Home For the Holidays

(Chapter Five)

Monica sat up quickly, and took in a sharp breath.  When had she fallen asleep?  Had she been dreaming?  She shook her head groggily, as she struggled to recover from what had clearly been a strange, yet very realistic dream.  She looked up at the kitchen clock—11:54—it was almost Christmas day, and she was totally alone.  Sighing heavily, she pulled herself off of the sofa, and walked toward the bathroom.  As she passed the Christmas tree, her arm brushed against an outstretched branch, and rattled several ornaments.  As she turned to steady the tree, a small, silver ornament fell into her hands.

She studied the ornament closely—she had never seen this ornament before.  The ornament was star-shaped, and sparkled beautifully in the light that emanated from the tree.  She wondered if the ornament belonged to Chandler, or maybe Rachel?  Carefully, she moved to re-place the ornament on the tree, but as she turned it over, she spotted an engraving on the backside;

Monica & Chandler

         B i n g

Christmas, 2002

Monica was taken aback by the token—after all, it was only 2001…but, Monica suddenly realized, she and Chandler would be married by next Christmas.  And it finally hit her.  She was finally able to see what Chandler was seeing.  Ever since their engagement, and even long before, she had been planning for one day…he was focused on the rest of their lives.  Suddenly, the only thing she wanted, the only thing she needed at that moment,  was him.

Chandler made his way back into the building, and down the stairs to the second floor.  He'd spent a good deal of time thinking about his future with Monica.  He'd come to the conclusion that if she wanted to start having a family right away, then that's what they would do.  After all, they had had a decade together as friends, and three wonderful years as lovers.  And, let's face it; neither of them were getting any younger.  Smiling, Chandler opened the door to the apartment quietly.

He saw her, standing in front of the tree, staring at an ornament, and totally alone.  The apartment was warm and filled with a wonderful pine smell.  He took in the scene in front of him, not yet ready to make her aware of his presence.

Suddenly, a small, dark haired child ran up to the tree, giggling.

"Mommy, is Santa here yet?"

"Not yet, sweetie," Monica smiled, and turned to look at the little girl.  From her profile, Chandler could see that Monica was several months pregnant.

"Where's Daddy?" the girl asked, as Monica adjusted her dress.

"Right here, pumpkin," Chandler watched a slightly older version of himself emerge from the bedroom, his arms loaded with gifts.

"Are those for me?" the girl asked, wide-eyed.

"Some of them are," Chandler said softly, as he arranged the gifts under the tree, "One or two are for Mommy."

"Only one or two?" Monica asked playfully, and Chandler stood and pulled her close.

"Well, the house wouldn't fit under the tree," he whispered, and kissed her softly.

Monica sighed, and looked back at the tree.  "I can't believe this is our last Christmas in this apartment."

"I know," Chandler sighed, "it's gonna be strange."

"But wonderful," Monica smiled, and the child and Chandler vanished.

The Chandler that had been observing the scene, snapped out of his reverie, and walked fully into the apartment.

"Monica," he said quietly, and Monica whipped around, the ornament that she held disappearing as she turned.

"Chandler, you came home," Monica smiled, tears lining her eyes.  She crossed the room and fell into his embrace.

"I'm sorry, Mon.  I am totally okay with trying for kids during the Honeymoon.  I—"

"No, I'm sorry.  Chandler, I never meant to treat you so badly.  I was just so wrapped up in the wedding—look, it's no excuse.  You mean so much to me, and I—"

"I know, sweetheart.  Look, I know that you want the wedding to be perfect—"

"I don't care about that—all I want is you.  I just want to be your wife, I don't care how we do it."

"Really?" Chandler asked incredulously.

Monica nodded, and as Chandler looked into her eyes, his heart warmed.  He smiled, and pulled Monica closer.

"Then I think it should be as big and as beautiful as you want it to be.  After all, it is a celebration."

"Only if you promise to help," Monica grinned.

Chandler nodded, and kissed her softly.

"I love you, baby, Merry Christmas."

"I love you too—this is the best Christmas ever," Monica whispered.

"You haven't even opened your gift yet," Chandler said, pulling away slightly.

"I have everything I need right here."

"Even if I tell you I got you jewelry?"

"Well…"

Chandler laughed, and pulled Monica toward him again.

"Welcome home," Monica whispered into his chest.

Outside, the snow flittered down around a lone figure, standing with his hands in his pockets, and a smile on his face.

"And to all a good night," he whispered, before vanishing from sight.

Merry Christmas!

Oh, there's no place like home for the holidays, 'cause no matter how far away you roam. When you pine for the sunshine of a friendly gaze, for the holidays you can't beat home, sweet home. I met a man who lives in Tennessee and he was headin' for Pennsylvania and some homemade pumpkin pie. From Pennsylvania folks are trav'lin down to Dixie's sunny shore; From Atlantic to Pacific, gee, the traffic is terrific. Oh, there's no place like home for the holidays, 'cause no matter how far away you roam. If you want to be happy in a million ways, for the holidays you can't beat home, sweet home!

(There's No Place Like) Home For the Holidays, Music by Robert Allen and lyrics by Al Stillman 1954

Roncom Music  ~ ASCAP