Banner By: Andrea
Title: A Family to Call Her Own
Word Count: 3395
Universe: This is a one-shot based in the 'People Make Mistakes Universe' Universe
Prompt: “Mistletoe” from Sweet_Jesus
The sounds of Eartha Kitt’s ‘Santa Baby’ wafted through the surround sound speakers of the penthouse as Mia and Nathan stood in front of the tree pulling small streams of tinsel out and tossing them onto the evergreens thick branches. Mia was reaching up to one of the higher branches when a piece of tinsel fluttered over her head.
She scrunched her nose and glanced down at a chuckling Nathan. He grinned up at her and pointed, “I think you got something in your hair…” She glared lightly at him before a grin broke out on her face and she shifted towards him.
He let out a startled shout as Mia started chasing him around the tree, empty decoration boxes being kicked around as they playfully chased each other in the soft glow from the fireplace. Chloe could hear their laughter from the kitchen and a warm smile lit up her face.
She placed the pan of freshly baked gingerbread cookies on the cooling rack and slid the other batch in before closing the oven gently. This would be Nathan’s first Christmas with them and their first Christmas Eve together as a family.
Oliver had gone all out and thinking back on the past few days and the abundance of Christmas activities they’d participated in had her grinning brightly. On Monday he’d left work early and insisted on them going to Metropolis’s annual Christmas Tree lighting. It hadn’t taken long to convince Mia and Nathan.
They spent a half hour watching the small ceremony and then Nathan had asked if they could go ice skating in the outdoor ring that had been set up for the holidays. So for the next hour Chloe and Oliver attempted to keep up with Mia and Nathan on the ice.
It hadn’t gone well, but if anything it had been highly amusing. She’d finally found something Oliver wasn’t good at, so they gave up, got hot chocolate and spent the rest of their time watching the kids goof around on the ice.
The next morning pictures of the four of them both on and off the ice had made the papers. She remembered Oliver’s solemn look when he showed her and the surprise that graced his features when she’d said they should find out who took the picture and get a copy to frame.
The look he’d given her before capturing her lips and whispering a soft ‘I love you’ in her ear was one that could only be described as elation…happiness at its best. Oliver had come home later that day, with a plastic bag. When he’d kissed the side of her head and handed it to her she’d glanced inside and there were several color copies of the photos from the papers as well as a green leather bound book.
She had arched an eyebrow at him as he called out to Mia and Nathan before turning back to face her, his expression soft saying ‘maybe we could start a family album’ and the hopeful look on his face had made her lean up and kiss him before patting his chest and telling him she thought that was a great idea.
That night they’d gone out to dinner and then took the Christmas Light Tour around the city. They sat in a horse drawn carriage, Nathan and Mia in the front row with a blanket covering them and her and Oliver in the back. Chloe had been almost as excited as the kids with the lights. It was something she’d used to do with her Father when she was younger, but hadn’t had the time to do it in years.
A small bang from inside the living room startled Chloe from her thoughts as she moved to the edge of the counter and tilted her head so she could see across the hall. “Mia…Nate, you guys okay?” There was a pause and she tensed before she heard them burst into a fit of giggles.
She let out a light breath and shook her head as she walked around the counter and stopped in the archway of the living room eyebrow raised at she glanced at the floor their bodies tangled with boxes and tinsel. She smirked, “Having fun?”
Mia grinned, “Sure are…I smell cookies…are they ready?” Chloe nodded as Mia and Nathan pushed themselves off the floor. “One batch is. The other batch should be done in about seven minutes. Why don’t you to clean up in here and then meet me in the kitchen and well start decorating the first batch?”
Nathan nodded enthusiastically as he ran towards the kitchen and yelled over his shoulder, “I’ll go get a garbage bag!” Chloe chuckled lightly as she watched Mia dust off her clothes before moving towards the fireplace and straightening the stockings there.
“So, is Bart coming to Christmas dinner at the Kent’s with us tomorrow?” Mia glanced at Chloe and blushed lightly before giving the blonde in front of her a hopeful look. “Is that okay?” She nodded. “Of course. Nathan will be happy too…he loves Bart.”
Mia nodded and grinned, “I know…he’s really great…” Her voice trailed off and Chloe pushed away from the side of the wall she’d been leaning on and moved towards Mia running a hand lightly through her hair gaining the teenagers attention.
“Bart’s a good guy…I’m glad he makes you happy and you know even though Oliver gets testy with the dating thing it isn’t because he doesn’t like Bart…it’s because he cares about you so much and he just doesn’t think anyone is good enough for his Speedy.”
Mia smiled and spoke hesitantly. “Yeah?” Chloe nodded completely certainty in her voice. “Absolutely.” Nathan took that moment to make his way back into the living room waving the garbage bag around. “Got it.” Mia turned her attention to him and pointed towards the mess. “Let’s get started then so we can go eat…I mean decorate some cookies.”
She gave Chloe a look and the older woman just shook her head and let out an ‘Mmhm’ before making her way back into the kitchen. Mia watched her go with a grin on her face before turning back to Nathan. She got on her knees and moved toward him helping him collect the empty decoration boxes and crush them before tossing them into the garbage bag.
Mia glanced up at the tree and warmth filled her. This was the first time she could remember ever having a tree of her own to decorate and she owed that to Oliver. The whole week had been amazing, but her favorite day by far had been Wednesday.
Oliver had come home from work early again and insisted they all go to pick Nathan up from school. Mia had thought it was odd, but he’d been in a good mood all week and she didn’t want to be the one to ruin it. So she said as long as they could stop at Dunkin Donuts on the way, she was in.
Twenty-five minutes later they were packed into Oliver’s truck, drinks and donuts in hand. She and Chloe had gotten white hot chocolate with tons of coconut, while Oliver had ordered regular hot chocolate with cinnamon for him and Nathan.
Nathan had been surprised to see them all bundled up in the car and once he got in, buckled up, and took the hot chocolate that was offered to him with excitement as he asked what was going on. It didn’t matter how many Christmas’s past, Mia would never forget the grin that lit up Oliver’s face as he turned in his seat to face them.
‘Well I thought we’d go Christmas Tree shopping…gotta have somewhere for Santa to put the gifts…’ His voice had trailed off and the car had been suddenly lit with excited cries from not only Nathan, but her too. She remembered the affectionate look Chloe had sent Oliver’s way as he brought her hand to his lips and kissed it.
It hadn’t taken them long to get there and they spent forty-five minutes going through Christmas trees and Mia had almost thought they’d never find a good one. That was until she’d seen the tree at the back of the lot. It was huge and full, but it was slightly crooked and on one side the branches weren’t as full as the other.
She had grinned, pointed and yelled out to the other’s saying she’d found the perfect tree. Nathan had taken her hand and they had run over to exam it while Oliver talked with the owner. She remembered him saying that the tree was defective…a reject and she’d promptly turned around and set him straight.
Saying that it was perfect in its own way. Oliver had nodded before turning to the owner with a grin on his face as he told the man politely that the tree obviously wasn’t a reject because his family wanted it. Lugging it home had been a project, but one that was full of laughter and a few curse words, which Nathan had made sure to collect money for to put in the swear jar once they got into the apartment.
By the time they set everything up it had been too late to decorate, but Oliver had said they’d do it Christmas Eve during the day when Nathan got out of school. The sound of a box being smashed by her pulled Mia from her thoughts. She smiled and arched an eyebrow at him. “What are you doin’ kid?”
He pointed to the bag, “We need another one. This is full.” Mia nodded and pushed herself off the floor. “I’ll go grab one.” Nathan watched her walk into the kitchen before moving in front of the fire and sitting cross legged on the floor. He watched the flames flicker and sucked in a deep breath smelling the mixture of pine and cookies.
This was his first Christmas without his Mother, and though he was sad that she wasn’t here and he missed her more than he let on, he was glad to be spending the holidays with Oliver, Chloe and Mia. After everything that had happened, his Mother being killed…them being kidnapped, Mia being shot…he was just happy to have his new family together and in one piece.
He let out a small sigh, well mostly together. Early Thursday morning while he and Mia had been eating breakfast Oliver had gotten a call from his Star City office. They needed him there immediately. He had seen the disappointment on the older man’s face as he spoke quietly explaining to whoever was on the phone that it was the day before Christmas Eve, telling them it could wait until the holiday was over.
But he hadn’t had any luck convincing them even though he was the boss. So on the way to school that morning he had apologized and promised to do his best to be home for Christmas. Nathan hadn’t meant to get so upset. He hadn’t meant to show the older man his tears, because he could see how bad Oliver felt for having to go.
Oliver had pulled him into a hug and told him there wasn’t anywhere else he wanted to be, but sometimes adults had obligations even if they wish they didn’t. Nathan had nodded told him he understood and got out of the car to go to school.
It had taken both Mia and Chloe picking him up from school and taking him to pick out decorations for the tree for his Christmas spirit to return. They spent the day decorating the tree and today they were just adding some more decorations to the room and tinsel to the tree.
The sound of his name shook him from his thoughts and he glanced away from the fire towards the direction of the kitchen. “Yeah?”
Chloe balanced the phone between her shoulder and her ear. “Oliver’s on the phone, he wants to say hello.” Nathan was off the floor in seconds, running into the kitchen. He bumped into Chloe’s leg as he stopped short. She chuckled, “Easy there champ, hang on Ollie here he is.”
Nathan took the phone and pulled himself onto one of the stools. “Oliver?” He grinned a smile on his face as he pulled his coat tighter around his body. “Hey champ, how’s it going?” Nathan poked at the cookies that were cooling off as he spoke.
“Good…we decorated the tree yesterday! And today we put up the decorations in the living room and the hallway. It looks so cool. And Chloe built a fire and we’re gonna decorate gingerbread cookies.” Oliver could hear the excitement in Nathan’s voice as he handed the fifty to the cab driver mouthing for him to keep the change.
“That’s awesome. Listen, I just wanted to say I’m really sorry I had to take off right before Christmas…and I miss you guys a whole bunch.” Mia and Chloe watched as Nathan glanced down at the table, picking at the side of the cookie sheet. “We miss you too. When are you coming home?” Oliver’s heart clenched at the sound of Nathan’s voice.
“Soon buddy…I’m coming home really soon. I promise.” Nathan nodded even though Oliver couldn’t see it. He cleared his throat as he walked into the building nodding at the doorman with a smile. “Okay…well I have some work to finish up and I don’t want to keep you from all the cookie decorating. Have a great time…do you think you can put Chloe back on the phone?”
“Sure, I love you.” Oliver’s heart warmed at his words, “I love you too.” Nathan passed the phone to Chloe as Mia nodded her head in the direction of the living room. Chloe watched them head back inside to finish cleaning before moving over to shut the oven as she spoke. “Hey you.”
Oliver grinned as he stepped into the elevator and pressed the button for the top floor. “Hey…how are they doing?” Chloe let out a short sigh as she pulled the frosting and sprinkles out from the cabinet. “They’re doing okay, missing you…just like me.”
He watched the floors pass by, “Aww Professor…exactly how much would you say you missed me?” She chuckled, “Enough that if you were here right now you’d have a very special Christmas Eve gift to open tonight.”
He smirked, “You know…it’s funny you should say that…” Chloe glanced up at the buzz of the elevator and frowned. She moved out of the kitchen and walked down the hallway. When the doors slid open her eyes widened and Oliver smirked, his tone teasing as he spoke. “Honey…I’m home.”
She dropped the phone and threw her arms around him right as he moved out of the elevator. He let out a small ‘oomph’ but wrapped his arms around her back. “Hmm if I’m greeted like t his every time I leave…”
“Don’t you dare.” He laughed lightly as she moved back and he cupped her cheek before bringing his lips down on hers. When he pulled back his face softened as he brushed a curl away from her face. “Hey.”
She grinned her smile beaming up at him, “Hi…how’d you get out of the meetings?” He studied her face and shrugged before moving back and taking off his coat and scarf tossing it on the coat rack. “I took care of what I could and then I told them we’d meet up after the holidays and finish up the rest.”
She arched an eyebrow at him. “They didn’t get mad?” Oliver snorted as he pulled her back into his arms. “They were furious, but I told them that I had a family at home waiting for me and there was no way I was spending Christmas Eve or day away from them.”
Chloe let out a content sigh as she cupped his face bringing her lips down on his for a chaste kiss. “You don’t know how happy they are gonna be…we missed you.” He smiled and mated his forehead against her. “I missed you guys too.”
She gripped his hand and pulled him towards the living room, voice bright. “Hey guys I’ve got a surprise for you.” She moved into the archway with Oliver by her side and Nathan’s eyes widened. “OLIVER!” He got up and ran in his direction before throwing his small body at him.
Oliver chuckled catching Nathan in his arms and lifting him up with a thoughtful look on his face. “Hmm have you grown since I left? You feel heavier.” Nathan chuckled hugging him tight before Oliver put him back on the ground and smiled at Mia. “No hello? Not happy to see me?”
She grinned and moved over pulling him into a hug as she spoke low and close to his ear, “I’m really glad you’re back…it wasn’t the same without you.” He rubbed her back lightly and when she pulled away her squeezed her are gently. “Me too.”
Nathan moved towards the tree excitement in his voice, “We were just going to light up the tree! Mia come help.” Oliver stood with Chloe under the archway watching as Mia and Nathan moved about plugging things in before flipping a switch.
It lit up, lights blinking around the tree, the tinsel glittering, as greens, reds, and blues bounced off the walls in the living room. Oliver’s eyes trailed up the tree and his breath caught in his throat as he caught sight of the star at the top of the tree. He gripped Chloe’s hand bringing it to his lips. “Where’d you find that?”
She smiled. “The back of your closet. Is it okay that we used it?” He nodded voice light, “Yeah…it’s beautiful…I haven’t seen it since I was a kid, but I’m glad you used it…we can make is a family tradition of our own.” Chloe rubbed his arm lightly and nodded, voice soft. “We can.”
Mia and Nathan glanced over at Chloe and Oliver and grinned. Nathan cleared his throat and they looked over at him. He pointed up and they frowned before gazing up. Hanging from the archway was a piece of mistletoe.
Oliver glanced at them and smirked before turning back to Chloe. “Speaking of tradition…” She let out a light laugh, “Mmm…well what are you waiting for Romeo?” He brushed a curl behind her ear before cupping her cheek caressing the skin beneath her eyes with his thumb. His voice low, reverent. “I’m just…taking a minute to take it all in…”
She swallowed hard her heart close to bursting at the love in his eyes. He had come a long way since Karen Bingham had died and she was proud of him. He’d been right all along. Taking in Nathan…becoming a family…it had helped in the best way possible.
“I love you.” She tilted her head as much as his hand allowed as she pulled him closer to her by his midsection. “I love you too.” His head dipped down and captured her lips in a soft kiss. He coaxed her mouth into opening beneath his and deepened the kiss as he gripped her tighter. She moaned low into his mouth and when they pulled apart she sucked in a deep breath.
“Wow…” He chuckled as he kissed the side of her head and nodded, amusement in his voice. “I second that wow.” He turned towards Mia and Nathan who were making gagging noises and rolled his eyes. He moved back from Chloe loosening his tie while walking into the room and plopping down on the couch.
“Alright enough time wasting…new Christmas Tradition…we open one gift tonight…so go grab which one you want and come over here.” Chloe watched as Nathan and Mia ran towards the tree before she shifted her gaze to Oliver. His eyes were bright as he watched the excitement on their faces and she couldn’t help the smile that blossomed on her face.
Chloe had spent many years dodging holidays or spending time with friends due to her lack of having a family to spend it with. But she had a feeling that this year would mark a change in all that. She’d no longer have to find somewhere to go. She had a place by Oliver’s side and together with Mia and Nathan she finally had a family to call her own...and it was the best family she could have asked for.