Yes, it's another songfic, and yes it is yet ANOTHER variation on The One With The Proposal.
Um, it's also sappy and clich├ęd, and it is, for some weird reason, something that I thought up while I was unpacking today...yeah, I dunno.

Here's the deal--Chandler was messing with Monica, Richard proposed, Monica went over to Richard's, & Joey never found Chandler.


~Walk Slow~

Chapter One: The Perfect Night That Never Happened

Monica awoke with a start, and did not recognize her surroundings. She blinked several times, forcing her weary eyes to focus. She realized with a start that she was at Richard's. She also realized that she had consumed way too much Scotch. She pulled herself from the chocolate brown leather sofa, and stretched slowly. Her head turned toward the window, and she noticed that the sun was rising, filling the room with a warm glow. Her mind wandered back to the strange incidents of the previous day. She had fought with Chandler...he was talking to her about pig sex. What the hell was that about, anyway? She had run over here, and Richard had made her a Scotch, and given her a warm hug, making her feel more confused than she had been when she had arrived. She had talked to him, and he had listened closely. Then he made her another Scotch, and the night began to blur. He had kissed her. She had let him. And then...
Monica groaned, and sank back down into the sofa. She had done the one thing that she promised herself she would never, ever do to Chandler. Janice had done it, and it had hurt him; Kathy had done it, and it had nearly destroyed him. She never thought she'd be capable of hurting Chandler like that. She loved him too much.

What had she done?

*

Monica walked into the apartment carefully, hoping that Chandler was asleep, so that she could simply curl up on the couch...or at least take a shower. She felt an overwhelming urge to take a million showers. She must smell like Scotch. Scotch and cigar smoke. She shut the front door softly, and tip-toed her way across the room.

"Monica?"

Oh, shit! He was on the couch. Monica turned slowly, and smiled at Chandler, who was now sitting up, half asleep, his sandy hair matted on one side, making him look like a sleepy child on Christmas morning. Monica felt the guilt welling up inside her.

"Chandler, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to wake you--"

"No, Monica, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to freak you out like that. I had no idea you'd run off like that," Chandler stood up and pulled Monica toward him, "Where the hell were you? You smell like smoke--and booze."

"I was, um, at a bar, uh, earlier," Monica pulled away from Chandler, and watched his face fall momentarily. "Chandler, I know you are freaked out about marriage and--"

"No, Monica, that's the thing. I told you all of that stuff, because I wanted to throw you off track," Chandler grinned, as his cheeks flushed slightly.

"What?"

"The other night, at the uh, restaurant. We were interrupted, and I thought maybe, um, Rachel and the others may have given it all away."

"Given what away?" Monica looked at Chandler, her brow furrowed in confusion.

"This," Chandler pulled out a small white box, and held it out to Monica.

Monica swallowed hard, and took the box from Chandler. No, no, no, this wasn't happening. It couldn't be. He was planning on proposing. This whole time he was trying to throw her off track. That certainly explained his weird behavior over the past few days. And it explained why Rachel looked like she was going to cry every time she looked at her. Monica suddenly felt nauseous. She had cheated on Chandler, and now he was proposing. She watched in silent horror as he got down on one knee, and started to tell her how happy she had made him, and how he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her, and how he couldn't wait to have a family with her. It was everything she had ever wanted to hear, and it was coming from the one person she loved more than anything in the world. And yet it was the worst thing that could have ever happened to her. But her brain went on autopilot, and she felt herself nodding furiously, as Chandler asked her to be his wife. She felt him pull her down to the floor, and felt him kissing her. She knew that he would simply think she was in shock from the sudden proposal. She had no idea how to tell him what had happened. So she didn't. She let the guilt consume her, as Chandler continued kissing her, all the while telling her how much he loved her. Twenty minutes later, they were making love, and all Monica could think about was the fact that she had done the same thing, with another man, only hours earlier.

****

Chapter Two: The Day The Truth Came Out

Monica watched Rachel closely, waiting for her reaction. She had to tell someone about what had happened. It was eating her up inside. Chandler had proposed to her three weeks ago. Since then he'd noticed that something was bothering her, but he couldn't get her to open up. His constant questions had begun to take it's toll on Monica's patience, and she found that it was easier to snap at him, then try to make up another lie. Chandler had started spending more time with Joey lately, and he was beginning to wonder out loud what he had done wrong. Joey had voiced his concerns to Phoebe, who had in turn talked to Rachel. Rachel approached Monica, and now Monica had spilled her guts, telling Rachel about the one-night stand with Richard, the night before Chandler's early morning proposal. Rachel stared at Monica for several minutes, shocked by what she'd heard, and unsure about what she should say or do.

Monica took Rachel's silence as disapproval, not only in the affair, but in the fact that she had never told Chandler. Since Rachel was still convinced that Ross had ruined their relationship when he cheated on her, she found that she had little sympathy for Monica at the moment.

"You have to tell him, Monica," Rachel finally said quietly.

"I know," Monica said softly.

"Why have you waited so long?"

"I didn't think he'd ever have to know. Ever."

"What changed your mind?"

"I'm late," Monica whispered.

"You're pregnant?"

"I don't know," Monica shrugged.

"You think it could be Richard's?"

"I don't know," Monica repeated, standing up and tossing the rest of her tea into the sink.

"You have to tell him," Rachel said bluntly, then walked out the door.

*

Monica did tell Chandler. She told him that night, over dinner. Chandler simply sat in his chair, unable to move or speak for several minutes. Finally, he pushed his plate away and stood up.

"So, you think the baby might be Richard's?"

"Chandler, I don't even know if I'm pregnant. And that's not really the point. I--"

"You cheated on me, then you came home and let me make an ass out of myself. I stood right here, and told you how much I loved you, and how happy you made me. And you sat there, the entire time, eating it up. You had just spent the night with him--then you came home and..." Chandler shook his head, and walked into the bedroom.

"Chandler, please," Monica called, and was surprised that Chandler came back out so quickly.

"I...I think I need to take a walk," Chandler said softly, "But before I go, tell me one thing."

"Anything," Monica whispered.

"Do you still love him?"

"No! Chandler, I don't, I swear. I was so confused that night. I thought that you were totally against marriage, and I panicked. Richard proposed to me that day. Did you know that? Right before we had that ridiculous "pig sex" conversation at the pizza place. I don't love him, but I was so confused."

"Are you trying to pin this on me? Because this was YOUR decision, not mine."

"No, no, that's not what I'm saying, Chandler--"

"You know what? I can't--I can't look at you right now."

With that, Chandler walked out of the apartment, leaving Monica to wonder what their future held.

*

"I can't believe Monica would do something like that," Ross said quietly. The gang, minus Monica, was seated in Central Perk, watching helplessly as Chandler finally broke down.

"She says she doesn't love him, but...but I'm not so sure." Chandler wiped the most recent tears from his eyes, and sunk back onto the orange sofa.

"I can't believe this. I thought you guys were like, the perfect couple," Phoebe said.

"I should have never let myself...I should have never let her...I should have known that she'd break my heart," Chandler shook his head, as his friends sat around him, not sure what to say to make it better, not sure what to do to take away Chandler's pain.

Friends are talking to you.
They tell you you should go.
They say that I don't love you.
But baby they don't know.

Chandler made his decision, or rather, let his friends make it for him. When Monica came home from work the next day, she saw suitcases in the living room. Her worst nightmare had come true. He was leaving her. He was leaving them.

You're standing in the bedroom.
Your things are in the hall.
Don't listen to 'em talking.
Cause they don't know it all.

Walk slow
Think what you're doing.
Don't go
My heart is breaking.

"Chandler, please," Monica stood in the doorway of the bedroom, watching as he looked around him, looking lost and hurt. "We can work this out. It was a horrible mistake, but we can fix this."

"I'm not sure I can trust that, or you, right now," Chandler said softly.

There's trouble all around us.
Don't let 'em bring us down.
Don't give up on us so easy.
Now happiness we've found.

Walk slow.
Where you going?
Don't go
Stop this leaving.

"Chandler, I know that you feel like you can't trust me, but you have to believe me when I tell you that what happened was a fluke. It was a drunken, chaotic mistake. Please."

There's nothing more to say now.
There's nothing left to do.
I guess you're really leaving.
I can't believe we're through.

Chandler couldn't listen to any more. He picked up his bags, and walked out the door, without another word. Monica felt part of herself walk away with him, and she felt herself begin to slowly die, a bit at a time, from the inside out.

And there's so many many things I wanna tell you.
So many many things I didn't say.
So many nights I lay here thinking of you.
I get down on my knees and I will pray.

The tests, all five of them, came back negative. Monica wasn't pregnant. She was late because of all of the stress she had put herself under. She felt as though she had lost everything she needed for nothing at all. There was a short time, when she had held onto the faint hope that she was pregnant, and that the baby was Chandler's, and that that would be enough to bring him back to her again. Because she needed him. She needed him more than ever.

Cause I still dream of you.
And I will call your name.
And I, Oh I will wait, till you come back again.

Walk slow.
I'll be waiting.
Don't go.
My heart is breaking.

Walk slow...

****

Chapter Three: The Day They Met Again

Monica sat alone in Central Perk, aimlessly stirring her coffee. It had been almost three months since Chandler had left. He had apparently urged the others to stay friends with her, because, a week after he'd left, the others slowly came around, and their relationships seemed to be returning to normal. Joey still blamed Monica for driving Chandler away, but he rarely let it show. Monica saw very little of Joey anyway. She knew that he spent most of his time with Chandler, and she was happy that he at least had someone.

The door to the coffee shop opened, but Monica barely noticed. She heard some commotion behind her, but didn't turn around. She saw someone approach her, but still did not respond.

"Is this seat taken?" a friendly voice asked.

Monica looked up slowly, and saw a good looking stranger standing above her, pointing at the vacant chair next to her. Monica shook her head, then turned her attention back to her coffee.

"I'm Dan. I, uh, think I've met you somewhere before?"

"I don't think so." Monica said quietly.

"Oh. It's just--well, you look really familiar."

"Look, Dan is it? I'm really not in a good place right now, okay? The love of my life walked out on me, and I doubt you are willing to help me pick up the pieces of my so-called life, ya know?"

"Got it," Dan said, defeated. He got up quickly, and ducked out of the shop.

"So, when you say love of your life, who exactly are you talking about?"

Monica looked up, and was surprised to see Chandler standing behind her.

"You, of course."

Chandler nodded slowly, and searched with his eyes as his mind began whirling.

"You came back," Monica smiled through tears.

"Well, I had to know. How are you gonna make me trust you again?"

"If you give me a chance, I'll give you the world."

Chandler's mouth formed a lopsided grin, and he shifted his weight.

"Will you? Give me another chance?"

"If you tell me one thing," Chandler shoved his hands deep into his pockets, and rocked back onto his heels.

"What is it?"

"Am I really the love of your life?"

Monica smiled, as she felt her heart fill with the life she'd been missing for so long.

"You know you are, and always will be, the only one for me. I'll love you forever."


~*~

"Walk Slow", Words & Music by Chris Isaak, from the album "Speak of the Devil"