Hi ya'all! Thanks for the reviews, everyone. On to chapter one. So, I must tell you, this story is rough around the edges, and is stupidly long and slow. NaNo involves trying to get to the word length of 50,000 without worrying about the actual quality or awesomeness, so ...well, you'll see. And this story is gen. No romance. Well...No. No romance. So please enjoy?!
I do not own Friends/Actors/Characters, etc, but I am quite drunk.
There was a Baywatch marathon on right at that very moment, precious seconds of slow motion Yasmine running, and somehow Chandler was not in front of the television watching it. Somehow, by some unseen force, he was smack dab in the middle of a busy street, designer clad women to the left of him, hobos to the right, and here he was stuck in the middle with Rachel.
Stealers Wheel should rewrite their song to accommodate his bitter twist of fate, even if the clowns and jokers thing was still pretty appropriate. The designer clad women were smothered in make up – definite clowns – and the hobos?
"So, I hear you're an international spy now," one Hobo said to another as they walked past, and that was right up there with 'A blind man walks into a bar'. Yep. Clowns and Jokers alright, people. Chandler felt strangely vindicated. He just hoped that, a few years down the track, there wasn't a spy novel and accompanying movie featuring a down trodden James Bond asking unsuspecting passer-by's for food stamps and a romp in the sack. They'd have to recast, he was pretty sure Pierce Brosnan would never pass for a hobo.
"Did that homeless man just ask the other homeless man if he was an international spy?" Rachel asked a few moments later, when she obviously felt the men were out of ear shot. And leave it to Rachel to be PC.
"You know, Rach, I'd like to say that's the weirdest thing I've heard today, but we both know that's not true."
"Huh." Rachel glanced behind her, checking out the hobos and Chandler didn't look back for fear that he'd find them examining each other's high tech watches that MI6 had provided them with. That would have been too terrifying, even for him – especially for him – and Rachel seemed to agree. She looped her arm with his, leaned in close and said, "Okay, that is not right."
"And you've lived in New York for how many years now?"
Rachel slapped his arm with her free hand and gave him an amused little glare. "Who was the one shrieking over the noise in the sewers last week?"
"Alligators eat people!"
"There's no such thing as alligators in the sewer, Chandler."
"Right. Just like there's no such thing as wannabe Bond hobos." Chandler offered a roll of the eyes, and clearly it wasn't enough to perturb Rachel. She just laughed, light as to not arouse suspicion from anyone. Those anyone likely being the hobos. Yeah, she was realPC.
So, it was possible that both Pamela and Yasmine were running now. In slow motion. And he'd been reduced to escorting Rachel to the bank and then to Bloomingdales, and then to the movies, and perhaps to dinner because, apparently it was his right as a friend. Chandler would have taken the movie and dinner offer, and probably the bank offer as well, because lets face it, you can't get far with out George Washington watching your back. But the shopping thing was just not something he should be doing. No, that was where he should have been home, watching Yasmine run. In slow motion.
But somehow, like all women do, Rachel had used her freaky girl mind powers and convinced him. Chandler still wasn't sure how that power worked, but it incorporated a pout, some eyelash fluttering and a lot of ' Pleassssssssssse Chandler, pleassssssseeee!'
Okay, Chandler was a gimp. But there was no way anyone could say no to that. Not if they were male, anyway.
Except Joey and Ross. Because Joey had an audition. Apparently. And Ross and Rachel shopping together was ill-advised since the big break-up.
God only knew why Phoebe and Monica couldn't go with her. But they couldn't, and Chandler was back to imagining Rachel's pout and hearing the whining, and great. He could see it now – he'd just become Rachel's best gal pal. It was possible they were going to get manicures and see Meg Ryan movies.
You win again, Universe, you always do.
He supposed Rachel wasn't all that bad company. She laughed at his jokes, in a different way to how Joey laughed at them – manly, and sometimes with the slight hint of 'dude, I don't geddit' – because Rachel generally always got it. Like Monica and Ross got it too. Except they didn't laugh as much as Rachel. And Phoebe?
Well, who knows with Phoebe. But all Chandler knew was that the week before, Rachel had laughed at his ill timed Yom Kippur joke, and that made everything alright in his book. Even if he was going to hell, and the joke had probably been in bad taste. Or something. Monica had kind of lost him halfway through the chastising when she'd launched into the dirty sink motif.
Besides, Rachel sure did smell a lot better than Joey. Vanilla-y. And then there was that whole possibility of Rachel buying him ice cream at the end of the day. And nabbing free shirts, even if she doth protest too much in that regard. But whatever, because he was in the situation anyway, wasn't getting out, and with any luck Joey would have hit record on the VCR before going . . . wherever, and the slow motion running would not be lost until the next marathon two weeks later.
"Okay, Chandler?" Rachel detangled herself from his arm and flipped her hair over one shoulder. "Now tell me, and be truthful," she pointed into the window of a shop that looked too expensive for Julia Roberts, "These boots? Are they fantastic, or are they bad for my calves?"
Chandler was pretty sure he knew the answer, and it involved him grabbing her by the hand and running far, far away from the money trap and buying the boots poor man version from Walmart. That way, he didn't have to watch her belittle her money away on something that might just feed on her soles, or answer questions that obviously didn't have an answer Rachel would find satisfactory.
"Uh. Well, they sure are boots, Rach," he offered, awkward little laugh tacked on at the end there.
Rachel just looked at him, seemingly unimpressed. "Yes, well. Thank you for that Chandler, I was totally lost."
"You're the fashion mogul, I don't know! All I see is a bit of dead cow that spent way too much time in the sun and then was twisted into an alarmingly expensive piece of footwear that possibly will give you fantastic posture-"
"See? Right there, fantastic posture! I could use some of that!"
"Your posture is already fantastic! In fact, and don't tell her I said this," Chandler leaned forward, conspirator-like, and cocked an eyebrow in Rachel's general direction, "but it beats Mon's posture by a mile."
Rachel laughed. "You know, that's a stupid compliment, but it still makes me ridiculously proud. So seriously, good boots? Or bad for calves boots?"
There really was no way out of this one. He was going to have to put his foot down. It was either that, or the Walmart idea, and Rachel just didn't seem like the type to buy shoes from there. Or, you know, stuff in general. "I'm pretty sure those boots are the death bringers. You know, calf wise. Yeah, your calves would be dead within the hour."
"But they'd look great for the first fifty nine minutes, right?" Rachel offered a false smile, pleading as it was, and then crumpled. "Okay, fine, I didn't want the stupid boots anyway. They're worth two months pay check, go with none of the clothes I own, and Joey would just end up stretching them out when he tries them on anyway. God!"
She started off down the street, leaving Chandler in her wake. Still stuck on the whole Joey stretching out the boots part. That was something new, that he may or may not want to explore. Later, though, because Rachel was getting away. He took a few quick steps, broke into a mini sprint and caught up to find her grinning away.
"You didn't really want the boots, did you," he stated.
Rachel let out a little laugh. "Are you kidding? They were fringed, Chandler! I'm not one for living in the past." She laughed again. "You should have seen your face though. Trying to think of a way to let me down gently. Monica isn't nearly this much fun."
He would have been offended, really. But Mondays generally went like that, with the laughing and the pointing all aimed at him. And really, as long as people weren't accompanying the laughing and pointing with toxic waste, he was pretty happy to go along with it. Besides, those shoes had been really ugly.
"You do wonders for my self esteem, Rachel," Chandler said as she once more moved in close. Didn't hook the arms this time, the hobos were clearly out of reach, and it was possible that Rachel had just realized that Chandler? Equalled useless when faced with a crazy attacker. There would be flailing and freaking out, and the two of them would end up clinging to one another shrieking while their would-be attacker looked on in disgust. Perhaps they'd be left alone, and maybe that plan would work. Rachel was on to something with the personal space thing, and Chandler realized he needed to start hitting the gym more.
"Don't worry, honey, I'll buy you a giant bowl of ice cream after, to make up for your day in hell."
Or maybe he just needed ice cream.
The bank sat snug between a shop endorsing what looked like faux Rolexes and the inner workings of a crime syndicate. In other words, it looked typical and almost cliché. Chandler would have approved, had he not been eyeing off the man in the crime syndicate building window, with his faux Rolex bought two doors down and menacing stare. Oh yeah, he was trouble, and Chandler was thinking that in and out of the bank would be the boldest plan. Strike out bold and replace with wussy, because really. Bold would be pulling out a hand gun and screaming Shine on you crazy diamond! or something equally ridiculous that the mafia would no doubt take offense to –
Did that man and/ or woman just refer to me as a diamond?
Sure did boss, and a crazy one at that!
Then maybe we should take a shining to his face. With a handful of nine irons. Gentlemen . . .
- all said of course in the voices of Fat Tony and his posse; Chandler was pretty sure one of them was named Legs, but he couldn't remember the rest. A bad Simpsons fan, oh yes he was.
"So are we gonna stand outside all day, or are we gonna go in?" Rachel asked after god knows how long, effectively stealing Chandler from his own death scene and back into the moment.
The bank itself was a simple brick building, looked like the only legitimate place in the whole street, and Chandler too brightly said, "After you, sista!" Which received him a shake of the head and nothing more, but that was to be expected when dealing with a line like that.
In and out, they entered the squat brick building, and Chandler forced himself not to peer. The man wasn't staring at him, wasn't thinking that his liver would sit well next to a nice Chianti and some fava beans, oh no.
"Okay, honey? You're gripping my arm kind of hard there." Rachel detangled herself none too gently, offered a laugh and another shake of the head and Chandler was an idiot. Plain and simple, idiot because he'd lived in New York a hell of a lot longer then Rach, but if she could be scared of something so New Yorky common as hobos, then he could do the same for the supposed Mafia, because at least Hobos didn't leave you in the river with cement shoes.
But hey, if Joe Mantegna wannabe was the most terrifying thing they faced all day, then he guessed they were doing something right.
"So, how much ice cream are we planning to eat? Oh, and what movie theater? The expensive one or the expensive one?" Rachel asked as she rummaged through her purse.
"That depends. Do you want to see an art film or something with naked chicks?"
Rachel seemed to seriously consider it. "Aren't they the same thing?"
"You haven't lived, Rach."
"I'll tell my diary that," Rachel smiled, then went back to the topic at hand. "And naked chicks; art films have subtitles and even if it is a dark room, there's no way I'm going to wear my glasses."
"Okay, so the expensive one. And popcorn. And twizzlers. Oh, and-"
"Chandler, I'm paying. I'm not paying with my entire pay check," Rachel said drolly and Chandler snapped his mouth shut. Maybe he'd just buy the twizzlers himself. "So, then I'll need a lot out?"
"You know there's an ATM outside, we didn't have to come in." Thank god we did, though, Mafia guy had less chance from here. Chandler didn't voice that opinion.
"Have you not been listening?" Rachel exclaimed, and apparently Chandler hadn't. "The cheque, Chandler? You know, the whole reason why we came here as opposed to just carding everything?"
It really didn't ring a bell, but Chandler was slowly learning women, and he knew it would be best to make a noise of, "ohhh yeah," awkwardly laugh and offer Rachel an innocent grin so that the world would start revolving once more. And it worked; Rachel shook her head, smiled back and turned her attention once again to her purse.
"I know it's in here somewhere, it has to be," she muttered.
Chandler toed around, distractingly saying back, "Yeah?" as he checked out the rest of the bank. Hot chick, guy who Rachel would probably fawn over so by default he would be known as Hot Guy, middle aged woman with too much lipstick and not enough pizzazz to pull the look off, middle aged guy to match her, and the single bank teller who had a ponytail up to here and a sweet demeanour about her.
Hot Guy was checking out Rachel – or Chandler himself, he was just looking appreciative in their general direction – and she was none the wiser, just continuing through the folds of her bag. "Monica took care of it; of course it has to be. She-"
And no doubt, there was going to be some sort of tired acknowledgement of Monica and anal being tied to the hip, but Chandler guessed he'd never find out.
The door chimed open and Chandler noticed enough to realize it was notMafia Guy walking through with his gun raised, letting off a single shot to the roof before bellowing, "This is not a robbery!"