A Friend in Need: Chapter Four
Disclaimer: Still not mine, sadly.
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Joe ran to his room in a panic and slammed the door. After pacing for a few minutes he decided to change into his gym clothes and go for a run. He quickly pulled on his sweats and sneakers before running down the stairs and out the door.
Several hours and several miles later, Joe finally returned home to find Mel waiting for him on the couch glaring at him with her arms crossed.
"Oh hey, Mel. Where the kids?" Joe asked casually choosing to ignore the elephant in the room.
"Lennox drove her and Ryder to school," Mel answered him.
"Oh, okay. I'll—" Joe started but was interrupted by Mel.
"What the heck, Joe?" Mel demanded, "You literally ran away after kissing me. You can't just k—"
"Look, Mel, I'm sorry. I didn't mean for that to happen and if you want me to, I'll move out so you won't have to see me anymore," Joe interrupted, starting to walk towards the kitchen and up to his room.
"Wait, Joe. What are you talking about? Why would you move out?" Mel asked worriedly, as she intercepted him at the kitchen door.
"Well…I….I thought you were mad at me about the kiss. I should have never made a move on you. I know you'd never be interested in me romantically. We're just friends, I understand," Joe rambled.
"Joe, I think you misunderstood me. I wasn't upset about the kiss; it was just too soon for me to be intimate with another guy. Besides, I was the one who made the move. Believe me if I was going to start dating again it would be with yo-. Oh, boy." Mel trailed off when she realized what she'd just admitted.
"Wait, what? You want to date me?" Joe asked surprised.
"Well, I…yes I have feelings for you. We both know there's no legitimate reason for you to continue working here except maybe to cook food for us so we don't all starve. You haven't even been on date since I was attacked and before that I don't think I've seen you bring a girl home for weeks. If I'm wrong please say something before I embarrass myself further," Mel trailed off when she saw the look on Joe's face.
"Mel, look I," Joe started only to be cut off by Mel.
"Yeah, I get it, okay," Mel said moving to go around Joe and up the front stairs. "We were just caught up the moment, it happened and we'll move on." Mel started to run up the stairs before Joe could see her break down in tears.
"Mel, wait. That's not what I meant," Joe scrambled as he ran to catch her. He gently grabbed her arm and turned her around, "I just don't want to screw this up. I care about you and I think we really have a shot but I don't want to move too fast."
"You're not just messing with me, are you?" Mel asked hopefully.
"Not a chance, Mel," Joe assured her as he guided Mel back over the couch. "Do you know the reason why I've never made a move on you? It's because I didn't want to ruin what we have. I'm afraid of this relationship ending just like all the other relationships I've had, you know crashing and burning. I don't want that to happen to us. I don't want this to end bitterly and end with not only us hating each other but the kids hating me as well. Do you understand?"
"I do, actually," Mel replied with a smile. "I want to give this a try but I want to take it slow, alright?"
"Mel, I'll take this relationship as slow as you want. I just want to be with you," Joe replied. "You can set the pace in our relationship, okay? When we're going too fast, just let me know and I'll slow it down. You're the boss here."
"I like the sound of that," Mel said with a smile. "So we're really going to give this thing between us a shot, huh?"
"Yeah, yes we are." Joe answered, "Now if it's alright with the boss, I'd like to kiss my girlfriend, okay?"
"Girlfriend, huh? I like the sound of that. I think that kiss can be arranged, my good sir," Mel said as she leaned in and planted a slow kiss on his lips.
"See, I can take it slow," Joe said when they broke apart. He slowly put his arm around her and reached up to wipe away her tears. "You're okay with this, right?"
"Very okay," Mel replied with a smile.
"Good, so I was thinking, we should go on a real date. You know, just the two of us. Maybe go to dinner or a movie or laser tag," Joe suggested.
"Laser tag? Really?" Mel asked incredulously.
"Yeah, it sounded odd to me too. I was just trying to think outside of the box," Joe explained. "I don't care what we do, just as long as we go out somewhere together."
"Dinner and a movie sounds fun," Mel decided. "We'll work our way up to laser tag, I think."
"It's settled then, tomorrow night we'll go out. I'll pick the place; you pick the movie. Anything you want to see, even one of those goopy romantic movies you love so much," Joe said.
"Sounds perfect," Mel agreed before reaching up to kiss him again. After they broke apart, Mel simply laid her head on Joe's shoulder and sighed in contentment.
That's how Lennox and Ryder found them a couple of hours later when they returned home from school. The couple was sound asleep on the couch in each other's arms. Without missing a beat, Lennox pulled out her iPhone and snapped a few photos of the cute couple. The sound of the phone clicking eventually woke them up and Lennox immediately grabbed her aunt and took her upstairs to have some girl talk. Joe and Ryder were left in the living room looking up at the stairs where the women had disappeared to dumbly.
"Aunt Mel, you looked so cozy there on the couch," Lennox said when they were safely in Mel's bedroom. "Were you guys making out? Please tell me there was actually something there and he wasn't just comforting you again." Lennox pleaded.
"Well, we may have kissed and he may have asked me out," Mel hinted with a smile.
"Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh," Lennox squealed. "It finally happened! I'm so happy for you guys."
"Me too! We're going to take it slow though. Since my attack, I've been a little jumpy around men and when Joe kissed me this morning I kind of freaked out. So after talking it through, we decided to give us a go. Now, help me pick out an outfit for tomorrow," Mel said excitedly.
"Sure!" Lennox agreed.
"Um, what was that all about, Joe?" Ryder asked when they heard a door slam shut upstairs.
"I'm guessing that Lennox is grilling your aunt about why we were on the couch looking all couple-y." Joe guessed.
"So what happened, then?" Ryder asked.
"Your aunt and I kissed and then I asked her out for a date tomorrow," Joe summed up for Ryder.
"Cool," Ryder said, reaching out his hand to high five Joe.
"Thanks, man," Joe said as he returned the high five.
The next night Mel came downstairs dressed and ready for her date. She was just about to go looking for Joe when the doorbell rang.
"Hey, Joe. Can you get that? I'm looking for my purse," Mel said walking into the kitchen and expecting to find Joe there. When he wasn't there, she shrugged her shoulders in confusion and walked back into the living room. With Joe nowhere in site, she went to answer the door when the doorbell rang again.
"Joe, where the heck are you?" She shouted as she opened the door. She gasped when she saw Joe standing on the porch dressed in a nice suit. "Joe, what you doing out here? Did you lose your key?" Mel asked in confusion.
"I'm picking you up for our date," Joe explained. "I'm being the perfect gentleman, I'm picking you up at the door for our date and dropping you off at the door at the end of the night."
"How sweet and a little bit weird!" Mel gushed with a hint of sarcasm.
"Mel, would you just…okay?" Joe pleaded. "I'm trying to make this special, so just go along with it, alright?"
"Okay, just let me get my purse," Mel said as she went to find her purse. "I'm ready," She said a few minutes later.
"Milady," Joe said holding out his arm for her, which Mel took with a smile. Once they were out on the street, Joe opened the passenger door for Mel and helped her in.
"So, where are we going?" Mel asked once Joe had started the car and pulled out onto the highway.
"Uh uh, it's a surprise. You picked the Cameron Diaz movie, I pick the restaurant," Joe promised. "Although, I guarantee it's somewhere you've never been."
"Sounds promising," Mel approved. A few minutes later, Joe stopped the car in what looked like the middle of nowhere. "Um, Joe, where are we? Because this looks like the beginning of horror movie and you know that I'll be the first to die since I'm the blond one."
"Mel, have faith in me, okay? I promise you'll like this," Joe said as he got out of the car and came around to the passenger side to open the door. He led her down a well lit path by the hand and soon they arrived at a beautiful clearing filled with flowers, a pond and a picnic table filled with food.
"Joe, this is beautiful. How'd you do all this?" Mel complimented him as she looked around the clearing.
"I had help from a friend of mine, this is his property. His house is over that hill," Joe said pointing in the direction of the hill. "He helped me out and put all the food and candles out."
"Thank you, I love it," Mel said before reaching up to plant a kiss on his lips.
They spent several hours eating and talking at the picnic table. Eventually, Joe pulled out his iPod and turned on some music before asking Mel to dance.
"Do you want to know a secret, Joe?" Mel asked coyly.
"Of course," Joe said as he spun her around.
"I know it seemed like I hated it when we danced together in the past but I really loved it. I just didn't want you to know it," Mel admitted. "That's why I tried to make you mad by trying to lead."
"Ha! I knew it!" Joe exclaimed. "For what it's worth though, I loved dancing with you, too." Mel just smiled and laid her head on Joe's shoulder as she swayed with him to the music.
The date had to end eventually and Joe delivered Mel back to the front door at exactly 11:30 that night.
"I had a great time, Mel," Joe said before leaning in for a goodnight kiss.
"Me too," Mel said when they broke apart.
"Well, goodnight. I'll call you," Joe said before leaning in for another kiss.
"Goodnight," Mel said before unlocking the door and walking in. When she noticed that Joe didn't follow her, she turned around and saw him still standing on the porch, she asked him, "Aren't you coming in?"
"I told you, I'm picking you up and dropping you off at the door like a real date," Joe explained.
"So what, you're just going to wait a few minutes and then come in?" Mel asked rolling her eyes.
"Mel, just humor me okay?" Joe pleaded before giving her one more kiss and ushering her inside before walking down the steps.
Five minutes later, Mel met Joe in the kitchen, poured them both a glass of wine and handed one to Joe, "Nice trick you did there, Joe."
"Thank you, Mel. I want to do this right way, court you," Joe said before taking a sip of wine.
"Well, if that's the way you want to do this then I won't stop you," Mel said with a smile. "It's kind of cute."
They continued dating for the next few weeks and Joe would always drop Mel off at the door and then meet her in the kitchen for a glass of wine before bed. Mel started to wonder if Joe would ever make a move on her and take her to bed.
Mel was starting to give up hope that Joe would ever accept her invitation to come inside after one their dates when one night after they had been dating for over a month, she once again asked him to come inside and to her surprise, he accepted.
"Would you like some wine?" Mel offered as they walked into the kitchen.
"I'd love some. This is a lovely house you have here," Joe complemented as if he was just seeing the house for the first time.
"Thank you, I'll give you a tour later if you like," Mel answered, playing along with his act. She poured him a glass of wine and handed it to him before pouring herself one.
"I'd like that," Joe replied with a grin. "So how long have you lived here?"
"Um, about 7 years. We did a major remodel a couple of years ago. Completely re-did the whole downstairs and the room above the garage," Mel explained.
"I can see you must have had a great construction manager," Joe said smugly.
"Yeah, he was okay. He kind of got a little full of himself and almost ran off the entire construction crew, plus his shirts were just too tight." Mel said with a faint grin.
"Oh, you know you love the tight shirts, baby," Joe retorted as he dropped the dating act and took Mel in his arms.
"Yeah, I do," Mel agreed before Joe captured her lips in a deep kiss. After the need for oxygen became apparent, Mel said, " Why don't we take this upstairs? Lenox and Ryder are both spending the night at a friend's house."
"Are you sure you're ready?" Joe asked seriously. "I don't want to move too fast for you."
"You're so sweet, Joe. I'm sure," she said with conviction before taking his hand and leading him up the back stairs.
Once they reached Mel's room, clothes were torn off in a frenzy until they were both laying on the bed in just their underwear. What followed was an intense make out session but just as Joe rolled over on top of Mel and started kissing her neck and making his way down towards her chest, Mel panicked and started shoving Joe off of her.
"Stop," she yelled pushing on his chest to try and get him to back off. Once he had pulled back, she grabbed the nearest pillow and held it against her.
"Mel! What's wrong?" Joe asked in alarm. "Did I hurt you?"
"No, you didn't. I don't know what happened. I just panicked. I….I guess I'm not ready for this. I'm sorry to be such a bother," Mel said remorsefully.
"Hey, Mel, you don't have to apologize to me. I'm sorry we moved too fast. We can stop and pick this up another night when you feel ready," Joe said as he reached up and wiped a tear away with is thumb.
"You're sure you not mad?" Mel asked in a small voice.
"Of course not. Maybe a little uncomfortable, I'm going to go hop in the shower real quick. Will you be okay alone?" Joe worried.
"Yeah, I think so. I'm just going to go put some clothes on," Mel said as she got up off the bed and walked towards the closet.
Joe headed her off before she got there though, "Hey, it'll be okay. Take as long as you think you need, I'll wait." After saying that Joe kissed her softly before heading into the bathroom and Mel went to closet to put on her most comfortable pajamas.
Twenty minutes later, Joe emerged from the bathroom dressed in a fresh t-shirt and sweats to find Mel waiting under the covers.
"Do you still want me to sleep here," Joe asked giving her a way out in case she wasn't comfortable, "I can sleep in my room if you want."
"No, no, I want you to sleep here. I can't sleep without you," Mel pleaded as she pulled back the covers on his side of the bed and patted the sheets. Joe simply nodded and climbed into the bed being careful to keep his distance from her but Mel would have none of that, she simply rolled over close to him and made herself comfortable with her head on his shoulder. Joe held her close and watched her until she fell asleep before he allowed himself to fall asleep.
The next morning, Joe woke up to feel of someone kissing his chest and slowing making her way down to the sweats covered area. He moaned in appreciation before realizing that he wasn't dreaming and that Mel was currently straddling him and doing mesmerizing things with her tongue.
"Oh Mel, if you don't stop soon, I won't be able to control myself," Joe moaned.
"I don't want to stop, Joe. I woke up and saw you asleep next me and knew I couldn't go one more day without having my way with you," Mel said seductively.
Joe smiled and decided he would let Mel take the lead in their lovemaking. Afterwards, as they lay satisfied in each other's arms, Joe sighed happily. Mel was feeling much the same way and couldn't wipe the smile from her face. She was happy and she couldn't imagine being any happier.
"Are you still doing okay?" Joe asked worriedly. He was afraid they had moved to fast and spooked Mel. The last thing he wanted to do was mess up this relationship because he felt it was going somewhere and he even thought that somewhere down the line they would make this a permanent relationship.