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More of a Fair Fight

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Turning over in search of warmth, Andrea was mildly disappointed when she didn’t encounter Miranda’s body. She burrowed under the fluffy eiderdown bedspread to avoid the light but the damage was done and despite how much she wanted to return to sleep, it was a lost cause. Her eyes blinked open and stomach growled. Miffed at waking up alone, she nevertheless sat up then stretched, moving her shoulders to pop out the tension in her joints and vertebrae. Andrea wanted to giggle as she looked at the clock, realizing Miranda allowed her to sleep in. Long past eight, she got out of bed and walked to the window. Thanks to feather light hands in the middle of the night, Andrea had been awoken in the best possible way then put to sleep, floating on a cloud without any clothes.

Below, early birds either jogged, bundled in layers or pushed children in a strollers or hurried to some place covered from head to toe. Miranda had said an influx of thirty-somethings bought up half the apartments in a building nearby thus accounting for new energetic vibe of the neighborhood. Andrea looked up at the blue sky and thought perhaps they could all go somewhere and enjoy the sun. Feeling a tad self-conscious, she went to the bathroom then shrugged into an unbelievably silky robe that stroked her skin and left goosebumps. It was a little short but covered the essentials. She checked her work phone, relieved to discover nothing major had happened since yesterday, then checked her personal and groaned. Two missed calls from her mother, a voicemail from Doug and Nate, all of which could be dealt with later.

Running her fingers through her hair, she used her free hand to open the bedroom door to check in on the girls but abruptly stopped in the hallway when confronted by Cara.

“Oh, you scared me.” Andrea gasped then followed Cara’s frown which attached itself to Andrea’s bare legs.

“You and Miranda...?” Cara said, puzzling it out. Her gaze snapped up. “I guess that explains the red bra on the laundry room floor. You didn’t have sex on the washing machine, did you, because that would really just...I don’t...” Cara squeezed her eyes shut, nodded, then opened them. “I’m choosing to believe it fell out of the basket.”

Andrea tugged the hem of the bathrobe, face aflame, not quite meeting Cara’s gaze. “That’s, uh, good. Um...Cara? It’s serious...between us. Miranda and I.”

“Well, of course it is.” she snapped back, taking a step closer. “Do you think she brings everyone here? Are you high?”

“No and...no.” If Cara hadn’t looked so appalled, Andrea would have certainly smiled at the ferocious defense she mounted on behalf of Miranda. “I’m sorry you, uh, found out this way.”

“As long as we’re making confessions, let me give you one of mine!” Cara backed Andrea up against the wall, pointing a finger in her face. “Don’t you hurt those babies. You understand? Their father’s an asshole and Stephen ignored them. You. Do. Better.”

Andrea nodded so quickly and so much, she got a bit dizzy. “I will. I will do better. I’ll be the best. I promise.”

Cara’s eyes narrowed. She left her finger just an inch away from Andrea’s nose. “We’re holding breakfast for you. Everyone’s downstairs nagging the hell out of Miranda because she wanted you to rest. So, get your butt downstairs but put something else on!”

“I will. I am.” Andrea whispered, completely taken aback.

Cara smiled. “Well, we haven’t all day.”

Andrea edged away, shoulders scuffing against the wall until she found the doorknob with her hand, twisted it, then quickly entered the room. She leaned against the closed door for a second, gathering her wits. It was humbling and a bit ironic to be caught by someone of the Priestly household. Yet, worse still to be caught by the paparazzi.

The clothes she wore to bed were missing, presumably in the laundry basket. Andrea bit her lip then looked at the closet. She couldn’t, feeling somehow intrusive at the thought of looking through Miranda’s clothes for something to wear. Andrea sighed and dug through the laundry basket but couldn’t find her things. She entered the en suite, looking around then smiled.

A pile of clothes, not her own, sat neatly folded on chair Miranda used in front of  the three-paneled mirror. A white slip of paper rested on top of it. Andrea, smiling, picked it up, delighted by the distinctive handwriting slashing across the small note.

Good morning, my love. Come join us for breakfast. M!

Andrea brushed her teeth, disrobed, then put on the loungewear Miranda selected for her. It fit perfectly which meant Miranda bought it for her. The Gratify Hoodie had a kangaroo front pocket in the color of dove gray leather. The long sleeves didn’t hug her arms which she loved, especially when in the mood for a casual weekend. Pairing it with a high rise sweat short in white with a cinching drawstring waistband, the look was definitely within Andrea’s comfort zone and preference during...family time.

The hallway was empty as she ventured out from Miranda’s room which was a relief. Holding on to the balustrade, she  took the stairs at a nice clip, eager to be with Miranda and the girls. The kitchen was empty as she slowed to a halt, then opted to raid the refrigerator for something to drink, preferably orange juice. What she found was a Cranberry Cocktail, not her favorite but better than pure cranberry juice. She looked through a few cabinets before locating the glasses and selected a tall, skinny one.

Glass in hand, she wandered the lower floor. Disappointed she didn’t run into anyone, Andrea climbed the stairs to the second floor and found everyone in the family room. As soon as she entered, Miranda looked up from her laptop, pulling off her glasses and giving Andrea a smile in welcome.

“Mummers!” Fen called out although she didn’t get up from her prone position on the floor while watching a PBS Kids show ‘Betsy’s Kindergarten Adventures’.

Andrea stopped to squat next to her child, then turned her over. Fen protested, the enjoyment of her mother’s tickling readily transparent despite the pleas to stop. Cassidy slinked a little bit away to allow them room, but Andrea grabbed her arm and gently pulled her in. Television show forgotten, the girls started to pile on top of Andrea. Caroline remained on the couch next to her mother although she cheered Fen and Cassidy on.

“Andrea, would you like something to eat? Nigel’s not due for another two hours but if you’re hungry, the girls made you a yogurt concoction.”

Out of breath, with a children-strewn torso, Andrea nonetheless replied, “Sounds great.”

“Well.” Miranda stood, then picked Cassidy up. “Oh, my, I better put more work in at the gym if I’m going to keep lifting you.”

Cassidy quickly kissed her mother on the cheek. “I’m gettin’ too old for it anyway.”

Miranda grinned. “Is that so?”

She nodded. “I’m almost ten.” Wiggling to get down, Cassidy snarked, “And you’re not gettin’ any younger, mom.”

Andrea laughed, half-sitting with Fen’s face tucked into the side of her neck. When she struggled getting up from her awkward position, her eyes met Miranda’s whose eyebrows inched slowly upward.

“Point taken.” Andrea mumbled after finally getting upright with Fen still in her arms.

As soon as they all were in the kitchen, Cara turned from the sink. “Are you sure you don’t want me to...”

“I do not.” Miranda cut in, adjusting Caroline’s collar. “It’s just Nigel. You went to the bakery, yes? I will make everything else and Nigel’s bringing...something.”

“It probably involves alcohol.” Cara sighed then folded a dishtowel.

Andrea asked, “What can I contribute?”

“Oh, I heard enough contributions last night.” Cara allowed the innuendo to hang a little then elaborated, “At the party, of course.”

Miranda pursed her lips but Cara merely laughed and put the dishtowel on the counter. “Well, I’m going to collect my things. Derby should be here shortly.”

All three girls implored Miranda to allow Derby and Cara to share brunch with them. Andrea, sure of Miranda’s answer, sat back and watched. At work, Le Priestly ruled, turning Andrea’s professional life upside down and while she didn’t appreciate the curt cut-downs, Miranda’s observations were annoyingly accurate.

But, Miranda at home was something to behold. Watching her interact with the children, host a party, or try not to laugh when Cara sassed her were sacred moments Andrea would never betray. Each one drew her in, making metaphorical notches on her heart that displayed the tally of her devotion. The more Andrea amassed, the deeper she fell in love with Miranda. There didn’t seem to be a ‘bottom’.

“You might as well stay.” Miranda sighed. “Someone has to serve after all.”

Cara glanced at Andrea.

Andrea shied away, having no desire to get caught in the crossfire.

“Oh, I’m sure I’m not as talented at serving as Andrea apparently is.”

Andrea glanced at the girls. Caroline was reading a book and Cassidy was on her hands and knees giving Fen ‘a ride’ across the kitchen floor.

Mouth agape and brows lowered, Andrea stared at Cara then whispered, “What did I do to you?”

“Andrea has many talents.” Miranda purred.

“On that note, Ro, come with me.” Andrea said, then patted her thigh. “Come on little pony, let’s make tracks.”

“Hi-di-hooo!” Fen called out, clutching Cassidy’s shirt.

Passing close, Andrea gave Miranda a heated look, turned on by the fact someone heard how much she pleased Miranda.

Miranda’s eyes widened.

Honestly, Andrea would have loved to listen in on the conversation between Miranda and Cara. She grew warm from embarrassment just imagining it.

Cuddling Fen on the couch, Andrea waited for Caroline to pass out the cards while giving instructions on the game of Go Fish.

Miranda entered the room.

“Oh, thank you ba-Miranda. I’m starving.” She looked at the twins but they didn’t appear to have caught her slip-up.

“You’re welcome.” Miranda smirked, handing over the yogurt then sitting on the opposite end of the couch.

Andrea dug the spoon in and pulled out what she thought was a piece of fruit only to discover it wasn’t. She glanced at Miranda, frowning and smiling. Miranda shrugged.

“There’s a Skittle in my yogurt.”

“I own that.” Cassidy announced with her hand up, busy looking at her cards.

“Oh, uh.” Andrea gamely tried it. “Hey, not bad, Sid.”

“Yup.”

Lining her cards up just right, Caroline said, “I put in the granola.”

“Oh, thanks.” Andrea looked at Fen but she was trying to pick up the cards.

“Fen contributed a few gummy bear multivitamins.” Miranda relayed, laughter in her eyes. “It’s important for your health.”

Fen nodded then mimicked Cassidy. “I own that.” 

“Well, thank you girls. It’s delicious.”

A chorus of answers rang out.

Tenderness filled Andrea’s body, bringing her close to tears. She looked at each of their faces and committed details to memory.

“Mom, you wanna play?” Cassidy asked, fanning out her cards and wiggling her eyebrows.

“If you don’t mind losing, then, yes, I do want to play.”

“Oh, it’s like that?” Andrea challenged, wrapping her arm around Fen as she sat astride Andrea’s thigh, facing the table. “You wanna beat M, sweetie?”

“Let’s beat her, mommy!”

“Oh, mon chou, such betrayal.” Miranda tsked, then held her arms out.

Andrea laughed when Fen reached out eagerly. Miranda caught Andrea’s eye, questioning. She wanted to kiss Miranda so much at that moment. Instead, she handed over her squirming child.

“Mom, I’ll be on your side.” Caroline whispered.

Miranda smiled, pecking her daughter on the cheek. “Thank you. So, it’ll be us three against Cassidy and Andrea.”

Nodding, Andrea went around the table and knelt on the carpet next to Cassidy.

“Hey, Andy, you guys are coming with us next weekend? I wanna teach Fen how to make sand castles.”

Andrea patted Cassidy’s back.

“I want to go.” Fen enunciated clearly, her brown eyes solemn as she looked up at Andrea. “Please, mummer?”

Glancing at Miranda who flashed a quick smile then nodded, Andrea replied, “Then we’re going, Fen.”

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Miranda wandered off, casting a look over her shoulder at Andrea. Much to her chagrin, tt took a minute to figure it out. While Derby read Fen a story and Cara looked on completely smitten, Nigel regaled the twins with a story of his very first day in Paris as EIC. It was as good a time as any to slip away without undue notice. Under the guise of using the rest room, Andrea took her time. On her way out, she kissed Fen who looked at her mother with utter exasperation. She didn’t interrupt Nigel and the twins but merely smiled and kept walking. A part of her thought it ridiculous to keep her and Miranda’s relationship a secret from the children, yet she’d rather not jeopardize it when they could have it all in less than a year. The key to her happily-ever-after was patience and Miranda’s plans.

Biting her lip to keep her smile from overtaking her face, Andrea went into the bathroom to text Miranda, asking where the hell was she.

laundry room

Odd choice but Andrea definitely could run with it. A little bit of ingenuity on Miranda’s part and flexibility on Andrea’s and they were definitely in business. She slinked around the corner then hightailed it down the hallway to the door leading to the basement. Very careful not to make a noise opening the somewhat rickety door, she took a steadying breath, rubbing her palm lightly on her stomach. Less than halfway down the stairs she noticed a light was on, although not the overheads. Andrea slowed her steps as she held onto the sturdy handrail. Miranda stood by the long folding table, one arm across her stomach while she stared at the floor appearing contemplative.

“Hey.” Andrea said as she approached Miranda, searching for details to give her a hint of what was going on behind those cool blue eyes.

“I’d like to discuss Fen with you.” Miranda announced, hands clasped in front of her. She waited for a beat then continued, “Do you still wish to enroll Fen into Dalton?”

“I actually looked at the literature and spoke with Mrs. Odongo.” Andrea answered, moving closer to Miranda and smiling. “She said the earliest I could enroll Fen would be in August.”

“And the tuition?”

Unable to bring herself to look Miranda in the eye, she shrugged, saying, “I’ll finagle it.”

Miranda reached out and gently took her hand then pulled her close. “Have I unduly foisted this upon you? And Fen? I love you both so much, Andrea. I only wanted to give her opportunities to learn and grow but you’re her mother.” Miranda broke eye contact. “And she has a father.”

“Is coparenting something you want? In the future?” Andrea watched her, cataloging the most miniscule change in expression and breathing.

Squaring her shoulders, Miranda replied, “Yes. When the time is right.”

Overwhelmed in the best possible sense, Andrea enveloped Miranda in an embrace. She swallowed then pressed her cheek against Miranda’s.

“I promise.” Miranda whispered. “Let me help.”

The last custodian of self-preservation retired in the face of Miranda’s devotion. Nate was  Fen’s biological factor, an undeniable fact, but he was involved with another woman who was carrying his child and wasn’t putting up much of a fight for his firstborn. Miranda, on the other hand, pledged her love by word and deed. Andrea pulled back and looked into Miranda’s eyes.

Long seconds passed. Seduced by the silent exchange, Andrea fell into Miranda’s blue diamond gaze.

“I promise, too.” Andrea asserted, ready to jump off a cliff for the woman.

Miranda closed the separation between their mouths.

All too willing to surrender, Andrea let go. The rush rolled in, washing over her, heightening the want and the absolute truth of her love for Miranda. She kissed back with reckless joy, her body knowing exactly how to bridge the gap between thought sand reality. She strained to be closer. One hand on her breast and the other on her ass, Miranda squeezed and rubbed and teased Andrea’s flesh. Squirming against the building ache between her legs, Andrea moaned and tried to cling to reason.

“I guess we should...stop.” Andrea finally uttered then bit Miranda’s neck, wanting more than anything to lie down and give Miranda free rein. “The children...”

Miranda smirked as she slowly slid her hand past the waistband of Andrea’s shorts.

“Oh...” Andrea moaned. “We can’t...it’s oh,oooh, yeah...”

“You’re very ready, cub.”

Miranda’s cool control started driving Andrea mad. Reduced to grunts, body surging toward clever fingers, she fought against the ravenous need. Miranda’s fingers quickened and pressed, clearly on a mission. Besieged by the most divine sensitivity, Andrea’s body clambered for fulfillment.

“Oh, please.” Andrea begged into Miranda’s mouth. She opened her eyes and looked directly into deep blue. “Fuck me.”

Miranda complied with gentleness, completely throwing Andrea’s body into chaos. She wanted violence of the swift and hard kind but Miranda decided upon slow and deep. Andrea lost her fucking mind.

“That’s it, take it...you’re so swollen and needy. Only I can fill you up. Say it, Andrea. Tell me.”

It was too much and exactly what Andrea needed. With a strangled cry, she came, sagging against the washing machine. Miranda carefully removed her hand and held Andrea upright.

“That was the quickest one yet.” Miranda teased. “I do so love how responsive you are.”

Andrea could only nod. The buzzing in her ears started to recede but the rest of her pleasantly floated somewhere. She smiled as her legs slowly gave out, ass hitting the floor and the back of her head thumping against the washer.

“Darling?” Miranda squatted down, cupping Andrea’s face.

“That was...” Unable to refrain, Andrea laughed low in her throat. “...exceptional.”

The wicked smile on Miranda’s face was enough to cause a small shockwave through Andrea’s body. Lowering her eyelids slightly, her body arched in response which had a wonderful effect upon Miranda judging by the sound that slipped past her lips.

“Mmm, still feelin’ it, baby.” Andrea murmured then smiled with feline delight.

“I’ll never tire of hearing that.”

“I really want to take a nap.”

“Normally I’d insist but...” Miranda took her hand. “...we have guests. Come on, my cub. No afterglow for you.”

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“Well, you outdid yourself, Miranda.” Nigel groaned, flopping back on the couch, nearly sprawled across it.

“Mom, we cleared the table.” Cassidy yelled from the other room. “We’re gonna play now.”

Miranda winced, hearing the loud stomping up the stairs. Andrea got up from the other couch and watched the twins help Fen then returned to the family room. She walked up behind Miranda who was sitting next to Nigel and put her hand on Miranda’s shoulder.

Leaning in, she said, “They may be noisy but they’re angels when it comes to Fen, like little sentries on either side of her.”

Miranda patted the back of Andrea’s hand. “Of course, I expect no less.”

“Well, we’re out of here.” Cara announced as she entered the room, followed by her boyfriend. “Everything’s cleaned up.”

“That’s not why I...”

“Oh, you can always slip a bonus into my paycheck.” Cara cut her off with exaggerated sweetness, fluttering her eyelashes.

“I don’t like you that much.” Miranda returned, entwining her fingers with Andrea’s.

Cara laughed, pulling on Derby’s coat sleeve as he waved good-bye.

Andrea kissed the side of Miranda’s head then retook her seat.

“Thank you for cooking. I’m going to have to add another workout for those huevos rancheros, baby.”

Nigel mouthed ‘baby’.

Miranda sighed, “I can’t break her of it.”

“What did you think of the Hervé Léger show? Max Azria did quite well for himself purchasing that brand.” Nigel smoothed his eyebrow with the pad of his thumb.

“Oh, I loved it.” Andrea gushed, leaning forward in her seat. “When Anna Selezneva walked out...”

“In that crystal-beaded number. Sublime.” Nigel enthused. “What did you think?”

Crossing her legs, Miranda replied, “That was a very nice dress.”

“I didn’t care for the Fetherston show. The hats and bubble skirts reminded me of clowns.” Andrea announced then glanced at Miranda

“Horizontal striped leggings were a bit unfortunate.”

The conversation drifted to other shows but Andrea didn’t offer any more opinions or questions. Listening to the two icons discuss trends and critique designers was a master class in fashion. The pitch of Miranda’s voice lowered to a reverent whisper when she spoke of Edith Head’s costume designs. Nigel adored McQueen’s rule-breaking style and Tom Ford, particularly when he worked at Gucci, turning a three billion dollar profit during his tenure. They reminisced about shows and escapades from the early years which made Andrea laugh until her sides hurt.