Joe was coming up the stairs with a basket of laundry just as Mel came through the front door after work.
"Afternoon, Burke. How was your day?" Joe asked
Mel groaned dramatically, dropped her bags on the ground, and flopped onto the couch.
"Okay then. Well, I am going to go put this laundry away..." Joe started to make his way up the stairs.
"No no no no no!" Mel shouted, shooting up from her chair and running up the stairs after him. She followed him into Lenox's room where he began putting folded laundry onto the bed for Lenox to put away later.
"Do you want to tell me about why your day was so bad?" Joe asked.
Mel fidgeted uncomfortably for a few seconds before lying and saying, "I don't want to talk about it."
"Alright then," Joe picked up the basket and walked out of Lenox's room and across the hall to Ryder's. "Are you sure?"
"Well, i mean, if you're that desperate to know i suppose that i can tell you about my day." Mel followed him. She had something that she needed to get off of her chest. "Today I found out one of my coworkers is engaged."
"Oh?" Joe looked up at her. "Does that bother you?"
"Uh, no." She lied. It did bother her. She didn't really know why. It wasn't as if she was ready to get married. "It's just, somehow she got this idea that i am her best friend and she has no sisters so she asked me to be her maid of honor."
"Who would want you to be their maid of honor?" Joe asked with a hint of sarcasm.
Mel was slightly offended. "Hey, I would be a great maid of honor. I mean i am kind and generous." Maybe this maid of honor thing wouldn't be so bad "I could give the best speech and plan a fantastic bachelorette party."
"Mel, being a maid of honor is a lot of work. It can be really time consuming. You have a job and two kids. You don't have time for this."
"Shut up Joe!" Mel was now determined that she could do this. "I am going to call her and tell her that i would love to be her maid of honor." She pulled out her phone. What was the womans name again. Sydney, thats right. She found 'Sydney from work' in her contacts and began walking out of the room as the phone rang.
"Mel, you're going to be in over your head."
Perhaps a part of Mel knew Joe was right but she walked back to the doorway to tell him "I can handle this." Then Sydney answered her phone "Oh hey Syd,"
2 weeks later.
Mel stormed through the front door. Joe was making something delicious looking, but she didn't care. She was completely in over her head. She could not handle the pressures of her work, home life, and her maid of honor duties. She turned to Joe. "Why did you let me do this?"
"Do what?" He actually looked confused.
"Be the maid of honor. Sydney is getting married in 2 weeks. Why didn't you try to talk me out of it?" She knew that he had but needed someone to be angry at.
"I did!" Now he was getting defensive.
This just made Mel more upset. "You didn't do a very good job though. You could have said something like 'it's very time consuming'. 'it takes a lot of work'. And yet here i am completely in over my head."
"Mel, I said all of those things. But you wouldn't hear it from me. You had to do exactly what i told you not to."
Mel sighed. He was right. But she still needed to punish him. She looked at him endearingly. "Listen Joe, I need your help running a few errands. It requires a lot of heavy lifting and i know that that is right up your alley." She winced as she patted his huge arm muscles.
"Okay." Joe shrugged as he turned off the stove and put a few things in the fridge.
She knew that the idea of showing off his muscles would lure him into her plan. "Great, change into something a little nicer and then get in the car."
A few minutes later Joe got into the car wearing a suit. "What do you think?"
He actually looked sort of handsome. But Mel pushed that thought out of her mind and said "I told you to change out of your jeans and tee-shirt not to dress all..." handsome and stuff "you know like that."
"Sorry, I'll go change."
"No!" She didn't want him to change. "I mean, cause we have no time. We have a lot to do."
"Where exactly are we going?"
"To pick up some things up for the wedding." Mel smiled at him. "It's about a half hour away." Joe looked at her. "Come on don't worry it will be fun!"
30 minutes later
Mel pulled Joe into the wedding dress store.
"This is fun?" Joe's eyebrows rose skeptically.
"Yeah! Sure!" Mel wasn't any more excited than Joe about picking up someone else's wedding dress. "Okay so maybe it won't be that fun but i needed to pick up Sydney's dress and i didn't feel like doing it alone, so here we are."
A tall woman with short brown hair walked into the room. Her name tag indicated that she was an employee. She walked up to Mel and asked "How can i help you?"
"Pick up for Sydney." Mel said.
"Just a moment." The woman walked out of the room.
"See," Mel smiled at Joe "We will be out of here in no time!"
Joe sighed and shook his head. A small smile spread across his face and he almost laughed.
The woman returned with a white wedding dress covered in plastic. "This dress arrived yesterday. It was customized online. Our custom dresses normally fit fine but would you like to try it on to make sure?"
Mel could tell that Joe was about to tell the woman that she wasn't the one getting married so she quickly shouted "SURE!"
A few moments later she was wearing Sydney's dress. Surprisingly it fit perfectly. She stared into the mirror at herself. She fingered the strapless top and admired the silk ribbon around her waist. Her hands ran down the dress to the bottom which was adorned with lace flowers. It complemented her figure perfectly. She walked out of the dressing room to where Joe was sitting, looking bored.
"Wait, no." the saleswoman said. "It's bad luck for the groom to see the bride in her dress before the wedding"
Joe looked up. He almost looked dazed. He waved his hand at the woman and said "It's fine. We aren't traditionalists. We don't believe in that stuff."
Mels heart skipped a beat as he got up and started walking over to her. He smiled. "You look beautiful." He said.
"Ooh!" The wails woman cried. "Practice your wedding vows won't you. I never get invited to weddings!"
Mel knew that was a bad idea. She shook her head at him. "It's okay you don't have to do this." She whispered.
He laughed and when Mel opened her mouth again he put a finger gently over her lips to shush her. Mel didn't really know what to think. "Burke, I have known you for a long time. And you have a lot of flaws. I mean your messy and nosey and bossy." She didn't want to hear this right now. "But, for some reason I sort of can't live without you. I guess maybe it's because I am the same way. Minus the messy part." That made her laugh a little and he continued. "I love you for not being afraid to point out what's wrong with me. We balance each other out. We fit like puzzle pieces"
Mel could feel tears forming in her eyes. She wondered if he really meant that.
"I'll leave you two alone." The saleswoman backed slowly out of the room, leaving them just staring at eachother.
There was a long pause. Mel stood still. The wedding dress she was wearing felt so right. Joe looked so handsome as he smiled at her He seemed sincere. She didn't want to break the beautiful silence. Should she just kiss him? No, that would be awkward. Or would it?
Before she could formulate a thought the saleswoman came back. "Alright," and the silence was broken. "We are closing in like 5 minutes so..."
"Right!" Mel snapped out of it "We'll get out of your hair!" She shuffled back into the dressing room as quickly as possible to change. When she came out her mind was racing. "Alright." she said as she handed a check to the sales woman. "Thank you for your time." She took the dress, now draped in plastic again and walked out the door followed by Joe.
Once they were in the car again, Mel was able to thing. She decided that it was probably nothing.
"So," Joe said quietly. He tapped his foot on the floor of the car.
"So," She eyed him carefully.
"What happened back there was kind of weird wasn't it?" A glimmer of hope surfaced inside her. Maybe he had felt it too.
"Yeah," She tried to remain calm.
"I mean, what even happened back there?"
"I don't know but it felt weird!" and right.
Joe laughed "I can't believe i never knew..." he paused. "How stupid salespeople are! I mean that woman actually bought that you and i were engaged."
Mel felt her heart sink but she forced a laugh. "I know right!" Maybe he didn't feel the same way after all. "I mean can you imagine me engaged to you. HA!"
"Or me, engaged to you."
"We have nothing in common." They said at the same time.
Mel laughed. "Want to go get a drink with me Longo?"
Joe looked surprised "Sounds good to me. Hit it Burke. And by the way that was not heavy lifting"
As they drove away the saleswoman came out the dress shop. She pulled out her phone and called her friend. "Hey the most amazing thing happened to me today. It made me want to get married!"
"I know that's crazy right. Anyway you know how i said there is no such thing as the perfect couple." She got into her car and put her purse on the passenger seat. "Well, today i met them! You know, perfect couple." She put her keys in the ignition. "I didn't learn the guys name but the girls name was Sydney Burke I think."