"You thought I didn't know", Miranda said softly as she sat in the town car beside Andrea as they drove through Paris, "I've known what was happening for quite some time", she admitted.
Andrea bit her lip as she resisted the urge to sigh, Why didn't she just tell me that? she thought to herself, instead, she babbles about freesias.
"It just took me a little while to find a suitable alternative for Jacqueline, and that James Holt job was just so absurdly overpaid that, of course, she jumped at it", she said before sighing slightly, "So I just had to tell Irv that Jacqueline was unavailable". "Truth is, there's no one that can do what I do", Miranda said with a small smile.
And nobody else who could steal my heart as successfully as you either, the assistant thought to herself as she listened to her boss.
"Including her", the white-haired woman continued, "Any of the other choices would have found that job impossible and the magazine would have suffered". Miranda paused before she continued, "Especially because of the list", she said before momentarily pausing slightly again, "The list of designers, photographers, editors, writers, models, all of whom were found by me, nurtured by me and have promised me they will follow me whenever and if ever I choose to leave Runway".
Andrea listened as she spoke, I wonder if she knows that I would have left too?
"So he reconsidered", she said as she watched the other woman out of the corner of her eye, "But I was very very impressed by how intently you tried to warn me", she said with a small smile.
"What did you expect Miranda?", Andrea questioned, "Did you expect me to just sit back and watch?".
Miranda raised an eyebrow at what her assistant had said before she continued speaking, "I never thought I would say this, Andrea, but I really, I see a great deal of myself in you. You can see beyond what people want, and what they need and you can choose for yourself".
"I don't think I'm like that. I couldn't do what you did to Nigel, Miranda. I couldn't do something like that", she had come so close in that moment to confessing the truth behind why she could not sit back and watch, the true reason why she could not see that happen to Miranda, but instead, the older woman had spun the conversation in another direction, whether or not that was on purpose Andrea did not know.
Miranda raised an eyebrow at the other woman, "You already did. To Emily", she said simply, as though the decision had been simple for Andrea.
"That's not what I... no, that was different. I didn't have a choice", Andrea argued as she turned slightly to look more at her boss.
"No, no, you chose. You chose to get ahead. You want this life. Those choices are necessary", Miranda said as she looked out of the window at the press going crazy outside near the entrance to where they were due to attend the event.
"You're wrong Miranda", Andrea stated with conviction.
Miranda turned to look directly at her, "Excuse me?", she questioned, daring her to continue.
"I didn't choose to get ahead", she said softly, "You didn't give me a choice in whether or not to come to Paris, you told me I was". Andrea shook her head and sighed heavily, "I was going to quit but then I realised that I couldn't leave you, I love you too much", she admitted, "So, no, I didn't choose to get ahead, I chose you, I chose to be with you". The dark-haired woman shook her head again, "I stayed at Runway because of you, I came to Paris because of you and I tried to warn you about Irv because I couldn't bear the thought of you being hurt and I know that is what it would have done", she explained, "This life isn't the one I want".
"Oh, don't be ridiculous. Andrea. Everybody wants this. Everybody wants to be us", Miranda said as if she did not hear the confession of love.
Andrea shook her head as she watched Miranda get out of the car and she watched as cameras began to flash energetically, Why did I have to fall in love with you? she thought to herself as she sat momentarily in the car. She got out of the car and looked at where Miranda was starting to make her way up the stairs, "Goodbye Miranda", she whispered, more to herself than anyone else, as she walked away from the town car with tears starting to run down her face.
Miranda got to the top of the stairs and turned around with the intention of grabbing hold of Andrea's hand, she knew that it would be photographed but she didn't care, she just needed Andrea to know that she felt the same way, before it was too late. When she turned around, however, Andrea wasn't behind her anymore and the panic began to set in. Her beautiful blue eyes darted around her surroundings in search of the dark-haired woman until they settled on her near the fountain.
Andrea kept walking, forcing herself not to look back in the direction of the woman who had captured her heart.
The moment that the Editor-in-Chief got inside, she pulled her phone from her bag and called Andrea's work cell phone. She held it to her ear and prayed that the other woman would answer.
She looked down at the ringing phone in her hand and read Miranda's name on the screen as it rang, "I'm sorry Miranda", she said quietly to the device, she was worried that with what happened with Nigel in addition to what had just happened in the car, that Miranda would crush her too, although she knew that with her it would be more effective because she was in love with Miranda, unlike Nigel. The electronic device made a splash as it hit the water's surface in the fountain before Andrea walked away.
Miranda sighed, trying not to let her tears fall as her phone call went to answer machine.
Andrea then realised that the phone had sensitive data on it, the phone numbers of designers, photographers, and more importantly, Miranda. She moved back to the fountain and quickly picked up the phone, shaking some of the water off of it. It was already clogged with water as it had already been submerged for too long but she put it into her bag despite that fact.
The older woman tried a few more times to call her assistant before she moved back outside, hoping that she would be able to see Andrea but she was gone. Miranda no longer wanted to attend the event, she hoped that maybe Andrea had gone back to the hotel room so she instructed her driver to take her back.
As they drove along the Parisian streets, Miranda found herself looking to her side, to where Andrea had been previously sat and she sighed heavily, "I should have just told you the truth", she said, glad that the privacy screen was constantly up when they were driving, "I should have told you that… I love you too". She felt a tightness in her chest at the thought of being too late, at the idea of losing Andrea because of her own stupidity.
When she arrived at the hotel, she exited the car before the door had been opened for her and she made her way directly up to the hotel desk. "I need the key to my assistant's hotel room", she demanded.
"I'm sorry but I can't do that without her permission", the young man behind the desk said timidly.
Miranda raised her eyebrow, "You will do it now or I will have you fired", she stated with conviction, "It seems that she has left my agenda in there for today's meeting and I need it immediately", she found herself stating as she glared at the young man.
The man appeared to be quite scared of her and quickly began to tap away at the computer before handing the card to her.
She snatched the card from him instantly and did not say a single word as she marched away and made her way up to the room. The reason she had opted to get the card first was in case Andrea refused to answer the door.
When she got to the hotel room door, she knocked multiple times but she didn't get a single response, "Please Andrea", she found herself saying to the wooden door, not caring if anyone heard her. She sighed heavily before she used the hotel room card to access the room and as she pushed it open, she glanced around.
Miranda closed the door behind her quickly and walked further into the room, she found herself relieved that Andrea had not been ignoring her, but that she simply was not present. She looked around the room, checking everything visually and she found herself rather glad that everything appeared to be in its place, Andrea's luggage was still there which meant that Andrea had not left yet. In her mind, however, she was still concerned that Andrea would leave and get someone from Runway to take her luggage back to New York so she walked over to the bag and opened the section that she remembered Andrea putting her passport. She sighed in relief when she found it, Andrea could not go anywhere without that.
She sat down on the bed, unsure what to do as tears streamed down her face, she hadn't noticed them at first but now they were dripping down her neck so she reached up a hand and brushed some of them away.
The usually carefully poised woman broke down in tears, sobbing as she moved to the bed and curled on top of the covers. The passport was still in her hand, she had decided to hold it hostage until she had the chance to speak to Andrea. Miranda buried her face into the pillow, her body shaking as she cried.
She picked up her phone and tried to call Andrea again, then again, and then again.
Two hours later, Andrea entered her hotel room, her eyes were slightly pink from crying, and she had a take-out cup of coffee in her hand. She closed the door behind her and moved into the room, she frowned at the slightly messy case on the floor as she knew that it was not how she had left it. She moved further into the room with slight caution and then she froze. She was rather shocked by the sight that greeted her.
Miranda was fast asleep on the bed, still dressed in the clothes that she had been in the last time that she saw her, although her shoes were forgotten on the floor and Andrea's college jumper was over the woman's shoulders like a small blanket. The woman was holding on to her cell phone with a passport in her other hand, her cheeks were clearly wet and her eyes were clearly red.
Andrea slowly approached the bed and sat down on the edge of it with a soft sigh, "Oh Miranda", she whispered. She kicked off her shoes and shrugged off her jacket before she climbed onto the bed with her.
The movement of the woman joining her jostled Miranda slightly and woke her. Bright, glistening eyes opened and the moment that she registered who it was, Miranda almost launched herself into Andrea's arms at the speed that she moved to hug her, "Oh Andrea", she said, unknowingly copying what the other woman had recently said, "I'm so sorry", she sobbed.
Andrea wrapped her arms around Miranda tightly, holding her close with tears in her own.
"Don't go", Miranda whispered into her dark hair as she was held securely in the woman's arms, "Please". The woman pulled back slightly from Andrea's hold where the woman had laced her hair through her white hair, but she did not pull back far enough to remove herself from the embrace, "I should have just told you, I should have told you that I love you too Andrea".
"Then why didn't you?", Andrea asked in confusion, "Why couldn't you just tell me, Miranda? Why make me think you didn't even care?", as she asked the questions she cupped Miranda's cheek with one hand and held her close with the other.
"I…", Miranda paused as she looked down, "I was scared". She bit her lip at her own admission, "My marriages were just… out of convenience… not out of love and then all of a sudden the woman I love is telling me that she loves me and I was just… overwhelmed I suppose", she paused, "I thought I had time but then you left and I had to try and stop you so I came here".
Andrea nodded, "I understand", she said softly as she pulled her close, "Why is my passport on the bed?", she asked as she recognised it.
"I thought that if I had it then you wouldn't be able to leave without talking to me", Miranda admitted, "I needed to tell you that I love you and to try and convince you not to leave me".
The younger woman smiled softly, "I love you too Miranda", she said straight away, "I won't leave you, I promise you I won't".
Miranda closed her eyes at the feeling of the woman pressing a kiss to her head, and she felt herself relaxing.
"Anyway, it isn't like you'd be able to get rid of me that easily", Andrea said with a slight smirk, "After all, I did promise to take Caroline and Cassidy to the cinema when I get back to see the new Harry Potter movie".
The older woman smiled at that, "I had forgotten about that", she admitted.
"And I made a promise to them that I would stay in contact with them, even if you fired me", Andrea revealed.
"When did you promise that?", Miranda asked with curiosity.
"About a week after the Harry Potter incident", Andrea said as she held the other woman in her arms, "Apparently they decided that they liked me but they were worried that you would fire me and I'd never visit them again".
"They do like your visits", Miranda revealed as she knew that if she was busy then Andrea went to see the girls and spent time with them. She had come back from a dinner with Donatella to discover that the girls had learned how to make shortbread biscuits before going to bed, then she had come back from a charity dinner to find out that they had made cupcakes, and on multiple occasions where Andrea was told to do the twins' homework, Miranda came back to find that the twins had actually done it themselves with Andrea's help.
Andrea held the other woman closely against her, she really had not though the running away from Miranda thing through as she realised that there was no way she could leave her without breaking promises to the twins but she could leave Runway.
Miranda at the same time, was realising that those times where she came home to find her twins in bed and their nanny cleaning whilst Andrea had already left, those times with cakes, biscuits, homework, and other activities, those times were times that she would now be able to participate in. She found herself looking forward to joining in, even if that meant turning down dinners or parties.
Chapter 2: Flying Home
They had woken up together that morning as they lay in the large bed in Miranda's hotel room, not that they really needed a large bed because they had both migrated to the middle of it and entwined their bodies with each other's during the night. Despite waking with a substantial lack of clothing, they had not made love that night but they had laid together and kissed for a while before succumbing to the pull of sleep.
Andrea groaned at the sound of the alarm clock, "Do we have to get up?", she asked as she covered her moved her head to hide her face in the white hair of her boss.
"Unfortunately", Miranda said softly, "We have a flight to catch, Andrea".
"I know but I just want to lay here with you", Andrea replied with a slight sigh, "Just a little longer?".
As Andrea again tugged her closer to her Miranda smiled softly, "Ten more minutes, my love".
The response from the older woman put an instant smile on Andrea's face as she pressed a loving kiss to Miranda's forehead and whispered gently, "I love you".
Miranda looked up at her and smiled brightly, "I love you too", she whispered in return before kissing Andrea's lips softly.
It didn't take long for the two of them to be engaged in a much more passionate kiss, "Don't...ahh... start....", Miranda arched her back slightly as Andrea rolled to be partially on her, "...something... we can't... mmm... finish".
Andrea sighed heavily and pulled back slightly to rest her head on Miranda's shoulder, "Good point", she admitted, "I guess we should get up and get ready because I'm not sure whether I'll be able to resist you".
The admission made Miranda smile quite happily as she threaded her hand through the dark locks of the woman she was deeply in love with, "You and me both, my love".
The younger woman leaned up slightly as she moved to lay beside her instead before kissing Miranda lightly on the lips.
It did not take either of them long to get ready, although it almost did take them a long time when Miranda became extremely tempted to join Andrea in the shower as she was using the sink whilst the other woman was in the shower and only the frosted glass door was separating the two of them.
They were both seated in the hotel restaurant when the other members of Runway came down for breakfast. The two of them were sat beside each other at one of the tables that had been set aside for Runway that morning. Nobody dared to say a single thing about the fact that Miranda was suddenly eating with her left hand rather than her right hand which was her dominant hand, although there were a few glances between the two women shortly before they joined the table.
Andrea was the one to take hold of Miranda's passport and ticket, keeping her role of the other woman's assistant despite their change in relationship status.
Miranda did, however, direct more smiles in Andrea's direction as well as whispered thank yous, both of which always made Andrea smile and her eyes light up. That was something that Miranda decided that she wanted to make sure happened even more often than it already did. To make the other woman smile was a joy to her and her smiles were simply infectious, luckily in a good way.
Once they had gotten through security and boarded the plane, Miranda was glad that Andrea had already been booked into first class with her under the excuse of needing her assistant with her. It had of course, at the time, been simply because she wanted the woman close to her rather than her being further back in the plane with the other Runway staff members. At the time she had not known that the other woman loved her in return but she did, however, rather like having the woman close whether it was at her desk or going to meetings or going to showings. She always did whatever was possible to be able to take her assistant with her.
Miranda walked ahead down the aisle to her seat and sat down after taking off her coat. She found herself watching as Andrea reached up in order to put their belongings into the overhead lockers but mostly she found herself watching the skin on the woman's abdomen that had been exposed by Andrea reaching up. The young woman, despite the 'six' jokes, had a flat stomach and she had to resist the urge to reach out to put her hand on the bare skin. Miranda also found herself rather disappointed when Andrea had finished putting away the items as it meant that her top returned to its original positioning and covered up the skin that she knew was really soft.
Andrea smirked slightly when she noticed where the older woman's focus was and sat down before whispering to her, "You'll see much more when we get back to New York, I promise".
The Editor-in-Chief rolled her eyes, "You'll be coming back to the townhouse with me then", she said very quietly, "Won't you?".
Her question at the end transformed the demand into an option for the woman and Andrea could not help but smile at that fact, it was a change. A change that she liked, although, she knew that she would go to the townhouse with the woman whether it was a demand or an option. In fact, they both knew this because they both knew that they wanted to spend more time together.
"Of course", Andrea replied with a bright smile.
Miranda could not hold back a smile at the response that she had gotten from the younger woman and she discreetly took hold of her hand and squeezed it gently before she moved in order to secure her belt buckle and Andrea did hers too in preparation for taking off.
The entire flight was spent with the two of them talking to each other and getting to know one another more than they already did, it turned out that Miranda could hear a lot more in her office than what Andrea (or any other assistant) had apparently realised.
They also spent the majority of the time with their hands joined together, then when Andrea fell asleep for almost an hour she ended up with her head leaning on her boss' shoulder. That was the position that Nigel found them in when he went to ask Andrea a question. A question that was not revealed because Miranda sent him away instantly as she would not allow him to wake up her sleeping beauty.
When Nigel had returned to his seat where he was seated in a row with both Serena and Jocelyn, he had a smirk on his face as if he knew the biggest secret of all. Not that he did not spill that information or suspicion to the two women straight away. However, he knew that if Miranda had wanted them not to know then she would not have held Andrea's hand on a plane where anyone could see them and nor would she have allowed the younger woman to sleep peacefully with her head resting on her shoulder in the way that it was, and she definitely would not have the armrest up between them or be sharing their blankets. It had gotten chilly in the cabin and they had one over their legs whilst the other was partially over Miranda's lap and partially tucked up around Andrea. It was also obvious that it had been tucked up into that position by Miranda herself which in itself was a rather loving and caring gesture. He had not been blind to the look either, the look that Miranda had directed towards the sleeping Andrea as he was leaving following her dismissal of him.
The message was clear. 'Andrea is mine'.
Chapter 3: Not Leaving
When they arrived back in New York, Miranda remained with Andrea which was rather unusual as she usually marched directly to the town car that was waiting outside and left her assistant to collect her luggage.
The Editor-in-Chief kept her chin up proudly as she took hold of Andrea's hand with a firm grip, giving her no other choice than to go with her towards the town car.
"I have to collect your luggage, Miranda," Andrea explained as she tried to step away from the other woman.
Miranda raised her eyebrow, "No, you do not. The others will deal with the luggage."
"But..." Andrea began to protest.
"No buts," Miranda interrupted her straight away before tugging the other woman a little closer to her, "I want you to come home with me."
"Okay, I won't stay long though as I really need to get a shower," Andrea explained with a soft smile.
Miranda looked a little confused, "Do I not have a sufficient shower?"
"You... want me to shower at the townhouse?" Andrea questioned.
Miranda raised an eyebrow before answering, "Of course, what part of 'I want you to come home with me' is hard for you to understand?"
"Hang on..." Andrea replied, "How long are we talking for?"
The elder woman simply shrugged, "However long you want to... or just forever."
"I now understand what U-Hauling is," the dark-haired woman commented quietly.
"U-Hauling?" Miranda questioned, apparently her assistant did not say it quietly enough.
Andrea bit her lip, hesitating in answering the question, "It means moving in really quickly."
Miranda nodded, "Well, it isn't that quick considering the fact that I've loved you for months and anyway, neither of us is getting any younger," she replied.
Andrea chuckled at the response, "How about I come back to the townhouse with you today and spend the night but as for moving in, I shall have to think about it, okay?"
"What is there to think about?" Miranda asked her.
"Moving in is a big deal," Andrea said softly, "Also, I would really like to get the girls' opinions before we do that, okay?"
Miranda pursed her lips but after a moment she sighed heavily and nodded, "Fine, that is acceptable, I suppose."
Andrea smiled brightly and glanced down at the woman's lips, she was so tempted to kiss her right then and there in the public area of the airport but she refrained from doing it so that she didn't end up on the front page of a gossip rag.
Miranda, however, did not care what rag she ended up on because the moment that she saw Andrea looking at her lips, she smiled and leaned in. She kissed the other woman gently on the lips and increasingly put more passion and love into the kiss. She didn't take any notice of the few clicks that she could hear around her, knowing that someone had managed to snap a photo of them. When she pulled back from the kiss, she leaned her forehead against Andrea's and smiled as she heard another couple of clicks. She made a mental note to demand Emily to get copies of the photos that had been taken.
"Miranda," Andrea whispered, "There is a photographer behind us."
"Do you not want to be photographed with me?" the Runway Queen asked with an amused smirk on her face.
Andrea rolled her eyes, "Quite the opposite, I was worried that you wouldn't want the press to know or to give them another reason to pester you."
Miranda simply shrugged, "They can publish whatever they want, I don't care," she said gently, "I love you, my Andrea, and I don't care who knows. I would scream it to the world if you wanted me to."
The younger woman chuckled and then grinned, "Now that would be amusing."
"Okay," she said with a smirk before leaning in and whispering in her ear, "I love you."
Andrea rolled her eyes, "I thought you were going to scream it to the world?"
Miranda smiled, "Oh, I did."
"No, you whispered it to me," Andrea replied, "Not the world."
"You are my world," came the response along with a loving smile.
Andrea nearly melted on the spot as she leaned into the other woman even more and pressed a loving kiss to her lips, "You are such a softie."
The glare that came from Miranda at that moment was automatic but unfortunately for her, it was completely and utterly useless against her new girlfriend.
"Come on then, my softie," Andrea said quietly so that only Miranda could hear her, she knew Miranda would not be impressed if the word ended up being printed in the press with her photo.
Miranda rolled her eyes but did not verbally respond as she took the other woman's hand again and made her way towards the town car with her girlfriend.
As they approached the car, Roy opened the door up for them in preparation and gave a brief bow as he was trained to.
The Editor-in-Chief nodded in acknowledgement of him before nudging the other woman to get into the car first.
Andrea accepted that she was not going to get a say in that, but then again she was used to Miranda getting her into the car first so it wasn't exactly a new concept.
Once her girlfriend was safely in the car, Miranda elegantly slid into the car after her.
As soon as the door had closed behind her, Miranda leaned over and kissed her passionately in the back seat of the town car.
Andrea smiled into the kiss as she thought to herself, I could get used to this.