Matchmakers


AUTHOR: Melissa Larkin
EMAIL: CountryLass25@aol.com
CATEGORY: SL/LK/DM Romance
RATING: G
SPOILERS: None
DISCLAIMER: I don't own ER or any of the characters. Enjoy the story! :)
SUMMARY: Susan and Luka play matchmaker with Dave Malucci and Susan's cousin, Melanie.



It was a slow morning in the County General's emergency room. There had been just a few patients and in their down time, Susan Lewis and her boyfriend, Luka Kovac, were filling out charts. Dave Malucci, a fellow doctor, was on the computer.

"Where do you want to go for dinner?" Luka asked.

"I'm not picky, any place is fine," Dave answered, and Luka gave him a look.

"I was talking to Susan," he said. Dave sighed.

"I know, I know." Dave turned back to the computer. "Not like you'd ask me to join you anyway." Susan rolled her eyes and turned to Luka.

"How about that new Italian place on Tenth? I've heard the food is amazing." Luka leaned in and kissed Susan.

"I'll make the reservations," he said, and picked up the phone. Susan noticed that Dave was a bit angry and walked over to him.

"Are you all right?" Dave looked at her and frowned.

"You know, it's bad enough that Carter and Abby are all over each other. Now you and Luka are too! You don't have to rub it in that you have a love life and I don't." Susan placed her chart down on the counter.

"I'm sorry," she said. Dave waved his hand.

"Forget it," he said. Luka hung up the phone and turned to Susan.

"We've got reservations for tomorrow night at 6," he said. Susan walked over to Luka, put her arms around him, and they kissed.

"Thank you," she said. Feeling guilty, she turned to Dave. "Dave, you'll find someone. You're a great guy." Dave rolled his eyes.

"Whatever," he replied, and walked off. Luka turned to Susan.

"What was that all about?"

"He's a member of the Lonely Hearts club," she said. "I hope he finds someone."

"He's got a reputation," Luka said, as he and Susan walked into the lounge.

"I've heard all about it," Susan replied. She poured two cups of coffee and handed one to Luka. "But I've seen him with his daughter and I can tell what a great father he is. Now if he can just find someone to share his life with --"

"Susan Lewis, the matchmaker," Luka teased. "Do you have anyone in mind?" Susan frowned and shook her head.

"I can't think of anyone right now," she said. Luka pulled her into his lap.

"I don't want to talk about Dave right now," he said. Susan wrapped her arms around his neck.

"What would you like to talk about?" she asked, a smile wide on her face.

"I don't want to talk at all," he said, and they kissed.

~*~*~*~*~

That night, Susan sat in her apartment, talking to her cousin Melanie on the telephone.

"How's work?" Susan asked. Melanie laughed.

"You know, interior design is not nearly as exciting as being an ER doctor! I don't save people's lives," she said. Susan laughed.

"Yeah but you don't get covered in blood either!" Both cousins laughed again.

"Okay, new topic, please! I just ate, thank you!" Melanie said. "How's Luka?" Susan sighed, and a smile broke out onto her face.

"He's wonderful," she cooed. "I've never been in love like this before."

"It must be wonderful," Melanie said, sadness apparent in her voice. "I wish I could meet someone."

"Melanie, you're beautiful, intelligent, sweet. Any guy would be lucky to be with you."

"Do you know anyone you could fix me up with?" Melanie asked hopefully. Susan sat upright on her sofa.

"Yes, I do!" she replied. "His name is Dave Malucci and he's a doctor in the ER. But um...you see, he sort of has this reputation --"

"Oh, the ladies' man?" Melanie asked. "I'm not sure that's the type I'm looking for."

"He's also a father," Susan replied. "He has an 8-year-old daughter named Callie. He's terrific with her."

"Does she live with him?" Melanie inquired.

"She lives with her mom full time, but she sees Dave a lot. Our schedules are kind of crazy in the ER, so he felt it was best for Callie to have a stable home life." Melanie twisted her finger around the phone cord.

"It sounds like he really is a wonderful dad," she said.

"He really is, Melanie," Susan replied. "I will understand if you didn't want to go out with him though. I just feel bad because he doesn't date much. His life lately seems to be Callie and the ER."

"How about if we try it once? But you and Luka have to come with us," Melanie added. Susan grinned.

"Yes, of course! Luka and I have reservations at Salvatore's for tomorrow night at 6. Maybe we can make it for a party of four," Susan said.

"Thanks, Susan," Melanie said. "You're the best cousin in the world!"

"Just promise me something," Susan answered.

"Anything," Melanie replied.

"I'll get to be your maid of honor if you and Dave get married!" Melanie laughed.

"Good night! I'll talk to you tomorrow morning!" Susan rose from the sofa.

"Nite, Mel," she said, and they hung up.

~*~*~*~*~

The next night, Luka and Susan entered Salvatore's restaurant. They were greeted by a nervous Dave.

"She's not here yet. I knew it, she's going to stand me up," he said. Susan looked Dave over. He was wearing a jacket, pants, shirt and a tie. It was a nice change from the scrubs that he usually wore.

"I talked to her on the way over," Susan said, putting her cell phone into her purse. "She's already left her apartment. She should be here any minute."

"All right," Dave began. "But if she doesn't show up, I'm --"

At that moment, a beautiful young woman with auburn hair and blue eyes entered the restaurant. She spotted Susan and Luka and walked over to them.

"Hi," she said. "I'm sorry if I'm late. Traffic was a nightmare," she finished, and hugged Susan and Luka. The young woman turned to Dave. "Hi, I'm Melanie Lewis." Dave stood there for a moment, awestruck at how beautiful Melanie was.

"I -- I'm Dave Malucci," he said, extending his hand out to shake hers. Melanie shook his hand and smiled. He was handsome, she thought. Very handsome.

The maitre'd appeared then and showed the two couples to their table. Dave politely pulled out the chair for Melanie.

"Thank you," she said, and sat down. Luka did the same for Susan, and then the four studied the menus that were left for them. Dave and Melanie kept glancing over their menus to check the other person out. Susan turned to Luka and raised an eyebrow.

"So far, so good," she whispered to her boyfriend.

"Let's keep our fingers crossed," Luka whispered back.

~*~*~*~*~

Later that night, Susan, Luka, Dave and Melanie were talking and laughing. Dinner had been wonderful, and Dave and Melanie were getting along great. Melanie turned to Dave.

"Susan told me that you have a daughter," she said. Dave grinned.

"The love of my life," he said. He took out his wallet and showed Melanie a picture of a little girl with blonde hair and green eyes. "That's Callie. She's 8 years old."

"She's adorable," Melanie said. "I can't wait to have kids of my own someday. My cat, Munchkin, is my baby right now." Dave looked into Melanie's eyes.

"Your children will be lucky to have you as a mother," he said. "I hope they look just like you." Melanie was very touched by what he said, and blushed a little.

"Thank you," she said softly.

"You're welcome," he replied, his tone just as soft as hers. Luka looked at his watch.

"It's almost nine," he said. "Susan and I have early shifts tomorrow." Melanie nodded and turned to the others.

"I have a meeting with a client at 9 tomorrow," she said. "I wish I could stay longer." Dave looked at her wistfully. He also wanted to spend more time with Melanie. The waiter appeared with the check and Dave took it.

"My treat," he said. Susan smiled.

"Dave, you don't have to. We invited you," she said. Dave smiled at Susan.

"It's the least I can do." Susan nodded and Dave handed the waiter his credit card. A few minutes later, the foursome exited the restaurant.

~*~*~*~*~

Luka, Susan, Dave and Melanie entered the parking lot. Susan pulled Melanie to the side.

"Call me when you get home," Susan said. Melanie laughed.

"Always the overprotective cousin," she said. "Don't worry, Dave seems like a perfect gentleman."

"It's not Dave that worries me," Susan said. "You're like a sister to me and I want to make sure you get home safely."

"I know. Thank you so much for introducing me to him," Melanie said. She hugged Susan. "Nite, Sus. I love you."

"I love you, too," Susan said. Luka hugged Melanie and then he and Susan walked to his car. Dave ran to catch up with them.

"Thanks again, guys," he said, and hugged both of them. "Melanie is amazing!"

"Be good to her," Susan said, and added, "Or else." Dave nodded.

"I will, Susan, I promise. I've never met anyone like her before. She's....well she's everything I've been looking for. She's beautiful, and sweet, and doesn't mind that I have a daughter. Thank you!" he said, and hugged Susan again. She smiled at Dave in return.

"Nite, Dave," she said, and she and Luka got into the car. Dave was all smiles as he walked back to Melanie. He opened her car door for her.

"I had a great time tonight," he said. Melanie nodded in return.

"Me too," she replied.

"So, you have my number, right?"

"Yes," she said. "And you've got mine."

"Yeah," Dave replied. "And I won't pull that macho guy stuff and not call you for a week." Melanie blushed.

"Okay," she said, certain her face was as red as a lobster. She looked up at Dave. "So...I should get going."

"All right," he said softly. Dave and Melanie looked at each other awkwardly for a moment. They laughed. "I want to kiss you."

"Then kiss me," Melanie said. Dave leaned in and very gently kissed Melanie on the lips. He stepped back and took her hand.

"That was perfect," he said. "Just like tonight has been." Melanie smiled and pushed a stray lock of hair behind her ear.

"I'll talk to you soon then?" she asked.

"You bet," Dave replied. "I'm off on Sunday. Maybe we can do something?"

"Sure," Melanie said. "I can't wait to meet Callie someday."

"You will," Dave said. "Well, I'm going to let you go now. Good luck with your meeting tomorrow." Melanie got into her car and Dave closed the door.

"Thanks," she said. "It was really great to meet you."

"You too," Dave said, suddenly feeling like a shy teenager. He leaned on Melanie's door. "Good-night." Melanie started her car and turned to Dave.

"Good-night," she said. She leaned over and kissed him on the lips again. "I'll talk to you tomorrow."

"You sure will," Dave said. Melanie pulled out of the lot and Dave waved as she drove off. He practically skipped back to his car, and drove off into the starry night, a big smile on his face. I'm in love, he thought to himself. Thank you, matchmakers!

~~~~The End~~~~



Sequel: Painful Memories
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