She Will Be Loved

Jake Perry has finally made something of himself and he's up to New York again to try and win Melanie back, unaware that she is blissfully happy with her new life and her new boyfriend Andrew.

'I don't mind spending everyday

Out on your corner in the pouring rain

Look for the girl with the broken smile

Ask her if she wants to stay awhile

And she will be loved

She will be loved.'

'She Will Be Loved' – Maroon 5

Chapter One:- A Surprise Visitor

A/N:- I'm going through my obsessed with 'Sweet Home and Alabama' and the sexy Josh Lucas phase so to celebrate I give you this fanfic!

This Chapter is Dedicated to:

Maroon 5 whose song title I stole for this fanfic!

Jake sat in his plane seat, flicking the stub of his boarding pass with his forefinger, seriously wondering whether he was doing the right thing. True, he had left it six years so hopefully he would be able to have at least a civilised conversation with her. If it had not been for his Mum, Stella, he seriously wondered if he would be sitting here right now speeding towards the Big Apple and the girl he loved. Melanie Smooter. He had thought about her every moment of everyday since he was ten and these past six years had been agony for him - looking at photos of her just was not the same somehow. Jake never blamed anyone except himself: it had been all downhill since he had got her pregnant – the wedding had been a disaster and it had been him who had laid all that stress on her, causing her to miscarry their baby. She had fled then. She had only really been staying for the sake of the baby so when she no longer had that to worry about it was like she had been given a new lease of life. A life with no Jake Perry.

How would she feel with Jake intruding on that new life? Jake had played the scene over and over in his head – the scene in which she was surprised to see him, then the awkward silence, then the apology, then the talk, then the kiss ....... It was what Stella, Bobby Ray, Lurlynn, Wade, Dorothea, Clinton and everyone had told him was going to happen, but Jake was not so sure. He knew Melanie; he knew it was not going to be that easy.

"All you can do is try, love." Stella had said to him at the airport.

Jake ran a hand through his hair. The next few days were going to be interesting.

"And this is my apartment." announced Melanie Carmichael swinging open the door of her flat and looking at her boyfriend Andrew Hennings expectantly.

"Wow." Andrew said looking around. "You've really made it home." he smiled, his eyes darting over the many photo frames she had on the walls.

"Yeah," she smiled.

Andrew examined a couple of the pictures in the frames. "For someone who hates her home so much, you sure like being reminded of Alabama."

"Yeah," sighed Melanie. She did not really want to get onto the topic of home, Alabama and all that meant.

"Who's this?" Andrew frowned, pointing a t a figure in a photo.

"Oh, that's Jake." Melanie said, her insides shrinking. "He's my friend."

"You sure have a lot of photos of him." Andrew said, struggling to keep the jealousy from his voice. He really liked Melanie but the only thing he did not understand was her reluctance to talk about her past.

Melanie gave a nervous laugh. "Come on Andrew, he's no one to be jealous of." she said, grabbing his hand and dragging him to the sofa.

"Hey! I'm not jea-" Andrew started to argue but trailed off as Melanie drew him into a kiss.

"You know, we could take this into the bedroom...." Andrew said looking deep into Melanie's eyes and holding her hands.

Melanie looked away. She had only been with one guy and that had been the guy she had been in love with for ten years so with Andrew there was no way she felt ready. "Andrew, we've only been going out for two weeks and-" she said quietly.

"Hey yeah, I understand." Andrew said quickly before standing up. "I think I better go." he said, leaning over and giving Melanie a quick peck on the cheek.

"Oh, you don't need to go." Melanie said hurriedly, cursing the ensuing awkwardness.

"No, no I should." Andrew said, picking up his jacket. "Mum wants me up at the Plaza early to open an exhibition." he said rolling his eyes.

Melanie smiled. "I'll see you tomorrow."

"Yeah, I'll come and pick you up from work." Andrew said, drawing Melanie into a final kiss before leaving."

Melanie closed the door with a smile. She had not been this happy in such a long time. She was finally doing what she wanted – she had a job that she loved and a boyfriend who loved her. She could hardly believe that a few years ago she was satisfied with a small hut and a simple guy who worked in a tyre factory when now she was going out with the son of the Mayor of New York!

Melanie headed into the bathroom and settled on having a nice long hot shower. Half an hour later, she had used up all the hot water and dried herself on a fluffy white towel before putting on a black spaghetti top and some tracksuit bottoms. Drying her hair she headed towards the lounge to maybe watch a film...............

"JAKE!" Melanie screamed in shock at the sight of her husband sitting on the sofa, smiling at her.

"Surprise!" Jake said feebly and grinning lopsidedly.

Melanie just stared at him speechless. After six years of not seeing each other she had definitely not imagined their first meeting to be like this. She looked at him. As much as she hated to admit it, Jake looked really good. He had undone the top few buttons of his Calvin Klein shirt and wore some expensive aftershave. He had obviously worked out and kept fit since she had last him, and his looks were chiselled and he still had that cute smile and beautiful eyes which had always made Melanie weak at the knees. In his hands Jake held a beautiful bunch of flowers; suddenly a tinsy bit of guilt rose in Melanie's stomach as she thought of Andrew.

Jake watched as Melanie looked at him in shock and slowly take him in. She had changed a lot since he had last seen her. Most noticeable was her accent and then her hair. She had cut it and it now hung just under her ears. She obviously took care of herself now, not going out without makeup on and her nails neatly polished........

"How did you get in?" Melanie asked, still in shock.

"Oh, well when you didn't reply to the buzzer, Mrs Hubbard from next door let me in." Jake explained.

"Who did you tell her you were?" Melanie asked urgently.

Jake's heart twitched. "I said I was an old friend."

Melanie relaxed.

"You know, I was quite surprised to see 'Melanie Carmichael' on the entry phone." Jake said, raising his eyebrows.

Melanie turned away and started to tidy away some magazines from the coffee table. "I've made a new life for me here Jake and with that came a new name. I'm a fashion designer now and I'm working on my own fashion show at the moment." she explained.

"Oh, it's easy as that is it? You just walk away from your old life and start a new one whenever it suits you." Jake said airily.

Melanie turned on him. "And who made me leave Jake?! Who's fault was that?" she said angrily. "What are you doing here anyway?" she asked, glaring at him.

Jake looked away. He did not feel like telling her about his new business and his new life. Somehow it realised that it would not make much difference – she was obviously happy here. "So I can't even visit my wife now?"

"I'm not your wife Jake. At least I wouldn't be if you just signed the papers." Melanie said, irritated. "I'm surprised. You're young and handsome, surely there's some girls down there who would want you free and single." she added, trying to calm down.

Jake shrugged. "I don't sign anything I don't want to sign Mel." he said.

"Why not? PLEASE sign them. It's hanging over my life like a black cloud and every time I see Andrew I have to feel like I'm hiding something-"

"Who's Andrew?" Jake asked quietly.

Silence. Melanie met his gaze shiftily. Now it came to it she realised how much it would hurt Jake saying this. He had obviously made an effort tonight, still in love with her and she was going about all selfish talking about her life – and her new boyfriend. "He's the guy I'm seeing." she said.

"Oh." Jake said heavily, standing up and throwing the flowers onto the table.

"I'm sorry Jake. I thought you got the message when I kept on sending you the divorce papers. I've moved on – a new life, a new start, and Andrew's really great. He's the Mayor's son and he can give me so many things....."

"Yeah, so many things that some idiotic loafer who works in a tyre factory back home couldn't." Jake said, finishing her sentence.

"That's not what I meant." Melanie said.

Jake shrugged. "Sure it was. I never was good enough for you Mel. I never could give you what you wanted. I was just the first guy you kissed – nothing more." Jake said, looking at Melanie sadly.

Melanie looked at him and shook her head. "No Jake, you were more than that. Back then, you were this wonderful guy who I was in love with. But now things have changed and-"

"Yeah, I get the picture." Jake said. "Give me the pen then." he said resignedly.

"What?" Melanie asked distractedly as he dragged her out of her childhood memories.

"I'll sign the papers." he said simply.

Melanie looked at him closely. "You will?"

"Yeah, give them here." Jake said, sitting down again and flicking through the wad of papers Melanie held out to him.

As he took up the pen, Melanie noticed that he wore his wedding ring –something which he had hated to do when she was still back home. He was always complaining that it got in the way and made him feel like he was an old man etc.

"Wow, you've still got it." she said quietly, reaching over and running her hand over it.

"Yeah, of course."

"You never liked wearing it before."

"I've never taken it off since the day you left." Jake said, looking at it. "Guess I will do now." he said, smiling grimly, nodding at the papers.

Awkward silence.

"How's the tyre factory?" Melanie asked.

Jake shrugged. "Dunno. I left a long time ago."

"What?" Melanie asked, surprised.

"Yeah, I've started my own business and it's doing quite well." Jake smiled.

"What in?" Melanie asked curiously.

Jake looked at her deeply, debating whether to tell her, whether it would make any difference now he had signed the papers. He looked away and got ready to leave. "It doesn't matter. It's all in your past now." he said handing her back the papers. "See you Mel." he said, before walking out the door.

Melanie looked down at the papers then at the closed door. Now she had got what she wanted, she felt strangely empty.

A/N:- So what do you think? Please review!