After a long day in the car Andy was looking forward to a good cuddle and a long sleep. Her daughter was home safe and sound from camp, which means Miranda could finally relax. Sadly, the look on her lover's face informed her that relaxation was not in the cards.
Miranda pulled back the covers and climbed into the bed. She was sitting up with her back against the headboard. "Andrea," she said in a rather stiff voice, I'm very concerned that you indicated to Miranda that she will have a baby brother."
Andy pulled herself up so they were sitting side by side. "I know that it could be a sister, but we can cross that bridge when we come to it." Andy leaned in and kissed her lover. As she pulled back the smile she expected to see didn't come.
"Andrea, I am concerned that you have unilaterally decided that we will have another child." Andy's mouth dropped open.
"Unilaterally decided! You are kidding right?"
Miranda glared at Andy. "I honestly don't think a baby is something to joke about."
Andy closed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose. "Are you telling me that you and Mandy have spent the last year on a baby campaign and now you have changed your mind? What the hell Miranda?"
"Really Andrea, there is no need to swear. I thought we would talk about it more. I never expected you to just capitulate without warning."
Andy studied her lover quietly and then got out of bed. She locked her eyes with Miranda's and said in a very controlled voice. "No Miranda, I get it now. You never expected me to capitulate at all. One more time when I am the bad guy." Tears started to form in her eyes. "Do you have any idea how hard it is to co-parent with you? Any idea at all?"
Miranda's voice was icy when she replied, "Which begs the question of why you would want to add another one?"
"You totally played me. It's never no with you, it's always, your mom and I will have to talk about it." Angry tears began to roll down Andy's cheeks. "Then when you come back with 'no' the implication is always that I wouldn't agree." She took a deep breath. "Well, guess what, you convinced me. I want another baby."
"Andrea please," Miranda moved to get out of bed but stopped when Andy took a step back. Her voice softened, she was clearly trying to placate her lover. "We have three wonderful girls. I don't understand why this is an issue, why now?"
"The last two weeks have been hell for everyone." Miranda actually had the gaul to smirk at that. "You were absolutely nut buckets with Mandy away." Miranda raised her eyebrows in mild offense. "Emily called me mad everyday. Yet in the middle of her tirades she'd fit in questions about how Mandy was doing. Nigel emailed me to let me know he was there to help if I thought I was going to drown you. I am not sure if he was offering to stop me or assist me, but either way it was sweet." Andy took another breath, she was starting to calm down. "Did you notice Roy did not take a day off the whole time Mandy was at camp? They all knew that you were worried, they all wanted to help."
Miranda slowly got out of bed, "They are our family Darling. If you repeat that I will deny it, but you know it is true." She walked over to Andy and pulled her into her arms. "And they know it too."
"I didn't want a baby Miranda." Andy snuggled in to Miranda's arms in spite of herself. "Every time it came up all I could think of was the first two years of Mandy's life. It was hell, I was so alone and I honestly didn't know if I was going to be able to provide for her from week to week. But the last two weeks have shown me that I have a support and I won't be alone. I don't have to be scared. I want another child."
Miranda sighed and nuzzled her nose in Andy's hair. She closed her eyes and whispered quietly and firmly, "I don't."
Andy pulled out of Miranda's hold and took her hand. They left the bedroom and headed for the study. This discussion was going to need some wine.
The two women sat down on the couch and turned facing each other. Miranda began to speak. "I worked so hard when Cassidy and Caroline were small." Miranda flashed a self depreciating smile, "I had the same problem then as I do now. I hated spending what little time we had together at odds. I hired an excellent nannie who was very good at saying no, therefore I almost never had to." Miranda took Andrea's hand. "I promise I'll will do better. I'll own our decisions and not circumvent them later." She gave Andrea a soft kiss on the lips.
"That's wonderful Miranda," Andrea responded, "but it doesn't change the fact that I want another baby."
Miranda knew she had to tread lightly. You can't just lay down the law on this one. You have to help her see your point of view. "Andrea, look at me. I'm sixty years old, how could I possibly start over with another baby?"
Andrea sighed, "Look at me Miranda, I'm thirty-five, how could I completely give up on another child?"
The women locked gazes. Miranda asked, "If I say I can't handle it, ask you not to do it, will you leave me?"
Andrea bowed her head and closed her eyes, "No, never, but I will be very sad." She looked back at her love. "If I insisted, if said I couldn't live without one, will you leave me?"
Miranda put her hand to her forehead, "No Darling, it would be hard, but I could never leave you. You own my heart, always."
Andrea looked up and smiled a watery smile, "This is really difficult, one of us will be unhappy no matter what."
Miranda pulled her in to a hug. "So it seems."
Andrea kissed Miranda on the cheek. "What should we do?" She asked.
"Talk about it, not argue, talk. Clearly the outcome is not a forgone conclusion." Andrea nodded her agreement. "We need to decide an outcome that is right for us." Miranda took a deep breath " We need to think of the child and the positives and negatives for it's life with us."
Andrea spoke hesitantly. "I need to know, if we did this would you be able to love the baby? Would he or she be mine or ours."
Miranda looked mildly offended at the comment. "The baby would be ours, this is not a question of love. Any child in this family will have my unconditional love." Miranda pulled back a little. "I want you to do something for me." Andrea nodded her willingness. Close your eyes and tell me how you envision your retirement."
Andy closed her eyes. "I don't know if writers actuallyt retire. I thought I'd travel."
Miranda smiled a gentile smile and asked. "How old do you picture yourself on these trips?"
Andy smiled and opened her eyes, "You know, retirement age, sixty-five or seventy."
Miranda put her hand gently on Andrea's face rubbing her thumb over her lips and looked deeply in to her eyes and said in a quiet voice. "Will you home school your 10 year old or only travel on school vacations?"
Andrea laughed, "I would hope they would have all grown up by then."
Miranda didn't move her hand or say a word, she just continued to look steadily in to Andrea's eyes. It only took a moment for the penny to drop.
"Oh," she said. "Oh, I feel sad." Andrea said in a choked voice, "Even though I agree with you? You wont be mad if I am sad for just a little while, right?"
"Of course Darling. I feel sad that I caused this. I didn't mean to 'play you,' but that was the result of my behavior." She stood up and pulled Andrea in to a tight hug. "I promise you it will never happen again."
As Miranda entered the house she was surprised at the quiet and that no one came to greet her. With the two older girls home for Thanksgiving break the house had been a pretty noisy place. She was even more surprised to find her partner on the couch in the study with a tear ravaged face. "Darling, what's wrong? Where are the girls?"
In a voice made husky from crying she replied, "I asked the twins to take Mandy to dinner and the movies."
Miranda sat down beside her on the couch. "What is it Andrea, why the tears?"
With a hitch in her voice Andrea asked, "Do you remember my cousin Tammy?"
"Yes, she called shortly after our coming out to show support."
Andrea nodded. "She and I were the outcasts, me because of Mandy and she because of her lover Linda." Andrea took a deep breath and held back a sob as she continued. "They died in a fire last night. It started in the apartment next to them. The coroner said they died in their sleep. The smoke killed them long before the fire got to them."
Miranda pulled Andrea on to her lap and held her tight. "Oh my darling I am so sorry."
Andrea started sobbing in ernest, "Don't leave me Miranda, promise that you wont leave me."
"Sweetheart I'm not going anywhere. Why would you worry about that now?" Andrea buried her face in Miranda's neck, calming down but not yet speaking. "Please Darling you are scaring me, what is it?" As she rubbed her love's back Miranda looked around the room for some hint of the problem. She took a deep breath when she noticed a play pen set up by her desk. She gave Andrea a gentile kiss, untangled their bodies, and walked over to look inside.
"Hello there Angel," she said softly. The child gave her a toothless grin and held out her arms. "Where did you come from?" Miranda asked as she reached down. Based on the pink bunny pajamas and the child's size Miranda guessed she was picking up an approximately ten-month old girl. Andrea had stopped crying and was watching Miranda with a cautious look on her face.
"Her room was on the other side of the apartment." Andrea hiccuped as she spoke, "They got to her just in time. Her name is Clair."
Clair took a fistful of Miranda's hair and gave her sloppy kisses on her cheek. "Well, she certainly is free of stranger anxiety, that's a good thing."
"She was crying a lot before, when I was holding her."
"Young children can tell when someone is upset, can't you Angel Girl." Miranda gently pulled her hair out of Clair's fist. She grabbed a few toys from the play pen and sat back down on the couch, holding the child. Miranda helped Clair pull herself up so she was standing on her lap. She happily bounced up and down as Miranda spoke. "I am guessing you were named as guardian."
Andrea nodded, "I know we agreed no more, but what can I do. Don't leave, please don't leave." Recognizing her lover was overcome with grief Miranda did not allow herself to be hurt by Andrea's lack of faith.
"Darling please, you obviously weren't paying attention." At that moment Miranda's Runway self was clearly in the room. "I distinctly recall telling you that I would never leave you." Andrea wiped her eyes and nodded. "I also recall saying that I did not want a baby." Andrea nodded again. "Really Andrea, look at her," Clair squealed and continued bouncing, showing off her strong legs. "She's practically a toddler." Andrea shook her head in amazement and smiled at the baby
As the evening progressed Clair started looking for her mothers. Andrea was not able to be calm, so the child hung on to the new silver haired grownup in her life. Miranda, The Empress of Delegation, had an entire nursery delivered and set up with in three hours. She rocked the child to sleep and then went to find her lover.
She found Andrea already in bed. Miranda got changed and climbed in beside her. She sat with her back against the headboard. Andrea put her head in Miranda's lap and smiled when the older woman soothingly ran her fingers through her hair. "I am very concerned that you thought I might leave you. Tell me that you know otherwise."
Andrea nodded, "I'm just so sad, I can't think straight."
"I know Darling."
"And now you are going to have a 10 year old child when you retire, just like you didn't want."
Miranda let out a big huff, "Your math skills are sadly lacking, she will be eleven."
"This isn't a joke," Andrea responded tearfully. "You didn't want this."
Miranda chuckled, "The universe does tend to have its way with humanity." She looked at Andrea sternly, "Do not equate unplanned with unwanted. Parents all over the world are surprised with a baby after they had decided that they were done having them. Most of those children turn out to be a well loved blessing, as Clair will."
"How do you know? How do you know you wont resent her?"
"Andrea, I was forty when I had my girls. If you count Clair I am now the mother of four, only one of which was planed."
The younger woman snuggled against Miranda's stomach. "You mean because you weren't expecting twins?" Miranda cocked an eyebrow and stared down at her love silently. Andrea had a puzzled look on her face before she laughed out loud. "Mandy, she was the one you planned. You planned to have her from the first day on the art room floor." Miranda grinned.
"The twins have been the light of my life from the moment I felt their first kicks. Even though I never expected or wanted to have children I feel grateful and blessed every day that I do." She tugged gently on a lock of Andrea's hair. "It will be fine," she said with a smile. "I'm half in love with her already."
Andrea smiled and said, "I love you so much."
"As I do you, always and forever. Promise me you will never think I would leave you again. Promise you wont let it cross your mind."
Andy sat up and straddled her love. She held her face between her hands and looked in to her eyes. "So we are going to be ok? We're good?"
"Of course darling," as Andrea moved in to kiss her Miranda spoke again. "I do have one condition."
Recognizing a playful lilt in Miranda's voice Andrea smiled, "Oh?"
Miranda pulled Andrea forward and whispered in her ear, "For her fifth birthday, Clair gets a pony."
Andrea laughed again. After the tears of the day she was almost surprised that she still could. "Ok, unless she wants a St. Bernard. But I insist you stand firm when it comes to elephants!"