Monica looked down at the plate in her lap and suddenly realized, up until this moment, she had no idea what she and Chandler have been doing this past week.
That wasn't entirely true.
Monica knew she and Chandler were having sex, a lot of sex, but beyond that, she wasn't so sure.
She really hadn't given a lot of thought as to how to define whatever this thing growing between them was or where it was going. And she was fine with that. It was too soon to place the weight of expectations on her shoulders. It simply was not the time for that.
Afterall, it had only been ten days since they first slept together. Just ten small, inconsequential, wonderful, incredible days. Ten days since the night of the rehearsal dinner. When she found herself standing in his hotel room, drunk, awash in self-pity and needing something to bring her back from the brink. Something to let her know that she was wanted.
Ten days. That's all.
Surely ten days was not enough time to start thinking about anything other than the here and now.
She wanted to keep living in the present tense and not look to the future. Why complicate things? Instead, she hoped to savor the delicacy that was these last ten days; wring out every last drop of thrilling spontaneity and unquestionable pleasure from these stolen moments that she and Chandler had together. She did not want to cloud her mind with all those things that she always clouded her mind with when it came to men. She didn't want to lose herself in the many bear traps and rabbit holes that her thoughts could snare her in or send her down. A fruitless spiral of self-critical doubt. Wondering when the spell of physical attraction would wear off and the real work would begin where she could no longer hide the parts of herself that most men found to be too much, too fast.
She simply refused to do that this time. This time she made sure she was only focused on one thing.
She would concentrate on all of this incredible sex they were having. Planning when to have sex, where to have sex, how to have sex. Plotting secret rendezvous where they could sneak off, far from all the other people in their lives, and rip each other's clothes off as they sink deep into immediate and complete ecstasy. Like some rapturous quicksand that pulled them further into each other and away from the rest of the world.
Up until this moment, it was working.
Before tonight, she was certain that living only for these primal impulses might have lasted another week or two, perhaps even a month, before the delirium of what they were doing wore off and the sober reality of exactly what they were doing set in.
She just wanted a few more days of this. Sex and laughter and sex and smiles and sex and no complications.
But then he gave her the extra piece of chicken.
It seemed like such a silly thing to snap her from the sex induced stupor she had surrendered to ever since that very first night in London, and yet here it was. A crispy, fried leg from their favorite chicken place. Sitting on her plate after he so casually deposited it there with an almost instinctive confidence. Telling her this was something else. Something new.
Who would have thought hearing, "You like the leg? Right?" would shatter the thin veneer of a free and easy, laid-back courtship. This innocuous piece of fried food had done what a week of sex could not and set her synapses off like fireworks. A chicken leg replaced the sex-crazed Monica she has been for the last ten days with looking for a relationship Monica that she had been for most of her adult life. No more fun, carefree, throw caution to the wind, laissez faire casual sex. Now it was savoring every speck of blue in his eyes, the curl of his lip, every touch, kiss, butterflies in the stomach, and all those exciting emotions that the beginning part of a relationship brings with it.
All over a chicken leg?
It made no sense.
She hadn't even remotely felt like this all week.
Not when they got back from London, not when they fell on top of her bed and stayed there all day, not when she followed him to his room the night after because she was still being driven wild by her insatiable desire. Not when they had her apartment all to themselves while Rachel was stuck in Greece, and not when they were staring into each other's eyes earlier this evening in the bathtub under the glow of a dozen candles. It didn't happen during the height of passion nor at the scene of one of their irresistibly romantic backdrops. None of that stopped her in her tracks, caused her breath to hitch and her voice get stuck in her throat.
No, it wasn't the orgasms or the candles. It was a stupid, non-descript chicken leg that sent her world into upheaval.
She really would have preferred it to be the bubble bath, champagne and candles. It would have made for a better story.
Maybe if they had more time, it could have been. Instead, Joey came home early, and the next thing she knew, they were getting dinner. Beans and dirty rice taking the place of low flickering light and soft music.
They had to wait quietly in the bathroom until Joey had left to pick up the food, and although they entertained the idea of having a quickie before he got back, they realized they would need every second he was gone to clean-up, dry off, and change clothes. Missing out on sex now a casualty of their clandestine affair.
When they were in Chandler's room, Monica grabbed her clothes from the top of the dresser, but he had stopped her before she could put on her pants and suggested they stay in their robes and hide out in his bedroom to eat. He pulled out a blanket from his closet that she remembered he would bring when they would spend a summer day sitting on the grass at Central Park. He placed it over the bed, and although she was not excited about the prospect of leaving crumbs, she couldn't help but feel slightly impressed with his attempt at an impromptu indoor picnic.
They sat there on the bed, poured some more champagne and shared a few more soft kisses until Joey return home. Chandler went out to grab their food, and she heard him tell Joey he was going to eat in his room and go to sleep shortly after, once again referencing his long, hard day. Chandler assured Monica that Joey would not bother them, and that they would be safe from discovery. Joey had a reliable routine when they ordered chicken. He would eat two dinners in front of a very loud television, and fall asleep soon after, usually covered in chicken grease and gravy. Monica shuddered at the image and had to fight her instincts to run out there with a handful of napkins to clean the offending mess Joey would no doubt make.
Even with the television blaring from the other room, the two of them tried to stay as quiet as they could. They spoke softly and prepared their plates. One piece of chicken each, some beans and some coleslaw. They sat across from each other, dressed in their robes, on his bed and ate over the blanket, sharing the diet coke between them. Like it was the most normal thing in the world. Like they were the most normal thing in the world.
And then it happened. He reached into the container, took out the leg, and put it on her plate. He didn't bargain with her or try to take it for himself. He didn't even ask her if she wanted it, no doubt knowing full well that she did want it but would have refused it anyway because she would have felt compelled to let him have it.
No, there was no odd dance for the last piece of food.
He simply knew what she wanted and gave it to her. And he knew she liked the leg.
And it is such a stupid, little, seemingly inconsequential thing to hinge such a huge decision on, but she can't help herself.
And once that piece of chicken hit her plate, she knew.
She knew that this thing happening between them, it wasn't just about the sex.
This thing was spending as much time together as they could because they really, sincerely liked each other.
This was late-night picnics, eating together, sharing a drink, feeling more comfortable and at ease with herself than she had ever been before with a man.
This was laughing and smiling and being listened to.
This was having your needs considered without having to ask.
This was being attended to.
This was being given the last piece of chicken because he knew you wanted it.
This was a relationship.
And on the tenth day, it felt really, really good to finally know that.
Even if it was all because of a chicken leg.
A/N - Yeah, I know I have other stories to update, and I am working on them; but this came to me and I had been knocking around the idea of doing a series of one-shots from the time in season five where Monica and Chandler have their secret relationship. So, this will be updated from time to time when inspiration strikes, sometimes it will be introspective stuff like this or maybe some funny idea I had that didn't quite fit somewhere else. I don't know how long it will be, but I imagine I will treat it similar to how the Pre-Mondler one-shot series I have is going. If you like this time in their relationship, then I hope you enjoy, and thanks for taking the time to read.