Title: Things Long Forgotten

Author: Cassandra Mulder

E-mail: cassandra_mulder@yahoo.com

Rating: PG

Written: March 24, 2003 - January 13, 2004

Classification: Sweet Home Alabama; Jake/Melanie angst

Spoilers: Pretty much anything and everything. You're safe if you've seen the movie.

Distribution: Permission will be granted if you ask. Can also be found at my archive, Bound. http://www.geocities.com/cassandra_mulder

Disclaimer: The movie and characters within do not belong to me. No infringement is intended.

Summary: Some things are better left forgotten, but what if they come back to haunt you anyway?

A/N: I started this and kept it, intending to finish it someday. I guess I finally did. This came to me at the height of my Sweet Home Alabama binge, and it's just a little Jake/Melanie piece. Hope you enjoy.

***************************************************************************

He had waited for her for seven years.

Only he'd never thought she'd be the one to find him first. He thought he'd be able to get his business sufficiently off the ground before she found someone new. He kept up with her, whether she knew it or not, and he'd thought he was safe.

He'd almost succeeded and now it was too late.

She'd come back and turned his entire world upside down, and now he had to stand by while she married another man.

He wanted to pretend that it no longer mattered; that he didn't care, but that was a tall order. All he'd ever done was care about Melanie. It was all he could ever remember doing.

Jake laid his poor, confused wife down on the bed, and glanced around her room. Her parents had never changed a thing. He saw her purse at the end of the bed, on the floor, and picking it up, he pulled her precious divorce papers from it.

He sighed. This was it. It looked like he'd finally have to give her what she wanted. That's what killed him. Everything he'd worked so hard for would mean nothing, cause it had all been for her.

He just wanted Mel to be happy, but he wanted her to be happy with him. But there were just some dreams that would never come true, and he had to accept that.

Jake pulled her little-girl desk chair over beside the bed, sat down, and pulled her fancy pen out of his shirt pocket. He quickly scrawled his name on all three copies, took one, and laid the others beside Melanie's stubborn, sleeping head.

He had no idea what he'd do now. He'd spent the last seven years plotting and planning to win her back, and he'd have to get used to life without that goal.

A life where he'd lost her forever.

Jake brushed the hair out of Melanie's face, because he knew how it always tickled her nose.

Used to, anyway.

Unexpectedly, she opened her eyes and smiled slightly at him. Her face was buried halfway in the pillow, and she made no move to get up.

"I loved you, you know," she said so softly he barely heard her. But he heard enough to tell it was slurred. She'd just begun to sleep this off.

"I know, darlin'," he said, drawing his hand away from her face, and placing it over her hand.

"I've always loved you - my whole life," she said, a catch in her now small voice as she started to cry.

He clasped her hand tighter. He couldn't do this, and especially not while she was drunk.

"Shhh, honey, go back to sleep." He wiped the tears from her face as she closed her eyes again.

"I've never stopped loving you," she mumbled as she drifted back to sleep.

Jake just shook his head. "You were always stubborn, Mel," he whispered.

He knew she wouldn't remember telling him any of that in the morning, and that she'd never admit it sober. She'd take her divorce papers back to New York City, marry her fancy schmancy boyfriend, and go on with her life.

Because that was the path she had chosen and was determined to stay on, and Melanie almost always got what she wanted.

Almost.

End