~I Wish You Love~

Chapter III: They Can't Take That Away From Me (Conclusion)

*The Next Morning*

"Mon, where have you been?" Phoebe practically pounced on Monica, as she walked through the front door.

"I was at Richard's," Monica replied calmly, as she shrugged off her coat, "Phoebe, I have news."

"Really?"

"Richard and I are engaged!" Monica smiled.

"Wow! Congratulations, Mon," Phoebe smiled warmly.

"Thanks," Monica smiled, and sunk into the sofa.

"Mon, uh, shouldn't you be, like, jumping up and down or something?"

"Yeah. I'm just a little tired," Monica sighed.

"Oh, Rachel called for you a couple of times last night. She said to tell you that Chandler was at their place, and that he was asking for you."

"Asking for me?" Monica looked up, confused.

"Yeah," Phoebe shrugged, and headed into her bedroom.

~*~

"Hello?"

"Hey Rach, it's me."

"Oh, hey Mon," Rachel said.

"Phoebe said you called. What's up?"

"Oh, uh, well, Chandler came by yesterday, and he was, uh, asking for you last night."

"He could have called me himself," Monica said, slightly annoyed.

"He had a fever, he was delirious. He's much better now, Mon, do you want to talk to him?"

~*~

I heard Rachel's muffled voice as I made my way into the kitchen. The closer I got, the clearer her voice became. My head was still heavy from the flu I was battling, but I was sure I heard Rachel say Monica's name. I stood in the doorway, and listened to the one-sided conversation.

"Wow, Mon, that's great. Congratulations. Uh, huh. Have you set a date? Really? How does Richard feel about that? Oh, yeah. Okay."

I took a deep breath, and tried not to cry. This is what I wanted, right? Monica deserved to be happy; she deserved to have love. But inside, my own selfishness was beginning to overwhelm me. Why couldn't she have been happy with *me*? I shook my head, and turned back toward the guest room. I dressed, gathered my things, and snuck out the front door unnoticed.

~*~

"Hey," Monica said quietly, as she opened the door to Chandler.

"Hey," he whispered, and followed her into the apartment.

"I, um, I talked to Rachel earlier. She was, um, concerned that you just left without saying anything. Are you okay?" Monica asked tentatively.

"Yeah. I just..I wanted to say congratulations," Chandler smiled sadly.

"Thanks," Monica replied, still unsure about how to act around Chandler.

"Look, Mon, I know I said some things, um, before, but I really am glad that you have found what you're looking for. I'm happy for you. Really."

"Chandler---"

"I knew, from the moment I met you, that you were special. Richard knows it too, and for that, I am thankful. And I know you'll think me selfish, Mon, but I am leaving New York."

Monica nodded numbly.

"I came here to say goodbye. I wish you love, I wish you happiness, and I wish you a future filled with a houseful of children and grandchildren. I have to go. But you will always be in my heart," Chandler smiled, then laughed lightly. "I pulled that speech from a TV movie of the week. What did you think?"

Monica smiled sadly, and blinked back tears.

"Goodbye, Monica," Chandler smiled, and stood up. He walked to the door, and Monica followed. He opened the door, and turned in the doorway. He kissed her lightly on the forehead, and Monica fought off her disappointment that he didn't try to kiss her on the lips. No one, not even Richard, kissed her like Chandler had. She shook off the thought, and pulled him into a hug. She pulled away, and looked up at him crossly.

"Chandler, are those cigarettes in you jacket pocket?"

"Yeah," Chandler nodded sheepishly, "What can I say? I lost my inspiration."

Monica watched, as Chandler walked down the hall, around the corner, and out of her life.

~*~

I walked away, and it was the hardest thing I've ever done in my entire life. I moved to Portland, and started over. I can't really complain, my life is going well. I have a great job, I have a wife who loves me, and two great children. But sometimes, when the weather is gray, and the house is quiet, I think about that night, the night I walked away. It was over twelve years ago, but I swear I can still smell her perfume. I will always keep the memory of her, in my heart. I often wonder, if she ever thinks of me. If she remembers the night we danced all night, to the sound of nothing but autumn rain.

~*~

Monica watched the rain pelt the windows of her house, and smiled. She had buried Richard four years ago, and since then, her life had been a bit hazy. But when the rains came, she would think of Chandler. Somehow, after all these years, she still found comfort in the one she let go. She sipped her tea, and let herself be taken away from her reality, if only for a moment.

Memories were all they had.

~*~

They Can't Take That Away From Me

(George & Ira Gershwin)

The way you wear your hat

The way you sip your tea

The memory of all that

No they can't take that away from me The way your smile just beams

The way you sing off key

The way you haunt my dreams

No they can't take that away from me We may never never meet again, on that bumpy road to love

Still I'll always, always keep the memory of The way you hold your knife

The way we danced till three

The way you changed my life

Oh no they can't take that away from me

no they can't take that away from me

(not without a lawyer anyway) We may never never meet again,

on that bumpy road to love

Still I'll always, always keep the memory of The way you hold your knife

The way we danced till three

The way you changed my life

Oh no they can't take that away from me

no they can't take that away from me.....

~A~