Note: Slight Season 9 Spoilers in the Author's Note.

Author's Note: Wow, um, okay, I wrote this whole story thing, and got all these reviews about Chandler being in advertising…. apparently no one thinks he can do it, LOL.  I have a feeling that's what he is gonna end up doing on the show, though.  Just a guess, LOL.  Anyhoo, not a lot happens here, I just need to do some more set up.  And since I've been on about a billion family 'vacations' I thought I'd jot it down.  It may suck, but oh well…

One Flight Down

Chapter Two: Looking For a Warning Sign

"Come on Ellie, we're gonna miss the flight!" Monica yelled from the bottom of the stairs.  When there was no response, Monica tried again.  "Ellie!"

Chandler walked back into the house, shaking the snow from him.  "Where's Ellie?" he asked.

"I don't know," Monica said exasperatedly, her hand waving toward the staircase.

"Elaine Victoria Bing, downstairs, NOW," Chandler boomed.

Ellie slowly emerged from her room, and made her way downstairs, her bag dragging behind her.

"Ellie, please don't drag your bag on the carpet," Monica said.  Ellie shot her a dirty look, and tossed her bag toward her father.

"It took you a while to figure out what shade of black to wear to the airport, huh?" Chandler said sarcastically, as Ellie huffed past her parents.

Elaine had always been a curious and energetic child, and had always excelled in her studies.  She was like a sponge, absorbing everything around her.  Then, about three months ago, the thirteen year old began to withdraw, and traded in her fashionable, feminine clothes for black, billowy outfits that hid her tiny frame.

Elaine was a spitting image of her mother, and at times, Chandler found the resemblance almost creepy.  But as much as she resembled Monica physically, Ellie and Monica could not have been more different personality-wise.  Consequently, Ellie had always been Daddy's girl, and the two of them were as close as a father and daughter could be, until she withdrew from everything and everyone around her.

Her odd behavior had stung Chandler, and he was unprepared to deal with the rejection.  And unlike Monica, who had worked to drag Ellie out of her shell by constantly bugging and nagging her, Chandler pulled away, and waited; hoping that it was just a phase—a typical adolescent behavior—that she would eventually get over.

He could not accept that their relationship would never be the same again.

"Is that everything?" Chandler looked at Monica, who was busy re-checking the timers on the lights.

"Yeah, let me just check the coffee maker one more time," Monica said, and walked into the kitchen.

Chandler turned to walk out the front door, and nearly ran straight into Charlie.

"Whoa, where are you going? We're leaving," Chandler said.

"I gotta call Amanda to tell her goodbye," Charlie said shortly.

"I thought you called her at breakfast?"

"I need to call again," Charlie replied.

"No, we're late for the airport," Chandler said, and pointed to the door wordlessly.

Charlie rolled his eyes, and stalked out to the car, kicking the doorframe as he walked through.

"Hey!" Chandler yelled to the now-empty doorway.

"What's going on?" Monica said, as she walked back into the entryway.

"Nothing, let's go," Chandler sighed.

They walked out to their Four-Runner, to find Ellie and Charlie arguing in the backseat.

"Already?" Monica sighed, shaking her head.

"It's gonna be a long week," Chandler said, and made his way over to the driver's side of the truck.  "Hey!  Knock it off, both of you!"

"She's being a bitch," Charlie yelled, as he swatted his sister on the arm.  She shot him an icy glare, before turning to stare out the window.

"Watch your mouth," Monica said, as she climbed into the truck.

"I don't want to hear it, Charlie," Chandler said, "We have a long trip ahead, so you'll just have to deal."

"Yeah, you never want to hear it," Charlie spat.

"Exactly what is that supposed to mean?" Chandler turned to look at his son.

"Charlie get your shoes off of the seat," Monica said.

"Nothing, let's just go," Charlie said resignedly.

Chandler took a deep breath, and started the vehicle, before looking at his children through the rear-view mirror.  How had they turned into That Family?  The dysfunctional, screaming family that the rest of the neighborhood talked about?  What had happened to their perfect little clan?

Growing up, Charlie had always been the quiet one, and had always related more to Monica than to Chandler.  Naturally, he was a spitting image of his father.  He had always been a neat freak like his mother, and had always gotten on his little sister's bad side by constantly criticizing her unkempt bedroom.

Lately, though, he had gotten more lackadaisical, and more mouthy. He was constantly skipping school to smoke pot in the Burger King parking lot, and was hanging out with a darker element.  Monica was at her wit's end with Charlie, and Chandler, who had never really been able to get through to his son in the first place, had chosen to ignore the problem.  Chandler's apathetic attitude toward his children was the root of most of Monica and Chandler's problems.

"Charlie, STOP!" Ellie said loudly.

"Charlie, knock it off!" Chandler yelled.

"She's eating chocolate in the car!" Charlie smiled slyly.

"Thanks, jerk," Ellie mumbled.

"Ellie, no eating in the car," Monica said crossly.

"Whatever," Ellie whispered, shoving the remainder of the candy into her mouth.

"Can't we drop them off at your parent's house?" Chandler whispered.

"As much as I'd love to do that to my folks," Monica smiled, "They're in Boston visiting Ross and Rachel.  Plus, we already booked the tickets."

"Ugh," Chandler shook his head.

Las Vegas, Nevada

"I am not kidding you, Charlie, ONE more word out of you, and you'll be spending the rest of this trip in your hotel room!" Monica shook her head, as she, Chandler, Charlie and Ellie made their way out of baggage claim.

The flight had been atrocious.  Charlie and Ellie would not stop arguing, prompting Chandler to trade seats with Charlie, just to shut them up.  Ellie had gotten air sick, and for some mysterious reason decided to blame it on Monica.  By the time they'd exited the airport, both Chandler and Monica looked as though they had been put through a ringer, and the children weren't on speaking terms with anyone, least of all each other.

"Do you have the hotel information?" Chandler asked Monica.

"No, you printed it out," Monica said shortly.

"And I gave it to you to put in your purse," Chandler said.

"No, you didn't," Monica argued.

"That's fine, it can't be that hard to get to…the hotel's on the Strip."

"Which one are we staying at?" Monica asked tiredly, her mind already drifting to a nice cool room and a large, soft bed.

"Well, I know it starts with an M…"

"Are you kidding me?" Monica said incredulously.

"That's why we have the print out!" Chandler pointed out.

"Great," Monica shook her head, as a taxi pulled up to them.

"Where to?" the driver said, as he opened the trunk to load their bags.

"The hotel is on the Strip, and it starts with M," Chandler smiled sheepishly.

"What?" the driver looked at Chandler, annoyed.

"Which hotels start with M?" Monica asked.

"Well," said the driver, as he looked to the sky, "there's Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, Mirage…"

"Mirage!" Chandler snapped his fingers and grinned triumphantly, prompting an annoyed glare from Monica.

"You're not allowed to go downstairs without us," Monica said, as the foursome stood in front of the two rooms they had booked, "and no noise, and NO getting into the minibar!"

"I am not sharing a room with her," Charlie announced.

"YES, you are," Chandler said sternly, and opened the door to his and Monica's room, "and you will NOT murder each other," he said flippantly, and dragged his and Monica's suitcases into the room.

Monica rolled her eyes, and followed Chandler into the room, once she watched the kids go into theirs.  She closed the door, and sighed.  Her moment of sweet silence was broken, when Chandler turned on the television.

"Ooooh, Chandler, please turn it off!" Monica whined, and fell onto the bed heavily.

"Mon, the game's on!" Chandler whined in return.

Monica pulled a pillow over her head, and sighed again.  Her stress over the day had come to a head, and she could no longer control the onslaught of tears that hit her.  This trip was going to be hell, if today was any indication.  Her body trembled as her crying intensified, and she was unaware that Chandler had flipped off the television, until she felt him pull the pillow from her head, and place his hand on the small of her back.

"Mon," he whispered into her ear, as he pulled her toward him, "what's wrong?"

Monica sniffled loudly, and buried her face into his chest.  "What isn't?" she whispered.

A warning sign

I missed the good part then I realised

I started looking and the bubble burst

I started looking for excuses

Come on in

I've got to tell you what a state I'm in

I've got to tell you in my loudest tones

That I started looking for a warning sign

When the truth is

I miss you

Yeah the truth is

That I miss you so

A warning sign

You came back to haunt me and I realised

That you were an island and I passed you by

You were an island to discover

Come on in

I've got to tell you what a state I'm in

I've got to tell you in my loudest tones

That I started looking for a warning sign

And the truth is

I miss you

Yeah the truth is

I miss you so

And I'm tired

I should not have let you go

So I crawl back into your open arms

Yes I crawl back into your open arms

And I crawl back into your open arms

Yes I crawl back into your open arms

(A Warning Sign—Coldplay)