2004 PART 2: THE FINAL GOODBYE!
Phoebe, Mike, Monica and Chandler had taken to having double dates soon after Mike and Phoebe had gotten married. It was something both couples enjoyed. Monica and Chandler liked now not being the only married couple of the group and now with Phoebe and Mike, they had it. But that night, as Monica and Chandler sat waiting for Phoebe and Mike at a restaurant they had chosen close to Phoebe and Mike's place, he felt sad.
"You alright?" Monica asked as she glanced at her menu.
"Phoebe's moving? To Nashville?"
"Oh...who told you?"
"Rachel. You knew?"
"Nothing is for sure and...I didn't wanna say anything until it was for sure."
"Everyone's going away," Chandler said.
"I'm not," Monica said. "I'm gonna be here...still."
"Hey, guys," Phoebe said as she and Mike walked into the restaurant and took seats across from them. Looking at Phoebe made him feel worse, they had just really started to repair their friendship two months earlier and now, they would be saying goodbye.
"You're leaving?" Chandler asked as soon as Mike and Phoebe sat down.
"What? Oh...Monica, you told him?" Phoebe said.
"Rachel did," Monica said.
"You're moving to Nashville? To open a bar?" Chandler asked.
Phoebe took a deep breath and looked at Mike. Mike simply nodded as he looked at Chandler.
"I found this lounge/bar thing on Music Row in Nashville and I've always wanted to open a place like that where musicians can come and hone their craft and...you know I play piano and there was this amazing place and...I bought it and...Phoebe..." Mike said drifting off, not quite sure what else there was to say.
"What about being masseuse? I mean-"
"I know. I know that's what you paid for, Chandler and I'll take a test in Tennessee and get my license there too...I would feel awful if I didn't, it's just...you know I love music. You know that's always been my passion. I wanted to become a masseuse so I could get off the streets. Playing the guitar on street corners really can only get you so far. Please don't get upset or-"
"I'm not, Pheebs," Chandler said. "I'll miss you though."
"I'll miss you and...I meant what I said to you at the fountain that day before Mike and I's wedding," Phoebe said.
"What did you say?" Monica asked.
"I said that if he ever finds himself in trouble...if he finds himself tempted, call me. It still stands," Phoebe said.
Chandler smiled as he stared at the table. Monica grabbed his hand and squeezed it. That wasn't really the point though. He was starting to realize now as he entered the middle part of his thirties that he would always have someone to call if he needed help, it was that they were leaving in the first place.
"Same goes for me...if she's not there, you call me and we make fun of people we went to high school with," Mike said.
"That's not the point. I'll still miss you guys," Chandler said.
"I will become a masseuse in Tennessee, I promise." Phoebe said.
"That's not...it's just...I... you guys better invite me to the grand opening," Chandler said.
"Of course we will. There will be a box of Red Bull with your name on it," Phoebe said.
"That's all I ask," Chandler grinned as he took a deep breath. It made him so sad, it had been temporary. His friends all leaving. He wanted them all there. He was happy now, finally coming into his own, they had been through the fire with him and now he was calm, at peace and they were all now saying goodbye.
Maybe that's why he went so nuts at FAO Schwartz. It had started with small things but ever since Monica and Chandler learned they would be having a baby, he had found himself at FAO Schwartz every single day. Even though Monica kept telling him not to buy so much because they'd be moving, he kept doing it anyway. He wanted to prepare for the next stage.
During one particular shopping trip, he had found the perfect outfit for his new child as well as tons of other stuff and could not wait to show everything off. He ran into Central Perk to find Lizzie, Joey, Monica and Phoebe talking but he ignored it. He had found more stuff. Monica seemed rather annoyed as he ran in.
"Chandler, did you go shopping again?" Monica asked.
"But this is necessary. Okay, okay...look how cute this is," Chandler said as he pulled a tiny pink onsie with little cupcakes printed on it out of a bag. "I mean, what if the baby gets cold."
"Oye...Chandler," Monica grinned.
"What?" Phoebe asked.
"Chandler won't stop buying stuff for the baby. Chandler, we're moving in like three weeks. We discussed this. We'll buy basics and once we're in the new house then we can go nuts and buy baby stuff. We're gonna have to pack all that," Monica said.
"This was important," Chandler said. "So what did I miss?" There was tension, he could feel it. He looked over at Monica, who shifted uncomfortably.
"Well...Joey was telling us-"
"I'll tell him," Joey said, interrupting Monica, "remember when I went to Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago for that audition?"
"Yeah," Chandler said.
"I got the part. I'm...I'm gonna be moving to Los Angeles, buddy," Joey said.
Chandler let that hit him. He looked down at the bags and back up at Joey and Lizzie. That was too much. Joey leaving. His best friend, his brother. He would be sad about Phoebe and Rachel...but Joey.
"Oh, well congrats man...wow...I'm gonna go put these bags away," Chandler said as he turned and walked out of Central Perk, turning towards the front entrance of the building when Joey caught up to him.
"Can I talk to you?" Joey asked.
"No, I'm fine...congratulations."
"Hmmmm...wow, you might be a bigger idiot than I am," Joey said.
"Excuse me?" Chandler asked, confused.
"You really think that after everything we've been through, I'm gonna move across the country and never speak to you again," Joey said.
"I never said that."
"You're thinking it."
"You don't know what I'm thinking," Chandler said as he opened the door to the building and stepped inside, Joey walking in with him. The two began walking up the flights of stairs.
"Chandler look...everything is changing you know. You and Monica are moving to the suburbs and starting a family. Rachel might be moving to Paris, Phoebe is moving to Nashville and I'm a father...I'm thirty six years old and...and...I thought for a very long time that I would love to be one of those creepy old guys that hits on eighteen year olds while sleeping in a room over your garage but then I met Lauren and I missed so much and...I want to be there. I wanna be with Lizzie, I wanna have kids with her. Kids that I'm around to see and this part...it's amazing. Both Lizzie and I got the parts we auditioned for."
"Yeah, Liz is gonna be in some dramedy about a sportscaster whose wife dies-"
"Sounds funny," Chandler remarked, sarcastically
"I read the script, it's pretty good. He has to join some support group and...and Lizzie is going to play the sportscaster's assistant and-and the show I'm gonna be in? Come on, you can't tell me that it's the perfect role for me?" Joey said.
Chandler smiled as he kept walking up the stairs. It was perfect. Joey would be playing some washed up actor who gets a role in an Americanized version of a British sitcom. It was a show within a show and when Joey had shown Chandler the script, Chandler's first thought was how perfect Joey would be...but it didn't matter.
"I guess. You're still leaving," Chandler said.
"Still gonna be here during Thanksgiving and Christmas...and if I have to be in New York for any reason, I'm staying with you. I mean we're...we're Jandler."
"Chanoey," Chandler corrected.
"Jandler sounds cooler and if I get nominated for an award," Joey said.
"I'll be in Los Angeles."
"And we can still play videogames...we'll use headsets."
"Yeah...won't be the same though," Chandler said.
"I know...but you're still my brother and when Liz and I do get married...you're my best man."
"Always," Joey grinned.
"Yeah. She's a great girl."
"I always thought so."
"Yeah. You put her through hell though," Joey teased.
"That I did. You're a better guy for her. I'm glad you two are together and I can't wait for the wedding. My speech will be awesome."
Joey smiled at him as the two men stared silently at each other before leaning in for one of their many signature hugs. Joey Tribbiani. Joey had been the last person he wanted to have as his roommate. He had found him obnoxious and a meathead...but then as he got to know Joey, as he realized just how much their lives had intertwined before they were ever even officially friends, he couldn't imagine a better friend, a better brother. Joey had always been there for him, protecting him.
"Did I ever thank you?" Chandler asked as the two walked toward Joey and Rachel's apartment.
"Lots of times," Joey said.
"No. That Halloween party...when Shane saw me. I don't know if you knew what he said. He was threatening to kick my ass and then called me a name...and then you appeared out of nowhere and told him to leave and...I appreciated that a lot. You didn't have to and I knew you probably didn't know-"
"I had an idea. Shane was an asshole, Bing. When you walked into the party that night, he pointed you out and I said I wasn't sure who you were and then a few minutes later I saw him talking to you but not in a friendly way. I don't know what he said although I have an idea."
"Thanks for sticking up for me. Thanks for sticking by me...just thank you."
"You're welcome and thank you for helping with my career...and for being such a dick to your college girlfriend that she decided to cheat on you with a hot Italian guy she met in her acting class," Joey grinned which made Chandler laugh.
"Anytime my friend."
"Let's do it," Chandler said as they walked in, Chandler grabbing a chair as Joey got the Baywatch DVDs ready and the two soon were sitting side by side, watching .Baywatch, one episode after the other. It was perfect for the two friends. Jandler or Chanoey, depending on who you asked. It didn't really matter as Chandler knew just as he knew with Phoebe, even if they moved, they'd still be friends.
He was at work, actually working when the call came. She told him she made a decision. She would do it and needed his help. His heart felt a bit lighter when she told him the news. Yes, things were changing but at least Rachel was staying. He made an appointment with the accountant again and took the money out, his trust fund money and met Rachel at the store which was now filled with boxes.
"I'm crazy, right?" Rachel asked as Chandler walked in. She looked at him.
"I can't leave. I can't...I left my old life. I did that and it was the best decision I've ever made but if I leave Ross and Monica and you...it's different. You guys make my life. Saying goodbye to Joey and Phoebe and watching them leave, G-d, that'll be heart wrenching and I know that Joey leaving probably kills you but-"
"Wait, you're not staying because of me, are you?"
"No. No...I'm staying because...I'm where I'm supposed to be. I already left one life. Ten years ago and when I walked out of my wedding, out of my old life, I was terrified but I knew...I knew with every fiber of my being that I was doing the right thing and ten years ago, it was easier. I walked out of that world and into a world with the five greatest people I have ever known. Even you, Chandler...you have driven me crazy. There has been no one really that I have gone from intense hate to...love and now...now, I have a daughter. I want my daughter to know her cousin and...her uncle Chandler and aunt Monica and-and I have...a Ross. I love Ross. Oh, I love him and I don't know if it'll be different now. It better be...but I can't get on that plane. I can't leave. I can't take his daughter away from him. I can't take me away from him," Rachel said, her eyes filling with tears as she stared at him. Chandler reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet. He opened it and handed her the check. She stared at it and back at him.
"Congratulations, Rachel. You're a business owner."
"I am," Rachel said as Chandler walked towards her. The two hugged, Chandler holding her tightly as he gently kissed her on the head. "Thank you, Chandler."
"You're welcome. Hey...you did this. I'm proud of you."
"I'm proud of you too. So proud...hmm, yeah, we totally should've been better friends at camp."
"Oh, yeah," Chandler said as Rachel took a deep breath and stepped away from him. "But Rach, can I ask you something?"
"Don't tell anyone I gave you the money."
"We all know you're a trust fund kid."
"I know, it's just...don't tell. Please. I...I...wanna keep this private."
"What about Monica? Isn't she listed on your trust now?"
"I'll tell her...later. Just..."
"Okay. Wow. Wow," Rachel said.
She looked around the store again. Things were moving so fast, ending so quickly and a few weeks later, when Ross came to Central Perk to tell them all that Rachel needed them to meet her at a boutique, Chandler knew it was time for Rachel's big reveal. He had told no one about Rachel's plan, not Monica, not anyone. It had been tough but Rachel had wanted everyone to think that maybe she would move to Paris. He would give her that moment, that moment where she told them all what was going on. When Mike, Phoebe, Ross, Joey, Lizzie, Monica and Chandler walked into the boutique, Rachel was sitting in the now deserted store with Emma playing next to her. She glanced at Chandler before looking at the rest of them.
"I may have just lost my mind," Rachel said.
"Why?" Ross asked.
"Phoebe and Mike inspired me and-and I was eating lunch with a couple of friends of mine who are designers and they said that if I ever had a store they would sell their designs in my store and...and I thought about that and one of the things I was super good at when I worked at Bloomingdales and even at Ralph Lauren, I was good at cultivating friendships with designers and I'm still friends with those designers and...and I'm insane, I am...but I can't-" Rachel said.
"What are you saying, Rach?" Monica asked. Rachel shot Chandler a look, he grinned. He really had kept the secret. This was her moment. Rachel's.
"I bought a store...this store. I talked to my parents and they helped and I bought a store. I can't...Ross, I can't take Emma away from you and take her to a whole other country. You never see Ben and I know how much that kills you and I can't do that to you but..."
Chandler cocked his head to the side and looked at her. She had kept her promise, not revealing it was him but he could see Monica staring at him out of the corner of his eye. He avoided her gaze and watched Ross instead.
"Rachel...if it's what you want..." Ross said.
"And I want you, Ross," Rachel said. "Ross, I want us to be together. I can't go and leave...but I can't stay if things are going to be the way they were before. No. You can't get insanely jealous if I work late or if I have to travel. I want this to be right...I wanna take this risk...if Phoebe and Mike are taking a risk, then I will too but-but this relationship needs to be a healthy one...no more craziness and no more...just no more-"
Ross walked over to her and immediately kissed her. She stared at Ross and smiled at him as she kissed him back. The rest of the group stared at each other uncomfortably, not sure what to say or if they should be saying anything at all.
"That's my ex girlfriend," Joey whispered.
"Wow...you're a man whore," Lizzie grinned.
"Yeah, baby," Joey said, which made Chandler laugh.
"I don't want to be here now," Monica said.
"Wanna get coffee," Chandler said as the rest of the group left the store, leaving Rachel and Ross to sort things out on their own. As the walked out, Monica grabbed Chandler's arm and motioned for Phoebe, Mike, Lizzie and Joey to walk ahead of them. When they were alone, she stared at him.
"Rachel's parents didn't help her get this store, did they?" Monica asked.
"No, it's just...Rachel can't leave too...Phoebe and Joey leaving is gonna be hard enough and then I thought, G-d, if she leaves Ross is gonna be devastated and you...I mean, you already have one best friend leaving with Phoebe moving to Nashville, Lizzie is starting to become your friend and she's moving to Los Angeles with Joey and then...I thought, if Rachel left, you'd have no female friends in New York left and I didn't want you to be lonely and...'cause I know how much sucks it to be lonely and-"
"I'm not lonely. I have you."
"Yeah, but when you want to complain about me...which I know you like to do, it's probably better that I don't hear it."
"True," Monica said, looking at him, her eyes filling with tears as she kissed him. "And...Joey and Lizzie are for sure coming for Thanksgiving. So you will see him again and Phoebe is coming with Mike for Thanksgiving too so we will see them as well."
"Hey," Rachel said as she and Ross walked out of the store, hand in hand, Rachel holding Emma with her free arm. They walked towards Chandler and Monica.
"It wasn't her parents that helped with the store, was it?" Ross asked, Chandler looked over at Rachel.
"I didn't tell him a thing," Rachel said.
"Thank you," Ross said as he and Chandler hugged.
"No, thank you," Chandler said, "and Rach, you sure this is what you want?"
"Yes, I wanna be with my family. I mean, I spent so much of my life wanting a family...wanting to be surrounded by people that loved me for my crazy self. People I can be myself around without judgment and I found it in you guys and I can't leave that. I wouldn't have asked for the money if I felt like I was being forced. I wanna do this. I may need help. Monica, I may need you to make lists."
"I will totally do that," Monica said.
"I know," Rachel said as she let go of Ross' hand and hugged Monica. The two women, crying as they held onto each other. Ross stepped towards Chandler.
"It's gonna be different now," Ross said.
"I know," Chandler said.
"Joey told me you're gonna be his best man whenever he and Liz get married," Ross said.
"Hmmm, yes," Chandler said. "Sorry."
"That's alright, it's how it should be."
Chandler nodded as Ross patted Chandler on the back. Monica, still holding Emma, began walking off with Rachel beside her. Chandler and Ross following closely behind.
All this change, this moving on, the saying of goodbyes all took a backseat when Erica went into labor. Chandler and Monica were officially parents but not just the parents to one baby, two. Two infants, tiny, so full of life. They were a family, the Gellar-Bings.
"I have babies. I'm a mom," Monica said as tears streamed down her face. Erica had given birth and now Chandler and Monica were holding their new children, little Erica and Jack.
"They are so gorgeous," Chandler said, "they're ours."
"Oh, G-d. Oh, man...G-d...I just...thank you."
"No, thank you."
"I love them and we have one of each."
"Hi, kids...it's your mom and dad," Chandler said as Monica kept crying.
"I...I have everything I've ever wanted. I do. I have everything. This is all happening. To me. To us. This is amazing."
"Okay, kids...we're gonna start with the silent movies first. We'll begin with Birth of a Nation. Four hour silent movie...quite possibly the most racist movie of all time, so you know, don't get freaked out by all the lynching. It's fake and you two will probably sleep throughout most of it. Which is fine...then we're gonna go through all the silent movies. You'll love Charlie Chaplain and...and.." Chandler began when he felt Monica kiss his arm. He looked at her as she smiled at him.
"We're a family."
"We are," Chandler said. "Hmmmm, just thought of something."
"I have to buy more things at FAO Schwartz."
Monica laughed as looked down at Jack, sleeping in her arms and over at Erica's sleeping in Chandler's. Chandler could not believe this was his life now and he felt protective. So very protective...
"I can never drink again. I will never drink again...or take a drug. I can't. I can't let these two down. They're depending on me. I'm their dad."
"You'll be amazing," Monica said "I can't wait for the others to meet these two."
"And we have to say goodbye them...oh, G-d."
"What?" Chandler asked.
"It's not fair. Just as we start our family, we have to say goodbye to the family we've had for ten years. I don't any of them to go."
"They're our family. We're not gonna lose them."
"How do you know?" Monica asked.
"I know. Let's bring our babies home?"
Monica nodded as they both walked out of the hospital room. Carefully they brought the babies home where everyone was waiting in their now packed up apartment. There was Joey, Lizzie and now fourteen year old Lauren, Ross, Rachel and the now two year old Emma and of course, Mike and Phoebe. They were now each a family of their own. Each one going their own way. Ross and Rachel would stay in the city with Emma. Joey, Lizzie and Lauren would be moving to Los Angeles. Phoebe and Mike would move to Nashville and Chandler and Monica would be living with their two children in the suburbs, an hour away from New York.
The goodbyes were brutal. Awful. They all made plans to reconvene during Thanksgiving, to catch up on each others lives. The tears flowed from the six friends as they shared memories. They had grown up together, been there through high points and horrible lows. Chandler had dreamt of friends tat would seem like family and he had gotten it. As they all said goodbye, they made the promise, despite the years, despite the distances, they would forever be part of each others lives.
It was late night, now October, Chandler and Monica were lying in their bed watching the Late Show with Craig Ferguson. The twins were finally asleep and the two were watching Joey in one of his first late night talk show appearances. Monica was acting a little strange but Chandler ignored it, thinking she was just being weird. He wanted to listen to Joey, so proud of his friend. He hated that his brother now lived three thousand miles away, but he would still be proud nonetheless. He listened to Joey in amusement. His new show was pretty good, it was very funny but as Chandler was listening, a particular story sparked his attention. Joey was telling a story to the Scottish comic about buying his buddy in New York a Corvette because he drove the old one into a house. He talked about how Monica, Ross and Rachel had come up with this elaborate scheme where they would park the car Ross and Rachel's and Monica would drive it home, making sure that she parked it in the driveway after Chandler got home from work. He looked over at Monica who was grinning at him. Chandler immediately grabbed his cell phone, got off the bed and ran outside. There, sitting in the driveway was a shiny, cherry red Corvette. Sally 2.0.
"Oh my G-d," Chandler said as he quickly dialed.
"So you watched the show?" Joey answered.
"Oh my G-d...dude, this is-"
"My first paycheck, I buy you a car. Next one, I buy an engagement ring for Liz."
"Joey...I-it's...Sally Disisa Corvette 2.0," Chandler said, "oh my G-d...thank you, I-"
He stopped as he stared at the backseat. There were three carseats in the back. Chandler cocked his head to the side, "can I call you back?"
Chandler hung up, now completely stunned as he walked back into the house to look at Monica who was still grinning, this time holding a pregnancy test.
"You saw the Corvette?" Monica asked.
"Yes. You made it child friendly."
"But Mon...why are there three carseats?" Chandler asked. Monica kept smiling as she walked towards him, holding up the pregnancy test. He could tell there was a positive sign there.
"I'm pregnant," Monica said. "I guess a couple of your guys finally got off the barcaloungers and my uterus felt was time to let them in."
Chandler's mouth dropped as he took her in his arms and kissed her. This was all too perfect, all to wonderful and for the first time. It didn't frighten him. The months would go by. Rachel and Ross got engaged again and had a small ceremony. Rachel's store was hugely successful as was Phoebe and Mike's lounge in Tennessee. They also became expectant parents. Joey and Lizzie also became engaged and nine months later, Monica and Chandler had a child becoming an official family of five.
It was funny, he has spent so much of his life running, being scared, being selfish but he finally felt at peace. He had gotten so comfortable with be alone but now...he would be. He finally felt okay with just being him as it was all finally good enough.
The very last chapter in the Chandler Bing saga. So sorry about the length of this story! I really had no meant for it to be SOOOO long! Also, sorry for all and any grammar errors! I usually just read through these stories once and sometimes don't get all the mistakes. So no need to point them out...I know! But I hope all of you review! PLEASE! REVIEW! Thanks for those of you who have stuck with it and now I'm not sure whom I will do next...I'm debating between Monica and Rachel.