Title: HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS

***One Hour Challenge Response***

WEEK TWELVE

Type: Multipart Fic
Rating: K (PG-13), but the second chapter might go to an M (NC 17+)
Genre: Romance, Humor
Couple: Mel, Joe
Category: Melissa and Joey
Chapters: 1/2
Status: Incomplete
Summary: One Hour Challenge Responce - WEEK TWELVE - #679 - Scene - You Couple pretend to be either engaged or actually married.

AN/ So, this is my response for this week challenge. It screamed for this couple…hope you'll like it and tell me what you think. It is a bit OOC but for this story it has to be.

DISCLAIRMER: Don't own the characters. Sadly.

Italic are thoughts.

/

Chapter 1

Joe waited until everyone was sitting around the kitchen table for their breakfast. It was Saturday. Kids would, like usual, spend the first part of the day at home, doing their routine with schoolwork, then afternoon, Lennox would go on a date and Ryder over at his friend house. Mel and he would stay in, and probably bicker all the time. Therefore, this is probably the best moment to ask for a favor. A favor that seemed close to a ticking bomb. And that is why he got up early today and made his secret weapon. When he put a whole plate of waffles in front of them, he sensed three pair of eyes watching him warily.

"Joe? You made waffles." Lennox said carefully.

"Yeah. So?" He asked, prolonging his demise.

"You said you'll never make them again!" Ryder explained.

"He wants something." Mel smiled. "So? What is it you want us to do?"

'Trust Mel to quickly get to the point. Why is it I could never hide anything from her?' He thought.

"I have a problem." He started, but Mel interrupted him slyly.

"The first step is admitting you have a problem. Good for you. Now, what kind of problem would that be? Hm…anger issue, sexual problems, insomnia? You have too many of them… Second step is getting the right help. Go see a doctor. I would recommend you a psychiatric. He will give you the pills, and in a few days you'll be good as new."

"Funny. Very funny, Burke. No, I'm in a serious trouble."

"How come, every time you are in a trouble, it somehow involves us?" Mel asked, but when Joe didn't answer to her jibe, she sighed. "Ok. What do you need?"

Joe took a deep breath, then blurted.

"I need you to be my wife for the next couple of weeks."

His words were met with shocked silence, as he had expected. If he would stand outside looking in, at those three, he would probably laugh so hard his insides would hurt. Lennox was blinking, her phone forgotten. Ryder's hand stopped in midair holding a waffle, openmouthed. And Mel, she was opening then closing her mouth, trying to say something, but no sound could be heard. As it happened, he wasn't outside, he was there, waiting for her response. Praying she would be reasonable and say yes. She was his last hope, and asking some other woman was out of question. For a long time, Mel was the woman of his dreams, only with her he could picture a family. In his mind and heart, he already had a family. He knew, that, both her and the kids, noticed his, more often, staying at home. Those every night goings with other woman lost the appeal some time ago. He didn't want to leave. This was his home. His family.

"Ex…excuse me?" Mel was finally able to form the sentence. That was the last thing she expected to hear from Joe. "You want what?"

"Please Mel? Just for couple of weeks. I wouldn't ask this from you if it wasn't life and death situation." Joe pleaded.

"Explain."

"Apparently my mother, aunt and grandmother are coming here for a visit. They are convinced I'm not well here with all that happened, and that I would be better in Italy with them, taking care of the estate. When I found about their planes, I've called one of my cousins and he told me that granny is planning my wedding to some neighbor girl I haven't even met, in order to join our two estates in one. Yes, I know, that is not the usual way nowadays, but she is over eighty years old and in her time that was common. And in some places in Italy they still do that.

Tonio, the cousin I spoke with told me that Tony, my brother, visited them just last week, and he told mum about me living here. When she called, I panicked and told her we were married. I thought it was ok since she accepted it, but now she wants to meet you. Apparently, my aunt and granny didn't bought my lie and that is the reason for their arrival.

Please Mel? I don't want to leave. My life is here, not in Italy. I'll do anything for you if you do this thing for me!"

/

During Joe's speech, Mel watched him closely. Lennox and Ryder were forgotten, which was good for Lennox, because she could observe them in peace. When Joe said he would have to leave, she noticed her aunt winced. And that gave her an idea. Neither she or Ryder wanted Joe gone, it would feel like their father leaving once again. And apparently neither her aunt wanted Joe gone, even though they bickered every day. Decision made, she spoke.

"Aunt Mel, you have to help Joe! He'd done so much for us, and it is only for couple of weeks. We don't want to lose him! Please?"

"And it's not just because of the waffles!" Ryder said, surprisingly catching his sister's thoughts.

If Joe was surprised by their response, he didn't show it. His whole attention was focused on Mel. She was definitively thinking about it. That alone warmed his heart. Mel looked around. Everyone was waiting for her decision, and she sighed.

"Fine. I'll do it! But, you owe me big time, Longo!"

"I know Burke. And I know you'll collect it as soon my family is back in the plane for Italy." He said smiling, then in serious tone said. "Thank you. I mean it."

Lennox squealed. She was happy. This was actually a good opportunity to make Joe and her aunt see that they belong together. She was tired of their dancing around each other, when they are so obviously in love. Everyone knew it, but them. She was already making plans in her head.

"How many weeks are we talking about and when are they arriving?" Mel suddenly asked.

"They are coming around Tuesday. Three or four weeks. But don't worry. They will also travel across the country, sight seeing, and family visiting. They won't be here all the time."

"Tuesday? But that is three days from today!" Lennox screamed. "Come, we have work to do!"

TBC

AN/ Ok, this is it for the first chapter. One hour is up. The wheels are in motion. I'm a bit stuck with the next chapter but it will be out soon. I hope. I have a vague idea how I want all to roll, but I have to write it down, and fill the blanks. In the meantime, let me know what you think and if you have any idea how to continue, let me know. Your review will be most appreciated.

Until next time I'm sending big kiss to every one of you who will read, favorite or put this story on alert. Thank you all!