The One With The Bachelor Party, Chapter Ten
"Tough to Stay, Impossible to Leave"

Chandler looked into Monica's eyes as he made love to her. It had been a long time--too long. He had committed her face, her body to memory years ago. This time, though, something felt different. This was nothing like it had been before. It was nothing like London, it was nothing like the night they had exchanged their first 'I love you's', and it was nothing like their engagement night. It was intense--so intense that Chandler felt like crying. He focussed on Monica's eyes to help prevent him from doing just that. Monica whispered something, but Chandler hadn't heard her--he was lost in a haze--his body was working, but his mind was gone. He felt Monica tighten her grasp on his shoudlers, and still, he focussed only on her eyes. He was lost in the sea of blue, consumed by the intensity of the moment. He never wanted it to end.

*

Monica felt Chandler shift in his sleep, and she opened her eyes. She turned, and watched him sleeping peacefully by her side. The early morning sun began to cast a shadow across his face. Her mind wandered back to the night they had shared, and she smiled. They had connected, in a new and amazing way. She had always thought that she was as close to Chandler as she could ever be. But last night, something happened--something magical--and Monica knew that she wasn't the only one to feel it. She ran her finger lightly over his face, and once again felt the raised scars that covered it. Her smile faded. She knew that one night, no matter how wonderful, would not change the fact that she and Chandler still had a lot of issues to work out. She decided that she wouldn't let herself think about it until they left the comfort of their bed. She sighed contently, and placed her head on his chest, relying on his steady heartbeat to lull her back to sleep.

*

Chandler opened his eyes, and for a split-second, he was sure he had been dreaming. He looked down at Monica, and saw that she was still asleep. He sighed, and slipped out of bed, pulling on his clothes before walking out of their bedroom. Something about what had happened last night scared him--he just couldn't figure out what it was. He looked at the closed bedroom door, as though the answer lay somewhere on it's lavender surface. Sighing heavily, he tied his shoes and grabbed his jacket, determined to figure out the problem in his own head before talking to Monica about it.

***

"No, Joey, I'm sure he's fine. Yes, I'll call you as soon as he gets back. Okay. Yes, I promise! Goodbye, Joey!" Monica hung up the phone, exhasperated. Sometimes Joey could be such a kid. So, Chandler wasn't at Ross', he wasn't at Joey's, and he wasn't at the coffeehouse. Where could he be? Monica tried her best not to panic, but it was becoming more and more difficult by the minute. When she'd woke up this morning, she was surprised to find herself alone. She wondered if what happened last night had freaked him out. She felt horrible. Maybe it was too much, too soon? Maybe he realized that he didn't want to be with her. Was it possible that he hadn't felt the same intensity and power she had last night. Monica shook her head. There was no use worrying about it now. She gathered her cleaning supplies from under the sink, and set out to distract herself.

*

Chandler sat on a bench in the locker room of his gym, staring off into space. His daily workout had been productive physically, but emotionally, he was still confused. He'd kind of hoped that he could run the answer out of himself, but after five miles on the treadmill, he was no closer to figuring out what the hell he was so afraid of.

"Hey, there you are," Joey's voice echoed through the near-empty locker room, "Monica's worried about you."

"Hey, Joe. Yeah, I should probably call her. I just kinda ran out this morning."

"What's going on?"

"I don't know," Chandler sighed, "I freaked out, I guess."

"Why?"

"I don't know. Monica and I--we, uh--resumed our physical relationship last night."

"You did it? Sweeet."

"Joey," Chandler warned.

"Sorry, sorry. So, that's a good thing--isn't it?"

"Yeah, yeah, of course."

"It was okay, right?"

"That's the thing, Joe. It was...I can't even describe it. It's never been like that. It was unbelievable."

"In a good way?"

"Oh, yeah."

"Okay. So what the hell is the problem!"

"I wish I knew," Chandler shook his head.

"You are over-thinking it. THAT'S your problem."

"No I--I think that...I'm afraid."

"Afraid? Of Monica? Well, I mean, between you and me, *I'm* a little afraid of Monica too sometimes."

"I'm not afraid of Monica. I'm afraid of...I don't want to hurt her again."

"Huh?"

"I--I can't really explain the feeling. It's like, something happened last night, and I feel like, if I ever got lost again, or if she ever left, I just--I don't think I could survive that. It's weird, I can't explain it."

"But none of that is gonna happen," Joey said.

"You don't know that. Joey, I'm not the person she fell in love with. I've changed. And what if-one day, she sees that, and she realizes that she doesn't love me? Then what?"

"Chandler--"

"No, I'm serious, Joey. Everything is different. You guys are all different!"

"Chandler, we've all changed. So what? Inside, you are still the same person. And *that* person is who Monica loves. So you aren't as funny as you used to be. You are still kind, and generous, and a good heart. Chandler, Monica was devastated when she thought she'd lost you. I remember. Even on her wedding night, we walked into Caesars, and she totally lost it. She loves you. And she is gonna stay with you, no matter what. You've gotta believe that."

Chandler sat silently for a minute, digesting all that Joey had said. After a minute more, he turned, and looked at Joey, a lopsided smile on his face.

"You know, I was thinking about leaving New York today," Chandler said flatly.

"Where would you have gone?"

"Exactly."

***

Monica had cleaned the apartment three times, and only stopped because Ross and Rachel came over to keep her calm. Chandler had been gone most of the day, and Monica was now frantic. She was convinced that he'd left her. Rachel tried to convince Monica otherwise, while Ross kept claiming that he was going to 'Hunt him down, and kick his ass'. By the time Chandler and Joey came in, Monica was on the verge of a total breakdown.

"Where the hell have you been?" she yelled.

"See? Scary," Joey whispered to Chandler, then hid behind him.

"I was at the gym, then I was talking to Joey. Mon, I wanted to work all of this out before I talked to you."

"Wh-what are you talking about. Sort *what* out?" Monica felt her pulse race. Was he leaving?

"Mon, what happened last night--it freaked me out. And I--"

"What happened last night?" Ross interrupted.

"Dude, do you mind?" Chandler looked at Ross, annoyed.

"Ross, you don't wanna know what happened last night," Joey said in a low voice.

"Ew!"

"Can you three give us a minute, please?" Chandler said.

Ross, Rachel and Joey grumbled and made their way out of the apartment, only to stake their claims right outside, once again listening in.

"Um, where was I?"

"You were freaked out," Monica stated flatly.

"Right. Look, Monica, I don't know how you took last night, but for me...it was unbelievable, ya know? And-and I got scared, because I knew that this was it--there wasn't anywhere else I wanted to be but here, with you. And that scared me, because I have been convincing myself that one day, you are gonna realize that you don't love me anymore, and you're gonna leave, and--"

"Chandler, I told you I'm not going anywhere."

"But are you sure? Because things are so weird with us now, and you look at me so differently."

"Chandler, sit down." Chandler sat on the sofa, and Monica sat next to him, taking his hand in hers.

"Sweetie, I love you. In fact, if it's possible, I love you more now than I did before. I know what you are talking about with regards to last night. It was unbelievable. And I don't just mean physically. We re-connected last night, Chandler. We found that thing that had been missing between us since your return. And I am fully aware of the fact that this," she waved her finger between the two of them, "is not going to be easy, but I know that we'll be okay, because we have each other. I'm not going anywhere. And I am not going to lose you again." Monica smiled, and wiped a tear from Chandler's cheek.

"Will you marry me?" Chandler smiled.

"Well, I already said yes...and I do have an unused wedding dress," Monica laughed.

"You didn't use it when you married Pete?"

"Of course not! That dress was for my wedding with YOU," Monica shook her head.

"But I was dead," Chandler said, smiling.

"You were never dead to me." Monica smiled, and Chandler kissed her.

***

~One Year Later~

"Okay, so I have an idea for your bachelor party," Ross said, excitedly.

"Forget it, Ross," Chandler shook his head, and pulled another beer from the fridge.

"Yeah, your last idea kinda sucked-ass," Joey laughed.

"Okay, fine, but really, how much can go wrong at a strip club?"

"Oh, don't even get me started!" Joey exclaimed.

Chandler rolled his eyes and chuckled. "You know, why don't we just hang out--just the three of us?"

"Aw, no strippers?" Joey whined.

"No, Joe. Just the three of us."

"Well, can we at least have porn?"

****

AN: Yup, that is it. Aren't we happy that SFGrl is wrapping up all these freaking big long series' that she started? I know she is. And she needs to stop talking about herself in the third person, too.