Disclaimer: I own nothing. All characters are being borrowed and will be returned safely.
Summary: Mid-season five, only Joey know aboutM&C. Monica confronts Chandler aboutmaking their relationship public, but she doesn't think through her words and he takes them to mean something much worse. Major MC.
Monica felt her conscious slowly fighting its way to the surface as she tried unsuccessfully to cling to a few last minutes of sleep. The first thing she became aware of were the two strong arms wrapped tightly around her middle. She smiled to herself, remembering years ago when he had been complaining about not wanting to snuggle in bed with his girlfriend at the time. Now, even on nights where they fell asleep not touching his sleeping body seemed to migrate towards hers. She could feel his rhythmic breathing on the back of her neck, and if she tried hard enough, was even able to feel a faint heartbeat through her back. She sighed happily to herself, enjoying every sensation surrounding her: the warmth and comfort from the man sleeping behind her, the quiet silence of the room, the sunlight just missing her eyes-
Monica jolted upright, pulling out of Chandler's grasp, causing him to groan in frustration. "Damn," Monica muttered, glancing at the clock. "Chandler, wake up."
Chandler shook his head, having replaced her sleeping body with a pillow and was drifting deeper into sleep.
Monica rolled her eyes. "Chandler, its almost eight-thirty. We overslept."
This elicited another groan from her boyfriend, and I tired, "so?"
"What if Rachel's up and I can't sneak back into my room? How am I going to get ready for work?"
"You're working the dinner shift today, you don't have to start getting ready for hours." He was slowly waking up.
"Oh, right," she said, wondering how he remembered that and she hadn't. "Well, you still have to get to work."
"Why?" He was blinking sleepily at her, trying to sit up beside her.
Monica smiled and ran a hand through his disheveled hair. "Because, sweetie. Eventually they're going to fire you if you don't go in."
Chandler groaned and swung his legs over the side of the bed, and struggled to stand up. "Fine," he muttered. "I have to go have a shower, you okay sneaking back by yourself?"
Monica giggled. "I don't think you coming with me would make it any less incriminating."
Chandler glared at her. "It's too early for you to be witty."
"Too early? It's eight-thirty. That's not early."
"Well," Chandler said, raising an eyebrow at her. "Somebody kept me up last night."
Monica smiled. "Hey, if that's a problem, I can stop coming over."
"On second thought..."
Monica laughed. "I thought so. So, it's too late to have breakfast, but I'll see you tonight?"
Chandler nodded. "Yeah, I'll be over when I'm sure Rachel is out." With that he kissed her forehead and headed to the bathroom.
After a quick shower, Chandler left the bathroom to find Ross, Rachel and Phoebe sitting in his living room. "Hey guys. What are you doing here?" Ross had moved out about a month before.
"Hey, you come over to our apartment everyday, mister. Why is it you question us every time we're over here?"
Chandler laughed at Rachel. "We come over there, cause you have food. You know you're welcome over here anytime, but we don't have much in the sense of breakfast food."
Rachel mock-glared at him for a moment before relenting. "Fine."
"So," he ventured again. "What are you doing here?"
"It was only the three of us this morning, so we came looking," Phoebe offered. "We didn't know where you guys were."
"Well, I overslept," Chandler answered. "And Joey had a date last night, I guess they stayed at her place."
"You don't happen to know where Monica is?" Phoebe asked.
Chandler felt his pulse jump a little bit. "N-no, why would I know where Monica was?"
Rachel gave him a strange look before continuing. "Just in case. I woke up this morning and her room was empty, she must have been up early."
Chandler shrugged. "Maybe she's at the restaurant?"
"Maybe," Rachel said, not seeming too worried.
"So, is that all?"
"Why, you trying to get rid of us?"
"No, of course not. I was just wondering."
"Good, cause we're not going anywhere. You're going to learn what its like to have squatters in your apartment for once."
"We're so not that bad."
Rachel raised an eyebrow, "oh, really? We'll just have to see about that," and with that she made a show of making herself quite comfortable on the barcalounger.
"O-kay," Chandler said. "Well, I have to go get dressed."
Chandler wasn't surprised to find Monica sitting on his bed when he returned. "I don't think they're going anywhere," he whispered.
Monica offered a half-smile. "Yeah, I heard. Phoebe actually came in here to see if you were here. If she hadn't of knocked first I wouldn't have had time to dive behind the bed."
Chandler laughed. "Sorry bout this."
Monica yawned. She seemed distracted. "Not your fault."
"You okay to stick around here until they leave?"
Monica shrugged. "Yeah, Rachel will probably leave right after you. She's just making a point."
"Yeah, I noticed." Chandler said, as he stripped down to his boxers and proceeded to pull on some work clothes. "Do you want me to wait with you?"
"No," Monica said. "I'll be fine. Plus, I don't think Rachel's gonna leave before you."
"I feel bad leaving you."
Monica opened her mouth as if to say something, but closed her mouth again. "I'll be fine," she finally repeated.
"Nothing," she shook her head, avoiding his eyes.
"Hey, what were you going to say?" He used a softer voice.
"It's really not something we should talk about now."
"Well, now you gotta tell me what it is, or it's going to bug me all day."
Monica hesitated for a moment before meeting his eyes. "I don't think I can do this anymore."
Chandler felt his blood run cold at her words. "What?"
"I was thinking while I was stuck on the floor behind your bed. I just don't think I can do this anymore."
"But I thought it was going so well?"
"Yeah, but it was never supposed to last, Chandler. We both know that. Six months is long enough, don't you think?"
Chandler couldn't believe she was asking him that. He had recently begun to think that, just maybe, it would last forever. He loved her, he was sure of it, and she had told him that she loved him too. He didn't know what to say. "I-I don't know why you're doing this. I thought we were both happy?"
"We were, Chandler, and we had a lot of fun, but its not as fun anymore. Look, I don't know why you're acting like this. We both knew it wouldn't keep going like this forever."
"And I know that it seemed like a good idea at the time, but now I'm beginning to think it was a mistake. I mean it was fun and exciting, but now I want something more."
Chandler was silent.
"Hey, we can talk about it later. You have to get to work."
Chandler shook his head. "No, we don't have to talk later. You're right. Of course you were right. I have to go."
"You okay over there?"
Chandler nodded, forcing a fake smile to his lips. "Of, course. I'll see you later," he muttered as he opened the door and left the room, shutting it behind him. Once in the living room, he muttered a short 'bye' to the friends still camped out in his living room. He paused once out in the hall. He didn't want to go to work, but could stay at home, as she was in his room. He sighed and closed his eyes. His heart hurt. How could she not feel the same things he did? They had been so happy, even this morning, what had changed? He felt his eyes begin to well, but forced the tears back down. He would not allow himself to cry over this. Obviously this had meant more to him then to her, and he made a quick promise to himself that he would never let her know that. He had opened himself up to her once, but he would make sure never to do that again.
Monica shook her head as Chandler left, dismissing his strange behavior as him just having one of his relationship moments. Even after six months together he still got worried about little things. Monica was tired of having to hide their relationship. They were doing really well and she was sure they were ready. She hoped he would realize where she was coming from. She'd have to wait until that night to talk to him. She heard the gang leave just minutes after Chandler did, and waited around for another hour before venturing across the hall, making sure Rachel had left before entering the apartment, not wanting to even attempt explaining her absence that morning.
After a long day at work, Monica returned home, had a quick shower and went to bed with a book. It was late, but she really looking forward to seeing Chandler before she went to sleep. She was no longer worried about his reaction this morning; having convinced herself it wasn't that big a deal. She noticed that it was getting late; he was usually over by now. But she passed it off, convinced he had simply gotten side tracked by Rachel, who she had heard get up to go to the bathroom a few minutes before. He was likely just playing it safe, waiting for Rachel to go back to sleep.
Across the hall, Chandler lay awake in bed, unable to sleep. He had had a horrible day, totally unable to get his mind off of her, as hard as he tried. He missed her already and dreaded the thought of having to see her the next day, knowing it would take him longer to be able to be in the same room as her. By four-thirty it was apparent he was not going to get any rest that night, so he got up and dressed and was out the door before five.
Only two short hours later Monica awoke to her alarm, to find her lamp still on beside her bed and her book lying next to her. She must have fallen asleep reading. She moaned and stretched out on the bed, wondering what had happened to Chandler the night before. He had never shown up. Maybe he fell asleep? She thought to herself. She slowly got up, smiling at the thought of seeing him at breakfast. But he never showed up at breakfast. She had a plate of pancakes all ready for him, when Joey arrived.
"Hey, Joe. Is Chandler coming over?"
Joey shrugged. "I thought he was already here. I checked his room before I came over. He's not there."
"You don't know where he is?" Monica was a little worried.
Joey shook his head, giving her a strange look. He was the only one who knew that the two of them were dating and wondered why she didn't know where he was. "I haven't seen him in a couple days. I got home late yesterday and was at Sarah's the night before."
"Oh, okay," Monica said, still worried.
Ross shrugged. " Maybe he had an early meeting."
"Yeah," Monica nodded. "He must have."
"Hey, if he's not coming, can I have his pancakes too?"
Monica rolled her eyes and pushed the plate closer to Joey.
Chandler sighed as he stared unseeingly at the report in front of him. He had arrived at work well before six, and immediately set to work on anything that would keep his mind off Monica. The report in front of him was not due for another week, but he would likely have it done within the next hour. There was a knock at his door.
"Come in." He called.
"Chandler." It was his boss. "Steve told me you were in before he was this morning."
Chandler nodded. "Yes, sir. I came in at six."
Doug nodded approvingly. "Wanted to get a head start on that report, eh?"
Chandler shrugged and nodded hesitantly. "I guess you could say that."
"I like the way you work, Bing. You're going to go places, I can see it." And with that, Doug left his office.
Chandler sighed and rested his head down on his desk, banging a few times in frustration. He was so tired, but knew there was no way he could sleep without dreaming of her. It was going to be a long day. He had no intention of leaving his office before at least ten, hoping he could simply slip back into his apartment unnoticed by the others. He didn't want to face any of his friends right now. All he wanted to do was change into his sweats and not move off his chair for a year, but he was sure they would catch on.
The restaurant was exceptionally busy that day and it was well into the afternoon before Monica could take a short lunch break. She hurriedly made herself a sandwich and headed into the office to make a phone call. She dialed Chandler's office number from memory, as she called him almost every day, and punched in his extension, reaching his secretary.
"Chandler Bing's office, how can I help you?"
"Hi Martha, it's Monica. Can I speak to Chandler, please?"
"I'm sorry, he's in a meeting. Can I tell him you called?"
"Yeah, sure. Do you know when he'll be free?"
"I believe he's in meetings all day."
Martha hung up the phone, and replaced it in the cradle carefully. She shook her head, wondering what was going on in her boss's life. She had come into work this morning to find him already there, hard at work. This surprised her as he rarely came in on time, let alone early. His only instructions to her all day was not to forward any calls to him, especially from his girlfriend. Martha had been Chandler's secretary for a little over a year and had found him quite a nice, friendly man. She had gotten to know him quite well and couldn't believe the difference in him over the past six months. She had never known him to be so happy. She had even met Monica at an office party a few months back and had strong hopes for the couple. Now she wasn't so sure. Things didn't sound very good.
Dinner was just about over when Joey walked in to the girls apartment. "Is there any food left, I'm starving."
"Sure, Joe." Monica said, getting up to get some food out of the oven, where it was keeping warm. "Where's Chandler?"
Joey shrugged. "I don't know." He dumped his jacket on the back of a chair before collapsing in it.
"Is he not across the hall?" Ross asked.
Again, Joey shrugged. "I haven't been home yet. I came straight here."
"Do me a favor and go check?" Monica asked, afraid to go herself, as she didn't want anyone to ask questions.
"Do I have to?" Joey whined.
Monica nodded. "Or you don't get dinner." She was getting really worried, as she hadn't seen him in a day and a half and no one had heard from him.
Joey sighed dramatically and left the apartment. "Chandler?" He called out, once he was in his apartment. There was no answer. He checked Chandler's room to find it empty. He sighed, wondering where his roommate was and why his girlfriend didn't seem to know where he was. He grabbed the portable phone and punched in Chandler's work number, knowing off by heart from all of his prank calls.
Chandler jumped at the sound of his phone ringing. His secretary had long since gone home, leaving Chandler alone to screen his calls. He glanced at his office's newly acquired caller ID and recognized his own number. It was probably Joey wondering where he was. He hesitated before picking up the phone.
"Hey, its me, man. What are you still doing at work?"
"Just…trying to get stuff done."
"Well, do you think you could call and tell your girlfriend where you are? She's getting worried."
Chandler paused at Joey's words. "She's not worried."
Joey nodded, even though his roommate couldn't see him. "Yeah, man, she is. She made me come and look for you before she would give me dinner."
"I told you, she's worried. Chicks do this. If they don't hear from you, they freak out. So, will you call her, so I can go eat something?"
"No, but don't worry, she's not expecting to hear from me."
Joey paused, reading a deeper tone in Chandler's voice. "What's going on with you two?"
Chandler hesitated, knowing he couldn't really lie to Joey. "We broke up," he finally said.
"I-I don't know. Look, Joe, I really don't want to talk about it."
"But you guys seemed so happy." Joey stated, ignoring Chandler's second comment.
"I thought so too, but I guess you can never really know what someone else is thinking."
"So she broke up with you?" Joey asked slowly.
Chandler sighed, holding a hand to his forehead. "Yeah, yesterday morning."
Chandler sighed, knowing Joey wouldn't let him off the hook without telling him. "She said she had enough, that six months was long enough."
Joey's jaw dropped. "She actually said that!"
It was Chandler's turn to nod to himself. "Yeah, she called the whole thing a mistake," he said quietly. His eyes began to sting.
"I cannot believe she would say that!" Joey exclaimed. "I can't believe it," he repeated. "I was just over there and she was acting so normal."
Chandler felt his heart break a little more at Joey's words. He was alone at his office, unable to speak to anyone in person, and there was Monica, happily playing host to all their friends. Obviously their relationship hadn't meant nearly as much to her.
"I'm sorry, man," Joey said. "I really thought there was something special between you two."
"Yeah, me too and Joe?"
"Please don't make a scene when you go back over there? Just tell them I'm working on some big project or something. I just need some time, and I'll be fine. No one else ever needs to know."
"You gonna be okay?"
Chandler sighed. Of course he wasn't going to be okay. "I'll be fine, Joe. It's not like I've never been dumped before."
"Yeah, but this is different…"
"Look, I really have to go. I'll be home later." Chandler hung up the phone, tears now evident in his eyes.
Joey was silent for a few seconds, holding the phone in his hands. He could not believe Monica would do such a thing. He shook his head in anger as his grip tightened on the phone. It didn't matter how hungry he was, there was no way he was going to eat over there.
Monica looked up when the front door opened, hoping to see Chandler. Instead Joey entered alone. He met her eyes and immediately looked away, grabbing his coat off of his chair. With that he turned to walk out, not saying a word. "Joey!" She called. "Where are you going?"
He stopped at the door, aware of four sets of eyes on his back. He reminded himself of Chandler's wishes. "I'm going to eat somewhere else."
He raised his eyes, making contact with hers. "I talked to Chandler." He stated.
She shook her head. "Is he coming?"
Joey scoffed. "No, of course not. He told me to tell you he was stuck at work."
"Huh, he never said anything to me," she said, momentarily forgetting about Joey's strange behavior.
Joey felt his blood boil. He was amazed at how innocent she acted. He felt his hands tighten as he turned to leave.
"Wait, Joey. Why are you leaving? I thought you were hungry?"
"I am, but I'm not eating here."
Monica was taken aback by his tone. He seemed mad at her. "Joe, what's going on?"
Joey maintained steady eye contact, sending an icy glare her way, not caring how it looked in front of their friends. "I'm not eating here anymore."
"Ever?" Rachel asked, butting into the conversation.
"That's right," Joey nodded.
"Why?" Rachel pried.
"Because," Joey said, glancing back over at Monica. "Chandler told me some interesting things on the phone, and I'm going to show my support for him in any way I can." With that Joey strode out the door, Monica running after him.
"Joey, what's going on?" She asked as she followed him back into his apartment. The gang, thankfully, hadn't followed.
Joey turned to face her. "How could you say those things to him?"
Monica was taken aback. "What are you talking about?"
Joey scoffed. "Stop with the act!"
"The innocent, I don't know what's wrong with my ex-boyfriend act."
Monica was stunned by his words. "Ex-boyfriend? What do you mean ex-boyfriend?"
It was Joey's turn to be confused. "He told me you broke up with him."
Monica's jaw dropped. "What? I did not."
"Well, he said you did." Joey crossed his arms, trying to read the situation. He was confused.
"Well, I didn't. I haven't seen or heard from him in a day and a half. I keep calling his work and they tell me he's in meetings and I call his cell and it's off."
"Why would he think you broke up with him if you didn't?"
"I don't know! What else did he say?"
Joey hesitated, contemplating the situation. "He said you were really harsh. That you called the whole thing a mistake and that six months was long enough."
"I would never say that-" Monica cut off mid sentence, realizing what had happened. "Oh my God. He thinks I meant us."
Joey was confused. "Did you say those things?"
Monica nodded, her attention only half on Joey. "Yeah, but I didn't mean us, I meant hiding our relationship. We celebrated out six month anniversary last week, I think its time to go public. Oh, God, I gotta call him." She grabbed the phone and called his number, but there was no answer. She hung up in frustration.
"He really didn't want to talk to anyone."
Monica was silent, holding her hands to her head. "I can't believe it. He was acting weird, but I thought it was because he didn't want to tell everyone. I can't believe he's been thinking we broke up since yesterday morning. I gotta talk to him. I'm going to his office."
"Mon, its late."
She shook her head. "I don't care." She headed back to her own apartment and grabbed her purse and a coat, leaving Joey to give the gang an explanation. She flagged down a taxi, hurrying to get there as soon as she could. She reached his office building and raced up the stairs to the front door, which was locked this time of night. She punched his extension into the intercom.
Chandler heard his phone ring again and ignored it. He didn't want to talk to anyone else. He hoped Joey hadn't caused too much of a scene. He really didn't want to face question from his other friends.
Monica swore to herself when the intercom cut off. He wasn't answering, but she knew he was there. She sat down in the alcove next to the door, determined to wait until he came out.
Chandler was mindlessly playing solitaire on his computer when he noticed the time. It was late enough that he could slip back into his room unnoticed. He grabbed his coat and keys before heading to the elevator. Once down to the main floor he headed towards the front doors. A figure caught his attention, as he got closer. There was a body was huddled down in the corner, just outside the door. He approached the doors slowly, soon recognizing the dark hair and jacket. He hesitated, not wanting to face her, but not able to leave her there.
"Monica, what the hell are you doing?" Monica was jolted awake and jumped back, hitting her head on the hard wall behind her. She must have fallen asleep waiting. It was very dark out. She grimaced and raised a hand to her head, staring up to see a mad Chandler looking down at her.
"What are you doing?" He repeated. "Monica, this is New York. It can be dangerous; you can't just go around sleeping outdoors. Who knows what could have happened?"
"I have my pepper spray," she offered weakly, producing it form her other palm. "I made sure it was out."
"Real useful when you're asleep. What are you even doing here?"
Monica stood up. "I needed to talk to you and you wouldn't answer my calls."
Chandler sighed. "It's okay, Mon, I get it. I just need some time. I won't tell any-"
"No," she cut him off. "You need to hear me. I didn't mean what you think I said."
"What?" Chandler shook his head, confused. It was late and he was tired, having not slept the night before.
"I never wanted to break up with you."
"Then why did you?" He asked harshly, having little patience left for this.
"I didn't! I swear that's not what I meant."
"Mon, I was there. What else could you have possibly meant?"
"I don't want to keep us a secret anymore. That's what I meant. I didn't realize you took it that way. You were acting funny, but I just thought you didn't want to tell. And I fell asleep waiting for you last night. I didn't know why you never came. And I kept trying to call you today, but you wouldn't take my calls. And then Joey said he talked to you and he told me what you said and I'm sorry. It sounded horrible. I had no idea you took it that way, you have to believe me." She trailed off, tears in her eyes. "You have to believe me," she repeated.
Chandler remained silent, contemplating what she had just said, not completely sure whether to trust her. His heart had soared at her words, wanting to simply pull her into his arms, but his brain was hesitant. "You called us a mistake," he whispered.
Monica felt her heart drop, able to read the pain in his voice. "No, I meant us hiding our relationship was a mistake. We hid it because we didn't think it was going to last. If we'd known at the time that it would turn out like this, we should have told everyone from the beginning." She paused, meeting his eyes, trying to make sure he knew she was telling the truth. "I don't want us to hide anymore. I love you, Chandler, and I want everyone to know. I want to be able to touch you in public, without being afraid of our friends finding out. It's been six months and I think we're ready to be more serious. We're good."
Chandler took in her words. "Really?" He asked quietly.
Monica felt her tears spill over onto her face as she nodded. "Really."
Chandler took a shuddery breath in, fighting off his own tears. He looked up and offered a half-smile. "I love you, too."
Monica smiled back, allowing herself to believe they would be okay. She slowly approached him and wrapped her arms around his neck.
Chandler responded by pulling her in close, and burying his face in the crook between her shoulder and her neck, breathing her in. Monica felt him shudder and pulled back just enough to look him in the eye. "I'm so sorry, Chandler."
He shook his head, looking away from her eyes, his eyes shimmering from the streetlights. "It's okay."
She shook her head, using a hand to gently pull his chin up, forcing him to meet her eyes. "No, it's not. I should have realized what I said. I was too distracted about getting out of your room without being seen. I never even realized. I…I could have lost you."
"You'll never lose me if you don't want to."
She felt her heart jump. "Good, cause I never want to."
Chandler looked away again, and again she gently forced his gaze back onto her.
"Hey, its okay," she said, gazing into the tear filled eyes that matched her own. "It's okay to cry."
Chandler shook his head gently. "I'm the guy, I'm not supposed to cry." He said lightly.
Monica laughed, glad the mood was lightening a bit. "You're allowed to show some emotion," she said. "It means to care."
Chandler smiled, meeting her eyes, but not knowing quite what to say. But she smiled back and he found no others words needed to be said at that moment. For a few seconds it everything around them seemed to stand still and all he was aware of was her. He felt all of the pain from the last two days melt away as he realized she really truly hadn't meant hat he had thought, and that she was just as worried about losing him as he was her. The weight he had been carrying on his shoulder lifted and he suddenly felt free. His smile widened as he pulled her closer, seeking out her lips with his. The kiss was long and deep, with both of them trying to express all of their emotions to the other. When they finally pulled away he closed his eyes and leant his forehead against hers, just wanting to be close to her, holding both of her hands tightly. It took him a few minutes before his breathing was back to normal. He was finally pulled out of his reverie when he felt her shiver slightly against him. He pulled away and dropped her hands, wrapping an arm around her. "Come on, let's go home."
Monica copied Chandler's motions by wrapping an arm around him, pulling herself close to him as he led her down the steps to the road. She smiled to herself as she realized they were going to be okay.
They stepped out of the taxi and made their way in the front door of the building, hands held tightly. Very few words had been spoken since they had left Chandler's office building. Monica went to start up the first flight of stairs, but Chandler stopped her.
"What?" She asked softly.
"I want to tell them too," he said. He had actually been thinking about telling everyone for awhile, and if he had known the real reason behind her words the previous morning he would have been all for it, in fact he would have pulled her out his bedroom door behind him, happily announcing their happiness to the world. He found he agreed with everything she had said. They were ready.
Monica smiled. "Really?"
Chandler nodded. "Yeah, I really want to. You were right. We're ready for this. We're good."
Monica's smile grew. "When do you want to do it?"
"Right now." There was no hesitation in his voice.
Chandler nodded. "All I want to do tonight is be with you, and I don't want anything to stand in the way. The last two days have been hell and all I want is to fall asleep with you in my arms tonight, and wake up with you still there tomorrow morning. I don't want to be worrying about being caught, or sneaking out in the middle of the night."
Monica nodded, somewhat taken aback by his honesty. He never failed to surprise her. He may have a fear of commitment and relationships, but he was good at letting her know what was going on in his head. It was never that he didn't want a close relationship; it was that he was terrified of having one, of screwing up, of getting hurt. She promised herself that she would never let him doubt himself again. "Okay. Let's tell them."
They slowly made their way up the five flights of stairs hand-in-hand, each with their thoughts on what exactly they were going to tell their friends. Once they reached the landing between doors nineteen and twenty, it was Monica's turn to stop Chandler. "What are we going to tell them?"
Chandler smiled and shrugged. "I didn't think this far ahead." He laughed. "We could just go sleep in my room tonight and barricade the door with a chair, that was no one will be able to get in."
Monica rolled her eyes. "They're going to wonder where I went. I kind of left in a hurry."
Chandler sighed. "Then we just tell them that we're happy, and hope for the best."
Monica squeezed his hand. "Okay."
As they opened the door and entered the girls' apartment, they dropped hands, neither really knowing how to go about this. Ross, Rachel and Phoebe were on the couch, Joey sitting in the chair. All four heads spun around at the sound of the door opening.
"Monica, thank-god, where have you been?" Ross demanded.
Monica hesitated. "I had to talk to Chandler."
"And you couldn't have told us that? You went to talk to Joey, came tearing back in and was suddenly gone. We had no idea where you went."
"Joey knew where I went."
Three accusing sets of eyes turned toward the sheepish Italian on the chair. "Hey, don't look at me. I didn't take off."
"You said you didn't know where she went!" Rachel exclaimed.
Joey flinched. "I'm sorry. I didn't know if she wanted me to tell you."
"Why not, Tribbiani?" Phoebe asked.
"Guys, stop!" Monica called. "It's not Joey's fault."
"Thank-you," Joey cried, glaring at the three friends sitting on the couch.
"What's going on?" Rachel asked.
Monica sighed and motioned for Chandler to follow her as she walked around to stand on the other side of the coffee table. "I'm sorry if I worried you, but Joey told me some things that made me realize I had to go talk to Chandler. We had a talk yesterday morning and I didn't realize until tonight that he drastically misinterpreted what I was saying. It was my fault. I was distracted and wasn't clear," she added.
"Why couldn't you just call him?"
"Because he wouldn't answer my calls."
"Why not?" Ross asked.
Monica took a deep breath. It was now or never. "Because he thought I was breaking up with him."
Three pairs of confused eyes stared up at them. Rachel was the first to speak. "What? That doesn't make any sense. You can't break up with someone you're not-"
"Actually," Chandler said, stepping in. He reached out for Monica's hand, which he squeezed reassuringly. "Monica and I have been together for a while now."
Now three pairs of shocked eyes stared up at them. None of them broke the silence.
Chandler took a deep breath, contemplating his next words. "We're sorry we didn't tell you guys, but we're both so bad at relationships, that we didn't want anyone else involved. But we're good now, and it's important to us that you know."
"How long?" Ross finally spoke up.
Chandler looked at him warily. Ross's reaction was the one he was worried about the most. Joey already supported them and the girls would be happy with anyone who made Monica happy, but Ross was her brother. There were rules about this sort of thing. And it was important to Chandler that he had Ross's support. "Six months."
There were three audible gasps. "Six months?" Rachel asked. "That's longer than any relationship either of you have had."
Monica smiled. "Not anymore."
"Wow," Rachel said. "This is just…wow. But you're happy?"
Monica nodded. "Very happy." She turned her gaze to Chandler for a moment. "It just…fits. Neither of us saw it coming; it just sort of happened."
Chandler nodded his agreement. Everyone was silent for a few moments, contemplating Monica's words.
"Well, I think this is great," Phoebe finally said, jumping up to hug the happy couple.
"Oh, me too," Rachel squealed as she joined the hug.
The girls pulled away and all eyes were on Ross, who had stood up and was making his way around the coffee table. He stopped in front of Monica and Chandler, his expression neutral for a moment before he smiled. "I'm really happy for you guys." He pulled his sister into a tight hug. "I'm glad you're happy," he told her. He then pulled Chandler into a friendly hug. "Congrats, man." He pulled away. "You do realize that as he brother, I have to warm you: if you ever hurt my little sister, I will have to beat on you."
Chandler laughed, and wrapped an arm around his girlfriend, pulling her in close. "Never going to happen."
Ross nodded. "Good."
"So what happened yesterday?" Phoebe asked.
Chandler sighed, not sure if he could rehash everything again tonight, but Monica spoke before he could. "Actually guys, we're really tired. It's been a long couple of days. We'll answer any of your questions tomorrow, but right now we really need to get some sleep."
Everyone seemed to accept Monica's plea for no more questions that night. Ross and Phoebe left, and Joey wandered back across the hall. Rachel seemed a little unsure of what to do or say, so she simply said a quick goodnight and locked herself in her room. Monica and Chandler found themselves alone in the living room.
"That went pretty well, don't you think?" Monica asked.
Chandler nodded. "I thought Ross was going to kill me for a second, but it ended okay."
Monica laughed lightly at him. "Even if Ross wanted to, I don't think he could take you."
Chandler smiled at her. "Thanks for the compliment."
"Well, you two are pretty evenly weak, I would say."
"Oh," he said, pulling away. "That hurts." He joked.
Monica rolled her eyes. "Ah, come on. I was just joking."
Chandler turned back to her, his sad puppy-dog expression on his face.
Monica laughed. "That is so not going to work this time. Okay fine, I'm sorry."
Chandler smiled at her and took both of her hands in his. "We can do this now," he said softly, motioning to their joined hands and the apartment around them."
Monica smiled and leaned in to place a quick kiss on his lips. "And we can do that."
Chandler laughed. "So, where are we sleeping tonight?"
Monica thought for a moment. "How bout your room. I don't think Rachel is all that comfortable with us yet."
"Yeah, she seemed a little funny."
Monica shrugged. "Don't worry about her. She'll come around."
Chandler nodded and silently led her across the hall, where they crawled into bed together, wrapped tightly in each others arms.
Monica awoke lat the next morning, smiling as she became aware of the strong pair of arms wrapped securely around her, pulling her tightly to him. She felt like that was the best nights sleep she had ever had. She felt the sunlight on her forehead, just missing her eyes and smiled as she realized she didn't have to worry about snaking out anymore. They could sleep in late and emerge together. She felt Chandler stirring behind her and she rolled over to face him.
"Morning," she whispered.
"Morning," his bleary voice greeted her.
"How'd you sleep?"
Chandler smiled sleepily at her. "I slept great."
Monica smiled back as she felt her heart warm. "Me too."
"We'll have to do it again sometime," Chandler joked.
She giggled. "How bout tonight?"
Chandler pretended to think about it. "Sure, sounds good to me."
Monica smiled as she yawned, glad it was saturday and she had the day of work. "How bout right now? I mean, there's no hurry for us to get up, right?"
Chandler shook his head. "Sounds good to me." He rolled onto his back, pulling her with him, so that she was comfortably resting wit her head on his shoulder. It wasn't long until they were both fast asleep.
AN: So, what did you think? Will most likely remain just one chapter.