So the long, slow process of healing and moving on began. Joey and Chandler remained in his bed until they fell asleep. During the night, Joey woke up restlessly and got up to undress, then he tucked Chandler under the covers before going back to sleep.
In the morning, Chandler woke up to find Joey naked beside him. He dropped Hugsy with a gasp and wondered if he was having another gay dream. He woke Joey up just to be sure. "Uh, hey."
Joey blinked and smiled at him. "Hey. You feeling better?"
Chandler shrugged, and Joey pulled him close to hug him. Chandler blushed at how naked he was. "When--when did you get naked?"
Joey answered, "After you fell asleep last night. Why, does it bother you?" Maybe he should have put some shorts on.
Chandler shook his head. "No, I-I-I just thought I was dreaming again."
"You had a dream like this?"
"Yeah." Chandler sighed and touched Joey's arms lightly, enjoying the warmth and texture of his skin.
Grinning, Joey kissed him and coaxed Chander to tell him more about his dreams. "What'd we do, huh?"
Chandler said shyly, "Well, um, the--the first dream was after that Knicks game the other night. We were in bed, and I was, uh, apologizing for pushing you off when you kissed my cheek, you know. I said that you could kiss me again, but only in private, and then you--you did, and I-I kissed you back."
"And then we started making out?"
He nodded. "Yeah, and we--we got naked and..." He hesitated to go on. "Then I-I woke up kind of freaked out and went to take a cold shower. I wondered if you could hear me, and I started imagining you waking up too and--and getting in the shower with me..."
Turned on by that fantasy, Joey growled and eagerly suggested that they go do that.
So they got out of bed and took a hot, steamy shower, washing and touching each other tentatively. They lingered for quite a while until Chandler realized that he should probably go get ready for work.
Joey pulled him closer with a kiss. "You sure you can't call in sick again?"
Chandler shook his head and blushed, not sure how much further he could go with Joey if they stayed home today. "Don't you have any auditions to go to?"
Joey shrugged. "I guess I could check in with Estelle again. Hey, remember when we talked about you quitting your job? You could quit and could get a new job, like at Ross's museum. You wanna do that?"
Chandler thought about it. "Uh, maybe, but we've got to get you a steady job too, so we can still pay our bills."
Joey nodded. "Okay."
With a final kiss, they turned off the water and exited the shower. They reached for the dry towels, and Chandler picked up his clothes from the floor, then returned to his bedroom to dress. Joey took his turn at the sink and toilet before going back to make his bed.
Later, while Joey toasted some bread and opened a jar of jam for breakfast, there came a knock on the front door.
"Hey, it's still locked!" Rachel said. "Don't tell me you guys are still watching free porn?"
Joey said, "Sorry," and unlocked the door for her.
Rachel was glad to see that the TV was off, so she came into the kitchen and started telling him how great her date was last night. Chandler came out of the bathroom while she was talking, and he exchanged glances with Joey, not sure whether they ought to tell her their own news as well. They decided to let her finish.
Soon Monica and Ross also dropped by, and they sat down to chat as usual. Defending his toast and jam from them, Joey suggested that they have cereal instead.
Finally Phoebe arrived and stood in the doorway, observing the happy normality of the scene. Then she firmly cleared her throat to get everyone's attention, and the group turned to greet her cheerfully. Only Joey and Chandler looked at her silently and uncomfortably, and in return Phoebe seemed to be scrutinizing them coldly.
"What's going on, you guys?" Rachel asked, noticing the tension and awkwardness.
Staying by the door, Phoebe folded her arms and raised her eyebrows at Joey and Chandler. "So are you gonna tell them, or should I do it?"
Chandler frowned and looked upset. Joey rubbed his back and explained to the others, "Uh, Chandler and Janice broke up last night."
"Oh no! What happened?"
"Why didn't you tell us before now?"
They sympathetically gathered around to comfort Chandler, but Phoebe just nagged, "Yeah, Joey, tell them why."
The friends were puzzled by her demeanor, although Ross realized that Phoebe must know about the breakup because she went to Janice's apartment last night. Perhaps Chandler was at fault somehow, and she sympathized with Janice?
Worried that it was too soon to get into all the sordid details, Joey looked at Chandler and asked, "You want me to tell them?"
Chandler shook his head, and decided that he ought to say something. So he began simply, "Well, um, yesterday, Joey and I kissed."
The others gasped in astonishment, while Joey hugged Chandler and squeezed his shoulder. He thought that Chandler might be too afraid to be that honest yet.
Chandler continued, "And, um, I called Janice, and she came over. Then--then she and Joey kept fighting, so I broke up with her so it wouldn't get any worse."
While Chandler's summary was factually correct, Phoebe felt it was important to fill in the missing details. "That's not all! They--"
"Phoebe!" Joey scolded her. "If he doesn't want to talk about that part, then leave him alone."
"But it's your fault! Janice could have convinced him to have a threesome, if you hadn't been so stubborn and mean to her."
"Threesome?" Now the gang were even more perplexed.
"It's not his fault," Chandler said. "It was because of my dad's letters. I don't want us to end up like that."
Still looking resentfully at Phoebe, Joey explained to the group about the letters they had read yesterday, and the decisive conclusions that Chandler had drawn from them.
Monica, Rachel, and Ross could hardly absorb all these startling revelations about Janice's shocking offer, and about the Bings' disastrous three-way relationship. Once they heard it all, they did generally agree that Chandler was sensible to refuse Janice's offer and to end the relationship with her.
"No, it didn't have to be like that!" Phoebe protested that if Joey had been more flexible, then they could have had a successful, non-traumatic three-way.
Rachel scoffed. "Come on, Phoebe! You don't really believe people could be happy that way, do you? Especially after what happened with your parents."
Phoebe was rather taken aback by the reference to her complicated family. She didn't think of it that way before, but still, the problem there had not been jealousy, as far as she knew; her birth parents had just been young and scared, running away from hard responsibilities. Phoebe still felt that Janice shouldn't have been dumped and forced out.
Rachel continued skeptically, "It's just not normal, except on some crazy hippie commune."
Monica nodded. "It's twisted. Just like when Chandler dated that free-loving Aurora, remember? There'd always be jealousy, not to mention risky sex--"
Phoebe said, "Technically, Aurora had an open marriage, not a stable--"
"Whatever you wanna call it!" Monica dismissively lumped all polygamous relationships together with a gesture. "It wouldn't have worked out, especially since Joey was getting jealous and upset even before he kissed Chandler."
"Well I don't know," Ross said evenly. He shrugged and tried to understand Janice's point of view, since she hadn't seemed morally loose or sexually unconventional before. "Richard Leakey had a theory about monogamy--"
The others leaned back and pretended to snore, then laughed.
Ross gave up on educating them; he had no proof that Janice herself had read or knew of Leakey's theory, anyway. Perhaps Janice was merely willing to settle for an imperfect arrangement, just like when Joey's mother Gloria preferred her husband's behavior when he had a mistress.
Phoebe gave up too, and sat down at the table with a sigh, while the others peppered Joey and Chandler with confused and curious questions about their new relationship.
Chandler gulped and decided to escape them by getting up and grabbing his briefcase. In front of their prying eyes, he felt too nervous to kiss Joey before leaving for work, but Joey smiled fondly and kissed his cheek before letting him go.
The gang then tried to get further information out of Joey, but Joey was reluctant to explain anything more, and he also felt that he ought to be discreet about his and Chandler's private activities. "Don't you guys have jobs to get to? Go on, get out of here."
When the gang gathered together for lunch at the coffeehouse, Phoebe didn't show up, and Chandler guessed that she might be with Janice just now. It caused Chandler a pang of heartache, but he decided that it was good for Janice to have someone understanding to go to after their breakup. As long as Phoebe didn't continue arguing with them, or bring Janice around anymore, Chandler thought that he could cope with it. After all, Phoebe didn't bring Bonnie around anymore after Ross broke up with her.
After getting them coffee and cookies, Joey sat with his arm around Chandler and told him that Estelle got him a few auditions and gave him the script pages.
"Oh, okay, then maybe we'll rehearse tonight."
"Yeah." Joey happily kissed him again, making him blush.
"Ooh!" the friends reacted teasingly.
Joey and Chandler still dodged personal inquiries by asking more about Monica's and Rachel's dates last night.
Ross also told them what happened between him and Emily. "I was looking all over for you guys to talk about it, too. If I'd known that you were both home last night--!" But then he realized that he wouldn't have wanted to walk in on whatever they were doing, so he cleared his throat. "Well, anyway, Emily finally called and told me that she broke up with the other guy and that she loves me too."
"Wow. That's great!"
"But wait, Ross. Are you sure you can trust her, since she didn't even tell you about that other guy before?"
"Yeah, you two flitted up to Vermont and did a lot of cheating these past two weeks. I wonder if Emily's family knew about the other guy too. They didn't mention a thing when you went to the doorknob museum with them, did they?"
"No, they didn't." Ross sighed and said, "Well, Emily said that she was afraid to get serious with me and have a long-distance relationship. She thought it should be just a two-week fling while she was in the States, and then she'd go back to the other guy, Colin. But she really missed me and now she's decided to commit to me. She's gonna fly back next weekend to see me."
"Oh, and then you're gonna fly over there next weekend? Don't you have Ben, though?"
"Oh, right." He frowned. "Well, I'll have to work something out with Emily once she gets back here. This might be complicated."
After lunch, most of the friends returned to work, while Joey went to the grocery store with money that Chandler had given him to buy vegetarian food. He still was tempted to cheat on his promise to Phoebe, but he realized that Phoebe might catch him and hassle him about it, just like she hassled them about Janice.
When he got home from shopping, Joey put away the groceries and made more bread in the breadmaker. While waiting for the dough to rise, Joey decided to go out again, and he found a nearby bookstore, where he asked for the Godfather trilogy.
The books were more expensive than he thought, so Joey had to go to a library instead. The circulation clerk thought he wanted to check out a copy of the movies, and started to direct him to that section, but Joey clarified, "No, um, I meant the books. Me and Chandler are gonna read them."
"All right." The clerk did not ask who Chandler was, but looked up Mario Puzo's books and helped him check out the first book for now.
"Thanks." Joey took the book home and felt rather proud of himself. He had a library card now. Soon he and Chandler would read this book together, and maybe more books after the trilogy. He wondered whether Die Hard came from a book too.
In any case, reading would not only distract Chandler from brooding about Janice, but it would help Joey be smarter for him. He still felt insecure after all of Chandler's jokes about him being dumb, and he feared that Chandler must have preferred Janice because of her knowledge of art and books. College junk.
Sitting down on the couch while waiting for the bread to bake, Joey looked at the book and started to skim the first chapter, wondering if it started out in the same way as the movie did. He hoped that nothing would be too scary in it, like with The Shining. He'd have to go make room in the freezer.
Uptown, Phoebe took Janice out to lunch, to check on her recovery from the breakup. She hugged her and asked, "You okay?"
Janice sat down heavily and answered, "Well, I was crying a little at work. Is my mascara fixed?"
"Yeah." She sat down and squeezed Janice's hand. After they ordered their meals, Phoebe told her, "This morning I tried to talk to the gang about why Chandler broke up with you, but they didn't really want to listen."
"Oh, that's all right. It doesn't matter what they think. Just Chandler." Janice sighed sadly. "I thought he really believed that we were soulmates. I thought he wanted a happy ending this time."
"It's Joey's fault."
"Joey didn't understand that it's not cheating if you're all honest and agree to it. And I know that I really did cheat with Gary before, but it was just two kisses! When is he going to stop throwing that in my face? Chandler forgave me and took me back."
"And Joey got upset about me having a threesome with you guys, too?"
"He said, 'You've got Phoebe. What do you need Chandler for?' But I love him, Phoebe! And I do need him. He's my Bing-a-ling." She started to cry again and loudly blew her nose on a napkin.
To distract Janice from her pain, Phoebe changed the subject. "Um, Janice, could you give me some advice? Remember when I told you that I want to make money so that Frank Jr. could stay in refrigerator college?"
Janice nodded and calmed down a bit. "Yeah, do you still need help?"
"Yeah. You see, I was thinking I could maybe do something with the van that me and Monica bought for catering. She made a big list of things I could pick up or deliver with it, but I'm not sure that I wanna do any of that stuff. Except, like, form the new A-Team." She handed Janice the notepad full of Monica's ideas.
The waitress came back with their orders, so they started to eat.
Janice skimmed through the notebook and said with a shrug, "Well, maybe you could use the van to carry around your massage table, Phoebe, now that you're not working at the parlor anymore. It will get very hard to carry that thing around as you get further along in your pregnancy."
"Oh, yeah, you're right! And I bet I'll get really big because it's triplets. Maybe, um, I could carry around some extra stuff in the van to sell to my massage clients too--like incense, candles, and massage oils."
"Yeah, that would be good. And you can paint on the side of your van 'Phoebe Buffay, Masseuse' and your number. That's free advertising whenever your van is parked outside while you're massaging your client in their apartment."
"But I'd still probably have to drag the massage table upstairs, and lots of people don't even have elevators in their buildings. Ugh! It'd be so much easier if I could just massage them in the van--Ooh, I should massage them in the van!"
Janice considered that. "Are you sure it will be very relaxing, Phoebe? To get a massage in a van on the street? Some people might mistake it for something sleazy, too."
"Well, I'll them I'm not a whore!" she said simply. "And the more pregnant I am, the more they'll feel too guilty to make me go lugging stuff around."
"Yes, they'd probably have sympathy for you, and your regular clients do know and trust you already."
Phoebe nodded. "I could fix up the van so it looks nice, with some soft mood lighting inside and, um, curtains on the windows for privacy. I could bolt the massage table in the back, and put a place where they can hang up their clothes. I could have a tape player, too, so they can hear relaxing music and forget about the noises outside."
"And then when the massage is over, they get dressed again and pay you, and you'd probably try to sell them some oils and candles then?"
"And then you'd just drive away to the next client's address? Oh, don't forget to open the curtains so that you can see while you're driving."
"Sure. I guess I'd have to tie them back."
"Hey, maybe you could even go to people's offices and massage them during their lunch hour. Just park right outside."
"Yeah! And then they can recommend me to their co-workers, who'll come out for a massage too."
Janice suggested, "Maybe you could start at my office, Phoebe? After you have the van fixed up, come to my work and park in the lot. Then I'll get a massage and convince some other people to come too."
"We could post a sign-up sheet outside. It'll be great, and I bet I'll sell a lot of incense!"
"Hmm. You might be handling a lot of money, Phoebe. I think it might be safer if you had somebody else with you to guard the money and help you with the merchandise, so you don't lose track of it. They could also sit upfront and drive the van for you."
"Ooh, I could do like a taxicab service too, driving people to other places if they want. I'll massage in the back, while Frank Jr. drives."
"Won't he be busy at refrigerator college?"
"Yeah, but we could work around his class schedule, and um, maybe my other friends would drive when he's busy. Like Bonnie, you know."
"That sounds good. Sort of a... Mobile Massage?"
"No, no, there's gotta be a better name than that. Um, it's a taxi, and a massage. You just lie there and relax while I massage you... Ooh, ooh! Relaxi-Taxi!"
Janice smiled and managed to laugh a bit at Phoebe's ingenuity. They discussed more details until they finished lunch. Then they paid the bill and got up to leave. Janice agreed to loan Phoebe some starter money for fixing up the van and getting massage merchandise, then they hugged before Janice went back to work.