In Andy’s mind, who has since been jaded by financial insecurity and periods of hair-tearing writer’s block, some problems are better left ignored until they absolutely can’t be. Prioritizing, one might say. Cowardice, Doug would scoff under his breath. An ostrich sticking its head in the sand, Lily would mutter when Andy’s right on the edge of her hearing range.
But it’s not like they’re thrilled about this particular problem she’s been ignoring for near a decade. They always get so awkward about it, and Andy’s completely fine with never mentioning it again. The problem being her latent attraction to one Miranda Priestly.
And it’s easy to ignore since Andy has a job; freelance it might be, demanding it is. Andy puts a lot of herself into her writing. She does her due diligence with research and interviews, and slaves over word choice and grammar. She loves her job; it fulfils her in a way nothing else does. She doesn’t need to spend time pining after a fashion maven with control issues. Because Miranda certainly has issues, she hasn’t forgotten that.
It’s not like Andy’s desperately in love with her either. In fact, these days, Andy really only thinks of her when she catches sight of the glossy Runway cover on the newsstands or if she hurries by a designer brand storefront. Never steps in since she’s returned to plain blouses and skinny jeans.
For a brief period, after Paris, when she had suffered a string of very hot, very inappropriate dreams of Miranda, she had thought she was in love.
Now, however, she’s grown, and some feelings have faded. Of course, Andy will always think Miranda is beautiful, impervious, and untouchable in an attractive way. Something like wanting what you can’t have. But Andy doesn’t keep herself from dating and would rather die than attempt to contact Miranda and ask her out on, of all things, a date.
She imagines Miranda seeing her and asking who she is, or perhaps pausing, head tilted, as she waits for her assistant to fumble for a name. It would be mortifying, so she doesn’t allow herself to expect anything. Andy was, after all, only one amongst thousands in Miranda’s line of harried assistants. Hardly memorable.
Not to toot her own horn or anything, though, Andy likes to think she was and still is the best one Miranda ever had. Andy was different. But Miranda sees new fashions before they even get big. ‘Different’ is the norm for her. So, while Andy will always be employee of the century, she’ll never be something important to Miranda, something remarkable.
And that’s okay. Andy is okay with ignoring her fat old crush on Miranda. Andy prefers it that way.
Andy nearly spills her coffee over her laptop, which would really piss her off because the only reason she’s at this Starbucks right now is to wrestle with her freshly finished, very uncooperative article on the midterm election cycle. Also, the device is new and shiny, and she likes it functional. As such, she turns her practised gaze of scorn to the interloper.
It’s a Priestly twin, she clocks immediately—which one it is exactly, she can’t tell. After all, it has been nearly a decade since she left Miranda’s employ.
“Right?” says the college-age stranger with a nose piercing that she automatically thinks Miranda would hate. “Harry Potter girl?”
Andy’s first thought is: what. Her next thought is that she should not be leaping to opine on Miranda’s sense of aesthetic. After that, she’s thinking she should probably stop gaping like an idiot; she is once again on the receiving end of a classic Priestly scowl of impatience. Andy sits up straighter on instinct. Perhaps she is suffering from PTSD.
“Are you mute now?”
“Um.” Andy puts the cup down, blinking owlishly. “No.”
The girl looks at her like she’s a halfwit, and Andy frowns.
“Which one are you? Caroline or Cassidy?”
“Cassidy,” she replies with an eye roll.
“Okay, hi, Cassidy,” Andy says, attempting to inject some adult disapproval into her voice. Another eye roll from the twin. Unsure if she has succeeded with her tone of voice. “You’re… 20-something now?”
“Yup.” Cassidy dumps her satchel on the table, utterly uncaring that she’s accidentally closed the lid of Andy’s laptop in her haste to slump into the seat opposite. “You’re, like, 40?”
Andy knows she looks suitably exhausted, eyebags and all from her all-nighter, but she’s not going to just take insult now that she’s not being paid to put up with it, so she narrows her eyes. “Good guess. That seat’s taken, by the way.”
“Yeah, sure,” says Cassidy as she pulls a 20-ring notebook from her bag and rips a page out. “Anyway, can I get your number?”
“I’m not the gay twin; relax.” Cassidy shoves the scrap and a purple pen over to Andy. “Nor the gay mother. Let’s talk when you’re not busy.”
Andy looks at the paper. Doesn’t touch it. Goes back to staring at Cassidy. Gay Miranda. Miranda… lesbian Miranda. Interesting.
Lots to think about.
Andy carefully does not dwell on her fleeting infatuation with the woman. It had happened so long ago, when she was newly employed at the Mirror, after seeing Miranda that one time on the street. Missing Miranda that one time on the street; a sudden rush of longing. She was left to over examine that confusing emotion and then careen headfirst into the pool of queer New York City women looking for hookups.
She is no longer employed at the Mirror and had gotten over Miranda very quickly, having finished getting under a string of anonymous women. Then, she’d been forced to move on from that particular slut phase of her twenties when she’d been let go from the paper and had to start focusing on making rent and affording meals.
And she has failed, now, at not thinking about Miranda.
“… no thanks,” Andy says. “It was nice to see you. I’m kind of busy, though.”
Her brushoff is summarily disregarded: “Aren’t you from the Midwest? Aren’t you people all about, like, manners and incestuous relationships?”
Andy flicks the pen back towards Cassidy and shoves her laptop into her messenger. “Actually, it was terrible to see you. Perhaps you should spend some time reading up on social classes outside of your Upper East Side strata and learn how to behave in public like a normal person. Good day.”
However, Cassidy lunges forward and grips her by the forearm before she can get up, an apologetic look gracing her face. “Okay, okay. Sorry. Outgrowing the punk teenager phase right now. It’s a work-in-progress.”
Stiffly, Andy sits back down.
“Look. I’m 21, and life’s shit. I’m at NYU, Caroline’s at UCLA, and Mom’s sad.” She stops, frowning as she considers her next words. When the silence lingers for a few moments too long, Andy raises her eyebrows. “…I’m attempting to… care about people. The right way.”
“I’m a journalist. Not a life coach.” But Andy feels kind of bad now. Feels pity. She thinks about how Miranda is, how much Miranda cares for this girl, and how she was so scared of disappointing her. She thinks about how much Miranda spoiled her. It kind of makes sense, the way Cassidy turned out. Obviously, it is still not Andy’s responsibility. Still. Still! Old habits die hard, she supposes: “Cassidy, are you okay?”
Cassidy lets Andy go, leaning back into her chair, and chews on her lip.
“Is, um, she okay? Miranda?”
“Kind of. Yes. Always is, you know, in her own way.” Cassidy rolls her eyes for the third time in as many minutes. This time, it’s at herself, at her stilted navigation of this interaction. “Mom’s not the most… demonstrative person.”
“Of course,” says Andy, slowly. She nods. “I remember.”
Another silence. This time, Andy takes the time to scrutinize Cassidy’s appearance. She’s dressed in well made casual clothes, no doubt expensive, but appropriate for the everyday streets of New York. A bona fide college student. There’s a pervasive wave of anxiety coming off her, though. Her leg bounces, and her eyes dart from Andy to the paper to Andy and back again.
“She’s not the kind of person who’s happy,” Cassidy eventually says.
“That’s not true.” Andy, nonetheless, understands what Cassidy means. Cassidy knows, of course, if her deadpan expression is anything to go by. “Okay, maybe not happy in the sense most people can be,” Andy concedes with a dip of her chin.
Cassidy nods, raising her coffee in silent agreement.
Miranda lives by the ethos of perfectionism which isn’t an objectively terrible thing, but it isn’t a way of life that begets pleasure often. There exist the simple pleasures (like steaming hot coffee and a layout that’s finally not a pile of garbage); annoyance and unhappiness, though, are the norm for a perfectionist. Miranda, also, has a strange logic about what she constitutes acceptable, which makes it all worse.
She had wanted a father figure for her girls, a marriage, and Andy used to wonder if it had something to do with feelings of inadequacy. But she had long since accepted that speculating after Miranda’s psyche was a gesture as pointless as attempting to bottle the ocean. Anyway, inadequacy is fundamentally incongruent with the La Priestly image.
She sighs and rubs her temples. Feels, for a horrifying moment, like she’s a harried twenty-year-old at the nearest Starbucks to Elias Clarke. God.
“Fine,” Andy finally huffs, reaching for the pen, “But I really am busy, so you can only text me after my deadline tomorrow. I’m ignoring my notifications anyway.”
Cassidy perks up. “Oh, good.” She jams the paper with Andy’s number on it into her bag and gets up. “See ya.”
And that’s that. She disappears, to-go cup in hand, and Andy watches her from the window as she turns the bend.
She hopes Cassidy loses her number.
Another bereaved sigh, and Andy downs her already half-empty cup and talks herself into forgetting about the Priestly family so she can finally submit this godawful article.
The text comes on Saturday morning. It reads: Hi Harry I am Cassidy, and it makes Andy flop back into bed with a groan.
She replies: It’s Andy. Then, with a frown, she adds Sachs.
And so, she finds herself navigating a text conversation with a college student, feeling ancient when she has to google ‘lmao.’ Whatever happened to the classic ‘laugh out loud?’ Cassidy books herself in for lunch, agreeing to a Chipotle, to Andy’s surprise.
She wonders, briefly, how tight a leash Miranda has on her kids. Caroline’s is presumably nonexistent, given her physical distance, but Miranda has also historically let the twins get away with pretty much everything other than flat out breaking the law. Even then, it depended on her mood. It would be psychotic, one would think, for Miranda to control where Cassidy eats, especially since Cassidy’s a grownup. But Miranda has always been good at being psychotic and, at the same time, begetting obedience from even the most jaded of adults, so who knows?
Andy shuts that line of thought down, opting instead for more sleep before she must get up for lunch.
After a couple more hours, she’s crawling out of her blanket burrito and dressing with enough trepidation to nearly anchor her at home. Alas, Andy knows she’s got no acceptable (by Priestly standards) excuse to cancel.
Cassidy’s waiting for her already, texting against a signpost outside the Chipotle, when Andy shows up five minutes late because of a delay on the subway. She smiles at Andy, though she does wrinkle her nose at Andy’s outfit before forcing her face into something neutral.
“Give it a rest. It’s Saturday,” she grumbles as she heads into the joint.
“The jeans are okay,” Cassidy offers.
“Levi’s,” is all Andy says before ordering a bowl.
Once they’re seated, she finds herself at a loss.
Thankfully, Cassidy starts, around a mouthful of rice. “I don’t know if I should tell you these things.”
“Why are you?” Andy says after swallowing. Midwestern manners, she thinks balefully. Or rather, motherly smacks upside the head during her childhood. Miranda, she knows, would never raise a hand towards her children. “Wouldn’t you rather talk about this with Caroline? Or a friend?”
“I don’t talk to people about my mom unless they’ve spent a minimum of three months knowing her.” Cassidy scratches her nose. “And Caroline thinks I should just tell you. She doesn’t live here, though, and she won’t have to deal with the immediate consequences.”
Andy stills her hand, giving Cassidy a wary look. “Consequences?”
“I don’t know if I should tell you,” she repeats.
Automatically, Andy wants to probe. But there’s this heavy feeling in her chest that makes her not want to know.
“You’re not stupid,” Cassidy says after a pause. “Mom’s out now—which really made dad mad, by the way—hilarious—he got over it, obviously. We don’t like homophobia these days-”
“You don’t say.”
“And she’s not famous the way she was before since everyone cares more about real celebrities now. Well. Except when Irv got fired, and Mom got caught smiling like a movie villain when someone asked her about it.” Cassidy smirks as if in demonstration. “Corporate drama is only fun and relevant when it’s like high school gossip.”
Andy nods in understanding, cracking a smile. She did see that picture on Page Six, and it gave her an undeniable jolt of pleasure. Made her week.
“So, when she dated that one socialite I met, like, twice, no one really cared because it just looked like they were friends. She hasn’t dated anyone else since,” Cassidy adds with a meaningful look to Andy. “So, she’s out in the sense that she doesn’t care anymore. Not that the media have cottoned on.”
Andy attempts to keep up pretences. “Where’s this going?”
Cassidy points her fork at Andy. “You’re not stupid.”
“Maybe you shouldn’t tell me then,” Andy says, something like dread weighing fully on her now.
“Now, don’t get bigheaded. It’s not like she’s carrying a torch for you.” Cassidy rolls her eyes at the thought and Andy wars between bristling and slouching in relief. “The age difference is weird, anyway.”
Andy crosses her arms, thoroughly unamused. “Listen, I’m going to go home and block your number if you don’t get to the point soon. It’s been almost ten years since I last saw your mother. We were strictly professional.”
Not entirely true since Miranda violated labour laws on the regular. Professional until it got demonic, maybe, is how Andy would describe Miranda’s behaviour towards her.
“So, you do know-”
But Andy’s hands are clammy now. She shakes her head. “She’s a total freak, too, no offence. I saw her once a few years ago and smiled at her, and she just glanced at me for half a second and literally drove off. I’m not even gay.” Andy is bisexual. “And if you don’t like me, or the concept of a relationship between us—out of the question, if that wasn’t clear—then all I’d get out of your mother now is a generic greeting. A limp handshake if she’s in the right mood.”
“I didn’t say I don’t like you,” Cassidy says quickly. “We like you. Caroline thinks your articles are good. We googled you together yesterday. She doesn’t usually give a rat’s ass about politics, by the way.”
“And you do?” Andy sounds disbelieving.
“Hey, don’t be a dick,” Cassidy snaps, “I’m a political science minor. English major. I really did like Harry Potter.”
No accounting for taste. Andy waves a dismissive hand. “What do you want from me? Really, just tell me.”
“Mom keeps up with your career,” Cassidy admits with a grimace. “We didn’t know what she thought about you exactly except when that paper flopped, she said something about the death of print media. She called her assistants Andrea for the next few cycles of them. Not anymore, duh. It’s Breanna last I heard.”
Cassidy has a habit of digressing, Andy notes. It’s a nervous habit, she reckons, so she forgives the rambling. “Okay.”
“She cared about you before, you know. More than usual.” Cassidy wrings her hands and tilts her head. “Fuck. Whatever. I just thought that you could be friends.”
Immediately, she scoffs. What a waste of time- Cassidy glares, and Andy glares right back. “All this, and you’re setting us up to be, what, best friends? Braid each other’s hair?”
“You obviously liked her—not gay my ass,” Cassidy spits out, ticked off now. “I didn’t even have to say anything about it explicitly, and you knew I was hinting at something more between you two—and offence taken for calling my mom a freak, by the fucking way—and your ‘not gay’ comment came way too late. You’re bi, probably, like Caroline. I’m not an idiot.”
“I didn’t like her,” Andy says. She tries to keep in mind that Cassidy is still young, the same age she was when she still thought Zara was the peak of fashion. Tries to explain this in a way that’s most convenient for herself, see: diplomatic and final. “I admired her, definitely. Still do. I’m just very confused about all this. Come on, I haven’t thought about you people-”
“-for years, and you ambush me in a Starbucks to ask me on a date on behalf of your mother who also probably hasn’t thought about me for years.”
“I literally just said she follows your-”
“Cassidy, there’s a difference between reading a newspaper I’ve an article in and something more. This is insane. You’re literally insane.” Andy pushes her stool back. “I’m sorry your mom’s sad. I’m sorry you can’t handle it. I’m a virtual stranger. I really am. I can’t help you.”
“You can!” she nearly shouts. The other patrons turn to look at them, and Andy pulls her chair back in so Cassidy will lower her voice, hissing under her breath. “It’s not out of nowhere. Mom still reads your articles in whatever random magazine or paper you publish in. It’s all bookmarked; I saw it last year when I borrowed her iPad.”
Andy looks unconvinced.
Cassidy tugs on a strand of hair, agitated. “When I asked Nigel, he laughed about you and said something about stapling an outfit together for you. But then Mom had sat back down at the table, and she actually looked interested.”
“What do you want me to do?” Andy pleads. “I’m a stranger.”
“No, you’re not.” Cassidy leans forward. “Mom’s not some lonely miserable granny—she’s just a bit of an empty nester right now. I know—I know—it’ll pass. I know she’s a grown woman. But she’s my mom, Andy.”
Andy feels for her, she does. Her own mother had suffered this when Andy had left for college. But her mom had a day job, had friends and a life, and is proud of Andy. Miranda has those things. Miranda can’t not be proud of her children—she’s a bitch of an employer and someone who didn’t look like a mother but is most definitely one. Inseparable from the label.
This entire situation doesn’t make sense.
It’s too inorganic. She feels like she’s being choked on it, on how forced a meeting with Miranda would be if she actually let it come to pass. How inappropriate. How it wouldn’t work out at all the way Cassidy thought it might. Andy thinks she’s not ready for whatever the hell this is and will never be and would prefer it to either never happen or happen too fast for her to stop and think about it. This… no.
Andy shakes her head. “I’m sorry. I’m genuinely happy to see you, Cassidy, all grown up, but I can’t help you. It’s… I can’t help with this.” She stands, much to Cassidy’s obvious disappointment. “You can text me to talk about school if you want. Networking or something. Don’t tell me about your family, though. Don’t.”
“Fuck you for Paris,” Cassidy says. A parting shot.
Andy clenches her fists, and the look on her face—anger or sadness or something, she doesn’t know, can’t think about it with the way she’s storming out the Chipotle—makes Cassidy stare down into her bowl, her own hands balled on the table.
An interlude, Andy thinks desperately on the train home. This was some fever dream interlude that meant absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things.
For the next few months, this seems true.
It lingers in the back of her mind, popping up randomly during her weeks. Miranda, her kids, the micro-expressions Andy used to read fluently, the middle school math problems she did at her Runway desk in pencil so the twins could rewrite it in their own handwriting.
But those thoughts go away fast, and Andy has no problem refocusing back on work or meeting friends or doing taxes and organizing her finances. She buys a new Ikea lamp after her old one broke when she tripped into it coming back from a late night at an internet café. Her life goes on.
So, she feels like it should have been more shocking, more infuriating, when she shows up to a charity event and realizes Miranda is there too. It feels, instead, like a predictable joke inflicted on her by the universe.
Three years ago, she’d written a few articles on this charity. It helps underprivileged postgrads enter the publishing industry. It garnered her professional attention when a white legacy kid had written a vicious and viral Twitter thread on affirmative action having been rejected by the charity committee. Ever since then, Andy has donated annually. A small sum: she wasn’t Ms Moneybags. Miranda, however, is. At some point, Miranda had set up a foundation that donated to various charities tangibly related to her field. Andy isn’t sure exactly when that happened, just that she became distantly aware of it sometime after the foundation had been conceived and that she’s unsurprised when she sees Miranda’s foundation on one of the banners in the hotel lobby.
Perhaps they are fated to remain in a formal professional acquaintanceship.
Andy does a terrible job of not staring at the shock white back of Miranda’s head.
Andy has no idea why Miranda is here herself. During her tenure at Runway, Miranda pretty much only showed up to fundraisers if she absolutely had to. This is nothing. (Andy silently apologizes to the charity for that thought. It’s a very important cause.)
(This is, however, not important to Miranda’s position as the editor in chief of a leading fashion magazine.)
Personally, Andy’s only here because she’d befriended one of the original organizers of the charity back when she wrote the articles and felt it was only courteous to show up. She and Talia haven’t talked in a while, after all. She’s one of the funniest people Andy has ever met. Andy should have just texted to meet for drinks instead of coming to the fundraiser. Hindsight is 20/20, as they say.
Andy swipes a glass of water from a side table, itching to leave. Why is Miranda here?
Itching, then, with the abrupt realization that Cassidy didn’t talk to Andy about Miranda, or talk to her at all, really, but that Cassidy never claimed she wouldn’t speak to Miranda about Andy. That Miranda was well-connected and informed. That she kept up with Andy’s career.
That Cassidy might not have been entirely off base about Miranda’s strange interest in Andy a decade down the line.
Just as she’s about to leave the glass somewhere and book it, she feels the hair on the back of her neck rise. Smells, faintly, a heady perfume. A touch to the elbow.
Andy’s head loses some significant portion of its clarity.
Oh, Jesus. She turns with a feeble smile. “Hi, Miranda.”
As expected, Miranda has aged a bit, but she still has that confident bearing. That air about her that commands attention and compliance, and once upon a time, it inspired fear in Andy.
But Andy has grown, too. She takes a few breaths to steady herself. “It’s nice to see you.”
Miranda leans in, and Andy has to suppress the urge to rear back. She gives Andy two honest-to-God air kisses, one a side. Andy's never felt more distant from the absolute performance she'd gotten used to at Runway years ago. She was right at Chipotle; this is inorganic. She feels ingenuine. She feels oddly lost, betrayed by herself.
She’s remembering Nate, now, and a young Lily and Doug, when they had all shunned her for changing and becoming ‘plastic.’ She isn’t a stranger to these circles, in actuality. Andy likes the confidence she gets from rubbing elbows with people like Miranda. Andy used to like rubbing elbows with Miranda specifically and knows she likes it now.
“You have met my daughter,” says Miranda neutrally.
Andy relaxes a little, happy to know that when Miranda wants to be, she remains unreadable to Andy. It feels more normal if Andy can’t clock her mood by the twitch of an eyebrow. “I have.”
“Hm.” There’s a slight tug at Miranda’s lips, and Andy grins in return. “She’s angry with you.”
“I’m angry with her too,” she replies genially.
“She does have that effect,” Miranda says, smoothly, if a bit proud. The tree from which Cassidy the apple fell.
“She’s young,” Andy says with a casual wave of her hand.
Miranda scoffs. “You’re not so ancient yourself.”
Andy rubs a cheek ruefully. “Neither are you.” And that’s not what Miranda wants to hear since she gives Andy a haughty look. “Obviously. I mean… Miranda, you look great. Gorgeous.”
Miranda rolls her eyes and, this time, her lips pull into a genuine smile. “Thank you. I’m flattered,” is her rote response. Then: “You look like someone who earns the salary that you do.”
What a sense of humour! From Cassidy, the abrasiveness chafed. From Miranda, it makes Andy warm with nostalgia and fondness.
“A convoluted sentence,” Andy notes with a huff of laughter and a quick shake of her head. “Well, I’m freelancing and earning a lot more than when I worked for you, I’ll tell you that.”
Miranda looks bored. “Ever the crusader. Rest assured, overtime is appropriately compensated, and we even have paid paternity leave now. The industry evolves as most things do.”
“Darn,” Andy says, “I was hoping to write something about union-busting at Elias Clarke. Maybe incite a strike: clackers chaining themselves to the gilded gates of the Closet.”
“Please.” Miranda’s eyes glint when she turns imperviously to sweep the crowd. “Capitalism works. My employees couldn’t live a day without the misery of disappointing me; it sustains them and makes me wealthier.”
Andy snorts, glancing at Miranda through her eyelashes. Taken by Miranda’s small smile.
She’s always known Miranda has a personality outside of being a bitch. It shone through in the few moments Miranda had let herself slip all those years ago. And Andy had stood off to the side when Miranda had schmoozed and charmed important people at big events, saw precisely how congenial Miranda could be if she tried. Andy had just never been on the receiving end. Now, she feels very much schmoozed and charmed.
She might be in trouble.
“Well, I was the fat one,” Andy says lightly. It’s a reminder to herself that she’s unfit for Miranda and vice versa. “I had reserves of energy, so I didn’t need so much of your scathing disapproval.”
Miranda turns back to her, something sombre about her now. “I have… evolved, Andrea.” An eyebrow raises, and it feels pointed, bordering on accusatory. “And perhaps you should have indulged more often, in smaller quantities. You seemed so starved of it in Paris. It was… a veritable feast for you, wasn’t it? That last day?”
Andy swallows, looking over Miranda’s shoulder towards the exit. That was the world’s worst apology for the fat comment, but she had never expected remorse from Miranda, and besides, it’s not something that kept Andy up at night. Paris, on the other hand… It’s something she was convinced she had closure on, except Cassidy had brought it up, and then Miranda did, and she felt like cringing now.
Miranda makes a noise of consideration, her shoulders relaxing. She grazes the tips of her fingers over Andy’s bicep, cocking her head when Andy twitches away. Contritely: “Time and place, I suppose.”
Another abysmal apology. Andy opens her mouth to speak, but Miranda shakes her head.
“You are…” Miranda closes her eyes, touching her temple. The moment lasts for two seconds, tops. Her eyelids open quickly enough, those blues pale and piercing. “A beautiful woman, Andrea.”
“Um- thank you.” Andy can only hope she isn’t too red. “You- well, you know.”
Miranda nods. Andy scrambles.
“I- I know it was unprofessional, leaving, but-”
“Time and place.” Once more, Miranda looks distantly into the crowd. “Cassidy has your number.”
“Yes, she does,” Andy murmurs, shifting on her feet. She doesn’t know what’s happened in the last few exchanges that’s made her feel so awkward. She finagles a smile from her mouth and giggles just to fill the dead air. “I guess your fifteen minutes should be up soon.”
“Yes.” Miranda meets her gaze, lips slanted into the ghost of a smile, and sweeps around with a flick of her wrist. A lazy wave, Andy registers as Miranda glides away.
“Um, bye, I guess.” Andy blinks rapidly. “Christ.”
But Miranda’s already gone, probably has her driver waiting, and Andy’s figuring that she needs to go lie down.
Sleep is evasive when her body buzzes the way it does, filled with anticipation the way she is. It feels like things are approaching escalation. At the same time, it feels like not a day has passed since she left Paris. If only Andy could get a hint as to what the future entails. It’s a big ugly blur, and she can’t stand it, not with Miranda involved.
Fortunately, it is Miranda who makes the first move. A fortnight after the fundraiser, Andy receives a call from an unknown number.
“Hullo,” Andy says around a granola bar, rapid-fire typing on a document. “Andy Sachs.”
“Andrea,” comes Miranda’s cool and disapproving voice.
Andy bites through the bar and swallows too fast, making her sputter humiliatingly over the phone.
“I hope you’re not going to inconvenience me with your death.”
Andy scoffs. “Your concern is noted. I wonder, do you practice these lines? Does it amuse you?”
“Very little amuses me,” Miranda says mildly. “Much less mediocre cheek from you.”
Insanely, Andy smiles widely at that. “I’ve missed you. Isn’t that weird?”
A pause. A rustle and a soft exhale. “Surprising, chiefly.”
“I haven’t always missed you,” Andy says after a moment lest Miranda’s the one thinking Andy’s been pining for years. She hasn’t. “But I miss you now after speaking to you again. Why is it surprising?”
“You were… offended, yes? By me. In Paris.”
“No.” Andy bites the nail of her thumb. “A bit, at the time. You’re a businesswoman, misogyny sucks, whatever, whatever. But then, evolution.”
“Evolution,” Miranda echoes.
“I respect you,” Andy decides. “I admire you. I discovered that someone’s ambition is compelling to me, and so you’re wildly attractive to me.”
There’s a long silence, then. Andy wipes her hand on her jeans, checking the phone to ensure Miranda didn’t hang up. A part of her likes that Miranda’s every word is considered and exactly how she wants it. Sure, Andy practically conducts an exhausting literary analysis whenever Miranda deigns to speak more than three substantial sentences in a row, but it feels rewarding to do it. Now, she wishes Miranda found communication easier, smoother. Let her words come fast and unfiltered.
“I feel stupid now,” Andy says quietly.
“You’re not,” comes the immediate response. “You were never stupid. You did stupid things, naturally, but you’re not stupid, fundamentally.”
“Thanks,” she says dryly. She melts into her couch, staring at her ceiling while Miranda hesitates over her following words:
“You are… bolder.”
“These past years, I thought about you in rare bursts,” Andy admits. “Cassidy made me so mad because I hadn’t thought of you for a while until she bumped into me.”
“That the thought of me angers you surprises me less.”
Andy grunts, shaking her head. “No. It’s just- It’s simpler when feelings like this are unrequited. They’re intimidating enough anyway.”
“Well, anyway, I think about you, and I think that being straightforward is the best approach to a problem.”
“Oh? I’m a problem?”
Andy detects the blunt hint of teasing, as well as the sharper underbelly of the question. If she plays her cards right, she might be able to teach Miranda the wonder of effective emotional communication. In the meantime: “Problems are difficult. You’re currently being difficult,” she says flatly.
“They should put you in a fortune cookie. What gems you’re spouting.” Her displeasure is palpable.
Andy rolls her eyes and gives herself a few moments of deep breathing to not get cagey what with this attitude she’s getting. “Miranda,” she murmurs. “I think it would be a shame if I didn’t see you again.”
A pause as Miranda—correctly—infers the implication. “And I’m currently making you wish otherwise.”
“You’ve always been frustrating; you have to know that at least.”
“Perhaps, then, you should ‘see’ someone who frustrates you less.”
Andy closes her eyes. “Please, Miranda. Just stop.”
A sigh. “Dinner?” Miranda sounds like she’s about to falter, her voice strained and uncertain. Andy wonders if her palms are sweating too. If her heart is racing too. “When- what is your availability?”
That makes Andy smile, disbelieving. It sounds like they’re scheduling a work meeting. For a second, she imagines meeting Miranda at an expensive restaurant and discussing the trajectory of her journalism career.
She shakes herself of it, thinking quickly about her calendar. “Um, maybe the coming Friday?”
Miranda makes a grunting noise, displeased.
Andy doesn’t have to remember every detail of Miranda’s mood to know that means no-go. “Saturday, then?”
“No,” comes Miranda’s terse reply.
“Okay,” Andy huffs. “Why don’t you tell me when you’re free, and we’ll go from there?”
“I’m busy. This is unexpected,” Miranda says as if beseeching. Instantly, Andy sighs and forces her body to relax. When Andy doesn’t make to respond, Miranda hums and then says: “Can you do Thursday? It will have to be late. Otherwise, we can look at the week after next.”
“Okay,” Andy says softly. She’s moved by Miranda’s effort to fit her in, which she recognizes is a low bar, but it makes her feel special. Important. To Miranda. “Can I pick the spot?”
There’s a long silence. Pointed on Miranda’s part. Stupid question.
Andy laughs. “Okay. I’ll text the address to you on Thursday. When will you get off work?”
“It won’t be classy,” Andy says suddenly. “I don’t want it to be classy. I want to see you eat a hamburger.”
Miranda scoffs. “You’re tactless.”
“I’m a lot of things. Mostly, I’m excited to see you.”
“Bye,” Andy says with a grin. Again, she imagines Miranda. She pictures her sitting at her desk in that glass building, perhaps with a small smile, with her hand lingering on her telephone. Maybe she’d just hung up and turned immediately back to the layout in front of her.
Regardless, Andy’s excited, and she knows Miranda is too. That matters.
Lily scowls at them, arms akimbo. “To the left. Left.”
Doug groans. “I swear-”
“You promised.” Lily shakes her head. “Left.”
Andy rolls her eyes and hikes her side of the couch up, glaring at Doug until he starts moving too. They inch the couch in one direction until Lily claps her hands.
“This is good.”
“It only took my entire life,” Doug mutters as he sags over the arm of the couch. Andy follows him, bumping the top of her head against his with a giggle.
“It was barely five minutes, Dougy.” Lily lifts Andy’s head and sits down, pillowing Andy in her lap. “But thanks for helping your oldest friend move into her new apartment without complaint.”
“I’m just a good person like that,” he replies smoothly, blindly reaching out to pat Lily’s arm. He misses on the second pat and slaps Andy square on the nose. “Sorry,” he says when Andy squawks.
“I’m your oldest friend,” Andy counters. “I talked to you first. Lily was too snooty to talk to a boy.”
“You don’t remember what you had for breakfast, but you remember kindergarten friendship drama,” Lily says, poking Andy’s cheek.
“I have a date on Thursday,” Andy announces apropos nothing.
Lily jolts under her, a noise of excitement escaping her. “Date?”
Andy sits up, leaning on Lily so she can look at them both. Doug peers up at her, face upside down.
“Guy or girl?”
“Date-date, or is this a pre-sex drinks kind of thing?”
“A girl- a woman, actually. A real date. But.” Andy feels her face heat up.
“A woman, she says,” Lily snorts. “You hope there’s sex, don’t you?”
“It’s- Well. She’s, um,” Andy fumbles for words, unsure if she should say. Blurts: “Miranda.”
“Priestly?!” Doug nearly yells, jerking up. “Thursday? Miranda Priestly?”
“I hope there’s sex,” Andy mumbles.
Lily covers Andy’s hand with her own. “Oh my god,” she says sympathetically.
It’s a Thursday, though.
When Miranda had proposed the day, Andy won’t lie and say she didn’t consider that Thursday precedes a workday. Considers the logistics of bringing Miranda over to her apartment.
It’s not like she’s desperately horny. It’s just that- it’s Miranda. She wants to have sex with Miranda. She wants to touch Miranda and hold Miranda, and make Miranda come. If it doesn’t happen tonight, she won’t be very disappointed. She respects Miranda, and she respects herself most of all. They have time.
Just in case, she cleans the place up and spends a few minutes staring at her lingerie drawer.
Over black lace, Andy puts on a pair of Bill Blass trousers she’d gotten as a gift and a flowy white top. Ever since Runway, high-end articles of clothing have become one of the default gifts she’d received from friends and family. She loves it, tired of all the books she’d gotten and never had the time to read.
The diner Andy picks for their date usually sees her in last week’s jeans and a clean shirt. She’d picked it because she wants Miranda to know that Andy’s not like her—not a multimillionaire who lives in a New York City townhouse. Wants Miranda to know Andy likes eating at family-owned diners and likes walking by the thrift stores on her way there.
She dresses the way she does tonight because she wants Miranda to think she’s pretty, for one, but mostly because it’s a compromise. Relationships are about compromise, aren’t they?
Andy thinks about a relationship with Miranda and anticipates lots of compromises. Anticipates the warmth of success as a result of compromise.
So, when she sits in a window booth, sipping at the tap water, and has to wait ten minutes for Miranda to get here, she doesn’t say anything about it. Miranda will put up with the flickering overhead light in the corner, and Andy will wear expensive clothes. Miranda will come late, and Andy will wait.
Miranda ambles over and smiles thinly. “Sorry. I was held up by traffic.”
“That’s okay,” Andy says pleasantly as she stands. “I’m glad you could make it.”
Miranda’s smile turns a tad more genuine. She leans in and gives Andy air kisses she’s prepared to receive and return this time. “The place is… quaint.”
Andy narrows her eyes, sliding a menu over. “It’s good. You’ll see: beef doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to taste good.”
Miranda’s smile drops. “I’m not a stranger to poverty.” Her fingers curl tightly over the laminated menu. “There’s much you don’t know about me.”
The waiter makes to come over until Andy shakes her head at him and quickly leans forward. “I know. I hope I can get to know you.”
Miranda regards her appraisingly for a few moments before nodding, shoulders relaxing. “I’m aware this is some sort of test.”
“It isn’t,” Andy says immediately, sucking in a breath when Miranda raises her eyebrows. “I’m just… I like you.”
“You are rare, indeed,” Miranda says, sarcastic, carefully keeping her eyes on the menu.
“I want you to know,” Andy says, barging on, “that I’m not from your world. I’m not poor, but I’m not swimming in cash. I would have to save a little if I wanted to buy you pretty things- and I want to buy you pretty things.”
Miranda puts her pointer finger on top of the club sandwich two-thirds of the way down on the menu. Then, looks up at Andy, face unreadable. “Pretty thing,” she murmurs.
The waiter decides to impose, sliding over to take their orders. Andy feels like her head might explode from how much blood has rushed to it. She stares at Miranda as she mumbles something about a burger. Miranda acts unaware, turning to order the sandwich. When she looks back at Andy, there’s a mischievous look to her that makes Andy’s heart clench.
“Did you get that sandwich just to spite me?” Andy jokes weakly.
“Really,” Miranda says dryly, raising her eyebrow as she leans her chin in the palm of her hand. “Not everything is about you.”
“I’ll see you eating a classic American burger in my lifetime, I promise you that,” Andy says with a smile, regaining her footing.
(Andy can’t believe Miranda already has her on the backfoot, on home turf of all places. If Miranda ever took her to one of her upscale steakhouses, she would try her darnest to fluster her too out of revenge.)
Miranda waves her other hand dismissively. “We’ll see.”
“How do I look?” Andy asks with a smile, relaxing into her seat.
“Fishing for compliments now, are we?”
“So, there are compliments to fish for, then?”
Miranda rolls her eyes. “Honestly.”
Andy shakes her head, eyes falling to Miranda’s ensemble. She had always dressed professionally in the office. Powerfully, always. Expensively too, which is a given. “You’re beautiful,” she says sincerely.
Miranda touches her fingers to her lips, cupping over her chin. Her eyes are sharp. “I’m 59.”
“Huh.” Andy does the math in her head. “24 years difference.”
Miranda nods. “You’re a beautiful woman. 24 years my junior.” She smiles wryly, fingers tapping at her cheek. “You’re dressed in designer from two years ago. It’s what you can afford.”
Andy frowns, tugging at her sleeve self-consciously. Her cheeks flush from embarrassment. “Oh… kay?”
This time, it’s Miranda who jerks her head in a shake. “On paper, we don’t… suit.”
Andy has to fight the instinct to keel over in grief and disappointment, and anger. Instead, she grits her teeth and glares out the window, face burning. Her chest feels heavy and thick with emotion, feels harder to draw breath in. Maybe she had underestimated her feelings toward Miranda. Maybe she had forgotten how cruel Miranda could be-
But Miranda shakes her head again, vehemently this time. She places both hands, palms down, on the table, halfway between them. “Don’t misunderstand me,” she says quietly. “I… Well, I missed you too. After seeing you at the fundraiser, I missed you. How do you miss someone you never really knew? It’s an idea, isn’t it?”
“No,” Andy mutters heatedly, breath fogging on the glass. “It’s not- it can’t be just something I have in my head.”
“Of course not.” Soft pads of Miranda’s fingers ghost over Andy’s clenched fist.
Andy snaps her head to the table, watching Miranda trace over the bend of her thumb. Feeling the phantom warmth when her fingers withdraw. She glances up to those cold blue eyes; sees the way Miranda’s looking down at their hands too. Sees the faraway look on her face.
Andy unfurls her hand just so, letting Miranda’s index finger curl ever so slightly into the pocket of her fist. “Back then, at that point in my life, I think you knew me better than nearly everyone else in my life.”
Miranda meets her gaze, expressionless. It juxtaposes the delicate tone her voice takes in, the underlying thicket of emotion: “Except when I was wrong, and you left.”
Andy’s smile is wobbly. “You weren’t wrong exactly. I’m ambitious. I’ve stepped on people to get jobs after the Mirror folded. I shouldn’t have left the way I did, but I don’t regret, at the end of the day, having left.”
It doesn’t sound accusing, more blank than anything. Andy tilts her head, wondering how to word it: “My ex-boyfriend was leaving me. I was suddenly available and thinking about my future, career and relationship-wise. I realized I liked women. I liked…” She flaps a hand at Miranda, who seems vaguely offended by the careless gesture. Andy’s grin widens. “I’m glad I didn’t know I liked women when I was still under your employ. I think I would have had a conniption. All those models, and then my gorgeous, demanding boss? No, thank you. I enjoy my sanity.”
Miranda snorts. “Well.”
Their dinner arrives then. Andy offers Miranda a fry which she demurs. Later, Andy pretends not to notice when Miranda picks at the last of her fries.
“Anyway, I think you would have cottoned on instantly. I’m not the most subtle when it comes to my feelings,” Andy continues, picking up her burger. “I think it would’ve made me a terrible employee, and we both know that’s something you can’t abide by. Better I quit than you fire.”
“I wouldn’t have…” Miranda stops, thinking about it. A slight tug at the corner of her lips. “I would’ve forced you out with a recommendation, probably.”
“Oh! Your greatest disappointment!” Andy laughs in delight at the unexpected recollection. “I was so mad about that at first, but then I was thinking: how amazing it is to be any kind of superlative in Miranda Priestly’s life!”
“And to be my most disappointing is no easy feat,” Miranda adds snidely. “I am, as always, surrounded by incompetence.”
“Yours,” Andy marvels. The tension returns with a vengeance, air thick with it.
Miranda pauses, sandwich raised off her plate. She tilts her head as she looks at Andy, a hint of coy amusement. “Andrea,” she says, a whisper of breath, of desire.
Andy concentrates on her burger lest she jump Miranda in a dinky diner.
For a while, they eat in companionable silence, stealing glances of one another, sharing soft smiles and giggles on Andy’s part. Miranda often shakes her head in disbelief or wonders at how dumb this all feels. She’s nearly six decades into life, and right now, she feels almost bashful. Miranda doesn’t really feel that emotion, not even when she was young and meeting dashing men and, in the dark of bars, rakish women.
Andy’s about finished with her meal, sated and happy, when she remembers: “Whatever happened to Nigel?”
Miranda hums, dabbing at her mouth with a napkin. “Didn’t you stay in touch?”
“No,” Andy says, twisting her lips, “I mean, for a few months. But we were both busy, and we didn’t have work forcing us together every day for ten hours or more.”
“He’s been at GQ for six years now,” Miranda says blandly.
Andy narrows her eyes at the careful lack of emotion. “What do you think?”
“I think stop squinting.” Miranda huffs, though there’s no real venom in her voice, so Andy snorts. “I think it’s boring. Men’s fashion? Lifestyle? What a waste of talent.”
“It’s… normal to miss your friends,” Andy says carefully. She’s glad Nigel left; she didn’t think he liked Runway very much towards the end. Nor did he like Miranda, for that matter.
Miranda sours. “I don’t miss- Nigel should have gone to JHI.”
Andy doesn’t say anything, just dips her last fry in her dwindling ketchup.
“Get that look off your face.” When Andy dares to glance up at Miranda, she catches an eyeful of Miranda’s fiercest glower. “Naturally, Jacqueline didn’t last. I suggested, gently, that Nigel take the chance following her disgrace. He was, at that point, too angry and embarrassed over the slight in Paris to listen. He responded a week later with a resignation letter and a move to a shiny Condé Nast office.”
“I’m sorry,” Andy says honestly, reaching out to touch Miranda’s elbow, sliding her fingers into the crook. “That he left like that.”
Miranda sighs, waving her off. “It’s been years. We still lunch together every few months or so. I’ve been dropping hints… well, it doesn’t matter.”
Andy bites her lip, again slips her hand closer to Miranda. This time, Miranda lets her hang on, lets her stroke over her forearm. “Okay. It doesn’t matter.”
Miranda hums again, a deeper sound this time, and stares at Andy. “The meal was…” Tolerable. Passable. Acceptable. Andy holds her breath. “Lovely.”
She beams at Miranda. “Good to hear. I’ll gloat for weeks.”
Miranda turns her nose up. “The company, on the other hand…”
Andy laughs, shells out some bills, including a generous tip, and stands. “Wanna get outta here?”
It’s Andy’s turn to give her a coy look as she steps towards the glass doors. “Who knows?”
Miranda cocks her head. Gets to her feet.
Outside, Andy looks up at the city lights, smiling, and hears the door swing open behind her. A hand grabs her bicep, firm and warm and insistent, and Andy whirls to catch the vision of Miranda. She presses a soft, dry kiss to Miranda’s cheek, right on the edge of her lips. Miranda exhales between them, still as a statue, and Andy begins walking. Miranda follows.
Andy perches on her crisp, clean sheets as Miranda pokes and prods at the things in her room. There are awards on her walls. A trophy from when she played high school soccer on the shelf. The shelf that captures Miranda’s attention, much to Andy’s chagrin.
A woman ready to do just about anything Miranda wants, waiting on a bed, and Miranda’s too distracted getting her ego stroked by the entire row on Andy’s shelf dedicated to Runway.
(The collection is a result of some misplaced loyalty and a sense of nostalgia. She didn’t read them, though she would occasionally grab a copy and flip through it in the bathroom. Andy chooses not to tell Miranda that. What Miranda didn’t know couldn’t hurt her.)
Miranda runs a finger down the spine of last year’s January issue with a satisfied sigh. “A stroke of genius, really, the Yellowstone shoot.”
“Miranda,” Andy whines.
“Andrea,” she returns, angling her body to glance sideways at Andy. She taps the spine of her magazine. “Don’t tell me you care about fashion now.”
“I care about you,” Andy says with a huff. “I don’t care at all about clothes right now. In fact, I want to get rid of all of it. Let’s burn my closet together. Naked.”
Miranda rolls her eyes and finally steps away from Andy’s shelf, slipping between Andy’s knees as if held at gunpoint. “Had I known you were this impertinent…”
“You knew that the moment I showed up for an interview at a fashion magazine in a lumpy sweater,” Andy says, pressing her face into the silky fabric of Miranda’s top. She sucks wetly at the material, licking at the plane of Miranda’s stomach. Miranda inhales suddenly, first pressing onto Andy’s shoulders, then dragging her palms to cup Andy’s neck.
“No clothes, you said,” Miranda mutters. “Perhaps you are capable of intelligent thought.”
“I don’t know about you, but I’m also capable of following through,” Andy bites back as she unbuttons her shirt and lets it slip down her body.
“I propose another rule.”
“What?” Andy huffs into Miranda’s midsection.
Miranda’s hands are moving again, running over Andy’s bare skin, touching and touching and touching. “No more talking.”
Well, Andy can do that, but: “You first.”
Miranda pushes at Andy’s shoulders, looking down at her with an imperious expression. What Andy gets from this is that she’s the first person in recent history to get away with telling Miranda to shut the hell up. Because she is most definitely getting away with it, seeing that Miranda starts smirking after Andy holds her ground in their impromptu staring contest.
Miranda stoops down, attaching their mouths together in their first real kiss. Andy immediately winds her arms around Miranda, pulling at her. Miranda gasps into the slant of Andy’s mouth as she falls a little, readjusting by straddling Andy’s lap. They don’t part even once.
With Miranda pressed up against her like this, she’s suddenly cognizant of how dressed Miranda is. How totally unacceptable that is.
Miranda slides her palms over Andy’s cheeks, angling her head in the way she likes it so she can lick into Andy’s mouth. Demanding as always, Andy notes.
Her hands fumble for Miranda’s buttons, desperately in need of more. It takes ages for Andy to get Miranda’s shirt off, flinging it somewhere in her haste to truly get rid of the wretched thing. It lands on the shelf, hanging limply off her shining trophy. Andy takes the opportunity to fasten her mouth to Miranda’s throat, to the junction of her shoulder, to the space beneath her collarbones. Miranda groans and pants and clenches Andy’s hair in her fists.
Miranda, so bothered by this point, presses heavily into Andy. A nice warm weight in Andy’s lap. Not so demanding anymore when Andy has her like this.
By the time she finally divests Miranda of the rest of her clothes and has her spread on the bed, Andy’s about two seconds from busting right then and there just from the visuals, from the fact that Miranda wants her so badly.
Her eyes are dark, the ring of blue so thin, Andy has to lean close to see them. And she does lean close, hands propped on Miranda’s ribcage as she goes in for a tender kiss. Miranda sighs softly, slipping her eyes closed. Andy feels Miranda’s middle rise and fall with her breathing, feels the burning heat of Miranda’s skin, and feels woozy with desire.
“Get on with it,” Miranda murmurs.
“No talking,” Andy reminds her, trailing kisses as soft as the previous down Miranda’s bobbing neck, clenching jaw, and heaving chest. Down a fluttering stomach and sidetracking onto the stretchmarks reaching across her waist.
Andy can’t help it. She slips her arms under Miranda’s thighs, dragging them over her elbows, and nuzzles into Miranda’s navel. “You’re amazing.”
Miranda makes a sort of keening noise, hips pressing up into Andy. Andy brushes her lips over Miranda’s vulva, teasing. “Andrea,” she hisses.
“God,” Andy says, nosing at the trimmed patch of hair on Miranda’s pubis. “I’m going to go insane.”
“I follow through,” Miranda mocks, exasperated and desperate. Her hands sink into Andy’s hair, nails digging into her scalp.
Andy grins and descends on Miranda, then. She’s slick, as Andy expected, but it’s an ego booster regardless. Andy instantly loves the musky smell and taste, loves the unique sensation of her tongue sliding through Miranda’s labia. Loves Miranda’s choked cries and tensing thighs.
Her first drunken foray into giving cunnilingus was sloppy but excellent. The girl had come twice in a row, and Andy had been shocked but so very pleased. Andy’s the kind of person who likes doing things just because she’s good at it, enjoys the rush of pride, perhaps also the harmless arrogance of it all. The knowledge of a job well done.
With Miranda, the feelings are amplified. She’s always done her best with Miranda because Miranda’s the kind of person who asks for the best. She meets needs. She goes and gets when Miranda wants.
Now, here, with Miranda bucking into her mouth, Miranda wants her.
Andy gives and gives and groans into the mess between Miranda’s legs when Miranda stills, straining and coming, and giving Andy now. Giving Andy something to lap at.
An orgasmic Miranda is not as loud as Andy had dreamt of. She sighs as if in relief, fingers flexing pleasantly at Andy’s scalp. Then, there’s another puff of air, rough and ragged, and a soft moan. Andy thinks these quiet sounds are unbelievingly rewarding.
Andy licks gently at Miranda’s inner thighs, the junction of her legs. Until Miranda huffs once more and pushes her forehead away.
“Come here,” she says, going for gruff but coming out hoarse instead.
Andy grins, unable to hold back her laugh of pure joy, when Miranda nearly yanks her hair out just to kiss her deeply. It goes on for a few seconds before it becomes clear to Miranda that Andy’s not going to stop beaming like a loon. She pulls away, and they stare at each other for a moment.
Miranda wrinkles her nose and, at first, Andy’s worried about the taste of Miranda still in her mouth—she knows some women don’t like it, but then Miranda’s rolling her eyes and: “You’re very... giggly.”
“Sorry I’m just happy,” Andy defends, crawling up to sit on Miranda’s middle with her arms crossed.
Miranda tugs at Andy’s bra strap, conveniently prying Andy’s arms away from her chest. “Don’t be sorry. Why are you dressed?”
Andy glances down, watching Miranda undo her bra and draw it down her arms. She shrugs, smiling again when Miranda’s eyes stay pinned to the rise of her breasts. Andy rakes her fingers through Miranda’s hair, careful of where it’s stiff with product, and Miranda takes this as her cue to wrap her lips around a nipple.
“I-I-” Andy begins, only to stop when Miranda scrapes her teeth down the curve of her breast, eyes cracked open to glare up at Andy. “I’m glad you’re here.”
Miranda inches back, only to cup her other breast in her hand. “Get off me, Andrea.” Andy gapes. Miranda looks very put upon when she hooks her fingers into Andy’s waistband and snaps it against her. “I need you to take these pants off.”
“Why do you say things that way,” Andy grouches as she does as told, “I’ll have a heart attack one day.”
“It’s the way I am,” Miranda says mildly, distractedly, watching with sharp eyes as Andy kicks her pants and panties off, peels off her socks, and kneels on the end of the bed with her arms on her hips. “Come back.”
“I like you the way you are.” Miranda doesn’t reply to that, only flicking her gaze briefly from Andy’s body to her face. It reminds Andy of those brief nods, acceptances, she used to give Andy when she wore an acceptable outfit to the office.
Andy’s cheeks dimple, returning to her spot in Miranda’s lap. Revelling in the feel of skin-on-skin. The visible sheen between Miranda’s legs. Before she can reach down again, Miranda’s batting at her wrist with a snarl.
“Please,” Andy breathes into Miranda’s temple, trying to reach for Miranda’s clit again.
“No,” Miranda says, bringing Andy’s rebellious hand up to her own shoulder. Andy grabs on obediently. “My turn. And no more talking.”
“I like talking,” Andy says with a pout, even as Miranda slips her hand down to cup her near-throbbing centre.
“Shocking,” Miranda mutters to herself.
“It’s the way I am,” she shoots back.
Miranda doesn’t return Andy’s sappy sentiment. Andy doesn’t mind. She’s about to get fingered, so why would she?
Miranda sighs into Andy’s shoulder, lips parting so she can have Andy’s skin on her tongue. Her breaths are short and quick, fanning hotly down Andy’s chest. That small intimacy is incredibly erotic to Andy. Miranda parts Andy’s folds and finds her drenched enough to slip a finger in easily. Andy moans, holding Miranda’s head to her chest.
“It, um, it won’t take much,” she whimpers into Miranda’s hair.
“Okay,” Miranda whispers back.
Then, she slips another finger in and curls them on her venture to hilt them fully. Her palm rubs up against Andy’s clit, and Andy shakes violently in Miranda’s lap. She lasts about five thrusts before she’s squeezing around Miranda’s finger and swearing up and down.
Miranda doesn’t stop there, though. So ambitious, she is. She slows her motions, brings Andy down but keeps reaching into Andy, just to keep up a silent rhythm.
“I want to see you again,” Andy says weakly. Miranda inches back, eyebrows raised. Andy blushes, clarifying: “Next week.”
Andy is sensitive now, overstimulated. But Miranda’s careful about it; her fingers don’t dig so much as caress at Andy’s sex, palm doesn’t press, just hovers. Slick heat emanates in the space between cunt and hand. That’s all it takes. That, and the feeling of Miranda’s breathing against her. Andy feels like she’s sinking. Being engulfed. Where the first orgasm was a sudden downward crash, this is a slow plunge.
Andy groans long and loud into the side of Miranda’s face. “Oh,” she gasps. “Oh, oh.”
“Good,” Miranda murmurs as Andy goes limp in her arms. “That was good.”
“Very much agree,” Andy says. “Lie down.”
Miranda flops backwards, grunting when Andy lands on top of her. “I’m too old for you.”
Andy groans, rolling off Miranda. Tries not to blow her lid off. “Don’t say that when we’re both naked. It makes me feel like shit. That you think you and- and me- that you think we’re not right. Not when we just did that.”
“I’m sorry,” Miranda says to the ceiling.
Andy swallows, tears pricking at her eyes. “Sorry for what? No. Don’t. I’ll see you again. Next week.”
Miranda scoffs, arm thrown over her face. “You doubt me so easily. I’m sorry for bringing it up. I’m not sorry for bringing you to orgasm twice in a row.”
Andy looks over, a tear accidentally escaping from the corner of her eye from the movement. “You’ll give me a heart attack.”
“I’d be sorry for that too,” Miranda says, tracking the movement of Andy’s tear with hooded eyes. “Let’s try to avoid that.”
“Deal,” Andy says around a watery laugh as she wipes at her cheek. “Are you staying? I owe you one.”
“I have work tomorrow.” Miranda sits up, leaning back on an arm to give Andy an annoyed look. “And we aren’t keeping count.”
“The same way we aren’t talking during sex?” Andy says cheekily. Miranda doesn’t bother responding, choosing to comb out her hair instead, primly curling out her forelock once more. Andy’s fingers itch to bury themselves in that magnificent coif again. She sits up and drapes her arms on Miranda’s shoulder, nosing at the hollow of her cheek and smiling into the corner of Miranda’s frown. “Let me go down on you one more time, and then I’ll call you an Uber.”
Miranda meets Andy’s eyes, her hand falling to Andy’s lower back. She lies back down, prim as can be. “Fine.”
Hang tmr, comes Cassidy’s very predictable text the following afternoon.
Andy considers blowing her off, smarting at the demand, at the assumption that Andy isn’t a very busy working adult. But, as it turns out, she is free, so she sends an eye roll emoji followed by a thumbs-up. Cassidy leaves her on read.
They arrange to meet up at Chipotle again on account of Cassidy’s Mexican food craving, sitting opposite each other once again at a window table.
“She’s happier,” Cassidy announces with a smug little grin.
“I thought she wasn’t a happy person,” Andy grumbles. She’s somehow been cajoled into paying for the both of them when she knows for a fact Cassidy has more money than Andy’s ever made in her life. Cassidy probably doesn’t even have a job. Andy blinks. “Do you work? When I was in college, I remember having less spare time. Part-time barista gig, on top of all my assignments.”
Cassidy shrugs. “I have an allowance. Anyway, maybe I’m just better at time management. And going to less shitty frat parties.”
“I didn’t go to frat parties,” Andy lies blatantly. She squints at Cassidy in suspicion. “Don’t tell me your mom’s assistants are still doing your homework.”
“Let it go,” Cassidy says sagely.
“Do you smoke weed? Do you drink?” Andy demands.
“You’re not my mother.”
“I won’t tell her.”
Cassidy doesn’t look like she believes Andy. “I’m a straight edge. Sober as can be. I sleep at 10 PM and hand my assignments in two weeks in advance. I even donate to the poor,” she says sardonically. “I’m close to achieving world peace. Solving climate change.”
“Ugh. Your mom is, impossibly, funnier than you,” Andy gripes.
At this, Cassidy grimaces. “You’re so gross. Stop talking about my mom.”
“I can’t handle you.”
Cassidy sneers. “I know.”
“What do you want?” Andy says after a while, a good third of the way into her bowl. “I’m sure you have an opinion about…” Andy waves her fork around. “This.”
“Yeah. I think it’s good. Don’t get her jewellery as a gift.” Cassidy shakes her head as if remembering a harrowing moment wherein Miranda gave her childhood trauma from unwrapping a box from Tiffany’s and daring to express an opinion. “You could get her a massage chair. Or a spa trip. She likes those mud baths and baking on a slab of hot rock.”
“That’s… a good idea, actually.” Andy makes a mental note of it.
“And,” Cassidy says slowly. Hesitating. Resolve hardening. “Could you, maybe, talk to Caroline? About, um, the gay thing? I don’t think she’s really over it. Like the teenage angst about Mom hating her for it.”
Andy frowns. “Is she okay?”
“Right now, yeah,” Cassidy says, matching Andy’s tone. “Sometimes, she gets all secretive about crushes and girlfriends. Like she expects us to be mean, even though Mom’s out and would rather drink bleach than hurt our feelings.”
“Sure,” Andy says eventually.
She wonders where Cassidy got the idea that she’s the Priestly whisperer, the solution to all her family issues. She’ll have to say something about it, whether it’s to Miranda is still up in the air.
Somehow, she doubts Miranda will receive it with grace. Then again, she doesn’t know Miranda the way she wants to, and things change. It’s been years.
Cassidy prods at a bean with her fork. Glances at Andy, anxious.
“What?” Andy says around her plastic fork.
“Thanks,” she mumbles. “Mom called me yesterday. I usually see her on the weekends anyway, but she called me to tell me that meddling is unacceptable. But if she was actually mad or unhappy with me, she wouldn’t have brought it up at all.”
“She’s really good at making people feel bad without saying anything,” Andy agrees.
“God, I know.” Cassidy schools her face into something awfully judgmental. “How’s this? Do you think it’s got the same effect? Me and Caroline have been practising together. Someone in my class told me I have resting bitch face; I was so happy.”
Andy laughs. “Spitting picture.”
Cassidy, moody and youthful, pumps her fist and beams.
Thursday, as it turns out, is one of Miranda’s freer days which isn’t saying much since Miranda’s still pretty much booked full even then. At least now that her daughters are out of the house, she doesn’t have to factor parenting as much into her calendar. Then again, after they’d left, she’d attempted to fill the twin daughter-shaped holes with as much work as possible.
But now she’s got Andy, and Andy asks for her time. Andy understands, also, when Miranda can’t offer more. The effort is enough for now. The thought. The unexpected sweetness Miranda hides away under caustic layers of criticism and exhaustion. Andy adores it all.
So, Miranda comes knocking on Thursday nights, and they come together like magnets.
Andy makes time too. She won’t say she reorganizes her entire schedule around Miranda—that would be too much for her ego to handle—but she puts aside small things like cleaning and final spellchecks on articles to spend time with Miranda.
Except Miranda comes this week and, with one cautionary sweep of Andy’s room, promptly swerves away from Andy’s attempt to initiate a makeout session. She frowns, wiggling her fingers at Andy’s chair piled high with clean laundry. “Are you still in college?”
Andy takes her sweater off in hopes that it will distract Miranda. “Look at me instead.”
Miranda pauses, clearly battling internally between the urge to tackle Andy down to the mattress and the intense need to toss Andy’s clothes at her head.
She takes too long. Andy rolls her eyes. “Sure, I’m in college. Can you tell Cassie to Facebook message me today’s lecture notes?”
Miranda looks constipated. “Don’t even- Your sense of humour is unappealing.”
Andy snickers, entering Miranda’s personal space and tugging her close by the waist. “It’s a good thing we have that no talking rule then.”
“Yes, which you follow so often,” Miranda murmurs, kissing Andy’s jaw. “Let’s clean first.” Miranda pulls away.
“What? Are you- What?” Andy splutters. “Seriously?”
Miranda smiles in that evil way she does, already plucking a shirt from her chair mountain and folding it up.
So, Andy finds herself in a ratty tank and jeans, scrubbing at her sink with a scowl deep enough to rival the Mariana Trench. Miranda, in her bedroom, disembowels her drawers and closet with the careful eye of the editor-in-chief of an upscale global fashion magazine.
“This is… disappointing,” Miranda huffs from outside.
Andy doesn’t even bother looking. “Leave me alone. I like my clothes.”
“Let me dress you,” Miranda demands for about the seventh time since they started… whatever they are. Fucking? Dating? She should ask for clarification.
However, she doesn’t want to break the delicate bubble they’ve constructed around them. Their lone space, singularly peaceful and warm in the chaos of the big city.
“No,” Andy replies as she whips her gloves off. She stomps into her room and glares at Miranda. “Can we have sex now?”
“Are you a teenage boy?” Miranda says as she holds Andy’s 2009 summer camp counsellor shirt between two fingers as if it’s a carrier of disease. “Don’t respond to that.”
Andy pushes at her bangs, tired of this. “Miranda, I only get you on Thursdays. Please come to bed.”
Miranda lets the shirt flop back into her drawer and turns to stare at Andy. “Is it…” she starts. Stops to scowl. “Insufficient?”
“No!” Andy jolts closer, twisting Miranda’s arm to her middle. “No, it’s good. God, it’s good. I just mean- I missed you. Let me touch you.”
Miranda doesn’t move. Keeps examining Andy like she has all the answers to every question she’s ever had. Once upon a time, she did.
“We-” Andy hesitates, swallowing thickly. “We don’t have to do anything. I just want to, I guess, lie down with you?”
“…fine.” Miranda lets Andy pull her down in the spirit of compromise, grunting when Andy grapples her into a cuddle. “You’re the strangest person I’ve ever met.”
“I don’t think so,” Andy says, smiling widely, “Remember that Spanish designer with those high collared dresses. Something about fairytale chic?”
Miranda makes a noise of revulsion. “Uninspired.”
“I think you made him cry and change careers to, hm, candle making? His assistant sent me a basket.”
Miranda sniffs. “I do so much for the industry.”
“And- oh gosh, remember that photographer that demanded Nigel look at every single photo between taking them. I mean, don’t photographers take hundreds of pictures in one shoot?” Andy giggles at the memory of Nigel’s face. He had gotten hammered after that, dragging Andy to a fancy hotel bar near the office to commiserate. “I think that’s the only time I’ve ever heard Nige whine.”
“He wasn’t strange,” Miranda comments after a beat. “He was an imbecile with self-esteem issues. The photos turned out terribly anyway, and he couldn’t offer enough alternatives. Suffice it to say, his career was very short-lived.”
“Your business acumen is kind of sexy now that I’m looking at it from this side,” Andy says, winding her fingers into Miranda’s hair.
Miranda stares up at Andy’s hovering palm, lips pursed.
Andy pulls her hand away to appease Miranda and to cup her cheek, to feel the warm solidity of her skull under her touch. How real this is. Sometimes it feels like a fever dream.
“Why do you have so many Runway issues?” Miranda finally asks.
It occurs to Andy that this is something Miranda’s been thinking about a lot. She’s a little taken aback. Quick to defend: “I don’t really read them-”
“Clearly,” Miranda says, flicking her wrist at Andy’s drawers.
“Shh. I like the feel of new magazines. It’s so shiny and smooth,” Andy admits. “And is it so crazy to think that I missed Runway? Not enough to go back—once was enough, thank you, but I do respect it. Don’t you know?”
“Yes,” Miranda says, even though she doesn’t quite sound like it. “I suppose.”
Andy marvels over Miranda, every micro expression. Her way of thinking. Andy suddenly feels a little impish. “But there’s—okay, sorry, can you promise not to get mad?”
Miranda’s eyebrows furrow. “I make no such promise.”
“Oh, well,” says Andy. “It’s been bothering me. There’s a grammar error in this one issue-”
“What?” Miranda sounds more affronted than Andy’s ever heard her.
“It’s in your letter,” she continues, wriggling out of Miranda’s vice grip and skipping to her shelf. She pulls an issue out at random and crashes back onto the mattress, laughing when Miranda immediately rips it out of her hand.
“My letter,” she snaps. “My letters will not suffer criticism from the likes of you.”
Andy smooths her hand over Miranda’s stomach soothingly. “Me, a horny teenager? A disastrous college student?”
Miranda glares at her over the horizontal cut of Andy’s copy of Runway.
“Me, an accomplished adult reporter? Who, by the way, is a perfectly age-appropriate lover for you to take on,” Andy feels the need to mention lest Miranda truly gets fed up with her. She traces the curve of Miranda’s arm, smiling softly.
“Where’s the error?” Miranda says neutrally, eyes fixed on the magazine page.
Andy laughs then, batting the magazine away so she can dump her face into Miranda’s shoulder. “I was lying. Should’ve seen your face.”
Miranda humphs and leans away only to place her magazine on Andy’s nightstand. She returns to Andy, stroking up her back. “You’re a pest.”
“You make me happy,” Andy says, inhaling the faint smell of Miranda’s perfume and laundry detergent.
Miranda hums, chest rumbling under Andy’s splayed hand. “Yes.” Another considering sound. “Next week. Friday evening.”
“Yes,” Miranda says nearly inaudibly.
On Friday, Miranda invites her to the townhouse. It looks much the same, and it throws Andy for a loop. For a long time, she stands on the stoop, staring up at the dark windows.
Eventually, Miranda runs out of patience and twists the door open. “Andrea, the inside is as magnificent, I assure you.”
Andy creeps in, sheepish. “I feel so naked without the Book.”
“Don’t be ridiculous.” Miranda disappears around a corner, and Andy’s mood sours.
“My feelings aren’t ridiculous,” she says as she enters the kitchen.
The kitchen is all stone and marble, and there’s pasta on the stove. Andy gravitates towards it, peeking into the pot.
Miranda exhales heavily, leaning against the island. “I can never say the right thing to you.”
“That’s not true,” Andy says, eying one of the empty plates set out. “I’m just reminiscing. Is that not allowed?”
Miranda waves her hand in acquiescence when Andy reaches for a ladle with a questioning look. “I would prefer to move forward.”
Andy puts out two plates. “That’s fine. You could just say that instead of being so dismissive.”
“It’s not easy,” Miranda says softly as she pulls her plate closer. “How can you find the words so easily? To express this? The depth of this?”
Andy feels thoroughly romanced. She takes Miranda’s hand, maintaining eye contact as she presses her lips to the heel of Miranda’s palm. “Okay. We’ll figure it out along the way.”
Miranda’s thumb presses into the hollow of Andy’s cheek. “Fine.”
Andy smiles and releases her, tasting her dinner. “Did you make this?” Miranda stares blankly at her like she’s only got two brain cells rocketing around in her hollow skull. Andy nudges her arm, good-natured still. “It smells wonderful.”
“Yes,” Miranda says haughtily. As if the mere thought that she could be bad at something is offensive. Or, Andy thinks, it’s insulting that she’d believe Miranda could do something badly for Andy.
Andy is besotted. It’s happening so fast; she’d be alarmed were it anyone else.
It tracks, though, that it would be Miranda of all people who’d have Andy feeling like this. Ever the overachiever she is, for Miranda.
“I think… we’re dating, right?” Andy broaches.
“Good god,” Miranda huffs. “We’re spending time together. That’s all.”
“And having sex,” Andy adds.
Miranda gives her a dirty look. “That’s all.”
Andy laughs. “That doesn’t work quite like it used to.”
“What a shame.”
“And we aren’t doing this with anyone else, yes?” Andy says, “Is that all?”
Miranda scowls fully. “That. Is all.”
“Good,” Andy says with a nod. She brings a forkful of pasta to her lips. “I don’t like sharing.”
“Neither do I,” says Miranda, piercing Andy with her ice-blue gaze.
Andy’s never felt warmer.
Two months after establishing their relationship officially, Cassidy joins them for dinner at a hip sushi place she’d raved about. Miranda sits next to her daughter, eying the way she holds chopsticks, and Andy sits opposite.
“This is on me,” Cassidy says to Andy. “So, you can stop bringing Chipotle up. It’s tired.”
“Which means that I’m paying,” Miranda says as she browses the menu. “Stop bringing her to Chipotle, please. I heard their kitchen cleanliness is not up to standard.”
Andy grumbles. “It’s not me suggesting Chipotle. Cassidy’s the one with an addiction to it.”
“Snitch. Mom, you should try it.”
“She’ll barely look at a burger,” Andy starts, but then Miranda puts the menu down and cuts Andy a withering look.
“Why don’t you hail a waiter,” Miranda says to Cassidy, pointedly not asking.
So, they go in a circle, listing their orders, and then Cassidy’s pulling her phone out. She ignores Miranda’s ire, fingers flying across her screen. Miranda looks to the ceiling when Cassidy’s phone rings loudly. Really, a phone call on speakerphone in public?
“What,” comes a very grumpy sounding Caroline.
“I’m with Mom and Andy,” Cassidy informs her, waving her phone in front of Miranda’s face.
“Bobbsey,” Miranda says, quickly forgetting her annoyance at Cassidy’s lack of manners.
Andy smiles at the camera when Cassidy turns it to her. Caroline waves from beneath a mountain of blankets.
“Are you sick?” Miranda says, snatching the phone away from Cassidy. “Did you take medicine?”
“Cramps,” Caroline mumbles tinnily.
“Should I have Tylenol delivered?”
“You can do that?” Andy mumbles to Cassidy, who shrugs.
Miranda spends the entire time before their food arrives doting on Caroline. To an outsider, she might seem stiff and insincere, but a motherly Miranda is the warmest version there is. Andy sighs, smiling at Miranda.
Cassidy kicks her shin. “Can you not?”
“Not what?” Miranda passes the phone back to Cassidy and picks her chopsticks up.
“Andy’s mooning over Mom in public,” she tells Caroline.
“Cute,” Caroline says distantly.
“Hang up. Stop bothering her,” Miranda commands. “Call me when you feel better,” she says, barging her way into the frame. “And tomorrow regardless.”
“Yeah, yeah, bye. Love you. Bye, Andy.”
Miranda hums, nodding decisively, and mixes her wasabi into her soy sauce. “Mooning?”
“Don’t know what she was talking about,” Andy says, putting her spare spicy tuna sushi on Miranda’s plate, “I hate your guts.”
Cassidy mopes. “Why do I have to be here?”
That had been Miranda’s first attempt at making their relationship known. It had not succeeded.
At least to the general public. Somehow, Nigel finds out and he emails her personal account, including many question marks in the body of his correspondence. He seems happy when they meet up for drinks. When he casually mentions that he’s looking for opportunities outside of GQ, Andy has to hide her grin behind her glass. He catches it and rolls his eyes anyway, insisting that Miranda had nothing to do with it.
He’d called Miranda a cougar in passing, and Andy nearly had a coronary when Miranda called not moments after, surreptitiously glancing over her shoulder in paranoia. Nigel laughed uproariously.
Miranda had wanted to know which bar they were at, marking her second attempt at outing them.
No go, yet again.
Her third and final attempt becomes clear to Andy when she checks her mail and finds a pressed envelope with her name on it. A tasteful off-white invitation to Miranda’s annual gala. Except where it usually tells Andy she can bring a plus one, it’s blank cardstock.
Andy calls Miranda, grinning. “What if I wanted to bring someone?” she says when Miranda picks up.
“I organize the event, in case you forgot,” Miranda says, semi-distracted.
“Someone else, I mean,” Andy says, fishing for a reaction.
A beat. “This is an inane conversation.”
But Miranda’s alert now, and that’s exactly what Andy wanted. “I’m giving you a gift. And me, I guess.” Miranda stays silent expectantly. “Full control over my wardrobe, hair, and accessories.”
“My,” Miranda breathes. “Send me your measurements. Goodbye.”
Dial tone. Andy scoffs at her phone, shaking her head with a fond smile.
The gown Miranda buys her hugs her form and drapes behind her feet. It has reflective dark detailing on its silver body, the sleek sheen the first thing Andy notices. There are two thin slits in the middle, which she’d be uncomfortable with were it not for the white faux fur coat Miranda assures is hers. Miranda also hands her a bag containing intimidating grey heels and intricate silver bracelets and earrings, along with an ear cuff that Andy fiddles with curiously until Miranda pries it out of her hand and slides it on the shell of her left ear.
“I look badass,” Andy says, turning to check her ass out in the mirror. “Like an evil stepmom.”
Cassidy, lounging on the nearby couch, laughs. “Not yet.”
Miranda yanks on a strand of Andy’s hair—an accident or not, Andy doesn’t know. “You look exquisite.”
Andy smiles at Miranda in the mirror, patting the hand on her shoulder. “Yes, yes. Thank you.” Andy leers, then. “You too.”
Miranda’s in classic black, low cut to show off her glittering necklace. Andy turns and places both hands on Miranda’s collarbones, running her thumbs over the exposed skin.
“Can’t wait for Cass to leave,” she teases.
Miranda, similarly, gives her a stern look. “No.”
“Sorry,” Andy murmurs sincerely, pressing a fleeting kiss to Miranda’s cheek before settling down on the vanity chair to slip her shoes on.
PDA is a nonstarter so far, which is problematic since Andy always wants to touch Miranda, but she can let it go. Anyway, Miranda does not shy from showing affection to Andy in private. She lets Andy cuddle up to her whenever they’re alone, lets Andy mooch off her plate, lets Andy drag her into her humongous bathtub for an hour-long soak.
Being with Miranda brings a lot of joy, even if it means a lot of compromises too. Andy likes the compromise, though. Andy learns to like things the way they are.
If, after a taxing day, Miranda needs company, she’ll pick Andy up from wherever she is and suffer chaste car rides (she doesn’t have a privacy screen) just to bombard Andy with her voracious appetite the moment they get home, and the door closes. Like a tide coming in to sweep her away. The passion still takes Andy off guard.
Tonight, however, will be a real challenge with Miranda looking like that and Andy feeling like a million bucks. At least Miranda has approved intertwining arms, so Andy won’t be entirely starved.
So, the moment they step out of the car, Andy slips her hand in Miranda’s elbow, following along as Miranda guides them down the red carpet. She’s got her camera-ready smile on, occasionally glancing over to catch a glimpse of Miranda’s own pearly whites. Her public persona is devastatingly attractive.
Miranda is basically hurling a big gay brick at the press with this. Cameras flash, and questions are shouted, and Andy’s cheeks hurt from grinning so wide. Miranda tilts her head to Andy sometimes, whispering, “Don’t answer that rag,” in a catty tone that makes Andy want to cackle.
Other times, Miranda answers questions short and concisely. She gives few personal details away, redirecting attention with her answers. Andy pipes in occasionally with a compliment about Miranda’s professional life or a humble mention of her own.
By the time they’re in the venue proper, she’s lightheaded and in high spirits anyway.
“A real circus, huh,” she mutters when she finally gets to sit.
Miranda turns a sincere smile to Andy, and Andy soaks it in like a flower to radiant sunlight. “Indeed. Journalists, the clowns.”
Andy snorts, nudging Miranda’s legs with the tip of her heel. “What does that make you? The lion with its mouth open that some idiot sticks their head into?”
“Oh, that’s nice,” Miranda says lightly, looking genuinely pleased with that. A little bit villainous too.
Andy pushes her foot into Miranda’s shin again. “Only you would like that. One of a kind.”
“I did say, didn’t I? No one can do what I can.” Miranda leans on the table, cheek in her hand. “What we can.”
Distantly, Andy’s aware they’re very much forming an exclusionary bubble around them. There are two people seated at their centre table already, attempting to surreptitiously look at them, but neither of them pays them any mind. No, Andy doesn’t care at all. Any self-consciousness is buried away under the quiet warmth Miranda exudes.
Andy keeps her hands to herself. Basks, regardless, in Miranda’s attention. “I think the secret’s finally out.”
Miranda nods, rolling her eyes. “About time.”
Andy laughs, and Miranda does too.
By the time seven months have passed, Andy’s very much in love and Miranda’s very much out of the closet. Miranda’s still not the most demonstrative, still occasionally emotionally stunted enough to make Andy want to tear her hair out. Nonetheless, she kisses Andy with a reverence that makes Andy feel like she’s walking on clouds.
Cassidy manages to catch Andy alone and rings Caroline up on FaceTime. Caroline admits to Andy that she’s just afraid Miranda will hate her girlfriends because, as it turns out, Caroline’s type is 'tattooed goth girl.' Miranda hates tattoos very, very much. Cassidy hears about this and laughs so hard, Miranda hears through the wall and asks about it over dinner. Andy maintains her silence, and Cassidy does not.
It’s not exactly a family unit. Andy never wanted to have children in the first place. But what they have is good. Is perfect. No matter what the press or her parents say about Miranda or her, or them together.
Andy’s skin is thick enough, and she’s adept at compartmentalization, and that’s something she knows Miranda appreciates. These are the things that make Andy genuinely believe they are two people suited solely for each other at this specific point in time. She likes them precisely the way they are, all the road bumps and smooth tarmac.
Even now, Andy doesn’t know if their conversations will remain lighthearted banter or veer into venomous arguing. Still, always, Andy looks forward to talking to Miranda on the phone or when they meet after work.
The first time Andy told Miranda that she loved her, Miranda had been mid-orgasm. Andy had teared up a little from all that emotion, but Miranda had thought that Andy was hurt by Miranda’s lack of response. After that, she’d shoved Andy onto her back with a scowl, grumbling, “Idiot,” and “those feelings are obviously reciprocated,” and then she had impaled Andy on three fingers until she went momentarily blind from pleasure.
So, somehow, they work. Andy and Miranda. They compromise and love each other. They make it work.