:you are probably going to read this chapter and think, what the hell!! But trust me ok? It will make sense. And I hope you will enjoy this series, because I think it could be a lot of fun if the idea works. Please review, because I want some feedback on what you think of this story. If it is anything like the success I had with Love and White Lies, I will be chuffed. By the way, as for the "2" by my name, that is fanfiction's fault. Apparently there is another Lindsey on the website. Lol I thought I was unique!! Hehe
By the way, matthew fans may find the title of this fanfic familiar!:
An object loomed nearer…faster…
He didn't have time to react…
A sudden impact…a scream…then a deadly silence
Then everything went black…
Chandler sat upright in bed, giving out a terrified yell. The sweat dripped off his forehead and he shuddered involuntarily. It had been an awful dream…full of tragedy and unhappiness. His dreams were not usually like that, they were mostly about stupid stuff like what he did with his friends or mugs of coffee turning into monsters…but never about what he had just dreamed.
He chuckled to himself and shook his head, "People have those dreams all the time I bet," he said to himself, flopping back down on his pillow.
He froze. This did not feel like the pillow he usually slept on. It felt hard and cold; not like the usually lumpy, bouncy pillow Monica had been nagging him to wash for months. He fidgeted around in his bed, realising that even his bed sheets felt different. In fact, the whole bed felt different.
For a crazy moment, Chandler wondered if he had somehow stumbled into the wrong room after his drunken night out with Joey and Ross the night before. Maybe this was Joey's room. He sat up, rubbed his eyes and took in his surroundings…and what he saw made him cry out in horror.
This wasn't his room…this wasn't even Joey's room. It didn't resemble any bedroom he had been in before…if you could call it a bedroom. The walls were plain; his bed resembled what could be described as something from a hospital ward. Also, to his shock, Chandler realised for the first time since waking up that it was daylight. There were signs of early morning sunshine breaking through a window on the other end of the room, indicating it was still very early. He swallowed hard, taking in his surroundings again. There were a number of beds in the room, and people that Chandler had never seen before were asleep in them.
Chandler closed his eyes, wondering if he was still dreaming. He laughed nervously. "Ok Chandler, time to wake up now!" he said. "This dream is becoming too weird."
"You think you're in a dream?" a scornful voice came from the bed opposite, "You wish."
Chandler jumped, startled at the sound. He gazed across at the source of the voice and he saw an irritable looking old man with a nightgown on sitting up reading a book.
"Who…who are you?" Chandler whispered.
"Ernie…Ernie Wilkins," the old man replied shortly. He looked critically at Chandler, "You look a little young to be here," he commented.
Chandler blinked, feeling even more confused than before. "Er…where am I?" he asked the old man, who had gone back to reading his book.
Ernie looked back up from his book and sighed. "Not another one," he muttered. He set his book down and stared at Chandler seriously. "You want to know where you are?" he asked, laughing slightly.
"Yes," Chandler replied, "Where am I? Please, I want to know." His voice shook slightly. Ernie was unnerving him with that amused stare.
"Well, for starters, you're a long way from home," Ernie explained, "In fact I might as well say this now. You're not going back."
"I'm not…" Chandler paused, threw back his head and started to laugh. Ernie just stared at him with a mixture of disgust and pity. "This isn't really the sort of place where you should be laughing," he said, glaring at Chandler.
Chandler stopped laughing and smiled across at Ernie. "Ok, ok, I get the joke. Who put you up to this? Joey?" He ran his hands through his hair and grinned, "Gotta hand it to him, he sure knows how to freak someone out when he wants to!" he stared at his surroundings again, "I'm guessing this is some sort of retirement home...Joey got me drunk and dragged me up here. Nice work." He grinned again.
"I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about." Ernie said stiffly, "A retirement home? I wouldn't go spreading that around…some of the people here won't take too kindly to that insult."
The grin faded from Chandler face. "Well if this isn't a retirement home, then where am I?!" he yelled, causing several people to wake up in the room.
"Will you keep your voice down?" a woman yelled a couple of beds away, "I've been up half the night being assessed! I want some rest!"
Chandler groaned and buried his head into his hands. "Assessed? Not going home again? This makes no sense." He muttered darkly. He looked up at Ernie again and glared at him, "In a nutshell, please tell me what's going on."
"You want it in a nutshell?" Ernie asked, slamming down his book, "Ok, here it is in a nutshell…you're dead."
Chandler felt like he had just been slapped in the face. He gazed at the piteous expression on Ernie's face and he realised that this man was telling the truth. "Dead?" he whispered hoarsely, "I…I don't understand."
"The room you're in now is called the Waiting Room," Ernie explained, "It's where individuals such as yourself come after they have just died."
"I can't be dead!" Chandler shouted, leaping out of his bed, "I'm only 27 years old! It's way before my time!"
"Yes, the way you died was tragic," Ernie agreed, "It should never have happened, but it did. You'd better get used to it."
"Get used to it?!" Chandler bellowed, "I don't want to get used to it! I want to go home. I…I…" he paused and looked down at himself. He was wearing the clothes he had on the night before. "What the hell…"
"New arrivals come in the clothes they died in," Ernie explained, "look at me for instance…I died in my sleep." He adjusted his nightgown a little.
"How do you know all this?" Chandler asked incredulously.
"For the last 25 years I've been on the waiting list to be assessed," Ernie continued, smiling grimly, "Obviously people like me are not top priority anymore. Anyway, once you've been around here a while you get to know stuff."
Chandler shook his head around, trying to make sense of things. "What is this assessment thing you're talking about?" He asked.
"It's when you go to see Bob and he'll assess you to see where you belong."
"Belong? Who's Bob?"
"Bob is the Keeper of the Assessment Room. He's a spirit who has been here for over 60 years. He'll see if you're ready to either join your fellow people in heaven or become a spirit where you can 'haunt' the Earth or…"
"Haunt the Earth?" Chandler interrupted, "You mean like a ghost?"
"Yes," Ernie confirmed, "but those cases are rare…rarer than they used to be, especially since Roger Wyman decided it would be a good idea to scare the living daylights out of school kids in New Jersey." He rolled his eyes.
"You were about to say another option the keeper uses," Chandler said nervously, "What is it?"
"In very rare cases…the last one being in 1945…some people like yourself get given a second chance in life."
Chandler eyes widened, "You mean…"
"I mean that if the individual hasn't lived life to their fullest and haven't achieved all the things they wanted to do, they can go back to Earth to do those things."
Chandler sank down on the edge of the bed. "Wow…do you think I could get given that option?"
Ernie shrugged, "Your age works to your advantage I suppose but I doubt it. As I said, it's very rare."
"Why is it rare?"
"The last case wanted to start another world war…not really what the Keeper wanted him to do. He'd caused enough trouble already so the Keeper brought him back."
"No kidding." Chandler said, a smile playing around on his lips. "You get all sorts up here then?"
Ernie looked at Chandler in amusement. "Never met a kid like you before," He commented, "Always asking questions…making a noise…but not even asking how he died."
The smile faded from Chandler's lips and he frowned. "How…how did I die?"
"Car crash," Ernie said simply, "Easy to know. All car crash victims get bad dreams about their accidents. Yours was being too drunk to not look where you were going before crossing the road."
Chandler grimaced and buried his head in his hands again. "This is a nightmare," he moaned, "how can this be real?"
"Oh this is real," Ernie said in dark tones, "You'll know that once you walk into the Assessment Room."
For what seemed like ages later, the doors to the Waiting Room opened and in glided a young man who looked too young to be a spirit. His appearance was transparent. Chandler could see the colours of the walls through his body.
"After being assessed, is that what I turn into?" Chandler whispered to Ernie in awed tones.
Ernie nodded, "but only if you go to heaven or haunt the Earth," he explained, "I have yet to find that out." He added bitterly.
Chandler glanced sympathetically at Ernie and for an awful moment he thought that he too would be on a 20 year long list…until the spirit glided over to him.
"Chandler Bing?" the young spirit prompted in a surprisingly normal tone of voice. Chandler had expected it to be whispery.
"Y...Yes." he stuttered.
"I'm Bob. Follow me please."
"The young ones always get to the front of the line," Chandler heard an old woman whisper bitterly behind him.
Chandler followed the spirit into a room which was just white all over. The brightness made Chandler shield his eyes a little.
"You'll get used to it," Bob said, smiling his transparent lips at Chandler. "Sit down please." He gestured to a seat in front of a desk. Once Chandler had sat down Bob took a deep breath and started to speak again. "This is the Assessment Room. It is here where I will decide your fate."
"A little late for that isn't it?" Chandler asked sarcastically, "I'm already dead…apparently."
Bob stared coolly at Chandler. "I'm talking about your future in the afterlife Chandler."
"Well maybe I don't believe in the afterlife," Chandler mumbled, crossing his arms.
"How can you not believe in it if you are here?" Bob inquired.
Chandler opened his mouth to retort but then, seeing the expression on Bob's face, closed it again.
"So, Chandler, I have been looking at your records and it says here you were a 27 year old from New York, only child to Charles and Nora Bing, and was in full health. Correct?"
"Yes," Chandler said quietly, unnerved by the use of the past tense.
"It also says here that you were single…interesting." Bob stared at Chandler deeply.
"Interesting?" Chandler echoed, smiling, "I think that was the wrong word to use. Maybe you should try and get in on the dating scene for a while. It isn't easy!"
"What I mean is that you have all the qualities to suggest that you shouldn't have been single…you have a good personality, your job suggests good money. What went wrong?"
"What went wrong?" Chandler asked, laughing, "Ask the women I dated that question! Did you know that only last week I was handcuffed to a chair?"
"Yes, you were rather unfortunate in that situation," Bob said slowly.
"Ok, look, what's this all about?" Chandler asked wearily, "Why are you trying to put me down? Isn't me being dead enough for you?"
"I'm trying to understand why you weren't happily married to the woman you were in love with before you died."
"What woman?" Chandler demanded, "You got the right records there?"
"I'm talking about Monica," Bob told him gently.
Chandler stared at Bob, wondering if he was being serious. "Monica?" he asked, laughing, "I'm not in love with Monica! I'm her best friend…"
"I think you need to see this," Bob said quietly, pointing at the desk. Chandler looked down and gasped. A transparent bubble had appeared and through it Chandler could see himself and Monica lying on a beach. It looked awfully familiar…
"Wait a sec, this is the beach I visited last month with Phoebe!" he exclaimed. He looked sharply at Bob, who was smiling knowingly. "Why are you showing me this?"
"Just watch," Bob replied, pointing at the bubble.
"So, there's a nuclear holocaust and I'm the last guy on Earth…would you go out with me?" Chandler asked Monica seriously.
Monica shrugged, "Eh," she said, nodding reluctantly.
"I've got canned goods," Chandler persuaded.
Chandler swallowed hard and looked up at Bob accusingly, "You guys were spying on me?" he demanded.
"Every single individual on Earth at this very moment is being watched," Bob explained, "we weren't just pointing you out." He rolled his eyes, "you're not that special a case."
"Ok, so I had a crush on Monica," Chandler said, shrugging, "I'm human."
"A crush…whatever it was it lasted for 10 years." Bob said meaningfully.
Chandler's cheeks flushed angrily. "What is this?" he yelled, "Its bad enough to know I'll never see any of my friends again without being put through this torture!"
"I assume Ernie told you about our rare cases?" Bob asked, ignoring Chandler's outburst.
Chandler widened his eyes. "Yes but as Ernie said…they're rare." He answered slowly.
"Rare, yes, but not impossible," Bob hinted, smiling serenely.
"You…you mean…" Chandler widened his eyes in realisation. "You're going to give me a second chance?"
"Well, I don't think haunting buildings is quite your thing and I think you still have too much to do in life rather than staying in heaven."
"Hell yeah!" Chandler agreed, "I still haven't got my furniture back from the robbers yet…did you know we got robbed a few days ago? It was so stupid…"
"That wasn't what I was getting at," Bob interrupted impatiently; "I wish to return to the subject of Monica."
"Oh…" Chandler sighed and rolled his eyes. "Look, I appreciate you trying to play cupid here but that's never going to happen."
"Of course it isn't if you don't tell Monica how you feel," Bob argued, "and this takes us back to the 'second chance' case. I'm afraid there is a little catch."
"What kind of catch?" Chandler asked suspiciously.
"If you want to go back to being part of the human race, you must tell Monica how you feel." Bob said simply.
Chandler looked at him with horror. "Please tell me you're kidding." He pleaded. "I can't do that."
"You have six months to do it. If you succeed, you live on Earth for the rest of your second life. If you don't succeed…"
"Then I come back here." Chandler finished. He sighed. "Ok, I'll do it."
"It will be for your own good Chandler," Bob told him gently, "Don't you want to be happy? You should count yourself lucky you have the chance to live life again."
"Of course I want to be happy," Chandler replied, "Who doesn't? It's just, as you said yourself; I've had ten years to tell Monica how I feel. I don't think an extra six months is going to make a difference."
"Even knowing your life will literally depend on it?" Bob asked in surprise.
"Even that," Chandler confirmed, "I just don't have the guts…but don't worry, I'll have a go."
"I know you'll succeed Chandler," Bob told him, smiling broadly.
A few minutes later, Chandler and Bob were making their way back to the Waiting Room. They stopped outside the door.
"There are a few things you need to know before going back to your life," Bob told him seriously, "You must listen to this carefully. First of all, no one on Earth knows you died a few hours ago. In their eyes you're just badly concussed…"
"Ok…" Chandler nodded, "what else?"
"You must not tell anyone that you have only six months to live. You don't want to cause a panic…especially as you won't need to after your deadline is up."
"You hope." Chandler muttered.
"Finally," Bob cut him off, "You can't tell Monica how you feel thinking that will be the end of it. She must return your love."
"What?" Chandler gasped, "but…but she only sees me as a friend. She doesn't love me in that way…at least not yet," A smiled played around on his lips, "maybe I'll have to use a little of the Chandler-charm."
"From what I've seen that doesn't do much good," Bob told him, "no offence, but your 'pulling' lines were the worst I'd seen in a whole generation."
"Thanks a bunch," Chandler said sarcastically.
"Just be yourself and you'll succeed." Bob advised. "Now, get into bed, go to sleep and you'll soon wake up in Earth again."
"Fine…so I guess I'll see you in six months?" Chandler asked, grinning, "oh well, at least I'll get to say goodbye to the chick and the duck."
"That sort of attitude won't get you anywhere," Bob said gruffly.
Chandler walked into the Waiting Room and sank down on his bed. He couldn't believe the situation he was in. He had another chance to live.
He tucked himself under the covers, not stopping the broad grin spreading across his face. He had another chance to live. Whether or not he would be able to tell Monica about his undying love for her, this was going to be the best six months of his life…or lives.
End of Chapter 1