How Does It Go, Again?

Rachel Greene walked out of her office with a grin on her face, one that hadn't left her face since several hours before.

It was a strange feeling, but it was a wonderful feeling. As she walked down the street, she briefly reminisced about the feelings that she'd thought were love in the past.

As each one crossed her mind, she carefully thought about how they had affected her.

There had been Barry, the man that she'd almost married. With him it had been mutual friendship and some physical attraction, albeit not much, and the main attraction for her, of course, had been the title that would have gone along with her being married to him. Obviously not love.

With Paulo, it had been nothing but intense physical passion. Animal attraction and nothing more.

And then, of course, there was Ross. She had been certain at one point that he was the one; that he was the person that she'd be with for the rest of her life. He was smart, a little sexy, incredibly caring, and was, most of the time, willing to share with her about his feelings.

But then there was Chandler…

Rachel had no words to explain it. Just the thought of his name at that moment made her grin like a fool and her heart lightened simply at the fact that she knew that she was going to see him.

As she walked into the apartment building and headed up the stairs, she wondered when he'd changed in her eyes.

It was strange that she couldn't target a particular moment. It hadn't been a sudden realization, and there hadn't been any romantic tensions between them to give her any hints as to how they had come to like each other. Except for their brief, drunken make-out session at that college party that she and Monica had been invited to by Ross their senior year of high school, but that didn't even count.

It was as though her view of him had changed so slowly that she'd never even noticed herself seeing him differently, until the other night.

Rachel then remembered the lingering look he had given her just last night when they had been talking after Joey had left the apartment. It had been an odd sensation. She thought of how she had felt when he had stared at her and she realized that it was different than with anyone else that she'd ever been with.

With Barry, it was just staring; with Paulo, she knew he was looking at her beauty; with Ross, like she was his prize…but with Chandler, it was something entirely different.

It seemed that when he looked at her, he simply saw and wanted…her. Just plain Rachel Greene, a young and insecure woman who was still trying to find her footing in the real world, though she was very good at pretending that she had everything under control.

Chandler seemed to be the only one who saw the real her and embraced it.

The few times that Ross had really seen that side of her, it had seemed to make him uncomfortable and afraid. As though he needed her to be the strong one.

With Chandler, though, he seemed to really want to know that side of her and was completely unafraid of it; embraced it, even.

As she walked into the apartment, she didn't even notice when Monica called her name, because of how much she was wrapped up in her thoughts about Chandler. Everything at that moment felt light as she seemed to glide across the floor to her room, dropping her purse on the floor.

She shut her bedroom door behind her, vaguely aware of Monica's exasperation, but she honestly couldn't care less.

Slipping out of her clothes and into an old t-shirt, she got under the covers of her bed, her thoughts still on Chandler's kiss from earlier that day.

She sighed and silently prayed for her dreams to be of a certain blue-eyed, brown haired man…

Monica sat in the quiet living room, sorting through her recipes for the next week's meals, carefully alphabetizing the ingredients for each recipe. Suddenly, she heard someone banging on the door, the sound easily breaking through the stillness, and she quickly stood up and stormed over to the door, yanking it open.

There was Chandler, obviously in the middle of about to bang one more time on the door, but Monica's words stopped him.

"Stop it now, or I'll turn your head into a door knocker!"

His raised hand slowly returned back to his side, where he then slipped both hands into his pockets and cowered slightly at her glare.

"I'll be good."

She merely gave a shrug and gestured him in, her recipe book in her hand.

"So…what brings you by at this time of night?"

He shrugged slightly, his hands still in his pockets. "Uh…nothing really. Is, is Rachel up? I, uh…I was kinda hoping that I could talk to her."

Monica, focused on putting her recipes back into their proper order, barely registered the fact that he was talking. She faintly gestured towards Rachel's room, fairly distracted by the mess on the table in front of her. "She's in her room, asleep. Had a really long day, so I guess she's crashing."

He walked across the room and stood in front of Rachel's door, faltering between wanting to wake her up and tell her the good news and wanting to let her sleep.

Chandler finally pulled away from the door, setting himself in the chair closest to her room.

He would wait all night if he had to, just so he could tell her the good news.

Over the next hour he kept glancing towards her door, silently annoying Monica, but she said nothing and soon disappeared into her own room. The clock ticked by at an infinitesimally slow pace, but he held on through the night. It seemed that he was in for a long wait.

Nothing was going to keep him from her.

End 9/?