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Chutes and Ladders

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“Manda?”

Miranda looks up from the Book and over towards her office’s doorway to find Liam, Andrea’s two years old son, standing there looking at her with his big brown eyes. Those lethal eyes, just like his mother. She smiles at him to let him know that he’s okay to enter. Grinning brightly, he quickly runs over to where she’s sitting and climbs onto her lap. Once he’s sitting comfortably on her lap, Liam throws his little arms around Miranda’s shoulders and hugs her tightly. Miranda, never able to resist his little bear hugs, returns the hug while rubbing his back in a soothing manner.

“Is something wrong my little prince?”

Liam shakes his head and further cuddles in the crook of Miranda’s neck. His little fingers move from her shoulder to her neck and begin to play with the baby hair at the back of her neck. Realizing that he just wants to cuddle for a bit, Miranda sits back in her chair to enjoy the little cuddles that he likes to give. She knows that in a few years he’ll no longer want to cuddle like this, so she’ll seize whatever opportunity she can get. 

“Manda?” 

“Yes, my little prince.”

“Manda cwooks inner?”

“Yes, I will be cooking dinner soon.”

“Manda cwooks pisgetty?”

Liam moves his head away from Miranda’s neck and looks up at her with puppy dog eyes and his lower lip sticking out. Miranda chuckles at his persuading tactics. Only two and already knows how to get his way.  

“Hm, I thought you wanted lasagna?”

The two years old shakes his head. “No, pisgetty, pease.”

“Alright, I’ll make spaghetti.”

“Yay! Manda da best!” Excited that Miranda is making spaghetti, Liam grabs Miranda’s face with his little hands and plants a loud smacking, wet kiss on her cheek. Familiar with his little game, Miranda scrunched up her face in fake displeasure and let out a groan when she felt the wet kiss.

“Li-am.”

The toddler’s head fell against Miranda’s shoulder as little giggles erupts from his small frame causing Miranda to drop her fake displeased look and chuckle along. 

“Well, isn’t this a lovely sight.”

Miranda and Liam look towards the direction of where the voice came from to find Andrea leaning against the doorway with her arms crossed and a grin on her face.

“Mommy!”

Liam quickly slides off of Miranda’s lap and runs over to Andrea, throwing himself into her arms as soon as he is close enough. Andrea scoops him up into her arms and hugs him tightly while moving her body back and forth.

“Hi bubby! Have you been behaving for Miranda?” 

“Yes, and Manda is cwooking pisgetty.”

Andrea glances over at Miranda and raises her eyebrow.  “Really? That’s very nice of Miranda to make spaghetti for dinner."

"Andy! You're back!"

Suddenly, Andrea got two seven years old wrapped around her body, while her son giggles in her arms. Before she could greet them, they started to take turns talking a mile a minute.

"How was the game?"

"We wanted to watch but had school-"

"And then practice-"

"We also had lots of homework-"

"Girls," Miranda called out to her twin daughters. "Let Andrea breath. Why don't you take Liam into the game room and watch a movie while Andrea and I make dinner. You can ask her all about the game during dinner."

Andrea gave the girls a smile and a kiss each on top of their heads then set Liam down so he can go with them. "I'll tell you all about it at dinner."

“Okay.”

Cassidy takes a hold of Liam’s hand and follows Caroline out of the office and towards their den leaving Miranda and Andrea alone in the office. 

“So,” Andrea said while walking towards Miranda’s desk.

Miranda, not wanting to wait another second longer to be in Andrea’s arms, gets up from her desk and meets Andrea halfway. Once in Andrea’s arms, Miranda pulls a Liam move and burrows her face into the crook of Andrea’s neck, taking in her lovely fragrance. Andrea pulls Miranda closer to her for a full body hug and turns her head slightly to plant a kiss at her temple. “I’ve missed you,” Andrea said.

“I’ve missed you too,” Miranda muttered into Andrea’s neck.

XXXX

“I thought you were making lasagna tonight?” 

“I changed my mind.”

Andrea comes out of the pantry, arms full with two spaghetti sauce jars and a box of spaghetti noodles, to give Miranda a doubtful, yet amused look. Miranda lifts her shoulder up in a half shrug at Andrea’s question, not wanting to admit that she gave into Liam’s whims because she couldn’t say ‘no’ to him. Andrea puts the things in her hands down on the counter then walks over to Miranda and wraps her arms around Miranda’s waist.

“So, my toddler had nothing to do with you changing your mind?”

Miranda silently cursed her pale complexion and her rebel cheeks for turning pink without her permission.  Andrea reaches up and cups her cheek to bring Miranda’s eyes towards hers. With their eyes coming into contact, Miranda can see in Andrea’s big brown eyes that her jig is up. Damn lethal eyes

“I-”

Andrea covers Miranda’s lips with her fingers to prevent her from saying anything. “It’s okay, I know how persuasive Liam can be. Not to mention how adorable it is that he has you wrapped around his little finger.”

The blush on Miranda’s cheek grew more crimson at being called out. Andrea smiles and brushes Miranda’s cheeks softly, her eyes filled with love and affection for the woman in front of her. Miranda gives Andrea the same look of affection and love. 

“I’m glad you and Liam are back in my life.”

“Hm…”

Andrea leans down and captures Miranda’s soft lips with her own. She starts with softly grazing Miranda’s lips with light kisses before lingering a little longer. As Andrea begins to deepen the kiss, the sound of footsteps caught her attention causing her to soften their kiss and eventually pull away. Smiling at Miranda, Andrea wipes away the smeared lipstick. “Later.”

“Manda?”

Miranda tears her eyes from Andrea to look down towards where Liam is standing with her daughters.

“Yes, my little prince?”

“I help wif inner?”

“Us too?”

“Peas?” “Please?”

Miranda looks behind the toddler to her daughters to find the two of them giving her their best puppy eyes. How is this even fair for a parent? Groaning internally, she turns her head back over to look at Andrea with a raised eyebrow. Andrea chuckles and shrugs her shoulders causing Miranda to let out a loud, exaggerated sigh. 

“Well, by all means, let’s all cook dinner together.”

“Good thing I’m not starving yet,” Andrea muttered quietly. 

Miranda hearing the quiet mutter smirks at Andrea and pats her cheek softly.

“Patience, my dear.”

*Nearly two and a half hours later* 

(Miranda and Andrea have opted to not discuss the disaster that came to their spaghetti sauce and the death of the pasta noodles)

After dinner was finally consumed, Miranda and Andrea talked the kids into staying in their seats instead of helping them with desserts. As Andrea sets down the small slices of chocolate cake in front of everyone, Miranda places the milk in front of the kids and the two hot coffees in front of Andrea and herself. The two of them take their seats, with Miranda at the head, Andrea to her left, Liam to her right, and the twins next to Andrea. After Liam takes a bite of his cake, he leans over his seat towards Miranda.

“Manda?”

“Yes, my little prince?”

“Manda’s coffee hot?”

“Yes, darling. It’s very hot, don’t touch it.”

“I’s balow on it for Manda?”

Before Miranda could tell Liam that she enjoys her coffee hot and didn’t need help cooling it, Liam leans over and starts to blow. To Miranda’s horror, as Liam attempts to blow, pieces of chocolate cake spews out of his little mouth and straight into her coffee. Contained giggles erupts from Cassidy and Caroline, while Andrea does her best to hold in her laughter at Miranda’s horrified look. 

“Wats funny?” 

Seeing her toddlers look of confusion and Miranda mournfully looking at her now ruined cup of coffee, Andrea busted out laughing causing Cassidy and Caroline to also let out loud belly laughs of their own. Miranda pretending to not be happy with them laughing at her expense, purses her lips and glares at them. 

“Do get a hold of yourselves, ladies. You’re all sounding like hyenas.”