I don't know what to say about this one without giving too much away. I'm thinking this will be another short-ish one. It starts during Season 3, TOW the Football, and…yea, that's all I've got. Not much action in this chapter, kind of just setting it up. Oh, but you guys just wait until Chapter 2…. You. Just. Wait. :)
"C'mon, man, you know you want to play with us while the turkey finishes cooking," Joey whined at Chandler, trying to get him to come play football with the rest of them while Thanksgiving dinner finished cooking. Chandler still made a face of indecision at his insistence. "Come on, you never want to do anything since you and Janice broke up," he crossed his arms, Monica crossing in front of him to answer the ringing phone.
"That's not true!" Chandler shot back defensively. "I wanted to wear my bathrobe and eat peanut clusters all day! I wanted to start drinking in the morning! Don't say I don't have goals."
"Yea, Nora, you tracked him down," Monica said into the phone receiver, handing it over to Chandler.
Chandler looked at her, confused. "Why is my mom calling me on a holiday?"
"To tell you Happy Thanksgiving?" Monica suggested, trying to get him to take the phone.
"My mom doesn't do that," he shook his head.
"Maybe she wants to start?" Monica suggested. "Well, if we're going to go play football, I need to finish up the potatoes, so you need to take the phone," she finally said, so Chandler took it from her.
"Hey, Mom," he greeted her. "Nope, we haven't eaten yet. Yea, we were actually just about to go outside and play some football," he paused, laughing slightly. "Believe it or not, I am sitting down. No, I really am," his tone suddenly changed from joking to serious. "Why?" he paused, everyone else in the room now looking at him. "Wait, what? What happened? Uh-huh…uh-huh…okay," he nodded slowly. "Okay. I'll see you Saturday. Love you, too. Bye," he hung up the phone, head still down.
"Everything…okay?" Monica was the first one to speak, having not moved from the living room, though her spoon was still in her hand.
Chandler shook his head, finally looking up. "My dad died."
"Oh my god!" Joey stepped forward, placing a hand on his shoulder.
"What happened?" Rachel asked.
"He collapsed during his show last night. Heart attack," he explained. "They're doing some sort of memorial show tomorrow night and the funeral Saturday," he stood up. "I need-I need to call and see if there are any available flights."
"I'll just go across the hall and look on your computer," Ross shook his head, standing up, as well. "See if I can find a flight for all of us tonight or tomorrow morning?" he asked, looking around, and everyone nodded in agreement.
"Kay," Chandler replied quietly, nodding, though he headed towards the door. "I'm just-I'm going to go for a walk for a minute."
"Do you want some company?" Phoebe offered, but Chandler shook his head.
"I just-I need a minute," he added before walking out the door, leaving the other five to stare at each other for a moment.
"I'm gonna go grab his laptop," Ross finally said, heading towards the door.
"I'm gonna come with and call my folks," Joey added, following behind as Monica grabbed her phone off the kitchen table,
"Can I use that after you?" Rachel asked Monica, who was already dialing the phone to call her parents.
Phoebe paused for a second, then shook her head. "I thought about calling Ursula for about two seconds, but, meh," she shrugged, both Rachel and Monica looking at her sadly. "No, it's fine, I've already lost more parents than most people have, so go ahead and call yours. Mon, want help with the potatoes?" she asked, moving to where Monica had been mixing them.
"Thought I'd find you out here."
Chandler physically jumped at the sound of Monica's voice as she climbed through the window onto the balcony, blanket in hand. He nodded in acknowledgment, taking another drag of his cigarette, turning back away from her.
"I know this is a stupid question, but…you okay?" Chandler shook his head slowly from side to side, still staring out towards the city. "Blanket?" she offered. "You have to be cold. It dropped, like, twenty degrees when the sun went down."
Chandler nodded, accepting the blanket she draped over his shoulders. "Thanks," he mumbled softly.
"Are you hungry? I know you're not going to eat anything in there, but I could make you grilled cheese or something," Monica offered, Chandler still staring out into the distance, smoking his cigarette. "Macaroni and cheese with little cut up hot dogs?"
Chandler laughed slightly at that, knowing it wasn't meant to come off as patronizingly as it sounded, shrugging. "You could at least come in and warm up. Or go to bed. We have an early flight in the morning."
"I have four more cigarettes left," Chandler replied softly, putting out the one he'd been smoking since he had smoked it down to the filter.
"And, what, you're just going to stay out here chain-smoking the entire pack?"
Chandler flicked his lighter, inhaling as he lit the next one. "Well, I'd rather get drunk, but I don't want to miss our flight in the morning, so, yea, that's the plan," he nodded.
"What, are you going to tell me I'm not dealing with this right?" he turned suddenly to face her. "I can't even remember the last time I saw my dad. I've been racking my mind all night, and I can't come up with it," he shook his head, angry at no one but himself. "And now, I'm never going to see him again. I'm going to get on a plane and go see a bunch of people he saw on a daily basis and be the horrible son who pushed his father away."
"Monica, I just-I can't deal with this right now," he cut her off, again turning away from her. "If you made me food, I might eat, though. I'm starving," he added, quieter. "As long as you don't make me talk."
"I won't make you talk," Monica promised, heading back towards the window.
"Thanks, Mon," Chandler added, turning back to face her.
Monica paused at the look on his face, wanting to give him his space, but also wanting to comfort him. "Can I at least give you a hug?"
Chandler nodded, continuing to force back the tears he'd been holding in all day, gladly accepting her arms once they were around him. "Thanks," he whispered, holding her tightly.
"No problem," Monica replied. "You stink," she added, causing Chandler to laugh as he pulled away.
"Well, you try smoking an entire pack of cigarettes in six hours and see if you still smell like a field of flowers."
"I smell like a field of flowers?"
Chandler shrugged. "Did you hear how many cigarettes I just smoked? I have no sense of smell. I couldn't tell if you hadn't bathed in days."
Monica laughed, glad that he was at least talking now, even if it was just joking around. "Mac and cheese?"
Chandler smiled slightly. "Please and thanks."
Monica returned his smile before heading inside, leaving him alone to finish his pack of cigarettes.