Hello readers! So I decided to follow the trend here and write a holiday fic J I'm a little nervous because it is sort of in a different style than I usually write, and its also in a different time- Ross and Chandler are juniors at NYU and Monica and Rachel are freshmen… Joey and Phoebe don't factor in yet. I'll be sure to let you know how they do, when (and if) they come up. So leave me a review because I don't know if this sucks or not!!! And I'm still working on Good Enough- two at once, I don't know if I can handle it, lol. So read and review!!!! And Happy Holidays in advance! (Oh and the title and lyrics used throughout the story are Counting Crows.)
It's a long December, and there's reason to believe,
Maybe this year will be better than the last.
Monica checked her watch impatiently. "Ugh, we're gonna be late!" she said in frustration.
"So what? We're only going home. It'll still be there, god, relax," her brother snapped back.
"Would both of you just chill out?" Rachel whined from her perch on the hood of Ross's car. "I am not sitting in a car with the two of you for two hours if you're gonna be bickering the entire time."
"Better start walking then," a voice rang out from behind them. They turned to see Chandler striding casually towards the car, duffel bag slung over one shoulder.
"You're late," Monica said accusingly.
"You're annoying," he shot back with a grin, throwing his bag in the trunk. She rolled her eyes and tossed the keys to her brother.
"Can we go now?" she asked.
It was December 23rd, and the four of them were headed home to Long Island for Christmas break. It was Monica and Rachel's freshman year at NYU and both were anxious to return to their hometown, see the friends they left behind in August, and relax for a month without the pressures of school. Chandler and Ross, juniors, were slightly less eager, Chandler least of all. After all, it wasn't like he was going home; he was going to the Geller's, the house he had spent every holiday for the past two years. It was always nice and cozy, and sometimes even fun, but he couldn't help but wish he had someplace to go that was his. Maybe that's why he had been late. Or maybe it was just to piss off Monica, an urge that he had been feeling more and more often lately. She was funny when she was mad.
"I can't sit in the back. Motion sickness," Rachel complained as the guys started to get into the front seats. Monica ignored her friend and settled into the back seat while Chandler grudgingly switched places with Rachel.
"There. Are we ready now?" Ross asked sarcastically.
Between Rachel's whining, Ross's grumpiness, Monica's impatience and Chandler's indifference, it looked like it was going to be a great Christmas.
"Wake up," Chandler said, nudging Monica in the arm.
"What?" she mumbled groggily.
"I'm bored. Let's play a game."
"How about the silent game?" she suggested dryly, resting her head against the windowpane and closing her eyes again.
"Come on… please? You've been sleeping forever."
She checked her watch. "Twenty minutes."
"Twenty minutes. Let's play the license plate game."
"How come Rachel can sleep?" she complained.
"Because you were closer for me to elbow. Come on," he said, tugging playfully at her hair. She shook him off.
"Fine. I don't get why you can't just make Ross play, he has to be awake."
"Because I don't like that game," Ross finally chimed in.
"Yeah, because you always lose," Monica said gleefully. "Connecticut!" she said excitedly, pointing out the window.
An hour and a half later and it was Chandler, 15, Monica, 18.
"Let's do something else," he suggested.
"Fine. But you're forfeiting."
He rolled his eyes. "Okay. You sure you can just take my word for it, or should we document it? Maybe I can write it for you in blood."
She smiled. He could be sort of funny. Sometimes.
"So hey," she started, whispering so Ross couldn't hear. "What's up with Ross?"
"I don't know, he's been like this all week. I think he might have broken up with Carol. Again," Chandler said. Carol had been breaking up with Ross every couple months for the past two years. Nobody really knew why.
"Probably. How're things with Evelyn?" Monica asked.
"Fine. She went home to Michigan yesterday."
"Was she mad you were coming with us?"
"No. Why would she be?"
"I don't know. She doesn't like me and Rachel."
"Oh, come on. She likes… Rachel," he finished weakly. Monica grinned.
"I'm always nice, I don't get it."
"I think she's just threatened by you."
Monica looked at him, eyebrows raised. "Why? All your friends just think of me as Ross's little sister. I'm not exactly a threatening figure."
"Maybe it's because you're sarcastic and get my humor."
"Who says I get your humor?"
"See? Point proven."
"Fine. Or maybe it's because you're spending the holidays with me and my brother instead of your girlfriend."
Chandler reddened. "No. She doesn't mind. We're not serious enough for me to go with her, anyway."
Monica shot him a "whatever-you-say" look and turned to face out the window. They were almost home.
"What's your mom doing for Christmas?" Monica asked quietly.
"Skiing in Aspen. With a guest," Chandler replied. "I was invited. But ya know. Three's a crowd."
Monica tried not to look over at him. If it were her, she would hate getting a sympathetic look right now.
"Well, my parents are thrilled you're staying with us for a few weeks. Keeps Ross entertained, anyway," Monica joked.
Chandler laughed. "And how about you? Big plans for break?"
"Not really. Rach and I are excited to see some of our friends from high school. I think it'll be weird to be back."
"Nah. It'll be just like it used to be."
Monica looked out the window again as they turned onto her street. The street she'd rode bikes on with Ross, the street she'd had her first driving lesson on, the street she'd ran down hundreds of millions of times to Rachel's house. It suddenly seemed smaller to her.
"I don't know. I feel different already," she said as Ross pulled into the driveway.
That night, after dinner, Monica was helping her mom with the dishes in the kitchen and the boys and Jack were in the living room watching a football game. Rachel had gone home to her own family hours ago.
"So how does it feel to be home?" Judy asked her daughter, handing her a plate to dry. Monica smiled.
"Weird, but good," she replied. It was the truth. Her house had never felt stranger, or better, than it did that night. Her relationship with her mother had, ironically, improved tenfold after she had left for school. It was almost like it took missing each other to show them how much they meant to one another. Six months ago, standing in this kitchen alone with her mother would have been Monica's personal vision of hell. Judy would have been critical, and Monica would have been overly sensitive, and it would have ended in one of them storming out. But tonight, they were just a regular mother and daughter, enjoying each other's company, and cleaning up after dinner.
"Poor Chandler, no family to go to on Christmas," Judy sighed. "I feel horrible for him."
Monica shrugged. "I think it's kind of nice having him here."
"Well, after the past three years he is starting to feel like one of the family. The sarcastic, neurotic cousin we never had, or something." Monica laughed.
Chandler and Ross walked in at that moment, taking seats at the kitchen table.
"What's for dessert?" Ross asked.
"Whatever you go out and pick up," Judy replied teasingly. "Monica, do you think you can finish up here?"
"Sure," she replied. Judy excused herself, and Chandler got up to help her finish drying the dishes.
"You guys want to go get ice cream?" Ross asked.
"Sure," Chandler replied, as Monica asked "Can Rachel come?"
"What, too cool to be seen out with just your big brother and his friend?" Ross teased.
Monica grinned back. "I just thought I'd round out the male to female ratio."
"Tell her to be ready in ten minutes," Ross said. "I'll ask mom and dad if they want anything."
Ten minutes later, on their way out the door, Chandler's phone rang. Ross was already starting the car, and Monica stopped at the door as he answered it.
"Hello? Hey, Ev… Actually, I'm on my way out, we're getting ice cream. What? No… no, I didn't mean that. Wait. Sorry. Give me one second." He covered the phone with his hand. "Hey, can you bring me back mint chocolate chip? I have to talk to her," Chandler said, rolling his eyes. Monica grinned.
"Sure," she said, leaving the house and driving to Rachel's house next to her brother. Chandler was right, it was just like old times; after dinner ice cream trips with her brother and her best friend. As they stopped at the old traffic light across from their elementary school, she looked at Ross, who was finally smiling, at a joke Rachel had just told, and thought of the warmth of their house, with her mom, dad, and Chandler waiting for their ice cream. The corners of her mouth turned up in a slow smile. She was home.
Oh oh oh- don't you forget to review!!!! Should I keep going?