A/N: This is what happens when I repaint my old bedroom and play around with my little nephew on the same day. I'm not a very sentimental person, but this sappy, saccharine stuff just poured out of me until it was too late to take it back. I decided to leave Erica out of this, though, because two little kids were too much for me to write.
And some reviews would be very much appreciated, as always. I'd really like to know what you think of this. So please, please, please, love me do or I will cry uncontrollably for days. Enjoy! :)
"Honey, I'm going downstairs," she quickly says as she passes by the doorway, already moving on to the next thing. "Do you want me to bring you something?"
"Nah, I'm good," I shout, smiling tightly to myself. "I'm almost done here for today anyway."
I don't know why I thought repainting an entire room by myself was a good idea, but I'm starting to see its drawbacks quite clearly now. Boy, does my back hurt right now.
Monica got out of it under the pretense that the strong smell gives her a headache. She was considerate enough to bring me one of those small, portable radios, tuning to a station that was quite keen on playing some Sting for a while, and that has now shifted to a Michael Bublé fest.
But you see, Monica is pregnant, so I don't really feel like complaining.
God, I never get tired of saying that. She's pregnant. She's actually, truly pregnant. And by the way: she's the most beautiful pregnant woman I have ever seen, too—she glows; she gleams; actual light radiates from her and I'm not joking.
She recently hit the 22nd week of her pregnancy, and we found out last week that we're going to have a boy. A little brother for our already wonderful twins. Can you imagine? Immature, commitment phobic Chandler Bing is going to be partly responsible for the hard job that constitutes raising three children. I'm sure that was thoroughly unforeseen by the entire planet, me included.
But anyway, I had to drive little Erica (who is, by the way, the loveliest little girl in the world) to Ross and Rachel's place a couple of hours ago. Since she's spending the night there with Emma, too, I'm taking advantage of the unusual, extra free time and have since begun painting the nursery.
Poor Jack had to stay here, though. He's being discriminated for having a penis, in my humble opinion, but he doesn't seem to care that much. I think he's even a little relieved he doesn't have to go; as relieved as a three-year-old with no ulterior motives can be, that is.
So, in favor of the upcoming baby, I'm giving up the office we set up for me in our house—I barely bring any stuff from work here, so I don't really mind. Come to think of it, it was kind of my idea.
We decided to paint the whole thing blue. It may be terribly unoriginal, but I like the fact that we have the opportunity to be terribly unoriginal. Hell, if I were talented enough, I'd paint terribly unoriginal clouds, too.
"Daddy, it's sticky," says the most adorable high-pitched voice ever, bringing me back to Earth and tugging at the wornout, old jeans I'm wearing. "Look, Daddy. Look!"
It never ceases to amaze me how kids can barely put a couple of sentences together at two, yet when they hit the three-year barrier, they just won't stop talking. And for some reason, they always want you to look, too, as if their whole existence depends on it.
I stop rolling paint onto the wall and look down, where Jack is holding up his tiny hands, both of them completely soaked in blue paint. I look further behind him and spot lots of hand-shaped stains over the walls, carpet, and even my jeans. For God's sake, you can't even stop to daydream for a second with hyperactive children like mine.
"Holy sh-" I stop myself, looking down at the innocent face in front of me. "Shucks."
That was lame. But the little rascal giggles. I sometimes suspect he tries to get me to curse on purpose. His only worries in life may involve eating, sleeping, playing, and not getting bathed more than twice a week, but who knows. That's kids for you.
"Oh, man, what are you doing?! No, don't-" I leave the roller in the tray and kneel in front of him. "Don't play with that, hey—you're not supposed to play with paint, buddy."
"I like the colors, they're pretty," he says, bringing one hand up to his mouth.
"No no no no, God no, you can't eat that, Jack," I warn him, wrapping my hand around his tiny wrist. "If you eat that now, then your tummy will hurt later, and you don't want your tummy to hurt, do you?"
He shakes his head slowly. I'm no physician, but I'm guessing ingesting paint can cause something more than a little stomachache. That old fib works for everything and gets the point across fantastically, though—he looks alarmed, even.
"Alright then, kiddo," I say, brushing a small fleck of paint off his forehead. "Come here, let's get that paint off of ya."
I take him into my arms, heading towards the bathroom, and he goes all, "I wanna paint with you, Daddy."
And I'm like, "Sure! I'm done for today, but one of these days you sure will," even though it is a massive lie, which is a small detail he doesn't necessarily have to know.
"Neat!" he says. No idea where he's picked up that word, but he can't bring himself to stop saying it.
"Sure it's neat. You know what else is neat? Not touching anything with those dirty, filthy hands of yours."
But as soon as those words leave my lips, of course, he brings both hands to my face, and when he doesn't reach because I pull my head back, he rubs them against my neck, smearing paint all over my skin.
Even so, he laughs one of those kiddie laughs that make the hearts and souls of weak people like me flutter for a long time.
"Motherf-" I stop again. There's that innocent face of his again. "Father. God! Don't do that again, please!" He giggles once more. See what I'm talking about? He's cute, but fiendish. "Mon! Help! Child out of control over here!"
Monica yells something indistinct from downstairs, and I step into the bathroom at last, where I place him on the countertop of the sink, taking one of his hands and putting it under the running faucet.
"Blue is neat, Daddy," he feels the need to inform me as I start scrubbing his hands.
"Well, too bad, because this is coming off."
He pouts. An authentic, accompanied-by-sad-eyes pout. I don't want you to think I'm biased because he's my kid, but he truly is one of the two most adorable kids on Earth.
Plus, since we're in the middle of July, we went to the beach the other day and he came back with a few freckles on the bridge of his nose—I didn't know that was a real thing that happened, and as I'm guessing they're probably temporary, but if possible, he's even cuter now.
And, I'm thinking wonders of the guy that tried to smear paint all over my face. I'm telling you: Kids are evil. I tickle the palm of his hand and he squeals in delight, swinging his legs around. Scratch that: Kids are precious.
"By the by, do you know what I bought for you on the way home?" He looks up at me with big, curious eyes, shaking his head. "Your favorite kind of ice cream, buddy."
He flashes one big, fully toothed smile and squeaks something that is supposed to be marshmallow, but that barely resembles it because the poor guy still has some troubles with pronunciation.
"Yeah, that's right." I never thought I had a stern voice in me, but here I am, pulling it off: "But I'm not so sure you deserve it now. I guess I'll have to wait and see if you behave for the rest of the day."
And there's that pout again. His repertoire of facial expressions is not particularly extensive, but man, is it effective.
"I'm sorry, Daddy," he mumbles, because my kids are really easy to bribe. "I'll be good."
"You called for me?" Monica pokes her head through the bathroom door then, holding a glass of water in her hand. "Are you okay?"
"No. I'm blue."
I chuckle like a nutjob at my own lame, spontaneous joke. Jack chuckles, too, but I think he's only chuckling at my chuckle. Monica ignores us and narrows her eyes at the scene in front of her. "What happened?"
"I dunno," I say. "I guess he thought the colors were pretty."
"So what?" She steps into the bathroom, her brow furrowed. "He just happened to dip his hands into the tray of paint?"
"That's exactly how it happened, yes." I nod. "If this is upsetting you, then I strongly advise you to stay away from my office."
Monica scowls at me. While the scowl remains, she walks towards us, leaves the glass on the counter, and examines Jack's t-shirt. "He has paint on his clothes, too, Chandler, and you've got some on your neck." Disapproving looks are shot. "Jesus, I can't leave you guys alone for two seconds."
"It's okay, Mon. We're okay. Don't worry." I turn the tap off and dry his small hands with a towel. "See? We're basically done here."
"Sure you are."
Monica is skeptical—for shame! I help Jack hop off the counter, and then that stern voice comes out of me again, "And don't even think about doing that again, buddy."
"'Kay..." he mumbles again, eyes downcast.
"Why don't you go change into your jammies now, sweetie?" suggests Monica. "It's almost dinner time."
"'Kay!" he chirps, and then wastes no time on skipping all the way to his bedroom, for some reason laughing heartily and repeating the words 'marshmallow ice cream' over and over.
"'Don't do that again'?" Monica mocks, hands on hips—kind of pissed, but kind of not. "You've had three years of practice, and that's how you still reprimand your child? Man, you're really lucky they barely do any wrong, and so you don't have to do it much."
"Well, I don't know. Yeah! I'm too weak and they're too cute. I don't know," I scarcely defend myself. "I kinda don't want him to hate me, okay?"
Monica bites her lip to stop from laughing. "Chandler, he's gonna be attached to you for the rest of his life—he's not gonna hate you because you tell him off for painting your face."
"Well, no. I know that," I say, rolling my eyes. "You know what I mean. And don't worry, I'll show him the horrors of misbehaving next time, all right."
"Good. Whatever. Can I see how the room is turning out now?" Her entire expression lights up as she changes the subject, a big smile spreading across her face. "God, I'm feeling all giddy about it—is that too ridiculous?"
"Of course not! I'm excited, too," I say. She nods, still smiling, and I take her face in my hands, briefly pecking her lips, because, I swear, I might burst if I don't kiss that adorable grin of hers immediately. "How are you feeling, by the way?" I ask then, placing my hand on her ever-growing belly. The baby hasn't started kicking yet, but I'm patient. Monica less so.
"I'm feeling fantastic, thanks for asking."
Just for the record, I ask that question way too much, but she understands. She's probably asking herself that question all the time, too, the words 'inhospitable environment' sullenly hanging over our heads every minute of every hour of every day.
We waited, as professionally advised, until the first trimester was over to really get excited about this, and now we just can't help ourselves.
Fortunately, it's all going incredible.
"My pleasure, always." My smile is probably as big, goofy, and unavoidable as hers, my tone of voice as dreamy, too. "Come on now, I'll show you. Just... ignore the mess your son made."
I take her hand and lead her to the empty room that used to be my somewhat organized office, but that now is just a messy-looking prospect of our wishful thinking.
She must be really thrilled, picturing in her head how great this could look, because she lets out occasional ooh's and aah's, looking around in awe. I rest my body against the frame of the door, and contemplate her.
"Multiple stains of little hands aside, it's looking great so far! I think you might have a gift, honey."
"Yeah, I think so, too."
"And, on top of that, you look super cute with paint on you, so..." she trails off, looking around. "And you just said you were gonna clean this mess immediately, right? Thank God you're so considerate, Chandler, 'cause it's kind of driving me insane."
I chuckle, and she comes to rest her back against the doorjamb, right in front of me. "Well, of course I did, babe."
I look at her for a moment—it's amazing, you never get tired of looking at her. It's like you need to really take in how beautiful she is from time to time or something. And then when she looks back at me, I lean over and kiss her, because you never get tired of kissing her, either.
"I'm still not used to kissing you when there's a bump between us, it's weird," I breathe, breaking the kiss.
"Well, you did this to me, so get used to it," she breathes back, smiling against my lips.
She keeps saying that, too. She keeps saying that I did this to her, and I think she does it to reassure herself that, in fact, I did, and we did, and there's a small human growing inside of her that will have my hair, and her eyes, and my nose, and the fact that it is really happening is beyond unexpected and amazing.
"I'm sorry," I joke, because I'm not sorry at all. "But come to think of it, it's only temporary." I fleetingly peck her lips, and then mutter, in all seriousness: "God, I can't believe that I'm your man, Monica. And I can't believe that I get to kiss you, baby, just because I can."
She pulls back a little, raising her eyebrows. "Chandler Bing, did you just quote that Michael Bublé song from earlier to me?"
"Um, maybe? Maybe not. Who's to say, really?" I laugh softly, biting my lip. "I just know that it's you, baby. It's you. You're every minute of my everyday."
"Wow, you are one silly man," she jokingly says, absentmindedly playing with my hand.
"That, I am."
And yeah, we're pretty much kissing again. It's really remarkable how she manages to make me feel like no time has passed at all, still after all these years.
She then interlaces her fingers with mine while we kiss, as if it's not a gesture that drives me absolutely crazy. She gets lost in my arms and I get lost in her lips, and the minutes tick by and we just can't bring ourselves to care. Outstanding, I'm telling you.
"That's yucky!" exclaims the little voice standing in the middle of the hallway in adorable pajamas. Monica and I break the kiss slowly, stifling our laughter and looking down at the little guy in front of us, sporting an utterly disgusted expression on his face.
"Sure it's yucky now," I tell him. "That's because you're little and you know nothing about life, big guy."
"Hey, don't corrupt my child yet, Chandler," Monica says, slapping my chest playfully. Then she goes to Jack, and kisses the top of his head. "Are you hungry, honey? Do you want to be my little helper again?"
"I'm hungry, Mommy. Yes!" he says, holding his hands together over his head, looking all kinds of excited.
"Okay, let's go downstairs then," she says, taking his small hand in hers, but then turning around to face me, brushing her fingers over my full-of-blue-paint earlobe. "I think we should just let your father clean the mess you've bestowed upon him."
He looks utterly confused at first, but doesn't care enough to ask. "Neat," he simply says after a moment. I enjoy having a son this positive, to be honest.
"Super neat, come on," she says, tugging at his hand.
And as they make their way down the stairs, Jack waves at me with his little hand, and I just look at them, totally awestruck. I smile to myself like some fool, really, and think, for the umpteenth time in this lifetime, that my family truly is my everything.