Part Time Lover, Full Time Friend
Chandler hated when people watched him sleep. Monica knew that. It made him feel self-conscious and it creeped him out, she knew that too.
But she had always liked watching him sleep, because he was a cute sleeper. His features would be much softer, smiling eyes, deep asleep in a meditation-like state. No wall, no mask, no distance―she liked that side of him despite everybody else feeling unsettled whenever Chandler wasn't being Chandler. She liked the vulnerability, the sweetness, the genuine look of content on his face.
Chandler hated people watching him sleep but she couldn't help herself anymore. Because London happened. Something was happening to her, to them.
Something was happening that turned what seemed like the worst idea ever when they had woken up in his hotel room in London into a miraculous revelation now that they were in New York, in her bedroom, just a couple of hours after they had landed.
She focused her attention on him again. His mouth was half open and he let out a soft snore. Monica stifled a laugh, he didn't need to know that she would gladly wake up before the alarm to watch him sleep.
She shook her head.
It was Chandler! She never thought it would be him who would bring her back to passion, to life, revive feelings she thought were long lost―the butterflies, the stomach flips, the happy anxiousness and the all-consuming lust. It was all him, the same goofy guy from across the hall who couldn't be serious for 5 full minutes if his life depended on it.
Yet, he was the same Chandler who had been on top of her, with the most serious look on his face as if it was his life's mission, bringing her to that sublime blur of pleasure; Chandler with the perfectly angled shoulders, Chandler and his jaw and the way his mouth was demanding and soft and open letting out quiet, deep grunts of pleasure and need that were still echoing through her brain.
Chandler, her best friend, with whom she had drunk sex. Amazing drunk sex in London, and just plain amazing sex in New York.
Chandler, who made her scratch his back furiously with her nails, bite his shoulder and cry the sharpest screams the second time, and the fourth, the sixth and the seventh ...
Seven times in one night with Chandler.
She sat up against the headboard and closed her eyes, her world was turning upside down and her head was a mess.
Seven times, and a couple more times after that, with her best friend, couldn't be casual sex. And she didn't do casual sex, not anymore, neither did Chandler. In those touches and whispered words and the frantic dance of their bodies, it wasn't casual in the slightest. It was supremely intimate, each time she gave away a nonrefundable piece of herself to him. He couldn't just be a friend, he was now a friend and a lover, or a lover and a friend. She wasn't sure yet that combination could win the day but it definitely conquered her nights.
Monica tilted her head and stared down at his ruffled hair, resisting the urge to pass her hand through it, refraining from snuggling up next to him like boyfriends and girlfriends did.
All she needed was to set boundaries, she told herself. Starting by keeping her hands away from that summer-kissed, brown and messy, looking-so-painfully-soft hair.
She slid down under the blanket, facing him and tucking her hands under her head, taking in his features up close. She always found him cute, that was undeniable but she was seeing him under a whole new light. His post-sex hair wasn't just cute, it was sexy and hot.
She always liked watching him sleep but she knew it creeped him out. In fact, that one time he caught her, he woke up screaming.
Like so many things since London, it was an uncontrollable need and she succumbed, her hand went through his hair, smoothing it softly through her fingers, and his eyes fluttered open.
He didn't scream this time, he just smiled. A happy, content smile.
"Hey," he said in his sleepy, raspy voice, and that one simple word broke something inside her open, exposing her whole. It seemed hard to find enough air and form words to respond.
"What time is it?"
"Too soon to wake up."
"Were you watching me sleep like a creep?"
She blushed furiously, racking her brain for an excuse and coming up short. "I―"
"I like it."
"You do? I thought you hated that."
"Not when you do it, not after earth-shattering sex. It feels good."
She didn't wait for him and kissed his lips, pulling the bottom one into her mouth. "It feels better than anything."
At that, Chandler turned her over, she was now beneath him and he was smiling down at her, touching her like he was memorizing her shape, with fingertips and thumbs tracing her shoulders, her arms, sliding down to her hips and her thighs and back up to her shoulders, her neck and into her hair.
It was different in New York. There was awareness, from sobriety, from the familiarity of his body, every movement intentional and every touch conscious. It was deeper than infatuation or a flash of desire or desperation. It was something else, something she couldn't quite bring herself to name yet.
"Could we stay in bed all day?" he said while leaving a trail of kisses over her neck and shoulders.
"What about Joey and Phoebe? They'll be there in a few hours."
"Hmm, what if you tell Phoebe you're sick so she has to stay far, far away from you, you know, for the babies and I tell Joey some hot girl is looking for him."
"That's so cunning and wicked," Monica said. "I love it."
Monica was never this excited before to make breakfast in the morning for the man in her bed, which was ridiculous, she admonished herself. She had made Chandler breakfast a million times before.
She carried the plate with coffee and cookies and orange juice to her bedroom, opening it with her foot. Chandler was propped up against the headboard, gloriously naked. She almost dropped the plate as she felt her chest and neck flush at the sight of him.
She put down the plate on the bedside table and rolled her eyes at the smug expression on his face while he stood up and put on his boxer briefs with small jalapeño peppers print over them, showing off with a little stripper dance and singing the chorus from Donna Summer's Hot Stuff, making her laugh before he sat down and reached for the plate and put it on the bed between them.
"I thought you had a strict 'no crummies on the bed' policy," he said, taking a careful bite of one cookie and sipping his cup of coffee.
"I'm making an exception. Don't get used to it."
"Man, I must have been pretty good last night," he said with a smirk.
She had to bite her tongue to avoid responding and tell him sex had never been this good before, reaching a whole new level of greatness. One she feared she was already becoming dangerously addicted to.
Just as she was ruminating words in her head on how to bring up the unavoidable subject―are things going to be awkward now? This is confusing. Should we figure this out?― Chandler opened the newspaper while chewing the cookie, turning pages with a carefree attitude, like they had been doing this for ages, and it was a terribly attractive trait on him she thought.
After another sip of coffee, he brought up the newspaper close to her face. "Hey, look at this. The Ninth Avenue Food Festival is coming back to New York next week. The annual food extravaganza turns the city's most famed food district, Hell's Kitchen, into gastronomic heaven," he read from the paper before putting it down to look at her. "We should go."
"Next week? We'll both be back at work."
"So? I'll sneak out from work at whatever time your break is, it's just a couple of blocks from your restaurant. It could be fun," he said, his blue eyes shining with eagerness.
She looked at him with wonder, silent for a few minutes. She didn't know what making 'next week' plans meant for whatever they were, except the obvious—this wasn't a one or two-time thing. It was the time to accept that friendship and sex and happiness had all come together in one glorious accident, where she could watch him sleep, have coffee in bed and make plans to sneak out of work.
There were moments that shifted the trajectory of life, and London had been one of them, and it felt to her like the biggest of them all. She remembered what Phoebe had said when they had discovered Ross's feelings for Rachel. Their lives weren't going to be the same ever again, and in their situation, there were a million questions they still needed to ask and answer.
But Chandler had pried her open and she trusted he would always be there like he had been for so long. She could never picture her life without him always in it and she was starting to picture a future with him at the center of it all, in whatever shape their relationship took.
"We'll go next week then," she said and he looked up with a smile. "But today, we stay in bed."
And there you go!
I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did writing it. I started posting my first story almost one year ago and it's still just as much fun writing these stories and knowing there are a few of you who like reading them.
Thank you for reading, reviewing and following this story.
See you soon.