May 2000

The idea came in the midst of a freak out a few weeks after Rachel's birthday. He had been sitting alone in the apartment, drinking a beer when the phone rang and the machine picked up. It was a lady from the museum that Rachel, Phoebe and Monica had gone to that day. The space was open for the Geller-Bing wedding. For a brief moment, he wondered if in the midst of a drug high he had proposed without realizing it. It all seemed strange and he ran out of the apartment. He ended up racing to the hospital to see Sophie. She was still sick and often she wasn't awake to talk to him, but that day she was.

"She registered?" Sophie asked, her voice low.

"I haven't asked her to marry me...at least I didn't think I have."

"Do you want to marry her?"

"Yes. But shouldn't she wait for me to ask?" Chandler asked.

"Oh, honey...people don't have the time to wait for you."

Chandler let out a snort and shook his head. He was still nervous but maybe he needed to see the place. The Morgan Chase Museum, that's where it was. He took a cab there and walked around. His phone kept ringing but he ignored it. When he was shown the space, he walked over to the spot where he would be standing if he were getting married and looked around him and it hit him, nearly knocked him down. He could see his parents, her parents. He could see Sophie and maybe he could track down Carl the Driver and that old principal of his from elementary school that he had liked. He could see Tyler and his wife. He could see Gandalf. He could see all their friends. He looked behind him and could clearly see Ross and Joey as his Best Men. He made a mental apology to Tyler and Gandalf, although maybe they could be ushers, but Ross and Joey...they had to be his Best Men. He could imagine Phoebe and Rachel, looking stunning in bridesmaids dresses. He smiled at the image. It all felt so overwhelmingly wonderful. Then he could see Monica, her bright smile, crystal blue eyes, pale skin-his type, as Carl the Driver had once teased him about. She was in a long white gown and staring at him. There had been so much in the last few months, he had fallen off the wagon, he was drinking heavily, his friends were getting fed up with him, Sophie was dying, he had a run in with Rick and Monica was already planning what she was going to wear to Chandler's funeral. No, no. That's not how his story was supposed to go. For the first time in thirty one years, that was not how he wanted his story to go.

"Crap," he muttered, "I'm getting married."

There were rows of chairs set up for a wedding later that day, so he took a seat. He prepared himself to freak out more but instead came a calm. He wasn't drunk, wasn't high...he was actually happy. His phone rang again and this time, he reached into his pocket to pull it out. He grinned. It was either Phoebe or Monica.

"Hello?"

"Where are you? Monica's looking all over for you," Phoebe said.

"I'm...I'm at the Morgan Chase museum," Chandler said, knowing how to calm Phoebe. Phoebe was the only one who he could trust with this information.

"Why?"

"I'm looking at the space for my wedding," Chandler said and there was was silence on the other end. Chandler's smile grew knowing Phoebe was probably stunned. He wished he could see the look on her face.

"Excuse me?" Phoebe asked.

"I freaked out at first...when I got that message but...I told you a long time ago that I was going to marry her, that Monica is going to be my wife and I will not lose her. Well...it's time."

"Oh my G-d," Phoebe said.

"Here's what I need you to do. Keep Monica calm. Do not tell her you talked to me. I want this to be a surprise. I don't want her to know I'm up to anything. Tell her you haven't talked to me if she asks and then...will you help me pick out a ring?" Chandler asked.

"Yes...oh, Chandler. Wow. I can't believe this and you want me to help?"

"Well, Joey will be no help. He'll probably suggest proposing with a condom ring. Ross is busy and Rachel will probably tell...and it's been a long time since you and I did something together," Chandler said and he so wanted her help more than any of them. Joey probably wouldn't be any help. Ross was busy his new girlfriend, Elizabeth and Rachel would most certainly tell Monica. Phoebe was the only one and the only one he really wanted to help him.

"I would be honored. Oh my G-d. I can't believe this. I am so happy for you and I will not say a word," Phoebe said.

"Thanks," Chandler said as he hung up with Phoebe. He took one final look around the space and he felt excited, genuinely excited. He had never thought he get to this point. He wasn't even sure he knew how to be a husband but before Monica he wasn't even sure he knew how to be a boyfriend. He kinda blamed himself for the fallouts in his relationships with Lizzie, Janice and Kathy. Sure, they had all cheated on him but he knew he had been far from perfect, but Monica was different. He could not imagine his life without her.

His life? G-d, that word held so much weight. He had never put too much weight in that word. He didn't care that much. There had been so many times when he had been convinced that no one would care if he lived or died but for the first time he actually wanted to live...just so he could be with Monica. Before leaving though, he stopped at Pub 2. A few drinks were in order to celebrate this new thought process. He would stop drinking, he knew he'd have to but tonight was a night to celebrate.

Phoebe had driven Chandler to a million different ring stores before he had found the right one. It was the happiest he had felt in a long time. He could not stop staring at that ring. Phoebe had helped him. He would never forget that. He was so happy, he even sat in the front seat as Phoebe drove back to the apartment.

"I'm gonna do this," Chandler said, he couldn't take his eyes off the ring.

"You are. Wow...you're a grown up."

"I know. G-d, Phoebe. I love her so much."

"I know you do."

Chandler smiled as he looked back at it. He closed the box and stuffed it back in his pocket. He looked over at Phoebe who was strangely calm behind the wheel. He actually felt safe in her car which was a first. She seemed sad though, staring ahead. He knew she was probably upset with him again. Phoebe was always so worried about him.

"You know...I know I've been drinking too much lately," Chandler began, "I've been worried and then at Rachel's birthday when I saw Rick and then Rachel just melted down like that, something just switched. I can't...I can't...I want to be happy. I really do and I wanna let go of all that stuff and maybe proposing will do it. I know Monica makes me happy. I don't know why I can't just...move forward."

"You are. The one thing all of us want is for you to just be happy."

"I'm not sure I know how," Chandler said. It was the truth. He did want to stop the drinking, he looked like shit. He was bloated and sick looking. He wanted to stop with the pills.

"Maybe this is a start...just please stop hurting yourself. Okay? Know that you're not gonna find five other people who love you as much as we do," Phoebe said.

"I know."

"But...Chandler...I...I can't...I will come to your wedding, but I'm not gonna come to your funeral."

"What?" Chandler asked, a little stunned at that.

"It would be too hard. I owe so much to you and I love you so much...and it kills me that you're forcing us...that forcing me to watch you die. I don't...please...just get well," Phoebe said, glancing over it. It hit him so hard. He wondered if Phoebe knew Monica had already thought of clothes to wear to his funeral.

"Do you all think like this? That I'm going to die?" Chandler asked.

"I know we're all scared. We all see it. Rachel said it once, she said the six of us are like a house of cards. If one of us leaves, the house is destroyed. You leaving would destroy us."

His heart beat faster at that. He so badly wanted to stop all this. He wanted to make things good again, get back to his regular self. He knew what Phoebe was saying was true. Maybe it would be better now. Maybe proposing would be what it took. He would get married. They would be attending his wedding, not funeral.

Richard. It was Richard's fault. Of course it was his fault, he was at the restaurant the night Chandler wanted to propose. It was too good to be true. Monica would go back to Richard. She had even called his name at the restaurant, called him to sit with them. She wouldn't have done that if she had actually loved Chandler. Perhaps she no longer did. It was too hard to be with him. She was already picking out funeral clothes.

"She called Richard over?" Gandalf asked. Chandler was sitting in Pub 2 with Gandalf and Tyler. He couldn't complain about this to Joey or Ross. He wanted to complain to someone, so he called them. Chandler nodded as he drank from his vodka filled glass.

"I was just about to propose...and she...and you know her brother and Joey are gonna say shit and be like you don't understand...I just...I...she gonna dump me. She gonna dump for the Richard cause he has mustaches," Chandler slurred.

"Dude, go easy on those vodkas," Tyler said.

"I think he needs more," Gandalf said.

"I'm gonna just drink till I die. Monica's gonna come to my funeral. She already has an outfit," Chandler said. His phone went off and he fumbled for it in his pocket. He held it up, squinting at the numbers flashing on the screen. He wanted nothing to do with any of them.

"Another vodka over here," Gandalf said.

"I think he's had enough," Tyler said.

"The man just got dumped," Gandalf said.

"I did?" Chandler asked.

"He didn't get...hey, I'm gonna be right back," Tyler said as walked off towards the outside. Chandler watched him leave and then turned back to Gandalf who was handing him another vodka which he accepted.

"My life is a mucking fess...fucking...I...okay...I'm fucked," Chandler moaned as he drank. He had ruined everything, destroyed everything. Sophie was dying, Monica would go back to Richard and his friends would probably leave him. He would have no one, except maybe the drink in his hand.

Chandler was in Joey's bed with no clue how he had gotten there. He woke up in complete darkness, feeling sick. He looked around and in the darkness could see the Scarface poster Joey had on his wall, the moonlight from Joey's window illuminating. His head pounded as he looked over at the clock. It was four am. He looked around the room and he was alone. He slowly got up, his legs feeling shaky. He had a bottle of pills in his pocket, he'd take one. As he stumbled out, he saw Joey lying on the couch, asleep. He still was confused as to how he had wound up there. He decided not to wake Joey up though and instead left and snuck across the hall back into his apartment. As he walked towards his room, he noticed Monica on the couch. His heart dropped. Had she been waiting for him? He walked towards her and knelt down in front of her, gently shaking her. She opened her eyes and stared at him, sadness pouring forth.

"Tyler called Joey. Joey went to Pub 2 and he and Tyler brought you home and upstairs...they put you in Joey's room. Then they came here...Rachel, Phoebe and I were talking about Paul. They said they put you in Joey's room because they thought I'd be upset. I don't know. The logic didn't make sense. I stayed here. I wanted to wait for you to come. I don't know how much longer I can do this but I don't...I'm too scared to give up on you. I can't give up on you...but you make it hard to keep loving you."

"Please don't break up with me. Please...I...I wanna...please I don't...I..." Chandler's eyes filled with tears as Monica grabbed his hand. She leaned into kiss him as she slowly got up. She grabbed his hand and pulled him up. They walked towards the bedroom and walked in, Monica crawled into bed and Chandler lay next to her, holding her as tightly. He couldn't lose her, somehow he'd stop but he knew he'd definitely have to take some vicodin later or else just to help with the hang over.

He woke up the next morning, alone. He looked around wondering where Monica was as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a bottle of vicodin. He poured some into his hand and looked over to see that Monica or someone had left a glass of water for him. He swallowed the vicodin and waited for the pills to work. He got up and walked towards the door, as he did, he heard their voices. They were discussing him, the girls were. He stood on the other side of the door, listening.

"Do we have to have an intervention? What do I do? I don't what else to do?" Monica asked.

"Give him an ultimatum?" Phoebe asked.

"I don't know how much longer how I can hold on," Monica said.

"No, you have to hold on," Rachel said.

"He's making me sick, Rach," Monica said.

"I know...it's just...I don't want him to die," Rachel said.

"Sometimes I do miss Richard. It was easier with him. I didn't get so upset or worried. When it's my turn...you know? When do I get to be happy? We're always trying to make him happy. When do I get to be happy?" Monica asked.

Chandler's heart fell to his stomach as he slid to the ground, hearing the girls voices. He was destroying everything. Maybe he needed to leave. Maybe Monica was right...he wasn't sure. He walked back to his bed and lay there. He had become a horrible person or maybe it was always who he was. He was horrible.

The plan was stupid, he should have known. Throwing Monica off course so that marriage was the last thing on her mind when she was already fed up with him...it was so ridiculously dumb. Yet he and Joey had somehow thought it was perfect. Joey had not mentioned the fact that he had helped Chandler when he saw him, instead they talked about marriage proposals and maybe trying to figure out a way to make it all up to Monica. He would throw her off course and then in a big romantic gesture, propose. It backfired when Chandler found out that Richard had told Monica he was still in love with her. He went in search of Monica and found that she had been at Richard's. He was going to lose her. Chandler knew it but he couldn't. He could not lose Monica. He couldn't have her leave him. He had let Lizzie leave, let Kathy, let Janice...he had never fought for them and they left. He never thought they were worth fighting for, but Monica was different. She was worth fighting for. She was it.

After searching all over for Monica, he went back to the apartment where he saw Joey. Joey looked at him, a sad look in his eye and told him the news. Monica had left. She had gone to her parents. Chandler could feel something punching him in the chest. He had lost everything. Everything was gone.

"I screwed this up," Chandler said.

"I am so sorry," Joey said.

"I can't-I can't-I...I..."

"Call her, talk to her."

"Fuck...I'm an asshole. I fucked this up. Best thing to ever happen to me in my life and I fucked this up," Chandler said, his voice tightening as he turned to open the door, his plan to drink himself into a coma. As he opened the door though, he found candles lit everywhere and in the middle stood Monica. He looked back at Joey who was now grinning, he had to hand it to his friend, Joey had him fooled indeed. He turned back to Monica who was staring at him.

"You wanted it to be a surprise," Monica said.

Chandler could barely speak as he looked back at Joey who backed out of the apartment, still grinning. When the door closed, Chandler walked towards Monica.

"Oh my G-d."

"Chandler..." Monica said as tears filled her eyes. She knelt down to the ground and looked at him. His eyes widened. Was she going to propose to him? She started to talk, but she could not stop crying and he did not want her to propose. He needed to take control, he needed to do this. He knelt down as well.

"Let me do this. Monica..I...okay, look...I've messed up a lot in my life. I've let things go without for fighting for them because they were never worth fighting for. You are worth fighting for. You are worth living for and you make me happier than I ever thought I could be...more than I thought I deserved to be. You are the reason I am here. You are the reason I am never leaving. You are the best part of my life and I will do...if you let me...I will do my best to make you has happy as you make me. Monica Geller, will you marry me?" Chandler asked as he pulled the box out of his pocket and opened it. Monica could barely speak, she kept nodding.

"Yes," she managed to squeak out as he gently slid the ring on her finger. The two immediately embraced. She looked at him, tears still falling and kissed him again. "I love you."

"You have no idea how much I love you. You're it for me, Mon. You're it. There's no one else."

"You're it for me too," Monica said.

"Better that Richard?"

"Why?" Monica asked, giving him a look.

"'Cause I love that look...that look you give me like I'm crazy. I love riling you up, making you laugh...I love just being near you."

Monica smiled as she kissed him again. They held on longer until there was a knock at the door and Joey begging to be let in. Monica and Chandler both laughed as they stood up and told the others to come in. Rachel, Phoebe and Joey ran in as Monica announced they were engaged. They all hugged each other, a big group hug until they realized Ross wasn't there. They would need to call Ross...and start celebrating.

"I think we have champagne at my place and I'll call Ross," Joey said as he walked towards the door.

"Thanks, Joey," Monica said as Joey walked to the door.

"Actually, Mon," Chandler said, "do we have Red Bull in the fridge?"

"Yeah, why?" Monica asked.

"I think I'm gonna give up drinking," Chandler said. He smiled as he noticed Rachel, Phoebe, Joey and Monica staring at him.

"Really?" Monica asked.

"Yeah...I think I should...I...I found someone worth stopping for," Chandler said looking over at Monica who looked about ready to melt.

"Wait...I wasn't worth stopping for?" Joey asked.

"Get the hell out of here," Chandler said.

"Alright, I'll call Ross," Joey said, laughing as he walked out of the apartment. Rachel walked over to Chandler and immediately hugged him. Monica grabbed a Red Bull from the fridge and walked over to him. She handed it to him and gave him a kiss.

"Wait, don't drink it yet," Phoebe said, grabbing six champagne flutes from one of the cabinets. She placed them on the table and reached for Chandler's Red Bull. He handed it to her and she poured it into one of the flutes and handed it back to him. "You can still drink it fancy."

"Thanks," Chandler said as he drank. Monica wrapped her arm around him. It would be different this time. It would have to be. He had Monica.