Serena only comes in that afternoon because Miranda is supposed to be at a shoot in Battery Park until six. Andy rarely drops by the Runway offices unless she’s having lunch with Miranda, but Nigel had sent a text summoning Andy to try on her dress for the gala, weeks in advance of the actual night. Emily has come downstairs from ruling the art department with a rod of iron to join them, naturally, because when it comes to showing off their baby son, it’s hard to say whether Emily or Serena is the biggest show-off.
Even Nigel can’t help but be charmed by the squirming bundle of handsome, clad in a Gucci babygro. Andy isn’t allowed to even get near the sticky, grasping little fingers until she’s back out of the gown and in her own clothes, but it’s worth the quick change just to bounce him in her arms and get a hit of that new baby scent.
Which, naturally, is when Miranda walks in on them all. It’s years of habit that makes them all scramble like they’ve been caught in the act, but Andy is still relieved when Serena snatches Aleixo back and pops him into his Baby Bjorn, ready to flee.
“Emily,” Miranda says in her usual drawl. “Did you bring your child to work today?”
“No, no, Miranda.” Emily steps closer to Serena, taking her hand. “Serena had an appointment just a few blocks from here, so she brought the baby to uh, well…”
“Oh come on, Miranda.” Nigel is still bold, her Editor-at-Large now, almost boss in his own right. “You can Caroline and Cassidy in here all the time the first two years. Isn’t it time we lifted that unofficial ban on bringing the babies in? Every other office does it.”
Miranda raises an eyebrow, and Andy feels a little queasy that she’s the only one Miranda hasn’t made eye contact with.
“Well?” Miranda demands a moment later, extending her arms in the middle of the Closet like they’re late with her gloves. “Do I get to hold the little darling or not? That is the point, yes?”
Emily almost topples Serena in her haste to retrieve Aleixo from the carrier. She’s muttering frantically as she hands him over to Miranda, and Emily has zero shame about letting her son know exactly whose arms he’s being placed in.
“Nigel?” Miranda’s features soften as she looks down at the baby. “Didn’t Ralph send over…?”
“I was just thinking that.” Nigel disappears into the rows, returning with a ridiculous wicker gift basket full of baby clothes and accessories.
“Emily, you’ll take that home later. Serena has quite enough to carry.”
“Miranda,” Serena interrupts. “We already received the beautiful changing table, this is too much.”
“Nonsense,” Miranda says, handing the boy back. “Nigel, when you’re done here we have a photographer to fire and some complaining to the Mayor’s office?”
She frames it like a question these days, Nigel has earned that much. Andy moves to follow Miranda out into the hallway, but the rapid clicking of heels suggests she’s not supposed to catch up.
Andy is the latest one home, having returned to the Mirror’s offices and gotten caught up in new developments on her bribery story. She finds Miranda in the study as expected, Book on her lap and a glass of Scotch in hand. Nothing out of the ordinary.
“Dinner’s in the oven,” Miranda says, as though she were the one to prepare it.
“I don’t want a baby,” Andy blurts out. It’s the only response to the tense lines of Miranda’s body, to the worry that hangs in the air between them like fog. “I know that today maybe I looked enthusiastic but believe me, I only like it when I can hand them back.”
Miranda is going to ignore it, at first. Then she looks up, whipping her reading glasses off in one smooth move. “You say that now… to mollify me.”
There’s a thundering of teenage footsteps on the stairs of the townhouse, but the twins are going up, not coming down to them.
“Those two are all the kid I can handle right now. People think I must be into the whole baby thing because I’m nice or whatever. Nobody ever actually asks, you know? Including you.”
“And you don’t want children? People change, Andrea…”
“Don’t do that.” Andy crosses the room to insinuate herself into the large armchair alongside Miranda, pulling her close. “Don’t tell me I don’t know my own mind just because biology is involved. I don’t want a baby. I never have, honestly. It just doesn’t appeal to me. Not the way writing does, or having freedom to take on any story. Not to mention the freedom to be with anyone I want, especially when she’s already done with the having of the kids.”
Miranda strokes her thumb across Andy’s cheekbone. “I’d hate to think you were giving up on it just for me. The girls… it hasn’t been easy, but they’re the great triumph of my life. Maybe even more than Runway, though if you repeat that to anyone…”
“I wouldn’t dare,” Andy says. “You’re what I want, Miranda. I love our life, our home. I love Caroline and Cassidy, but I also love when they go to their dad’s and I get you all to myself for a weekend. No amount of smiling at cute babies is going to change that.”
“Buf if it ever did…”
“Then we’d deal with it,” Andy assures her. “But this is what matters to me, right now. Not some hypothetical that I don’t even want.”
Miranda kisses her, just the faintest hint of desperation behind it. Andy presses against her, kissing back with all the reassurance that lips and tongue can offer, her hands flat and soothing against Miranda’s cheeks.
“Okay,” is all Miranda has to say when the kiss ends.
“Okay,” Andy repeats, because she really is. “Think you can be done with the Book by the time I’ve had dinner?”
Miranda nods, more of a commitment than she would generally give. Andy kisses her again, just for that.
“Good, then I’ll see you upstairs.”