake!"
I suppose she's referring to my current position in bed: my head is in the crook of her neck, right below her chin, and my arm and leg are splayed out across her body, making it look as though I'm clinging to her for dear life.
It's kind of pathetic, yeah. In my defense, I was too tired to change positions after our love-making session, but whatever.
"The fuck, Monica?" I hastily draw back to look at her, propping myself up on one elbow. I cough out a nervous laugh, but I could actually break into the most embarrassing cry of my life.
I'm messed up: true. I'm terribly flawed: double true. But isn't my girlfriend supposed to accept my imperfections, instead of throw them to my face?
"What?" she asks, looking up at me, actually surprised.
"No, nothing, although if this is some kind of master plan to make me wanna kill myself, you're doing a hell of a good job, is all" I quip around a nervous laugh, pushing a hand through my hair.
Monica squints her eyes to try to discern my silhouette in the darkness of the room. "And what about that? You joke all the time—with you it's joke, joke, joke every single minute of the day. I can barely get you to be serious."
I literally feel my face flush and my ears burn hot. "Well, I'm sorry then," I mumble, and her lips start to quirk at the corners.
"Don't be sorry; I actually like that about you," she says, and oh, please. Today must be Let's-mock-Chandler Day or something.
"No way, you don't," I scoff.
"Well, yeah, I actually do." She nods slowly. "I mean, I like that you feel the need to joke and cheer people up when you're not feeling your best. I think that pretty much sums up what kind of person you are."
"Okay, now you're just messing with me," I laugh, trying to pinpoint the exact second in which this conversation shifted from awful destruction to downright flattery.
"I'm not messing with you," she says. "I'll admit that's not what made me like you in the first place, but I'm really not."
"No?" I smile a little, drawing circles on her stomach with my fingers. "What then?"
Truth is, I've never asked myself that very question. Nirvana is Monica wanting to be with me, but actually trying to come up with the real reason is some kind of inferno.
"Well, why do you like me?" she asks back, avoiding the question. Perhaps trying to come up with the reason is some kind of inferno for her, too.
"I see what you did there, but it's alright, because that's a really easy thing to answer. I mean, what's not to like about you? You're perfect, Mon."
"Yeah, the perfectionist inside of me wishes," she says around a laugh. "You don't have to lie to me anymore, y'know—I already love you," she finishes, poking me in the ribs and scooting a little closer.
"Well, to me, you are." I smile knowingly, because I sure as hell might say the wrong things on a daily basis, but fuck me if I'm not able to turn on the charm from time to time. "All those silly things you said before, they're not flaws to me, mainly because they make you... well, you. You wouldn't be as perfect without them, and let me tell you something, Monica: you are so fucking perfect, it's unbelievable."
I think she's tearing up, her eyes shining beautifully in the darkness, and I get the feeling that my work here is done, friends. I enjoy making my woman cry for the right reasons, what can I say.
"You okay?" I ask, her eyes mostly fixed on the ceiling, one of those shiny tears escaping out of the corner of her eye.
"Yeah, but..." she pauses for a second, letting out a watery laugh. "God, why do you do this to me?"
I nuzzle my face in her neck once again, this time leaving butterfly, chaste kisses here and there, and whispering against her skin: "Because I love you, and I like you, and I am nutsy about you, and because you deserve to know." More sweet kisses. "And God, because you are perfect."
She reaches up her hand to stroke my hair. "I am nutsy about you, too."
"That's nuts, but I know." I lift my head, kissing her one final time on the cheek. "And now it's your turn to say why, 'cause you're not getting away that easy, Geller," I say, and she ponders over the whole thing for a brief second, mocking deep thought.
"Okay, honestly?" she asks, and I nod. "It's kind of hard to say, because it's not just one thing—it's lots of little things."
"Well, then tell me one, ya know, besides my impeccable sense of humor and stuff," I push, my lips puckering into a semi-pout. "Just one."
"Damn, Chandler, you know I can't resist that face," she says.
"Duly noted," I say, pouting a bit more.
"Ah, I don't know," she starts, avoiding eye contact and drawing lines along my ear. "Maybe it's because, I don't know, you're sweet."
"Okay." I smile. " I try to."
"And because you love me so much," she ignores me, wistfully continuing with the list. I'm not gonna be the one to stop her, of course. "And because you actually think that you're lucky to be with me, when it's the other way around. And holy crap, are you the most caring human being on Earth. You're always putting other people's interests first. Always. And seriously, when I think of all the things about you that you'd change in a heartbeat if you had the chance, my chest starts to hurt, because please, don't ever change," she gives me this small, hollow laugh, her voice filling with emotion. "Because I am in love with every single thing about you that I should absolutely hate."
It's official: I am speechless. This might be the first time in my life where there's nothing on the tip of my tongue, waiting to be released; no joke, no self-deprecating remark, no silly quip, not even the ridiculously huge, loving praise she deserves.
So, she keeps talking. "I mean, look at it this way: you wouldn't be the same if you didn't have that embarrassing music taste, or those freaking sweater vests, and those stupid jokes, or if you didn't do that dumb dance every time you get excited about something." She laughs; I try to follow, but it's a predicament at the moment. "You're just this absurd amount of silly imperfections that, for some reason, are all the characteristics needed to be the most perfect human being ever."
"Monica..." I start, but that's all I manage to get out before my heart does this scary leap inside my chest that makes me shut up. Monica entertains herself by leaving my ear and tracing lines along my eyes, my nose, my lips, my jaw.
"And then there's that shy, half-smile, and the way your eyes light up when you're excited... God, something tells me I could spend the whole night talking about your face alone," she mutters.
I finally blink and a tear splashes against her shoulder. That's what it takes for me to realize that I'm crying, too. This is ridiculous—I don't cry; not too, not ever. But seriously, one more word and I believe my heart will make my chest burst.
"Sorry," I self-consciously sniffle, wiping that treacherous tear off her naked shoulder.
"It's okay," she says, brushing her thumb across my cheek, and I try to get my emotions in check by clearing my throat. Way to go and prove her you're not insecure, Chandler.
"That was..." I pause, trying to find words and failing. "That was more than just one thing, ya know," I joke at last, and she laughs softly.
"Really couldn't help myself," she says, and I finally, oh, finally bring our faces closer to each other and let us kiss. I sneak my arms under her body, wrapping them so tightly around her frame, I'm afraid I might break her. She sighs happily into my mouth, and then, of course, I kiss her some more.
The kiss is not sexual or anything, which is a surprise, coming from me. But no. It's just this romantic, heartfelt, slow, passionate kiss that is trying to convey just how thankful I am of her existence. I love this woman so much, it's unnatural.
And I don't know why kissing her is still a novelty after having done it for a while, but I think it won't ever cease to excite me. Kissing Monica and making love to her truly are out-of-this-galaxy experiences. Nothing compares to that, and I'm not sure it ever will.
After a while, she breaks the kiss slowly but surely, buries her face in between my shoulder and neck, enveloping me in the greatest hug ever, and then lets out this breathy "I love you," and yeah, all right, that might compare a bit.
"I love you."
She pulls back, smiling, and the room seems to magically light up. Cliché, sure, but also true. I carefully gather her in an embrace, both of us comfortably settling into the bed once again, only I'll leave her to hook her leg with mine and pathetically cling to me this time.
"I'm sorry about before. I really don't want to get across the message that clinginess is bad. I love this," she mumbles, simultaneously stroking and placing a kiss on my chest.
I breathe out, relieved. "Thank God, I love doing this with you, too."
"Good," she says, now resting her chin on top of my chest and looking up at me, both of us falling silent for a few seconds. "I still don't have an answer as to why we work so well as a couple, though."
"Who cares," I say, brushing her raven hair out of her shoulders, running my fingers though it in the process.
She shrugs her shoulders, looking all kinds of lovable. "Just curious, I guess."
"Well, I don't think there's an exact reason for it, to be honest. I mean, we might be flawed separately, but we're kind of perfect together," I say, now moving my hands to caress her bare back.
"You think so?"
"Do I think-..." I stop, trailing off. "God, Mon. Just take a small look at the wonderful mess that we've made, and don't tell me it's not friggin' perfect."
She smiles again, and there's something about her smile that forces me to mirror it. She reaches up and treats me to an amazingly sweet, albeit short, kiss. "Yes, it is," she whispers against my lips once it's over. "It is perfect."
And I suddenly get this weirdly awesome shiver that, without permission, runs all the way down my body, from head to toe. I don't know why, but I suspect that shiver may be called happiness.
"I love you so much, Chandler," she concludes softly, comfortably settling back against my chest, and I feel it all over again.
Why fuck yeah, of course it's called happiness.
A/N: God, I've missed writing. Flaws is a Bastille song and this is just a silly, little thing I started writing a year ago and pretty much abandoned. I liked the idea of Monica being the one praising Chandler for once—hell, the guy deserves to be celebrated as much as anyone.
Anyway, I'll get to Lifetime soon, I promise. But for now, please review. :)