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Burn Out

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Andy stood diligently in the kitchen observing her battleground. The girls would be home in an hour, Miranda not much longer after that. She had very limited time to execute her plan, but if it took too long she could make Miranda wait in the dining room and enlist the girls to help.

   

    The recipe had seemed easy enough, it was only a pot roast. She’d seen her mother make it a million times. You put the roast in the pot, and then you put the pot in the oven. How hard could it be?

 

    As future Andy would discover, it is actually quite difficult. Present Andy had yet to figure that part out.

 

    She preheated the oven a lot hotter than recommended. If it was considered cooked after three hours at 475 surely it could cook for less time if she preheated the oven hotter? She bumped the dial up to 550 F, which as far as she could tell was as high as the dial went. Unfortunately that didn’t phase her in the slightest.

 

    Andy placed the roast into the pot, adding beef broth, salt and pepper. She was about to put it in the oven, when she remembered she should probably put the vegetables in the same pot. Leaving the pot on the counter to marinate -or whatever , she moved to chopping vegetables.

   

    She pulled onions, carrots, turnips and celery from the refrigerator. She eyed the squash sitting on the second rack before deciding to leave that for another day.

 

    The cooking gods in the heavens sighed with relief.

 

    Carefully she began to chop the vegetables into smaller, more manageable slices. As she was cutting the last of the carrots her knife got stuck and she sliced her palm.

 

    “Shit balls motherfucker bitch!” Andy shouted, then immediately glanced around to make sure Miranda wasn’t around to scold her.

 

    Unfortunately this was when things began to go awry.

 

    She rushed herself over the kitchen sink and rinsed her hand under the faucet. After deciding that the wound probably wasn’t going to stop bleeding, she reached under the sink for the first aid kit, and wrapped her hand in an obscene amount of gauze and medical tape.

   

    Hoping that would hold, she moved back to her vegetables.

 

    She glanced at the last carrot, only half chopped on her cutting board. Deciding she was done chopping, she took what was left and began munching away.

 

    She took her handfuls of vegetables and dropped them into the pot, just as the timer went off.

 

    Dropping the lid on the pot, she opened the oven and placed the pot on the rack.

 

    She heard the front door slam open and shut.

 

    “Andy, you home!?”

 

    “Hey Cass! In the kitchen.” She shouted back.

 

    Cassidy entered the kitchen and much to Andy’s chagrin, she dropped her muddy cleats on the counter along with her backpack.

 

    “Come on Cass, no cleats on the counter. You know better.”

 

    “Right, sorry Andy.”

 

    Andy gave her a pointed look until the cleats were on the floor.

 

    “Where’s your sister?”

 

    Cassidy shrugged and grabbed an apple from the fruit bowl on the counter.

 

    “I think she has an organic chemistry exam this week, she’s probably studying.”

 

    Andy nodded.

 

    “Well dinner should be ready soon.”

 

    Cassidy nodded.

 

    “Are you cooking? You know we have Cara for that, right?”

 

    Andy laughed.

 

    “Yes, but I wanted to make something special for you guys. It’s almost Christmas, I thought it would be fun to make a fancy dinner. Or at least try.”

 

    “Yeah, mom said you weren’t a very good cook.”

 

    Andy rolled her eyes.

 

    “Didn’t you date a cook? Did he not teach you anything?” Caroline asked from the doorway.

 

    Andy nodded, as she began to pull plates from the cabinets.

 

    “Yup, he didn’t really teach much. He never let me in the kitchen.”

 

    “He sounds like a prick.”

 

    “Cassidy Priestly, we don’t use that kind of language in this house.” Miranda said sternly from the porch.

 

    “Sorry mom.”

 

    Miranda came into the kitchen, wrapped her arm around Andy’s waist and kissed her firmly on the mouth.

 

    “Hello my darling.”

 

    “Ew mom, come on.”

 

    “Yeah mom, not in front of my apple.”

 

    Miranda rolled her eyes.

 

    “You two, go get washed up for dinner. Especially you Cassidy, I can smell your soccer sweat all the way from here.” Andy chuckled.

 

    Miranda raised her eyebrows at Andy, as she observed the room around them.

 

    “I see you’ve made an impressive mess in my kitchen.”

 

    Andy cupped Miranda’s face in her hands and pulled her in for a toe curling kiss. Miranda hummed happily in response.

 

    “I am trying to make you dinner. So go sit at the table, and wait patiently.”

 

    Miranda groaned, and wrapped her arms around Andy.

 

    “Yes I know patience is entirely against your character, but it shouldn’t be much longer now.”

 

    Miranda looked at her coyly.

 

    “What if I want my dessert first?”

 

    Andy blushed.

 

    “The girls are home- go sit.”

 

    Andy gave her a final kiss, before pushing her off into the direction of the dining room.

 

    “I should check on the pot roast.” 

 

    As she opened the oven, all her worst fears were seemingly coming to fruition. Perhaps not her worst fears, but she wasn’t pleased regardless.

 

    “Shit.”

 

    “Mom said you shouldn’t use that word.” Cassidy added unhelpfully.

 

    Andy nodded.

 

    “Your mother is right, I was just-”

 

    “Is there supposed to be that much smoke?”

 

    Caroline appeared next to Cassidy in time to smack her.

 

    “Of course there isn’t Cass, be nice.”

 

    Cassidy held up her hands.

 

    “Hey, I thought it was a valid question.”

 

    Andy pulled the pot from the oven, coughing through the smoke. It made her eyes water. Then all of a sudden her arm felt like it was burning, because it was, in her coughing fit she had brushed her arm up against the inside of the oven .

 

    Pulling her arms back from the oven, she dropped the pot on the floor, which then spilled revealing a blackened roast though only the top half, after further inspection it was obvious that the outside was burnt while the inside was still very much raw. Charred looking vegetables were all over the floor.

 

    Andy was clutched her arm, of course the opposite one from the hand she had recently cut open , running over to the sink, carefully avoiding her attempt at a meal on the floor. She ran her arm under the cold water.

 

    “Andy are you okay?”

 

    Tears filled Andy’s eyes, and she found she could not respond.

 

    “Mom! Mom! Come quick!”

 

    Andy recognized Miranda at her side in seconds.

 

    “Oh dear, Andrea are you all right?”

 

    Andy sniffled and shrugged.

 

    “I ruined dinner.”

 

    Miranda turned Andy’s face to meet hers, and kissed her firmly on the lips.

 

    “That doesn’t matter, although you didn’t need to tell me that, I can see it all over the floor-”

 

    “Miranda!” Andy whined.

 

    “Right, not helping. I meant your arm. Is it alright?”

 

    “Just a burn, not even a bad one.”

 

    Miranda pursed her lips.

 

    “I will be the judge of that.”

 

    As she took Andy’s arm, she noticed the bandage on her hand.

 

    “When did that happen?!”

 

    Andy rolled her eyes.

 

    “It was there when you came in, come on Miranda, keep up!” Andy joked.

 

    “Well clearly I was distracted. How did you hurt your hand?”

 

    Andy sighed.

 

    “Chopping vegetables.”

 

    Miranda clucked her tongue at her, as she surveyed the mess on the floor.

 

    “Andrea, what on earth am I going to do with you?”

 

    Andy forced a great big awkward smile.

 

    “Love and cherish me forever?”

 

    Miranda laughed and rolled her eyes.

 

    “That’s for certain, if you don’t kill yourself in the kitchen first.”

 

    Cassidy and Caroline suddenly reappeared with brooms, and mops to clean the floor.

 

    “I say we ban her from cooking ever again.” Cassidy muttered.

 

    Miranda paused.

 

    “I don’t think that’s such a bad idea.”

 

    “Miranda!?”

 

    “We’ll discuss this later. The sooner we get this cleaned up, the sooner we can order take out.”  

 

    Both girls cheered, Andy only pouted.

 

    Once the kitchen was finally clean, and pizza on the way. Andy climbed into Miranda’s space on the couch with the girls to watch a movie, climbed because she insisted on vaulting over the back of the couch and into Miranda’s lap .

 

    “Must you insist on doing that? You’re worse than the children.”

 

    Andy frowned, but cuddled into Miranda’s arms nonetheless.

 

    “I’m sorry I ruined dinner. I wanted to do something special for you and I ruined it.”

 

    Miranda chuckled, nuzzling Andy’s cheek.

 

    “That is quite alright love, I will admit that life is never a dull moment with you.”

 

    Andy’s frown deepened.

 

    “That’s not always a good thing.”

 

    “On the contrary, I find it quite the adventure.”

 

    Miranda hummed, and gently kissed Andy’s throat.

 

    “C’mon Mom really?! Gross!”

 

    “Yeah Mom, not in front of my pizza!”