by Becky G.
Disclaimer: Unfortunately I don't own these guys. They belong to Bright, Crane and Kaufman, and I'm just borrowing them. I promise to put them back when I'm done.
Feedback: is craved at firstname.lastname@example.org
Timeline: Any time during the first half of fifth season. Chandler and Monica are an item, and Ross and Rachel aren't.
Spoilers: US5, TOW the Thanksgiving Flashbacks, TOW All the Kips
Notes: This is my version of the events that happened before the curtain opened on Friends in September 1994. Dates may be a bit vague, since we don't know a lot about what happened before that day Rachel wandered into Central Perk. Specific dates have been completely made up by me, and are not meant to be taken as canon.
[Scene: Central Perk. The gang sits in their usual places, Gunther stands nearby, wiping down a table. Ross is sharing pictures of Ben.]
Rachel: I can't believe Ben's going to be four years old this spring. It seems like only yesterday that he was born.
Phoebe: (examining a photo) Oh, he was so tiny then!
Chandler: Man, I remember when you met Carol. Who would have thought things would end up the way they did?
Ross: (glumly) Not me.
Rachel: (musing) You know, I never did get to meet her.
Monica: Um, Rachel?
Rachel: No no, I know. I just meant back when Ross first started dating her. You and I had stopped being friends before I got to meet her.
Joey: How did that happen, anyway, with you guys? You seemed so close.
(Monica and Rachel exchange glances, then look away).
Monica: (to Chandler) Actually, it was all your fault.
Chandler: (surprised) My fault?
Monica: (to Gunther) Hey, Gunther, can I get a large espresso here? (Everyone looks at her.) What? This is just going to be a long story, so I thought I'd settle in first.
[Scene: Jack and Judy Geller's, decorated for Christmas. Jack and Judy are setting the
table for dinner. An older woman sits in the living room, along with the newly thin Monica
and the newly-nosed Rachel. Across the bottom of the screen flash the words,
Old woman (who is Jack's mother): Darling, when is Ross getting here?
Jack: Soon, Mom. He's bringing Carol with him, so he may be a little late.
(Monica rolls her eyes, and Rachel snickers to herself.)
Judy: You'll like her, Mary. She's very sweet, and Ross is really in love with her.
Mary: Yes, I'm sure. (she turns to the girls). Now, tell me, what is going on with you two?
Rachel: I don't know.
(Grandma Geller shrugs, then gets up to help with the table, leaving Monica and Rachel alone).
Rachel: Monica, would you just tell me what's wrong?
Monica: I don't know what you're talking about.
Rachel: Ever since Thanksgiving, you've been avoiding me.
Monica: Well, all right. I'm mad at you.
Rachel: (shocked) Why?
Monica: Because, all because of you, I acted like an idiot and cut off Chandler's toe!
Rachel: Listen, I never told you to go around acting like knives were sexy.
Monica: (defensively) But you know I can't do the kind of stuff you do! You knew I wouldn't get it right.
Rachel: Hey, that's not my fault. You just need to practice, that's all.
Monica: Well, if you don't mind, I don't think I'll be taking any more advice from you.
Rachel: (miffed) Fine. Just for that, I'm not gonna tell you about me and David Webster.
Monica: Fine. Just for that, I'm...(she flounders for a good comeback) I--I won't listen even if you do tell me.
(The girls turn their backs on each other. A moment passes, then they tentatively turn their heads. Each catches the other one glancing at her, and they immediately whip their heads back around, not wanting to be seen peeking.)
Rachel: Ooh! You know what?
Rachel: You know what?
Rachel: (standing up) I think I'm just gonna go. I'll have dinner with David Webster instead.
(Rachel crosses the living room and exits through the front door.)
Judy: Is Rachel leaving?
Monica: (darkly) She'll be back.
(The front door opens. Monica perks up, but it's only Ross and Carol.)
Ross: Hi everybody!
[Scene: Central Perk. The gang is listening to Monica.]
Joey: Wow. So did Rachel come back?
Monica: (sipping her coffee) Nope.
Rachel: After that we saw each other occasionally at college, but we never really talked.
Chandler: I--I don't know what to say to that.
(Monica takes his hand, which she can do under pretense of comforting him.)
Monica: Well, it all worked out though, in the end.
Ross: Hey, I remember that dinner. That's when Grandma gave you her apartment.
Phoebe: Oh, how did that happen?
(Monica checks the coffee level in her cup, then continues speaking.)
[Scene: Jack and Judy Geller's, same day in December 1988. The family, including a young Carol, is eating dinner.]
Jack: So Mom, what's this about you moving to Florida?
Ross: You're moving, Grandma?
Mary: Yes, I am. I've had enough of these winters, and the traffic in this city. It's getting so I just put away my winter coat when I have to take it out again!
Jack: Mom, you wear your winter coat all year round.
Mary: Well, there you go! (she pauses) Anyway, before I left, I wanted to ask Monica if she would like to have my apartment.
(A stunned silence falls over the family.)
Judy: Oh, Mary, that's very nice of you, but Ross is the oldest, and he should get a place of his own first.
Jack: Yes, he can't stay in the dorm his entire college career, you know.
Monica: Why can't he? (to her grandmother) I'd love your apartment, Grandma.
Mary: Oh good. That's settled, then. (she reaches for dessert, then stops) Oh but I should I warn you. I've got a crazy man living beneath me.
(Monica laughs as if to say, "How bad can he be?")
Monica: Okay, I'll consider myself warned.
Ross: Wait a minute, wait a minute. Huh, I'm going to be graduating in two years, and I'll be needing a place to live.
Carol: (to Ross) I thought we were going to look for someplace together.
Ross: Oh. Oh! Well, yes, yes we were. Monica, sure, you can have the apartment.
Monica: (sourly) Thanks for your blessing, Ross.
Judy: I don't know about this.
Monica: Why not, Mom? I should think you'd be happy to have me out of the house.
Jack: You know, with both kids gone, we can finally take that vacation to the Grand Canyon we've been putting off.
Judy: Ooh, you're right. (to Monica) I think it's a lovely idea, dear. Don't forget to thank your grandmother.
[Scene: Central Perk. Everyone is still listening to Monica.]
Monica: I moved in a week later. (finishes her coffee) Well, that was a fun story.
Phoebe: Wow, you know, someone gave me an apartment right around the same time, too! This guy Ted, only he was really creepy. He was trying to produce a glow-in-the-dark hamster, and he'd turned his apartment into this scary science lab place. (she makes an "eek" gesture with her hands and shakes her head.)
Joey: Ooookay. So what happened then?
Monica: What do you mean, what happened?
Joey: Well, so you had the apartment. You and Rachel were fighting. Ross was dating Carol. Chandler was limping across campus. What happened next?
Monica: Oh, you guys don't want to hear all this.
Rachel: Sure we do.
Monica: (sighs) All right. (to Gunther) Hey, Gunther, can I get another espresso over here?
[Scene: Monica's Apartment. As she is the only one living there, the place is a bit more empty than we are used to seeing. The big poster over the TV is not there yet, nor is the famous hanging lamp. Monica sits on the couch, reading a magazine. Across the bottom of the screen flash the words, "May 1991." Ross and Carol enter.]
Carol: Hi, Monica.
Monica: Hey, what's up?
(Ross gets a soda from the refrigerator and enters the living room. He sits on the couch next to Monica and Carol sits on the armchair.)
Carol: I like that skirt, Monica. It brings out your eyes.
Monica: Thanks, Carol.
Ross: So, hey, I wanted to ask you a question.
Monica: All right.
Ross: You know we're graduating in three weeks. (he gestures to Carol, and when he does we see he is wearing a wedding ring.) And Carol and I have a place to live, but Chandler doesn't. So I thought I'd ask if you knew of anybody in the building who was moving out.
Monica: Why doesn't Chandler ask me himself?
Ross: Well, he would, but he's busy trying to find a job.
Monica: Is he having any luck?
Carol: No. He's thinking of signing up with a temporary agency, and letting them find him a job.
Ross: So anyway, do you know of anything?
Monica: Well, actually, the guy across the hall is moving out next month. He's moving to Connecticut or Rhode Island, or somewhere, and getting a house.
Ross: Oh, great! Is it okay if I tell Chandler that?
(Monica thinks it over, then shrugs.)
Ross: I'm gonna go call him.
(Ross heads into the kitchen and gets on the phone.)
Monica: (to Carol) So when are you and Ross going to come over for dinner next?
Carol: Oh, I don't know. I'm pretty busy, interviewing for a job and all. There's a job, for a sixth-grade teacher that I think sounds real good.
Monica: Well, good luck.
[Time lapse. Scene: The hallway between the girls' and guys' apartments. Boxes line the hall, and Chandler struggles up the stairs with another one. Monica exits her apartment and stands in the hallway watching him.]
Monica (voice over): And a month later, Chandler moved in.
Monica: (in the hallway) Need any help?
Chandler: Oh no, I enjoy throwing my back out each time I move to a new place.
(Monica throws him her patented "you're so funny, haha" look, then helps him carry the box as far as the door, where they set it down.)
Monica: Any more?
Chandler: No, that's the last of them.
Monica: Wow, what a coincidence.
Chandler: Yes, how lucky for you. (rolls his eyes)
Monica: Well, I was just on my way to work, so I guess I'll see ya around.
Chandler: Yeah. (beat) Listen, I just wanted to say thanks, for letting me know about this place.
Monica: No problem. (beat) Um, you know, there's a bar right down the street. Maybe later tonight we could go get a drink, or something.
Chandler: Sure, we can do that.
Monica: All right. Great. (beat) Well, I'll see you tonight, then.
(She leaves. Chandler watches her go, then starts hauling boxes into his apartment.)
[Scene: Central Perk, the whole gang.]
Rachel: Wait a minute. What about Kip?
Joey: Yes, what about Kip?
Chandler: What about him?
Rachel: I thought you had a roommate named Kip.
(Chandler, Monica and Ross all exchange glances.)
Chandler: Yeees, I did, as a matter of fact.
Rachel: So tell us about him.
Chandler: Ah, you know, that's more of a rainy-day story.
(Right on cue, thunder rumbles above, and through the windows, we see it begin to rain. Chandler winces his "dammit!" expression.)
Chandler: All right, then. Kip.
[Scene: Monica's Apartment. She's got a bit more stuff now, including the lamp and the red-and-white afghan over the couch. Monica, Ross and Chandler all sit at the kitchen table, finishing up breakfast. Across the bottom of the screen flash the words "August 1992".]
Ross: So, Mon, how's life at Iridium?
Monica: Good. I really like it, and I work with this great woman named Paula. She's really funny.
Ross: I still can't believe how lucky you've been. First Grandma gives you this apartment, then Carol hears about that job for you, and bang, you're working the day after you graduate college.
Chandler: Yeah, at least you found a job.
Monica: What do you mean? You found one, too.
Chandler: No, the temp agency found me one, and such an inspiring one at that, inputting numbers all day.
Ross: So quit, find a different job.
(Monica and Ross exchange looks, then shrug.)
Monica: Besides, I'm not all that lucky. You know Mom and Dad stopped helping me pay rent once I graduated. Even with this job, I'm not sure I can make rent by myself.
Chandler: So get a roommate. I am.
Ross: You're getting a roommate?
Chandler: Well, yes. But don't worry. I promise to hold your memory sacred in the Roommate Hall of Fame.
Monica: How are you going to find one?
Chandler: Well, I thought I'd put flyers up at the laundromat near NYU, and places like that.
Monica: Yeah, that's a good idea. Maybe I'll do that, too.
Ross: (glancing at his watch) Well, I gotta go. We're putting together a new exhibit today and I want to be the first one there. Otherwise you get the dirty woolly mammoth skins and those are just...(he
(Now it's Monica and Chandler's turn to exchange looks)
Monica: When does Carol get back from Boston?
Ross: Tuesday. So only a few more days of putting up with me. (he grabs his briefcase, then leaves.)
Monica: When are you going to put your roommate flyers up?
Chandler: I thought I'd go tonight.
Monica: All right. Don't go without me. I'll have one ready, too.
[Scene: Central Perk, the whole gang.]
Phoebe: Ooh! This is where I join the story!
Joey: Oh, but we wanted to hear about Kip. We already know you.
Phoebe: Fine, but, but then you don't get to hear all about my move-in day.
Rachel: Why, what happened then?
Phoebe: (patiently, as if Rachel doesn't get it) I moved in.
Rachel: Ah. (to Chandler) So tell us about Kip.
Monica: Actually, maybe I better tell it.
[Scene: Chandler's Apartment. It looks much the same as it did in The One With the Flashback, except for some colorful furniture, which is obviously Kip's. Phoebe, with her curly hair and lots of beads, sits on the couch with Chandler, watching TV. Monica and Kip sit at the kitchen table (the one we see ever-so briefly before the foosball table makes its entrance). Across the bottom of the screen flash the words: "January 1993".]
Monica: So what are we going to do for our anniversary?
Kip: I don't know. What do people normally do for a one-month anniversary?
Monica: We could get some dinner, then maybe go dancing somewhere, and end up back at my place. (she smiles at him)
Kip: Sounds like an anniversary to me!
Monica (in voice over): Now, skip ahead one month.
Joey (voice over): Why one month? Do we have to hear what you guys did on your two-month anniversary?
Monica (voice over): Actually, for our two-month anniversary, we broke up.
[Scene: Monica and Phoebe's Apartment. It looks much the same as it does
in TOW the Flashback. Phoebe is hanging the beads in front of her bedroom door. Monica
sits on the couch, pretending to read a book. Across the bottom of the screen flash the
words: "February 1993".]
Monica: Phoebe, can I ask you something?
Phoebe: Sure, hon.
Monica: Do you think--
Phoebe: (triumphantly) Ah! All hung. (she stands back to admire her handiwork) Don't they look great?
Monica: Yeah, yeah they do.
Phoebe: Now what did you want to ask me?
Phoebe: Okay. So I'm going to go down to the bar now. You wanna come?
Monica: Nah. I'll probably go later, though.
Phoebe: All right. (She leaves)
(Monica sits on the couch for a moment. The door opens and Chandler enters.)
Chandler: Hey, you got any beer?
Monica: I don't know.
Chandler: (checking the refrigerator) Let's see...only one beer left, an unopened can of Diet Pepsi, and a half-eaten piece of chocolate cake. (shuts the fridge) All right, what's wrong? (he goes to sit on the couch beside Monica)
Chandler: Mon, you don't eat chocolate cake anymore unless you've got a really good reason. Now, what is it?
Monica: (beat) I think Kip's cheating on me.
Chandler: (startled) Oh.
Monica: Would you tell me if he was?
Chandler: (casting about for an excuse--clearly he doesn't want to pursue this conversation) What? (Monica glares at him). Well, would you want to know?
Monica: (thinks) Yes, I would.
Chandler: Then yes, I would tell you.
Monica: (quietly) So, is he?
Monica: Dammit! (she jumps up from the couch)
Chandler: Hey, you said you wanted to know!
Monica: No, I-- Well-- Yeah, I did. (her shoulders slump) I just didn't want to hear you say I was right.
Chandler: (stands up) I'm sorry.
Monica: How long has it been?
Chandler: I--I...(hesitantly)...don't know?
Monica: You know what? Never mind. I don't really want to know the answer to that.
Chandler: You okay?
Monica: Yes. I'm fine. (beat) I'm-- (her lower lip begins to quiver) I'm f-fine. (she begins to cry)
Chandler: Hey... (he gathers her into his arms and rubs her back for a while) You know, you--you are much too good for him, anyway. You deserve someone so much better than Kip. Someone who treats you with respect and who values you.
(Monica sniffles and lifts her head up. Chandler puts a hand on either side of her face and kisses her forehead.)
Chandler: You are a beautiful person, Monica. A good person. And somewhere out there, is the guy for you. Some guy not Kip. You just have to find him. (he kisses her on the lips gently, then smiles down at her)
Monica: (smiling back) Thanks.
[Scene: Central Perk, the whole gang. Chandler and Monica are still holding hands, and gazing at each other, a secretive smile on their lips.]
Rachel: So then what happened?
Rachel: After you found out Kip was cheating on you.
Ross: He married the other girl.
Joey: Whoa, whoa! (to Monica) He cheated on you, but married the other girl?
Phoebe: That's why Kip got phased out of the group.
Monica: So let that be a lesson to all of you. Never cheat on me.
(Chandler gives Monica a funny look.)
Chandler: He didn't tell any of us that he was getting married though, until the last minute. He moved out in May, without any warning, leaving me without a roommate.
Phoebe: And I moved out in September.
Ross: But you started moving out in July.
Phoebe: (to Ross) Okay, see, I never told her that part.
Ross: (to Monica) Sorry.
Monica: (to Phoebe) Three months?
Phoebe: Well, I was trying to do it so gradually, you'd never notice.
Monica: How could I not notice you weren't living there anymore?
Ross: Well, it took you three weeks to notice her bed was gone.
(Monica makes a face at Ross.)
Rachel: Anyway, so Kip moved out in May, and Joey moved in in September, right?
Joey: (proudly) Yes he did!
Monica: (to Rachel) And the next September you came into our lives again.
(Chandler abruptly tucks his feet underneath him, on the couch, and Rachel throws a pillow at him.)
[Scene: Monica's bedroom. She and Chandler lie on top of the covers, fully
clothed, talking. A bottle of wine sits on the nightstand, and each has a glass in their
Monica: I wonder whatever happened to Kip.
Chandler: Last I heard he'd gotten divorced, joined the Peace Corps, and was in Nepal somewhere.
Monica: (with false sympathy) Oh, that's too bad.
(They kiss. Chandler holds up his wineglass.)
Chandler: To Kip, wherever he is.
Monica: Why "To Kip"?
Chandler: Because, if he hadn't cheated on you, I would never have fallen in love with you.
Monica: (touched) Really? That long ago?
Chandler: That long ago.
Monica: (smiling) I'll drink to that!