Chapter 1: Brave
There were a few things in life in which Miranda Priestly had absolute certainty. First was, quite obviously, her impeccable taste (in all things but husbands). Second was her ability to obtain the things she truly desired. This however did not mean that all things occurred in the way in which she wished. In spite of what her assistants might believe, she did not move meetings around willy nilly. Her calendar was a victim of the domino effect. She was consistently scheduled so tightly that a single change moved everything else in turn. Nor was she exclusively in control of shifts. More often than she liked to admit, she didn't even initiate the adjustments. She did a remarkable job of keeping that little piece of information to herself.
So it was the way of the world that she had to exercise patience for the last nearly three years waiting and watching. Letting the talented beautiful girl go had been one of the most selfless acts of her career. How many times had she chosen herself over another individual in a professional sense? The truthful answer was, she hadn't kept track. And she always chose her career. Until Andrea. The unexpectedly gorgeous woman threw Miranda’s world off its axis the moment she walked through the door in that horrid outfit. Miranda had done what she could to minimize the changes in her life. In the first few months of their professional association, she had been vicious. She tested all assistants, of course, but she pushed Andrea tenfold. And just when she almost lost hope, almost believed the young woman would crumble under the pressure, Andrea strode back into her office with confidence rolling off of her. Miranda did little aside from scan her new hair, make-up and clothes. Clearly Nigel had been involved. He transformed the second assistant, almost as though he had Miranda’s specific aesthetic in mind. He had worked by her side for enough years to know it well.
She should have known then that he understood how profoundly special Andrea was to her. At the time she was too wrapped up in intrigue, a failing marriage, and enjoying the newfound competence of her assistants to pay it any mind. It was in the wake of the disaster that was Paris that year, Nigel finally disclosed his knowledge. Both editor and art director were spectacularly drunk and in mourning. Nigel for the job that almost was and Miranda for instability in her personal life. She admitted to him that night what she felt for the young woman and her plan. It wasn't compensation for what she took from him, that would come later. It was a plea for trust and understanding. She gave him the most treasured piece of information she possessed. For Andrea, Nigel had become Miranda’s partner in crime. Though terribly intoxicated with expensive wine, they plotted the soon to be reporter’s future.
And so it had continued over the last few years, even as Nigel moved to be Editor in Chief of Men’s Runway. The two friends conspired to help move Andrea’s career in the right direction where they could. While they could not do the work for the young woman, they found that Andrea knew how to make the best out of any opportunity she was presented with. Miranda had to admit that the beautiful woman had blossomed. Andrea moved quickly through the ranks at the Mirror finally landing a desk on the political staff. Her freelance essays were found in several reputable publications aside from her paper. She had become so well respected that her name had been added to the invite lists of many important events in New York over the last 18 months. With Miranda’s express permission and private glee, Nigel appointed himself Andrea’s personal dresser for such appearances. And dress her he had. At each subsequent event, the woman became more and more enrapturing to Miranda. Though she enjoyed the dresses, the appropriate moment to speak to the reporter had yet to present itself. The last words they had spoken to each other had been in the back of the limo in Paris, though those warm brown eyes tracked her any time they occupied the same room. The pleasant torture of the game plagued the editor’s dreams.
As she had each time she prepared for an event she knew Andrea would attend, Miranda found herself hoping that tonight would be the night it would be time. When Andrea would both be and feel her equal. She knew she would feel the shift in the young woman. There had always been something about Andrea that pulled at everything in Miranda. She just needed the journalist to be able to recognize it for herself. This lovely spring evening was no different. She wrapped herself in a glittering grey gown by Alberta Ferretti. As usual it exposed only her shoulders, but the light material clung to her curves. There was no denying she continued to age, but she could certainly still pull off a piece of couture like no one else on the planet.
Miranda arrived in the midst of the pre-event malay. The flashbulbs were blinding as she strode into the building. She paused a small handful of times to satisfy her obligations, but couldn't resist the urge to enter the building and see what beautiful creation her former art director had wrapped her former second assistant in. Before descending the grand staircase she took a deep breath knowing all eyes would be on her. She heard the room pause as her signature heels clicked on the marble. She raised her chin slightly. With the purse of her lips many in the room averted their eyes. One set in particular still bore into her from the right side of the room. Miranda could feel the intensity in the gaze traveling up the length of her spine. She did not visibly shudder though she would have enjoyed the luxury of doing so. She did however scan the room for the young woman who seemed bolder tonight than previously.
When she found her it was one of the most profoundly breathtaking experiences of her life. Andrea wore a shimmering Armani mermaid gown. The billowing fabric accentuated every delicious curve of her form. It seemed impossible that the woman had gotten prettier since the last event 3 weeks ago. Miranda just barely resisted marching directly over to her and initiating the conversation. It had been such a very long wait and she was losing her patience. Before she could take such an impulsive action, Nigel was at her elbow escorting her to those waiting to speak to her. She nodded slightly in recognition of his action. He knew her too well. She could only hope that Andrea had not forgotten that particular skill and that she would read the pause as an invitation.
The nearly 45 minute wait for that moment to happen seemed interminable to Miranda. She was very much on the edge of throwing in the towel for the evening when she finally spotted the reporter weaving carefully towards her. She smirked at the woman in an effort to suppress the smile attempting to take over her face. No matter how pleased she was, at a public event was hardly the location to be caught grinning at an employee who quit without notice. Miranda made a conscious effort to breathe, which wasn’t easy in the company of such stunning beauty.
“Miranda,” Andrea breathed coming to a stop directly in front of her.
The editor stepped forward offering her customary greeting, but brushed their cheeks against one another instead of kissing the air. When she pulled back, she noted that the young woman was slightly breathless and smiling widely.
“Andrea,” she drawled slowly and quietly in response, tasting each syllable.
“I,” the young reporter started and stopped quickly. She looked on the edge of crying, but quickly composed herself to begin again. “I wanted to personally apologize and thank you. I should not have left so unprofessionally in Paris. It was a moment of extremely poor judgement and you certainly deserved better. Thank you for writing the recommendation letter and for all of the other things I know you have sent my way over the years. I am fortunate beyond my understanding for your generosity. I wanted to tell you before…” She was stumbling again over the words. “Before I no longer had the opportunity.”
“Andrea,” Miranda cautiously interrupted. “Are you in poor health?” The thought of the young reporter being in mortal danger did unpleasant things to her stomach. Andrea blanched at the comment but shook her head no.
“Not exactly. No. I just… I’m leaving New York. I wanted to tell you in person. I don’t think I will have another opportunity. Thank you, Miranda.” Andrea gazed at her for a long moment and then turned to take her leave. A cool and firm grip closed around her forearm.
“No, Andrea. No. Not again,” the editor moved to hiss in her ear. “You will not walk away from me again. We will talk about this, but this is clearly not the location. I am leaving in 5 minutes. My car is already out front. Roy will recognize you. Go wait for me there.”
The young woman seemed to be having some sort of internal debate over her words. Miranda watched it closely trying to decide if she would need to intervene again, or if the reporter would revert temporarily back to old habits. Andrea slowly turned and looked at her with a mix of sadness and something else and whispered, “Yes, Miranda.”
The editor nodded slightly and released her. She watched her back all the way to the door as though her attention might force the woman to do as she asked.
“Well our prodigal child finally returned,” Nigel said. “And yet you do not look pleased.”
“She came to thank me and tell me goodbye,” she answered quietly. He couldn't help the gasp that escaped his lips.
“Something is going on. I will get to the bottom of it. She is waiting in my car. So I am leaving now.”
“I'll dismiss your staff. Go on.”
Miranda nodded at her old friend, grateful not to carry this burden alone. He had made the years easier and it was somewhat of a relief not having to hide her anxiety at the present moment from him. This evening was certainly not going to plan. And Andrea leaving again was not the part of any plan that Miranda ever made.
The editor slowed long enough to retrieve her coat and bag before proceeding out to the car. She strode even more quickly than her normal brisk pace. She could not help worrying that her car would be empty. Perhaps she should not have resisted the temptation to instruct Roy to turn on the child locks on the rear doors.
He stood poised ready to open her door. His normally discreet face danced with amusement. Instead of grating on her nerves, it comforted her. As she stepped into the Mercedes she schooled her features. It would not do for Andrea to know exactly was going through her head at the present moment.
"To the townhouse," she commanded nearly silently. The superstitious part of her did not want to have another serious conversation with the young reporter in a car. No. It would be far better for them to go sit in her study in front of the fireplace. Perhaps the warmth of the setting would help guide their interaction. She noticed that Andrea still seemed perfectly comfortable riding next to her in silence. She stared out the window as though she had never seen New York at night before. The only sign of tension was in her hands clasped over her stomach.
As with all of their arrivals, Miranda exited the car first and proceeded into the building. In the foyer she waited for the younger woman to follow her in. Which thankfully she did without pause. Andrea looked rather nervous as she closed and locked the front door.
"May I take your coat?" Miranda asked gently not wanting to further frighten her former assistant. Obediently Andrea turned and allowed the coat to be removed from her body.
"Thank you," she whispered.
"Let's go upstairs to the study. It's more comfortable and a bit less stiff," Miranda threw over her shoulder with a smirk. As she suspected her slightly glib comment caused the young woman to pause mid-step and for her mouth to drop open.
“Yes, Miranda,” she said with just the beginning of a wide smile pulling at the corners of her mouth.
Once in the study, a flick of a remote had the fire jumping to life. Andrea stood uncertainly in the doorway.
“Please come in, Andrea. You are my guest. You haven’t been my assistant in years, no need to fall back into bad habits,” Miranda said with a wink to reduce any possible venom in her words. “Could I get you something to drink? I have a lovely red wine or any liquor you could want.”
“I… no. Just water, please.”
The editor nodded and carried two glasses of Pellegrino to the couch. The reporter moved slowly towards her, finally sitting tentatively next to her.
“Andrea, what is this about leaving New York? Has something gone wrong at work?”
“No. It's nothing like that. I shouldn't have come here. It was silly to feel like I should tell you goodbye.” As she spoke her eyes filled with tears.
Miranda regarded the young woman before her. She had not anticipated how terribly broken the woman would look sitting in her home. She realized that this was without a doubt a critical moment. She reached out and took a warm hand in her own. The immediate squeeze in response told her that it had been the right move.
“Andrea, I am unaccustomed to explaining myself, but for you I seem to make an exception. It is rare that I invest in the career of someone outside of fashion. And I certainly never do it anonymously. This was always of a more… personal nature for me. I know that after our history that it is a tremendous request, but you can trust me with whatever this is. You don’t have to run away from New York.”
“God,” the young woman breathed out. “It is certainly my luck that this would be the first real conversation I get to have with you in years.” She steeled herself with a deep breath and gazed at the carpet as though it was incredibly interesting. “The abbreviated version is that… I'm pregnant.”
“You are aware that people are pregnant all the time in New York City,” Miranda said dryly. She knew she was lashing out at the thought of anyone else having Andrea… her Andrea, but she could not restrain herself. To her surprise the young woman laughed.
“Yes, I had heard that it was possible. I had forgotten how funny you are. Though I guess most people are too afraid to laugh.”
Miranda quirked an eyebrow in amusement and to communicate that the young woman should keep speaking.
“David and I only went on a few dates. This,” she said generally motioning to her midsection, “was not intentional. Honestly, I didn't even mean to sleep with him.” She shivered at the memory. It was horrifying to be saying such things to Miranda. The silver haired woman never stopped plaguing her dreams. She had done her best over the last several years to forget the love she had for her, but never quite made the flame go out. But her social circle hadn't recovered from her stint at Runway, so she hadn’t yet spoken with anyone but David about her current situation. And keeping it all inside was tearing her apart. She looked up into the blue eyes trying to read a reaction. There was a great deal more fire in the gaze than she had anticipated, but she saw none of the hatred she feared. “I don't love him. And after how he reacted when I told him, I am certain that I don't like him.”
“What did he say?” Miranda asked in her most quiet and deadly tone.
Andrea shuddered. That particular tone would never stop intimidating her in the most pleasant ways. “I guess I shouldn't have told him via text before we met to talk about it. He brought a signed termination of parental rights form and several hundred dollars. He told me to take care of it either way and walked out.”
“You will tell me his last name,” the editor practically growled.
“I wasn't prepared to carry out his more crass suggestion. And as successful as I have been, I am not prepared to do this alone. I have colleagues, but not friends. So the only sensible solution is to tell my parents and go back to Ohio.” Andrea pressed on as though Miranda didn't say anything. She needed to get it all out of her mouth and end this disastrous evening before it could get any worse. The tears she kept firmly at bay throughout the evening were running freely down her face. Never in her life had she felt so helpless. Everything that she had worked so hard for since college seemed to have slipped through her fingers in a single unfortunate drunken night.
“Oh Andrea,” Miranda said and gathered the sobbing woman to her. Andrea melted at the tenderness. “It is all going to be alright, I assure you. You will get through this. You aren't alone.”
The reporter clung to the woman she had turned her back on during a stressful time. No amount of rationale could explain what was happening, but she was determined to enjoy every moment of the comfort offered. As her tears slowed, she expected to be pushed away however gently it might be done. She inhaled the slightly spicy perfume as she focused on her breathing. The editor's proximity brought a sense of calm she hadn’t experienced in years. Nothing dare go wrong when Miranda Priestly was in control. To her surprise slender fingers continued to sift gently through her hair, each stroke beginning with nails scraping gently against her scalp. When she felt Miranda shift to her left, panic swelled in her chest. But that steady hand cupped her head keeping her close. Tissues were pressed into her hand as the older woman loosened but did not release her hold.
“I think,” Miranda began slowly, measuring every word, “that this is a longer and more emotional conversation than I initially thought it would be.” She felt the young woman flinch and start to move away. She once again tightened her hold just enough to communicate that she would not be letting go. “It would be a shame to let such a magnificent dress crease permanently. I should have something that would be more comfortable for you to wear.”
“I can just go,” the reporter said quietly. Slender fingers grasped her chin and moved her head until she was looking into blue eyes.
“Andrea, if I wished you to go, you would not be here. I do not believe we are done yet or that this conversation is closed. But if I have misunderstood your desire to talk with me, I will not keep you here against your will.” Her voice went icy with displeasure at the end of her statement. She had been so very patient and this might be her only chance to keep the young woman within reach. Miranda had never invested in someone for so long without getting what she wanted, nor did she have any intention of doing so now.
“Why does it matter so much to you?”
The older woman’s eyes sparkled with affection and just a touch of mischief as she gently cupped the pretty tear stained face. “Because I care for you, Andrea. Deeply. There are so many things we need to discuss. But do not doubt how much I care.” She fought herself from closing the gap and tasting the lips in front of her, but this wasn't the time. She would not be initiating. Andrea was far too vulnerable. If the young woman wanted more she would have to take it. Warm brown eyes searched her face before relaxing and nuzzling into her palm. “We are agreed then?”
“I don't suppose one should question Miranda Priestly about clothing care,” Andrea answered with the slightest hint of a smile.
“Quite right. After all, I am the ‘Devil in Prada.’”
With that comment a deep heartfelt laugh bubbled out of the young reporter. Miranda stood and offered her hand to help the woman off of the couch. She smiled slightly as the hand immediately took hers. Once Andrea was on her feet she intertwined their fingers. The editor had always suspected that their hands would fit well together, but this was beyond the range of even her imagination. The warmth seemed to be transferring through their joined hands and filling up her chest. Miranda knew that she had no choice tonight but to play her strongest hand. If she did not win over the reporter tonight, she very well might not have the opportunity. She had imagined a slow old fashioned romance filled with dinner dates, trips to the theater and eventually moving towards intimate interactions. But she could see the potential in this alternative, but very necessary path. The idea of keeping the young woman safe and close when she needed it the most was incredibly appealing. Not to mention that the idea of a baby with those large brown eyes simply melted her heart in embarrassing ways. She steeled her will knowing that she would have to expose her own vulnerabilities and explain in ways that were deeply uncomfortable. There was no one aside from her girls and Andrea that she would do such a thing. But when had the young woman not be an exception to her every rule.
She led them into her bedroom, releasing their hands once they were well within the room. She walked to her closest in search of suitable loungewear for them both. It was essential for Andrea to continue to feel as an equal. She selected the softest matching blue set of cotton shirt and pants for Andrea and a lavender set for herself.
“Here are these,” she said handing them over. "The bathroom is just through there. There is a hanger you can use for the dress as well as makeup remover to clean up your eye makeup.”
“Thank you, Miranda.”
“You are very welcome. I will be here when you are finished. Take your time.” She watched Andrea walk into the bathroom and quietly close the door. She sighed heavily, grateful that the reporter had put up no further resistance. Miranda walked to her closet again quickly ridding herself of her dress and shoes. Slipping on the soft pajamas was a decadent experience. She often kept such long hours that she rarely had the opportunity to wear them. She debated removing her own makeup, but decided there would be ample opportunity later. Instead she sat at the foot of her bed to wait.
Inspite of her offer to not rush, Andrea stepped out of the bathroom just 5 minutes after Miranda sat down. Her appearance took the editor's breath away. She hadn't taken into account how her stomach would pleasurably clench at the sight of the woman walking into her bedroom in such informal clothing. Without the makeup she looked young and glowed inspite of the obvious stress. Miranda built a life around putting the aesthetically pleasing into concise and clear language, but Andrea's present appearance was beyond even her considerable skill.
"I was thinking a bit of tea and toast might be nice now that we are more comfortable."
"Yes, please," Andrea answered immediately. Somewhat self consciously she placed a hand low on her stomach. "Everything seems to make me hungry at the moment."
"Ah yes, I do remember that feeling," Miranda chuckled. She gently took the young woman by the elbow and led her down the stairs into the kitchen. She deposited her on a stool at the bar. She put a kettle on the stove before turning to the cabinets. "Do you like peppermint tea? I remember it being quite nice early on."
"I like most teas. That sounds really nice."
"Plain wheat toast with a touch of butter?"
"Do I look a bit green around the edges?" Andrea asked lightly.
"A little. Crying as hard as you did can cause nausea."
"Toast sounds amazing. Truly you don't have to do this. Any of this."
Miranda turned slowly and waited until Andrea made eye contact. "I know I don't have to, but I want to." She turned back to what she was doing without saying anything further hoping the statement would sink in fully.
When she turned back around to deliver tea and toast, she was pleased to see that the young woman looked relaxed and perhaps even a little bit happy to be sitting where she was. Andrea cradled the mug in her hands and inhaled deeply. The resulting moan nearly made Miranda miss the stool she was in the process of sitting on.
"This is amazing. Thank you."
"I have never met someone so enthusiastic about tea, but you are most welcome. Don't hesitate if you would like more. It certainly won't hurt you."
Andrea smiled broadly before returning her attention to the toast. Miranda watched her devour both pieces in the time she ate only one of her own. She slid her second piece onto the young woman's plate encouraging her to keep eating.
"I had no idea how much I needed that."
Miranda hummed in response, buying herself a few more seconds to formulate her thoughts. "What preparations have you made to leave New York?"
"Not many yet. I really just decided what I was going to do earlier today. I already let my apartment go at the end of the month. I wanted to live closer to my office. I was going to find a new place, but obviously I haven't been looking. I need to tell my parents to expect me and write my notice to the paper. Maybe one of the locals in Ohio will be hiring."
"Do you actually want to leave the city?"
Andrea looked at her carefully before responding. She dropped her eyes to her mug saying,
"No, but I couldn't imagine how I could do it all alone here. And I don't want to give the baby up. It must sound odd, but I've already fallen in love with him or her. This isn't how I imagined becoming a parent, but I want to be a good mother."
"Then you would stay if you thought it feasible?"
Miranda let out the breath she had been holding. She wasn't sure how she would have handled it if Andrea wanted to leave. Logistics she could handle. With her resources there were few situations she could not navigate.
"I confess that I do not want you to leave. I am not sure there is a limit to what I will do to keep you from going."
"But why?" Andrea asked reaching out and covering one of Miranda's hands with her own. "I know you care about me, but..." She trailed off unsure of how to finish the sentence. The editor looked at war with herself. Though the reporter was slightly out of practice, she saw a number of emotions flash across the woman's face. She recognized panic, fear, determination and something she couldn't place.
"I'd hoped that if I let you go and helped you find the opportunities to excel and grow that you might come back to me."
"This is all because you want me to come back and be your assistant?" Andrea stiffened and turned red at the suggestion.
"No, Andrea," the editor responded in her 'you are such an idiot' tone. "I have two marginally competent assistants that God has seen fit that I should suffer through. I didn't mean Runway."
"But I thought you were Runway," she answered sharply, recalling the pain of their last conversation.
"That was not one of my finest moments. You must know that. I do believe that I am essential to the success of the magazine, but that is not all that I am. I apologize for the manner in which I pushed you away. With everything that was going on at the time, I could not risk allowing myself to become involved with an assistant. It was far too tempting to have you close. I could not endanger either of our careers in such a manner. I am sorry it was painful for us both." She allowed a single tear to run down her face. When she stopped speaking, Andrea was already rising to her feet and stepping into her personal space. Before Miranda could even think to react, she stepped between her knees and engulfed her in a warm embrace. She leaned her cheek against the silken silver hair. The editor slowly wound her arms around her waist, returning the hug.
“That was a terrible week,” the reporter said knowing it was the understatement of the year. She didn't move to let go determined to relish in the lack of rejection. The palms pressed into her back moved soothingly making her skin tingle beneath the soft fabric that smelled delightfully of Miranda’s perfume. “I am so sorry.”
“As am I,” the editor whispered against her neck.
Andrea pressed a gentle kiss into the signature coiff and loosened her arms so that she could see the beautiful face. “I’m sorry for overreacting. Emotionally I am all over the place. What did you mean ‘come back to you?’”
“Personally. I had always hoped you’d left me professionally, because of the actions and words of La Priestly rather than who I am privately.”
Andrea gasped in surprise at the honest admission. “I’d always hoped, but it seemed too far fetched.”
“You are well aware I've always lived on hope,” Miranda answered mischievously.
“So I've heard, but what does all of this mean.”
“Must I spell this out for you, Andrea?” The question came across more sharply than she intended. She immediately reached out for the woman trying to convey her remorse only to hear a giggle.
“Yes, you must spell it out for me, please. I wouldn't ask if this were over something trivial, but I can't afford to get my hopes up. And don't worry, I have not forgotten how you communicate. You don't have to apologize for being yourself.”
“You’ve always been too kind, my dear,” Miranda said reaching out to trace a finger down her face. “The last three years have given me a great deal of time to think about what I want out of the rest of my life. I have achieved great professional success, but have always been searching for what completes the picture so to speak. My girls were certainly a part of that. We’ve reconnected over the past few years which has been an incredible gift. But I’ve missed the spark of connection. It’s not something I have experienced with many. As you are aware, few people truly see me and even fewer have the courage to reach out to me. And yet that seems to be something you can’t resist doing isn’t it?”
“I think it comes from having not had a clue who you were the first time I was in your office. As I learned what you did, I grew to greatly respect your work. But I never learned to worship the icon, only the woman.”
Andrea flushed a deep pink realizing that last thought had been aloud.
“I want all of those disgustingly cliche romantic things and I want them with you.” Miranda said rolling her eyes at herself.
The reporter’s mouth opened and closed several times before she rose to her feet. She reached out to brush the signature forelock out of Miranda’s face affectionately. She couldn’t find the words for an appropriate response so she opted instead for physical approach. With shaking hands she cupped the woman’s face in the way she had imagined doing so many times before. She kissed the still lipstick stained lips with a reverence that conveyed every bit of how much she wanted the woman in front of her.
"Miranda," she whispered as they parted. "I've worked so hard to move past my desire for you, but it simply never worked. I tried to convince myself that the professional nudges were such an honor that I should be grateful you didn't blacklist me. I tried to fill the gap in my life with a string of short unfulfilling relationships. And now. How could you want me now? I'm pregnant from essentially a terrible one night stand."
"I won't pretend that I am not jealous of anyone who has had your attention and affections. But the time we had apart was necessary. I want a healthy balanced relationship with you. Not as your boss, but as a partner and friend. And well if having you in my life includes a child, who am I to question? It's not as though I don't come with two of my own."
"So you do. How do you plan on navigating that?"
Miranda ran a hand down the arm closest to her enjoying the ability to do so. "As I mentioned, we've grown quite close in the last few years. They are 14 now. About a year ago they confronted me about why I hadn't dated since the last divorce. Being my daughters, they didn't buy the standard line about wanting to focus on them. They worry about me being lonely. So I was honest with them about what I was waiting for."
"They are such incredible children, but they've always been clever."
"Yes, I know. They've largely given up pranking assistants." Seeing Andrea's internal debate over whether to say something, she continued. "I know they tricked you into going up stairs. But understand that I would have found an excuse to test you regardless."
"I don't doubt that. What do Caroline and Cassidy think about this?" She motioned somewhat frantically between their bodies.
"They want me to be happy. They decided they don't care what that looks like. When they say such things I think that maybe I've done something right to have such open and accepting daughters."
"You are a wonderful mother. You always have been."
"Thank you. I often feel as though I fall short, but I love them unconditionally. So here is what I propose: Come live with us. I know that we are doing this quite backwards, but if you are here, you will have a support system. We have plenty of extra rooms. And with our busy schedules we are far more likely to find quality time together under the same roof."
"Wow. Miranda, I don't know what to say."
"Say you won't leave me again," she said in a trembling voice betraying her fears.
"I don't know how to react to such generosity. I wasn't expecting any of this." She had began visibly shaking and didn't resist the urge to allow the silver headed woman to comfort her. She struggled to get her breathing under control ensconced in the strong arms. "I don't want to leave you again. It would hurt so badly."
"Then you will stay." Miranda took a deep breath to steady herself. "You may have as much or as little independence and privacy as you desire."
"I want to get to know all three of you."
"I would like that very much, Andrea."
"What should I expect financially?" She used her most professional voice to cover her anxiety about the topic.
"Ah yes. I imagine financial resources and age will be two of our largest hurdles. My position is that I already fully cover the living costs for my household. I won't feel substantial increase in cost with you here. I have no particular desire to change how my accountant has things set up, but I am open to it if it's important to you. Frankly, I would rather you put the money in his or her college fund or pay off student loans."
"If I allow you to take care of me, what am I bringing to you? What makes us equal?"
"Such things are very hard to measure. I cannot put a value on the peace of mind I will have. Or what being near you does for me personally. How much better I feel just seeing you. But if I had to list something specifically, I would imagine you helping us bring a robust sense of family to our home. Your perspective is different from mine."
"You know this means that you cannot ever hold money over my head in an argument, right? Beginning the way we are it would shake the foundation of everything."
"I have more financial resources than I can spend in my lifetime. We will disagree from time to time, but it will not be about your worth or monetary contribution. I do not wish to hide behind excuses with you. If we disagree I hope we approach it directly and resolve it without escalation."
"Fuck. You are being painfully reasonable and accommodating. How am I to say no?"
"You don't. That's entirely the point," she answered with a smirk.
"Do not agree if you do not mean it, Andrea."
"Miranda Priestly,” she said teasingly, “who would dare lie to you. You’ve ended careers and rumor has it lives for far less.” Grasping the sides of the beautiful woman’s face, she tilted it up until she could see blue eyes. “I would be honored, Miranda. You are offering things I’ve only dreamt of having.”
The editor rose to her full height and drew the reporter to her. For the first time their full bodies pressed together. It was at once exhilarating and fraught with comfort. The light kisses at her neck made her want to melt. “It’s settled then,” she said in her most regal tone. “I don't know about you, but I am quite tired. This has been quite the day.”
“I am exhausted. I am barely able to keep my eyes open. I’m sorry. I know there is more to discuss.”
“Don’t apologize, darling. I am counting on there being more than one night’s worth of conversation.”
Andrea leaned more fully into her, sighing deeply.
“Let’s go upstairs and get some sleep. Are you working this weekend?”
“No. This is the first weekend I've had off in a while. I've been looking forward to it.”
“Good. Let's get you to bed,” the editor said drawing away to lead her paramour upstairs. “I live primarily on the second floor. My bedroom, study and library are there. There is one guestroom on the floor. The third floor is mostly the girls’. There is a game room, their rooms and 2 more guest rooms. You are welcome to any of them.”
“I,” Andrea started but the sentence died on her lips the first try. “I don’t want to sleep alone. The past couple of weeks have been so stressful that I haven't really slept.”
“Very well. Come along then,” Miranda said failing to hide her smile. It felt fabulous to be wanted as much as she found herself wanting.
The young woman clung to her with the enthusiasm of a lovestruck teenager. Inside her bedroom, she led the young woman to the bathroom again. She handed over a new toothbrush. They stood side by side in front of her large mirror and double sinks. Andrea brushed her teeth while watching Miranda remove her makeup in the reflection of the mirror. When she finished rinsing her mouth, she walked behind the older woman and wrapped her arms around her. She rested her chin on her shoulder nuzzling into the soft hair at the nape of her neck.
“I’ve always thought you were prettiest without any makeup on.”
Without waiting for a response the reporter walked into the toilet and closed the door, leaving a stunned and blushing Miranda in her wake. When she finished, she wandered back towards the bed as the older woman still seemed fully occupied by her abdulations. She stood staring at the bed for a long moment. Picking a side of the bed seemed like quite a large decision. Tucked away behind the light on the left hand side of the bed were an extra pair of glasses. She presumed that had to mean it was the woman’s primary side of the bed. Climbing between the soft sheets on the right hand side of the bed, she luxuriated in the fabric and the smell of the woman she desired.
Miranda walked out of the bedroom to find Andrea already in her bed and mostly asleep. She looked positively angelic with her dark hair fanned out over the pillow. The editor quietly turned off the lights and got into bed beside her. The young woman moved immediately towards her, reaching for her even as she was drifting off to sleep. Miranda pulled her into an embrace. She was beyond pleased to have gotten her way. There was no doubt that it would be a great deal of work and that she would likely make significant mistakes, but at least there was still hope.
Chapter 2: Say Anything
Andrea woke swathed in warmth. A gentle ray of sunlight filtered through the curtains giving the room an ethereal glow. It was too quiet and too comfortable to be her small apartment. And it smelled like heaven… No. No, it smelled like Miranda. In all fairness to her sleepy brain those two things were not so very dissimilar. She opened her eyes slowly, blinking sleep away. The bedroom was even prettier in the daylight than she had imagined. It was classic and regal not unlike the woman for whom it was decorated. When she turned her head, she found the object of her desires fully dressed and pacing in front of a vanity turned desk. Miranda was already on the phone speaking in a quiet and deadly voice. Andrea turned on her side to watch the brilliant woman at work.
Even after 3 years she could tell that the woman was on the ledge of tearing the person apart on the other end of the phone. Though others wouldn’t understand, this was a side of the woman that Andrea loved as much as all of the others. As a female executive, there was little doubt that she had to be twice as ruthless as any man to earn the same respect. And Miranda pulled it off with a style that was mouth wateringly attractive, particularly when the scathing remarks were directed at someone else. The soft dulcimer tones of her voice were seductive in quality, but the words were bitingly cruel at times. Andrea could not tear her eyes away from the sight. The phone clicking shut broke her out of her analysis of the many things that made Miranda Priestley incredibly attractive. Her staring apparently had alerted the woman to her wakefulness. A large smile broke across her face as the formally dressed woman crossed the room to her with an unbearably tender look on her face.
“I didn't mean to wake you, but I also didn't want you to wake alone,” the older woman said slowly.
“It was a nice way to wake up. I haven’t slept late in ages and I've always enjoyed watching you work.”
“Have you indeed?” she asked sitting primly on the edge of the bed.
“Mmhmm. Being your assistant was good for moments of watching you, learning from you. It’s one of the things I think I have missed the most. The papers and others have never done you justice, but they were for a time the only connection I had to you. I even got my own subscription to Runway just to feel as though I had not lost you entirely. It was one of the first things I did when I got back to New York. That’s how I knew I wasn’t blacklisted,” she answered, stretching her muscles stiff from sleep. Her shirt rode up exposing her midsection. Andrea relished in the feeling that Miranda was studying her bare skin appreciatively. A cool hand grazed her bare skin causing her to gasp.
“You aren't even slightly showing yet.”
“No. Not yet. Only 8 weeks, which is why I haven't told anyone yet. I've read enough to know the chances of the worst happening.”
“Have you been to your first prenatal appointment yet?”
“No. Just my primary care physician to get the blood test done. I need to choose a doctor and book one. My doctor said no one would see me before 8 weeks.”
Miranda hummed in response and looked at her thoughtfully. Andrea could practically see the wheels turning. She was tempted to wait her out and force her to say what she was thinking without prompting, but the usually taciturn woman had been emotionally forthcoming and generous the night before.
“Might you have a suggestion of who I should see?” the young woman asked attempting to sound unaware of Miranda’s internal debate.
“And I had forgotten how incredibly cheeky you can be,” she answered with a smirk. “I will have my assistant call, get you an appointment, and clear my schedule.” Miranda stumbled over the end of the sentence as she realized she might have over stepped in this very new relationship.
Andrea looked at her, eyes wide and filling with tears. “You… you would do that for me?”
“I would do far more,” she answered with simple affection. “So long as it is what you wish.”
Miranda nodded once expressing at once (simultaneously) her agreement to carry out the task and her pleasure in doing so. Andrea smiled at the familiar silent communication. There was something comforting about Miranda remaining unchanged in spite of the overwhelming kindness of the last 12 hours. As much as she enjoyed being fawned over, she enjoyed the woman's rougher edges and would be disappointed if they disappeared entirely.
The editor watched in wonder at the sleep rumpled appearance of the younger woman. How someone could look so breathtaking in such a state was positively baffling. And to have such a creature in her bed. Well. That was quite acceptable. Or at least it was until she literally turned green and darted for the bathroom. With an empathetic sigh, Miranda rose off the bed and followed her. She stopped long enough to get a hair tie from her vanity. For once she was grateful her daughters left them like bread crumbs throughout the house.
Crouched in front of the toilet, Andrea was positively pathetic. Her head hung limply forward and she was clearly crying. Miranda soothingly rubbed her back as she leaned over. She gathered the dark hair in a loose ponytail pulling it away from the woman's face. She stepped away long enough to get a cloth and wet it. She knelt to wipe it across the damp warm face. Andrea moved into the caress whimpering in relief.
"Most," she answered in a hoarse voice so unlike the sweet sleepy tones only moments before.
Miranda laid the towel across the back of her neck and trailed her hands gently across her back.
"Cassidy always cries too. It took me until she was 7 to understand that it was a physiological reaction. How are you feeling?"
"Ok at the moment. I’d really like to brush my teeth and take a shower if that is ok. Morning sickness makes me feel so gross."
"Of course," Miranda said offering a hand to help the young woman up off the floor. Andrea swayed slightly causing the editor to steady her with hands on either side of her hips. She raised an eyebrow in silent question. As soon as Andrea felt under her own power again she nodded and moved toward the sink.
"I had some clothes messengered over for you," the older woman fidgeted slightly in discomfort.
Andrea smiled at her in the mirror as she began brushing her teeth.
"Everything you should need should be in the shower. I will go get the clothes."
The warm water running over her skin made her feel better, as it had for the last few weeks. The addition of body products that smelled like Miranda was decadent. She was grateful it was Saturday, because focusing with the scent on her own skin would have been an incredible challenge. Thank goodness the nausea had largely receded. Andrea hoped it would stay that way for the rest of the day. As she dried herself she stared in the mirror at her own reflection. She rest her hand on her still flat belly. It wouldn't be that way for long. She was already experiencing other changes in her body. She was on the cusp of needing to move up a bra size. The thought of the road ahead still made her considerably nervous, but the promise of the steadfast presence of the most powerful person she ever met was soothing. The clothes sitting on the counter for her were lovely. The soft underwear and bra wouldn't irritate her sensitive skin. The dark skinny True Religion jeans tucked neatly into the shiny black Louboutin knee high boots. Their flat soles would do a great deal to ensure her clumsiness would not endanger her safety. The silk shirt was a familiar shade of blue, which caused her to wonder if she was in for frequent subtle teasing or if Miranda had any idea the visceral reaction she had to the “Cerulean speech.” To her surprise, just beside where her clothes had been sitting was a set of her choice cosmetics and perfume. It was incredibly eerie the information that Miranda already had about her and how cavalierly she displayed such knowledge. Having Miranda Priestly's undivided attention was nothing short of overwhelming.
Andrea stepped from the bathroom just as the editor snapped her phone closed. She stood stock still as the crystal blue eyes slowly scanned her body from head to toe and toe to head. This old ritual lit her libido on fire the way it always had. That particular look had as intimate a caress as anyone else's hands had ever touched her. She felt the color in her face and neck rise. Her very minimal makeup would do nothing to cover it.
"I am glad to see your color is back," Miranda purred with a smirk.
Andrea shook her head and smiled. "The shower usually helps. Thank you for earlier."
The editor waved her hands to indicate that the words of thanks weren't needed.
"Do you think you will be able to keep food down? I don't want you getting dehydrated either."
"Usually I can keep toast down in the mornings," Andrea said blushing.
Miranda held out her hand expectantly. It took the young woman a moment before she realized that it was her own hand that was being requested. The simple action spoke volumes of the editor's intent. The small touches from her were the equivalent of being jumped by anyone else.
"May I help you this morning? I would like to learn my way around the kitchen."
Miranda nodded in agreement while moving quietly through the room. She handed the tea kettle over and opened the cabinets that contained the tea and mugs. She enjoyed the level of nonverbal communication she had with Andrea. It was as seamless and effortless as it had ever been. And the woman simply looked exceptional among her things. Having her in her home made the editor wonder how she had survived the last 3 years without Andrea at her side. Warmth settled in her stomach as the young woman took the mugs of tea to where they sat the night before, seemingly comfortable in Miranda's space. She finished making Andrea's toast and grabbed a yogurt for herself.
"How long have you been up?"
"A few hours. There were a few things that needed taking care of. Fortunately all went well and I have a rare afternoon free. Also, the girls are coming home tonight. I told them you were here and they insisted on changing their plans."
The young woman laughed sweetly. “They are so very like you.”
“You haven't any idea,” Miranda said with a small proud smile.
“So what are our plans for this afternoon?” Andrea asked with an easy smile. She could tell even at a glance that the older woman carried considerable tension. She suspected that the woman was yet again attempting to navigate the changes between them. As her question was greeted with silence, she covered Miranda’s closest hand with her own. She lifted it to her lips and pressed them to the knuckles. “Miranda,” she started gently, waiting for the blue eyes to meet her own. She squeezed the hand still in her possession lightly when they did. “I truly do not want you to be anything other than what you are.”
“And what exactly do you think it is that I am, Andrea?” Ice coated every syllable spoken.
“Complex, beautiful, intelligent, powerful to name a few. You live in a world that you alone organize and control. So it serves to reason that among your tasks this morning you may have made plans for this afternoon. I have no desire for you to change.” As Andrea spoke she carefully gauged the reactions of the woman in front of her. Miranda was in what Andrea always thought of as "dragon mode." Hedging her bets, she stood to step into the woman’s personal space. She bent slightly to kiss her. She allowed her lips to linger slowly tasting Miranda, until the older woman gave in and reciprocated. Andrea cupped her cheek. “I find you painfully attractive. The mercurial moods, the absolute control of everything around you, the sarcasm and the new side I saw for the first time last night. So give me the list of things we are doing today. As I recall, we are quite good at this.”
Miranda smirked. “Very well then, I shan't hold back.” She enjoyed the obvious shiver that ran through the young woman. “Roy will be here in half an hour to collect us. We will go to your apartment and gather whatever you wish for immediately. Everything else can be moved by professionals later this week. You have an appointment on Friday with my OB/GYN. We will pick you up at 10:30 sharp.”
“That wasn't a very long list,” Andrea teased when the editor stopped speaking.
Miranda raised an eyebrow at being interrupted before continuing on. “I also sent Nigel to purchase the basics of a new wardrobe for you. Obviously, I think I would like to take you shopping at some point. No. Before you ask, he did it as a favor not as a part of his job. As I said, I spoke with the girls and explained the situation. They are over the moon, so do expect to be suffocated with their attention. You made quite the impression on them as my assistant and they’ve grown accustomed to hearing stories about you or reading your articles out loud. My current assistant Emily made us reservations for lunch at the Italian place I like. And dinner will be delivered tonight when the girls get home.”
“Now that is a list,” the reporter said happily. “Sounds like a very busy day. Thank you for the clothes. These boots are divine.”
“You look quite fetching,” Miranda answered kissing her cheek gently. "It wouldn't do for me to be seen out and about with you dressed poorly."
"Hey now. I learned a thing or two during my tenure at Runway." Andrea said in mock offense.
"Oh yes. I daresay you did. However, I am still the reigning queen of fashion. There are certain standards in this household," Miranda sniffed haughtily.
The young woman laughed freely. “I find you dressing me inappropriately attractive.”
“As you should. Now, gather your things so we can go. We have a great deal to do. Leave the dishes. The housekeeper will take care of them.”
Andrea raised an eyebrow, but complied quickly enough.
It wasn't until they were in the town car driving to Brooklyn that Andrea felt anxiety. Sitting silently in the backseat with Miranda it was all too easy to fall into old patterns. She kept holding her breath so that she didn't breathe too loudly. She fisted her hands tightly to try to contain her nervousness. She feared it would be remarkably embarrassing to have the fashion editor in her small and partially packed apartment. She was self aware enough to recognize that she had not been herself for the past few weeks and without a doubt her space would show it. She couldn't remember the last time she had bothered to clean. Fortunately most of the things she had planned to take with her were already in boxes. So at the very least it would not have to be a terribly long stop. Just as she had herself good and truly worked up over the possibility of being judged slender hands pried open her right hand. With gentle strokes the thumbs worked the tense muscles. Inspite of herself Andrea closed her eyes and exhaled deeply. Had she kept her eyes open, she would have seen nothing but pure adoration looking back at her.
Miranda had some sense of what might be bothering her companion. The life the editor lived now was filled with comfort and extravagance, but it was not always so. She had rented her fair share of cheap old apartments when she was a young woman working her way to the top. And though it had been decades now, she had not forgotten the constant vigilance of living paycheck to paycheck. She was grateful to be able to shelter her daughters and now the woman she loved from such concerns. She understood that Andrea would likely feel out of place in the type of opulence of Miranda's everyday life for a time. It was her responsibility to make sure the reporter understood that she did not judge her income level nor measure her importance by such means. Soon enough Andrea would feel at home in the townhouse and dressing only in designers, but she would undoubtedly need a bit of help getting there.
"Andrea, there are a great deal of things that you do not yet know about me. I doubt you ever looked into my past."
The reporter shook her head no. "I presumed you would share whatever you wanted me to know."
"You have always understood me better than the rest. I know you are uncomfortable about taking me to your soon to be former apartment. But you must understand that I grew up in what can only be described as abject poverty. There is nothing within those doors that I have not seen before or worse. I worked my way up from nothing. I will never think less of you. I respect how hard you work. Please trust me with this part of you."
Andrea looked at her with genuine remorse. "I'm sorry I assumed you would look down on me. I feel insecure. It was unfair of me to put that on you."
"It is quite alright, darling. In many ways we are still getting to know one another. My private self is different than my public one. It will take time for us to know everything about one another, but I for one am very much looking forward to the process."
"Are you trying to sweep me off my feet?" she asked earnestly.
"Is it working?" If the editor's shark like grin said anything, it was a clear confirmation that she was well aware of the effect of her words.
Andrea laughed. "Of course it is. Something about a million girls would kill for this?"
"I very much doubt any of them could handle me quite as you can," Miranda purred in a sensual tone.
Before Andrea could give voice to any number of ways she would like to handle her, the car was in front of her building and Miranda was impatiently climbing out. The reporter walked quickly after the woman while fishing her keys out of the purse. With shaking hands she attempted to open the front door. She huffed in frustration at her inability to still her hands. A calming hand on her lower back helped her focus long enough to get the door open.
"It's two flights up. We don't have an elevator."
"That's quite alright. Lead the way." It had been a good number of years since Miranda had walked up a stairwell like this. There were a number of good memories mixed in with the bad. In a small apartment not unlike this one she had her first taste of freedom and success.
She was pleased when Andrea had considerably less challenges opening her front door. Stepping into the apartment, Miranda understood why the young woman had been concerned. The half packed state of the room was certainly not congruent with the extremely organized assistant she once relied upon. The revelation must have shown on her face.
“I did try to warn you,” Andrea said defensively. “I haven't been myself. I assure you I will not treat your home in such a fashion.”
“I daresay I am not concerned about our home. I employ a housekeeper for a reason. And before you say a word, with two 14 year olds, it is absolutely a necessity. As for this…” she trailed off looking again at the destruction of packing. “This is simply proof that we have come into each other’s lives again at the right time. No need to make this a larger hurdle than it is. Now I need for you to determine which things are coming with you immediately and what the movers will bring later.”
Andrea looked at her in awe. “I was only planning on bringing my clothes and the things in boxes to Ohio. The furniture here is nothing special. I don't really care what is done with it.”
“Very well. I suspect that Roy can fit your clothing into the trunk of the car. And I will have someone come on Monday to retrieve the rest of the boxes, give the furniture to charity and clean. Is that satisfactory?”
“More than. Miranda, I don't know how I will ever thank you enough,” Andrea whispered with tears gathering in her eyes.
The editor considered carefully how to respond to the emotional young woman. “I would say that I only want to see you happy, but that would be untrue. Andrea, I wish to see you happy with me. If it is in my power to give, it will always be yours.”
A damp face and lips were pressed into her cheek as a means of thanks.
“I still need to finish packing my clothes,” Andrea said after a long moment. An elegant eyebrow rose in response. “I don’t mind you helping, but no making fun of them. Lord knows with the changes in my body I am feeling self conscious enough already.”
“I shall be on my best behavior.”
Andrea nodded and started walking to her bedroom when she was caught by a soft hand on her arm.
“I wish to be entirely clear on this, Andrea,” Miranda hissed in her most authoritative tone. She held the stare of the dark brown eyes until she was certain the young woman was listening to her. “You are beautiful and positively glowing. I may be obsessed with clothing, but in your state you would look amazing in anything you choose to wear.”
The young woman blushed, but said nothing proceeding into the bedroom. On the bed several open suitcases were strewn about half packed.
“Is there a method here or shall I just…” Miranda trailed off.
Andrea laughed loudly. “No, Miranda. No method. It will all fit. I can sort it later.”
The editor walked into the closet, dragging her fingers over various fabrics. “I often wonder what it would be like to walk into other people's closets. Clothing is so personal and yet I can track almost every piece to a decision I made, whether by rational or emotional means. There is something deeply humbling about being welcomed however unwittingly into people's homes.”
“What would the masses think of Miranda Priestly reverently stroking clothing that cost well under a hundred dollars,” Andrea asked leaning against the door of the small room.
“If you told them, they would with no doubt think you mad,” the woman said with a smirk.
“I suppose I can’t have that. Wouldn’t be good for my career as a journalist.”
“Indeed. Now, let's get going. Roy will be up soon to start carrying things to the car.”
Quietly and quickly the two women worked side by side. With each passing moment, they became more reaquainted with the silent communication that had once defined their relationship. Andrea left her companion folding the last of the clothes as she stepped into the bathroom to gather the few remaining things. After she finished packing her cosmetics into their carrier she gazed into the mirror at her reflection. She had to admit that she looked better after a full nights sleep. Some of the tension she had been carrying for the last month had drifted away under the undeniably romantic ministrations of Miranda fucking Priestly who had haunted her dreams, both during the day and night, these long three years. There was poetic justice in the change she saw in the mirror. The actions of the editor had spurned her last transformation and it seemed would her next one as well. Andrea knew her body would be changing in the weeks to come, which would be staggering enough by itself, but being Miranda Priestly’s paramour would bring its own drastic shifts. As sweet as the woman had been about her current wardrobe, she knew off the rack maternity wear was unlikely to be purchased. Her lifestyle would go the way of her wardrobe. Miranda had already shown her intent to give Andrea the life she believed the young woman deserved. While the reporter did not put great importance on monetary items, being ungracious would be deeply offensive to the beautiful woman who offered them. There were depths to the editor that Andrea was just becoming acquainted with and she did not wish to halt such a progression. Not to mention that Miranda had taken Andrea and her unborn child in with a compassion that was entirely seductive on its own. The young woman had always assumed the editor was different beneath the icy facade, but the proof was delicious.
Miranda watched her former second assistant assessing herself in the mirror. It was clear from the way Andrea was looking at herself that she was doing more than checking her hair. The editor suspected it was a moment of processing. As such, she didn’t interrupt though she also did not remove herself. She leaned against the wall as the young woman was lost in her own thoughts. The moment was only broken by the soft rapping at the bedroom door.
“I’m sorry for interrupting, Ms. Priestly,” Roy said quietly. “I’ve moved all of the bags into the car. I will be waiting downstairs.”
“Good,” she said quietly in response.
“I’m sorry. I got a bit lost there,” Andrea said turning to look at her.
“That is alright, my dear. Are you ready for lunch?”
“Yes. I am also ready to say goodbye to this place. These were not the circumstances under which I imagined doing it, but even my imagination has limits.” Her eyes shone with amusement.
“Come Andrea,” Miranda purred, elongating her name even more than usual. “Let's begin a new chapter together.” Andrea stepped confidently into her space and pulled the older woman to her by her hips. She softly covered the expressive lips with her own. Instead of pulling away quickly as she had in previous kisses, she swiped her tongue against Miranda’s lower lip and sucked it lightly into her mouth. She felt the woman melt into her. Miranda’s hands were fisted in her shirt preventing her from moving away. When their lips finally parted, their foreheads rested against each other as they attempted to catch their breath.
“If you keep doing that,” the editor said in a low seductive voice, “we will not be saying goodbye to this location at all.”
Andrea chuckled and slipped her hand into Miranda’s. “I’m ready to go.” The curt nod she received warmed her heart in ways that gently spoken words of love did.
Lunch was predictably spectacular. Miranda had ordered for her as though she had known exactly what she wanted. Andrea had thoroughly enjoyed every bite. And being doted on hadn't hurt her feelings either. It had been a very long time since she had been fawned over, and certainly never by the likes of someone like the editor of Runway. Already it was clear that the older woman took great pleasure in spoiling her. Andrea had never seen such delight sparkling in the blue eyes. Several times she had dreamt that Miranda would direct such affection at her. She fought the urge to pinch herself, but that entailed the risk of waking up. And it certainly was not worth that.
Though they still rode in silence, Miranda rested her hand on Andrea's knee. At her touch she watched the brown eyes drift shut contentedly. The time allowed her to look the young woman over. Andrea was decidedly more relaxed with each passing moment. Gone was the wild panicked look in her eyes and she was beginning to smile more frequently. Miranda wanted nothing more than to be the cause of such joy. Andrea's breathing deepened as she drifted off.
As the car pulled back in front of the townhouse, the editor gently swept a hand through the dark brown hair until soft eyes blinked open.
"Are we home?" Andrea asked sleepily.
"Yes, Andrea. We are home," Miranda parroted happily. "Let's go inside. You can lay back down."
The reported nodded, following her inside and upstairs.
"I had Roy bring your bags into the guest room on my floor. I am in no way banning you from my room, but for now I thought you might appreciate the ability to retreat at times."
"Thank you. That's so thoughtful of you."
"Come lay down and close your eyes."
"What are you going to do?" Andrea asked with a yawn.
"I thought that I might unpack your clothes if you don't object."
"Oh that's very nice of you. I hate packing." Andrea was in the process of stripping down to just her underwear as she spoke. She felt the editor's eyes sweeping over her as she climbed into bed. The bed was nearly as comfortable as Miranda's and the urge to close her eyes was overwhelming. She fell asleep to the rustling of fabric.
What felt like mere moments later she woke to lips brushing against her ear.
"Andrea, darling. The girls will be here in just a few minutes. It's time for you to get dressed."
"Alright. Anything I need to know?"
"Only that they are excited and are bound to have questions for you. Only answer what you are comfortable with. After all, they are not me," she answered with a smirk.
Andrea grasped the closest arm tugging the ever poised woman off balance and into her arms. "Are you flirting with me, Miranda Priestly?"
The editor nuzzled into the playful embrace. "I can neither confirm nor deny that," she answered in her most chilling La Priestly voice.
"Perhaps I should explore ways to make you," Andrea threatened lightly, running her lip against the shell of the older woman's ear.
Miranda shivered. "As much as I would thoroughly enjoy that darling, I fear we do not have time for the substantial investigation I expect from a reporter of your caliber."
"Flatterer," Andrea accused releasing the woman.
"On occasion. I'm going to leave you to get yourself together, as I do not believe I would survive a repeat of the earlier display."
"I'll be downstairs in just a few minutes. Thank you for letting me nap."
"It was my pleasure. I left some clothes for you in the bathroom." And without further ado, Miranda turned and strode from the room with purpose.
Andrea stifled a giggle. Miranda was without a doubt a trip and always would be. Even in light of her overwhelming sensitivity, the editor could not resist micromanaging the organization of her closet and picking out her clothes. While the reporter could have been upset about the presumption, she couldn't shake the old Runway feelings. Miranda taking the time to do something so trivial for her warmed her chest. The woman had almost no time to herself and selecting to spend it making Andrea comfortable said far more than any words could. And the editor was proving to be beguiling with language as well.
Andrea did as requested and pulled on the new clothes. She worked on her make up a bit and pulled her hair into a loose ponytail. She made it downstairs just as Caroline and Cassidy burst through the door and began interrogating their mother.
"Well where is she?" Cassidy asked impatiently. Caroline stood slightly behind her sister nodding in agreement.
"I'm right here, Cassidy," Andrea interjected before Miranda could answer. "It's nice to see you too, Caroline."
"Hey," Caroline answered looking her over cautiously.
"Well those were almost like introductions," Miranda said in a warning tone.
"We remember Andy, mom. She got us Harry Potter among other things," Cassidy said with a classic teenage eye roll.
“Yeah, Mom. Come on, Andy. We have things to discuss,” Caroline interrupted in a no nonsense tone eerily like her mother’s.
Andrea shrugged her shoulders helplessly. It was clear that she would have problems telling any of the Priestly women no. When she turned to follow the two redheads out of the room she missed the affectionate smile dancing across Miranda’s face. The editor was well aware that her young companion was soon to be interrogated by her darling children, but she wouldn't be intervening. She hoped that the 3 would form bonds independent of her which could only happen if she was out of the way.
Cassidy led Andrea to the sitting room and deposited her on the couch.
Caroline stood before them with her hands on her hips. "So Mom finally grew a pair." She spoke with an air of finality she could have only learned from her mother.
"Yeah. Something like that," Andrea chuckled.
"Then you'll be staying this time. Nothing foolish like in Paris?" Cassidy added sternly.
"It was impossible after you left. She missed you desperately. It got better over time, but you will not do that to us again," Caroline continued picking up the conversation.
"I'm very sorry. If I'd had any inclination that my feelings could be returned, I might have behaved differently. Unless your mother wants me to leave, I plan to be right here."
"You are aware at some point she might snap and say things she doesn't mean."
"Yes. I know. But with your help," she answered looking between the two redheads, "I think we will be able to tell the difference."
"Good. Because she has been hurt too many times. You are the first person who might not fuck this up," Caroline hissed.
"I will genuinely do my best."
"So what exactly prompted this bout of bravery?" Cassidy asked.
Andrea paused for a moment to assess her options. She wasn't entirely sure how much information Miranda would have given the girls about her situation. And she just couldn't shake the feeling that this was somehow a test. She had no desire to betray the editor’s trust in any way, but as she would be living with them, it seemed unwise to lie to the girls. The reporter inhaled deeply.
“I approached your mother at the event last night to thank her and tell her goodbye.” Two redheads tilted in silent question. “I had been planning to leave New York.”
“And I assume that plan has changed if you are sitting in our living room,” Caroline interrupted.
“It has, largely at your mother’s insistence.”
“But why would you leave?” Much to her credit, Cassidy looked genuinely confused. “I thought that you'd become rather successful. Mom has been going on and on about how wonderful you are.”
“Wow. That's, well, that's impressive. And yes, thanks to your mom opening some doors for me, I have been very fortunate professionally. I was going back to Ohio for personal reasons.”
“Those being?” Caroline spoke in a demanding tone.
“Yeah, I mean you are clearly almost family. You should tell us.”
“You are right. You both deserve to know.” Andrea knew the best way to approach the situation was like removing a band aid. A direct fast explanation would likely be the least painful. “I’m pregnant.”
“And the father?” Caroline asked defensively.
“Not in the picture.”
“And our mother?” Caroline continued.
“The only one in the picture.”
“Good! Then you will be staying here with us, I assume,” Cassidy chimed in.
“Yes. We brought most of my clothes today. I think movers will take care of the rest on Monday.”
“We are going to be big sisters,” Caroline said speaking clearly to Cassidy.
“We have so many important things to teach,” her twin spoke with an intense level of mischief in her voice. She turned back to Andy only to see tears in her eyes.
“Great job, Cass. You already made her cry,” Caroline accused.
Andrea half laughed half sobbed causing the twins to scoot closer to her on the couch. “I’m sorry guys. I’m not entirely in control of my emotions these days. I can’t tell you how much it means to me that you would want to be the baby’s sisters.”
“Well. I mean, you and Mom are together aren't you?”
“Yes, bobbseys, we are,” Miranda said from the doorway. The scene before her was sickeningly sweet. Her two darling daughters were huddled around the woman she loved offering emotional support. It was heart stopping to see the three, soon to be four, most precious things in her life sitting together. The bright smiles from the three most beautiful women in the world reassured her that everything she'd done in the end would be worth it.
Chapter 3: Bright Lights and Cityscapes
Much to Andrea’s surprise the first week living with the Priestly women went surprisingly smoothly. Each morning Miranda woke her with soft words of adoration whispered in her ear. By the time Andrea was dressed and made it downstairs, she was waiting with breakfast made. Roy would drop the reporter off before heading towards Elias Clarke. Miranda never offered the car service. She simply expected that Andrea would ride with her. Though incredibly busy as usual, Miranda made time three evenings for dinner with Andrea and the girls. And the nights when she didn't, the town car was waiting outside the Mirror to take her home. The editor didn't go so far as verbally banning the subway, she simply made it easier to take the car.
On Thursday night, the two younger Priestly women had taken it upon themselves to entertain the anxious newcomer to their household. Their mother was working late. They knew she was working a longer day in order to be able to take a few hours off the next day to accompany Andy to her first doctor’s appointment. They were pleasantly surprised at how forthcoming the pair had been. While Caroline and Cassidy slowly became accustomed to their beloved mother’s openness over the last few years, they still worried that she might regress to her previously secretive natural state. If anything, the presence of the young woman seemed to have enhanced their mother’s willingness to communicate. And frankly, it wasn’t difficult to see that Andrea (as their mother would have said) was a wreck. She had arrived home shortly after they did and had not stopped pacing.
So they saw it as their duty in their mother's absence to occupy the woman. After a short conversation amongst themselves, Caroline and Cassidy put a fail proof plan into action. They knocked at their mother's study where the journalist had last been seen stalking.
"Come," a disembodied muffled voice said through the thick door.
They peeked their heads in the door. Andrea was every bit the hot mess that they feared she was. Her hair was mussed from running her hands through it. Her clothing was slightly askew and she had an old fashioned pencil between her teeth.
"Andy," Cassidy began in the sweetest voice she could muster. "We were hoping for a pj and movie night."
"Yeah," Caroline jumped in. "We've had so many tests this week. We just need to relax."
"This is so not something your mom would allow, is it?"
"Of course not. Why do you think we asked you? Not everyone is cool enough to appreciate ordering pizza and watching movies," Cassidy continued.
"You two are going to get me in so much trouble. But that isn't an offer I can refuse. Can I entrust you to order the pizza? I want Hawaiian."
The twins made a face at her choice of pizza, but nodded their agreement to the plan.
"Good. Then meet in the entertainment room in 30 minutes?" Andrea asked.
"Yes. And pjs, Andy."
"Right. I will try very hard not to forget."
With that the twins ran off to order and change as quickly as they could. Andy had been right that this was a rare indulgence in their household. Their entire lives their mother kept them busy with piano lessons, karate, and soccer, just to name a few of their extracurricular activities. It had been rare particularly now that they were in high school to have a night free from responsibilities and someone to share it with. Though a free Thursday was hardly a coincidence. All homework had been done in advance, because they didn’t need a Miranda Priestly freak out whenever she managed to get home.
By the time they made it to the entertainment room, Andy was already snuggled into an oversized armchair with her feet underneath her. Though she was obviously calmer than before, they recognized the silk robe she wore as their mother's. They looked at each other silently communicating how disgustingly sweet the two women were. If they were less evolved 14 year olds they might have been tempted to make snarky comments, but they had too often seen pain on their mother’s face. Caroline and Cassidy would do anything to prevent another Stephen. If their mother believed that Andy was “the one,” they would whole heartedly go along with it.
“Did you girls choose a movie?” Andrea asked in a small tired voice.
“Of course. I think it's even still in theaters,” Cassidy said clearly pleased with herself.
“Ok. Well what is it then?”
“Eclipse. It's the third movie in the Twilight series. You have seen the first two, right?” Caroline asked attempting to keep the edge out of her voice.
“Of course I’ve seen them. Who hasn’t seen them? I am not saying that I like them better than Harry Potter, but watching it isn’t going to injure me.”
Caroline cocked her head in question. “Did you read the books?”
“Harry Potter, yes. Twilight, no. They started coming out about the time that I first started working for your mom. I obviously didn’t have time when I was working at Runway, and then after that I was kept busy by the volume of writing I had been doing.”
“Yea, I guess that makes sense.” Caroline sounded slightly deflated. “Mom was always making us read something that you had written. I think that she was hoping it might make us write more like you. But don’t worry, that hasn’t happened. So your job is safe for now.”
“Well thank you for that,” Andy chuckled. “But why were you so intent on knowing if I had? That seemed like more than just a casual question.”
Cassidy unsuccessfully attempted to stifle a giggle, which earned her a glare from her sister and an inquisitive look from the reporter.
“Let's just say that there is pregnancy in it and there is some imagery that no pregnant woman should have in her head,” Caroline answered.
“I really don’t need any help in the freaked out department, but thanks,” Andy said looking a little green around the edges.
“Yeah,” Cassidy said, “We noticed.”
“You planned this, didn’t you?” the reporter said as the realization crashed over her.
“Of course we did. Think about who raised us, but it's still a really big treat for us. So don’t be thinking this is all about you.”
“Thank you, Caroline. I take great comfort in that." She stuck out her tongue in jest. She got 2 tongues in return.
Miranda finally entered her home 2 hours after she had hoped to. She knew she wouldn't make it home in time for dinner at 6:30, but she had hoped to have a meal with her family a little later. The first floor of the townhouse was too quiet for it to be occupied. As hungry as she was, it seemed infinitely more important to see the three most important women in her life. She walked into her bedroom (where Andrea had been sleeping all week). The room was empty, but the clothes she had picked out for her girlfriend that morning were draped over a chair. Knowing her daughters, she suspected that they had declared it a pajama party. They would no doubt be upstairs in the entertainment room.
The house came to life somewhere in the middle of the second staircase. Giggles emanated from the open door.
"Oh please, Caroline," the voice of her paramour rang out in clear amusement. "How can you be team Edward? He is so creepy!"
From just inside the doorway Miranda took in one of the most precious scenes in her entire life. Andrea was wrapped tightly in her robe and curled up in a chair big enough for two people. Her twins were sprawled together on the large couch. Evidence of a pizza dinner was spread over the table.
"Really, Andrea. How could you of all people deny the appeal of an older partner with a cool exterior?" Her blue eyes twinkled in amusement as the entire room turned to face her.
Andrea reached a hand out to her. It was not as much an invitation as it was a demand. "At least you have a pulse," the reporter said cheekily as Miranda drew close to her.
"Yes, I suppose I do. Did you all manage to save me any pizza?"
Caroline and Cassidy looked at her as though she had recently grown another head. Andrea looked at her sheepishly, but at least had the courage to speak up.
"I only ate a little of mine. You are welcome to the rest of it. I'm not sure if you like Hawaiian."
Miranda opened the box and selected a slice. She brought it to her mouth without so much as a napkin. She walked directly over to Andrea and lowered herself into half the chair expecting that the young woman would move out of her way.
Andrea did, but just barely. The young woman nuzzled gently into her neck. "I'm so glad you are home," she whispered, brushing her lips tantalizingly against the sensitive skin.
"As am I," the editor said between bites. "I had hoped to be home earlier." Even to her own ears she sounded regretful and mournful.
"You are here now. That's all I am worried about. I know how difficult it is for you to free up time during a work day. I am very grateful."
Miranda ran her free hand through dark curls and kissed the crown of her head. Though she did not say so, she believed that she was the grateful one to have come home to such a scene. "Were you wearing a path in my floor before my daughters lured you up here with food?"
Andrea didn't answer, but burrowed slightly more into Miranda's warmth. Caroline and Cassidy turned to look at the couple questioning if they should intervene. They watched as their mother drew the journalist closer to her. From the satisfied looks on both faces, it was clear that they'd already done enough. Happily they turned back to the screen, after all the real purpose of watching Twilight was for the eye candy.
Miranda stared at the screen attempting to decipher what exactly was going on with the plot. But not only was the movie grossly over acted, but slender fingers were tracing maddening patterns on her leg. When she turned to look at Andrea she was met with what she could only describe as false innocence. The dark headed woman turned to her and gazed at her with bewilderment, much as she had the first time they met. Miranda found it took all of her restraint not to pull the woman off the couch and into her bedroom. Thus far, she had been patient and sensitive to the very stressful situation for the young woman. From the lingering touches and gentle kisses, she was certain that chemistry would not be one of their challenges. And Andrea blushed practically every time that she traced her eyes over her curves, which was frequently now that she was allowed to do so. But Miranda had restrained herself knowing that their physical relationship would come in its own time. The smirk gracing those ridiculously kissable lips suggested that Andrea might not be harboring such notions. Seemingly pleased with herself, the young woman turned her attention back to the screen staring at it intently.
Miranda could not resist entering the game. If Andrea wanted to play, she had best be ready to surrender, because the editor did not lose. She gracefully draped her arm around the brunette's shoulder drawing them closer together and putting her own mouth at the girl’s ear.
“Andrea,” she purred. “Do not begin something you are unable to finish.”
The reporter pivoted so that she could gaze in the crystal blue eyes. “Oh Miranda, I plan on finishing… several times.” Andrea dropped her voice until it was little more than a rumble.
Those words and that tone of voice were like a punch to the stomach. Miranda could scarcely breathe. At once she felt lightheaded and as though she ought to gulp down air just to survive. If Andrea’s actual abilities were anything like the way she just spoke, the editor would have to come to peace with the idea that she might not always reign victorious. She couldn’t deny that there was something intriguing about a partner who could stand toe to toe with her intellectually. She looked towards her daughters to make sure their attention was solidly focused on the screen in front of them. They were as expected completely engrossed in the film, which Miranda genuinely hoped was nearly over. She slid her free hand over Andrea’s knee tracing the inside of her thigh in a smooth motion. She allowed her hand to rest passively on the apex of the young woman’s legs. Andrea’s eyes grew big at the contact, but neither moved nor made a sound. Miranda could feel the damp heat from the woman seeping through several layers of fine cloth. It was divine.
“Must I remind you with whom you are toying?" she whispered hot and low in the young woman's ear. Reluctantly she removed her hand knowing that this was sadly not the place to advance their physical relationship.
Just as Miranda's hand was nearly back on her lap it was firmly grasped by a cool hand. Andrea maneuvered it to cup her clothed center. She was practically vibrating at the contact. In a ragged whisper she said, "Does it feel as though my mind has been elsewhere even for a moment? I don't get this wet thinking of anyone else."
Miranda groaned, which she barely covered with a cough. Andrea watched her turn a spectacular shade of pink while she quickly retrieved her hand. To her great relief the two redheads didn't turn around, which she realized was because they had reached the end of the movie. The teenagers on screen were having another overly sappy moment and seemed to be in the process of becoming engaged.
“Well,” Miranda said standing. “That was a most enlightening story about teenage love.”
“Mom,” the girls whined in chorus. “You are so uncool. That was like the sweetest movie ever.”
“Yes, girls. I am certain it was. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have an early morning so I will be retiring now. Andrea?”
“Goodnight, Caroline. Goodnight, Cassidy. Thank you for this.”
“Night, Mom. Night, Andy.” The twins answered together as was their custom particularly when they were tired.
Andrea took the outstretched hand with a smirk. She had been enjoying pushing all of Miranda’s buttons. She wondered what the exact reaction would be, but knew from just the sparkling of the blue eyes that she would not regret it. Miranda said nothing as she led her from the entertainment room and down the stairs to her own bedroom. Once inside the room, the editor spun to close the door and casually flipped the lock, something she had not done previously.
“Andrea,” she purred as she walked slowly over to her.
“Yes, Miranda?” Andrea opened her eyes wide batting them innocently as she would have back in the days when she worked for the beautiful woman.
“Oh no no. You don’t get to play coy now. Not after what you did with my daughters in the room.”
Andrea smiled at the memory of Miranda’s reaction. It was delightful.
“Exactly as I thought,” Miranda purred close to her. “Andrea, what shall I do with you?”
“Anything,” Andrea whispered.
“Oh no, Andrea. I don’t believe you mean that,” the editor said using the tone of voice she generally reserved for the office.
The chilling soft tones raced up and down the reporter’s spine. The reporter reached out to pull the beautiful woman against her. “I’ve been thinking about you all day,” she husked into the closest ear.
“Have you indeed. Tell me, Andrea, what have you been thinking about?”
The younger woman hummed in response. “Your body pressed against mine with very minimal cloth. Your hands and mouth on me. My hands and mouth on you.”
“That is most intriguing. Before I consider giving you what you desire,” she paused to run her hands lightly down Andrea’s sides skimming her curves, “you must tell me why today.”
Dark eyes filled with tears, but they were held at bay. “I am very nervous about tomorrow. I am afraid that it will become real and you will no longer want me… us. If nothing else a memory I can cherish for the rest of my life.” She raised her chin in an effort to keep herself from crying. She was tired of being weak and weepy all the time. “I need you, Miranda.”
The editor raised a cool palm and cupped Andrea’s cheek swiping her thumb soothingly across the warm skin. “You have me, darling. And will continue to for many days to come. If tonight is what you need then you shall have it, but my intentions are set not only for you but for him or her.” She pressed her hand gently but possessively against the stomach that would soon be rounded with pregnancy. “I will make you mine tonight, Andrea Sachs. Others may have had you before, but no one will have you again. Only me.”
“Please, Miranda.” She really couldn’t help but beg. How many times in her dreams had the silver headed woman spoken such words.
Miranda lunged and captured the pink lips she had been becoming acquainted with. Andrea melted in her arms immediately. She explored the willing mouth with clear intent. She was out to conquer. Full and complete surrender would be the only option available to her companion. When her lips moved to a neck stretched out in offering, Andrea struggled to regain her breath. She attempted to say something, but it came out as nothing more than a strangled moan. Temporarily satisfied with the bright flush and heaving chest, Miranda stepped back a fraction to pull Andrea towards her bed.
“I have every intention of seeing every inch of your body. Come sit on the edge of the bed. I want to remove them myself.”
Andrea struggled not to swoon. The editor was impossibly seductive, even more so than usual. The reporter wondered if she even needed to worry about tomorrow. Could a mortal really survive such a show from Miranda Priestley. Her trail of thoughts were interrupted by impatient hands pushing her hips gently to get her moving. With a smirk, Miranda backed her up until her knees hit the mattress causing her to sit down automatically. Nimble determined fingers pushed the soft robe off her shoulders.
“I believe that this is mine,” Miranda purred.
“I was cold,” Andrea said indignantly.
Miranda danced her fingers down bare arms leaving goosebumps in their wake. “And Andrea, are you cold now?” Blue eyes drifted downwards to where nipples had hardened against soft fabric.
“No,” she gasped as inquisitive fingers brushed lightly against her chest.
“No? Well then I assume you will not be needing this either.” The older woman smoothly pulled the light shirt over her head taking in the entirely bare torso for the first time. With the intensity that was usually reserved for couture, she traced the lines of muscle, joint and bone exploring the contours of the woman she’d been dreaming about. The dark head drifted back until it dropped entirely backwards. A low moan crept from the pale elongated throat practically begging to be shown attention. Methodically Miranda kissed from jaw to clavicle savoring the unique taste of the pale woman’s skin. Sweetness seemed to emanate from her both emotionally and physically. Now that the editor knew the flavor, she suspected that she would have a very hard time resisting in the future. The young body under her attentions was vibrating already with need giving Miranda a heady rush of power.
“You are more beautiful than words can describe, darling,” Miranda whispered into her ear as she kissed back up. “Now lay back and lift your hips.”
Andrea complied with the command instinctually. She was not surprised when pants and underwear were quickly pulled off. Miranda was clearly in the mood to be efficient. When soft hands did not immediately return to her skin, she propped up on her elbows to better see the older woman. She was met with a sight out of her fantasies. Miranda stood before her slowly unbuttoning the silk blouse she wore to Runway that day. The fabric fluttered to the ground as it was pushed carelessly away from the taut body beneath it. The sparkle in Miranda’s eyes suggested that she was well aware of the effect of her bare body on the woman in her bed.
“Miranda,” Andrea whispered sitting up and reaching out.
“No, darling. You sit and watch. You wanted our skin against each other.”
Next to go was the pencil skirt, unzipped and pushed off the curve of slender hips. Miranda stood in front of her in black lacy underwear and thigh highs. Had being stripped by the beautiful woman not aroused Andrea, the sight in front of her certainly would have. The reporter was vaguely aware that her mouth had dropped open in awe, but she didn't have the wherewithal to close it. Turning slightly, Miranda bent over to remove her Prada shoes giving Andrea a full view of her ass in lace. The young woman growled. The woman in front of her was so fucking gorgeous and she wasn't currently allowed to touch.
Without standing up, Miranda rolled the stockings down her legs. Standing barefoot and in just her underwear she took a step towards Andrea. She was well within the reach of the young woman’s arms, but her companion was clearly focused on following instructions. Watching the dilating pupils, she reached behind her back to release the clasp of her bra. She let the fabric slowly fall away and enjoyed the dark eyes devouring the newly bared skin. With one final deep breath her thumbs were looped through the band of her underwear, pushing it down. Andrea moaned again. While Miranda had in the past her fair share of lovers, not a single one had made her feel so completely and entirely desired. Without a single touch, the young woman in front of her had managed to get her more aroused than the rest combined.
“Scoot back, dear. I want you fully on the bed and relaxed. I am going to take my time with you.”
Andrea did as asked. “I don't think I am going to survive you,” she whined as she settled on her back in the middle of the bed.
“It would be quite the way to go,” Miranda answered climbing on all fours over her. “But I think that you will live.”
The editor maneuvered a thigh between Andrea’s slightly parted legs. She pressed down a little as she settled her body on top of her lover’s. The young woman’s hips lifted instantly seeking more direct contact. Miranda leaned down and kissed Andrea hard. Strong and slender arms came around her waist pulling their bodies ever closer together. A gentle grinding started in the rhythm of their kisses resulting in a light sheen of sweat on their bodies.
“Oh, Miranda. Please,” Andrea could get no more words out as a slight shift in weight caused her to gasp.
“Please what, Andrea?”
“You aren't actually going to make me say it, are you?”
A wicked grin was the only response. Andrea knew that Miranda was unlikely to change her mind. Gathering every bit of her reserves she said in the steadiest voice, “I need for you to touch me. I need your fingers in me. I want to forget that there has ever been anyone else.”
Miranda pressed her right palm flat against the sternum of the young woman and dragged it slowly downward. She enjoyed the muscles contracting under her touch in a silent plea for more. As her fingers dipped downward into wetness she growled, “There has never been anyone else who matters. Just this.” She firmly trailed her hand down Andrea exploring and teasing her body.
“Just this,” Andrea whispered in response. Her eyes were slammed shut and her head thrown back curving her spin upwards in offering.
“You are quite close, aren't you darling?”
“So close. Please,” Andrea had decided that she could be quite content with begging if Miranda always felt so good. “I need you in me.”
The editor struggled to breath through the heartfelt request. Truthfully there was no where else she would rather be. She slipped a digit into her lover and quickly added another before setting a steady and languid pace.
“Oh Andrea. You feel so good around me. So warm and wet. So mine.” The young woman bucked at her words pushing herself more firmly on the offered fingers. Taking the hint, Miranda picked up the pace sliding in harder and more quickly. The first swipe of her thumb over the bundle of nerves had Andrea babbling nonsense. The firm circling drew out a low moan before every muscle in the young woman’s body tensed. Her name fell from the pink lips as muscles clenched around her fingers. She slowed a little allowing Andrea to ride out her climax at her own pace. Deep brown eyes opened and a lazy smile stretched across her face.
“Is there anything you are not good at?” a slightly hoarse voice demanded gently.
“Perhaps there are a few. Let me know when you find them,” she answered lightly. She finally removed her fingers with a touch of remorse. She was actually quite happy where she was. Andrea pulled at her wrist bringing it up to her face. While maintaining eye contact, she drew both still wet fingers into her mouth. With her tongue she cleaned them thoroughly sucking gently at the digits. Miranda gasped at the sensation. It was unexpected but unbearably attractive.
“Mmm. I taste good on you,” Andrea said happily. She lifted her body slightly to kiss Miranda deeply allowing her to share in the experience. She didn’t allow the woman to respond opting to begin a very thorough exploration of her body. It seemed impossible, but Miranda Priestly was even prettier without the thousands of dollars of designer clothing on her body. And the wetness that was coating Andrea’s leg was beyond language. She simply needed to have Miranda. “Up,” she demanded. “I need to taste you.”
Miranda stared at her with one eyebrow raised clearly a bit befuddled by the request. Andrea enjoyed the slight confusion. It was not often one was able to catch the woman off guard. She tugged lightly at the hips. Miranda moved several feet up before the realization crossed her face. Then she looked openly smug about it. Andrea suspected that her new lover would enjoy the position, but she did not remove her hands even when the hips were hovering just above her face. Miranda had wisely already placed her hands on the headboard in anticipation of struggling to keep herself upright.
“Do you have any idea how much I have wanted to have you like this?” Andrea said nuzzling a soft inner thigh.
“I had no idea how much you enjoyed the thought of being underneath me after leaving my employ,” Miranda answered attempting to sound haughty.
“There are few who would complain in my current position. And being under you never lost its appeal, I simply prefer it in this particular context.” Though Andrea enjoyed the teasing banter, there was something she wanted much more. She pulled Miranda’s hips down, bringing her wet flesh to her mouth. Andrea explored slowly with her tongue enjoying the taste and textures of the woman she had loved even when she thought she could not have her. She sought out the most sensitive patches of skin testing a variety of speeds and firmnesses. She was so intent in her task that she was unaware of how very close she had pushed the editor toward completion. Her skin was flushed bright red and her chest was heaving. Her knuckles were white from gripping the headboard so enthusiastically. She refocused her efforts on Miranda’s center alternating between slipping her tongue in her as deeply as possible and lightly circling her clit. She snaked her hands up the older womans torso to toy with already hard nipples. As she pinched and twisted them, Miranda threw back her head and came hard with a silent moan. Andrea braced her hands against the woman’s ribs helping her to stay upright until she found enough coordination to slip into the bed next to her. Miranda pulled Andrea into a close embrace pressing their full bodies next to one another again.
“Do you understand Andrea that now I can never let you go? I won’t survive it. I’ve seen and felt what a life with you is like. Please never ask me to go back.”
“I don’t want that either. This and you are everything I could possibly want and more,” Andrea whispered earnestly against her skin.
“How are you feeling about tomorrow now?”
“I’m still nervous. But I do truly understand intellectually that you won’t leave me or our baby. That you want us.”
“Our baby?” Miranda questioned in a shaking voice.
“You plan on raising and providing for him or her with as much love as you have Caroline and Cassidy, don’t you?”
“Yes, of course. How could I not treat a child you give birth to with such regard?”
“Our baby. We are doing this all out of order, Miranda. Will you please be my child’s mother?”
“I would be honored. I don’t quite know what to say. How is it that you are so often able to render me speechless.”
“It's a talent, my love. Can your lawyer handle whatever paperwork is involved?”
“Naturally or they will find someone who can. I will take care of it.”
“Thank you. That makes me very happy,” Andrea said with a pronounced yawn.
“Do you think you can relax enough to sleep now, darling?”
Andrea would have answered the sensitive and sweet question, but sleep had already claimed her ability to speak. Miranda spent a few more minutes tracing her fingertips over bare skin. As unconventional as their situation was, it was also everything she had ever dreamt of. Her sweet caring Andrea had grown and matured into a beautiful woman. She respected and loved Miranda even more than she had a few years ago. Yet somehow she had still not lost her capacity to trust. The editor knew that she too had changed. She was willing to risk her heart for the first time in many years. Her instantaneous integration of the young woman into her life was proof of how much she wanted to be with Andrea. And tomorrow they would see their child for the first time. Miranda may not have contributed DNA to the creation of the infant, but she would give time and her heart. In her experience those things were far more important than biology.
Chapter 4: Everything Has Changed
Andrea smartly arranged for a full day off the day of her appointment. She woke briefly to a kiss on her forehead and a whispered promise that the car would be on time to pick her up. She didn't manage to rouse herself in time to see the twins off to school. While she knew that they certainly wouldn't hold it against her, she had already grown to enjoy that time with them. They were exceptionally bright and engaging, so like their mother in that regard. Dressing in the clothes left out for her was akin to wrapping herself in Miranda’s arms. She wondered if the editor understood the symbology. Miranda was the queen of subtly, so it was likely she knew exactly what she was doing. The thought alone was positively heartwarming.
As promised, the car was exactly on time to retrieve her. Andrea stepped out into the sunlight blinking as she approached the black car. She was unsure if Miranda would already be in the car, but she genuinely hoped she would be there. She needed the support and presence of the one person who brought serenity to her being without even trying. She ducked into the open door.
“Miranda,” she breathed out in pleasure.
“How are you this morning?”
“I am very glad to see you,” Andrea said sidestepping the question.
“Did you eat breakfast?”
The young woman blushed. “No. I’m too nervous.”
“Would you like to have lunch with me?”
Andrea looked as though she grew a second head.
“I took the rest of the day off. I thought we might have lunch and the afternoon together, if you don't find that offensive.”
“I just… I don’t know what to say. That sounds wonderful.”
“I am afraid it doesn’t come without a caveat,” Miranda said slowly. Andrea answered with only a raised eyebrow. The editor sighed before speaking. “It is not as bad as all that,” she spoke slowly considering each word. “I thought this afternoon that we might do a bit of shopping. Things for the baby.” She stroked her lover’s hand while speaking of their child. She couldn't resist the desire to be close to Andrea when thinking about their growing family. “But I also hoped that you would not object to going to Versace this afternoon. I have an event a week from today. I hoped you would come with me.”
Andrea pulled far enough away to be able to look fully at her face. “Miranda Priestly, did you just ask me on a very public date?” Her tone was gentle and teasing, betraying every bit of affection she felt for the woman.
The editor straightened her already poised seat and raised her chin in the way she often did at work. Andrea always thought that it made her look rather royal. The silver haired beauty delivered one of her signature slight nods. The reporter smiled in response. She might be jumping for joy on the inside, but didn't want to make any bigger of a deal of the offer for both of their sakes. There was more than enough stress for one day already. The young woman slid across the small distance to snuggle into Miranda’s warmth. The editor raised her arm automatically welcoming Andrea to her. She said nothing, but hoped her presence communicated her support in a tangible way to the woman in her arms.
The doctor’s office was like none that Andrea had ever been to previously. She was wise enough to expect that Miranda would only have the best, but this was beyond those expectations. Where in the typical office there was a shared waiting room, Miranda and Andrea were immediately escorted into a private room. The space was equipped for both comfort and functionality. Even the area designed for medical exams was warm and comfortable. The reporter followed her lover with wide eyes. She settled on the couch next to the older woman and reached out, taking a slender hand in her own. She was nervous enough that her hands were trembling. A gentle squeeze and kiss to the temple reassured her enough to take a deep breath.
The doctor swept into the room only a few minutes later.
“Oh no, please don’t feel as though you must get up,” the curly haired woman strode to them. She reached out her hand first to Andrea. “It’s very nice to meet you. I’m Celeste.”
“Andrea,” the reporter said automatically. She was confused at the casual introduction, but it was in a line of surprises at the office so far.
“It’s good to see you again, Miranda,” the doctor said turning towards the editor. “And under such happy circumstances.”
Miranda beamed. The expression was something rarely seen away from her daughters. It simply melted Andrea’s heart.
“Let’s get started, shall we? We will start with the boring medical stuff and then we will get to the fun part. Based on the information in your chart, we should be able to look for a heartbeat and see the little one on the sonogram.”
Through the course of the medical interview, Andrea continued to grip Miranda’s hand tightly. She hadn't considered how much information she would be required to share, but how many sexual partners she had before Miranda was not something she had hoped to discuss in front of anyone else. As she had been since Andrea approached her at the party, Miranda was sensitive and thoughtful. She looked at her with adoring eyes and interwove her fingers with those she had been holding for the better part of an hour. She didn’t even blink at the number Andrea offered up. This appointment was not about her lover’s past decisions, it was about their future. Though it might seem entirely out of character to the rest of the world, who saw her as vindictive and never forgetting a grudge, Miranda would forgive the young woman anything in her past so long as she stayed.
“Very good. It sounds as though you are quite healthy and normal. I do want to have the nurse take a bit of blood at the end of the appointment just to run some standard tests. Nothing to be concerned about, just want to make sure that mom and baby both stay healthy.”
Andrea nodded her consent.
“Now for the main event. Are you ready to see if we can find your little one.”
The reporter grasped Miranda’s hand tightly and gave her a watery smile. The young woman had never looked more beautiful. She had to restrain herself from kissing her soundly as affection bubbled up in her. Andrea winked. She had apparently read every thought through her facial expressions. The doctor led them over to an exam table. The young woman climbed onto it. She attempted to settle, but did not stop figeting until Miranda placed a calming hand on her knee.
“I want to start with the sonogram. We will look around and take a few pictures. Then perhaps we will try to listen for a heartbeat. It is perhaps a little early, but there is still a good chance we might hear something. We’ll need to lift your shirt and just unbutton your pants a bit.”
Andrea did as she was asked. It was surreal exposing her body, but she tried not to dwell on it. The gel the doctor applied was cool and caused her to hiss when it touched her warm skin.
“Don't worry,” Celeste said. “It will warm up quickly.” She wielded the sonogram wand, pressing gently and spreading the gel. The formerly black screen became an odd swirl of grey and black. The doctor moved it firmly in a circle focusing on a black pocket with a small grainy object in the middle. “And there is your baby.” She clicked a few times taking stills while zooming in and out. “The size is right for this age.”
Tears ran down Andrea’s face. “Is that a good sign?”
“It is. It will likely make your later pregnancy a bit exciting if they are a wiggly thing. I've gotten a few good shots that you can take with you. Shall we move on to the heartbeat?”
“Yes,” Miranda said succinctly. She had not expected how she would feel with another woman touching Andrea so intimately. Never in her life had she felt any particular amount of jealousy. She did suspect that this might have been one of the problems with her prior marriages, but she was thoroughly ready for the medical professional to get out of Andrea’s personal space.
“I’ll give you a couple of minutes to clean up a bit while I go retrieve the doppler.” The doctor rose, handing a few cleansing wipes to Miranda.
The editor took them and turned her entire focus back to her paramour. “Would you like for me to help you?” she asked quietly.
“I certainly wouldn't mind it,” Andrea said making no move to take them from Miranda’s hands. She looked the older woman over appraisingly. She had seen the looks of utter adoration as Miranda had stared at the blurry image on the screen. She also had not missed the incredibly icy behavior every time the doctor got near her. “Mmm I love your touch.”
“Oh do you now?”
“Yes. In every context. I didn't realize the full power until last night.” Andrea trailed off at the end of the statement remembering exactly how those hands felt in seduction. They were now neatly removing the gel from her body. “You have nothing to be jealous of.”
“And what, Andrea, do you believe I am jealous of?”
“Her being close to me. But Miranda,” the reporter reached out to grasp the slender hands. “You have to know that you are everything to me. I waited years just to speak to you again. There is nothing anyone else could ever offer me that would compare to you. I would never even waste time or energy exploring others’ attempts to be half as wonderful as you are. You have nothing to worry about.”
The editor reached out and cupped a pale cheek. “I know that. Of course I do. But it seems that I cannot yet resist the urge to mark you as my own. I have craved you for so very long. Watching and waiting at a distance was no easy path those long years. I am not sure when I will stop fearing that something or someone will take you away from me.”
Andrea pulled the palm to her lips kissing it gently. “Nothing will take me from you. Neither you, nor I will allow it.”
The door to the room opened just as Miranda was throwing the wipes away. The doctor walked in brandishing the small electronic device she had been in search of. She was in the process of taking it out of the box.
“Since I had to open a new one, I thought that I would send it home with you. Finding the heartbeat is fairly easy, depending on where the baby is at the time. It can be a nice way to interact with it as a couple. Now, let’s see what we can hear.” As with the sonogram she pressed it low on Andrea’s stomach moving it with practiced motions. “Oh just there,” she exclaimed excitedly. She kept the hand on her patient’s stomach still while handing over the ear pieces, one to each woman. She watched them put the headphones up to their ears simultaneously. Their eyes opened in tandem and lit up with the same overwhelming joy that she saw daily on parent’s faces. “Feel free to move it around and play with it. You can do no harm. Stop at the lab on the way out to give blood. I will give you some time.”
“Thank you, Doctor,” Andrea beamed. Miranda merely nodded her head, but the fury that had been in her eyes was clearly calmed by the sounds of the steady heartbeat. As soon as the door closed again giving them privacy, Andrea launched herself into Miranda’s arms. “It’s real. He or she is real and healthy.”
The editor cradled the young woman in her arms enjoying the closeness. “Quite real and rather perfect,” she answered airly. “Do you feel better?”
“Yes. I was worried that something might be wrong. I mean I know that things can still go wrong, but there is less risk now. And you. The way you looked at me and at that screen. I am so sorry that I doubted you. There has been nothing in your behavior since you came back into my life to suggest that you are anything but steadfast. I apologize for belittling that.”
“We aren't exactly following the script here. Your doubts and concerns are entirely understandable. You are completely forgiven. I am content to prove my intent to you for as long as it takes.”
Andrea leaned back to look into the gorgeous blue eyes that captured her heart so long ago. “I am so very fortunate to be in your life, Miranda.” There was so much more to be said, that parts of her wanted to say. But it was neither the time nor the place, so instead she kissed her with a bit of heat that left them both a bit breathless. The lingering affection as they pulled back cemented for the reporter how impossibly precious these moments were.
“Let's gather our things and go to the lab. We have reservations at 11:30. We wouldn't want to be late.”
Andrea smiled at the statement, because though she had been treated with incredible gentleness, Miranda was still Miranda. The reservations were no doubt at a very exclusive restaurant at the most exclusive table. They would, of course, be arriving early, which must frustrate the staff. She followed the authoritative woman out of the room, because really what else was there to do?
Lunch was predictably pleasant. The wait staff fretted over them appropriately and what the chef prepared was delicious. Miranda had ordered for them both in fluent French. The unexpected display of culture caught Andrea off guard. Her first inclination was to crawl under the table and demonstrate for the editor exactly how attractive it was. She was clearly suffering from one of the more interesting challenges of pregnancy. It was certainly better than morning sickness, but she would still have to convince the editor of the absolute necessity of frequent physical contact. The molten look she received from Miranda suggested that she might not be entirely opposed to the idea.
Riding to Versace with Miranda brought back a flood of memories. Andrea sat silently on her side of the car trying not to breathe too loudly as Miranda typed away on her cell phone. The feeling only intensified when the editor took a phone call albeit with an apologetic look.
"What? No. No, that is entirely unacceptable. I don't understand why you would even think placing a phone call to me about this would keep you employed. I do not care. Fix it by the end of the day or find another job."
Watching Miranda get off the phone, Andrea was struck with the tragedy of the decline in flip phones. There was little more dramatic than the woman flipping the phone closed at the end of a conversation. The editor closed her eyes and sighed deeply at the incompetence.
"I'm sorry for taking you away from the office this afternoon," Andrea said breaking the lingering silence.
The blue eyes snapped open and appraised her carefully. She breathed deeply before placing a hand softly on a crossed arm. "Don't be, darling. I consider it a service that you've stolen me away from painful disappointment for an afternoon." Though she was still in full dragon mode, the lingering meaning that she would rather be no where else than with her lover hung between them.
"I can't help feeling like this is a bit surreal. Does this not feel like it used to, at this moment?"
"Yes and no. I have missed having you in the car these past few years. You always understood how not to annoy me and on occasion how to entertain me. However, back then I spent an inordinate amount of time wondering what you tasted like. And now I know."
Andrea flushed dark pink at the smirk and delivery. "Is that what you used to think of between designers?" She just barely managed to choke out the question.
"That's one of the topics I would ponder."
The young woman swallowed hard at the seductive tone. It could not be said that Miranda Priestley did doggedly pursue what she wanted. If Andrea had any hope of getting through the afternoon, she knew that she would have to steer the conversation in another direction. "What event are we going to next week?"
“It's a minor charity fundraiser to promote women in business. It is nothing large, but it was the first event to come up,” Miranda explained as though her intent was obvious.
The reporter looked at her still trying to sort it all out.
“Andrea,” she said gently, obviously trying to hold her annoyance at bay. “I will not be treating you differently than I have any other important relationship in my life, especially not you. I imagine that the press will be a bit intense at the outset, but I have no desire to hide.”
“You know that you cannot say things like that to me. I have all of these hormones in my body and you just keep being sweet. And…” The tears were back and running down her face.
"Hush now, darling. We can't have you weeping every time I am considerate. Don't worry, I promise there will be times I make grievous errors or I will bring work home." She trailed cool fingers down her face wiping tears away. She then kissed each cheek.
"I won't mind," she said sniffling. "I know who you are, Miranda."
"I think you may be the first one who has ever said that with any credibility."
"I see you. I always have."
"I know," the editor mumbled under her breath. "You were never like the others. While they developed little crushes nothing more than hero worship, you fell in love. When they would have cowered and followed me like a puppy, you walked away."
"That was when I realized I loved you," Andrea said quietly, stroking the closest hand. "When you cried over your girls, it was like every little piece of the puzzle fell together for me. I knew that even if I never had you, I would never love anyone like I loved you."
"And I do not intend you to give you the opportunity to disprove that idea, darling."
Andrea hummed in agreement as the car stopped in front of the design center.
"Come along, Andrea. As soon as we get through the fitting we can move on to more exciting ventures."
As they stepped out of the car, a familiar voice rang out.
"Well well well, Six. Look at you."
"Nigel," she said excitedly enveloping him in a warm hug. "How are you?"
"Fabulous as always. It's good to see you. And don't you look chic."
She looked at him playfully. "Stop pandering to your peer editor through me. We are all aware that I could not put an outfit together like this."
"But you have come quite a long way since we first met. You were quite the disaster," he teased.
"Come along children. I do not intend to stand on the sidewalk all afternoon," Miranda said and breezed past them.
Andrea stuck her tongue out playfully at Nigel but nevertheless followed obediently. The showroom was much as she remembered it. And Miranda in her element was just as it had been burned into the reporter’s memory all those months ago. The editor was cool yet charming. She communicated largely non-verbally, but if she did have to speak it was in the dangerously quiet tones that sent shivers up and down the length of Andrea’s spine. It did not help that she was the sole focus of the editor of Runway. It was remarkable how differently the same pair of blue eyes could look at her. Yet no matter how critically the clothes on her body were appraised, Miranda’s gaze burnt a path of scorching heat over her curves.
During her early 20s before she met the captivating woman, Andrea thought she knew what it was like to be looked at. Her first day at Runway disproved that theory. The way the editor studied her made her believe that she could see more than just skin, but also bone, muscle and sinew. Perhaps even her soul at times. Now, however, the vulnerability came from being undressed with those brilliant eyes over and over again. When she put on the 5th dress, Andrea felt more beautiful than she ever had in a formal dress. Unexpectedly as she reentered the showroom Miranda spoke above her normal level.
"Out. Everyone. Now."
While it wasn't loud by anyone else's standards, it was rather out of character. Andrea too turned to leave the room.
"No no, Andrea," Miranda said covering the small distance to her. Once they were close she continued whispering, "Not you. Never you. Let me look at you." With that she began circling the reporter slowly, soft fingers tracing a line from her stomach, over her hips until she stood behind her. She embraced the young woman from behind with both hands on the soon to be swollen stomach. "I must say that I am torn, Andrea. You look so beautiful that I am unsure if I want to share you with others. The dress is positively fetching."
The reporter closed her eyes at the compliment allowing it to wash over her and fill her entirely. It was so very easy to feel beautiful in her lover's arms. "I won't look this way for much longer," she finally said in nothing more than a whisper.
"No, but you will be every bit as gorgeous when it is evident you are carrying our child." Miranda brushed the words over the soft pale skin on Andrea's neck. It was astoundingly easy to accept the young woman into her life and family. Even a few years prior she would have baulked at the idea of opening herself up to potential injury. But her life was littered with missed opportunities and decisions she wished she had made. She had obtained every success in her professional life that she ever set out after. It was far past due that the same could be said for her personal life. And this glorious creature had held the key to that for the past 3 years. The moment Andrea got into her car the week before, there was little doubt in Miranda’s mind that she was playing for keeps.
“I don't think I will ever tire of hearing that. It’s like something out of a dream. I just can't quite believe it is true. I lived on hope for so long.” Though the sentiment was heartfelt, she ended it cheekily quoting back to Miranda something she said in a moment of anger.
“We will learn to live on something else entirely. As much as I would like to stay like this for the rest of the afternoon, if we don’t let the design team back in soon they will have a complete meltdown. They no doubt think that I hated the entire collection or that I will need help disposing of your body.”
"Not a chance. It's common knowledge you like to take care of that yourself. Less witnesses, you know."
"Cheeky. Go change. This one will do nicely."
Andrea smiled over her shoulder.
"Darling, the girls were wondering if they could join us shopping. Would that suit you?"
"I don't mind. It's really up to you." The reporter didn't open her eyes. She had leaned her head back as soon as they got back in the car. She was beyond tired from the day. While Miranda texted with one hand, the other traced random patterns over the hand and arm closest to her.
"Are you certain you are even up for shopping?"
"Yes," she answered certainly. "I would hardly miss the opportunity to watch you shop. It's not something I ever believed I would witness. What would the clackers say?"
Miranda chuckled. "I daresay they wouldn't believe a word. I rather enjoy the myths that run rampant about me."
"Exactly how much do you know?"
"Far more than you'd hoped. There is very little I am not aware of at my magazine. I've found that I am able to be more effective if I am well informed."
"Do you have any favorites?" Andrea couldn't resist asking. She'd opened her eyes and lifted her head to better observe her lover.
"I find the average ones rather dull. One never tired of being accused of being a vampire. Or a witch that can stop herself from aging."
"I can attest to your magical abilities," Andrea said with a wink as the door to the car swung open revealing the twins.
"Oh gross. You guys need to not flirt in front of us. We can really only take so much," Cassidy said dramatically.
"Don't be such a baby," Caroline responded following her sister know the car. "I think it's sweet. Just like Edward and Bella."
Miranda smiled as the 3 women talked happily. Andrea's age meant that she was far more in touch with the same things her teenage daughters were. She was certain that watching them interact would never grow tiresome. She deflected the few times that they tried to draw her into the conversation, instead opting to listen and commit it to memory.
The store Miranda chose had a wide variety of high end maternity, nursery and baby clothes. The twins dove happily into shopping, while Andrea stayed close to Miranda. The editor led her by the hand toward the furniture.
"Have you given any thought to what kind of nursery furniture you might want?" Miranda asked gently.
"I like dark woods in general. Maybe one of the cribs that convert?"
"Ingenious. I wish they'd had those when the girls were little. You needn't make final decisions today. Just thought we might gather ideas. I want to know what you like, so when we hire the decorator I will be able to hold them to your tastes."
"Where were you thinking of putting the nursery?" Andrea asked wanting to know which space to envision.
"I was considering the extra bedroom on our floor. I don't imagine the baby will sleep there at first, but until they are several years older the stairs would be obnoxious."
Andrea smiled broadly at her and Miranda breathed a sigh of relief at having given the right answer again. "I like this color," the reporter said skimming her fingers over a crib.
Miranda hummed the color the young woman selected would work well with the decor of the second floor. “Any pieces in particular you’ve always wanted?” She watched as Andrea wandered through the section evaluating the furniture in her curving path. The reporter paused several seconds longer in front of a large rocking chair allowing Miranda to catch up with her. She slipped her arms around her lover from behind. “I can imagine you rocking our baby in that chair easily. Can’t you?”
“Honestly, I was thinking the exact same thing about you,” Andrea said leaning into her warmth. “I want one of these.”
“Then you shall have one.”
“Mom! Andy!,” Cassidy said urgently. “We found the cutest linens. Seriously we found the best set ever.” She grabbed Andrea’s hand pulling urgently.
Andrea rolled her eyes playfully. Only the spawn of Miranda Priestly would ever say such a thing. It was precious even on a 14 year old. She was touched that the girls cared enough to want to be involved even in the decorating. In the end, she was certain that Miranda would have final say in the way the room looked, which was fine with her. She had spent years enjoying the woman’s aesthetic from a distance. Having it pointed in her direction was highly attractive. The redhead stopped when they found her sister, who was standing in front of a display. The teddy bear themed bumper and quilts featured soft earth tones.
“Oh girls. This is adorable,” the reporter said finally.
“I knew you would like it,” Caroline said proudly.
“It is quite nice,” Miranda echoed.
“And it will work for either a boy or a girl,” Cassidy said pointing out what she thought to be part of her brilliance.
“Well since we’ve got that settled,” Caroline continued in a perfect imitation of her mother, “we will go pick out toys.” And with that the two redheads disappeared from sight again.
“Do you really like it?” the editor said breaking the momentary silence.
“I don’t mind it. I haven’t seen anything I can’t live without in this section. If you like it, that’s enough for me,” Andrea said.
Miranda evaluated her face looking for any signs of deception and was pleasantly surprised that she appeared to have meant every word. “I thought we might look through some of the maternity basics. Once I get a feel for what you think is comfortable, I can gather items that will be work place and event appropriate.”
“Okay,” the young woman said with a grin.
Several hours later, Roy dropped them back off at the townhouse. In addition to his four passengers, he unloaded numerous bags. Andrea had been enlightened to the level of the Priestly women’s love of shopping. Their celebratory rally around the newest members of their household brought a smile to her face, even as she walked tiredly up the stairs. She knew it would be dinner time soon, but she couldn’t stomach the idea of doing anything but laying down. She didn’t even consider going to the guest room that would soon become a nursery, instead routing directly to Miranda’s room. She stripped out of her clothes and stepped back into her pyjamas. Crawling into bed, she pulled her lover’s pillow to her chest and drifted contentedly off to sleep.
Miranda watched her paramour ascend the stairs in what could only be described as a fit of exhaustion. She considered following her, but a gentle smile sent over the young woman’s shoulder assured her that she was just tired. And it was time to trust her to behave as though she was a permanent fixture.
Chapter 5: I Just Want You
Standing in rather skimpy lingerie, Andrea attempted to contain her nerves. She had done her best all week to focus on anything but the upcoming public event. Largely the week had been good. Though Miranda had to work on Saturday, she did so from the townhouse and even stopped long enough for brunch. The reporter continued to be impressed in the changes in the editor. She was happy to see that Miranda had begun to prioritize herself and her family at the same level as her job. Whenever the silver haired beauty was with her daughters or lover, she was utterly focused on them.
Andrea knew that tonight was important. It had been many years since Miranda had been in a relationship in the public eye. The symbolism of the move was not lost on the reporter. Miranda was making a statement to her and to the rest of the world. Andrea was hers and hers alone. There would no doubt be a media frenzy, but Miranda’s public relations team was briefed and ready. The press would no doubt find the professional link between the two, but statements were already prepared. Andrea had already placed a vaguely uncomfortable call to her parents in which she shared both her relationship and news of her pregnancy. They were confused but not unsupportive. She intentionally side stepped any questions about the baby’s paternity, simply referring to Miranda as its other mother. Her parents had promised to come visit during the summer when the girls were out of school. Overall she was pleased that they wanted to make an effort to get to know her new family.
Together with Miranda, she had decided not to tell her editor about her relationship. She didn't have a particularly close relationship with Greg and didn't plan on giving her paper any sort of exclusive about their relationship. She hoped that he would be supportive and allow her to keep her private life private, but if worse came to worse she could afford to only work freelance. She enjoyed the atmosphere of the bullpen. There was a certain excitement in being in the place where the news happened. She enjoyed working with her colleagues and feeding off of their enthusiasm. Yet she found that she wouldn't mind if she moved on. Magazines and journals were currently waiting months to get on her schedule to get articles. Nigel taught her how to negotiate and protect some of her personal time. Neither of them had known how timely of a lesson it was.
The latch on the door clicked open, breaking Andrea’s string of thoughts. She turned and was rooted in the spot taking in the dress her lover selected. As usual, Miranda would steal the night. Her black dress was demure yet sexy. Even without her hair and makeup done, the vast majority of New York City would do anything to get into her bed.
“Please don’t think that I am complaining, darling, but I was rather hoping you would wear a bit more tonight.” The light teasing tone caressed Andrea in ways that were just a step beyond language.
“I meant to be dressed before you got back. I just got a little lost in my thoughts.”
“Are you that nervous?” The question was accompanied by a loving caress to her cheek.
“It’s not end of the world nervous. This is just a big night. I want to be worthy of standing next to you. I don’t ever want to cause you embarrassment,” the young woman said carefully not meeting her lover’s gaze.
“Andrea,” Miranda said. “Andrea. You must look at me. I need to be certain that you understand what I am about to tell you. That you are really listening, because it is very important.” Brown eyes met hers cautiously. “I am so very proud to share with the world that you are mine. I would never have suggested it if it was not the case. And while I appreciate privately when you worship me, you know better than most that I am just a woman. I may be talented and have a successful career, but like all humans I make mistakes. I let down the people that I love. I am a mixed bag. You are young, beautiful and intelligent. It is I who is lucky. You have your entire future in front of you, but you have chosen to share your life with a grumpy old woman. And with that dress, everyone in the room will be wishing that they were me. Little will they know exactly how delicious you look now before it goes on.”
Andrea blushed deeply. She would never tire of the editor’s mastery of language and ability to compliment. It was astounding to discover that a tongue so known for its sharpness could be the very epitome of softness. “Would you mind helping me get it on?”
“Not at all. Slip it on and I will zip the back.”
The young woman immediately pulled the silky fabric up and over her body, allowing it to settle just right on her curves. Miranda stepped closely behind her and gently ran the zipper up. After it was securely fastened, she took a leisurely moment to trace her fingers over the lines of the dress.
“I am still a bit shocked at myself, that I am allowing you to go out in public like this,” Miranda mentioned still admiring the dress and the woman in it.
“I think a part of you wants to show me off, because there will be no doubt to anyone in that room that they can look all they want, but that they will never be allowed to touch. There is a certain power in being able to say that about your significant other. And you have never shied away from a place of power. Don’t give me that look, Miranda Priestly. You won’t be the only one enjoying that privilege. Have you given any thought to how I will feel with all of those eyes on you, knowing that you are coming home with me?”
“Mmm. That is a rather attractive visual. And you are completely stunning. I swear that you seem to glow a little bit more each day,” the editor said. Her lover made a number of valid points that she couldn't even begin to argue with, so instead she let it go. “Serena is already downstairs and ready to do your hair and makeup.”
"Oh," Andrea said in surprise. "I had no idea you used someone to help you prepare for these events."
"Not always, but on occasion it can be quite relaxing. And Serena has been looking for an excuse to see you," Miranda answered with a wave of her hand as if to say that such an answer was obvious.
"Wait. Serena knows?"
"Mmhmm. Nigel isn't capable of keeping his mouth shut around her and her British girlfriend."
"Oh my god. Emily finally got the balls to ask her out. Good for her," Andrea said with a squeal.
"Yes. It's lovely for them," the editor said rolling her eyes. "Thankfully they waited until Emily was promoted to the art department. I don't know how I would have survived if their over the top flirting had infiltrated my office."
The young woman shook her head chuckling. Her lover had a certain flare for the dramatic that kept life entertaining.
Serena was waiting downstairs just as Miranda said she would be. Of course, she was not the only one. The twins were there as were Nigel and Emily. The shock of the full audience must have shown on her face.
"Well hello Andy. You look even more beautiful than Nigel said," the Brazilian drawled sweetly.
"Hi, Serena. It's lovely to see you again. This is quite the surprise. Nigel. Emily."
"Good to see you, six. I now see why Miranda kicked us all out. That dress is simply unbelievable. Spin for me," the head of Men's Runway said playfully.
The reporter obediently twirled grinning broadly.
"That is the least hideous outfit I've ever seen you in," Emily said with a sniff.
"I should certainly hope so, considering I selected it personally," Miranda said coming down the stairs. She suppressed a grin as Emily flinched. Some games never grew old.
"Well, I think it is time for you to work your magic on our prodigal writer," Nigel said to Serena.
What Miranda had described as a small benefit apparently had more than 1,000 attendees and a rather impressive red carpet. Miranda smiled mischievously. She was clearly having a bit of fun at Andrea’s expense, but obviously had a great deal of faith in her lover’s composure.
“Come along, darling. We mustn't keep them waiting too long or they might believe we are having a great deal of fun in the car. Shall I muss my hair?”
“Has anyone told you that you are vaguely evil?” Andrea asked entranced with the flirtatious behavior. “I am as ready as I will ever be.”
The editor flashed her a warm intimate smile before opening the door and stepping out into the flashbulbs. Chivalrously she held the door and offered her hand to Andrea. What had been a small uproar erupted as she came into view. Miranda placed a possessive and protective arm around Andrea’s waist. With practiced skill, she led them through the throng of photographers. Each time she paused, Andrea smiled knowing that one or perhaps all of these photos would be splashed across the entertainment pages. Their slow progression took nearly 15 minutes. As she sensed Andrea’s discomfort, Miranda pressed slightly closer to her and started providing commentary. Mostly she teased about the fashion donned by those around her in the silky tones she knew made her lover’s knees shake. She had suspected Andrea’s fascination shortly after she left in Paris. In the lucid moments when she wasn't mourning the very real loss of the young woman at her side, she ran their interactions over and over again through her mind. Seeing the flushed cheeks and heaving chest in the flesh was much more gratifying.
Upon reaching the door, Andrea felt significant relief. She had never seen Miranda take such a long time on the red carpet. As if she could read her mind, the editor turned to her and whispered in her ear.
“I simply could not resist. You look so lovely tonight. You simply had to be shown off.”
The reporter preened at the comment. The editor was not known for throwing uncalled for praise even at those she cared for deeply. Being told she was beautiful by one of the most respected people in any aesthetic field was an overwhelming sensation. It was also incredible incentive to proceed with the rest of the evening. The doors were opened wide at their approach and Andrea prepared herself emotionally for the editor’s signature dramatic entrance. Though the band kept playing in the background, there was an obvious shift in the room as all eyes were turned to them. Nigel caught her eye immediately and she could not hold in the genuine smile at seeing him. He had always been a friend to her when she was at Runway, but knowing that he had his hands in everything Miranda had done for her over the last few years solidified the feeling. She didn't have to turn to feel the smile on her lover’s face. While it was not quite the one reserved for herself and the girls, she knew the woman was radiating happiness.
As they reached the crowd, they were surrounded by Miranda’s usual throng of admirers. She kept Andrea close to her, both out of protection for the young woman and out of jealousy. She was well aware of how attractive her lover looked tonight and she certainly had no intention of sharing her. The reporter accepted the closeness and the constant greetings with a mature amount of ease. She was so unlike the gangly creature she was just a few years ago. Andrea could now work a room admirably on her own. Miranda was enjoying the evening right up until the head of Elias-Clark approached them. On a good day Irv Ravitz was an annoyance. It was impossible not to speak with him when he approached directly, no matter how much she didn't want to.
“Miranda,” he said.
“Irv,” she answered in her best fake smile.
“Who is this delightful young lady with you?”
It was clearly a loaded question. He was smiling in apparent victory.
“This is my partner, Andrea Sachs,” Miranda answered not even flinching at the threat.
“It’s nice to see you again, Mr. Ravitz,” Andy said smoothly.
“You worked for Miranda at one point, did you not?” The question was hissed aggressively.
“I did, nearly 4 years ago. And only for 8 months. As you may recall, Miranda was married to Stephen at the time.” Andrea took a step closer to him, dropping her voice dangerously. “There is overwhelming evidence that suggests she was entirely loyal to him during that time both in the papers and according to their rather public divorce. Not to mention, I was also in a committed relationship at the time. Miranda is well within bounds. If you so much as threaten us in this manner again, I will ensure that your current indiscretion comes to light. And we both know what will happen if anyone looks into it further. Now be a gentleman and smile. You are making everyone around us nervous.”
“You are obviously well suited for each other. Well it’s always nice to have alumni among us. I hope you both enjoy the evening,” he said attempting to keep his voice even.
By the time the conversation had played out, Miranda’s assistants had already begun running interference and moving the crowd away from them. Nigel had stepped into the editor’s place and begun greeting well wishers on behalf of Runway. As soon as Irv disappeared into the crowd, Miranda moved her paramour smoothly through the room without drawing much attention. They slipped into a small room and closed the door. Andrea’s eyes were still burning with anger when Miranda turned to her.
“What exactly did you say to him?” Miranda said in a low voice stalking towards the young woman.
Instinctively Andrea backed away until her back touched a wall. “I simply let him know that he wasn't holding all of the cards. He can play with you professionally all he wants, but he has no right in your personal life.”
“You were defending me?” The question shuddered from her lips. It wasn't something that had ever happened to her much as a child or as an adult.
“I was. And reminding him of the concepts of living in a glass house and throwing stones.”
“You threatened him?” Miranda was incredulous. The young woman had such a sweet soul, it seemed rather contradictory that she might have done such a thing.
“I am still a reporter. There will be many times when I cannot prevent him from doing such things to you, but this I could do.”
“Andrea, please tell me you have what you need to back it up?” she said allowing her nerves to show.
“Of course. It’s been prepared since I left Runway. I'd always hoped to be your knight in shining armour. I keep it updated.” She couldn't help but smirk. It had been one of her more brilliant ideas while she was pining over the beautiful woman. It kept her busy instead of wallowing. Whatever question she expected to come out of Miranda’s mouth did not. Instead the full length of her body held Andrea against the wall and she had taken possession of the soft lips. Miranda halted the kiss only when breathing necessitated it.
“Were you in a slightly less magnificent dress, my fingers would be in you at this moment,” she purred against the young woman’s ear.
“I knew I hated this dress,” Andrea answered grinning from ear to ear.
“Knight in shining armour, indeed. Come, my knight. We must greet the peasants and then you will receive your reward for such valiant behavior.”
The young woman smiled at the jovial behavior of the generally reserved woman. She interlaced their fingers and squeezed briefly before they exited the room once again into the fray.
Emily and Nigel were almost immediately upon them and leading them in different directions. Nigel took Miranda under the guise of introducing her to an up and coming designer. Emily, on the other hand, made no pretense about why she was taking the brunette. She less than gently led Andrea out onto a deserted balcony.
“Bloody hell, Andy. What were you thinking? Having a confrontation with Irv in public,” the brit said in the biting tone that was her everyday speaking voice.
“I was thinking that I'd been waiting a long time to put him in his place.”
“Well haven't we all. But do you understand what kind of enemy you just made?” It was clear the former first assistant was genuinely concerned for her once almost friend.
“Emily, I’m dating Miranda. I suspect I was already off his Christmas card list. And it wasn't a spur of the moment conversation. He behaved exactly how I expected him to.”
“And I cannot believe Miranda didn’t kill you herself. I thought she was going to step between you, but then he smiled awkwardly and walked away.”
“Hey Em. You're rambling.” The redhead huffed at her. “Don't worry about my relationship with Miranda. I assure you all is fine there.”
“Good, because if you ruin the abnormally pleasant month I've been having I will throttle you myself,” Emily said.
“I have no doubt. The conversation with Irv went to plan. I don't imagine he will be seeking either of us out socially, but it should keep his attempts on her to her professional life. And I have every confidence that Miranda with the help of her valuable team can take care of those,” Andrea finished confidently.
“Well then. I suppose you did think of everything,” the brit responded with a reluctant sigh.
“It’s good to see you too, Emily. Congratulations on all the promotions over the years. It seems you’ve finally landed where you belong.”
The Englishwoman looked at her for a long moment trying to decide if the well wishes were genuine. Deciding that they were, she felt the pressure to say something equally pleasant in return. “Quite. And well you…” Emily trailed off not knowing exactly how to return the compliment.
“I have also landed where I belong,” Andrea completed the thought with a rather cheeky grin.
“So it seems.” The redhead’s cheeks flushed until they almost matched the shade of her hair.
“I take it that I have now been appropriately cornered and chastised?” The reporter wasn't really looking for an answer. “I think we had both best return to the function before we are missed too much. And Em, I will always take care of Miranda first.”
“History suggests that I will be left to pick up the pieces.”
“Paris was complicated, Emily. Miranda and I both made choices, but in the end we found our way back to one another. I am truly sorry for what must have been a terrible time. I am certain I made your job harder than before.”
“Apology accepted, I suppose. Now, I don't want to be fired for losing you. Come along, Andy,” Emily turned dramatically and opened the door. She left in her wake the reporter rolling her eyes.
The rest of the benefit was predictably boring, but Andrea enjoyed the unfettered opportunity to watch the professional side of the editor. While she was falling in love with the unguarded personal side of the woman, she would always be attracted to the sheer power radiated by her professional persona. And based on the sparkle in the blue eyes, she knew her attention was appreciated. A fact which was proven out in the back of the limo on the way back to the townhouse. The reporter couldn't help feeling like a teenager.
They managed to stumble their way up the stairs to their bedroom without injury. Miranda kept her right hand firm and protective over Andrea’s lower stomach as they traveled ensuring no harm would come to the life growing inside of her. The reporter spent the entire walk trying to will the editor’s hand to drift lower and do at least one of the things she had whispered on the ride home.
“Have I mentioned exactly how attractive you look tonight?” Miranda said hotly into the younger woman’s ear.
“I might of heard something or other about it. But I wouldn't entirely mind a recap.”
“You are such a journalist,” the editor said seductively against her lover’s lips before capturing them in a searing kiss. “You were a vision, however it still pales in comparison to you with nothing on.” She carefully slid the zipper down exposing soft skin on Andrea’s back. Once the zipper was fully disengaged the material fluttered to the floor dramatically. Miranda knelt and moved the woman gently to the side. Reverently she gathered the dress and turned to hang it.
Seeing her opening, Andrea pressed her mostly bare body against the older woman’s back to hold her close. “God, I want you, Miranda. Please.” She felt the editor’s breath catch at her words. The reaction was delicious. The older woman turned to face her again. The lust was radiating off her in such a compelling way that Andrea could not stop the words from tumbling out of her mouth. "You have to let me have you. Please."
Miranda raised her chin in appraisal before nodding slowly once. Andrea removed her heels and slipped gracefully to her knees. She gently removed the woman's heels. She would have a hard enough time staying on her feet without the additional height. With a mischievous smile, she flipped the designer gown up to Miranda's hips. She tucked the excess material behind the editor and pushed her against the wall. Andrea was delighted with her ingenuity. The woman would have something to lean against and the gown would be mostly out of her way. Without pause she hooked her fingers in the waistband of the lacy underwear and pulled them sharply down. When she looked up again, Miranda’s face was neutral save a raised eyebrow. Andrea didn't break eye contact as she kissed from knee up the inner thigh.
Above her the older woman sighed deeply and let her head rest against the wall. The sight of the young woman on her knees brushed up against some of her more closely guarded fantasies. Somehow Andrea always seemed to read her in the most intimate ways. The obvious thing to do was to simply enjoy the moment. The first gentle swipe of her lover’s tongue was a revelation. In a smooth motion Andrea lifted her left leg and placed it over her own shoulder, opening the editor completely. When her mouth reconnected with Miranda's center the young woman purred sending vibrations through the editor’s already trembling body. Need drove her hands to be buried in luscious dark hair as she attempted to hold her closer, to get more. Had Miranda been focused on anything but the exquisite things Andrea could do with just her mouth, she might have been embarrassed by how wantonly her hips surged in time with the working of the tongue. Two fingers slipping firmly into her were her undoing. The force of the climax had her nearly toppling over, but strong arms were there to catch her and keep her upright. Andrea whispered soothing words in her ear while stroking her back as she recovered.
“Andrea, you are entirely incorrigible,” Miranda said with a breathy attempt at authority.
“Mmhmm,” she confirmed nuzzling the soft hair and skin at her lover’s neck.
“What shall I do with you?”
“I could think of a few things.” The low tone of Andrea’s voice, so clearly filled with lust, made Miranda’s breath quicken again.
Gathering her composure the editor said in her most authoritative voice, “On the bed. Just as you are.”
Andrea backed slowly away and did as she was asked. She settled in the middle of the soft comforter and watched with rapt attention as Miranda undressed. She had enjoyed taking the woman while still dressed in her version of a uniform. She hadn't planned it out, but when the opportunity presented itself she simply could not resist. The editor slinked towards her, reminding her of large cat on the prowl. She climbed up over her settling on top of her. Andrea’s hips rose to brush against a firm thigh without thought.
“Your lingerie is lovely, but I think it would look much better on my floor.”
Andrea giggled at the cheesy comment, but was silenced by the quickness of Miranda’s movements. She gasped loudly when their naked bodies rested entirely against each other. The editor moved so that she only laid half on top of her paramour freeing up one of her hands to roam the prostrate form beneath her. As much as she wanted to take her time, her patience was taxed for the evening. She dragged her hand from sternum to touch Andrea intimately. They both moaned when her digits encountered wetness. She slipped her fingers into her lover, relishing in the drawn out low growl pouring from the young woman’s mouth. Miranda set a quick pace sure to make the woman fall apart in short order. Andrea writhed and begged beneath her. Her shameless pleas were almost enough retribution for the earlier liberties she took. The editor leaned down and captured soft lips roughly. As she did, the woman beneath her tensed and began trembling. Miranda kissed her through the climax, soothing her until she fell into a peaceful sleep.
Chapter 6: Somebody Loved
The media frenzy in the weeks after their first public event had been much of what they were expecting. To Andrea’s delight, her editor supported her without question. He went so far as to ban any stories about their relationship from showing up in their paper, siting workplace harassment. The entertainment desk was surprisingly accommodating. With Andrea’s permission, they ran a photo of them from the event, but said little about it. Miranda responded exactly the way she always did when the media got involved. She put on her oversized sunglasses and her best bitch face. They only hounded her for a few days before they realized that she was responding even less than usual. Caroline and Cassidy weren’t phased in the slightest by the very public coming out. Dalton’s strict zero tolerance policy on bullying prevented comments from their peers. They discovered quickly that there was a surprisingly large portion of the student body that had same gendered parents. They quickly rallied around the girls and they found themselves with a number of new friends. Cara and security did a good job of keeping the press away from the girls. The one time a reporter did get close enough to ask what they thought of their mother dating a younger woman, Caroline simply answered, “We love our step-mother very much,” before walking away haughtily.
Andrea discovered the quote the next day and quickly dissolved into tears. Miranda found her curled up in the study sobbing. Without questioning her, she gathered her into her arms. It was already late and the pregnancy hormones were wreaking havoc on the normally composed woman’s nerves. Sensing that Andrea was unlikely to regain her equilibrium, the editor relocated them upstairs to begin getting ready for bed. She brought the book, knowing that she had several hours of reviews yet to do. On most nights, she was content to work in bed watching the young woman sleep.
Andrea couldn’t stop the tears from falling, but found the soft arms around her to be a great comfort. She didn’t mind when Miranda carefully began removing her clothes. It was rare these days that she felt so helpless, but with the older woman she knew in the very depth of her soul that she was safe. Familiar soft hands gently released the long line of buttons on her shirt. The cool air caressed her skin as the fabric fell open. Cool hands brushed it off of her shoulders allowing it to fall to the ground. They skated down her ribs into the waistband of her pants where they paused. With some difficulty Miranda managed to unbutton her dress pants.
“Oh Andrea,” the editor gasped in awe. She pressed a warm hand to the small bump caressing it. With her other hand she brushed away the tears that were finally slowing. “Look darling,” she said navigating them towards the full length mirror. She moved behind the young woman so that the view would be unobstructed. In the reflection she watched the brown eyes focus and sweep down to where her hands were currently cupped. Andrea’s hands landed on top of her own squeezing gently.
“Wow,” the reporter finally said breaking the silence.
“Wow, indeed. You are both so beautiful.”
“I didn’t even notice this morning. I just thought the pants were cut differently,” the reporter said still staring at their joined hands and the skin underneath.
“Ah one of the challenges of rarely wearing the same outfit. Though I won’t be apologizing, I quite enjoy how you’ve been dressing.”
Andrea rested her head back against Miranda’s shoulder laughing lightly. “It’s almost as though you forget picking out my clothes every morning. Not that I mind. It’s like being wrapped in you wherever I go. And as I am no longer your assistant, I really have no excuse to follow you around all day. It is a close second.”
“So you miss fetching my coffee and my scathing comments?” the editor asked teasingly.
“Oh that and the endless errands,” Andrea replied sarcastically. “I suppose I like this role in your life a bit more, but I will always be grateful for meeting you. Those months were well worth the years I will have at your side.”
“You are painfully romantic at times. I can just barely stomach it,” she said teasingly.
The young woman turned in her arms until they were face to face. “As are you, Miranda Priestly.” She looked down briefly to her stomach, where one of the editor’s hands still resided. When she looked back up, her eyes were wet with tears that hadn’t fallen yet. “I’ve never felt so incredibly loved in my entire life.” The statement came out in a hoarse whisper.
“You are so very loved,” she answered simply, pressing her lips to her lover’s forehead.
Andrea gasped slightly and moved back to where she could see the crystal blue eyes. “Do you mean that?”
“I do. I love you very much, Andrea. I cannot imagine loving another more.”
“I love you so much,” the young woman said wrapping herself tightly around Miranda. She released the hug with a large smile. “You know that’s not the only part of my body that has been changing.”
Andrea grasped her lover’s hands and brought them to her chest. Her eyes drifted closed contentedly as Miranda softly manipulated the lace encased skin in her hands.
“Oh my, you’ve become even more sensitive haven’t you?”
“Yes,” the reporter gasped at the gentle touches.
“I think that we should explore what else has changed. Take a bath with me?”
“Oh, that would be amazing. I am so sore today. Growing a human is remarkably tiring,” Andrea said seriously.
Miranda shook her head at the silliness. “Come then, love. Let’s get you cleaned and relaxed so you can get rest.”
The young woman glowed at the comment and followed happily into the large bathroom. The vast marble space was one of her favorite things about her new home. Miranda had excellent taste in fixtures. The shower had multiple heads and temperatures, but it was the tub that she considered the centerpiece. It was large enough for two people to be exceedingly comfortable. And the jets were perfect for massaging sore muscles. Evenings where the older woman would lead her into the bath were her favorite. Shared baths were quiet intimate events without being overtly sexual. The editor took great care in drawing the bath. She’d researched the correct temperature that would be safe for a pregnant woman and programmed it into the tub. Tonight she selected camomile and lavender salts for the bath meant to calm the senses.
Andrea finished undressing while attentively watching her lover bend over. Miranda’s ass was one of her favorite assets. She blushed hotly when the woman suddenly rounded and caught her staring.
“What? It is not my fault that you have an incredible ass. And you wear those tight pencil skirts. There is nothing I can do about it.”
Miranda laughed as she watched the young woman climb into the filling tub. The sigh as her skin touched the warm water filled her heart with tingling contentedness. When the level was at the correct height, she switched the water off. She tapped lightly at Andrea’s shoulder and she shifted forward. In the space created, Miranda slipped in the water behind her. The young woman settled against her chest and pulled the editor's arms around her. She placed the slender hands on her newly visible baby bump. Miranda traced lazy patterns over the wet skin.
"Do you think it's a boy or a girl?" the reporter asked soaking in the comfort.
"Mmm we will see how your stomach grows. Old wives tales say that how you carry can tell you. My gut says it's a little girl," Miranda said dreamily.
"That’s what I think too," Andrea whispered. "A house of all women."
"Maybe we will get a male dog," the older woman offered sillily. “Or perhaps we can just adopt Nigel.”
“I like the idea even if I am not sure that he counts.”
Miranda shook with silent laughter. "Have you started thinking of names or are you the type to want to meet them first?" She could tell that Andrea was thinking by the pause.
"I've always liked Elizabeth for a girl or Henry for a boy."
"Those are both lovely."
"But I want to pick full names with you. I want us both to be reflected in what we choose."
Miranda couldn't answer around the tears that sprang unbidden out of her eyes. She pressed her face against the damp neck. A wet hand trailed through her hair providing silent comfort, the only kind she was capable of accepting.
Andrea allowed the silence to stretch for a while. Even though she could not see her lover, she knew Miranda needed the time to find her equilibrium again. Once the woman was again breathing normally, the reporter spoke. “I think I might want to have a home birth.”
“Really?” This was a topic Miranda could handle. Logistics were one of her specialties.
“Yesterday I was reading some of the statistics about American birth rates in hospitals and it’s really quite frightening. I want to be as comfortable as possible,” she said trying to keep the nerves out of her voice.
Miranda hugged the young woman slightly closer. “I don’t outright have an issue with that. I am fairly undereducated about it, though. When I was pregnant, these other options were heavily out of favor. But you know the resources we have. If this is where you want to have our baby, I will hire whomever I need to.”
“Fuck. You are so sweet,” Andrea said letting her own tears fall.
“I would still like to have a doctor present. For my peace of mind.”
“So long as they are on board with all natural childbirth, that is completely fine.”
“Why do I have the sneaking suspicion that there are other things you want to change before then?” The editor asked playfully. In truth it didn’t matter what the woman wanted or asked for, she would have it.
“I want to change what I am eating,” Andrea said.
“I’ll get you time with my nutritionist. She is brilliant and has a PhD.”
“I don’t want to have a ton of ultrasounds. That level of radiation is bad.”
Miranda thought for a moment. “Very well, but I want the blood test that looks for abnormalities.”
“And we can listen to their heartbeat,” the young woman chimed in excitedly.
“What else, darling?”
“I think I want to start prenatal yoga. Would you do it with me?”
“That can be arranged. The girls might even want to participate.”
“I want to quit The Mirror.”
Miranda stopped breathing at the last statement. She wasn’t even upset at the suggestion. If Andrea wanted to stay home with the children, she would happily support it. She was just afraid that whatever reaction she had would be the wrong one and she would somehow manage to spoil this precious moment.
“I think I want only to work freelance,” Andrea finally continued. “I have been having to turn down gigs. It pays better and I like the idea of flexibility. But I wanted to talk to you first, because I would need a place to work. And I didn’t want to bother you by working here.”
The editor let out the breath she had been holding. “Oh darling, this is your home. You are welcome to work here. We can add another desk in my study or the library. We could even convert one of the upstairs bedrooms into an office for you, if you like.”
Andrea’s enthusiasm over simple things could never possibly grow old. “Of course. You decide what you want and it will happen.”
“Could I just start by working at the desk in your study? I want to try out different locations before we make any big changes.”
“I think that is a very reasonable plan. When do you plan on giving your notice?”
“I was thinking on Monday. I am really ready to start this phase of my career and it would mean that I would be home this summer. I’d like to spend some quality time with the twins before the baby is born.”
“Any other plans I need to know about? You have been quite busy this week, by the way.”
“Only one. And I am sorry I let all of this build up. We’ve just been running such crazy schedules. Every time I see you, I just want to curl up in you. I completely forget whatever it is I was supposed to tell you. I am going to have to start keeping post it notes,” the young woman said apologetically. “I know that this is kind of a large request, but I was hoping to take a summer vacation with the girls and you.” Andrea had maneuvered so that she could see the look on Miranda’s face.
“What did you have in mind?” The question was cool and practical, but on the inside she was beaming. It seemed the one thing that Andrea wanted more than anything else was time with her family. It had been several years since Miranda had taken a real vacation, but she was open to the idea. For a week Emily would be more than capable of keeping things moving. Even after moving to the Art Department, she still carried the air of someone who worked closely with the editor. In fact, most of the staff seemed to fear her as much as Miranda, much to the editor’s amusement.
“It doesn’t have to be anywhere far or fancy. Somewhere we can spend time together. Maybe a beach?”
“I think that can be arranged. I’ll choose a few locations and have my assistant gather information. You can then choose one or point it in a different direction. Will a week together be sufficient?”
“You would take an entire week away from Runway?”
“I would take more if you asked me, but I had been planning on taking at least two when the baby is born. So I was thinking just one week this summer.”
Andrea turned fully to face her and looped her arms around the editor’s neck. She kissed her intently attempting to convey how much the blanket acceptance meant to her. She was well aware that she was being spoiled rotten by her older lover, but based on Miranda’s reactions, it seemed to make her happy to do so. When the kiss finally broke, Andrea dropped her head on a moist shoulder, breathing in the woman’s smell.
“Our skin is starting to wrinkle,” Miranda said gently. “We should get out. I think I’d like to have an early night. Would you mind just snuggling up?”
“That sounds amazing,” the young woman answered happily, leaving the bath and retreating into their bed.
Chapter 7: Anything Anywhere
True to her word, Miranda had made it very easy for Andrea to work from the townhouse. The end of her time at The Mirror passed without fanfare. She wasn’t interested in a long goodbye. It had been a good first reporting job, but she felt ready to move on. Working from the townhouse was challenging in its own way. She quickly learned that if she wanted any hope of being productive, she was best off waking when Miranda did and working while the girls were still asleep. While she wasn’t responsible for their care, they were far too good at distracting her. Not unlike their mother, they knew the things that she could not resist.
The household fell into a happy rhythm in the early days of summer. Working in the early mornings the writer managed to stay well ahead of her deadlines, even as she accepted additional work. The afternoons were spent either experimenting in the kitchen or with the girls. She talked Caroline and Cassidy into doing all of the major tourist attractions in the city. They were skeptical at first, but after visiting the Statue of Liberty on a particularly pretty day, Caroline insisted they formally schedule such outings. After each adventure at dinner they would crowd around the editor and tell her everything they could remember. The blue eyed beauty paid rapt attention to each and every detail. Andrea even noticed that some of their pictures became the backgrounds for Miranda’s computer and phone. The flow of the current week had been interrupted by Miranda scheduling a last minute trip out of town. There was a photoshoot that had gotten irreparably off track, so she had gone to sort it out. Andrea and the girls missed her terribly, but had done their best to keep busy in her absence.
In an attempt to lift everyone’s spirits, the writer planned a trip to Coney Island with the girls. Cara regarded her with skepticism when she heard the suggestion, but agreed to go with them. Andrea was unable to go on any of the rides and would need an extra set of eyes to keep track of Caroline and Cassidy.
“Girls,” Andrea shouted from the bottom of the stairs. “If you want to have lunch there we need to get going. And no purses with designer labels on the outside. We are going on the subway and we just don’t need the added attention.”
“We know. We’re coming,” Cassidy shouted down.
Cara looked at Andrea and shrugged indicating this was totally normal. Feet trampling down the 2 flights of stairs announced the redhead’s arrival.
“Do we really get to go on the subway,” Caroline said hesitantly.
“Sure. Why not? It used to be the only way I ever travelled,” Andrea answered airly.
“I think we had better not tell Mom,” Cassidy said. “I know that she has had a car waiting for you practically all the time.”
“Good idea,” Caroline confirmed, nodding meaningfully to Cara.
“Oh, I am not going to get in the middle of this. My lips are sealed,” Cara said resolutely.
“It will be perfectly alright,” Andrea said ushering them out the door.
They navigated their neighborhood to the closest stop. It was a little bit of a walk, but the weather was lovely. The twins marveled at the ticket machines and what the inside of a station looked like. Andrea and Cara exchanged amused looks but managed to keep themselves from laughing at the girls’ expense. There was something refreshing in their enthusiasm for a world they had no idea about. To the adult’s continued entertainment, the entire length of the ride was treated with such exuberance. The train got increasingly crowded the closer they got to Coney Island. Cara led the girls off of the subway, hands linked so they wouldn’t get separated. The crowds around them were moving at erratic speeds and directions. The nanny navigated them to the closest set of stairs, hoping to escape some of the maylay.
Andrea was at the end of the line of women making sure that they didn’t get separated. She focused on the ground to keep her footing as she held Cassidy’s hand. Half a flight up someone hit her left shoulder hard. She immediately let go of the girl’s hand in an attempt right herself. The writer tried to grasp the railing with her right hand, but didn’t manage to reach it. The momentum from the harried businessman who knocked into her sent her sprawling backwards. Reflexively both arms wrapped around her middle in an attempt to protect the life growing in her.
All three women on the stairs watched in abject horror as the brunette fell. They ran towards her fearing the worst. When dark eyes lazily blinked open Cara broke the temporary silence.
“Cassidy call your mother and get her back to New York immediately. Just tell her what happened. Caroline call 911.” The nanny looked down at the young woman who hadn’t attempted to move since she put her hands gently on her cheeks. “Just stay where you are, Andy.”
“Ok,” the young woman said letting her eyes drift shut.
“Mom! Mom! We were going up the stairs and Andy got pushed. She fell. She isn’t moving. Mommy, you have to come home.”
The sobbing plea brought Miranda’s entire world to a halt. In a hoarse voice she said, “I’m on my way, baby. I’ll call you back. Keep your phone on.”
“I am, bobbsey. I am.” The editor immediately grabbed the arm of her assistant. “I need to get home now. I am getting in the car
and going to the airport. I expect a seat on a plane waiting for me. Any seat. Get me back to New York now.”
The girl didn’t bother responding, because she was already on her cell phone making arrangements. She followed at the editor’s heels in order to make sure the woman’s phone was available for other calls if needed. She barely contained her whoop of victory as the arrangements fell into place. She took a deep breath before turning to the editor.
“The Dolce and Gabbana jet is waiting for you. They moved their take off 15 minutes later to wait for you. There are two designers on board, but they’ve been told they are not to speak to you. The pilots have confirmed that you will have cell phone access the entire flight. I will return to the hotel and pack your things. I will bring them back with me later today and have them delivered to the townhouse. Roy will be waiting for you at the airport. And Chelsea will be available for anything you need. Is there anything else I can do, Miranda?”
“No. Thank you. That’s all,” Miranda said without looking at her. The editor was in complete shock. She couldn’t believe that in the few days that she was away from the city that something like this would happen. Her circular thoughts were cut off by her phone ringing. She opened it without looking at the caller id. “Yes?”
“Miranda, it’s Cara. We are on the way to the hospital. Andy is conscious but out of it. She’s been asking for you.”
“I will be in the air within 15 minutes. How is the baby?”
“I… I don’t know,” the woman stammered.
“I see. And the girls?”
“They are in the front of the ambulance with the driver. They are concerned, but are behaving exactly as you would expect a Priestly woman to act.”
“Very well. Keep me informed. I am going to make a few calls. Which hospital are they taking her to?”
“I requested they take her to Presbyterian,” Cara answered questioning her decision for the first time.
“Good. I will have the dean of medicine in the ER to meet you all. That’s all.” The editor turned to start delegating to her first assistant, but found she was already on the phone with the hospital making demands. After a moment of thought, she dialed a familiar number. After 2 rings a confused voice said,
“Yes, Nigel. I… I need a favor. I am in Florida. Andrea is being taken to Presbyterian.”
“Say no more. I am on my way. How can I reach you when you are in flight?”
“They’ve told me that I can have my phone on.”
“Ok. I will call you as soon as I know more,” Nigel said walking quickly out of his office.
“Thank you. I don’t know what I will do if I lose her.”
“I know, my friend. Stay strong.”
Miranda disconnected the call before he could say anything else that might make her cry. As she did the car stopped. Her assistant opened the door and jumped out. At a near run, the editor boarded the plane and took her seat.
The 3 hour flight was the longest in Miranda’s memory. True to his word, Nigel had kept her updated, but the information was far too slow coming for her tastes. But at least she had confirmation that Andrea was alive and seemingly not in grave danger. Sitting in the back of the car as Roy drove as quickly as he could, all she could do was worry about her family and it made her feel weak. Weakness was something she detested in herself. She hadn’t become who she was by showing her soft side, but the thought of Andrea and their baby in pain while she was far away brought her metaphorically to her knees. It was time for her to reconsider her travelling or find a way to take her family with her. Feeling as she was simply would not do.
The front of the hospital was already surrounded by the press and any hope she had been harboring for privacy evaporated. Before she could open her own door, Roy had gotten out and rounded the car. He opened the door and walked in front of her shielding her from the worst of it. Nigel was waiting for her right inside the door. She took his offered arm for both emotional and physical support.
“I’ll take you to them. Andrea is resting comfortably. They should be doing an ultrasound soon. I am glad you are here. She is putting on a brave face for the twins but she needs you.”
“Nigel, I should have been here. What was I thinking going out of town?”
“You had no way of knowing that she would have an accident.”
“Do you know exactly what happened?” Miranda’s voiced dropped to her most deadly tone. She felt the arm she held flex in nervousness.
“I think you had better hear it from her.”
“I see,” she said. Whatever had happened would clearly anger her. She sighed deeply.
“Well,” he said nervously. “Here we are. I’ll be back in a few minutes with food and clothes for you both.”
“Thank you,” she whispered. She stared at the door for a long moment. She promised herself that this was her last minute of weakness. Her family needed her and she would not be disappointing them.
“Mommy!” The girls yelled together and ran to her throwing their arms around her.
“We were so scared, mom. It was awful.”
“I know it was, my darlings, but you did a wonderful job,” Miranda answered soothingly. As the girls released her she walked to the hospital bed taking Andrea’s hand. Leaning down she kissed the smooth forehead. “Hello, Andrea.”
“Hi, Miranda,” the young woman said quietly.
“Girls,” Cara said to Caroline and Cassidy, “let’s go find a snack.”
The twins nodded in understanding. Their mom and Andy needed a minute alone. As they walked out the door, Miranda caught Cara’s eye and mouthed “Thank you.” The nanny nodded. She and the editor had always understood each other without effort.
As the door clicked shut, Andrea squeezed the hand she still held briefly. “I think I’m ok,” she said timidly.
“What did the doctor say about you?”
“Mostly that I am lucky to have fallen half a flight of concrete stairs and just have a few bruises and a mild concussion. But they don’t know about…”
“I know,” Miranda said cupping her cheek. “They should be doing an ultrasound any moment. It will be alright.”
“How can you be so confident,” Andrea asked as tears began streaming down her face.
“I live on hope, darling.”
Their moment was interrupted by a quiet knock at the door. A moment later it opened as a tech and doctor wheeled in an ultrasound machine. Celeste walked to the side of Andrea’s bed that Miranda was not on and laid a soothing hand on her swollen stomach.
“I hear you had a bit of a fall today,” she said levelly.
“I know you are scared, Andrea. That is perfectly natural. Try and take a few slow breaths. Remember everything you experience, he or she experiences too,” the doctor said as she set the machine and spread cool gel over the exposed stomach. She pressed the wand against the young woman’s skin, moving it in a well practiced pattern.
Miranda watched the doctor’s face as she worked for any hint of what news was to come. Even if she had a fraction of a second longer than her partner, she would be able to hide her emotions. Unfortunately, Celeste had as much control over her expressions as Miranda did.
“Well, Andrea. You are incredibly fortunate. The baby is moving appropriately for this stage of development. Here look.” She pointed to the screen as she showed the movement. “The heartbeat is strong, but within acceptable parameters. I think you will both be just fine. Do you have any interest in knowing the gender?”
Andrea nodded, because she couldn’t answer through the tears. When everything had been normal, she had trusted that the infant would be healthy and perfect, but now she needed the proof that the baby was real. Miranda smiled down at her in agreement with her lover.
“Andrea and Miranda, it is an honor to introduce you to your baby girl.”
“It’s a girl?” The writer squeaked.
“It is. A healthy beautiful little girl,” the doctor answered warmly. “I want to check a few things on you, just to make sure that there hasn’t been any damage. Have you had any contractions?”
“No. I haven’t had any pain. My stomach doesn’t feel any different than it has been the last couple of weeks.”
“That’s good news,” Celeste said gently feeling the entirety of the baby bump systematically. “A quick cervix check and I think we will be all set.” The doctor worked efficiently trying to minimize her patient's discomfort. “Good,” she said finally. “I want to see you again in a week and take it easy for a couple of days. Keep your stress levels down. Aside from that, no special instructions.”
“I think we can handle that,” Miranda said beaming and petting her lover.
“Just have your assistant call, we will find a time,” Celeste said with a smile.
“A girl,” Andrea said looking up lovingly at her partner.
“We are going to have another daughter,” Miranda echoed quietly.
“Well at least she will fit right in. A house full of women.”
The editor smiled fondly. “Would you like to share with me exactly what happened? Nigel was being rather tight lipped.”
Andrea snuggled into the hand still resting on her cheek and allowed her eyes to drift shut. “Cara and I were taking the girls to Coney Island as a part of our Tourists of New York summer project. We were going for the really authentic approach so we took the subway. By the time we reached our stop it was pretty crowded. As we were climbing the stairs to get out of the station, a guy running hit my shoulder. It threw my center of gravity off enough that I couldn’t keep my feet.” She kept her eyes closed not wanting to see the disappointment in the blue eyes, but a thumb stroking her cheek coaxed her into looking up.
“I am sorry that I was out of the city today,” Miranda said soothingly, sitting down on the edge of the bed. “If I’d lost you or the baby while I was out of town, I doubt I would have ever been able to forgive myself.”
“You don’t have to feel guilty. You shouldn’t have had to come home. I knew what your lifestyle was like long before we became a couple.”
“No, Andrea. That is who I used to be. Runway is still a rather involved job, but it is not my top priority. My family is. I shouldn’t have left town. Others on my staff are competent enough to manage a photo shoot or we could have relocated to the city.”
“This isn’t your fault,” the young woman whispered. “It’s mine. I should have let Roy drive us or at least held on to a handrail. I carry this life inside of me. If I can’t protect it now, how in the world will I be able to protect it outside of me?”
“That is one of the biggest parenting challenges. For all you gain in having children in your life, it is a constant process of letting go from the day they are born. You are going to be an amazing mother to this little girl, you already are to the twins,” Miranda answered.
“But what if I mess up?”
The editor chuckled. “You will. We both will. That is part of being parents. But we will do far more good than we do harm. And I hire only the best therapists. I promise you that you can do this. But you must do me a favor and no longer use public transportation. You are dating an older woman and these kinds of scares are not good for the heart.”
“You are not that old. And no one believes you have a heart anyways,” Andrea answered cheekily before giving a serious answer. “I don’t want to be on the subway any time soon, so you don’t have to worry about that. Using the car service just makes me feel so spoiled. When I worked for you, at least then I felt like I deserved it for all of the long hours and distances travelled.”
“And now you earn it by putting up with 3 Priestly women. I am well aware that we are not an easy group to live with. And yet, you make it seem like the simplest thing in the world. I daresay no one else could pull it off.”
Andrea sighed and squeezed Miranda’s hand. She wanted nothing more than to be infinitely closer to her lover. To feel safe and secure.
“The girls and Nigel will be back soon. We can get cleaned up and see about getting you discharged. I think we will be able to manage monitoring a mild concussion.”
“Good. I just want to go home and get in bed. I wish I could erase this entire day, it was such a nightmare,” the young woman said honestly.
“We will see what we can do about salvaging it,” Miranda said with an affectionate touch to her lover’s hair.
Chapter 8: Always Feel This Way
After Andrea’s medical scare, Miranda cancelled all other out of town events for the duration of the pregnancy. So long as it could be done within driving distance of the city, she would be happy to go. She never again wanted to struggle to fly back knowing that her family was in danger. After just a couple of weeks, the young woman was back to normal. Those two weeks had been trying for them all. Fear seemed to buzz just under the surface of everyone’s skin. The editor could not be more grateful for their vacation. Taking a week off wasn't easy in her job, but for once she had been desperately looking forward to it.
She stepped into the foyer of the townhouse, but had trouble managing to move much. She knew she should have questioned allowing Andrea and the girls to pack for them. At first glance it appeared as though they had packed the entire house. Miranda truly hoped that her lover was not regressing to the fearful assistant she had once been. She could only imagine what Andrea would have packed for her in those days. She would have been so afraid to have forgotten something that the editor might want that the number of suitcases would likely have been doubled.
“Miranda, is that you?” Andrea called from the kitchen. The older woman knew that she would be slower to follow. At five months pregnant, the writer was starting to slow down. She carried all of the pregnancy weight in her rounded stomach. They met halfway between the two rooms in the hall.
“Hello, my darling,” Miranda said once they were within reach. She kissed her lightly and idly ran a hand over her stomach. “How has your day been?”
“Good, but tiring. I think the girls may have overdone it with the amount of stuff they packed. But they were being so helpful that I really couldn't complain about it. Do you think it will fit in the trunk?”
“It will if we take the new SUV,” the older woman said thoughtfully. Somehow she had just known that buying a bigger vehicle would be practical even before the baby arrived. “I will call and have Roy fetch it instead.” Of course she really meant that she would text her assistant to call Roy, but that was honestly close enough.
“Oh ok good. I would be happy to help drive you know,” the younger woman said. She tugged the older woman closer inspite of the awkwardness of her stomach. “I am so excited to go.”
“As am I, dear. Let me go upstairs and put on something more suitable. Then we can be off.” Miranda trotted off at her normal pace. The weight of her busy week had been lifted from her shoulders just by stepping through the threshold.
By the time she made it back downstairs, the girls and Roy had packed the SUV for their trip. She heard excited chattering from the kitchen. Cara, Andrea and the twins were gathered with their heads down around the island. The twin redheads snapped up at her entrance.
"Mom!" Cassidy shouted excitedly. "You're home!"
"I am, bobbsey. What are the four of you up to?"
"We were packing dinner," Caroline said in a tone that indicated Miranda really should have already known that. The editor couldn’t bring herself to reprimand her daughter today.
“I thought we would have a picnic on the way,” Andrea chimed in. As she actually looked incredibly excited at the thought, Miranda again held her tongue and trusted that the beautiful woman would have catered to her tastes.
“And there is an entire chest and several bags of food packed for the week,” Cassidy said looking to the writer for her approval.
“I thought we’d be able to cook at the house some together. The girls and I picked out a number of recipes we thought we’d try. I have it all planned out and it's interspersed with reservations at restaurants you should be happy with.”
Miranda leaned over and kissed Andrea’s cheek affectionately. “I am certain I will enjoy everything you have planned and packed. Are we ready to go?”
“Yep,” the young woman said happily and showed the car keys in her hand. The older woman reached for them, but her lover closed her hand quickly and moved away. “I’ll take the first leg. I took a nap this afternoon, so I should be ok.”
Miranda appraised her carefully, but relented at the playful sparkle in the dark brown eyes. Really, she should have known that her 3 favorite women were up to no good. After 5 minutes of serene silence as Andrea navigated out of the city, she flicked her eyes up to the rear view mirror and said, “Ready?”
“So ready,” the twins responded in stereo.
The young woman switched on the radio and what Miranda could only describe as cacophony came out of the speakers. Apparently the others in the car were intimately acquainted with the particular song as they began singing at the top of their lungs. She was torn between being aghast that even her beloveds would dare something so utterly silly in her car and laughing at their fun. On a whim she glanced over her shoulder. Caroline and Cassidy were doing some sort of exaggerated dance that seemed to imitate dinosaurs while singing. She knew the battle was lost and chuckled quietly. When the “song” finally ended, she turned the knob down and turned towards her lover.
“What exactly was that little performance?” Miranda did her best to school her voice and features as she would at work.
“Oh my god, mom,” Cassidy said with exasperation.
“It's Lady Gaga,” Caroline said providing a bit more information.
“She considers herself to be quite avant garde,” Andrea added.
“Should I know who she is?”
“Well, she has been building quite the empire,” her lover began slowly. “You might remember that in the news earlier this year she wore a dress made of raw meat.”
Miranda glared at that. She had heard and wished she hadn't. That monstrosity was the center of a debate with Irv for nearly a month. He was determined that meat dresses were going to be “all the rage.” As nicely as she could (at first), she had told him to go back to having long boring meetings and leave the fashion to her. It had gotten so ridiculous by the end that she actually had wondered if he was sleeping with the designer. Eventually he had dropped it, even if it was to berate her about her 2nd quarter budget.
“Ladies,” Andrea said speaking to the twins. “I don’t believe your mother is a Little Monster. Best move on to something else, perhaps a little Bieber.” The grin stretched across the pretty face was remarkably mischievous. Miranda rolled her eyes, it was one of the girl’s favorite and most annoying singers. But as the twins giggled happily in the back then sang along loudly with Andrea, the editor thought that perhaps he might be her favorite as well.
Dinner had been consumed in the car after Miranda started driving, much to her chagrin. The realization had been somewhat softened by Andrea feeding her each and every bite. As the girls were engrossed in the movies they were watching with headphones on, the younger woman whispered some delightfully naughty things in her ear to pacify her.
The tactic would have worked had it ended there, but instead the incredibly creative writer explained to her in remarkable detail exactly what would happen as soon as they arrived at the beach house they rented for the week. Towards the end of the drive, Miranda had begun to wonder about the logistics of some of the things Andrea was saying. However, being in a generous mood she was more than willing to give her the opportunity to try. The drive did not so coincidentally feel infinitely shorter than Miranda could ever remember it being before. She had not often gone to Cape Cod, but last year she had an incredible shoot there. She wanted their first family vacation to be in a beautiful location unsullied by past relationships.
As she pulled up the long narrow drive, Miranda knew that she had made the right decision. The house was tastefully lit for night, highlighting the signature architecture of the area. Andrea had done a wonderful job picking the house. After the editor had presented her with a list of possible locations, the young woman had taken it upon herself to work with her personal assitant to see to all of the vacation details. The idea of being surprised all week by Andrea sent tingles down Miranda’s spine. No person, and certainly no other lover, had ever understood her desires and tastes so thoroughly. Though the editor had no specific details, she knew that it would be the best vacation her family had ever been on.
As she stopped the car, the twins practically flew out of the vehicle to explore the structure. Caroline had the key, which Andrea had been thoughtful enough to have delivered to them in preparation for their late arrival. Cassidy was right on her heels. Miranda climbed out of the vehicle and stretched her body. It was rare that she sat in a single position for so long. Though she had a desk job, she structured her day around continuous movement, believing that it helped her brain to function better. She met Andrea at the front of the car. With a giddiness that the young woman seemed to bring out in her, she wove their fingers together. They walked up the front steps and into the house. Naturally the twins had already turned all of the lights in the house on. At times she wondered if she should employ someone just to save her electricity. Andrea had made it her mission to teach the girls to be more conscious about energy use, and they did try. It was obviously just more of a process than the two adults understood.
“Mom! We have an entire wing to ourselves,” Caroline shouted in delight.
“That’s wonderful, bobbsey. Why don't you and your sister come help me carry things in,” the editor suggested in a tone that really didn't sound much like a suggestion. Immediately the brunette too headed for the door. “Andrea, where exactly do you think you are going?” she purred after the girls ran out ahead of them.
“To help, of course. I can't let you all carry all of that in.”
“You absolutely can. Now what you can do for me,” she paused and ran her eyes very slowly over the young woman, obviously undressing her in her mind, “is go and fill this bathtub you have been bragging about. I want to be able to see the stars and hear the ocean with my fingers in you.” The last sentence was whispered so close to her ear that it was torture not just to capture the lobe and pull. Miranda knew if she did, Andrea would sway and struggle to stay on her feet. But there was no way the young woman would be getting off so easily after the two hours of torture the editor had endured.
“Yes, Miranda,” Andrea finally managed to stammer out. No matter how well she flirted with the silver haired beauty, Miranda always seemed to out maneuver her. It was a delightful loss. She really hadn't intended to let the others do all of the work, but there was no reason to pick a fight with Miranda. The dramatic level of protection came from truly loving her girlfriend and their baby. It was the kind of love that Andrea could not disrespect by arguing such a small detail. And the wicked grin she received for her compliance made her decidedly wet.
Getting everything in from the car had taken longer than Miranda would have liked, particularly knowing what Andrea was doing. It did give her the opportunity to get a better idea of what had been brought. A great deal of the bulk belonged to her teenage daughters. Andrea had packed two reasonably sized suitcases, knowing that they would not be spending a great deal of time in public. While Miranda would enjoy looking nice, it didn’t mean that she would need a new outfit multiple times a day. The food was well packaged and took hardly any time to put away. It seemed as though Andrea intended to cook at least half of the time. That suited the editor perfectly. She knew the pregnant woman was eating specific foods to keep morning sickness at bay in addition to trying to ensure the healthiness of the life she was carrying. Not to mention that the young woman certainly knew how to cook. Over the last few months, Miranda had become spoiled by a partner who enjoyed cooking with her daughters.
When she finally made it to the master bath, having told the girls goodnight, she wasn't terribly surprised to find candles lit everywhere. Andrea would clearly have thought of everything. The flickering light revealed a nicely decorated and appointed room. The comforter on the bed was already pulled down in anticipation of the two women climbing into it. She walked into the bathroom looking for her love. As promised, two windows were open allowing the cool ocean breeze in and the sound of waves. The moon glittered and reflected off of the water. However, the most beautiful thing in her view was the bareback of her gorgeous lover. Without a thought, she shed her clothes and climbed in behind her, wrapping Andrea in her arms and legs.
“This is everything you promised,” she said quietly as the young woman sighed and leaned back into her.
“I am glad that you like it. I think we are all going to have a really good time.”
“I have absolutely no doubt about that. The girls are already thrilled. Don't worry they were tired and I already sent them off to bed. The food has been stored. There is nothing for you to do, Andrea, but focus on my voice and my hands.” The hands in discussion had already started wandering. At first they were grazing over arms and soft legs reveling in the wet skin, but they were systematically working inwards. One hand gently cupped a tender breast while the other ran over the swollen belly and down to the apex of the woman’s thighs. “Oh my. Have you been thinking about me, darling?”
For the last few weeks, in addition to general fear, Miranda had been afraid to have sex with Andrea inspite of having permission from both her doctor and the midwife. The young woman had been as understanding as she could, but the hormones seemed to keep her body perpetually on edge. While she had been driven to taking care of the situation herself, she always enjoyed the other woman’s touch infinitely more.
“I’m always thinking about you, Miranda.”
“Somehow I do not doubt that. It seems that you were thinking some rather specific thoughts.” She glided through wetness teasing Andrea’s opening.
“Oh god, Miranda. Please,” the young woman begged. She was already close. There was no way she would last more than a few minutes. “I was thinking about you undressing and what your underwear would look like. And how good it looks when you bend over. I swear you have the nicest ass. I was hoping that you would join me and that you would do exactly this. Please, I need you in me. It's been so long.”
“Far too long, Andrea.” So very gently, she inserted one and then two fingers inside of the young woman. The writer immediately pushed her hips down, taking as much of Miranda into her as possible.
“Oh fuck. That is so perfect. Please just like that.” Andrea was already out of control of her hips. She needed Miranda to make her come.
“That's it, my darling. It's time for you to let go for me. I want to feel you. Come for me, Andrea.”
The young woman was defenseless in the face of such delicious language coming out of the older woman’s mouth. Her muscles clenched and released in waves. It left her writhing her hips and gasping for breath. Had it been her choice, she would have continued riding those fingers through a second climax, but Miranda had different ideas. The slender fingers were drawn out of her gently. The older woman reached for soap and began washing and massaging every available inch of skin. By the time she was finished, Andrea was relaxed and nearly asleep.
"Come darling," Miranda whispered. "Time for bed."
When Andrea woke, she only had a fuzzy sense of how she had made it to bed the night before. Based on her current state of undress, it had been all the editor could do to get them both back to bed. Not that there was anything wrong with a naked Miranda. In fact it was one of the writer’s very favorite things. And the older woman had yet again managed to literally fuck her to sleep. It seemed to be one of Miranda’s cherished pastimes. Usually the editor would be awake and gone before Andrea woke, but the young woman’s excitement about vacation had her up with the first lights of dawn. Miranda was so very beautiful in her sleep. She looked as peaceful as she made Andrea feel. The young woman almost felt guilty about plotting to wake her, but she suspected there would be no retribution for her actions.
Slowly she lifted the light sheet away from her lover’s body. The editor shifted slightly in her sleep, but did not wake. Andrea took a few minutes to take in the sight of her naked lover. The woman was entirely delicious. Luckily for the younger woman, Miranda had her legs spread invitingly in sleep. While Andrea could no longer luxuriate for long periods of time laying on her stomach between those long appendages, if she got on her hands and knees she would be able to taste her for a while until her muscles protested. She moved as gracefully as she could, which wasn't easy on normal days much less pregnant. She managed to get situated without rousing her partner, which was a small miracle. This would be a first. She had never woken Miranda up in such a manner before.
Andrea lowered her head. She couldn’t help but notice how her lover’s pale skin seemed to glitter in the pale pink light of morning. And Miranda smelled delicious. Without preamble, she ran her tongue feather light along on the length of her. The woman above her squirmed slightly at the contact but did not rouse. Andrea dipped her tongue into the wetness to begin a slow exploration of the woman she loved. From her current state, it was obvious that the editor had gone to sleep without physical release. With gentle purposeful swipes, Andrea drew Miranda into wakefulness.
As the older woman returned to consciousness, she was first aware of how obscenely wet and warm it was between her legs. And then Andrea hit a particularly sensitive spot. Her eyes opened and her hands buried themselves in the dark tresses. She half way sat up in pleasure, only to be forced back down by a single hand to her chest. The divine movements paused for a moment.
“This is the only angle I can work at. Be a dear and stay on your back.”
The young woman could not have sounded more full of herself, but Miranda was powerless to do anything about it. She did the only sensible thing and pressed her pelvis up, putting it at an easier angle for her lover. She was rewarded by two fingers swiftly entering her. In her half awake state, she didn’t feel the climax approaching. It crashed over her unexpectedly making it feel as though all of the air had been knocked out of her. It took several moments before she felt as though she was getting enough oxygen into her lungs. When she opened her eyes, Andrea had moved up the bed to lay on her side and just watch.
“Good Morning,” the young woman said with a self satisfied grin.
“That was quite the way to wake up,” Miranda answered stretching out her muscles.
“Well you seem to have this habit of exhausting me beyond the ability to reciprocate. And I was already awake. Simply seemed like the thing to do.”
“I cannot argue with that sort of logic. What time is it?”
Without turning towards a clock Andrea said, “It's early yet. The sun is just coming up.”
“Would you care for a cup of tea on the porch? I’d like to watch the sunrise over the ocean with you.”
“That sounds amazing,” the young woman answered. It was simply incredible how Miranda continued to surprise her.
The next 4 days did not disappoint. Andrea scheduled the perfect balance of activity and downtime. The girls were over the moon with every activity. Miranda could not remember the last time she saw them act with such joy. It was a lovely departure from the usual angst of living with 2 teenage girls. They had cooked elaborate meals together and played in the ocean. They read books aloud on the porch and had a bonfire on the beach. Though the editor toted around a nice camera, many of the moments were beyond technology’s ability to capture.
Today they were exploring the town of Cape Cod. While most of the stores were rather touristy, Miranda could not deny the girls’ desires to go in them. After they seemingly had been through every single shop, the family finally sat down at a small sidewalk cafe for a midmorning snack. After consuming snacks, the girls convinced their mother to allow them to go into the bead store next door inspite of her concerns about finding them all over her house for all of eternity.
“That was an amazing snack,” Andrea said drawing her attention back. The young woman was sitting comfortably still sipping on a large glass of lemonade.
“I am so glad you enjoyed it,” Miranda chuckled. “Just when I thought that you could not be any more appreciative of food, you have proved me wrong.”
“Hey! No making fun of the pregnant lady.” The young woman beamed at her inspite of the good natured teasing. “But I’m serious. I wish we could just extend this vacation forever. I want to always feel this way. I love being all together and having time for one another.”
“What if we could make it always feel this way?”
Andrea didn't answer the question immediately. She searched the blue eyes for some clue of what they were actually talking about. She knew there was a shift in the conversation, but wasn't entirely certain where it was going. “What do you mean, Miranda?”
The older woman waved her hands somewhat dismissively in her nervousness, but kept speaking. “If it was an option to always feel this way, to always be a family. Is that an option you would take?”
“Of course! You don’t even have to ask. I love you and the girls more than I can even say.”
“Marry me, Andrea.” Her voice wavered slightly with emotion. This was something she had been wanting surprisingly badly for someone who had been married so many times before. She wanted the young woman and their baby to share a last name with the family. She wanted it to be utterly clear to the world that they would always be a unit. She watched as surprise crossed the beautiful features and tears filled the dark brown eyes.
“Are you sure that's what you really want?”
Miranda knew the question to be influenced not by a lack of desire on the young woman’s part, but by insecurities. There was a part of her Andrea that would always default back to hero worship. Each time it came up, the older woman talked her kindly through it with faith that over time it would stop altogether.
“I am entirely certain.” She reached into a hidden pocket in her purse. “I hadn’t decided exactly when to give this to you.” She slid a small blue box towards her lover while opening the lid. “But I’ve been carrying it around with me for several weeks. This is something I very much want. But do you?”
“Yes. God, Miranda. Yes.” Andrea drew her into a heated kiss over the table.
“Try it on,” the older woman said attempting to keep her emotions in check, but not entirely succeeding.
“It's completely beautiful. Thank you.”
“I am very glad you like it. Now the matter of getting married…”
“Let's do it while we are here,” Andrea interjected excitedly.
“Well no. Not at this cafe necessarily, but surely they have a justice of the peace office we can go to. Afterwards the girls and I can cook a fancy dinner. We could eat on the beach and have another fire. We could do it today!”
“You don’t want a traditional wedding?”
Andrea stood from her seat and situated herself the best she could on Miranda’s lap. “Darling. Nothing about this has been traditional. Aside from the fact that I am head over heels in love with you. I want to be your wife. What better place than this? We have been having an incredible time. I think the girls will love it. We don’t have to stress about guest lists or the press sneaking in. We can always do a reception later.”
“So long as you don’t believe that it will be depriving you of anything, I would be happy to marry you as soon as possible.” She kissed the smooth cheek that she could reach. “I will need to make a few phone calls since I have been divorced. They will need proof.” Miranda picked up her cellphone and placed a call. “Amanda. I need for you to contact my lawyer. I need absolute proof of my divorces. Get them faxed to the justice of the peace in Cape Cod. Also have them call and secure a wedding license. I don’t know if there is a waiting period in the state, but if there is I expect to have an exception granted. I don’t care what needs to be done to make that happen. I want the license in my hand today no later than 3 pm or I will be very disappointed.”
Andrea heard a muffled “Yes, Miranda” before the older woman disconnected the line. “You've got to be more careful about talking like that in front of me,” the young woman said squirming slightly.
“Really, Andrea. And why is that?” the editor continued speaking in the same tone she had used on the phone. It was cool and condescending.
“Because getting a pregnant woman riled up while we are in public and you have no intention of doing anything is just evil. These hormones have me craving your touch all the time.”
“You seem awfully tired, darling. Perhaps we need to gather the girls and head back to the house. I would be happy to put you down for a nap.” She put subtle emphasis on the word down, but it was enough to make the woman sitting in her lap tremble.
If Andrea Sachs ever needed a reminder of the scale of Miranda’s influence, standing in front of a justice of the peace in Cape Cod less than 3 hours later was illuminating. There was indeed an exception process, however between the editor’s connections and Cape Cod wanting the bragging rights of being the location of her lesbian elopement, they were accommodated the same day.
Both women were windswept, but Miranda had insisted they change into one of the fanciest outfits they brought with them. The designer wrap dress wasn’t white, but in the editor’s mind her lover could not have looked more beautiful. She selected lightweight well cut pants and a nearly scandalously low cut silk shirt for herself as a counterpoint to her bride. The girls dressed themselves in modified beach wear. As a group they looked relaxed and wonderfully themselves. After the older woman got over the shock of Andrea’s suggestion, it was clear to her that the woman she was marrying was brilliant. It solidified the week as the best vacation in history. The four women could have an intimate family affair without guilt. She was certain that friends back in the city might not understand, but they rarely questioned her about anything. She would throw a party as Andrea suggested which would soothe ruffled feathers.
The ceremony, like her relationship with Andrea, was nothing like her previous experiences. Her family laughed and smiled as the justice of the peace read through the simple civil ceremony. One of the secretaries happily played photographer and witness. She captured the four women with their heads thrown back in laughter. And the twins hugging each other as they watched the women exchange their vows. And then finally the sensual kiss. Andrea’s arms were wrapped around Miranda’s neck holding her close. The older woman’s hands rested protectively on the sides of the baby bump.
As the writer wanted, they returned to the rental house for a family night in. “Step one,” she announced once they walked in the door, “more relaxed clothing. I am talking loungewear, ladies.”
“On it,” the twins said practically running from the room.
“I presume that goes for me as well, Mrs. Priestly?” Miranda asked smirking.
“It certainly does, Mrs. Priestly,” Andrea giggled. “God, the first time I answered your phone I said ‘Mrs. Priestly’s office.’ The designer on the other end of the phone actually corrected me. I was mortified.”
“You were quite something that day,” the editor said fondly.
“Don’t you dare pretend that you knew we would end up here. That is disgustingly romantic and I won’t hear of it,” the brunette said in mock offense, leading her new wife to the bedroom.
Miranda laughed so hard she snorted. “No, that day not once did it cross my mind that I would marry you. Mostly I was trying to decide if you would last out the week and where you could have possibly gotten such ugly ill fitting clothing. It was terribly distracting.”
“As were some of your rants that week. I, at least, realized I was attracted to you that first week.”
“The cerulean speech,” Miranda said knowingly. “At the time I thought I saw lust flash through your eyes at the very public dressing down.”
“Well you always have been a button pusher,” Andrea said lightly before pulling her in for a deep kiss. “Thank you for humoring me today. This has been amazing.”
“No, thank you for suggesting it. It's been a perfect day. There is nothing that could have made me happier.” Blue eyes blinked in an attempt to not shed tears.
“We aren’t done yet. A family dinner and some time in front of a fire. We can even have s’mores.”
“I will agree, but I have 2 conditions.”
“Very well,” Andrea said feigning seriousness.
“First, you will tell no one that I eat s’mores. Secondly,” she ran her hands seductively over her lover’s curves, “we will sleep in very very late tomorrow morning. I need some private time with my wife.”
“Deal,” the younger woman said breathily.
“Good. Now get back to the kitchen before I decide our time is better spent here.”
Andrea giggled. As much as she desired her wife’s attentions, they both knew the next few hours would make the special kind of memories that only came once in a lifetime. They would love each other thoroughly long after the sun had set.
Chapter 9: The One Who Knows
There was something about the way Andrea looked when she woke up that caused Miranda to think that this was likely to be the day their little one arrived. When she tried to work from the townhouse, she got a warm smile before being shooed off to work. Her wife, even at the very end of her pregnancy, was adorably stubborn in her support for her work at Runway. It was even more intense than it had been when Andrea worked for her. It seemed the more the young woman saw of her and her work, the more she fell in love. It was entirely enchanting and obviously the one of the reasons that a good portion of the downstairs of her home had been converted into a birthing center. It had been tastefully and temporarily done, of course.
In her advanced pregnant state, Andrea had been unable to decide exactly what she wanted, aside from being at home. So naturally, Miranda had facilitated as many ways as possible. She had a birthing pool installed. The room had been redesigned with soothing colors and she had a very nice sound system installed. She only hoped that Andrea would not choose Justin Bieber as the music she needed. Rounding out the room was a bed, a rocking chair and a very traditional birthing chair. In addition, not only was Celeste on call for them, but also a midwife, a doula and a birth coach.
Miranda realized that her approach was a bit like scattershot, especially for someone who wasn’t a first time parent. But it was no longer the 1990s and things had changed. The twins had been a scheduled c-section in deference to both her job and the possible complication of having multiples. But this was different. Andrea conceived naturally and had minimal medical intervention. It all felt so impossibly out of Miranda’s control. She had a newly found appreciation for how the twins’ father must have felt. Not that she exactly was envying Andrea’s position. Her own pregnancy had not been an easy one and was certainly not something she ever wanted to experience again. She wouldn’t give up her girls for the world, but was certain that she could have found better ways to obtain them.
Miranda was in her office in the middle of a run through when her personal cell phone rang. Caroline had programmed it so that only Andrea’s number would make sound during the day. She picked it up immediately.
“Andrea,” she said not hiding the concern in her voice even in front of her staff. They were well aware that her new wife was pregnant. They were walking on eggshells around her, because they were certain that at any moment she would lash out.
“Hi Miranda,” her wife’s voice floated sweetly. “You should come home soon, I mean whenever it is convenient. The contractions have started. They aren’t that close together, but I didn’t want you to be uninformed.”
“I see. I’m on my way.” Out of habit, Miranda immediately clicked her phone off. In retrospect, she wished that she had said something sweet. But it was too late now. She looked back to those still in her office. “That’s all,” she practically whispered. She enjoyed how the small group practically sprinted from her office. It was good for her ego that they were still so on edge. “Emily,” she said talking to her first assistant who was obviously not named Emily. “Call Roy. I am going home. Clear my calendar starting today. I will be out at least two weeks. Emily will functionally be in charge. She can reach me if she needs to. Call the doctor, midwife, doula and birth coach. Tell them to get to the townhouse. Coat. Bag.”
Without a word her second assistant handed her the items requested and she strode to the elevator. Once safely alone inside the metal box she let out the breath she had been holding. It was finally time. She and Andrea would finally get to meet their youngest daughter, to hold her in their arms. There of course would be a few tense hours before they got to that, but the idea that by tomorrow they would be a family of five, filled her in ways that she couldn't put into words even with her formidable command of the english language.
Getting into the car and getting home were a blur. Life didn’t come back into focus until she stepped through the doorway to her home. She was immediately met by her two older daughters.
“Andy is in labor,” Caroline said factually. Miranda could tell that she was covering her nervousness by stating facts emotionlessly, something she had certainly learned from her mother.
“So I have heard. Are you two sure that you want to be down here?”
“Well maybe not the whole time,” Cassidy said thoughtfully. “There will really be some things that we don’t have any interest in seeing, but it seems like that may be a little while away. We figured that keeping her company and a bit distracted might be nice. Sitting and thinking about how much you are hurting or are going to hurt doesn't seem like much fun.”
Miranda kissed them both on the tops of their heads. She had raised intelligent and thoughtful young women, but Andrea had taught them in a few short months the value of compassion. She was so glad to see it directed at her wife. “That is very thoughtful of you both. I suspect I ought to go check on her.”
“Don't look so worried, Mom. I read online that we all need to be calm and soothing around her. There isn’t anything to be afraid of, this is a natural part of life,” Cassidy said, obviously quoting what she had read.
“You are absolutely right,” Miranda said squeezing her arm before walking past her towards the birthing room. She tapped the door lightly while opening it.
“Hi,” Andrea said brightly. “You made it home quickly.”
The older woman knew inspite of the cheerful greeting that the young woman was fairly uncomfortable. It was written all over her pretty face. “Traffic was favorable. Come here.” She opened her arms invitingly. The slightly sweaty brunette snuggled into her arms inhaling deeply.
“I am so glad you are here. I think I may have freaked everyone out a little. And I am sorry I made you go to work today. I’ll never understand how you knew, but I shouldn't have doubted you.”
“It's quite alright. I am here now. How about I get into some more comfortable clothes and give you a back rub? I had my assistant call everyone else. I am sure they will all be arriving shortly.”
“That sounds good. And yes, I talked to Celeste a few minutes ago. I think she was a little shocked to have gotten a call from an assistant instead of from me, but I just completely forgot to call anyone who wasn't you.”
“Perfectly alright,” Miranda answered slipping into loungewear that had been stashed in this room for this exact purpose. “How far apart are your contractions?”
Andrea was going to answer, but instead was clinging to the closest piece of furniture, eyes closed, trying to remember to breathe. She was grateful when her wife’s steady arms encircled her. While it didn't lessen the pain, she craved Miranda’s comfort. “About 5 minutes, maybe a little longer,” she finally managed to pant out.
“Good, darling. That's good,” Miranda said still petting her. “Let's find something that sounds comfortable while we wait for everyone to arrive. Perhaps a bath or a walk.”
“I’d like to walk in the back garden I think,” the young woman said after a moment.
Without a word, Miranda took her hand and led her out the back door.
Andrea’s six hours of labor went as well as could be hoped for. She gave birth to a healthy baby girl in the birthing pool. Miranda held her the entire time feeling more a part of this birthing than she had the twins. The three of them had stayed in the water for a time before Andrea was strong enough to get up. Little Elizabeth laid quietly on the young woman’s chest, eyes shut in sleep. Miranda couldn't look away from the miracles in her arms. Out of the water, the doula and midwife got all three women cleaned up before helping Andrea into the bed. She fed the baby for half an hour before she was finally overcome with exhaustion.
Elizabeth was not quite able to sleep and began squirming against her mother. Miranda scooped up her hours old baby into her arms. She swaddled her in a blanket and went to sit in the rocking chair. She ran her fingertips gently over the small features marveling in the softness of the skin. The child was positively perfect. She had dark hair just like the woman who gave her life, but large blue eyes that made her look as though perhaps she was born of both.
“Hello, Elizabeth Catherine Priestly. I am so glad to finally meet you,” her older mother whispered rocking her. “I’ve been dreaming of holding you for months. It's hard to believe that you are finally here. You, my little darling, are the realization of a dream I never truly thought I could have. Your beautiful mommy was very nearly lost to me. Don’t tell her, but I didn't entirely know how to love until she loved me. And she gave us you, which is a miracle beyond my wildest imagination. You should know from the very beginning that I am far from perfect. But I will do my very best to give you the world. But I think my most important job will be showing you exactly how far love can go. And when it is time I will let you spread your wings and go on your own. You will always have a home in me, Elizabeth.”
The small blue eyes fluttered closed in the midst of listening to her mother’s voice. Miranda looked at the bundle in her arms in awe. The child represented a second chance she still couldn't believe she was worthy of, but she was willing to do everything in her power to earn it every day.
“How are you two doing?” Andrea croaked from the bed. Her voice was rough with exertion and sleep.
"We are doing well. Just getting better acquainted. Weren't we, Elizabeth?"
"Come to bed. I’m lonely and want you both close.” The young woman smiled slightly to soften the effect of her words.
Miranda rose slowly, jostling the infant as little as possible. Before laying down on the bed, she handed the baby to Andrea. The editor glowed at how natural her wife was at being a mother. She turned off the lights and slipped between the sheets. She pressed against her wife’s side, running her fingers slowly over the now cool skin. There was so much to do, but she could not bring herself to leave the scene before her. The birth announcement would have to wait because she knew too thoroughly how fleeting these moments would be. She would not squander a single one.
Chapter 10: Simple Life
There were a few things in life in which Miranda Priestley had absolute certainty. First was, quite obviously, her impeccable taste (particularly in wives). Second was her ability to obtain the things she truly desired. Yet even her commanding creativity could not have dreamed up the bliss of this simple life. She had woken up with the sun streaming in the light curtains of their Cape Cod home. The house was a wedding present for her wife and family. The area was her idea of heaven since their first vacation together. The simple wooden structure stood on stilts just on the beach. There were only three bedrooms, but a divine kitchen and sunroom more than made up for the size. She intended to get out of bed without waking her spouse or their 9 month old daughter, but Andrea wrapped her arms around the editor as soon as she felt her stir from sleep. They laid contentedly in one another's embrace until Elizabeth began fussing.
Without a word between them, the young woman scooped up their daughter and Miranda went to the kitchen to make coffee. While on vacation, Miranda prefered to craft her own coffee by hand. The smell that emanated from the french press was divine. She made a light breakfast of fruit and oatmeal knowing that the twins would be surfacing from their room at any moment. They would need the energy if they were going to spend all day on the beach again. Caroline and Cassidy arrived a few minutes later as if on cue. They were dressed in their swimming suits even though they were still wiping sleep from their eyes. The girls ate ravenously and darted from the table before their stepmother and baby sister emerged from the master bedroom.
Coffee in hand, Miranda followed the girls outside and settled in on the comfortable couch. From where she sat, she could see the twins splashing playfully in the water and hear their shouts of joy. Andrea soon joined her with a very sleepy Elizabeth in her arms. The blue eyed infant in her half dozing state reached both arms towards her other mother. Miranda took the baby, laying her against her chest. She inhaled the sweet scent of her daughter and wife commingled on the soft skin. Andrea picked up Miranda’s discarded half drunk coffee and brought it gratefully to her lips. She snuggled into her wife’s side, resting her head on her shoulder. Elizabeth cooed for a few minutes before drifting off again.
“Good morning, my love,” Andrea finally said kissing Miranda gently.
“It certainly is. This house is even more amazing than I’d hoped. Part of me never wants to leave,” the editor admitted quietly.
“It's quite special isn’t it? There is something incredible about it just being the five of us. And this place has such a soothing calmness about it. It is so different from New York.”
“Perhaps we can move here when the twins graduate from high school,” Miranda offered.
“You know I will follow you anywhere. Do you think you are going to be ready to give up Runway?” Andrea phrased the question gently. She had no personal preference about how long Miranda continued to work. So long as the woman was happy, she would support any decision she made.
“I think in a few years it might be time to move on. Perhaps I will write a book or teach.” She ran her hand gently down her youngest daughter’s spine. “I missed so much of Caroline and Cassidy’s childhood, I think I would like to enjoy Elizabeth’s.”
Andrea simply smiled at her love and nodded. No words were necessary. Miranda would make the decision herself in time. The young woman could see a simple life here with her. But any life with the older woman was the one Andrea wanted to live.
“There isn’t language that can explain how happy I am to have you in my life,” the editor continued quietly. “This is the life I’ve always wanted, but never thought I could have. Until you, Andrea. You’ve brought such balance and peace to our lives. I love you so very much.”
The brunette captured pink lips in a light kiss again. Before she moved away she whispered, “And I love you. This is everything I’ve ever wanted.”