Notes and disclaimers: all characters property of large corporations and not me. No profit garnered ever by me. Thanks to Circusgirl and Oxoniensis.
THE ONE WITH MONICA'S OWN
"It's different from the normal everyday cleaning," Monica said. Rachel had already learned that according to Monica, there was a lot of cleaning you had to every day.
Rachel rolled with the punches and the swabs and the eleven different types of towels. And clearly Monica had learned nothing from Phoebe's move-out (Rachel called it a creep-out when Monica wasn't around and wondered when a similar scary need to flee would grip her. She hoped it would be after she'd somehow won the lottery or, not to be said out loud, met a rich guy who'd pay for an awesome apartment. She'd been wishing for the latter less and less, though, so maybe that was growing up and being like Monica. Minus the cleaning thing, please God, please) since she expected Rachel would enjoy scrubbing nooks and crannies.
There were no undiscovered nooks and crannies in the apartment, not to Monica. She had a map. Rachel was impressed and more than a little scared and wondering if Monica hadn't named them all besides the labels on the map but wouldn't admit it.
"When you say weekly deep clean, do you mean like an enema?"
"Not the metaphor I would use, but okay!" Monica grinned and handed Rachel a plain plastic spray bottle with a label on the side. The label said "Monica's Own Cleaning Solution." Even Monica's handwriting was in a very straight line. Very straight.
Rachel said, "Were you, were you like this in high school and I just didn't notice? Or did it happen when you were losing all that weight? Have you looked into that? Maybe there's a cure."
Monica said, "I just really like things to be in the right place and clean, Rachel. There's nothing wrong with that! Perfectly normal. Now let me explain how to use the cleaning solution and these cloths I made because it is a little tricky. You can't just spritz and spritz and go all helter skelter."
When Monica pulled out the perfectly square white rags which were folded and stacked in a box under the sink, Rachel gave up wondering when this had all happened. She probably just missed it. She'd been a little self-obsessed in high school. Just a little, possibly.
And clean was good. Everybody liked clean places. Rachel could do this. She'd made coffee. She was a waitress now, she was living the working life. "Okay," Rachel said. She spritzed the solution into the air. "I'm ready."
"Whoa, let's not go crazy. Don't get that stuff on your skin. Or the rugs. And you should try not to breath too much of it. Maybe I'll just hold it. Maybe you want this little mask I made," Monica said, reaching for the bottle.
"Oh no," Rachel said. "I can handle this. You think I'm just some little baby who can't, who can't all I can taste is purple. Wow, that is some powerful stuff in there. What is this?"
"Oh, it's not important," Monica said, taking the bottle from her easily. "You'll build up a tolerance. I have! You look really pale, Rach, have you eaten today? You need to eat a big hearty meal before using this stuff. And not be concerned about the color of your pee after." Rachel kept staring at Monica while she talked. Monica said, "Maybe you should sit down. Put your head between your legs."
"Okay," Rachel said. She walked into her bedroom and lay down on the bed. Then she lifted her knees up to her head.
"I was thinking more sitting down out in the living room where we have to get to work, but I guess that's one way to do it," Monica said. "Maybe we'll start in here. You don't mind, do you?"
"I call it the reverse turtle," Rachel said. "I developed it when I was in high school to deal with Amy. And my mom. And my dad. It's not because your toxic cleaner turned my brain wavy gravy. Actually, I think that's wearing off."
"Good. I'm so excited about this," Monica said, jumping on the bed. She immediately smoothed out the quilt where she'd caused a wrinkle. "I could never bring out the strong stuff with Phoebe. I always felt there was that patina of dust we missed."
"We might want to open the windows," Rachel said, bringing her legs down so she was lying flat. "Poor bed," she said, sighing and patting the quilt.
"You're still a little wavy gravy there," Monica said.
"No, no. Yesterday, when I was working, I read this long article on insomnia in Cosmo and it said you should only use your bed for sleep and for sex. And I've only used this bed for sleep. I haven't had a virgin bed since I was 16."
"15," Monica said.
"16, Monica," Rachel said, sitting up. "That's a lot of pressure for the bed."
"I think it'll be okay. Hey, it's two very firm mattresses right on top of each other. Heck, maybe the mattresses are having sex right now. You know, firm." Monica made what she thought was an obscene hand gesture but really looked to Rachel like she was kneading invisible bread.
"Come on, you're laughing on the inside. I'm funny." Rachel rolled her eyes. Monica said, "Are you sure you're feeling okay now?" Rachel nodded.
Monica said. "Okay, let's get cleaning!" She even did a cute little dance. Monica Geller, cheerleader for scouring. Rachel sighed again and got out of bed.
After an hour inhaling the special solution, even diluted onto cloth and with some added water, they were both giggling and had even made up some clever songs. Rachel thought they were clever. Phoebe wouldn't have rhymed "crannies" with "hootenanny." Or "fusilli" with "too silly." They were hot smart girls cleaning things in the city.
Maybe they were a little high from Monica's Own, too.
Monica said, "I know how we can celebrate, too. Let's break in your bed."
Definitely a little high, Rachel thought, because she was mostly confused and a little interested. "You want to have sex with me? How much time did you spend with Carol back when she was your sister-in-law?"
"I've been thinking about it," Monica said. "Listen, I think it's a good idea. You don't have to worry about your bed being a virgin, and it's not a high-pressure first time since the whole standing up Barry at the wedding thing. We'll just do it this one time. Also, you look really good in those shorts."
"Is this why Phoebe really moved out?"
"Hey, I could use the break from the guys I've been dating. And, who was my first real French kiss?"
"That doesn't count. That was practice."
"Practice makes perfect," Monica said. "Look, I'm just throwing it out there. Making you an offer. You've got that new nose, I've got a new body. I bet we've both gotten a lot better than when we were 14."
"I'm just not sure it's a good idea," Rachel said but she was already standing up and unbuttoning her shirt. She was a little high and one of her friends was offering to make out with her, it felt like college. And she was such a better kisser since she got the new nose. And it would be better than any of her sorority days because no one from PKA would be watching and scoring.
It turned out Monica was really skilled at a lot of things besides kissing.
Rachel said, "Which sorority were you in, cause wow. Really, wow! I bet you could give Susan lessons."
"Right back atcha," Monica said. "I'm so double wow, I just now saw that your ceiling really needs to be repainted."
"Oh, admit it, you're just so turned on by cleaning, you would have jumped anyone afterwards," Rachel said, stretching her arms overhead.
"So not true! I've cleaned with Ross and Phoebe and never felt compelled to jump them. Mostly I just wanted them to do it better. And more thoroughly. And it wasn't really jumping. It was more leaning and you leaned right back."
"You softened me up with the Monica's Own so I was leaning around everywhere," Rachel said, smiling. "You know I'm kidding, right? This was awesome, thank you."
"Thank you," Monica said, rolling her eyes, using a stoned voice. "Don't say thank you like I gave you a box of chocolates."
"Oh, chocolates sound good. Do you have any?"
"Yes, but first we're going to get this bed cleaned up," Monica said, getting out of bed with a spring in her step.
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