Title: THANKSGIVING SURPRISES
Type: Short story
Pairing: Mel, Joe, Tony
Category: Melissa and Joey
Rating: K
Genre: Romance, Family
Chapters: 1/1
Status: Complete
Summary: Remember the end of the 'The Other Longo' episode? Joe jokingly inviting Tony for the Thanksgiving? Well, Tony didn't realized it was a joke, so he is coming to the Burke household again. What will happen when, once again, the two Longo's are under the same roof? The truth is coming out, for starts.

DISCLAIMER: Don't own the characters. Sadly…

AN/ I'm alive! (if anyone thought differently. *grin*). I was having/still have the worst writers block ever, but I promised I would post this story on a Thanksgiving (give or take day or two). Part of it was already done, all I needed is to finish it. I really hope you will love this story, and that you'll tell me what you think. I'm really sorry for the delay.
As far as my other story goes (HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS), don't worry, I haven't abandon it, it's just…well… I'm stuck. I know what I want but somehow I can't get there. But, I WILL finish her. And that is a promise.

Italic are thoughts.


Thanksgiving was approaching fast and Joe was still thinking how to break the news to Mel. After what happened last time, he didn't think Tony would come. His invitation was meant to be a joke, but Tony called him few days ago, saying he was coming. Not that he didn't want to see his baby brother, in fact, he missed him and his whole family, but he couldn't help to think back at the last time Tony was here. The 'shooting disaster', as he called those days. Not only that Mel afterwards blamed him for Tony's actions, which was entirely her fault, but he was forced to watch them flirting and laughing while he was dying from jealousy. And then everything turned to a fiasco when Tony almost blurted his secret to Mel.

Joe had a bad feeling about this…

He was so caught up in his thoughts that Mel had to slap him on the shoulder to get his attention, since calling his name or snapping her fingers in front of his face didn't do any good.

"What?" He asked.

"Finally! I've been here for then minutes calling your name. Are you daydreaming?" Mel joked, then frowned when he didn't respond to her jibe. "What's wrong? You have been standing here for awhile looking at this, I might add, empty pot. Dinner wont make it itself, you know?"

Joe looked at her, then sighed. He might as well tell her.

"My brother is coming for Thanksgiving."

"Oh." Was all what Mel said after hearing the news. She didn't know what to think. Sure, at the time, she was mad at both Longo brothers, but she wasn't anymore. She was actually more worried for Joe. It was evident he didn't want his brother here, if she was reading his signs right, and she suspected that the fight they had last time was more than they let out.

"You know what?" Joe suddenly spoke. "He will be in town for only two or three days, right? I'll prepare the food for you and the kids and Tony and I will go to a hotel during his stay. So you'll be 'Longo free'!"

"No, no, no!" Mel said, but she said it a bit too quickly. Joe raised a brow. "Don't do that! It will be fine. Besides, it's only for couple of days. Nothing bad can happen in that little time. Right?" Mel asked.

She didn't want Joe to be alone with his brother on Thanksgiving, or on any other holiday. However, this time she won't flirt with Tony. She'd learned her lesson. Just the thought of being alone with the kids without Joe pained her. She was so used to Joe being there with them, it felt like a family. Not that she would ever admit she need him aloud. It was hard admitting that to herself.

Joe eyed her carefully, but said nothing. Contradictory thoughts twirled through his mind. Part of him was happy he would spend Thanksgiving with her and the kids. She was the woman of his dreams, even though he would never be able tell her that. The other part was asking why did she spoke so quickly. 'Was it because of Tony? Does she have some feelings for his baby brother? Oh, God! Please, I don't think I would be able to take that.' His mood went from bad to worse. He remembered the last time Tony was here, and how Mel seemed more relaxed with him.

"Fine." He said curtly. "If that's what you want."

Mel eyed him carefully, and seeing he wasn't in the mood, she decided leaving the matter alone.

The rest of the day Joe avoided everyone. After dinner, he excused himself and went for a jog. The cold air and the exercise cleared his mind, and when he arrived back, he was ready for the challenge that awaited him. He just hoped nothing will happen during Tony's stay.

/

Tony arrived the day before Thanksgiving, caring a big smile and a backpack on his back. He didn't forgot the presents, though. Lennox got a jewelry box, Ryder a new video game, Mel got a bottle of vine from Italy, and Joe got a new hand weights. He got a big bear hug from the kids right before they went upstairs, leaving the adults alone. Mel thanked him with her usual smile and Joe just nodded. Tony could feel the tension rising so he said the first thing he thought of.

"I love what you did with the house!" He complimented Mel, looking around.

"Thanks. But Joe helped too." Mel answered.

"Of course he did." Tony said watching Joe who instantly narrowed his eyes at him. Something within him wanted for Joe to let lose. His brother was way too serious. "So, thank you for having me. I have a shooting in two days here in town, and then, I'm off."

"You'll be sleeping in Joe's room. He already prepared an extra bed for you." Mel said, seeing how Joe wasn't gonna say a word. She could sense the tension between the brothers too, and she was starting to question her agreement to this.

"Great! Just like old times, huh brother?!" When Joe refused to answer, he sighed, and then joked. "The basement is still in the same place or did you move it?"

"Oh, the basement is still in it's place, but Joe's room is now above the garage." Mel laughed. "I'll let you two boys alone now. Have a meeting. Play nice." She warned, looking pointedly at Joe, and then she left, praying they won't have another fight.

"Come. Let me show you where you'll be sleeping." Joe finally spoke, and then left, not interested if Tony was following him or not.

"Look, if you don't want me here, I can easily find a room in a hotel or something." Tony sighed, looking at his brother.

"No, it's fine. Just…don't repeat what happened last time." Joe said.

"I'll behave. I promise. Cross my heart and hope to die." Tony said with a smile.

With that, big part of the tension disappeared.

/

The diner went extremely well and with full of laugher since Tony told some of his funny stories about his travels. He had a lot of pictures and the kids loved his stories. Both Lennox and Ryder thought of him as an uncle. For them, he was a part of their family, just like Joe.

Hours later, Joe and Tony were getting ready for bed, when Tony suddenly asked.

"Why are you doing this to yourself?"

"I have no idea what you're talking about." Joe answered after a god minute of silence, voice cleared of any emotions.

"Oh, really? So, you are not playing house with Mel?"

"Drop it." Joe warned.

"No. I won't drop it. Not this time. Why don't you just admit to the woman how you feel about her? For God sake, just tell her the truth!"

"Tony." Joe finally turned toward him. "I said drop it." He said through his teeth.

"No! Not this time!" Tony said angrily. "What? You gonna beat me? You may be my big brother, but we both know I can fight back. We're not kids anymore! And this time, I won't be quiet! You're scared even admitting it to yourself! You've buried yourself in this false sense of family…what if she, one day, finds a man who would want to marry her? Someone who would want to have a family with her? What then?"

Tony asked the questions Joe was afraid the most. What if that happens one day? In theory, he knew what he'll do. He would leave. However, his heart would stay here…

"I can't tell her!" Joe finally snapped. "You want to know what I feel? I love her! With all my heart! In the way I've never loved anyone else! But, I work for her. And I can't tell her because I have nothing to offer her. She deserves someone who, at least, has a job, a steady job. Someone who can provide for her and the kids. Not some loser who lost everything and who works for her as a freakin nanny! My heart breaks every time she goes out on a date. I start to think, this is the guy who will sweep her out of her feet. This is the guy who will took my family away from me. Because, they, the kids and Mel, somehow, down the road, became my family. Is that what you wanted to hear?"

Tony watched his big brother finally snap. Part of him was glad that that happened, but after hearing the words, hearing the broken sound of Joe's voice, his heart broke. Suddenly, Tony realized how proud his brother was. How hard really is for him to work for a woman he has feelings for. Having nothing to offer…if he had his last job maybe they could be together, but now…a miracle is needed…

On the other hand, Tony suspected, after watching Joe and Mel together, she could feel the same way. There was something in her eyes when she would look at Joe. Or when she would smile. There was warmth, kindness, even love perhaps…? Sure, they bicker all the time, but that was only to cover their true feelings. However, they were both very proud and scared of confessing them.

Searching for something, anything t say that could comfort his brother, Tony looked up and gasped, his eyes going wide. Because, the reason for all this, the woman they've been fighting for, was standing on the doorway carrying blankets.

Joe heard his brother's gasp and stilled. He knew. His life, this life he got used to, was falling apart. And this time, somehow, it hurt more. Because she heard the truth, and he knew that his days in this household were numbered. Because there was no way she would feel the same. Slowly, he turned, and yes, there she was. However, what broke his heart were the tears in her eyes.

"Mel?" He whispered, suddenly lost for words.

"I'll just leave this here. Good night." She said, looking everywhere but the Longo brothers, before bolting, leaving Joe heartbroken.

Joe was left looking at the empty spot at the doorway where a second ago the love of his life stood. The pain was ripping his heart and the tears started to flow down his cheek.

"Go after her." Tony suddenly said.

"What?" He chocked out, turning.

Tony winced seeing the pain that was now evident in Joe's eyes. He repeated, now more firmly.

"Go after her! If you don't, you'll regret it for the rest of your life."

Risking everything, even his heart, Joe did just that.

/

Mel couldn't believe what she overheard just a minute ago. He loves her? True, she loved him back, and wanted him to love her, but actually hear the words from his mouth was a surprise. An extremely surprise. 'Dear Lord, he loves me!' She didn't know what to do now, how to act, how to feel…She was happy, but when the rest of his words sank in, she felt anger.

Joe caught her in her living room. Besides the kitchen, this was the room they spent most of their time in. Together. Sometimes all alone… Somehow, that thought crossed both of their minds and now everything seemed different. More special, more personal. Especially their long night talks…sometimes with a bottle of vine, and sometimes with ice cream…

"Mel?" She heard beautiful tone of his voice behind her, but she didn't turned.

Joe took that as a rejection. His heart broke. She didn't loved him. It was all for nothing. But, at least, now, he knew it for certain. Taking a deep breath, the decision was made.

"I'll be leaving after the Thanksgiving then. Thank you for everything." He said brokenly.

However, just as he was about to leave, her voice stopped him.

"Do you really think I'm that kind of person?"

"I don't…" He started to talk, but stopped when she turned to him, fire in her eyes.

"Do you really think I care what you do for a living? Am I a material girl? For your information, I like you more now than when you had everything. Because I could picture what kind of shallow person you were then. Thinking only of money, driving the best car, eating in the best restaurants, going from one empty relationship into another. Can't you see that you've changed? You now care. And I like that person you are now! As far as I'm concern you can work for me forever, I don't care. You're doing a great job here. Do you have any idea what would this household look like without you in it? Both the kids and me would've been lost. Remember that time when you said you take everything at home and I take care of 3000 people of Toledo? That that's the division of labor in this house? You were right."

"What are you saying?" Joe asked, and she could hear in his voice and see in his eyes a thread of hope. Hope she loved him.

"I'm saying that I love you! I want you! You! Not some guy with a steady job. You provide for us plenty. You take care of us, love us, and that is what we need. What I need. You deserve us as much as we deserve you. You are a part of this family. We…I… depend on you in more ways than one."

"You love me?" Joe couldn't believe what he heard.

"Yes. I love you." Mel confirmed, closing the distance between them.

Seeing the truth in her eyes, he smiled and pulled her into his embrace. His heart was full. The woman he loved, loved him back. Everything was as it should be. It was impossible to tell who moved first, but the next second they were kissing. It was their third kiss, but this one was filled with love. They both could feel it. Their first kiss was just a little, but hot peck on Joe's college reunion, when she was trying to save his face saying she was his girlfriend/fiancé. And the second one was when she surprised them both by kissing him goodbye in his new apartment. She still didn't understand why she did it. It was a reflex of some kind. Like when you kiss your boyfriend or husband before leaving. Those two kisses were nothing compared to this one. Their tongues mingled, and she let a soft sound of pleasure. This kiss stole his breath away. The world was still spinning when they parted struggling for air. She still had her arms around his neck, and he, around her waist. None made a motion to move away.

"I still can't believe this is happening." Joe said.

"Believe. I love you." Mel said, pulling him in another kiss.

"God, I love you too."

/

The next day, when the kids came down to the kitchen for their breakfast, they had the shock of their life. Mel and Joe were kissing by the stow.

"So, they finally confessed?" A voice said behind them. It was Tony, and he had a strange expression on his face. Lennox recognized it right away and asked.

"You know how this happened? We've been waiting like forever and you did it in couple of hours. How?"

Instead of answering, Tony just smiled and cleared his throat, separating the, now, blushing couple.

"I think this year we have a lot to be thankful for."

THE END


AN/ Ok, that's all! Hope you'll liked it! And happy Thanksgiving to everyone! (with some delay) I'll try to write something for HIWTHI, but, like I said in the AN above, this writers block is killing me.

Once again, hope you liked this short story, please leave a review, and Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! (again, with some delay, but I'm forgiven, right? *asking with a puppy eyes*)

/

Pending stories for this fandom:

- HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS – chapter 3 is in progress, and I hope posting it soon. It will probably have 6 or 7 chapters.

- MIXED EMOTIONS – an one-shot I'm working on. It's about Joe's love life. Based on the episodes 14 and 15 (season 2). Mel vs. Elena

- ? – this will be a collection of short stories. I'll try to write a twist in each episode of the series making Joe and Mel kiss. (the title is still unknown) (any thoughts?)

AN/ If you're on Facebook, or want to join up, there is a group called Destiny's Gateway with over 200 Members. It's the group of a romance Fanfiction Archives. A lot of Authors are posting their stuff there and you might be lucky enough to have one of your favorite Authors there. We also hold writing competitions and challenges, talk about Sailor Moon and other fandom's, as well as our favorite Fanfics and couples. If you're a new Author, or an old one that is having some writer's block, or you just need some feedback and help, this is also a great place to be. We help out each other.

Please, if you are an Author post your stories at destinysgateway DOT com. More of that site is on my profile. We need more Melissa and Joey stories there. So far there is only me, so please join in! More info on my profile.