Severe writers block lately, as you might have noticed, so i thought I'd do a little stand-alone. It's depressing in an uplifting kind of way. Please just read and review. This WILL be the only chapter. Lilian xxx
"Erica! Jack! Breakfast, now!" came the chirpy sound of Monica's voice from the kitchen.
A tall, blonde haired young woman sat up in bed, rubbing at her eyes. Was it already time to wake up? She stared blearily at the clock, and realised it was already ten minutes past nine. She had to be at school in less than an hour-having no lessons in period one was a good thing, but it usually meant she overslept, telling herself that she could lie in.
"Jack!" she grumbled, pulling on her dressing gown and knocking on the door that seperated her room from his. "Breakfast! It's gone nine, we've got to be ready soon."
The door opened and her twin brother stood in the doorway, already washed and dressed, ready for school. He grinned at his sister as she glared at him. "I'm already ready," he said smugly, sticking his tongue out at her in an immature way.
"Why didn't you wake me?" she exclaimed, her voice shrieking as she followed him down the stairs. "You know I hate over-sleeping. Now I have to hurry and get ready. I'll have no time to straighten my hair!" she groaned.
"You looked so peaceful, laying there, I didn't want to disturb you," he said, reaching the bottom of the stairs. He sounded sincere, but as he turned round a wicked glint appeared in his eye. "So-who's Peter?"
Erica looked shocked, and pulled her dressing gown round her a bit more. "I.. I don't know what you're refering to," she said, feeling herself go red.
"Yeah right. "Oh Peter... I love you Peter... do you love me, Peter?" Jack said, mimicking his sister's sleep-talking. "And you don't know what I'm refering to?"
Erica was furious, and slapped his forehead. Monica heard the comotion and came out to the stairs. "Hey, guys, what's the problem?" she asked, wiping her hand across her cheek. "You're too old to have play-fights now."
Erica glared at Jack. "Nothing, mom," she said angrily, and pushed past the two of them to go into the kitchen. Jack grinned at his sister's back, but looked solemn as he turned back to look at his mom. She seemed older suddenly. She'd never recovered from...
"Jack," Monica said wearily. "Please just cut out the irritating habits you seem to have picked up. You know that Erica.. is feeling fragile, these days."
Her son looked sincerely guilty suddenly, and Monica wished she hadn't said anything. Sighing, she pulled him into a hug, which he didn't mind. There was no one around to tease him. Sometimes the only way he forgot was by teasing and annoying other people. It reminded him of the fun he used to have with Chandler. He hiccuped as he felt a lump in his throat, and Monica eventually let go of him, staring into his eyes.
"Jack, you've got to look after your sister now. She missed your dad so much. I know you do, too," she said, cutting him off as he opened his mouth to protest. "But, come on, Jack. You're the man of the family now." She smiled at him lovingly. She didn't like to put any extra burden on her son, but she knew that he liked being thought of as the one in charge. The one who looked after everyone else. He felt like he was needed, which he enjoyed.
"I'm sorry, Mom," he said, kissing her cheek. "I know you're still hurting. I am too. It's just, sometimes, I feel I have to hide it... I don't want to be thought of as the big baby who just cries all the time. Because sometimes... that's how I feel," he admitted. Monica nodded, understanding. He continued. "Sometimes all I want to do is just cry, but I know I have to carry on. For dad. He'd want us to carry on."
Monica nodded, not being able to talk. She motioned for him to go and sit with his sister, and, after touching his mother's hand gently, he left her, to go and apologise. Monica sat on the stairs, gazing out of the window nearby, out into the garden. Chandler had been working on it only weeks before. The seeds he'd planted were blooming into beautiful flowers. Joey had joked that Chandler was turning into an old woman, but Chandler had just laughed and carried on. He'd never tried gardening before, and was amazed at how good he appeared to be at it. Monica encouraged it-she didn't enjoy him helping her in the kitchen. The only thing he could do was toast, and even then it often ended up blackened and hard.
She heard Jack apologising to Erica, and Erica forgiving him. She smiled to herself. Her babies... now they were 17. She couldn't believe that she was married to Chandler for 20 years. Those years seemed to fly by, and now they were over. She had known him practically all her life, and loved him for most of that time. She had been lucky to find her prince, her soulmate. Not many people could say that they had been so lucky. And she had two beautiful children. She never even thought to herself how they were not really her children. She knew that they were just as much her children as if she had actually given birth to them. Her and Chandler loved them as their own. Erica and Jack knew that they were adopted- Monica and Chandler had thought it important that they knew. They had met Erica Senior a few times, but there was no bond between them. Apart from receiving a phone call a couple of times a year, they had little other contact, but they didn't mind. They thought of Monica and Chandler as their real mom and dad.
"Oh, Chandler," Monica breathed out. "Why did you leave us?"
She couldn't talk anymore, and just let herself cry, knowing it would be over soon. She would get back to work, perhaps get a visit from Ross and Rachel, or maybe Emma would stop by and say hello. Emma was only a couple of years older than Jack and Erica, and the three got on well. She often dropped by to say hello to her aunt, while she was having a break from college life. Monica loved Emma almost as if she was her own daughter. There was a real bond between the two of them, and both felt it.
"Mom?" called Erica from the kitchen. "Are you alright?"
Monica stood up, wiping the tears from her face. "I'm fine, sweetheart," she said. "I'll be in there in a minute."
Before she went back to the kitchen, she wandered into the living room. Photos of Chandler and herself were everywhere. Photos of the two of them holding the twins, as babies, dotted the fireplace, and a family portrait hung above them. Monica looked hard at the picture. Chandler didn't look ill at all. It was still a mystery, exactly why he had died. The coroner had told her that there was going to have to be an inquest, and Monica had nearly fainted. She thought that they would suspect that she had killed him. The coroner assured her it was nothing like that, but Monica hadn't felt much better. Then, the day before the inquest was due, she received another phonecall, telling her that they had established the cause of death. He had a blocked artery which had never been discovered. He would have died without any pain.
They always said that though, Monica thought glumly, as she wiped one of the photo frames. "He didn't suffer." How would they know? They didn't know him. No one knew him like she knew him.
She felt another load of tears about to escape her, but something inside her stopped. The curtain was blowing gently in the breeze, and she felt a rush of air breeze around her. She suddenly felt calm again. She felt loved. She couldn't describe the feeling, but she knew, somehow, that Chandler was watching her, watching the family... and that he still loved her.
She didn't believe in heaven. It was too much to expect. Another life, continuing? She had always discussed it with Chandler before, and his response had always been the same-surely if there was a heaven, it would be overcrowded by now? Monica had always laughed at him, but recently she had begun to wonder. What if there was an afterlife? Maybe not heaven, but maybe something similar to ghosts. She had felt a presence around her ever since Chandler had passed away. Maybe he was with her, in spirit. She smiled at the absurdness of it, but still, she felt calmer than she had for a few weeks.
"Mom!" Erica screamed from the bathroom. "I have to shower, and Jack won't let me use it! He's already ready! Mom, tell him!"
Monica smiled to herself. "See what you've left me with?" she asked an imaginary Chandler. She focussed her gaze on the photo of them, at their wedding. "Thank you," she whispered. She wasn't sure why she said it. Thank you for those years of love. Thank you for providing her with a stable home. Thank you for giving her a loving family? She didn't know, and she didn't care. All she knew at that moment was that he had heard her thanks, and for that, she was grateful. He had died with his whole family around him. He had died knowing he was loved. It must have been the greatest feeling, Monica thought to herself. To know that when you left, you would be missed.
She heard Erica shrieking again, and she laughed. "Coming!" she called. "Jack, get out of there!" She left the room, closing the door, to the room that had almost become a shrine to the man that everyone loved, gently behind her.
What did you think? It is just a standalone, which I think most of you will be grateful for. :) I never really read any fanfics where Chandler dies and Monica is left with the children. It always seems to be the other way round. Pointless story really.. but I guess it just shows how much they love each other. "shrugs". Please review! xx