Title: A Fine Line
Author's Note: Contributing because I don't think there's enough Melissa & Joey fanfiction on here. I can never think of a good title, by the way.
Summary: When Joe starts falling for someone, Mel realizes that there's a fine line between repulsion and…love?
Rating: T for minor language. Like, two words. That's it.

It was a busy Saturday night for Melissa Burke. Her nephew Ryder had won a writing contest and the ceremony was tonight, so he was rushing to gather every one so they could leave in time. But Mel just returned from a meeting and she insisted that she needed to clean herself up before going back into the public.

She entered the living room and shot past Ryder. 'I'm just going to take a quick shower.' Mel shouted back to him, and the boy's annoyed – and extremely exaggerated – sigh was not missed on the Councilwoman.

She slipped into her bathroom and locked the door behind her. It took her only a few seconds to slip out of her pants suit, but she hesitated taking off her underwear. She always had to take a minute to take a look at herself in the mirror and note it whenever there was something she needed to take care of, like too much of a belly, or cellulites. Not bad, Mel. Today must be a good day. To be single and not have a fuck buddy. She grinned at her use of words. Did I just really say 'fuck buddy'? She twirled in front of the mirror to get a good look at herself from the front to the side and the back. Whatever. I know I want it.

A thought crossed her mind. No, don't do that. You're being silly. Why would you even want to see that? She contemplated her options as her gaze fell to her closed curtains. Besides, it's not like he's working out 24/7. It sure looks like he does, though… Mel inwardly cursed at herself and shook her head. No, don't do it. You're in no way attracted to Joe, so I don't see any reason why you would want to see him shirtless.

Ugh, screw it. Mel stepped over her pile of clothes and reached out to the curtains, careful not to slide them open too much. Just enough to take a peek, and she was rewarded by the glorious sight of one Joseph Longo doing his daily pushups. She noticed how his lips moved as he counted the amount of times he was able to press his body up and down again. Her eyes lingered over the vein that trailed over his bicep and the way he squeezed his eyes shut with every push.

Wait. What am I doing? Mel thought to herself. I'm being such a creeper staring at him. She was about to force her stare away from him when another side of her stopped her. But then again…I am a woman. I appreciate a good body and I can't deny that Joe has one. Plus, it's not like he can magically read my brain and hold every thought against me. I mean, knowing him and his massive ego, he would.

'Mel!' She got pulled out of her train of thought when she heard Ryder's voice through her door and his impatient bonking on the hardwood, and couldn't help but let out a surprised yelp. She quickly let go of her grip on the curtains, they easily slid shut again. 'Ten minutes. I mean it. This is a big deal for me.' Mel rushed to undo herself of her clothes when she heard another pair of footsteps coming into her bedroom.

'Is aunt Mel in there?' It was Lennox.

'Yeah. Did you talk to Joe?'

'Yeah, but I'm not sure if he's going to come. I'm pretty sure he's working out right now.'

Mel heard Ryder heave a sigh. 'Doesn't Joe know how important this is for me? I'm going to go talk to him.'

On the other side of the door, Mel couldn't stop herself from yelling 'no!' as she rushed to unlock the door and swing it open. The surprised looks of the teenagers quickly turned to shock as they all realized that Mel was in nothing but her underwear. 'I'm uh,' she stammered, as her cheeks started to flush and she noticed her nephew shifting his unsettled gaze, 'I'm going to talk to Joe. You kids stay downstairs and wait for us.'

'Okay,' Lennox agreed, noting her aunt's appearance, 'but if I were you, I'd get properly dressed first, or else Joe would jump on you like a horny rabbit.'

Mel frowned. 'Okay, first of all: I don't like you talking like this. And second of all: you really think he would do that?' A proud smile began to form on her lips, and the young girl nodded firmly.

'Definitely. For an old woman, you're doing a good job.' Lennox laughed as she pushed her brother out of the room, avoiding Mel's upset 'hey!' that was followed by a shoe being thrown in her direction.

Please be wearing a shirt, please be wearing a shirt, please be wearing a shirt… Mel repeated in her head as she knocked on Joey's door.

She heard a pair of footsteps coming her way and the doorknob turn. Joey swung the door open and was surprised to find Mel standing in the doorway. He immediately felt uncomfortable because he was not wearing a shirt and he realized that Mel was staring at him.

'Ew. Can you go put on a shirt so I won't have to look at all that?' Melissa pulled herself together before Joe could pester her about the way she was gazing at his chest.

'Oh. Of course.' Joe quickly turned around and Mel couldn't resist biting her lip as she noted that even the muscles on his back and his side got a decent amount of attention during a workout. He slipped on a polo shirt and focused his attention back on Mel, who was still standing in the doorway. 'So…what's up?'

'Well, Ryder's award ceremony is tonight. It would be the world to him if you came.'

'Wait- it's tonight?' Joey questioned, a shocked look on his face. 'I thought it was tomorrow night!'

Mel nodded once and looked away. 'Well, it was going to be tomorrow, but they changed it a week ago. Since when do I keep track of these things? You're usually my agenda when it comes to this household.' Mel offered him a confused and somewhat amused look and Joey shot her back a guilty glance.

'I've been a little caught up with uh, life and all.'

Mel smirked, intrigued. 'Life? What life do you have besides being my nanny?'

'…being a freelance manny.' Joey corrected her, annoyance evident in his tone. 'If you must know, I met a girl last week and we uh, really hit it off. In fact, I asked her out and she said yes.'

'Wow,' Mel was quick to cover up her jealousy by holding up the mask of her Longo disgust, like she always did. 'I can't believe girls fall for massive egos and stubborn know-it-alls.'

'Okay, wow.' Joey cocked his head, a little upset by her choice of words. 'Can't you be happy for me for once? I really like this girl.'

Mel took a moment to scrutinize him, and noticed that he was indeed hurt by her remark, so she sighed. 'I am happy for you, Longo. Sometimes I do see that underneath all that masculinity hides a good guy. And…' she took a deep breath, trying to find the right words to say, 'I'm sure that the girl will consider herself lucky to have a chance with you.'

She avoided his gaze for a few seconds because she knew he was wearing that smug smile of his. 'Well, I didn't know you had it in you to actually give him an honest-to-God compliment, Burke. I really appreciate it.'

'Ugh, you say something nice about me!'


'You know how damn hard it was for me to spit those words out? You should now say something nice about me so we can even it out.' Mel reasoned with him, and Joey shook his head in amusement.

'Fine, let me just think of something. Uh…' Joey crossed his arms and took his sweet time to consider her positive sides. He laughed when Mel became impatient and slapped him on the arm. 'Alright, alright! I don't know what kind of compliment you want, so I'm just gonna go ahead and say whatever came to mind first. I think you're very beautiful.'

As much as Mel wanted to say what she would usually say, like 'aw', 'of course I am' and 'I'd tap me every day', she was awed by the way he was looking back at her. She instantly knew that he was telling her nothing but the truth.

'Thank you.' Was the only thing she could say at the time. She found herself lost into his chocolate brown eyes and that's when something happened that she would repress for months- her knees gave way and Joey quickly reached out to grab a hold of her, pulling her close to him so that she wouldn't fall to the floor altogether.

'Whoa! You okay there, Burke?' Joey laughed a little, knowing that Mel would hate herself for being like this.

She allowed herself nothing but a second to feel his heart beat on her face – she could swear that it was beating faster than usually – before she used her hands to push herself away from him, back on her own feet. 'Yeah, it's nothing. I've been walking in heels all day, I guess my legs just got tired of it for like a second.' She waved it off and pulled a repulsive face. 'Uh, just…next time that happens, don't pull me to you, okay?'

'Alright, Mel. Next time your knees give up on you, I'll let you fall.' Joey mocked, hoping in the back of his mind that Mel knew he meant the exact opposite.

'Good.' Mel sighed and straightened out her dress, taking a big step away from him. 'Clean yourself up a little, will you? I want to leave in ten minutes.'

Author's Note: I hope you guys liked it. If I get enough reviews, I'll turn it into a multi-chap. I've always just watched Melissa & Joey whenever it happened to be on television, but I only recently started really watching it. I was never sure if I liked these two together, but after the second episode of season 2, I can definitely see Joey having a crush on Mel, and Mel liking Joey and using her snarky comments about him to deceive herself into thinking it's not true. I mean, I can understand why someone wouldn't fall in love with him…but you've got to be blind to be truly repulsed by him. I'd definitely want to snuggle up against that…