: this is not only a tribute to one of my favourite pre-mondler moments, it also brings back the mush, which I enjoy reading by other authors. More mush please! Lol Please review!:
In the Dim Light
Phoebe walked slowly through the hallways, soon coming to a stop outside Chandler and Joey's apartment. She felt thoroughly depressed. It had been twenty-four hours since she had last seen Scott, and it sounded like she would never hear from him again.
She looked at her watch. 7a.m. Phoebe had been walking around Central Park since the early hours, trying to make some sense of her life. She'd been thinking about what Joey said the previous day. Had begging Scott to sleep with her played right into the guy's hands?
She hadn't planned for it to turn out that way. Phoebe had been dating Scott for a couple of weeks now, and she had been confused about the constant mixed signals she was getting from him. Still, once Joey had said that Scott was his 'God' she couldn't help feeling like trash.
She sighed deeply. It had been a crazy few days all round. Rachel was still in denial about her feelings for Ross, and had even gone so far as to go on a date the previous evening. She wondered how it had all went. She had a gut feeling that the date probably didn't go well, as Rachel had been in a pretty frenzied mood all day.
"Ross and that stupid cat," Phoebe muttered, shaking her head. To Rachel, the announcement by Ross and Julie that they were getting a pet was just another way of phrasing 'we're moving in together'… only without the hassle of moving furniture around.
As for what Chandler had been doing for the past few days, Phoebe had to suppress a giggle. After an offhand remark from herself about his weight, Chandler had gone on a serious fitness regime, taking advice from Monica. Unfortunately, Monica had taken the fitness instructing a little too far and now Chandler could hardly walk without screaming in pain.
Phoebe grinned to herself, wondering if Chandler would attempt to get out of bed this morning. She remembered Monica telling her hours ago that she planned to wake Chandler up as early as possible so that they could go out for a run. Phoebe knew that Chandler would not go for this idea somehow.
Despite the pain though, she was quite sure that Chandler was enjoying spending so much one-on-one time with Monica. They had always been close since their college days, and their relationship fascinated Phoebe immensely.
She decided to walk in the apartment now, and see if Chandler was in the middle of warming up. After the week she'd had, Phoebe needed a laugh.
She closed the door behind her, and was surprised to see the apartment empty. The curtains were still closed, indicating that it was still too early. Assuming the boys were still asleep, Phoebe walked very quietly through the room, coming to a stop by the couch. She was shocked to see Monica curled up on the cushions, an afghan covering her body loosely. What was she doing there?
Then she heard a sound come from Chandler's room. It sounded like he was getting out of bed. Knowing that Chandler would be worried to see her standing there in clothes from the previous night, and so obviously looking a bit worse for wear, Phoebe rushed to the bathroom and hid behind the door. She left a gap so she could see what was going on. She was curious to know why Monica would be sleeping in Chandler and Joey's apartment.
In the dim light, she watched as Chandler walked out of his room, seemingly coming near towards the bathroom. Instead, to her surprise, he stopped dead in the centre of the room.
Phoebe realised that Monica's sleeping form had caught his attention. She watched as a rush of warmth appeared on his features and he all of a sudden looked like a different person. Phoebe knew that Chandler had a soft, kind heart but he had always been careful not to show it too much. Now though, alone in this dark apartment, his real feelings were right there on the surface. His eyes seemed to fill up with this raw emotion as he walked closer to Monica, a little smile shaping his lips. Phoebe's heart thudded as she watched him kneel down by the couch and stroke the top of Monica's head with almost trembling fingers.
"Hmmm," Phoebe heard Monica mumble, her eyes still closed. "How long have I been here?"
"Shh. It's ok." Chandler whispered softly. "Just go back to sleep. It's still early." He moved Monica slightly so he could lie down next to her. She snuggled her head against his shoulder as he wrapped his arms around her.
"Sorry, I am just so tired." Monica whispered.
Phoebe continued watching the scene, slightly confused as she heard Chandler whispering back, "sorry, that was my fault."
"Huh?" Monica whispered sleepily.
"You just stay positive about that new job, ok?" Chandler told her, tilting his head towards her, watching her sleep. "One is going to come along that will be absolutely perfect for you. And that goes for boyfriends too. Who wouldn't want you?"
For a brief moment, Phoebe suddenly wished Chandler was looking at her like that. It made her think of David, and how he should be here in New York looking at her in a way that made it difficult for her to breathe, not trying to change the world in a laboratory far away in another country.
"Hmm," Monica responded now, half-asleep.
Phoebe felt her eyes fill with tears as she listened to Chandler talk. "…and if you still can't find a guy's shoulder to cry on… come to me. I'll always be here for you Monica Geller. You could never disappoint me."
He lifted his hand and lightly stroked Monica's cheek, knowing she was asleep now.
Phoebe wondered how long Chandler had harboured these apparently deep feelings for Monica. He had known her for almost ten years. He'd watched her heart being broken by so many losers, had been there to wipe away her tears. Had there ever been a time when Chandler wasn't there for Monica? Phoebe really could not think of one. It seemed so obvious now. Chandler had always been in love with Monica since Phoebe had known him. Hell, that afghan was the whole metaphor for Chandler's love for Monica. Even though it was in Chandler and Joey's apartment, the afghan originally belonged to Monica. A few years before, Chandler had caught a heavy cold and Monica had loaned him the afghan to keep him warm during the cold winter mornings. After he had got better, Chandler had kept that afghan, leaving it draped on the couch. Once, when Monica was sick, Chandler had bought it back over to her apartment, saw her sleeping on the couch and draped it on her body. Phoebe and Rachel had seen this simple, but meaningful gesture. Neither of them spoke of it afterwards, simply not thinking at the time that Chandler's kindliness had meant more than just being a good friend.
Did Monica know Chandler felt this way? Phoebe was almost certain of it. Monica had immediately known who was stroking her head minutes before…she had almost expected it. It was all so sweet to think that Chandler watched Monica sleep; only expressing his love by using an old, faded blanket. That way no one got hurt, no one had to change anything, no one had to open their soul and ruin a perfect friendship.
She watched as Chandler's body lay still beside Monica's. He had fallen asleep too.
Phoebe decided to take a chance and walked out of the bathroom. She paused by the couch, a wave of happiness spreading through her as she watched her two best friends sleep in each other's arms. They looked a perfect fit, totally natural. Chandler's face looked free of tension. Monica looked years younger. Each was sleeping with the person they cared about most.
She walked through the apartment door and back out into the cool hallway. Seeing such a naïve, innocent kind of love touched Phoebe's heart and she felt ten times happier than she had ever been before. There was hope after all. Somewhere in this sometimes cruel world, something had brought Chandler and Monica together, even if they didn't realise it yet.
She just hoped something would happen for them soon...and for her too.