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Will you Marry me?

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“Momma,” Mandy asked solemnly. “Why, don't you love Randa?” Andy turned to her seven year old daughter very surprised.

“I love Miranda very much.”

Mandy walked over and sat on her momma’s lap. “When most people live together and are a family the grownups get married.”

“Well, we aren't most people.” Andrea responded to her.

“So you love Randa, just not enough to marry her?”

“I love Miranda enough to do anything, it’s just not something we are doing.”

“Oh,” said Mandy in a quite voice. She placed her head on Andrea’s shoulder. “I thought maybe she asked you and you said no. I guess she didn't ask you.”

Mandy snuggled further in to her mother’s arms as a few tears began rolling down her cheek. “Sweetheart, what is it?”

“Doesn’t it make you sad that Randa doesn't love us enough to marry you?”

“Honey Miranda loves us very much.” She kissed the top of the child’s head. “Many people love someone enough and don't get married. It’s just not something everybody wants to do.”

“If you asked her would she say yes?”

“I think so, but I am not going to.”

“Randa wanted to do it with other people, just not us. If she wanted it she would ask you.” Andy felt her heart clench at her child’s words. “She got married before.”

“I know she did honey, and it doesn't bother me. Why are you worried about this?”

Mandy shrugged, “I just wondered.”

“Sweetheart, she told us how much she loved us when we started looking for a house? She said we were moving because she wanted to be with us all the time.”

Mandy got down from her mothers lap. “Ok, I just wondered.”

Andy reached out to catch Mandy’s hand but missed. “Mandy wait, if you are upset we should talk about this more.”

“No, it’s ok. I know she loves me, just not enough to be my mom. If you got married she would be my step-mom. Now she is just your partner.” Mandy continued out of the room. When Andy tried to call her back the young girl looked over her shoulder and said, “I need to go and brush Versace.”

“Honey, I don’t want you doubting that Miranda loves you. Being one of your moms is very important to her.”

“Yea, she loved me enough to get me a horse. I guess that is pretty good.”

***
It was a little known fact that Miranda loved to bake. Work had been crazy that last few weeks. She had barley been home and was happy things were back to normal. She quite contentedly spent the day baking and freezing cookies. When the twins came home on their first break from college she wanted to make sure she had all of their favorite things. Miranda and Andrea seemed to enjoy testing the results.

“Hello, Dear Heart,” Miranda said as Miranda came through the door after school. “How was your day?”

The child shrugged, “Ok, I guess.” Miranda was surprised when nothing more was forthcoming.

“I don’t get a hug?”

“Sure,” Miranda walked over and gave the Miranda a stiff hug. It was nothing like the warm bear hugs that she was used to getting. As she started to pull away Miranda put her arm around the girl’s shoulder and guided her in to the sitting room.

She sat them down on the couch together and asked, “It seems like something is bothering you. Do you want to talk about it?”

“No, I’m fine.”

“Did anything happen at school today that upset you.”

“No, school was fine.”

“Miranda if something’s wrong I want to help you.”

“I know.” The child smiled at Miranda and then asked, “Can I ride my bike down to see Versace and play with Rene.” The owners of the riding school had an eight-year old daughter and the girls had grown close.”

Miranda nodded her consent, “Take your phone and text me when you get there and before you leave to come home. Be back by five.”

***
Andy found Miranda in the kitchen. She was sitting at the counter with a cup of coffee and staring into space. “Honey?”

Miranda looked up, “Hello Darling.” Andy walked over and gave her a kiss. “Well, it is nice someone is happy to see me. Miranda seems to be troubled.”

Shit, Andy thought to herself. I knew she would notice something was wrong. Hoping that it would blow over Andy had decided not to tell Miranda about her conversation with Mandy. She was afraid that not only would it hurt Miranda but cause a strain on their relationship.

“Well, she has been a little moody lately. Maybe she will feel better after she skypes with Caroline.”

Miranda nodded, “She does miss the girls an awful lot.”

Miranda’s phone signaled an incoming text. “Miranda is on her way home. Will you order Pizza, I thought that might cheer her up.”

Andy was relieved that things seemed normal at dinner. Mandy regaled them with tales of her horse and the new barn cats up the road. But sadly the peace was only temporary.

Just as Mandy was leaving the table Miranda said,“Miranda, I am going to meet with Tosman next Saturday. The poor man has been begging to dress me. He has a design that he is sure I would look lovely in.” She winked at the girl, “He was very careful not to say it would look good on me. Would you like to come.”

Mandy replied, “Sure Miranda that sounds cool.” and left the room.

Andy looked up and saw that Miranda had gone pale and was absolutely still. After a moment she spoke. “Andrea, she has never called me anything but Randa, never.”

Andy was desperately thinking of a response and coming up with nothing. Miranda continued “Well, now we know that her problem, what ever it is, is with me.” The two women started clearing the table in silence. It was broken by a call from upstairs.

“Momma, Miranda, come on, Caroline is skyping us.” Andy saw Miranda wince as she again heard her name from the young girl.

***
The three ladies chatted with Caroline for about 20 minutes. On the surface it seemed that all was well but Miranda noticed that Caroline was giving her rather puzzled looks. When the call was over young Miranda jumped right up and got ready for bed. Andrea went to follow but Miranda put her hand out. “I would like to speak to her for a few minutes.” Andrea nodded and sat back down on the couch.

Young Miranda was climbing in to her bed as Miranda stopped in her doorway. “May I come in?” she asked. The girl nodded her consent. Miranda walked over and sat on the edge of the bed. “I noticed that you were calling me Miranda tonight. And I was wondering why the change.”

“I called you the other name when I was little. But you said you would like it better if I called you Miranda, so now that I am big I will.”

“What if I told you I like it when you call me Randa? I like that it’s special just for us.”

“Ok, if that is what you want.” Young Miranda shrugged.

“Miranda, I feel like you are angry at me. Please tell me what is wrong.”

“I am not mad at you.”

Miranda gazed in to the child’s eyes and knew there was more to it. But she had no idea what to do. So she kissed her on the forehead and said,“Good night, Dear Heart.” It didn't escape her notice that the answering good night did not have either name attached to it.

As she was walking down the hall she heard her cell phone give it’s Caroline specific ring. Her daughter didn't bother with a greeting, she just started right in. “Why is MC upset with you?”

“Excuse me,” Miranda said. “What makes you think Miranda is upset with me.”

“Mom, I asked her what was new and she said, quote, your mother is taking me to see Tosman. I hope he does better then last time. Miranda doesn't give too many second turns.” There was silence on the line while Caroline waited for Miranda to respond. When none was forthcoming she said, “Mom, really, what happened?”

“I don’t know Caroline, I truly don't know.”

“Ok, well keep me posted. It was kind of bazar to hear her call you Miranda.”

Miranda nodded her head as if Caroline could see her and hung up without even a goodbye. Her instincts told her that Andrea knew what is wrong and it was time to find out. She went back in to the sitting room. “You know what’s wrong, don't you?”

Andrea looked down at her hands. “I thought it was just a passing thing, it probably is. Don't worry just give her some time.”

“Give her time for what? How can I fix it if I don’t know what’s wrong? Andrea, please don’t keep this from me.”

Andrea looked up and very quietly replied, “She thinks you don't love her enough. She thinks you don't really want to be her mother.”

“Why, why would she think that I don't love her.” Miranda sat down heavily on the couch next to Andy. I know the last couple of weeks have been crazy with the magazine but she seemed to understand. “What did she say, every thing Andrea, exactly what did she say?”

“She asked me if I was sad because you don't love us as much as you have loved people from your past.”

“Us, She doesn't think I love you either! What the hell has gotten in to her that she thinks that?”

“She believes that you love us. She just thinks you love us less then other people in your life. She discovered that you had been married before. She decided that meant you marry people you love enough. And we don't qualify.” She took a deep breath and continued. “One of her friends has a new step-mom. Mandy thinks that if you loved her enough you would want to be her official step-mom.”

Miranda put her face in her hands and took a few deep breaths. “At least it is something easily fixed.”

Andrea looked at her surprised. “Really, how so?”

“Obviously we will get married. Fortunately my past weddings were all fairly intimate affairs so she is not going to end up doing comparisons on that.”

“Miranda, no.”

“What? You want a larger wedding? Fine, fine what ever you want Andrea.”

“Miranda, look at me, there is not going to be a wedding.”

“Well, if we all go to the registrars together, the girls could come home and we could celebrate just us.”

Andrea looked at Miranda and very quietly and decisively said, “No.”

“Andrea our daughter is hurting. She thinks I don't love her. Please we have to fix this.” Andy shook her head no again. Miranda stood up and felt the ice queen who had been gone for two years came back to life. “I see,” Miranda said stiffly. “I guess she got it backwards.”

“Miranda, honey, she didn't get it backwards. She didn't get it at all.” Andrea stood up and took Miranda’s hand. “I love you enough to marry you an hundred times and I know you feel the same. But we are not going to do it, at least not now.” Andrea lifted Miranda’s hand to her mouth and gently kissed it. “I am not going to be coerced by a seven-year old in to getting married and neither are you.”

Miranda spoke slowly. “I don't understand why you won't do this for her, for us, if you love me as much as you say.”

Andrea wrapped her arms around Miranda and sat back down on the couch holding her close. “I am sorry I didn't bring this to you when it started. I thought it would blow over.” She kissed the top of Miranda’s head. “As a result you got blindsided and that wasn't fair.” Miranda began to relax into Andrea’s embrace.

“We are not going to get married because Mandy wants us to. Our relationship is not a pony that you can give her. Our relationship is ours.” Andrea kissed Miranda gently.

“I will remind you Andrea,” Miranda said dryly, “that I didn't give her a pony, I gave her a horse.”

“I know that Sweet Heart.” The two women smiled at each other, Miranda no longer feeling that they were at odds. Andrea continued “So now you need to find another horse, because she isn't getting this pony either.”

***
Andy watched her daughter quivering with excitement as they entered the court house. Caroline and Cassidy had come home for the event. They were all wearing lavender corsages with sparkly purple ribbons. The two Mirandas stood in front of the Judge. Ms. Priestly state to the court your reasons for this adoption.

“Because I want to be her mother, because I love her.”

“Ms Sachs confirm for the court you agree to this second parent adoption and that you realize it gives Ms Priestly full, equal and legal rights in the life of this child without regard to the status of your relationship with Ms Priestly.”

Andy smiled at her two Mirandas, “I understand your honor.”

The Judge looked at the glowing child and said, “Do you have anything to say Mandy?”

“Do I get my new name now?”

The Judge chuckled and looked down at the glowing girl. “You are Miranda Chanel Sachs-Preistly as of right now.” As he said the word now, his gavel hit the block.

The five ladies left the court house grinning. Mandy turned to Andy, “Momma can we go pick out my hamster now?”

Andy nodded to her daughter and looked over at Miranda who was frowning. “Andrea I believe I told you that I don't want hamsters in the house.”

“No, Miranda” Andrea replied grinning. “You said no gerbils.”