News of Ethan had come as a surprise after their return from Santiago. After that first month of navigating things carefully, when Andy had started with what she had considered flu symptoms, she fought Miranda about going to the doctor. A week later, still fighting off the sickness and feeling like a dump truck had rolled over her and then reversed back, she realised her period was way overdue and gone into panic mode.
Miranda remembered the day with amusement.
She had experienced a particularly gruelling day, where she had dealt with everyone's incompetence with her usual fire and ice, but with thoughts of her Andréa, she put the Dragon to bed. After three days away from the brunette, as Andy had insisted she did not wish to contaminate the townhouse, Miranda was holding onto the promise of a sinful night spent in the arms of her lover. The twins were at a sleepover and she was looking forward to a relaxing dinner and Andy's company in what she had come to class as their bed.
Andy had met her at Runway, her presence, as always, welcome. But the young woman didn't even look her in the eye as she paced the narrow passage between Miranda's desk and the sofa, tugging her fingers and mumbling incoherently under her breath.
"My darling, will you please stop that damned pacing?" Miranda had found that the brunette reacted better to having requests made rather than her usual demands and the please and thank you's came much easier with the woman she loved.
Andy stalled and flopped into the corner of the wide sofa, and looked at the fingers, twisting in her lap.
Miranda scooted closer and laid her hand on top of Andy's to still the tugging. "Now, will you please advise me, what is the matter?
Andy's raised her chin to meet Miranda's searching gaze. "I think I'm pregnant." She whispered. "And I'm pretty certain you aren't the father." Andy untangled their hands and made to stand as Miranda slid on her lap, stopping her from bolting.
"Are you sure?" Miranda watched as Andy nodded. "Was it the cook or the writer?" Miranda asked softly.
Andy looked into the blue eyes she loved more than anything else in the world and frowned. "Christian and I used...well, it is unlikely that..." Andy stumbled over the explanation.
"And will the cook fight for his child?" Miranda asked.
"No, he's moved on. He recently moved in with his new girlfriend and..." Andy was stunned to have Miranda's finger placed gently on her lips.
"I will not lose you, my darling. Not now. But I will not share either." Miranda's tone brooked no argument. "If this means you now want to go back to him, to be a family, I will try to understand...I..." Miranda fought against the tears in her eyes at the thought of Andy leaving her again.
"No, Miranda. I can't leave you, it's just...this wasn't how it was meant to be. We are still navigating our relationship, the press..." Andy swallowed. "The girls. What about them? I was scared that you would leave me."
"The girls love you, Andréa, almost as much as I do," Miranda told her softly. "As for the rest, we will work it out. Our son or daughter will want for nothing. Our child will be loved beyond measure. There is nothing I wouldn't do for you, my darling." The sigh that Andy let out was one that held relief and Miranda swore to herself that the brunette would not have any regrets.
Miranda entered the townhouse like a whirlwind and made her way to the nursery only to find it empty. She had just fifteen minutes to clear the house before her plan could commence. Andy was in court, reporting on a certain Lawyer's fall from grace as Embezellment charges had been levied against him. Stephen was fighting against the charges but it looked likely that he would be facing jail time.
Walking into the kitchen, she smiled to see her son in his highchair as their housekeeper cum nanny, Cara, worked her magic at the stove. The smell of chilli, herbs and garlic permeating the air from the Sicilian tomato sauce that was cooking.
"Hello, my darling boy." Miranda swooped in and pulled the smiling four-month-old into her arms. "Has my Ethan been a good boy for Cara?"
Cara turned from the stove and smiled. "He has been amazing. He's such a happy baby. We spent the morning at the park and he and Patricia had a nap on the rug in the living room. We have just finished lunch, Ethan enjoyed his mashed fruit."
Miranda looked down and gazed into the startling blue eyes of her boy. He made her heart smile. She ran gentle fingers through the short dark curls on his head. "You may leave for the day, Cara. I have the rest of the day off from Runway, and I hope to spend my afternoon with this little man."
Cara was stunned but did what was required. Switching off the stove, she left the saucepan where it was, all that was required was to re-heat the sauce and cook the home-made pasta she had prepared. Turning around to leave she smiled at the sight as Miranda twirled around the kitchen gracefully with the baby in her arms as she whispered sweet nothings into his ears and the baby cooed and gurgled happily in her arms. No-one would believe the sweetness of the woman they called the Devil in Prada.
Once Miranda knew she was alone she opened the back door to find Patrick, Emily, Serena and Nigel already waiting. Gesturing for them to follow she led them to the Den and they got to work, clearing space and setting up an impromptu photo shoot. She hoped to surprise her Andréa for their first anniversary that was coming up in three weeks. They had gathered multiple beautiful items of clothing for Ethan over the last week, as well as some cute little costumes. The twins were due to join them anytime, having been granted permission to leave school early.
Thinking of the twins had them barrelling into the room where they came to a sliding halt at the sight of the room, a white backdrop had been erected and the furniture pushed to the sides of the room to allow for the camera and lighting. Their mom was sat happily in her usual seat with their little brother in her arms. As the little boy saw the twins he babbled excitedly and his little arms extended as he clenched his hands to let everyone know he wanted his sisters.
"Aw, so adorable," Serena whispered. She was hoping Emily would agree to plan for a future with children, and maybe even a wedding.
Cassidy moved quickly and took the baby from her mother, settling him on her hip as Miranda pursed her lips. Ethan was gurgling happily in Cassidy's arms as Caroline stepped towards them. "Hello, Mom." Caroline smiled before swooping to plant a kiss on her mom's cheek and then doing the same to Ethan. "Hello, little chatterbox. It seem's you have been hit with the babbling curse again."
Cassidy grinned. "Well, you haven't been able to cure Ma's babbling yet, Ethie just takes after her. It's cute."
"Give me Ethan, and go get changed out of your school things." Miranda smiled happily at her girls. They had grown up so much over the last year.
"Okay, mom. We'll be no more than fifteen minutes." Cassidy gave Ethan a kiss and handed him back to Miranda gently. Grabbing Caroline's hand they charged from the room, she heard them crashing up the stairs to the next floor and winced at the slamming of the doors above her head.
Patrick stepped in front of her. "We are ready, chère." He smiled at his friend and offered her his hand. "Which outfit are we starting with for this handsome little fellow?"
Miranda took Partick's hand and stood carefully as Ethan chewed his fingers. Miranda eased his fingers from his mouth and saw the threatening tears. "I think he's teething. His cheeks are a little rosy." Miranda sighed as she stepped closer to the choices. Her eyes fell on a little costume that had her grinning as an idea formed. "That one." She gestured to a white jacket, checked pants and a little hat and bit her lip before looking at her assistant. "Emily, will you go to the kitchen. I will need a small mixing bowl, the cookie cutters, a whisk and a wooden spoon."
Nigel caught the words and the devilish light in her eyes and smirked as Emily whirled on her heel and head down into the kitchen to find what Miranda wanted. He stepped in and took his little Godson into his arms and moved over to the changing table. "Your mom is up to mischief little man. I just hope it doesn't come to bite her on the ass." He started changing Ethan into the little costume that Miranda had requested, biting back his laughter as Emily came into the room with the required items, looking flustered.
Patrick stood behind his camera as Miranda knelt and arranged the items as required. Looking over at Nigel she raised her eyebrows at him and he rushed over sitting Ethan upright. Ethan was smiling and clutched the wooden spoon as Miranda arranged the items artfully around him and adjusted the little hat that proclaimed her beautiful son a baby chef. His hand came up and bopped her on the head with the spoon causing Nigel, Patrick and Serena to chuckle as Emily gasped. Miranda smirked and set the end of the spoon in the bowl before scooting backwards out of the photo.
Miranda saw Ethan's soulful little eyes, so like his mother's in all but colour, following her, and her heart melted just a little bit more. She would do anything to ensure this little man and his mother had all their hearts desired.
She could hear Patrick's camera clicking in the background as she pulled out her cell and snapped a photo. She smiled at the baby which caused him to let go of the spoon he'd been clutching and clap his hands together as he beamed at everyone and giggled. Pulling a post-it from her pocket she looked down at her cell and started typing, unaware that Nigel had moved closer and read, over her shoulder, the caption under the photo.
'This is the only chef Andréa needs in her life. That's all!'
The twins charging into the room masked Nigel's gasp of disbelief as she hit send. Looking up over her shoulder she saw the shock in Nigel's eyes before they fluttered closed. She felt the churning in the pit of her stomach and knew, by his reaction, there was the possibility she had made the biggest mistake of her life.
Andy submitted her article on the jury's decision on Stephen's trial with a sigh. They had come back with a guilty verdict and the judge was deliberating sentence he would receive. Checking her emails she found one from Nate. His emails had gotten more and more desperate over the last four months and she had been ignoring them. He wanted contact with her son, something she would not allow. He was the one who had left, she had told him about the pregnancy, travelling to Boston to tell him in person, and he had willingly signed over his paternal rights. He was not Ethan's dad. Ethan belonged to her and Miranda
Her eyes tripped over the words of his email.
Subject: FWD: My baby
You seriously can't mean to continue to raise our child with that woman?
The photo I received today was a reminder of just how much I fucked up.
Please, Andy, I made a mistake signing those papers.
I just want another chance for us to be a family. You, me and our baby boy.
I have rights, and I am not scared to fight for them.
I think Page Six will be interested how you are keeping our son away from me.
Andy was confused. She had no idea how Nate would have seen a photo of her son. Her parent's had cut off all contact after the news hit about her relationship with Miranda, and Lily had continued to keep her distance. Doug and Nigel were now dating and were both Godfathers to her beautiful son, they had both made promises to protect him from harm. Scrolling through the email she saw the initial email and anger flared within her at the realisation that Miranda was the cause of this latest onslaught. Instead of going straight home, Andy hit a bar and downed a glass of wine quickly before realising she needed to stay sober. Closing her eyes she stood and moved out of the bar and headed for the nearest subway.
She entered the townhouse thirty minutes later, closing the door quietly behind her. Stopping at the closet she removed her coat and kicked off her Chanel ankle boots, leaving them where they fell. Stalking in sock-clad feet to the kitchen she saw the bottle of wine breathing and dinner heating and tears sprang to her eyes. Miranda didn't often wait for her like this, they both made the conscious decision to eat with the children where possible.
She heard the click of heels on the marble behind her and spun around to see Miranda glancing at her nervously. "Andréa..."
"I don't want to hear it, Miranda." Andy seethed. "How dare you do that? Now he's seen him, he thinks he has a right to my son."
Miranda winced at Andy's words. It was the first time she hadn't referred to the baby as theirs. "He signed paperwork," Miranda stated.
"Do you think Page Six will give a fuck about that, Miranda? My God, how fucking blind are you." Andy brushed her hand through her hair in frustration. "I need...I've some leave accrued...I'm going to visit Sofia and Jill. Mark will take over the reporting of the trial and..."
"No, do not walk away from this. Do not run from me again. I know I have messed up. I know what I did was petty and...let me make it right, my darling." Miranda stepped into Andy's personal space. "Please, it was not done in malice, Andréa. I wanted him to see that Ethan is ours, that he has no claim. I wanted him to leave you alone." Miranda bit her lip. "I see the sadness in your eyes when his emails arrive. I see the pain and the wistfulness..."
"You think I want him, to be that family you once thought I wanted?" Andy shook her head and sighed. "Mira, why can't you see that this is all the family I want? Yes, his emails sadden me, but not because I believe I am missing out on a family with him. It hurts because I was willing for him to have a relationship with the baby, but he didn't want that." Andy swallowed. "I didn't tell you what he said to me in Boston when I told him I was pregnant." Andy fought back the tears at the memory. "He was so angry and claimed I had been cheating on him all along, he said work at Runway was just an excuse for me to whore my way around Manhatten, and the only reason I wanted him was for parental support because he had a better job." Andy scoffed. "He said there was no way that Ethan was his, and even the possibility of it, of having a child with me, was abhorrent to him. It was his choice, which is why I have actively ignored his emails."
"My darling, Andréa. Why didn't you tell me?" Miranda pulled the brunette into her arms, furious with the fry-cook and with herself and soothed her hands down Andy's back as she cried into her neck.
"'Cause you would have eviscerated him." Andy hiccupped. "No matter how he made me feel in that moment, I still wanted him to succeed."
Miranda stayed silent until Andy calmed. Extracting herself gently she looked into Andy's teary eyes. "If you want to go to Santiago, I will understand, but I cannot promise you that I would not follow very quickly, my darling. I would drink wine with you at San Cristóbal, dance with you at El Cachfaz, have a picnic of street food at the Japenese Garden, reserve us a table at Los Canallas, take you to again to Valparaíso and Viña del Mar. I would at each step relive our time in Chile and show you and our children just how much those moments last year impacted my life. Because they gave me you, they led us to build this family, and I would not give that up readily, Andréa. I would follow you to the ends of the world if it was necessary."
Andy swallowed her tears, that had started flowing at Miranda's impassioned speech and let herself remember a moment of pure love between herself and the woman in her arms.
Miranda had slid into bed next to Andy, and as she turned on her side, her arm draped gracefully over the young woman's protruding stomach. Her hand started running soothing circles over the skin as little fists and feet pummeled from the inside out. Scooting down she trailed her lips over the tight bump and started whispering words to their son, soothing him into stillness. "Sweet dreams my darling, the day is done. The moon is here to say goodnight to the sun. Rest for now with peaceful dreams, of twinkling stars and shining moonbeams. Sweet dreams my darling, sweet dreams my love, sweet dreams my precious gift from above." Placing a final kiss on Andy's stomach Miranda moved back up to her pillow and turning onto her side, leaned forward to catch Andy's lips in a searing kiss, pulling the younger woman as close as she was able with the extraordinarily large bump in the way.
Andy giggled as the older woman huffed as the distance between them. "Only another few weeks," Andy claimed happily. "I'll be glad to have the little one in my arms rather than using my bladder as a football. If it makes things easier I could sleep..."
"No, my darling. You will stay here, in our bed and..."Miranda trailed off as Andy gasped. "...What is it, my darling?"
"Um, I think you should call Roy." Andy threw the light blanket off her and looked down at the bed. "Fuck, my water's have broken."
Miranda moved quickly, shrugging herself into some casual clothes with her cell already to her ear as Andy eased herself into a sitting position. Catching Andy's eyes smiled softly, excitement lighting up her blue eyes before she turned away and spoke into the cell, reeling off orders quickly to Roy before calling Emily and following the same process. Moving towards Andy she threw her cell on the bed and pulled a pair of comfortable shorts and a clean pair of cotton panties from the pile in the drawer beside the bed. Catching the brunette's eyes she held her hand out. "Come, my darling. Let's get you changed." She helped Andy into the fresh clothes and turned to throw her cell, and Andy's, in the bag that was already waiting in preparation for this moment.
As she turned towards Andy she saw the young woman panting through a contraction and stepped quickly towards her. Grasping both hands she whispered the words Andy had spoken to her in Santiago, words that had caused her heart to soar in a way nothing else, other than the birth of her twins, had before. "I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this..."
"Miranda, sweetheart, this is not the time nor place for trying to sweet-talk me into bed." Andy panted, a wide smile erupting on her face. "Your son seems impatient to enter this world."
"My son," Miranda whispered, amazed once again by the gift Andréa was giving her. Getting herself together she picked up Andy's bag and with her free hand, led Andy out of the bedroom, her warm hand resting on Andy's lower back as they slowly moved down the stairs. As they passed the twins rooms the doors flew open and Cassidy and Caroline bounced happily down the stairs in front of them. "Now, Bobbsey's. I need you to behave for Serena and Emily."
"Yes, Mom." They replied in unison.
Andy arched her eyebrow at them and grinned. "That means no pranks, girls. Remember, as Cara is away, it is Emily who will bring you to the hospital to meet your brother. She will be unwilling if you aren't the delightful little angels I know you can be."
"Yes, Ma," Cassidy replied with a heavy sigh.
Her words had Miranda and Andy looking at each other. Andy was overcome at this acceptance. Ruffling Cassidy's hair she muttered. "Love you, squirts."
"We love you, Ma," Caroline stated with a small smile as Cassidy watched Andy's stomach rippling as an imprint of the baby's hand came into view.
Cassidy reached out gently. "Whoa, little one. You'll be with us all real soon. You take care or our Ma, okay. Be good. We have a lot of lessons to impart."
Miranda heard the closing of a car door and the clatter of heels on the townhouse stoop. Stepping forward she opened the front door and gestured for Emily and Serena to enter.
Serena smiled at the sight that greeted her, a flushed Andy had both twins hands in her belly as they spoke softly to it. Emily gaped at the sight of Andy's stomach, she couldn't believe how beautiful the sight was, semi uncovered by a tight t-shirt that couldn't quite reach over the expanse. She saw the footprint outlined beneath the pale skin and smirked at the brunette. "Watch out, Ahn-drey-ah, that baby looks like it will explode from your stomach Alien style." At the twin gasps and Andy's low chuckle Emily's smile widened. "Now go."
"Yes, Emily," Andy muttered through clenched teeth as another contraction hit.
Miranda watched in horror as Andy squeezed her eyes shut and rode out the waves of another contraction. Once Andy straightened she looked at Miranda. "We need to go, now." She stuttered breathlessly. Miranda stalled, panicked. "Miranda!" Andy exclaimed, causing the editor to jump at the sharp tone.
"Of course, my darling. Come." She held out her hand carefully and found it grasped with Andy's clammy hand and she carefully led the brunette out to the car. Handing the brunette into her usual spot she ran around the passenger side and caught Roy's eyes as she slid into the seat. "Presbyterian, and put your foot down."
"Yes, boss." Roy winked at Andy in the rearview causing her to chuckle.
"Darling?" Miranda's voice pulled her from her memories and she started back out of Miranda's arms.
Seeing the flash of hurt in the depths of blue Andy threw herself back towards the older woman and pulled her against her chest. "I'm sorry," Andy whispered. "I was thinking about the night Ethan came. You were brilliant and so supportive and I..."
"Shh, my darling. I understand. I reflect on our good times quite often. Those moments we spend together in Santiago are some of my favourites, the night I found out you were pregnant, our family nights, they swirl through my mind in a kaleidoscope of colours. You bring so much lightness to my world, my darling." Miranda lifted Andy's chin and placed a light kiss on her lips, feeling the kiss returned she sighed. "I am sorry, my darling. As soon as I hit send I realised that I had made a mistake, one that I know could mean I lost you, and that would be unacceptable to me, Andréa."
Andy sighed, she knew her future lay with this mercurial woman, who at fifty, sometimes behaved no better than their twelve-year-old children, especially when she felt threatened by insecurity.
Pulling the older woman against her tightly she swore she would do what she could to make the woman secure in their relationship. The first step would be proposing to the woman in their anniversary, the ring was made, custom designed to exact specifications, and she would ensure the woman had no choice but to agree wholeheartedly to becoming the future Mrs Sachs. Pulling Miranda's hand to her lips she placed a light kiss on her palm as her fingers touched the heart pendant Miranda never took off.
Miranda's soft words pulled her out of her thoughts of the future. "Of everything that I've seen, it's you I want to go on seeing. Of everything I've touched, it's your flesh I want to go on touching. I love your orange laughter, I am moved by the sight of you sleeping. What am I to do, love, loved one? I don't know how others love or how people loved in the past. I live, watching you, loving you. Being in love is my nature."
Andy smiled at Neruda's words. She was always amazed by the soft-spoken words of the Chilean poet and the fact Miranda felt they applied to her. Yes, she would work towards their future. With brave wings, they could both fly.