Chapter Seven: Come What May
"She loves him, I know she loves him!" Joey mumbled, as he paced the boards backstage. It was opening night, and Chandler was nowhere to be found. Joey saw Jack walking toward him, and decided to make a last-ditch attempt to find out what was happening.
"Jack, you gotta help me! We can't find Chandler, and we think that Richard might be blackmailing Monica into marrying him!"
"Joey, don't be absurd! Monica loves Richard!" Jack chuckled.
"No! She loves Chandler!" Joey protested, as Ross approached.
"Jack, Joey's right. She doesn't love Richard; he's using her to get what he wants. What's going on?"
"Ross, this is none of your concern. Monica is fine. She'll be happy in Los Angeles." Jack smirked, and began to walk away.
"How can you do this to your own daughter?" Ross' voice stopped Jack dead in his tracks. He turned slowly, and glared at Ross.
"What did you just say?"
"I know she's your daughter, Jack. And I think that, just this once, you need to put your own flesh and blood before the Moulin Rouge."
Jack felt dizzy, and short of breath. He couldn't believe this was happening. He thought he'd hidden the evidence so well…what was he going to do?
"I—I'll talk to her…you try to find your friend," Jack muttered.
"Yeah, baybee!" Joey exclaimed, and ran from the club, with Ross close behind.
"Well," Rachel whispered breathlessly, "I can certainly see what Monica saw in you. You are…very talented."
Chandler pulled away from Rachel wordlessly, and turned away from her.
"I wish I didn't have to go…but it is opening night…" Rachel stood up, and sauntered across the room to gather her clothes.
The words 'opening night' hit Chandler like a hammer, and Rachel knew it. She knew that he knew Monica was leaving with Richard after the show that night, and she reveled in taking full advantage of his misery, simply so that she could tell Monica that she had captured what Monica couldn't hold on to.
"I'll…give Monica your regards," Rachel said softly, as she leaned down to kiss Chandler once more, before leaving the room.
Chandler turned over on his back, and let the tears fall freely down his face. He'd hated every moment with Rachel, but it had provided him with an outlet for his anger and pain. And at least he knew what he was getting with Rachel; there were no pretenses, no lies, and no attachments. He rolled out of bed, and padded to the bathroom. Unable to control his emotions, he collapsed into a trembling heap onto the bathroom floor. This was where Phoebe found him fifteen minutes later.
"Chandler, what happened?" Phoebe grabbed a blanket off of Chandler's bed, and wrapped it around his naked form.
"She'd gone…isn't she?" Chandler whispered.
"Chandler?" Joey called out from the other room.
"In here!" Phoebe called, and Joey and Ross appeared in the bathroom doorway.
"What the--?" Ross was shocked at how badly Chandler was taking this. He knew that his friend loved Monica, but…
"We have to get to the Moulin Rouge," Joey said quickly, "We have to stop Richard!"
Chandler's head shot up, and he sniffled loudly. "What?"
"She doesn't love him, Chandler, she loves you, I know it!"
"How? How do you know it? Did she tell you?"
"Well, no, but—"
Chandler sighed, and shook his head.
"But there's only one way to find out," Joey smiled slyly.
Monica popped another diet pill into her mouth nervously, and paced her dressing room. Every second seemed precious to her, now that she was leaving the place that she had loathed for so long. Vegas was filled with bad memories, and Monica had always sworn that one day she would leave, and never look back.
And then he came into her life, and everything changed.
Now all Monica could see was him, and all the wonderful things that had happened to her since Chandler had entered her life. She wiped a tear from her cheek, and sunk into a chair. The look he'd had on his face…it haunted her. And it would for the rest of her life. She looked into the mirror, and realized that she had only one option left. If she fought to stay, Richard would have Chandler killed—but if she left, she would never be able to forgive herself for what she'd done to him. And she couldn't live with Richard…she just couldn't! No, she would have to do this…it was the only way.
She emptied the pill bottle into her hand, and stared down at the pile of tiny white pills that now sat in the palm of her hand.
It was the only way.
She looked over at the envelope that was sat on her dressing table, and took a deep breath, before dropping the pills into her mouth. She swallowed them down, then looked up at her reflection in the mirror.
She didn't recognize the person looking back at her.
"Monica," the voice startled her, and Monica gasped and whipped around.
"Chandler, wh-what are you doing here?"
"I felt that…I should pay you for your…services," Chandler dropped a wad of money onto the ground.
"You performed perfectly…I truly believed that you loved me," Chandler's voice was shaky and unsure.
"Thank you…for curing me of my ridiculous obsession with love!"
"Monica," Richard appeared behind Chandler in the doorway of the dressing room.
"Richard," Monica whispered.
"Chandler…what are you doing here?" Richard seethed.
"I was just…paying my bill," Chandler whispered, never taking his eyes off of Monica.
"Right," Richard sneered, and shoved him up against the wall.
"Richard, don't—" Monica doubled over in pain—the pills were taking effect.
Richard ignored Monica, and punched Chandler in the gut, then in the face.
"Ahh," Monica collapsed to the ground, writhing in pain.
"Hey!" Joey and Ross appeared, and pulled Richard off of Chandler. As soon as he was free, Chandler crawled over to Monica.
"Chandler," Monica sputtered, "I…I love you."
"It…it's better…this way."
"Monica…please tell me!"
"Chandler," Ross held up an empty pill bottle.
"Get an ambulance!" Chandler screamed.
"Come…what…may," Monica smiled sadly.
"I love you," Chandler cried.
"Monica? Monica!" Chandler shook Monica's limp form, his sobs becoming more pronounced with each passing second.
There was a boy
A very strange, enchanted boy
They say he traveled very far…very far
Over land and sea
A little shy, and sad of eye
But very wise, was he.
And then one day
A magic day he passed my wayAnd while he spoke of many things
Fools and kings
This he said to me
The greatest thing
You'll ever learn
Is to love
And be loved in return
"Hey," Chandler smiled tiredly, when Monica opened her eyes, two days later.
"Hey," she whispered hoarsely.
"How do you feel?"
"Horrible. Chandler…your face…"
"Oh," Chandler touched his swollen eye gingerly, "it's no big deal."
"Los Angeles. He thinks your dead."
"Chandler…I'm…sorry," Monica struggled to sit up, but Chandler placed a heavy hand on her shoulder.
"I know why you did it. I just…I wish you would have told me the truth."
"I didn't want you to—"
"I know. Mon, there's something you should know. The night before the show, Rachel—"
"I know," Monica whispered, and Chandler's head bolted up in surprise, "She told me."
"She—she—um, what did—"
"She told me you seduced her. But I know her well enough to know that it was the other way around," Monica smiled.
"It's okay," Monica interrupted.
"We'll start again. A fresh start."
Chandler smiled, and looked down at his hands.
"I—I'm not the person I was when I came here," he whispered, "Vegas…had a strange effect on me," he winked.
"No one ever leaves Vegas the same," Monica laughed.
"It's nothing I ever expected…and everything I always wanted."
"So are you," Monica whispered, as Chandler leaned in to kiss her.
Never knew I could feel like this
It's like I've never seen the sky before
Want to vanish inside your kiss
Every day I'm loving you more and more
Listen to my heart can you hear it sing
Come back to me and forgive everything
Seasons may change, winter to springBut I love you till the end of time
Come what may, come what may, come what may
I will love you until my dying day
Suddenly the world seems such a perfect place
Suddenly it moves with such a perfect grace
Suddenly my life doesn't seem such a waste
It all revolves around you
And there's no mountain too high
No river too wide, sing out this song
And I'll be there by your side
Storm clouds may gather and stars may collide
But I love you until the end of time
(Nature Boy~Eden Ahbez; Come What May~David Baerwald)
AN: Kay, the more I wrote, the more I realized that I got myself knee-deep into something I am not creative or talented enough to pull off. Apologies to Mr. Luhrmann, and to anyone else who read this, LOL. Not my strongest piece.