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Mom, are you a lesbian ?

Chapter Text

Caroline Priestly was trying to write an essay about the history of the book in the Middle Ages on a quiet Monday evening. Cursing Gutenberg in her head she deleted a whole paragraph that didn’t make sense anymore. Who on earth thought school was a good idea?
Small steps could be heard on the stairs- Cassidy’s. She could recognize every person in her family by the sound of their walk. Her sister’s steps were always fast and bouncy, her mother’s always rhythmed and sharp like an amazon on a battlefield-an amazon with Louboutin on her feet, and hers (she hoped) featherlight and gracious like the ballet dancer she was. Thank god, no more ungracious men’s steps could be heard in their house, since Stephen had left a year ago.

Her sister entered the room with a mischievous light in her eyes. Thankful for the distraction, Caroline closed her computer, Copyist monks could wait. “What do you want?” she asked feigning annoyance.

“I want to show you something, something really intriguing.” Cassidy answered. Her eyes had not lost an ounce of mystery.

“What? What's so important that you felt the need to interrupt my extremely interesting homework session?"

Cassidy rolled her eyes, no wondering who she picked that up from. “Oh, shut up, we both know you don’t care in the least about the History of the bible.”

“The history of book, thank you very much.” Caroline replied vexed.

“Are you coming or what?” called Cassidy already out of the room.

With a loud sigh Caroline got up from her bed and followed Cassidy who was already descending the stairs heading to the second floor.

Cassidy had stopped in front of the closed door of their mom’s office.

“You’ve got to be kidding me. The so interesting thing is in mom’s office? Do you want us dead? Wait until she discovers that you’re snooping in her office when she isn’t around.”

“I wasn’t snooping I was looking for our Nintendo DS… Wait are you threating me?”

Nintendo DS? That was interesting indeed. “And did you find it?” Caroline inquired already planning in her head how to use it without her mom noticing.

“Find what?” Cassidy asked clearly lost in thoughts.

“The Nintendo DS! What else?” Caroline replied looking at her sister like she was the most stupid person on earth.

“Oh… no, but I found something much more interesting than a Nintendo DS” The mischievous look was back.

Something more interesting than a Nintendo DS? Well, that was worth a shot. “Okay fine, but if we’re caught, I’m blaming you!”

“We won’t be caught; mom isn’t due home until ten and Cara is far too busy on the phone with her boyfriend. I know, I’ve checked.” Cassidy announced sounding much too confident for someone who was about to break one of the most important rules in their house: not putting their freckled noses into their mother’s business.

“Well, I see that someone has got it all planned.” Drawled Caroline with a sarcastic voice.

“Of course, I wouldn’t be a Priestly otherwise.” Whispered Cassidy, her hand already on the doorknob.

The door opened with a glacial creaking. Caroline had a bad feeling about this adventure, but she would have preferred to kiss the pimply cheek of Marc-Henry, her annoying classmate, rather than admit that she was afraid.

Cassidy wasn’t moving either, it looked like her feet were glued to the floor. “Well, what are you waiting for? Mom’s invitation? Come on now, it was your idea.” Caroline practically dragged Cassidy by the arm into the office.

“It’s in one of the drawers of her desk” announced Cassidy who had regained her confidence and was heading to the famous desk.
Caroline watched with apprehension and of course, who was she kidding, a lot of curiosity, as her sister rummaged through a drawer. Cassidy’s eyes sparkled when she found what she was looking for, which was a box full of newspaper articles. That was the thing more interesting that her precious Nintendo DS? An old box full of what were probably boring articles.

“So, what do you think?” Cassidy interrupted Caroline’s musing.

“Well, I’m thinking there is no way we are related. Really Cass? We braved the dragon's lair, don’t tell mom I said that, for some articles? I didn’t know that you were so interested in politics and the fate of hard workers.” Said Caroline reading the titles of some pieces.

“It’s not the content of the articles that are interesting, it’s their author. Look!” said Cassidy pointing to a name at the end of a page detailing some boring stuff about some boring people.

“Andy Sachs? Never heard of him.”

“Her not him. Of course, you did. She was mom’s assistant. You know the one who got us the Harry Potter book. Big smile, big bangs?”

“Oooh you mean Andréééa. Yeah, I remember, she was nice and way less psychotic than Emily that’s for sure. But so, what? Mom is keeping track of an old employee, what about it? I’ve seen things stranger than that.”

Caroline was becoming annoyed with her sister and her boring treasure. Copyist monks seemed far more appealing suddenly.

“Oh really? Mom doesn’t care about ex-assistants. I’m sure she doesn’t even remember their names, so keeping all their articles in a precious little box in her precious big office? No way. There’s something special about this Andrea Sachs and I’m going to discover what.”

Well, sure Cass had a point. Caroline couldn’t imagine her mother cutting up little pieces of newspaper and placing them with extreme care in a box. God, she couldn’t even imagine her mother with a pair of scissors in her hands. But still, there was nothing special about Andrea Sachs. She was just another stupid assistant among so many.

“Oh my god Cassidy, are you really that bored in life? Leave mom’s stuff alone and go watch TV or something. Your little discovery doesn’t mean anything. I am going back to my room, because unlike some people I know, I have things to do with my time.”

“I am not giving up that easily and I’ll prove you wrong you’ll see!”

Yeah, yeah they’ll see.

Chapter Text

By Wednesday evening Caroline had forgotten all about the mysterious box in her mom’s office and her sister’s craziness. She was far too busy thinking about a way to make Marc-Henry understand that she didn’t enjoy his company. No, she was not interested in sharing candies during recess nor was she interested in going to his birthday party (her mother wouldn’t even allow it she hated Marc-Henry’s mother).
Preoccupied with her own thoughts, Caroline almost missed Cassidy’s question which made her choke on her water. Their mom had, for once, been able to get out of the office at a reasonable hour and they were having a nice dinner. Of course, Cassidy had to ruin it.

“Oh mom, today I was reading my old Harry Potter book - you know the one you got us in advance? Anyway, it made me wonder: What happened to your second-assistant? What was her name again? Monika? Amanda? God I can’t seem to remember…”

Their mother went very stiff, and a freezing silence fell on the room. Caroline could only hear her own heartbeat. For a moment, she thought her mom wasn’t going to answer, but after a few seconds that seemed lasting an eternity, her mom murmured “Andrea. Her name was Andrea,” so softly that Caroline wasn’t even sure she had uttered a single word.

However, their mom regained her composure quickly. “I don’t know how she occupies her life these days, and I really have no idea why you would care about an ex-assistant Cassidy. Now, finish your broccoli.”
Sensing that she wouldn’t get anything else from her mother Cassidy didn’t push any further. Thank god, otherwise Caroline would have had to do something drastic like spilling her glass of water all over the kitchen to distract her mother and she really didn’t want it to get to that point - she really wanted to get her Nintendo DS back.
The rest of the dinner was spent in silence.

---
“What is wrong with you? Do you have a death wish or something?” hissed Caroline, as soon as the door of Cassidy’s room closed behind her.

“What? You said yourself that all this story with Andy meant nothing. Are you changing your mind now?” Cassidy looked so smug; Caroline wanted to punch her in the arm. So, she did.

“Ouch, why did you do that?”

“Because you’re annoying that’s why.”

“You’re annoyed because you know I am right. Andrea Sachs is not a simple ex-assistant. If the box in mom’s office wasn’t enough of a proof for you, her earlier reaction certainly was.”

Caroline couldn’t argue with her. God, she hated being wrong. “Fine, fine. You may not be that delusional.”

“Thank you…”

“But still” Caroline interrupted her “we have no idea what’s under all of this.”

“You don’t? You seriously have no idea? I’m starting to think that you are the delusional one Caroline.”

Caroline glared at her. “Well, go on then. Explain, since I’m too stupid to see what’s in front of my nose.”

“Well, no. You see it wasn’t really in front of our noses…” Cassidy seemed hesitant almost shy. It was never a good sign.

“What did you do? Search her entire office for more proof? Look behind all the paintings hanging on the wall? Empty all her drawers?” mocked Caroline.

Now Cassidy looked extremely guilty. “Oh my god Cassidy, I was joking! Don’t tell me you went back snooping in her office?” Caroline couldn’t believe her sister. Did she forget who their mother was?

“Not her office…her bedroom,” frantically whispered Cassidy, who was now on the verge of tears.

“Her b-bedroom?” stuttered Caroline. She was going to faint. Laying down on the bed she spoke to the ceiling “If you didn’t find our Nintendo DS, I don’t want to hear about your little expedition.”

“I’ve found a letter.” Cassidy murmured sitting down beside her.

They stayed like that a long moment - Caroline watching the ceiling, Cassidy watching Caroline.
Finally, Caroline broke the silence. She would be lying if she said she didn’t want to know.
“Let me guess, the letter was from Andy?” She looked at her twin, who simply nodded.
“And what did the letter say?”

“Did you know that Andy left mom in the middle of Paris fashion week?” asked Cassidy like she hadn’t heard her sister’s question.

“Wait, really?” Caroline had no idea. Well, if she was being honest, she had never really given the matter much thought.

“That was what the letter was about: Andy apologizing to mom after leaving her in Paris. There was also a story about a phone and a fountain. I didn’t really understand everything, Andrea writes like a little cat.” finished Cassidy with a small smile.

Caroline sat against the headboard. “Again, nothing really interesting or shocking about that. I also would have written an apology to my boss if I left her in the middle of Paris fashion week.”

Cassidy rolled her eyes at her. “Like the articles it’s not the content that is important, but the meaning behind it.”

“Cassidy stop speaking in riddles and just say what you have to say!” Caroline hated when her sister played with words, it made her feel dumb.

“Well, Mom kept the letter. It’s strange right?”

“Yeah, a little but…”

“Caro, I found the letter in the drawer of her bedside table. The letter is so soft to the touch and the letters written in ink have almost disappeared.”

“Like mom has read the letter a million times,” finished Caroline.

“I’m pretty sure mom misses Andy very much,” added Cassidy.

Caroline remembered very well the day her mother came back from Paris. She had been pale, tired, and her eyes, usually so blue and shiny, had been opaque and misty. She had looked sad and lost and Caroline’s heart had clenched painfully at the sight.
She had assumed her mother’s distressed was caused by Stephen’s departure, but she wasn’t so sure anymore.

“So… what do we do?” she asked, determination enveloping her voice.

“Now you wanna do something?”

“Of course I want to help! If Andy’s absence is making mom sad, we have to fix it right?”

“I was hoping you would say that my dear sister,” Her voice was full of mischief. “Because I have a plan.” She was now all business, back straight, chin high, and a fire in her eyes. She looked so much to their mom at that instant, Caroline felt uneasy.

“As long as we don’t have to visit mom’s office again or her bedroom. Seriously Cassidy sometimes I wonder if you really like life. Well, I’m in,” declared Caroline, suddenly very excited by the prospect of a new adventure (and making her mom happy, of course).

“Oh no, I was thinking of something else. What do you think about a visit to The Mirror’s offices?”

Oh boy.

Chapter Text

The perfect occasion presented itself the following Friday. They didn’t have school during the afternoon due to the absence of their math teacher. An absence that had been announced the day before, but that the twins had conveniently “forgotten” to inform their mother of. And so, they had a free afternoon. So, with no car and no nanny waiting for them at 1pm, Caroline and Cassidy Priestly were on their way to the nearest subway station.

In one hand, Cassidy was holding a subway map, and in the other a piece of paper with The Mirror’s address. Caroline could tell by Cassidy’s quick, bouncy steps that her sister was excited. Caroline didn’t share her enthusiasm. She was anxious - expecting at every corner for their mom to appear in front of them.

In fact, on the subway she almost had a panic attack after seeing a lady with white hair. Of course, she knew she was being ridiculous - there wasn’t a person alive who could convince her mom to step foot in the subway. But still.

“Stop fidgeting, I thought you were braver than that.” admonished Cassidy.

“Excuse me for being sensible. Mum is going to lock us in our room until our 57th birthday when she finds out what we are doing! Or worse, she’s going to destroy our Nintendo DS.”

“Oh look, it’s our stop. Come on,” Cassidy said, completely ignoring her sister’s diatribe.

In front of the building that held the Mirror’s offices, Cassidy seemed to have lost some of her bravado. “What if she isn’t here?”

“What do you mean? She works here, of course she is.” Caroline was losing patience; she was still seeing the shadow of her mother everywhere, (even behind the hotdog stand, and that was truly ridiculous) and she really wanted to go inside if only to feel safe from the glaring blue eyes she kept seeing everywhere.

“Maybe she’s outside interviewing some homeless people.”

Rolling her eyes Caroline took Cassidy’s elbow and dragged her into the old building, well passed its heyday. “If that’s the case, we’ll just have to wait for her at her desk.”

Stepping into the elevator, Caroline and Cassidy shared an anxious look. They had no idea witch floor they had to go to.
“Where are you two young ladies going?” a young man with a toothy grin and curly hair asked them, seeming to sense their distress.

“We’re going to the Mirror’s offices please,” Caroline answered confidently. They were on a mission after all, and couldn’t possibly stay in this dusty elevator all day.

“And what are you doing at the Mirror?” The unknown man smiled broadly, and Caroline considered that his mom should have made him wear braces like hers did.

“We’re looking for Andrea Sachs.” announced Cassidy with a bright smile and no braces in sight (It was so unfair. They were twins; they were supposed to have the same crooked teeth).

“Andy Sachs? What could you possibly want from Sachs?” asked the curly man, an incredulous look on his face.

“It’s top secret. Sorry.” Caroline wasn’t sorry at all. They couldn’t just explain to him that they were there to kidnap Andrea because her absence was making their mom sad. Silence would have to do.

“Okay I see. I won’t push,” chuckled the man. “Well, follow me girls.”

The elevator doors opened, and any reply Caroline or Cassidy might have given was drowned out in a sea of noises - phones ringing, keyboards click-clacking, and various people shouting to each other across the room.

“Sachs!” Barked their guide, adding his loud voice to the noise. “Couple of little girls are here looking for you!”

“Girls?” Caroline could see Andrea making her way towards them. She was focused intently on a piece of paper. Caroline was impressed that she didn’t bump into anything on her way. “I wasn’t expecting anyo…” At the sight of a very familiar pair of twins, her voice died in her throat - her eyes nearly popping out of their sockets and her mouth hanging open. Caroline had to try very hard not to laugh at her face.

“Yep. I found them in the elevator, they told me they were looking for you. They wouldn’t tell me why though - said it was top secret.”

Andy didn’t seem pacified in the least by his explanation. If it was possible, Caroline thought she even looked paler and kept looking over their shoulders.
“Mom isn’t here, she doesn’t even know where we are,” Caroline said, trying to put an end to Andy’s ordeal.

That seemed to do the trick, and Andy stopped trembling and straightened her back. “Oh, well thanks Mark. I’ll take it from here.”

“No problem Sachs. Bye ladies, and be nice to Andy! She looks like she might faint,” teased Mark. Andy glared at him.

“Is he your boyfriend?” Cassidy asked as soon as Mark’s curly hair was out of sight. Oh, Caroline hadn’t thought of that. That could be a problem indeed – their mom wouldn’t want to share Andy with a guy who made bad jokes.

“Who? Mark? Eww, no. He’s just a friend.” Andy seemed actually revolted at the thought.

“Soooo, no boyfriend?” pushed Cassidy.

“No, no boyfriend… but it’s absolutely none of your business thank you very much.” Andy was trying to sound stern, but she was failing. “And anyway, it’s me who should be asking the questions. For instance: What are you doing here? Aren’t you supposed to be at school?” She crossed her arms and glared at them. Again, she was failing.

“We didn’t have school this afternoon, and we were in the neighborhood so we thought: Why not say ‘Hi’ to Andy and see what she’s doing these days? Right Caro?” Explained Cassidy, trying to sound nonchalant.

“Yeah, it’s true. We were just passing by,” confirmed Caroline. Actually, they weren’t lying - they really didn’t have school and they were in the neighborhood.

Andy didn’t seem convinced at all, but she relented. “Fine, come with me. It’s too noisy to talk here.”

She led them to a little conference room with sofas. Caro and Cass sat on the largest one and Andy sat on a chair facing them. Caroline noticed that she kept pulling on her fingers.

“Does your mother know that you are not at school?” asked Andy.

“Well, she’s busy. It’s Friday, and she has a lot of meetings on Fridays. We didn’t want to disturb her.”

Andy looked suspicious. “How did you get here?”

“On the subway,” answered Caroline without thinking.

Andy looked scandalized and let her fingers rest for a while. “The subway?! Do you know how dangerous it is for two twelve-year-old girls to ride the subway by themselves? Jeez you’re lucky nothing happened to you!”

“Well, we’re almost thirteen...” defended Caroline without much conviction.

Cassidy jumped in, “Yeah you’re totally right Andy. The subway is way too dangerous. That’s why you have to take us home!” Caroline tried not to grin; her sister was a genius.

“What about Roy? Can’t he drive you home? I still have to work.” Andy sounded panicked now, and she was back to pulling at her fingers.

“No, mom needs Roy. Remember? It’s Friday - lots of meetings to go to.” Caroline was having a lot of fun at this point.

“You wouldn’t want us to brave the dangerous subway again, right? Mom would be pissed if something happened to us.” Said Cassidy with big anxious eyes. What an actress.

“Okay…” Andy sighed. “I’ll take you home.”

They were bringing back home a special guest, and Caroline didn’t know if she was eager or terrified to see their mom’s reaction.

It was too late to back out now, anyway - the train had left the station.

Chapter Text

“What do you mean I have to come inside?” asked an incredulous Andy sitting at the back of a taxi to a mischievous Cassidy already on the sidewalk.

“We’re supposed to be at school, no one is at home to keep an eye on us. Cara doesn’t work on Friday and mom is at the office. So, congratulations you are our nanny for the rest of the afternoon.” Not waiting for any answer Cassidy hurried up the steps leading to the townhouse.

With a grunt Andrea got out of the cab on shacky legs. She looked like she was two minutes away from a big mental breakdown. Caroline felt almost bad for her, almost.

While Andy was paying for the cab, Caroline joined her sister who was opening the door with the key that their mom gave them for emergencies. (bringing back Andy into their mom’s life was an emergency like another.)

“Andy doesn’t seem particularly happy to see mom again. Are we sure it’s a good idea?” Caroline whispered.

“She’s just scared, I’m sure she thinks mom hates her.” Cassidy answered. “You see, when they will be reunited everything will fall into place.” Cassidy looked behind her shoulder to see an envious Andy watching the leaving taxi. “Well at least I hope.”
Caroline wasn’t settled at all.

“Andy! Are you coming or what?” Cassidy called out already inside the house.

Andrea ascended the steps to the townhouse as if she was going to the scaffold. Caroline thought that she was being overly dramatic, yes, their mom could be scary when she wanted to and she was sometimes a Nintendo DS’s jailer, but she never actually killed anyone.

Crossing the threshold, Andy finally opened her mouth. “You guys are aware of the fact that if your mom finds me inside her house, she’s not going to be pleased right? Like not pleased at all, she could be really angry, furious even, I mean…”

“If mom didn’t kill you for leaving her in Paris, she won’t kill you for taking care of her precious daughters.” Cassidy interrupted Andy’s rambling.
That seemed to shut Andrea up and she followed them into the kitchen without complaints.

“Do you want some juice, Andy?” Caroline asked, her head in the fridge. She wanted to help Andrea relax. Her nervousness was also making her nervous. “or maybe some water?”

“W-water’s fine. Thank you, C-Caroline,” Andrea stuttered sitting down on one of the stools. Caroline was pleased to notice that Andy could tell them apart.
Handing Andy a glass of water, she sat on the stool next to her sister. Caroline observed Andy while she sipped her water. Her brown eyes were wandering everywhere, like she wanted to brand every little details of their house into her memory. Caroline noted with satisfaction that her cheeks had regained some colors and she had stopped fidgeting. Without the panicked look in her eyes and the frown, Caroline found that she was rather pretty. She could even be a Disney princess with her long brown hair and her big brown eyes decorated with long lashes. She hoped she would be as pretty as Andy when she grew up.

“So, how long do you want me to stay?” asked Andy.

“Not long, Mom usually comes back at 5 on Friday.”

Andrea looked surprised by Cassidy’s answer.

“She tries to be more at home with us since Stephen left.” Caroline explained. “She feels guilty.” She didn’t elaborate, she didn’t want to talk about Stephen, he was an ass.

Andrea must have sensed the minefield Stephen was, because she rapidly changed the course of the conversation. “And what do you wanna do until 5?”

“Well, we have a lot of homework, you could help us with that?” proposed Cassidy.

“Yeah sure, I can do that.” Andrea replied. She sounded much too eager at the prospect of dull homework.

“Great! Now, do you know anything about copyist monks?”

---
Cassidy had poured them more juice and had put on the counter a real feast of crackers and chopped fruits (no cookies in their home unfortunately). They had been doing homework for two hours now and Caroline was surprised to notice that Andy was a rather nice person to hang out with when she was relaxed enough.

Caroline thought that she had a nice laugh, which reminded her of the birdsongs that woke her up every morning. They rarely laughed while doing homework, but with Andy even dull subjects such as algebra were matter of fun.

Caroline and Cassidy hadn’t told Andy about the box and the letter. It wasn’t their place to do it. Snooping into their mom’s stuff was one thing, telling Andrea about their mom’s feelings was another entirely. They were just giving their mother a chance to see Andy again, that’s all.

Andrea’s imitation of a cow, that almost stomped over her last summer, interrupted Caroline’s musing. Cassidy was laughing so much she almost fell off her stool. The spectacle of Cassidy and Andrea giggling together gave Caroline a warm feeling and she really hoped their plan was going to work.

“Can someone explain to me what’s the meaning of this?” a freezing voice put an abrupt stop to the laughs. Their mom had barely raised her voice, but everyone heard it. Caroline was sure that their neighbor, miss Adelson, could also feel Andy’s nervousness from her living room.

Their mom’s eyes were glued to Andrea and Andrea was looking anywhere but at their mom. “It seems to me that you have left my employ almost one year ago now, Andrea,” Andy flinched “so could you explain your presence in my kitchen?” Their mother seemed insulted by the thought of Andrea sitting of one of her stools, but Caroline knew better, there was a light in her eyes that wasn’t there before.

Cassidy saved Andy from answering. “We didn’t have school this afternoon and Andy was nice enough to keep us company while we waited for you to come home.”

“And how did you run into my lovely daughters Andrea?” Their mom barred her teeth and Andrea gulped loudly.

Andrea opened and closed her mouth several times. She looked like a suffocating fish and Caroline knew she had to intervene.

“We took the subway and went to her office.” As soon as the word ‘subway’ left her mouth Caroline knew she had made a big mistake. Hard blue eyes fell on her.

“You went to Andrea’s office on the subway?” gone were the chances to get their Nintendo DS back. “You wandered the streets of New York all by yourselves? Have you completely lost your mind?”

“But mom…” Cassidy tried to intervene.

“Cassidy Jeanne Priestly, I don’t want to hear a single word fall out of your mouth. Have I not told you enough times how dangerous the city is? I am really disappointed in you. You broke my trust, and for what? To feel a little adventurous?” their mother was launched, and Caroline had rarely seen her so angry, she wanted to die of shame.

“Next time you set foot outside you will be…”

“I really missed you, Miranda!” a high-pitched voice suddenly rose. Andrea was on her feet; she was breathing heavily; her eyes were huge, and her face was as red as a tomato. “It’s… it’s good to see you, I’m happy to see you… and now I’m going to shut up.” She sat back and Caroline was pretty sure Andy was going to gag.
Their mother had stopped talking and she was looking at Andy like a lunatic had broken into her house but then, oh then, the softest look appeared on her face and a small smile graced her lips. It only lasted an instant, but Caroline had seen it and she really hoped Andy had as well.

“Well Andrea, I’m glad to see that you haven’t forgotten everything Runway taught you.” Caroline was relieved her mom wasn’t focused on her and her sister anymore. “Even though those jeans are three seasons old.”

Andrea ran her hands self-consciously on her thighs. “Thank you, Miranda.” she had regained some control of her breathing “Without access to the Closet, my wardrobe has become much smaller, but you can find nice pieces in thrift stores…”

“Yes, I’m sure. And how is your job going at that little newspaper of yours?” She made some vague gesture with her hand.

Was her mom making small talk? That would be a first.

“Good, it’s good. I had a front-page last week.” Answered Andy, she looked quite proud. “I wanted to say thank you for the reference. I really didn’t deserve it.” Andrea’s voice had become much smaller.

Their mom only half shrugged, but Caroline felt that her mom was uneasy. Andrea was about to say something else, when her three seasons old jeans began to ring.

“Oops, sorry it’s my phone.” Andrea was having a hard time stopping the song that served as her ringtone. “It was my boss; I’ll call him back.” she mumbled.

“Fleetwood Mac Andrea? Really? This band is not really from your generation. It’s a little bit old, don’t you think?”

Caroline realized her mom was teasing Andy and she had never teased anyone except her and her sister.

“Oh, no, I don’t think it’s too old. I like it. I think it’s a perfect song. It doesn’t matter how old it is.” Andrea and their mom locked eyes, and their mom’s cheeks turned slightly pink.

Caroline didn’t know how they had turned the discussion about the age of a song into a starring contest, but it was a fascinating scene. She had never seen her mother like that.

After a moment, Andrea broke the contact and cleared her throat. She turned to Caroline and Cassidy with a small smile. “Well, now that your mother is back, my presence is no longer useful. So, I should get back to my office, I still have an article to write.” She was already standing up and grabbing her bag. “thank you for the juice and the crackers, I had a lovely time.” Her smile was bigger now and their mom’s eyes still hadn’t left Andrea.

“No!” Cassidy nearly yelled “You can’t leave yet…”

“Cassidy, I think we have monopolized Andrea’s time long enough.” snapped their mom.

“But…” Cassidy shot a panicked look at Caroline.

“Can we have your number, Andy?” Caroline asked. “we could hang out again another time?” preferably with their mother, but that Caroline didn’t say.

Andy looked at their mom, clearly asking for permission. Miranda only nodded.

“Sure, do you have a pen and a piece of paper?” Caroline almost stumbled in her haste to give her a pen.

“Here you go, you can call me anytime. I would love to see you again.” Andrea said, handing the paper back. “the three of you.” added Andrea with a timid voice. Caroline noticed with pleasure that their mom’s cheeks were pink again.

“Goodbye Andrea”

“Goodbye Miranda”

And just like that she was gone.

“Mom we are sorry, we didn’t realize how dangerous our little escapade was.” Cassidy tried to apologize as soon as Andy left.

“I don’t want to talk about it anymore.” Caroline didn’t see any problem with that. “but you will be grounded for two weeks and next time you find yourself in a situation like that you will call me immediately is that clear?”
“Yes ma’am.” Caroline and Cassidy replied at the same time.

“Good. Dinner in an hour. Go finish your homework.”

“Ooh can we have pancakes?” Cassidy asked, always the optimistic one.

“I really don’t think you’re in a position to choose what’s for dinner Cassidy. I’ll see you in an hour, now go.”

“Did you see how they looked at each other?” whispered Cassidy as soon as they were on the stairs.

“Yeah, I think they are in love” answered Caroline.

“Eww, mom in love? Disgusting.”

Caroline giggled.

---
An hour later, Caroline and Cassidy went back to the kitchen. Their mom was flipping pancakes while softly humming dreams by Fleetwood Mac.

Chapter Text

« Hi Andy, how are you? it’s Caroline by the way.” It was 8 pm on a Wednesday night and Caroline was starting to lose patience with her mom’s passiveness and had decided to take matters into her own hands.

“Hello Caroline, I’m fine and you? How are you?” Andrea sounded amused at the other end of the line.

“I’m fine. Guess what?”

“What? You’re calling to announce to me that you are in my living room to say hello just because you were in the neighborhood?” Andy joked.

Caroline chuckled “Unfortunately it’s not the case, but I had an A on my history homework. I wanted to tell you since you helped me with it the other night.”

“Oh, congrats Caro!” Caroline smiled at the nickname. “I was sure you were going to do well.” Andrea seemed genuine.

“Thank you, Andy. I wasn’t so-“

“Who are you talking to?” interrupted her mom, making Caroline jump. “I thought I made myself perfectly clear when I said that you and your sister couldn’t use the phone after 6pm.”

“I’m only talking to Andy, mooom. Unfortunately, she works during the day, so I can’t call her before 6pm.” She gave her mother the most innocent look she could mastered. Her mom only huffed and went to the fridge.

“Maybe I should just hang up and call back another time…” a hesitant voice said into Caroline’s right ear. “No, wait a sec Andy!”

Caroline turned to her mom. “You know what mom you are absolutely right. I shouldn’t be on the phone at this terribly late hour. Here you talk to Andy. It would be rude not to.” Caroline said putting the phone in her mom’s hand. Miranda almost choked on her Pellegrino.

“Caroline come back here right this second!” called a frustrated Miranda to Caroline’s back.

“Say goodnight to Andy for me, mom.” Seriously, if their mom wanted to make them believe that she didn’t care about her ex-assistant, she really had to stop blushing every time that same ex-assistant was mentioned.

“Hello Andrea, I am sorry about my daughter’s manners. I have no idea who raised her.” Caroline heard just before leaving the kitchen with a smirk on her ill-educated face.

When she went back to spy on her mom in the kitchen fifteen minutes later, she was still talking quietly on the phone. She was perched on one of the stools with a small, contented smile on her face, one of her red Prada heels hanging on her toes. Caroline thought she looked like a stupid lovestruck teenager and it was the greatest sight ever.

---
“Sooo mom is on the phone with you know who.” Caroline said waggling her eyebrows.

“She’s on the phone with lord Voldemort? Oh my god.” Cassidy hadn’t finished her sentence that a pillow was thrown at her face.

“Stop being a nerd. She’s on the phone with Andy.” Caroline rolled her eyes.

“That’s perfect. I told you it was a great idea to let Andy’s number on the fridge.” Cassidy said, putting the pillow thrown at her behind her back.

“Well, that’s the problem Cass, she didn’t use it! I had to call Andy myself and find a way to make her talk to mom. Our dear mother is making absolutely zero effort. One day, a nice man or a nice girl, who is not a coward like someone we know, is going to steal Andy from us and what will we have left? I’ll tell you what: a grumpy mother who let the love of her life slip away under her nose. Gosh she’s annoying!” Caroline finished her heated speech with a huff and collapsed on the bed next to her sister.

Cassidy laughed and Caroline glared at her. “You’re being overly dramatic my dear sister. We did what we had to do, now the ball is on their side.”

“Well, mom has always been terrible at tennis.” Caroline mumbled her face buried in one of the numerous pillows that adorned Cassidy’s bed.

Caroline didn’t understand why Cassidy didn’t take the matter seriously. Didn’t she realize how awful it would be if Andy didn’t stay in their life? She knew Andy’s presence in their home and in their lives was something great and needed and if their mom fucked that up, she was going to be very upset.

“You are the one who dragged me into this adventure and now it seems that you don’t care anymore.” Caroline was pissed.

“I do care Caro” Cassidy answered with a calm and quiet voice, “but we can’t force them. If mom doesn’t want to, then we have to let it go.”

“But mom wants it, she’s just scared, don’t you see that? It’s exactly like with Patricia.”

“Are you comparing Andy to our dog?” Cassidy chuckled. “You are not so wrong they do have the same puppy eyes.”

Caroline smiled. He sister always knew how to cheer her up. “No, but do you remember the way we had to beg to have a dog and how mom was absolutely opposed to the idea? And now Patricia sleeps in her bed every night.”

“Yeah, your comparison is quite accurate, because I’m sure Mom would be very pleased if Andy slept in her bed every night.” Cassidy grinned mischievously and another pillow hit her face.

“Eww shut up, don’t put terrible images in my mind, thank you very much.” But Caroline couldn’t help it and started to laugh, soon joined by Cassidy.

Patricia, attracted by the noise, snooped into the room and the girls laughed louder.

“What are you laughing at? Shouldn’t you get ready for bed?” Their mom asked, hands on her hips.

Well, it seemed that Patricia wasn’t the only one attracted by the noise.

“Oh, you know, stuff at school, nothing interesting, really. So mom, how’s Andy going?” Cassidy asked a smile still lingering on her face.

Their mom’s face immediately softened, and she stared at her hands intently when she answered her daughter with a fake bored voice. “I think she’s fine if her happy little giggles are of any indication. That girl is worst that the two of you I swear, she can’t seem to make a sentence without laughing or making jokes.” She wanted to sound annoyed but the small smile at her lips betrayed her.

Looking up she seemed startled when two knowing looks greeted her gaze. She eyed them with suspicion. “Go get ready for bed, I’ll come say goodnight in a moment.” She patted tenderly Patricia’s head and Caroline smirked at that-their mother couldn’t fool anyone. “and pick up those pillows.” Their mom instructed while leaving Cassidy’s room with Patricia hot on her heels.

---
Thirty minutes later, Caroline was snuggled in her bed waiting for her mom to tuck her in. She was getting impatient, because she had an important question to ask.

As summoned by Caroline’s impatience, Miranda entered the room. Her face was bare, and she was wearing a blue comfy robe. Caroline loved seeing her mother like that: free of all make up and accessories, smelling just that particularly scent that it was just her moms and that always made her feel safe when she went to sleep with her mom (and Patricia) when she had nightmares.

“Mom?”

Her mom sat on the bed next to Caroline. “Yes Bobbsey?” She stroked Caroline’s hair tenderly. “You didn’t brush your hair before going to bed Caroline.” Miranda admonished.

Caroline ignored her “Can we invite Andy to have dinner with us Friday night? We could have pizza!” Caroline asked, her voice full of hoped. She felt the hand in her hair still and she hold her breath.

Finally, her mom sighed. “We don’t want to bother Andrea. She’s busy with her job and her friends, maybe she doesn’t want to see us.” Caroline thought that her mom was really dumb sometimes.

“Please mom, if she’s really that busy she can simply say no. She doesn’t work for you anymore she can do things like that” Caroline said with a cheeky grin.

After a moment, her mom placed a soft kiss on her forehead. “Fine, you may call her tomorrow, now go to sleep. You have a math exam tomorrow morning if I recall. “

“Ugh I hate math!”

“I know Caroline, I know.” Miranda said with a soft smile.

“Goodnight Mom.”

“Goodnight Caroline.”

Caroline fell asleep to her mom’s scent still in the air.

Chapter Text

At 7 pm on a Friday night, Cassidy and Caroline were cutting peppers and tomatoes under Cara’s supervision and their mom was reading the Book sitting next to them on one of the stools. She kept shooting warning looks at her daughters and sighed every time a tiny piece of food came a little bit too close of her precious Book. But Caroline was no fool, even if her mom seemed annoyed, Caroline knew she secretly loved working near her daughters (even when those daughters were cooking with very messy ingredients like tomato sauce.)

She was nervous, Caroline could tell. Of course, her mother didn’t show her nervousness like any other human being, like pacing back and forth or biting her nails (which Caroline found was a disgusting habit), she simply kept subtly playing with her necklace. That innocent move told Caroline everything she needed to know: her mom was very anxious to spend the evening with one Andrea Sachs. Although Caroline thought she was being silly, she of course didn’t mention it, nor did she mention anything about her mom wearing more perfume than usual.

“Well Mrs. Priestly, I think everything is ready. The dough is done and all that remains is to garnish it. If you do not need anything else, I’ll head home.” Cara announced while she was rinsing her hands.
Caroline was sure that her mom didn’t hear a word of it. “Thank you, Cara! Have a nice weekend? I’ll eat a slice for you.” Caroline said.
Cara, smiling, gently slipped soundlessly out of the kitchen, back to her warm home and Miranda didn’t even raised her head from her work. Caroline wanted to throw a piece of pepper at her, but she thought about her still-missing Nintendo Ds and quickly changed her mind.

“At what time did Andrea say she would be here?” Their mom asked, still not raising her eyes from her work, but her right hand was on her necklace again.

“I told her to come around 7.” Caroline answered, tomato sauce on her cheek.

Her mom flicked her wrist to check her watch. “Well, she is late, already under my employ she couldn’t-” The doorbell interrupted her.

“I’ll go.” Cassidy yelled already out of the kitchen.

Caroline was sure her mom’s necklace was going to break. She could already see a myriad of white pearls spilling onto the immaculate kitchen floor.

But just in time to prevent the waterfall of pearl, Andy entered the kitchen with a beaming Cassidy. Her cheeks were reddened by the cold, her breath was a little short and her hair was all tousled by the wind, but her eyes were bright and sparkling. Caroline’s mother was speechless. Instead of playing with her precious necklace she now held the Book against her chest like a shield, eyes locked on Andy’s face. Caroline noticed that the tips of her fingers were a little white, and she almost felt sorry for the poor gripped Book.

“Hi, guys! Sorry, I’m a little bit late I came directly from work. I was running late with one of my articles and didn’t have time to go home and change my clothes. So, I hope you don’t mind the sneakers.” Andrea made a slight gesture toward her footwear. They were old black Converse. Miranda’s gaze dropped to Andrea’s shoes and one of her eyebrows arched, but Caroline noted with pleasure that the usual lips pursing was absent.

“Well, we will have no choice but to accommodate, Andrea.” Her mother had regained her countenance and her voice.

“Oh well you’re lucky, had you invited me yesterday, it’s not my old pair of Converses that would have graced your marble floor, but my brand-new Doc Martens one.” Andy said with a small laugh. Caroline’s mother simply rolled her eyes, but it was a playful mischievous gesture.

“Well, I like your shoes, Andy! They’re very cute.”

“Thank you, kiddo.” Andy pinched Caroline’s cheek. Stephen used to do that too, but Caroline always hated it, not with Andrea though. The big difference between Andrea and Stephen, was that Andrea really seemed to care about her and her sister, therefore cheek pinching, and hair ruffling were truly welcomed.

Caroline from the corner of her eye saw that her mom had finally loosened her grip on the Book and was trying to put it back on the counter, but too focused on the lovely scene displayed in front of her she missed her aim, and the Book came crashing down on the floor with a loud noise. All eyes turned to her. Caroline first noticed the little red spots on her mom’s cheeks and by the time she noticed the myriad of papers that were flying everywhere, Andrea was already on her knees next to her mother.

“Oops here let me help you, Miranda.” Caroline’s mom was collecting the papers that covered the kitchen floor as fast as she could. She was trying very hard no to look at the young woman who was just in front of her. Both kneeling, Caroline noticed that they were at the same height. If her mom had raised her eyes from the floor, she would have fallen directly into big chocolate eyes. And that’s exactly what happened when Andrea’s fingers lightly brushed the back of Miranda’s hand. Caroline’s breath got caught in her throat, when the two women locked eyes, their hands still touching. Both of their cheeks were pink, and Andrea was smiling softly while their mother just looked astonished.

Caroline exchanged a knowing look with her sister.
The bell of the oven called the moment to a halt and their mom elegantly stood up, papers and Book in hands. She cleared her throat. “Well, it seems that this clumsiness of yours is contagious Andrea.” Again, her mom kept her eyes far away from Andrea. “Girls take care of Andrea for a moment; I’ll be back soon.” She left the room as fast as she could wearing five inches high heels, her cheeks still pink. Caroline rolled her eyes at her mother’s behavior.

---
They had been caught in the task of preparing the pizzas for fifteen minutes, when Andrea glanced at the clock for maybe the sixth times. “Where did your mom go? It’s been a while since she left.” Andrea sounded nervous.

“Drowning herself into ice water…” Cassidy mumbled, adding another piece of peperoni to her already well stuffed pizza. Caroline giggled; Andrea raised her eyebrows.

“Finishing the book.” Caroline shrugged “She’ll be back soon don’t worry” She winked at Andy.

“Oh, I am not worried, why would you think that?” Andy stammered. She was so easy to fluster, Caroline was having a lot of fun. “It’s just that our pizzas are done, and you certainly must be hungry.” Andrea lamely finished.

“Oh well, you should also make mom’s pizza, so we can eat sooner.” Cassidy said with a malicious smile. Her sister was having as much fun as her, Caroline noticed.

“Making your mom’s pizza? But I don’t know what she likes. I didn’t even know she ate pizza until tonight.” Andrea sounded panicked.

“Surprise her.” Caroline said, then she looked at Andy’s pizza and almost changed her mind. “Well maybe not with the same pizza you’ve made for yourself.” Caroline made a face.
Andrea stuck her tongue out at her. “Ham, anchovies and pineapple is the best combo thank you very much.”

“If you say so. But still, you should stick to something more traditional for our dear mother.”

“Traditional, right…” Andrea was highly focused picking various ingredients. She put so much care into making the pizza, that Caroline finally understood the expression ‘made with love’. After a few minutes, Andrea finally raised her eyes from her work of art. “Do you think she’s going to like it?” Andrea asked hopefully.

Caroline and Cassidy simply smiled at her.
---
By the time their mom returned to the kitchen, they were taking the crisp pizzas out of the oven. She was on the phone and she didn’t look pleased. “I don’t care how many times you have to rewrite it; the article is just bland and boring. No, I don’t want to hear any of your explanations.” She paused, absently dragging her hand into Cassidy’s hair. “No, I don’t have time for this Maxwell. I’m having dinner with my family.” Andrea inhaled loudly hearing those words “my family”. Interesting Caroline thought. Her mom didn’t seem to realize what she had just said. “I want the article tomorrow in my mailbox.” She hung up without saying goodbye.

She sat in her usual spot and Caroline handed her the pizza topped with mozzarella di buffala, cherry tomatoes and arugula that Andy made for her. “Thank you, Bobbsey. It looks delicious.” She smiled at her daughters. “I didn’t know you knew I liked mozzarella di buffala on my pizza.”

“We didn’t know.” Cassidy answered while grabbing her own pizza. “Andrea made it.” Their mom looked surprised for a second, then turned to Andrea. “Well thank you Andrea. It’s true that you always knew what I liked.” Their mom literally purred and shot a long look at Andrea, and Caroline wanted to disappear. Her mom in love was one thing but her mom openly flirting in front of her? That was out of the question.

Fortunately for Caroline. Her mom’s eyes fell to Andrea’s pizza and she didn’t seem so hungry anymore. “Andrea what on earth are you eating? Are those anchovies with pineapple?” She looked horrified.

“Miranda you can’t judge something without tasting it first.” Andrea said, the tips of her ears slightly pink.

“Yes, indeed Andrea.” Their mom drawled and again she let her eyes wander on Andy’s figure. Did her mom eyes linger on Andy’s breasts? Forget disappearing, Caroline wanted to die.

“This pizza is so good.” Cassidy exclaimed between two bites, completely oblivious of what was playing in front of her. Caroline envied her.

Caroline’s mom let a squirming Andy alone. “Cassidy! There are way too many peperoni on this slice!” their mom, the new pizza’s police, admonished. “I told you many times that eating too much meat was bad for you.”
Andrea snorted at that. “Said the woman who eats a steak three times a week.”

Silence fell on the room and everyone stared at Andy. Caroline saw the moment she realized what she had said, because she stopped chewing on her pizza and her eyes widened considerably. Caroline’s mother looked at her with a scandalized expression, but then her face softened, and she laughed, but it wasn’t her fake social laugh, it was a real laugh that echoed loudly and beautifully in the room. She looked happy and free and Caroline hoped that Andrea would stay in their lives forever just to make her mom laugh like that.

She quietly stopped laughing and smiled at Andrea, her eyes sparkling “What are we going to do with you Andrea?” She popped a cherry tomato in her mouth.

The rest of the dinner was spent quietly. Their mom didn’t finish her pizza, but she ate every piece of mozzarella. Caroline and Cassidy made most of the conversation, their mom and Andy were too busy stealing glances from each other when the other one wasn’t looking. Caroline noticed that the gleam of happiness didn’t leave her mother’s eyes an instant. It was the best dinner ever.

---
Their mom and Andy were in front of the door and Caroline and Cassidy were spying on them from the kitchen door.

“Thank you so much for having me. I had a great time, Miranda.” Andrea said while putting her coat.

“It was a pleasure to have you with us.” Miranda answered shyly. “The girls seem to really like you.”

“I like them too, they’re great kids.” Andrea answered. Caroline beamed from her spying spot.

Their mom seemed to hesitate an instant before speaking. “I think they would be really pleased to have you again over for dinner.” She spoke so softly that Caroline almost didn’t hear her.

“I’ll also be very pleased to have dinners with your girls and you.” Caroline saw Andy’s hand flexing next to her mother’s, but she didn’t take it.

“That would be acceptable.” Miranda whispered. Her mom really needed to speak louder; her quietness was compromising their spying mission.

Andrea leaned slowly forward, and Caroline gripped her sister’s arm. She heard Cassidy whisper «If they kiss, I’ll be traumatized for life.” But fortunately for Cassidy, Andrea simply placed a soft kiss to her mother’s burning cheek.

“Goodbye Miranda. Sleep well.” She practically ran out of the house.

Their mom stared, mouth open, at the closed door for a very long time.

Chapter Text

“What do you mean when you say you can’t be here tonight?”

Caroline was listening to her mother from the hallway, and she sounded pissed.

“You’re sick? Is it contagious?” She sounded worried now.

“Fine, fine then don’t come I don’t want to deal with two sick pre-teens, so you can stay home with your germs.” Their mother sighed.

“I heard chicken broth makes you feel better.” She whispered quickly. “Take care.” She hung up.

Caroline thought it was the right time to show herself. Her mother was pinching her nose looking defeated. Caroline feigned ignorance “Is everything alright?”

“It seems that Cara cannot watch over you tonight while I have to attend this business dinner.” She left the hallway and went to the kitchen. Caroline could already hear the coffee machine.

Caroline entered the kitchen behind her; her sister was perched on one of the stools reading a book. “So, what are you going to do?” Caroline asked.

Her mom inhaled deeply the strong smell of freshly brewed coffee, she looked already much relaxed. What a drug addict. “I have no idea, I can’t possibly leave you alone, last time it happened you almost died on the dirty subway.” Caroline rolled her eyes. Their mom could be such a drama queen sometimes. “No, I have no other choice but to cancel it.” She was already removing her earrings.

“You don’t have to do that mom.” Cassidy said not even looking up from her book, but Caroline could see a little grin on her face.
Caroline jumped in “Yes, it’s true. We know someone that would be very happy to look after us.” Their mom looked confused; Caroline simply pointed to the little piece of paper on the fridge. Their mom grew pale.

---

Thirty minutes later, a disheveled Andrea was removing her coat in their house’s entrance. She looked out of breath.

“Did you run all the way here Andrea?” their mom asked leading the way back to the kitchen.

“No no, just- “she paused to breathe “only from the subway station.”

“Well, if it was just from the subway station it’s fine then.” Miranda answered sarcastically over her shoulder.

“You sounded urgent on the phone.” Andrea said fluttering her eyelashes.

Their mother stopped walking; Andrea almost crashed into her. “Not urgent enough for you to break your pretty little neck on the pavement. The ground is very slippery at this time of the year.” She sounded exasperated but in a concerned way.

Caroline nudged her sister conspiratorially. Their mom could well have been carrying a sign saying: “I care about my ex-assistant more than I should.” and a t-shirt that claimed, “I love Andrea Sachs”. Caroline had found her mother’s next Christmas present.

“Dying while helping you is a risk worth taking Miranda.” Andrea answered with a wink while slightly brushing Miranda’s forearm. Their mom was blushing, and Caroline could have sworn that a little giggle escaped their mom’s lips. She was going to send a card with a lot of balloons to thank Cara for being sick.

They didn’t even make it to the kitchen, when the doorbell rang. Cassidy ran to the door, but the two women were too absorbed by each other to notice anything.

“Who are you?” Caroline heard her sister ask.

A deep voice answered her. “I’m here to pick up your mother.” Their mom froze at the voice and the lovely pink that Andrea brought to her cheeks faded.

“You don’t look like her usual chauffeur.” Cassidy said suspiciously.

Caroline turned her gaze toward the voices. She could see a man standing in the doorway, red roses in his hand. Their mom hated red roses, she thought they were too cliché.

“Well, it’s because I’m not. I’m her date for the evening.” The man answered with a stupid perfect smile. He could have been an ambassador for Colgate, Caroline wanted to punch his teeth out. She noticed that he looked quite handsome, with salt and pepper hair. He was tall and well dressed. Gosh Caroline realized that he looked like Stephen. She was going to be sick.

Caroline and Cassidy exchanged an anxious look, it couldn’t be what they were thinking right? Surely, it was a big misunderstanding, it had to be.

Their mom finally shook herself and made her way to the door leaving Andrea who was staring at the floor pulling on her fingers. She looked very small suddenly. Caroline couldn’t see her face and she wasn’t sure she wanted to.
“Mason, I thought I told you that I would join you at the restaurant.” Their mother said with a nervous chuckle. She took hold of his arm and tried to lead him out.

“I know darling, but I wanted to surprise you.” Mason said not realizing that he just broke Caroline’s and Andrea’s heart, Cassidy’s too by the way she was shaking next to the door.

“Well, yes it was quite a surprise.” Their mom answered him with a sickly smile, she then turned to her girls “Mommy won’t be long my darlings. Be good with Andrea.” She didn’t dare looking at the later. Her hands shook a bit when she accepted the flowers.

They left, Mason’s hand on the small of their mom’s back, a little too low to Caroline’s liking.

The door clicked and Cassidy ran to her room. Caroline felt a hand on her right shoulder. “Are you okay Caro?” Caroline raised her eyes to Andrea’s pale face. She wanted to ask her the same thing. She wanted to tell her that she was sorry, sorry that her mom was such an idiot, sorry that she had to see this stupid man with her mom, sorry that she went looking for Andrea that day at The Mirror’s office, sorry that she was the one who put that sad look on her face. Caroline wanted to cry; if they had left Andrea alone, she wouldn’t be looking so sad now. Everything was ruined.
Instead, she simply hugged Andrea very tightly and she didn’t say anything. Andrea returned the embrace instantly.

---

Andrea had made them pancakes; the chicken and the veggies in the fridge completely forgotten. Their mom could eat them with her new prince charming if she wanted to, Caroline didn’t care anymore.

Andrea had tucked them in already an hour ago, but Caroline couldn’t sleep. She was sitting on the staircases listening to the sound of the house. Andrea was on the den reading; she could hear the pages turning. It was a soothing sound. From time to time a big sigh emanated from the room and one time Caroline was sure she heard a sniffing.

Caroline couldn’t stop thinking about her mom and this Mason. She knew their mom was not going to talk about it, she was going to pretend that nothing happened. It was going to be exactly like with Stephen. One day, he was in their house dining with them trying too hard to make a good impression, the next day they were married. She wouldn’t be surprised if the following week, their mom was going to be Mr. Mason’s wife. Gosh what a nightmare.

The sound of the door brought Caroline back to hearth. Mrs. Mason was back, and she was walking to the den.

“Oh, hello Miranda, I didn’t hear you approaching.” Caroline could hear Andrea say, she sounded tired.

“I hope everything went well with the girls.” Their mom sounded like she was talking to one of her employees. Caroline wanted to bang her head on the wall out of frustration.

“Yes, everything went well.” Gosh Andrea also sounded like an employee. “I better go, it’s already quite late and I have a long day ahead of me.”

“Oh yes I understand.” Did her mom had the audacity to sound disappointed? What did she expect? She just broke Andrea’s heart. “I won’t keep you any longer.”

“Goodbye Miranda.” Andrea was already out of the door before her mom could respond.

From her spot Caroline could only see the top of her white head. A trembling hand ruffled the immaculate haircut. Caroline wasn’t sure how long her mom stayed in the hallway fixing the door, but she felt like an old woman when her mom finally moved and ascended the stairs. Caroline knew she should have run into her room. She didn’t. She had an important question to ask, and it couldn’t wait.

Her mom almost jumped seeing her there, sitting in the dark. “Caroline why are you not in bed? It’s late.”

She didn’t answer her. “Caroline I don’t have the energy tonight go ba-“

“Does he make you laugh?” Because if he did Caroline could maybe accept it. She could maybe even be happy for her mom, and she would find someone else for Andrea, a nice girl or a nice boy that would never break her heart. But if this Mason didn’t make her mom laugh or even smile like Andrea did, she was never going to forgive her mother.

Her mom seemed taken aback. “Excuse-me?”

“Does he make you laugh?” Caroline repeated, slower this time.

Miranda opened her mouth to answer, but no sound escaped. She kept looking at Caroline with a bemused look on her face. “Caroline, just go back to sleep.”

Caroline got up quickly and went to Cassidy’s room, tears in her eyes. She had her answer.

Chapter Text

It had been a week since that awful evening. Caroline and Cassidy were in Cassidy’s bed trying to sleep. Caroline had taken up residence in her sister’s room. Cassidy didn’t seem to mind; the bed was big enough for two and it was comforting to have her sister closed.

As predicted their mom hadn’t offered them any explanation or even any comments about what happened the other night. It was like nothing happened really, but Caroline noticed a few things that set her off enough to think that not everything was alright. For instance, the morning after the terrible events, she noticed to her dismay that Andy’s number had disappeared from the fridge; during almost the entire week their mom had come back late from work, usually after Caroline and Cassidy’s bedtime, she would stop in the doorway of Cassidy’s room and watch over them for a few moments while Caroline and her sister were pretending to sleep.
The only evening she did make it on time to have dinner with them, she got really mad because Cara had added little pieces of mozzarella di buffala in the salad and ended up not eating anything and working very late at her home’s office, so not a great week in the least.

Tonight was no exception, it was Friday and after Caroline and Cassidy returned each from dance and soccer practice their mom had already left to have dinner with her new beau (Caroline knew it because she had spied on her mother while she was on the phone).

“I’m just so mad at her.” Cassidy broke the silence of the room. “She didn’t tell us anything, why keep us in the dark like that?” Caroline couldn’t see her sister’s face in the dimness, but she sounded frustrated.

“For the thousandth time, I don’t know Cass.” Caroline sighed. “Maybe she was scared of our reaction.”

“She may have wanted to be sure of her feelings for him.”

“Do you think mom’s in love?” Caroline asked hesitantly.

“Yes.” Cassidy simply answered.

“Are you crazy?” Caroline exclaimed while turning the light on. “You really think that mom is in love with that man.”

Cassidy blinked a few times, dazzled by the sudden light. “I’ve never said she was in love with him.” Cassidy gave her sister her best ‘are you stupid’ look.

“Oh yes right you scared me for a moment, I thought I was the only sane person left in this house.”

A few seconds were spent in silence, Caroline was focused on her sister’s breathing.

“I’ve never seen someone be so angry over a few pieces of cheese.” Cassidy whispered. Caroline’s laugh echoed throughout the room. It had been a week since she had laughed, and it felt so good.

“Why aren’t you asleep?” Cassidy’s laugh died in her throat, of course the moment couldn’t last. “It’s already quite late.” Their mom said standing in the doorway. Late? It was only 10pm on a Friday night, it wasn’t that late. The only answer their mom received was two hesitant looks.

Their mom crossed her arms and watched them for a few moments. “Are you still giving me the cold shoulder?” Caroline simply shrugged and Cassidy didn’t say a word. She watched them for a moment longer and then came to a conclusion. She walked towards the bed and removed her heels.

“Move over a bit.” She said to Cassidy. Caroline’s sister didn’t move an inch. Their mother sighed and rolled her eyes. “Do you want me to sit on you. I am heavier than you think.” Cassidy relented. Their mom placed her arms around Cassidy’s shoulder and Cassidy reflexively snuggled into her mother. Caroline was watching the scene with suspicion. Her mom opened her other arm as an invitation. Caroline was still mad at her, so she didn’t want to snuggle, but God had she missed her mom. She climbed over the two, ignoring the little squeaks and the groans she provoked on her way, and went right into her mom’s opened arm.

“I’m sorry my darlings.” Their mom said with a twin under each arm. “I should have been more honest with you. I just-“ she paused an instant, “I didn’t want to involve another person in your life, just for them to disappear and make you suffer again. I wanted to be sure.” She paused again, brushing Caroline’s hair and Cassidy’s arm. “I just want you to be happy.” Caroline was sure that her mom was silently crying but she was too comfortable listening to her mom’s heartbeat and being enveloped in her scent to move her head to check.

“We don’t need another person in our life to be happy, mom. You’re enough, you have always been enough.” Cassidy said from the other side of the bed and Caroline squeezed her mom’s hand in agreement. Caroline was now certain that her mom was crying. She placed two wet kisses on top of their heads.

“Well, good because I won’t be seeing Mason anymore.” Caroline sat abruptly. “Really?” she could barely hide her excitement.

“Yes, I told him so tonight over diner.” Their mom answered, brushing Caroline’s cheek.

A distressing thought suddenly occurred to Caroline. “Is it because of us? Because you know, if you really liked him, we would have accepted him.” She finished with a little voice, head down.

“It is not because of you. I promise.”

“So why then?” Caroline asked still not raising her head. Two fingers were placed
under her shin, gently raising her head. Caroline’s eyes were met with sparkling blue ones.

“Because he didn’t make me laugh.” Her mom simply said with a soft smile.

“Oh mom!” Caroline literally threw herself at her mother. Her mom groaned in pained but held her daughter tightly. Cassidy soon joined in. “I have no idea why we are hugging, but I’m very glad you came back to your senses mom.” She exclaimed with joy. Their mom held them tighter.

After a moment, Cassidy pulled herself out of the arms of her sister and mother. “Now all you have to do is get Andrea back!” she announced with a big smirk on her face.

“Getting Andrea back? What are you talking about?’” their mom said nervously. Caroline rolled her eyes so hard that they almost got stuck, just when she thought there was still hope for her dear mother.

“Mom” she said with a strong voice, “You have been honest with us, can’t you be honest with yourself?” She asked her mom with a pointed look.

Her mom just stared at her, mouth slightly open, eyes very round. She finally closed her eyes and nodded gently. “Are you okay with that?” she asked looking at both of her daughters.

“Of course, we are!” Cassidy threw her hand in the air, nearly hitting her mom’s head in the way. “Andrea is like super awesome and can play Mario kart!” Cassidy exclaimed with grand enthusiasm. “And you look happy in her company, and she makes you laugh.” continued Caroline “Yes, and sometimes her jokes are pretty bad, you really must have it bad mother.” Cassidy said. “We don’t care that she’s a girl or that she wears terrible t-shirts. She’s cool with us, and she loves you.” Caroline added “It’s really all that matters.” Cassidy finished. Their mom just watched them with a bemused look on her face, then tears rolled down her face. Caroline had never seen her mom cry that much before.

“How did you grow up that fast?” Their mom asked in awe.

“So, what are we going to do?” Cassidy asked. Miranda looked confused. “To get Andrea back.” Caroline clarified.

Their mom lost a little bit of her glow. “I don’t know. She might not even like me Caroline, even if you pretend the opposite-“

“Oh, come on mom even Patricia can tell that Andrea has a big crush on you!” Caroline interrupted her; her mom blushed a little. “All you have to do is apologize to her and tell her you care about her.”

“Really Caroline it’s not always that simple.” Their mom tried to reason.

“Well maybe it is!” Caroline jumped on the floor. “We have to try mom.” Caroline said with pleading eyes.

Their mom finally nodded. “Maybe you’re right. We don’t have many other options, do we?” their mom sighed, still sitting on the bed.

“Great, so let’s go then.” Cassidy joined her sister outside the bed tugging at her mom’s hand.

“You want to do it now?” their mom stammered, while being dragged to her feet by two overly excited pre-teens.

“Of course! I can’t live with all this suspense and besides a young man or a young woman is maybe romancing Andrea right this moment.” Cassidy said dramatically.

“Well, we certainly don’t want that.” Their mother said, resolved coloring her voice.

---

Five minutes later the three Priestly women were on the sidewalk. Caroline and Cassidy didn’t even bother changing out of their pajamas, they had just put their coat over it.

“I gave Roy the evening” their mom said anxiously. “And at this time of the night there is no way we’ll get a taxi.” She sounded too preoccupied for a woman who pretended not to be in love with her ex-assistant not even ten minutes ago.

“Oh well, I know a great mode of transportation that can get us not even two minutes away from Andrea’s house.” Cassidy said maliciously. She then proceeded to extract the subway map from her coat pocket that she still had since their little escapades at Andrea’s work.

Miranda’s eyes grew wild. “No, absolutely not.”

Oh yes absolutely yes.

Chapter Text

Caroline was witnessing a scene she never thought she would once in her life. Her dear snobby mother was riding the subway, a gloved hand gripping the pole, looking very pissed and clutching her Balenciaga bag against her chest as if it were a shield. Caroline and Cassidy were sitting in front of her, their mom standing before them. There was no way her precious dress was going on one of those dirty seats. She kept glaring at every passenger that dared stand three foots near her and she was pinching her lips so hard that Caroline was afraid she would get stuck.

Seeing her mother in this environment, Caroline couldn’t help but remember the last time she took the subway; she wasn’t surprised to see that the person who would make her mother step foot on one of those dirty trains was Andrea Sachs.

Caroline giggled and her mom turned her disgusted eyes away from a drunk sitting man to look at Caroline. “I really don’t see what’s so funny, Caroline.” She drawled her nose scrunched up.

“Nothing, it’s just you look so funny with your nice coat and nice dress riding the subway.” Caroline answered with a smirk.

Their mom simply rolled her eyes. “How many stops do we have left?”

Cassidy proudly opened her subway map. “We have to get out at the next stop.” She announced like a real little guide.

“Thank god this nightmare is nearly over.” Their mom mumbled, but as soon as the last word left her pinched lips, a filthy hand crashed on her left shoulder and almost made her fall backwards. The drunken man was now standing and must have had confused their mother with a new shiny pole. A strong scent of rotted wine enveloped the three women and Caroline almost threw up her broccolis. Their mom was stiff as a board and white as a chalk.

The dirty man must have realized his mistake because a grin appeared on his unshaved face, and he draped his arm over their mom’s shoulders. “Oops sorry love, didn’t see you there.” He whispered into her ear. Caroline’s eyes widened as her mom’s narrowed.

“Remove your arm from my shoulders.” She hissed.

“Don’t want to, feels right at home.” The man slurred. Caroline was getting nervous.

Suddenly their mom broke free of his grip. The man didn’t have time to open his mouth before a two thousand dollars bag was hitting his face. He stumbled and fell on his ass.

Caroline was really impressed; her mom had moved as quick as a ninja. Wooa

“You broke my nose you bi-“ their mom shot him a glare that could have frozen all hell over. “Sorry ma’am.” He gulped with blood running down his chin.

The train came to a halt. “Girls, I think this is our stop.” Their mom announced calmly, like nothing happened. She stepped over the bemused man and got out of the train head held high and proud.

Caroline and Cassidy exchanged an astonished look.

When they finally emerged on the sidewalk, Caroline still hadn’t closed her mouth. “Girls, remember me to burn this coat, when we get home.” Their ninja mom said. “So, which way to Andrea’s home darling?” She turned to Cassidy.

Cassidy simply pointed to the right. “Good” their mom nodded and started walking with a briskly step.

“What a night.” Caroline thought and ran after her mother.

--

“Doug, I thought I told you that I didn’t want to go out to-“ Andrea’s word died in her throat when her eyes fell on a pair of twins. She was in her pajamas, barefoot. She was not wearing any make up and her hair was all messy.

“Hi Andy, long time no see!” Cassidy exclaimed with a goofy grin.

“What are you doing here?” Andrea asked, eyes wide opened. “Gosh, your mom is really going to kill you this time.”

“Oh no, don’t worry she’s with us. The stairs are just not so great with heels, and she couldn’t run like us.” Caroline answered.

“Your mother is here? Here in my building and she’s coming in my apartment? Oh my god, no no no, I haven’t cleaned in days she can’t come in here!” Andrea panicked.

“Relax we just got out from the subway. Your apartment will be a palace in comparison.” Cassidy said.

“Your mother came here on the subway?” Andrea’s eyes went even wider.

“Yes, and she even kicked a drunk man’s ass!” Cassidy exclaimed excitedly. “It was awesome.”

“You’re joking?” Andrea asked completely flabbergasted. Caroline opened her mouth to answer her, but her mother’s arrival interrupted her.

“Hello Andrea, you should think of moving into a new apartment in a safer building with an elevator in it perhaps.” She sounded a little bit out of breath, but Caroline was pretty sure it was more from seeing Andrea after a week than climbing some stairs.

Andrea simply stared at her an almost blank expression on her face. Caroline wondered if it really had been a good idea to come here, especially when Andrea began to frown.

Her mom raised her hand to her neck only to lower it in frustration when she noticed she wasn’t wearing any necklace.

Caroline and Cassidy were standing there in the middle of a particularly awkward scene and an awful silence had enveloped them. Caroline could feel her sister fidgeting next to her.

“So, Andrea can we come in?” Cassidy asked with a high-pitched voice already moving into Andrea’s tiny apartment. Caroline released a sigh of relief and followed her sister not waiting for Andrea’s answer.

“S-sure” Andrea stammered and closed the door behind her when the three Priestly were inside.

“I don’t want to sound rude or anything, but what are you doing here?” Andrea asked pulling her fingers.

Their mom offered her no answer, she simply stood there in the middle of Andy’s living room, looking like she was ready to bolt out of the apartment at any moment. She seemed to have lost all of her bravado from earlier. Caroline went to her rescue.

“Mom wanted to talk to you. Right mom?” She said pulling at her mother’s arm.

Their mom merely nodded.

“About something really important.” Cassidy said while making herself comfortable on Andrea’s couch.

“Okay well then have a seat.” Andrea said, gesturing to her living room.

Their mom seemed to act on autopilot. She removed her coat and draped it over the back of an armchair, she then sat on it, hands on her knees, back very straight. Caroline rolled her eyes at the sight and joined her sister.

Andrea sat on a chair opposite of Miranda waiting anxiously, but their dear mother still didn’t utter a single word.

Caroline was losing her patience; they hadn’t come all this way for nothing. If her mother wasn’t going to talk, she was. She looked straight into Andrea’s eyes “She wanted to tell you that she-“

But suddenly their mom opened her bag and forced a box into Andrea’s hands. “Here, it should answer all of your questions.” She said while retaking her place on the chair. Caroline’s eyes grew wild when she recognized the box full of Andrea’s articles that had started all of this.

“What? Miranda I don’t understand.” Andrea said looking confused.

“Just open it.” Their mother said looking anxious and refusing to make eye contact with Andy.

Caroline watched Andrea opening the box and her eyes growing wild with each article she found in it.

“Miranda” Andrea said in awe.

“Girls go to your room please.” Their mom said eyes glued to her hands.

“But mom we are not at the house.” Caroline said.

“Well then go to Andrea’s bedroom and close the door.” Their mom said with the kind of tone from which rose no protestation. They rose and left the room.

Thank God the walls were thin, and they could still ear everything if they glued their ears to the door.

“This is a collection of every article I’ve written.” Andrea sounded taken aback. “Why did you keep them?”

Their mom didn’t reply.

“Miranda what are you trying to tell me?” Andrea asked breathlessly.

After a moment that seemed to have last an eternity, Caroline heard her mom sighing loudly.

“You’re a good writer Andrea. I’ve read every one of your articles hearing your voice in my head. Those little pieces of papers were the only thing connecting me to you.” Their mom paused an instant. “I guess your absence has been more noticed than I thought it would.” Their mom said softly.

Andrea didn’t answer right away, she let the words hang in the air.

“You missed me?” Andrea asked finally with a hesitant voice.

Caroline didn’t hear a response from her mother, but she must have nodded or something, because Andrea gasped.

She cleared her throat. “I knew you kind of tolerated me, but after the other night I thought it was just for the sake of your children…” Andrea trailed of. “You’re not in my apartment only because your children like me, right?” She asked suspiciously.

“Of course not Andrea.” Their mom snapped. “Are you really that blind?” she asked.

“I’m not sure I understand…” she whispered; gosh her walls were really thin.

Their mom had raised from the chair and was pacing, Caroline could hear the rhythm of her steps.

After a few seconds, Caroline heard her mom taking a deep breath and Caroline hold hers.

“Since you came back into my life Andrea, you have turned it upside down! Just look at my girls they are in their pajamas for god’s sake.” Their mom hissed. “Nothing is the same anymore, I eat a steak and I think of your foolishness, and I smile Andrea, I smile. I never smile, especially not in my office eating lunch alone.”

“And she almost cried because of some cheese Andy!” Cassidy yelled from the bedroom. Caroline chuckled.

“Cassidy!” their mom warned.

“My point is Andrea” their mom continued “I should hate what you’ve done with my life. I hate not being in control, but I find myself liking it, liking your presence, God, craving the sound of your laugh.”

“So, you like me?” Andrea asked sounding completely shocked. Caroline was sure her mom rolled her eyes at that. She couldn’t blame her; Andrea was really dense.

“Wasn’t it obvious?”

“I don’t know! You can be really hard to read sometimes, Miranda!” Andrea paused an instant. “And what about you know… him?” She asked hesitantly, with pain in her voice.

“Mason is a good man, the perfect man for me, really. He’s nice and safe, but then my daughters brought you back to me and I found myself not wanting safety anymore, but wanting…” She hesitated an instant, the silence was deafening. “I found myself wanting love.”

At this instant, Caroline had never been prouder to be Miranda Priestly’s daughter.

She hoped that Andrea had passed out, because surely it was the only reason acceptable for her not to answer her mother.

“Aren’t you going to say something?” Their mother asked impatiently. “or did I make a fool of my-?’’

“Can I kiss you?” Andrea interrupted her.

Oh my god, Caroline had to see that. Her mother could sell her Nintendo Ds on E-bay if she wanted to, but she was going to open this door. But her sister beat her to it and just in time to see Andrea cupping their mother’s cheek and kissing her softly, in the middle of her living room. Their mom stood still an instant, but then wrapped her arms around Andrea’s waist and pulled her closer.

Caroline had never seen her mother looking so free and happy, but when one of them moaned, Caroline decided it was time to draw a line. She cleared her throat rather loudly, but with no avail.

“We are still here you know!” Cassidy almost yelled, when their mom’s hand landed on Andrea’s backside.

Both women jumped and turned towards them, arms still linked around each other. Andy was grinning like an idiot and their mom was smiling softly, her lipstick smeared. They were both blushing and looked very happy.

Cassidy threw herself at them and Andrea caught her, Caroline already between Miranda’s arms.

“Thank you” her mom whispered into her hair; Caroline just held her tighter.

--
They decided to spend the night at Andy’s place, it was too late to go home anyway. Andrea’s couch was also used as a sofa bed and Caroline and Cassidy were delighted to sleep on it. They had never slept on something like that before, it was adventurous.

Their mom and Andrea were sleeping in Andrea’s bed, after being reminded by Cassidy that the walls were very thin, and they would be able to hear everything if they decided to do something gross. Their mom had simply rolled her eyes and kissed them goodnight, wearing a Northwestern sweatshirt, that Andrea had lent her.

Caroline fell asleep a big smile on her face.

The next morning, Caroline and Cassidy woke up to a quiet apartment. They raised from the sofa without a noise and went spying into Andrea’s bedroom. What they found was their mother sleeping deeply, her head cushioned on Andrea’s chest, the latter had her arms wrapped around their mom, snoring softly.

“So, do you know how to make pancakes?” Cassidy asked her sister.

Caroline had no idea how, but they were going to figure it out.

Chapter Text

“Caroline, wake up!” Cassidy said into her sister’s hear. Caroline opened two sleepy eyes. “I think Andy’s here.” Cassidy whispered excitedly. Her sister groaned.

“What’s so new about that?” She asked already turning her body and trying to find a comfortable position to fall back into a peaceful sleep. She was having a great dream about a ton of waffles, and she would like to go back to it.

“She’s in mom’s bedroom.” Cassidy said and Caroline opened her eyes immediately. Well, that was interesting. It had been months (okay maybe only two) since her mom and Andy started dating, officially this time. Those two months were filled with movie and pizza nights with all of them together and a lot of other evenings just their mom and Andy having dinner outside (their mom had decided that Andrea was worth every gossip on page six and if that wasn’t love Caroline didn’t know what love was). Every time their mom went home after one of those evenings, she had a silly smile and a dreamy look on her face. It was after one of those nights that Caroline and Cassidy got their Nintendo Ds back. But still, Andrea never stayed the night and Caroline was beginning to worry. Not that she absolutely wanted her mom to have a sex life (that was disgusting thank you very much), but she was worried that Andrea would soon lose interest in their dear mother. “They’re taking their time.” Cassidy once said, when Caroline had expressed her concern. Well, Caroline didn’t have time to deal with a heartbroken mother, so Andy staying the night was sincerely a relief.

“You know Andy, I’m sure she’s going to go to the kitchen for a midnight snack. Do you want to wait there and make fun of her?”

Andrea was always hilarious when embarrassed and Caroline was sure that some of the cookies that Andrea brought a few days ago were still there, so she agreed without hesitation.

As expected, ten minutes later, soft steps could be heard from the stairs. Caroline exchanged a malicious glance with her sister, her mouth full of chocolate cookies.

“Hi Andy!” Cassidy exclaimed as soon as Andrea entered the kitchen. She jumped so high she almost lost her balance. Caroline noticed that she was wearing a silk nightgown a little bit too short for her and her hair was a mess.

“I thought you were asleep.” Andrea said one hand on her heart. “I should have known better.” She finally chuckled. She opened the fridge and took out a bottle of water.

“So, I bet that date night went well.” Cassidy said, wiggling her eyebrows. Andrea’s face turned red, and she pulled at the nightgown self-consciously.

“Oh yes very well, we had a nice dinner and then we went home to have coffee and…” Andy hesitated an instant “you know it was late, so your mom offered me to stay the night…” She trailed off, not sounding convincing at all. She must have realized it because she frowned slightly.

“Yes sure, it was late of course.” Caroline giggled; Andrea’s frown deepened.

“I hope Patricia isn’t too mad that you stole her place in mom’s bed.” Cassidy said cheekily. If it was possible, Andy’s cheeks reddened.

“I am afraid that Patricia will have to accommodate from now on.” Their mom said entering the kitchen. She could be very quiet when she wanted to. She was wearing a grey robe over her nightgown and Andrea looked at the robe with envy, pulling once again on her borrowed nightgown. Their mom placed her hand on Andrea’s lower back and the latter finally stilled her movements.

“I went down to see what was taking you so long to simply bring up some water, and I see that you have met my lovely daughters on your way.” Their mom said with a little smile and Caroline knew they weren’t in trouble to be up so late, but then their mom’s eyes fell on Cassidy’s right hand and Caroline wasn’t so sure about that anymore “and some cookies.” She drawled with pinched lips and squinted eyes. Cassidy gulped loudly.

“We only ate one each!” Cassidy tried to defend herself, but their mom picked up the empty bag of cookies with a pointed look.

“Well, maybe two…” Cassidy mumbled.

“You didn’t even leave me one!” Andrea exclaimed looking scandalized.

Their mom rolled her eyes. “You are seriously worse than the two of them Andrea. I don’t know what I’m going to do with the three of you.” She said trying to sound annoyed, but Caroline saw right through her. “Oh, come on, mom you love it don’t try to pretend otherwise.”

Miranda’s face softened and she looked at the three people in her kitchen with a tender look. “Yes, yes it’s true.” She whispered and placed a soft kiss on Andrea’s lips and then another, to the greatest dismay of both Caroline and Cassidy.

“Eww, stop kissing please.” Cassidy yelled hiding her eyes behind her hands.

“Well, that’s what you get for wandering the kitchen late at night.” Their mom teased, her right arm around Andrea’s waist. Andrea stuck out her tongue at them.

“Fine, fine, we’re going back to bed, no need to traumatize us for life.” Cassidy said, jumping from the stool.

“Thank you for the cookies Andy and see you at breakfast?” Caroline asked hopefully.

“Yes, I’ll see you at breakfast and we can have French toast.” Andy said enthusiastically.

“You know how to make French toast?” Their mom asked Andy with a perplex look.

“I don’t, but you do.” Andrea answered with a malicious grin.

“I am starting to regret my decision to pursue you, Andrea.” Their mother groaned.

Caroline left the kitchen beaming like the sun, accompanied by the happy laughter of Andrea. She wondered an instant if she should have mentioned the huge hickey on Andrea’s throat (gross). Probably not, her mom would be pissed if she knew Caroline was aware of what a hickey was in the first place.

---
Three years later:

Cassidy really didn’t mean to be snooping around, but she seriously had to know if Lola’s date with Mike went well, and she couldn’t do that without a phone.

She rounded her mother’s desk with apprehension. When she was about to open the first drawer her eyes fell on the frame that occupied the place of honor on the table. Nigel had offered it to her mom for Christmas last year. With a smile, she carefully picked it up. It was a lovely family picture. She was the only one who was looking at the camera, Caroline was pointing at something with her finger and Andrea’s eyes were focused on her, but her mom’s were entirely glued to Andrea. She looked like a lovesick fool, and she was beautiful.

Feeling slightly guilty, she put back the frame and opened one of the drawers. She knew she shouldn’t be digging once again into her mother’s stuff, but it was not entirely her fault. If her mother wasn’t so strict, she wouldn’t be there putting her nose into her things. Confiscating her phone for just one beer was highly exaggerated. Some of her friends in Europe had beers all the time. “Yes, but as you can see Cassidy, we’re not in Europe.” Cassidy mimicked while opening a second drawer. “It starts with a beer and ends in a coma.” She continued rolling her eyes.

Suddenly Cassidy froze. What was that? She took out of the drawer a small box. Oooh Cartier. Curiosity got the better of her and she slowly opened it. Inside laid on a soft cushion was a simple but beautiful ring with a single diamond. Cassidy’s eyes went wild when she realized that it was an engagement ring. Inside the band were engraved the words “To A. from M.” Cassidy laughed happily; her mom could be such a softie.

She carefully replaced the box inside the drawer and left the study, her phone completely forgotten.

She quickly entered Caroline’s room. “My dear sister, I have found something really interesting into mom’s office.”

Caroline raised worried eyes to her, and Cassidy burst out laughing.

The End.