Andrea (Andy) Sachs, award winning reporter for The Mirror newspaper, wove her way through the tables in this small but upscale eatery. Her destination was a lone figure sitting at a table in the back. She grinned as he ran a hand over his balding head. That gesture alone let her know that the man was troubled about something. She wondered if she could dig out the source of that trouble before their lunch was over.
“Hello, Nigel.” Andy sat in the chair opposite her former co-worker and smiled. “How are you today?”
“Ah!” He smiled. “I'm just fine, my little Chubby Cubby... how are you?”
Rolling her eyes at that, Andy scoffed. “Nigel, I haven't been a cub reporter for a long time. I've won awards!”
He chuckled. “You aren't chubby either, so what's your point?”
Shaking her head, Andy picked up the menu waiting for her on the table and smiled at the attentive server as he set a glass of water in front of her. “Thank you.” She glanced at Nigel. “No point I guess.”
“Good.” He looked over his glasses at the selections listed and chose a chicken and pasta dish. His brow furrowed as Andy ordered from the vegetarian section of the menu, a vegetable risotto. “Oh dear, you've gone vegetarian on me.”
“'Fraid so.” Andy handed the menu back to the waiter.
Nigel t'sked, “That's too bad. You will be left out when we're all eating the lovely pepperoni pizza made in my backyard oven.”
“Is it finished?!”
“Yes, all the renovations are finally complete.” He sighed with contentment. “I moved in fully three days ago. It's a longer commute than my apartment was, but it's so much like my home growing up that the extra time is worth it.”
“That's great!” Andy beamed at the nodding man. “So when is this fantastic pizza party going to be?”
“Awww...” Andy deflated a bit. “My sister is coming in this weekend. She just broke up with her boyfriend and I promised to show her New York.”
Laughing at that, Nigel shrugged and sipped his water. “Start by showing her the outskirts and my house.”
“Would that be okay with you?” Andy had always pictured Nigel as a fairly private person. He got along well with people on photo shoots and in a work environment, but she has always believed his home was an intensely private place where strangers would not be welcome. Even she had only been inside his house a few times in the three years she'd known him. Those visits were at his apartment before the renovations on his house had even started.
“Of course, Six.” He smiled. “She's your sister though, so I should probably stock up on pizza ingredients.”
“Oy!” Andy laughed. “She's not chubby either.”
Nigel chuckled. “I'm sure she isn't. Is she vegetarian too?”
“No.” Andy played with the edge of her napkin and ventured a question, “Who else will be at your housewarming party?”
“Oh no...” Nigel's expression morphed into pity. “Don't tell me you're still holding a torch... Six.. really...it's been years!”
“No!” Andy sighed. It had been years, two years, ten months, twelve days and seventeen hours to be exact. Not that anyone was counting. “Not really... I just. I'm not sure if I'm ready to see... her. You know?”
“Well.” He nodded. “I did invite her, I invited several people from Runway, but I highly doubt she'll show up. Unlike the rest of us, she actually works on the weekends. I'm not sure she knows why we don't.”
“She should come to your house.” Running her fingers through her long wavy hair, Andy's voice sounded tense. She didn't really do weekends all that much anymore herself. It was easier to write and get ahead of her deadlines than just sitting around thinking about things. “But even if she doesn't, I'd rather think of her working than sitting in her big house all by herself.”
“She isn't dating anyone.” Andy studied the tablecloth closely. “She hasn't been on Page Six in months.”
“I didn't realize you were still keeping tabs on her...”
“Not tabs...” Andy wilted a little. “Not exactly. It's just... I notice things.”
Nigel tilted his head and chided her gently, “Things like thinking about her alone in her house and her absence from Page Six?”
“Yeah.” Andy sighed. “Things like that.” She didn't tell him that she also knew that this was the girls' weekend with their father. She knew she wouldn't hear the end of it if that bit of knowledge came to light. “If Jillian isn't too tired from the trip, we'll be there.” An odd look on Nigel's face caused Andy to pause and ask, “What?”
“Jillian...” He smiled. “What a lovely name.”
Andy's forehead furrowed but then she became sidetracked when the waiter delivered their meals. Both plates looked delicious and Andy dug in to hers. At least with her mouth full, she thought, she couldn't get herself into any more trouble talking about Miranda.
Andy wiped her palms nervously down the thighs of her slacks. “Are you sure you're okay with this?”
Jill laughed, the waves of her light brown hair bouncing slightly with the motion. “I'm fine. You're the one who's about to jump out of her skin.” She put her arm around her sister's shoulder and jostled her gently. “I think it will be great to finally meet all these people I've heard so much about.”
Nodding at that, Andy reached out and pushed the doorbell button. It didn't take long for Nigel to open the door and smile. “Six! So glad you could make it.” He hugged her briefly then turned to the stunning woman next to Andy. “You must be Jillian.”
Managing a fair approximation of Andy's famous million watt smile, Jill nodded. “And you must be... Nigel.”
“Exactly right, madam...” With a gallant bow he gestured them to enter his home. “It is a pleasure to meet you.”
“I have to tell you,” Jill laughed softly and locked her elbow with Nigel's, “No one calls me Jillian. Everyone calls me Jill.”
Andy picked up the gift bag at her feet and, since his arms were occupied, pulled the bottle up out of the bag for him to see. “Your housewarming gift.”
“Thank you.” He shut the door then examined the bottle Andy was holding. It was very high end olive oil. “Excellent. We can put it to use tonight!” He gestured with a tilt of his head down the corridor. “Everyone is in the kitchen.”
Jillian walked forward, but Andy tugged Nigel's arm and whispered as he dropped back next to her, “Everyone?”
Nigel nodded and gave her a sympathetic smile. “Yes. Everyone.”
They caught up to Jill and entered the kitchen together. Andy blinked at the chaos. When she and Jill had been growing up, their little family of four rarely had time to sit down for a meal together, much less cook together. It was a little overwhelming for Andy and she instinctively moved a bit closer to Jill. She glanced at her sister who was grinning from ear to ear.
“This is great!” Jill clapped her hands lightly in front of her, her excitement was evident. “What are we making?”
Chuckling at the woman's enthusiasm, Nigel guided her to one of the prep areas. “We're keeping it simple tonight. Pizza is to be the main course.” He showed her the dough that she could use, some was already pressed out and some was still in fist-sized balls. “I have a brick pizza oven outside, thin crust is recommended.”
“Oh! Wow.” Jill smiled at Nigel and bumped her shoulder into his. “That's pretty neat.”
Andy was a little surprised at Jill's ease with the situation, but there wasn't any time to think about it really. She was much too busy trying to keep her eyes down and not interact with Miranda, at all. The daggers coming from Emily's direction weren't all that comfortable either. Andy's heart raced just knowing that Miranda was in the same room. She had managed to select the crust she wanted when the door that led outside burst open.
“We put our pizza's in the oven, Uncle Nigel...” Caroline beamed.
Cassidy added, “Serena helped us.”
“Good job!” Nigel winked at the girls. “I'm sure your creations will be delicious. And they will be done and eaten long before your father arrives to collect you.”
Caroline leveled an appraising look at the woman next to Nigel. She was tall, with light brown hair and eyes to match. She looked kinda familiar but Caroline knew she'd never met this woman before. “Who are you?”
Nigel hadn't introduced Andy because everyone there knew her, but he had neglected to introduce Jillian and now he took the opportunity. “I'm sorry, everyone. Please forgive my manners. I'm sure you remember my friend Andy.” He gestured to their former co-worker then he smiled softly at the woman standing next to him. “This is her sister, Jillian. I'm sure you see the resemblance.” He didn't remark on the very relieved expression crossing Miranda's face and continued, “Jillian these two scamps are Caroline and Cassidy Priestly... that is their mother, Miranda, the editor in chief of Runway magazine. The tall drink of water over there is Serena, the short redhead, is Emily...” He went on to introduce the few other people mingling around, Gretchen and Joscelyn who worked in the editing and fashion departments respectively.
Waving a bit at everyone in the room, Jill chuckled. “I told him to call me Jill.”
Nigel scoffed at that. “I prefer Jillian.”
Tilting her head as she thought about that, Jill shrugged. “It's not so bad coming from you.” Their eyes met for a moment then Jill broke the contact. “Let's make some pizzas shall we?”
Andy busied herself at the sauce station, trying to decide which one she wanted on her pizza. She was just giving the tomato sauce a stir when a scent far more delicious than tomatoes reached her nose. A shiver of indefinable emotions raced down her spine as she recognized Miranda's perfume and felt the editor's low voice tickle her ear.
“Your sister is very charming.” Miranda studied Andrea's profile. “Very much like you.”
Snapping her head up at that, Andy was caught in Miranda's gaze. She swallowed hard and managed to whisper. “Well, she's older than me, so technically I'm like her...”
“Oh no, Andrea.” Miranda smiled. “You are definitely one-of-a-kind.”
Before she could respond to that Cassidy and Caroline ran up to Miranda.
“Mom! C'mon...it's time. We need help taking our pizzas out of the oven.” They each claimed one of Miranda's hands and pulled her outside.
Andy watched them go, only managing to focus back on her pizza making task after the door closed behind the trio. That only lasted for a second before she heard a hiss at her shoulder.
“What do you think you're playing at?!” Emily was livid. “If you think you can just walk back into her life after what you did... you're insane.”
That was it. She didn't have any clue as to how to deal with Miranda, but Emily was another story entirely. Turning on the redhead, Andy's eyes flashed with indignant wrath. “I didn't do anything!”
Emily scoffed, “Well we know that's a lie.”
“Not tonight I didn't. If you're referring to Paris then I suggest if you really want to know what's going on, ask Miranda!” She smirked at Emily's slack jaw and knew that the long held rule Emily had regarding Miranda would remain unbroken. Emily would never ask Miranda a damn thing. Leaving everything where it was, Andy walked down the hall to the restroom. She needed a little time and some solitude to think about what had just happened with Miranda.
Andy looked into the mirror and shook her head. It had taken her a while to calm down and realize that Miranda had been flirting with her. She blinked at herself and still couldn't really wrap her mind around that concept. Miranda Priestly, the Dragon Lady, had been flirting with her, Andy Sachs... lowly reporter. Even Emily had seen it, but had blamed Andy because, well, Emily always blamed Andy for everything. A light knock at the door pulled her attention from the mirror.
“Andy? You okay?”
“Yeah. I'm fine.” Andy closed her eyes because she knew what the next words would be.
“No you aren't. Let me in.”
Knowing her sister wouldn't give up, Andy just opened the door and backed off. Jill closed the door behind her even as Andy spoke, “I'm fine Jill, really.”
“Who do you think you're talking to?” Moving closer, Jill hugged her sister gently. “Miranda obviously likes you.”
A sound that was half sob and half snort of disbelief escaped Andy, muffled by her sister's shoulder. “That's impossible. There's no way... no way she would ever like me... not like that.”
“Why not? You're pretty awesome.” Jill pulled away and grinned at Andy. “You are my sister after all.”
Giggling at that, Andy nodded. “Well, that's true.”
Smoothing out a tear trail from Andy's cheek, Jill took a deep breath. “You know, I think she likes you...” Jill's eyebrows rose slightly, “and I know you like her. Even back when you worked for her, I heard it in your voice when you talked about her.” Jill encouraged her little sister to do the impossible. “Go for it.”
“Oh, Jill... I... I can't!” Andy shook her head again. “She can't possibly...”
Jill laughed. “You didn't see what I saw Little Sister. When we first came in, she was glaring daggers at me. Then, after Nigel introduced me as your sister... she never took her eyes off you, until her children dragged her away.” Jill's eyes clouded over slightly. “That's a complication you might consider.”
Andy knew that part of the reason Jill had broken up with her most recent boyfriend was that his kids had hated her. She also knew that Jill was now comparing Miranda's girls to her loser boyfriend's kids and that totally irritated Andy. “The girls are a pain to the assistants most of the time, and they even played a trick or two on me, but they love their mom and you should see them with their dog.” A smile came unbidden to Andy's face at the memory of bringing Patricia home after a vet visit. The girls' squeals of delight as Patricia gently played with them had warmed her heart then, like it did now. “You have no idea how hard Miranda works or what those girls miss out on... I won't take any of her time away from them!”
Jill's eyes had widened as Andy's rant continued. She held up her hands in defeat. “Okay, fine... but five minutes after their dad picks them up you better make your move.”
“I...” Andy now recalled Nigel mentioning something about the girls' father picking them up. “Jill... I don't think...”
“Little sister, either you get busy and tell the woman you like her.” Jill warned, “Or I will.”
“No.” Andy knew her sister wasn't bluffing. “Jill, please!”
“Five minutes after the kids leave... I better see some progress.” Jill used her best “Older sister voice”. “You can do it.” She grinned and winked. “Just turn on the old Sachs charm... you'll have her caught in no time. Honestly, I don't think it will take much, not from the looks she's been giving you.”
Andy just watched, stunned, as Jill slipped out of the bathroom. A glance in the mirror made her sigh and she spoke to her reflection. “Well, Miranda did imply that I was charming...”
The reflection in the mirror smiled.
As she reentered the kitchen, Andy glanced around for Miranda. To her surprise the place was nearly empty. Jill was there, putting the finishing touches on her pizza, with Nigel's help, but everyone else was gone.
Nigel looked up and grinned. “Better get yours put together, Six. Everyone else is already outside either eating or waiting for their pizza to be done.”
Jill declared her creation finished and picked up the flat circle pan it rested on. She headed toward the door and turned to wait for Nigel to catch up.
He hustled to open the door for Jillian and looked back at Andy. “Just bring it out when you're done. I'll show you how to put it in the oven.”
Nodding, Andy breathed a sigh of relief at the solitude. She busied herself, gathering small amounts of toppings, mushrooms, peppers, onions, and a few slices of mozzarella cheese. She didn't hear the door open and close with a quiet snick, but the scent that preceded the voice in her ear gave her enough warning that she didn't jump.
“I thought you had gone, without saying goodbye.”
Gathering her courage, Andy looked over at Miranda. She was so gorgeous, leaning against the counter so casually even if the skirt and blouse she wore would be more appropriate for a board room than a kitchen. “I would never do that, Miranda.”
The editor's lips twitched slightly. “I seem to recall an instance that proves that statement false.”
Paris, Andy thought and exhaled softly. “Yeah, well... I wouldn't do it again.”
Andy shook her head and again tried to concentrate on her meal. The choice now was trying to decide between a tomato based sauce or a white cheese sauce. But she answered Miranda's implied question. “No.”
“Good to know.” Gesturing to the pans in front of Andy, Miranda spoke. “I had the white Alfredo sauce.” Taking a clean spoon from the holder on the stove, Miranda dipped it into the pan and held it out to Andrea. “Try it.” She watched as the tip of Andrea's tongue touched the sauce and swallowed hard as the young woman moaned softly.
“Mmm... that is good.” Andy looked into Miranda's eyes and smiled. “But I'm not sure...” Getting a clean spoon for herself, Andy dipped it into the tomato based option. She closed her eyes and moaned even louder when she tasted it. Opening her eyes and not thinking about it at all, she offered the spoon to Miranda. “You have to try this!”
Leaning forward, Miranda tasted the sauce and nodded, then with a smirk, she reached up and with her thumb removed a bit of stray tomato puree from the corner of Andrea's mouth. Automatically bringing the thumb to her lips, Miranda sucked the color from it, her eyes never leaving Andrea's. “Delicious.”
Andy blinked at the sight of Miranda's thumb disappearing into her mouth. She could feel herself moving closer, amazed at the certainty that she was about to kiss Miranda Priestly. Her brain went into overload and her heartbeat sped up. She could feel the heat radiating between them. Just a little closer, a few more inches, oh God, please, just a little more. Suddenly the door opened and Nigel stuck his head inside.
“Hey you two! C'mon and join the party!”
Andy whirled at the sound of the door opening and gasped at the timing. Miranda reverted back to the Dragon Lady instantly. One glance told Andy that the moment was completely ruined. She spoke to Nigel in a fair approximation of cheery. “Be right there.” The door closed and Andy turned quickly to face Miranda. She trapped Miranda between herself and the counter and got very close to their previous position before speaking softly, “You aren't off the hook, Miranda. We will continue this later.” She moved slightly closer, then backed off and quickly assembled her pizza, with the red sauce.
Andy had made it all the way to the door before she looked back Miranda, still leaning in the same spot against the counter. “You coming?”
Miranda blinked and licked her lips as she pushed off from her resting spot. “Not quite.” Brushing past Andrea, she murmured, “Perhaps later?”
Taking a deep breath, bringing Miranda's signature scent to her senses, Andy sighed. Later had never seemed so far away.
Andy handed her pizza over to Nigel. He slid it into the oven quickly then resumed his conversation with Jill. The only seat left at the long table was directly across from Miranda. Andy was grateful that Caroline and Cassidy sat on either side of the editor. They took up a lot of Miranda's attention and Andy was content to just watch them interacting. Miranda's easy smile and honest laughter while conversing with her children was just wonderful to watch. It reinforced Andy's idea that Miranda was a real person, an amazing one, but real nonetheless. Emily had the notion that Miranda was some sort of untouchable Goddess, but the more Andy thought about that, the more she wanted to touch Miranda. She had always admired the smooth skin on Miranda's neck and shoulders, and a tiny jolt of electricity shivered down her spine at the memory of Miranda's thumb brushing the corner of her lips just moments ago. Just as that memory played in her mind, Miranda looked up.
Andy had accepted long ago that as much as her time with Miranda had allowed her to read her incredible boss that same time had also allowed Miranda the ability to read her. That knowledge came into frightening clarity when a tiny glint emerged in Miranda's eye and Andy watched as Miranda brushed her thumb against the corner of her own mouth, then licked it, just as she had earlier. The shivers traveling down her spine increased and Andy couldn't help but squirm in her seat.
Miranda smiled against her thumb then lowered it. “Problem, Andrea?”
“No, Miranda.” Andy cleared her throat. “Just anxious for my pizza.”
“I see.” Miranda just smiled and turned back to the conversation she had been having with Caroline.
“Here.” Jill put Andy's small pizza in front of her. She knelt next to Andy's chair and spoke quietly. Why didn't you tell me Nigel was so amazing?”
Andy's eyelids fluttered as her brain tried to focus on Jill's words. When they finally registered, Andy groaned. “Oh Jill... Nigel's gay...”
Jill's laughter made everyone around the table smile, but they all only glanced at the newcomer among them then went back to their own groups. “Andy, trust me. Nigel is not gay.”
“Jill.” Andy tried again. “I've known him for a few years...”
“Have you ever seen him with a man?”
“No.” Andy admitted, “I haven't.”
“Have you ever heard him complain about his job?”
“Well... yeah... actually.” Not too long after she had her big makeover at the very beginning of her friendship with the man he had commented about not believing he 'talked about this crap all day'. It was a frequent comment, especially during photo shoots.
“He likes fashion because he loves women.” Jill smiled softly. “He's really a wonderful guy.”
Andy looked at her sister closely. “Jill? Are you falling for him?” It was a bizarre thought. Andy had never, in all the time she'd known Nigel, ever once thought of him as anything other than a friend, a gay friend. She had to admit though, Nigel and Jill did make a beautiful couple.
“Maybe.” She ran her fingers through her long brown hair and exhaled softly. “I'm at least going to give it a chance and see where it goes.” Rising from beside Andy's chair, Jill brushed her sister's cheek with her lips. “It's good to give things a chance.” She barely glanced across the table at Miranda, then tapped her watch and held up five fingers to remind her little sister of their deal. Throwing Andy a warning look, Jill just raised her eyebrows at Andy's crossed arms and smiled before she walked back to her seat next to Nigel.
Andy narrowed her eyes at Jill's back, then looked across the table to find Miranda staring at her. It made her uncomfortable knowing that Miranda had witnessed the exchange with her sister, even though there was no way Miranda could have heard their low tones, or understood the meaning of the watch tap. Straightening in her seat, Andy dropped her arms to her sides as she stood. “I'm going to get a drink. Would you like anything Miranda? Girls?”
“Nothing for me.” Miranda glanced to either side of her, wondering if her children were going to take advantage of the situation.
“Coke for me.” Caroline grinned as Cassidy also spoke up.
“Rootbeer!” Cassidy looked pleadingly at Andy. “With a glass?”
Miranda said nothing as Andrea walked away.
It didn't take long for Andrea to return and Miranda smirked as the woman set a can of Diet Coke in front of Caroline then a glass, with ice, and a can of Diet A&W in front of Cassidy.
Andy saw the looks of dismay crossing the girls' faces as she sat down. “Unless things have changed drastically from the time I was your mother's assistant, I know that you are not allowed sugared drinks after eight pm.”
Miranda chuckled at the girls' resigned sighs then spoke to Andrea. “You remember that?”
Smiling at that, Andy shook her head. “I've fallen for their tricks a few too many times.”
“Do tell...” Miranda sent warning glares at each of the girls.
Waving off the past, Andy shrugged. “Just little things. You know fun stuff.”
“I highly doubt it was fun for you.” Miranda glared at the girls, who both wilted slightly.
Andy's heart went out to them. “Well, no, but,” she tilted her head back, resting it against the chair she was in and called fairly loudly, “Jill... how many pranks did we pull on people when we were kids?”
Jill's laughter crossed the patio. “Kids? Hel...” she glanced at the girls. “er... the heck with that, we got Uncle Ray good last Thanksgiving!”
Grinning at that memory, Andy nodded. “Yeah we did.”
“What did you do?!” Cassidy asked and both she and her sister leaned forward to hear the answer.
Andy could feel Miranda's eyes watching her just as closely as the girls were. She tried not to be self-conscious about it and began to relate the prank to them as she slowly ate her pizza. “Uncle Ray is a good guy, but he's big, six foot two and three hundred pounds at least. He used to be a football player in school. So he looks really tough, right?” Andy grinned as the girls nodded and her eyes twinkled slightly as Miranda's head moved slightly in the affirmative as well. “But, we all know that he is very very scared of spiders.” She winked as the girls giggled. “So... every year he takes a nap in the recliner after the meal. We waited until he was asleep and hung a HUGE realistic looking spider right above his face. Then we woke him up.” Now Andy laughed, fairly loudly. “He screamed like a girl!”
Jill chimed in. “Yeah, and then WE screamed like girls as he chased us down and tickled us mercilessly!”
Andy winked at the giggling girls. “That is the only reason the whole thing isn't on YouTube... he promised to tickle us like that, every time he saw us if we uploaded it.”
Jill moved closer to Andy and wrapped her arm around her sister's shoulder. “I think we've pranked nearly everyone in the family. Even each other from time to time.”
Andy agreed and they began to tell the wide eyed girls about several other times they'd gotten the best of their relatives. It was fun to tell the stories and Andy began to relax. It really felt nice to just hang out and chat with people, even if one of them was Miranda. Or maybe, Andy thought, it felt so right because one of them was Miranda. The stories eventually wound down though and the tension returned quickly when Miranda spoke.
“Thank you, Andrea, for giving my impressionable daughters some very mischievous ideas.” Miranda sighed. “I will have to be on the lookout for fake insects everywhere now.”
“Oh Mom...” Cassidy rolled her eyes. “You aren't scared of bugs.”
Caroline leaned back, out of Miranda's peripheral vision and waved her flat hand side to side as she silently mouthed. “Snakes”
Andy pressed her lips together and closed her eyes. She sent a silent prayer to any deity listening that Miranda never ever found a fake, or live, snake anywhere in her vicinity. The thought of Miranda jumping into her arms for protection wasn't a terrible one though. Andy opened her eyes and stared directly into Miranda's. No, she thought, that wasn't a bad idea at all. Her musing was interrupted by chimes flowing from the speakers hidden around the patio.
Nigel immediately stood. “I'll get it.”
Miranda urged the girls up out of their seats. “That will be your father. Go and gather your things from the guest room.” They both nodded and ran into the house. Miranda hmphed softly. “I don't know where they get their energy.”
“Really?” Andy grinned at the comment. She'd heard many mom's, including her own, voice that very thing. “I happen to know that you can work for twenty hours or more and then appear the next day, unruffled and ready for more.”
“When necessary.” Miranda agreed. “I can appear quite composed.”
Andy stuck the very tip of her tongue out at Miranda. “You sleep on the couch in your office... don't you?” When Miranda didn't answer, Andy smiled in triumph. “I knew it. I knew you wouldn't close and lock your door for a phone call.”
Miranda stepped closer so that her quiet response would not be heard by anyone other than Andrea. “If only my couch were slightly wider I would not have to nap alone.” She brushed past Andrea into the house.
Standing stock still, Andy tried to get the notion of snuggling together with Miranda on a couch out of her mind. Jill tugging on her elbow brought her out of the daze. “Hmmm?”
“You're time starts as soon as the door closes behind those kids.” Jill tapped her watch and grinned. “Tick tock.” She was going to say more but Nigel appeared at her side and swept her out to a cleared section of the patio.
Only when Andy saw her sister dancing with one of her good friends did she realize that there was now soft music playing through speakers hidden around the area.
Gretchen and Joscelyn decided to call it a night. Joscelyn was lamenting about going home to what was sure to be a hyperactive child because her husband would have let the boy eat all sorts of sugar coated treats by now. Gretchen claimed that her empty apartment was much preferred to the chaos Joscelyn had in store. At least she was going to get some sleep.
Andy chuckled at the good-natured bickering until a not so pleasant voice wiped the smile from her face.
“Why are you here?”
With a sigh, Andy turned to face Emily. “Nigel invited me.”
“You knew she would be here!” Emily was angry. “How can you just show up and pretend like nothing is wrong?”
“I'm not the one doing that.” Andy shrugged. “Miranda is the one who started flirting with me.”
“You lie.” Fire flashed in Emily's eyes. “Miranda would never... Not with...”
“Querida, Deixe que seja, meu amor. Venha dançar comigo..” Serena wrapped her arm around Emily's thin waist and spoke softly. “Please. Leave it be, my love. Come dance with me.”
“Wait.” Andy didn't understand something. “Why are you being so pissy to me, Emily? You have Serena...”
Emily remained quiet, but Serena spoke what her love would not. “Miranda was a terror after you left. We all knew it was not the divorce that had her in such a state. It was your leaving that did that. You hurt her, Andy. We do not want to see her hurt again. Do you understand?”
“I didn't know...” Andy felt her heart pounding, railing against the notion of having hurt Miranda. “I didn't know it was even possible...” She saw both Serena and Emily glance over her shoulder then they moved away, quickly to the dance area. A deep breath told her whose voice she should expect next.
“It is possible.”
Turning to face Miranda, Andy's large dark eyes threatened to release the tears they were holding. “I'm so sorry. I didn't mean...”
“Shhh...” Miranda's finger on Andrea's lips stopped the apology where it was. “I have long since realized that it was not meant to be at that time. There were too many things in the way then, the divorce, Irv, your employment status...”
Then, Andy thought and repeated Miranda's statement in her head, there were too many things in the way then. Reaching up, Andy pulled the hand away from her mouth and held it, tangling their fingers together. “And now? The divorce?”
Miranda gently squeezed the hand in hers. “Finalized.”
A wicked grin crossed Miranda's face. “No longer a concern.”
Miranda stepped closer. “An award winning journalist with a reputation for excellence and integrity.”
Grinning at that, Andy lifted their joined hands and kissed Miranda's fingers. “You're lucky. My integrity is all that is keeping me from dragging you to the guest room and having my way with you right now.”
Miranda's eyebrows raised significantly. “Perhaps you should work on your fact checking skills, if you believe that makes me lucky.”
Laughing at that, Andy wrapped her free arm around Miranda's waist. “Dance with me?”
“One dance.” Miranda smiled as they began to sway where they stood. “Then I believe it will be time to say our farewells.”
“While your integrity prevents you from taking certain actions, Andrea,” Miranda smirked, “mine does not.” She looked into Andrea's widening eyes and smiled. “I intend on taking you to my home, to my bed, and having my way with you for the entirety of this weekend.”
Andy's brain tried to translate the Miranda speak. It was difficult because her senses were already overloaded from being so close and moving so deliciously against Miranda's body. Which is probably why her vision began to tunnel when Miranda herself translated her words into a simpler form. Her warm breath filled Andy's ear even as her soft lips brushed the outside edge of it enticingly as she whispered in it.
“I'm going to fuck you into next week, Andrea.”
“Oh God...” Andy groaned then released her hold on Miranda's waist and turned toward their host. “Nigel... It's been great, lovely time... gotta go.”
“Yes, Nigel.” Miranda flashed their host a warm smile. “Thank you.”
He gallantly bowed to them and gestured toward the house. “I'm sure you can show yourselves out?” He grinned as they nodded and left quickly, far faster than he could have torn himself away from his other guests.
Jill laughed at her sister's hasty exit, then stopped abruptly. “Why am I laughing? She was my ride!”
Serena offered, “We can give you a lift back to the city.”
Sighing at that, Jill shrugged. “That would be great, if I had a place to go. I don't have keys to Andy's.”
“I'm sure I can find accommodations for you here.” Nigel's eyes sparkled. “I do have a guest room.” He promised. “I'll take you into the city tomorrow and show you the sights myself.” He cleared his throat and tried to phrase his next thought delicately. “I'm thinking Six may be... busy, for a while.”
Laughing again, Jill wrapped her arms around Nigel's neck. “I'm thinking that I may be... busy for a while too.”
Nigel only barely registered Serena bidding them good night. He was much too occupied thinking of ways to keep Jill busy. Sadly, or maybe not so sadly, none of them involved leaving this house.
They had driven in silence. Andy was grateful that Miranda had not spoken to her or touched her during the drive back to the townhouse. Her intoxicating perfume had been distraction enough and Andy certainly didn't want anything to delay the rest of this night. Now though, they stood at the door of Miranda's bedroom and Andy hesitated.
A look similar to disappointment flashed across Miranda's face. “Second thoughts?”
“No.” Andy assured Miranda quickly, “Not about you, ever.” She exhaled softly and spoke quietly even though they were alone in the house. “I just need to make sure that you are... sure.” Pressing her lips together for a second, Andy explained, “I'm done with one-night stands... I don't want a fling. I want you, Miranda. If we do this... I want it to be something that will last.”
“Andrea... I have not waited this long for a weekend fling. I let you go once, and you have returned to me. That means you are mine.” Miranda's voice lowered to its sexiest register. “I will not let you go again.”
“Miranda.” Andy moved in for a kiss and solemnly promised, “You won't have to.”
Pressing Miranda back against the wall, Andy lightly brushed her lips against Miranda's. The ridiculous softness she found made her gasp and she increased the pressure slightly. Exhaling through her nose, Andy spoke against Miranda's lips. “I knew it would be like this.” She alternated kisses and comments. “So soft... so perfect.”
“Andrea...” Miranda pulled the younger woman through the door and managed to lead her next to the bed without breaking the kiss. She tugged on the hem of the younger woman's shirt. “Let me see you.”
Andy immediately pulled the shirt up and only broke the kiss for the half second it took to pull it over her head and off. She tossed it haphazardly to the floor. Miranda's warm hands on her stomach and ribs pulled a long moan from her. “Oh God... Miranda...” She gasped as Miranda dropped to her knees.
Miranda hummed in appreciation as she pressed her lips against Andrea's flat, muscular stomach. She smiled against the smoothness as Andrea curled around her. The muscles under her lips jumped as she reached up to undo the button of Andrea's slacks and murmured again, “Andrea, let me see you.”
Kicking off her shoes, Andy shivered as Miranda peeled off her slacks. She quickly kicked them and her socks aside. She looked down into Miranda's eyes and with trembling fingers tugged at the collar of Miranda's buttoned blouse. “My turn.”
Nodding, Miranda stood and in what seemed to be a fit of shyness, turned around as she unbuttoned her shirt. Andy moved up behind her and as the garment was removed, she lovingly kissed the skin on the back of Miranda's neck, and down the older woman's spine and back up. Andy's lips found Miranda's ear and she whispered, “Turn around.” Miranda seemed a little reluctant, but she complied. Andy had to remind herself to breathe as she reached up to caress the part of Miranda's breasts not still hidden by her lingerie. Bending down Andy kissed the softness and slid her hands around, following the fabric to its clasps. Returning her gaze to Miranda's eyes, Andy undid the garment and without breaking eye contact, tossed it away before reaching behind her own back to do the same with her bra.
Moving in Andy wrapped her arms around Miranda's now bare shoulders and sighed as their breasts pressed against each others. She kissed the soft skin at the slope of Miranda's shoulder, then at the point where her shoulder and her neck met. Running her lips lightly across Miranda's collarbone, Andy slowly sank to her knees, kissing whatever softness her lips happened to come across. Her hands trailed down Miranda from her shoulders to the top of the skirt the editor still wore. She made quick work of the button and zipper but ran her hands down the expanse of fabric, then up under the skirt, skimming along Miranda's muscular thighs the whole way. Finding a spot to grab onto the skirt, from the inside, Andy pulled it downward, exposing the legs she had just explored. She also came face to face with a thin, light scar just below Miranda's navel. Andy blinked and looked up into passion darkened eyes. “The twins?”
Miranda nodded then gasped as Andrea's tongue traced the slight imperfection. “Andrea...” Miranda curled around her lover's dark head and sighed as Andrea laid her back onto the bed with infinite care. She lifted her hips slightly as her underwear was removed and then she raised her head to see Andrea removing the final piece of her own clothing as well. “You are exquisite.”
“You are amazing.” Andy crawled up onto the bed, almost overwhelmed by the sensation of her skin sliding against Miranda's. “I have wanted this for so long... wanted you, for so long... Miranda...” Andy cupped Miranda's breast in her hand, loving the weight of it. A tear escaped her eye. “I've been yours for so long...”
Miranda wiped away the tear and smiled. “I have been yours as well.” She smiled at the disbelief on Andrea's face. “I am surrounded, every day by some of the most beautiful and fascinating people in the world and none of them hold my interest at all.” Miranda gasped as Andrea's thumb lightly brushed her puckered nipple. “The only person I've wanted to be with for a long time, is you.” She could feel Andrea's hand trembling now. “Take me, Andrea. Please, make me yours.”
“Miranda?” This was unbelievable. Andy couldn't quite process the idea of Miranda saying please, of Miranda, begging her for... “Are you sure?”
“Andrea, I need you! Please...”
Any more pleas were stopped by Andy's mouth on Miranda's. She swallowed Miranda's sigh as she covered the woman with her own body. “You feel so good.” She pressed herself against Miranda, reveling in the sensation. “You're so soft.. so warm...” She murmured against Miranda's neck, “You smell so good...” Andy licked, nipped and sucked her way down Miranda's body, stopping occasionally to pay extra attention to certain places.
Miranda writhed and arched into Andrea's mouth until the exquisite journey slowed and stopped with Andrea's head resting on her thigh. She gasped as Andrea's breath warmed and ruffled the short hair there. “Andrea?”
Without another word Andy shifted and took her first real taste of the woman she had loved for so long. Miranda's cries spurred her on. She had dreamed of this for so long, but it had never been this good. The sounds Miranda made drew her ever closer to her own climax but Andy was more interested in hearing Miranda call out her name. Her wish was granted a few moments later when Miranda tensed and her strangled voice raised to a volume Andy had never heard before.
“ANDREA!” Miranda nearly sat up on the bed, her eyes wide as she watched Andrea's own climax send tremors through the younger woman. She fell back onto the bed, gasping. “Oh Andrea...”
Andy found the strength to climb up the length of Miranda's body. She settled next to Miranda, her head on Miranda's shoulder and dragged the covers over them. “I will never get tired of doing that.”
Chuckling at that, Miranda grinned. “That is very good to hear.” She kissed the top of Andrea's head then collapsed back on the bed, her arm loosely draped around Andrea's shoulder. “However, I believe it's my turn next.”
“Oh.” Andy hummed with pleasure. “Right, the weekend isn't over yet...”
“Mmmm..” Miranda agreed, “It is not, and I can assure you I always keep my promises.”
“Yeah, about that. You were pretty, um... forward tonight.” Andy bent her arm to prop her head up on her hand. “It was a little confusing to see you acting so outside your normal character.”
“I do apologize for that.” Miranda played with the long strands of dark hair under her hand. “I couldn't seem to help myself. I had waited for so long, and then there you were. I didn't want to lose you again.”
“I'm glad you made the first move.” Andy hummed in contentment, momentarily hugging Miranda a little tighter. “I wouldn't have. I was too scared.”
“Scared... of me?”
“Of being shot down.” Exhaling softly, Andy admitted, “I had convinced myself that you didn't want to have anything to do with me. That you couldn't possibly feel the same about me that I felt about you... but through it all there was a tiny, sand grain sized, nugget of hope that you did.” She swallowed hard. “I couldn't take the chance.” Andy sighed. “I couldn't let even that much hope be taken from me.”
“Hope.” Miranda smiled. “There are times when I have lived on it alone.”
“You know...” Andy laughed softly. “I only ate a tiny veggie pizza.” Peeking up at Miranda, Andy wrinkled her nose slightly. “As nice as hope is, and as tasty as you are... I'm going to need some real food at some point...”
“Well.” Miranda licked her lips. “I'm sure we can find some pasta to cook and there is plenty of Alfredo sauce and tomato sauce leftover from the amount I took to Nigel's this evening.”
“You brought the sauce?!” Andy laughed louder and accused, “You faker. You didn't even need to taste the sauces!”
“Oh, I can assure you, Andrea, I most certainly did need to taste them,” Miranda tapped Andrea's nose, “because I wanted to see you taste them.” Shifting to her side, to face the younger woman, Miranda reached up to trace the outline of Andrea's face. “But right now, there is definitely something else that I need to taste.”
“Oh really?” In a dry amused tone, Andy asked, “And why's that?”
“Because I made a promise,” Miranda grinned, “and it is not yet, next week.”
Andy gasped as Miranda's lips connected with her neck and she felt Miranda smile against the softness when she moaned and her hands began roaming to urge Miranda on. Next week was less than twenty-four hours away; Twenty-two hours and eighteen minutes to be exact, until Sunday arrived. She wished she didn't know that time so exactly and found her wish granted when Miranda's hand discovered a copious amount of moisture, shorting out her internal clock. “Oh God.”
Miranda chuckled and began to kiss her way down Andrea's body. “I am beginning to see the fascination with weekends.”
“Oh really...” Andy gasped and arched into Miranda. “I... wish I had explained it sooner. I'm starting to like them again myself.”
“Mmmm...” Now, Miranda kissed the inside of Andrea's thigh, then delved into her lover with complete abandon. “Indeed...”
“On the bright side.” Andy panted for breath and grasped the mussed sheets tightly, “there are plenty more...”
Miranda nodded, her nose brushing Andrea in the most intimate way possible. “Indeed there are.” She sighed and settled in. “Many many more weeks and each one of them with an end.”