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Louise's Heart

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"Mamma!" The little girl shouted as she bounced in her crib, holding on to the edge.

Andrea smiled as she lay in her bed, listening to her daughter shouting for her as it was a sound that she was yet to grow tired of.

Her daughter was a little delayed compared to many neuro-typical children as she had been diagnosed as having Down Syndrome during pregnancy.

Andrea sat up and smiled as the shouts got louder and the child put her arms up into the air wanting to be picked up, "Ups! Ups! Me Ups!"

When Andrea had been pregnant, they had offered her a termination but she had refused. Every. Single. Time.

Nate did not feel the same way, however, as he was very insistent that she not go through with the pregnancy.

When she reached seven months gestation, Nate attempted to convince her again to have a termination and even booked an appointment.

That was when Andrea left. She moved in with her best friend; Doug.

He was there for her throughout the break-up, the pregnancy, and the birth. Then he carried on being there for her, insisting that her and her new born stay there with him. His job paid well and he was able to work from home too so he often offered to look after the child so that Andrea could work.

"Good Morning, LouLou." Andrea said cheerfully as she sat up in her bed and grinned at her baby girl.

"Mamammamamamama!" Came the excited and energetic response from the little one.

Andrea got out of bed and got Louise out of her cot to carry her back to the bed.

Louise leaned into her mother, hugging her as she chanted 'Mamama' a little quieter than she had been before.

The dark-haired woman held her daughter close to her as she walked, "I love you, my little Princess." She said softly as she lovingly kissed the top of Louise's head.

Louise was eighteen months old and had only recently started to talk.

Every milestone that the little girl hit was a celebration in the apartment.

Her first smile came at three months old.

Louise started to hold her own head up at four months old.

She sat on her own for the first time at six months old.

She took her first assisted steps when she was one-year-old.

Andrea and Doug documented everything with photos and videos, celebrating each milestone that she reached with meals out, take-aways, ice-cream, trips out, and mini parties. Each milestone was a different celebration.

Andrea sat down on the bed with Louise in her arms and leaned back against the headboard.

She still fed the little one naturally but also gave her expressed milk in a bottle although she was now on solid foods too.

The woman sat with her daughter feeding from her for a while, smiling down at the little miracle in her arms and stroking her cheek gently with her finger.

They soon got dressed for the day and went out for a walk, it was her day off and she planned to spend it with her daughter. Louise had an appointment with her heart specialist that day too which was the reason why she booked the day off.

Andrea took Louise to the park, putting her in a baby swing after wiping the swing down with an antibacterial wipe as she didn't like to take any risks when it came to her daughter. Especially with her heart condition.

Louise loved the swing, the motion always made her giggle and smile happily.

Andrea took some photos and sent them to Doug who had stayed home to do the conference calls that he had scheduled.

The text she got back said 'Glad you're having fun, she's so cute! My boss has already asked after Lou twice! I think we've spent more time talking about her than the latest financial merger LOL.'

She smiled at that response, "You are so popular baby girl." She told Louise who reacted to the woman's voice with a grin.

They spent a while in the park before Andrea got a phone call, "Where are you?"

"I'm in Central Park." Andrea replied.

"I need you here. That's all." Miranda stated before ending the call.

Andrea sighed, "Come on, LouLou, I have to go and see what's going on at Runway then we will go to your heart doctor later this afternoon, okay?"

Louise babbled away in response and giggled until she was lifted out of the baby swing. She pouted and her lip trembled, "I know baby, but Mommy has to go and see Miranda."

When they got to Runway, Andrea had Louise in her pram who was waving at everyone that they passed from the park all the way to Elias Clarke and inside the building too.

"Oh, thank goodness you're here." Emily said as soon as she saw Andrea, "It has been manic all morning, the idiots in the art department lost the book, a designer that was supposed to have an interview threw a tantrum and refused to answer any of the questions she was asked, a model destroyed not one but two dresses because apparently she went up a dress size and didn't bother to tell anyone... then..." Emily froze for a moment, "Why did you bring Louise?"

"It's my day off, remember? I booked it off weeks ago to take Louise to her cardiologist so we went to the park this morning." Andrea explained.

"Oh, bollocks! That was today?" Emily asked.

Andrea nodded, "Not yet, it is this afternoon at half four."

Emily sighed in relief, "She's so adorable." She said as she moved closer to the stroller and started to unbuckle her, "I am getting my cuddles."

Andrea smiled and nodded, "I'll leave her with you and go and see what it was Miranda wanted."

Emily nodded as she returned her attention to Louise, the little one was happily grinning and playing with Emily's long and fascinatingly bright hair. The child had been entertained by the bright red hair ever since she met the woman months previously.

"Oh, you're here." Miranda said, looking up from her computer, "What on Earth were you doing in Central Park?"

"I took Louise out for the morning before I have to take her to her cardiologist." Andrea explained patiently before adding, "I did book the day off weeks ago when the appointment came through for her."

"Ah, yes, I remember." Miranda took a deep breath, "It has been a trying morning."

"What did you need me for Miranda?" Andrea questioned.

"It doesn't matter now, Louise's appointment is much more important, please say I didn't make you miss it?" Miranda asked in reply, clearly a little worried about it.

"No, it got moved until this afternoon so her appointment is now half four." Andrea answered with a reassuring smile.

Miranda's attention turned to the door when she heard an excited squeal, "She's with you?"

"Well, people usually frown on it when you leave your child in Central Park unattended." Andrea joked with a smile.

Emily was leaning over and holding on to the girl's hands to help her walk around the office. Clearly it was entertaining the child as she was happily squealing and bouncing her little legs every now and then.

Miranda stood up from behind her desk, leaving her laptop and work abandoned on the glass top and moved forward a little, "Hello, Louise." She said as she knelt down a little, not caring about possibly ruining her designer skirt.

Louise got excited, a new person, she had never been taken to the Runway offices before and she had only met Nigel, Serena, Jocelyn, and Emily outside of work. Although she had met the twins a couple of times at the park when their nanny had happened to take them at the same time as well as once when she had to go with her mother to the townhouse one evening when Doug had a date.

The Editor-in-Chief smiled properly for the first time that day, "Hello."

Louise let go of one of Emily's hands to wave.

Miranda smiled brightly and put her arms out to the little girl.

Louise took a step forward and let go of Emily's other hand.

Emily looked a little panicked and looked over to Andrea to see what to do.

"She'll be okay, Em." Andrea reassured the woman.

Louise stood there, very still, not moving at all, her arms were out to the side as if she was surfing a wave.

Miranda moved her hands to try and beckon the girl forward, "Come on, you can do it."

"Well done, baby girl, look at you standing." Andrea said with a smile as she picked up her camera, recording the little one standing in Miranda's office.

One step.

That's all she took then she fell on her diaper cushioned bottom.

But she wasn't finished.

The little one started to get back up.

Miranda raised her hand to stop Emily who was about to pick up the fallen child.

Louise grinned when she was standing back up again.

"Good girl, now try again, I know you can." Miranda reassured the child with a smile.

Emily rarely ever got a chance to see Miranda interact with the twins so she had never seen this softer side of her boss, which was a little strange for her but she did wonder what it would be like to have Louise in the office more often because apparently she had a very calming effect on the place.

Louise giggled and babbled a little before she took a few unstable steps towards the white-haired woman and almost threw herself into Miranda's arms quite happily.

Miranda smiled happily as she held the girl close to her, "Clever girl!"

Andrea could not believe her eyes as she stopped the recording on her phone.