I know, I know. New fic, not what I need. But I've had this idea in my head for quite awhile...so we'll see. It is post season ten, and revolves around Monica and her life, but it will also include everyone else quite a bit.
I know I might get reviews saying Monica would never turn into a mother like she is here, but just give it a chance. She could have changed. :) Plus, it's my fic.
Leave me a review if you'd like me to continue!
Disclaimer: I don't own anything. Okay:)
She smiles wide, her smooth velvet lips gliding across two rows of pearly white teeth.
Outside, she glows like the dawn.
And inside, she is screaming.
"Mommy, don't you wish you were a firecracker sometimes?" My five year old daughter, Erica, questions me, her bright blue eyes sparkling ferociously underneath the cheerful lighting of the grocery store.
I load barbeque potato chips and fruit punch in our silver shopping cart. It is Fourth of July weekend, and we are holding our fifth annual barbeque celebration.
And everything has to be perfect.
I mentally tick off grocery items in my head, even though it was Chandler's job to write it. The items just come to me naturally.
-Chips and dip
Erica continues her rambling, skipping down the tall aisles, her Velcro red sandals flapping largely on her feet. I smile at her and tussle her soft white-blond hair.
Ahead of her, Jack stacks his action figures atop a large display of pre-packaged chocolate chip cookies. I know he's waiting for me so he can beg for the treats. His watery eyes will tempt me, the invading tears heavily tipping down the baby soft slopes of his cheek will almost convince me that it's enough for unhealthy cookies.
But I won't give in; I never do.
"Mommy, don't you?" Erica tugs at the bottom of shirt.
"Don't I what, sweetheart?"
"Wish you were a firecracker?"
This is the first year that the kids are truly excited about the fourth of July. Prior to this, they were always afraid of the loud booming sounds. But this year, for whatever reason, both are ecstatic and want to see the fireworks.
Don't I wish I were a firecracker? What kind of question was that? Erica always surprises me. Jack is fairly straightforward, a bundle of energy and fire. But Erica is quieter and very precocious in a less obvious sort of way.
"Sure, sweetheart. I love fireworks."
"Don't you wish youwere one, though?"
I push the cart farther down the aisle, reaching for bottled water. "I don't know, it might be sort of hot."
"But fun," she insists.
"Okay, sweetie. Let's go get Jack."
She follows behind me, discouraged, as we seek out her twin brother. The chocolate chip cookies long abandoned, I now find him scaling the tower of toilet paper, action figures in tow.
"Jack, get down from there!" I yell, my face flushing a brilliant red. "Erica, stay right there."
She crosses her arms and leans against the wall, rolling her eyes at her brother's antics.
"Jack, you are so stupid, why would you climb toilet paper?" Erica screeches up the tower.
With one hand, I grab Jack's left arm as I reprimand Erica for saying 'stupid.'
When we reach the ground, I breathe a sigh of relief. No one is around to see us.
"Jack, what were you thinking?" I yell, and immediately I am sorry.
His blue eyes water with tears. "I wanted to see the top, Mommy."
"Why?" I sigh exasperatedly.
"To see what everything looked like from up there."
"Oh, sweetie," I scoop him into my arms. "I would have lifted you up to see."
"It's not the same."
"All right." I pat his head and set him down...but I know what he means.
With Jack in tow, Erica and I resume pushing the cart. The check-out line is in sight when I hear a scream behind me.
It is Jack.
He throws himself down on the ground, pounding the linoleum with his small fists. "Mamaaaaaaaaa!"
I race over to him. "What, sweetie, what?"
"I lost my toys! My toys, my toys, my toys, my toys!"
"Jack, what, where did you lose them?" I run my fingers through my hair as I feel the eyes from my fellow shoppers and mothers burn through my bright red skin.
He stands up and pushes our cart into the shelves, causing magazines and bubble gum to scatter haphazardly across the floor. "What did you do with my toys, Erica?"
Erica opens her eyes wide, innocent. I mentally plead with her, please don't scream. In a quiet voice, she whispers, "Jacky, I don't have them. They're still by the toilet paper."
A stout woman holding onto her three precious and well-mannered children retrieves Jack's action figures.
"Here you go, sweetie." She hands them to me, not Jack, calling me sweetie, not my child. Her eyes are sympathetic, but not understanding. "Having twins must be hard, huh?"
I lift Jack into the cart and wipe sweat from my brow. "Yeah, just a bit."
"Well, good luck."
She leaves, and the crowd surrounding us disappears.
"Mommy, did you give Jack his medicine today?" Erica asks me.
A horrible thought crosses my mind. Did I?
Shit. Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit.
Between grocery shopping, cleaning the house, and an early morning spat with Chandler, Jack's daily Ritalin had been long forgotten.
"Okay, guys, we've got to get home." I urge Erica though the line, tossing our groceries on the conveyer belt.
Jack climbs out of the cart right before I can catch him. "Don't go anywhere!" I yell.
"Ma'am, is that all you would like?" The cashier has finished ringing up our items.
Jell-O, hot dogs, punch, chips and dip, beer, barbeque sauce, water, and balloons roll across the counter. "Yeah, that should be it," I say as I take out my list.
But they're not on there. "Shit."
The cashier's eyes flutter quickly. What, has she never seen a mother cuss before? "Did you forget something?" She speaks carefully, almost as if she is afraid of me.
"Yeah." I glance over at Jack, who is pretending to ride on a mechanical horse, and Erica, who still stands serenely by our cart. "Will you watch them?" I ask the dumbfounded cashier.
"Okay, just for a minute, right?"
I take it she witnessed Jack's outburst.
"I'll be quick."
My worn flip-flops bounce against the ground, and I wonder how I got like this. Only five years ago, I was so well put together, clean and stable. Now, I'm an absolute train-wreck. It sounds so cliche to say that having kids really can undo a woman, but in my case it's true. Between Jack's ADD, Erica being spacey, house mortgage, Chandler's job, and my full time job as a mother, life has been hard.
I scan the brightly colored toiletries for tampons. My mind wanders as I try to find the brand I like. This past year has gone by so fast, life is moving rapidly these days. I used to sit in a coffee house in my spare time. Now, I sleep, in the rare time I get alone.
It seems like yesterday that we were holding our last fourth of July party. I can almost taste the watermelon, see Rachel, Ross, Phoebe and Joey trying to avoid our sprinkler system, hear all of our children splashing in the crystalline water.
I grab a box of Playtex and proceed down the aisle.
And so many children--Wait.
My last period was in May. It is now July.
My heart beats in my ears as I return to the check out counter. Why am I late? I'm never late. Never. Half the time, I'm early. Maybe it's menopause. Yeah, that's it. I'm just old.
Forty, though? Is it really that old these days?
I can't even be pregnant. Not now, not ever. It's physically impossible, we've been analyzed again and again.
"We'll keep trying." Chandler's words boom in my mind.
We've had sex lately, but not for a baby. In fact, the only sex we've had lately has been make-up sex.
And it's not even that good anymore.
So I can't be pregnant. No. There's no way in hell. I'm too freaking old.
"Demi Moore- Baby at 45!" People magazine proudly proclaims.
Yeah, but she's had Botox. That makes a big difference. I have wrinkles now, lots of them. And not even just on my face, that's the scary part.
I consider my thoughts carefully. Why am I upset at this possible child? I love my kids more than life itself, more than cooking, more than cleaning.
So why would having another baby mess up my already chaotic life?
A mother juggling four kids teeters past me, nearly knocking me over with her two carts.
I pivot on my heel, making a dark scuff mark with my shoe. How the hell did my flip flop manage that?
The white among the dark drastically stands out. There's nothing like messing with perfection; I should damn well know.
Breathing in deep, I grab a pregnancy test. And then I run, racing back through the maze of aisles, just in time to see Jack once again trying to climb his Everest- the toilet paper tower. I can't forget to give him his medicine again.
"Jack Charles Bing! Get DOWN from there!" He falls before I can catch him, landing on a bed of Charmin. If Chandler were here, he'd make some lame pun. "He's so charmin'" I could see him saying.
But I only sigh; for now, at least, I am all out of yells. "Come on, sweetie. Let's go."
Erica stares off into space, not registering in on the situation. "Mommy, when will we see the firecrackers?"
"Tonight, sweetie." I lean heavily against the counter, catching my breath. My world is spinning around me.
"Did you find what you were looking for?"
I notice the cashier once again. "Oh, yeah. Thanks for watching them, by the way."
I didn't mean it to be sarcastic, but I guess that's how it sounded. Her face melted a deep red. "I-I'm sorry, ma'am. I had another customer."
"No, don't worry about it," I look at her nametag, "Heather. Just don't go grocery shopping with twins. Or forget to give your son his Ritalin," I add.
"I don't have kids. I'm twenty-two."
I mean, no. That came out wrong. I just mean that she has a lot of life ahead of her before she has to start living through people thirty-five years younger than she.
"Enjoy it while you can," I joke, and begin to walk away without paying or handing her the test.
"Ma'am!" She calls out after me. "You didn't give me your last item. Or pay." She bites her nails; I'll bet it's one of her bad habits. If there's anything I've learned from being a mother, it is that everyone has bad habits.
"Jesus. I'm so sorry." I drag the cart back and pull out my wallet.
"Did you want to buy..." Heather trails off, gesturing towards the item in my hand.
"Oh. Yeah." I place the pregnancy test on the counter and her eyes open wider than saucers.
Heather attempts to smile at me, but it comes out of pity. "Good luck." I don't know if she means with our possible baby, my possible menopause, or the twins.
"Thanks," and I don't know what I'm talking about either. I never do these days.
She throws in a pack of gum from behind her. "Happy Fourth of July. Consider the gum as a gift."
"Thank you." I smile, and for a second I feel like an adult again. I am poised, tall, tanned, and glamorous. I look down at Heather's nails; they are perfect. Go figure.
And then I come crashing down. My shirt has a spaghetti stain running across it, I have the most God-awful farmer's tan, and the only reason I feel tall is because I am standing on the cart's bottom rung, trying to spot my children among the masses.
"Mommy, Mommy!" I can hear Erica's voice ringing through the crowd.
Pushing the cart, I bellow, "Here I come!"
"Mommy, Jack is trying to climb inside the machine that has the claw!"
"The claw?" In my mind, I have a horrible image of a construction site.
"The one with the toys," she rolls her eyes.
"Jack! Don't do that!" I grab him by his shirt and put him in the cart, the only place where he's apparently safe. "Why did you put your head inside the bottom of that, huh?" I smile in spite of myself, but mostly just to show the surrounding mothers that I am not the equivalent of a Mother Stalin.
"You told me you weren't going to buy me anymore toys until Christmas, so I wanted to steal some."
I groan. "Jack, I meant that you and Erica had a lot of toys and got a lot of birthday presents. I was joking. I will buy you more toys, okay? We don't steal."
"Daddy steals third every time we play baseball," Erica chimes in.
"No it's not, Mommy. You told Daddy that was wrong, too."
What are they, trying to form a regime against me?
"I was joking, sweetie."
"So are you joking now, Mommy?" Jack's hair is falling in his eyes, and I want so badly to push it away. If we have another baby, I think, I will run out of hands. So it's settled; we can't.
But I've wanted to get pregnant for so long. Maybe I'm just having a bad day.
No, I think. Every day for the past two years has been 'just a bad day.'
"No, Jack, I'm very serious now. We don't steal."
We trudge towards the automatic doors, but not before I can hear Heather's voice again.
"Ma'am! You forgot some things!" She runs towards me, pregnancy test and Double Mint gum in hand.
"What's that, Mommy?" Jack asks.
"Yeah, what did you forget?" Erica looks worried. In her mind, I never forget anything.
"Uh...a game." It is thesmartest lie I can come up with.
"A game!" They both squeal.
Okay. That wasn't so smart.
"Have a good night..." Heather searches for my name.
"Monica," I offer. "My name is Monica."
She grins. "Don't forget your gum."
Right. Now that I have gum, my life is complete. I can never decide when that moment will occur, but apparently it is now.
"I won't. Have a good night, Heather."
"You, too, Monica." She walks away, back to her counter. I wish I could hide behind it like she does, but my job is to simply walk by it.
Walking out to the car, Jack asks me such a simple question. "Mommy, can we play the game when we get home?"
I laugh. "Sure, sweetie."
"Mommy, why is that funny?" Erica wonders.
"It just is." Everything becomes funny when you go crazy.
"Okay," she sings in a high voice. "But I don't think it's funny."
I giggle once more. "Now that's funny!" I tap her on the nose.
Why, ten minutes ago, did I think having another child would be so bad? Actually, in fact, it might be kind of great in a way. It is what I've always wanted, just like Jack and Erica.
A woman in her twenties with two kids waltzes by us on her four inch high heels. I'll bet she never wears flip-flops. Come to think of it, I never used to either.
I am so busy watching her and her perfect children breeze by us, I don't realize the lack of distance between the cart and my car. We crash into it, creating a large scratch against its shiny black skin.
Erica's jaw drops. "Mommy, that's one of the bad words!"
"I know, Erica, but sometimes we have to say them."
"Shit!" Jack screams. "Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit!"
I've scarred my car, corrupted my children, and realized how disgruntled I've become.
From the opened doors of my Volvo, I can hear the twins singing praises to the word 'shit' to the tune of "Roll, roll, roll your boat."
Well, like I said before, there is nothing like messing up perfection.
And I do know.
Pushing my cart dangerously close to the aisles of cars, I slide down the side of my car, adding another stain to my already tainted shirt.
I have to be ready for ten guests coming over in three hours. Jack needs his medicine, Erica keeps asking about fireworks, Chandler and I are fighting, and I need a shower badly.
Oh, and my infertile wasteland could quite possibly be newly inhabited. I know I should be happy, but...
Thank you for reading! I hope everyone has a safe and happy Fourth of July weekend...if you are American. :) And even if not, have a great weekend!
Leave me a review if you like it and think I should continue. I know it's different, but...we'll see. :) lol.