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Run to me

Chapter Text

The deafening silence that greeted Miranda as she opened the door to the townhouse knocked her for six. It always did. She paused by the hall closet and shrugged off her coat as she simultaneously stepped out of her heels. Nothing like a bit of multi tasking. 

Her tedious dinner with some absolute bores in badly fitting off the rack suits had overrun and the traffic was, of course, a nightmare. Not that she had anything to rush home to. Throughout the meal, whilst plastering her fake social smile on her face and nodding in all the right places she had been discreetly checking her phone. Nothing. Not that she had been expecting anything. She'd stupidly made that clear. But still the total radio silence was like an icy stab to the stomach. It had been a blissful four months, but alas this was bound to happen with the way things had been going. Damn her insecurities. Sighing, she moved through the dark hallway, turning on lamps as she headed towards the kitchen. 

In order to keep a clear head and get this new sponsorship deal over the line she had barely touched the wine at dinner, so the crisp bottle of rose that was waiting in the fridge was practically calling out to her. Reaching the kitchen she grabbed a glass from the cupboard and retrieved the perfectly chilled bottle. 

Rummaging through the drawer she couldn't locate the foil cutter. She was an absolute gadget fiend and having the right tool for the job in hand was a given. But someone clearly couldn't remember to put things back where they found them. Coming up empty handed she slammed the drawer shut a little harder than necessary and proceeded to crudely rip the foil off the neck of the bottle to access the cork. 

Mission finally accomplished and her glass more than filled she leant back against the counter top nursing the precious vessel and its welcoming contents. The Book wouldn't be arriving for a good few hours yet and she was suddenly at a loss as to what to do. Charlotte, her long suffering housekeeper had left hours ago and suddenly the woman's fastidious need to tidy irked the editor as she looked around for something to clear up. All traces of the mornings activities, now long gone. The morning coffee cups washed and put away, breakfast bowls no longer in the sink, trainers from the early morning run with Patricia now neatly out of sight. 

Speaking of which, where was her furry, not so little, beast? Normally Patricia would have been right at the door to greet her, but even her most loyal of family members had turned on her this evening. It was becoming harder and harder to encourage the precious canine away from her new found love of sleeping on the recently installed dog bed set up by the window seat in the den. Topping up her now nearly empty glass she headed off to the den, now more commonly referred to as Patricia's room. As she walked into the cosy sanctuary she snorted as, yes, there she was, exactly as predicted, snoozing away. 

Now Miranda was here, she still didn't know what to do. It was tempting to switch the television on and catch up on some of the latest series that were waiting to be watched, but even she knew the fallout of doing that wouldn't be pleasant. OK, music. That wouldn't land her in any more trouble. Looking over she saw Patricia had awoken and made a note of Miranda's presence. 

"Right Patricia, it's back to you and me this evening. What are you in the mood for? I'm thinking, some Joan Armatrading?" Miranda got a gentle snuffle in response. At least she could rely on her loveable four-legged girl. 

As the distinct voice filled the room Patricia stood and slowly padded over to Miranda, plopping down at the editor’s feet and looking up at her. 

"At least you still love me," Miranda huffed as she reached down and carded her fingers through the thick fur at the scruff of the St Bernard's neck. 

Seeing the recently expanded variety of magazines and books that now littered the coffee table nestled amongst the usual back issues of Runway was just another reminder of what she was currently missing. Knowing it was all her fault was not helping her sour mood. As she contemplated picking up the latest edition of Swimmers World she heard the front door open and the loud boisterous sounds of her girls excited voices echoing down the tiled hallway. 

"... And the clothes they wore were so cool! I loved the bit where they were on the treadmills in their platforms," Cassidy was finding it hard to contain her enthusiasm for her new favourite movie. 

"Oh that was so funny! And when she knew the formula for glue, as if they thought the whole post-it note thing would work," Miranda could almost hear Caroline's eye roll. 

Miranda sat rigid, perched on the edge of the sofa, straining to hear for a third voice. 

"It's one of my favourite films, and I am so glad you enjoyed it, although didn't I say this morning that I knew you would, huh? Anyway thanks for hanging out with me girls. I had so much fun with you two."

Miranda sank back in the chair at hearing that familiar lilt, a little unsure as to whether she was relieved or nervous as hell. This was still new territory and she hadn't a clue how to navigate it. Give her a print deadline or an overrunning over budget shoot any day. Now that she could deal with. 

"Snap! Right, we're going to go pack our bags for school tomorrow, will we erm, see you in the morning?" Cassidy's voice sounded a little unsure. 

"Hopefully. It all depends on how well these go down," Miranda heard the distinct rustling of a paper bag, and her heart clenched. She knew exactly what was in there and she really didn't deserve the contents of said bag, or the woman that would, any minute be offering them to her. 

As Miranda listened to the sound of her girls stomping up the stairs she steadied herself for the unknown, wiping her damp palms down the front of her trouser clad thighs. 

"Is it safe to enter?" A toned arm appeared through the partially closed door of the den proffering the paper bag, "I come in peace and armed with dragon treats…" 

"Why wouldn't it be, Andrea?" Miranda mentally kicked herself for the icy tone she was trying so hard not to let through. Failed at the first hurdle. Nice one Priestly. 

"Still sulking then. Well I just wanted to make sure the girls got home OK. I'm going to leave these here and head back to my apartment. Night, Miranda," Andy left the paper bag on the coffee table and turned to walk out the den. 

Shit. Miranda jumped up and was at Andrea's side in seconds. 

"Wait. Don't go. Stay. Please, Andrea," Miranda reached out and tentatively took Andrea's hand in hers. When the brunette didn't recoil but instead tightened the hold she breathed a sigh of relief. So all was not lost. 

"I'll stay. But you need to tell me what's been up with you the last couple of days. Me and the girls are at an absolute loss, and we really missed you this evening." Andrea led them to the sofa and as she sat down she pulled Miranda onto her lap. 

Miranda sank into the welcoming embrace and reached for her treat, jumping when she felt a light slap to her arm. 

"Not so fast Priestly. Talk first. Rewards second."

Huffing, Miranda snuggled back into Andrea's arms and nuzzled at the brunette's neck. 

"I'm sorry darling. It's just. Well, the thing is. The girls. They chose you." 

"Seriously Miranda?" Andy sat up so quickly Miranda slipped off her lap, "That's what all this sulking and shitty attitude has been about?" 

"Well, yes. I know it's ridiculous but I really am not used to this," Miranda's voice had taken on a defensive tone. 

When Miranda realised Andrea wasn't going to say anything else until she explained herself she took another steadying breath and turned to face the brunette. 

"Caroline had an issue with those girls at school and she chose to come and speak to you about it. And you just dealt with it, so effortlessly. There wasn't any drama. It was just, you being you. And she didn't come to me. I wasn't even a second thought," Miranda ran her hand nervously through her hair," Oh god I have handled this all wrong haven't I?"

Andy was sitting there, processing what she'd just heard. When she felt Miranda go to stand she knew she needed to say something and quickly. If the last four months of being at the epicentre of this crazy, beautiful, ridiculously complex woman's world had taught her anything, the more time she remained silent the more the editor would spiral. 

"I wouldn't say wrong exactly. But I thought this is what we were doing here, us navigating everything together, including all the teenage drama. I told you from the beginning that I would be all in. And that by proxy extends to the mini Priestlys. And I love it. Like I love them. I want them to rely on me for things. We all know how busy you can get so when they come to me it's not because they are choosing me over you, it's simply because I am more available at that moment in time."

"You really are great with them. I am so sorry darling. I just panicked. The girls have never taken to anyone like this and I guess, I guess I felt left out. Useless. And I clearly handed it with the usual La Priestly panache," the vulnerability in Miranda's voice made Andy's heart clench. 

"Well, I get where you're coming from. But you need to remember there is no hidden agenda. This isn't a way of me getting one up on you with the girls. There are going to be so many times where I get this whole co-parenting thing so wrong but I need to know you will be there to steer me in the right direction. This is all still new to me too. And you have raised two incredibly and may I add scarily smart girls. Half the time I am just here treading water trying to keep up with you all." 

"Co-parenting?" Miranda practically whispered around a wide, relieved smile. 

"Yep. Open your baby blues my love and see that this is it for me. The whole shebang. We can do this together. But. And there is a big but. You need to talk to me. No more getting in little snits and shutting me out. OK?" 

Miranda nodded, "OK."

"And understand that our approaches to things with the girls will be completely different, but that's also OK. Actually it's a good thing when you think about it," Andy felt Miranda stiffen

"How do you mean?" Miranda was curious to see where Andrea took this. 

"Well, take the issue Caroline had for example. How would you have dealt with that? I can tell you, march into the principal's office and demand that those hideously awful girls be removed, am I right?" 

"Well they should be for some of the things they said to my Bobbsey," Miranda was working herself up into another sulk. 

"Which agreed, would have solved the immediate problem, and I still think we should sit down with the principal at some point, but it wouldn't have helped Caroline. And that is what I wanted to do. Give her skills to arm her for the next time. Because there will be a next time. And that's fine, it's all part of high school. And life. We are not always going to be there to charge in and save them."

"Hence the film choice," Miranda sighed in agreement.

"Bingo. On the outside it's a funny, silly, frothy comedy with crazy clothes and whatever. But underneath it has some great messages running through it. That it's OK to be yourself, and stand up to the 'Cristy Master's' of the world. I know it helped me when I was a teenager, I really related to Romy and Michelle. And it also helped to open up the dialogue between me and Caro."

"Hmmm, I think how you handled it was perfectly you and just what Caroline needed," Miranda affectionately rubbed Andrea's forearm, "and you don't need to worry, you keep up with us Priestlys just fine darling," 

"Well, erm, that's good to know," Andy was relieved that her approach had been the right one in the end considering Miranda's first reaction. You don't challenge the Dragon lightly, especially when it concerns Caroline and Cassidy. 

"I did miss hearing from you today. I fear I have some making up to do to Nigel tomorrow," 

"Oh god what did you do?" Andy leant back into the corner of the sofa, shifting her legs so Miranda could slot between them. 

"I may have been a little harsh towards him in regards to his proposed Camp Tethys photoshoot layouts…"

Andy closed her eyes as she listened to the editor talk through her day in minute detail. Happy in the knowledge they were OK again. Not that she had any doubts at all, she had a secret weapon after all. If only Miranda's minions knew how much they could sway her with something as simple as a paper bag full of sherbet lemons. 

 

*****

 

Andy was propped up against her pillows waiting for  Miranda to finish her nightly routine. She found it such an intimate experience watching her go from the editor of Runway to her Miranda. It was just another way Miranda showed her trust in her. 

"Will I get to meet him soon?" 

Miranda's head popped around the door of the ensuite, toothbrush still in mouth, "Who?" 

"Nigel. You talk about him so much I feel as though I know him already." Andy set the alarm on her phone and placed it on her bedside table. 

Miranda had been avoiding this subject since they had got back to the city. Andrea was spending more and more time at the townhouse but hadn't officially moved in much to the chagrin of all the Priestlys, Patricia included. They were careful on their outings with the girls and more often than not chose to have intimate dinners within the privacy of Miranda's home rather than under the scrutiny of the press. She had also not mentioned Andrea to Nigel. Or anyone for that matter. She knew she couldn't avoid it forever but she had her reasons. 

Finishing up in the bathroom she turned the light out and padded towards the bed. Stopping momentarily to take in the sight of who was there waiting for her. Oh she was beautiful. 

"You will meet him at the shoot in a couple of weeks," Miranda replied nonchalantly. 

"Yeah but you will be all busy and in full on Miranda Priestly, Queen of all things fashion mode," Andy knew she was encroaching on dangerous ground with this subject but she pressed on regardless, "I mean, I want to meet him on common ground, for drinks or dinner," 

Miranda was refusing to meet Andy's eye, as she climbed into bed. Oh, hang on a minute. 

"He doesn't know about me does he?" Andy watched as Miranda's hand froze as she reached out to turn off her lamp. 

"Not exactly no," Miranda sighed, but still refused to turn and look at Andrea. 

"Explain. And this better be good Miranda. I get that we have to be careful because of the press. We're both not quite ready for that just yet. But I don't understand the reasoning behind not telling one of your closest friends." Miranda could tell Andrea was unhappy but she didn't want to divulge everything right now.

"He's a big gossip and frankly it's none of his business." Miranda tried to sound convincing. 

"Bullshit. Try again Priestly." Andy folded her arms protectively across her chest. 

"Fine. It was going to be a surprise, but it's because of the photoshoot."

"What's the photoshoot got to do with why you are keeping me hidden away?" 

"This is really not how I wanted to ask you. I had a whole evening planned," Miranda muttered as she swung her legs out of the bed and headed towards the bedroom door, "I'll be back in a minute," 

Before Andy could even process what had just happened Miranda was back holding something that looked like a sketch book. 

"Take a look," Miranda handed the sketch book over to Andrea before climbing back into the bed, pulling the covers snugly up to her waist. 

Still none the wiser Andy went ahead and opened the book to the first page, her breath hitched as she saw the pencilled sketch of her leaning against the balustrade of the deck back at camp. 

"That's," Andy pointed at the drawing, "that's from the first night." 

Miranda nodded, encouraging the brunette to look through the rest of the pages. 

Page after page revealed the most beautiful drawings. Some in pencil, others using watercolours. They were truly outstanding. And mainly of her interspersed with some familiar landscapes and the twins. Was there anything this amazing woman couldn't do? 

As Andy got towards the middle of the book, she reached the layout ideas Miranda had had. Some matched the test shots she remembered Megan doing, and which she had posed for. 

"So how were you going to ask me?" Andy asked as the penny dropped and she slowly closed the sketch book, putting it carefully on the bedside table. 

"It doesn't matter now," Miranda shyly smoothed the covers. 

"Yes. It does. It will always matter. Tell me, my love."

"Well I was going to cook, and there would have been candles, and soft music and wine. Lots and lots of wine. Then, when I was sure you were putty in my hands, I was going to present the sketchbook to you and then hope you said yes. 

"Not that you had given this much thought, huh?" Andy shifted positions so she could straddle Miranda's hips, "And if I had said no?" 

"Ah, well, I too have a secret weapon. My own version of sherbert lemons, if you will…" and with that Miranda reached up and cupped the back of Andrea's head pulling it down towards her. 

Just as Miranda was about to deepen the kiss she abruptly stopped and pulled back.

"What do you mean if you had said no? You're going to do it, yes?" 

Andy nodded, "For you, anything. But I have one condition," the brunette then started to kiss down Miranda's jaw

"Which… Hmmm... Is?" Miranda was having a hard time concentrating on anything other than the hot mouth that was making its way down her chest. 

"Dinner, here at the townhouse," Andy mumbled around a hardened nipple."

"Yessssss," Miranda hissed, "that can be arranged." 

Andy made her way to pay the same attention to Miranda's other breast, "With Nigel." 

"Acceptable," Miranda groaned, "now are we all done talking?" 

"Yes, Miranda." 

 

Chapter Text

 

"Morning Bobbseys. Did you both sleep well?" 

Miranda was feeling bright this morning, the early morning wakeup call earlier, courtesy of a certain limber brunette, had certainly helped put a spring in her step... 

"Hey, mum," Cassidy replied around a yawn, still pajama clad. She hated mornings. 

"Has Andy left already?" Caroline was already dressed and raring to go. Miranda chuckled as she observed the stark difference between her two darlings. 

"She has, but will be here for dinner. She mentioned something about keeping her winning streak intact…" Miranda gestured to the chart that was proudly displayed on the fridge. 

"Ah yes!" Cassidy said as she ran a finger down the colourful and rather glittery piece of paper, "We are onto marbles tonight," Cassidy did a fist pump in celebration of the evening's activities. 

Neither Miranda or Andrea had expected the old school games nights to go down so well. It had started off as a way of finding activities to wean the girls off screen based games whilst spending time as a family. But it had been so successful that there was now a full blown championship in place, which Andrea was currently leading. Followed closely by Caroline, then Miranda and bringing up the rear, Cassidy. 

"I have been reading up on tactics. She's going down." Caroline had taken each game very seriously whereas Cassidy applied her usual flare of winging it and hoping for the best. 

Miranda of course, was not remotely invested. On the surface that is. The other participants knew this was not the case at all. In reality she was out for blood. Especially if the now infamous night of Tiddly Winks was anything to go by. 

"Well, we'll see. I was a mean marbles player when I was your age. I am sure it will all come back to me," Miranda winked at Cassidy whilst Caroline huffed. 

"Yeah? But that was like years and years…" Caroline looked her mum square in the eye as she continued, "... and years ago," Caroline was trying to hide the smirk but at the shocked look on her mother's face she couldn't hold the laughter back any more. She loved that she could now joke around with her mum again. It was another reason why she was so thankful that Andy was around. This playful side they were now treated to was simply wonderful. 

"Oh the absolute cheek!" Miranda laughed as she took another sip of coffee, "Right. Enough about marbles for now. Roy's going to be here shortly. Cassidy, upstairs." 

With no signs of movement from her weary daughter Miranda channelled her Runway voice. It never failed. 

"Now." 

"Alright, alright. I'm going!" and with that Cassidy took off, stomping all the way up the stairs. 

Caroline was sitting at the breakfast bar carefully observing her mum gliding effortlessly around the kitchen as she fixed another coffee. Ever since their return from Camp Tethys the changes had been monumental. Her mum was lighter. She made more time for family dedicated activities. But the most obvious point of difference was she smiled more. And laughed. Uncontrolled, deep belly laughs until tears streamed down her immaculately made up face. It seemed Andy had unleashed this once hidden side to her and now it was out it wasn't going anywhere. Caroline loved it.

"Mum, can I ask you something?" 

Miranda's head was buried in the fridge locating all the items she needed for a small bowl of fresh fruit and yoghurt. Another concept that had only begun for the editor since Andy had come along - breakfast. Long lazy, pj wearing feasts at the weekends, quick healthy ones during the week. Caroline remembered Charlotte's smirk when her mother had come swooping in one evening and announced the changes to their meal plans. Even the housekeeper had welcomed the benefits of this fun loving brunette's presence at the townhouse. 

"Of course darling. What's on your mind?" 

"Well, you know Andy?" Caroline was suddenly nervous about what she wanted to ask, especially as Cassidy wasn't by her side giving encouraging elbows to her ribs. 

"Yes, I am familiar with Andrea," Miranda smiled as she sliced some strawberries with surgical precision, "What about her?" 

"So do you think she would come live here, like for real? And not just the odd night and weekend?" Caroline stared at her empty cereal bowl, the pattern suddenly seeming very interesting. 

Miranda took a deep breath. She had been contemplating asking the brunette this since, if she was honest with herself, before they had even left Camp. The only thing stopping her had been the potential disruption to her girls and the press fallout that would inevitably follow such a decision. 

"Is that something that you would like Caroline?" Miranda continued to artistically arrange the sliced fruit on top of some Greek yoghurt. Just because it was a simple meal didn't stop her from making it visually pleasing. 

Caroline's head snapped up quickly and she nodded vigorously. "Oh yes, definitely. I mean, you know if that's something you would like too?" 

"And I presume this is something that your sister would also be in favour of?" Miranda knew that whenever big topics like this were raised it was only after much discussion between the two girls and then whoever drew the short straw would act as the mouthpiece. Clearly it was Caroline's turn. 

"Yeah, we had a chat about it and she loves Andy too. Not that we don't like it being just us three, but it's better when Andy's here, you know?" 

"Hmmm, I wouldn't be adverse to making it a permanent thing. Andrea and I have already touched on the subject but maybe we can discuss this when she's here this evening, as an erm, as a family?" 

"Yeah OK! Cool. I am going to go tell Cass, thanks mum!" Caroline jumped off the stool, running up to her mum for a quick hug before dashing up the stairs, thankfully not as heavy footed as her sister. 

As Miranda drizzled some manuka honey over her finished masterpiece her phone vibrated. She smiled as she read the message. 

Sachs: picking you up from work so bring appropriate clothes. Not sure when I will be done at the pool so keep an eye on your phone. Love you xx 

Priestly: Acceptable xx  

It still gave Miranda butterflies to think that this woman had chosen her. Quickly finishing her breakfast she headed back up stairs to pack a garment bag as per Andrea's request, already looking forward to the reactions of Emily and Nigel when she would later step out of her office to go home. 

 

*****

 

Miranda pinched the bridge of her nose. No. None of this was right. It had been the day from hell and nothing seemed to be going as planned. What on earth had happened to her team since this morning? And now this abomination. 

"Emily…" 

Within seconds the harried assistant was in front of her desk, notepad in hand and pen poised.

"Yes, Miranda?" 

"Explain the meaning…" Miranda swept a hand across the pile of photos strewn on her desk, "...of this." 

Emily looked down. An instant wave of dread washed over her as she took in the thick black crosses on nearly every shot. Oh god. No no no. The wrong folder had clearly been given to Miranda. This can't be happening. I love my job, I love my job. 

"Well, the thing is, there was a mix up and it's rather funny actually…" Emily saw Miranda's eyes widen and berated herself. Shit. Charlton, you need to wrap this up for crying out loud what the hell are you doing? You don't joke with Miranda! And then, as if her prayers had been answered Miranda's phone vibrated. 

Miranda picked her phone up, knowing exactly who it was from. Her lip twitching to smile as she read the one line message. Placing the phone back down on her desk she stood and reached for a garment bag. 

"Fix it. Now."

"Right. Yes. Of course Miranda," Emily stuttered as she watched her boss head into her private bathroom before retreating to the safety of her desk. 

Slumping down in her chair Emily was trying to work out how such a colossal mistake could have happened. She distinctly remembered having the right folder in her hand when she was in the art department. Then what happened. Oh yes. Serena. Dammit. But she was wearing that sinfully short skirt today… 

"You looking for these?" Nigel walked up to the daydreaming redhead waving a folder in her face. 

"Oh, those? Eugh too late. I wasn't thinking and gave," she indicated towards Miranda's office with a nod of her head, "her the wrong bloody ones."

"Ah, so you want me to look over your CV then, yes?" Nigel chuckled. 

"Not funny Nigel! It was so odd though. She didn't go nuts. Just told me to fix it." 

"And then what?" Nigel perched on Emily's desk eagerly. He lived for Runway drama. 

"And nothing. That was it. Then she just went into her bathroom." Emily took in Nigel’s puzzled and almost disappointed face. 

"No flames? Head spinning? The floor splitting apart with the powers of fire and brimstone?" 

Emily just sat there silently shaking her head. 

"Hmmm curious." Nigel sat there tapping his finger to his lips as his mind quickly raced through all sorts of scenarios. Each time coming to the same conclusion.

"Well whatever it is, I don't like it," Emily huffed. 

"You know what this means don't you?" Nigel had a mischievous glint in his eyes which always meant trouble. 

"No I don't. And I don't want to know. That look of yours never, and I repeat never, ends well! Serena still shudders when she sees flames and shot glasses within five feet of each other," Emily went to turn back to her computer just as she heard the sound of heels approaching from Miranda's office. 

"Aren't you meant to be fixing something, Emily?" Miranda stood looming over her desk. 

"Already sorted Miranda. The images are right…" Emily took in what Miranda was now wearing, was she in… 

"Well?" Miranda's irritated tone snapped Emily back to the present. 

…here." The redhead snatched the folder off her desk and thrust it in Miranda's outstretched hand. 

"Nigel, haven't you got a run through to prepare for? Given the disaster you showed me this afternoon you are clearly going to need the rest of the day to come up with something barely passable," Miranda took in Nigel’s startled expression and bit down on her cheek to stop from laughing, "Nigel?" 

"Erm. What? Oh yes the run through. Right. On it." 

"I am leaving for the day. I want the Book delivered as early as possible. That's all." And with that final dismissal Miranda turned, moving swiftly towards the elevator. 

Nigel was aghast. Looking between Emily and the vision of Miranda walking off in the most sinfully tight black jeans he mumbled, "Was she wearing…" 

"Jeans? Yes. And a…" Emily was frantically blinking. Surely what she had seen was the result of some hunger induced hallucination. 

"Leather jacket. Uh huh." 

Miranda stepped into the elevator and as the doors closed she couldn't contain the laughter anymore. 

"And was that Miranda laughing? Actually laughing. Out loud?" Emily held her slim arm out towards Nigel, "Pinch me, I must be in some bizarre parallel universe dream scenario."

"Never mind that. You need to call Roy! She's not going to be impressed waiting on the street amongst the great unwashed," Nigel wagged his eyebrows dramatically. 

Frantically diving for the receiver she hit the speed dial for Roy. The call was answered in two rings. Standard. 

"Roy, Miranda's on her way down, please tell me you are nearby?" 

Nigel was watching on as Emily went pale. 

"She what? Why would she do that and not tell me?" Emily's hold on the phone got tighter, her knuckles going white. 

"Right, erm OK. Yes you too. Thanks Roy." The call had ended but the redhead sat there still clutching the receiver. 

"Well? What's going on??" Nigel was getting impatient and a little concerned as Emily still hadn't said anything or made any attempt to put the phone back in its cradle. 

"She gave Roy the night off. He is off to the Nicks game. She told him this morning she wouldn't need him after 4.30pm and to enjoy the time off. She even gave him the tickets…"

Nigel jumped up and ran into Miranda's office and went straight to the large window behind the editor's desk that looked down onto the street below.

"Oh my god. Em get in here right now. You have to come see this!" Nigel was flapping his arm encouraging her to move faster. 

"What now Nigel? I can't take much…" Emily stood next to Nigel looking down at the street, spotting Miranda's iconic hair straight away. She watched as it was then immediately covered by a helmet and she continued to look on as the editor elegantly swung her leg over the back of a vintage looking motorbike. Still she watched as arms were wrapped around the leather clad rider and off they went. The pair stood there, mouths hanging open, hands pressed against the cold glass watching the motorbike and its two riders pulled out and disappeared into the rush hour traffic. 

"Well. I don't think we're in Kansas anymore," Nigel whispered, "Come on Toto, I think we need to contact our favourite baby dragons to find out what the hell is going on here."

 

*****

 

"So you actually walked out of your office in…" Andy waved her hand appreciatively, up and down towards Miranda, "that, jacket and all?" 

"I most certainly did," Miranda sniffed, "and their faces were an absolute picture. It was glorious."

"You are so bad my love," Andy giggled as she waved a bottle of wine. Miranda nodded eagerly. 

"Given the disaster that was today, it was the least they deserved," Miranda took a sip of the freshly poured wine. 

"That bad huh?" 

"The absolute worst," Miranda groaned. 

Andy walked towards Miranda and gently took the glass from her delicate hand, placing it on the counter. 

"What time will the girls be back?" Andy wrapped her arms around Miranda's waist pulling the editor flush against her. 

"Not for at least another hour, they have a study group. What did you have in mind darling?" Miranda purred as she nipped at the brunette's ear. 

"I can think of a few things," Andy captured Miranda's chasing lips. She would never tire of kissing this wonderful, passionate woman. 

"Hmmm, I like the sound of that. Let's head up stairs," Miranda pulled back and held out her hand which was eagerly taken by the brunette. 

"Lead the way Priestly." 

 

*****

 

Turns out that neither woman was able to focus on such a trivial thing like the time when there were much more pleasurable things to get lost in. 

"Oh fuck," Andy's hands were gripping the head board, "Yeah, just there. Hmmm. A little harder. Oh. Oh. Oh. Miranda!" 

Miranda collapsed next to the panting brunette. Smugly stretching and rolling her aching wrist and forearm. "You were spectacular my darling."

"Me? You were the one who just made me see stars. Twice."

"Hmmm, yes you," Miranda rolled onto her side and went in for a lazy kiss, "I love watching you come undone."

"You certainly were on a mission," Andy chuckled lightly. 

"What can I say? You inspire…" Miranda stopped mid sentence, as Andrea's eyes comically widened at the sound of the front door slamming. 

"Oh shit. What's the time??" Andy flew out of bed and started frantically moving around the bedroom. 

"Andrea what on earth are you doing?" Miranda sat up in bed not seeming to be in any sort of rush considering her 'darlings' had just come home. 

"Erm. Hello! The two mini P's are home!" Andy's muffled voice replied from under her t-shirt. 

"You should know by now darling that they will be currently raiding the fridge for snacks and then go straight to their rooms to change and log on to that infernal ipad of theirs. Which gives us," Miranda looked at her phone, "at least 30 minutes to freshen up."

"Oh yeah, OK. Sorry I panicked. We've never been that close before. I kinda freaked." Andy sat on the edge of the bed. 

"And the door is locked anyway. But you're right we did get a bit carried away."

"Shower?" 

"I thought you'd never ask. We do have 30 minutes to fill..." 

"Miranda!" Andy gasped in horror. 

"I was joking." Miranda laughed at the shocked swimmer as she got up and headed towards the spacious ensuite, "You really do need to lighten up Sachs."

"Oh you are so going to pay for that Priestly," Andy quickly followed the editor. 

"That was the plan…"

"You are incorrigible, you know that?" Andy had caught up with the editor and wrapped her arms around her naked form resting her chin on her shoulder. 

"So I've been told. Numerous times," Miranda arched an eyebrow as she took in their reflection in the large expanse of mirror above, what she hoped would soon become, 'hers and hers' sinks. Her hair was tousled and Andrea's eyes were twinkling brightly with warmth and happiness. They looked glorious together. As she caught Andrea's eyes she couldn't help but match the wide unbridled smile. 

"Hmmm, well. As much as I want to stay here like this, I've got another win to get under my belt."

"Keep telling yourself that darling," and with that Miranda reluctantly pulled away from the brunette's hold and stepped into the large double shower, Andrea hot on her heels. 

 

*****

 

"Hey girls. How was your study group?" Andy padded into the kitchen dressed in a pair of sweatpants and white vest top, barefoot and hair still damp from the shower. 

"Andy!" Cassidy jumped up and gave the brunette a rib crushing hug, "I missed you at breakfast this morning." 

"Missed you too squirt. But I had a super early session at the pool and didn't want to wake you guys." Andy met the hug with equal enthusiasm. 

"You alright Caro? Good day at school?" Andy went over and put an arm around Caroline's shoulders giving the girl a reassuring squeeze. 

Caroline smiled and nodded, "Yeah it was OK."

She loved that not only did Andy ask these questions but the fact that she seemed to genuinely care about the intricacies of both hers and her sister's lives. Stephen never did. But Andy seemed to take great delight in listening to the latest teenage drama or heartbreak, always remembering their friends names and what was going on. Yep. Andy was awesome. 

"Just OK?" Andy let go and headed to the fridge to fix both her and Miranda a drink before the editor came down. 

"I mean, it was fine," Caroline shrugged, "A bit boring. And it was Catherine's turn to host study group and she still has this totally weird crush on Mum so it was all like 'oh your mum is so cool, she's so pretty, blah blah blah. It gets a bit much you know?" Caroline had Miranda's mannerisms down to a fine art. Andy still found it rather unnerving. 

"When's it your turn to host it here?" Andy was mentally going over her schedule for the next couple of weeks. 

"It's us next week. Andy you have to take mum out somewhere. She can't be here. Granted Catherine will be so embarrassing but I don't think even she deserves the wrath of the dragon if she tries to hug her or something!" Cassidy was laughing at the thought of what her mum would do when faced with such a prospect. 

"Don't worry, leave it with me. I'll make sure to keep her well out the way."

"Amazing thanks Andy!" Caroline knew she could rely on her, hmmm, what was Andy to her? She'd have to give that some more thought. Get Cassidy's take on it too. She was broken out of her musings by the crack of a high five. And the sight of the brunette's palm in front of her. 

"Hey Caro, don't leave a girl hanging," 

Chuckling Caroline met the palm with another satisfying crack. 

"Tonight’s going to be so good. I've been thinking about tactics all day!" Caroline had been looking forward to Marbles night for weeks. 

"Yeah, I can't wait," Cassidy chimed in, "Is mum coming down soon?" 

As if by magic Miranda appeared in the doorway. She observed the heartwarming scene before her. This is what she wanted. All the time. Her three loves catching up on their respective days. Not wanting to miss out she quickly headed over to join them. 

"Hello Bobbseys," she kissed each of her daughters on the head before taking the glass of wine Andrea had poured for her. 

"Finally!” Cassidy stated," Right, can we start now?" 

Miranda responded with an eye roll and looked over at Andrea. 

"Come on then. Prepare to mark another win for me on that chart ladies. The reigning champion is feeling particularly victorious this evening," 

"Whatever Andy. I am totally going to kick your butt at this," Cassidy was about to launch into another round of talking herself up when the ipad started a series of beeps, the volume of notifications indicating that a stream of messages were coming through. 

Caroline reached for the device and started to scroll through them. She started laughing and handed it straight to Cassidy, who after quickly scanning them, had the same reaction as her sister. 

"Erm mum, how did you get home from work today?" Cassidy asked through her giggles. 

"Andrea picked me up. Why?" confused, Miranda looked between her laughing daughters and an equally puzzled Andrea. 

The twins, now communicating to each other silently both grinned and nodded. 

"And what were you wearing when you left?" It was Caroline's turn to ask a question. 

"Black jeans and my leather jacket. Why do you want to know all of this?" 

The twins carried on with their twin talk before looking up at their mum and Andy who were waiting rather impatiently for an explanation. 

"So for months we have had a messaging group. With Em and Uncle Nige," Cassidy was unsure how her mum would react to this news. 

"Right. Explain." 

The girls winced at the cool tone of their mothers voice. Andy saw this and reached out to take Miranda's hand. Runway Miranda was not going to help this situation at all and she needed to diffuse the situation pronto if they wanted to enjoy the rest of the evening. 

Miranda felt the warm hand on hers, familiar fingers entwining with hers. She took a deep breath and, calmed by the brunette's touch, she started again. 

"I'm sorry darlings. Please explain," Miranda gestured for them to continue. 

"Well it started as a way of making sure you were OK, and how your day had gone and stuff like that. Before we went to camp it was different to what it is now. You were different. And it helped." Caroline looked a little sheepish. 

"How do you mean it helped?" 

"Well you weren't at home a lot, and just really busy all the time. Or in your study till like super late. And they were with you all day, so it just made sense to ask them," Cassidy whispered. 

Miranda took a sharp intake of breath, her eyes filling with tears. Her heart breaking at the thought that her girls had had to resort to messaging her first assistant and art director for information on her well being. She had failed them. 

Both Cassidy and Caroline could see the sadness in their mums eyes. They looked at each other and knew they needed to lighten the mood. Quickly. 

"And we haven't had to do any of that since Andy, right Caro?" Cassidy elbowed her sister. 

"Yep. It's great now. We love you being here Andy, and it's something that we want to happen more," Caroline looked at Andy, who had remained silent but hadn't let go of their mums hand. 

"More?" Andy squeaked, suddenly feeling nervously excited, was this going the way she had hoped for weeks it would? 

The twins nodded enthusiastically as Miranda turned to face her. 

"More. All of it. Here with us. What do you say Sachs? You want to make this a permanent living arrangement?" 

"Live here? With you three? Hmmm let me think… Hell yes I want that!" Andy stood quickly and swept Miranda up in her arms and proceeded to spin the editor around the room before falling onto the sofa. 

"Pile on!!!" Cassidy screamed as she rushed around the breakfast bar and launched herself at her mum and Andy. Caroline soon followed. 

Before it could break out into a full blown tickle fight between the four of them, Miranda sat up and  attempted to regain some composure. Her heart was so full. The concept that had seemed such a monumental act in its symbolism had been in reality the most simple and easiest question she had ever asked. She wanted something, so she asked, and got an answer, and that was that. The fact that there was no hesitation from either side spoke volumes. To think that this was her life now. Tickle fights and all. She couldn't be happier. 

"So now that's all agreed, you can tell me what you actually use the messaging group for now?" Miranda was still intrigued. 

"Ah! Basically as a way of winding Em up. She's actually really funny when you ignore her neurotic tendencies and sarcasm," Caroline smiled at her mum. 

"Speaking of which, what do you want us to say in reply to these? You want to have some fun?" Cassidy's eyes were sparkling with a mischievous glint as she reached over to retrieve the Ipad and handed it over to Andy and her mum. 

"Can you pass my glasses darling?" Miranda couldn't quite reach the coffee table. 

"Gladly," Andy was aware her voice had deepened slightly, but there was just something about Miranda wearing glasses… 

Miranda gave a subtle wink to the brunette, and started reading the messages. 

"Oh. Oh I see. Uh huh. Well that's none of their business."

Then Miranda started laughing. She showed the Ipad to Andy, who had the exact same set of reactions and soon joined Miranda giggling away. 

"So? What do you want us to say mum?" Cassidy was itching to respond. 

Miranda looked to Andy who gave her a nod, "You can reply however you wish. However, I have some stipulations. One. You don't name Andrea. Maybe for the purpose of this ‘Andy’ will work. Two. You don't confirm my relationship status or that it's with a woman. Not yet anyway. Other than that, have some fun. I know I will when I get to the office tomorrow."

"Cool! I'm gonna make Em's head spin," Cassidy flexed her fingers and started tapping away furiously. 

"Well while you do that I vote that the rest of us get the game set up. Caro you want to come help?" Andy stood up offering her hand to Miranda who didn't hesitate to take it. 

"I sure do. Come on, let's go," Caroline ran off to the landing, which according to Andy was the prime Marbles spot. 

"You're going down Sachs," Miranda growled in Andrea's ear. 

"Twice in one day? You really are insatiable aren't you Priestly…" Andy sauntered past the open mouthed Editor to join Caroline. 

"Wha… Oh. Ohhhh." 

"Penny dropped?" 

"Uh huh, and so will you…" Miranda managed to regain a fraction of composure to deliver the next line, "...to your knees wearing only that plum La Perla set I got you. Now, I've got a game to win."

Andy stood there and watched Miranda slink out the room. Dammit. That woman was something else. And all hers. She said a little prayer of thanks that she didn't have an early start in the morning as it was set to be a long night…

 

*****

 

Emily practically ran down the steps to the townhouse after dropping off The Book and dry cleaning. Once she was a block away she stopped to find her phone that hadn't stopped vibrating since she made her hasty retreat. 

"Pick up. Pick up. Pi… Nigel! Marbles!" 

"You've finally lost them?" 

"No! Eugh you are so annoying. No, not me! Miranda! Playing marbles!" 

"Come again??" 

"Let me spell this out for you. I just saw Miranda. Laying on the floor. At the top of the stairs. Playing bloody marbles!!" 

Emily was met with silence. She took the phone from her ear thinking Nigel had hung up but it was still connected. 

"Nigel, are you still there?" 

"Yes, I'm… Just processing all of this. First the outfit, then the motorbike and now this." 

"And that's not all. There was someone else there. All I could see were a pair of legs," she shuddered as she remembered what they were clad in, "a pair of legs in sweatpants Nigel. Grey sweatpants!" 

"Oh wow. Well they must belong to this Andy fellow that the girls mentioned earlier, right?" 

"Bollocks. I'm at the subway. Look let's talk tomorrow Miranda also informed me she's going to be in late so we will have some time," 

"Late? Oh this is on a whole other level. She didn't even do this with Stephen. And she married the bloody idiot! OK, see you tomorrow kid. Say hi to Serena." 

"Will do. Bye."

Bloody bollocking hell. I love my job. I love my job. I love my job.  



Chapter Text

 

"Darling, what on earth is that?" Miranda was kneeling next to a cardboard box hesitantly peering into it. 

"Huh?" 

"Eloquent as ever Andrea," Andy had joined Miranda and followed the line of Miranda's pointing finger, "That." 

"Ahhhh, this," Andy reached in and took the item out and hugged it before proudly showing it to Miranda, "is Mr Ted." 

"But what is it?" Miranda ran her eyes over the soft toy. It had seen better days, but was clearly loved. 

"He is not an it, and he has a name," Andy pouted. 

"We are really going to do this? Fine," Miranda rolled her eyes, she couldn't believe she was actually entertaining this, "Mr Ted is what type of creature? I can't quite work it out." The more she looked at the long brown ears and white rounded face the less familiar its origin seemed to become. And did it have a tail? 

"He's a dog bear," She replied as if it was the most obvious answer. The tone of Andrea's voice made Miranda believe there was a silent 'duh' at the end of the sentence akin to her daughters' way of speaking. 

"Oh well, silly me for not automatically thinking of a dog bear," Miranda gestured for him to go back in the box which led to Andrea possessively clutching him to her chest. 

"Nope. He isn't going back in there. He has been with me since I was three and he can sit on that chair over by the window. It's non negotiable." Miranda watched as the brunette took great care at placing him gently on the soft cushion. 

"Andrea, he is just a teddy bear, and I am sure will survive being packed away," Miranda continued to poke through the box, ignoring the sharp pang in her stomach as she had flashbacks of a fluffy little black and white bear… 

"Oh I can't believe you said that!" hearing a loud gasp Miranda looked up and saw Andrea cover Mr Teds ears, "She didn't mean it Mr Ted, just ignore Meany Miranda." 

"Sometimes I worry about you. And what I have let myself in for…" Miranda muttered through a smile. 

"Hey!" Andy threw a balled up pair of socks that hit Miranda squarely on the back of her head. Before crawling over to join the editor who was now sat cross legged on the floor. 

"I am amazing. And you know it," Andy placed a kiss to the back of Miranda's neck, "Plus," kiss, "I am great in the sack," kiss, "And now you get me 24/7. I'd say that's a pretty sweet deal you've got Priestly." 

"Is that so Sachs? Well I shall reserve judgement until I have fully sampled what's being offered," Miranda stood effortlessly and tugged Andrea up to join her before seeking out her lips, claiming them in a heated and urgent kiss. 

Miranda could feel Andrea slowly walking her backwards towards the bed. In everyday life her lover was like a newborn foal discovering it's legs for the very first time but when overcome with desire she was focused and graceful. Like now, effortlessly navigating them around the numerous still to be unpacked boxes that covered most of the floor, until Miranda felt the back of her knees hit the edge of the mattress. 

Andy ran her hands down Miranda's supple back until they found the hem of her cashmere top, tugging at it until the editor got the hint and raised her arms so the fabric barrier could be quickly disposed of. Even this momentarily brief break in their kiss was too much for both and hungry mouths collided again. 

Miranda fell backwards and soon Andrea was on top of her, nimble fingers working at the buttons on her pants. They moved in sync, each anticipating the others wants and needs. Without thinking Miranda lifted her hips so Andrea could work the pants down her hips not surprised in the slightest when her underwear was efficiently removed at the same time. 

Even though the bra she had chosen to wear that day was barely there she wanted it gone. The thin straps felt restrictive and she could feel her nipples straining uncomfortably against the sheer black lace. Sitting up Andrea got the hint and with a quick flick of her wrist it was undone, flung off to the side to join the other discarded items. 

As Miranda laid back down, widening her legs to encourage Andrea on her exploration, she suddenly stiffened. 

"What is it?" 

"I can feel him staring," Miranda whispered as if whoever he was could hear her. 

"Who?" Andy looked frantically around the room, knowing full well they were alone in the house. 

"Mr Ted. It's those beady little eyes. They are the type that follow you around the room."

The burst of laughter that erupted from Andrea rang around the otherwise silent room. 

"Hold on," Andrea quickly whipped her t-shirt off and from the position of straddling Miranda's naked thighs she knew she had to turn awkwardly to make the shot. The piece of clothing landed exactly where it needed to, and Andrea turned back to face Miranda looking rather smug. 

"There, Mr Ted is covered. Happy?" Andy purred in Miranda's ear, "Now can we please get back to what we were doing?" Andy chuckled against the cooling skin of Miranda's elegant neck. 

"First thing tomorrow he is going to live in the guest room down the hall."

"Sure," Andy started a trail of wet kisses down the column of Miranda's throat causing a few groans to escape the Editor's lips. 

"He can keep Pandora company," Miranda moaned as Andrea's lips made their way down her bare torso. 

"Uh huh," Andy had arrived at Miranda's breasts and was about to home in on a deliciously hardened nipple which was just begging for attention when she stopped abruptly, "Sorry who?" 

"Oh don't stop," Miranda arched her back, thrusting her chest towards the brunette's now absent mouth. 

"Who's Pandora?" 

Miranda opened her eyes and saw the brunette now sitting up again clearly waiting for an explanation. Huffing in annoyance, and knowing she wouldn't get a resolution to the rapidly building deep ache in her core until she had, she too sat up and started to explain. 

"Pandora was a present from the girls. A number of years ago some maintenance works were being done and the basement got flooded. We were on vacation when it happened and the incompetent builders didn't catch it in time. Sadly, nothing was salvageable, including, I later found out, a box of my childhood possessions," Miranda sighed as memories of sifting through the waterlogged boxes swam through her mind. 

"Oh my love, that sounds awful," Andy moved to sit next to Miranda, taking her hand and entwining their fingers, still marvelling at how they fit perfectly, "So how does Pandora fit in with this?" 

"I didn't have much from when I was small, which is a sorry little tale for another time, but I did have my Teddy bear. A tatty little Panda, who I had named Pandora. I don't recall when I got her but oh I loved her. I took her everywhere. When we got back from our holiday and I was told about the flood, I wasn't too fussed as I didn't recall there was anything of much importance down there. I didn't realise that the previous housekeeper had moved some boxes from one of the guest rooms there when I was having my closet extended. And I think you can work out the rest. Anyway by the time the extent of the damage was assessed it was too late. I had Emily track down an expert toy repairer but she was beyond fixing," Miranda sniffed back the tears, "Eugh, I don't even know why I am getting upset. It was years ago and just a silly stuffed toy."

"Hey it's OK, I would be the same. Mr Ted came with me to college, on all my swim tours, and then made the big move to the Big Apple. And they aren't just stuffed toys. They represent memories and a tie to home, to those you love that are wrapped up in the past or just not able to be with you for whatever reason. Some people have a favourite blanket, or a faded sunbleached baseball cap given to them by a favourite Aunt. It's nothing to be embarrassed about my love. I'd be devastated if anything happened to him because of what he represents to me," Andy gave Miranda's hand a squeeze of encouragement to carry on. 

"The girls surprised me one mother's day with Pandora the 2nd. A beautiful limited edition Steiff Panda. I later found out via Nigel that Emily had been driven to near distraction to fulfil this request for my girls. Apparently the first seven options she had provided weren't quite right," Miranda let out a teary laugh. 

"Why does that not surprise me? They really are your mini me's," Andy chuckled and pulled the editor into her arms, "Well I think Mr Ted would be honoured to share a space with Pandora the 2nd."

Miranda hummed in agreement as she snuggled deeper into Andrea's strong hold. The throb from earlier had now morphed into a pleasant ache in her chest. A feeling she was still getting used to. This overwhelming feeling of love. She'd thought she had been in love before but these blissful months of being the centre of Andrea's world had shown her she really hadn't. She hadn't even come close. 

"I'm glad you're here darling," Miranda turned her head slightly to place a chaste kiss on Andrea's mouth before settling back down. 

"I wouldn't want to be anywhere else," Andy carded her fingers through Miranda's silky hair. 

"I was worried that it was maybe too much too soon. That you would think we have moved in together too fast?" Miranda held her breath, slightly apprehensive of how Andrea would respond. 

"I guess to others it might look like that," Andy felt Miranda tense, "But I don't think so. Neither do you or the girls and really that's all that matters. And when we're ready to 'come out' to the world then let everyone talk, because the important people know that this is the real deal. The rest, well frankly they can fuck right off as far as I am concerned." 

Miranda manoeuvred herself so she was facing Andrea, straddling those strong toned thighs. As she looked down she could feel that her eyes were wet with tears. Tears of happiness. Staring into those deep brown eyes she saw so much love radiating back up at her. Clichéd but at that moment all the breath left her lungs. Moving up so they were level, she leaned down and kissed Andrea. 

She poured everything she wasn't able to say into that kiss. She knew that even if she lived for two lifetimes it still wouldn't be enough time to summon up the words that would perfectly capture this life affirming moment and give it the justice it deserved. 

As the kiss took over she shimmied down so they were laying facing each other. Reaching down she slid a hand under the waistband of the brunette's briefs and slowly slid them down her legs. As they reached her ankles Andrea helpfully kicked them off. 

Taking the brunette's hand she placed it between her own legs and then mirrored the action on Andrea.

Slowly Miranda started to move her fingers through the wetness she found. Gasping when Andrea did the exact same movements on her. Their eyes never left each others. The brunette started to rock against Miranda's hand, the editor matching her hypnotic movements. 

The only sounds that could be heard were the pants and soft moans when the right spots were hit. They were moving as one, slick bodies gliding against each other. Slow and steady. 

They entered each other at the same time. They both felt their end goal approaching fast and still they never broke eye contact. For all of their countless acts of lovemaking nothing they had done before had ever felt as intimate as this exact moment. They were connecting on a whole other level. The desire to increase the speed and pressure was overwhelming but neither did, wanting to draw the other's pleasure out for as long as possible. 

Miranda started to shake, she wasn't going to last much longer. She could feel Andrea wasn't far behind her. 

"Together," she whispered against Andrea's lips, anything louder would have felt intrusive. 

"I love you Miranda," and it was those words along with a few gentle strokes of her clit that sent Miranda into a series of deep, all consuming orgasms, triggering Andrea to follow suit almost immediately. 

They both lay entwined and panting, not wanting to let go. Safe, content and happy in their little euphoric cocoon. Miranda felt Andrea's breathing even out as she drifted off to sleep. Reaching over Miranda clicked the bedside lamp off and got herself comfy wrapping Andrea up once again in her arms. 

"And I love you, my darling," 

 

*****

 

"Morning sleepy head. I have one steaming hot cup of coffee with your name on it," And it really did. Caroline and Cassidy had got them both personalised mugs as a present to celebrate Andy moving in. All it had taken was a 'Sachs' mug that now had its own spot in the kitchen to make Andy feel like she had finally come home. 

"Very funny Sachs," Miranda tried unsuccessfully to stifle a yawn as she took her 'Priestly' mug from the brunette. 

Andy placed her mug on her bedside table and got back under the covers, "So what's the plan for today?" 

"I would really like to be able to see the floor of our bedroom by the end of the day so let's finish these, have some breakfast and then get started on the rest of the boxes. The girls aren't going to be back until at least 7pm, so I think that should be enough time?" Miranda took another sip of coffee, the warm liquid helping to battle against the icy cold feet that were now rubbing up and down her bare legs. 

"Your feet are freezing! There are things called socks you know. And there are even these wonderful little indoor shoes you can get. Called slippers…" Miranda squealed as the blocks of ice, formally known as Andrea's feet, made contact again. 

"Ha ha ha. I hate wearing socks when I don't have to. They make my feet feel all claustrophobic," Andy shuddered at the feeling it conjured up, "but I may invest in some of these, what did you call them? Slippers?" Andy received a gentle thwack to her arm in response to her sass. 

"You should be on the stage darling," Miranda drawled. She leant in for a quick kiss and then climbed out of bed. 

"Where are you off to?" Andy propped herself up on the mountain of pillows as she watched her love wrap her naked form in a midnight blue silk dressing gown whilst making a big show at putting her dainty feet in her black Carlotha Ray satin slippers.

"I just need to get something. I will be right back, I'd say keep the bed warm but…" luckily Miranda had excellent reflexes as she ducked out the way of a flying throw pillow.

Andy sank back into the ridiculously comfortable pillows and spent some time taking in her new home. Miranda's, nope, their room was beautifully decorated, the bed taking centre stage. When Andy had first seen it she was shocked at the size, it being a Super King and all. It was what she had always called a 'hotel bed' - you know the ones that you have to take a little run up to because the mattress is so high, and the sheets are the most luxurious you've ever felt against your naked skin and sinking into the mattress is what you would imagine sleeping on a cloud to feel like… However after she had spent her first night in it she no longer needed convincing and wholeheartedly agreed with Miranda's rationale of 'You are either in your shoes or your bed so it pays to invest in both'. A wise woman was her Miranda. 

Like every room in the town house there were high ceilings, picture rails and ceiling roses. It had been decorated throughout to make features out of the architectural gems in each room. And this room was no exception. It was more like a suite. Opposite the bed were two floor to ceiling sash windows framed by oversized silk drapes that when drawn open pooled elegantly over the deep pile light grey carpet. Well they did when Miranda opened them. Not so much when Andy did it, much to the editor's chagrin. 

Another thing Andy had learnt early on was Miranda knew the exact names for pretty much every colour that existed. In Andy's eyes the drapes were grey however Miranda would later inform her that the shade was in fact oyster, the carpet dove grey, and the velvet covered headboard that she was so very familiar with, was mink and so on. To be fair the editor could be making it up on the spot but Andy didn't care, her eyes lit up whenever she talked about anything creative and it was such a joy to watch. Her neck would get a little blush and her voice would go an octave higher. Adorable and the brunette wouldn't be the one to stop that. Ever. 

On the left wall was a large fireplace with a regency mirror that would rival any stately home hanging above it. And either side were a matching pair of black lacquer console tables on which a vase stood proudly, always filled with fresh seasonal flowers. Those looking in would be wrong to assume that Miranda had paid the 'it' interior designer of the season to have planned the townhouse. Everything had been lovingly designed, selected, sourced and purchased by the editor herself. Miranda had however informed her that she had taken great pleasure in organising and directing those who wielded the paintbrushes. 

Between the foot of the bed and windows was a seating area complete with a loveseat and single armchair surrounding a low glass coffee table. On weary nights when they didn't want to be too far away from each other Miranda would often edit The Book from here instead of her study whilst Andy read. It was a happy balance and more often than not Andy was able to distract the editor and have them stumbling the few feet to the bed in no time at all. 

As Andy was thinking of the multiple ways she could distract Miranda whilst unpacking the remaining boxes the editor appeared in the bedroom. Carrying a rather large gift bag. She looked a little shy as she presented the bag to Andy and then sat gingerly on the edge of the bed. 

"What's this?"

"I wanted to get you something to mark this occasion. You're one of the most important people in my life and I want you to feel at home here. With me and the girls," Miranda gestured for Andrea to open the present. 

"But I don't have anything for you," Andy was suddenly embarrassed that she hadn't thought to get her love something. 

"Enough of that. You're my gift. I have waited for what feels like a lifetime for you and there aren't enough trinkets in the world that you could give me that would compare to having you in my life," Miranda's smile was dazzling. 

"Sweet talker," Andy wiped an errant tear that had run down her cheek. 

"As I have been known on occasion. Now will just open it please," 

Normally Andy was a squeezer and liked to try and guess what a present was before opening but seeing Miranda grow more impatient by the second she emptied the contents of the bag and dove right in. 

Tearing at the corner of the impeccably wrapped gift only revealed three separate items encased in layers of tissue paper. It was clearly a matching set of something. Carefully and precisely she unveiled the first item. And gasped. Her eyes instantly tearing again. 

Gone was the care and patience, she needed to see the full set together. Laying them next to each other, the black frames against the bright white bedlinen she was speechless and amazed at what she saw. 

"These are from the camping trip?" 

"Hmmm," Miranda scooted up the bed to sit next to Andrea as they both looked at the photos together, "When you were teaching Caroline and Cassidy to fish. I especially love this one," Miranda lovingly ran her fingers over the glass of one of the framed photos. She had captured the exact moment when Cassidy had scooped up some water to splash Andrea and Caroline. The brunette had her head thrown back as she laughed. The way the sun had hit the brunette's hair was almost ethereal. The droplets of water glistening. In black and white the three photos looked even more perfect than Miranda had remembered. Her perfect little family. 

"Oh Miranda they are just amazing. You are so talented my love. Where shall we hang them?" 

"I was thinking on the landing. There is a blank wall just begging for something and they would look just right there. And that way I get to see them everyday and have a daily reminder of the most perfect trip. Where I, I found you."

Andy was feeling so loved and a little overwhelmed. She couldn't believe that this was now her life. Her family. She felt like the richest woman in the world and wanted nothing more than to scream it from the top of her lungs from the rooftop terrace of the town house, for all to hear. Instead she carefully removed the photographs from the bed and pounced on Miranda. She was planning on thanking Miranda, over and over and over again… 

 

*****

 

Finally dressed and having left Andrea in the shower Miranda gathered their mugs and headed down to the kitchen. As she walked down the landing towards the stairs she noticed that the guest bedroom door had been left ajar. Peering in she saw that Pandora the 2nd had now been joined by Mr Ted. Both of them sat together on the window seat. Lucky Pandora she chuckled. And lucky me… 

Chapter Text

Andy had been officially living at the townhouse for just over a week and already it felt like she had been there forever. In a really really good way. Much like how Miranda had asked her, there was no fanfare, it just happened. When Miranda put her mind to something she moved fast and Andy was more than happy to let her arrange everything. There was something so endearing about a woman who was so ridiculously busy organising something so mundane but she got the impression that it had been important to the Editor. The girls had informed her that this hadn't been the case when Stephen had moved in. From their memory they didn't even think their mum had been in the country when it happened. That had made Andy feel pretty smug when she found that little nugget of information out. 

Today however was a big day. It was the day she would go to Runway for the first time. And not to just pick Miranda up from outside, but actually go into the building. All the way up to the infamous 17th floor and to finally meet those that Miranda worked with. The photoshoot at Camp Tethys was the coming weekend and she needed to have her fitting. It was, according to Miranda, of the utmost importance and she had been like a caged tiger all evening, snapping and snarling at the littlest things. Even poor Patricia hadn't managed to dodge the editor's acerbic comments. It had taken all of Andy's tricks and powers of persuasion, plus a myriad of nocturnal activities, to finally work off all the editors' pent up tension. 

Andy stretched her sore muscles as she kicked the covers off. She could hear the shower in their, she still got a kick out of this, ensuite and knew she should really start to get a wriggle on. Looking at the time she wouldn't have any spare minutes to devote to calming the dragon if she was still lazing around in bed when Miranda emerged from the bathroom in a waft of fragrant steam. 

Hauling herself out of bed she did a few yoga stretches before pulling on a pair of sweatpants and a hoodie and headed down stairs. She could hear the happy noises of the twins and Charlotte preparing for their respective days and bounced down the final few steps to join them in the kitchen. 

Caroline was the first to realise Andy had joined them and did a silent nod her way as she balanced a text book in one hand and a piece of toast in the other. 

Andy ruffled the girl's hair, who grumbled in annoyance, as she walked passed. Andy responded by sticking her tongue out. Caroline secretly loved it, this little dance they had each morning. It was hers and Andy's thing. 

"I see mum hasn't thrown those out yet?" Caroline glanced at Andy's feet. 

"Nope. It doesn't matter where she hides them, I will always find them," Andy chuckled and did a little jig in her newly purchased slippers. 

Andy had originally purchased the turquoise and purple plush dragon slippers as a joke but they were so comfy and kept her feet toasty warm that she had got instantly attached to them. Miranda's face had been an absolute picture when she had shuffled into the kitchen showing off her new slippers a few evenings back. They were definitely staying. 

"And has she realised they light up yet?" Caroline laughed. 

"I am saving that little feature for a really special occasion!" Andy gave Caroline a cheeky wink as she poured herself a cup of coffee. 

"What special occasion is this?" Miranda silently glided into the kitchen and came up to give the brunette a chaste kiss before reaching over and stealthily stealing her coffee. 

"Oi Priestly! Get your own coffee!" Andy gasped in mock anger. 

"In the words of my first assistant, shan't," Miranda blew the brunette a kiss before sitting down next to Caroline and spooning out some yoghurt and fruit into a bowl. 

Andy poured another steaming cup before joining two of the three Priestlys. As she sat down she swiped Miranda's breakfast bowl and dug in quickly. 

"All's fair in love and war," Andy grinned around the spoon whilst wiggling her eyebrows. 

Caroline was beaming as she watched the breakfast theft play out. Andy being a permanent fixture was still relatively new and there was still the fear in the back of her mind that her mum would revert back to her old ways and Andy would leave. Just like the rest of them. However this time it would hurt so much. But she watched on as her mum just laughed and reached for another bowl and started the process of fixing her breakfast again. She breathed a quiet sigh of relief. 

"Touché darling," Miranda purred as she locked eyes with her love with a heated gaze. 

"Where's Cass? I swear I heard her down here," Andy looked around the kitchen trying to deflect the fact that a single look from Miranda could make her instantly blush. 

Charlotte was busy packing the girls lunches as she pointed to the open door of the pantry looking exasperated. 

"Cassidy what on earth are you doing in there?" Miranda's tone had a little bite to it. 

"Eugh, I totally forgot I had that baking club thing after school," Cassidy mumbled from inside the store cupboard. 

"And let me guess. You now don't have the ingredients you require?"

"Not exactly no," Cassidy came out with slumped shoulders admitting defeat. 

"This was one of the first things we spoke about when you mentioned you wanted to commit to this extracurricular activity, was it not?" 

"Yeah," Cassidy scuffed the gleaming tiled floor with her sock clad foot, not wanting to make eye contact with her mum just yet. 

"That you would need to be organised?" Miranda sighed, knowing this would happen. 

"I'm sorry mum," Cassidy grumbled. 

"You don't need to apologise to me, I'm not the one that will be missing out," Miranda stated flatly as she started to scroll through her phone at the messages that had started to flood in. It was going to be another relentless day if the number of unread emails already filling up her inbox was anything to go by. 

Andy watched as Cassidy sat down heavily in her chair and folded her arms across her chest. She could see Cassidy's lip start to tremble but being  as stubborn as her mother she was doing everything to not cry. 

The brunette remembered how excited Cassidy had been when she came bounding into the den the other week speaking a mile a minute about this new baking club and how it was the "best thing, like ever." Her heart broke for the girl and knowing that Cassidy's problem was already long forgotten in Miranda's mind, took a deep breath and prepared herself to do something potentially really foolish to put a smile back on the redhead's face. 

"Hey Cass, why don't we swing by the store on the way to school and get the missing things you need?" Andy heard Miranda put her phone down and could feel the editor's laser focus now directed at her. 

"Really?" Cassidy sounded hopeful but slightly nervous as she looked between her mum and Andy. This was one of the first times Andy had stepped in and knowing her mum it could quickly go south. 

"Absolutely. I don't need to be at Runway until this afternoon and I was only going to go for a run this morning but I can do that after I've dropped you off. Why don't you make a list of what we need to get?" 

Andy saw Miranda go to say something but she quickly reached out and gently squeezed the editors thigh. Shaking her head slightly she mouthed 'Don't worry, I got this,' Miranda just looked at her wide eyed. 

Andy pressed on, "and tonight we'll print out the list of bakes and what dates they are on and put it up on the fridge so we can all help you remember. Deal?" 

Cassidy got up and jumped onto Andy's lap with an excited squeal, giving the brunette a big hug. 

"Deal. Thanks Andy!" 

"No worries kid, but this is a one time thing OK. You forget again and you will be missing out. Got that?" Cassidy nodded vigorously in agreement, "Count your lucky stars that I have a free morning," Andy kissed the top of Cassidy's hair wanting to delay the fallout from Miranda. Thinking and talking about parenting the girls was one thing but actually doing it was a whole different ball game. 

"I really appreciate it Andy. And with everyone's help I won't be forgetting again."

"Ok, now go do that list and get ready as we'll have to leave a bit earlier now so you're not late."

Cassidy went off to find some paper and Caroline also took this as her cue to leave. Just as she was about to reach the doorway she turned around and gave an encouraging thumbs up to Andy. 

"Miranda I…" any further words lost as she was hit by Miranda's lips. The editor pulled her in and managed to very smoothly move the brunette to straddle her thighs without breaking the kiss. 

As Miranda reached up and laced her fingers in the dark tresses to deepen the kiss the two women didn't even notice Charlotte quietly walk past and out of the kitchen. The house keeper couldn't help but smile and say a little thank you to no one in particular for the arrival of Andy in the Priestlys' lives. 

When breathing was becoming a necessity Andy reluctantly pulled back panting, resting her forehead against Miranda's. 

"Wow. That was…" Andy whispered. 

"Indeed. It definitely was…" Miranda's voice was breathy and doing all sorts of things to Andy. 

Andy stayed on Miranda's lap not wanting to let her go just yet. And by the tightening of the editors hold around her waist it was seemingly a mutual feeling. 

"Thank you darling, for handling the situation with Cassidy," Miranda reached up and tucked a wayward section of hair behind Andrea's ear. 

"I didn't overstep the mark?" 

Miranda shook her head gently and gave Andrea a soft loving smile, "Not at all. You were perfect. You never cease to amaze me." 

The smile that Miranda got in return was blinding and she responded in the only way she could. She cupped Andrea's face as if she was holding the most precious of treasures and kissed the corner of her mouth. Her nose. Her cheeks and finally ghosted her lips back over the brunette's mouth. 

 

*****

 

"Hi, I'm here to see Nigel, Nigel Kipling of Runway," Andy was standing at the reception desk in the main lobby of the Elias Clarke building. Her whole body was thrumming with nervous excitement. 

"Ah yes, Ms Sachs. He left you a pass. Just take this and use it on the gate and then head to the bank of elevators. You want the 17th Floor." Andy didn't think anyone that chirpy would have been hired on Miranda's watch, regardless of the fact the bubbly blonde was gatekeeping the entire building and not just Runway. 

"OK great, thanks," Andy gave a little wave, instantly cringing to herself at the gesture. She then turned and headed off to meet the elusive Nigel Kipling, Art Director extraordinaire. 

Stepping into the elevator she took her phone out of her back pocket and fired off a text to the editor to say she was on her way up to meet Nigel. As the floor numbers increased she could almost feel Miranda's energy. When the doors opened it hit her full force. That's the thing with Miranda, you could sense her presence before she had even stepped a Prada clad foot in a room. The air shifted in such a way, like it was preparing everyone for the arrival of the all encompassing being that was Miranda Priestly. The brunette shivered at the mere thought of being in her world for the next couple of hours. She just hoped she didn't let her down. Things Miranda found endearing in the safety of the townhouse might not be so cute within the uber critical walls of Runway. 

Waiting for her as she stepped out was an impeccably dressed, bespectacled man. 

"Nigel?" Andy had seen pictures of him with Miranda that hung proudly in her study, but he of course didn't know that. 

"And you must be our star swimmer, Andrea?" 

"That's me but you can call me An…" Just as Andy was about to reveal more than she perhaps should, a harried redhead came towards them at a mind-boggling speed considering the height of her pencil thin heels. Ah this must be Emily… 

"Nigel, Miranda wants to meet with Andrea in two hours, so you need to get the fitting started. Serena said she will be along in a bit. Now go!" 

Andy looked between the two and could see they were communicating with what appeared to be well versed expressions. Nigel's eyes went wide with an unspoken understanding and he quickly linked arms with Andy, and started walking her down the glass walled corridor. 

"Right, let's get you in some fabulous clothes. Take it from me, we do not want to be late. It's all a bit tense that way," Nigel nodded his head back towards the direction that Emily had headed off in. Andy tried to not smile when she thought about the reasons as to why a certain Editor would be currently tearing up a storm with her staff.

 

*****

 

"Oh Nigel this is absolutely beautiful," Andy couldn't resist doing a little spin as she stood in front of the critical eye of Nigel and the recently joined, Serena. 

Nigel stood there for what seemed like an absolute age, his neutral expression giving nothing away. Walking around Andy he got her to stand in various poses similar to those she remembered from the test shoot and Miranda's initial layouts. Finally he breathed a sigh of relief. 

"I was uncertain at first but, hmmm," Nigel stepped back and got Andrea to slowly turn one last time, "it really works. It's perfect," he now understood why Miranda had been so insistent that the brunette swimmer take centre stage in the shoot. And boy was this the dress to do it in. There was just something about this woman that couldn't help but draw you in. She was magnetic. 

"You've really made this such a fun and easy experience. All the pieces you chose for me were gorgeous. To be honest I was dreading this and had been fully prepared to have had to try on heaps of outfits," And that was true, Andy had braced herself for an arduous afternoon of countless dresses and swimwear but it had, in the end been pretty painless. There was only one dress that didn't make the cut, even though she struggled to understand why. It was exquisite and fitted her perfectly. Nigel had said something about Miranda absolutely despising oversized bows and was baffled as to how it had even made it to the selection rack. 

"Querida, you are such a vision in that dress. I can't wait to get my hands on that beautiful face of yours, such a canvas will be a dream to work with," Andy could tell that Serena was being completely genuine in her praise. Miranda had on a few occasions spoken very highly of the tall Brazilian and Andy could now see first hand why. 

"Wow, thanks Serena. But it's mostly down to all Nigel's work. Anyone would look good in these gowns and stuff," Andy shrugged, a little embarrassed. 

"Oh this wasn't me. This," Nigel swept a hand towards the rack holding all the pieces that would now feature in the shoot, "was all Miranda's handiwork. She was very adamant about selecting the pieces for you. Curious really. She's not normally so interested in the initial selections, just the finalised looks." 

Nigel went back to looking at the face charts that Serena was busy designing now she had a firm idea of the colour palette for the clothes, so thankfully they both missed the deep blush creeping up Andy's neck as she quickly headed off to get changed. 

"So tell me Andrea, what's it like being an Olympian?" Nigel's curiosity was getting the better of him. He was dying to find out how Miranda had managed to secure Andrea for the shoot but so far the editor had remained tight lipped. Maybe the brunette would let something slip. 

"It's all still a bit surreal to be honest. I love the water, and have swum for as long as I can remember. I just feel so grateful that I get to do what I love. And it's even better that I happen to be really good at it," 

"Good?" Nigel snorted, "I'd say you were a little bit more than good! So how many Olympic golds do you have?" 

"Erm, five. No, sorry," Andy chuckled as she stepped out from behind the changing screen, now back in the black leather look Paige jeans and a grey 1970 Bella Freud jumper that Miranda had chosen for her that morning, "six, I have six," 

"Are you certain about that?" Nigel smirked. 

"Yep, definitely six!" Andy said with way more confidence than what she was feeling as the time drew ever nearer for her to see Miranda. 

"So 'Six' you ready to go meet the formidable Runway Editor?" Nigel gestured for her to follow him out the door. 

"As ready as I'll ever be," Andy just hoped her normally expressive face didn't give away the fact she was nervous as hell. Something in the back of her mind told her that this had disaster written all over it. 

 

*****

 

Estelle Walker was angry. Actually scrap that, she was seething. Incandescent with white hot rage. The entire cab ride to Elias Clarke had done nothing but fuel the deep fury that was burning within. How dare she do this deal and cut her out of it?

It had been quite the unexpected dream to land such a, in Estelle's eyes, naive and nubile girl like Andy. The brunette was her star, her golden ticket, and fast becoming America's sweetheart. The girl with the heart stealing smile and endless amounts of medal winning talent to boot. She had made more money off her in the last year than any of her previous clients. So much so she had pooled all her resources into Andy's portfolio, taken on a ridiculously expensive lease for a swanky new office and even hired a PA. However the latter was going to be fired so fast as she was the reason she was now marching through the main lobby. It's not as if the girl had multiple clients to keep tabs on. How on earth had the idiotic girl missed this? 

Although Estelle didn't have an appointment she knew better than anyone that confidence was the key to anything. The amount of parties she had gatecrashed with nothing but bravado and a killer outfit in lieu of an invite. It was at such an event she had managed to bag the elusive swimmer and hadn't looked back since. 

It hadn't always been this way for Estelle Walker Associates. There was a time when her client book read like a who's who of the film and art world. Foil lettered invites to exclusive parties and obscenely extravagant launches would flood in weekly. She survived on a diet of Tattinger and canapés until her bubble had spectacularly burst. She'd got greedy and miscalculated the reach and power of a certain silver haired editor. Damn that bloody woman. Estelle had spent years clawing her way back up. Fighting for the scraps her former counterparts would throw her way if she was lucky. Representing clients who were slightly out of favour, or of the reality TV variety, had made her a pretty penny - desperation really did rake in the dollar, even if it did leave one feeling rather unclean. There was no way in hell she was going to let Andy slip through the nets. So that meant going to the devil herself. 

Where Miranda was the ice, Estelle was the fire. The white, cropped mane versus the sleek fire engine red bob. Tailored sharp suits meeting garish clashing prints and patterns. Estelle was battle ready as she stormed past a flapping redhead who was already on her feet about to throw herself between her and the entrance to the dragons lair. 

"Excuse me! You can't just go in there!" Emily whispered loudly, which in the quiet Runway offices was practically a scream. 

Estelle just glared at her and without breaking a stride entered Miranda's office. 

Emily was quick on her heels and using her slim frame to her advantage slipped in front of the rude woman. 

Miranda had heard the commotion and subtly looked up, groaning as she instantly recognised that hair and explosion of colour. This was going to be interesting. 

"Miranda, I am so sorry," Emily gestured towards Estelle, "she just barged in here before I could stop her," 

Miranda continued to flick through the portfolio on her desk, her face not betraying the fact her mind was rapidly going through all scenarios and outcomes relating to this intruder's unceremonious arrival in her inner sanctum. It was all very inconvenient. 

"Bore someone else with your excuses. Coffee," Miranda finally glanced up but still didn't  acknowledge the third person standing there, "Now." 

Emily looked between the two older women. Should she offer to get this other woman one too? Miranda answered for her by a cool, "Go. Whilst I deal with, this ." 

"Right. One coffee," Emily turned on her heel and was gone in record timing.

"Estelle." Miranda leaned back in her chair and finally took in the woman who was glaring down at her. Three seasons old Dries Van Noten, and not one of the best from that line, "You always did know how to make an entrance," Miranda didn't do anything to hide the sneer. 

"Miranda." Estelle took a seat opposite the editor as clearly she wasn't going to be offered one. 

"I didn't take you for someone who would bypass the necessary channels to get what they wanted… so blatantly," Estelle confidently stated. 

"As much as I hate the tedious process of people explaining their inane ramblings, on this occasion I must insist. I haven't a clue as to why you would interrupt my day like this," Miranda kept her voice even and soft. If it wasn't for her choice of words it would have sounded like she was speaking to a small, confused child. 

"Oh drop the act Miranda. You know exactly why I am here. Andy Sachs," Estelle searched the editor's face for the faintest reaction. A slight chink in her armour. Nothing. She had forgotten just how good this woman was. And on her home turf she was spectacular, not that she would tell her this mind you. 

"What does Andrea have to do with why you forced your way into my office?" Miranda wasn't going to make this easy for the agent.

"The shoot, and contacting my client. You know how this all works," Estelle huffed, "you've been around long enough." 

Miranda almost felt sorry for Estelle, given that she was seconds away from eviscerating the hapless agent. Almost. 

"As far as I am aware Andrea is free to do whatever she pleases. But I have a feeling you don't actually care about Andrea, rather the money you are going to miss out on," Miranda watched as Estelle's eyes widened slightly as she shifted uncomfortably in her chair. 

"Well, as, as her agent I need to ensure that everything is above board. It has nothing to do with money. I know how you fashion lovies operate," Estelle scoffed, she couldn't help the bitterness that came through. The years of feeling wronged by the hands of Miranda bloody Priestly rose to the surface. She wanted redemption and wasn't going to leave without her cut. She was owed that at least. 

"Oh my, you almost came across as genuine," Miranda laughed, "You may be able to fool others but not me. You should know that by now Estelle." 

Estelle had got one thing right, Miranda had been in the game for decades and not much happened in her circles and beyond without her knowing. It hadn't taken long for her contacts to do some digging and come up with the goods. Oh this was going to be fun. 

"You see," Miranda took her glasses off, folding them together and tapping them on her lips, "I've kept tabs on you. Not that there was much to note. Quite a pathetic little career you've had since your fall from grace. But I see the lure of money was just too strong. Tell me Estelle, how many of your clients actually know that you have been skimming off them? Cheating them of, what I imagine is, thousands given your new office address…"

Estelle went white. She felt sick and it was suddenly very hot in this glass box of an office. How did Miranda know that about her new lease? The ink was barely dry on the rental agreement, yet she knew. Fuck. Estelle's accountant had been a recommendation from one of her more unsavoury clients. At first she had been sceptical but he had assured her there would be no paper trail. Half her clients were so obsessed with getting their fifteen minutes of fame they didn't notice that her stated client fees and agency commission was creeping up and up per job or booking and in most cases didn't add up at all. 

Estelle went to speak but nothing came out. This was it. The end. Again. She slumped back in her seat and watched as Miranda reached into a desk drawer and pulled out a folder which even reading upside down she could see had her name on it. 

"Now you have taken up enough of my time so I suggest you leave. Now. You have the time it takes for the elevator to reach the lobby to forget that you ever had Andrea Sachs as a client and if I even so much as hear your name again you will be very very sorry." 

Estelle slowly stood and went to reach for the folder but Miranda was quicker. 

"Oh no. This," Miranda tapped the folder, "Stays with me. Some of your clients I am sure would be very interested to know you have been scamming them. And we both know they'd cut you off at the knees. Quite literally."

"You are a fucking heartless bitch, you know that. How you can sleep at night is beyond me! You've ruined me! Again!" Estelle was practically screaming at the editor. All her earlier composure lost as the reality of what had just happened began to sink in. Miranda had been so subtle in her actions that they had completely blind sided her. The editor had obviously been watching her for a while. She was royally screwed. And now, quite possibly, in a great deal of danger. 

"You did this to yourself. You got greedy and it backfired. When will you realise you are the tiniest of fish in the biggest of ponds. It's a shame really as you showed a glimmer of promise once upon a time but you never wanted to put the work in. You lie, and cheat and scam your way to the finer things in life. And that behaviour will inevitably catch up with you. It looks like your luck has finally run out, wouldn't you say Ms Walker? "

Miranda could hear a familiar laugh approaching her office. Andrea. She had hoped Estelle, who had turned a very dark crimson and was practically shaking, would have left by now. 

"I will get you back for this Miranda! This isn't over!" 

Miranda smirked and raised an eyebrow as if to say "go on I dare you". The expression was enough for Estelle to understand she was beat. As the agent turned to leave the office she bumped into Andy chatting away with Miranda's right hand man, Nigel. 

"I hope your fucking cover is worth it Andy!" Estelle barked at the shocked pair as she pushed past them before making a run for the elevator. 

"Andy?" gasped Nigel. 

"Cover?" squeaked Andy. 

Miranda looked between the two who were standing there, their mouths hanging wide open. Before she even contemplated who to answer first she needed coffee. As she went to call out for Emily the girl in question burst into her office brandishing the much needed beverage. 

"Oh, I didn't realise you were back up here. Do you want anything Nigel? Andrea?" 

"No, thanks Emily. And you can call me Andy," 

"Andy? As in Andy… " Emily's head whipped around so fast to look at Nigel, "Marbles…" she quietly muttered under her breath. 

"Indeed," Nigel nodded knowingly.

"Emily, shut the door. I think we need to all sit down and get some things out in the open. So to speak," Miranda stepped out from behind her desk and made her way to sit on the sofa, comfortable in the knowledge that once all three had processed the last few minutes, they would soon join her. 

 

Chapter Text

Andy was the first to join Miranda. As she looked over towards the editor the pull of pleading and somewhat nervous blue eyes was just too much. The cover could be dealt with later. The reality of what her love was about to do far outweighed the 'other' revelation. For the moment anyway. Miranda wasn't going to get away with not at least explaining why she was getting her to grace the cover. 

The brunette took a seat next to the editor, leaving no illusions that they were definitely already acquainted. Intimately. It wasn't an overtly showy display but a gentle caress to the thigh, a squeeze of a hand and a joint deep breath was all Nigel needed to see to know that this was something different than any of Andrea, nope, Andy's predecessors. He was the next to join them, taking a seat opposite the two women. 

That just left Emily. She was still standing there wide eyed. Unchartered territory for her. The redhead knew she was about to be elevated to a new level of privilege. Miranda's inner circle. This was a dream come true. Something she had strived for but had always seemed slightly out of reach. Now it was actually about to happen, she found she couldn't focus, or breathe. The weight of this one time offer laid heavy on her chest, along with the knowledge that any slip ups from here on in would mean membership revoked. Permanently. Taking a deep, unsteady breath, she pulled her shoulders back and gingerly made her way to join the others, quietly slipping into the last seat. 

Miranda cast a quick glance at all three pairs of expectant eyes, knowing that none of them would volunteer to speak first. If she had been feeling particularly mean and these were any other people she would have drawn it out longer but the nudge from Andrea was enough to encourage her to begin. And to play nice. But she was about to reveal something that could potentially change the way her two closest work colleagues, and in Nigel's case, friend, viewed her. This was monumental. 

This thought unnerved her beyond belief. Once it was verbalised there was no going back. Like trying to sift the salt from the sea, it would be impossible. It had the power to alter how she would interact with them once this personal, but frankly wonderful development in her life, was out in the open. That private little bubble she had encased the townhouse and its occupants with was about to spectacularly burst. She desperately wanted to grab Andrea's hand and drag her back to the safety of their home. OK, quick and painless was the key, much like ripping off a proverbial band aid. Here goes nothing. 

"Nigel, Emily, I would like you to meet Andrea," Miranda sniffed, she had never felt so vulnerable, exposed, "My Andrea."

"Andy, please call me Andy. Or in your case Nigel, how about we stick with 'Six'?" Andy chuckled nervously. For Miranda to make herself seem more human in the eyes of her colleagues was huge, and she was bubbling with so much love and admiration. It was fortifying that this formidable woman thought that she, Andy Sachs, was worthy of such a risk. 

"Well, it's lovely to finally meet the mysterious Andy, the one that's managed to tame the dragon," Nigel winked at Miranda, whose eyebrows had practically disappeared beneath her hair, "and more surprisingly, those cheeky baby dragons."

"Nigel," Miranda practically growled, "careful." 

"I'm only teasing Miranda." Years of being the Editor's colleague and confidant had made Nigel impervious to most of her barbed comments and warnings, and he recognised that this one was definitely all bark and no bite. With that he then launched into a very animated story about some mishap on a previous shoot which had Andrea laughing almost instantly. 

Miranda breathed a sigh of relief. She needn't have worried. Of course Andrea would be perfect at handling this. The doubts just melted away as she sat there and watched her lover interact with her friend. Nigel had diffused the enormity of the situation so beautifully and it was at that moment she saw him in a whole new light. He really did get her, and to know she had a solid ally for when this inevitably hit the press was a wonderful and grounding feeling. It would be moments like this that would hold her steady when the press hacks honed in on them. 

Emily on the other hand had not said a word. She was still staring down at her hands, firmly clasped together in her lap. Miranda knew that Emily idolised her, loved her almost. Not in a romantic sense but in a 'I would walk over burning coals to please you' kind of way. Her loyalty had shown no bounds, and her silence was worrying to say the least. Maybe doing this altogether was a mistake. But theirs wasn't the sort of relationship where they would gossip over coffee on the regular. No, her devoted first assistant needed to be approached in a completely different manner to Nigel. Miranda mentally kicked herself that she had failed to see that. However, in her defence, this wasn't exactly how she had planned to reveal her Andrea to them. 

Miranda stood and gestured for Emily to do the same. 

"Emily, come with me,"

Shaken out of her reverie Emily blinked rather frantically before jumping up to join Miranda as she walked out the office. 

"Let's walk and talk," 

"Yes, Miranda," Emily was grateful she had had the foresight to snatch her notepad and pen from her desk just as Miranda started to rattle off a list of requests. 

"...and then I need the look books from Alaia on my desk first thing," 

"Look books, right. Anything else?" 

"That's all."

They continued to walk in silence and ended up at the closet. Miranda headed straight for the rack of clothes that Andrea would be wearing for the shoot. As she moved from piece to piece she could feel the weight of silence between herself and the redhead. 

"Are the arrangements all done for the weekend?" Miranda ran her fingers down the Zovani dress which Andrea would be wearing for the cover. The swathes of floor length powder blue weightless tulle would look exquisite against her colouring. The semi sheer bodice was covered in intricate beading that would sparkle against the backdrop of the twinkling lights of the waterfall, the location she had selected for the final part of the shoot. Miranda had arranged for it to take place just as the light would begin to fade and night would descend. She had so many wonderful memories from that trip, but this spot would always hold the fondest. She shivered when she took in the deep v of the back of the gown, Andrea's toned shoulders would look breathtaking. Hmmm yes, she had made a most excellent choice with this one. The woman and the dress. 

"Yes, Miranda. The itinerary has been finalised and your plans to travel ahead of the Runway crew are all sorted. Roy is getting your car serviced tomorrow and will have it ready for Thursday morning,"

Miranda gave a sharp affirmative nod in response. 

"Will that be all Miranda?" 

Looking at her watch Miranda hadn't realised how late it had become. She and Andrea had promised the girls a round of Harry Potter Cluedo and she wasn't going to miss that for anything. She smiled at the numerous changes she had made to her life without even thinking thanks to her Andrea. 

"Yes, that's everything," Miranda went to leave but as she reached the door she turned to look at Emily who was standing there looking rather uncomfortably at her note pad, mumbling to herself. 

"Emily," the redhead looked up, she seemed shocked that Miranda was still there. 

"Y-yes, Miranda?" 

"Nothing has to change. I am still me. The only difference is you know. But Runway will still be Runway. And I will still be the editor in chief. But you now have a little more knowledge of me as a woman. How you deal with that is up to you. I will still treat you the way I always have," Miranda watched as Emily's tense shoulders relaxed before her eyes. 

Emily knew she didn't need to say anything, Miranda had done that for her. She nodded in response and knew they had reached an understanding. She'd made it. The inner circle but on terms that would work for the both of them. The relief was immense. 

"Why don't you go see if Serena is finished for the day? Have a little fun Emily. Trust me, it does wonders for the soul," and with that Miranda winked at the wide eyed redhead before turning on her heel and heading off down the hall, chuckling as she heard the gasp of her first assistant. 

 

*****

 

Miranda sank back into the cool leather seat of the town car. What a day. She made a mental note to speak with her contacts in the morning to keep vigilant with the whereabouts of one Estelle Walker. She could feel herself getting worked up again but before she got herself into a full on snit she felt a smooth hand take hers. Almost immediately a sense of calm washed over her. She sighed and looked to her left and was met by soft brown eyes and that beautiful smile. 

"Pizza," the brunette said before shuffling closer and resting her head against the editor's shoulder 

"Hmmm?" Miranda mumbled into the silky brown locks as she kissed the top of her head. 

"Garlic bread" Andrea responded dreamily. 

"Are you trying out some food based terms of endearment again darling?" Miranda chuckled as she remembered the rather unsuccessful time Andrea had tried to call her muffin. The placement of the brunette's fingers at the time was the only reason she had let it slide so easily. 

"Bacon dusted cheese fries," Andrea moaned, a deep throaty sound that went straight to Miranda's core as she felt a kiss to her neck. 

"It's what I am going to order for us all tonight. I think we need to royally pig out after the day we have had. And don't worry. There will be a caesar salad, with dressing on the side, for you." 

"Thank you darling. Although I wouldn't be adverse," Miranda sniffed, "to some of those fries. Who knew the addition of something so simple as bacon dust would be so sublime." 

"I told you. Cheesy bacony goodness. Completely irresistible," Andrea was nibbling on Miranda's ear as she spoke. 

"Bacony?" Miranda tried to keep her voice even but her panting gave her away. Damn that perfect, wandering mouth. 

"Hmmmm yep. Bacony," Andrea bit down harder on the lobe between her teeth causing a squeal from Miranda. 

Just as Miranda was about to claim those perfect lips the car came to a smooth stop as it pulled up outside the townhouse. They both heard Roy clear his throat from the front seat. 

The weighted, frustrated look in Andrea's eyes made her smile knowing that she wasn't alone in her desires, leaning in she placed a chaste kiss to her pouting mouth and whispered, "Later, darling," before thanking Roy and stepping out the car. 

Huffing in annoyance Andy gave Roy a little wave and quickly followed her love out the car and up the steps to their front door. 

"Girls we're home," Miranda took her coat off and gestured for Andrea's as she placed them in the closet. Stepping out of her heels she rolled her ankles and groaned in relief as they made a satisfying crack. Feeling strong arms wrap around her waist she let her head fall back on Andrea's shoulder. The concept of what it truly meant to be home was currently nuzzling the hair behind her ear. 

Caroline came running down the stairs and rolled her eyes when she saw her mum and Andy, but continued to talk into the phone that was pressed to her ear. 

"Yeah, they have just walked in," Caroline mouthed 'Grams' at her mum and Andy's questioning faces. 

"Uh huh. I know and it sucks. Yeah well at least we'll see you Friday. OK, cool. OK here you go, see ya Grams,"

Caroline then handed the phone to Miranda. 

"Josie, how are you?" Miranda gestured that she would take the call in her study. 

Hmm that's odd, normally Miranda wasn't bothered about Andy overhearing her conversations with her grams. The pair had forged a strong friendship since their time at camp all those months previous. 

Cassidy popped her head around the door of the kitchen to see what was taking Andy so long, seeing her standing there looking perplexed she called out, "Hey Andy, I printed my baking list off. Can you come help me sort it all out?" 

"Sure thing Cass," Andy took one last glance towards Miranda's study door before heading off to join the girls in the kitchen. 

 

*****

 

"... Yes that's right. And remember not a word," Miranda heard a noise near the door. Looking up she saw Andrea walking towards her, "Yes, yes, I have to go. OK see you Thursday."

"Not a word about what?" Andy moved around the side of Miranda's desk and spun the editor's chair around so she had easy access to straddle her thighs. 

"Nothing. Just sorting details out for our arrival on Thursday," Miranda moved her head to the side so Andrea could get better access to her neck. 

"Hmmm," Andy kissed along the soft skin that was offered up, "You're up to something Priestly,"

"Not me, hmm that feels nice," Andreas' fingers were carding through her hair, nails gently scratching her scalp, "and did you order the food?" 

"I sure did, although I am suddenly hungry for something else," Andy purred into the shell of Miranda's ear. 

Miranda was burning up. It had been slowly building since she'd perused Andrea's outfits in the closet. The car journey had only heightened her desire. She turned her head and captured the lips that had been teasing her all day, pouring all her pent up arousal into the kiss. It was passionate and messy. Miranda groaned when Andrea rolled her hips, the weight and pressure so achingly familiar. Hands began desperately seeking contact with newly revealed skin that was hot to the touch. A button or two lost in the battle to remove the flimsy barrier that was Miranda's shirt. 

"Andy! Mum!" Cassidy shouted down from the first floor landing, "The game is all set up!" 

"Those girls have the worst timing. Ever." Andy panted as she leaned her forehead against Miranda's. 

"Well in their defence we did promise them a game or two," Miranda smiled against Andrea's kiss swollen lips. 

"I know," Andrea sighed as she reluctantly climbed off Miranda's lap, "I just want to take you up stairs and have my wicked way with you," she wiggled her eyebrows suggestively as she started to straighten out her clothes and do up the zip to her jeans that she hadn't even realised Miranda had undone. 

"The joys of children," Miranda had got a compact mirror from her desk drawer and started to smooth out her hair, "but rest assured darling, we will be picking this back up as soon as the girls are tucked up in bed," 

"You bet your sweet milf arse we will be Priestly. I've got big plans for you tonight," Andrea leant on the door jam and delighted in the shiver that visibly travelled through Miranda's body. 

Miranda clenched her thighs together. How this woman could take her from nought to sixty with a look or a few choice words was something she never wanted to get used to. The thrill and anticipation would have to be enough to get her through the next few hours. Doing a final makeup check and realising she couldn't do anything about the missing buttons on her shirt she clicked the lamp off and went to join her family. Her wonderful joyous happy little family. 

 

*****

 

"I-I don't think… I- I can a-again," Miranda panted loudly, her back arched, a sheen of sweat covering her body, her hips meeting each deliciously slow thrust beat for beat. 

"You can my love," Andy hovered over Miranda as she left a trail of kisses down her sternum, "I know you have one more in you," her fingers filling Miranda, curling just right. Her hips rolling, putting some more intensity behind the movement of her hand. 

"My god, w-what you do to… oh fuck. M-me," Miranda reached out and grabbed fists full of sheets. She could feel the tell tale signs building in the pit of her stomach. Her legs stretched out, thighs open wide, she'd never put herself on display like this for anyone, but it was as if she had no control over her limbs. Andrea was playing her body perfectly. A lick here, and a nip there. And those strong fingers driving her, coaxing her, pushing her to the pinnacle of a release which was fast approaching like a runaway freight train.  

Then it happened. All the clichés of fireworks going off, an orchestra reaching its crescendo, waves crashing against rocks couldn't even come close to that precise moment when she lost absolute control. It was like she was looking down at herself, almost as if she had momentarily left her physical body and was floating on another plain. 

She collapsed back on the bed melting deep into the mattress. No energy to move or to close her legs. Trying in vain to suck in deep lungfuls of air. She would have happily bet the house in the Hamptons that she had actually blacked out for a moment. 

The next thing she felt were a pair of strong arms scooping her up and holding her close as she attempted to even out her breathing. 

"You OK my love?" Andy smoothed back her damp hair, "Think we lost you for a second there," 

"That, my darling, was otherworldly," Miranda rolled over to face the brunette. 

"Wow, high praise indeed," Andy reached down and pulled the covers up over them. 

"Every time we make love, I think it's the best it's ever been. And then you go and do something like that and, well, I think you know the rest." 

Andy loved these moments, when Miranda was soft and free with her thoughts and words. She knew how lucky she was to be the only one to see this side of her. 

"What can I say, you inspire me," Andy waited for the eye roll from Miranda at her cheesy line. But nothing could have prepared her for what came next. 

"Do I?" Miranda traced Andrea's face with an elegant and slightly unsteady finger, "I don't think I have ever met a creature as exquisite as you. You, my darling have fast become the love of my life," and she placed a barely there kiss to the side of the brunette's mouth. 

"Today, when we were with Nigel and Emily I was fully prepared to walk away from Runway if it had gone south," Miranda sighed, and rolled on to her back, "I wasn't expecting to have had that conversation with them this afternoon but when the moment came I looked over at you and it all just felt right. Years of denying my true self, letting two people who have known a version of me that I created to hide my deepest darkest fears of, oh I don't know, not being accepted maybe, see the real me for the first time was exhilarating and not remotely as scary as I had initially feared. And that was because of you. I have you. You love me for me. The woman who loves sherbert lemons and the occasional plate of greasy cheese fries loaded with bacon. Who can't swim, and cries at animal charity adverts on the television. You know my inner fears, my hopes and dreams and I couldn't be happier. You make me a better person. Your presence in my life validates my existence and that should scare me. To hand that power so readily to another person. It should fill me with absolute panic but it doesn't because I trust you. I trust in the knowledge that you won't hurt me, or our girls and everyday I thank any and every deity I can think of that I got on that bus all those months ago. Because I found my way to you."

Andy could feel the silent tears roll down her face. She knew she had to respond but couldn't find the words. Would there ever be words to follow such a raw and heartfelt declaration?

Miranda put her fingers on the brunette's lips. 

"You don't need to say anything darling. You tell me everyday by the things you do, and the way you look at me. I will never doubt your love for me Andrea. Please know that." 

All Andy could do was smile and nod through the tears that were now readily flowing. She snuggled into Miranda's open arms, taking a deep inhale of the delicious scent that she could only describe as 'just Miranda'. 

Miranda placed feather light kisses all over the brunette's face, the salty tang of tears tingling her tongue. Encouraging Andrea to roll over so she was spooning her she lifted Andrea's right leg up so her foot was flat to the mattress. With a sure hand she cupped the brunette and moaned in her ear at the wetness she found. Her tongue drawing lazy patterns on the back of Andrea's neck, that matched the movement of her nimble fingers. Miranda knew it wouldn't take her lover long to climax so she kept the touches light and random, never settling in one place for too long. 

Andy was breathing deeply through her nose, she wanted to draw this feeling out for as long as possible so tried to keep her own movements to a minimum. She reached out and put a hand in Miranda's hair pulling her closer so she could capture those lips that had just given her the greatest gift, that of Miranda's heart and her trust. 

"Come for me darling," Miranda mumbled against Andrea's lips, and with that Andrea started to move with more purpose. 

The end goal was in sight. The familiar warmth started to spread over her slick body. Andy threw her head back onto Miranda's shoulder as she fell over the edge. Her lips parted as she let out a deep low moan. 

The intensity of the moment was overwhelming and Miranda felt Andrea start to tremble. She tightened her hold on the brunette as she whispered words of love and reassurance. Andrea's breathing started to even out and Miranda couldn't help but smile as she realised the brunette had fallen asleep. In a blissful contented state it took mere minutes for the editor to follow her love into a deep slumber. 

 

Chapter Text

"Miranda, will you hurry up already? I want to beat the traffic!" Andy shouted up the stairs before heading into the kitchen. Who knew Miranda the perfectionist was such a last minute packer? 

"I can't believe mum won't let us ditch school so we can come with you today. It's like so unfair," Cassidy exclaimed. Andy and Miranda had already gone over this countless times this week and Andy wasn't in the mood to cover this ground again. 

"Look Cass," Andy let out a frustrated sigh as she ran her fingers through her hair, "today will fly by and then before you know it, it will be tomorrow afternoon and Roy will be picking you up from school to drive you down to meet us. OK?" 

"Whatever," Cassidy grumbled. 

"Hey, drop the sass. It's not too late for me to call Charlotte and ask if she can stay the whole weekend and you two can stop here." 

"You wouldn't dare?" Cassidy glared at Andy

"Try me," Andy stood her ground with the stubborn girl. 

"Ignore her Andy. She's just trying to get out of that history pop quiz tomorrow morning," Caroline helpfully volunteered which earned her a punch in the arm from her sister. 

"Oh Cass, come here," Andy held her arms out for the redhead, "I thought you were OK with that?" 

"I just don't want to fail it, but I can't seem to keep all the dates and stuff in my head," Cassidy's voice was muffled from being buried in Andy's chest. 

"Why didn't you tell me? We could have gone through some revision techniques," Andy said as she combed her fingers through the auburn locks.

"I didn't want to bother you, you've been busy getting ready for the trip," 

"Hey, look at me," Andy leant back a bit and lifted the girls chin, "I'll never be too busy OK, but if you don't say anything how can I help, huh?" 

"Hey Cass, you can borrow my revision notes and we can go through everything after school today if you want?" Caroline hated seeing her sister upset. 

"OK, if you erm wouldn't mind Caro," Cassidy whispered. 

"No problemo! I can't have you letting the side down now can I?" Caroline bumped her sister's shoulder getting a teary chuckle out of her. 

"And we can face time later. It's on the French Revolution right?" Andy was wracking her brain trying to summon up anything about it. Hopefully Miranda could offer up some facts, history wasn't a strength of Andy's at all. 

"Yeah, that would be great. Thanks Andy!" 

"Fabulous. Now why don't you go clean your teeth and finish getting ready for school. Roy will be here in no time," 

High fives were dished out before the twins ran off upstairs. Andy then turned her attention to making a thermos of coffee for the car journey whilst mentally going over her own packing checklist. 

 

*****

 

"What?" Andy could feel Miranda staring at her. 

"Nothing," Miranda gazed dreamily back out the car window watching the world go by. When she sensed that Andrea's eyes were back on the road she sneaked another look. They had decided to take Miranda's sleek graphite black Range Rover Evoque and damn Andrea looked good behind the wheel.

"Busted," Andy had caught Miranda this time, "Do I have something on my face?" 

"Nope, just enjoying the scenery," Miranda smirked as she slid her sunglasses down her nose and gave Andrea a heated look. 

"Enough with the distractions please. I would like to get us there in one piece," Andy laughed. 

"Fine, fine," Miranda pushed her sunglasses back in position and started to fiddle with the radio, "Were the girls OK this morning? Cassidy seemed a little out of sorts?" Miranda loved that she now had someone to share these domestic conversations with. There had been an initial worry that the novelty of instant children would have worn off rather quickly but as the weeks turned to months Andrea had met every challenge with a cheery smile and a solution. It was evident she loved Miranda's girls as if they were her own. Miranda counted her lucky stars everyday that she had such a loving and caring soul she could call her better half. 

"Yeah, she was still moaning about being left behind. Anyone would think we were leaving them for a three month expedition with the attitude she was giving out. But it turns out she was just stressed about that history test tomorrow. Honestly she can be so dramatic at times. I wonder where she gets that from, huh?" It was Andy's turn to smirk. 

"I am not dramatic," Miranda huffed, "just passionate. There's a big difference." 

"Of course there is Priestly," Andy reached over and entwined her fingers with Miranda's, "You keep telling yourself that my love," she brought the back of Miranda's hand to her mouth and gave it a kiss before letting go so she could change gear. 

Andy heard Miranda mumble something under her breath, "What was that sweetheart?" 

"Oh I erm said, where are we stopping for a late lunch?" Andy looked over and saw Miranda's cheeks tinge an adorable shade of pink, the result of having clearly not repeated what she had actually said. 

"Ah we are going to a fabulous place, a real institution around these parts," Andy knew when to pick her battles and now was not one of them. 

"And does this establishment have a name, Andrea?" 

"Peekamoose," Andy was desperately trying to keep her eyes on the road and not laugh, already knowing exactly what expression was now on Miranda's face. 

"Peek a what now?" 

"Moose, you'll love it," Andy patted Miranda's thigh in jest, "Trust me," 

"The things I do for you…" Miranda whispered around a smile. 

 

*****

 

Miranda placed her knife and fork delicately on her plate and let out a content sigh. She'd kept it light and gone for a lobster cobb salad that was divine in its simplicity and fresh flavours. The girl had done good. The restaurant was a sheer delight. The combination of contemporary seasonal dishes and the quirky interior of the converted farm house had led to a very pleasant dining experience. She was already thinking about scheduling a stop on the way back to the city. The girls would get a real kick out of the indoor tree house. 

"Well put a fork in me I am done," Andy wiped her mouth as she finished the last bite of the homemade pastrami on rye sandwich, "You want my last few fries? I'm stuffed," she pushed her plate towards Miranda knowing the answer was always going to be a resounding yes. 

"How'd you do that?" Andy rested her elbow on the table leaning her head in her hand as she watched Miranda, clenching her thighs as she saw a flash of pink as the tip of Miranda's tongue darted out and ran over her bottom lip. Oh what that mouth and tongue could do to her. It should come with a health warning. 

"Do what?" Miranda looked up at Andy, perplexed as to where this was going. 

"Make eating French fries so ridiculously hot," Andy groaned quietly as Miranda licked a little salt and oil off her thumb, "Oh you absolute tease." 

"A tease, me? Never," Miranda arched a perfectly sculpted eyebrow and clutched her hand to her chest. 

"For that little power move, lunch is on you," Andy just wanted to climb over the table and kiss that smug look off Miranda's face. 

"Gladly, my darling," Miranda caught the eye of their waiter and gestured for the bill. It was a small price to pay for the blush that was creeping down the brunette's chest and disappearing beneath the tantalising low cut of the scoop necked t-shirt she'd chosen to wear. Delicious. 

 

*****

 

Andy saw the sign for Camp Tethys approaching and struggled to contain an excited squeal. It had always been the same. No matter how long it had been since she'd been back she couldn't help but be thrilled to be surrounded by the familiar scenery, the clean air and smog free skies once again. This time was different though, all thanks to the gorgeous woman sitting next to her. Andy looked over at Miranda who had been on her phone since leaving the restaurant and couldn't help but smile. She indicated and turned into the lane which would take her to her home away from home. 

As Andy rolled to a stop and put the car into park outside their chalet Miranda finally looked up from the device in hand, which frankly must have been on fire as it hadn't stopped going off. 

"Oh, we're here. That went quickly," Miranda's voice sounded quiet, and uncertain. 

"Something happen? You haven't put that thing down since we got going again," Andy was a little concerned at Miranda's behaviour. She seemed almost nervous? 

"Hmmm?" 

"I said, did something happen at work? You seem not really with it," Andy shifted in her seat so she was facing Miranda, "You OK?" 

"Sorry darling, and no, nothing has happened. I just needed to sort some last minute details out for the weekend," Miranda gave the brunette a small smile, "Let's head in shall we?" Miranda reached over and squeezed Andrea's hand before opening the car door and elegantly sliding out. 

As Andy stood by the front door she couldn't help but notice that Miranda was tense and it was now definitely apparent that something was up. It's like she was desperate for Andy to unlock the door and get inside but when she did she hung back not wanting to walk over the threshold. 

Andy put their luggage down in the hall and spun around to tackle whatever was going on but she saw Miranda just stood there in the doorway, looking a little lost. 

"Hey, what's wrong my love?" Andy walked up to Miranda and wrapped her arms around her waist. 

"I've done something," Miranda sighed and looked a little sheepish. 

"Right, well do you want to share or am I going to have to guess?" Andy reached up and gently swept Miranda's hair from her eyes. 

"It would be easier to show you," Miranda stepped out of the embrace and held out her hand for Andrea to take, which she did gladly. 

Miranda guided Andrea through the hallway and into the open plan living space. It looked perfect and she let out a deep breath of relief. She suddenly felt a tug at her hand and realised the brunette had stopped in her tracks. 

"Miranda," Andy whispered as she put a hand to her mouth, "You did all of this?" 

Miranda nodded shly. 

"It's well, it's wow," Andy looked around taking in the scene in front of her. Everywhere she looked she saw candles and vases of all shapes and sizes holding the most beautifully arranged flowers. On closer inspection she noted they were all peonies, her all time favourite bloom. She couldn't even remember mentioning this to Miranda, but she must have and the editor had filed that snippet of information away in that wonderful mind of hers. 

"But how?" Andy pulled Miranda flush against her causing the editor to gasp. 

"I had a little helper or two, but that's not all. There's one more surprise." Miranda had no idea how Andrea would react to this one, she was so nervous that she had gone a little too extravagant but when it came to Andrea she just couldn't help herself. 

"Another one?" Andy looked on at Miranda nodding before being taken towards the deck. 

They had left later than scheduled due to Miranda's apparent indecisiveness when packing, and then the unplanned but oh so hot joint shower the editor had absolutely insisted on before they left meant that they had arrived at the chalet as the sun was just setting. At the time Andy had been frustrated but stepping out onto the deck it now all made sense. Fairy lights had been wrapped around the balustrades of the deck, and all the storm lanterns had been lit. Large pillar candles were arranged in the centre of the outdoor table and she could hear the distinct sound of bubbling water coming from the right side of the deck. Slowly turning around she saw a very large circular hot tub beneath a canopy of festoon lights. The sides were paneled with wood that blended it perfectly into the decking. 

Miranda came up behind Andrea, and purred in her ear, "Surprise," 

Andy spun around in Miranda's hold and kissed her. A stomach flipping, knee weakening kiss. 

"I take it you like it then?" Miranda chuckled against the brunette's lips. 

"Are you kidding?? This is amazing," Andy gave Miranda a quick kiss, "I can't believe you arranged all of this. You are so sneaky, Priestly."

"I have my moments. When I told Josie what I wanted to do she was all for it. Cora helped with the installation. I am so relieved you like it, I was having doubts as we got closer to arriving," 

"Doubts? You?" Andy smiled. 

"Yes, me. It has been known. I just didn't want to overstep the mark. This is your domain, and I know how dear this place is to you." 

Andy shook her head defiantly, "That's where you're wrong," Andy felt Miranda tense, "It's our place. You are free to do whatever you want with it."

"You know the same goes for you at the townhouse don't you?" Miranda relaxed again. 

"I sure do," Andy took in the size of the tub bubbling away, "You think we could work out a way to get one of these for the townhouse?" 

"I'll have Emily look into it first thing on Monday," 

"Really? Just like that?" 

"Just like that. I think it would look rather smart taking centre stage on the roof top terrace, don't you?" 

"Well what say we give this baby a test run?" Andy started to unbutton Miranda's shirt. 

"I think that's the most sensible thing you've said all day," Miranda took hold of the hem of Andrea's t-shirt and in one swift motion it was pulled off and flung across the deck. 

 

*****

 

"Top up?" Andy reached over the side of the hot tub and retrieved the opened bottle from the very conveniently placed champagne bucket. 

"Hmmm, yes please darling," Miranda was enjoying the feeling of Andrea's full breasts pressed up against her back. 

Miranda handed Andrea her glass and hissed as some of the ice cold liquid spilled over onto her shoulder. 

"I always forget how bubbly this stuff is," Andy placed the bottle back in the cooler and then proceeded to trace the path the champagne took with her tongue causing a low moan to escape from the back of Miranda's throat. 

Wrapping her legs more firmly around Miranda's waist Andy drew her in closer, her hands coming up to cup the editor's pert breasts, her palms teasing Miranda's hardened nipples. 

"So was this a deciding factor in the purchasing of the hot tub?" Andy whispered in Miranda's ear whilst her hands continued to drive Miranda to distraction. 

"Hmmm, what?" Miranda was having a hard time focusing on anything but the strong, sure fingers massaging her breasts. 

"Taking you, under the stars," Andy was doing a number on the pale creamy and oh so responsive skin of Miranda's neck. The combination of hands, mouth and tongue was causing the editor's hips to roll slowly. 

"It was," Miranda breathed deeply through her nose, "a definite pro." She ground her behind hard into the brunette. 

"I thought as much," Andy increased the pressure of her hands ever so slightly. 

Miranda had her eyes closed with her head now leaning back on Andrea's shoulder. She loved it when they made love in this position. To be wrapped up and held by Andrea in this way was always all consuming. The closeness was overwhelming, and she couldn't remember a time where she had ever felt so connected with a lover. She reached up and put her hand over the brunette's. Entwining their fingers she wasted no time in dragging their combined hands to between her legs, desperate to move this along. She let go in the hope Andrea would get the hint. 

Andy knew exactly what Miranda was trying to achieve but she would have to wait. She ran her fingers through Miranda's folds and then travelled her hand slowly back up her flat abdomen and resumed her teasing on her right breast. 

"Nope. You're going to have to be patient. This is payback for the fries," Andy bit down on Miranda's shoulder. 

Huffing impatiently Miranda again took Andrea's hand and placed it back between her legs, holding it there this time. 

"I need you," Miranda lifted her right foot onto one of the moulded seats which left her wide open, as she moved her's and Andrea's hands against her core, "...Please." 

And it was that six letter word that was always Andy's undoing. Knowing that this glorious woman was so desperate to find her release from her touch, and hers alone, was the most wondrous of things. Andy didn't know if it was the warmth of the water or the glasses of champagne she had on board but she felt lightheaded and deliriously happy. She also wanted to try something they hadn't done before. She quickly changed the position of her hand so it was now on top of Miranda's. This allowed Andy to guide and use Miranda's fingers as an extension of her own. The editor groaned loudly as the movements had the desired effect. 

Miranda was lost to Andrea's control. She felt overwhelmed with desire. A deep thirst was burning deep in her throat, knowing it would only be quenched by one thing. She gasped when Andrea switched the positions of their hands and whilst she only had a vague idea of what was going to happen next was more than happy to go along with it. Their connection would reach new levels in a few moments and this thrilled her beyond belief. As Andrea guided her own fingers to enter her she arched her back. The feeling of her own and Andrea's fingers inside her, moving together was unlike anything she had encountered before. A strong arm came around her waist and held her close. Her hips bucking wildly caused the water to cascade over the sides of the tub. Her own palm pressed deliciously against the hardened bundle of nerves. And then it hit her. She felt herself clench around her fingers. And Andrea's. My god it was indescribable. She screamed. A loud unbridled scream. The waves their bodies had made in the water matching those that crashed over her as she reached the point of ultimate release. She whimpered at the loss when Andrea gently removed both their fingers. 

Summoning up her last bit of strength Miranda spun around and straddled the brunette's thighs. Looking deep into those dark brown eyes she saw so much love reflected back that she couldn't help but choke back a sob. 

Leaning down Miranda captured Andrea's lips. It was lazy and wet but neither seemed to care. She snaked a hand between them and knowing Andrea would be more than ready slipped inside and curled her fingers just so. Using her hips to grind down and give more force to her hand she could feel the brunette trembling already. It wasn't going to take Andrea long at all and with a few more thrusts and a thumb to her clit Andrea arched into Miranda's touch, her head resting back over the side of the tub with her eyes scrunched shut. A low growl came from those plump parted lips before the brunette relaxed and slumped back before slowly opening her eyes and gazing up at Miranda with a lopsided grin. 

"The hot tub is most definitely staying," Andy chuckled. 

"I am glad it has met with your approval," Miranda then blushed as her stomach rumbled. 

"Right come on Priestly we need food and then I promised Cass we would facetime her. Please tell me you know some stuff about the French Revolution?" Andy lifted Miranda off her lap and hopped out the tub. 

"The French Revolution began in May 1789 when the Ancien Régime was abolished in favour of a constitutional monarchy. Its replacement in September 1792 by the First French Republic led to the execution of Louis XVI in January 1793 and an extended period of political turmoil," Miranda, feeling rather smug, looked over at Andrea who was now wrapped up in a towel. But instead of being impressed by what she just recalled she just saw the brunette roll her eyes. 

"Miranda, memorising the first paragraph from Wikipedia? Really?" Andy couldn't help but laugh at Miranda's wide eyed expression. Turns out Miranda wasn't good at everything. 

"Fine. I'll get dinner started and you Google it. I am sure two capable minds such as ours can cobble together some added information," 

"Sounds like a plan. We make a great team, Priestly and Sachs. Hey that sounds like one of those cop shows from the 80s," Andy laughed, and deepened her voice like a movie trailer voice over, "Priestly and Sachs investigate. Not a crime too big for this dynamic duo," 

"Really Andrea? I do worry about the way your mind works sometimes," it was Miranda's turn to roll her eyes as she collected the empty glasses and headed inside. 

"Whatever. Plus you'd look totally hot in uniform," Andy wiggled her eyebrows at Miranda suggestively. 

"Are you quite finished?" Miranda secretly loved this type of banter she had with her love. It was silly and pointless and absolutely wonderful. 

"For now, but we are so going to revisit this idea Detective Priestly," and with that Andy headed towards the bedroom to get dressed, whistling the theme tune to Cagney and Lacey as she went. 

 

Chapter Text

As Miranda stretched sleepily she felt the sun stream in through the slats of the blinds. All she wanted to do was snuggle back down wrapped in the warm and toasty arms of her Andrea. Speaking of whom, where was her ridiculously flexible brunette, she couldn't help but smirk at the flashbacks from their evening antics. 

Not wanting to face the world just yet she blindly patted the mattress next to her expecting to connect with the silky smooth skin of a toned thigh or arm. Coming up empty handed she cracked an eye open. Huh, she was alone. Hearing movement coming from the ensuite she opened her other eye just as Andrea walked back in the bedroom. 

"Good morning darling," Miranda propped herself up on her elbows, not even bothering to cover her bare torso much to her lover's delight. 

"Hey my love." Andy was already dressed in shorts and a cropped running top that looked like it had been sprayed on. 

"Hmmm, come back to bed?" Miranda lifted the sheets giving the brunette a tantalising glimpse of a pale naked leg. 

"Well I was going to go for a run but now you're seriously tempting me to indulge in other, more fun ways of working up a sweat," Andy tied her hair up in a high ponytail as she stalked towards the bed, "How can a girl resist?" Andy whispered against Miranda's lips as she leaned in for her first kiss of the day. 

"You can't, that's the whole point darling," Miranda growled as her hands made a beeline straight for Andrea's shorts. 

Just as Andy (with Miranda's help) managed to wrestle the running top off and throw it across the room they were interrupted by a loud knocking on the front door. 

"Ignore it, it's still early," Andy was busy making her way down Miranda's heaving chest leaving kisses as she went. Her end goal was very much in sight. 

The knocking continued, getting louder and more persistent. 

"I don't think they are going to go away Andrea," Miranda squeaked as the brunette nipped at the sensitive skin of her inner thigh. 

"Fine. But I am not playing nice with whoever is on the other side of that door," Andy huffed, before lowering her head and whispering, "I'll be right back." 

Miranda couldn't help but laugh when she registered that Andrea said that not directly to her but instead to the deliciously throbbing spot between her legs. 

"Really Andrea?" 

"What?" Andy grabbed a t-shirt and shorts and hastily covered herself. 

"You're a strange little thing." 

Miranda had been rather surprised when Andrea had first 'spoken' to her most intimate area. Her previous lovers had been very business like for want of a better phrase. It was all very practical. But from the first time she and Andrea had fallen into bed together she knew instantly this would be different. Mind-blowingly different. She had never been so vocal, and was still getting used to voicing her inner most wants and desires, but she was quickly learning that the rewards she received more than out weighed any initial moments of embarrassment. 

"But you love me despite all of my oddities. You're not short of them either, Miss 'I can't eat large blueberries'. I mean what's that all about huh?" Andy gave Miranda a questioning look. 

"Well the big ones are always completely substandard, flavourless and not fit for my bowl," Miranda sniffed. 

"And?" 

"And what, Andrea?" 

"You know what…" 

"Eugh they are always all…" Miranda shuddered at the thought, "squishy…" 

"The great Miranda Priestly, Editor in Chief extraordinaire, feared by millions, worshipped by more, slayed by the squishyness of a blueberry. I rest my case, m'lord. Now that's proper odd right there," Andy was really laughing now. 

Andy knew she had to tread carefully as there was always a fine line between how far she could tease Miranda before it resulted in a full blown sulk. She crawled back up the bed, reached under the sheets, and cupped Miranda, eliciting a gasp from the editor. 

"Well it's a good job you have me to eat all those nasty squishy blueberries for you then isn't it," she leant in and placed a series of delicate kisses to Miranda's parted lips. 

"My saviour, whatever would I do without you?" Andy couldn't help but hear the weight to those words. At that moment she knew it was about more than the offending fruit. 

Andy stroked Miranda's cheek, "You'll never have to find out my love. Now I gotta go tell whoever that is to sling their hook. I have some," Andy raised an eyebrow as she slowly ran a finger through Miranda's, very wet, folds, "unfinished business to attend to…" 

"So it would seem," Miranda's breath hitched, "Don't take too long. You know how it thrills me when you move at a glacial pace my darling," Miranda grasped Andrea's wrist and took the glistening digit in her mouth, smiling as she tasted herself, "However, I can't promise I won't take matters into my own hands if you take longer than absolutely necessary…" 

"Oh my god, so not fair Priestly! Right hold that thought," Andy then practically dived off the bed and eagerly ran to the door, the sound of Miranda's laughter ringing in her ears. 

Miranda slumped back down into her pillows and attempted to regain her composure. Her plan to ensure Andrea hurried back had somewhat back fired as she was now left rather wanting. Reaching for her phone she tried to distract her aroused state with updates on the Runway team's arrival. 

Looking at the time on her phone she was surprised to see twenty minutes had gone by and Andrea still wasn't back. All of a sudden the sound of raised voices could be heard from the living room. Springing out of bed she grabbed her robe and quickly tied it together before rushing towards the sound of the now shouting brunette. 

"Seriously Grams, why did you have to push it?" Miranda could hear the frustration in Andrea's voice as she joined the very angry brunette and the other voice she now recognised as belonging to Josie. 

"You know what she's like. It will blow over and she'll come around," Josie was looking equally as annoyed. 

"Josie," Miranda went over and gave the older woman a quick hug by way of greeting before heading straight to Andrea's side. 

"Can someone please tell me what's going on?" Miranda placed an arm around the brunette which to the editor's shock and surprise was shrugged off immediately. 

"Andrea? Darling what's wrong?" Miranda looked pointedly at Josie for an explanation. 

"Just leave it," Andy moved further away from Miranda. 

"It doesn't seem like something to just ignore, Josie, maybe you can enlighten me?" 

"Yeah Grams, why don't you fill Miranda in, after all what I want doesn't seem to matter anymore," Andy gave her grandmother a withering look before storming off towards the bedroom. 

Miranda went to follow her but Josie put a quick hand on the editor's arm, "I wouldn't if I were you. Just let her be for a bit."

A minute later Andy strode purposely back in the room, grabbed her trainers and without looking at either Miranda or her Grams flatly stated she was going for a run, before wrenching the front door open, not even flinching when it slammed back into the wall then banged shut behind her. 

The loud noise reverberated around the deathly silent chalet, painfully squeezing Miranda's heart in the process. The memory of Andrea shrugging off her touch was too much to process right now. Shaking off the negative thoughts that threatened to make her spiral, she moved with purpose to the kitchen. Coffee was needed. Lots of coffee. 

Miranda silently moved around the kitchen as if on auto pilot, aware she was being watched by the elder Sachs. She poured two steaming mugs and pushed one towards Josie who had now taken a seat at the breakfast bar. 

Leaning back against the counter Miranda closed her eyes and breathed in the fragrant blend of freshly ground beans. She was trying everything to block out the tightening in her chest and the lead weight that had taken residence in stomach since Andrea had left only a short while ago. 

"Well this certainly wasn't how I envisaged my day starting," Miranda sighed as she locked eyes with Josie's.

"You and me both Miranda," Josie took a fortifying sip of hot coffee, "To be honest I don't even know where to start." 

"I find at the beginning is always a good place," Miranda arched an eyebrow, still not breaking her intense stare at the older woman sitting across from her. 

"What has Andy told you about Helen?" 

"Her mother?" Miranda saw Josie nodding in confirmation, "To be honest, not much. It's always been a moot point whenever her name has come up in conversation. Although it doesn't take a genius to understand that there are clearly issues there. But I have learnt that Andrea will share things when she is ready. And right or wrong I haven't wanted to push the matter."

"Really?" Josie snorted, "I would have thought you would have been able to weasel anything out of anyone."

"Andrea isn't just anyone. As you well know Josephine," Miranda really wasn't in the mood for accusations and shitty attitudes right now. Not when Andrea was clearly distressed about something. She had never seen this side of Andrea before. 

"I know, I know, I'm sorry," Josie held her hands up in surrender, "Look, I am on your side with all this Miranda." 

"And what pray tell is the need for you to be taking sides in the first place?" Miranda was getting frustrated at being kept in the dark, "Josie, will you just tell me what the hell is going on here?" 

"Helen has always had an issue with Andy's, and to take a direct quote from my daughter "lifestyle choice" and most recently mine has come under fire. Again." Josie let out a frustrated sigh.

Miranda tensed as she quickly realised the direction this conversation was heading. 

"Cora has officially moved in and it's exactly like it was at the beginning. As if we had never been apart," Josie couldn't help but let a smile breakout through the sadness she was evidently feeling. 

"Oh that's wonderful news Josie," Miranda placed her mug down on the counter and stepped around the side of the breakfast bar, placing a strong arm around Josie's shoulders, "But why is that such a bone of contention for Helen? She didn't strike me as the type to have any issues with it?" 

"It's that age old thing of it's fine for other people's families but when it's her own, we should all be damned to hell for our immoral ways," Josie let out a teary laugh, which quickly morphed into a sharp sob.

"So am I right in thinking that she is now going to be directing a lot of this attitude towards Andrea this weekend?" 

Josie just looked up at Miranda and winced, "Erm, not quite," she took a deep breath and ploughed on, ignoring the seething anger now plainly displayed on the editor's face. 

"Helen feels wronged in some way that it's all to spite her. Her own mother, and then her daughter both living a life she doesn't agree with has caused a lot of friction over the years, to put it mildly," Josie sat up a bit straighter and rubbed her hands roughly over her face, "but now, Helen has gone a bit crazy, I have never seen her like this. I was hoping it was going to sort itself out before you all arrived but I have a real sinking feeling about this Miranda."

"I didn't realise it was so dire?" Miranda reached for the coffee pot and topped up both their mugs. 

"When Andy left to pursue her swimming dreams she managed to escape most of it. Andy's swimming career had really started to take off and became the sole focus for Helen and as you know Cora and I had drifted apart. Things then started to get really busy here at camp, Andy was competing all over the world and we all found a way of just getting on with things and ignoring the big old rainbow elephant in the room. For years, we have been able to bob along. Out of sight, out of mind and all that. But this feels different. Worryingly different."

"But why now? What's changed to make her react this way, and at this precise moment," Miranda was dreading Josie's answer. Deep down she knew exactly what she was going to say but to hear it, she didn't think she was ready. Or would ever be ready. 

"You," whispered so quietly Miranda had barely heard it. 

"Me…" Miranda sighed as she ran a hand through her already mussed up hair. 

"You don't seem surprised?" 

"When you have got to my position in life nothing much surprises me anymore," Miranda hummed whilst her mind was going over and over possible outcomes, every one of them being clouded by the soul splitting sound of a slammed door, "What are your main concerns?" 

"I am worried for Andy. She has always been headstrong and not let the snide jibes or cold shoulders bother her but she had nothing to lose then. She didn't have you. I have never seen her like this with anyone. And it worries me no end as to what lengths Helen would go to to get her point across."

"Andrea has had relationships before though. There was that," Miranda felt her face constrict in disgust, chef." 

"Yeah, and Helen was not happy about it at all," 

"I thought Helen had sought her out. Why would she do that if she despised the notion so strongly?" 

"Anyone could see that it wasn't going to last. And this played into Helen's 'it's just a phase' way of dealing with Andy's sexuality. I genuinely believe she thought she was saving Andy from a life of sin if she could show her just what a mistake Natalie was for her. Which it was."

"But not in the way Helen had wanted," Miranda was shocked that a mother would monopolise their own daughter's feelings for the sake of misplaced morality and blatant homophobia. 

"Exactly. Talk about backfiring," Josie took another large mouthful of coffee, "I struggle sometimes to think that Helen is actually my daughter." 

"Does Andrea know the full reasons behind Natalie's reappearance?" 

"God no. I dread to think what she would do with that information. What an absolute mess," Josie buried her face in her hands, "I have really failed her haven't I?" 

Miranda walked around to stand by Josie, "None of that, this is hardly your fault. I see many fine qualities in Andrea that have clearly come from your support, love and guidance," Miranda reached over and gave Josie's shoulder a squeeze, "She thinks the absolute world of you." 

"Andy has never hidden who she is. From an early age I always encouraged her to celebrate what others perceived as being different, much to the annoyance of her mother. Maybe I pushed her too hard to be so open."

"Seriously Josie. You think that's a bad trait to have, to be open and honest with yourself and others? Come on, look at me. It's because of Andrea's presence in my life that I have only now truly felt able to accept myself, and share that side with those closest to me. Think of all those wasted years, burying thoughts and feelings because I was too scared to reveal the real Miranda Priestly. Not to mention all the heartache and money I could have saved if I hadn't felt pressured to date, and occasionally marry, a string of men just to keep face and reputation intact," Miranda sunk down hard on the stool next to Josie, "Would you have wanted Andrea to live like that? Like me?"

"No," Josie mumbled into her hands, before letting out a big sigh. Lifting her head she looked Miranda dead in the eye, seeing such sorrow in those blue eyes, "No I wouldn't Miranda. And I am sorry that you have had to live a lie for so long, no one should have to do that." 

"Yes, well, now that's all behind me and the future is looking much brighter, and that's because of your granddaughter. If anything I should be thanking you for raising such a smart and wonderful woman," Miranda let out a small laugh as she quickly wiped an errant tear from her cheek, before doing the same for Josie. 

"Dammit I wish I had someone here to witness that thank you," Josie laughed as Miranda rolled her eyes before standing up to give the woman some space. 

"How do you think this is going to play out Josie?" Miranda now found herself in a position so alien to her. All she wanted to do was to find Helen and unleash hell on her but she knew that if she played this even an iota wrong she ran the risk of hurting Andrea which would be unthinkable. Or even worse losing her. She felt sick, the sour taste in her mouth making her gag. 

"I have absolutely no idea Miranda," Josie sounded so defeated, matching exactly how Miranda felt. Josie went to open her mouth to say something but quickly snapped it shut when she thought better of it. Unfortunately for the older woman this hadn't escaped Miranda's laser sharp eye. 

"Josie, is there something else you are not telling me?" Miranda watched on as Josie squirmed under her intense stare.

"The thing is Andy had in a roundabout way asked me to not have Cora move in until after this weekend was over. She didn't want to risk  antagonising Helen before you had even arrived. Knowing that you and the girls would be here she wanted her mum to see for her own eyes how happy you all make her and get used to the idea you were together and a family now. I think she had some romantic notion that she would sit down with Helen and have a big heart to heart and she could share in person the news that she had officially moved in with you. But I was so excited with you all coming here and the girls staying up at the main house with us I kind of let it slip. It then completely snowballed and in a nutshell Helen went ballistic and has been missing in action ever since."

"That certainly makes it a lot clearer as to why Andrea was so upset earlier," Miranda was feeling so conflicted. On one hand she was livid that Josie took this moment away from her Andrea, but she also understood it wasn't done through malice but rather a place of excitement and acceptance of her newly expanded family. 

"Miranda I can only apologise. The last thing I wanted was to make an already fragile and toxic situation worse, but that's exactly what I have done." 

"Granted it's far from ideal," Miranda sighed, "but I am sure between the two of us we can talk Andrea around," Miranda suddenly pursed her lips, "The Helen situation however, well, that's going to require some serious thought." 

Miranda slumped back heavily against the counter top. For once in her life she didn't have any answers. All of a sudden a phone started ringing. The loud shrill seemed so intrusive as it pierced the static silence. It took a few more rings before Miranda realised it was hers. Snatching it up she barked into the phone. 

"What? Fine. Yes. I will have Josie meet you," Miranda quickly ended the call, "That was Emily. The Runway crew are about twenty minutes away. Can you or Cora do the meet and greet and maybe give them a tour of the facilities?" 

"Of course. Leave all that with me," Josie walked around to stand next to Miranda, "What are you going to do?" 

"Shower. And hope for a divine intervention," Miranda offered a weak smile as she walked Josie to the door. 

"I'll see you in a bit, and don't worry about your team, I will keep them out of the way for as long as possible," 

Miranda gave a sharp nod of acknowledgement and then watched as Josie walked down the path. It wasn't until she was no longer in view that Miranda finally shut the door. 

 

*****

 

Standing under the searing hot jets Miranda felt raw as she went over and over everything she had been told by Josie. Feeling completely helpless was something that left her cold to the bone. Reaching for the temperature dial she twisted it as far as it would go. The burning water doing nothing to shift the deep icy dread that had set in. 

Miranda had always been able to solve every problem she had encountered. But with this she kept coming up blank. There wasn't anyone she could call to fix the situation. Or blacklist. Or take out. Her arsenal of fail safe measures was, ironically, failing her. As she closed her eyes and let the scalding water cascade over her she heard a noise in the bathroom and a rush of cold air hit her wet skin as the shower door quietly opened. 

Andrea, her beautiful darling Andrea. Eyes bloodshot from previously shed tears, her nose all red and snuffly. 

"Andrea…" Miranda's next words were halted by a finger on her lips. 

"Don't. I just need you to hold me and tell me everything is going to be alright." 

Miranda didn't even hesitate as she opened her arms and pulled Andrea in tight. It was in that precise moment as the brunette sobbed into her shoulder that everything clicked into place. Miranda could do something to fix this, by being present, and supportive, and everything that Andrea was to her. It hadn't crossed her mind before now because why would it? This wasn't how she normally operated but as with everything since Andrea had entered her life, that had all been flipped on its head. Be more Andrea. Now that she could do. Miranda knew that whatever was in store for them she would move hell and high water to ensure the woman wrapped up in her arms felt safe, and reassured and above all loved. 

As the sobs subsided Miranda started to gently guide Andrea so she was standing directly under the water, quickly turning the heat down, remembering she preferred it to run a little cooler. 

"I always forget how hot you have your showers," Andy let out a watery laugh as she watched Miranda pour some shampoo into her hands. 

Miranda started to wash Andrea's hair. As with everything she did she gave it so much care and attention. Covering each strand with the fragrant smelling lather before directing Andrea's head back so she could rinse before starting with the conditioner. 

"It's going to be OK darling. It might not seem like it but there isn't anything we can't conquer together," Miranda used one hand to keep the soapy water from going in Andrea's eyes as the brunette sighed deeply, her breath catching slightly as a result from her previous sobs. 

"I hope so," Andy gestured for them to switch places so she could return the favour, Miranda groaned as her hands firmly ran through Miranda's wet locks. 

"Let's just get this weekend out of the way and then we can reassess. Will you be alright for this afternoon? I can always delay your shots until tomorrow?" Miranda asked cautiously, not wanting to push Andrea when she was clearly still fragile. 

"No, I'll be OK. I want to be distracted so it will be a good way of taking my mind off things." 

With them both rinsed and clean Andy pushed the glass door open and reached for a towel, turning to wrap Miranda up before planting a chaste kiss on those familiar lips. 

"Thank you though, for offering to rearrange," Andy grabbed a smaller towel, wrapping it around her long brown hair, "that means a lot, you know."

"And I would. You only need to say the word and we can postpone the entire shoot if you so wish," 

"Seriously? You would actually do that? For me?" 

Miranda nodded, "I can call Emily right now if that's what you want?" 

"It's very tempting just to see Emily flip her lid, but I am not that cruel," Andy took one look at Miranda's arched eyebrow before quickly adding, "And neither are you Priestly," 

"There are plenty of people that would disagree with you on that," Miranda snorted as she finished towelling herself dry. 

 

*****

 

Draining the last remnants of her glass Helen saw someone in her periphery take one of the bar stools further along down the bar. The place was still relatively empty and she prayed that they wouldn't try to start up a conversation with her. Patrons in this particular dive, especially before noon, tended to be after one thing and she really wasn't in the mood for that type of attention. Just as she was about to ask for the bill the bartender put another double whiskey down in front of her. 

"I didn't order this," Helen spat, not even hiding her annoyance, "I don't want it." 

"Hey don't look at me," the bartender shrugged his shoulders and cocked his head towards whoever it was that was occupying the bar stool a few away from her, "I just take the orders and make the drinks." 

Helen whipped her head around ready to tell this chancer to do one, but as she took in the stranger words failed her. She wasn't expecting a woman to be perched there. 

"Sorry if I overstepped the mark. You just looked like you could do with another," 

"No, not at all, and it should be me that's apologising. Erm thanks for the drink," Helen held her glass up and knocked back the contents in one large gulp, the fiery liquid burning her throat. She then signaled the bartender for two more. 

"Not what you were expecting?" 

"You could say that," Helen took in the brightly dyed red hair, "not from around here are you?" 

"Just passing through and thought I would take a comfort break," the woman responded before standing and gesturing to the bar stool next to Helen. 

Helen nodded and used her foot to kick the stool out. As the woman sat down Helen held out her hand. 

"I'm Helen." 

"Nice to meet you Helen. I'm Estelle."

"Cheers," Helen clinked her glass with her new drinking buddy before they both knocked back the double shots. 

 

Chapter Text

"You sure I look alright?" Andy looked directly at Nigel as she balanced precariously on a rock on the shore line of the main lake at camp, "I feel kinda awkward, my limbs don't seem to want to cooperate." Andy was so worried she was already messing this up. Plus she still felt out of sorts from the morning's emotional roller-coaster. 

"Six, you look fabulous. A few more shots and I think that's us done for the day, right Megan?" 

"Yep, this is the final bit we need to get done before we lose the light," Megan didn't look up but continued scrolling through the camera at the last few pictures she had taken, "Actually I think we have this scene in the bag, but as we have some spare time I'd like to try something if you're up for it Andy?" 

"Sure why not?" Andy shrugged nonchalantly. 

"Great! OK, see that larger set of rocks to your left? If you can just sit down there, and sit cross legged but try and keep it as natural as possible," Megan pointed in the direction to where Andy needed to go. Nodding her head Andy made her way over, careful not to slip on the smooth boulders, "Oh and lose the shoes for this one too." 

Thankfully Andy was wearing a pair of black leather cropped pants so she could get herself down into position with relative ease. The supple buttery material fitted her like a second skin and she had already told herself she would be buying a pair when they got back to the city. She knew Miranda would more than appreciate the way they hugged her curves so perfectly. Slipping her feet out of the black patent Miu Miu brogues, she threw them one at a time towards Nigel who was watching with curiosity at the set up Megan had created. Thankfully her throwing arm was better than her balance. 

"That's it Andy. If you can just lift your left leg up slightly, rest your elbows on your knees and then lower your hands in front of your feet," Megan started snapping away, "Right now look more towards me, but not directly at me, kind of over my shoulder," Megan squatted down so she was on Andy's level and took a few more shots. 

As Andy relaxed into the positions she saw Miranda appear by Nigel's side. She couldn't help but shyly smile as their eyes met. Lost in the gaze and the wind whipping up her hair she didn't even hear the click of Megan's camera frantically snapping away. 

"And we are done! That's a wrap for today Andy. You were brilliant. A real natural in front of the camera," Megan stood up and made her way back over to her laptop to start downloading the final set of images. 

Miranda was intrigued to see the outcome of the first location and made her way over to Megan who was now hunched over her laptop. 

"I want to see the last ones you took," Miranda asked in her trademark soft but direct tone. 

"Miranda!" Megan clutched at her chest as she startled, clearly not aware that the editor had sidled up next to her, "You made me jump!" 

Nigel started laughing, "Yeah she's good at doing that. Keeps you on your toes. Am I right Six?" 

"Did the Priestly Phantom strike again?" Andy had now joined the others. 

"Are you both quite finished?" Miranda's cool tone didn't match the twitch of a smile as she rolled her eyes, "Some of us are trying to work. Carry on Megan." Teasing aside, Miranda privately revelled with sheer delight that Andrea and Nigel were getting on so well. 

Megan was still trying to get her head around the fact she was on a shoot with the Miranda Priestly and that her work was going to feature in Runway as the main spread, along with a cover no less. The fact she had gone off piste with the additional shots just now filled her with so much nervous energy but when she had looked at the tiny viewing screen on her camera she knew it had been worth it. She double clicked on the first thumbnail of Andy, sat on the rock and watched as it filled the large screen of her macbook. 

"Acceptable." 

That one word was magic to Megan's ears, she'd heard the stories. Megan breathed a huge sigh of relief. However it was the loud unfiltered gasp before that one word that would be something that would stay with her forever. That was worth its weight in gold. 

Miranda's neutral expression hid the fact that she was giddy with excitement as she took in the images of Andrea sitting casually on the rocks. It was such a simple pose but Megan had captured the underlying strength of the brunette. The casual pose set against the dramatic darkening skies and foreboding cloud formations screamed 'I am here, and I won't be intimidated' and yet she had managed to portray a vulnerability on Andrea's face. The half smile gave the observer a feeling of intimacy and secrets. The raw feminine beauty of Andrea's long brown locks, untamed and carefree, being picked up in the strong breeze coming off the lake balanced perfectly against the harsh unyielding rugged landscape. It was exquisite. 

"What made you veer from the agreed production schedule?" Miranda was impressed. She had seen the talent when Megan had done the test shots but to produce a series of shots like this on a whim was something else entirely. From first glance there wasn't one she wouldn't be able to use. 

"It made sense. The landscape fit the narrative perfectly," Megan was still uploading the first day's images. She knew when she looked back at this moment she would marvel at how she managed to keep her voice so even when inside she felt like a bug squirming away under a magnifying glass. 

"Well, get the shots that are outlined," Miranda saw a flash of defeat in Megan's eyes, "But, I wouldn't be adverse to seeing some more of you 'making sense', as you so eloquently put it." 

Holy shit. Megan couldn't believe she had just gotten the green light. From Miranda freaking Priestly. To do her own thing. Could this day get any better? 

"OK," Megan was desperately trying to play it cool, "sure, I can do that." 

"Hmmm, we'll see won't we," Miranda smirked as she turned to join Andrea, "Oh and Megan, I do so hate to be disappointed." 

Nigel had watched the interaction with avid interest and knowing Miranda so well could tell that she was excited about what she had seen on the screen. Dying to see for himself he hurried over to join Megan, who was standing there in a state of shock. 

"And breathe," Nigel's presence seemed to snap Megan out of her thoughts. 

"Did that just happen?" Megan whispered. 

"What?" Nigel let out a loud laugh as he slapped Megan on the back, "Getting the seal of approval from La Priestly?" 

Megan nodded silently, still not confident that her voice wouldn't betray the waves of nervousness and self doubt that were now crashing over her. 

"It sure did. Now let's see what got the Dragon's La Perla in such a twist," Nigel leaned forward to get a closer look, "Oh wow, Megan these are incredible. Keep this up and you'll go far kid."

"Really?" Megan had never had so many words of praise in such a short space of time, and by two of the most respected fashion power houses made it that bit sweeter. 

"Really. Now a word of advice from your Uncle Nigel. You need to shake off that doubt and believe in yourself or that dragon that was just singing your praises will be the first to burn you. She's expecting big things and you will only get one chance."

"OK," Megan croaked and took in Nigel's shaking head. Rolling her shoulders and taking a deep breath she cleared her throat before giving a more defiant, "Yes!"

"That was a bit more convincing, but it still needs more work," Nigel laughed as Megan packed up the rest of her equipment before signalling to one of the production runners to start with the heavy lifting. 

"Hey, give a girl a break!" Megan smiled, "it's been a lot to take in."

Nigel rolled his eyes, "Come on let's go find the others. I don't know about you but I need a drink." 

 

*****

 

 “All you need is a ‘Kiss the chef’ apron and you’ll be all set darling,” Miranda appeared next to Andy as the brunette expertly wielded some barbeque tongs, “It also looks like thirsty work,”

“Oh it sure is,” Andy winked before she reached out and took the proffered glass of chilled rose, ensuring she let her fingers linger over Miranda’s that little bit longer than warranted. “Hmmm,” Andy took a good few mouthfuls of the crisp, refreshing wine, “that hit the spot, thanks my love.”

Miranda watched Andrea eagerly as the brunette wiped at her mouth, rolling her eyes as she saw a charcoal smudge appear on a full cheek, “I can't take you anywhere,” Miranda leant in and cupped under her chin as she gently rubbed the mark away with her thumb, “I swear you're worse than the girls sometimes Andrea,” 

Just as Andy was about to offer a smart arse retort Miranda whipped her head up and stared hard over Andy's shoulder. Turning her head to follow Miranda's eye line Andy squinted against the setting sun to try to work out what had caught her love's attention. 

All Andy could see were trees and the orange and red hues sparkling on the lake, as the sun gave one last show before it disappeared beneath the pine tops. But Miranda was still staring, her blue eyes focussed on something Andy clearly couldn't see. Suddenly there was a commotion behind them as two redheaded balls of energy announced their arrival. Andy made a mental note to send Roy a bottle or two of his favourite liquor as a thank you for putting up with what was no doubt a very excitable and loud pair of girls. Roy doted on the twins, and she knew that he had spent a lot of time putting together the perfect playlist for their journey. Just another reason to add to the many things he did for their family to make their lives that little bit easier and, in the girls' case, fun. Andy loved that man and the strong role model he provided for the girls. 

Andy turned her attention back to the sausages, quickly turning them before flipping the burgers and then went to say hi to Cassidy and Caroline. Expecting Miranda to follow her she soon realised that Miranda was still captivated by whatever she could see out over the other side of the lake. 

“Hey what is it?” Andy put her arm around Miranda's waist giving it a quick squeeze. 

“I thought I saw something over on the opposite shore.” Mirroring Andreas hold, Miranda snaked an arm around the brunette's waist, taking one last look she shook her head, “I am sure it's nothing. Come on let's go see those girls of ours.”

Andy took the opportunity to sneak a quick kiss whilst they were still far enough away from the Runway team who had now joined Josie, Cora and the twins. Miranda was still finding her feet in being more open with her affection towards her when in public, so she really didn't want to push it. Andy was so proud with how Miranda had dealt with the whole coming out to Emily and Nigel situation a few days ago but was aware that it had pushed the Editor to her current limits. What Miranda needed was time. Time to be comfortable in her own skin. Time to accept her desires laid firmly with the fairer sex after a life time of denial. Time. They had an abundance of it. Andy would give Miranda all the time in the world. A lifetime. 

Cassidy was the first to notice Andy and Miranda join them and came running over launching at the pair, talking a mile a minute about everything that had happened in the twenty four hours that they had been separated. 

“Woah, well hello to you too squirt,” Andy was slightly winded as she was suddenly knocked back by the surprisingly strong embrace of the more outgoing twin, “Anyone would think you missed us?” 

“I wouldn't quite go that far Andy,” Caroline looked over from the long table she was helping Josie set, before sticking her tongue out. 

“Ah there's my little care bear I know and love,” Andy quickly ran up to her, sweeping her up and spinning her around, showering her with exaggerated kisses until the redhead was in fits of giggles. 

“Andy!” Caroline had tears of laughter running down her face, “put me down!” 

“Did you miss me?” Andy continued the onslaught and blew a raspberry on Caroline's neck. 

“Yes!” Caroline let out a squeal of delight mixed with a loud snorting laugh, “You win, you win!” 

Miranda was watching with glee as Cassidy had now joined the fray, although it was unclear whose side she was on. As the three tumbled to the ground Andy shouted towards Miranda for some help, now that Cassidy had decided she was very much joining forces with her sister to bring the brunette down. 

“You're on your own with this one darling,” Miranda snorted, “You brought this all on yourself.”

Nigel came over brandishing a freshly uncorked bottle of wine and started topping up Miranda’s glass. 

“Are they always like that?” Nigel nodded his head in the direction of the mass of flying limbs and shrieks of laughter. 

“Hmmm,” Nigel looked at Miranda's face, expecting to see a purse of the lips or an eye roll when in actuality he saw a very relaxed Miranda, with eyes full of warmth and love, as she gazed at the three rough housing on the grass, “Wonderful isn't it?” 

“It's certainly a joy to see the girls so happy,” Nigel raised his glass to clink with Miranda's, “And you for that matter. Cheers to you my friend.”

“I'll drink to that,” Miranda took a slow sip, “So how did you find working with Megan?” 

“It was seamless, if Megan continues delivering as she has today this shoot is going to be one of the easiest of my career.” 

Miranda nodded in agreement. 

“I knew she had talent, but I must admit she surprised me with those shots of Andrea on the rocks.” 

It was Nigel's turn to nod in agreement. 

“Oh I know, they were incredible. I am thrumming with excitement to see what else she has up her sleeve. I feel this is going to be the first of many surprises this weekend.” 

Miranda saw someone approach Josie and Cora carrying two large cellophane covered platters. The build, and gait was that of Andrea, but whereas she would have been a welcome sight for the elder Sachs this intruder was having the opposite effect. 

"Speaking of surprises, and not of the pleasant variety, it seems we have an unexpected guest,” Miranda groaned, “Nigel will you distract Andrea and the girls for a minute?” Miranda wanted to delay Andrea clapping eyes on Helen for as long as possible. 

“Of course. Everything ok?” Nigel had no idea who this newcomer was but going by how Miranda had gone from carefree and relaxed to full on La Priestly mode in the blink of an eye, it didn't bode well. 

“I have no idea, but I am sure as hell going to find out,” Miranda drained her glass before striding across the grass towards the three elder women. 

Why had Helen turned up? Inside Miranda was fuming. She had been on high alert since her talk with Josie that morning and she was more than ready to fight for her Andrea. For her family. It had taken a lot to build the brunette back up this morning and nothing or no one was going to undo that. This situation needed to be managed. Fast. 

“Helen,” Miranda held her hand out towards Andrea's mother. There was no way she was going to be the cause of any drama. Especially not with her girls present. She would however shut it down if it suddenly went south, “I didn't think you would be joining us this evening?”

“Yeah, I thought you had escaped for a few days,” Josie chimed in, “I wasn't expecting you back so soon.” Josie was struggling to keep the anger out of her voice. 

Helen waved her hands dismissing what Josie had just said as complete nonsense,“ Mother, where on earth did you get that idea from? I had some errands to run in town and finished them in good time. I wasn't going to miss out on getting to know our esteemed guests from the city now was I?”

“Clearly not,” Cora muttered under her breath, the statement only meeting Miranda's ears as she struggled to hold in a snigger. 

“Now, it smells as though the first round of food is almost done, so I am going to take these shrimp kebabs over to Andy. Oh and Miranda, a little birdie told me you favour a nice steak so I picked these up just for you.” With that Helen smiled before turning on her heel and heading towards the barbeque, leaving a dumbfounded Miranda, Josie and Cora in her wake. 

“Tell me you are not buying this happy familie bullshit?” Josie whispered to Miranda

“Not for a single second,” Miranda snorted, “I don't know what she's up to but I don't like it. I don't like it one bit.” 

 

*****

 

“Well, you certainly know your way around a grill darling,” Miranda purred as she pushed her plate forward and delicately dabbed at the side of her mouth with a napkin.

“Only the best for you, Priestly. I think I could give Smith & Wollensky a run for their money on the steak front,”

“Indeed,” Miranda looked down the table and was pleased to see Emily was looking a little more relaxed as she laughed at something Megan had said. Miranda got the feeling that she was being watched. As her eyes scanned the rest of the table she caught Helen's, who flashed that crocodile-like smile and gave a little wave. Something she was so familiar in seeing from Andrea but from her, it fell instantly flat in its insincerity. 

“I saw you talking with my mum earlier. Was everything alright?” Andy had briefly spoken to her and she had been taken aback at how welcoming she was being towards everyone. It had been a shock when she had turned up given everything her Grams had shared earlier in the day. Andy had been prepared for the oh so familiar battle ground of fireworks and scathing comments but this nice as pie act had really thrown her for a loop. Something wasn't right. 

“Hmmm, yes it was, fine,”

“Just fine, or, ‘you want to rip her face off but you're holding yourself back because of me and the girls’ kind of fine?” Andy raised an accusing eyebrow as she spoke. 

“Is it that obvious?” Miranda thought she was doing her best to keep everything as pleasant as she could given the strained circumstances and had promised herself to not default to La Priestly mode straight off the bat. 

“My love, you have been simmering at an even seven and a half ever since she appeared. But I think you are being very commendable and I appreciate you reigning it in for me.”

“I wasn't expecting her to be so friendly towards me, it's slightly unnerving,” Miranda laced her fingers with Andreas, suddenly needing to feel that connection, “but it's nothing a seasoned pro cant handle.” Miranda wasn't quite ready to share her initial, and rather worrying concerns regarding Helen's reappearance with Andrea just yet. 

“Anyway, I am grateful nonetheless,” Andy gave Miranda's hand a squeeze, out of thanks or reassurance she wasn't quite sure, “And I know what you mean. It's the nicest she has been to me in years. It's rather unsettling. I was ready for a fight but instead I get this bizarre super friendly woman who looks like my mother but certainly isn't behaving like her.” Miranda hummed in agreement. 

“Well, whatever she is up to I will be keeping a close eye on her that's for sure,” Miranda felt Andrea tense slightly so she quickly moved the conversation to a happier topic, “I promised the girls we would spend the morning with them because of the night shoot. I thought we could set up around the lake?” That seemed to do it, as she felt Andrea relax at the mention of the twins. 

“Yeah absolutely. I know Cassidy wants to have a go at paddle boarding so that sounds like a plan. I am determined not to let anything ruin this weekend,”

“Exactly, and I am sure I can come up with a thing or two to help make this weekend even more memorable…” Miranda gave a subtle wink that caused goosebumps to breakout on Andy’s arms. 

“More surprises?” Andy was intrigued. Before Miranda could answer Nigel cleared his throat and stood, tapping a fork to his glass to capture everyone's attention. “I would just like to make a toast to celebrate the end of the first day of the shoot,” he raised his glass in the air as everyone cheered in response, shouting over the din he added “And Six, you completely nailed it! To Six!” 

Andy could feel herself blushing as Miranda raised her glass towards hers. Just as Miranda went to stand to add a few select words of her own she saw Helen had beaten her to it. Miranda locked eyes with Josie over the table but she just shrugged, clearly just as clueless as to what Andrea's mother was about to say. 

"Well I would just like to take this opportunity to formally welcome everyone to Camp Tethys, and apologies that I wasn't here to greet you when you first arrived but I hear my mother and her, friend , were the perfect hostesses.”

Cora’s eyes instantly flashed with anger at the blatant lack of acknowledgement as to who she was to Josie. Miranda was certain that if it hadn't been for Josie's quick thinking and taking hold of Cora’s hand she would have launched at the smug woman in an instant. 

Nigel was fiddling with his napkin, Miranda’s lips were pursed and she was staring daggers at the woman who seemed oblivious to the downward turn in mood at the table she had caused and ploughed on. 

“I was thinking we could finish the evening with some games. Maybe I could ask Caroline and Cassidy to help assist their," Helen plastered on that hideous fake smile Miranda had borne witness to earlier, " new Grandmother in setting everything up?” 

Andy felt Miranda tense, and saw the editor’s hand grip her knife so hard her knuckles went white. Looking between the shocked faces of her Grams and the twins she feared what Miranda was about to do. What the hell was her mother playing at? She had barely spoken to the girls earlier, she hadn't earned that title. Not by a long shot. But Andy needn't have worried. Her quick thinking feisty Cassidy clearly had a plan. 

“Sure, no problem,” Cassidy smiled so sweetly as she stood and reached out for her sister's hand to pull her out of her seat, both ignoring the smug look now plastered all over Helen's face. Even Emily could recognise the silent twin speak that was flying between the two and knew that the baby dragons had a plan - she had fallen foul of that often enough. As they stepped around the table they walked straight past an expectant and now suddenly flustered and, what was fast becoming more apparent outwitted, Helen and stood behind Josie's chair, each placing a hand firmly on Josie's shoulder. 

“So Grandmother, dearest, what do you want to set up first?” Caroline spoke softly but clearly. No one could ever doubt she was the daughter of one Miranda Priestly.  

No one spoke. The Runway crew were looking towards their esteemed leader for some guidance as to how they should react to this incredibly awkward situation they currently found themselves witnessing. Serena was having to practically hold Emily back as she muttered allsorts of colourful expletives under her breath.  

Regardless of how Miranda wanted to tear strips off Helen for dragging her Bobbseys into this pathetic attempt at embarrassing Josie and trying but failing to score points with the twins, Miranda knew she had to take Andrea’s lead on this. But if her darling didn't do something in the next few seconds she knew she wouldn't be able to hold back. 

“Andrea…” Miranda hissed sharply, “you need to do something. Now.” The low growl in the brunette's ear had the desired effect and snapped her into action.  

"Hey girls, why don't you make a start on setting up the quoits set with your Grams. And Nigel, do you think you could give Miranda and Cora a hand with the giant Jenga?”

“Absolutely," Nigel had never been so relieved to escape such a tense atmosphere. He saw Serena’s pleading eyes and nodded, grabbing Emily’s hand encouraging her to stand and follow him. That's all they needed right now - a fiercely loyal and slightly tipsy Emily going all guns blazing in her boss’s honour. 

Andy stood up with such speed and force it sent her chair flying. Ignoring it she stormed towards Helen.  

Helen flinched as Andy got right up in her personal space. The fire in her daughter's eyes made her step back in shocked surprise. She didn't recognise the strong and clearly very angry young woman in front of her. She hadn't been prepared for Andy to react like this. Obviously Miranda had already done a number on her, just as she feared she would have. 

"We need to talk," Andy continued to walk past her mother, giving no illusions that she expected Helen to follow her. Turning around she made it clear, "Now." 

Helen smiled, "Of course Andy," she quickly fired off a text, before replying through gritted teeth, "Right behind you," 

When Andy was sure they were far enough away from the group she spun around to face her mother. 

“What the hell are you playing at?” 

“Sorry what?” 

“You, doing that weird speech just now!” Andy ran a hand through her hair, registering that it shook with anger, “You have barely spoken to my girls and then you announce to everyone that you are their new grandmother!”

“I thought that's what you wanted? Wasn't that what this whole trip was about? I know we haven't spoken in so long so I thought…” Helen wasn't sure how much longer she could keep this act up and play nice. 

“Well you thought wrong. Yes, I wanted you to meet them, to be introduced to Miranda and then our girls. But not like this! God Mum. You disappeared, let grams and Cora do everything and then rock up like nothing has happened. And then! Then! Pull that stunt! To what end??” Andy was seething now. Caroline and Cassidy may appear to outsiders as worldly and older than their years but they were still kids, and not pawns. That was not on. 

Your girls? Oh please! You have known that woman and her children all of five minutes and you are already the doting step mum?” Helen snorted in disgust, ”You're nothing but something to pass the time until the next sap comes along and is stupid enough to fall at her feet,” Helen stood her ground, but despite her defiance her voice shook slightly. And then Andy laughed. 

Andy laughed so hard it shocked both herself and Helen, “Grams was right, I don't know why I thought you would accept this, accept me,” Andy wiped at her eyes, damned if she would shed another tear over this woman, who was her mother by biology only. 

“Andy!” Helen went to grab at Andy’s arm but was instantly shrugged off, “Don't you dare walk away from me young lady!” 

Andy shook her head in disbelief, “You're joking right?” Andy pulled her shoulders back and took a deep breath, “You have really crossed a line. Do me a favour and stay away from me this weekend. I don't want anything to do with you right now. I am so done.” And with that Andy walked away leaving behind a speechless Helen. Andy needed to find Miranda. And the twins. Her family. 

 

Chapter Text

“Emily! Look at me,” Serena grabbed hold of Emily's shoulders to get her to focus just on her for a moment, “You need to breathe,” Serena took in a large exaggerated gulp of air before exhaling loudly, waving her hand towards her highly strung girlfriend to encourage her to do the same. 

“And how is breathing like that going to solve this absolute disaster?” Emily slumped down on the bed immediately engulfed by a colourful sea of the latest designer swimwear. There were two pieces, one pieces, coverups, sarongs and a vast array of matching accessories covering every inch of their bed and spilling out onto the surrounding floor. She had already tried everything on at least twice and yet still nothing felt like the right outfit to ‘hang out’ by a lake with her boss. Back in the city she would never have doubted herself so much. Her style was unique and ridiculously fashion forward. She was a risk taker. She was bold - dancing that fine line between boundary pushing and completely impractical, but here in unfamiliar surroundings it seemed that the only things she had failed to ‘pack’ were her fashion sense and the ability to make simple decisions. Bloody hell. 

Serena was beginning to wonder if the redhead had actually left anything behind in the closet or their apartment, when she heard a knock at the door and Nigel's sing-song voice announcing his arrival. 

“Nigel! Thank the gods, will you hurry up and get in here please,” Serena sighed with visible relief as Nigel entered the chaotic mess. 

“Oh my,” Nigel took a quick scan of the room, “I am having flashbacks to when I left Irv's niece to do the inventory of the closet. I left her alone for an hour and when I came back it had looked like a bus load of out of town sample sale shoppers had stormed it,” Nigel shuddered at the memory before looking back over at his dejected friend, “Is there anything you didn't bring?”

“Well clearly I didn't pack enough as none of it is working!” Emily looked at the time on her phone and groaned, “And we have to meet Miranda in half an hour. That's it. I am doomed. All because of a bloody swimming costume!”

“Hopefully you can talk some sense into her Nigel. I am slowly losing the will to live here and fear that my last memories on this mortal coil will be that of sandals and wide brimmed hats,” Serena reached into a drawer to grab her outfit before stalking off into the bathroom to finish getting ready. 

“Emily, bre-” Emily let out a frustrated scream. 

“Nigel. If you tell me to breathe so help me Prada I will march you outside and throw you in that bloody lake! Now, get over here and help me decide what to wear.”

“Yes, Emily,” Nigel sassed as he got a balled up bikini top in the face as payback. 

 

*****

 

“Andrea, do you want another coffee?” Andy was in the bedroom getting into her totally upgraded, courtesy of Miranda, swimwear, when she heard Miranda call out the magic c word - coffee. It still amazed Andy that for someone who very rarely raised her voice Miranda could still be heard from wherever she was in the townhouse so in the decidedly smaller one level chalet it was like she was practically shouting. 

“Do you even need me to answer that?” Andy said as she walked out of their bedroom to join Miranda in the kitchen, “It's like you don't know me at all,” Andy took the proffered mug as she flashed a cheeky smile Miranda’s way, “You wound me so.”

“Yes, yes, I know, I am so mean,” Miranda stepped up to Andrea and wrapped her arms around her waist, “Now do I get a morning kiss or...”

“Oh,” Andy didn't need to be told twice as she captured that smart mouth, “Although I really don't think we have time for any 'or'…” Andy let out a loud sigh, looking up at Miranda with her best doe eyes she pouted, “Sadly.” 

This comment caused a delicious playful laugh to tumble from Miranda’s lips. That sound alone could sustain Andy for days. It was always made sweeter knowing that it was reserved only for her and the girls. 

As Miranda held on tight to Andrea thoughts from yesterday swam through her mind. She was nervous to bring up the events from the previous evening again but she was desperate to make sure her darling was alright. After Andrea had confronted Helen she had rejoined the rest of the group and seemed in good spirits taking on giant Jenga with absolute gusto but when they had got back to their chalet it had all come tumbling out. 

They had both been on edge, and unable to sleep so took a bottle of wine and a blanket out onto the deck and sat wrapped up under the stars swapping the finer details of both their encounters and the night as a whole. Talking things through was something that Andrea had been slowly encouraging her to do. It had started subtly with Andrea dropping in questions about her day, and then probing a little deeper if she so much as sniffed Miranda fobbing her off with a ‘fine’. It had always been so easy for Miranda to gloss over negative aspects of her life. To bury them deep down in the depths of her memory vault, bedfellows of past heartaches, disappointments and regrets. And then Andrea came along. Beautiful, bright, inquisitive Andrea. Blinding her with smiles and seemingly innocent questions which slowly teased out what she was actually feeling which in turn had led to a more open and talkative Miranda. Dark days of work suddenly didn't seem as tiresome. Her shoulders felt lighter and the world seemed a more colourful place. She would always be a woman of fewer than average words, she was an editor after all - why say thirty when you could achieve more impact with five - but her words were more frequent and, above all, honest. She owed that to Andrea and the life they were building. But most importantly Andrea made her realise she owed herself that same treatment after a lifetime of denying herself the joy of sharing the ups and downs of her day to day existence with someone who was genuinely interested and above all cared for her. 

“Are you feeling ok, darling?” Miranda squeezed her arms that were protectively wrapped around Andrea's waist before raising a hand to sweep the brunette's hair behind her ear so she could see more of that beautiful face she loved so much. 

Andy nodded, and then nuzzled into Miranda’s neck. Grounded. Secure. Home. 

“Sure?” Miranda wasn't convinced. 

“Yeah, I am sure. It's odd though as I feel surprisingly alright. In theory I shouldn't be but I think it helped to get it all off my chest with you last night” Andy placed a kiss to Miranda's pulse point, “Thank you for being there.”

“Always,” Miranda extended her neck slightly offering the brunette more access, “but if you carry on with what you are currently doing,” Miranda moaned as Andrea nipped her gently, “we are very much heading to ‘or’ territory and you promised Cassidy a paddle board lesson.” 

“Just five more minutes? I can't help it that you are so damn irresistible now can I?”

“Sweet talker,” Miranda hummed as those full lips carried on with their delicious quest. 

“I learnt from the best,” Andy was now kissing along Miranda's jawline, slowly making her way back up to her lips, “Now if you don't mind I want to make these five minutes count.” 

 

*****

 

Those five minutes turned into forty five minutes of ridiculously hot, fast and passionate sex up against the kitchen counter. Nothing like a carnal fuck to get you invigorated for the day ahead. But now they were running late. And Miranda had just noticed something on her shoulder. 

"Andrea. What is this?" Miranda was adjusting the strap on her swimsuit. 

Andy came up behind her and cringed when she saw the angry red bruise already starting to appear on the otherwise blemish free alabaster skin. 

"Oops," Andy quickly turned her around and attempted to sooth the spot with a few feather light kisses, "Sorry?" 

"Oh I'll give you sorry," and with that she not so gently goosed the brunette's behind. 

"Hey, I didn't mean to," Andy giggled, clearly not in the least bit sorry, "I was just you know, all caught up in the moment." 

Miranda got a quick flash back to the exact moment that caused it. Taking Andrea hard and fast, three fingers, her hips thrusting, that strangled scream before Andrea bit down on her shoulder as the brunette had reached her climax… Miranda could feel her cheeks tingling as they turned a deep shade of pink. 

"Well your 'moment' is now going to cause tongues to wag," Miranda was repositioning the strap in an attempt to cover it but there was only so much she could do to hide their mornings activities, "I am not quite sure how to cover this. Any ideas in that creative mind of yours?" 

"Look, no one is going to say anything, and if they do, give them the Priestly glare. That will work way better than any item of clothing would."

Miranda huffed as she slipped into a pair of white Prada wedges, before giving her best dragon stare at Andrea. 

"Yes!" Andy pointed towards Miranda's face, "That exact look right there. Trust me, one of those to Em or Nigel and you won't have to worry," Andy was now pretty much impervious to those looks but when she saw Miranda's lips twitch slightly before she rolled her eyes, she knew she had got away unscathed. 

Miranda finished her outfit with an oversized white linen shirt, picked up her bag and sunglasses and with a nod in the mirror was ready to go. 

"Any comments and I am leaving you to come up with an explanation," Miranda then slipped her sunglasses in place, "Let's go." 

"Yes, Miranda," Andy even threw in a salute for good measure. 

 

*****

 

"Mum! Andy!" Cassidy came running down the deck to meet the two women as they approached the group already set up on the wooden sun loungers that surrounded the edge of the lake, "I thought you had forgotten, I have been waiting for like ever!" 

"I see our little drama queen is full of beans this morning," Andy whispered in Miranda's ear earning her a playful swat on her arm from the editor. 

"Morning Bobbsey, did you have fun at Josie and Cora's?" Miranda gave the girl a squeeze before kissing the top of her head. 

"It was so much fun. So we have our own room, and it has bunk beds!" 

"Oh my, well isn't that wonderful darling." Miranda loved that her girls were so comfortable with Josie and that she in turn had made them feel so welcomed and already an integral part of the Sachs clan. 

"Yeah, me and Caro are swapping each night so we both get turns on the top bunk. How cool is that?" 

"Very," Miranda laughed, her daughter's excitement was infectious, "Where's Caroline?" 

"She's with Megan helping set up for the shoot later but she said she will come down and meet us here in a bit." 

That didn't surprise Miranda at all. Caroline was always doing something creative and most recently she had taken a keen interest in photography. Miranda had given her one of her older cameras to play around with to see if it stuck as a new hobby or just a passing fad that would be dropped when the next 'new' thing came along. But so far her daughter's interest hadn't waned. Caroline had already shown promising talent and a natural eye for composition so Miranda was confident this would be around to stay. 

"Hey Cass, you ready to get your paddleboarding groove on?" Andy was next to have an arm full of redhead. 

"I was born ready Andy!" 

"Well then what are we waiting for? Did grams give you the life vest?" 

"Yep, it's already down by the paddle boards," Cassidy was practically hopping up and down with excitement. 

"Then why don't you get ready whilst I say hi to Nigel, Em and Serena, and I will join you in a minute?" with that Cassidy sprinted off. 

Andy suddenly had visions of the ball of energy bombing into the water before she got there so shouted out to Cassidy, "But don't go in the water!" 

Cassidy spun around and gave the brunette a double thumbs up before bounding off to the water's edge. 

Safe in the knowledge that Cassidy would remain on dry land for the moment Miranda and Andy continued towards Emily, Serena and Nigel and claimed the two prime loungers that had been left for them. 

"Morning guys. Sorry we're late!" Andy dumped her bag on the floor, and started to unbutton her shorts revealing a pair of sporty black bikini bottoms that were cut slightly higher on the thigh than what she would normally wear for such an activity, but hey what Priestly wants Priestly gets and she was more than happy to comply. 

"Serena, are you ready to hit the water?" Andy quickly whipped her vest top off with a little more panache than normal knowing Miranda's eyes were drinking her in. Where the bottoms were plain in design the black bikini top was a whole other story. It had a simple wrap front v-neckline with all the detailing in the back. A racer back fit made up of an intricate criss cross of knotted multi straps ending with a soft tie closure halfway down her back. Andy shivered at the memory of Miranda's nimble fingers tracing over each strap as she fastened it snugly for her that morning. 

Serena gracefully stood, wearing the most incredible gold two piece showing off her washboard stomach and legs for days. The ribbed fabric extenuated the lustrous metallic shimmer which only enhanced Serena's sun-kissed complexion. She looked like a bronzed goddess.

Miranda couldn't help but notice Andrea's reaction to the Brazilian and damned if she was going to be eclipsed by a pair of legs and a Melissa Odabash bikini. 

Miranda had purchased the Heidi Klein swimsuit she was wearing as a little surprise for Andrea, the faded snakeskin print on the bright white background complimented her silver hair and colouring perfectly. The all-in-one silhouette was suspended from two wide straps and dipped into a scandalously low back, while the front was contorted into a twist at the bust. She quietly slipped her shirt off and soon got the brunette's attention. Quick as a flash Andrea was at her side. She felt the warmth from Andrea's arm as she got intimately close. 

"No need to turn green my love," Andy purred in Miranda's ear, "She's not a patch on you," 

"I don't know what you are talking about Andrea," Miranda smirked. 

"Yeah, yeah," Andy quickly bussed Miranda's cheek, "Right come on Serena before we see Cassidy paddling off on her own!" 

Emily was nervously shifting on her lounger, still unsure about Nigel's choice of outfit for her despite Serena's desire laden eyes as soon as she had stepped out of the bathroom, and a nod from Miranda. He had gone for Zimmermann's 'Lulu' swimsuit which combined vibrant panels of yellow, pink and turquoise all printed with pretty, clashing motifs. It had a single shoulder, cutout sides and an open back, both showing a vast amount of pale creamy skin. She had had to put a double layer of sunblock on just to be safe. Ever since Miranda's Dita Von Teese edition, Emily had breathed a sigh of relief that her English rose complexion was the one to covet and not fight against. 

Emily quickly waved back at Serena who was now laughing away with Andy as they walked down the jetty, and then quickly glanced over at Miranda who was now adjusting her lounger to get the best of the morning sun. Never had she seen so much of her boss's body, and wow what a body she had. She was still struggling to circumnavigate this out of the office Miranda and didn't know what to do, or say, or how to act. First, she really needed to stop staring at Miranda. In a swimsuit. And now with Serena, confident and self assured Serena who effortlessly kept her grounded, not by her side she found herself floundering. Why didn't she think to bring a book to hide behind? It was going to be a long day. 

"Emily?" Miranda's cool voice snapped her out of her thoughts, "Where's my coffee?" 

"Coffee?" Emily squeaked, "Oh right, yes of course, sorry Miranda," Emily quickly stood up and then suddenly stopped when she heard both Nigel and Miranda laughing. 

"She's yanking your chain Emily, sit down and relax will you," Nigel mused from his spot in between the editor and the now flummoxed redhead. 

"Relax. Right," Emily took a deep breath and sat back down gingerly on the edge of her sun lounger, still coiled like a tight spring ready to go, "I can do that," she muttered to herself. 

Miranda hadn't quite realised how nervous Emily would be in this scenario. Taking pity on her hapless first assistant Miranda sat up and rummaged in her bag, before finding what she was looking for. 

"Here," Miranda reached over Nigel and held out a clearly loved and well read book towards Emily, "escape for a while." 

Emily frantically looked between the book in Miranda's hand and Nigel and then back at the book. Nigel rolled his eyes and took the paper back and thrust it towards her before mouthing relax. 

Miranda watched on as Emily held the book and examined it with such care and reverence, as if she had been entrusted with the most precious of treasures. 

"Mrs Dalloway is a classic," Miranda spoke directly to Emily who beamed up at her, "I think you will enjoy it." 

"Thank you Miranda," Emily carefully held on to the book, still not daring to open it. 

"It won't bite, Emily," Miranda huffed. 

"Unlike something," Nigel piped up as he nodded towards Miranda's shoulder, "or should that be someone," Nigel smirked as he took in Miranda's flustered appearance. 

 

*****

 

"Nigel, did Megan mention setting up anything on the other side of the lake?" 

"Nope. She was heading over to the waterfall and that will be the only location for today. Why do you ask?" 

"I saw something yesterday over in that direction," Miranda pointed out across the water, "And I have just seen something in the same spot again."

Nigel stood up and made his way over to stand next to Miranda just as something glinted in the distance. 

"There. Did you see that?" Miranda got closer to the shore with Nigel hot on her heels. By the time Nigel had reached her it had gone. 

"I can't see anything," Nigel held his hand up to shield his eyes from the high afternoon sun. 

Emily had now also joined them just as Andy, Serena and Cassidy walked down the jetty having finished with the paddle boarding. 

Taking off her life vest Andy came up to Miranda and wrapped an arm loosely around her waist. 

"What are we looking at?" Andy placed a kiss to Miranda's cheek. 

"I keep seeing something shining over there, the same as yesterday. It's like a mirror catching the sun but then it disappears."

"Well there are some rentals on that side," Andy pointed, "Hidden by the big group of trees, but I am sure Grams said they were empty," 

"There is definitely something, or someone over there," Miranda couldn't shake this odd feeling she had had since she first saw it yesterday. 

"As I said before I am sure it's nothing. Come on let's go join the others," Andy reached down and took Miranda's hand in hers, bringing it up to her lips for a kiss, "Plus your back is looking a little pink my love." 

Thoughts of Andrea rubbing suntan lotion quelled her worries for now, but she made a mental note to get Josie or Cora to check it out nonetheless. 

 

*****

 

Estelle was sitting in a small wood clad cabin that was set a way back from the shore of a beautiful lake. If it was any other occasion she would have relished the location and vista she was treated to everytime she looked up from her laptop but she had a job to do and more importantly, a dragon to slay. As she uploaded the final files to set the wheels in motion she leaned back and went over the whirlwind that was the twenty four hours. 

Before Estelle had fired her useless PA she made her pull together a file on Andy's family and this Camp Tethys place. She had been surprised that Miranda would choose a location like this but something had told her she had to check it out. Renting a car armed with her folder, camera and a few changes of clothes, she gunned it out of the city hoping a plan would form as she drove. 

Spotting a bar, she had pulled in to take a break and get some insider information on the Sachs family. She had always found that given the right incentive, a bored bartender was rather loose-lipped and eager to share. As she ordered a double whiskey she couldn't quite believe her luck when she looked further down the bar and saw Helen Sachs nursing what looked like the same drink. Estelle had recognised her instantly and the initial germ of a plan started to grow before her eyes. Adding another drink to her order she went to introduce herself to her new best friend… 

"I'm Helen." 

"Nice to meet you Helen. I'm Estelle."

"Cheers," Helen clinked her glass with her new drinking buddy before they both knocked back the double shots. 

"So what's got you travelling down here? Work or pleasure?" Helen signalled for another round. 

"Oh I am hoping for a mix of both," Estelle sat there mentally rubbing her hands together in glee - definitely pleasure if she can pull this off. 

"And what's your line of work?" Helen had stared at her intently and Estelle could have sworn she saw a brief flash of recognition reflected on the woman's face. Thankfully it was gone just as fast as it had appeared. 

Without missing a beat, Estelle launched into a whole spiel of how she was a realtor looking for a second home for one of her wealthy clients so was checking out a few areas before she narrowed down exact locations. Helen proved to be a wealth of information on the local area and even provided some potential properties that were up for sale. Estelle would have been in the money had she actually been in the real estate business. Time to see what she could get out of one Helen Sachs. 

"So enough about me. What's got you here at this time of day?" Estelle was hamming up the caring act. 

"It's all a bit chaotic back at my place right now so I needed some space and my feet walked me here," Helen sighed as she reached for the glass of water the bartender had just left next to her replenished tumbler. 

"How so?" Estelle leant in feigning innocence, knowing full well who was at her place, no doubt lording it around. 

"My daughter is home for the weekend and she's not come alone," Helens voice had taken on a hard edge. 

"Oh, so she's brought her new guy along too and you don't approve?" Estelle couldn't believe how easy this was. 

Helen laughed bitterly, "Yeah, something like that." 

Estelle suddenly went still, oh hang on a minute, was she implying what she thought she was? Oh this was gold! 

"There's a story there for sure," Estelle paused as she took a slow sip, she wanted Helen to not feel pressured, having her clam up right now would be disastrous, "Sometimes it's easier to share with a stranger?" 

Helen hummed in agreement but didn't volunteer anything further. Just as Estelle was about to break the stifling and frustrating silence, Helen finally spoke. 

"It's not a guy," Helen muttered. 

Jackpot. Estelle dug deep to channel her inner calm and stop herself from shrieking in sheer delight. She knew Andy was strictly women only, but Miranda? Well that would certainly explain the whole photoshoot business. Oh this was practically writing itself. 

"Really? And you didn't know she was bringing her either?" 

"Oh I knew. She's some hot shot fashion bitch and is doing a shoot so has a whole team with her," Helens grip was tightening around the glass she had just drained, Estelle was surprised it hadn't shattered, "And her two kids are arriving later today. Two precocious and spoilt little madams from what I have heard." 

Miranda had the brats coming down too? This was even juicer than she had first thought. 

"Sounds like you are going to have your hands full then?" 

"Unfortunately," huffed Helen. 

"Well I will be around for a couple of days if you need to escape?" Estelle was praying Helen would take her up on the offer. 

"I might just do that," Helen signalled for the check. She'd had a little too much hard liquor for this time of day and needed to walk it off before heading back. 

As the bartender brought it over Helen went to retrieve her card to pay but felt a gentle hand on her wrist stopping her from handing it over. 

"Here, let me get this," Estelle dropped a wad of dollars on the bar with an exaggerated flourish before standing up. 

"At least let me pay half?" 

Estelle just waved Helens comment off, "It's the least I can do for keeping me company and giving me the property low down." 

"No problem at all, and thanks for the drinks," Helen walked them out of the bar, squinting as her eyes adjusted to the harsh sunlight now they had left the dimly lit bar. 

Helen gasped as she saw Estelle reach for her car keys, "Tell me you are staying near here, you can't drive!" 

"Ah, see the thing is, this trip was rather last minute so I didn't have the time to sort any accommodation out," Estelle looked down and sighed, praying Helen would take the bait. 

"I am keeping an eye on some of the rentals near my place, and one is free this weekend. It's not much but you're more than welcome to take it?" 

Bingo. Now all Estelle had to do was land the proverbial fish. 

"Oh I couldn't do that," Estelle reached for the car door, "I will just find a motel or something." 

"Honestly, it's fine. Plus you'd be doing me a favour knowing I had someone to share a drink or two with over the next day or so." 

"Well if you are sure? I would hate to be an inconvenience." 

It was Helens turn to tut as she rolled her eyes, "Grab your bags and let's go. It's not too far a walk." 

Helen had been cluelessly dropping snippets here and there that had enabled Estelle to piece together Andy and Miranda's whereabouts and activities. The barbecue yesterday had been an eye opener and she was now absolutely certain that Andy and Miranda were an item. She knew Miranda was represented by the best PR firm money could buy so a photo of a hug from the editor to the olympian could be easily talked down and dismissed, but she was dying to see how they would dispel the images from today's little waterside escapades. 

Estelle signed off her damning email and hit send. She should have felt bad for using Helen, but the elder Sachs was a means to end. Helen had joined her at the cabin for a drink the previous evening and was furious. All had not gone well. It had been hard to not chime in when Helen went on a rant about how she wanted rid of Miranda. Estelle felt justified in her actions. This would only help aid that surely? Win win for everyone. She only wished she could be around to see the initial fall out but she needed to hot foot it out of there. Packing up her laptop and ensuring she hadn't left a trace of her ever being there she closed the door, locked it behind her and left the keys under the plant pot. 

She was rather pleased with herself. After all a picture spoke a thousand words, and Estelle had just given the press outlets hundreds. Let the games begin… 

 

Chapter Text

After a relaxing late lunch, the group started to disperse to get ready for the arduous final section of the shoot. Andrea had gone off with Nigel, Emily and Serena to start hair and makeup, whilst Caroline was stuck to Megan's side playing assistant, becoming, according to the photographer, the perfect addition to her 'crew' of one. 

Cora was packing the last few plates away when Miranda sidled up next to her. 

"Did everything get set up for this evening?" 

"Oh hey Miranda," Cora hadn't heard Miranda approach, "Yep, all set. I am rather jealous actually. It has turned out way better than I thought it would."

"Fabulous, and thank you for your help," Miranda reached out and squeezed Cora's forearm in thanks, "And how are you doing after yesterday?" 

"No worries at all, and yeah I am fine," Cora sighed as she looked over at Josie who was straightening up the sun loungers with Cassidy, "It's hit Josie hard though. It breaks my heart to see her like this." 

Miranda hummed in agreement. 

"Those girls of yours are helping though. They certainly are full of life and providing my Josie with the perfect distraction. You've done a wonderful job with them Miranda." 

Miranda couldn't help but beam back with pride.  She knew her girls were special but she was of course biased so to hear others voice the same opinions bolstered her pride even further. 

"They are indeed. They have come on leaps and bounds since Andrea entered our lives. And they love being here. I am so grateful to you and Josie for making them feel so part of the family."

"Honestly it's been a joy having them stay with us. We wanted to ask you how you felt about them perhaps coming to stay for a few weeks in the summer holidays?" 

"Oh they would absolutely love that. I am sure we can arrange something. I'll speak to Andrea and we can look at dates." 

"Great, I know Josie thinks the world of them, it would really mean a lot. Right I need to get this leftover food out of the sun. I'll see you in a bit," and with that Cora shouted over to Josie and Cassidy to help carry the bits up to the house.

Miranda suddenly found herself alone and with nothing to do. It was a rare occurrence and something, if she was brutally honest with herself, that she still wasn't totally comfortable with. In the past she had done everything to avoid this very scenario. Late nights immersed in work to stave off negative thoughts. Longer than necessary hours at the office to put off an emptiness that had gnawed away at her like a caged animal. She would never admit that she knew the name of every out of hours staff member from cleaner to security who worked tirelessly throughout the night to keep the Elias Clark building running and ready for the next wave of workers as the sun came up. But that was pre Andrea. Slowly but surely she was discovering a balance between work and home and for the first time home was winning. Even though it was positive, every now and then it scared her as to how much her life had changed and the weight she put on those toned, sculpted shoulders. The irony that late nights and evenings pouring over the book in her study wouldn't actually be an issue with Andrea wasn't lost on her but she just didn't want or need to do that any more. She had no need to avoid home. The void was finally filled. The silence was no longer stifling. It was something to appreciate, revel in, embrace. Blissful Sunday mornings sat in the den reading with Andrea's head resting in her lap, her hand lazily carding through silk brown locks, Patricia snoring away, the sounds of the girls travelling down through the house from their rooms. Feeling so content, with the late afternoon sun beating down, she melted into the sun lounger. Maybe she'd just lean back and rest her eyes for a bit…

 

*****

 

"We need to wake her up," Emily stood over Miranda, she looked so peaceful. She had never had the opportunity to really study Miranda's face so was soaking it in. Her boss really was quite beautiful. Not in the conventional sense that she saw month after month running through the halls of Runway but in an all encompassing striking way. Her patrician nose that would look wrong on anyone else, the wrinkles around her eyes not showing age but character and experience. Laughter lines that proudly sat either side of her mouth, which thanks to Andy, could now genuinely be referred to as just that - born from actual laughter. A sound that was becoming more and more familiar to the still slightly wary assistant. 

"I'm not doing it," Serena shook her head, "You're her assistant, you do it."

"No way. You know that saying, let sleeping dragons lie…" 

"I think you will find that's dogs, Emily," Miranda cracked an eye open and saw Emily jump back at least two feet in shock much to her and Serena's amusement. 

“Yes well, erm,” Emily frantically looked at Serena, who was now losing the battle to contain her laughter, for some help. 

Taking pity on her flustered girlfriend, Serena stepped in, “Nigel sent us to come get you Miranda. They are ready to begin but it seems as though Andy’s nerves have taken over.”

That had Miranda sitting bolt upright, now completely awake. 

“Explain,” Miranda responded coolly. 

“Well, hair and make-up went great, but when we gave her the first swimsuit she sort of freaked out and locked herself in the bathroom and now won't come out. We have all tried to coax her out but she isn't budging. So Nigel sent us to get the big guns, so to speak.”

“I see,” Miranda was already on her feet and walking with purpose to the chalet they had taken over for the shoot prep. Looking over her shoulder she saw Emily and Serena still standing there. “Well? Aren't you coming?”

“Yes, Miranda,” Emily practically sprinted to catch up with the editor who was walking surprisingly fast, “Right here.”

Miranda arrived at the chalet and stormed through the door, looking around with purpose before clocking Nigel. Nigel took one look at Miranda and knew to keep quiet. He just pointed towards the bedroom door. Without breaking stride Miranda marched straight through and if she slammed the door behind her no one was going to comment. 

A slightly dishevelled and panting Emily and Serena were next to arrive. 

“Bloody hell that woman can walk fast,” Emily reached for a bottle of water and chugged half the contents in one go. 

“She sure can move when she wants to. Even my long legs struggled to keep up,” Serena drained the rest of Emily’s bottle of water, “I take it Andy hasn't come out yet?”

“Nope. I am sure Miranda will work her magic. We are ahead of schedule so it shouldn't impact too much,” Nigel sat down heavily on the sofa, “I guess we just have to sit and wait.”

After twenty minutes and still no sign of Miranda or Andy, Emily had had enough. 

“Right, I can't take this anymore, I am going to go for a walk,” As she went to stand a low groan came from behind the closed door. Instantly blushing, her eyes widening, she spoke a little louder, “Anyone want to join me?” 

What could only be described as a low moan, followed by a muffled thump coming from behind the closed door, rang out in the otherwise silent chalet. 

“Yes! What a great idea Emily!” Nigel practically shouted. He didn't need any images whatsoever of whatever may or may not be happening behind that darn closed door. 

“Let's go,” Serena grabbed another bottle of water and pushed Emily and Nigel out the door. 

“Oh god Miranda,” Andy groaned, ignoring the sound of the chalet door slamming shut, “don't stop, please don't stop.” 

“I wasn't intending to darling.” 

 

Twenty minutes earlier…

Miranda walked into the bedroom, stepping over a discarded Stella McCartney swimsuit which was to be Andrea’s first look of the shoot. As she approached the closed door to the bathroom she heard deep sobs coming from within. This was not a good sign. She wondered what on earth had happened as Andrea had been so happy and content when she had left her after lunch. 

“Andrea,” Miranda whispered as she hesitantly knocked on the door, “Are you ok in there?” 

Miranda heard the lock snick open and tentatively opened it. As she pushed the door open wider her heart broke at her darling Andrea sat on the closed lid of the toilet, shoulders shaking as sobs wracked through her body. She looked so small and fragile. Kneeling down in front of the brunette she placed two fingers under her chin lifting it slightly. 

“Oh my darling, whatever is the matter?” Miranda swept the hair from Andrea’s face revealing those big brown eyes beneath tear covered lashes. 

“I’m sorry Miranda. I tried but I just don't think,” Andy was struggling to get the words out as she had started to hiccup from crying. Taking a deep breath she tried again, “I just don't think I can do it.”

“Do what? Did someone say something to you?” Miranda was trying not to get angry but clearly someone must have done something to upset Andrea so much. 

“No,” Andy whispered whilst shaking her head vehemently. 

“Then what is it?” Miranda was digging deep to remain calm, this was not the time for the dragon to appear. This isn't some model throwing a tantrum. This is her Andrea, upset and needing love and support, “I can't help fix it, if you don't tell me what's wrong Andrea," Miranda cooed softly. 

“To be a-a model for you. I am just little Andy Sachs that's good at swimming,” tears started to spill down her cheeks. Miranda was finding it hard to catch them in time they were falling so fast. “You should be putting someone like Serena on the cover. Not me.”

Ah, it all started to fall into place for Miranda. “If only Andrea could see what I see.” 

“And what do you see?”

Miranda squeaked in surprise as she hadn't realised she had voiced that last thought out loud. Feeling the heat of embarrassment start to warm her chest and travel up her neck, she silently cursed her pale complexion. 

“Miranda, tell me what you see.”

“I see an incredibly strong, fit woman who has achieved so much in such a short space of time. Who I know would be an inspiration and role model to so many young girls that are just starting to dare to dream,” Miranda gave a shy smile to the brunette, “Who is confident and sure of what they want out of life. I see a beautiful woman who radiates warmth and love through the most expressive brown eyes. I see a woman who everyone will want as their friend, as their lover, as their everything. Everyone will want to be you my darling.” 

Andy was shocked at Miranda's words. It would have been very easy to assume she was pulling out the big declarations to win her around but as she gazed into those blue eyes she saw nothing but sincerity. She really did mean every last word. Oh wow. Andy didn't think it was possible to fall more in love with Miranda but in that moment, with her love kneeling on the floor of a cramped bathroom, it happened. Big time. Her heart felt like it was about to burst. 

Andy slipped off the toilet seat, quickly scooting around Miranda so she could lean against the bathroom door. Gesturing for Miranda's hand she pulled the editor on to her lap. Reaching up she tangled her fingers in those silver locks, gently guiding Miranda's head down to meet with her lips. The kiss was soft and gentle. A kiss of thanks. A kiss of love. Everything Andy wanted to convey and more to the wonderful woman now straddling her thighs was said through that meeting of lips. 

“Thank you Miranda. I got so caught up in my head and was panicking I was going to embarrass you and let you down. Eugh, self doubt is truly hideous, not that you would know," Andy let out a watery laugh, "I mean is there anything that makes you falter?”  

“Oh Andrea, I doubt myself everyday,” Miranda snorted, before sighing, “Countless times.”

“Yeah like I believe that!” Andy smirked at Miranda, who just slowly shook her head. 

“Why would I lie? To you of all people,” Miranda entwined their fingers as she contemplated how to phrase the next few soul-baring words. But that was all part of the promise she had made to herself right? Open and honest. More Andrea. Giving herself a mental push off the edge she went for it. 

“I constantly doubt myself as a mother, a friend, a, a erm partner...” that last word got stuck in her throat. She had just vocalised her biggest fear - that Andrea would wake up one day and realise that she deserved so much better, regardless of how hard Miranda was trying to be that better person. Would it ever be enough? Would she be enough?

“Hey, none of that. It only takes someone to look at those two girls to see what an amazing mother you have been and will continue to be. Guiding them through life's ups and downs, being that steady rock and the anchor to what they know as home. Yes they haven't had a conventional upbringing but what even is that these days? They are top of their class, great at making new friends, and are able to handle the most crazy of situations with style and panache well beyond their years. Throw in compassionate, loyal and so full of love and I would say that's two incredibly well rounded young women who I am sure will go on to take the world by storm. That all had to come from somewhere, my love.” Andy leant in to place another kiss on those lips that knew every inch of her.  

“And as for a friend,” Andy raised her eyebrows at the stunned editor, “It's clear as day Nigel loves you despite your adorable little quirks and foibles, so nothing to worry about there. Now,” Andy started to tap her lip with her forefinger feigning that she was deep in though, “what was that last part? Hmmm, oh yes that crazy notion that you have doubts about being a good enough partner. Well as I am the said other party in this particular doubt of yours I can say with absolute conviction that you are simply perfect. Perfectly wonderful. Perfectly flawed. But above all else perfect for me, as I am for you. And that my love is all that counts. And I will remind you of this everyday for the rest of forever if I have to.”

Miranda couldn't have stopped the smile that broke out, even if she had wanted to. It was a full beaming smile that she knew would reflect the happiness that was coursing through her. From the top of her perfectly coiffed hair down to her pedicured toes. Miranda leant down and captured Andrea's lips in a searing kiss. As the kiss deepened she knew her Andrea was onto something with this perfect business. That kiss was everything. 

Andy started to wiggle and reluctantly broke the kiss, “Oh shit, my foot's gone to sleep," she groaned as she attempted to move her toes, "Ah man, I've got pins and noodles,” Andy patted Miranda's behind to get her to shift off her legs so she could stretch them out. 

“Noodles? Don't you mean needles, really Andrea?” Miranda gave an eye roll as she moved off Andrea's lap and sat as elegantly as one could on the floor of a bathroom. 

“Well I know that is the actual saying but I think noodles fit better. I mean, the pins bit is the pain and the noodles bit is because the affected limb is all floppy like a cooked noodle,” Andy shrugged. 

“Point well made,” Miranda couldn't fault Andrea's logic with that explanation and knew that it would now forever be referred to as ‘pins and noodles’, unless they were in company of course, “Is it easing up?”

“Nope. And now I think I have cramp!”

“Give me your foot,” Miranda chuckled as she saw Andrea's face contort into some rather interesting expressions. 

“Hey, it's not funny Priestly. It bloody hurts!” Andy plonked her foot into Miranda’s lap. 

“I know darling, I’m sorry,” Miranda bit her lip to stop another burst of laughter erupting, as she started to massage Andrea's foot, “Now, is this making it feel better?” 

Andy groaned before nodding, “Yeah that feels great. God I love your hands."

Miranda worked her way further up Andrea’s leg and started paying particular attention to her calf muscle which caused the brunette's head to thump rather loudly against the door. Another loud groan escaped her lips which went straight to Miranda's core. Doing a final rotation of the brunette's ankle she deemed it time to try and get her to stand up. All was now right with the world. Pins and noodles be damned. 

 

As they opened the bedroom door they saw they were alone. 

"How long were we in there for?" Andy had been expecting to see Nigel, Em and Serena waiting for them. Instead she was left scanning an empty room. 

"About half an hour, I wonder where they have got to?” Miranda huffed, “Your makeup needs a start over darling.”

“I bet I look like an absolute mess. I feel awful as Serena was so proud of the work she had done.” Andy felt familiar arms wrap around her waist from behind and she couldn't help but sink back into the embrace. 

“You look glorious, and it's nothing that can’t be fixed.” Miranda planted a kiss on Andrea’s neck, “We have plenty of time. The only thing I want you to concern yourself with right now is getting into that swimsuit.”

Andy spun around to face Miranda and leant her forehead on the editors, “That I can do."

Just as Andy was about to kiss Miranda the door burst open and Nigel walked in with one hand covering his eyes. 

"Is it safe to come in yet?" Nigel shouted. 

"There's no need to shout Nigel. We're right here," Miranda shook her head, "Honestly," Miranda muttered under her breath. 

Nigel jumped in surprise, "Oh you're erm out. OK great," Nigel couldn't quite meet Miranda's eyes, looking everywhere but at the Editor he continued, "So, everything OK?" 

"Yes Nigel, now go get Serena and let's get this show back on the road. I am going to get changed. That's all." 

"Yes, Miranda," Nigel spun round and gestured through the open door at Emily and Serena who were nervously hovering on the veranda out front. 

 

*****

 

Having got the earlier breakdown out of her system Andy had come alive in front of the camera. Every shot was sublime and the excitement in the Runway team was palpable. 

All the swimwear shots around the waterfall had been completed and Megan had just wrapped up the last of the agreed shots of the swimmer in the Zovani finale dress. Andy had looked incredible against the cascading water. But she knew there were two more shots she could get which would be breathtaking and was absolutely desperate to try it. But it was a risk. Isn't that what Miranda wanted though, to push the boundaries and do something new and fresh? Taking a deep breath, she shouted over to Nigel. 

"Hey Nigel, can you come here for a second?" 

"Sure, what's up?" Nigel finished his conversation with Miranda who just raised her eyebrows and gestured for him to join Megan. 

"Do we have room in the budget if we don't return the Zovani?" 

Nigel paused as he mentally went through all the costs, "It will be tight as some of the rigging we needed came in higher than normal because of the terrain. But I should be able to swing it. Why?" Nigel was excited by the look in Megan's eyes. 

"Great, as what I have planned will mean it definitely won't be in pristine, returnable condition," Megan wiggled her eyebrows and launched enthusiastically into her plan. 

Miranda could see Nigel and Megan talking a mile a minute. Every so often Nigel gasped and clapped a hand over his mouth. She hadn't seen him this fired up in years and her curiosity got the better of her. Just as she was about to head over Nigel gave Megan a big hug and practically skipped over to her. 

"What was that all about?" 

Nigel mimed zipping his lips shut and locking them with an imaginary key. 

"It's going to be a surprise," Nigel hopped up in to his director's chair next to Miranda's, "What I will say is just watch that monitor and if you aren't left positively gagging when Megan has finished, I will eat my impeccably tailored Ralph Lauren shorts," and with that he sat back looking very smug and pleased with himself. 

"Well. Let's hope I am not disappointed then Nigel," Miranda raised an eyebrow at Nigel, "That fabric looks awfully tough and unpalatable," Miranda smirked. She couldn't wait to see what Megan was going to produce. She had a feeling it was going to blow the rest of the shoot out of the water. 

 

*****

 

"You want me to what?!" Andy couldn't quite believe what Megan was asking her to do, "Get into the water? In this??" she gestured to the exquisite and no doubt ridiculously expensive gown. 

"That's right. In the water. Serena can you let Andy's hair down for this please?" 

"No problem," Serena then started to quickly remove the bobby pins that were currently holding the brunette's hair up. 

"Oh and we need to go darker on the eyes. Really smokey and definitely a dark lip," Megan could see it all coming together in her mind's eye. 

"Absolutely. Give me ten minutes?" 

Megan nodded and left them to it. She looked around for her mini assistant, spotting her talking to her mum and Nigel. 

"Hey Caroline, you ready to help set up the next couple of shots with me?" 

Caroline looked at her mum who nodded it was OK, before she jumped down from her chair and ran over to Megan. 

"Sure am. What do you need, boss?" Caroline had been buzzing all day about getting to assist Megan. She was so cool and didn't treat her like a kid. Megan had taught her some tricks of the trade and how to set up shots and stuff. So far it had been the best day ever.

Caroline listened intently to Megan's instructions and bounded off to do her tasks. Megan then headed back over to her laptop and the rest of her camera equipment, which also happened to be where Miranda and Nigel were sitting. 

"You've got a great kid there Miranda," Megan was changing the battery on her camera as she spoke, "She has been brilliant today. Really professional and so eager to learn." 

"Oh, well thank you," Miranda had been a little worried about letting Caroline shadow Megan all day, nervous that she would be more of a hindrance than a help, "From what Caroline has just been telling me it seems you have a new fan, so I am glad to hear she has been of help."

"She's been great, and actually helped come up with one of the angles for the next shot. She's got a natural eye for this," Megan had been a little daunted at the prospect of having the boss's kid hanging about with her all day but Caroline had a wealth of ideas and her excitement was infectious. It had been one of the most pleasant jobs she had done in a long time. 

"I shall look forward to seeing what the two of you have come up with then," Miranda smiled and settled back, ready to be wowed. 

Everyone was ready. Megan was lying on her front on a platform about eight foot above the edge of the plunge pool. The water glowing from the extra underwater lights she had installed. Andy was on the edge still looking unsure but willing to go with it. Miranda was leaning forward in her seat unable to now hide her curiosity and excitement at what was about to happen. 

"OK Andy, in you get," Megan was poised and ready to start snapping away as soon as Andy went to step in. 

"Here I go!" Andy took her time as she confidently entered the water. She needed to give the tulle fabric time to absorb some water so it didn't automatically float.

"Perfect Andy. Now make your way to the middle of the pool but try not to get your face wet just yet!" 

"I'll try." The weight of the fabric was making it harder to tread water but thankfully Andy's strong legs were winning out. 

"Great, now if you can lay on your back but again keep your face out of the water and just float for a bit," Megan started snapping away again, "Gently reach up and fan your hair out a bit for me. Yep that's it, and just move the dress out to the sides. OK last few shots, and that's it. We're done for this bit!" 

Andy swam to the edge of the pool where Serena was on hand to touch up her makeup and dampen down any stray droplets from the spray of the waterfall. 

Megan had climbed down from the platform and headed back to swap her camera over and started to upload the shots. She gestured for Miranda to lean over to take a look at the monitor. 

"I thought you would want to see them first?" Megan stepped aside so Miranda could take in the images in their entirety. 

Miranda peered over her shoulder and was mesmerized by what she saw filling the screen. The tulle surrounded her as she floated effortlessly, catching the light from beneath. Andrea glowed. It looked otherworldly, ethereal. Her face was calm and serene, her hair looked like liquid silk as it moved with the water. The semi sheer bodice shimmering in the light made it look as though her torso was covered in tiny silver scales. The way the powder blue fabric wrapped around Andrea's toned legs could almost be mistaken for a tail. Andrea looked like a mermaid. A siren that called to Miranda and Miranda alone. 

For the first time in Miranda's career words failed her. She almost stumbled back to her seat, looked at Nigel and just pointed at the screen for him to go and take a look. Nigel raced to the monitor and gasped. 

"Wow," Nigel looked over his shoulder at Miranda who just nodded in agreement. 

"Wow indeed," Miranda whispered breathlessly. 

Megan stood there slightly dumbfounded at Miranda's reaction. Bolstered by the confidence she pressed ahead with the final shot. This was going to be something completely different. Making her way over to the water's edge, she knelt down in front of Andy. 

"You doing OK? Not too cold?" 

"All good," Andy grinned up at Megan, "Last one now right?" 

"Yep, last one. And for this I want you to fully submerge and then when you break the surface of the water on the way back up I want you to sweep your hair back with both hands and look directly at the camera."

"OK, I will give it my best." 

"You're doing great Andy, you got this!" Megan got in position, "OK everyone on set ready? Last shots of the day about to start."

Andy couldn't wait for this to be over, her legs were getting tired and she could feel the cold of the water starting to bite. Getting the signal to go from Megan, she took a deep breath and disappeared under the water. 

 

*****

 

This time Miranda didn't even wait for Megan to finish uploading the images. Having watched Andrea in the plunge pool of the waterfall, she was desperate to see them. 

And boy she wasn't disappointed. The last instalment was a completely different vibe all together. The dark lips, smokey eye and slicked back hair was sultry and sensual. Andrea's bare shoulders glistening with water as she broke the surface. The way Andrea was looking directly down the camera lens with hooded eyes gave the feeling she was seeing into her soul, searing her very being. My god. The rivulets of water running down her face. Image after image screamed pure sex. Heat. Desire. Lust. Miranda clenched her thighs as discreetly as she could. 

"These are incredible Megan," Miranda croaked, "It's not often that I find myself this impressed."

"I am glad they meet with your approval, Miranda. It's been a real pleasure working on this project." 

Thankfully Andy came to join them which saved Megan from gushing any further and embarrassing herself in front of the editor, who still hadn't torn her eyes away from the monitor. 

"Wow, is that really me?" Andy squeaked in shock as she took a look herself. 

"It sure is my darling. Amazing aren't they?" Miranda's voice was all husky and it made Andy shiver, which didn't go unnoticed by Miranda. 

"The guys are heading back to camp. Do you want to join them for a drink?" Andy wrapped the fluffy white dressing gown she was wearing a little tighter, bracing herself against the cool night air. 

Miranda shook her head, "No I have something planned," she held her hand out for the brunette who eagerly clasped it, "Come with me." 

"Gladly," Andy beamed, "Night guys, see you tomorrow!" Andy gave a final wave to everyone as she left with Miranda leading the way down a path through the trees. 

"So did I really do OK? You were happy with all the shots?" Andy was a little nervous after her breakdown earlier, regardless of Miranda's pep talk. 

Miranda stopped walking and took Andrea in her arms. 

"Oh Andrea, you were sensational. I knew they would be spectacular but you surpassed all my expectations. And that last series," Miranda fanned herself with her hand, "You simply took my breath away." 

"My thoughts were only of you. I just pictured it was you behind that camera."

"There is a part of me that wants to keep those images under lock and key. I am not sure I want to share you with the world darling," Miranda nuzzled into Andrea's neck. 

"Yeah?" Andy chuckled.

"Hmmm, I will be having to beat all and sundry off with sticks," Miranda growled, "But I do get a rather large kick knowing that you are mine." 

Being a fiercely independent woman Andy never thought she would respond well to a lover being possessive but with Miranda it just felt so right because it was equal. To give herself completely to this woman was everything and in turn Miranda having given herself just as eagerly. It was a wonderful balance of mutual adoration, worship and passion and they both thrived on it. 

Andy offered more access to her neck and Miranda took full advantage, biting down, claiming what was hers. That fine line between pleasure and pain was exhilarating and she needed Miranda to take her. Out in the open, under the stars. Andy felt Miranda slowly walk them backwards until her back hit a tree. 

"My love, I need…" Andy was gasping as Miranda kissed down her neck."

"What do you need darling?" 

"More. Everything. Hmmmm," Andy panted, "You. I need you." 

That's all Miranda needed to hear. Deft hands made quick work of the dressing gown tie and she marvelled at the sight before her as it fell open. She stepped back slightly desperate to burn the image of Andrea, so wanton and ready for her, into her mind. Miranda never wanted to forget this moment. 

Andrea's naked body lit only by moonlight was truly wondrous. The rise and fall of Andrea's heaving chest catching the glowing light. It was bewitching. 

Andy immediately missed the contact of her love, opening her eyes she saw Miranda standing there, completely still, with a look of pure wonderment on her face. Her silver hair shone brightly under the full moon. 

"What's wrong?" Andy was slightly puzzled as Miranda had yet to say anything. 

"Absolutely nothing my darling. I just want to remember this moment forever. You are so beautiful," Miranda traced a finger down the side of Andrea's face, "You leave me quite spellbound." 

Andy leant her cheek into Miranda's touch and used her hands to close the distance between them 

"The feeling is completely mutual Miranda," and with that she captured Miranda's lips in a fierce kiss. 

Miranda's hands travelled all over Andrea's body.  As her mouth made contact with a tight nipple, Andrea thrust her chest forward encouraging Miranda to continue her ministrations. Using one hand to tease the brunette's other breast, her more dominant hand continued on its journey. 

Andy felt like she was on fire. Every nerve burning deep within. Her hips started to move, seeking out the touch she so desperately craved. When Miranda's hand finally reached the apex of her thighs Andy couldn't help but moan as sure fingers stroked through her wet heat, teasing at her entrance. She lifted her leg and wrapped it around Miranda, opening herself up, gasping when Miranda slowly entered her. Delirious with desire she started to move. Every thrust of her hips took Miranda deeper inside. But she needed more. Whispering this request in her love's ear was all it took and she felt that delicious stretch. As Miranda curled her fingers Andy was aware her movements were becoming more erratic. She was so close. And then it hit her. She felt her head connect with the tree as her back arched in pleasure as her orgasm washed over her. 

Letting her leg fall down she leant against the sturdy pine, thankful it was there as she had no energy to keep herself upright. Feeling the soft fabric of the dressing gown being wrapped back around her body, she opened her eyes and gazed dreamily at Miranda. 

"Well that's something to cross off the list," Andy chuckled shly. 

"Oh we are only just getting started," Miranda winked at Andrea, "You alright to continue? It's not much further." 

"Yep but my legs still feel a little shaky so let's go slow." 

As they rounded the corner Andy saw a path lined with fairy lights which lit the way to a clearing surrounded by trees. 

"Oh wow, Miranda," Andy squeezed Miranda's hand as the editor continued to lead them down the magical path. 

Miranda stepped aside so Andrea could see what was in the centre of the clearing. 

"Our home for the evening." 

"You weren't kidding when you said you would make this weekend memorable were you?" 

"When have I ever suggested something I don't see through?" Miranda opened the flap of the tent and ushered Andy inside. Cora had gone above and beyond Miranda's expectations. It looked amazing. The floor was covered in large brightly covered cushions and blankets. There was a champagne bucket off to the side and a hamper next to it. A small table housed a tray with glasses and a plate of plump ripe strawberries. The ceiling was covered in tiny pin point lights. It truly was like spending a night under the stars. 

"So Priestly, I think you are completely over dressed for what I have in mind." 

Miranda spun around and gasped as she saw Andrea standing there, the white robe pooled at her feet. 

"I think you're right Sachs. So what are you going to do about it?" Miranda quirked her eyebrow, challenging the brunette. 

Within seconds Andy was in front of Miranda, divesting her of her clothes before tumbling them backwards onto the soft bedding. 

As Miranda had said, the night was only just getting started… 

 

Chapter Text

Always the first to rise, Emily sighed as she looked over and saw Serena still in a deep slumber doing that adorable little snore the Brazilian would always vehemently deny when teased about it. On autopilot Emily reached for her phone, unlocked it, before doing a double take. That couldn't be right. Rubbing the sleep from her eyes rather quickly, she looked again and saw that hundreds of notifications on every single app on her phone's home screen were still very much there. Along with missed calls, messages and voicemails. What the hell had happened over night?? 

Every assistant worth their salt knew the importance of setting up Google alerts and notifications across every social media platform known to man. Needing to be one step ahead at all times is an absolute must for any assistant and Emily was no exception. Any mention of Miranda, Runway or, heaven forbid, the twins and Emily knew about it. The amount of mornings that had been ruined before she had even put one foot out of bed were now racked up to the hundreds during her time at Miranda's side. 

"Oh god. Oh fuck," Emily felt like an entire bucket of ice water had been thrown at her as she started to quickly sift through each app. Jumping out of bed she started pacing the floor, not really sure what to do. The notifications were coming through thick and fast. Just as she cleared them her phone started beeping again and a fresh batch came flooding through at an alarming speed.

"Serena wake up," Emily had no time for niceties right now and seeing Serena had snuggled down further, she grabbed her girlfriend by the shoulders and shook her until she started to come to, "Wake up!!"

"What the…" Serena grumbled, as Emily continued to shake her. The redheads' slim fingers digging into the soft flesh of her upper arms, "OK, OK! I am awake!" Serena sat up rubbing at the now reddened skin. For someone so slight, Emily was surprisingly strong. 

"So do you want to share why I was so abruptly awoken? By the look on your face it's not so we can get some early morning cardio in," Serena smirked much to the annoyance of Emily. 

Giving Serena an eye roll that could rival Miranda's, she thrust her phone at her. 

Serena quickly started scrolling through the news articles on the tabs that Emily had open, each one carrying a similar headline and accompanied by grainy photos that left nothing open to interpretation. 

The Priestly hareem… Just what does one have to do to become a Miranda girl? 

America's sweetheart, swimming superstar Andy Sachs adding a medal in dragon taming to her golden haul? 

Andy Sachs set to become the new 'Mr Priestly'? We have the inside scoop on what really went down at Camp Tethys… 

"Shit." 

"What the hell are we going to do?? Miranda is going to go nuts," Emily wanted to cry. She slid down the side of the bed hitting the floor with a muffled thump, bringing her knees up to her chest and hugging them. 

"Emily, I don't mean to make it worse but, erm, this one just popped up," Serena winced as Emily snatched her phone back. The colour instantly drained from her already pale face.

Things are certainly looking cosy as Andy takes new step daughter paddle boarding! 

"Oh fucking hell!" 

 

*****

 

Waking up to the warmth and security in the shape of long limbs wrapped around her was now the only way Miranda liked to start her day. Oh and naked breasts pressed deliciously against her equally naked back. Gentle kisses on the back of her neck. A hand slowly teasing her legs open… 

Rolling onto her back, Miranda lifted her foot up and let her leg fall to the side as that wandering hand continued its lazy journey south, gasping as sure fingers made full use of what was now so openly on offer. 

Miranda didn't need to open her eyes to know Andrea was smiling. She could sense that beautiful sleepy grin that without fail blinded her every morning like her own personal sunrise. She had felt it against her skin when those soft pliant lips had gently kissed her awake. 

These moments were by far the most wondrous. That fine line between dreaming and consciousness surrounded by the scent and sounds of her darling Andrea. Miranda's senses were on fire as was her body. Every noise was clearer. The early dawn chorus ringing out brightly against the backdrop of rushing water from the waterfall. As she tilted her pelvis to seek out the contact she so desperately needed, her sharp ears were met with a tinkling, appreciative laugh. 

As Andrea's hand worked its magic and that was exactly what it was - pure, bewitching magic, Miranda felt the tell tale tiny flutters start to begin in the pit of her stomach. Tingling their way up her body as it now moved to a symphony only she and Andrea could hear. The sporadic patterns of Andrea's fingers were replaced with precise movements with one goal in mind. Miranda could feel her breathing becoming more erratic as she was nearing her climax but just as she felt the final resolution within her grasp Andrea changed her speed, taking her right back down to a low thrum. This happened again and again. It was torture. Dizzying, blissful, exquisite torture. She wanted to scream but part of her wanted to drag this out for as long as she could physically stand it. If she could just hold on that little bit longer Miranda knew from past experience that she was in for an earth shattering end. Refusing to give in Miranda channelled every ounce of stubbornness she could muster. Andrea of course sensed this and picked up her pace, entering her with two strong fingers which caused Miranda's breath to hitch. Miranda felt Andrea add another finger and use the palm of her hand to apply just the perfect amount of pressure to her clit. And that was it. Andrea had played her final hand, quite literally. Battle very happily lost. With a deep low moan and a final thrust upwards Miranda succumbed to it all. 

"And a good morning to you too my darling," Miranda panted before kissing the smug smile off Andrea's face. 

 

*****

 

Nigel was determined to make the most of his free morning. His alarm hadn't gone off which meant he woke naturally at 7am, which was glorious when compared to his usual 5.30am wakeup call. He had taken a leisurely shower and as he didn't have to be anywhere until later hadn't bothered to get dressed, instead donning his plaid dressing gown. Feeling suitably relaxed and recharged, he headed for the kitchen in search of sustenance. 

Nigel was a rare breed amongst his colleagues at Runway in that he didn't drink coffee. Couldn't abide the disgustingly bitter beverage. Even the smell would turn his stomach sour. His morning pep was found in the solace of tea. Nice and strong with a dash of milk. What Emily referred to as the proper and only way to drink it - and don't you dare put the milk in first! Over the years he had tried all sorts of blends and varieties from the absurdly expensive, to the most weird and wonderful concoctions, but it wasn't until Emily had come into his office one morning, threw a box at him and told him to "quit banging on about bloody tea" that he finally found his now favourite brand. It wasn't fancy, or high end, but he now didn't go anywhere without his beloved PG Tips. 

Padding out onto the deck with a piping hot mug of tea clutched between his hands he scanned the beautiful view before him. The lake was so still, the early morning sky reflecting back to him via mother nature's mirror. He sighed happily in the knowledge that all was good in his world right now. The shoot had turned out brilliantly once Andy had shaken off her initial nerves. With Megan behind the lens he knew they were about to produce an issue which would go beyond anything they had done before. The young photographer had delivered masterpiece after masterpiece and Nigel was itching to get back to the office to bring the pages to life. 

Deciding that he couldn't wait, he went back inside to retrieve his laptop and another cup of tea before settling back at the table on the deck. There was something about this place that inspired him, his ideas were flowing and he wanted to capitalise on this creative spark. However his laptop wasn't playing ball and taking an age to boot up. Finally it sprang to life and the temptation to check his emails was too much. Pulling up his inbox he quickly scanned for anything that required his immediate attention. As he scrolled down and saw the subject lines his stomach dropped. What the? He knew as soon as he clicked on the first of what looked like dozens of similar emails his quiet morning would implode. Spectacularly. Doing everything to delay the inevitable he ever so slowly moved the cursor until it was hovering over the first selected email. He double clicked and instantly shut his eyes. Taking a deep breath he opened them back up and started to read. Oh fuck. Miranda was going to crucify everyone within a fifty mile radius.  

He ran into the chalet and grabbed his phone. He needed to speak with Emily straight away. They needed to come up with a plan before they saw Miranda. Dammit. He had forgotten to charge his phone the night before. No wonder his alarm hadn't gone off. He frantically got dressed and was out the door in five minutes flat, his steaming mug of tea left forgotten. 

 

*****

 

Breaking the kiss momentarily, Miranda used her strength and flipped Andrea onto her back causing a shriek of surprise from the brunette. 

"Hmmm it certainly is a good mor-" Andy's words were lost to the feeling of Miranda's fingers swiping through her obscenely wet folds. She was more than ready following her wake up call to Miranda. 

Andy widened her legs to make room for Miranda, as the editor continued to make her way down her body, relishing in the attention Miranda was now paying to her breasts. She didn't think she would ever tire of that wonderful mouth. 

Releasing a nipple with a pop of her lips, Miranda started to kiss and lick Andrea's taut stomach, humming in delight as she tasted strawberries, her hand still working Andrea into a quiet frenzy. 

"I obviously didn't clean you up thoroughly enough last night," Miranda lathed her tongue over the brunette's hip bone, "You taste divine darling." 

"Well I suggest you…" Andy arched her back as she felt Miranda's mouth between her legs for the first time that morning, "rectify that immediately Priestly." 

Miranda looked up and locked eyes with Andrea. She looked divine with her rosy face and hair mussed from the small amount of sleep they had managed at some point in the early hours. Miranda threw Andrea a cheeky wink before guiding Andrea's legs over her shoulders, and then continued with her quest. 

Andy started to roll her hips eagerly, groaning earnestly every time Miranda's nose nudged her clit. The combination of mouth and fingers was driving her crazy. She must have voiced that out loud as she felt the vibration of Miranda's chuckle before those deathly lips honed in on her throbbing bundle of nerves. The last coherent thought Andy remembered was screaming Miranda's name. 

 

*****

 

Charlotte was enjoying a Priestly / Sachs free weekend. Don't get her wrong, she loved them all dearly, but the peace and quiet was a rare treat and she was going to enjoy every blissful moment she had. And there were worse places to dog sit for the weekend. 

Pouring herself another cup of coffee she heard the papers drop on the door mat. It had always amazed her that Miranda still insisted on having papers delivered when she was hardly ever there. Some days they sat on her desk only to be scooped up and recycled without even being read. But since the arrival of one Andy Sachs that had all changed. Miranda was so much more present and Sunday mornings had now become a big thing in the townhouse. The cooking of breakfast was now a proper family affair, each assigned a different role to produce a feast of epic proportions. Charlotte remembered fondly the first time she had walked in on them all in full swing. Miranda was doubled over in fits of giggles as Andy and Caroline stood there covered in what looked like a berry smoothie, staring at a very sheepish looking Cassidy, who, she later found out, hadn't secured the lid to the blender properly, resulting in a very purple mess exploding all over the kitchen, Andy and Caroline. She had seen a lightness in Miranda that day and it hadn't left. If anything it just shone brighter as the months went on. 

Charlotte was snapped out of her trip down memory lane as Patricia came trotting in with one of the papers in her mouth. 

"What you got there Pats?" Charlotte ruffled Patricia's fur as she bent down to retrieve the paper, "Good girl, now sit," she rolled her eyes as Patricia just gave her a look, which was akin to the Priestly glare, before wandering off to the den for a morning snooze. 

Refilling her mug, she went to collect the rest of the papers, and headed down to join Patricia. Figuring she still had hours until chaos would descend in the shape of twin tornadoes when they arrived back home later that evening, she sat back on the couch and started to peruse the papers. 

"Holy shit!" Charlotte sat up so quickly that as she uncrossed her legs her foot sent the full to the brim mug flying across the table spilling coffee everywhere, "Ah man," Charlotte watched the hot brown liquid drip onto the pale rug underneath the coffee table, "Well Pats, I think after Miranda sees these," She showed Patricia the series of grainy photos next to a rather unsavoury headline, "I don't think she will noticed a stained rug, do you?" 

Patricia let out a little whine followed by a bark. 

"My point exactly, Pats. Miranda is gonna be pissed." 

 

*****

 

Laying in Miranda's arms was indescribable for Andy. The love and affection was palpable. The connection of their naked entwined bodies was like nothing else Andy had ever experienced. Her head was laid on Miranda's chest listening to the strong thump of that precious heart that beat in answer to hers. 

"I can hear your heart beating," Andy lazily lifted her head looking up at twinkling blue eyes. 

"Well I should hope so," Miranda snorted, "Despite what the press says I do have one Andrea." 

Andy rolled her eyes, "What I meant was, it's all I can hear. And it's beating in time with mine. Beat for beat," Andy reached up and pressed a kiss to Miranda's lips, "And I like that," Andy snuggled back down as Miranda's arms pulled her closer. 

"We don't have to be anywhere just yet do we?" Andy mumbled around a yawn. 

"No darling," Miranda kissed the top of Andrea's head, pulling the blankets of their little nest up higher, "We have all the time in the world." 

"Good. Love you, Priestly," Andy snuggled further down and drifted off to sleep. 

"And I you."

 

*****

 

"Hey Caro, I just got some weird message from Catherine," Cassidy popped her head over the rail of the bunk bed and looked down at her sister. 

"Yeah me too," Caroline showed her ipad to Cassidy, "Hang on, she's just sent a link." 

Caroline clicked on it and shrieked as soon as it had loaded. 

"Erm Cass, there are pictures of us in our swimsuits all over the Internet!" 

Cassidy scrambled off the top bunk, diving onto Caroline's bed to get a closer look. 

"Oh my god!" Cassidy did a quick image search which yielded hundreds of pages all carrying the same photos of them with Andy and their mum by the lake. 

"Mum is going to freak out. Like big time freak out," Caroline whispered. 

Cassidy nodded in agreement, "Remember what she did when Stephen had that photographer follow us around the park that time when he was trying to show what a great stepdad he was?" 

Caroline shuddered at the memories of the  argument they had overheard that night. Stephen had really experienced just what happened when you poked the dragon… 

"Yeah, exactly. Imagine what she's going to do when she finds out who took these." 

 

*****

 

Miranda was sitting back against a pile of strategically placed cushions watching a very naked Andrea potter around the spacious tent with the single goal of rustling up some breakfast. 

"Aha! I've struck gold," Andy grabbed some items from the hamper that until now had remained untouched and headed back to the piles of blankets and cushions. 

"So, my little hunter and gatherer, what did you manage to procure for us?" 

"Well, I have some pastries and tomato juice." 

"Not quite a feast," Miranda reached for one of the plain croissants, "But I guess it will have to do." 

"Oh, and I also found this," Andy reached behind her and waved a small bottle of Grey Goose which had Miranda's eyes widen with glee. 

"You should have opened with that," Miranda chuckled, as she tore off a piece of buttery pastry before popping it delicately in her mouth. 

Andy just stuck her tongue out in response and carried on with fixing them both a bloody Mary. 

"Sorry it's not quite up to standard," Andy handed Miranda the cobbled together cocktail. 

"Nonsense," Miranda took a sip and hummed in delight. It may have lacked some of the usual additions but it was perfectly spicy, "Under the circumstances, it's simply divine," Miranda looked Andrea up and down, "and I must say I do love this bar's uniform policy…" 

Andy racked her eyes slowly over Miranda's equally naked form, "We wouldn't want our VIP patrons to feel out of place now would we?" 

"Quite right. The attention to detail and customer service is exemplary. I shall ensure I leave the most appreciative of reviews," Miranda raised an eyebrow suggestively. 

"I'm suddenly not all that interested in this kind of breakfast," and with that Andy reached over and took Miranda's nearly empty glass placing it to the side along with hers. 

Miranda leant back, still managing to look regal even in a nest of cushions as Andrea crawled seductively over to her. 

"I like how your mind works darling," Miranda then reached up and pulled Andrea down, gasping when their bare torsos touched and captured that smart mouth of hers in a searing kiss. 

 

*****

 

Ring ring, ring ring

Josie's hands were covered in flour having succumbed to the twins request for freshly baked bread for lunch. She now truly understood what Andy meant when she said she could never say no to those adorable pouts. The cheeky scamps had totally played her but she wasn't complaining. She already loved those girls. 

"Cora," Josie shouted out through the kitchen doorway, "will you get the phone?" 

Ring ring, ring ring 

"Cora!" Josie sighed, wiping her hands free of flour as she snatched the phone from its cradle on the wall. 

"Hello?" 

"Ah good morning ma'am. Is this Camp Tethys?" 

"Yes it is. How can I help?" 

"Is Miranda Priestly staying there currently," 

"Sorry? Who is this?" 

"Is it true that she is in a relationship with the Olympic swimmer Andy Sachs?" 

Josie slammed the phone down only for it to start ringing again just as Cora entered the kitchen. 

"Hey, who was that?" Cora looked at Josie who had gone a strange shade of greyish white, "You OK? You don't look so good," Cora held the back of her hand up to Josie's clammy forehead. 

Josie swatted her hand away and continued to stare at the ringing phone. 

"Erm, shall I get that?" Cora nodded her head in the direction of the still ringing phone. 

"No!" Josie jumped up, picked the phone up then slammed it back down again cutting off whoever was on the other end. 

The phone started to ring again, groaning Josie yanked the cord from the wall. 

"OK, you want to fill me in on what's going on?" 

"I think Miranda and Andy have been outed," 

"Come again?" Cora asked, the confusion evident in her voice. 

"That was clearly some reporter trying to fish for details." 

"But I don't understand. How did they know they were here or even get this number? This isn't even the main office line." 

"Well however it happened, I am not looking forward to telling Miranda or Andy that their little bubble has burst," Josie sat heavily on a kitchen stool and dropped her head in her hands. 

"We need to go warn them. Let me go see if the girls are ready and we can all head over together." 

Cora pressed a kiss to the top of Josie's head and left the kitchen. As she trudged up the stairs, she thought back to what Josie had told her about when Miranda had met Nat head on in the boathouse. Cora said a little prayer for whoever had leaked their whereabouts… 

 

*****

 

"We should probably think about heading back my love," Andy was once again laying wrapped up in Miranda's arms. 

"Or maybe I could just keep you here," Miranda tightened the hold she had on Andrea. 

"Don't tempt me," Andy chuckled, "But I really need to take a shower. Who knew you could get so creative with a pain au chocolat?" 

"We don't have to go back to the chalet to get freshened up," Miranda whispered shyly. 

Andy spun around so she was laying on her front propped up on her elbows.

"What's that brilliant mind of yours cooking up?" 

"You," Miranda ran a finger down Andrea's shoulder, "Me," that same finger then tracked down the centre of Andrea's chest making the brunette shiver, "and that waterfall…" 

"You're on!"

"Fabulous," Miranda husked as she rose from the makeshift bed. Coming up behind Andrea she whispered in her ear "I do believe we have some unfinished business in that plunge pool darling." 

 

*****

 

As soon as Nigel arrived at Emily and Serena's chalet they quickly began to compare all the details they had so far and began to come up with a plan. Deciding they needed to get Miranda and Andy on board sooner rather than later to achieve the best damage control they made their way over to Miranda and Andy's chalet. 

As they approached they saw Cora, Josie and the twins already knocking on the door. 

"Morning ladies," Nigel waved at the two older ladies and scooped Cassidy and Caroline into his arms for a joint hug. 

"Hey Uncle Nige," Cassidy muffled into his chest. 

"They're not answering," Caroline observed. 

Cora then slapped a hand to her forehead, "I can't believe I forgot. They didn't stay here last night. I set them up 'glamping' for the evening so they probably haven't even seen the news yet!" 

"OK well that's good right?" Serena piped up. 

"None of this is good Serena!" Emily whined. 

"No, Serena is right. It means we can get battle ready and present Miranda with a fully thought through plan before she goes full on La Priestly." Nigel was grasping at anything remotely positive right now. 

"I've got the master key, so we can set up inside and wait for them to get back?" Josie waved a bunch of keys in the air. 

"Fine. But I am hiding behind the twins when Miranda loses it because we let ourselves into her chalet," Emily looked down at Cassidy and Caroline and shrugged, "Sorry girls." 

"It's cool, Em," Cassidy hugged the redhead in reassurance. She knew how her mother could react when her privacy was invaded. "I say get that door open grams. We have a plan to come up with!" 

Josie opened the door and they all piled in. Nigel immediately took charge and divided up the tasks and assigned jobs to everyone. It was going to be a long stressful morning but they were all ready for the hard slog as they all had a collective force driving them. Their unwavering love, loyalty and support for Miranda and Andy. And when someone in their 'family' was attacked that meant war. 

 

*****

 

Miranda was towelling her hair as Andrea looked around the tent before kneeling down and searching underneath the cushions and blankets. 

"What's wrong?" 

"I don't have anything to wear. And also I can't find my phone," Andy continued to throw the cushions over her shoulder.

"I don't think you will find any clothes there darling," Miranda picked up a small holdall she had packed the day before and had Cora bring down, "You will find everything you require in here." 

Andy looked up from her position on the floor. Miranda was wearing a pair of jeans that hugged her in all the right places, and had paired them with a simple grey cashmere jumper that slouched off the shoulder. God she was beautiful. 

"You really do think of everything don't you Priestly?" Andy laughed as she dug through the bag finding a perfectly put together outfit and some basic toiletries. 

"Of course. Fail to prepare and prepare to fail Andrea," Miranda started to brush her hair. With the lack of a hair dryer she opted to sweep it back from her face and set it with a light dusting of hair spray, "As for your phone, I seem to recall you decided to leave it back at the chalet." 

Slipping into a pair of fitted linen cutoff pants Andy nodded in recollection, "What would I do without you, huh?" 

"I genuinely don't know," Miranda was using her compact to apply a little mascara and caught the eye of Andrea who was staring, "Thank goodness I swooped down and rescued you or who knows where you would be now." She gave the brunette a little wink before sweeping a tinted lip balm over her lips. 

"Whatever Priestly," Andy grabbed Miranda's hairbrush and started pulling it through her damp locks, "You'd be lost without me." 

"Good job we will never have to find out then, isn't it," Miranda started to pack her few bits up and straighten out the cushions. 

"Right, you ready to head back?" Andy took a final look around the tent. 

"If we must," Miranda sighed as she reached for Andrea's hand, entwining their fingers. 

"It's been a lovely weekend Miranda," Andy raised their joined hands and pressed a kiss to the back of Miranda's. 

"It really has. I am glad we got this time together." 

"Hmmm me too," Andy started giggling, "Plus you look totally hot coming undone under a waterfall," Andy squeaked as a blushing Miranda playfully slapped her behind. 

"Out," Miranda picked up the holdall and gestured to leave. 

"Yes, Miranda." 

 

*****

 

Emily had called Megan and now the two of them were huddled around Megan's laptop going through some candid shots that she had taken from the weekend. 

Josie was in the kitchen having been given beverage and snacks duty to keep the troops fortified. She was multitasking with a large skillet of eggs, bacon and various other accompaniments for a delicious late brunch. 

Cora was on the phone to her brother Alf to see who could be spared from the shop to help provide some security on the camp gates as some eager press hacks had started to gather. 

Nigel had Leslie, Miranda's PR guru, on speaker phone, with Serena frantically taking notes. 

Cassidy and Caroline were sprawled out on the floor trawling through the social media platforms. Their tiny fingers deftly flying over their ipads at a mile a minute as they compiled their findings. So far, and to the relief of everyone, it was very much positive. 

All of sudden the air in the room changed and the buzz instantly hushed. Everyone slowly looked over to the doorway from their respective positions around the chalet. 

"Does someone want to tell me what's going on?" Miranda stood there, shoulders back, scanning the shocked and equally nervous faces looking back at her, 

"Well? You know how I love to be kept waiting." 

 

Chapter Text

The air was thick with nervous anticipation as Miranda stood impatiently waiting for someone to breach the trenches and offer themselves up as the sacrificial lamb. 

Nigel looked over at Emily, her eyes impossibly wide, as she subtlety shook her head. The twins knew to keep schtum and Serena was suddenly very interested in her notepad. 

"Here goes nothing," Nigel muttered to himself. 

"Morning you two. I think it would be best to just show you what's happened overnight," Nigel waved the two puzzled ladies over as he tapped away on his laptop. He thought he would ease them in gently and not reveal the twins' pictures just yet. 

"Is that," Andy gasped as she leant over Nigels shoulder to get a closer look, "me and Miranda?" 

"Yep. It's erm, all over the Internet. It will come as no surprise that every news outlet has picked it up. You are quite the commodity," Nigel was getting concerned as Miranda had yet to say one word. He could see her jaw clenching. She was getting ready to blow and he was standing smack bang in the danger zone. Great. 

"But, I don't understand?" Andy looked over at her Grams, who looked so worried, "These are from the barbecue and yesterday at the lake. How did they even know we are here?" 

"My thoughts exactly," Miranda's voice was eerily quiet. Deadly in tone. Nigel wisely took a few steps back. 

"So that's what I saw across the lake. Some degenerate thinking they can make a quick buck and invade my privacy. It's despicable," Miranda hissed. 

"Hey, hang on a minute Miranda, it's not just-" Andy was stopped mid sentence by an icy glare and a hand halting her from speaking. 

"This will be an absolute PR nightmare. Nigel," Miranda barked, "get Leslie on the phone. Now. I need to try to do some damage control." Miranda was seething. Why was everyone just sitting around clearly doing nothing? 

"Well Miranda we ha-" Nigel was next to face the stare down from his boss, "Yes, Miranda," Nigel sighed. 

"Hey mum, we have been looking at-" Cassidy was shut down immediately. 

"Not now Bobbsey. I need you and your sister to stay out of the way whilst I attempt to sort this disaster out." Miranda couldn't even fathom what her children could possibly offer up. She didn't need the distraction right now. 

"Whatever," Cassidy went and sat back down with Caroline, grumbling something along the lines of "You're so annoying…" that seemed to have been picked up by everyone apart from Miranda who appeared to now be on a focused unwavering mission. 

Andy however was paying attention to what had evidently been happening in their chalet ahead of their arrival. She picked up Serena's notepad and quickly scanned the notes. Giving a reassuring nod to the Brazilian, she then went and knelt down next to the twins who quickly showed her what they had been compiling. Andy beamed down at those scarily smart girls. 

"Nigel, why haven't you got Leslie on the phone yet?" Miranda didn't wait for an answer. Instead she snatched the phone from his hand, scrolled through contacts and hit dial. "Must I really do everything myself?" 

Nigel knew Leslie was now in a crisis meeting with her team and wouldn't answer the phone but he would let Miranda deal with the phone ringing out. He winced when Miranda slammed his phone down a little too hard on the table as the call went unanswered. 

"Emily," Miranda snapped, "Coffee." She then stormed off towards the bedroom, the last word the stunned occupants of the room heard as she slammed the door was "Incompetence." 

"Wow. So that's the Devil in Prada, huh?" Cora let out a low whistle as she waved Emily off and poured Miranda's coffee herself.

"Oh honey," Nigel was checking his phone for signs of damage, breathing a sigh of relief as it had made it out unscathed, "That was nothing! She hasn't seen the photos of the twins yet. I suggest you gird your loins when she claps her eyes on those."

"The twins? Oh fuck," Andy was thinking on her feet as to how best to handle this. The fact that they had been outed was nothing in comparison to someone having plastered pictures of the girls everywhere. "OK, so quickly fill me in guys, I would say we have about five minutes before she comes back out and really starts breathing fire," Andy looked around the room as everyone started to quickly show her the plan they had come up with. It was brilliant. Inspired. And Miranda was being a first class idiot. 

About ten minutes later Miranda came back out, impeccable dressed, and with a little more makeup on. Her hair was still slicked back and she looked fierce, powerful and insanely angry. Making a beeline for Nigel she started firing off demands. Emily was straight at her side, scribbling everything down at a lightning speed. 

"Can I see you outside for a moment please?" 

Miranda continued to talk with Nigel, ignoring Andy's presence entirely. 

"Miranda, seriously?" Andy was getting very irritated at Miranda's behaviour right now. 

"Andrea, I am trying to sort this nightmare out," Miranda's tone was clipped and not at all appreciated by Andy. The fact that she didn't even have the courtesy to look at her before dismissing her left her blood boiling. 

"Outside. Now Miranda. Or I will continue with what I have to say here. In front of everyone. Your choice." 

"Fine," Miranda huffed and made a big show of getting up from her seat and following the brunette out onto the deck. 

Nigel sat there in disbelief that Miranda had conceded to Andy's request so quickly. He could see that Miranda had gone into full on 'bitch in heels' mode which clearly wasn't going to wash with Andy. And rightly so. 

"This had better be good, Andrea. We are wasting precious time," Miranda snipped, her arms crossed against her chest defensively. 

As soon as Miranda had uttered those words she instantly regretted them as Andrea spun around to face her. The sweet happy expression from earlier was now replaced with the twisted snarl of pure rage. 

"What the hell Miranda?" 

Miranda was shocked at Andrea's outburst. Couldn't she see that she had a crisis to deal with? 

"Whatever do you mean?" Miranda jutted her chin, not willing to show weakness. Not just yet anyway. 

"All that in there just now," Andy was waving her hands in the air, "That attitude and whatever. You don't get to do that!"

"I don't see what your problem is, Andrea. It's my reputation on the line. I need to get back in there and fix this!" 

"Oh come on! Your reputation?! What about how this involves me? Or have you forgotten already that this relates to the both of us," Andy gestured wildly between the two of them, "As in you and me. You know that little thing called a relationship," Andy ran her hand through her brown locks, "You really are so bloody infuriating at times!" 

Miranda watched as Andrea paced the length of the deck, the anger radiating off her. 

"But I thought you would want me to handle it?" Miranda's tone had softened slightly and this made Andy stop dead in her tracks. 

"Look, I love that you want to go in all guns blazing, I really do. And I am aware that you are furious right now because trust me when I say that I am right there with you. But you need to remember that your actions don't just affect you any more. They have major repercussions for me too. Whatever is decided has to be a joint decision. You can't pull that 'lone wolf' bullshit anymore Miranda. What you did in there was not OK," Andy wasn't shouting any more but the anger and frustration in her voice was still evident. 

Oh. Miranda slumped down in a deck chair as the realisation of how her immediate actions must have come across to Andrea. Yet again she had gone in blinkered and had fallen back on tried and tested La Priestly methods of dealing with a situation. But in her sheer panic and vulnerable state she had forgotten a fundamental difference this time around. Her Andrea.

"I- I'm sorry Andrea," Miranda could do nothing to hide the catch in her voice or the tears that stung her eyes. She was panicking for entirely different reasons now. How many second chances was she going to get? Suddenly she had an idea. 

"Darling," Miranda sniffed, "can we start over and pretend the last fifteen minutes didn't happen and chalk it up to me being a complete idiot who, even at just shy of fifty, is still navigating the turbulent world of an actual adult relationship?" 

Andy couldn't help but sink to her knees in front of Miranda in response to the pleading and slightly panicked look reflected in those blue eyes she loved so much. 

"I accept your apology," Andy gave Miranda a chaste kiss to reiterate, "But you have a whole room of people that need to hear it too."

"But I-" it was Andy's turn to hush Miranda with a gentle finger placed on her lips. 

"This is non negotiable. You were hideous in there. And I appreciate that's how you are used to behaving at Runway and I am certainly not telling you how to rule your empire. But those people in there are your family and friends. They have worked tirelessly this morning out of love and respect for you. Miranda. Not the editor in chief of Runway. And one by one you just shot them down. Did you even stop to think that they might have come up with some ideas of their own to help?"

"Oh…" 

"Oh indeed. Now what say we do this 'do over' and listen to what they have to say. I think you will be suitably impressed. Our girls have come up with something that is truly incredible," Andy stood up and helped Miranda to her feet. 

"They have?" Miranda whispered. She had been such a fool. 

"Hmmm, quite the little masterminds. I'd even go as far to say chips off the old block," Andy wrapped an arm around Miranda's waist, knowing that Miranda was no doubt feeling a whole array of emotions, and was floundering under the weight of the unknown. A cornered and vulnerable Miranda was not pleasant for anyone, least of all the editor herself. 

Miranda took a deep shuddering breath and set her shoulders back. She had an apology to deliver. Taking Andrea's hand she marched them through the chalet straight to the front door, opening it and ushering Andrea through it, before shutting it gently behind them. 

"I don't get it?" Andy looked at Miranda, bewildered. 

"A do over. Priestly style. Ready?" 

Andy just nodded in response and followed Miranda's lead as they walked back into the chalet. Neither untwining their hands. 

"Does someone want to tell me what's going on? Miranda stood there watching the confused faces looking back at her. Clearly unsure as to what the hell was going on. 

"Well? You know how I love to be kept waiting." However this time around she had a smirk on her face. She clocked eyes with Nigel and gave him a little nod. 

Nigel immediately knew what was happening. He wanted to run up and sweep Andy off her feet in a bone crushing hug. She had managed to do the impossible. She really had tamed the dragon. Nigel understood this was Miranda's way of apologising and knew that she would pull everyone aside at some point and in her own little way let them all know that she was sorry. 

"Well I don't know about anyone else but I am having a serious moment of deja vu," Nigel couldn't help but laugh. Slowly everyone else in the room started to understand and joined in with his laughter, relieved as the tension ebbed from the room. 

"So it appears that you have been outed. Rather spectacularly I may add. If you ladies would like to come over, I can show you everything in all its glory," Nigel held a chair out for Miranda to take a seat. 

As Miranda sat down Nigel's hand hovered near her shoulder. He wanted to offer a moment of solidarity and reassurance to the editor but was unsure how it would be received. They didn't hug or show affection through touch, but he recognised the significance of what Miranda had just done and it needed acknowledging. He felt Andy nudge him and nod in encouragement. As his hand made contact, he saw Miranda stiffen slightly but as he squeezed his hand he saw her relax. And then the most wonderful thing happened. Miranda covered his hand with hers and squeezed it back. That's all it had taken. The simplest of gestures but coming from Miranda it was like being bulldozed with appreciation and gratitude. 

Nigel discreetly sniffed back his emotion and proceeded to take Miranda through the articles. 

 

*****

 

Miranda sat back and stretched her arms up, her back cracked after being hunched over Nigel's laptop for too long. The articles were, in the main, disappointingly predictable. The gossip columns had of course gone to town with her various monikers. She had lost count at the amount of times she had sighed at the lack of originality. She did however have to laugh at the Priestly Hareem headline. The accompanying photo was from when they were by the lake. Megan had just joined them and was stripping down to her bathing suit, Miranda had just stood up sans her shirt and was gesturing with her hand whilst Andrea, Serena and Emily had looked on at her holding court. It was quite the shot. 

She had bristled at the ones of her and Andrea being rather intimate. Seeing grainy shots of Andrea rubbing suntan lotion on her pinking shoulders, or holding her love in an embrace were not something she wanted out in the world for all and sundry to see. But it was the ones of the twins that had sent her apoplectic. Nigel had wisely called Andrea back over before he brought those ones to her attention. 

"I need some air. Let's break for lunch and then you can take me through the plan. I have some major concerns that I need to think through," and with that Miranda stood and headed for the deck. 

"She took that better than I thought she would," Nigel took his glasses off and rubbed at his eyes. 

"I am not so sure. I'm worried, Nigel. This is so much to take in and I fear the enormity of coming out is going to hit her soon. She is struggling to keep it together," Andy looked out the glass doors at Miranda, who was leaning on the balustrade, gazing out over the lake, "Add the photos of the girls into the mix and it's a recipe for a disaster of catastrophic proportions." 

"I know what you mean. She is going to want heads to roll. Do you have any thoughts as to who's behind this?" Nigel had his own suspicions but was nervous to voice them. 

"No," Andy shook her head, "But sadly I think I know who might have given them access." 

 

*****

 

"Hey, my love. I've brought you a coffee," Andy joined Miranda out on the deck before handing her a steaming mug of the editor's favourite blend. 

"Thank you darling," Miranda hummed as she took a long sip. 

"How are you holding up?" 

"I have had better days," Miranda snorted, "This morning seems like a lifetime ago." 

"Doesn't it just. What I wouldn't give to be wrapped up with you in that tent right now," Andy took Miranda's mug and placed it on the table next to hers. She then took Miranda in her arms and nuzzled her neck. 

"Oh that would be absolutely divine," Miranda sighed. 

Andy could see that Miranda was trying to put her thoughts into words but knew she needed to wait for her to verbalise them. They stood side by side in comfortable silence each using the quiet to process the last few hours. 

"I can handle the name calling. It doesn't even register anymore, but it's the rest I am struggling with," Miranda's voice whispered over the warm breeze. 

"How do you mean?" Andy gently prompted Miranda to continue. 

"The articles about the girls," Miranda ran a shaky hand over her swept back hair. Without her trademark forelock she suddenly felt so naked and exposed. "And you. Already pitching you as their step parent when we haven't even had that official conversation," Miranda's voice barely there. Would this be what finally made Andrea run? The weight of what she had inadvertently signed up for there in black and white for all to see. 

"Well at least they got that bit right," Andy laughed warmly.

Miranda spun around and faced Andrea, "Got it right?" 

"The whole step parent thing. I have never really given it much thought, or felt the need to have an actual conversation about it. But, yeah, that's how I see it. I wasn't lying when I said I was in it for the long haul," Andy was studying Miranda's face for any signs of unease at her words. She was acutely aware Miranda was having to process so many feelings right now and was teetering on the edge of fight or flight. 

"Have I said something wrong Miranda?" Andy started to feel a little unsure as Miranda still hadn't said anything, her face unreadable. 

"No," Miranda stepped into Andrea's personal space and tenderly cupped her cheek, "Far from it my darling," and Miranda leant in and placed a barely there kiss to the side of those lips that had just eased a doubt that had been niggling away since she had seen the articles about the girls. 

"People are going to give us hell aren't they?" Andy sighed. 

"Yes. They are going to be rather unsavoury and unfortunately this is just the beginning," Miranda shuddered as she got flashbacks to when she went through her divorce from Stephen. The press was an annoying, draining and hideous part of her life which she had wanted to shield Andrea from for as long as possible. 

Miranda had fought hard to get to where she was now and gain the respect of her peers but it had come with major sacrifices. It was so frustrating to see how her male counterparts were revered whereas she was vilified in the press for the exact same actions. Ruthless business decisions and she was portrayed as an emotional bitch. Dismissing romantic advances came hand in hand with the 'ice queen' headlines dubbing her as cold, unloveable, frigid, heartless. She had heard them all. Miranda had become impervious to most, and even in some cases, came to have a fond affection for some of the epithets, but she couldn't deny it had taken its toll. Post divorce and pre Andrea it had been hard not to live up to them. More often than not she had failed and some days she had felt like a caricature of the woman she once was. A walking headline of her own creation. She had thought that was all in the past thanks in part to the owner of those warm brown eyes flecked with gold. 

"I just feel so angry. This deep burning rage that's coursing through my very being. I want to scream and shout and curse," Miranda leant her head on her arms as they rested on the smooth wooden rail that was warm to the touch from the sun, "I am so very sorry my darling for you being dragged into this absolute mess."

"Well as your one and only Miranda Girl," Andy gave her a pointed look, "I am ready for whatever they throw at us. So let's channel that anger and rage into something positive. Together."

And that was all Miranda needed. She knew that this time around it would be messy, hurtful, intrusive, but ultimately it would be OK. Taking Andrea in her arms and feeling the warmth of her body pressed tightly against her own she sighed in relief. 

"Together," Miranda whispered. 

Yes, it was going to be more than OK. Kissing the top of Andrea's head, she felt bolstered to speak with the girls. 

As if reading her thoughts, she looked up and saw her Bobbseys at the edge of the deck. Observing Cassidy's defensive body language, Caroline had clearly dragged her, very reluctantly, outside. This wasn't going to be as easy to smooth over. 

Gesturing for them to join her and Andrea, she let go of the brunette and sat down on one of the sun loungers and patted the spot next to her with Andrea mirroring her actions. As predicted, Cassidy chose to snuggle up to Andrea. 

"Darlings, I am so sorry for earlier. I should never have dismissed you two like that," Caroline moved to sit on Miranda's lap and snuggled in, a move she was perhaps getting a bit too big for but Miranda didn't care. She would take any and every moment she could with her girls. "In my own way I thought I was protecting you but I have been recently reminded that you two aren't my little babies any more and it wasn't fair to keep you in the dark," she looked up over Caroline's head and saw the encouragement radiating from Andrea, "I just forget that sometimes."

"Don't worry about it mum," Caroline whispered. 

"And what about you Cassidy? Am I forgiven?" Her little hot-headed daughter was always the hardest to win around. 

"I guess," Cassidy mumbled. 

"Well that's all I can ask right now. Why don't you talk me through this plan of yours? I hear it's rather excellent," Miranda knew this would get Cassidy out of her slump and seeing Cassidy's eyes brighten in an instant she knew she was forgiven. 

"It's brilliant! Wait there, I need to get my ipad," and with that Cassidy bounded off to retrieve her device. 

"She will be fine mum. You know what Cass is like. She's just so much like you it's scary!" 

Miranda couldn't help but laugh at that frank but on the nose statement. 

"Hmmm, well that may be the case but I am truly sorry Bobbsey." 

"It's alright. And we totally get it," Caroline gave her mum a final squeeze before sliding off her lap just as Cassidy came running back, ipad in hand. 

"So after the shock of seeing us both all over the internet in our swimsuits," Miranda bristled at this, which Cassidy ignored, "We started to go through all the social media sites and started to notice a pattern." Cassidy then handed the ipad to Caroline who seamlessly picked up the conversation. 

"There was of course the obvious negative stuff, but what we soon noticed was that the majority of it was really positive. Like really on your side," Caroline showed some screenshots of tweets and Instagram posts to her mum then Andy. 

This had surprised Miranda. As she went through the words of support and love it made her heart clench. She read nothing but wonderful things about her newly outed rainbow family. 

"You have a fan base already that's growing by the minute. So we need to capitalise on this, and Cass came up with the brilliant idea of…" 

"...Setting you both up with social media accounts. Now don't freak out. Leslie has someone in her team who would manage them but it means you get to choose the content that gets put out there." 

Andy was watching Miranda carefully. The editor's face had gone through a myriad of emotions in about thirty seconds and now was, once again, unreadable. Damn she had a good poker face. 

"Well I think that is a brilliant idea Cass!" Andy took Miranda's hand and gave it a squeeze, "What do you think Miranda?" 

"I, well, yes in principle I can see it would have its benefits…" 

"But you think it's a lame idea," Cassidy huffed, "I knew she wouldn't go for it Caro." 

"Now I didn't say that. I am just not keen on the idea of being so out there. Accessible." Miranda looked at Andrea for help. 

"I get where you are coming from Miranda. I really do. But as we have seen from this morning those pictures will get out, but what better way to have the upper hand than to put them out there ourselves. That way we control the narrative." 

"When you put it like that it makes a lot of sense," Miranda smiled at her girls, "There is something rather delightful knowing that we can thwart the element of surprise and those hacks thinking they have landed a scoop."

"Exactly! Girls you really are brilliant!" 

"Oh An-dray-ah," Cassidy drawled, doing the best impersonation of her mother, "We are Priestlys after all…" 

Miranda snorted with laughter and clasped her hands together in excitement. The more she thought about it the more she loved the idea of always being a few steps ahead of the press. 

"Right. That's settled then. I will give the go ahead to Leslie and she can get that all set up."

This led to whoops of delight and high fives from Cassidy and Caroline as they ran off to go tell their Uncle Nige Miranda had agreed. 

"You sure about this Miranda?" Andy sidled up to her love. 

"No. But I know I have to do it," Miranda leant heavily into the arm that now snaked around her waist as they slowly walked across the deck, "Leslie will be beside herself as she has been trying to get me to have more of an online presence for a while now. She has always said I need to appear more human and 'in touch' but I have always refused. I guess now is as good a time as any."

"But just think how satisfying it will be to have all that control," Andy wiggled her eyebrows suggestively, "I for one adore that dominant," Andy kissed Miranda on her neck, "side," another kiss followed by a playful nip on the editor's jaw, "of you." Miranda growled in response and captured Andy's lips in a crushing kiss. 

"I don't know what you mean, An-dray-ah ." 

 

*****

 

"Yes but Nigel there is a little thing called Nepotism!" Miranda was growing increasingly frustrated as to how Nigel thought they could still go ahead with the planned issue following the outing of her's and Andrea's relationship. The recent revelations had the power to make a whole mockery of the magazine. 

They were all sitting around the large dining table with Leslie and her team on speaker phone. They had gone round and round in circles and didn't seem to be making any progress. 

Emily went to say something but then chose not to. 

"Emily," Miranda said coolly, "if you have something to say then say it. Now is not the time to be silent," Miranda smoothed her hair back, "Out with it."

"A fundraiser," Emily squeaked out under the intense glare of Miranda. 

Pinching the bridge of her nose Miranda sighed, "As much as charitable endeavours would pitch me in a more favourable light how does that solve the problem of the issue with Andrea?" 

Emily looked over at Serena who smiled at her, nodding in encouragement for her to continue. They had discussed this part of the plan in great detail and it was brilliant. She was so proud of Emily right now. 

"Well it would be to celebrate the issue. I was thinking we could maybe interview some key individuals that have experienced discrimination, challenges, or have done endeavours that need championing but don't have the necessary platform or access to do so. I have read the first draft of Andrea's accompanying article which highlights a lot of these issues already. She speaks about athletes that have the talent but don't have the funds to compete at grassroots level so miss out on being scouted and moving to the next level in their chosen disciplines. So I was thinking we could expand on those factors and bring in others to bolster the message," Emily looked around the table, you could hear a pin drop, "or something along those lines. Never mind, it was a silly idea." Emily's cheeks pinked in embarrassment. The silence was deafening and she wanted the ground to open up and swallow her. 

"I think Emily, you could be onto something," Nigel piped up. He too knew the plan and knowing Miranda so well and to get her onboard he had to touch on certain pressure points, "Didn't you mention, Miranda, that the board was looking for some more social awareness type pieces?" 

"What about doing a Runway scholarship or grant?" Andrea was already thinking of how that could benefit so many underprivileged individuals that had the talent but not the means, "and then you could present it to the winning recipients at the Fundraiser?" 

"It would be so easy to spin, Miranda," Leslie's voice sounded out around the otherwise silent room, "To be honest, everyone will be expecting you to go totally batshit crazy at the leaked pictures. So coming out, no pun intended, with a good news story like this would totally eclipse it. It would be total gold, plus you get to feel all warm and fuzzy for giving back and making a difference. Win win if you ask me."

"Nigel, can we move things around in the issue to free up some space for additional content?" Miranda's mind was spinning with ideas. 

"It will be tricky and I will have an absolute battle on my hands with the sales and advertising department but it's completely doable."

"Emily, I want a list of potential subjects for interviews along with a list of suitable charities across all sectors not just sport," Miranda had been blind sided this morning but was now starting to feel in control again, "Plus a list of venues that could host the fundraising gala."

"Megan, from now on I need you to be available for Runway projects. You will be responsible for taking headshots and behind the scenes images from the interviews when they happen. I want to ensure we have a visual record of what's going on," Megan just nodded in agreement, "Emily will get HR to draw up the necessary paperwork for contracts and such," the editor's steely blue eyes landed on the young photographer's, "Welcome to the team." 

"Megan, I will link you up with those in my team who will be handling Miranda and Andy's social media accounts as some of those shots would be great to include on those channels." Leslie was amazed at Miranda's seemingly positive reaction to all of this. Nigel had said that Andy was a calming influence on her which she had instantly dismissed but now she could see, well, hear it in all its glory. Equal parts unbelievable and amazing. 

"OK great, thanks Leslie. I also have some great candid shots from the weekend," Megan saw Miranda tense at this revelation, "that, with Miranda and Andy's approval of course, could be great to kick start their accounts with?" 

"Sure, I will share our Dropbox account and once you have the go ahead just save them in there." 

"I think that's enough for today. Does anyone have anything else to add?" Miranda scanned the table and seeing everyone shake their heads, told Leslie she would call her later with some other items she needed to discuss and then ended the call. 

The Runway team dispersed and started to work on their respective tasks. Miranda looked over and saw that Caroline and Cassidy had commandeered the television and were already watching a movie, their heads just visible from underneath the throw from the sofa that they were wrapped up in. Andrea, Cora and Josie were out on the deck and from the looks of Josie's hand movements all was not well. 

"It had to be her Grams!" Andy had had a nagging feeling ever since she saw the leaked photos. 

"I know she isn't exactly supportive but you really think she would do that? Your own mother?" Josie just couldn't believe Helen would stoop so low. 

"I hate to say it Josie but the evidence is piling up," Cora was sadly in agreement with Andy on this. 

"What's this?" Miranda had stepped out onto the deck and joined the three women. 

"I think I know who gave whoever took all the pictures access," Andy sighed. 

"Helen," Miranda stated, very matter of fact. 

"But we don't know that for sure Miranda!" Josie was still refusing to believe it, even though the sick feeling in the pit of her stomach told her otherwise. 

"Well it's either her, or you," Miranda raised an eyebrow at Josie, "Or Cora."

"We would never do that!" Cora was shocked that Miranda would even insinuate such a thing. 

"I know that," Miranda couldn't help but roll her eyes, "hence why it all points to Helen." Miranda looked at Andrea who slowly nodded. 

"I am going to get her here. She has some bloody explaining to do," Josie quickly fired off a text demanding her daughter's presence. 

As they waited for Helen to arrive, Cora got them all some drinks. The atmosphere was tense and uncomfortable. Never the one for inane small talk Miranda had kept quiet, leaving Cora and Andrea to occasionally break the silence with a banal quip about the weather. Until Josie's text alert went off. 

"Helen's here, I am just going to let her in," Josie jumped up quickly. 

Miranda took her place aside Andrea, and braced for impact as the two elder Sachs stepped out to join them. 

"Well doesn't this look cosy?" Helen was looking in disgust towards Miranda and Andy.

"Enough mother. I don't want to argue. I want explanations," Andy gestured for Helen to sit down at the table as the others took their seats. 

"What do you have to say about this?" Andy pulled up a tab on her phone and slid it over to her mother. 

"But that's," Helen looked up and was met with the intense, anger filled eyes of her daughter, "by the lake, here. I don't understand."

"That's funny. As I think you understand very well, Helen ," Miranda had already had enough. She wanted answers. 

"You think I have something to do with these?!" Helens shock at the accusation was evident. 

"I don't hear you denying it," Miranda felt Andrea  place a gentle hand on her thigh which momentarily stopped her foot from bouncing so violently. 

"Don't be so absurd. Why would I want to show this ," Helen waved her hand over the phone, "off to the world?" 

Andy could see Miranda was about to unleash a tirade of scathing remarks on her mother and had to put a stop to it immediately. It wouldn't help them get to the bottom of who this darn photographer was. 

"I am choosing to ignore that. For the moment," Andy swallowed hard. She was so hurt by her mother's comment. How dare she imply that what her and Miranda had was, what, unnatural? "What I want to know is who you had stay in the cabin across the lake?"

"I don't see what that has to do with you, or any of this?" Helen was beginning to show some signs of cracking under pressure. 

"Because whoever it was, took these pictures! And outed me and Miranda. Took photos of our girls that are now all over the bloody Internet!" Andy slammed her hands against the table as she stood up making everyone but Miranda jump, "They are thirteen!" 

"She wouldn't do that! She was here to look for real estate for some clients, and I just gave her somewhere to crash for a couple of nights," Helens voice had lost all its edge. It was feeble and meek. Pathetic. Much like the woman now slumped back in her chair. 

"Who wouldn't?!" Andy ground out. 

"Estelle," 

" Estelle ?" Miranda growled, her teeth bared. 

Miranda was going in for the kill. And this time Andy wasn't going to stop her. 

 

Chapter Text

"You gave that disgusting, wretched excuse of a human being access to my family? My daughters?" Miranda was breathing fire as she paced the deck, her words raining down like hot ash, each one burning as it landed, "Do you have any idea what you have done?" 

"You? You know Estelle?" Helen squeaked, “But how? I only met her by chance this weekend!”

"Oh you have got to be kidding me!" Andy couldn't quite believe that her own mother could have been so stupid. So naive, "You have met her before for crying out loud! Granted only once but that box dyed red hair isn't exactly easy to forget!" 

Miranda's arms were rigid to her sides, her hands balled into tight fists. She had never felt such waves of pure hatred and anger towards another person before. It was threatening to overwhelm her. How could this snivelling, insipid woman be related to her darling Andrea or Josie, for that matter. It was simply baffling. 

"I suggest you think very carefully and tell me every single thing you said, or did in relation to that insufferable woman," Miranda watched as Helen flinched at the deep low growl of her voice. 

“Why should I? She's my friend and I don't see how she fits into any of this,” Helen was trying to portray a confidence that her wavering voice betrayed under the intense glare from Miranda. 

“Your friend?! Estelle Walker doesn't know the meaning of the word She uses people for her own personal gain and you my dear, fell hook, line and sinker,” Miranda snorted in sheer disbelief. Was Helen for real right now? “If you are such friends, call her up, see what she has to say for herself. I am presuming seeing as you are such close friends, you swapped numbers?”

“Fine,” Helen replied smugly as she unlocked her phone, “You’ll see you are mistaken. Miranda .”

“Oh this is going to be good,” Miranda scoffed. 

Helen found Estelle’s number and hit the call button, ensuring she put it on speaker phone. She couldn't wait to wipe that sickeningly smug look off Miranda bloody Priestly's face. 

“The number you have dialed, has been disconnected, or is no longer in service. If you feel you have reached this recording in error, please hang up and try the number again”

“Well, would you look at that,” Miranda’s sing song tone cut straight through Helen, “It's almost as if she never intended to stay in touch,” Miranda tapped an elegant finger to her lips, “Now, I wonder why that could be?” 

“It's probably just a signal issue. Let me try again,” Helen snatched her phone back up, her fingers fumbling over the screen. She felt sick. She had been racking her brain as to where she had supposedly previously met Estelle but kept coming up empty. When Helen got the same automated message again she sank back in her chair. 

“So, now that ridiculous charade is out of the way do you think you could be a darling, and share with the group the exact details you divulged to Ms Walker?” Miranda sneered, “I suggest you start at the beginning.” 

For the next fifteen minutes Helen talked. And talked. And talked some more. It was as if once she had started she couldn't stop the gush of fury and vitriol that spewed from her mouth. Josie was exasperated and beyond disappointed with her daughter. Andy had gone worryingly quiet, her stoney expression unnerving everyone around the table. Cora was sat there, mouth hanging open in disbelief that Helen could be so fucking stupid. And cruel. And Miranda? Well I think it came as surprise to everyone, herself included, that she hadn't actually resorted to physical violence. To say that she had been tested and pushed to her absolute limit was an understatement. It was clear to Miranda that Helen hadnt remembered Estelle but had instead used this as an opportunity to indulge in her outdated and unwelcome homophobic views on her daughters new relationship and resultant 'lifestyle' and in turn she had provided a vicious and vindictive creature with the perfect fodder to feed to the press. Estelle must have thought all her Christmases had come at once when Helen had freely and willingly sung like a canary. 

Miranda's head was pounding from grinding her teeth and clenching her jaw. Her focus never once wavered from Helen. Everything around Miranda had been blocked out, she now fully understood the term tunnel vision. The tension that had a vice like grip over every single sinew of her body was threatening to fully take over. She felt as if any sudden movement would rip her entire being to shreds. Could there be anything that would counteract the despicable acts that Helen had unknowingly kicked into life? How could someone think, let alone verbalise such hatred? And to her own daughter. It was that singular thought that penetrated the armour that had surrounded Miranda since the news had broken. Andrea. Suddenly all the focus shifted to her love. As Miranda looked over she registered that Andrea had not moved one inch. Her face showed no emotion whatsoever, apart from the solitary tear that slowly kissed its way down a colourless cheek before disappearing underneath the contour of Andrea’s perfectly sculpted jaw. Miranda wanted to end Helen. To destroy her beyond recognition. Make her feel the pain and hurt she had inflicted on Andrea. But this wasn't her decision. As she had been so eloquently reminded earlier this was a joint endeavour. The dragon and her doe. Together. 

Enough was enough. This farce had gone on for far too long. Miranda needed everyone to leave. Now. Andrea’s heart was breaking and there was no way in hell Miranda would let Helen have the satisfaction of witnessing that. 

“Get. Out,” Miranda snarled. Even though she had aimed it directly at Helen, Josie and Cora took the hint and started towards the door. 

“Come on,” Josie roughly grabbed Helen by the arm, “I think you have done more than enough damage for one day.”

Josie gave Miranda a nod of solidarity laced with warmth as she frogmarched Helen through the door. Miranda watched as Cora walked up to Andrea and squeezed her shoulder before kissing the top of her head. Andrea didn't seem to register the gesture but continued to stare at the now empty chairs opposite. 

“Don't worry about the girls, we will entertain them back at the house,” Cora looked over her shoulder back at Andy, “You take all the time you need.”

“Thank you Cora,” Miranda could feel the weight of her beloved's heartache start to pull at her very being, “Would you let Nigel know that they are free to leave and that I will call him in the morning?”

“Of course, leave it with me,” Cora gave her a watery smile, “Go look after our girl. She needs you,” and with that Cora left leaving an uncharacteristically shaky Miranda behind. 

Swallowing back her tears, Miranda gently approached Andrea so as to not startle her. Big, tear laden eyes looked up at her and all Miranda could do was scoop Andrea into her arms and hold on tight as the brunette finally let go. 

 

*****

 

Estelle hadn't been able to sleep. She wasn't sure if it was the buzz of getting away with being so close to Miranda without her knowledge or the anticipation of what she would wake up to splashed all over the papers, but whichever it was, the precious calm of slumber had evaded her. After tossing around endlessly she kicked the covers off and reached for her phone. It was still early but she couldn't wait to see how the news of fashion's iciest ruler getting it on with a woman almost half her age had been received. 

She wasn't disappointed. Oh it was delightful. So much better than she had expected. She couldn't stop the triumphant squeal that punctured the otherwise silent room. Riding on the high of her success Estelle jumped out of bed and threw some clothes on. Quickly making her way into the kitchen she poured a glass of ice cold orange juice and drained it in one. Grabbing her wallet and keys she headed out the door to purchase the Sunday Papers. Her eyes went wide as she saw her pictures in all their glory. Snatching up as many as she could carry, she threw more dollars than required at the vendor and practically skipped down the street back towards her apartment. 

This was a big moment, and she wanted to savour every last second of it. She had her favourite blend of coffee percolating whilst some croissants warmed in the oven. Carefully laying out each paper on her coffee table, she inhaled the wonderful smells of a perfect Sunday morning. Once she was armed with a plate of the buttery pastries and a mug of steaming coffee, she settled down on her overstuffed chesterfield and picked up the first paper. 

The headlines were sensational and she was certain they would drive Miranda crazy. She almost wished she could have stayed around and watched the inevitable fall out they would cause for the Editor. Estelle pictured precious little Andy getting the full wrath of the dragon. She laid back against the arm of the sofa and allowed herself to indulge in daydreams of huge arguments breaking out between the two of them. What a perfect Sunday indeed. 

 

*****

 

Miranda had moved them both towards the sun loungers, and carefully lowered herself down ensuring that she didn't break contact with Andrea. She wasn't sure how long they laid there, Andrea snuggled so tightly into her side, a strong slender arm draped over her stomach and their legs entwined. If Andrea never wanted to move from that spot then that was fine by Miranda. The only thing Miranda cared about right now was protecting her Andrea. They had yet to talk about what had happened, but again, Miranda would take Andrea’s lead. For now she would hold her and provide the reassurance that Andrea was loved and that Helen's hateful words were not a reflection on them as a couple. Or a family. 

After a while Miranda felt Andreas grip loosen and her breathing even out. Realising that Andrea was now fast asleep and her bladder very much not, Miranda gently extracted herself from her current position, careful not to wake the exhausted brunette. 

Quickly stepping inside she made quick use of the bathroom and then changed back into the outfit she was wearing before. Feeling raw and emotionally wrung out, Miranda craved the comfort and soft textures of cashmere against her sensitive skin. Spying her sketchbook on the side she snatched it up along with a few pencils and headed back out on the deck. 

Miranda was finding that she was using sketching more and more as a way to deal with her emotions. It was the perfect outlet for her thoughts. As she flicked through the pages she realised that it was a visual representation of her relationship with Andrea so far. The drawings from the beginning of that first trip which she had made from memory, sitting on the bed, not understanding why or how the wonderful creature had captivated her so. As she turned the pages she saw the progression in the fluidity of the graphite lines as she by then had physical memories of that beautiful body to reference rather than just her imagination. Every curve, dip of a hip, the venus dimples at the bottom of Andrea's spine, the slope of a pert breast. All of these she now knew by touch and taste. 

Miranda's mind absently wandered to the simple little pebble that sat in her jewellery box, nestled proudly amongst diamonds and pearls. She had picked it up after that kiss at the waterfall. It was oval in shape, the edges rounded and fit perfectly in her palm. At the time she had needed a tangible reminder of that defining moment. Something to hold. The cool to touch stone reinforcing that it wasn't a fleeting dream that would be carried off on the breeze. That it was very much real. Now there wasn't a day that didn't start without her squeezing that pebble in her hand. It grounded her. It reminded her. It had become her talisman. 

 

*****

 

Andy was having the most wonderful dream. She was in the den sprawled out on the large sofa. Miranda was going over the book and Patricia was snoring away in her usual spot by the window. As she slowly woke and opened her eyes she momentarily forgot where she was. She looked over at the adjacent lounger and took in the most wonderful sight. Miranda was leaning back on the upright piece of furniture, her knees bent providing a temporary easel for her sketchbook, her delicate hand masterfully gliding a pencil across pristine white paper, glasses on the end of her nose and what Andy recognised as another pencil, sharpened to a deadly point, tucked behind her ear. It was one of Miranda's most adorable quirks known only to those who resided in the town house. Many a Sunday evening, long after the sketchbook had been tidied away that pencil still remained tucked in place. 

Soon the memories of what had happened came flooding back. She felt a heavy weight descend on her chest and an almost painful tightening start to coil in her stomach. There was only one place she wanted to be right now. Everything else could wait. 

“Miranda?” Andy's voice came out as a whisper. 

“Yes darling?”

“Take me home.” 

Chapter Text

The drive back had been long and the mood subdued. The girls kept themselves occupied, immersed in some film they were watching on their ipad. Even though they had one each this was one of the times where they wanted to share. To be close. One earbud a piece, cuddled up together. The eerie blue light from the device made their pale faces glow. 

Andrea had spent most of the journey staring out the window. Pensive and sullen. Miranda had tried, at first, to make light conversation but only received hums of agreement or one word answers in response. When the sun had finally set, Andrea had drifted off to sleep. Miranda was thankful when soft little snores drifted over from the front passenger seat. They were both so drained and tired and the call of home was the only thing keeping them going. Miranda had arranged for Roy to meet them a few blocks from the house. She couldn't deal with navigating the car, luggage, twins plus an emotionally wrung out Andrea in front of the hoards of press that Charlotte had informed her were now camped outside the townhouse. She just wanted to get her family inside and shut the door. To lock it and keep them all protected from prying eyes and intrusive camera flashes. 

She just needed to get them home. Unscathed. 

Seeing Roy on the street corner, she signalled and pulled up to the kerb. He ran over and opened the door, giving the girls in the back a quick wave as they briefly looked up from the screen they were huddled around. 

He took one look at Andy and felt his heart squeeze. Roy had become very fond of the normally bubbly and smiling brunette. Andy had briefly opened her eyes and the weak smile she gave him was heartbreaking. She looked so lost and sad. Those big chocolate eyes lacked the light and exuberance he had come to expect. If he got his hands on whoever had caused this he wasn't sure he would be able to control himself. As it was, he simply gave her a nod before she closed her eyes again, and slid into the driver's seat that Miranda had just vacated. 

As Roy pulled out into the traffic he caught Miranda's eye in the rear view mirror. He had worked for Miranda for so long they could communicate through looks alone. That dynamic working relationship between driver and boss that was perfected only through years of spending so much time together confined in a metal box on wheels. He took note of the tense lines around her eyes, as she sat bolt upright, on edge. He understood what he needed to do. As they approached the townhouse, he gave Charlotte's phone three rings before hanging up. As the car pulled up, the townhouse door opened and Charlotte came running down the stairs. The twins knew the drill and had already packed their belongings away and jumped straight out the car, running calmy up the steps before disappearing into the safety of the welcoming building. They had ignored the shouts and questions being flung their way. Miranda sighed now that her children were back in the eye of yet another media storm. 

Miranda glanced out of the window and watched as Roy and Charlotte made light work of their luggage. Roy then took his position by the car, his impressive size and stony expression had made even the pluckiest of chancers take a few steps back. 

"Darling?" Miranda gently shook Andrea's shoulder from her position in the back of the car, "Darling wake up, we're home."

Andy startled awake, "Oh," Andy rubbed at her eyes, taking in the surroundings and noting the car was no longer moving, "That was quick. Where are the girls?" 

Miranda couldn't help but smile at Andrea's first thoughts being about Caroline and Cassidy, "They have gone in already. Now I need you to listen to me." 

Andy spun around in her chair and faced Miranda nodding, understanding the seriousness of her voice. 

"You are going to take a deep breath, take my hand and we are going to walk up those steps with our heads held high. Can you do that for me darling?" Miranda knew she was asking a lot of her love right now but this was crucial. 

"Of course my love," Andy gave her a small smile that barely reached her eyes, "A united front." 

"Exactly. Now let's show them just how fabulous we are." Miranda donned her shades, the dark lenses hiding her eye roll at Andrea's laugh as she pointed out it was now dark outside. Miranda wrapped her knuckles on the window and Roy was there like a shot and opened the door. 

Miranda stepped out the car with such grace and elegance that there was a noticeable gasp from the paps. Without even looking up she stepped to the front passenger door and opened it, extending her hand to Andrea, who grabbed it quickly like a lifeline. There was a moment of quiet, a collective hush as the baying press waited. As soon as Andrea emerged gloves were off. The darkness of the night was suddenly lit up by hundreds of flash bulbs going off. The shouts rang out down the otherwise quiet street. Miranda smirked when she saw Andrea had also slipped on a pair of sunglasses, noticing that they were her spare Chanel's that she kept in the glove box. Smart girl. Entwining their fingers and giving a squeeze of reassurance, they headed across the sidewalk and up the steps. Not once faltering, Miranda ensured that they walked side by side. What she didn't want was a photo appearing the next day that looked like she was dragging Andrea up the steps. She could only imagine the headlines that would accompany a shot like that. 

And then they were inside, Miranda closing the door behind them, the shouts muffled behind the heavy door she was now securing with bolts and deadlocks. They had run the first of many gauntlets and had made it relatively unscathed. She went to check on Andrea who was standing in the middle of the marble hallway and saw her shoulders were shaking. Rushing over thinking Andrea was crying she was surprised by a bark of laughter that erupted from the slim brunette. 

"Andrea?" Miranda's puzzled face only caused more loud laughter. The noise caused twin feet to thunder down the stairs. 

"Sorry," Andy said between wiping her eyes and trying to control her giggles, "It's just all rather hilarious isn't it?" 

"How so?" Miranda looked at the twins who were hovering on the bottom few steps looking equally perplexed. 

"Well, all of that outside. What's so interesting about us?" Andy shrugged, "If only they knew what actually happened behind closed doors."

Miranda arched her eyebrow questioningly at Andrea. 

"Well, I can only imagine that candid pictures of the great Miranda Priestly wiping the floor with us mere mortals at Tiddly Winks would fetch a pretty penny," Andy winked at the girls who were now laughing along with her, "don't you think?" 

"You wouldn't dare!" Miranda was struggling to hide her smile, her eyes shining with glee. 

"Run me a bath and we can discuss my terms in return for my silence," and with that Andy bounded up the stairs two at a time, chasing after the twins who were squealing in delight at trying to evade being tickled.

Charlotte was leaning on the door jam of the kitchen watching the scene unfold. 

“Are you and Andy OK Miranda?" 

"Hmmm, I am Charlotte," Miranda smiled as she looked up the stairs, chuckling at the screams of laughter that floated down from the floors above, indicating that Andrea had clearly caught up with the girls, "You know, I think we are going to be just fine." 

Charlotte watched as Miranda quickly made her way up the stairs to join in with the fun. Well that was new, different. Charlotte wasn't sure what she had been expecting when the family had arrived home but it certainly wasn't that. 

Patricia came padding out of the den at a genteel pace and rubbed up against her legs. Charlotte ruffled the thick fur behind Patricia's ears and got an appreciative snuffle in return. 

"Come on Pats, we have some pizzas to finish." 

 

***** 

 

When Miranda had taken on the arduous task of remodelling certain areas of the town house after Stephen had finally left, her ensuite was one of the first to be completely ripped out. Even though they had long stopped sharing the same intimate spaces before he finally moved out, the fact that he had even been in there was enough to justify tearing up the floors and replacing everything he might have touched. Her sanctuary had suddenly felt tarnished, dirty. 

The finest Italian marble had been imported, no expense spared. She had splurged on the most sleek of fixtures and fittings. It was her little piece of heaven, where she could unwind and relax. A huge walk in shower taking up most of the far wall had been installed. Miranda had designed it specifically so the glass box doubled up as a sauna come steam room. Nothing like sweating out the incompetence of a trying day. 

That wasn't to say that Miranda hadn't had some fun with this room too - her ever growing collection of novelty rubber ducks were proudly displayed on the wall above the large freestanding claw foot tub. What had started out as a joke with the twins had now become a tradition. Every birthday they would try to surpass the previous year’s attempt with the most outlandish, tacky and garish one they could find. It had taken Miranda two weeks after Andrea had moved in to spot that the brunette had secretly added one to the collection in the form of a dragon. Miranda had spent the following morning rearranging the colourful collection so that particular one took centre stage. 

As Miranda looked around, she saw traces of Andrea everywhere - spare hair bobbles next to the sink, all Andrea's products mixed in with hers. Like everything in regards to the brunette they just looked perfect together. Shaking her head at the ludicrous notion of getting sentimental about bottles of shampoo and moisturisers, she set to run that bath she promised.

Bypassing her expensive bath oils and salts she opened a drawer next to the sink that was dedicated to Andrea's preferred relaxants. When Andrea had first moved in she had given Miranda an extensive and thorough crash course in all things Lush. From bubble bars to bath bombs it appeared they catered for every mood and occasion. It had been quite the education. Perusing the selection Miranda recalled which one was Andrea's go to when she was stressed. Reaching for a dark silver glittery cloud shaped bubble bar, she carefully unwrapped it and started to crumble it under the hot running water. The blend of lime and grapefruit oils along with a fruity dose of juniper berry oil filled the room with a fragrant steam. As she started to swirl the water around the tub it transformed into a shimmering pool of sparkling silver bubbles thanks to the copious amounts of glitter (plastic free of course!) the citrusy bubbler contained. 

Hearing a quiet shuffling sound behind her, Miranda turned around to see Andrea leaning against the wall near the door. 

"Your bath won't be too much longer, darling," 

Andy closed her eyes and took a deep inhale of breath, "Hmmmm you went with 'silver lining'. A very apt choice my love." 

Miranda chuckled as she dried her hands on a fluffy white towel, "The fact that you know the names of their products by their scent alone, is quite a feat. Are you sure you aren't moonlighting for them?" 

Andy held her hands up, "You got me, I can't keep this double life up any longer!" 

"As I thought," Miranda walked up to Andrea and snaked her arms around her waist, "Next you'll be telling me all those medals you've got are actually made of chocolate, and that you are the one that can't swim." 

It was Andy's turn to laugh, "Now there's an idea! At least that would really give all those press hacks something to write about," Andy nuzzled into Miranda's neck, "Imagine the scandal…" 

Miranda shivered as she felt Andrea's teeth graze the shell of her ear before taking an earlobe in her mouth. 

“Hmmm, Andrea,” Miranda groaned as Andrea left a trail of kisses down her neck, those nimble fingers teasing at the hem of her jumper, “Andrea. The bath…”

“Oh shit,” Andy suddenly sprinted over to the bath and quickly shut off the taps, “That was close!”

“Well you are quite the distraction, Andrea,” Miranda smirked at the grinning brunette, who beamed back, looking rather proud of herself. 

“A distraction huh?” Andy slowly unzipped her pants and let them fall to the floor before stepping out of them and kicking them away, “Would this…” Andy whipped her plain white t-shirt over her head and threw it to the side to reveal a barely there white lace balcony bra, “also count as a distraction?” 

Miranda let out a little moan as she bit down on her lower lip. Half of her was thoroughly enjoying the performance but the other half was itching to be more of an active participant. To feel the warmth of that supple body that was hers to explore, worship, devour. That side won out and it only took a few strides, losing her jumper on the way, to reach Andrea. Miranda captured Andrea’s lips in a searing kiss as she reached around and unhooked the clasp of the brunette's bra. She felt Andrea mirror her actions, momentarily breaking the kiss as they both stepped back to allow delicate lace to float to the floor. 

Andy ran her thumbs under the waistband of Miranda's underwear, gently tickling the sensitive skin as they brushed over Miranda’s hip bones. Moving around the front, she used one hand to cup the wisp of, now damp, lace before rolling the thong down Miranda’s perfectly smooth legs.

Placing a chaste kiss on Andrea’s lips Miranda swiftly removed the final barrier of fabric from Andrea’s body before stepping into the hot bubbly water. She quickly settled back against the tub before holding out a hand towards the brunette encouraging her to join. 

Andy took a brief moment to take in her love, languishing in the shimmering water, the copious amounts of citrus smelling bubbles doing little to cover the rosey, hardened nipples which were begging for Andy’s mouth. Later they would be all hers. For now she would make the most of them pressing deliciously against her back as she slipped into the space between Miranda's legs. 

Once Andrea was in the water, Miranda couldn't stop her hands from wandering all over Andrea’s naked skin, her legs wrapping around Andrea’s slim waist, drawing her impossibly close. She felt the brunette shudder and let out an unsteady breath. Even though Miranda couldn't see those beautiful brown eyes, she knew they would be filled with tears. The day was finally catching up with her. Miranda was surprised that Andrea had managed to keep it together this long. 

“Let it out darling, I am right here,” and that, combined with the feeling of being completely surrounded by Miranda was all it took for the stress and emotional agony of the day to come flooding out once again. This time though Miranda would get Andrea to talk about it, now they were in the privacy and safety of their home. 

Giving Andrea some time to regain a semi normal breathing pattern again Miranda started to gently broach the subject of Helen. Taking a wash cloth, she dipped it in the water before wringing it out. With the lightest of touches Miranda started to methodically wash Andrea’s shoulders and the base of her neck. 

“Are you ready to talk about this morning darling?” Miranda wet the wash cloth again before starting the same circular motions down Andrea’s left arm before moving to the right as she waited for Andrea to start talking. 

“I don't think I will ever be ready,” Andy sighed and leant forwards slightly so Miranda could wash her back, “But I know you are right and that I do need to talk about it. It will eat me up if I don’t.”

“What do you want to do about it? About Helen I mean?” Miranda missed the contact and pulled at Andrea’s shoulders to get her close again, bringing her arms around Andrea’s front. She needed to be explicit in her love for Andrea, wrapping her in comfort and support. 

“I mean, what can I do? I don't want that kind of negativity in my life. In Our life.”

Miranda hummed in agreement. If she had her way she would banish the vile woman to the back end of beyond and even that wouldn't be far enough away. She wondered if she could anonymously volunteer her for the mission to Mars. She would get Emily to look into it, you know, just in case. Miranda liked to have every possible option available. 

“One thing I do know is, that I don't want her anywhere near the girls,” Andy felt a slight tense in Miranda at the mention of the twins, “And to be honest I don't want to be around her either, not for the foreseeable future anyway.”

“Well, whatever you want to do I will support you one hundred percent,” Miranda rested her head on Andrea’s shoulder, planting a feather light kiss to the brunette's flushed cheek, “I hope you know that darling. I am more than aware I am not the most tactful of people when it comes to emotional situations but I don't want you to ever think that I don't care, or that it's not important to me.”

Andy quickly turned around to face Miranda, sending a wave of bubbly water over the side of the tub. Andy peered over to assess the damage, before looking back at Miranda. 

“Oops.” 

Arching an eyebrow Miranda tried to act serious about the water spillage but the twitch of her lips gave her away. What's a bit of glittery water cascading all over the floor in the grand scheme of things? 

"I know that," Andy moved Miranda forward slightly so she had room to slide her long legs around Miranda's hips, "I have been going over and over every possible scenario but I just don't think anything I say to her will make a difference. I could scream, shout, cry but what would be the point? My mother has made up her mind as to how she feels about me," Andy reached down and entwined her fingers with Miranda's, "About our family. And all I want to do is put all of my energy into getting us through this shit storm." 

Miranda leant in and kissed Andrea's full lips, "If that's what you need to do, then that's fine by me."

"I just don't have it in me to take her on again. I have spent my whole life trying to please her, but it just doesn't seem to be enough, you know?" 

"Oh don't I just," Miranda snorted, "But if you change your mind, and want to reach out then I will be right by your side then, too." 

"And that's why you are so amazing. I love you, Miranda," Andy didn't give Miranda an opportunity to respond as her next words were swallowed by a stomach flipping kiss. 

"Now," Andy broke the kiss before they got completely carried away, "I am aware you have been keeping a lid on absolutely losing it today. Which I appreciate so much. But what I am dying to know is what you have in store for my ex agent." 

"Ah, the dear Ms Walker," Miranda's face morphed into that of a predator thinking about her next meal, "For the moment absolutely nothing." 

"What? Nothing?" Andy couldn't hide her shock and disbelief at what Miranda had just said, "I don't believe you for one minute." 

"Come on, the water is getting cold," Miranda smirked as she wiggled back and stood up. 

"You can't leave it like that Miranda!" Andy stepped out of the bath accepting a large bath sheet from Miranda. 

Miranda let out a laugh, "Oh don't worry darling. Believe me when I say that she is going to pay. But that doesn't mean that I can't have a little fun with her first. You wouldn't deny me that now would you?" 

Andy looked at Miranda's reflection in the mirror, the mischievous glint in her eye was beyond sexy. 

"Oh my love, you are positively evil." 

Miranda winked and dropped the towel that had been wrapped around her slim frame. 

"And I couldn't deny you anything." 

"Take me to bed," all thoughts of Estelle and Helen forgotten for the moment as Miranda took in Andrea's darkened pupils and quickening of breath. 

"As I just said," Andy swooped down and lifted Miranda up, bridal style, causing a surprised squeak from the Editor, "I can't deny you anything…" 

Chapter Text

"Hmmm, minty," Andy mumbled sleepily as she felt a pair of familiar lips ghost over hers. 

"Good morning darling," Miranda grinned as she watched Andrea slowly come to, her hair a tangle of knots and a faint pillow crease running down her cheek, "I didn't want to leave without saying goodbye." 

Andy, now fully awake, took in the beautiful sight of Miranda looking down at her, impeccably made up, not a hair out of place. "Is it that time already?" 

"I am afraid so," Miranda looked at her watch, "Although if you can bear to drag yourself out of bed at this ungodly hour we can have a coffee together?" 

"I would much rather drag you back to bed," Andy watched as Miranda, adding a little extra swing to her hips, walked over to her jewellery box. 

"Is that so?" Miranda quickly held that precious pebble as she selected a pair of simple white gold hoops, "I am surprised you can walk straight this morning," Miranda looked back over her shoulder, laughing at Andrea's flustered appearance. 

"Whatever Priestly," Andy was unsuccessfully balancing on one leg as she attempted to put her pj bottoms on, "I didn't hear any complaints, oh An-dray-ah, there, there, therrrrrrrre ," Andy had flopped back dramatically on the bed giggling away as she writhed on top of the covers. 

Quick as a flash Miranda was at the foot of the bed and had one of the brunette's feet in her hands, about to unleash a torturous amount of tickling. 

"You were saying?" Miranda started to move her fingers lightly across wiggling toes as Andrea shrieked. 

"I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" Andy was struggling to breathe whilst laughing and trying to extract the foot that was still being held captive. Miranda was deceptively strong when she wanted to be. 

Miranda stopped the torture and placed a kiss to the sole of Andrea's foot. 

"Now you have that out of your system, are you ready to join me downstairs, An-dray-ah?" She knew exactly what that purring tone did to the brunette and took great satisfaction at seeing her shiver in pleasure. 

 

*****

 

“Hey girls, what's got you so hysterical this morning?” Andy crossed the kitchen and began the morning coffee ritual for herself and Miranda, who had just slipped onto a stool at the breakfast bar. 

“Oh my god, Andy!” Cassidy was gesturing wildly for Andy to come over and look at her ipad, “You have to come see this!” 

Miranda peered over and snorted, “Is that girl blue?” 

“Yep!” Caroline giggled, “She looks like a smurf.” Caroline was finding it hard to talk, breathe and laugh at the same time, “And the funniest thing is, that it won't come off!” 

Andy placed a steaming mug of coffee in front of Miranda, giving a wink in acknowledgement of the warm nod she received. 

“Let me see,” Andy gasped and then shrieked in laughter, “She is literally blue… all over. I don't envy her having to explain that to people.”

“I don't know why one would think that was a good idea?” Miranda scoffed, “It's not even a desirable shade of blue. At least a deep lapis blue would have complimented her blonde hair, rather than that pathetic attempt at a prussian blue.” 

Miranda was met with three perfectly syncronised groans. 

“What?” 

“Mum! She didn't mean to do it. Apparently she ordered some of those bubble bars off the internet, you know those things Andy is obsessed with.” 

Miranda nodded as Caroline seamlessly picked up from where Cassidy left off. 

“But they turned out to be knock offs, and, voila, the latest smurfette was born! It's just too funny,” Caroline stared at Andy, “Well I know what to get you for your birthday Andy!” 

“Don't even think about it you two!” Andy giggled nervously, trying to work out just how serious the girls were. The baby dragons were crazy about their pranks and didn't need any ideas or encouragement. 

Miranda picked up the ipad from the breakfast bar. “I am going to say this only once, I don't want to find anyone in this house suddenly turned blue,” Miranda looked pointedly at the twin redheads, “Regardless of the fact that Andrea could pull the colour off,” smirking she made a mental note of the website the poor girl had purchased the fateful products from. 

Miranda’s phone pinged indicating that Roy had arrived, and it was all systems go as the girls grabbed their bags and shouted bye before braving the press that had shown up early, or as Miranda had suspected, never actually left. 

Andy quickly wrapped her arms around Miranda's waist and gave her a goodbye kiss which Miranda couldn't help but deepen. 

“You know,” Andy whispered against Miranda’s lips, “I think you’d make a really hot smurf…” 

“You are utterly ridiculous and I am leaving,” Miranda rolled her eyes as she swept down the hallway. 

Andy couldn’t help but laugh, as she shouted out to Miranda's retreating form “It's the white hair, it would look like those little hats they wear.” 

“Goodbye Andrea.” 

As Miranda walked down the steps to the idling car she didn't even bother to school her features, the cameras going wild at the bright bold smile she sported. A smurf indeed. If the press heard a faint chuckle as the car door softly closed, then so be it.  

With the twins and Miranda safely on their way to start their respective days at school and Runway, Andy was suddenly at a loss as to what to do. Miranda had subtly suggested rearranging the next few days so she had some time to rest and process the weekend. At first she had completely disagreed and was rather put out that Miranda thought she couldn't handle it all, but after a terse conversation and a peek through the curtains at the amount of press that was still camped outside she had to admit that it was probably a good idea. 

Wandering back into the kitchen she started to pick up the remnants of breakfast and load the dishwasher. 

"Leave that Andy, I'll get to it in a bit," Charlotte came breezing in the kitchen, her arms full of washing. 

Andy just waved Charlotte away and continued rinsing the bowls and stacking them in the sleek appliance, laughing at Charlotte's huff of defeat. 

"So what's on for you today Lottie?" Andy jumped up and took a seat on the kitchen counter. 

"Washing!" Charlotte chuckled, "I always forget how much you lot generate when you go away." 

Andy still felt uncomfortable that she now lived with someone who employed people to essentially look after them and do the things that she had thought were just part of being a functioning adult. 

To her, having a driver was a total luxury and an unnecessary expense but Miranda had pointed out that yes those things couldn't be denied but it was first and foremost a security issue. For both the editor and the girls having a safe way to travel around the city was an absolute must. Miranda was in the public eye, and by default so were the girls. They couldn't be traipsing around on the subway. It also meant that Miranda could utilise her time more efficiently. She used the time spent in the car to reply to emails, or take phone calls away from the distractions of the office. When Miranda had put it like that she couldn't find fault in the woman's logic. OK so Roy could stay. As if Andy would have had a say in the matter anyway, but it made her feel better that she had made a semblance of peace with the whole concept of a personal chauffeur. 

However, having a person to do all the cleaning, grocery shopping and laundry was a whole other issue. A complete novelty yes, but it still niggled away at her and she doubted that she would ever be fully onboard. But that's not to say she didn't enjoy the benefits of it. It meant that the limited free time she and Miranda had could be devoted to family focused activities or when the girls were with their father she was more than happy to shut herself and Miranda away in their bedroom for a weekend, only coming up for air and sustenance, delighting in the fact that the house was being looked after, the fridge would be fully stocked and clean clothes would be hanging in their closet come Monday morning. 

Andy had also grown very fond of Charlotte, or Lottie, when Miranda wasn't in earshot. They had forged a friendship of sorts and for that Andy was very grateful. And it was this additional factor that had helped her reach an inner peace of sorts with having Charlotte around. They had spent many a late night conversing about all sorts of topics, from politics to the best cheese for the perfect fondue. It was during one of these late night chats that Andy had discovered Charlotte was a budding novelist and that Miranda had actually helped nurture and encourage her love of writing. The nature of the job had allowed Charlotte a lot of free time which she was able to dedicate to writing her first novel, a crime thriller centred around an eccentric millionaire recluse who used her wealth, mystery and influence to solve a high profile murder. Andy was Charlotte's biggest fan and was being kept on tender hooks as it was near completion. Andy's naive views on ‘housekeepers’ had been shot down spectacularly by Charlotte that evening as she was rightfully put in her place and she soon came to understand that Charlotte was proud of her work, and wouldn't have been able to realise her novelist dream if it wasn't for this type of employment. Or her employer's support. Andy had teased Miranda on the inspiration for Charlotte's main protagonist. Miranda had just shrugged it off but Andy could see some pride sparkling in those baby blues. 

“Yeah we seemed to have come back with more clothes than we left with. I think my grams let the girls raid my old closet and apparently when I was younger I had some ‘really cool stuff’. Who knew I was a delayed trend setter for the youth of today?”

“I take it you are not going to the pool today?” Charlotte didn't look up from the laundry she was sorting through, separating everything into smaller piles, Andy instantly blushed when she saw Charlotte reach for her underwear and put it with the other delicates. 

“Miranda convinced me to take a few days off.”

“Convinced? Or told you?” Charlotte looked up at Andy with a smile. 

“You know the boss always gets her way,” Andy jumped down and opened the fridge, peering in aimlessly, “She was of course right, but I wasn't going to give in too easily.” Andy shut the fridge again and wandered over to the fruit bowl. 

“Andy?” Charlotte stopped what she was doing and watched Andy carefully examine an apple. 

“Hmmm?”

“Do you want to come run some errands with me?” 

“Oh my god yes!” Andy chucked the apple back in the bowl and beamed at Charlotte.

“Don't get too excited. I have to drop Patricia off at the vets, and then do some grocery shopping.”

“I don't care. I am already so bored and it's only been ten minutes!” Andy groaned, really not used to having nothing to occupy her time. Her days were normally packed, running between training sessions, private lessons with clients, and she had taken on a Tiny Tots introduction to swimming slot at one of the high end spas Miranda was a member of. 

“Well in that case, go get ready and I will meet you back down here in thirty minutes.” 

“Deal,” and with that Andy was gone. 

Shaking her head at Andy’s enthusiasm, Charlotte scooped up the first load to go in the washing machine and headed off to the laundry room. Charlotte could see why the Priestly women were so enamoured with one Andy Sachs. Maybe she would suggest a coffee at that little place down from the vets, plus she wanted to get the inside scoop on the girls swimming coach Sally Saunders, who just happened to be one of the brunette's closest friends. How fortuitous. Now that was a woman who Charlotte wanted to know a lot more about. Most importantly, if she was single...

 

*****

 

Miranda’s day had been non stop as soon as she stepped out of the elevator. The second her coat and bag had landed on the 'other' Emily’s desk it had been like a starter pistol had gone off and she hadn’t had a moment to breathe between endless meetings, run throughs, calls, and avoiding Irv. She couldn't deal with that insipid little man today, who no doubt just wanted to gloat at the headlines. Thankfully her skilful legal team had drawn up the most iron clad contract Elias-Clarke had ever seen so there was nothing to worry about in relation to her position. She just didn't have the time or inclination to sit through some pathetic attempt at poorly gauged humour. He was such a draining, slimy toad. No he could definitely wait. Miranda reached for her coffee and grimaced as it was now lukewarm. Into the trash it went, along with the last three that had met the same fate. 

“Emily,” Miranda pinched the bridge of her nose, she could feel a headache coming on, and she still had a layout run through with Nigel and a conference call with Runway London to get out of the way before her 4pm with Leslie, “Emily.”

The ‘other’ Emily came scurrying in, slightly out of breath. Miranda had taken a chance when she had employed her. After the previous three ‘other’ Emilys had not been up to her exacting standards she had decided to hire based on smarts rather than looks. Not to say that the girl wasn't pretty, just not the usual Runway aesthetic, but she had outlasted them all. It had been a pleasant surprise, though even after ten months she still looked like a frightened mouse whenever she stepped into the dragon's lair. Miranda smirked. There was something quite endearing about the girl, and knowing she could still make her tremble with a single look certainly kept the eager assistant on her toes. Miranda had no room for complacency. 

“There you are. How many times must I scream your name?” Miranda sighed, “I need hot coffee and paracetamol.”

“Yes, Miranda.” 

 

*****

 

Across town Estelle was sitting at her desk waiting for her newly appointed assistant to come back with her lunch. The agency had pulled out all the stops with this one, a pretty little thing, with long raven black hair, called Scarlet. In the short time she had been in the office she had already proved to be ridiculously efficient. She had re-organised her schedule, downloaded some new IT software, and secured her a much sought after reservation at a trendy, and supposedly fully booked, pop up restaurant for that evening. 

“Here you are. One grilled chicken caesar, dressing on the side and extra croutons,” Estelle looked up and saw Scarlet place the delicious looking salad on her desk, “Oh and this came for you. I bumped into the courier on the way in.” Estelle took the package from Scarlet and set it aside, eager to tuck in to her lunch. 

“Great, thanks,” Estelle smiled as Scarlet poured her a glass of water, “Can you book a car for this evening?”

“Sure, I will get on that right away,” Scarlet walked towards the door, “Anything else you need you know where I am.”

Clearly throwing money at something really did have its benefits. Even better when it resulted in something that was most pleasing on the eye. 

 

*****

 

Miranda hit send on the budget email she had been working on for the last twenty minutes and looked up from her macbook just as Emily stepped into her office carrying a tray of fresh glasses and a chilled bottle of Pellegrino. 

“Miranda, Leslie has just arrived.” 

“Show her in.” 

“Oh no need for such formalities Miranda. I think I know my way around by now,” Leslie smiled and walked straight up to Miranda, who had already stepped out from behind her desk to embrace the tall, imposing woman. 

Leslie was like a shark. She took no prisoners and had the ability to crucify an opponent when they least expected it, much like Miranda. However Leslie did it with a blinding smile and a cheery disposition. Many were fooled by the long blonde bouncy hair, trademark bright pink lipstick, and Texas drawl, but she was no nonsense and the two women together were an absolute powerhouse. They both regarded the other as a cornerstone to their success. Leslie had been Miranda's PR representative for decades. They were the same age and started out in their respective careers at the same time. They had met at some boring networking party when Miranda had just arrived in New York. Leslie had come to Miranda's rescue when she had been cornered by some letch. Miranda had initially shot Leslie down, insisting that she was absolutely fine and hadn't needed an intervention. Leslie had just rolled her eyes, linked their arms together, and suggested they make a break for it. Over a shared plate of greasy fries and one too many negronis they had laid the foundations of a friendship that even after marriages, divorces, children, and, for a brief time, living in separate countries, was still as solid as ever.  

“So, you really like me to earn my retainer don't you?” Leslie took a seat on the leather couch as she gave Miranda a withering look. 

“Well this is what happens when you cancel dinner,” Miranda threw her own glare back, “Twice.” 

“Oh hush. I have been busy, and so have you from the looks of things. I expect this type of behaviour from my rock stars and actors, but not you,” Leslie poked Miranda in the thigh with a perfectly manicured finger, glossy pink to match her lips, “Just how old is she?” 

Miranda was desperately trying to keep a straight face. For years they had teased each other, throwing harmless barbs until one of them cracked. Clearly it was Miranda’s turn to lose. 

“Do I need to remind you of your little dalliance with Edward ?” Miranda arched an eyebrow as she poured them some water, “And, for the record, may I add what I have with Andrea is nothing at all like that.”

“I can tell. No one has made you smile like that in years, Miranda,” Leslie reached down and took Miranda's hand in hers, her tone becoming a little more serious, “I am really happy for you, darlin’. You deserve this.” 

“Thank you,” Miranda squeezed Leslies hand, “I am looking forward to the two of you finally meeting.” 

“Same here, and anyone that you haven't scared off by now is worthy of me rearranging my diary for don't you think?” 

“I’ll have Emily sort something out over the next couple of weeks then?” 

“Fabulous. Now, as much as I would love to sit and chat we need to get down to business,” Leslie reached into her oversized Birkin and pulled out a file, handing it to Miranda. 

“Oh yes. She is perfect,” Miranda flicked through a series of headshots and then some candid photos from what she recognised as one of Leslie’s infamous soirees at her house in the Hamptons, “And we are sure she is trustworthy?” 

“I am shocked you would even ask such a thing, Miranda,” Leslie clasped a hand to her chest in feigned shock, rattling the multiple strands of pearls that hung over her ample bosom, “She is the niece of a friend of a friend. Smart, resourceful and a complete tech whizz. Plus she can have anyone, man or woman, eating out the palm of her hand within minutes. It's quite the sight to behold.” 

Miranda quickly scanned the girls CV. “It says she is an actor? Would this pose a problem in regards to her being recognised?” Miranda was slightly concerned at this revelation. The last thing she needed was the girl to be compromised, given where she would be working. 

“Don't worry about that. It's what all the trust fund kids say they do these days. She has never actually had a paid for gig to date. Her main passion is all things science, but that's not ‘cool’ apparently. And it's not as if she needs the money.”

“When does she start?” 

“She actually started this morning, and from what she has already synced to this,” Leslie produced a brand new iphone and handed it to Miranda, “it looks as though she has already started to work her magic.”

“This is what?” Miranda felt as though she was holding a ticking bomb. 

“A phone?” 

“I know that Leslie,” Miranda growled, “I mean what am I to do with it?”

“Ah this is rather beautiful,” Leslie took the device and entered a passcode, “If you click on the calendar it is a cloned version of what is on the desktop of her computer. Everything is updated live, so you can see all her appointments, meetings, notes. Basically anything she sees or inputs, you will see on this. And before you panic it has been encrypted by my tech team so it's completely safe and most importantly untraceable. Her number is already programmed and you can message as you normally would but the app the phone uses deletes messages sent back and forth as soon as they have been read by the recipient.”

“I didn't even know such things existed,” Miranda looked at the phone with some trepidation, “and are you sure how she got the job can’t be linked back to us?”

“She was hired through an agency so if anyone decided to poke around for whatever reason, it's all above board.”

As Miranda processed what Leslie had said, the phone pinged, making them both jump. Having left her glasses on her desk Miranda squinted at the message notification that had now appeared on the homescreen

“Seriously. That's what name you gave her?” 

“Inspired don't you think?” 

“Lets just hope, for all our sakes, she lives up to the moniker and remains as elusive and mysterious as her namesake.”

“Oh I think Scarlet is going to be just marvellous, Miranda. Just you wait and see.”

 

*****

 

After Leslie had left Miranda had placed the new phone on her desk and before she could devote some time to go through the calendar, she found herself being pulled away to deal with a disaster in the art department. A few hours had gone by before she strolled back into her office. As she sat back down at her desk the device caught her eye. Curiosity got the better of her and, before she talked herself out of it her delicate fingers danced over the screen and unlocked it. She was pleased to note that the message she had received earlier had indeed been automatically deleted. Clicking on the calendar she scanned through the day's appointments. Nothing noteworthy until her eyes landed on the entry for 8pm that evening. A plan started to form in her head and she called Emily into her office to make her a reservation. 

“Hey beautiful,”

“Hello darling. Have you had a restful day?” 

“Yeah, it's been very relaxing. Did some chores with Charlotte, oh and Patricia got a clean bill of health. But other than that nothing too eventful. How's your day been?” 

“Enlightening, for the most part.” 

“That sounds intriguing.”

“Do you know if Charlotte has plans for this evening?”

“I don't think so, hold on let me ask,”

Miranda instinctively knew to hold the phone away from her ear as Andrea shouted out to Charlotte. 

“Nope, she is having a night in. Why?”

“Excellent. In that case be ready for 7.30pm. Roy will pick you up.”

“Do I get to know where we are going and what we are doing?” Andy chuckled softly knowing full well she wasn't going to get an answer. 

“Killing two birds with one stone. Oh, and Andrea, wear the red Safiyaa dress. Until later darling,” and with that Miranda disconnected the call. 

Miranda didn't know whether it was the thought of seeing her Andrea in the form fitting silhouette of the cape sleeve dress with the tantalising keyhole back detail, or the fact that she was about to embark on her first act of ruining one Estelle Walker’s evening that made her shiver with excitement. On this occasion she suspected it was a heady mix of both, with the promise of Andrea’s bare back tipping the balance most definitely in the brunette’s favour. 

 

***** 

 

Despite Andrea's constant questioning Miranda still hadn't shared where they were going. As Roy pulled the car up outside a restaurant which was buzzing with atmosphere, Miranda saw Andrea’s face light up as she took in their final destination. 

“Is this that new seafood pop up that I wanted to go to?”

Miranda simply nodded and waited for Roy to open the door for them. 

“Priestly, you have pulled a blinder with this,” Andy took Miranda's hand as they stepped out of the car, not even registering the flashbulbs going off when the paparazzi realised who was now in front of them, “The food is meant to be sensational, and it's ridiculously hard to even get on the waiting list for a table let alone actually dine here.” 

“I don't want to hide you away, Andrea. I want the world to know that I am proud to walk alongside you,” Miranda felt Andrea lean into her, their bodies touching from shoulder to hip, “plus we also get to have a little fun.”

“You are just full of surprises this evening aren't you my love,” Andy placed a quick kiss to Miranda's lips, careful not to smudge her lipstick, before they walked with purpose to the restaurant's entrance. 

“Ah Ms Priestly, Ms Sachs, if you would like to follow me I will take you to your table.”

Miranda quickly scanned the tables as they were led through the restaurant. She instantly spotted the sleek bright red bob and nudged Andrea’s arm giving a subtle nod in Estelles direction. Suddenly Miranda had a wave of guilt that she hadn't let Andrea in on this part of the evening and wondered if she had made a mistake but the brunette didn't falter, or pull away as Miranda had feared she might. Instead she reached down and entwined their hands. A united front. Andrea got it. She understood. Miranda let out the breath she wasn't aware she had been holding. A wave of relief washed over her. 

“Oh Miranda, I like your way of thinking. You ready with that stone to kill our second bird?” 

“Absolutely darling.” 

 

*****

 

Estelle was tucking into her third dish of the evening. She had felt like indulging and had splurged on the tasting menu, a delicious array of small plates designed to excite the palate and take the diner on a culinary tour of the sea. So far she was amazed at the combination of flavours and was enjoying the continued celebration that had rolled over from the weekend. That was until she caught a glimpse of white hair from across the room. Oh you have got to be kidding me, of all the bloody restaurants in the whole of New York, Miranda Priestly had to be in this one. Fan-fucking-tastic. She signalled to the waiter and indicated that she wanted another glass of wine. 

Downing a few large mouthfuls of the smooth, crisp white wine, Estelle tried to ignore Miranda’s presence but couldn't help but be drawn in the editor's direction. Every time she sneaked a glimpse where she had been expecting to see two tense diners having an awkward stilted meal she instead saw bright unabashed smiles and casual intimate touches. Andy leaned in as Miranda whispered something in her ear, but the laughter that erupted from painted red lips and the blush that spread over the brunette's neck told Estelle the words were anything but unpleasant. Suddenly Estelle did not feel hungry. She couldn't bear to be witness to this public display of affection which was obviously only to try and dispel the headlines, regardless of if the other occupants of the restaurant seemed to be lapping up this, in her eyes, completely over the top performance. Estelle had had enough. She asked for the bill and settled it quickly. In her haste to leave, she stood up too fast knocking her water glass over. So much for slipping out unnoticed. The restaurant din hushed to a quiet murmur as all eyes were on her. Including a pair of ice blues. She could feel them burning into her back as she weaved through the tables. And of course she had to stumble just as she reached the door. Damn that woman. 

Stepping out into the cool night air Estelle was finally able to breathe again. Taking a few deep lung fulls she attempted to even out her emotions. She was furious with herself for allowing Miranda to ruin what was meant to be a celebration. Thankfully she saw a free cab and flagged it down. At least the end of her evening could be salvaged. Giving her address, she slumped back against the worn seat. She would run herself a bath and use some of those wonderfully scented products she had been sent earlier that day by some client she couldn't recall. Conjuring up the fruity smells of blueberries that had wafted up from the box when she had opened the lid earlier in the office, she began to relax. There was no way Miranda Priestly was going to spoil the end of her night...

Chapter Text

Estelle Walker was having the worst morning, following what had been a truly hideous evening. She had been hoping it was just all a horrible nightmare. Groaning as she looked down, yep still the same. That relaxing bath had turned into anything but. As she had sunk down into the steaming hot bubbly water thoughts of Miranda Priestly ebbed away as fragrant bubbles caressed her pale skin. Then it all went south. Spectacularly. Reaching for a towel, she had noticed that her arm was a funny colour. Having lit some candles to create some kind of deluded ambiance as she bathed, she had initially dismissed her arms’ appearance as a result of shadows. However when she stood in front of the vanity mirror and clicked the harsh overhead light on, she screamed. From the clavicles down she was no longer milky white. She had dropped the towel and braced herself before looking down. Oh my fucking god. She was blue. And patchy blue at that. What the hell? She had scrambled over to the box and looked frantically at the packaging. It was from a reputable brand and as she scanned the instructions for use, she noted that she had done everything correctly. Remove from packaging, crumble under running water, swirl around etc etc. Then why the hell was she bright blue?? The only saving grace was she hasn't washed her face in it. That didn't bear thinking about. She grabbed her robe, hastily left the bathroom and fired up her laptop. There must be a way to get this off? She had finally fallen asleep in the early hours after countless showers and rubbing her skin red raw with all sorts of concoctions which she managed to cobble together with her limited pantry and beauty products. 

After the third shower of the morning and by now smelling strongly of lemon juice and acetone she faced her next hurdle. What the hell was she going to wear? The tide mark on her upper chest had faded a little bit but it was still obvious that she was tinged blue. Flicking through the racks of clothes she quickly ruled out skirts and dresses. Deciding on a simple pair of dark charcoal pants she now had to decide on a top to pair them with. Sighing she reached for a long sleeved black turtleneck. It was her only option. 

Looking in the mirror she assessed that her outfit looked semi ok, albeit like she was about to rob a bank. The only issue now were her hands which were the worst affected. Against the dark material the bright blue stood out like a flashing beacon. She had an important meeting this morning and she couldn't exactly turn up with them on show. Muttering to herself she rifled through a drawer and found the most lightweight leather gloves she owned and pulled them on. Far from ideal but it was this or utter humiliation. And she really needed to bring her A game and make a good impression - this sort of meeting came once in a lifetime. Taking one last look in the mirror she rolled her eyes and headed out the door. She had lost precious time and was now running a little late. She sent up a prayer to the traffic fairies for a smooth and speedy journey. Surely her day couldn't get any worse, right? 

 

*****

 

Miranda’s morning in contrast was off to the most fabulous of starts. On a high from the night before, she had set her alarm extra early and surprised Andrea with an indulgent shower. She had mentally thanked her pilates instructor multiple times that morning as Andrea contorted her in all sorts of positions.  

Drying herself off she saw Andrea slink up behind her, strong arms snaking around her waist as feather light kisses were planted all over her shoulder blades, Andrea’s tongue gently lathing the red scratches her blunt nails had made as a result of Miranda taking her hard and fast against the cool marble wall of the shower stall. 

“Is it wrong that I am not even in the slightest bit sorry about these?” Andy smirked as she looked over Miranda's shoulder and gazed into the clearest blue eyes reflected back at her in the large mirror above the sinks. 

“You're lucky I have no functions this week that require me to wear anything backless,” Miranda groaned as Andrea’s hands traveled upwards to cup her pert breasts, squeaking when her, now hardened, nipples were pinched for good measure. 

“There is something so hot about knowing you will have these underneath your shirt when you walk into Runway this morning,” Andy nipped at Miranda's pulse point, “That every time you lean back in your chair you will feel them, and know exactly where and how they came about. That is incredibly pleasing to me. It's like I will be right there with you. Caressing your skin from a distance."

Miranda shuddered and could feel herself getting obscenely wet. God, what this woman did to her. She had never been in a relationship that made her feel so wanted and sensual. Andrea had unlocked this incredibly open side to her, she felt free and uninhibited. Staring at the reflection of them both, she couldn't help but smile. The days where she would have felt self conscious or shy were long gone. Yes, her body wasn't what it used to be. Her breasts slightly lower, her skin a little less taut and her stomach not as toned, but Andrea had never made her feel anything but desired. She locked eyes with the brunette and smiled as she widened her stance leaving no illusion as to what she wanted. Keeping one hand on a breast she watched as Andrea lowered her other hand to the wet curls at the apex of her thighs. The sight was incredibly erotic and she couldn’t tear her eyes away. Her eyes roamed over her own body, her chest heaving as Andrea’s hand started to move with purpose. It was a unique vantage point and to see the physical effects of her love’s ministrations was mesmerising. A mottled redness started to appear on her neck. She desperately wanted to close her eyes and lean her head back on Andrea’s shoulder but she found herself unable to stop watching. 

“Look at how breath taking you are Miranda,” Andy licked a trail along the underside of Miranda’s jaw, “So wanton and open for me,” Andy moved to Miranda’s ear before whispering “Now all you have to do is keeping watching," Andy purred, "as I fuck you.” 

Miranda moaned, desperately reaching behind her and tangling a hand in Andrea’s wet locks. As the flutterings started in her stomach, and her legs started to tremble, she struggled to keep her eyes open. Her hips started to undulate, faster and faster. When she was beginning to think this pleasure couldn't get any better Andrea started to alternate between pinching and rolling her clit between strong, nimble fingers. Miranda felt hot, thirsty and so god damn alive as she screamed out her climax. It had hit her fast. Andrea had been grinding against her behind and was shaking with pent up desire. Miranda spun around and sunk to her knees, swiftly lifting one of Andrea’s legs over her shoulder. She needed to taste Andrea. Feel Andrea. Bring her lover to an exquisite release. Run her tongue over the wet heat that she had created. And that's exactly what she did. 

As Andy collapsed to the floor in a panting, shaky, radiant mess she wrapped Miranda up in her arms, peppering that beautiful face she loved so much with kiss after kiss. 

“FYI, we are so going to be setting your alarm early every morning from now on.” 

Miranda threw her head back and laughed, a deep throaty sound that made her eyes shine bright. 

“Especially as we need to factor in yet another shower!” Andy joined in with the laughter that rang around their ensuite. 

“I am sure that can be arranged my darling,” Miranda purred earnestly before capturing Andrea’s lips in a gentle kiss. 

 

*****

 

Miranda had breezed into Runway that morning. Another round of positive headlines following last night's last minute outing and she had even received a gorgeous bouquet of flowers from the head chef for dining at his establishment with a delightful hand written note guaranteeing a table whenever she and Andrea wanted. Her meetings were falling into place, the social media accounts that Leslies team were running were garnering followers by the minute, and even Irv was playing nice. Miranda was positively glowing. 

Just as Nigel walked into her office Miranda’s ‘other’ phone pinged. Quickly pulling up the message she gave Nigel a shake of her head as he went to sit down. 

“Change of plan. Let's take this meeting offsite,” she smiled when she saw Nigel’s look of confusion as she waltzed past him. Nothing like an unpredictable Miranda to throw the cat amongst the pigeons. 

“Coat, bag,” she watched as Emily scurried off to retrieve the requested items whilst the ‘other’ Emily quickly sent a text, presumably to Roy. 

“Nigel and I will be out of the office for the next couple of hours,” and with that Miranda sauntered towards the elevator. 

“Where are you going?” Emily whispered to Nigel, who just shrugged, “She has no external meetings in her diary.”

“I have absolutely no idea. Wish me luck!” 

Nigel caught up with Miranda just in time to slip into the elevator before the doors closed. That was close. He didn't want to do anything that would compromise the good mood the editor was clearly in. 

“How are the additional interviews coming along?” Miranda caught Nigels look of sheer disbelief at her ‘small talk’ in the reflection of the highly polished metal opposite them. 

“Erm, good. We should have a final list to show you by tomorrow afternoon at the latest.”

Miranda nodded, “If this morning goes as planned you will have someone rather fabulous to add to what I am sure is an illustrious list.” 

The elevator reached the ground floor, and as soon as the doors opened Miranda swept out, the crowds of workers parting as she made strides across the bustling lobby to the outer doors. Nigel noted that Miranda was buoyant, carefree almost, as he tried in vain to keep up with the editor's fast pace. How she could move at that speed in those heels had always amazed him but today she seemed to glide even more effortlessly. It was a beautiful sight that had left him momentarily rooted to the spot as he watched her cross the sidewalk and slide gracefully into the waiting car. He was quickly snapped out of his reverie by a quiet but direct, “Nigel,” that somehow still managed to carry over the din of the city traffic hitting him with tremendous force.

“Finally, Nigel. Whatever took you so long?” Miranda raised a perfectly sculpted eyebrow at Nigel as he climbed into the back of the car, “I was beginning to think you had got lost, and was debating as to whether or not I should send Roy to go and rescue you.”

Nigel recognised the teasing tone to Miranda’s voice, “I didn't know you cared so much Miranda,” Nigel caught Roy’s eye in the rear view mirror and gave him a subtle wink, “I am touched.”

“Now don't go getting ahead of yourself, my dear,” Miranda sniffed, “I simply didn't want to have to suffer the inconvenience and rigmarole of having to hire a replacement. Especially when my day is going so well.” 

“Oh stop, Miranda,” Nigel made a dramatic flurry with his hand as he wiped a non existent tear away, “Your touching words are making me mist up here.”

Miranda just rolled her eyes and looked out the window. She was so grateful she had someone like Nigel in her life. A confidant that had been by her side through so many trials and tribulations both at work and in her personal life. The fact that he got on with Andrea was just the proverbial icing on the cake. They spent the rest of the journey in comfortable silence, neither feeling the need to punctuate the quiet with inane small talk. It was bliss and something Miranda would try very hard to remember to not to take for granted. People like Nigel didn't come along very often and she was going to hold on to him with both hands. 

 

*****

 

Tippi van Hussen was impatiently drumming her perfectly manicured hand on the pristine table cloth of her favourite table at Pastis. Her arthritic hand, weighed down by priceless rings, each diamond representing a love lost, or, in the majority, spectacularly divorced. Tippi couldn't abide tardiness and at the grand old age of 87 every second wasted was criminal in her eyes. Draining her second espresso she was about to call the waiter over to settle her bill when a lithe figure dressed in a bizarre ensemble of dark clothing and black leather gloves approached her table. A stark contrast to the vintage Chanel, pastel pink tweed skirt suit Tippi was wearing. 

“Mrs van Hussen, Estelle Walker,” Estelle held out a gloved hand towards the old woman who took it limply as she looked her up and down with an air of disgust, “Please accept my sincere apologies for my lateness.”

“Ms Walker,” Tippi was far from impressed with her brunch companion so far, “You are here now. Sit,” she waved a waiter over and requested a fresh jug of water before gesturing at Estelle to give her order. 

“Oh yes, erm,” Estelle looked across the table, “An espresso would be great, thanks,” she was hoping to have at least got a decent breakfast out of this staunch socialite - weren't these types all about mimosa’s before 11am?  

“You're lucky, one more minute and you would have found an empty table,” Tippi eyed the gloves that had yet to be removed. 

Estelle internally cringed. She had pulled some serious favours to get a face to face meeting with the grand dame and so far she was blowing it. Focus, Walker, get your shit together. She knew how these society ladies ticked. Their days spent floating between long, alcohol fuelled brunches, charity luncheons and society dinners. There was always some cause to fundraise for, and Tippi was the person to be in with. If you had Tippi’s seal of approval then doors magically opened to the elite of New York. The connections she had were quite something. The circles she mixed in were legendary - old money, titles, bored rich house wives with more money than sense. Estelle could practically hear the dollar signs. 

“Again, I am really sorry, Tip-” The glare Estelle received at daring to use her first name was enough to make her shrink back in her seat, “Mrs van Hussen. I really do appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day to meet with me.”

“Well, only time will tell if it's to be of benefit to me,” Tippi sat back in her chair, “and I am not holding my breath.”

The waiter placed Estelles espresso in front of her with a flourish, a welcome break in the painfully stilted conversation. So far Tippi was only giving Estelle clipped one word answers and not doing anything to hide the bored sighs. All Estelle needed was the coveted personal invite to the infamous Thursday Club Lunch. It was a key event in any influential socialites diary, and took place on the first Thursday of every month. The rumours of what actually happened at these gatherings were something of an urban myth, but anyone worth knowing coveted the weighty embossed invite, eagerly awaiting it dropping on their mat the week before. 

Estelle needed to win the old woman over. Spying a paper on the neighbouring table gave her an idea. Surely a woman of Tippi’s social standing wouldn't approve of the recent activities of one Miranda Priestly, gallivanting across the city with a girl half her age, photos being splashed all over page six and gossip blogs alike. Surely that ‘lifestyle’ would offend the woman’s delicate sensibilities and christian family values? It was worth a shot. She needed this in that only Tippi could grant. 

“I just can't believe what I have been seeing in the papers this week, can you?” Estelle tested the waters. Noting Tippi’s impassive face she decided to plough on, “With Miranda Priestly. I mean, running around with that swimmer half her age?” Estelle scoffed and sipped her now cold espresso. 

“I can't say I pay much mind to gossip rags,” Tippi had been about to leave. This woman was clearly out for all she could get, the transparency was almost laughable, but the conversation was now getting interesting. In truth she was only entertaining this ridiculous meeting at a request from her grandson's fiancée, Rupert. The dear boy was an absolute darling, and shone in the art world where he was fast becoming a household name as a portrait artist, but he had a seriously bad judgement when it came to business. 

“Frankly, I find it all rather distasteful for a woman of her age. Especially as she holds such an influential position for the young women of today,” Estelle smirked as Tippi raised her eyebrow. Finally she seemed to have found a common ground with the battle axe. 

Tippi couldn't believe her ears. She was aware of how people would perceive her based on her standing in society but what only her closest friends would know is she was one of the most open minded, liberal people you could ever meet. She was a feminist through and through, a champion of the minorities and used her privilege, weath and position to make a difference to those less fortunate than herself. Having married well she was conscious that it came with benefits only few could dream off. She lived an envious lifestyle so she had made it her mission from the very beginning to give the voiceless a platform to be heard. It was all however, very much behind the scenes, millions of dollars being donated anonymously to various projects and charities that helped the disadvantaged, all from the coffers of the van Hussen estate. 

“Distasteful?” Tippi was repulsed by this obnoxious woman, who, Tippi again registered, still hadn’t taken off those darn gloves. 

“Hardly a role model. And to think she has two impressionable daughters,” Estelle was on a roll now, “They would be better off living with their father if you ask me.”  

That was the last straw for Tippi. Just as she was about to unleash hell on Estelle she spotted a familiar head of white hair walk towards their table. Oh this was going to be fun. 

“Miranda, is that Tippi van Hussen? Oh my god, sitting with Estelle??” Nigel squeaked. 

“Oh is it?” Miranda smirked, “what a coincidence.” 

“Coincidence, my Gucci clad arse,” Nigel muttered under his breath as he trailed behind Miranda who was now walking with purpose towards the two women. 

Estelle had her back to the door and saw Tippi break out into a wide smile. Finally, she had cracked the broad. She could already feel the heavy, embossed card in her gloved hand. But then the woman started to stand, as gracefully as her unsteady feet would allow. Huh? And then Estelle heard it. That soft whisper of a voice that now haunted her dreams. 

"Tippi, darling, what a wonderful surprise to bump into you this morning."

"Miranda, my dear," Tippi pulled Miranda in for a strong embrace, her boney arms squeezing her tightly. 

Estelle sat there mouth hanging open as she watched Miranda lean in and kiss the older woman's cheeks, not the fake air kiss she was famed for but a loving, friendly, familiar , touch. Estelle groaned. If she really concentrated she could swear she heard the sound of a heavy steel door slamming as it locked shut, forever cutting her off from a whole realm of connections that would forever remain off limits. Tippi would absolutely make sure of that. 

“How are the preparations going for Sebastian's wedding?” 

“Oh you know how my Grandson is. I swear he has a list just for all the lists he has! And Rupert is no help whatsoever,” Tippi let out a tinkling laugh. 

Estelle had gasped at the mention of Rupert. She had bumped into him at a party a while back and after plying him with enough martinis to sink the most hardened of party animals, she had got him to agree to setting up a meeting with Tippi. Hang on. Sebastian was Tippi’s grandson? But that meant… 

“Ah yes, Rupert's exhibition is opening next week. Andrea and I are so looking forward to it. Let's all go for dinner afterwards, a little pre wedding celebration,” Miranda cooed. 

Tippi had known Miranda long enough to sense that there was clearly a history between the editor and the now squirming woman still sitting at the table she had long since chosen to forget about. 

“Oh what a wonderful idea Miranda, and Nigel you must come along too. It's been too long since you and the boys have got together,” Tippi gave a subtle wink to Nigel and Miranda. She knew how to play the game. 

“I would be delighted to Tippi and you’re right it's been an absolute age!” 

A waiter appeared from nowhere, quietly announcing to Miranda that their table was ready. 

“Fabulous,” Miranda scanned the table Tippi was previously sitting at and noted the distinct lack of food, “Tippi you must come and join us.” 

“Lead the way Miranda,” Tippi took the arm Nigel had offered her, “I am positively famished.”

“Oh, and I think a round or two of Mimosa’s are in order, don't you?” Miranda smirked towards Estelle who had gone very pale. Miranda couldn’t help but wish she could see just how blue the woman was beneath those ridiculous gloves and turtleneck. Even a little glimpse would have sufficed. 

“A Bloody Mary for me,” Nigel grinned at Tippi as Miranda rolled her eyes, “What? It's 12’o’clock somewhere!” 

“Quite right, Nigel,” Tippi patted his arm that was now linked with hers, “Quite right.” 

Estelle waited for the three of them to walk off before she grabbed her bag and fled the restaurant. She couldn't believe that she had managed to fuck up so royally. Within thirty minutes she had essentially black listed herself with both the New York elite and beyond, such was Tippi’s reach. If there was ever a time where she wished she had never got out of bed this was it. 

“Now Miranda,” Tippi took a seat, and watched her previous meeting make a hasty exit, the door banging loudly, “I need you to tell me everything!”

“God, how long do you have?” Miranda sighed dramatically. 

Tippi looked at the slim diamond encrusted Cartier watch that hung off her even slimmer wrist, “Oh I’d say at least three Mimosa’s worth,” causing a loud laugh from both Miranda and Nigel. 

Chapter Text

Miranda was deep in thought as she sat in the back of the town car as it crawled unbearably slowly through the rush hour traffic. Her last meeting of the day had significantly run over and now she was beyond desperate to get home. She knew it wasn't Roy’s fault, he knew all the little short cuts, but even that knowledge was failing her speedy arrival at the town house. The sudden downpour wasn't helping either. Miranda hated the rain. It had a disastrous effect on the hair, the clothes, and the mood. Dark stormy skies swirled overhead. Lightning peeked through the gaps of the highrise buildings that lined the city streets. It matched her current state of mind perfectly. 

Andrea had yet to respond to her text saying she was finally leaving the office and on her way home, albeit at a glacial pace. Caroline and Cassidy had replied almost instantly, but Andrea’s lack of response was bothering her. The brunette had been distant all day. At breakfast she seemed quiet, pensive almost. Miranda had spent the small amount of down time she had in her packed day going over their interactions over the last couple of days and still couldn't fathom why Andrea was acting ‘off’. And that's exactly what it was. Andrea wasn't angry or snapping at her, just not her usual wonderful, vibrant self. Not even forwarding her a photo Scarlet had covertly snapped of Estelle in her office sans the leather gloves, hands still tinged blue, had gleaned anything more than a smiley face emoji. It was most unusual. Sighing as she looked out of the rain blurred window, Miranda contemplated ways to cheer Andrea up and ultimately how to get to the root cause of what was bothering her love.  

“We are finally here, Miranda.” Miranda was so lost in her ideas that she hadn't realised Roy had stopped outside the townhouse. 

“Thank you, Roy,” Miranda peered out the window and breathed a sigh of relief that the deluge of rain had managed to disperse even the most hardy of photographers that had been, up until that morning, still milling around. 

Roy caught Miranda’s eye and nodded before jumping out the car and retrieving the large black umbrella from the trunk of the car. He then opened Miranda’s car door and stepped back slightly, so she could exit the car but be shielded from the still heavy falling rain. 

Once Miranda was safely inside she carefully stepped out of her shoes and listened for the sounds of her family so she knew which room to head first. Soft jazz was floating down the hallway from the kitchen, so that would be her first stop. Miranda shook her mac before draping it over the volute at the bottom of the stairs, her hand running along the smooth dark curved wood as she walked past. 

As she entered the kitchen, Miranda was greeted by a sea of paper, pens, and all sorts of craft materials covering most of the floor in the seating area. Caroline and Cassidy were sprawled on the floor completely immersed in a particular piece of colourfully annotated A3 paper and had yet to register her presence. 

“Hello Bobbseys,” Miranda quietly walked over to join her girls. 

“Mum! You're home!” Caroline jumped up to give Miranda a hug. 

“Indeed I am,” Miranda sighed and pressed a kiss to the top of Carolines head, “and I am sorry I missed dinner, darlings.” 

“It's ok, we know how your work gets,” Caroline shrugged as she looked up at her mum, noting the tiredness in her face, “Charlotte left a plate for you in the oven.”

“Thank you, darling,” Miranda crouched down, centering her weight through the balls of her feet, and rubbed Cassidy’s back as she remained engrossed in what she was writing down. “What's all this then?” Miranda surveyed the notes, picking up a beautifully drawn picture which clearly had Caroline's distinct style all over it. 

“We have been working on themes and ideas for the fundraiser,” Cassidy put the lid on her pen and sat up, eager to show her mum what they had been up to. 

“You have both been busy. Why don't you talk me through some of your ideas,” Miranda was grateful that she had chosen a pair of pants that morning as she folded her legs into the lotus position and got as comfy as she could be sitting on the floor. 

“Seriously? You want to hear them all?” Caroline asked, her voice heavily laden with scepticism. 

“Seriously,” Miranda nodded in encouragement, “This all looks very interesting and creative.” 

“Well, we had a look at themes, you know for like the invitations and decor and stuff and put together a mood board,” Cassidy retrieved one of the larger pieces of paper which they had stuck to some foamboard. It had inspirational pictures cut out from magazines, little sketches and mood evoking words, all with arrows linking them together in a very professional and cohesive manner. It was very well put together and wouldn't have looked out of place within a Runway new issue brainstorm. Miranda felt pride bubbling up as she beamed at her daughters. 

“We started by listing previous Runway events and other big parties which helped us rule out lots of themes. I mean, who wants to go to another black and white party or masked ball?” Caroline rolled her eyes in a move that was so much like Miranda. 

“Quite right, Caroline,” Miranda snorted, “So tell me why you chose this particular colour palette?” Miranda was curious to understand her daughters’ thought process which had led them to what she was now evaluating, and just because they were her offspring she wasn't going to let them off lightly. 

“Did you ever look into the origins behind the name of Grams’ camp?” Caroline smiled as Miranda silently shook her head. 

“Neither had we. So we googled it and it's really cool!” Cassidy began rifling through the papers on the floor, clearly looking for something specific. “Aha! Here, look at this,” Cassidy handed Miranda a print out. 

“According to this, Tethys was a Titan goddess of all the freshwater on earth?” Miranda questioned her girls who eagerly nodded in confirmation. 

“Yes, and all the chalets are named after nymphs!” Cassidy took the print out back from her mum and began reading out loud, “So the chalet we were in, Oceandies, were three thousand fresh water nymphs, daughters of Oceanus and Tethys and they presided over all the freshwater on earth and were separated into three groups - Naiads who were the spring, fountain, river, lake nymphs. Aurai who were the breeze nymphs and Nephelai who were the cloud and rain nymphs,” Cassidy finished reading, sitting back proudly. 

“We called Grams and she confirmed everything. So that's the inspiration behind all of this,” Caroline waved a hand towards the mood board. 

Miranda looked at the board again and was stunned by the attention to detail. It had a water theme, but not the typically obvious blues and underwater vibe that most would have gone for. Instead it was like she was being transported straight back to Camp. She could almost feel the sun beating down on her skin and the smell of pine trees permeating crisp fresh air. 

“It's just perfect, girls,” Miranda was excited to see her daughters’ vision come to life, “How would you feel about presenting this to the Runway team?” 

“You think it's good enough?” Caroline was a little nervous. It was one thing showing their mum whilst sitting on the floor of their kitchen, but presenting it to Nigel, Emily and the Runway Event Team was huge. 

“When have I ever said something I don't mean?” Miranda had been seriously impressed, and the level of research they had put into everything was quite remarkable. She watched the girls do their silent communication and awaited for the answer she already knew was coming. 

"Then yes, we would be honoured to,” Caroline said with an air of confidence that was well beyond her thirteen years. 

“We won't let you down,” Cassidy threw herself at her mum, “This is going to be the best event Runway has ever seen!” 

“I am sure it will be,” Miranda smiled, “One question I do have though is what made you decide on this concept? The camp I mean.” 

"We wanted to choose something that meant a lot to us. As a family. Camp Tethys was where we met Andy and our lives changed forever. It felt like the most obvious starting point to build the theme around,” Caroline practically whispered. 

Miranda was speechless. Tears stung her eyes as she processed the reasoning behind Caroline’s and Cassidy’s idea. Blinking them back she couldn't believe that she had somehow, despite all the late nights working and missed dinners, still managed to raise such wonderfully thoughtful, creative and talented children. 

“Thank you girls,” Miranda scooped both redheads up in her arms and held them tightly, “Your input is going to make this an even more memorable and special evening.”

“It's going to be really exciting. We were looking at entertainment and ideas for decor and Andy said she has some friends who are synchronised swimmers and do mini shows and performances at parties.”

“Cassidy, I admire your creativity but I don't think we can get a purpose built swimming pool in any of the venues I have shortlisted,” Miranda laughed. 

“Ah but mum, that's where you are wrong,” Cassidy tapped away on her laptop, pulled up a website, and clicked a video before angling it so Miranda could see the screen clearly, “They use these vintage looking mini tanks that are portable.”

“We thought we could dress them so they look like water nymphs,” Caroline added. 

“In that case I think they will look stunning and make for a very interesting talking point. I am very impressed by what you have achieved, girls.” 

The wide smiles that Miranda received in response warmed her heart. 

“Yeah, Andy said you would love it!” Cassidy squealed in delight. 

“Where is Andrea? I thought she would have come down by now,” Miranda sniffed, it was very un-Andrea to not come and say hello. 

“She said she wasn't hungry and went up stairs a couple of hours ago,” Caroline shrugged and went back to working on a sketch. 

“Oh, I see,” Miranda had a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach, “I am going to go and find her. Are you two ok for a while?” 

She got a joint thumbs up, and with that she swept out the room and headed up the stairs. The fact that Andrea had not eaten dinner was a worrying sign. The brunette had a healthy appetite for practically everything, but especially food. 

After not finding Andrea in the den, or her study she quickly made her way to their bedroom. Empty. The lights were off, and had she not tripped over Andrea’s jeans that had been discarded in a pile on the floor by the door to their ensuite, she would have believed the brunette had not been in this room at all. 

Stepping back out onto the landing she saw that one of the guest room doors was ajar and as she approached she heard a faint sob. Tapping gingerly on the door frame, Miranda slowly opened the door fully and scanned the dark room. As her eyes adjusted to the dim light she saw the silhouette of Andrea sitting on the window seat, her arms wrapped around her knees and hugging Mr Ted. 

Letting out a little cough, Miranda announced her presence. The small sound seemed so loud as it reverberated around the otherwise silent room, startling the brunette to attention. 

“Oh, hi Miranda,” Andrea quickly wiped at an errant tear, “I didn't realise you were back already.” 

“Hello Darling,” Miranda slowly walked towards Andrea, “I haven't been home long but then the girls were talking me through their concept for the fundraiser. It's all looking rather fabulous.” 

“Yeah, they have come up with some really neat ideas,” Andy sighed and continued looking out the window, “They have been working on it since they got home from school.”

“I am not surprised it looked so detailed then if they have been working on it for nearly five hours,” Miranda let out a little laugh which she quickly swallowed when she saw the look of alarm distort Andrea’s face. 

“Oh god! They haven't had dinner or anything,” Andy quickly unfolded her legs and jumped up, looking at her watch, “I really lost track of time. Are they ok??”

Miranda watched as Andrea started to spiral, panic widening her eyes. “Andrea,” Miranda reached out and rubbed the top of her arm, before enveloping her in a hug, “Darling, it's ok,” Miranda cooed softly in the silky brown hair, “They are ok. However you are not. Come on, let's head back to our room so I can change into something more comfortable and we can talk.”

Miranda felt Andrea nod into her chest and mumble a quiet “OK.”

Taking her hand, Miranda led Andrea out the door and back across the landing. She made sure Andrea was comfortably settled against a pile of pillows she had quickly stacked up in front of the headboard before she started on getting changed. 

Looking over her shoulder Miranda could see unshed tears gathering in Andrea’s eyes. What on earth had happened to make her darling so unhappy? Miranda felt a bout of nausea roll through her stomach. Feeling uneasy she quickly slipped out of her work clothes, shedding them unceremoniously where she stood and pulled on a pair of grey cashmere lounge pants and matching jumper. She ran her fingers through her hair and shook out the morning application of Ellnet. Taking a deep breath she went and joined Andrea on the bed. 

“What's going on in that beautiful head of yours Andrea?” Miranda picked up one of Andrea’s sock clad feet and started massaging it. 

“I just can't do this anymore,” Andrea whispered, her voice sounding distant, “I have been thinking about this for the last couple of days, going over and over it, but everytime I come back to the same two answers. It's not working and I need more.”

Miranda felt like she had been punched in the gut. All the air instantly sucked out of her lungs. Her mouth instantly went dry. What the hell did Andrea just say? 

“I-I see,” Miranda let go of Andrea’s foot like it was a hot rock. She needed air. Space. I guess this was inevitable. If she was honest with herself she had pushed her luck keeping Andrea with her this long. But hearing Andrea say it. Feeling the effect of those words hurt. It really fucking hurt. Within seconds Miranda had crossed the bedroom and had flung the window open. Rain be damned. Bracing her hands on the open frame she leaned out and took a deep shuddering breath. The cold night air burned at her lungs. The heavy rain stung her face, instantly blending with the silent tears that were now freely falling down mascara streaked cheeks. So this is how it ends. The Dragon has finally scared off her doe. As she tried and failed to calm herself Miranda felt something warm on her back. 

“Miranda? My love, whatever are you doing?” Andrea’s voice was soft, and full of love. But that couldn't be right? Miranda was confused, Andrea was leaving. Wasn't she? 

“Come back inside. You're getting soaked Miranda.” That singular warm feeling that Miranda now recognised as Andrea’s hand, now turned into two points of warmth, firmly tugging her away from the window. Shrugging off the touch Miranda pushed passed the brunette and stormed into the ensuite, slamming the door shut behind her. 

Andy stood there confused, unable to work out why the hell Miranda had reacted like that. Staring at the closed door, she couldn't fathom what would have spurred Miranda into responding so emotionally to what she had said. Running back over what had just happened she suddenly went cold. Oh fuck. Sachs, you absolute idiot. How could she have been so unbelievably stupid? Running to the still closed door Andy knocked on it frantically. 

“Miranda, can I come in?” Andy tried the door handle but it was locked. Damn it. “Miranda, please. I am so sorry. There has been a hideous misunderstanding!” Andy heard the shower turn on. She wanted to scream in frustration at her own idiocy. She had majorly fucked up.

Slumping down hard on the bed, all she could do was wait. And wait she did. Miranda seemed to be having the longest shower in history but finally Andy heard the door snick open. The smells of Miranda’s unique mix of products hit her nostrils and made her stomach tighten. Andy braced herself and looked up into tear swollen, make up free eyes. Miranda’s wet hair was slicked back from her bare face. She looked so small and vulnerable and Andy felt horrendous that she was the cause of this. 

“Miranda, I am so so sorry,” Andy winced at the daggers that Miranda threw at her. It was nothing she didn’t deserve. “I really didn’t mean for what I said to come out like it did. There has been a huge misunderstanding,” Andy pleaded.

“And just how did you intend to have this conversation, Andrea ? Take me out to dinner, and casually drop it into conversation between courses?” Miranda snarled.

“No! I wasn't talking about us!” Andy was really beginning to worry she couldn't rectify this. Miranda was in full on dragon mode. Another foot wrong and she would be incinerated beyond recognition. 

“Tell me how I have misinterpreted what you said? I know I am old ,” Miranda hissed, “but my hearing is working just fine.”

“All I ask is you give me five minutes to make this right, Miranda? Please?” 

“I will give you three, so I suggest you use them wisely,” Miranda huffed and tightened the belt on her grey robe tighter around her waist, before sitting stiffly on the far edge of the loveseat.

Miranda watched as Andrea started to pace around the room, muttering under her breath. She had got all her tears out in the shower, and she was damned if she was going to breakdown now. Keeping her mask firmly in place she swallowed down the pain of her shattered heart. 

“Well?” 

“So, here’s the thing,” Andy ran a shaky hand through her hair, “when I said that before, I was not in any way referring to us,” Andy sank down on her knees in front of Miranda. “What we have, you and me, is beyond anything I could have ever imagined or wished for. You are everything to me, Miranda,” Andy wiped her eyes, “Everything.”

“But, I-” Miranda felt a finger on her lips. 

“I think I have about one minute left and I want to make it count,” Andy let out a watery laugh before continuing, “I received my first training schedule to begin prep for the World Championships via email a few days ago and I didnt care. I took one look at it and all I wanted to do was delete it. The time since the shoot and everything that's happened has made me realise that swimming is no longer what makes my heart sing. There was a time where I lived, breathed, slept, training sessions and meets. It was all I thought about. My one focus, goal, dream. There was a time when that was ok but now I want more from my life. I am thinking, actually no, I have decided, that I want to retire.”

“You should have started with that,” Miranda’s voice was back to the soft silky tone that made Andy’s knees weak. The sheer relief visible across her face. 

“I know. I have spent the last few days completely over analysing everything that I kind of forgot to share that crucial first bit with you and launched straight into the end bit which when I look back was not my finest, or smartest moment. At least I can readily admit that I am a first class idiot,” Andy looked up and gave Miranda a shy smile.

“But you are my first class idiot,” Miranda bluntly stated. 

“Promise?” 

“Promise,” Miranda held her arms out to welcome Andrea into an embrace.

“I really am sorry Miranda,” Andy climbed onto Miranda’s lap, straddling her thighs. 

“In future, just please ensure you never start a conversation like that again,” Miranda, sighed as she felt Andrea nuzzle at her neck, “my old ticker can't cope with being shattered like that again.”

“Ok so, one, I will never, ever do anything like that intentionally. I think we both know there will be heaps more times I totally mess up,” Andy laughed as she saw Miranda’s eyes comically widen, “and two, that's twice you have referred to yourself as old and that's just not on. Don't you know the golden rule?”

Miranda shook her head, “No, but I am sure you are about to tell me?”

“You are only as old as the woman you feel…” Andy snorted at Miranda’s eye roll, before placing the editor's hands on her hips. 

“Well, in that case I think we need to put this golden rule into practice don't you?”

Andy nodded enthusiastically and just as she leant in to capture Miranda's lips her stomach rumbled so loudly neither could ignore it. 

Miranda raised an eyebrow and Andy shrugged, "I, erm, may have skipped lunch as well as missing dinner." 

"Come on you, let's get some food in you before you waste away. I want you fighting fit for later."

Andy entwined their fingers and held on to Miranda's hand like a life line. She pulled them to a stop just as Miranda was about to head down the stairs. 

"I really am truly sorry, my love. Are we OK?" 

"Darling," Miranda spun around to face Andrea, "I have already accepted your apology, and I perhaps shouldn't have reacted so dramatically, and we still have a lot to talk about, but yes, we are more than OK," Miranda placed a chaste kiss on Andrea's full lips. 

Andy nodded and squeezed their still joined hands. As they walked down the stairs Andy started to giggle. She had remembered what was sitting proudly on the counter top in the kitchen. 

"Charlotte made a double batch of Patricia's favourite dog treats this afternoon, but couldn't find the cut out that's shaped like a bone so had to make do with the heart one instead," Andy smiled a wide, bright smile. 

"As much as our furry beast has very particular tastes I don't think they extend to the shape of her biscuits," Miranda snorted as she turned the low set oven fully off. 

"That is indeed correct, we have had to hide them on a top shelf in the pantry," Andy slid a beautifully wrapped box across the counter towards Miranda. 

"What's this?" Miranda went to open it but was quickly stopped by a pajama-clad Cassidy who had just joined them in the kitchen. Caroline hot on her heels. 

"The girls were feeling very charitable and thought the second batch of Patricia's delectable doggy treats could be put to good use," Andy nodded towards the box encouraging Miranda to look at the gift tag. 

The loud eruption of laughter that rang around the kitchen as the penny dropped was wonderful. There were still big, potentially life changing conversations to have but Miranda wasn't concerned anymore. All was right once again in the Priestly - Sachs household. 

As the girls and Andrea shared high fives Miranda reached into her bag and pulled out her phone, firing off a text that would, all being well, deliver a much needed surprise for her Andrea the following day. She then picked up her 'other' phone and began typing out a message to Scarlet telling her to avoid a certain heart shaped biscuit when she got to the office in the morning… 

Chapter Text

Andy was up and out before the Priestlys had even stirred. She had spent most of the night tossing and turning after her big retirement reveal to Miranda. They had spoken briefly about it and Miranda had reassured her that whatever she wanted to do she would support her completely. Although she had finally made the decision to finish competitive swimming, and had decided the World Championships would be her swan song as it were, she still had absolutely no idea what she actually wanted to do after that. The last couple of days kicking about the townhouse had only reinforced the notion that she would not do well being a lady of leisure - a kept woman she would not be! 

Reluctantly untangling herself from Miranda's sleepy embrace, she carefully placed a kiss on her unfurrowed brow and slipped out from beneath the covers. She couldn't help but smile as Miranda seemed to pout in her sleep at the loss of the warm body she had moments ago been wrapped around. With a little huff, Andy then watched Miranda grab hold of Andy’s pillow and clutch it to her chest. Andy swore she saw Miranda smile but then the little snores indicated Miranda was back in a deep slumber. Andy chuckled at the thought of how the world would tilt on its axis if it ever came out that Miranda Priestly was one of the biggest cuddlers going. Like hell she was going to ever let that slip. These moments with her Miranda were the most precious and she wouldn't share them with anyone. 

Pulling on some sweats and a vest top she grabbed her swim bag and tip toed out the bedroom. As she walked down the hall towards the stairs she glanced at the photographs of her and the twins. She wanted to do something that made a difference. That would make her girls, and Miranda proud. But what was that? She didn't have a bloody clue. 

 

*****

 

Miranda stretched as she came to after a blissful night's sleep. She vaguely remembered a kiss to her forehead and Andrea leaving, and as she cracked an eye open, the empty bed confirmed it hadn't been a dream. Sighing she hauled herself out of bed and started her morning pilates routine before jumping in the shower. 

It came as no surprise that without a deliciously distracting brunette she was ready in record time and forty five minutes later a perfectly put together Miranda Priestly swept into the kitchen, to suddenly find herself playing referee in a very heated debate about which movie would be watched at family movie night. 

“But we watched your choice last week, Caro, so it's my turn to pick!” Miranda could tell by the whine to Cassidy’s voice that this had been going on a while and her sister was clearly not budging. 

“I don't care. Your choices are always so lame. I am so bored with stupid action movies,” Caroline stated, in a cool clipped voice. 

“Muuuuuuuuum, will you please tell her it's my turn!” Cassidy pouted. 

“Cassidy, whining will never get you anywhere,” Miranda held a finger up in the air as Cassidy went to open her mouth to continue her protest, “But, it is your turn to choose.”

Caroline rolled her eyes as Cassidy sat back looking smug and triumphant. 

“Gloating is unbecoming, Cassidy. Although it really doesn't matter as there will be no movie night this evening,” Miranda winced as both her girls started talking over each other demanding to know why, and how unfair it was that she had suddenly canceled it. 

Ignoring their combined efforts to convince her to change her mind, Miranda continued to fix her first coffee of the day just as Charlotte walked into the kitchen. 

“Is everything ready for the arrival, Charlotte?”

“It will be, Miranda. I will do a grocery shop once the ‘surprise’ has arrived,” Charlotte winked at Miranda as the twins gasped. 

“Surprise?” Cassidy squeaked. 

“Technically it's for Andrea," Miranda replied with a smile, "but I am sure you will enjoy it just as much,” Miranda looked over at her daughters who now looked so excited. The cancelled movie night was soon long forgotten. 

 

*****

 

Taking out his Mont Blanc from his inside breast pocket, Nigel put a bold, black line through another name on an ever shrinking list. The young designer had some pieces that could, given a lot of guidance and hand holding, have potentially worked for someone who wasn't Miranda Priestly. It was such a shame as he had shown such promise with the sketches Nigel had previously seen, and the sample dresses had an interesting silhouette, but sadly everything had gone downhill from the very moment Miranda had sat down on the overstuffed chaise longue. 

Nigel was used to being in Miranda's orbit, dealing with her sighs and pursed lips. Over the years he had been witness to many disastrous designer previews but this one had been beyond painful. The pieces the designer had selected to show Miranda were unoriginal and the colour palette predictable, bordering on gaudy. As model after model came out he feared Miranda’s eyes would get lost in the back of her head the amount of times they had rolled. The last straw had been when a model came shuffling, literally shuffling, out from behind the screen in what could only be described as an interpretation of a mermaid tail which had severely compromised the poor girl’s movement. How she did not fall over was anyone's guess. Miranda took one look at it, took a deep inhale of breath through her nose, slipped her sunglasses on, and left, not even waiting to see if Nigel was following. He had remained sitting there, momentarily stunned. Never had she walked out without so much as a parting scathing remark. The silence was bad. Very bad. Shaking his head towards the expectant designer, who for some unknown reason still thought he was in with a chance given the eagerness in his eyes, he scurried out to find Miranda. 

“Well that was the most uninspiring collection I have seen in a long time,” Miranda huffed as she looked out the window of the town car, “Honestly Nigel. Where is all the talent in this god forsaken city?”

“I am disappointed and slightly shocked that he wasn't ready,” Nigel shook his head and removed his glasses as he rubbed his eyes, “Such a wasted opportunity.”

“Since when did it become a thing to have a collection that is just barely passable? I want to be knocked off my heels. Blown away by fresh ideas. Not shocked into silence by a pathetic attempt at evening wear I wouldn't even line Patricia's dog bed with. Am I reaching for the stars?” 

“I really didn't know where to look when that last gown, if you can even call it that, came out,” Nigel snorted. 

“Oh god, don't remind me. That monstrosity was an absolute abomination. I swear I felt my retinas burning,” Miranda grimaced, “I should never have taken my sunglasses off.”

Nigel looked down his list and smiled with relief, “The last stop should be a winner.”

“Hmmm, well I will dare to hope. God knows I live on it.”

The heavens then opened. Miranda prayed this wasn't a sign of things to come.

 

***** 

 

Everyone has that one place where they come up with the best ideas. For most people it is the shower. That section of time before the day gets started, where your mind is clear and all the uninterrupted thoughts come flooding in as the water cascades over you. That moment when you can finally win that argument that doesn’t go your way or come up with a brilliant life changing invention. 

For Andy this place was the pool. Well it had been up until now. As she powered through the water, nothing was happening. She focused on blocking out every unnecessary thought bar the one she wanted to delve into but with every stroke that cut through the water, her mind drew a blank. She had lost count of the laps she had already done. Her shoulders were burning from endlessly swimming alternate lengths of fly and breaststroke but she couldn't stop. Not until her jumbled thoughts started to make sense. 

Reaching the end of the pool she decided to switch to freestyle so did a tumble turn and pushed hard off the wall, her strong legs doing a deep butterfly kick until her head broke the surface and switched to a flutter kick. Every fourth arm stroke Andy barely turned her head to breathe. Stroke, stroke, stroke, stroke, breathe and repeat. The rhythm was hypnotic and calming but still not helping. Another ten laps and Andy stopped. It was no good. Ripping off her goggles and swimming cap, she dipped back under the water before jumping out the pool. Maybe she would try the shower, it worked for everyone else…

 

*****

 

Miranda left the last show room feeling exhilarated. The last gown she had seen was exquisite and would be absolutely perfect on her Andrea. The crowning glory was the fact that there was an accompanying piece for her. It had been unexpected but it had rendered her speechless. They would look glorious together. 

When she had told Nigel that she wanted to find a new relatively undiscovered designer to dress Andrea for the Fundraiser she knew she had been taking a risk but she wanted to embrace the message and theme of why they were doing all this in the first place. To give those that didn't have a platform a chance to shine. And with her seal of approval the House of Saffron Dubois was about to go stratospheric. 

"Happy now?" Nigel peered over his glasses as Roy drove them back to Runway. 

"Ecstatic," Miranda purred, "Oh what a find, Nigel." 

Nigel had watched Miranda's eyes light up as each new piece had come out. He hadn't seen her this captivated in a long time. Saffron had blown them both out the water. He knew instantly this girl was going places when he had seen the initial sketches she had sent over to him, but what she had managed to produce in such a short space of time was quite the feat. Each piece was carefully and thoughtfully put together. The design was to enhance the wearer's body and whilst it had encapsulated Miranda's exacting brief to the letter, it still had the essence of Saffron Dubois running through it. The draping and cut was whimsical but not costumey, the fabric choices sublime, and would let the woman wearing it shine. Oh it was wonderful, he rubbed his hands together in glee. 

As the car continued to make its way through the traffic, Roy took a shortcut and the road freed up a bit. The rain had stopped but there were large pools of water gathered between the street and the kerb where the deluge had yet to complete its journey to the storm drains. 

He spotted a vaguely familiar figure walking briskly down the road and made a split decision. If he timed it perfectly he would be able to…

Roy heard the whoosh of water rise up in a wave as it met the car's wheels and drenched the woman on the path. 

"Whilst I wouldn't normally condone that sort of behaviour Roy," Miranda's cool voice floated from the back seat, "I think that landed rather perfectly." 

Roy caught Miranda's eye in the rear view mirror and smirked at his boss. 

"I was avoiding a pothole, Miranda," Roy shrugged, "It couldn't be helped." 

Nigel whipped his head around and peered through the back window to see a drenched Estelle Walker waving her arms around in pure fury. Oh this day was just getting better and better. 

 

*****

 

The shower hadn’t helped, and Andy was feeling more confused than ever. She had thought that once she had made the decision to retire the rest would be easy. How wrong she was. As she left the members’ club her head was down and she was lost in her own thoughts. Not looking where she was going, she walked straight into someone. The heat of hot coffee down her front was immediate. Great. This day sucked big time. 

"Oh my god, I am so sorry!" Andy looked up expecting to see an irritated face but instead saw a warm smile. 

"Don't worry about it. I think we were both in our own little worlds," the woman shook her jacket off a bit and assessed the damage on Andy. 

"It was totally my fault, I wasn't looking where I was going and now we are both covered in coffee!" Andy gave a shy smile. 

"No lasting damage, although I will need to get a new drink." 

"Let me buy you one, it's the least I can do?" Andy offered. 

"It's Andy isn't it? You run the Tiny Tots swim class?" 

"Yeah that's me. Sorry, do I know you?" Andy was trying to place the honey blonde but was coming up empty. 

"Oh no, well not yet anyway. I was actually on my way in to sign up my little one for your class," the woman held out her hand, "Rebecca." 

"Nice to meet you Rebecca," Andy took the proffered hand, "Come on. Let's get you that coffee." 

"Lead the way…" 

 

*****

 

Andy had ended up spending a few hours chatting to Rebecca. It had been a very welcome distraction. Rebecca was funny, and charming, and it had been a pleasant way to while away the morning. She had left the coffee shop with a new friend. But now she was back to thinking about her future. Sitting at Miranda's desk, chewing the end of a pen, crumpled up bits of paper littering the floor around her feet, she was still no closer to making a decision. She knew she didn't have to find the answers straight away but it was frustrating her to no end that she couldn't even settle on one idea. Looking at the time, and knowing Miranda was busy all afternoon she sighed. Maybe she would call her Grams instead because she always knew the right things to say. 

Just as she reached for her phone she heard the doorbell go. Hearing Charlotte downstairs, she peered over the bannister and listened out for voices. Her heart swelled as she heard a familiar tone. No way! 

Running down the stairs she skidded to a stop in the hallway and couldn't believe her eyes! 

"Grams!" Andy ran up to her and practically jumped into the outstretched arms. 

"Now that's a greeting and a half!" Josie pulled her granddaughter into a tight hug, "Now, can I come in and shut the door?" Josie chuckled. 

"Yeah, sorry, come in," Andy giggled as she stepped aside so Josie could come further into the hallway, "I am just so excited to see you!" 

"I can see that, honey. Now, I want the grand tour and then you can fill me in on what's been happening." 

 

*****

 

With Josie settled in one of the guest rooms, they were now sitting around the breakfast bar, catching up. Charlotte was busy making a pitcher of iced tea as the girls were due back from school any minute. 

"I still can't believe you're here, Grams," Andy beamed, "It's just so wonderful to have you sitting here in my kitchen." 

"You have Miranda to thank for that," Josie gave a wink to Charlotte which didn't go unnoticed by Andy. 

"You knew?" Andy spun around and stared at Charlotte who feigned innocence, "And here was me thinking we were friends," Andy gave a faux pout. 

"Oh suck it up Sachs. As if I would let slip and ruin a 'Priestly Surprise'. I value my life!" 

"Touché," Andy snorted, "Well it's the most perfect surprise ever! The girls are going to be so made up." Just as Andy finished her sentence the front door banged open, "Speak of the tiny devils!" 

"Andyyyyyyy! We're home!" Cassidy shouted from the hallway, "Is our, I mean, your surprise here yet??" 

"Why don't you come into the kitchen and see for yourselves," Andy leant over to her Grams, "I would cover your ears right, about, now!" 

"Grams!!!!!!" The squeals from both girls were deafening and filled the kitchen. Andy stood up and smiled as she watched three of her favourite people in the whole world embrace each other. There was just one person that was missing, that would have made this moment perfect. 

Andy knew she wouldn't get a look in for a while as the girls talked a mile a minute wanting to catch up their Grams with everything that had happened since they had last seen each other. Watching as they each took one of Josie's hands and dragged her out the room, she sat back down with a happy sigh. 

"I have never seen them like that with anyone," Charlotte mused as she took a seat next to Andy. 

"Yeah, they have formed quite the bond. Grams dotes on them, and as you just saw the feeling is completely mutual.” Andy thought back to a moment before she had even moved into the townhouse that had forever been burned to her heart. 

With Miranda at a work dinner, Andy and the girls were ensconced in a pillow fort in the den halfway through one of the Harry Potter movies when Cassidy and Caroline started doing the 'twin thing'. After a lot of nudging from Caroline to Cassidy, the redhead cleared her throat. 

"Andy, you know your grams?" 

"I sure do," Andy chuckled, 

"Do you think, erm, she would mind if we called her Grams too?" 

Andy was momentarily rendered speechless. That was not what she thought they were going to say. Her heart clenched and her eyes instantly filled with tears of happiness. 

"I, I am sure she would absolutely love that, Cass," Andy sniffed. 

"Can we call her and ask?" Cassidy held out her hand, gesturing for Andy's phone. 

"Right now?" Andy squeaked. 

"Why not?" Caroline retorted. 

And that had been that. Her perfect little family. Andy was shaken from her trip down memory lane by the sound of the front door shutting, and heels clicking with purpose down the hallway. Miranda. 

"Honey, I'm home," Miranda drawled as she entered the kitchen in all her majestic splendour. Andy had thought it hilarious when she had likened them to a 1950s married couple, Miranda coming home in her power suit to be greeted by her 'little house wife' waiting patiently with a G&T. The day Andy had done that exact thing, wearing nothing but an apron, had led to a very pleasurable evening indeed… 

"Hey you," Andy stepped into Miranda's space and kissed her, "How was your day?" 

"Started off miserably but progressed to being rather fruitful," Miranda kissed Andy back, wanting to deepen it but aware of Charlotte's presence in the room. 

"You didn't get caught in the rain storm did you?" 

"I didn't," Miranda's eyes widened in mischievous mirth, "but our dear friend Ms Walker didn't fare so well." 

"There's clearly a story there. You can fill me in later," Andy shook her head as she reluctantly let go of Miranda so she could take her jacket off. 

"Iced tea?" Charlotte waved a highball in Miranda's direction, who raised a questioning eyebrow, "of the Long Island variety." 

Not even waiting for an answer, Charlotte filled the glass and handed it to Miranda. 

"Hmmm, perfection," Miranda took another long sip, "Thank you, Charlotte."

"Now," Miranda looked around the room, "I take it your 'surprise' is settled and has already been commandeered by the girls?" 

Andy nodded enthusiastically, "They dragged her off upstairs, no doubt showing her the mood boards for the party." 

"Excellent," Miranda came up behind Andrea and leant over her shoulder, "So good surprise?" 

"The best," Andy shivered as she felt Miranda's lips ghost her neck, "As are you my love." 

"What have you been up to?" Miranda sat down next to Andrea, "I missed you this morning." 

"I know, and I am sorry. I had a rather restless night's sleep and didn't want to wake you, so I headed to the pool to clear my head."

"And did it work?" 

"Nope," Andy sighed, "but I am going to spend some time talking through things with Grams tomorrow." 

"Oh, OK," Miranda started to fidget, "I will take the girls somewhere then. Give you two some space." 

"What? No! Miranda, my love, this involves you too," Andy was shocked to think that Miranda thought she wouldn't be part of these conversations. 

"You want me there?" Miranda was a little unsure and annoyed at her nervousness, "I don’t want to intrude on your time with Josie." 

"Don't be silly. Of course I want you there as well!" Andy wrapped an arm around Miranda's waist pulling her closer, "Between the three of us I am sure we can come up with a plan." 

Feeling a little more content and kicking herself for letting doubts creep in, Miranda leant in to Andrea's side. 

"What else have you been up to today?" 

"Not much but I did make a new frie-" Andy was stopped mid sentence by a furious looking Caroline who had just stomped into the kitchen. 

"Andy, who is this ?" Caroline thrust her ipad towards Andy but Miranda intercepted. The happy mood of moments’ ago suddenly disappeared. The icy glare on Miranda's face made Andy shiver. And this time, not in a good way. 

Miranda scanned the article and accompanying pictures, and she felt her blood run cold. 

Trouble in paradise already? Andy Sachs spotted this morning looking very cosy with a mystery blonde as they shared intimate touches over coffee and pastries… 

“It's not what it looks like!” Andy couldn't believe how something so innocent had been so misconstrued. Alright the pictures didn't look great, and along with that ridiculous article made it look even worse, but she hadn't done anything wrong. 

Charlotte looked over at Josie, and gestured with a sharp nod towards the door. 

"Right come on girls," Josie navigated them out the room by their shoulders with Charlotte right behind them, "Let's take Patricia out for a walk." 

"Miranda, seriously you can't believe that gossip site?" 

"Pictures speak a thousand words, Andrea ," Miranda stood and walked towards the sink to rinse her now drained glass. She needed something to distract her from spewing the hateful words that were rushing through her mind, "And there appears to be a whole array of them to choose from."

Chapter Text

Miranda knew she was being ridiculous. Of course it was innocent. And Andrea would confirm this, in that she was absolutely resolute. But seeing Andrea, her Andrea, hug another woman, touch another woman, made all her little insecurities and hateful words that her overthinking mind would berate herself with on a frequent basis come crashing in. Old. Unloving. Cold. Frigid. 

It was funny. Towards the end of her marriage to the last Mr Priestly, photos of him would appear almost weekly, wrapped around some twenty something who hung on his arm with the promise of something in addition to the designer dress and slap up meal. And that hadn't bothered her in the slightest. Of course it was a troublesome nuisance and only fuelled the headlines that she was indeed old, unloving, cold, frigid - of course her husband would have to look elsewhere if he wasn't getting any at home. But contrary to popular belief she didn't care on a personal level. There was no love to be lost. No all consuming, heart stopping, breath taking love that she had with Andrea. And that was the difference. That was why she now felt her heart constrict, and her lungs suddenly devoid of breath. Love. Miranda, however, was not going to allow her own faults and crippling self doubt ruin the first honest, meaningful, fulfilling relationship she had ever had. To ruin it would be unthinkable as she knew it was the only thing, outside of her daughters', that had the power to destroy her completely. 

Having washed the highball glass at least three times more than necessary, Miranda couldn't put it off any longer. Bracing herself for what was inevitably a tirade of hurtful words coming her way, she slowly turned around. But as she nervously gazed over at Andrea she instead saw a serene and calm face looking back at her. Andrea wasn't Stephen or any of the other idiots that had preceded her. 

Andy knew exactly what conflicted thoughts would be going through Miranda's mind right now. To be honest if the shoe was on the other foot she would be feeling the exact same intrusive doubts and concerns. Andy couldn't fault Miranda for jumping to conclusions - faced with a picture of Miranda cosying up to anyone would turn her instantly green with jealousy. This was the first time that this type of story had been published. And it wouldn't be the last either. Now they were firmly in the public eye their lives were up for scrutiny. Whether that was right or wrong, they were now seen as fair game and it didn't matter one iota to those who made a living out of feeding the mass’s desires to know the ins and outs of their relationship. They were entering new, uncharted territory for them as a couple and it was crucial that it was dealt with smartly and above all else calmly. Facts had to be laid out before emotions could come into play. 

"Rebecca is 32, a mother to a little two year old boy called Jacob. She, along with her husband Daniel, have recently moved to the city from Dallas as he got some amazing promotion at work. Surprise, surprise, I wasn't looking where I was going and walked smack straight into her, coffee everywhere and, me being me, I offered to buy her a new one. She was on her way to sign up Jacob to my swim class for kids and we hit it off. I didn't think that I would be snapped in the coffee shop, or outside it as we exchanged numbers and said goodbye. She is really lovely, and from what she has said about her husband, I think you and Daniel would get on brilliantly. They also have a dog. A little pug called Bug, and I suggested we could all meet for a picnic in the park one weekend when it finally stops raining," Andy took a deep breath and sat back, waiting for Miranda to say something. Anything. 

"A pug?" Miranda snorted, "Called Bug?" 

"That's what you took from all of that?" Andy laughed in relief, "the fact they have a dog?" 

"Well, if Patricia is to have a park date, I think it's crucial we know everything about this Bug fellow, don't you darling?" Miranda smirked. 

"They will make for an odd pair, don't you think?" Andy smiled as she got up and walked towards Miranda who was now leaning back against the kitchen counter. 

"A bit like us," Miranda pulled Andrea in close and sunk into her body, "Although I would say striking, would be more apt." 

"Well if Pats and Bug are anything like us, they are going to be the envy of all the dogs in the park," Andy nuzzled the crook of Miranda's neck. 

"I think we navigated that rather well," Miranda whispered as Andrea's lips made their way up to her ear. 

"Indeed we did," Andy nipped at Miranda's ear lobe, "I didn't have any doubts though." 

"You didn't?" Miranda squeaked as one of Andrea's hands cupped her left breast. 

"Nope," Andy made sure the 'p' popped as she captured Miranda's lips in a searing kiss, "And you know why?" Andy momentarily broke the kiss. 

Miranda's eyes were glazed over as she shook her head. 

"Because we both took the time to process it and gave each other the space to do so," Andy leaned back and watched Miranda contemplate what she had just said. "It's OK to feel jealous, or angry, or upset. In fact I would be worried if you didn't have those emotions from seeing something like that. But it's how we deal with it, here, in our own home. That is the key." 

"I couldn't agree more," Miranda beamed at Andrea. She really had found the one person in the world who truly understood her, "and thank you." 

"You have nothing to thank me for. I love you, Miranda. And that's the easiest thing I have ever done in my life."

Miranda felt like her heart was about to burst out of her chest. She kissed Andrea hard whilst spinning them both around so she could press Andrea against the counter. The cold biting atmosphere from earlier was a distant memory as the heat in the kitchen went from zero to a hundred in mere seconds. Feverish and hot, Miranda didn't know where she wanted her hands, or mouth for that matter, to land next. She knew they would take their time this evening in the comfort of their bedroom - Miranda had plans to worship and devour every single inch of Andrea. But right now she wanted, no needed, to feel Andrea come undone because of her touch. And hers alone. The final piece of the puzzle in reassuring herself that she was everything Andrea believed she was. Warm. Loving. Passionate. With every kiss Miranda left on Andrea's warm skin she was rewarded by a delicious moan that seared her soul. Each sigh that left Andrea's parted lips was a step closer for Miranda to truly start believing it. 

For once Miranda was grateful that Andrea had dressed down. The waistband of her cashmere lounge pants allowed for easy access to the burning heat that had been grinding wantonly against her thigh mere moments ago. Miranda groaned against Andrea's lips as her hand cupped the brunette's soaked underwear. She quickly moved the thin layer of fabric aside and glided her fingers through Andrea's wet folds. Miranda was purposely avoiding the bundle of nerves much to the annoyance of Andrea if the huff and pout was anything to go by. Giving a little chuckle Miranda kissed the pout away whilst continuing a torturous motion with her fingers, teasing the brunette's entrance. As Miranda deepened the kiss and her tongue found Andrea's, she mirrored the movement with her fingers, causing a pleasurable gasp as she effortlessly entered Andrea. Her thumb made its way to Andrea's clit which caused the brunette to moan loudly. Using her thigh to put some weight behind her hand they both started to move in tandem. It was fast and messy and wonderful. Miranda felt Andrea start to tense and move her hips more erratically before throwing her head back and letting out a low grumbling "fuuuuuuuck," as she quickly climaxed. 


*****

 

Charlotte had taken the girls and Josie on a little tour of the neighbourhood and Cassidy was doing her best to keep spirits up as she pointed out various houses where people of interest resided. Caroline on the other hand was furious. Josie had tried to engage in conversation but the young girl was having none of it. 

"Can we go back now?" Caroline wanted to get answers from Andy. Just what was she playing at with that woman? 

Josie looked at her watch and hoped enough time had passed for Miranda and Andy to have sorted things out. The last thing she wanted was for them to walk right into world war three. 

"Yeah, let's head back," Charlotte gave Josie a wary look. And with that Caroline quickly turned on her heel and walked with purpose towards the town house. 

As they arrived back, Charlotte hung back on the pavement. Yes, she was part of the Priestly - Sachs inner sanctum and privy to a lot more than the average employee but she still respected those unspoken boundaries that were in place. Set to protect not just Miranda and Andy but herself as well. 

Sensing Charlotte's hesitation, Josie had Cassidy take Patricia's leash. 

"Why don't I go and check if the coast is clear?" 

Charlotte nodded in relief, and handed the keys over to Josie. 

Josie made her way up the stone steps, turned the key and quietly opened the front door. Tip toeing further into the hallway she listened out for screaming, shouting, anything to indicate the mood of the house. As she made her way towards the kitchen she heard heavy breathing, almost like panting. And then a moan… 

"fuuuuuuuck," 

Josie stopped in her tracks, turned and walked very quickly back to the front door. Yep all was definitely OK. 

Leaning on the now closed front door, eyes tightly shut, trying to rid her mind of unwanted thoughts she momentarily forgot about the three people waiting, impatiently in Caroline's case, for her to say something. 

"Well? Can we go in or not?" Caroline huffed. 

"You know what? I am in the mood for ice cream!" Josie bounded down the steps and wrapped an arm around each of the girl’s shoulders quickly marching them away from the house. She looked over at Charlotte with wide eyes and a look that told the housekeeper everything she needed to know. 

"Yes! Ice cream sounds like an excellent plan Josie!" Charlotte shouted with a little too much enthusiasm. 

Cassidy was thrilled at the prospect of a pre dinner treat. Caroline just shook her head but went along with it anyway. 

"Adults are weird," Caroline mumbled to no one in particular. 

 

*****

 

Miranda was in her study having a lengthy discussion with Leslie regarding the article and how they could minimise the damage. 

"What's the weather like over the next couple of days?"  

"Explain how the inclement forecast is relevant to this mess, Leslie," Miranda, was getting frustrated. 

"Because this weekend, I suggest you pack up a hamper and go on that picnic. Show the world that all is hunky dory. Take some pictures, relax," Leslie laughed, "You never know, you might even enjoy yourself!" 

Miranda groaned, causing Leslie to laugh even harder, "If you think it will stop this darn story gathering more traction, then I will get Andrea to organise it." 

"I can hear you pouting Miranda,"  

"Goodbye, Leslie," and with that Miranda hung up, wishing she still had a landline and a receiver to slam down. 

Running a hand through her hair she looked at the time, surprised that it was still early, it felt much later. Standing with a slight groan Miranda went to find Andrea. 

As she walked out her study, Andrea came running down the stairs just as the front door flew open. 

"What good timing. I was wondering when you would all be back," Miranda looked over at her girls, and by the look on Caroline's face she was still angry. 

"Grams took us for ice cream!" Cassidy squealed. She was such a sugar fiend. 

"Did she?" Miranda raised a questioning eyebrow at Josie just as Andrea wrapped a welcomed arm around her waist. 

"Well, erm, we did come back a little earlier," Josie couldn't quite look Miranda or Andy in the eye. 

"How much earlier?" Andy squeaked. 

"About an hour," Josie replied, looking anywhere but towards the two, now blushing women. 

Andy felt Miranda tense as they both realised exactly what they were doing at that time. 

"Yes, well I am sure a little ice cream won't have done any harm," Miranda cleared her throat, "Girls, why don't you go upstairs and make a start on your homework so it doesn't eat up too much time this weekend." 

As the girls disappeared up the stairs, Miranda let out a deep breath. 

"Did you all-" Andy went to ask before Josie immediately cut her off. 

"No! Just me. I came in, and headed straight back out again," Josie noted the visible look of relief on both faces, "Now I don't know about you, but I could do with a drink!" 

"Amen to that," Charlotte muttered under her breath. 

"What was that, Charlotte?" 

"Nothing, Miranda." 

"That's what I thought," Miranda smirked and glanced behind her before following Andrea and Josie into the kitchen, "Come along, Charlotte." 

"Yes, Miranda," 

It was still an alien concept for Charlotte to actually spend time with Miranda in a more social setting. Andy had helped with that immensely and whilst she was never going to be best friends with Miranda, the openness her employer now displayed towards her was a real tonic and made her job that little bit easier. She hadn't realised Miranda was so funny, when you ignored the cutting tone to her delivery, her dry sense of humour was hilarious. Charlotte was just so relieved that Josie had walked in earlier, and not her. Spending so much time at the townhouse, had caused some almost moments but that would have been a step too far for all parties involved! 

As the four women were sat around the seating area off the kitchen Caroline can stomping in. 

"What's for dinner?" Caroline huffed. She couldn't believe her mum had forgiven Andy already. She wouldn't be letting her off that easily. 

"We haven't decided yet, but it's getting late so I am sure we can swing for a pizza," Andy was trying to get Caroline out of her strop and melted cheese was a sure fire way to win her over. 

"Whatever," Caroline mumbled, her head in the fridge looking for something to tide her over. 

"Caroline, I suggest you check your attitude young lady," Miranda snapped. 

Andy just shook her head and went to join Caroline in the kitchen. 

"Can you pass that bottle of wine please?" 

Caroline blindly handed it to the brunette. 

"Look, I know you aren't happy with that article," Andy sighed. Caroline spun around and glared at Andy. 

"I. Don't. Care." And with that Caroline slammed the fridge door shut and ran out the room. 

Miranda was shocked at her daughter's outburst and went to go after her but Andy beat her to the doorway. 

"It's OK. She's mad at me," Andy ran her hand through her bangs, "let me go talk to her. You order the pizza," Andy hovered at the bottom of the stairs looking towards the landing above, "I think we are going to need a few extra portions of mozzarella sticks." 

Miranda nodded knowingly and went to find the takeout menu. Andrea might not have any genetic link to her girls but every day she saw their bond grow and the similarities between the three of them shine through. Even if it had meant occasionally indulging in their combined love of carbs and cheese. 

Andy stood outside Caroline's bedroom and gingerly knocked on the door. 

"Caroline, can I come in?" 

Getting no response, she knocked a little harder, which only resulted in the music emanating from the girl's room to be cranked up even louder. 

"Well, she is already pissed at me so what the hell," Andy muttered to the empty landing as she opened Caroline's bedroom door. 

"I didn't say you could come in," Caroline glared from her position on her bed, "What happened to respecting boundaries?" 

"Hey, cut the sass Caroline. I know you are angry but you really need to watch your attitude."

"Do what you want. I don't have to talk to you," Caroline rolled over so she was facing away from Andy. 

"Caro, don't be like that," Caroline felt the mattress dip as Andy sat down on the edge of the bed. Caroline squeezed her eyes shut. She wasn't going to cry. Not over Andy bloody Sachs. 

"Silent treatment huh? OK well I am just going to talk and then leave you to think things over. As I told your mum earlier I met Rebecca outside the members club. Me being the klutz that I am walked straight into her, coffee everywhere! You and Cass would have laughed your butt's off! Anyway, she was on her way in to sign up her little boy, Jacob, to my tots swim class. I felt super bad for completely destroying her coffee so offered to buy her a new one. And then we went to a cafe around the corner. Oh Caro, they have the most amazing little pastries, you would love them! Proper melt in the mouth goodness. Where was I? Oh yeah, she was telling me she had just moved to the city, with her husband and do I know any good places to walk dogs? Of course I told her all about Pats, and then she had to go pick Jacob up from day care. He was having some kind of day care trial, I didn't even know that was a thing? Anyway, she asked if I had kids and I told her about you and Cass, we exchanged numbers and that we should all meet up in the park for a picnic. That's all there was to it Caro. So, I am just going to leave you to think things over and will give you a shout when the pizza is here," Andy sat there a moment longer staring at Caroline's back, letting out a big sigh as she stood up and walked towards the door. 

"What type of dog do they have?" Caroline whispered. 

"What is it with you Priestlys and dogs?" Andy turned around and smiled at Caroline, "It's a pug, called Bug." 

"Pats will look ridiculous next to a pug," Caroline snorted as she sat up and wiped at her tear stained eyes. 

"Did you really tell Rebecca about us when she asked if you had kids?" 

"I sure did," Andy sat back down on the bed again, "That OK with you?" 

Caroline nodded, biting her lip to stop it trembling. 

"Oh honey come here," Andy pulled Caroline into a hug as the redhead sobbed into her chest. 

"I'm sorry Andy," Caroline sniffed, "I just got so scared."

"What made you feel scared?" Andy carded her fingers through Caroline's hair. 

"That you had found someone else and then you would leave," Caroline hiccuped, "I don't want you to go." 

"I know that, and trust me I am not going anywhere."

"Good. Because that would be really stupid." 

Andy laughed at that, "Granted I have my moments of stupidity but I can absolutely promise that I would never do anything to jeopardise what I have with your mum. You, Cass and your mum are my whole world and nothing is ever going to change that. OK?" 

"OK." 

"The nature of who your mum is and who I am will mean there is inevitable interest in us but as long as we all know what's what then it really shouldn't matter. I understand that the article didn't look great but next time less strops and more open conversation, alright."

Caroline nodded, "Is mum angry at me?" 

"I don't think she was best pleased, but I am sure an apology and a hug will smooth things out. Are we good?" Andy wiped an errant tear from Caroline's cheek. 

"Yeah," Caroline took a deep breath, "We're good." 

"Fabulous," Andy slapped her thighs and stood again. 

"Unless you forgot to tell mum to order double mozzarella sticks." 

"As if I would forget that! What do you take me for?" 

"Stupid?" Caroline laughed at Andy's shocked face before sprinting out of her room and down the stairs. 

Chapter Text

"I am sorry I had to go into the office today, darling," Miranda was feeling awful that she had been absent for most of the day. 

"It's OK," Andy panted, "If you going into the office on a Saturday results in that , then I am not complaining," Andy flopped back on the mattress, completely spent. 

Miranda couldn't help but laugh as she snuggled into Andrea's open arms. She knew that Andrea wasn't angry, and knew she really hadn't planned to go into work but the magazine drop date was looming and all was not well with a key advertiser. Irv had insisted, no, demanded, that she was the only one who could smooth things over. 

"I mean, that thing you did, the second time - wow! We are definitely doing that again!" 

Chuckling against Andrea's bare chest, she placed gentle kisses on the warm skin offered up to her. 

"Did you get a chance to speak with Josie?" 

"Hmmm," Andy was revelling in the sensations of soft touches as Miranda ran her fingers aimlessly from her thigh to her waist and down again, "I did, and have a few options to consider but I would value your input." 

"I already have something in mind, and I have a feeling it will be along the same lines as what you are thinking. Tell me what you came up with," Miranda manoeuvred herself so she was laying on her side facing Andrea. 

"I think I have narrowed it down to setting up some kind of foundation, or charity. I just want to use my position to help kids, especially in the LGBTQ community, reach their full potential," Andy sighed, "But I just don't know how to actually go about it. Where do you even start with something like that?" 

"There certainly would be a lot of things that would need great consideration and thought," Miranda smiled and tapped Andy on the nose, “that's where I come in.”

"How so?" Andy propped herself up on an elbow. 

"Tippi van Hussen. If you want to stand a chance of accessing those deep pockets of the New York elite, she is the person you need to be in with, and she just happens to be a friend of mine. In fact we are having dinner with her in a couple of days." 

"We are? Cool," Andy gave Miranda a peck on the lips. 

This was just another thing Miranda could add to the ever growing list of reasons as to why she loved one Andrea Sachs. She just went with the flow. There was never a drama when Miranda announced they were going to some place for dinner, or when she sprung a last minute cocktail party or gallery opening on her. She just gave an enthusiastic smile and asked what the dress code was. Andrea was a woman of opportunity, and Miranda had learnt early on in their relationship that she thrived on new experiences and meeting interesting people. And since coming out, Miranda had basked in the wonderment of walking into a room with Andrea by her side. It had made those stuffy networking drinks receptions a lot more fun and she would never tire of Andreas' habit of whispering hilarious commentary to her about those in attendance. When Nigel was thrown into the mix they bounced off each other like excitable children, each trying to better the other and get a smirk or rise from Miranda. It was at one such event where she had discovered their little game of 'Devil’s Bingo' in which the loser had to buy the victor dinner at a restaurant of their choice. The main aim of the game was to get Miranda to do or say certain things without her realising. A purse of the lips, a roll of the eyes and a sigh, all scored five points. A smile scored big at 10 points, but the real golden moment was a full blown laugh. Not the fake social one, but the 'privacy of the townhouse in front of family and friends' laugh. Andrea was three nil up to Nigel, and Miranda couldn't have been prouder. 

"You will like Tippi, she is such a character. The pinnacle of Ladies that Lunch, but beneath that prim and proper pastel exterior is a woman who can drink most under the table, swear like a sailor, and at the grand old age of 87, shows absolutely no signs of stopping."

"She sounds great!" 

"That she is. Tippi will be at the opening of Rupert's exhibition, as he is marrying her grandson Sebastian. I said we would all go out for a late supper to celebrate. Plus I want them to get to know you ahead of their wedding." 

"Oh, OK. That's a good idea. Nigel was telling me about Seb and Ru," Andy ignored the huff she got at the shortening of names, "Their wedding sounds amazing! I love a good wedding." 

"Yes, I think it will be quite acceptable. I was surprised to see that Tippi has offered her Hamptons House up to host it. I don't think she quite realises the implications of what hosting a wedding of that size will entail." 

"That is Tippi's house? The one on the invitation?" Andy thought back to the invite on the fridge, the elegant line drawing of what could only be described as a palatial mansion taking centre stage was exquisite and huge, "That's some house," Andy let out a low whistle, suitably impressed. She sometimes forgot the circles that Miranda moved in, and by proxy, which she now did too. 

"It's a glorious property. I was thinking of maybe making that weekend into a little holiday? The wedding is after the Fundraiser, so it would be nice to have a break." 

"That sounds like a marvellous idea, my love. I am so looking forward to finally seeing your Hamptons house." 

"The house or the pool?" Miranda snorted. 

"Honestly?" Andy questioned, "The pool. You and me in the pool to be more precise," Andy waggled her eyebrows suggestively. 

Miranda playfully swatted Andrea's bare arm, blushing slightly, before placing a chaste kiss to Andrea's smirking mouth. 

"Did Rebecca say what time she wanted to meet tomorrow?" Miranda was nervous about this picnic. She understood why Leslie had thought it was a good idea to do it sooner rather than later, to show that they were indeed a united front, but Miranda still felt the doubts creep in and sit like a bright green rock in the pit of her stomach. 

"Yeah, she said that they would be at the park around noon and Grams said she would join us after she has played being a tourist for the morning." 

"Is Charlotte coming along too? She seemed a little evasive when I mentioned it earlier."

"Ah…" Andy didn't want to break Charlotte's confidence, but she couldn't lie to Miranda. 

" Andrea , what aren't you telling me?" Miranda gave the brunette a pointed stare that made her squirm. 

"It's nothing bad! But I just promised I wouldn't say anything. It's all still early days."

"You can't say half a story, Andrea!" 

"Eugh fine. But you have to swear not to say anything. Or make a big deal about it."

Miranda sighed as she realised that Andrea wasn't going to give up any further details until she had declared her promise of silence. 

"Fine. I, Miranda Priestly, solemnly swear to take whatever you tell me next to the grave," Miranda drawled and raised an eyebrow, "Happy now?" 

"You are so extra, Miranda," Andy giggled as she got an eye roll in response, "But yes, I think that will do it."

"Well? The suspense is killing me," Miranda said dryly. 

"She has a date!" Andy propped herself up against the headboard. 

"A date? And I presume it's who the suitor is that warrants all the secrecy?" 

Andy nodded. 

"You expect me to guess?" 

"It's Sally!" Andy squeaked excitedly, clapping her hands together. 

"Coach Saunders?" Miranda pondered this new revelation, "Yes, I can see why Charlotte would want to keep that under wraps whilst it's still in its infancy. Do the girls have any idea?" 

"Nope, can you imagine Caroline finding that out?" Andy snorted, "It's bad enough that we are friends and she occasionally comes over. Having to see any teacher figure outside of school is never 'cool'."

"Indeed. However I do believe Charlotte and Sally will make a fine pairing," Miranda sniffed, before crawling up towards Andrea, "Now, my little matchmaker, I hope you are feeling flexible as I have something else I would like to try." 

Andy gulped as she looked up at Miranda, who was now hovering over her with a look that meant only one thing - she was in for a wild and very pleasurable ride. 

"Bring it on, Priestly." 

"Be careful what you wish for, Sachs…" 

 

*****

 

"Annnnddddyyyy!!" Cassidy bellowed up the stairs, "Annnnndddyyy!!" 

Andy popped her head over the bannister, "What's up Cass?" 

"Do you know where the tennis ball to those velcro pad thingies is?" 

"I haven't seen it for weeks. Let me ask Charlotte," Andy then leant over further and looked above her, "Lottie!" 

Charlotte stepped out her room on the top floor and peered over the bannister and saw Andy looking up at her and then Cassidy further down on the ground floor. 

"Hey guys," Charlotte was glad of the distraction as she was currently stressing on what to wear for her date with Sally. 

"Have you seen the tennis ball for these?" Cassidy waved one of the bright pink and green velcro disks around. 

"I haven't Cass. Maybe try in the laundry room?" 

Miranda was in the kitchen double checking the contents of the hamper when the house was suddenly filled with shouting. She couldn't abide this trait which all the other occupants in the house deemed acceptable - the concept of inside voices lost on all of them no matter how many times she brought the subject up. When she heard Caroline’s voice now join in, that was the last straw. Fastening the hamper she marched into the hallway. 

Wanting to smile at the sight of everyone staring down at her from their respective floors she schooled her features so she could successfully make her point. 

"The ball is in the den and has been for the last two weeks despite the fact that I have asked both of you on numerous occasions to put it away to avoid this very scenario," she glared at a sheepish Cassidy before looking up at Caroline, who wisely swallowed her protest, "Charlotte, I think the slate grey True Religion jeans paired with the pale oyster cashmere jumper would be a perfect first date outfit," she smirked at Charlotte's gasp that dropped from above, "And Andrea, must you really encourage all of this shouting. How many times do I have to repeat myself - inside voices only. Is that understood?" Only after receiving a unified response of 'Yes, mum' and 'yes, Miranda', did she turn and head back into the kitchen. 

It was all for nothing as not even five minutes had passed before she heard Caroline shout about a missing sneaker. Their neighbours would now no doubt be resting easy in the knowledge, courtesy of her darling Andrea, that it could be found under her desk. What a relief for all. 

It had been a mission to get everyone ready to leave the townhouse, but finally they were all gathered in the hallway. 

"Now does everyone have everything they will require as Andrea will not be making multiple trips back for forgotten balls, sunglasses or anything else you deem to be crucially important for a day in the park?" Miranda pulled her sunglasses down her nose and scanned the faces looking back at her. 

"Hey, why would it be me coming back?" Andy looked at Miranda. 

"Young legs darling," Miranda winked at Andrea playfully, "Right, to the park!" 

"Come on squirts, you heard the boss," Andy hearded the girls and Patricia out the front door, "Quick march." 

Miranda chuckled as Cassidy and Caroline gave her a cheeky salute as they walked past and continued down the steps. Just as Andrea went to follow Miranda quickly reached out and caught Andrea's free hand, pulling her towards her for a kiss. 

"What was that for?" Andy squeaked. 

"I wasn't aware I needed a reason," Miranda kept hold of Andrea's waist, squeezing it tight. 

"Don't stress about this whole park thing," Andy felt Miranda tense. 

"Miranda Priestly does not stress , Andrea," 

"Be that as it may, it's going to be a glorious day and we are going to have a proper wholesome family day in the great outdoors," Andy grinned a goofy smile at Miranda, "Like in the movies. It's going to be epic." 

"You have set the bar pretty high my darling," Miranda placed a final kiss to Andrea's lips before letting go and shutting the front door, "I am going to hold you to that."

"Challenge accepted, Priestly," Andy held her hand out and Miranda accepted it with a grin. 

"You know how I hate to be disappointed, Sachs."

 

*****

 

Across town Estelle had been busy all morning. She had been riding the waves of euphoria at  having seen those glorious 'trouble in paradise' headlines. And to think she hadn’t had to do anything to make it happen. Clearly the relationship wasn't as rosy as the pair had led everyone else to believe. Oh she could just imagine the icy atmosphere that would be raging through that ridiculously ostentatious townhouse. Miranda, she was sure, would be holed up in her office, or maybe she had stormed off in a fit of jealous rage and headed to Runway leaving a heartbroken Andy in her wake. It was all so exciting. Estelle pushed aside the uneasy feeling she had regarding Miranda's utter silence on the whole matter. Not a peep had come from the Priestly - Sachs camp. Miranda was clearly losing her edge. Oh how the mighty fall, Estelle did a happy little dance before heading off for a shower. 

Little did Estelle know that Miranda was playing the long game, biding her time, only to strike when least expected. Estelle hadn't a clue what would soon be coming her way… 



*****



"OK I am done!" Andy sat down heavily next to Miranda on the large picnic rug they had laid out earlier and gladly accepted the bottle of water Miranda held out for her.

"Your girls are certainly energetic," Rebecca laughed as she looked over and watched them running rings around her husband. 

"Hey Rebecca, care to help even the numbers? Caroline and Cassidy are showing me up here!" 

"Honestly even after five years, a wedding and a child he still refuses to call me Becky," Rebecca laughed, "I’d better go save him from further embarrassment. Would you mind keeping an eye on Jacob for me?" 

"Of course, go save him from the twin tornadoes," Andy scooped Jacob up and plonked him on her lap causing a glorious giggle to burst from the little boy, "You'll be fine won't you Jacob?" 

Rebecca waved at the happy little chap and went to join her husband. 

"Don't worry Jacob," Andy whispered loudly, "Miranda looks scary but she is really a big softie."

Miranda scoffed, but gave Jacob a little tickle before smoothing his bouncy blonde curls out of his bright green eyes. He was a gorgeous child, and so far very well behaved. He had no issues with meeting new people and the girls had doted on him from the moment he toddled up to them. Miranda watched on with a deep sense of affection at Andrea interacting with Jacob. 

"What?" Andy looked up at Miranda who had now relaxed back on the rug, propped up on her elbows. 

"You are so good with him," Miranda sighed wistfully. She remembered back to when she had the same dreamy thoughts of what it would have been like to have seen Andrea with Cassidy and Caroline when they were Jacob's age. 

"He is just so cute," Andy leant around and blew a raspberry on Jacob's neck causing another round of giggles, "I mean look at his little chubby cheeks," Andy cooed. 

"He is a delightful little boy," Miranda smiled at him, the sun catching his white blonde hair just so. He looked like a rosy cheeked cherub, "Did you ever dream of having children?" It was another factor that had caused Miranda a few sleepless nights. She had two wonderful children and not once had she ever thought she would want to repeat that process again, but like everything since Andrea had come into her life, she was now seeing possibilities of new adventures. New dreams. 

"Oh, erm well, I hadn't ever given it much thought to be honest," Andy lied. This very thought had been at the forefront of her mind for a while now, but she had just assumed it was not on the cards for her. She had Cassidy and Caroline and they were more than a handful. 

"Food for thought don't you think, darling?" Miranda smiled lovingly at Andy, whose mouth was now hanging open in shock, "Oh look, Josie's arrived." 

"Hey you two," Josie waved as she approached the area that had been commandeered for the picnic, "And who do we have here then?" Josie crouched down and smiled broadly at Jacob. 

Josie looked between Andy and Miranda and was confused as to why her granddaughter appeared to have gone mute. 

"You OK honey?" Josie tapped Andy on the shoulder, but she just stared at her blankly then went back to looking at Miranda. 

"Oh don't mind Andrea," Miranda laughed, "I believe I may have just, what is it Cassidy says? Dropped a bomb?"

Andy slowly nodded, then her face broke out in the biggest smile, "You could say that again, Priestly," Andy whispered. 

"Got to keep you on your toes, Sachs," Miranda smirked. 

"I don't want to know," Josie chuckled, "Now I will ask again, who is this gorgeous little thing, hmm?" 

"This little rascal is Jacob," Rebecca came over, with a very red faced Daniel trailing behind, "And I am Rebecca, but everyone, apart from my husband and it now seems Miranda, calls me Becky."

"Well hi there Jacob," Josie stroked his cheek before standing up to take Rebecca's outstretched hand, "And lovely to meet you. I am Josie, Andy's Grandmother." 

"And I am Daniel," he gave a little wave as he grabbed a bottle of water and downed it in a few gulps, before reaching his hand out towards Josie, "Sorry, I am not normally so out of breath, but Cassidy and Caroline have completely wiped me out!" 

"Oh I know that feeling only too well. It looks like you lasted a lot longer than me, but I swear those girls have enough energy between them to power up half the city!" Josie laughed, and pulled the two girls in question into a hug. 

"Daniel said he could beat us," Caroline simply stated. 

"And you know how a Priestly likes a challenge, Grams," Cassidy followed up. 

"Remind me never to make that mistake again!" Daniel practically collapsed on the blanket, "I really must get back to the gym." 

"Or lay off the carbs, for a bit," Rebecca affectionately patted Daniels stomach, although even under a loose fitting t-shirt, you could tell he was actually very fit and toned. 

"Carbs, schmarbs," Daniel retorted, and with perfect timing, his stomach grumbled. 

"I do feed him, honest!" Rebecca held her hands up in protest. 

With the food consumed long ago, everyone was comfortably full and enjoying the relaxed atmosphere. Miranda was in a deep conversation with Daniel, who she had found out was a very skilled architect, discussing the latest project he was working on. Patricia and Bug had indeed become fast friends and were snoozing in the shade whilst Cassidy, Caroline and Andy were entertaining Jacob with silly nursery rhymes. Josie and Rebecca had gone off to find some ice cream for the kids and had just arrived back. Miranda watched on as Jacob squealed as he saw what was coming his way. Miranda had to laugh as she wasn't sure whose eyes were wider in eager anticipation, Jacob's or Cassidy's. 

Everything was going well. That was until Jacob got a little too excited and became determined to share his chocolate ice cream waffle cone, complete with chocolate sauce and sprinkles, with one Miranda Priestly. He managed to wriggle away from Rebecca who was momentarily distracted by Andy, and quick as a flash his little legs carried him straight to Miranda. From there all went into slow motion, Rebecca realising too late that her charge was hell bent on reaching the pristine editor who was elegantly sitting on the edge of the picnic blanket. 

"Jacob!" Rebecca screeched, but it was too late. Everyone watched in horror as a little boy and his now slightly melting chocolate ice cream came crashing down on his target's lap. 

A hushed silence fell over the group as they watched the scene unfold. Everyone waited with baited breath to see what Miranda would do. All eyes were on the toddler sized chocolate handprint now decorating her brilliantly white linen shirt. 

Cassidy sucked in a breath and watched for a purse of lips which didn't materialise. Caroline was focused on Miranda's eyes and so far they were still shining brightly, not narrowed in disgust at the sticky toddler who was happily babbling away. Andy was following the ice cream cone as Jacob waved it around a bit too close to Miranda's face. 

However what none of them had anticipated was the sudden burst of laughter that erupted, a thoroughly wonderful noise that caused a simultaneous exhale of breath from Cassidy, Caroline and Andy. 

"Well Jacob," Miranda swiftly maneuvered the wriggling boy with a well practiced precision so she could talk to him properly, "That was quite the entrance, young man!" 

"Oh my god, Miranda, I am so sorry," Daniel went to take his son, but Miranda just waved him off. 

Rebecca was frantically trying to locate some baby wipes. She felt absolutely mortified at what Jacob had just done. Granted, her boy hadn't a clue who he had just leapt on, but she did, and never had she wanted the ground to open up and swallow her whole more than right at that moment. 

"No harm done," Miranda was still trying to dodge the now dripping ice cream cone. Her shirt was one thing, but she didn't fancy it landing in her hair. "Whilst I applaud your wanting to share Jacob, I don't really want to be wearing any more of it."

Miranda took the wet wipes and with one hand holding Jacob still, the other deftly opened the packet and within seconds he was all clean again. 

"That was, wow. I am impressed." 

"It's been a while, but I did have two at once, Rebecca," Miranda responded without taking her eyes off a smiling Jacob. She quickly wrapped a napkin around the ice cream cone and it was back in Jacob's now sticky free hand before he even realised what had happened.

"Now," Miranda turned slightly to look back at a dumbstruck Daniel, "Tell me more about this series of apartment conversions you are about to embark on in the meatpacking district." 

"She is something else," Rebecca whispered, as she took in the scene of Miranda Priestly talking with her husband about business, whilst her little boy sat happily on the editor's lap eating ice cream as if it was the most natural thing in the world. 

"Isn't she just," Andy preened. 

Later on that day the press would have a field day as the story of Miranda et al having a family day in the park broke. The stories would lead with a shot of Miranda, wearing a chocolate handprint on her shirt like a badge of honour whilst bouncing a little blonde boy, with sparkling green eyes, on her lap. The editor's head was thrown back as she laughed with unbridled happiness as her family and new found friends looked on.  

And if Miranda hadn't been so wrapped up in the joys of her day she probably would have heard the screams of pure rage and frustration emanating from one Estelle Walker as she checked her Google alerts and then sent her favourite coffee mug flying against the nearest wall of her apartment. 

The Ice Queens heart isn't the only thing that's melting! A relaxed Miranda Priestly spotted in Central Park enjoying a day in the sunshine with her family and friends. The ever chic Editor proves once again she really can make anything look good - even chocolate ice cream. 

Chapter Text

Miranda had given Emily strict instructions that she was not to be disturbed. Her work load had only grown throughout the day rather than diminish. For every email she sent, another five appeared in her inbox. It had got to the stage where she had had to silence that soft notification ping as they rapidly increased in frequency and the annoying sound had begun to cut straight through her. She rubbed at her temples, praying the tension headache she could feel brewing wouldn’t get any worse. Rolling her neck, then shoulders she stretched her arms out, took a deep breath and sent off the last few replies that couldn't wait until the following morning. 

Tonight she was attending the opening night of Rupert’s latest exhibition ‘One love. One family. One canvas.’ It was a series of intimate portraits celebrating all that is love and family and what it means to the subject, proving that there isn’t one size fits all. Miranda had a surprise in store for Andrea and she wasn't going to let work interfere with her getting there on time. And by on time, she meant thirty minutes after everyone else had arrived. 

Having demanded The Book to be ready hours earlier than usual, she was absorbed in the latest of, sadly many, scathing remarks on its content, and did not hear the door to her office slowly open. Her red pen was effortlessly gliding over yet another post-it note, when she heard a gruff voice break the silence. What on earth? 

“Delivery for Miranda Priestly.” 

Miranda was going to throttle Emily. Hadn't she made it clear she was not to be interrupted? 

"I don't know how you have managed to sneak in here,” Miranda whispered coolly without even looking up, “but you have five seconds to remove yourself from my office.”

“But I need a signature,” the voice responded. 

“Four. Three...” Miranda drawled. 

“Listen lady,” the owner of the voice approached Miranda’s desk, “My boss will have my arse on a silver platter if I leave here without getting your signature, so be a doll and just sign this.”

Who on earth did this person think they were? The audacity to come into her inner sanctum and throw their weight around like that. No one speaks to Miranda Priestly like that and gets away with it. Especially when it's on her own turf. Heads were going to roll once she found out who had left their post and allowed this rude intrusion to occur. Miranda carefully placed the lid back on her pen, before putting it down neatly next to the now closed book. 

Whatever insults Miranda was going to rain down on the intruder were quickly swallowed as she finally looked up and tracked her eyes slowly up a pair of very familiar bare legs…

“So, Priestly,” Andy smirked, “You gonna sign or what?”

Miranda, gasped as her eyes met with Andrea’s which beneath the smokey eyeshadow and black kohl liner were sparkling with mirth and mischief. The brunette's normally wavy and untamed hair had been slicked back in a smooth, poker straight, ponytail, her lips, glossy with just a hint of colour which only enhanced her gorgeous, kissable, mouth.  

“See something you like?” Andly chuckled at what could only be described as Miranda's gobsmacked expression. 

Miranda nodded slowly, her eyes hungrily devouring the sight before her. Andrea was wearing a scandalously short dark navy blazer dress by Balmain. The double breasted front cinching in at the waist like it had been tailored to fit Andrea’s perfect form. As Andrea stalked towards her Miranda let out a little groan as she got a glimpse of what was underneath the dress, or should that be what wasn’t underneath it. As Andrea leaned over Miranda’s desk it was confirmed that Andrea was indeed without a bra. Delicious. 

“I see you have made use of the Closet, darling,” Miranda purred as she pushed back her chair to accommodate Andrea, who was now directly in front of her, perched on the edge of her desk, “And I can't say I am disappointed,” Miranda ran a finger over one of the silver buttons before she traced it up one of the satin lapels making Andrea’s breath hitch as she grazed bare skin. 

“Well, being Miranda’s girl certainly has its perks,” Andy winked as Miranda scoffed. 

“Miranda’s girl indeed,” Miranda snorted as she stood up, “I am just going to get changed, then we should really get going.” Miranda looked at her watch before walking over to a rack of garment bags. Finding the one she desired she walked towards her private bathroom, stopping in the doorway, “I trust that you won't get up to any mischief whilst I am getting ready?”

“I can try, but ultimately can't promise,” Andy raised an eyebrow cheekily at Miranda who laughed as she shut the bathroom door. 

Miranda had spent a lot of time selecting her outfit for tonight, and seeing Nigels choice for Andrea she was even more certain in what she had decided on. She wanted everyone to know, without a shadow of doubt, that they belonged together. As she admired her reflection, she smiled. They would look wonderful together. The form fitting wrap top of the Talbot Runhof jumpsuit hugged her figure in all the right places. It was off the shoulder and framed her shoulders and clavicles. She knew this would drive Andrea crazy with want as it was one of the first places the brunette would lavish whenever she had the opportunity. The grey metallic fabric would pick up the silver buttons on Andrea’s blazer dress perfectly. When standing still the jumpsuit looked like a floor length gown. It was only when she walked that the dramatically flared 70’s inspired wide leg pants were revealed. Slipping into a pair of strappy silver Tom Ford padlock sandals, she grinned as she realised that the towering heels would make her nearly as tall as Andrea. She felt powerful. And sexy. What a heady mix. 

Touching up her makeup, and with a final quick spritz of perfume, Miranda was ready. With one last appreciative gaze over her ensemble she headed out to join Andrea, and by the laughter that rang out of her office as she opened the door she realised she had been joined by Nigel. 

“Ah Miranda,” Nigel looked approvingly at Miranda and held out a glass of champagne, “to wet the whistle, as it were.” 

“Thank you Nigel,” Miranda took a long sip as she looked at Andrea whose eyes were wide with what she instantly recognised as pure lust. 

“See something you like?” Miranda echoed Andrea’s earlier words. 

“Boy do I!” Andy practically ran up towards Miranda, “You look insanely hot, Miranda. Like absolutely smoking hot.” 

Miranda blushed, and swatted Andrea’s arm playfully. 

“Seriously my love,” Andy whispered, “I am thinking we should just sack this exhibition off and go straight home.”

“As delightful as that thought is,” Miranda shivered, before stepping back from Andrea slightly, she was painfully aware of her own growing desire but also of Nigels presence, “There is something at the exhibition that I wish to show you.”

Andy pouted, but reluctantly nodded. As torturous as it was going to be, she could wait. Just.  

“Later, however,” Miranda leaned back in to whisper in Andrea’s ear, “You're all mine, Sachs.”

Unfortunately for Andy, Miranda had chosen that precise moment that Andy had taken a large fortifying gulp of champagne and that, along with the combination of Miranda’s husky voice and the proximity of her lips to her skin, caused her to choke on the bubbly liquid. Coughing and spluttering was definitely not the sexy image. 

“Smooth, Sachs,” Nigel sidled up to her with a napkin and the open bottle to top up her glass, “Real smooth.”

“Shut it Nigel,” Andy croaked, “And you Priestly, you are positively evil.”

Miranda just gave a faux innocent shrug and took another sip of her drink. She couldn't wait to get her Andrea home, but first there was a little surprise to unveil. 

 

*****

 

“Rupert, seriously you need to stop worrying,” Sebastian gave his fiancée's arm a reassuring squeeze, “She will be here, I promise.”

“Are you sure?” Rupert looked anxiously towards the art gallery’s entrance, “I thought she would have arrived by now.”

“Relax. She will be here. And you really don't need to stare at the door. You need to be working the room, this is your night.”

Rupert sighed. He knew Sebastian was right. But he couldn't believe that The Miranda Priestly was coming to the opening of his exhibition. The press coverage alone would take his reputation to the next level. And to have her approval, well that would seal his status as the next big thing. 

“I know, I know. But I don’t want to miss her arrival.”

“Oh you won't. You will know the minute she steps in the room. It's quite amazing actually, this power she has. I can't quite explain it but trust me, when she arrives you will feel it.”

And Sebastian wasn't wrong. Rupert was in a deep conversation with one of his portrait subjects when the atmosphere suddenly changed. A murmured hush rippled around the room and the hair on his arms stood on end. His back was to the door, but he didn't need to turn around to know who had just walked in. He suddenly felt his mouth go dry. Taking a few deep steadying breaths he attempted to calm his nerves. So far he had only had to deal with Miranda a couple of times via a few clipped phone calls, plus a lot of emails. It could never be said the woman didn't know what she wanted. At times she had pushed him to the brink and beyond, but seeing the results it had been worth all the stress and drama. The rest of the time had been spent emailing back and forth between two, slightly harassed assistants both of whom answered to Emily, regardless of what their sign offs actually said. 

What if Miranda didn't like what he had done. He felt sick, and dizzy. Oh god was he about to faint? 

"Deep breaths, Ru," Sebastian cooed gently, he had seen Rupert freeze and recognised the signs that his poor fiancée was running the risk of completely spiralling, "She will love it. Have faith. You are amazing and talented, and I love you."

"Seb, I really don't think I can do this. If she hates it, I will be finished," Rupert squeaked, "I bet I could fit out the window in the bathroom, if I lose my jacket. Yeah, I would totally fit. I could just breathe in, and wiggle my way out. That would work right? Seb?" 

"Ru! Seriously. You're rambling. I normally find it adorable but right now you seriously need to get your shit together because Miranda is making a beeline for us." 

"Now?!" Ru's voice had risen two octaves higher, if his face hadn't been losing colour by the second Sebastian would have found the situation hilarious. 

"Literally, right now," Sebastian smiled over Ru's shoulder, "Smile," Sebastian hissed quietly. 

"Sebastian, darling," Miranda leant in, pressing her cheek against the young man's. 

"Miranda, it's so good to see you," Sebastian blindly waved his hand subtly behind him to get Rupert's attention, "And this is the man of the hour, Rupert."

"It's an honour, Ms Priestly," Rupert cringed as he saw a slight raise of Miranda's eyebrow, "I mean, Miranda, sorry, erm, thanks for coming." 

Andy took pity on Rupert and stepped in, "Hi, I'm Andrea, but you can call me Andy." 

"Wow, it's so nice to finally meet you," Ru pulled a slightly startled Andy into a hug, "I feel as though I know you already."

Andy gave a questioning look towards Miranda, who just smiled, while Nigel shrugged. He had obviously been kept in the dark too. 

"I am very interested to see how our joint endeavour has turned out," Miranda smiled as she took Andrea's hand in hers. 

"It's in place and ready whenever you are. I know we hadn't talked about placement in the exhibition but I think you will agree that it couldn't have gone anywhere else but front and centre," Rupert gestured for everyone to follow him, "You ready to go see it?" 

"Lead the way, Rupert," Miranda was thrumming with excitement. She just hoped Andrea was pleased. 

"Miranda," Andy whispered whilst smiling at various people who said hello as they walked through the gallery, or who were trying and failing to get the attention of her love, "what have you been up to?" 

"All in good time, my darling," Miranda beamed. 

Rupert led them to a central position in the gallery. From this vantage point it was clear for all to see that the entire exhibition centred around this one piece that was hidden underneath a piece of cloth. 

A crowd had gathered around them and Rupert stepped forward as Sebastian tapped a pen against his glass to garner everyone's attention. A hushed silence fell over the crowd as all eyes were on the artist. The anticipation was palpable, clear that something big was about to happen. 

"Thank you everyone, and welcome to my first major exhibition, 'One love. One family. One canvas.' When I embarked on this project I naively thought that they would all end up looking the same, that in essence there would be a common theme that tied the pieces together but as you will have seen from the rest of the exhibition there isn't one love, one family or indeed one canvas that fits all. We live in a rich, vibrant world that comes in all shapes, colours and sizes. As I approached each of my subjects, I had asked them to give me one thing that could define love and family to them and took that as my starting point. Then I allowed my muse to take over and the rest, as they say, is history. It has been quite the enlightening journey. At times I have felt the love, heart ache, pride, and above all else the sense of belonging that each of my subjects conveyed to me. I am overwhelmed by the responses each piece has had, from the subjects themselves and from all of you this evening. Before I reveal my centrepiece, I must do some housekeeping by way of thanks to those who have made this incredible project come to life, so bear with me!" A ripple of laughter sounded around the gallery as Rupert took a quick gulp of water. 

"The first thank you is to all of my subjects, who without them, this wouldn't have happened. Your honesty and candid approach to the concept allowed for such freedom of creativity that an artist such as myself one can only dream of. You trusted me with things that are at the very core of what you believe is love and family, and for that I am truly honoured. So thank you," Rupert allowed for the applause to die down before he continued, "My next thank you, and this is a big one, is to my Sebastian. Your faith and unrelenting belief in me has kept me going. When I was locked away in my studio for weeks on end, missed dinners, and was generally an absolute bear to live with, you were there, cheering from the side lines. All of this wouldn't have happened without your unwavering support and there will never be enough words to express my gratitude for sticking by me and pushing me, sometimes not so subtly, to achieve and realise my dream. You are my one love, my one family," Rupert held his glass in the air, and the crowd clapped and cheered for Sebastian, who was having a hard time keeping it together. 

"Thank you to the gallery, and to my future Grandmother-in-law Tippi, who took a chance on a relatively unknown artist, judged me on my abilities and not connections, and was at times my harshest critic," Miranda scoffed at that and gave a knowing smirk to her long standing friend, who was proudly beaming at her grandsons fiancée, "And lastly I want to thank someone who I still can't believe is here, but I think you will agree has the sharpest eye, not just in the fashion world but in the arts world as a whole. When she first approached me all those months back, I would never have dreamed that what started off as a personal commission would develop and evolve into the centrepiece of the entire project. She is the toughest task master, and has pushed me to new levels of creativity that I didn't think I had in me. But I am so glad she did. Miranda Priestly, I hope this lives up to your exacting expectations and that I have encapsulated your one love, one family, one canvas." With that Rupert took a deep breath and removed the plain muslin cloth, letting it float to the floor. You could hear a pin drop as the portrait beneath was revealed.

Chapter Text

Miranda was staring at the portrait. Even if she had wanted to she wouldn't have been able to tear her eyes away from it. It was everything she had hoped it would be and more. As soon as the fabric had hit the floor it was as if everyone in the room had disappeared, themselves hidden beneath a soft veil of muslin. She could hear the muffled sounds of hushed whispers on the periphery but the only thing to ring clear as a bell was the gasp to her right. Andrea. She felt the hand in hers tighten and her heart beat faster. Knowing her every move, every reaction was being watched, photographed, scrutinised, Miranda was deeply regretting not taking Rupert up on his offer of a private viewing and yet there was something so wonderfully satisfying about proving those that doubted the existence of her heart wrong. Spectacularly wrong. 

“Miranda,” Andy whispered, “I don’t...” Andy stuttered as she looked at Miranda with a mixture of shock and sheer disbelief, then back at what had just been unveiled, “But that's…”

“You,” Miranda said in a shaky exhale of breath, and started to walk towards the portrait gently pulling Andrea with her. 

“Me,” Andy murmured as she allowed Miranda to lead her by their still entwined fingers to what could have been a mirror image. 

It was exquisite. Rupert had outdone himself. He had listened, but more importantly he had understood everything Miranda was wanting to convey through this piece of art. 

For the first time in her life Miranda was publicly baring her soul. It was one of the main reasons why she hadn’t told anyone about it. That had been her get out clause if she’d suddenly got cold feet. And if she was brutally honest with herself up until the previous evening she had still been in two minds about whether to pull the piece from the exhibition or not, no one would have known. But it was watching Andrea pad into the kitchen that very morning, barefoot, pajama clad and still clearly half asleep that had ultimately made up her mind. The smile that she was treated to as she sat at the breakfast bar nursing her first coffee of the day had sent warm tingles shooting from the roots of her hair to the tips of her toes. The way the early morning light had illuminated Andrea’s sleep mussed hair creating a halo that surrounded her makeup free face. Andrea radiated a delicious beauty, and warmth. Miranda was broken out of her reverie by the thunderous arrival of Cassidy followed by a more sedate Caroline both of whom made a beeline for Andrea, who without hesitation swept them both up in a big hug before making a start on fixing their breakfast. Something that Andrea didn't have to do nor did the girls ask it of her, it was just what happened. And it filled Miranda's heart with pure joy. Her one love had become the centre of her one family. 

Miranda dealt with beauty every day, it was her bread and butter. She lived it. Breathed it. For decades it had been her life source, her reason for existing. No one could take a model and a dress and turn it into something that people around the globe would instantly lust after, covet, desire, quite like Miranda Priestly. But this commission was different. It wasn't about the trappings, or the jewels or the dazzling sets and multimillion dollar budgets. Miranda had wanted a raw, uncomplicated, authentic representation of beauty because that was exactly what she saw when she looked at her Andrea. And Rupert had delivered that in abundance. 

At the beginning of the process Miranda had gone back and forth in regards to what she had wanted the portrait to look like. She had even resorted to sketching a few ideas herself but they had not gone any further than the inside of the trash can. Miranda knew that everyone would be expecting something over the top, ostentatious, like one of those ghastly family portraits with Miranda sitting regally on a chair, surrounded by Andrea and the twins with Patricia at her feet, or maybe something akin to the spreads that graced the pages of Runway every month but that was the opposite to what defined love and family to her. To the average on looker what Rupert had produced might look simple in its composition, but to those that knew Miranda, really knew her, it was a blatant display of the deep, fierce love that coursed through her veins. If you knew what to look for, it was all there, plain and simple. 

"But the girls?" Andy looked at Miranda, her face etched in concern. 

"Look a little closer at what's underneath your beautiful face darling." Trust Andrea to have Caroline and Cassidy at the forefront of her mind. 

Andy leant in and began to study the elegant handwriting. Hang on was that, she suddenly gasped as she started to read a line that she recognised instantly. She felt foolish that she hadn't initially registered that the beautiful penmanship was that of her love's, but those words, those words she had read many times, the original printed version framed and hanging on the wall in Miranda's office, she knew by heart. 

Taking a step back, Andy took the whole piece in. It would surprise people that Miranda was not shown in image, and neither were the twins. There was this misconception surrounding the editor that she was self-indulgent, wanting, no needing to be the centre of attention but that couldn't have been further from the truth. When it came to Miranda's work, it was inevitable that she would be the focus, her incredible talent had sealed that fate. But in Miranda's private life it was the complete opposite. 

Miranda wrapped her arm around Andrea's waist as the brunette rested her head on her shoulder as they gazed at the simple, but painfully beautiful portrait. 

"Do you like it?" Miranda whispered, unable to conceal the apprehension in her voice. 

"It's not what I was expecting, but I love it," Andy sighed happily, as she gazed up at Miranda and watched her shoulders relax as the tension left the editor's body. 

And so did Miranda. Staring back at her was a face that would be forever burnt into her soul. The hyper realistic black ink drawing of Andrea was beautiful, taking the central focus of the mixed media piece. Her eyes, as they did in real life, sucked you in. It was magnificent. Rupert had managed to somehow capture the sparkle that was ever present and translate it through ink. Truly remarkable. The drawing, however, was not on a plain canvas, but instead on top of a beautifully handwritten letter. The words, so elegantly etched on heavy weight paper, peaking through the inky lines that made up Andrea's beautiful face. The letter that Miranda had typed all those years ago, and had recently painstakingly copied out. Her editor's letter announcing the birth of Caroline and Cassidy. 

"It's perfect," Andy smiled dreamily, looking between Miranda and the most heartfelt love letter she had ever received, "and so very you." 

"Rupert certainly has got the likeness just right," a new voice pierced through the bubble that Andy and Miranda had only moments ago been surrounded by. 

Miranda heard Andrea groan and felt the brunette's body stiffen against her side. The voice, one unknown to her, was clearly not welcome. Bubble well and truly burst. 

"He has really captured your eyes, that intensity," the voice continued, pushing on regardless of the fact that Andrea had yet to acknowledge the person's presence. 

Miranda looked at Andrea, who rolled her eyes and turned around. 

"What do you want?" Andy stared hard at the woman. 

"To say hi," the woman shrugged. 

"Well mission accomplished," Andy moved to walk away but the woman grabbed her arm. 

"Hey don't be like that, Andy." 

Miranda growled at the sight of the strong grip this woman had on her Andrea's wrist. The woman quickly let go. Quite right, Miranda preened. 

"No, Lily. You do not get to waltz up to me and act as if a simple 'hi' will erase what you did," Andy took hold of Miranda's hand, needing a tether to something loving, as she started to feel tears and anger threaten to burst forth. She would not let her ex friend ruin this perfect moment for them. 

Ah, Miranda thought. So this was that Lily creature that was involved with Natalie. Miranda went into instant protector mode. The Devil was back in the room. 

"You know how sorr-" Lily was cut off by Andy raising her hand. 

"No. I don't want to hear it. That chapter of my life is over. Done. Finished. Now, if you'll excuse me, I am going to join my friends," Andy turned to face Miranda, and saw the knowing glint in those baby blues, with a smirk she subtly winked, before leaning in and whispering, "Do your worst my love," before stalking off towards Nigel who was watching the whole scene unfold. At one time she would have felt sorry for what was about to happen to Lily, but after what she had put her through on that hideous day she was going to enjoy watching it, with a drink in hand and a genuine friend by her side. 

Miranda glared at Lily, enjoying her squirm under her intense gaze. That was the thing with individuals like Lily. They were all talk but no substance. It would be easy to intimidate someone like Andrea, who wore her heart on her sleeve. The brunette openly displayed kindness which in the wrong hands was so easily exploited. 

"Look, Miranda isn't it? Can you try and talk some sense into her?" Miranda stood silently, observing the brazen defiance of the young woman who was unknowingly sealing her own demise, "I really am sorry. It was just, you know one of those stupid mistakes but I would have thought Andy was over it by now." 

"What is your line of work?" Miranda asked cooly, seeing the look of surprise on Lily's face. This clearly wasn't what she was expecting. 

"Oh, I am a senior curator, down at Gallery One," Lily's smile faltered as she saw a shark-like grin appear on Miranda's face. 

Turning to face Andrea's portrait Miranda waited until Lily had joined her before she started to speak again.

"Truly wonderful, isn't it?" Miranda nodded at the art work. 

"Yes, yes it is," Lily stammered, suddenly feeling very uneasy. Even she knew Miranda Priestly didn't indulge in casual small talk. 

"I am sure you are intelligent enough to understand that I will not be speaking to Andrea on your behalf. She has made her thoughts quite clear. Nor am I going to divulge a single thing about mine and Andrea's relationship to you," Miranda spoke so quietly that Lily had to lean in to hear her, "You," Miranda sneered, "lost that right when you betrayed that beautiful soul with the single most traitorous act one friend could do to another."

Lily gulped. 

"What I will say," Miranda was still facing Andrea's portrait but could see out of the corner of her eye that Lily had started shaking, "is that I will do anything, and I mean anything, to ensure that Andrea remains happy."

Miranda now turned to face Lily, "Do we have an understanding?" 

Lily frantically nodded her head, desperately wanting to bolt from the gallery but Miranda's pointed stare had her stuck fast to the floor like a moth about to be pierced with a final steel pin. 

"Excellent," Miranda saw Tippi making her way over to them. Now for her killer blow, "Give my regards to David," Miranda waited, enjoying the horror on Lily's face as the realisation set in. 

"What's this Miranda?" Tippi enquired, sensing from the look on the young woman's face and Miranda's predatory smirk, that the editor was toying with the woman. 

"I was just asking Lily here, to pass on my regards to David."

"David Lumley?" Tippi didn't miss a trick. She had observed the heated interaction with Andrea and this woman just moments before, "Well he will be at Sebastian and Rupert's wedding!" 

"Oh fabulous," Miranda clapped her hands together in glee, "How fortuitous, don't you think, Lily ?" and with that Miranda turned on her heel, offering her arm to Tippi leaving Lily standing there, processing what the hell had just happened. 

Oh fuck. She hadn't actually met David yet, she was too far down in the pecking order. But she knew that once he spoke to Miranda bloody Priestly she would likely never get to meet him either. Or have a job for that matter. How many galleries did David own? Was it four or was the newly opened Gallery One his fifth? She was fucking screwed. If it wasn't for the fact that she had just signed her fate and effectively ruined all her career prospects, Lily would have been impressed. Miranda had managed, in about a minute, to destroy her life, without so much as a raised voice or profanity. The urban legend that was La Priestly was a soft snuggly kitten compared to actually being on the receiving end of the editor's wrath in person. Holy shit. 

 

*****

 

"To Rupert," chorused around the private dining room Emily had secured at Le Bernardin. Drop Miranda's name and Eric Ripert himself will ensure a space away from prying eyes is provided. 

"Thank you all so much for making this evening so special," Rupert gushed, as coupe glasses were clinked in celebration. 

"This was a marvellous idea, Miranda," Sebastian sat to Miranda's left, "Getting us all together like this. It's been way too long," An air of sadness swept over the diners. 

"I know, and I am sorry I have let so much time pass by," Miranda squeezed Sebastian's hand, "You know, Jules would have loved to have been here this evening."

Andy saw Tippi, discreetly wiping a tear away as Nigel sniffed back his emotion, "Whose Jules?" Andy asked gently. 

Miranda looked up at Tippi, who nodded, before getting the final confirmation from a teary Sebastian. 

"Jules was Tippi's daughter," Andy gasped at Miranda's use of past tense, "Sebastian's mother, and a very dear friend of mine."

Nigel shuddered as he remembered the day Miranda had received the call to inform her that Jules had sadly lost her battle with cancer. Never did he want to see that look of utter devastation on Miranda's face again. His powerful, mercurial boss, heartbroken and lost. It still haunted him. 

"And she is deeply missed. But she would have been so proud to see the fine young man you have grown into," Miranda gave Sebastian a watery smile. 

"To Jules," Rupert announced, wrapping his arm around Tippi. 

"Did you know, Andy, that Miranda is actually my godmother?" Sebastian was very proud of this fact. 

"I did not!" Andy playfully swatted at Miranda's arm, "Why didn't you tell me?" 

Nigel could see the panicked look on Miranda's face and knew he had to step in. 

"Oh Six, there is probably so much Miranda still hasn't told you!" Nigel winked at Miranda, "La Priestly has a bit of a wild streak when the mood takes her. And Jules was her partner in crime."

"And Leslie!" Tippi added, "Andy, when those three got together it was sure to end in some hilarious tale or five!" 

"Oh god, Miranda do you remember that time we took Jules and Leslie to that disastrous show? You know the one with all that highlighter yellow netting?" 

Miranda let out a loud bark of laughter as she recalled that hideous collection. "Yes! I was sitting in the front row trying to maintain an air of decorum and all I could hear was the two of you sniggering away," Miranda laughed again, "How I managed to have a conversation with the designer afterwards was beyond me." 

"Was this the one with the UV paint?" Sebastian was laughing now too as Miranda groaned and put her head in her hands, knowing exactly what was coming next. 

Nigel slapped his hand on the table in excitement, "Oh Andy this is hilarious. I had completely forgotten about that part." 

"Nigel," Miranda growled. 

"Ignore her Nigel," Andy said eagerly, she was loving hearing this side of Miranda, "I want all the juicy details."

Miranda rolled her eyes, "I’ll need another drink for this," she quickly filled her glass and took a big gulp. 

"So, we are all sitting there, waiting for the finale piece, and all of a sudden the entire catwalk plunges into darkness and this god awful techno music starts blasting out," Nigel ignored the faux glare from Miranda as she took another large slug from her glass, "Then the stage gets flooded in black light," by this point Nigel wass shaking with laughter, "and all you can see," Nigel snorted, "is Miranda's hair! Andy, it was glowing!" 

"That's brilliant!" Andy joined in with the laughter. 

"Oh that's not even the best bit. As the models started to come out they started to spray each other with UV paint, all over the dresses, and the catwalk, it was an absolute mess. But then all of a sudden one of the models slips on the paint and goes flying."

"Oh man, how embarrassing," as a fellow klutz Andy felt for the poor girl. 

"Well yes, falling on a runway is never good but this, well this was something else!" 

"I don't think Andrea and Rupert need to know what happens next," Miranda groaned. 

"Oh we really do," they both shouted out together. 

"The model tried to break her fall, and fell hands first into Miranda's lap. As we lifted her off, there were two perfect UV paint hand prints, erm you know, about here," Nigel hovered his hands over his chest. 

"Seriously?" Rupert looked wide eyed at Miranda and then back at Nigel. 

"Yep, our Miranda had a glorious, glowing UV hand print bra," Nigel giggled into his wine glass. 

"Miranda, that is hilarious!" Andy shrieked, the whole table now in hysterics whilst Miranda sat there spinning the stem of her, now empty, wine glasses between delicate fingers. 

"Please tell me there are pictures of this??" 

"I believe it may have graced page six," Miranda drawled as she signalled to the waiter, who had just entered the private dining room, that they needed more wine. Desperately. 

"I have a copy of it, framed in my study at home," Nigel smiled smugly at Miranda, "Next time you come over, remind me to show you." 

Miranda sat back and watched as Andrea laughed with her friends. Well no, the people around the table were more like her extended family. She had hoped they would love Andrea and she needn't have worried. She could even endure the teasing as one look at how Andrea's eyes lit up with every new tale Nigel, or Tippi shared made the embarrassment worthwhile. She hadn't purposely kept this side of her a secret, it just hadn't come up in conversation. Even though it had felt like she had been in Andrea's orbit a lifetime in the grand scheme of things it was still relatively new. But she vowed there and then to start sharing more of the person she was when Jules was in her life. 

"Miranda did what?!" Andy couldn't believe what Nigel had just told her. 

Miranda must have missed something crucial, when she had been momentarily lost in observing her Andrea. Oh she was so lucky to have been chosen by her. 

"What was I meant to have done this time?" Miranda spoke evenly, dreading what little adventure Nigel had obviously decided to share now. He was clearly taking the role of secret sharer very seriously. 

"Milan…" Nigel smirked. 

Miranda smiled, she had an ace up her sleeve with Milan, which she knew Nigel wouldn't have voluntarily divulged. 

"But on fire Miranda?" Andy was laughing again. 

"Andrea," Miranda purred, "When one is asked whether you would like your shot set on fire or not, the answer is surely obvious?" Miranda drawled. 

Andy, sat there mouth open, desperately trying to picture Miranda in some seedy bar in the back streets of Milan doing shots of flaming sambuca. She also started to think about how hot that scenario would be. 

"And Nigel, just how long did it take for your eyebrows to grow back?" Miranda raised her glass towards her now flustered friend in triumphant glee. 

 

*****

 

Andy was having a hard time controlling her giggles as she helped a rather wobbly Miranda up the stairs to their bedroom. Miranda was drunk. Well according to the editor she was merely a little tipsy. You see the great Miranda Priestly did not get inebriated, that was a plebeian trait that she did not succumb to. And had stated that fact rather loudly in the back of the town car, much to Roy and Andy's shared amusement. 

Andy wasn't complaining though, Miranda was very happy, and also rather handsy when she had had more than her usual quota of alcohol. It didn't happen very often but when it did Andy knew she was in for a very fun evening. And what made it even better was Andy herself was more than a little merry. And desperately horny. 

Over the course of the dinner Andy had noticed that Miranda was drinking rather more quickly, than she usually did. At first it was to take the edge off the embarrassment of the stories that Tippi, Nigel and Sebastian were sharing, but as the night wore on Miranda herself took control of the story telling and it gave the rest of the table time to catch up. By the end of the evening they were all in hysterics. Miranda was a brilliant scene setter and her delivery of a funny anecdote was second to none. They had all left the restaurant long after closing with the promise of more drinks and dinners before the wedding. Andy couldn't wait. 

But for now she had to navigate a few flights of stairs and Miranda's wandering hands were making it all the more problematic. Thankfully the twins were staying over at a friend's house and Charlotte was out, so the house was empty. 

Finally they reached their bedroom and Miranda made a beeline for the buttons on Andy's blazer dress. Fumbling slightly and with one eye closed in order to focus, she finally got the last button open, her face triumphant as she hungrily feasted on the sight of the brunette's bare torso. Licking her lips she pushed Andy back onto the mattress where she landed with a loud oomf.

Andy shuffled back and settled against the headboard as she watched Miranda hopelessly try and balance on one leg attempting to undo the strap on her sandal. Taking pity at Miranda's, frankly adorable, little whine at not being able to undo the buckle, Andy crawled back down the bed gesturing for Miranda to lift her foot up. 

Undoing the first buckle she gave Miranda's calf a quick squeeze signalling for Miranda to swap feet and then Miranda was finally free of those towering heels. Next Andy sat up on her knees and reached behind Miranda quickly lowering the zip to her jumpsuit. Divesting Miranda of her clothes followed by her barely there underwear, Andy took Miranda's hand and guided her onto the bed. 

Andy shivered at the pure lust that was radiating from Miranda. She knew tonight was going to be hot, and fast and fucking brilliant. Andy had been on the edge since she had first clapped eyes on Miranda in that jumpsuit. 

"I need you Miranda," Andy pleaded. She couldn't wait any longer, quickly slipping her thong down her long legs and using her foot to fling it off into the room. She then laid back and let her legs fall open, offering herself completely. 

Miranda growled with want as she saw just how ready Andrea was. She loved it when Andrea was like this, needy and begging. 

"And what do you need, darling," Miranda purred as she crawled over Andrea. 

"You, Miranda," Andy whined, arching her back to push her chest towards Miranda's lips that were now hovering tantalisingly close to her hardened nipples. 

"But you have me," Miranda teased as her tongue swiped at the underside of Andrea's left breast, "I asked, what do you need?" 

Andy was rolling her hips, desperate for Miranda's touch. 

"I need you to fuck me, god Miranda, take me already," Andy moaned loudly. 

And that is exactly what Miranda did. Hard. Fast. And deliciously messy. It was fucking glorious. 

Chapter Text

Miranda had been hoping to have a relaxing weekend after the week she had had but the two youngest members of the household had put a stop to that. The fact that Andrea had supported and practically encouraged today's activity was a moot point. 

Sighing she picked up the hairdryer and got to work on that famous forelock. It didn't matter that they were staying within the confines of the townhouse today, she wasn't about to let standard's slip. 

"Oh Miranda," Andy sprinted into their bedroom, waving an arm wildly towards the editor, "you have to come and see this. It is just too cute, a little scary, but ultimately cute!" and with that Andrea left back through the door just as quickly as she had arrived. 

All Miranda had wanted was to spend the day pottering around the house, maybe read for a bit in the den, have a lazy late lunch at some small, cosy, family run establishment that would provide delicious morsels fit for an afternoon of grazing in a relaxed carefree atmosphere. But no. Today she would be spending the majority of her day with a select team of people from Runway. Not what she had wanted. Not what she had wanted at all. 

Slipping into a pair of Gucci block heel patent pumps she straightened her jacket, set her hair just so, and swept a flash of coral over her lips. The Devil At Home was ready to greet her staff. 

Walking down the stairs Miranda heard the distinct and clipped voice of her first assistant and stifled a chuckle. She could tell by the tone that Emily's eye was probably twitching and that she was not at all happy. 

"Emily, I distinctly told you to set the notebooks on the left of the water tumblers," Caroline was exasperated, no wonder her mother was constantly disappointed if her team couldn’t even follow a basic instruction, "This is a big day for me and I don't need your excuses." 

Andy was standing in the doorway of the formal dining room, which for the purpose of today had been converted into a boardroom. Caroline had turned full on mini Miranda. It was hilarious, if a little frightening. One Miranda was more than enough. 

"Oh my," Miranda whispered, not wanting to disturb her daughter in full flow, "you've created a monster." 

"Me?!" Andy whipped around to face Miranda, "Oh no, this is all on you," Andy playful poked a finger at Miranda's chest, "Recognise anything familiar?" 

"There you are Andy!" Caroline sighed dramatically, as she looked down at her checklist that she had neatly scribed on the pages of a Runway notebook, "So?" Caroline looked pointedly at Andy. 

"Sooooo?" Andy asked nervously 

Where are the pens?" Caroline tapped her foot impatiently. 

"Pens?" Andy squeaked. 

"Yes, the pens! Andy, I asked you to do one simple task and you come back empty handed," Caroline threw her hands in the air and stomped out of the room, muttering something about "incompetence" as she swept past Miranda. 

"Seriously, none of this reminds you of anyone?" 

"I can't say it rings any bells, Andrea, " Miranda purred with an innocent smirk plastered all over her beautiful face. 

"I am going to find Cassidy," Andy gave Miranda a chaste kiss on the lips, "She gets it!" 

Miranda laughed as Andrea disappeared from the room. She surveyed the space and was astonished at how Caroline had got everything set up just so. There was an eerie familiarity. It was like looking at a mini version of Runway. She watched Emily moving the notebooks to Caroline's exact instructions and had to laugh at how her daughter had managed to get Emily totally whipped - she really was a chip off the old block. Miranda had been surprised but elated when Caroline had pestered her to arrange this meeting. Yes the twins had put so much effort into the fundraiser theme and aesthetics at the beginning but she was taken aback when it hadn't fallen by the wayside like most things that caught their attention did. Well, Caroline was taking it very seriously, Cassidy was just going through the motions and supporting her sister. 

Speaking of the latter, Cassidy should really be helping. As much as Emily was there to assist Miranda's every move, it didn't necessarily extend to the bidding of her daughter. It was the weekend after all. 

"Emily, would you go and see if Charlotte has everything in hand?" 

"Oh, yes of course," Emily placed the last notebook carefully on the table, and with a satisfied nod at her handy work left the room. 

"She is actually losing it," Cassidy gave a quick wave to Emily as they passed each other in the doorway before barrelling into the room. 

Cassidy flopped down on a chair at the head of the table, "Seriously mum, Caro has gone totally power crazy."

"It can't be that bad darling," Miranda smiled at her daughter, who regardless of biology was so like Andy. More comfortable in sneakers and jeans, and rough housing in the back garden. The two had formed such a bond, and it warmed her heart no end. 

"Bad? Oh it's worse than that!" Cassidy groaned as she glared at Miranda, "She has been up since god knows when rehearsing her presentation. She even has these little cue cards. Not that she needs them. Even I know it all off by heart!" 

"Well this is a big deal to your sister, and I think it's rather wonderful that you are supporting her so much," Miranda stepped behind Cassidy and smoothed her hair before placing a kiss on the top of her head. 

"It's not exactly like I had any choice, mum!" Cassidy laughed and looked up at Miranda, "None of us have this week." 

"I admit she has taken this all rather seriously," Miranda nodded as she thought back to the previous week. Both she and Andy had had to separately take Caroline aside and ground her. The atmosphere had been rather tense in the run up to today. 

"I mean, I get it but I have never seen her like this before," Cassidy sighed. 

"Don't worry I will talk to her," Miranda smiled at Cassidy's nod of gratitude, "Is that what you're wearing darling?" 

"Oh don't you start!" Cassidy rolled her eyes, "And no. I just came in to set the easels up and then I am going to get changed. Caroline has been very ‘helpful’ and laid an outfit out for me on my bed," Cassidy sassed. 

"Thank you Cassidy," Miranda squeezed her daughter's shoulder, "You are doing a noble thing and I am very proud of you." 

"Thanks mum, but maybe keep that in mind if I decide to strangle my dear sister before the day is out." 

"Just remember darling, deep breaths, and orange would clash horribly with your hair," Miranda laughed as she left the room to a grumbling "whatever" as Cassidy wrestled with an uncooperative easel. 

Time was moving so fast. Her daughters, now thirteen, were starting to really take on their own identities at lightning speed. How two people could look identical but be worlds apart in thoughts, principles and personalities had always amazed her. When she had first found out she was having twins she had done so much research, scoured scientific journals, research papers, and personal accounts to get an insight as to what she was about to take on. She had never really encountered twins on a personal level and it had been fascinating. It was easy when they were younger to dress them the same, and assume that if one liked something the other would too but that soon wore thin and she found herself constantly on the back foot. To be honest that had been the case up until Andrea. Caroline was so very much like Miranda so she was easier to deal with. They had more in common, had the same mood swings and temper, but Cassidy was the complete opposite. She had always struggled to fit in, and if Miranda was brutally honest with herself she had neglected to embrace Cassidy’s personality because it was so different from hers. But Andrea, Andrea just got her. It was that simple and Cassidy was now thriving. The worry and stress of feeling like she was constantly failing Cassidy because of her own shortcomings had dropped away in an instant thanks to that wonderful, charming, sometimes goofy, brunette who had stolen her heart all those months ago. 

Miranda popped her head in the kitchen and observed Charlotte arranging some mini pastries, fresh from the oven on a platter whilst Andrea prepped a cafetiere. The bright wide smile she got made her heart sing, how one person could affect her so was sometimes overwhelming but she wouldn't swap it for all the Prada in the world. 

"Where's our delightful taskmaster?" Miranda drawled, causing a snort of laughter from Charlotte. 

"Try the den. I think the nerves have set in, so go easy on her, my love," Andy said gently as she spooned Miranda's favourite coffee blend into the cafetiere. 

And the den was exactly where she found her daughter. Curled up, with her head buried in the coarse coat of their beloved Patricia. 

Miranda walked over to the pair and crouched down, "Caroline, darling?" 

"Go away," Caroline sniffed, her voice muffled. 

"I can't do that," Miranda lowered herself fully onto the rug, tucking her legs elegantly underneath her, thankful she had decided to wear pants, "but what I can do is listen. Now, why don't you tell me what's brought this about?" 

"Everything has gone wrong. I can't remember any of my presentation and Andy forgot to sort out the pens!" Caroline sobbed into Patricia's thick fur. 

Miranda pulled her phone from her pocket and quickly sent a text, before pulling Caroline up by her shoulders and wrapping her up in a hug. 

"Right, that's the pens sorted, so that's one thing we can cross off the list straight away," Miranda kept her tone light and soothing as she gently rubbed calming circles on her daughter’s back, "and I know for a fact that you know your presentation inside out. So what's really the matter?" 

"It's stupid, you wouldn't understand."

"Try me," Miranda gently challenged.

"I just," Caroline sat up and sighed, "I don't want to let you and Andy down."

"Oh my darling girl," Miranda felt her heart break, "Whatever made you think you could let us down?" 

"Because you're this amazing badass editor that never gets nervous and Andy is like an actual Olympian!" 

Miranda let out a little chuckle, which got her an instant glare. 

"See!" Caroline huffed in annoyance and a little embarrassment, "I knew you would think it was stupid."

"Caroline, I am not laughing at you, quite the opposite actually. What you are feeling is quite natural. I know it doesn't feel like it right now, but nerves are a good thing. It means you care about what you are doing." 

"How so?" Caroline hiccupped. 

"Well, for one it shows that you understand the task in hand and what it means to those around you. And that is a good thing. There is nothing worse than someone who is blase about something. It will only ever come across as insincere," Miranda wiped a thumb over Caroline's cheek catching an errant tear," You have so much heart my darling girl, and have put a lot of thought into this Fundraiser and Andrea and I are both so proud of you."

"Really?" Caroline whispered. 

"Really," Miranda tapped Caroline on the nose, making her giggle. 

"That's all well and good though, but you still don't get nervous," Caroline rolled her eyes. 

"I do. I have just had a lot more practice at hiding it," Miranda smiled at Caroline's wide eyes, "Contrary to belief I absolutely detest public speaking, inside I am an absolute bundle of anxiety and nerves."

"You would never have guessed. But how do you deal with it?" 

"There is no quick fix I am afraid. There aren't some magical words of wisdom I can say that will make it all dissipate," Miranda saw her daughter’s shoulders slump in defeat, "But one thing that works for me is grounding myself. Before I walk on stage to deliver a big speech I take a deep breath and discreetly pinch here," Miranda demonstrated pinching the sensitive flesh between her thumb and forefinger, "It clears my mind and focuses me on the task in hand, quite literally."

"Do you think that would work, something like that, for me?" 

"It might do, and you will soon find your own little talisman move that will help. Andrea, for example, taps her fingers on her thighs in a set pattern when she steps up on the starting block as she waits for the starting pistol to go off."

"Andy really does that?" 

"What do I do?" a new and very welcome voice had joined the mix. 

"Your little finger tapping routine before a race," Miranda looked up from her position on the floor at a pair of love filled brown eyes. 

"You know I do that?" Andy laughed. 

"Darling, of course I do," 

"Touché," Andy sat down on the rug with an ungraceful thump, "Nothing gets past you." 

"It started off as a nerve thing, and now I can't not do it. It's like a ritual that gets me in the 'zone', I press my goggle's to my face, tap my thighs like this," Andy did the pattern on Caroline's thigh, "press my googles again and take a deep breath." 

"That's cool. Have you ever been so nervous you couldn't do something though?" Caroline asked quietly. 

"There was this one time," Andy groaned at the memory, "It was one of my first big competition's for my club. I wasn't much older than you are now and was swimming against some much older and more experienced swimmers. I had barely slept the night before and my stomach was flip flopping all over the place. I was so nervous, and as I got up on the starting block I felt my tummy roll and then the worst thing happened."

"Oh Andrea, you didn't?" Miranda winced as she had an inkling as to what the brunette was going to say next. 

"I did…" Andy cringed. 

"What happened?!" Caroline sat up eagerly. 

"I puked," 

"Oh my god!" Caroline was laughing as Miranda looked a little green, "Like, everywhere?" 

"Yep. Everywhere, even in the pool."

"Delightful," Miranda felt a little queasy herself. Vomit was the one thing she couldn't deal with. 

"It was so embarrassing. They had to stop the swim meet, and everything. Total nightmare. But the point I was making is these things happen to the best of us. It's a fact of life but it's how you deal with it so it doesn't happen again that counts."

"Do you feel a bit better?" Miranda lifted herself up off the floor and reached out to help Caroline up. 

Caroline nodded, "Yeah I do actually, thanks, you two," she wrapped her arms around both of them pulling the two older women into a hug. 

Just then the doorbell went, signalling the arrival of the rest of the Runway team. 

"Right, why don't you go and sort yourself out, get changed and then Andrea and I will finish off down here?" 

"OK," Caroline took a big, deep breath before heading out the den. 

"Crisis averted," Miranda pulled Andrea flush against her body now they were alone. 

"For now, at least," Andy snuggled into the crook of Miranda's neck, but instead of sighing in delight Miranda almost grimaced. 

"You're still thinking about me throwing up in the pool aren't you?" Andy laughed loudly as Miranda shuddered in confirmation. 

 

*****

 

Nigel had arrived a little later in a flurry of bags and air kisses. 

"How's the mini P fairing?" Nigel took out a box waving it around with a flourish, "I have pens, lots of pens." 

"I'll take those," Andy grabbed the box and headed into the dining room, shouting thanks over her shoulder. 

Everyone had taken their respective seats, Miranda at the head of the table and were waiting patiently for the girls to arrive. The easels were set up at the far end of the room in front of the window and Miranda had seen the impressed looks the events team had given the mood boards they proudly displayed. 

"Before we start I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for taking the time out of your weekend to attend this presentation. I think you will find it very eye opening but be under no illusions that just because they are my daughters you have to deal with them any differently than you would any other external contractor." Miranda heard movement in the hallway and saw her daughters waiting in the wings. "That being said, Andrea and I want to remind you that family, inclusion and diversity are at the heart of this project. I'll now hand you over to Caroline and Cassidy Priestly." 

Miranda sat back in her chair and watched with pride as her daughters entered the room. Caroline took a deep breath, subtly tapped her thigh in a familiar pattern before eloquently delivering the presentation of her life, wowing everyone around that table. 

 

*****

 

"Where did you disappear earlier?" Andy asked as she took off what little makeup she had on. 

Miranda did a final rinse of her mouth before placing her toothbrush back in its cup. She mused at the sight of hers resting against Andrea's. 

"Scarlet had some information for me that needed my immediate attention." 

"Scarlet is the woman who is moonlighting as Estelle's PA right?" Andy looked at Miranda's reflection in the large bathroom mirror. 

"Hmmmm," Miranda hummed as she brushed out the hairspray from her silver locks, "She has made some progress on a little project I set for her."

"I have been meaning to ask you what's going on with that whole situation," Andrea slipped her t-shirt over her head and walked towards the shower, "Even I thought you would have done something more public by now." 

"Ah but that's all part of the plan, my darling," Miranda ran her eyes hungrily over Andrea's now naked body as the brunette waited for the shower to heat up, "Everyone will have expected me to have retaliated by now, including Estelle." 

"But you haven't," Andy saw Miranda shake her head, "You are making her think you haven't?" this time Miranda nodded in agreement. 

"Exactly that. I want her completely unaware of what's coming," Miranda growled, "What she did was unforgivable. She used our daughters as fodder in the press, outed us through spite. It was calculated and planned and I won't let that go unpunished. She wanted to destroy me, to destroy us and our family, and that I do not take lightly."

Andy knew from Miranda's tone that the matter for now was closed. She watched as Miranda stalked towards her, shedding her clothes as she got closer. 

"Now, all I want is you and me in that shower," Miranda pressed her naked body flush against Andrea's, causing a gasp as their breasts touched. 

Andy took the decidedly not subtle hint and walked them backwards into the spacious shower cubicle, careful to not slip. She let out a loud groan as Miranda nipped at her shoulder. Andy had planned on a quick spritz before bed but Miranda's wandering hands suggested that this would be anything but quick… 

Chapter Text

“I can’t take much more of this,” Nigel slumped down onto Emily’s desk, “it’s beyond unbearable now.”

“Don’t,” Emily held a hand up to stop Nigel from uttering another word, “I have had it up to here,” Emily raised her hand higher to emphasise her point, “with the snarky comments and attitude. I mean, just look at this,” Emily kicked the trash can next to her desk as Nigel peered over to look in it. 

“Are they?” 

“Seven completely wasted Starbucks? Yes. Yes they are, and it's not even midday. I think she is well on her way to breaking yesterday's record of thirteen. Apparently every single one was luke warm. Which of course they weren’t. I have the bloody scalds to testify to that fact.”

“How many more days do we have to endure this torture?” Nigel groaned, “I fear I am going to run out of staff, the way she is ripping through my department!”

“Andy should be back on Sunday,” Emily huffed, “I am going to throttle her when I next see her.”

“You’ll have to fight me for prime position at the front of the queue, Charlton,” Nigel smirked, just as Miranda swept into the outer office, unceremoniously dumping her coat and bag on the other Emily’s desk. 

“Coffee. Now. And Emily would it kill you to ensure it's hot this time,” Miranda glared at the redhead, before turning her laser focus onto Nigel, “I really do hope there is a good reason as to why you are up here gossiping when pages 48 through 57 are an absolute abomination?” 

“Just dropping these proofs off, Miranda,” Nigel was desperately trying not to take Miranda’s attitude personally but after three solid days of frankly shitty behaviour from his boss he was reaching his limit, “And now they are delivered, I shall be on my way.”

Nigel discreetly blew a kiss to Emily, before scurrying off to the safety of his own department. He felt a little bad about leaving Emily alone with Miranda in her current state, but he had had to endure his fair share of verbal floggings over the last few days. And he had a glorious forty five minutes before he was required to drag himself back up to the dragon's lair again. That precious time was not going to be wasted. Emily would have to fend for herself.

Miranda sank heavily in her chair. Andrea had received a call on the Sunday evening from a very panicked Josie explaining that Cora had unfortunately slipped on one of the lakes main jetty’s and fractured her shoulder, they had lost one of the main swimming coaches to a bad bout of stomach flu and, what with Helen still MIA, Josie was struggling to get the camp ready for the coming week’s guests. It wasn't even in question that Andrea would head out of town to Camp Tethys and step in to take the pressure off, so come Monday morning Andrea said a somewhat teary goodbye to the twins, hopped on her motorbike and was gone. 

To say that Miranda wasn't handling the brunette’s absence well would be the understatement of the season, actually scrap that, the year. She felt a small pang of guilt at her behaviour but without Andrea’s physical presence every morning everything had felt wrong. Colours were not as bright. Run throughs were completely uninspiring. Her team lacked enthusiasm. Looking at her phone's blank screen she let out another long sigh for what felt like the hundredth time that morning. 

Miranda had never missed someone so acutely as she did her Andrea. She knew Andrea’s absence couldn't be helped, but Miranda was pining, actually pining, like some ridiculous love sick teenager. It was quite frankly such a ridiculous notion. She was Miranda Bloody Priestly for crying out loud. The taker of souls with a single glare, not some pathetic mess who couldn't function without their significant other. But that was the exact predicament she had found herself in. When did this transition happen, the moment she had become so reliant on a beaming smile and deep chocolate eyes? Oh but those eyes, that sit above the most perfectly sculpted nose, which lead to kissable lips that would whisper her awake with sweet nothings, or reduce her to a quivering mess as they delivered hot words laden with even hotter promises. Miranda Priestly, Editor In Chief of Runway, was well and truly whipped. Whipped, now there's a thought… As Miranda’s hapless brain started to descend into the depths of her vivid imagination her phone beeped. 

Sachs: Why am I getting SOS messages demanding I get my ass back to the city pronto? 

Priestly: I have no idea what you are talking about… 

Sachs: Is that right? So if I happen to reference you vetoing all blonde models in favour of brunettes this morning with Nigel that wouldn't ring any bells??

Priestly: No, I can’t say that it does

Incoming call Sachs

“Andrea,” Miranda sighed lovingly into the phone

“Hello my love, you want to tell me what's going on?”

“Apparently, I may have been a little harsh and somewhat direct with my employees, though it's not that they don't deserve it. The run through this morning was a complete and utter disaster,” Miranda drawled. 

“Right, and the model thing? Anyone would think you missed me…” 

“Don’t flatter yourself Sachs,” Miranda snorted, even though her heart clenched. Why was it so hard for her to say that she did. Deeply. 

“Ouch! Well I for one miss you, or maybe it's your hands I miss the most,” Andy laughed down the phone, “Oh, oh no, actually it’s your lips. Now those I miss like crazy! Hmmmm, yep definitely that wicked wicked mouth of yours and what it does to me,” Andy groaned into the phone before laughing at the squeak that came down the line from Miranda. 

“Well, erm, yes,” Miranda cleared her throat as she felt a blush creep up her neck. 

Andy heard someone enter Miranda’s office and the noise get all muffled, she grinned evilly and decided to have a little fun. 

“Yeah, the way you run your tongue along the side of my jaw before you move lower, nibbling on my collar bone knowing full well it will make me moan,” And Andy did just that down the phone. “And you keep going getting lower and lower, leaving deliciously wet kisses all over my chest before you reach my-”

Andy couldn't help but laugh as she heard the dial tone, signalling Miranda had hung up. She would make it up to Miranda later, but for now she hoped that Miranda might now go a little easier on her team. Andy’s phone vibrated announcing a new message. Or maybe not. 

Priestly: You are a cruel cruel woman, Andrea Sachs. 

Sachs: Tee hee! Well it's a good job you love me then isn't it… 

Priestly: That I do - although heaven knows why, but I really must go. Nigel is here, staring at me with a mix of curiosity and terror, and unluckily for him you have left me in quite a state…

Sachs: Play nice! and I will make it up to you later ;) 

Priestly: I can’t make any promises, this layout really is atrocious. 

Priestly: And considerably lacking in brunettes… 

 

*****

 

The only positive that Miranda could glean from Andrea not being in New York was the fact she had been able to ramp up the next stages in her plan to destroy Estelle. Scarlet had been brilliant in relaying Estelle’s latest list of clients, many of whom were already known to Miranda, and she had taken great joy in meeting them all for dinners or drinks over the course of the week. Channelling her missing Andrea into bringing Estelle down, one client at a time, was time very well spent. 

Tonight's dinner had been with an old acquaintance she had originally met through her first husband. Dennis Voight was a restaurant critic whose reputation had somewhat dwindled in the states having spent over a decade on the other side of the Atlantic touring the European culinary scene. He had always been personable to Miranda on the few occasions she had attended functions or when she had hosted the odd dinner party and although his hair was more salt than pepper these days he was still just as charming and pleasant. 

“So Miranda, as much as it's been a delight to take a trip down memory lane, I have a feeling that this isn't about getting reacquainted?”

“I forgot how direct you can be Dennis,” Miranda smirked, “A trait I know all too well.”

“Indeed, so let's cut to the chase shall we,” Dennis signalled to the waiter for a new round of drinks, before he looked pointedly at Miranda through his horn rimmed glasses, “What’s this all about?”

“I believe you are in need of new representation since returning to New York, and I would hate for you to fall in with the wrong crowd, as it were.” 

Miranda leant back against the cool leather seats of the town car as she surveyed the list of names. All but one had been crossed off. Reaching into her clutch she retrieved her monogrammed Mont Blanc pen and put a line through Dennis’s name. She had stretched herself this week, but it had been worth it. The list was complete. She loved it when a plan came together. 

“This is you Miranda,” Roy’s friendly voice floated into the back of the car signalling that she had reached her final destination of the evening. 

“Thank you Roy,” Miranda gave a silent nod as she exited the car. She had a spring in her step as she walked up the front stoop of the town house. She couldn’t wait to fill Andrea in on her progress this evening. But, as she swung the door open, she was greeted with silence and the stark realisation that there was going to be no beaming smile or strong arms wrapping around her waist. Andrea wasn't here. It stung even more tonight. Thursday night. Their sacred date night. When Andrea had first suggested keeping one night per week just for them she had scoffed at the idea, but now it was something that Miranda moved heaven and earth to try to make every single week. Until this week. In the words of her darling daughters, today sucked. 

It was odd that she hadn't heard from Andrea since the text exchange, and subsequent phone call, earlier in the day. She had tried to call on the way to the bar but it had gone straight to voicemail. Miranda had rolled her eyes as Andrea was a devil for remembering to charge her phone. Drinks with Dennis had been relatively quick, so she was home at a reasonable hour. She decided she would go and check in with the girls, get changed and see what she could rustle up for a late dinner. Although she feared her appetite would not surface until she had spoken to Andrea. 

As Miranda made her way up the stairs she could hear some music coming from Cassidys room, so made that her first stop. Gently knocking on the door she heard a soft “come in” and pushed the door open fully. 

“Hey mum,” Cassidy looked up from her position on the bed at the far side of the room, “Have a good day?” 

“It was,” Miranda shrugged as she tried to think of one word that would perfectly encapsulate the last thirteen hours, “tiresome.”

“I hear you on that,” Caroline answered as she appeared at the door to her sisters room, “I had double Maths and that always drags.”

“Hello darling,” Miranda gave Caroline a brief smile before sitting on the side of Cassidy’s bed. 

“Have you heard from Andy today?” Cassidy grinned rather suspiciously which garnered a cheeky smile from Caroline. 

“Briefly this morning, but not since then,” Miranda picked at an imaginary piece of fluff on her pants, “Have you two heard from her?”

“Yep,” the twins answered in unison. 

“About an hour ago,” Caroline added. 

“And she asked us to give you this,” Cassidy reached under her pillow and pulled out an A4 sized envelope giving it to Miranda. 

Miranda recognised Andrea’s handwriting immediately and felt a thrum of excitement, not even bothering to hide the fact she was probably making - what was it Cassidy teased her about, oh yes, heart eyes. But she couldn't help it. Just holding the envelope, which felt as if it contained more than just a sheet of paper, was like having a little piece of the brunette in the same space as her. It was wonderful.

“Muuuuum, are you even listening?” Cassidy chuckled. 

“Sorry Bobbsey, what did you say?”

“I was saying why don't you go get changed and open that,” Cassidy nodded towards the envelope that Miranda was now clutching to her chest.

“This can wait. Now tell me what you have both been up to today.” 

“Andy said you would do this,” Caroline rolled her eyes, “so I will give you the quick version. Arrived at school, learnt stuff, had swim practise, came home, had dinner, spoke to Andy and now we are kicking you out.” 

Miranda looked first at Caroline then at Cassidy, not quite sure what to say. 

“What Caro said,” Cassidy winked at her sister, “Now scram, mother dearest, this book isn't going to read itself now is it?” Cassidy waved an algebra textbook at Miranda. 

“Ok, ok. I can tell when I am not wanted,” Miranda huffed before leaning over and giving Cassidy a kiss on her cheek before standing up and pulling Caroline in for a hug, “Lights out in an hour.” She was met with twin groans as she left the room. 

Quickly making her way to her bedroom, she shut the door behind her and kicked off her heels. Part of her wanted to rip the envelope open, but there was another part that wanted to savour the moment. She reverently traced the cursive lines of her name, humming with joy before the first thought she had had took over. As she opened the now slightly crinkled envelope she gasped when she saw there was not only a letter but a bundle of smaller envelopes tied together with a piece of ribbon. The waft of Andrea’s perfume hit her as she emptied the contents onto the bed. She imagined Andrea taking the time to spray the ribbon as she delicately bundled them up. 

Miranda, 

I am sure you are probably wondering why you haven't heard from me much today, but I have had to keep my distance for fear of ruining what I hope will be an acceptable, if slightly unconventional, date night. I can picture you rolling your eyes as you read this bit and nodding in agreement that if there is one thing I am simply unable to do and that's keep surprises! And now I know you are probably laughing as even in letters I ramble, but as much as you are sighing right now I know you think it's adorable. 

Anyway, I digress and there is much to do before the now highly anticipated evening! You will by now have seen that there is a small bundle of envelopes which are all numbered. Now I know how you love to follow rules ;) but hear me out on this one ok? Please please please open them in order. And the last thing I ask is no peeking at the next one until you have completed the request on the previous one. Don't worry it will all make sense. Until later my love. 

A xxx 

Miranda wiped away tears that she hadn't realised were falling until one had hit the paper she was clutching her hands. How on earth had Andrea organised this? She eagerly untied the ribbon and opened envelope one. 

Look under the bed, and then put me on xx A xx 

Miranda scrambled off the bed as quickly as she could and peered underneath, gasping as she saw a familiar gift box. Reaching out she slid the La Perla gift box towards her and slowly opened it. Greeted by a layer of tissue paper Miranda carefully peeled it back to reveal the most exquisite set of black lace lingerie. Remembering the instructions she stood up and removed her clothing. As she slipped the balconette bra on she marvelled at how sensual the delicate tulle felt against her skin. The matching briefs felt even better. She couldn't wait to see what the next envelope contained. 

As much as I would love for you to remain in just your underwear, head to the closet xx A xx

Miranda headed straight there, and snatched the door open. She immediately went to her side of the vast closet space and was disappointed as she couldn't see anything different from when she had selected her outfit first thing this morning. Puzzled, she looked around and spotted a dress bag on Andrea’s side that definitely hadn't been there before. Pulling the zipper down revealed a simple black Diane Von Furstenburg wrap dress. As she pulled the dress on the soft cashmere caressed her skin. She closed her eyes and ran her hands over her body imagining they were Andrea's. Letting out a low hum of pleasure she went to see what envelope three had in store for her. 

I don't know about you, but I am famished. Head down to the dining room xx A xx 

Miranda didn't need telling twice. Remaining barefoot, with Andrea's absence she didn't need the extra height this evening, she made it downstairs in extra quick time. When she had walked past the dining room door earlier she hadn't even noticed it was closed shut but now, standing outside her hand hovered over the door handle. She could hear gentle music coming from the other side and there was a soft glow spilling out into the hallway from under the door. Not knowing quite what to expect but giddy with anticipation Miranda opened the door and hesitantly stepped into the room. 

The first thing she noticed was candles. Lots and lots of candles, instantly transporting her back to the moment when she had covered their chalet with them for Andrea's surprise. The second thing to catch her attention was the dining table had been curiously set for two, with a silver cloche at one of the place settings and an open laptop at the other. 

There was a bottle of wine chilling on ice and as she poured herself a crisp glass of rosé the laptop sprung to life and the sound of an incoming call filled the room. Andrea. As she clicked accept, the gorgeous face of her Andrea filled the screen. 

"Well aren't you just full of surprises my darling," Miranda purred as she gazed lovingly at the screen. Andrea was wearing a black shirt, which was unbuttoned scandalously low revealing a glimpse of black lace. Her long hair was tied up in a messy bun, and she had emphasised her big eyes with a sweep of black liquid eyeliner. She looked perfect and Miranda wanted to reach through the screen and kiss those plump pink lips. 

"You really thought I was going to miss date night, huh? Ye of little faith!" Andy giggled. 

"I just can't believe you managed to pull all of this off without me suspecting a thing," Miranda held her wine glass up to the screen and Andrea quickly mirrored her actions, "Cheers, my darling."

"Cheers, my love," Andy took a long sip of wine, the same Miranda was drinking. "And I had a lot of help, so you need to reel it in a bit at work tomorrow. I couldn't have done this without Em and Nigel's assistance."

"Alright, alright. I will try to breathe a little less fire in the morning," Miranda reluctantly agreed, "Does that appease you for now?"

"Why do I not quite believe you?" Andy raised an eyebrow accusingly, "I have my spies, so I will know if you are especially mean."

"Well I suggest you inform your little spies that they had better bring their A game then hadn't they," Miranda sassed, "Regardless of my supposedly bad mood, the last couple of days their work has been anything but up to snuff."

"Has it been that bad?" Andy had noticed the increase of work related rants combined with the tired appearance around Miranda's eyes. She would always be beautiful but the editor looked shattered. 

"Let me put it this way, it has not been a fun week. But I really don't want to talk about work or anything like that. Tell me what's on the menu?" 

Andy knew not to push it, and gladly accepted the subject change. 

"My favourite," Andy grinned when Miranda groaned, "Yep, mac and cheese!" 

"I am sure it will be delightful," Miranda grimaced as she removed the cloche. 

"But yours has been totally Mirandafied," Andy held her breath as the editor took a deep inhale of the dish. 

"Oh it smells divine," Miranda leant in and let the delicious aromas invade her senses, "Truffle?" 

"Yep. Black truffle and lobster. As if I would dare serve something as pedestrian as plain old mac and cheese to Miranda Priestly," Andy wagged her eyebrows cheekily. 

"Oh my," Miranda moaned around her fork, "This is incredible," Miranda took another bite and looked up at Andrea who was sitting there staring at her, "You not eating darling?" 

"Huh? Oh, yeah, erm was a bit distracted for a moment," Andy stuttered. 

"I hadn't noticed," Miranda smirked as she seductively took another bite. 

"You tease," Andy's voice was thick with lust. 

"Call it pay back for earlier…" 

"Just you wait for dessert," Andy said with a new found confidence. 

"And pray tell what you have planned?" 

"Well, I am sure your expert eye recognised the collection your new lingerie is from right?" 

Miranda nodded, "Showtime," Miranda's voice had dropped an octave lower. 

"Uh huh, so I was thinking as I didn't get to see you put it on, I think it's only fair I get to see you take it off…" 

Their meals now forgotten, Miranda swept the laptop up off the table and took 'Andrea' up to their bedroom. She would give Andrea a show alright, sealing this as a date night to remember. Miranda couldn't help but shiver in anticipation as she wondered what envelopes four to eight contained… 

 

Chapter Text

"Hmmm, that feels," Miranda turned her head sleepily, "delightful." 

"You feel delightful," Andy purred softly as her hands continued to map the contours of Miranda's sleepy warm body. 

"Am I dreaming?" Miranda had yet to open her eyes not wanting to tempt fate that Andrea was really there, “Are you really here, in our bed?”

"You're not dreaming, my love. I am right here," Andy snuggled closer and started kissing Miranda's bare shoulder that had been teasing her as it peaked out of the covers, "but I do find you dreamy," Andy giggled. 

"No. I must be dreaming," Miranda said around a yawn, her eyes still shut tight, " My Andrea wouldn't dare say something so corny before she had got me my first coffee of the day," Miranda huffed. 

"And what makes you think that your Andrea would leave this ridiculously comfy bed to get you coffee?" Andy loved these silly conversations they would have in those glorious moments as they roused from their slumber. 

Miranda suddenly sprang to life and pounced on Andrea, causing a startled squeal from the brunette as Miranda straddled her hips, effectively pinning her arms to her sides. 

Andy looked up at Miranda, now hovering over her with a wolfish grin on her face. Andy always felt surprised when Miranda pulled a move like this but she loved nothing more than surrendering when Miranda felt the need to take control. The look in Miranda’s eyes, as they hungrily devoured her, told her everything she needed to know as to what was about to happen. Gone was the soft sleepy banter, now replaced by heat and lust that she could feel emanating from the hips now slowly grinding against her core. 

My Andrea knows full well that it's in her best interests to keep her Dragon satisfied,” Miranda purred in Andrea’s ear before biting down on the soft flesh of Andrea’s shoulder, drawing out a low hiss from the now writhing brunette. 

“Is that so,” Andy breathed heavily, grinning as Miranda’s lethal mouth worked its magic over her neck and shoulders, “well she should probably get to that then,” Andy let out a low moan as Miranda’s tongue traced down the soft slope of her right breast before taking a hardened nipple, not so gently, between her teeth.

“Hmmm, that she should,” Miranda lifted herself up on her knees to allow Andrea’s arms to break free, “Now you have no excuses,” Miranda sassed, remaining on her knees still astride Andrea, creating a much needed space just crying out to be filled by Andrea’s hand.

Andy didn't need any encouragement. Her hands reached out and sought contact with Miranda’s firm behind. Squeezing tightly she used the movement to shimmy Miranda closer, both letting out simultaneous groans as their most intimate areas brushed together. This is how every morning should start. By the time Andy had got back home, a lot later than she had hoped, the pain of separation was apparent. She was burning up for Miranda’s touch and by the way the editor had practically dragged her to their bedroom the moment she stepped into the townhouse, she hadn't been alone in this tortuous feeling. They had fallen into bed in a frenzied tangle of limbs and lust, the pent up desire taking over. It was carnal and a little rough but it had really hit the spot. Then came hours of reacquainting themselves and making up for the lost days, and nights. It was glorious. They had worshipped each other until the sun rose, only the pull of sleep, that they could no longer fight, causing them to stop. 

Just thinking back to what they had got up to till the early hours, added to a very turned on Miranda not so subtly hinting that she wanted Andy to take her, was making Andy wet. And horny. Feeling the extent of just how ready Miranda was on her own glistening curls, Andy moved her more dominant hand to between Miranda's legs. 

“Someone’s ready,” Andy groaned, loving that she was the cause of the slick folds she was running her fingers steadily through. 

“When it comes to you,” Miranda panted, “I find myself, more often than not, teetering on the edge,” Miranda’s hips continued to chase those wicked teasing fingers, trying to coax them to where she needed them the most. 

“Well we can't have that now can we?” Andy giggled lightly, as she entered Miranda with a sure, well practised move. 

“Oh. Hmmmm. What you do to me,” Miranda rolled her hips, moving in perfect sync with the fingers now firmly inside her. Miranda would never tire of this feeling. Of being taken by Andrea. Of riding Andrea’s hand. Or thigh. Or face. Andrea eclipsed every lover that had come before her. She constantly took Miranda to new levels of ecstasy that she had previously only dreamt of and yet here she was living it, feeling it, in all its colourful intense glory. 

Miranda ran her hands over her own body, something that she was now not shy to do. At the beginning she had felt almost silly, when she had touched herself to increase her own pleasure. But Andrea had eagerly encouraged it and now she didn't hesitate. She ghosted her nimble fingers over her own breasts, tweaking her own nipples, rolling them between thumb and forefinger. As much as she got pleasure from her own touch she knew it drove Andrea wild to see her play with herself like this. Images of their date night the other evening flashed up in her mind, causing her to blush when she thought about the show she had put on for her Andrea. Putting herself on display like that, riding her own hand whilst imagining it was Andrea’s. She had pictured this very scenario they were now in. That throbbing stretch that pushed the boundaries of pleasure and pain as Andrea added another finger. And now, with Andrea in the same room, doing everything that the brunette had huskily promised into the webcam, was driving her positively crazy. She sped up her movement. Now moving in a fluid figure of eight. Every twist caused Andrea to hit a new delicious spot. She loved this control, but what made it even better was that Andrea embraced it, it wasn't even in question. They both allowed the other the freedom to move from dominant to submissive whenever the mood took them. The connection they had in everyday life was so strong, but in these intimate moments it took on a whole new life. Communicating in these moments was something that Miranda had never experienced before, which had more times than not led to her just laying back whilst her partner ‘finished’ and she was left frustrated. But not with Andrea, her pleasure was just as important, if not more so, and the fact they could communicate through touch alone was next level. 

Miranda could feel Andrea moving wantonly underneath her, even though she was close to release herself, the tremors of Andrea’s thighs broke through her hazy blissful state and was something she couldn't let go unnoticed. Reaching a hand behind her she sought out the wet heat between Andrea’s legs, groaning when she made contact. Andrea was clearly so close and Miranda entered her swiftly, the movement causing Andrea’s hips to thrust up giving more power to the fingers that she was now riding. Hard. 

“Oh fuck!” Andy moaned, her back arched whilst her free hand grasped desperately at the now damp bedsheet, “You’d better be nearly there,” Andy unashamedly grunted, “because I am not going to last much longer.”

“Andrea, Andrea, Andrea,” Miranda chanted with every push down of her hips, “Almost.... There,” Miranda ground out, her head rolled back as her free hand blindly grabbed at the air above her head. She frantically sped up her movements, ignoring the pain in her wrist from the awkward angle. 

Andy's legs had fallen open, pushing Miranda’s thighs even wider. Her back was so taut, it hurt but the tell tale signs that were flashing throughout her body told her it was going to be worth it. She felt the pressure from the heel of Miranda's hand on her clit and that was her undoing, she could no longer fight it and the loud groan from above her signalled that Miranda had reached the pinnacle too. Both falling at the same time. In perfect sync. Bliss. 

“Fuck,” Miranda hissed through clenched teeth, reeling in the aftershocks of what was one of the best orgasms of her life, “That was quite something, wouldn't you say?” 

“And then some, my love,” Andy collapsed back on the bed, “Come here,” Andy lazily waved her hand towards Miranda encouraging her to lay down next to her. 

Miranda carefully removed her hand, marvelling at the glistening sheen. She looked Andrea dead in the eye as she slowly took her fingers in her mouth, humming at the delicious taste that was her Andrea.  

“Oh my,” Andy rasped, “that's so hot.”

“I love the way you taste,” Miranda whispered, wincing slightly as she lifted herself off Andrea, “simply exquisite.” 

“Charmer,” Andy snorted as she wrapped her arms around Miranda's now cooling body, “So is my dragon suitably satisfied?”

“Almost…” Miranda replied cheekily. 

“Alright, alright,” Andy rolled her eyes, “One, centre of the sun hot, coffee coming up.”

“You are one smart cookie, darling,” Miranda drawled as she languished in the bed, watching Andrea’s naked body move across their bedroom towards the ensuite. 

“I need a shower first, you made a right mess…” Andy popped her head back around the door frame, “Care to join me?”

Miranda didn't need to be asked twice. Coffee could most definitely wait. 

 

*****

 

The extra long shower had caused Miranda and Andy to arrive later than planned at the House of Saffron Dubois. With the fundraiser just around the corner Miranda had insisted that Andy have a fitting. Nigel and Emily were already there waiting for them and it was all systems go from the moment they had stepped into the showroom. Andy hadn't really had many opportunities to see Miranda in her element, and boy was it a sight to behold. How she could command a room with the softest of voices was a skill Miranda had more than perfected.

Andy was quickly whisked away by Nigel, leaving a slightly flustered Emily frantically scribbling down Miranda’s rapid fire tasks. 

“So how was the reunion?” Nigel smirked.

“Glorious,” Andy sassed from behind the changing screen, “And private!” 

“Trust me, Six, I can be spared the gory details,” Nigel snorted. 

“Good, because you aren't getting any.”

“I just want to make sure that our beloved Miranda will be less of a bear at work this week, now that you're back,” Nigel sighed as he cleaned his glasses with the crisp white handkerchief that he never left home without. 

“Was it that bad?” Andy gingerly asked. The twins had echoed similar thoughts when they had seen her at breakfast that morning. 

“Worse. I love Miranda dearly and can put up with the standard Priestly snits and moods. It comes with the job. But this was something entirely different," Nigel shuddered as he recalled the previous week. 

“Well, I won't be going away again for some time, so I think you should be safe,” Andy laughed, wanting to lighten the mood, “Ok, does it look alright?” Andy stepped out from behind the screen to show Nigel. 

“Wow, you look amazing, Six!” Nigel was floored by the vision in front of him. Saffron had exceeded his expectations with the creation Andy was now twirling in. “I am going to go get Miranda. Wait there,” and with that Nigel quickly left the room. 

Andy couldn't believe the outfit she was wearing. She had of course worn designer pieces before, even pre Miranda, but this was something else. It was couture. Even her untrained eye could spot the difference. It moved with her and fit her like a glove. Although the dress was made up of yards of fabric it wasn't at all heavy. She felt wonderful. The colours wouldn't have been something she would have thought she could pull off but seeing them on, against her complexion, she saw how they only enhanced her features. She felt a rush of cool air as the door opened and looked up at her reflection to see Miranda standing behind her, her face unreadable. 

“Well, what do you think?” Andy slowly turned to face Miranda. 

“Simply exquisite,” Miranda smirked, an eyebrow raised, as she watched on with glee as the instant blush crept up Andrea’s neck at the use of those two words... 

 

*****

 

Andy had arranged to have lunch with Rebecca, which Miranda had been hoping to join but there was some kind of crisis, which, even after Emily had tried to quickly explain to Andy she hadn't really understood. However it had meant that Andy had left the showroom by herself leaving Emily, Nigel and Miranda holed up in one of Saffron’s back rooms on a conference call. 

Miranda had tried to make Andy take the town car but the little cafe was only a few blocks away plus she had wanted the walk. Andy tried to walk as much as she could, but since she’d been with Miranda her heels and profile dictated they travel by car more often than not. 

Andy made good time, and saw Rebecca across the street waiting outside the cafe, and much to Andy’s delight she saw she had Jacob with her. Reaching for her phone she quickly sent a text to Miranda, letting her know she had arrived and that her favourite toddler was here too. Andy knew that Miranda would try to attend - she had really bonded with the little boy. 

“Hey, Andy,” Rebecca beamed as she saw Andy approach. 

“It's so good to see you,” Andy pulled Rebecca into a quick but firm hug, “And hi there Jacob,” Andy then crouched down so she was on the little boy's level, before tickling him under the chin causing him to giggle. 

“No Miranda?” Rebecca queried as she picked up her son and sat him on her hip. 

“She had some kind of work issue,” Andy shrugged, “but will hopefully join us when she has finished. I know she doesn't want to miss out on seeing this cheeky little chap.”

“Yeah, they seem to have forged a tight bond haven't they?” Rebecca mused as she entered the cafe and was shown to a table, “I wouldn't have thought Miranda was the toddler type.”

“She constantly surprises me,” Andy smiled as she took a seat, “Always keeping me on my toes is Miranda.” 

“How did the two of you meet?” Rebecca asked as she strapped Jacob into a booster seat, before handing him a sippy cup of water. 

“Ah, that's rather hilarious actually.” Andy then proceeded to share the story of how Miranda had been tricked into attending swim camp by the twins, and then how everything unfolded. 

“That's quite a story!” Rebecca sat back and laughed, “I can't imagine there are many people who could have got Miranda on that bus.”

“I know. Those girls of ours are something else,” Andy looked down at the menu, “But I can't tell you how glad I am that they did, and I know that Miranda feels exactly the same way.”

“Can I let you in on a little secret?” Rebecca said nervously as she tried to decide between the house special open sandwich or the mozzarella and sun blushed tomato salad. 

“Sure,” Andy closed the menu, having made a decision to go with the brie and bacon panini. 

“I was so nervous about meeting Miranda. Dan had been teasing me the entire morning as I paced around our bedroom deciding on what to wear!” Rebecca blushed, “I was so worried I was going to say something wrong or make a total idiot of myself,” Rebecca cringed as she buried her head in her hands. 

“If it makes you feel any better I probably make an idiot of myself around her at least five times a day,” Andy snorted with laughter. 

“And that doesn't bother you?” Rebecca spluttered, “I mean she is The Miranda Priestly!” 

Andy quickly checked her phone and saw that Miranda had messaged her ten minutes ago to say she was in the car and on the way to the cafe. Andy called a waiter over and they quickly ordered. 

“Well yeah she is. To the outside world she has this fierce reputation, and when we are out in public I am very careful to be mindful of that. But to me she is just my Miranda. Also you have to remember that when we met I didn't have a clue who she was.”

“Seriously? Did you live under a rock or something?” Rebecca sat back in her chair, astonished. 

“Seriously! I spent most of my time in the pool training or competing. Attending galas or reading Runway wasn't really on my radar back then, and to be honest it still isn't now I just like the pretty clothes and free bar,” Andy laughed. 

“So you don't get affected by her, you know, presence?” 

“Of course I do, you can't not. I am but a mere mortal,” Andy dramatically clutched at her chest as Rebecca smiled, “When she walks into a room, you can't help but feel it,” Andy looked up and saw Miranda at the door and shivered with pleasure, “But I know the woman underneath all of that. My Miranda, not the public Miranda, there is a big difference.”

Rebecca followed Andy’s eyeline and saw Miranda standing there, shades on, lips pursed looking around the cafe. She was wearing a perfectly tailored navy pinstripe pantsuit. The jacket was unbuttoned showing a matching vest which sat over a brilliantly white button down shirt. The cafe had fallen to a low hush as people started to notice who had just walked in. A waiter rushed over, practically bowing at Miranda's feet, quickly dismissed with a flick of her hand. Rebecca saw the exact moment Miranda clocked eyes on Andy. The editor's face lit up instantly, radiating pure love. Holy shit, that was some look. Rebecca couldn't help but look away. She felt like she was intruding on a private moment between two lovers.  

As Miranda weaved through the tables, people stared, whispered, one diner even pointed. If Miranda noticed she didn't show it, or break stride. Miranda only had eyes for Andy as she continued to make her way towards their table. 

“Darling,” Miranda leant down and gave Andrea a chaste kiss to the lips. She was trying to be a little more carefree with her affection outside of the townhouse and so far she hadn't had any complaints, “I hope I haven't delayed things too much.” Miranda sat down in the spare seat in between Jacob and Andrea. 

“Not at all my love,” Andy beamed, “In fact we have only just ordered.”

“Fabulous,” Miranda took off her jacket and slipped it over the back of the chair, “Rebecca, so nice to see you again. How have you been?”

“Really well thanks Miranda,” Rebecca could feel the heat emanating from her reddening cheeks, “and likewise.”

Miranda now turned her attention to Jacob who was giggling away and seemingly very happy with who had just joined them. “Hello Jacob, and how are you today young man?” Miranda then leant forward listening intently to the happy babbling she got in reply, occasionally nodding when Jacob paused and gave her a goofy smile. “Well it seems as though Jacob has had a thoroughly wonderful morning. What have you two been gossiping about?” 

“Oh you know, this and that,” Andy smiled sweetly. 

“So me then?” Miranda smirked as Rebecca choked on the mouthful of water she had just tried to swallow. 

“Now now Miranda. It's not always about you,” Andy teased, and winked at Rebecca. 

 

Chapter Text

The day of the fundraiser had finally arrived and the atmosphere in the town house was electric. The excitement was palpable and the twins had been bouncing off the walls. Even Cassidy had found a second wind in her enthusiasm. Thankfully Josie and Cora had arrived the night before and had been an absolute godsend at instilling some calm in the younger occupants of the house, and that, much to Miranda’s amusement, had also extended to Andrea. There was a moment of panic when everyone thought that the pair would not make it thanks to Cora’s injury, but there was, according to Cora, “no way were they missing their girls' big do”. The fact that Miranda had been included as one of the ‘girls’ had resulted in a disbelieving snort, I mean at her age, really? But she went along with it, and secretly revelled in the automatic inclusion. 

However excited wasn't a word that Miranda would have used. Stressed, worried, apprehensive, yes all of those and more, but definitely not excited. Miranda was painfully aware that she had taken a lot of risks with this event. Something that had started off as a way of deflecting any potential negative press from their abrupt and unplanned coming out had gathered tremendous pace and attention and was now set to be the event of the season. She felt the pressure on her shoulders like a heavy weight, threatening to pull her under and drag her down to the murky depths. This evening, and the latest issue, had to be a success. Failure was not an option. If all went to plan Miranda would once again reign victorious, reaffirming to all that she was firmly amongst the upper echelon of society. One of the untouchables no matter what was thrown in her path. 

To keep Irv and the rest of the board happy it had been decided to hold the event on the eve of the release of the issue in which Andrea was set to appear on the cover. The Runway marketing team along with the extra bodies Leslie had provided to run the additional social media accounts had been turning out incredible teaser content all week, and the buzz that the combined effort had created around the event was incredible. With Miranda’s clout behind them the editorial team had worked hand in hand with the advertising department and the pages that were normally filled with ads were now graced by interviews of the great and good of the world. The fashion houses had been reluctant at first, as had the board with the potential loss of advertising revenue but it was a stroke of brilliance from ‘the other Emily’ who had suggested that instead the brands sponsor the interviews. And so each interviewee was carefully paired with a designer, who dressed them for their accompanying photoshoot with appropriate credits given. It had been a genius idea, and Miranda had allowed ‘the other Emily’ to assist, showing her appreciation by calling her by her actual name for the first time in her tenure. Lucielle was over the moon hearing her name slip quietly from Miranda's lips, and the smile had not left the second assistant's face since. 

Miranda had enlisted Tippi’s help and expertise to select certain charities that were relatively unknown to be given features within the sacred pages of Runway. The society matriarch had chosen five incredible organisations, which between them provided vital assistance to those suffering from homelessness, domestic violence and supported those that had issues around mental health. Miranda and Andrea had spent one rainy Sunday afternoon in the den reading through case studies and testimonials on the various projects. It had been a sobering exercise that had left them with heavy hearts and the burning desire to do better. Supporting various charities on a personal and private level was nothing new to the pair, but Miranda knew that she was guilty of falling into the trap that so many in her position did - having good intentions but ultimately just writing a cheque or donating an article of clothing for an auction with the only excuse being lack of time for not expanding the support she gave. It was frankly inexcusable, anyone could do that, and the more she had read the more her embarrassment at her own shortcomings had set in. They had hugged the girls extra hard that evening, thankful for their fortunate lives and both silently vowed to use their connections and resources to help make a real difference. As Editor in Chief of one of the most influential publications in the world, Miranda had the power to really change things. The faces and names behind the various charities' work were now known to her, forever burned into her mind and she would do everything in her power to ensure that their stories were known to the readers of Runway and beyond. It had served to spur Miranda on to make this issue, and event, a resounding success. 

Caroline and Cassidy had been up at the crack of dawn and had spent the majority of the day putting the final touches to the venue. Miranda was convinced that Caroline along with her trusty clipboard would have stayed there through the night given the opportunity. Andrea had had to prise it out of Caroline’s hand as the exhausted girl had collapsed into bed the night before still clutching it. 

Andrea had visited the venue with Josie and Cora, and the excited chatter as they arrived back at the townhouse was endearing as the noise travelled its way up through the floors. Everyone had put in so much work and Miranda was thrilled at how it had not only unified her family unit but had built bridges and better working relationships within the halls of Runway. The issue was a testament to collaboration and something that she was immensely proud of. To be able to use her position to shine a light on the unsung heroes, to give a platform to those struggling through adversity, to take on the uphill battle of diversity was a humbling experience but one that she wanted to continue going forward and ensure that her peers joined her on this enlightening and necessary journey. 

So why couldn't Miranda shake this feeling of uncertainty that was swirling around in the pit of her stomach? The tight knot of anxiety that sat heavy, deep within, just wouldn't shift. As the date had got nearer she had felt the doubt creep in, slowly building up to the point where she now found herself locked in her closet trying to keep from hyperventilating. Her palms were sweating, and she felt hot and cold simultaneously. Her skin was clammy, and her still damp hair, fresh from the shower was stuck fast to her forehead. Sinking down onto the deep pile carpet she looked up at the two dress bags that were hanging there, taunting her. Never in her whole life had she been afraid of an outfit before. But that was what it was, she realised that now. Fear. Deep rooted, and if she was being brutally honest, self inflicted, fear. 

When she had first seen the piece that Saffron Dubois had designed for her she was thrilled. It would leave no doubt whatsoever that she was completely off the market, as it were. It would stamp out the last disbelievers, those who refused to accept that Miranda Priestly was now the partner, the significant other, the girlfriend, the lover of the woman who would be standing firmly by her side in a companioning ensemble. It would certainly make a statement. That hadn't been a problem at the beginning. It was what she had wanted right? For the world to know where and to whom her heart, body and soul belonged? It was what this whole evening was ultimately about, wasn't it? A ripple of doubt coursed through her veins, bubbling to the surface and sucking the breath from her body. She couldn't breathe, her chest clamped tight. As her body fought to keep her mind in the present and air in her lungs, she forced herself to look up at the second dress bag that had appeared yesterday following a panicked call to Nigel. Inside hung a back up outfit, a simple but stunning black Valentino dress, her go to designer for gala’s and events just like this. It was safe, and comfortable. Predictable. What everyone would expect the great Miranda Priestly to wear. And the complete opposite to what its neighbouring bag contained. 

Taking a few steadying breaths her eyes tracked to the far end of the closet landing on a third dress bag. It contained the most exquisite outfit that had ever graced her closet. It was Andrea’s dress. A watery smile twitched at the corners of her mouth as she thought back to the fitting. Andrea had taken her breath away. She had been reserved albeit, a little cheeky in her reaction, but she was aware of Nigel flanking her side. His just as sharp eye observing her every move. Miranda still wasn't used to being emotionally on display like this, friends, work colleagues and strangers alike taking such great interest in her personal affairs. In previous relationships she had easily shrugged off comments, scathing headlines and probing questions. But this relationship was poles apart from anything she had known before. It was real. And this evening she would be putting her true self out there, on the world stage, for all to see. Andrea had taken it all in her stride, brushed off the small amount of negative comments without a care in the world. Miranda however had felt every one. Every single negative word had pierced straight through her armour, finding that weak link and wiggling its way through until it hit the soft sensitive flesh underneath. She was sick and tired of bleeding at the hands of these faceless critics but didnt know if she was brave enough to step out without any form of protection. There was safety in the familiar. Decisions needed to be made, and quickly. Time was most definitely not on her side. 

Miranda had decided early on that she would not be doing her own hair and makeup for this evening. She didn't want to add any extra pressure to herself or leave anything to chance. Serena and her trusty team would be arriving soon, complete with their boxes of magic, set to transform Miranda, but into what? Predictable or unexpected. Why couldn't she decide? Huffing in frustration she hauled herself off the floor, pulling the tie on her robe extra tight as she stood. It was in moments like this that she desperately missed Jules. Jules had been her truest friend, honest to the point of brutal but never unkind. She snorted as she thought of what she would have said to her right now. Probably something along the lines of “get your head out your arse Priestly and remember why you are doing this” whilst grabbing the lapels of her robe before handing her a glass of champagne, or a shot of vodka. Actually a drink wouldn't be a bad idea right now - at least she could decide on that. 

As Miranda crossed the landing she saw Andrea make her way up the stairs with Cora closely behind. Even in casual yoga leggings and a baggy team USA t-shirt the brunette looked radiant. 

“Hey my love, I was just coming to see where you were,” Andy leant in and gave Miranda a quick kiss to her cheek. 

“Here I am,” Miranda gave Andrea a tight smile, “Just going to get a drink.”

“Oh ok. I’ll erm go grab a shower then?” Andy slightly faltered as she looked at Miranda’s strained expression. Something wasn't right. 

“Yes, Serena will be here shortly,” Miranda went to continue towards the stairs but she felt a hand gently tug at her wrist. 

“Everything ok?” Andy asked softly. 

“Fine. Just a big evening, a lot to do,” Miranda pulled her hand away and swept down the stairs leaving a bewildered Andrea in her wake.

“What was that about?” Cora whispered.

“Beats me,” Andy shrugged, feeling concerned, “Well you heard the boss, best get in that shower. See you in a bit, yeah?”

“Absolutely. Don't know about you but I am excited about getting all glammed up again!”

Miranda felt bad for dismissing Andrea just then, but she needed to work through all the thoughts whizzing around her head. Stepping into the kitchen she saw that it was already occupied. 

“Oh my god, Miranda!” Josie startled as she shut the fridge, nearly dropping the bottle of champagne in her hand having not noticed Miranda enter, “Thought we could do with cracking this open. Get in the party spirit and all that.”

“You read my mind,” Miranda replied as she sat tensely on the high stool at the breakfast bar, “How’s the venue looking?”

“It looks amazing! Caroline and Cassidy have done such an incredible job. I have to keep reminding myself that they are only thirteen,” Josie handed a glass of champagne to Miranda before filling one for herself. 

“I am looking forward to seeing it. And yes it seems like only yesterday that they were fighting over My Little Ponies. They are growing up so quickly.”

“They are great kids Miranda, you should be proud,” Josie clinked her glass with Miranda’s before taking a slow sip, contemplating what to say next as Josie could tell something was wrong, “You seem to have something on your mind. You want to talk about it?”

“I feel,” Miranda sighed heavily as she ran a hand through her nearly dry hair, “at a complete loss.”

“How so? Everything is all set for tonight, yes?” Josie watched Miranda nod in response, “And everything alright with you and Andy?” 

“Of course,” Miranda tensed at this, not registering the wince from Josie at her terse reply.

“Well, Andy may be able to read your mind but sadly that skill isn't in my wheelhouse I am afraid,” Josie snorted, “You're going to have to give me a little hint.”

“For the first time in my life, I am unsure as to what to do,” Miranda drained her glass and reached for the bottle refilling her glass so quickly the bubbles cascaded down the sides. Josie went to stand to get a cloth but Miranda just waved her off. 

Accepting the topped up glass Josie remained quiet, having learned early on that Miranda hated being pushed into opening up. 

“For years I thought I knew who I was. I fought my way to the top, on a path that seemed almost predestined. My look evolving over time to what it is now - the iconic hair, the outfits. It's what people know me for. But is that really me? All I am about? I have made decisions that have changed the course of people's lives and businesses in the blink of an eye because I am Miranda Priestly,” Miranda shrugged, “It's what I do, and what people expect of me. And then a brunette with a killer smile flipped everything onto its head. My life turned upside down in a moment and don't get me wrong, it's been the most amazing journey and one that I wouldn't change for anything but I am now finding myself fearful over something that I wouldn't have given a second thought to before. It's laughable,” Miranda let out a hollow snort of laughter.

“What's got you so fearful?” Josie could see the inner turmoil behind Miranda’s eyes. She hadn't seen the editor so conflicted before. 

“Would you believe it's over my bloody outfit for this evening?” Miranda scoffed, sitting back and waiting for Josie to tell her to get a grip of herself.

“And what is it about this particular outfit that's got you having so much self doubt?”

“I have two, hanging in my closet upstairs. They are both beautiful and either would be perfect,” Miranda took a sip of champagne.

“Forgive my ignorance but if either works, then what's the problem?”

“I just don't know whether I am ready to expose certain aspects of myself that have up until now been so deeply hidden. The whole reason for doing this event was to give a proverbial two fingers to all the critics. Take back control and own the narrative of my and Andrea’s coming out as a couple, but I feel that it will only fuel more scrutiny and intrusive questions to our lives and relationship.”

“Ok so the first outfit, the one from The House of...” Josie was struggling to remember the name Andy had told her when she had excitedly called her about her own ensemble.

“Saffron Dubois,” Miranda quickly provided. 

“What was it about that outfit that first captured your attention?” Josie watched as Miranda’s face lit up for the first time that day. 

“Its powerful, strong and I feel beautiful, and erm, sexy in it,” Miranda couldn't stop the blush that was breaking out over her neck, “But, there is part of me that feels as though I am playing into a stereotype and that is not the message that I want to portray.”

Ah, now they were getting to the crux of the matter, Josie knew she had to tread carefully. 

“I don't want to look as though I am the one that wears the pants, quite literally, in our relationship. Ours is one of equals and that is the fundamental part that makes it such a success. We already have so many things that on paper go against us, my age and Andrea’s, our chosen professions, my reputation and don't even get me started on my relationships past,” Miranda groaned, “I don't want what I wear to give legs to any of those things or to overshadow the positive influence Andrea has had on me, on our girls, and ultimately the life we are building together. I know this seems so ridiculous but I don't want to undermine my love for Andrea by making the wrong decision in what I choose to wear tonight.”

“Can I be honest Miranda?”

“I wouldn't expect anything less,” Miranda smirked. 

“Touche,” Josie said with a raise of an eyebrow, “Look, Andy worships you. You could wear a paper bag and no makeup and she would still think you are the most beautiful woman in the world. Her love for you is as plain as the nose on your face and you should know by now that she doesn't give a rat's ass what others will think as long as you are comfortable. That will be the only thing on her mind,” Josie fiddled with the stem of her glass as she gave Miranda time to process what she had just said. 

“What if,” Miranda's breath hitched with emotion, “What if people just think that I am some old fool, trying to keep up with my young, hot, girlfriend,” Miranda closed her eyes. This was the heart of it. She wiped at a tear which dared to betray her as it fell down her bare cheek, completely unaware as to who was now standing in the doorway. 

Josie nodded to Andy to come over as she quietly got up, “Go easy on her darlin’,” Josie whispered as Andy quickly went over to Miranda. 

“Oh my love, come here,” Miranda gasped as she felt a familiar pair of arms wrap her up in a hug. “What's with the tears?”

“I am sorry, Andrea,” Miranda sobbed into the brunette's chest, “I don't want to let you down.”

“Not going to happen,” Andy said vehemently into Miranda’s hair, “You could never, ever let me down. Now do you want to tell me what's going on?”

“How much did you hear?” Miranda mumbled against the soft fabric of the robe that Andrea was wearing.

“Not that much, but is this about the two dress bags in the closet?” Andy felt Miranda nodding. 

“I can't hide anything from you can I?” Miranda scoffed as she lifted her head. 

“Nope,” Andy chuckled gently as she stroked down the side of Miranda’s face before placing a kiss to the side of Miranda's mouth, “Now, you grab that bottle and let's head upstairs and get ready.”

“Yes, Andrea,” Miranda sassed. 

“And you can show me this, powerful, beautiful and what was it,” Andy paused quizzically, trying not to laugh at Miranda’s mouth now hanging open, “Oh yes, sexy, outfit.” Andy wiggled her eyebrows seductively which paired with the purr to her voice, made Miranda shiver, before walking out the kitchen and heading towards the stairs. 

Miranda looked over at Patricia who had just ambled in and rubbed up against her bare leg. 

“I think that's my decision made, don't you?” Patricia huffed in clear agreement, cocking her head to the side, “Exactly, Patricia. Whatever was I thinking? I am Miranda fucking Priestly after all, and I will wear whatever the hell I like.” 

She had been so caught up in her own insecurities that she had lost sight of what and who truly mattered. The only opinion that meant anything was that of the brunette with the doe eyes that held her heart. Who was probably now, if the glint in those dark chocolate orbs was anything to go by, waiting rather impatiently, spread out on their bed. Hopefully sans the robe… 

Chapter Text

"We really… oh!" Miranda grabbed a fistful of brunette hair for purchase, "time… hmmm for this," Miranda thrust her hips even further forward, practically hanging off the edge of the love seat in their bedroom. Her robe had fallen open as Andrea’s sublime mouth continued to work its magic. The cool air from the open window sent shivers over her naked torso. There was something so sensual watching Andrea sink to her knees in front of her. The way her body had instantly responded, no words needed, just a primal desire to offer herself up for the taking. Which she had done willingly as soon as she had stepped foot in their bedroom and felt hands take hers and lead her wordlessly to the seat. 

Andy paused momentarily to look pointedly up at Miranda, “Everyone knows that until you arrive the party hasn’t started," Andy took a slow swipe with her tongue making Miranda moan, "So my love, I would say we have all the time in the world.”

“That may… hmmmm, be the case,” Miranda gazed down at Andrea, she looked just perfect, nestled between her trembling legs, “But I...” Miranda groaned as Andrea’s breathy chuckle vibrated against her clit, “really don’t.”

Andy had kept her love right on the edge of falling for as long as she had dared to push it. Now wasn't the time to drag it out any longer if the impatient huffing from above was anything to go by. She lifted up Miranda's legs, swiftly putting them on her shoulders and set to work on tipping Miranda, quite literally, over the precipice.

 

*****

 

Andy sat in her robe, curled up on the loveseat thumbing through her phone's playlist trying to find the perfect tunes for Miranda to get ready to. Miranda’s earlier wobble was still mulling over in her mind when there was a soft knock on the bedroom door. 

“I hope you're decent, as I am coming in anyway,” Nigel’s sing-song voice filled the room as he stepped in blindly making a show of covering his eyes. 

"Come on in. Drink?" Andy jumped up brandishing a coupe glass in Nigel's direction. 

"I'm good, but thanks," Nigel looked around the room for signs of Miranda, "I just popped up to give this to the big boss. She about?" 

"In the erm," Andy blushed as her eyes flitted towards the seating area and the memories of why Miranda was indeed having to have another shower flashed through her mind, "shower." 

"I don't want to know, Six," Nigel gave an exaggerated shiver as he looked at his watch with a flourish, "Just make sure you are sitting in that make up chair in the next ten minutes and tell Miranda that Serena will be up shortly to set up."

Nigel left a nondescript matte black paper gift bag on one of the console tables before leaving the room. 

"No peeking." Andy startled, and quickly moved her hand back to her side as she heard Miranda's distinct voice purr from across the room. 

"I wasn't," Andy lied, getting an arched eyebrow response from Miranda as the editor glided towards her. 

"I will take that," Miranda reached around the svelte brunette and snatched up the bag. She placed a chaste kiss to those wicked wicked lips and headed towards the closet. 

"What time is your makeup darling?" Miranda spoke from the depths of her closet. Having quickly discarded the bag, Miranda held the black box in her hands. Carefully opening the lid she admired the contents. It was even better than what she could have envisaged. She couldn't wait to see Andrea's face. Ever since Andrea's fitting she had had a particular piece of jewellery in mind but after scouring what was on offer nothing seemed to come close to what she wanted. In the end she had called up a dear friend, the London based jewellery designer Annoushka Ducas, and a few video calls and sketches later the designer had got to work. It was touch and go whether it would arrive in time but the stars had aligned and here it was in all its majestic beauty. 

"I have to go down in a minute." It was Miranda's turn to jump as Andrea appeared at the closet door, "What are you up to, Priestly?" 

Miranda shut the lid to the velvet lined box with a satisfying snap and quickly stashed it in the back of a drawer, "Nothing, just, looking for something." 

"Hmmm," Andy pondered, making it very obvious that she wasn't buying what Miranda had just said, "it wouldn't have anything to do with the contents of that bag Nigel just dropped off would it?" 

"Bag? What bag?" Miranda said nonchalantly looking over Andrea's shoulder at the now empty glasses, "Shall we have a top up before you have to go downstairs darling?" 

Knowing that was the only answer she was going to get right now Andy responded in the only way she knew how. 

"Yes, Miranda."

 

*****

 

Miranda was sitting in a high directors chair, watching Serena paint her face. The way the Brazilian wielded each brush so effortlessly across the contours of her face was memorising. With a last sweep of highlighter the look was complete. As she took in her reflection she had a moment of panic. The woman gazing back at her was of course familiar, but there was something else she couldn't quite put her finger on. 

"You look beautiful, Miranda," Serena took a risk and squeezed the editor's shoulder as she started to clean her brushes. 

"It's certainly different," Miranda whispered. This wasn't the first time Serena had done her makeup for an event, but it was the first time she had felt unsure about what she saw looking back in the mirror. She didn't hate what she saw, on the contrary, Miranda loved the heavier makeup on her eyes, the touch of eyeliner sweeping her lids, the individual lashes Serena had carefully applied to the edges of her eyes. The smokey colours made her blue eyes sparkle, like deep blue pools that held a mystery only one person could solve. 

Serena stopped what she was doing and looked at Miranda's reflection, "Different yes, but I don't think I have ever seen you look so, so, what's the word?" 

"Free…" Miranda happily sighed as she locked eyes with Serena. 

"Yes, that's it. You are sharing a side of you that so many others have yet to experience and I commend you for that. It's so easy to fall back on the familiar for the sake of meeting others expectations but then you find you fail your own. Don't you think so?" Serena gave Miranda a beaming smile and carried on packing products away leaving Miranda to her own thoughts. 

Serena was right wasn't she? This evening was about her and Andrea. Showing the world that they were the real deal as it were. Andrea was not some idiot in a suit that was only good for escorting her to events and ticking a box on the nuclear family checklist. What even was a nuclear family anyway? Something that before she had seen as the ideal but so far had fallen so short in terms of nurturing her daughters. In the brief time that Andrea had been by her side the brunette had done more for their family unit than any of her predecessors. Andrea never expected anything more than what Miranda could give at any one time. That had been a startling revelation in itself when Miranda had first realised it. If Miranda was late home from work then they would have a quick catch up over reheated leftovers. No drama, no sulking, and it never ended in an argument with Miranda having her own shortcomings shoved down her throat. Yes, she worked a lot. Yes, she could do better. Yes, she could be better. But if you have no inspiration, or encouragement to be anything but what is expected it's difficult not to fall into that trap. Which she had done time and time again. But not with Andrea. The only thing she ever asked for was honesty and a text if she was running behind. Miranda remembered the first time she had missed dinner. As she had pressed send she had actually closed her eyes, as a sinking feeling took hold in the pit of her stomach and she was on edge as she waited for what was sure to be a tirade of all the wrongs she had ever done. But it never came. In its place was a 'cool, no probs' reply with the request to wake her up if she had fallen asleep after watching a film in the den with the girls. The relief that had flooded over her on reading those simple words was overwhelming. And the irony - Miranda was now hardly ever late. 

Miranda wouldn't have dreamed of appearing at a public function looking like this pre Andrea, but she felt alive as she took in the subtle changes. Her cupids bow was perfectly accentuated by a bold, deep red that complimented the darker eye. She felt for the first time like her true, authentic, free self. It was liberating. 

Serena had offered to do her hair, but this was something she needed to do herself. The meaning behind the style was very personal to Miranda and she just hoped that Andrea would understand the significance. Make up was one thing, but for Miranda to so drastically change her signature hairstyle was something entirely different. This had been the biggest hurdle she had had to face in the build up to this evening. Taking her trusty smoothing brush and can of Elnett she got to work. 

 

*****

 

Andy and Miranda had previously agreed to get ready separately. There was something thrilling about knowing that Miranda was on the floor above and not having seen her chosen outfit Andy was thrumming with excitement. As she had sat in the makeshift salon, her mind had wandered to Miranda's tears earlier. She knew her love had been conflicted but not to the extent that it had clearly got her tied up in knots. 

Miranda had something big planned, a reveal of something and Andy wasnt that clueless to understand it was pushing her love to the edge of what she was comfortable with. Andy was very much a 'go with the flow' kind of woman. Not a lot had phased her in the recent months with the additional press attention, or coming out. But she was aware that this was Miranda's first relationship, publicly, with a woman and that came with a whole heap of extra stress for the editor. Andy had really focused on getting Miranda to talk, open up about what was going on in that wonderful mind of hers and for the most part it had worked. Miranda had spoken of her insecurities around her sexuality and what that meant to her personally, to the girls, but also how it could potentially impact her reputation and relationships with her peers. A gay man in the luxury fashion world is ten a penny, almost a given in any fashion house but a lesbian is few and far between. Miranda had struggled with being the 'poster child' and all the pressure that came with it. It wasn't that she didn't want to push the LGBTQ movement forward - Miranda had spoken passionately one evening that she knew the power she held and how she could use it for good. She just didn't want to let anyone down, especially the community that had welcomed them both with open arms, and showered them with nothing but love and acceptance. The worry that she had internalised her true self for so long and therefore wouldn't know how to act, or present herself to the wider world had been slowly eating Miranda up and had now come to a head just a few hours shy of them having to leave for the fundraiser. 

Andy knew that there was a limit to how much she could push Miranda, but vowed to support her in any way she could. This evening and beyond. They were a team, an unlikely coupling but somehow they fit perfectly. Andy had always lightened the mood by saying that she was the cheese to Miranda's mac which always got a snort of laughter paired with the standard eye roll but it came with a side of smiles and kisses. I mean who didn't love mac and cheese? 

"Hey Andy, give us a smile?" Megan was happily clicking away, capturing some 'backstage' shots of the Priestly - Sachs getting ready. It was Cassidy's idea to print them as a photo book to mark the momentous occasion. It was an idea that had touched Miranda and Andy, and Megan had spent most of the afternoon capturing precious candid moments on film. 

Andy flashed the biggest grin she could as Megan got the shot she was after, getting a thumbs up before the photographer headed off to get some more shots this time of the twins, crossing Nigel who had just walked in. 

"Right, Six!" Nigel said behind the dress bag he was carrying, "Time to get you into your frock. Ready?" 

"As I'll ever be," Andy took a deep breath, drained her glass, and stood up, "Let's do this!" 

 

*****

 

Miranda was standing in front of the large, full length mirror at the far end of her closet as she heard the distinctive laugh of her Andrea ringing out from the landing followed by a collective gasp as she must have encountered someone on the way down stairs, maybe Josie or Cora? If it had been one of their daughters the volume and squealing would have been deafening. 

Looking at her phone to check the time she knew that Emily would be arriving any minute. Andrea had gently encouraged Miranda to host a little pre fundraiser cocktail party with the key people from Runway who had worked tirelessly to make this whole event and issue come to life. Charlotte had kindly offered to put on some canapes but Miranda had scoffed at the idea of a guest having to cater an event before sweeping out the kitchen, leaving a speechless Charlotte in her wake. Well what did Charlotte want? An actual written invitation to attend? Miranda was also hoping that her housekeeper would use this as the perfect opportunity to finally open up about her dating Coach Saunders. They made a striking and formidable couple and she knew that Andrea was itching to have it all out in the open, her love hated keeping things a secret. Especially something so wonderful as a blossoming romance between two of her closest friends. 

Miranda had asked if Andrea could meet her in her study, away from everyone else who would be now congregating in the open plan kitchen and family dining area. This had been another request of Andrea’s, none of the formal stiffness of boring parties past. This evening was about making new traditions, and as this area of the house was where their family spent the most time aside from the den, this was to be where they would entertain their friends. As Andrea had so eloquently sold it to her that it was apparently a well known fact that “all the cool kids hangout in the kitchen at parties, and you're the coolest kid on the block”. So that had settled that. 

Taking one last look in the mirror Miranda knew she couldn't put it off any longer. She retrieved the jewellery box from the back of her drawer, took a deep, albeit shaky breath and went to face her love, praying that Andrea liked what she saw. 

Josie had just let some more guests in and heard someone come down the stairs. Before she realised what she was doing she let out a low whistle, “Holy smokes, Miranda!” 

Miranda smirked at Josie’s reaction as she continued to descend down the stairs. 

“You weren't kidding when you talked about your outfit earlier,” Josie made a show at fanning herself as Cora joined her in the hallway. 

“Oh wow! Miranda you look amazing!” Cora gushed before waving towards Caroline and Cassidy who had now popped their heads around the door frame to see what all the commotion was about. 

“Way to go Mum!” the girls squealed together, the noise causing Nigel, Emily and Serena to join the impromptu gathering in the hallway. 

“Miranda,” Nigel gasped, “you look exquisite.”

Emily stood there open mouthed, she had never seen her boss look so different, but a good, hot different. Incredibly hot. She shook her head slightly and nodded wordlessly in agreement. 

“I love the hair, Miranda,” Serena gave a daring yet subtle wink, “very chic.”

“Thank you, everyone,” Miranda preened, if this reaction was anything to go by she had high hopes from the one person whose opinion actually mattered to her, who was probably pacing nervously as the seconds they remained apart ticked by, "Now if you will excuse me, I have someone waiting for me."

Miranda's gravity defying heels hit the tiled floor and sent a satisfying click around the hallway as she confidently strutted past her nearest and dearest. As she neared the door she shot a withering glance over at Nigel who had, under the influence of a few martinis, let out a rather loud wolf whistle. Her hand hovered over the door handle whilst her other, slightly damp hand clutched the jewellery box. OK Priestly, it's now or never. 

She ever so quietly opened the door, not wanting to startle Andrea who was standing in front of the large sash window at the far end of her study. The brunette had yet to notice Miranda had stepped into the room, which gave Miranda a moment to take in the breathtaking sight before her. And more crucially compose herself. 

Andrea's dress was even more beautiful than she had remembered from that first fitting. The corseted bodice hugged Andrea's torso like a second skin. It was layered with intricate pleats over internal boning that followed the curves of her delicious torso. The layers and layers of tulle gave a feeling of weightlessness to the floor length skirt. Saffron had embellished each of the layers with the tiniest swarovski crystals, invisible to the eye, but they glistened and sparkled every time Andrea moved. In the lamplight of Miranda's study it gave the illusion that Andrea was wearing the night sky. The colour choice had been the hardest decision, Miranda had known exactly what she wanted and to see it come to life was just magical. The top of the corset started off as a pale blush and had been expertly hand dyed in black to create an ombre effect that travelled down into the nipped in waist, where it was the darkest, before spilling into the full skirt getting lighter again as it reached the floor. 

Miranda must have gasped as Andrea suddenly spun around to face the editor, stopping her thoughts and breath with one effortless beaming smile. Andrea's long hair was up, silky tendrils framing her face. Miranda smirked when she noted that they were both wearing the same shade of lipstick. She always knew Serena was a smart woman. Miranda blindly closed the door behind her and watched as Andrea's eyes hungrily raked over her body. By the darkness in those brown eyes she knew right there that she had made the right decision in her choice of outfit. Standing straighter she allowed Andrea to soak it all in. Miranda was wearing a tailored tux. And right at this moment in time, gazing at the love and heat that was radiating from her Andrea she had never felt so powerful. Wanted. Desired. A moment of annoyance washed over her as she cast her mind back to earlier and the doubts she had had. Wasted time spent agonising over something so trivial. 

The deep black fabric of the tight fitting cropped cigarette pants were accentuated by a black satin stripe that ran down the entirety of the outside of each pant leg. Her jacket was framed by matching satin lapels and sat neatly over a corset that was the exact same ombre shades as Andrea's dress. At first glance it almost looked as though Miranda was going without anything underneath save for the same tiny crystals on the tulle covered corset that sparkled as she too moved and caught the dim light in the room. 

Andy couldn't believe the vision before her. Miranda looked so incredible she actually had to tell herself to breathe. Her outfit was something else. The structured lines of her tux was the complete opposite to the flowing lines of her own gown but Saffron had made sure that no one would leave the fundraiser that evening without knowing that they were a pair. The juxtaposition between the two of them was perfect and reflected them both so brilliantly and effortlessly. As much as Andy was silently going nuts for what Miranda was wearing it was the changes to her makeup and hair that really made her heart race. Miranda had gone darker than usual on her eye make up and the smokey tones made the blue of Miranda's eyes pop even more than usual. And her hair. Oh my god. Gone was the standard style, forelock gently falling over her eye. Now it was swept back off her face. It reminded her of that night where everything had changed. 

Without speaking, their eyes still locked, they slowly moved towards each other until their faces were only inches away. 

"Hi," Andy whispered breathlessly. 

"Hello, my darling," Miranda whispered back. 

"Your hair, it's like," Andy gently ghosted her fingertips over the slicked back hair, "that night under the waterfall," Andy then paused deep in thought before her eyes sparkled in recognition, "and the photo up stairs!" 

"I am glad you recognised the significance," Miranda thought about that photo that hung hidden in their closet of Miranda in nothing but Andrea's leather jacket, her hair slicked back fresh from the shower… 

"How could I not my love? Both of those delicious memories are burned into my mind forever," Andy laughed lightly, "Along with everything else we have enjoyed since." 

"I was worried," Miranda sighed, "that all this was too much, like I was playing into a, you know, stereotype ." 

"Miranda, first you look insanely hot," Andy responded reverently, "And second you could never be classed as butch. Far from it. So don't you worry about that OK, my love. And as for stereotypes? Well fuck anyone that even has that thought cross their mind. Alright?" 

Miranda nodded. 

"Plus, last time I checked you were Miranda Priestly, trend setter, go getter. You know that everyone will be wearing their hair like this tomorrow don't you?" 

"Trend setter go getter? Really, Andrea, where on earth do you come up with these pearls of wisdom?" Miranda laughed as she shook her head. 

"Hey! You know it's true. You watch. Monday morning the halls of Runway will be filled with all your clackers sporting this hair style." 

"Is that so?" Miranda purred. 

"Yep. I bet you breakfast in bed for the next three weekends. That's how confident I am." 

"Well with stakes like that how can I even think it won't happen?" Andy went to take Miranda's hands in hers and felt a box in one of them, raising a questioning eyebrow at Miranda in response to its discovery. 

"Ah," Miranda smiled, "I have something for you," Miranda held out the box towards Andrea. 

"For me?" Andy squeaked as she carefully took the box from Miranda's equally trembling hand. 

"I don't see anyone else here, do you darling?" 

Andy carefully opened the lid to the box, and her mouth fell open as she looked back and forth between the contents sitting delicately on a bed of plush black velvet and Miranda's glistening eyes, before landing back on the now open box. 

"Oh, Miranda," Andy sighed softly, "it's absolutely stunning." 

"Shall I?" Miranda gestured towards the necklace and proceeded to take it out the box as Andrea quickly nodded. 

Andy turned away from Miranda and shivered as she felt the delicate spray of diamonds land on her warm skin. Fastening the clasp, Miranda left a barely there kiss to the back of Andrea's neck. 

"Turn around my darling," Miranda muttered against Andrea's bare shoulder, "let me see you,"

"Well? How does it look?" 

"Andrea, you look sublime. This," Miranda raised her hand and traced over the waterfall of diamonds that now sat proudly around her love's neck, cascading delicately over her collarbones and chest, "just enhances your beauty, my darling."

"Sweet talker," Andy gave a watery laugh. The happiest of tears were threatening to ruin all of Serena's hard work from earlier. 

"Indeed," Miranda beamed back, "Now are you ready to go join our family and friends?" Miranda reached down and entwined her fingers with Andrea's and started to move towards the door. 

"Wait," Andy tugged on Miranda's hand pulling her back towards her, "Thank you, Miranda. Not just for this beautiful necklace but for everything," Andy ran a finger down Miranda's cheek, she could see the editor's emotions winning and knew she had to lighten the mood immediately, now was not the time for tears, "and in case I forget to tell you later, I had a really good time tonight…" 

"Andrea," Miranda groaned, "really, Pretty Woman?" 

"I am the cheese to your mac, remember?" 

"How could I ever forget," Miranda snorted, "I do love you darling." 

"I know, and I you," Andy placed a careful kiss to those wonderful lips she knew so well, ensuring no smudging happened, "Now come on. What was it I said about the cool kids and parties?" 

"Yes, Andrea…" Miranda was more than happy to follow her Andrea anywhere, starting with the kitchen. 

Chapter Text

Miranda watched in secret awe as Emily corralled everyone into their respective vehicles. The wider Runway crew had already left to ensure everything was ship shape for the arrival of Miranda and Andrea. But with a few drinks on board the remaining guests were proving to be rather tricky to prise away from the makeshift bar set up in the kitchen. And with Nigel as the self appointed ringleader Emily had a right battle on her hands. 

Andy nudged Miranda’s shoulder in jest, “It looks as though your mini me is getting some more ideas.”

Miranda looked over as Caroline sidled up to Emily, with her matching clipboard, and mirrored her stance as she started to assist the red head, “Oh god, that's all I need,” Miranda snorted, “It's bad enough having it in the office,” Miranda took a sip of her Martini, “I don't want to have live with it too.”

"Oh I hear you on that," Andy started to laugh, "Although I think our Caroline might have a little crush." 

"Seriously?" Miranda hissed, "On Emily?"  

"Awww, easy my love. Em is cool," Andy grinned at Miranda's shocked expression, "Well, when you get past that highly strung, on edge exterior she is a little kitten underneath. Plus I think it's more a hero worship type of situation. Which is kinda funny when you think about it." 

"Funny how ?" 

"Well, erm you know, like how Em worships you…" Andy realised that she maybe shouldn't have mentioned that judging by the look on Miranda's face, "Look, forget I said anything."

"Given that Roy has just arrived, we will put a pin in this," Miranda drained her glass and seductively popped the olive in her mouth, causing a groan from Andrea, "but we are going to be revisiting this subject." 

"Oh you are cruel Priestly," Andy's eyes darkened as she saw the mischief in those baby blues as Miranda sucked the remaining Tanqueray Ten off her thumb. 

"Oh I am just getting started, Sachs." 

"Miranda, Roy is here. Serena and I will take the girls with us and Nigel, Cora and Josie should now, hopefully, be on their way," Emily sighed. 

"Yes, Emily," Miranda purred, stunning her first assistant into silence at hearing back at her what she usually said to the Editor. 

"Right, yes, erm, OK," Emily mumbled as she double checked her list for the thousandth time, "Caroline, Cassidy come on we need to leave. Now. Honestly it's like herding cats!" 

"Caroline just wrote that line down didn't she," Miranda groaned. 

"Yep!" Andy chuckled as she picked her clutch up from the breakfast bar before following Miranda out into the hallway, "expect to hear that on the daily for the next month or so…" 

 

*****

 

Across town Estelle Walker was pacing around her apartment. She was an equal mix of nerves and trepidation. The shots she had consumed had only heightened the feeling of unease she had had ever since that darn invite had arrived. The invite had been hand delivered to her office a few days ago and she had left it unopened on her desk for an entire day knowing exactly what it was. It had teased her, sitting there in its heavyweight envelope, her name hand calligraphed in deep black ink, against the crisp white paper. After hours of trying, but failing, to ignore its presence she finally snatched it up and ripped it open. 

Miranda Priestly requests the pleasure of…. 

Oh the nerve of that bloody woman. Estelle had crumpled up the envelope. There was no way in hell she wasn't going to attend this charade. But why had she been invited? Maybe that rumour Scarlett had heard from one of the PA's over at Runway was true. The Dragon really was going all soft and gooey eyed because of one Andrea Sachs. Oh who was she kidding, of course she would be there. 

It had been a real struggle to find something suitable to wear at such short notice. Scarlett had done her best, ringing around all the fashion houses, but had come up empty handed. Something to do with availability with it being the 'event of the season'. What Estelle was unaware of was that Scarlett hadn't made a single phone call, regardless of what Estelle thought she had heard filtering through from the outer office… 

Staring back at her reflection, she sighed as she ran her hands down her three seasons old Alexander McQueen dress. She had forgone her trademark bright colours for something less 'out there'. It was a simple black asymmetric column dress with panels of black lace over nude fabric, giving the illusion of skin underneath the strategically placed cutouts. Elegant, classy and not at all what she would normally wear. Tonight was not a night she wanted to stand out. Sadly, with her cab arriving momentarily, there was nothing she could do about her bright red hair. 

As her phone buzzed letting her know her transportation had arrived, Estelle knocked back one last shot of vodka for luck, swept up her keys and wrap and headed out the door, still not quite shaking off the sinking feeling that she was somehow willingly walking straight into the gates of hell. 

 

*****

 

"You OK my love?" Andy couldn't help but notice that Miranda had gotten quieter, the closer they got to the venue. Miranda's pant clad leg had been twitching nervously against hers the whole journey. 

"Hmmm what was that darling?" Miranda seemed miles away as she continued to watch the world go by as they sped through the city. 

"I asked if you were OK?" 

"Oh, yes. I am fine," Miranda whispered, trying to ignore Andrea's 'don't lie to me' face, "OK, OK. I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little apprehensive," Miranda huffed, as she continued to stare out the window. Nothing escaped her love's eye. 

"Hey, look at me," Andy reached down and clasped her hands around Miranda's, giving them a squeeze of reassurance, "You look incredible. If anything I should be the one feeling out of sorts. I mean I am going to be fighting everyone off tonight! I knew I should have brought Cassidy's softball bat." 

Miranda's laughter rang around the back of the car and Andy caught Roy's subtle wink in the rear view mirror. 

"Oh I doubt that my darling," Miranda snorted, "You have looked in a mirror this evening, right?" 

"OK well, we will both have to be on the look out then won't we?" Andy beamed, "I am not going to leave your side tonight. I am going to walk that red carpet, with my hand in yours and the world will see just how much I love you."

"Miranda, Andy, we will be arriving in two minutes," Roy's voice carried through from the driver's seat. 

"Thanks, Roy. Can you just do another loop of the block for me?" Andy whispered, she could see Miranda struggling to keep her breathing even. 

"Sure thing, Andy," Roy switched lanes and carried on past the venue as he raised the privacy screen. 

"Hey, breathe with me, Miranda," Andy took some big deep breaths and did her best to encourage Miranda to do the same. Andy knew that if she didn't get this under control quickly the persona of Dragon Lady extraordinaire would be what greeted the press in about five minutes and she wasn't in the mood to deal with the fallout from Leslie should that be the case. 

"Remember when I had my little melt down back at Camp Tethys before the final shoot," Miranda nodded as Andy continued, "And what you said to me, as you crouched down in that cramped bathroom - how everyone would want to be me?" 

"I do, and I stand by that statement," Miranda croaked. 

"Well you were wrong," Andy held up a finger and gently touched it to Miranda's lips before they could vocalise her thoughts, "You were wrong, because everyone will want to be us . We are a team. Individually we are at the top of our game, but together we are unstoppable. A united front that no one can break apart no matter how hard they try. When I look at you I see a warrior, battle scars and all. You have let me into your world and wrapped me up with all the love and protection a woman could ask for. You love me, and our crazy family, fiercely, and I feel that every single day. We are going to face many trials and dramas but it won't do anything to us. I know you won't let it. And neither will I."

"Andrea, my darling," Miranda sniffed and gently ran her fingers down Andrea's cheek, "I don't know what I have done in a past life to deserve you." 

"Oh hush. We all deserve love, Miranda. Even fire breathing dragons," Andy leant into the hand now cupping her face. She kissed Miranda's wrist, inhaling the delicious scent that was her Miranda. 

They both felt the car come to a stop signalling that they had arrived. A gentle knock on the privacy screen before it silently lowered. 

"There's quite a crowd out there. Emily has just messaged to say the girls handled it like absolute pros," Roy turned slightly, "Are you ladies ready?"

"Yes, I think we are," Miranda, took a deep breath and gave a rare smile to her long serving driver, "And thank you, Roy." 

Roy preened at the statement of gratitude from his mercurial boss. She always managed to blindside him when she went rogue and said something like that. He nodded his head and stepped out of the car to get the door for them. 

"Let's do this, Priestly," Andy slid out the car first to a bank of bright bulbs and shouting. The noise and blinding flashes were frankly overwhelming. She wished she could have had some shades on right now. Reaching back into the car she offered her hand to Miranda who clasped it tight. No going back now. They were really doing this. 

As Miranda's towering heel hit the pavement a collective gasp followed by an eerie hush that swept over the crowds being held back by the security barriers. Miranda gracefully emerged and you could hear a pin drop as the press hacks held their collective breaths. It was quite the feat to silence this rowdy crowd. And of course only Miranda Priestly could achieve it. 

Standing proudly at Andrea's side, fingers entwined, Miranda threw her shoulders back and started the walk towards the entrance to Gotham Hall, the venue for this evening's epic fundraising gala. 

The imposing building with its grand stone columns had been transformed. Miranda had been amazed when the events team had introduced the idea of projection mapping. By using this process they had been able to turn the irregularly shaped building's facade into a display surface for an intricate video projection. It was beautiful, and looked exactly like a mystical underwater world full of magic and wonder set underneath the most star filled sky she had ever seen. 

Miranda was a red carpet pro. Years of walking countless press gauntlets meant that she blocked out the endless inane questions that were loudly thrown her way and this occasion was no exception. They were about to reach the entrance when Miranda decided to stop, and pose a little while longer for the press, after all it was a charity event so she could spare a little more time. As she looked out to the crowd she saw the familiar faces that were always at these types of things. When you had done it for as long as she had it was inevitable to recognise the usual suspects. But there was one face that was new. The shock of blue hair styled in a perfect victory roll made her stand out from the rest. The girl’s clothes were styled with an effortless flare, chic but not try hard. She couldn't have been more than eighteen and was losing out to the sharp elbows of the seasoned pros all vying for the best spot to shout their questions and capture that perfect shot. 

Focusing her attention on the teenager, Miranda strained against the din of camera clicks to make out what the girl was asking, the only thing she could make out was Saffron Dubois. That piqued the editor's interest. 

"Darling, I want to speak to the press, well one person in particular," Miranda whispered in Andrea's ear. 

"Really??" Andy wasn't expecting that, after all Miranda never indulged them. Ever. 

"Hmmm, do you trust me?" 

"Seriously? You really need me to answer that?" 

"Come on then," Miranda laughed as she pulled Andrea back down the carpet. 

Emily and Nigel were waiting at the top of the steps and were baffled as they watched the pair retreat away from them. 

"What the hell?" Emily squeaked, this was not part of the plan. It was throwing her carefully constructed schedule way off track. 

"I have a feeling Miranda's spidey sense is pinging," Nigel discreetly pointed towards the crowd, "I think she is about to send that blue haired girl's career stratospheric." 

Miranda walked with purpose to where the blue haired girl was standing. As the editor approached the others swarmed forwards, microphones thrust out and almost knocked the girl to the ground. As the pair were bombarded by questions and requests for statements Miranda held a hand up in the air commanding silence. 

"You, with the blue hair, what was your question?" Miranda spoke quietly but with her trademark air of authority. 

"Me?" the girl pointed at herself. 

"I don't see anyone else with blue hair do you?" 

"Yeah, I guess, erm my question, right."

"By all means move at a glacial pace, it's not as if I have anywhere else to be this evening," Miranda smirked, but the statement had no bite. 

"What made you decide to go with couture from the House of Saffron Dubois?" 

Andy had been puzzled as to why Miranda had singled out this one particular person but now it all made sense. She had been the only one to recognise the designer they were both wearing. And a relatively unknown designer at that. This was going to be interesting, and she just hoped the poor girl was ready for what was about to happen. 

Miranda's eyes lit up, "What's your name and what publication do you work for?" 

"Francesca Anderson, and I write for The Violet Woolf. Woolf being spelt with a double o. It's an online publication," Francesca was praying she wouldn't have to elaborate any further, and have to admit it was a small-time fashion blog with a staff of one. 

"I see what you did there," Andy chimed in, laughing at the guys around Francesca who were totally clueless. 

"Thanks, the explanation helps weed out the unwanted, if you catch my drift," Francesca blushed, she couldn't believe she was actually talking to Andy Sachs and the Miranda Priestly. 

"Indeed," Miranda turned and flicked her hand towards the redhead watching from the steps who instantly came running over. 

"Emily, I would like you to arrange a fully accredited press pass for Ms Anderson, and book in some time for a meeting next week. That's all."

"Of course, Miranda. Ms Anderson, follow me." 

"Holy shit, did that just happen?" Francesca muttered to herself as she swung a leg over the barrier with ease and jumped over. 

"It sure did," Andy whispered to a shocked Francesca, throwing her a wink before striding off to catch up with her love. 

"Quickly, Ms Anderson. We are already way behind schedule," Emily then strode off with purpose with a rather bewildered yet smiling Francesca struggling to keep up. 

"That was a lovely thing you just did, my love," Andy had claimed her position back by Miranda's side. 

"She was the only one who recognised that we are wearing Saffron Dubois," Miranda shrugged as if she hadn't just done something incredible, "She clearly has a keen eye and a vast knowledge of fashion that goes beyond the usual basics. Talent like that can't be taught. With a guiding hand she could be rather wonderful, I am sure." 

"You are rather wonderful, and you have just made that girl’s night. Actually you have just set her up for life," Andy gave Miranda a chaste kiss to her lips. 

"Yes, yes," Miranda waved off the praise, "Now, I believe we have a party to get to."

 

*****

 

"Tippi, darling," Miranda waved her long time friend over, "I would like to introduce you to Josie, Andrea's grandmother and her partner Cora," 

"Good evening, Josie, Cora," Tippi held out her hand to shake Josie's, "Lovely to meet you both. Oh my, what on earth happened to you?" Tippi nodded towards Cora's sling. 

"Ah. Slippery deck one, my shoulder zero," everyone listening couldn't help but wince, "But Miranda hooked me up and got me a sling that matched my dress, so at least it looks good!" 

"Indeed," Tippi looked the woman up and down and marvelled at how good she looked, the midnight blue floor length gown looked divine on her. Turning her attention back to Josie, she smiled at the warmth in her eyes, which were so much like Andrea's, "I can certainly see the family resemblance."

"Yes, we get that a lot. Poor Andy!" Josie laughed. 

"Oh nonsense, Josie," Miranda chastised the older woman, just as Andrea came to join them brandishing two full flutes.

"What's this?" Andy handed Miranda a glass of champagne. 

"It's nothing, just your grandmother being ridiculous," Miranda scoffed as she sipped her drink. 

"Ha, nothing new there then, hey Grams!" Andy nudged Josie's shoulder playfully, "Oh Miranda, Nigel and I have just been checking out the silent auction lots. Did you see lot 12?" 

"I haven't had the opportunity to look yet," Miranda lied. She had already placed a rather healthy and by the shocked look of the person running the silent auction, a rather unbeatable bid for lot 12.

"Oh, well maybe we can have a look later?"

"Of course darling," Miranda smiled. Maybe she would have Emily up her bid, just in case. There was something about Andrea swishing down the slopes in St Moritz that got Miranda's heart racing, and they needed a little get away. Just the two of them. 

"Miranda, this party is just fabulous. I have to say you have done the most excellent job," Tippi looked around the ballroom and marvelled at the space. 

The oval room, with its set of corinthian columns that adorned either end had been transformed into a watery palace, filled with sights and spectacles to dazzle and entertain. As the guests glanced upwards they were treated to a starry night sky projected onto the 3,000 square foot stained glass dome ceiling. The unique gold leaf honeycomb ceiling that housed the glass dome had been given the same projection treatment. The illusion on this part of the interior gave the impression that there was a waterfall cascading down the walls. This was further enhanced by the delicate spray of mist that enveloped each guest as they entered or exited the ballroom itself. The smell of pine permeated the space and had taken Miranda instantly back to Camp Tethys when she had first walked in. It was glorious and Miranda longed to be back there. Maybe she would suggest to Andrea that they take a run out on Andrea's motorbike one weekend soon. 

"Wherever did you find those? Are they mermaids?" Tippi nodded towards the Victorian looking water tanks filled with underwater performing artists. 

"Water nymphs," Miranda smiled at Josie's gasp of understanding as the theme was now becoming very clear to the elder Sachs, "And that, along with almost everything in here, is down to Caroline and Cassidy." 

"Well, talent definitely runs in the family. Chips off the old block are your girls."

"We are so proud," Andy beamed, "They have worked so hard on this. And between you and me they have given Miranda's event team a run for their money in the creativity department!" 

"Yes, our girls," Miranda squeezed Andrea's hand, "have been outstanding with their dedication to ensuring this is a party to remember."

"Oh you have got to be fucking kidding me?" Andrea hissed as she looked at who had just walked in. 

"What's wrong darling?" Miranda spun around to follow Andrea's eyeline.

"How on earth did she get in?" Andy fumed, "I thought this was an invitation only party?" 

"It is. And she is here because," Miranda sighed, knowing this was going to go one of two ways, "I invited her." 

"You did what?!" Andy was livid. Why on earth hadn't Miranda told her this? "Oh you better have a bloody good reason as to why you thought it was a good idea to invite Estelle fucking Walker, Miranda."

Chapter Text

Miranda took Andrea's hand and carefully wove them through the crowds. She gave tight smiles to those that managed to catch her eye but continued towards a door just off the ballroom. Miranda wanted some privacy, away from prying eyes and gossiping mouths. 

As she slipped them into the Lounge, which was currently being used as one of the back of house prep areas, they were greeted by wide-eyed waitstaff, clearly not expecting Miranda to waltz in. 

"If you could vacate this room for ten minutes?" Miranda's cool voice snapped them all to attention and within seconds the room was empty. 

"Well?" Andy stood firm, hands on her hips, her jaw tense. 

"Revenge," Miranda sighed, suddenly annoyed at her chosen hairstyle as her fingers twitched in frustration, desperate to run through her slicked back tresses. 

"And pray tell how having her here after everything she has done serves as revenge?" 

Miranda pulled up a banqueting chair and sat down heavily as she contemplated how best to vocalise the thoughts that were buzzing through her mind at a quick fire rate. She felt dizzy. 

"I have spent weeks plotting Estelle's demise. At first it served its purpose. I was angry. Furious at what she had put us through. Acting on the information fed to me by Scarlett gave me an outlet for my hatred towards that vile woman. But the more I destroyed her, ruined her business, took her clients away, the more I felt, oh I don't know, empty. I understand the power I have, and the destruction I can cause. And don't get me wrong there was a time I wouldn't have thought twice. Crush someone like a bug. Ruin them. Blacklist them. But what's the point if I can't look at myself in the mirror? Is that the lesson I want to impart to our girls? To destroy someone through any means necessary just for some fleeting moment of hollow satisfaction?"

Andy had no idea what she was expecting from Miranda, but it wasn't this. She spotted a crate of glasses next to some yet to be opened bottles of chilled champagne. Quickly peeling the foil off and untwisting the wire she gently eased the cork out with a satisfying hiss. Pouring two glasses she handed one to Miranda who took a generous mouthful. 

"But you said this was about revenge?" 

Miranda nodded, "Revenge can come in many forms my darling." Miranda watched as Andrea dragged another banqueting chair over and took a seat opposite her. As the brunette sat down she struggled to navigate the yards of misbehaving tulle that threatened to envelop her causing a huff of laughter. 

"OK, so what changed?" Andy smiled as she continued to battle with the fabric of her dress. 

"It was that week you were away. I spent every spare moment meeting with Estelle's clients, new and existing. And put the wheels in motion to ensure that they left her and moved to other more suitable agencies. Initially I was excited. The rush of my carefully thought through plan was coming together and it served as a distraction to the empty house and bed," Miranda snorted, "But then it was that Thursday, our date night. I had come home thrumming with excitement to tell you I had done it, the final name crossed off the list I had been carrying around with me for weeks and you weren't there."

"I'm sor-" but Miranda shook her head, stopping any further words falling from Andy's lips. 

"No, darling," Miranda purred gently, "Don't you dare apologise. There will be many times where we will be apart. You might not have been there in physical form but my god, your presence was everywhere. I felt it as I wandered around the house. In our bedroom. In the kitchen. Traces of you surrounding me everywhere I went and that's when I realised something that has taken me decades to find. I have everything I could ever possibly want. Need. Desire. All that had driven me before I didn't need to do anymore. What is the best revenge possible but to show the world that you are happy, content in your own little corner of the world?"

 

*****

 

Estelle saw Miranda whisk Andy away somewhere. Neither looked happy. Trouble in paradise? Estelle couldn't help but laugh. God she needed to get a drink, the warm vodka buzz was wearing off. Quickly scanning the room she saw a waiter emerge with a full tray of drinks. Waving him over she nabbed one and took a long glug ignoring the bubbles tickling her nose. 

From the moment Estelle had stepped out of her taxi she had been on guard. She knew she probably should have ignored the invite but curiosity had got the better of her. Even in her, now very limited, circle the thrum of excitement around this event and the magazine issue being released tomorrow was insane. Kudos to the Runway press team who had clearly been working round the clock. Although her invitations to shindigs like this had somewhat been thin on the ground, ok practically non-existent, Estelle had been to enough in her time to recognise there was something different about this one. She had felt it from the moment she walked into the ballroom but had yet to be able to put words to the feelings. She had expected the standard drinks reception, a few overly large and showy floral displays and the same mix of stuffed suits and bored women but that wasn't the case. At all. The atmosphere was electric. People were laughing, having fun and seemed genuinely interested in the conversations being had. The guests were an eclectic mix of the New York society set, charity representatives, fashion designers and a smattering of high profile business moguls and A list celebrities. The great and good all in one room having a really good time. The laughter and happy smiles sat comfortably alongside the live music which, having looked closely at the t-shirts the musicians wore, she recognised from an inner city music project for underprivileged young adults. This wasn't the pale, male and stale of fundraisers past but a gloriously painted picture of unity, acceptance and family. It pained Estelle to admit that it was all rather wonderful. 

A hushed silence rippled through the crowd as the music switched to a dramatic overture provided by a vibrantly colourful string quartet all sporting rainbow cummerbunds under their black tuxedo's, who were sitting to the right of a small stage towards the far end of the ballroom. 

All eyes were now on the stage where a spotlight appeared as the matriarch of this new found family took her spot. 

When Estelle had caught a glimpse of Miranda earlier she had been too absorbed in the expression on the editor's face to have paid notice to what Miranda was wearing. Holy shit. The confidence she had as she strode up to the microphone was unreal. She moved like a big cat, sleek and graceful, quite a feat given the heels she was wearing - pencil thin and sky high - yet she glided to her position with practised ease. 

 

*****

 

"And are you happy Miranda?" Andy waited with baited breath, "With your little corner?" 

Miranda leant forward and grabbed Andrea's hands tightly, "Oh my darling, I don't think I could be more happy. You and our girls are my everything. As clichéd as it sounds, I finally feel complete." 

"I do sometimes wonder if I am enough," Andy whispered, willing her eyes to not tear up, she continued, "that you will eventually get bored of me and our life."

"Andrea, you surely can't be serious?" Miranda was astonished that her love could think such a thing. 

"Well, there are only so many movie nights in the den, and me in my sweat pants and ratty t-shirts that the great Miranda Priestly can handle right?" Andy snorted. "There is part of me that's waiting for the shoe to drop. For when my luck will run out and you will feel suffocated by the boring and mundane."

Miranda swiftly knelt in front of Andrea. "But can't you see that I don't find it mundane or boring. It's everything I have ever craved. To be loved by someone who allows me to be me," Miranda thumped a fisted hand to her chest, "I adore you and what you bring to my life. All of the trappings that come with who I am are inconsequential if I don't get to share them with the love of my life. That's what has been missing for so long. The person who balances me out. Who has the courage to challenge me. Who can withstand the fire I breathe. You."

Andy was lost for words, to see Miranda knelt in front of her. The raw emotion so evident, almost pleading with her eyes was breaking her heart. 

"Miranda," Andy cupped Miranda's cheek, "I am not going anywhere. If I am everything you want, then rest assured you have it. You have me. All of me."

"That is all I ask, my darling," Miranda leaned into Andrea's hand, eyes closed, a small but honest smile on her lips. 

A clearing of a throat broke their reverie. Both women turned to face the intruder and saw Emily nervously hovering in the doorway. 

"Sorry to bother you, Miranda, but it's time for you to start the speeches." 

"Right, I will be there in a minute," Miranda sighed and stood up, her knees not thanking her for the time spent on the hardwood floor. 

"You ready?" Miranda heard the weight to Andrea's words and nodded. 

"I am," Miranda held her hand out which Andrea eagerly took, "You?" 

"Absolutely. Right by your side. I trust you and your way of handling this whole situation," Andy let herself be led from the room by Miranda, "However that doesn't deal with the fact I still have an unwavering urge to rip Estelle limb from limb," Andy grumbled. 

"Oh Andrea," Miranda laughed, a deep genuine laugh, "I am not sure I should leave you unaccompanied."

"Well. I will promise to keep all homicidal thoughts to just that, thoughts, if…" Andy spun Miranda around to face her. 

"If?" Miranda noted the darkening of Andrea's eyes and the husk in her voice. 

"If you find a way to work off all this pent up energy I have…"

"What? Oh. Oh, right. Yes," Miranda stuttered as Andrea gave her a very suggestive and flirty wink. God what this beautiful creature did to her. Clearing her throat Miranda leaned in and nipped at Andrea's ear lobe, "I am sure two such capable and creative women such as ourselves can come up with some solutions once we get to the hotel suite I have organised for us," Miranda bit down on the soft flesh between her teeth, "Don't you darling?" 

It was Andy's turn to be rendered speechless as she watched Miranda stride off up to the stage. Fuck. Andy had set down the gauntlet and she knew Miranda would not stop until both parties were suitably satisfied. Andy couldn't help but clench her thighs together in anticipation. Oh what that beautiful woman did to her. And she was all hers. Every last sexy god damn inch. That she knew would be wrapped around her before the night ended. Delicious. 

Chapter Text

Miranda swept onto the stage, looking out at the sea of expectant faces, all familiar to her in some way or another. She couldn't quite believe she had managed to pull this off. All these people were here to celebrate diversity in all its glorious forms, to embrace the lesser known and also raise a good deal of money for fantastic causes. Over the last few months Miranda had been amazed, moved and shocked at some of the stories she and Andrea had read about. The interviews that were now sitting proudly within the pages of the latest magazine issue were a rich and eye opening insight into the struggles and obstacles that so many people faced everyday and, more often than not silently. It was heartbreaking. What had started off as a selfish way to deflect attention away from accusations of nepotism and her relationship with the latest Runway cover star, had actually ended up being a journey of self discovery. To have this opportunity to give the voiceless a platform to talk about their everyday struggles was beyond humbling. The corners of society that are constantly ignored, invisible, disregarded, would now have an opportunity to finally be seen. Miranda knew what she had to do. She felt the weight on her shoulders but had vowed to ensure that the silence was no more. Taking a deep breath she began to speak.

 

*****

 

"That was quite the speech you gave," Estelle snorted. She had found a spot at the bar and was swiftly making a significant dent in the free drinks on offer. With the champagne long forgotten she swirled her vodka on the rocks. The smooth liquid had provided her with a false bravado. "You almost convinced me that you actually had a heart," Estelle slurred slightly as she watched Miranda signal to one of the bartenders. 

Miranda rolled her eyes, wishing that she could have avoided this. After her opening welcome she stepped off stage whilst the guests then heard from some of the charities. First hand accounts as to how the various organisations had helped change lives. The messages were clear, heart wrenching in places, but the overall sentiment was a positive one. Every single person in that ballroom knew they could make a difference, whether it be by a donation, implementing a mentoring programme, or simply using their own influence and power to push for much needed change. Miranda's mood was buoyant thanks in part to the raucous applause, led by her Andrea, which had followed the last speaker. It had been incredible to listen to it as it had rung out around the ballroom. Like everyone Miranda had spoken to as she made her way slowly through the throng of guests to the bar, she was buzzing with an overwhelming feeling of hope. The last thing she wanted was to have that joyous bubble burst but alas that was not to be. 

"I must say I was a little surprised to see you had actually turned up," Miranda gave a curt nod to the barman as he placed two glasses of champagne in front of her, "let alone had the audacity to stick around," Miranda took a sip of the cool bubbly liquid, "What I still haven't worked out though is whether you are brave or a fool," Miranda tilted her head and observed Estelle shifting uncomfortably on her bar stool. 

"I just wanted to see what all the fuss was about," Estelle shrugged. "You know no one actually believes all that bullshit you said up there. And look at you," Estelle scoffed, "You're kidding yourself if you think changing your hair and makeup will alter people's perception of you. You will still be a first class bitch. And from what I saw of you and Andy earlier it won't be long before she gives you the big buh-bye," Estelle knocked back the remainder of her drink. 

"Oh Estelle, Estelle, Estelle," Miranda laughed lightly despite the shark-like grin she now sported, her perfectly manicured nail tapping on the side of her glass. "Quite the disappointment aren't you. I was expecting far better insults, but then you were never that creative. However there was a glimmer of promise." 

"Wh-what do you mean?" Estelle was annoyed that Miranda's cool, collected manner had rattled her so much. 

"With the involvement of Andrea's mother. But that was probably only down to you being in the right place at the right time. For once in your life." 

"Andrea's mother?" Estelle was panicking. Sweat had begun to trickle down her back, pooling at the bottom of her spine. 

"You think I didn't know who leaked the photos to the press? Tut tut Estelle. You should know by now I have eyes and ears everywhere," Miranda whispered. "And failing that my powers of, shall we say, persuasion , weren't built on rumours alone."

"Those photos came out ages ago," Estelle jutted her chin in defiance. The fact that Miranda had yet to act on this knowledge after so long led Estelle to believe she was bluffing. "Clearly losing your touch if you're only just accusing me of that now. You're all talk, Priestly," Estelle spat. 

"Hmmm, you will have to let me know come Monday morning whether I'm all just smoke and mirrors, as it were," Miranda smiled at the puzzled expression on Estelle's face. The agent will be in for a shock when she realises that her client book is empty and Scarlet has cleaned out her desk, no longer at her beck and call, not that she ever really was. Miranda had been so impressed with the young woman she had offered her a position at Runway and would be starting in a few weeks time. She turned around and leant back against the bar looking out at the guests milling around. Miranda saw Caroline and Cassidy dancing with Andrea and Nigel. She couldn't help but sigh. A happy content sigh. 

Estelle looked over her shoulder and grimaced at the sickeningly sweet scene Miranda was avidly watching. "She'll get bored of you and your little brats. You can only put on an act for so long Miranda before the cracks start to show. And they will. How many husbands have you chewed up and spat out now?" 

"That may be," Miranda shrugged, refusing to bite, "but I very much doubt it. You know, I see a great deal of myself in you Estelle."

"Come again?" Estelle was confused, her head fuzzy thanks to the contents of her now empty glass. 

"The bitterness. The anger. The loneliness." Miranda kept her eyes on her loves, desperate to go join them on the dance floor, "Trust me, those feelings only eat you up. They set in, distorting your outlook on everything. Once they have a hold on you they will destroy all that is around you. One day you will wake up and it's all gone. Just like that," Miranda snapped her fingers with a satisfying click, startling Estelle," You will look around and everything that was good will no longer be there."

"I am not you," Estelle hissed through gritted teeth. 

"You're right there," Miranda smiled as she gazed at Andrea, head thrown back and laughing as she twirled around the dance floor with Caroline before turning to face Estelle, "Let go of the anger, Estelle. Ultimately the only person you hurt is yourself, no one else. It will control you. Trust me. I guess in a roundabout way I should be thanking you. You set me free." Miranda picked up the glasses of champagne, smiling in thanks at the barman who had topped hers up. Keeping the smile on her face for appearances sake she leaned in close to Estelle. Miranda could almost smell the woman's fear. "But I will always be watching. See this as a free pass. You come near my family again and I can't guarantee I, or Andrea, will be so forgiving. In fact, if Andrea had her way she would ensure this was the last evening you had. So maybe you should actually be thanking me," Miranda's laugh made Estelle tremble, "My Andrea is a fiesty one," Miranda then shocked Estelle by placing a kiss on her cheek, leaving a dark red lipstick mark against her now pale cheek, "Quite the protective mama bear when pushed," and with that Miranda was gone.  

Estelle sat there, stock still on the bar stool. Her clammy hand was clutching at her cheek which mere moments ago had been graced by Miranda Priestly's lips. What the hell just happened? She felt sick. The burning sensation of bile rising up her throat rapidly made her eyes water. Fragments of what Miranda had said to her were swimming around her mind. Water. She needed water. Croaking out the request to the barman, she watched Miranda whisper to Andy. The look she received from the brunette made her shudder. She needed to get out there and fast. Estelle snatched the glass of water before the barman could even place it down and drank it in one go. Wiping her mouth she scrambled off the stool. In her haste and inebriated state it knocked to the floor, as she went to pick it up she dropped her clutch, the contents spilled out around her feet. She could feel eyes staring at her, one pair in particular burning the back of her head. Frantically grabbing the scattered items she quickly shoved them back in her bag. As she stood she locked eyes with Andy. The brunette was standing there with her arms protectively around the shoulders of Caroline and Cassidy. She looked ready to pounce. The raised eyebrow told Estelle she had about five seconds to vacate the building. Estelle hesitated causing Andy to take a step forward. Shit. Miranda was right, Andy looked ready to rip her throat out. Estelle didn't need telling twice. She fled the ballroom with the words "free pass" ringing in her ears and a perfect outline of the mouth that delivered them still on her cheek. 

 

*****

 

Miranda spotted the blue hair of Francesa Anderson instantly. The poor girl was hovering on the perimeter of the dance floor looking bored to tears having been ensnared in conversation by two of the less interesting Elias Clarke board members. 

"Ah, Megan," Miranda beckoned the young photographer over, "Come with me. I have someone I want to introduce you to."

"Ok, sure," Megan had to pick up her pace to catch up with Miranda, that woman didn't wait for anyone. 

"Good evening, gentlemen," Miranda purred as she approached Francesca. 

"Miranda, what a party!" one of the suits voiced, the other nodding vigorously, echoing his sentiments. 

"Yes, it's a rather splendid evening isn't it," Miranda smiled knowing it wouldn't quite reach her eyes, not that the gentlemen would notice, "If you don't mind, I really must speak with Ms Anderson." 

Francesca's shoulders relaxed in relief, only to tense again clearly realising she would now have to speak with Miranda. The editor couldn't help but chuckle lightly. She still had it. 

"Come along, Ms Anderson," Miranda turned on her heel not even second guessing she was being followed by both young women, "Oh and I expect to see your names on some of the silent auctions, Gentlemen," Miranda smirked at Megan who had joined her side. 

"Francesca, tell me, why were you on the red carpet?" Miranda continued to lead them through the ballroom. 

"Erm, well, I wanted to cover the event for my, I mean, the online publication I work for." 

Miranda stopped and turned to face Francesca, rubbing a finger along her lip. She had already had Emily dig into the Violet Woolf, so she knew it was in fact a blog, run and managed by Francesca. She admired Francesca's fiery ambition, and stubbornness, to not crumble under her gaze. Something even hardened businessmen fell foul of time and time again. Miranda was impressed. 

"And what were you hoping to achieve from this evening?" 

From the brief look at some of the articles, she could see that Francesca's writing was good. Raw and unedited, but she approached each subject from a fresh new angle. Miranda was excited by the talent this girl possessed. It was untapped, and with the right guidance Miranda knew she would flourish. It's exactly what she wanted for Runway. 

"To capture the essence of this event," Francesca looked Miranda directly in the eye. She knew this was her one shot and she wasn't going to waste it. "I knew that everyone would be looking at it from a superficial level, what people were wearing, and who was attending, but not the choices behind those decisions," Francesca held her breath as she clutched her trusty notebook. 

"May I?" Miranda nodded towards the dark purple leather bound notebook in the girl's hands. 

Reluctantly handing it over, Francesca looked to Megan who just shrugged. 

Miranda flipped through the pages. It was full of neatly scribed anecdotes, sketches, quotes. It reminded her of the journals and sketchbooks she avidly kept when she was younger. The language and historical references were incredible. Ideas for future articles, whilst left field, were compelling. She eagerly turned the pages and landed on the most recent notes from this evening. Sublime. Keeping her excitement in check, she snapped the journal shut and handed it back to the now slightly trembling Francesca. 

"You will do a write up of this evening, no more than two thousand words, and then report to Runway 9am Monday morning. Spend the rest of the evening shadowing Megan. That's all." 

Francesca stood speechless, for the second time that evening, as she watched Miranda saunter away. 

"Is she always like that?" Francesca whispered. 

Megan couldn't help but laugh at the look of pure bewilderment on the blue-haired girl's face. "Yeah, she is. I wish I could say you get used to it but you really don't."

"Right, well OK then. I'm Francesca by the way," Francesca held her hand out towards Megan. 

"Megan, as I am sure you gathered by that stellar introduction," Megan chuckled and shook the offered hand, "Come on, I still have some shots to cross off my list. And If there is anything specific you want me to shoot for reference or to accompany your piece, just let me know."

Francesca couldn't believe how her night had changed so drastically but she was buzzing with ideas and already had the beginnings of her write up floating around in her mind. She felt like Cinderella. She let out a loud, snort of shocked laughter, and her hand flew up to her mouth to stifle another burst that was bubbling away. If someone had told her this morning she would have ended up getting Miranda Priestly as her fairy godmother, albeit a ridiculously hot scary one, she would have told them to very colourfully jog on. 

 

*****

 

"Oh my god," Andy squealed and grabbed Miranda's hand, "Look!" 

"Finally," Miranda drawled, "the worst kept secret is now out in the open."

Out on the dance floor Charlotte was softly swaying in the strong and enviably toned arms of Sally Saunders. Miranda smirked as she was proved right - they really did make a striking couple. 

"What are you smirking at?" Andy asked as she noted Miranda's expression. 

"Nothing in particular," Miranda entwined her fingers with Andrea's and gave them a reassuring squeeze, "I think the girls are showing signs of flagging." 

"Oh bless them. I think for the last hour they have been running on sheer willpower alone." Andy tugged at Miranda's hand and they headed over to a very sleepy pair of girls sat with her grams and Cora. 

"Hey, you two," Andy stroked Caroline's cheek, "Think it's time to get you home." 

This was met with protests from the girls. Andy would have been inclined to give them an extra ten minutes if it wasn't for the huge yawn that Cassidy tried, unsuccessfully, to hide, much to the relief of Cora whose shoulder was aching going by the wince she did as she stood. 

"Yes, Bobbseys, come on, let's get you to the car."

Once on the street, and the girls safely in the back of the car, Miranda pulled Josie aside, "Are you sure you're ok looking after the girls tonight?" 

"Absolutely, Miranda," Josie affectionately patted Miranda's forearm, "They are going to be out like a light and then Cassidy mentioned something about a film marathon tomorrow, so we will be just fine."

"They are great girls, and we're looking forward to spending some more time with them, so don't feel like you need to rush back," Cora winked at Miranda as she slipped into the car. 

"Thank you for a great evening," Josie was next in the car, "It's been truly wonderful, Miranda."

"See you guys tomorrow then, and call if you have any problems!" Andy closed the car door, giving a quick wave as the car pulled away. 

"Are you ready to leave?" Andy linked arms with Miranda as they headed back into the venue, ignoring the remaining paps clicking away. 

"Hmmm, yes, it's been a long day," Miranda sighed, she couldn't believe the evening was finally coming to a close. Well this part anyway. She shivered at the thought of what was to come later… 

 

*****

 

Miranda opened a bottle of champagne as Andrea went off to explore their vast suite. She had indulged and booked, well Emily had booked, the Suite 5000 at the Mandarin Oriental. Located on the 50th floor it offered the most spectacular views of the city through huge floor to ceiling windows.

Miranda knew there wouldn't be much use for the other bedroom, living room, kitchen, media room or the dining room. Actually she had had a fantasy about spreading Andrea across their dining table at home, leisurely lavishing Andrea's incredible body but couldn't quite bring herself to suggest doing such a thing where she would often entertain business dinners, so maybe, on second thoughts, that room would get some use after all… As she pondered that extremely hot scene, she heard her name being shouted, and, judging by the excited squeal, she knew Andrea had found the very reason why she chose this particular suite. 

"Miranda!" Andrea bellowed from somewhere in their suite, "You seriously have to come and see this!" 

Carefully pouring two glasses of champagne Miranda sauntered through to one of the two bathrooms and saw Andrea standing in awe staring at the star feature in the centre of the room. 

Smiling at the sight Miranda handed the brunette one of the glasses, "Big enough for two, don't you think darling?" 

"I'd say! It's huge!" Andy ran a hand along the edge of a very large oval bath, the sleek black colour making for a stark contrast against the white marble walls and floor. To the right were more floor to ceiling windows and above it hung a modern swarovski chandelier. 

"I suggest you get started on filling it as it's going to take a while given the size. I will be in the bedroom," Miranda purred in Andrea's ear, "waiting…" 

Miranda headed off to get set up in the bedroom. She lit candles and put some background music on the bose. Just as she was deciding whether to start undressing or not, she felt a strong pair of arms snake around her waist. 

"As much as the party was fabulous," Andrea nuzzled at Miranda's neck, inhaling deeply, "I am so glad we are here. I have been thinking of this moment all evening." 

"Hmmm," Miranda moved her head to the side to give Andrea's wandering mouth more access, "As have I, darling." 

Turning around in Andrea's arms Miranda brought her hands up to Andrea's face, lovingly cupping her cheeks. 

Andy licked her lips, her gorgeous brown eyes flitting down to Miranda's lips and back up to gaze into those magical blue eyes. 

Leaning in Miranda captured Andrea's full lips, moaning instantly at the touch. What started off as a slow exploration soon became heated as both were overcome with the building passion that coursed through them. 

Miranda began to blindly unbutton the corset of Andrea's dress but the fiddly fastenings were proving tricky when she was doing it but touch alone. Letting out a growl of frustration Miranda broke their kiss and pouted. She looked adorable. 

"Oh my love," Andy chuckled, "let me turn around," doing just that, she looked over her shoulder, "Is that better?" 

"I don't know whose bright idea it was to put you in a corseted dress," Miranda grumbled as she finally got the buttons undone and made a start on the lacing. 

Andy knew not to comment that it was actually Miranda who had insisted she was laced in. As the threads started to loosen Andy felt her torso relax. She took a deep satisfying breath just because she could. The dress was soon pooled around her feet, as she stepped out she heard a gasp. 

Standing there in just her heels and a sheer lacy thong, she slowly bent down to pick up her discarded outfit, causing a low growl to emanate behind her from Miranda. 

Miranda quickly stalked forward, immediately taking the dress and throwing it on the nearest chair. She walked them towards the wall as her fingers lovingly traced the red marks left behind from the tightly bound top. Andrea hissed as her naked back hit the cool surface. Miranda sank to her knees and began to leave kisses where her fingers had just been. Deftly looping her thumbs in the thin waistband of Andrea's underwear, she swiftly pulled them down her toned legs. 

Andy went to slip out of her shoes and received a quick tap to her ankle. 

"Leave them on," Miranda croaked as she encouraged one of Andrea's shoe clad feet off the floor and swiftly put it over her shoulder. She could smell Andrea's arousal, her mouth watering as she licked the brunette's inner thigh, giving it a little nip for good measure before she swiped her tongue through the length of Andrea's wet folds. 

Andy was so thankful that she had the wall to lean back on. The sight of a fully clothed Miranda on her knees looking up at her as she slowly licked everywhere but where she needed her most was beyond even her imagination. 

Miranda had never seen Andrea look so beautiful. The brunette's hips had started to move, eagerly chasing her mouth, but Miranda couldn't help but prolong the teasing just that little bit longer. She absolutely loved it when Andrea was wanton and begging for release. The sharp press of a heel into her back was enough of a message that Andrea was nearly at that point. 

"Miranda," Andy panted, grabbing a fist full of those iconic white locks, "Miranda, hmmm, oh, please." 

Miranda felt the sharp pull of her hair, guiding her, encouraging her. 

"I need, oh fuck," Andy was writhing against the succinct rhythm Miranda's tongue was now providing.

Feeling how worked up and ready Andrea was, Miranda entered her easily. Two fingers soon became three. She startled slightly as Andrea's free hand slapped against the wall as she sucked at that precious bundle of nerves. Her mouth working in perfect tandem with her fingers, driving Andrea ever close to her climax. Miranda could feel Andrea's leg start to tremble so she shuffled forward pressing the brunette even closer to the wall for extra support. A final twist of her wrist sent Andrea into orbit. Her body went taut. Miranda looked up and saw those plump kissable lips fall open silently before a deep, loud growl burst forth. 

Andy sagged against the wall, her arm covering her eyes, as she tried to suck in enough air to stop from passing out. Her leg finally gave way and she slid into Miranda's open arms. 

"Holy fuck," Andy's voice was an octave lower than usual, "that was quite a ride."

"You certainly rode something," Miranda drawled as she wiped her mouth, "You looked exquisite, my darling."

Andy could feel herself blushing as she sat naked on Miranda's fully clothed lap. Andy kicked off her shoes and then summoning the last of her strength stood up. 

"I want you," Andy reached a hand down to Miranda to help her up. 

"In the bath?" Miranda raised an eyebrow wondering if Andrea would remember… 

"Shit!" Miranda laughed as Andrea spun around wide eyed and ran off at quite a speed towards the bathroom. 

 

*****

 

After spending most of the evening and early morning hours making love, Miranda was enjoying a much needed lie in. They had both agreed on a lazy day, and wouldn't be leaving the hotel room, or the bed if Miranda had her way. 

Andrea had ordered them some breakfast via room service and Miranda was lying on her side, half asleep as Andrea ran her fingers lazily over her naked back. When Andrea sighed for what felt like the twentieth time Miranda finally gave in and rolled over. 

"Whatever is the matter, Andrea?" 

"Nothing," Andy, sighed again, "It's just," Andy rolled onto her back, "Oh never mind. It's ridiculous."

"It's just what darling?" Miranda was getting a little concerned now. Surely this couldn't still be about the silent auction? 

"Honestly, it's nothi-" Andy was interrupted by a knock at the door. 

"That will be room service," Miranda slipped out of bed quickly putting on the fluffy hotel robe, "Don't go anywhere," Miranda chuckled as she padded towards the door. 

Andy heard the door open and then the sound of a trolley being wheeled through to the dining room. She could just make out muffled voices before the door opened and shut again. Then silence. Expecting Miranda to come straight back to bed, she sat up arranging the pillows so they were just so before leaning back on them, comfy in her cosy pillow cocoon. 

"Andrea," Miranda's voice carried through the suite, "why don't you join me in the dining room?" 

Andy quickly jumped out of bed grabbing the other robe and went to join Miranda. 

"Wow this is quite a banquet," Andy took in the sheer amount of food Miranda had begun to lay out on one end of the large dining table, "I think I may have over ordered," she giggled as she took a seat. 

"You don't say?" Miranda gave a faux glare as she sat down next to Andrea, "Why don't you pour us some coffee, darling." 

"Sure," Andy reached for the cafetiere and saw an envelope propped up against it with her name on it, "What's this?" Coffee now forgotten, Andy picked up the envelope studying it closely. 

"Well if you open it you will find out," Miranda rolled her eyes, "I'll do the coffee then, yes?"

Miranda watched as Andrea ripped open the envelope, not being able to keep from smirking as she poured them both coffee. 

"What the…" Andy sat down with a thump in her chair, "Miranda?" 

"Hmmm?" 

"But," Andy sat there in disbelief, "I thought you lost?" 

"Lose?" Miranda scoffed, "Me? I don't think so Andrea. Not in business. Not in life. And certainly not in silent auctions." 

"Oh my god!" Andy squealed, jumping out of her seat and straight into Miranda's lap planting a huge kiss on Miranda's lips. 

"I take it you're happy?" 

"You kidding? You, me, swishing down the slopes! It's going to be amazing."

"Well maybe you can stop sulking now hmm?" 

"I was not sulking!" Andy shrieked in mock horror. 

"If you say so, darling," Miranda smiled before slowly untying Andrea's robe, delighting in the fact that Andrea had chosen to remain naked underneath. She had purposely left one end of the dining table clear. It was time to fulfil a fantasy or two…