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Where We Love Is Home

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She was just like a car crash, for people knew they shouldn’t look but still failed to bring themselves to look away. She had her eyes focused on her way to her private office and wouldn’t look away to check if her jacket had effectively landed on her second assistant’s desk. Regardless, it was up to Andrea to put it away.

Where was that cheeky girl, by the way? Oh, here she comes, boiling hot Starbucks in hand and way too many bags to handle without spilling it and burning her hand.

Miranda heard a squeal and sighed, unnerved that people must make such noise when she’s in such dire need of focus, when she hasn’t even got her coffee yet, seriously, where was that impossible, insolent girl?

As she peaked above her glasses, she barely had time to register what was happening before her legs decided against her will to jump off her chair and run towards her crying second assistant. Her bags were on the floor, the coffee had spilled and most probably spoiled some of the clothes. Andrea shook her hand violently and looked absolutely horrified when she realized that Miranda had witnessed it.

“Mi- Argh, Miranda, I’m so, so sorry, I promise I’ll-“

“No-no, no, you will come with-“

“But the-“

“Leave it.” Miranda decisively said and guided the girl to her office, to her bathroom, running the cold water on the sink. Let us say she guided her, because dragging an employee to the bathroom could get Miranda in trouble with HR.

“Don’t take your hand off the water. You could get a higher degree burn if you don’t cool of the burnt area quickly enough.”

Andrea had no intention of taking her hand off the cool running water. It provided instant relief and she knew form having burnt herself in the kitchen somewhat recently, that as soon as took the hand off the water, it would start burning like hell again. She didn’t know that this also helped prevent it from getting worse, but wasn’t Miranda Priestly full of surprises?

Emily turned around the corner to find that both desks were empty. The phones were ringing and there were spilled coffee and stained designer clothing on the floor.

Not for the first nor tenth time that week, she wished bloody Andrea Sachs would be fired. Emily found her unfashionable, dumb and painfully inadequate for the job. She cared so little for her, she didn’t even bother hiding what she thought and would frequently belittle and make fun of her.

In all fairness, if the redhead knew where Andrea was and why Miranda’s office was seemingly empty, she’d hate her all the more for it. Even though her hair was a very vibrant red, green didn’t suit her at all. Color theory can be a bitch sometimes.

“Better?” Miranda whispered.

Andy nodded and was starting to move her hand away form the running water when Miranda touched her arm and said, very clearly “No.”

“I can’t just be here all day…” The girl murmured and regretted how it sounded as the words came out of her mouth. She had been working at Runway for enough time to understand that Miranda was not the one to show a caring face to anyone in the building. And she’d fucked up the coffee, the clothes and her hand and wrist.

Since Nigel helped her get sort of a make over and oh, especially since she dropped the heavy unpublished Harry Potter manuscript on the editor’s desk, she had grown more comfortable in Miranda’s presence. Still, she was completely floored by the way Miranda laughed and said “Imagine what PageSix would have to say about that…”

She must have stared. Lovingly, yes, but still stared, because Miranda noticed the way her eyes lingered and thought to herself that perhaps taking Andrea to Paris, in detriment of Emily, was not her finest idea. She still had to tell her that.

Later, tomorrow or the next  weak, at the townhouse, she decided, and walked out of the bathroom to order her first assistant to get any sort of ointment for burnt skin.

Obedient as ever and because “You may never ask Miranda anything!”, she left that very second and refrained from questioning her about Andrea’s absence. Well, Emily thought, if she was stuck with running errands again, then Miranda shouldn’t take long to inform her that she should start interviewing candidates for the girl’s position. Never had a trip to the nearest pharmacy been such a pleasant experience.

When Miranda stepped back into the bathroom, Andy was startled but quick to say “I think it’s getting better, really, I can-“

“Emily will be back with cream that’s specific for these things. You’ll apply it and rest. Let me know, at the end of the day, if you’re fit to work tomorrow.”

“I can still do my job… and you shouldn’t have sent Emily out to get anything for me, she’s got work to do, Miranda, I- Thank you, but there’s no ne-“

“Andrea, look at me.” She did. Miranda continued, the look in her eyes hardened and her soft spoken voice lacked its recent warmth. “I hope this is the last time you take the liberty of telling me how you think I should do my job or what tasks I should delegate my assistants.”

“I didn’t mean to- I’m sorry.” There are days like this, when you feel like it’s a miracle you haven’t been fired yet. “I’m sorry…” She repeated, but her voice was broken and her hand was burning again but she needed to get out of there. Just when she thought it couldn’t get worse, the knot it her throat tightened and the tears rolled down her face.

“Promise you’ll call me by the end of the day.”

“I- I promise.” The lifted her chin up, with a little help of Miranda’s finger under it. This was new, looking Miranda in the eye from this distance.

The editor’s shoulders relaxed, but there was no way she would wipe away her second assistant’s tears, kiss her forehead and tell her everything would be okay. As she understood just how much she wanted to do just that, she let go and looked down to her watch and quickly disappeared to get own damn coffee.

Just then, Emily appeared with the cream she’d retrieved from the pharmacy. Change of plans.

“There you are, Emily. Get me my coffee.”

“Yes, Miran-“

“And help Andrea with her hand, make sure she takes the cream home with her and applies it as directed. That’s all.” She dismissed her first assistant, leaving her gaping like a fish out of water to attend to her meeting in the art department.

Andrea got out of Miranda’s office and received a livid death stare from Emily, who angrily dropped the little bag from the pharmacy on her desk and left.

Chapter Text

By the end of the day, Andy paced around her kitchen. Her skin didn’t burn anymore, it was superficial enough to heal in time for her to be back at the office the next day.

She replayed the day’s events over and over in her little worried mind. Her soon to be ex-boyfriend was spending the night out at some friend’s bachelor party, which resulted in the young woman pacing around an empty apartment with her phone in her hand.

“Hello, Miranda?”

“Andrea, how are you?”

“Ahm, I’m fine. My hand’s a lot better. Thank you.”

“Honestly?”

“Yes. The cream was great and it doesn’t really hurt anymore. Again, thank you, and I’m sorry for spoiling your coffee and the, well, the clothes that-“

“Some of the bags were okay.”

Miranda was the first to break the brief silence that followed.

“So, you’re coming back to work tomorrow, yes?”

“Yes.”

“Good.” She said and hung up the phone, only to find two redheads peaking at her out of curiosity.

“Were you talking to Andy?” One of them asked as both made their way closer to their mother.

“Yes, Bobbsey… Why would you ask?”

The other twin, Cassidy, jumped forward. “You said she’d burned her hand, is she better? Will she deliver the book tomorrow night?”

Miranda was surprised, earlier, when Caroline questioned her about Andy not delivering the Book that night. She wasn’t expecting her daughters to be keeping tabs on their assistants.

“We’ve been thinking… And you should promise to never fire her.”

“What do you mean? I can’t promise that.”

“Of course you can!” Caroline looked her in the eye, defiant and determined to make it very clear this was non-negotiable. Then, her sister reminded them that “You still haven’t answered if she’s doing better! How’s her hand? And will she be back tomorrow?”

“Okay, let’s just… Why don’t you come with me? We’ll bake those cookies you wanted to take to school tomorrow, for your little friend’s birthday-“

“But, what about-“

“We’ll talk about Andrea, while we’re at it, okay? Come on…” She rested her hands lovingly on the girls shoulders and walked to the kitchen with them.

The girls were quick to go around the kitchen collecting ingredients and gathering them on the kitchen isle. They didn’t forget about Andy, though.

Caroline brought it up. “I hope you’re not trying to distract us with cookies.”

“I wouldn’t dare!” She dramatically answered, taking a hand to her chest and gasping in feign offense. “Now, one question at the time, ok? Go.”

As they measured and mixed and the kitchen got progressively messier, conversation flowed easily.

“How’s her hand?” Caroline asked first.

“She’s doing much better. Barely any pain at all… that cream I told you Emily got for her must have helped.”

“Did she tell you that?”

“Well, no, but I assum-“

“Why didn’t you ask her?”

“Yeah, that was the shortest phone call ever. You didn’t even ask any questions.”

Miranda took a deep breath in. This seemed to be really important to her girls, for some reason unknown to her, but the best she could do now was to go along with it.

“Andrea is doing just fine. She told me her hand didn’t hurt anymore. Next question.”

The girls looked at each other and decided it was Cassidy’s turn.

“Is she bringing the book tomorrow?”

“Yes.”

“Are you going to fire her?”

“Unless she makes something stupid, no.”

“Andy isn’t stupid, mom.”

“Next question.”

“No, why do you think she’ll make something stupid?”

“She probably won’t, I was just saying… I can’t promise not to fire someone, baby, I need you to understand that. Sometimes people are just not competent at their jobs and for Runaway to be the best magazine it can be, I need to have only the most capable and talented people with me.”

“But you can’t fire her.” Cassidy whispered, looking rather upset. “She’s the best. Even if she makes a mistake, she won’t stop being the best. We make mistakes all the- you make mistakes all the time, that doesn’t mean we’re not the best, right?”

Miranda had to pause at that. The girl did have a point, yes, but what was it so important to them that Andrea wasn’t fired?

“Bobbseys…” She said and wiped her hands on the nearest by towel. She opened her arms and gestured for them to come closer. 

The girls approached her and felt part of a very top secret conversation, all of a sudden, because their mother made a show of looking around to  make sure no one was listening, even though the house was empty, and whispered “Why are you so worried about Andrea?”

“She prefers to be called Andy, mom.” Caroline whispered back.

Again, Miranda was confused, so she asked, keeping her voice as low as possible. “and how do you know that?”

“Because she told us, of course. Unlike you, we actually make questions.”

“Okay. And why are you so worried about her?”

“She’s our friend!”

“And you can’t get rid of her!” The twins’ tone of voice lost their secrecy as they expressed their concerns.

“Because then she won’t come here anymore and she won’t be our friend anymore and-“

“And she won’t want to play with us anymore…”

By this point, Miranda’s best strategy was to sound as nonchalantly as possible and get the girls to confide in her, without feeling they’d done something wrong or that they’d be in trouble for revealing too much. “How did you become friends?”

But that’s the thing about children. They don’t see malice where adults might. Their answers were as transparent as they come because, really, what could be so wrong about having a friend?

“She’s here literally every night, she helps us with our homework and science projects, we watch movies together… How could we not become friends?”

Perhaps it was a perk that came with being her assistant, she thought, and didn’t like it one bit. Andrea was positively harmless, but she wouldn’t trust any of her other assistants around her children.

“Are you friends with Emily?”

“Why?”

“Of course not!”

“Why would anyone be friends with her?”

“It’s just… Andrea is not the first assistant to help with homework or school projects.”

“You don’t understand… Andy is just… different, okay?”

“Yeah, mom, have you ever seen her? Have you ever even met Andy? Wait a minute, are you not friends with her?”

“Andrea works for me… people who work together are not… friends.”

“Why not? Aren’t you together all the time?”

“Wait, does that mean that our teachers are not friends with each other?”

“I don’t know the staff at Dalton, baby, but yes, maybe they’re friends, maybe they’re not… Would you like me to be friends with Andrea?”

“Yes! I mean, if you’re friends, then it’s okay, you can fire her, because she’s still coming over to see you and to spend time with us.”

“Yeah, mom, if you can’t promise not to fire her… At least promise you’ll be her friend.”

“Yes, yes! Mom, do it, promise you’ll become Andy’s friend!”

“Let me see if I get this straight.” Miranda said and then shifted her back and forth between her twin daughters. “You’re friends with Andy. You’re not friends with anyone else from Runway-“

“Well, there’s uncle Nigel…”

“True, we’ve known him forever! But we don’t really talk to him, he’s not like Andy, Andy is d-“

“Different, I know. I understand that… And you don’t want her to stop coming to our house, is that right? That’s why you’re worried about her being fired?”

The girls promptly nodded.

The first thought that popped into Miranda’s head was that the girl had to have some ulterior motive to get so close to her children. She was out to get something from her, or worse, would use the girls as leverage if Miranda threatened to fire her.

“Any more questions?”

Caroline elbowed her sister, who blurted “Do you like her?”

That wasn’t hard to answer. “Yes.” Miranda said, curtly and ready to move on to the next question.

“Then why were you so surprised when we said we liked her?”

Miranda shrugged at that, her eyebrows lifting up playfully “I just wasn’t expecting it. I didn’t know you spent so much time together, I didn’t know you got along. But- Well, I guess we all like her. And that’s— “ Miranda had to take a really deep breath, part to calm herself down, part to accept that it was “fine.”

They proceeded to get their cookies ready for the oven and to tidy up the mess they’d made.

“Mom, you look sad.”

“I’m not sad, baby… Mommy’s just-“

“Do you miss Andy? Because she’s not here tonight? It’s okay, we miss her too.”

That was not it. The feelings Miranda had for the younger woman bordered on paranoid more than longing, but- “Yes.”

“Why don’t we call her?”

“it’s late, my love, I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

“Maybe she’s still awake. Can we just say goodnight?”

At least that would give Miranda a chance to see it with her own eyes.

“Yes? Miranda? Is everything alright?”

“Andrea.” Miranda looked at her little Cassidy who was signaling for her to pass her the phone. “Cassidy wants to speak to you.” Caroline jumped off the counter with a pout on her face. “Oh, and Caroline, too, obviously.”

“What’s wrong? Did anything happen to them?”

“They just… miss you, that’s all. Here-“ Caroline took the phone from her mother’s hands, earning herself a hard glare and running towards her sister so they could put Andy on speaker and have her all to themselves.

“Andy!” They chorused. “Are you okay? How’s your hand?”

“Hi! I’m great, my hand’s as good as new, you don’t need to worry. And what are you little munchkins up to?”

“We baked cookies!”

“Yeah, mom’s got the best recipe, we’ll save some for you!”

“That’s so kind, thank you.”

“We really missed you today.”

“Ow, me too! But I’ll be back tomorrow, okay? And I’m bringing a movie, have you decided between Robots and Chicken Little yet?”

“We haven’t watched Chicken Little yet, but Robots is Caroline’s new favorite…” Cassidy said. “Can’t you bring both?”

“I don’t know if we have the time to watch both…”

“We can start early on our homework!”

“Okay, we’ll se how it goes. Now, it’s getting late, you should go to sleep and convince your mother to do the same, or else you’ll be extra sleepy tomorrow morning.”

“Wait!” Caroline looked up to see that their mother was staring at them, lost in thought. “Mom, will you join us? And watch a movie after homework?”

Miranda had plenty to do by the end of the day. The book wouldn’t review itself. She tried to find a way to make it work inside her reeling mind and was already on the verge of saying no when she looked back at the two red-haired girls’ shinny blue eyes, her own softened and she gave them a slight nod.

“She said yes!”

“You should bring Robots then, mom has to watch it!”

“And we don’t mind watching it again, Chicken Little can wait.”

“Are you sure?” Andy asked and made a mental note to bring both anyone, for the case the girls would change their minds the next day.

“Yep, 100%”

“200%!” Cassidy chirped in and careful picked up the phone from her sister.

“Okay, deal. See you tomorrow…”

“Good night, Andy!”

“Good night, Caroline. Good night, Cassidy… Good night, Miranda.”

“Sweet dreams, Andrea…” Miranda rolled her eyes and disappeared from the room, angry at herself for having agreed to letting the girls call her, to watching a movie with them the next night, for-

“Mom, your phone!”

“Oh, yes, thank you, darling.”

“Is everything okay? You ran away…”

“Hey, the oven’s blipping!” Came the other twin’s voice from the adjacent room.

“Mommy’s fine, don’t worry. Let’s turn off the oven, so our cookies don’t burn, and then go to bed, yes?”

“Yep, let’s go.” Caroline took her hand and took her back to the kitchen, where they turned off everything and let the cookies in place to rest and to cool down for tomorrow. Sugar before bed was a big no-no.

Later that night, Miranda Priestly struggled to fall asleep. There were too many words racing through her mind. She couldn’t help overthink the conversation with her daughters, the way her second assistant seemed too comfortable talking to them on the phone and the way her heart hammered in her chest when she heard her say Goodnight, Miranda.

 

Chapter Text

“Andrea.” Came a very soft spoken call from Miranda’s office.

The girl hurried to stand in front of the editor’s desk. She closed the door behind her when Miranda told her to do so.

The editor reclined in her chair and took a deep breath. She looked livid and for good reason. At least inside her pretty little anxious mind. Using her children was as low as anyone could go.

Andrea had gone from being this adorable nymph that taunted Miranda’s dreams to drawing a big red target on her forehead. Miranda could very well keep her pants on, but couldn’t control the damage the girl could do by controlling her impressionable children.

Because several minutes had passed and the girl was starting to show her growing impatience, Miranda got up from her chair and circled her glass desk, leaning against it slightly and locking eyes with Andrea’s evasive brown ones.

Miranda mentally gave herself a pat on the back for being able to make the girl uncomfortable and conjured that if she truly were innocent, then she’d have nothing to fear.

“You really thought I wouldn’t know? You really thought that I’m so absent as a parent that my own children would never confide in me? That you could just manipulate them and use them against me?”

“Miranda…?” If Andrea was expecting anything, this wasn’t it.

“Don’t. Lie. To me. You’ve been getting close to them, influencing them, making yourself indispensable to the point that they’d… miss you. And for what? You’re competent at your job, you don’t need to use literal children as leverage to keep me from firing you. Although I really feel like doing so, right now.”

“Then, do it. I can work anywhere.” That was said without much thought put into it, but then, as Andy realized what she’d just said, she found that she wasn’t scared of it. It was impulsive and not at all what she had planned for that day, but everything was better than being accused of having ulterior motives towards her little munchkins.

Andrea loved those two and could tell, by their mother’s wording and icy cold stare that she was about to be exempted from spending time with them. Miranda would probably tell her to leave her children out of it, but if there wasn’t an “it”… In a painful heartbeat, Andy understood that this was real, that she would rather lose the job that those two little red-haired pranksters.

She could try and cry and spend hours scrambling through her limited vocabulary, for the words to convince Miranda that she cherished her girls, that she would never- but for what?

One doesn’t just reason with Miranda Priestly. One doesn’t just speak with her.

“Drop it. The bluffing, you’re terrible at it, it’s unnerving, and-“

“I’m not.” Miranda had never seen her so determined. Confident, yes, especially after the Harry Potter stunt, but never this determined. “In fact…” She moved towards the desk, as if Miranda wasn’t leaning against it, as if the paper and pen she was picking up were hers to make use of. “Here. I quit.”

Miranda looked down at the paper to read the girl’s two-week notice.

“Now, I hope this clears things up. See you later, tonight?”

This was it. If she said no, then she would be admitting that there were other reasons for her not to want Andy to be a part of her children’s lives. If she said yes, she’d be admitting that she was wrong, that Andy wasn’t doing any of this to get ahead. She would have to admit to herself that, for sure, the girl was truly fond of her children, fond enough to literally be left without a job and without severance pay (for she had quit, not been fired).

“Andrea…” She said, instead of yes or no.

The girl had tears in her eyes, she looked deeply offended and Miranda felt completely and utterly lost.

She remembered her girls’ voices and their insistence that she should befriend Andrea, as a way to keep her in their lives. But here they were now. Andrea was neither her assistant nor her friend. By the livid look on the girl’s eye, no, definitely not her friend. Yet, she would still be coming over the townhouse. She’d bring two movies, about robots and chickens.

Andrea waited patiently for the silent conversation Miranda was having with herself to be over. When the editor looked at her and then back at the letter, she nodded shortly. Miranda understood she was serious, and whispered “See you later.”, proceeding then to straighten herself up from her leaning position the table and to pace towards the window behind her desk, where she’d be lost in thought for quite sometime. She didn’t even notice Andrea leaving.

On her way home, Andy called Nate, who was still her boyfriend for whatever reason unknown to them both.

“This time it’s for real, I quit.”

“Well, finally! But where are you going to work now?”

“I don’t know, I’ll send applications to wherever I can, just hope she won’t blacklist me from the entire state of New York…”

“She can do that?”

“Can and most probably will, but honestly I’m too tired to care. I can’t believe she- Ugh, nevermind…”

“What? What did she do this time?”

“You know how I end up spending a lot of time with her children, Caroline and Cassidy. Homework, going to the movies, all of that…”

“Yeah, I remember, you told me they’re the best part of the job.” Nate recalled, along with the handful of times he’d accused her of being more interested in being part of Miranda’s family than of his. There was a lot to be said, from Nate’s point of view, about a girlfriend that didn’t want to have kids with him but would dedicate hours to her boss’s children. She had told him then that this was also part of the job, that is was common ground for Miranda’s personal assistants do help manage the twins.

“And they were. Actually, I’m meeting them tonight, we’re rewatching a movie they like and probably watching a new one that’s out recently.”

“Wait, what do you mean you’re meeting them? You quit, you don’t have to have anything to do with those spoiled brats anymore?”

“But I love those spoiled brats, Nate, I- sorry, but I do…”

“And she’s… letting you? Also, what do the twins have to do with you quitting the job?”

“They missed me, yesterday, when I came home early and ended up not seeing them. They got used to us being together every day. They are… you know, children. They asked Miranda about me and she got all paranoid, accusing me of using her girls, of getting close to them with… ulterior motives, ugh! As if I’d ever use literal children to get ahead in my job! As if I’m the kind of person who’d blackmail her or- I don’t know, Nate, it’s just… I couldn’t stay. She’d never believe me, so I quit.”

“Woah… I told you she’s a bitch, you were the one who kept defending her. You need to be really fucked up to even think something like that.”

“I know, I know… Maybe it’s the place, the job that makes her this way. She’s got a lot on her plate and-“

“You’re still defending her!”

“Let’s just forget about it, please… I’m coming home. Do you know of any type of job I can do while I send out applications?”

“Well, we’re always in need of busboys.”

“Ugh… I mean, they can’t pay worse than what I was making as Miranda’s assistant, right?”

“Yeah, it should be about the same. You’re experienced with running errands, I guess, and we have delivery… I know it’s not the dream job, baby, but-“

“But the bills won’t pay themselves and god knows when or if I’ll be able to find a job as a writer or reporter or… well, you know-“

“Right. And I know this is hard, but you are very talented and I refuse to believe that Miranda Fucking Priestly is the one and only way you can be a journalist, in this god forsaken city!”

“Should I come by now? You’re still at the restaurant?”

“Sure, come by whenever you’re ready. Maybe don’t bring the high heels and Chanel with you. Later, at home we can look over other options and apply for something better, okay?”

“Okay, see you soon. Love ya.”

“Love you too, bye! And cheer up, Andy, you’re a free woman! The beginning of a Miranda-free life...”

Chapter Text

Miranda didn’t tell her children that Andrea had quit. She didn’t tell anyone, actually. Not even HR. For now the only proof of her quitting was the resigning letter Miranda held in her hand.

She wasn’t expecting Andrea to make an appearance during the following two weeks, either… two weeks notice be damned… and honestly, after seeing those brown eyes darken with hurt and injustice, she wasn’t sure she would be able to cope with her at the office either.

She should send out Emily to train Andrea’s substitute, but something inside her hoped that the girl would apologize and beg for her job back, once they met at the townhouse.

When she heard the girl’s soft knock on the front door, she run towards it and hoped that she’d have a chance to talk to her before the twins realized that she’d arrived.

“Andrea.”

“Miranda, can we talk for a minute, before I say hi to the girls?”

Here it was!

The begging, the repentance, the-

“Please, don’t push me away from them.” Andy said, as they made it into Miranda’s study. “I would never do anything to hurt them, I- Please, I even quit, I even-“

“Andrea.” This brought the girl’s rambling to a pause. “I’m not giving you your job back.” But please, please beg me for it. That much Miranda didn’t say.

“I don’t want my job back, I- You’re not listening to me. All I want is to…” Andy closed her eyes and tried to  get her shit together. Miranda let her. “Just- let me be a part of their lives? Don’t forbid me from seeing them or spending time with them.”

Miranda had to contain herself not to let her jaw fall, unhinged, to the floor.

“You don’t want your job back…” She whispered.

“No, just-“

“The girls.” Miranda said, softly, barely above a whisper and locked her eyes with Andrea’s, which were suddenly filled to the bream with tears.

Either she was a formidable actress, or Miranda had read the situation all wrong and lost the assistant she would take to Paris.

Miranda sighed heavily. Looking up, she gestured for Andrea to take a seat. The girl shook her head and started crying, really crying, but looking at the ceiling as if to save herself the humiliation. She refused to leave the room until Miranda promised her she wouldn’t forbid her to have any contact with the girls.

Rolling her eyes, Miranda stoop up and approached the girl, tissue in hand and everything. “Alright, you’ve made your point, now will you just sit and listen to what I have to say?”

The girl took the tissue but didn’t make a move to sit anywhere. Miranda tried reaching for her hand but was immediately denied, as Andy stepped back and looked at her with the same hurt, deeply offended eyes.

“I know I offended you. But you’ll have to forgive me if we’re going to spent time together with them.” Miranda paced around the office, growing increasingly impatient “If I wanted to have them grow up with two adults who hate each other, I would’ve stayed married to their father…” Shit, that sounded- “And I know what you’re thinking, but no, Stephen’s not here either. We haven’t… lived together for the past weeks, and- We’re not- ahm…” She didn’t mean to go there, either. “It doesn’t matter.” She took at quick breath and looked back at Andrea, who eyed her with either amusement or suspicion. “The point is, you can’t stay mad at me. Ever.”

“That’s…” Andy struggled for words but figured she had little to lose. “…the worst apology ever.”

“Take it or leave it.”

With a resigned sigh, Andy put out her hand to shake Miranda’s. When Miranda extended her own hand, though, Andy took a tiny step back to say “I love them. You can’t doubt that. Ever.” 

Of course little miss Andrea Sachs would have something to negotiate, she was impossible, she was making Miranda sigh in annoyance, say “Deal.” and know, deep in her own worried mother’s heart that she was telling the truth.

 oh, good god, Miranda, you practically told her you wanted your children to grow up with her, why would you bring up the girls’ father, why would you even mention Stephen, oh god, this is the absolute worst lesbian romance ever, and you would know, you’ve read them all.

“Deal.” Andrea agreed and Miranda was not surprised to find that her grip was as confident and assertive as she’d grown up to be in the last months she’d worked for her.

This conversation didn’t go according to plan, not at all.

She had just shook her ex-assistant hand on not fighting for the sake of the children they’d raise together.

Well, no, that wasn’t at all what any of them said, but Miranda would anxiously argue with herself over the meaning of this deal for nights to come.

Seeing her to deep in thought, Andy’s shoulders slumped and she got closer to the older woman “Hey…” she tried.

“No.” Miranda shook herself out of it and headed for the door, opening it and quickly making her way up the stairs to meet her girls.

“Mommy!” Cassidy jumped from the floor, where they were playing their board games (the newest obsession), and Caroline bowed her head to say “Hello, mother.”

“How are you, Bobbseys?” She took Cassidy is a fierce hug and gestured for Caroline to join them, which she promptly did.

“We were just waiting for Andy… Have you finished work? Can you join us?”

“Yes, I’ll be watching the movie with you. But is your homework ready?”

“Yep, Andy won’t let us watch movies before that.”

Interesting.

“Oh, really? What else is it that Andy won’t let you do?”

Cassidy laughed at her mother’s suspicious tone and said “Oh, you know… I can’t hit Caroline, she can’t steal from me, no talking to strangers, no paying kids at school to do our homework for us…”

“We can’t say mean things about ourselves! The other day Cassidy said something like oh, I’m so stupid and Andy made us promise not to call ourselves bad names like that.”

“You’re not the type to stop doing something, just because a grown up won’t let you…

“Oh, but these things make sense. I can’t hit Caroline ‘cause it hurts-“

“And I don’t steal her stuff anymore ‘cause it makes her sad, plus strangers could kidnap us!”

“And you used to pay other kids at school to do your homework for you?”

“Not pay but like, we’d get them chocolates and stuff, but not anymore!”

“Sometimes money, so yeah, pay. But not anymore!”

“Yeah, mom, if we kept doing that they would get smarter than us! It wasn’t fair, they were getting candy and getting smarter and knowing more stuff than us! Andy was right.”

So much information, in so little time.

So much for the I bet they only like her because she caters to all their spoiled whims.

The only thing she could really complain about was their children picking up words like… stuff.

“Andy!” Caroline ran towards her when she noticed the young woman was smiling at them from the doorway. Her sister were quick to follow and capture Andy in a tight group hug.

Miranda watched them with a lump in her throat and a heart that must be exhausted from beating to eagerly these past few days.

She was so angry at the girl. What’s worse, the anger came with a sinking feeling in her chest. Not guilt. God, let it be anything other than guilt, what am I? A catholic school girl?

No, soon the mask would slip… and she’d confirm that she’d been right about Andrea all along.   

While the four of them decided how better to make popcorn, Caroline whispered in Andy’s ear that she’d prefer to give the new movie a chance.

“Andy, won’t you cuddle with us?” Asked Cassidy, who was cuddling her mother and sister on the biggest couch, while Andy absentmindedly ate her popcorn in the armchair nearby.

“Oh, dear, I would, but I’m already sooo comfortable here!” She said, with a bright smile and snuggling deeper into her pillow and blanket to reinforce the point.

Plus, I doubt your mother would want to cuddle with me. Andy thought to herself.

The older woman smirked and protectively hugged her children closer to herself.

Chapter Text

As the movie progressed, Miranda found herself more drawn towards Andrea than the screen itself. The girl only caught her staring once and had the decency to quickly look away.

By the time the credits were rolling, the twins erupted in a frenzied talk about what they liked, what they thought of the characters and what the funniest moments were.

Miranda quickly shushed them. “Bobbseys!” She whispered and pointed in Andy’s direction, who was sleeping peacefully tucked in her warm blanket and had her own bucket of popcorn half-eaten on the floor next to her.

The twins shared  a knowing look between them and their mother, who seemed uncertain of what to do.

“Darlings, can you go brush you teeth… get ready for bed? I’ll…” She nodded in Andy’s direction and the twins looked between them again.

“We want to… say goodnight.” Caroline whispered.

Of course. “Careful not to wake her up…” Miranda urged them, in a voice that could break if it were any louder.

“Sweet dreams, Andy.” They each mouthed and softly kissed the sleeping beauty’s forehead, with the utmost care. Miranda was mesmerized. 

As soon as the twins left the room, Miranda sit on the ground and leaned back against the little coffee table that separated them during the movie.

She watched her sleep, her breathing nice and even, her face so peaceful and so, so pretty.

So infinitely capable of getting under her skin.

This was a mess. She shouldn’t have said anything. She shouldn’t have accused her. Andrea was righteous to a fault, she would never… but, at the same time, there was still this voice in the distance telling her to wait, telling her that with time Andrea would hurt them.

Them as in the girls and Miranda herself.

And now she was stuck with taking Emily to Paris. Just the thought of taking someone that was seconds away from fainting and got by exclusively on cheese cubes to such an important week made her nauseous.

She was so sure Andrea would’ve taken to opportunity.

She might have complained about the unfairness of it, although there was nothing unfair about it.

Andrea was simply more capable and Miranda needed the best possible team with her. She would have been reluctant to accept it, but would still be unable to say no.

And now that plan had gone off the window.

And they’d made a deal, about the girls, because, for some unfathomable reason, Caroline and Cassidy seemed to adore her…

Unfathomable, oh, Miranda, look at her. Just… look at her. She’s kind and beautiful and such a smart little thing, she’s-

“Miranda?” The girl called her out of her overthinking mind.

“I didn’t want to wake you.”

“You didn’t… Are the girls asleep?”

“Getting ready.

Andy sat up straighter on the armchair, softly moaning as she stretched, for the position she’d fallen asleep in was the not the most comfortable.

Then, she slid off it to join Miranda on the floor.

“I’m sorry if I… overstepped, with them.”

Miranda wasn’t expecting this, but encouraged her to carry on.

“I should’ve told you something, I should’ve… But Emily said to avoid the girls at all costs, she said you’d be pissed and- well, she was right, you were pissed.” She chuckled, sadly, looking down at her lap where her hands fidgeted. “I’m so sorry, Miranda… I was afraid that, if I told you anything about… well, about us, the girls and I—I was afraid you’d take it the wrong way and- well, you did.”

That was also a shitty apology, Miranda thought. Oh, I’m so sorry I had to hide my relationship with your daughters from you. I did it because I’m scared of you. And I was right all along.

Miranda opened her mouth to hurt her. She really did. But then-

“I shouldn’t have said those things to you. Your heart was—is… clearly in the right place. You have to understand that I’m not… used to any of this. The only people that got close to them were people who were trying to get close to me… Their own father and ahm, step-father refuse to pay them any mind. And you are—were my assistant. My assistants run away from Caroline and Cassidy, not towards them, as you’ve noticed by now.” Miranda shook her head at that. Then, she thought of her first assistant. About Paris. “I can easily picture Emily saying those words to you.”

“Please, don’t take it out on her, she’s just- anxious.”

“Aren’t we all?” Miranda scoffed. As if anxiety were a valid reason to be an asshole. Oh, wait. “Can we…” Her little hand flourishes were back “Move past this?”

Andy nodded and couldn’t help but smile at her, that signature bright smile that so far that night had only been directed at Miranda’s daughters.

“They love you too.” Miranda whispered but more to herself.

That or Andy wanted her to say it again because she hummed “What?”

“Oh, please… they obviously do! If I pushed you away, they’d be mad at me forever.”

Then, don’t. Andy thought.

“No one could stay mad at you forever.” Andy ended up saying instead. She got up really fast after saying that. It’s not like she regrated it or anything, she just knew that she’d cross a line if she complimented Miranda. “See you tomorrow?”

Miranda got up too and looked uncertain.

“I don’t have to come by everyday, I mean-“ She looked back at Miranda, whose baby blue eyes faltered “I don’t know if I will be able to. I got a new job.”

A-ha! That little voice in Miranda’s voice sounded triumphant.

“Of course, that’s why you quit… You’ve got a new job.” She couldn’t keep herself from smiling.

“No-no, no, it’s not like that.”

“Please…” Miranda scoffed, turning her back on her.

“I got a new job, this afternoon, that’s what I meant. After I quit.” Andy was exhausted. “I have bills to pay, you know?”

“Don’t we all?” She scoffed, shaking her head.

Miranda stopped on her way to the door, when Andy said:

“I’m starting tomorrow at lunch as a busboy at Mith and Wollensky’s.”

“A busboy?” Miranda turned back at her.

“I’m sending out applications, of course, I still want to write. But, until then- what I’m trying to say is that I’m still not sure what my work schedule will look like.”

“Andrea…” She looked at the girl, more confused than ever. “What do you think you’re doing?”

“I-“

“You’re telling me you quit your job, without having a plan B? And that you’ll start… what? Waiting tables? Washing dis-“

“Delivery, actually-“

Miranda let that one sink in. After a moment of silence, she said: “Why?”

“I told you why… I panicked, Miranda, you said I was trying to take advantage of them, the girls, oh… I had no choice-“

“We all have choices.”

“Okay, fine! Then I choose them! I couldn’t handle being without them, you don’t understand, this morning at the office, when you said-“

“We talked about this, I shouldn’t have…” Breathe. You’re allowing her to get under your skin again.

Miranda escaped, made her way towards the kitchen.

We all have choices.

Andy was left standing there, without the faintest idea of what she was supposed to do. She assumed that was Miranda’s way of saying the conversation was over.

She found the older woman in the kitchen, preparing her own coffee. After months of being terrorized and having had several dreams about Miranda’s coffee, she couldn’t help but stop and observe how the editor herself did it.

Miranda noticed her presence and said “I didn’t put your letter through, to Human Resources. We’re the only ones who know.”

Andy shook her head.

Miranda put her hands on her waist and tilted her head, searching for Andy’s eyes. Locking their gaze, she let out “I need you to come to Paris with me.”

The girl didn’t agree with that, either, and Miranda already knew she wouldn’t but-

“You need Emily go with you. And she needs it even more. And I just need time to find a better job, this is only temporary, you’ll see, I’ll be-.”

“This has nothing to do with your busboy job. I couldn’t care less. But your… quitting  … came at the worst possible timing. I need the best team with me. And that no longer includes Emily. She’s too unstable and unreliable.”

“I can’t. If I work for you, my intentions with you and the girls will always generate doubts and anxiety, you’ll never know for sure where I stand. But if I leave… Can’t you see? If I leave, then there will be no doubt.”

“I won’t take the girls from you, just… Will you consider it?”

“You said you wouldn’t give me my old job back.”

“Good lord, can we please stop talking about the things I said?”

“I can’t and you know why. This is Emily’s thing. She deserves it.”

“We don’t deserve anything in life just because it’s our thing. Or because we almost killed ourselves preparing for it. We don’t deserve anything, period.”

“Miranda-”

“People are either competent, or not. We either take it, or not. And right now, you’re letting go of the only opportunity you have of ever becoming a journalist.”

“You know nothing about me. And it shows. I’d never throw someone under the bus for a recommendation. The same way I’d never use literal children to get ahead.” Then, on a less serious note and because the tension made her extremely uncomfortable, she smiled and playfully added “I would have slept my way up the top, though, but just because you’re so hot.”

Good, now she’s mocking me. Miranda thought and hated herself for smiling.

“You’re insane.” She whispered and looked away.

As her chuckle died out, Andy added “I won’t give you a reason to take them from me.”

Miranda nodded, reluctantly. She’d fucked up. Andrea was never a threat and now she was stuck with taking Emily to Paris. “You should go.”

Andy agreed, but then the older woman’s voice stopped her in her tracks “It’s getting late, though, would you consider staying? I promise I’ll let you back in the morning, it’s just- I don’t trust a cab to take you home safely.”

“I have a boyfriend at home, waiting for me. And I don’t think he trusts me to safely spend the night out.”

“Oh, of course, I didn’t- of course. But at least send me a text, will you?”

“Yes. Thank you, anyway.”

“Andrea?”

“Hm?”

“I’m sorry.”

Andy liked this version of Miranda, the version that was flustered and smiled to her daughters, the version that apologized and showed so much emotion with her eyes, the version that had more than one tone of voice… The day had been heavy in emotion, in talking and crying with a nap in me middle to smooth things over before their final match. Andy was exhausted. Miranda was, too, but still took her to the door and with the last of her strength looked up at the slightly taller woman to say “Goodnight.”

The young woman gave her a tired smile and thanked her. For being honest, for being kind enough to offer her job back, for inviting her to go to Paris with her.

“I didn’t mean to be a jerk and- well- I meant what I said, but- I guess, not the part about sleeping my way… ahm, it was inappropriate, I’m sorry. I make stupid jokes when I’m uncomfortable.”

Of course, the only way Andrea would say you’re hot would be as a stupid joke.

The girl continued “I don’t want to end the night like this. I’m actually flattered that, after all that’s happened lately, you still consider me to be the best person to assist you during the most important week of your year. But there’s Emily. And the girls. You’re right, terrible timing… I’m sorry.”

Miranda didn’t have the strength to fight back.

“I’m not mad at you, you know?” Andy touched her shoulder and her eyes snapped back up.

“You’re not allowed to be, we’ve made a deal.”

They smiled at each other and, when the door closed, they both felt lighter. A lot had happened and suddenly the world looked brighter… not despite but because of it. 

Chapter Text

Andrea’s new job was showing her just how resilient she could be. First Runway and now this. The girl found herself thinking, that morning in the shower, that she really could do anything.

Her search for a job that’s related to writing wasn’t going so well, but she found comfort in knowing that, by end the end of the day, she’d come home to her girls. To Miranda. To the best few hours of her day.

The first two weeks, she truly believed she could leave work, catch up with the girls and be with Nate for dinner.

They woke up together, had breakfast together and talked all the way to work. They spent the day together, sort of. They had their lunch breaks together. All she was asking was that at the end of the day he wouldn’t frown upon her stopping by the townhouse to spend some time with Caroline and Cassidy.

“And Miranda.”

“She’s not even there, most of the time. You know she works late.”

She’d let herself stay later, a couple of times over the last couple of weeks, but only because Miranda asked her to.

She’d let herself skip dinner with Nate and bring the girls pizza but only because they asked her to. And because Miranda allowed it.

Watching Miranda eat pizza with her hands was an unexpected treat. The woman was impossible, unpredictable, stubborn, spoiled… but also unbelievably and unmistakably hot.

Andy didn’t allow herself to indulge in that sort of thoughts very often.

She knew she shouldn’t. In the beginning the thought of Nate would be enough for her to stop. This past week, though, and because meeting Miranda every day outside the context of Runway meant that they could speak more comfortably now, making jokes and fighting over scrabble even… when Nate appeared in the middle of her thoughts, he could no longer make her stop.

Instead, the thoughts shifted to ways she could break up their relationship without breaking his heart.

Guilt crept in.

But Miranda was married. So, whatever thoughts haunted Andy’s pretty little mind were just that. Thoughts. Harmless and immaterial by definition.

Nate checked his phone for the nth time and that only served as a propeller for his nerves. He knew where his girlfriend was.

She had been fired about a month ago.

No, she had quit.

She had spent the past month working as busgirl on the same restaurant where he served as a sous chef, which meant they shared the kitchen sometimes, with her smiling at him from time to time, if they crossed paths, and juggling her time between helping out as a waitress, doing the dishes, filing out deliveries and so on and so forth.

He thought that, with Andy getting rid of the Dragon Lady’s claws, he wouldn’t feel so alone all the time anymore.

He really made a fool of himself for thinking that getting her Andy back would be as easy as that, as if Runway was the actual problem and not just an excuse for her to blow him off, to escape dinners and avoid his boring ass.

Runway was only the where, not the why to Andy’s character and aspirations’ shift.

She busted her ass off for that ungrateful, snotty bitch, only to end up even farther away from her journalistic dreams.

And now, where was she? At her house, with her children, doing god-knows-what with her.

And he was alone again. Sitting around, pacing around, drinking around a tiny stinky apartment that felt less like home every day.

Nate decided he’d call her again. Just this once, he thought. They could still talk, maybe this was her own fucked up way of hinting that she’d like to be a mom. That she’d like to start a family with him.

He could strike up a fight, but just the thought of having to beg for her attention… Again… just the memory of how needy and pathetic he sounded the last time was enough to make him run to the bedroom and focused on packing his stuff to be out of the apartment before she made it there. It was almost 11pm already and she had to be up early for work the next day.

Work. God, how would he manage working together after the break up?

Break up? Are you serious? Call her, you dumbass… Call. Her.

“Nate? Is everything okay?”

“Where are you, Andy, it’s almost midnight, for fuck’s sake… Are you still-?”

“I’m, ahm- I know it’s getting late, I just… lost track of time. Are you okay? You don’t sound-“

“Andy, I can’t do this.”

“What’s wrong? What are you saying?”

Miranda ended up following the conversation, because well, the yelling was a bit hard to ignore. The conversation didn’t extend itself too much.

There’s this one bit that she couldn’t get off her mind for a while.

Nate had said:

“You quit, but you didn’t, really. I mean, you can quit Runway, but you can’t quit her, you could never quit that bit-“

Andrea had defended her:

Don’t call her that! You don’t-“

“I don’t what? How did you lose track of time? What time do those little monsters go to sleep? And what do you do with their-“

The girl hung up before he could finish what would probably be a positively lewd comment.

“Andrea.”

“I’m- I’m so sorry…” Andy said and looked uncertain as to what to do with her phone.

Miranda gestured for her to hand it over and then threw it into the couch, where it got lost somewhere in the middle of the pillows the twins had leaned against, during their stop-motion animation marathon.

The older woman intended to give her some privacy when the phone rang, but she looked so anxious all of a sudden that she just couldn’t bring herself to move.

By the way cookboy yelled at the other side of the line, it was hard to miss at least some of the words.

“We don’t need to… talk about this, if you don’t want to.”

“I just-“ Andy shook her head and Miranda could she that she needed a moment.

“I’ll take these to the kitchen…” Miranda told her, picking up a couple of plates glasses and half-empty pizza boxes and slowly leaving the living room.

She even thought to herself that, for once, the living room looked like someone was actually living in it, but the phone ringing and the girl saying It’s Nate brought her out of her daydreams and brought a very unpleasant look to replace Andrea’s previously warm expression.

When she came back to the living room, having paced around the kitchen with the words “You can never quit her” and “You could never quit that bitch” repeating over and over again in her mind for about twenty minutes, Miranda found that Andrea was on the couch, leaning forward with her head resting on her open palms. She could see the girl’s shoulders slowly coming up as she took deep breaths and tried to calm herself.

“Andrea…?” She softly called her.

She saw the girl shaking her head, running her shaky fingers through her thick brown hair and letting out a long, worn out sigh.

“I’m sorry you had to witness that.”

“Me too.” At that Andy looked over her shoulder to meet Miranda’s eyes. “Do you want to go home? Talk him down?” Miranda asked, letting her shy little hand sneak up to cup Andrea’s face. Her skin was so soft to the touch.

Andy gently turned her head to signal a heavy no, the slight shake leading her to hide herself in the comfort of Miranda’s hand. She closed her eyes and enjoyed how gentle and caring Miranda could be.

“Would you like to stay?” Miranda whispered and lost what remained of her sanity. She lifted her second hand to fully cup Andrea’s face and held her breath, bracing herself for impact.

Andrea opened her eyes. Miranda drowned in them, not for the first time. “When’s Stephen coming back?”

It was like having a bucket of ice poured over her head.

Jumping back, Miranda stood up from the couch and was ready to disappear into the next room, if it weren’t from Andrea getting up too and grabbing her wrist.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry! I shouldn’t have-“

“No, you shouldn’t. That was-“

“I- I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you or-“

“Of course, you never mean anything. You just happen to- to imply that-“

“I know how that sounded…” Shit. “Miranda, look at me. I know. And I’m so sorry.”

Miranda Priestley hated people who were uninspired, uninspiring and, most of all, people like little miss Andrea Sachs who somehow found her in moments of vulnerability.

Little miss Andrea Sachs who didn’t shed a tear for her ex-boyfriend, who melted into her touch but then opened her huge brown doe eyes to make her feel naked and exposed with just a few words.

Where was Stephen, by the way? When would he come back? As much as it cost her to admit, she had no idea what her husband was up to… and what did that say about her?

What’s more disturbing is that she didn’t really care to know what he was up to.

Even worse, here she was, millimeters away from the other woman as those words came out of her mouth.

And now, the girl held on to her arm and wouldn’t stop apologizing, wouldn’t let go of her.

“Please… I got it all wrong. I was so stupid to think you’d ever be-“

“Be what?”

“I’m sorry.”

“No, say it. Go on, at least be honest about it, drop the timid little girl act and say it.”

Andrea’s eyes welled up with tears. First Nate’s call and now this.

What am I supposed to say here, Miranda… that I know you’d never cheat on your husband? Or that I know you’d never want me?

The first was the one that offended Miranda, the second was the one that made Andrea cry. The girl promptly decided she wouldn’t say any of those words.

She let go of Miranda’s hand and the tears blurred her vision, incessant and heavy, making her pale skin flush around her nose and cheeks and the muscles on her beautiful face contort painfully.

She needed to get out of there. She couldn’t bear Miranda seeing her like this. She remembered how the twins were asleep upstairs and worried that they’d wake up and find her like this.

Miranda was at a loss for words. She was angry but seeing the reason behind her anger reduced to snot and tears did not soothe her. On the contrary.

Just like month ago, when Andrea had burnt her hand, Miranda felt the unbearable urge to wrap the girl in her arms, kiss her forehead, her reddened cheeks and trembling lips, and promise her that everything would be okay.

She worried that perhaps Andy could see that flame in her eyes.

In fact, she knew she must have shown more than what’s appropriate of her, because the girl had just insinuated that she was being… forgetful of her husband.

Andrea passed her on her way to the foyer, in her way to gather her coat and beanie and head out to the snowy streets. As Miranda felt her pass by, she extended an arm that stopped at the girl’s belly for a moment, slowing her down, and spoke:

“Coward.”

To which Andrea nodded in agreement and proceeded to leave the townhouse. She had no way of knowing Miranda was also referring to herself.

No, Andrea felt like the only one at fault, after all she was the coward for not admitting to what was going on inside her head, to how she felt about the older woman… and the fool, for wrongfully assuming Miranda was anywhere close to kissing her, in the moment that preceded her unfortunate and poor choice of words.

Chapter Text

Andrea dragged herself home. Miranda cursed herself for not offering to call her a cab, for not telling her as usual to let her know as soon as she were home, for not inviting her to stay in one of their guest rooms. It was getting later and later, as the older woman paced around her house, fidgeted and eventually grabbed the phone.

Andy felt the phone vibrate next to her and looked over to the tiny screen to see Miranda’s name light up. She tried her absolute best to ignore it.

Meanwhile, Miranda was putting an end to her pacing by forcing herself to sit down, where she proceeded to touch and tug and pull, first at her necklace and then at the collar of her shirt. Noticing she was still somewhat in her office attire, Miranda disposed of her phone on her bed and walked into her closet to get herself into something more comfortable and get ready for bed.

She performed her nighttime routine with slightly shaky hands and mocked herself for it.

Coming back to the bedroom, she got into bed and stared at her phone.

“We had a deal” She texted Andrea, hoping that getting her to read her words would be easier than getting her to pick the phone.

Andy sighed as she read it and let the words repeat in a nauseating loop inside her heard.

The second message came about eight minutes after the first one.

“Just say you got home safe and sound”

Then came the third.

“Please darling”

She could hear Miranda’s voice as she read the words. Miranda called her “darling” sometimes and the whole sentence “Please, darling”… the two words together and read out of context painted a picture that had the girl groaning in frustration.

“When’s Stephen coming back?”

It hit her, that she was in Miranda’s house, a part of her children’s lives, as if she wasn’t married, as if her husband wasn’t going to come back at any moment and put an end to her illusion.

Soon he’d come to poke holes at the way Andy had spent the last month coming to the townhouse, at the end of her exhausting days as a delivery girl, to spent time with Miranda and her children.

She loved those two little rascals so much and Miranda was uninviting at first, but not half as impossible as everyone at Runway expected her to be.

In fact, the woman could be so incredibly warm-

Andy shook herself at the thought and sighed in resignment, calling the sender.

“Hi, Miranda?”

“Andrea! You left me worried.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to.”

“I-“

“No, I know what you’re gonna say, I never mean anything.”

“That’s not w-“

“I know I shouldn’t have said what I said. Or what I almost said. I know, it was inappropriate and- and wrong and- You don’t have to worry, I won’t say anything of the sort ever again.”

“An-“

“I know we have a deal. And I’m not mad at you. Just sad that you think so little of me and that my boyfriend broke up with me and took so much of our stuff on his way out. The whole apartment is a mess. It’s just been one of those days, you know? I just want to forget the entire stupid day and go to sleep and wake up tomorrow, or in a couple of hours, god, it’s almost four a.m.”

“Can you, for the love of god, stop interrupting me?”

“Yes.”

“I’m not mad at you either.”

“Good.”

“And I’m sorry about your ex-boyfriend breaking up with you. No, not really. Let me rephrase that. I’m sorry that he made you so upset. But I did hear him said that you could never quit me and if that’s true then I need you to understand this: I’m not quitting you, either. Everything’s… easier, better with you. My children are happier with you.”

“Are you happier with me?”

“Yes. Except when we fight and when you storm out of my house and don’t answer my calls or my text messages for hours and make me worry about your safety.”

“I’m sorry.”

“You really don’t want to tell me what is it that you were going to say?”

“Oh… I was just going to say that… I know you would never let anyone treat you the way Nate treated me. The whole situation reminded me of when you are Stephen were fighting and I came up the stairs, of when he appeared drunk at the benefit, all those nasty situations and how you seemed to handle it so much better than I ever did with Nate. And then it hit me that I haven’t see him in so long. I just wondered, if everything was okay between you two, if you were okay, if you missed him, if-“

“No.”

“What?”

“I don’t. I don’t miss him.”

“It’s okay if you don’t want to talk about it. I understand. Plus, it’s so late.”

“I like talking around this time of day. Everything’s so quiet, everyone’s asleep. It makes me feel like I could say or do anything. It’s like these hours are a safe space, where the things you do don’t carry on to the next day… Like you could make any decision you like, because there are no witnesses and no consequences waiting for you when the sun rises again.”

“I’ve always thought you had a way with words.”

“I’m an editor-in-chief, in case you’ve forgot.”

“Oh, really?”

“Yeah, in this really big fancy and pretentious magazine that has convinced my first assistant she has to starve herself to deserve my approval, to go to Paris with me.”

“How is she?”

“She’ll be worse tomorrow, when I tell her she’s simply not going.”

“Miranda, you can’t-“

“She’s sick. She’ll die before we land and then she’ll be useless as my assistant. I can’t rely on someone who’s a minute away from collapsing. I need only the best team with me.”

“Do you even have a replacement for her? Do you have any assistant at all to take with you?”

“It shouldn’t be hard to find. Plus, it’s only a week, perhaps I should just assist myself for a change. At least I know I’m competent.”

“That was borderline sociopathic, please don’t say that out loud in front of anyone else.”

“You were never afraid of me. And it shows.”

“Should I?”

“Be afraid of me?”

“Yes?”

“Oh… no, I don’t think that would be useful. I can’t have you walking on eggshells around me if we’re, uh, friends.”

“Friends.”

“Mhm.”

“Can I ask you something, as a friend?”

“Ask away.”

“Can you not hang up the phone? I wasn’t ready for how empty this apartment would feel. It’s not like he removed all the furniture in the last hours, but I can definitely tell a lot is missing and it’s weird. It’s lonely, too.”

“So, you want me to just… not hang up? and keep the call going as we go to sleep?”

“Crazy idea, I’m s-“

“We can do that. And we hang up in the morning?”

“I don’t know, I just… I wanted to hear you and know that you’re here with me.”

“I’ll put you on speaker on top of the pillow next to me. There. Can you hear me well?”

“Yes. Can you?”

“Yes… Are you in bed already?”

“Still dressed and sitting on the edge speaking to you.”

“Get undressed.” Jesus, Miranda “I mean, change into your PJs or whatever you wear to bed and get under the covers. We both need to have so me rest. Come on.”

“Ok, give me a minute, I’ll be right back… don’t, uh, don’t hang up?”

“I won’t, promise.”

“Okay, I’m here. All cozy and ready to sleep… for around three hours.”

“I’m sorry,  I’m keeping you up.”

“I’d be up anyway. But this is better. At least I’m not alone with my thoughts, making myself crazy and sulking over our… you know?”

“Agreed. This is better.”

“Sleep tight, Miranda. Sweet dreams.”

“Good night, darling. I’m here if you need anything.”

“Thank you.”

“Sweet dreams.”´

Chapter Text

Miranda lifted her eyes to look at her girls, together finishing their homework in the living room’s big table. She set the Book down on the coffee table and walked over to sit with them.

The Book was annoying her, she was almost running out of post-its and Andrea was nowhere to be seen.

She picked up her phone and went through her text messages, only to cringe at how whiny and needy she sounded.

“Just say you got home safe and sound”

Had she really written that?

“Please darling”

That was just ridiculous.

“Mom?”

“Yes, baby?” She looked down at Cassidy and softly rested her palm on the little girl’s shoulder.

“Is everything okay?”

“Of course, why?”

Both girls shrugged at that an Caroline joined in “You look sad.”

“I’m not! Mommy’s just very-” Miranda sighed and concluded “-tired… today was not an easy one, see-“ She finally pulled out a chair to sit in between her children and told them about her day. Emily was in charge of finding her a new assistant, but so far hadn’t had much luck. One of the models had collapsed and gone to the hospital. She cursed herself for saying that because the girls were immediate to ask “why?”

“What happened to her?”

“You know when I insist that you eat everything on your plate? Caroline, you’re always asking me if you can just skip lunch and have two dinners?”

“You said we can’t skip meals.”

“Yes. And this is why. If you don’t put good food inside your pretty little belies-” She playfully tickled them, making the girls squeal and laugh easily “-then you’ll get sick. You need to eat.”

“Of course, everyone knows you need to eat!”

“Good. Never forget that. No matter what anyone tells you.”

“Mom, what’s wrong? Is this about Andy? Is she sick too?”

“Andy didn’t eat?”

“No-no, no, Bobbseys, it’s nothing to do with Andy. She’s okay. She’s probably just working late today.”

“Can we call her?”

“I don’t think it’s a good idea… We shouldn’t distract her at work. Plus, I bet she’ll be here in no time.”

“What if she’s not coming?”

“That’s okay, too. Sometimes, ahm, things happen, life happens… Maybe something came up at work and she can’t visit us today.”

The girls looked at each other and a silent conversation ensued.

Miranda hated Andrea in that moment, for disappointing her daughters. But it didn’t linger, somehow, there was no real bite to it. She felt her absence more. All she wanted was to-

“Mom.”

“We made the decision to call Andy.”

“Excuse me?”

“We need help with two math problems and… no one to review our story for English.”

Well, Miranda thought to herself, math problems of 10-year-old girls could not be that hard to figure out and, about their writing… “Do you forget I’m an editor, Caroline? It’s literally my job to review what other people write?”

“Really? That’s what you do?”

“I do a lot of things, but yes, that too.”

“Can we still call Andy, though? Later, to say goodnight?”

How do you say no to that? Miranda herself wanted to do the same. “Yes. Now, do you want to start with math or English?”

If felt good, to be so close to them, to work together on something, even it was just homework. She had her girls, she didn’t need Stephen or James or Andrea for that matter, to complete the family picture.

She caught herself adding Andrea to that list and quickly shut down the thought.

After what felt like half an hour, her phone pinged and she read:

I’m so sorry

Got hit by a car

Omw home

Ly

Miranda jumped out off the chair and hurried out of the living room, assuring her girls that mommy needed to make an important phone call, but would be right back.

“Andrea!”

“Hey! Look, I’m really sorry, I should’ve said something but-“

“You were hit by a car?”

“I deliver hot food on a bicycle for a living, I mean, I had it coming… But don’t worry, I’m fine! The bike is ruined and I had to argue with the idiot who ran me over because of insurance stuff and- oh, then the police was there and we had to fill out quite a lot of paperwork.”

“Are you hurt?”

“Scuffed my hands when I fell and got a leg stuck under the damn thing, so there’s that, but nothing serious, really-“

“Where are you?”

“On my way-“

“Where?”

“Rounding the corner on the Starbucks down the road, it’s like ten minutes max-“

“I could have picked you up, why didn’t you call me?”

“Oh, Miranda, it’s not a big deal, the police officer was a gem and gave me a quick ride to the subway.”

“He should have given you a ride home-“

“No, that would’ve been worse, I wanted to come straight to the townhouse, I- I’m sorry, I know it’s late, but I’ll just-“

“I meant home, here, this- ugh, hurry up-“ Miranda recalled that the girl had just written she was coming home, as in coming to the townhouse, to meet her and the girls. Oh, well.

“Did the girls finish their homework?”

“Yes. I helped them do it. They asked about you.”

“Oh, god, what did you tell them?”

“That something must’ve come up.”

“I wanted to call you, Miranda, I did, but everything was so stressful and-“

“It’s-“

“I’d never just- disappear, not show up, without saying anything.”

“Of course. Just-“ Andy sounded way to worried, too breathless, and Miranda needed to see her with her own eyes to be sure she was actually in one piece. “Breathe, okay?”

“Oh, okay.”

“Where are you?”

“Five minutes.”

“We need to find you a new job.”

“Feels like I’m sending CVs to the void. Got two calls, which means two interviews, but I’m not very confident.”

“I’ll write you a recommendation, just say the place, where do you want to work?”

“No, I- Look, I’m here.”

“What?”

“I’m here, come to the door…”

Miranda raced across the foyer to open the door.

As soon as she opened it, seeing Andrea stand there, she had to pull her inside, to pull her into a hug, to say don’t scare me like this ever again, you impossible little-

She had to, but she didn’t.

Instead, she just sighed and held Andrea’s gaze lovingly, hearing the girls run towards them.

Caroline and Cassidy invited Andy in and their mother rolled her eyes at herself for not having done that already. Andy lowered herself to kneel on the carpet and hug both girls. Miranda felt way too tall, towering above them.

“I’m sorry.” She heard Andy say.

“What happened?” The girls pulled back slightly to look her in the eye.

“Oh, I fell off my bike. Like you did the other day, Cass, remember that?”

“Ouch, did it hurt?”

“Nah, I’m good. But it made me late… and I’m sorry.”

“We knew you’d come.”

“Of course.” Andy felt Miranda's hand on top of her head, slowly and tentatively caressing her hair, and looked up at the older woman.

What a view… No way of knowing which one of them thought that, but let us assume both women did.

Forcing herself to break eye contact because, truly, she had to be out of her mind, Miranda said "Girls, why don't you show Andrea what you wrote for English class?"

"Oh, yeah, it's-"

“It's about the seasons and the weather!"

Caroline ran to the living room and Cassidy held on to Andy's hand, pulling her with.

Miranda followed closely behind, trying her best to get the picture of Andrea kneeling and looking up at her out of her mind. She tried to ignore how it felt to caress her hair and see her so satisfied with the simple gesture, relaxing into it. She needed to forget the way her children jumped into Andrea’s arms and how she looked like she was just glad to be home.

"Mom helped!"

"Oh, she did?" Andy eyed the older woman, her eyes twinkling with wonder.

"Did you know that mom reviews everything everyone writes at her job?"

Miranda gave her a discrete nod and she said “Of course!”

"She reviewed the things you wrote too, right?"

Andy chuckled at that "Caroline, I didn't write at Runway... I know nothing about fashion!"

"But you're a writer!"

"Well, yes, but right now I'm a busgirl at a fancy restaurant downtown and, when I worked for your mom, I was just her assistant. Remember? I used to bring her dry cleaning?"

"Does that mean you're not a writer?"

"Cass... you know, if you write, you're a writer. If you make art, you're an artist… And anything can be art, so anyone could be an artist, right?” Miranda rolled her eyes at that, clearly having a lot to say about that statement but choosing not to. “It doesn't matter if it's not your job, or if you’re not making any money, you just need to do it."

They put the girls to bed, goodnight kisses on their foreheads and even a story to lull them.

Downstairs, on the foyer, Miranda helped Andy into her coat.

“Show me your hands?" She asked her and Andy looked confused for a moment, but easily surrendered to turning her palms up and letting the older woman take them for close inspection. "Does it hurt?" Miranda whispered, lightly tracing the scratches on Andy’s palms with the tips of her fingers.

She had used her hands to prevent her head from hitting the dirty concrete but now the little scratches and redness were visible.

"Stings a bit, but it's okay, tomorrow it will be nothing. My leg’s better too, I’ll probably have a bruise, because my skin is very sensitive to that… but, nothing serious, for sure!" She caught herself rambling and scolded herself for that, but then Miranda took her by surprise.

The older woman slowly brought her hand up to grab Andy's wrist and guide her to the guest bathroom on the ground floor.

Wordlessly.

When Miranda stepped behind her to slide the coat off her shoulders again, Andy let her.

When Miranda poured some hydrogen peroxide into a cotton ball and gently tapped Andy's scuffed palms with it, she gasped at the burning sensation but didn't pull away.

When Miranda brought her hands up to kiss them, her eyes fluttering as her slightly parted lips found Andy's trembling flesh, she sighed but made no attempt to run.

Wordlessly, Miranda held her coat up, signaling for her to put it on again, so she did.

When Andrea gingerly reached out held hand, on their way back to the foyer and to the front door, Miranda let her.

Miranda called a cab and broke the silence with "Text me when you're home."

To which Andy answered with a bright smile.

She leaned forward to kiss Miranda's forehead and then her cheeks, leaving with a "Good night, Miranda."

"Good night." She whispered and looked back the open door to see the car was waiting.

Once she made it home, Andy felt her heart drop to the floor. The house felt empty. Everything was either ugly or outdated or carrying bad memories.

It just didn't feel like home anymore.

She made a resolution to either renovate the place or find an entirely new one. Yes. A new place with new neighbors and the excitement of moving and starting from scratch.

“I'm home.”

Andy texted, remembering she promised Miranda she’d do so and adding shortly after:

“Doesn't feel like it.

As soon as I find a job, I'll be on the look out for a new place.

Thank you for today, you were so kind.

I mean: You are.”

She tried to forget about her phone and Miranda and receiving an answer from her and got ready for bed. The house did feel empty, but feeling lonely is better than feeling guilty, isn’t it? And why did Nate make her feel guilty in the first place?

She read Miranda’s text as she got under the covers, sighing at the feeling of finally being back in bed after an exhausting day.

“I'll email you a recommendation letter in the morning”

No way, Andy thought and quickly shot back:

“No no I can do this myself

plus I don't want to leave any room for you to doubt my intentions with you and the girls”

Neither of them had the energy that this conversation required. But they had it coming.

“don't be ridiculous, there's no room for doubt”

“I'm not using you”

“I know

accept the letter

you almost died today”

“I didn't

it was just an accident”

“the girls were worried

I was worried”

“I'm sorry”

“just accept the letter”

“no”

She didn’t expect to see that the tiny screen of her phone lit up, with its irritating ringtone and the words “Incoming call: Miranda”

She really didn’t have the energy for this, but she pressed the green icon anyway, accepting the call and sighing when she heard the older woman’s soft spoken voice coming through.

“I know you're doing this because I doubted you at first, because I said everyone wants something from me and, ugh, I know, but we can't go on like this. I can't feel like I have my hands tied… And that you won't ever accept anything from me because you're afraid I won't trust you.” She paused for a moment, feeling the need to gather her thoughts so that her next words wouldn’t be misinterpreted. “You… you could've gotten yourself seriously hurt today. I can't allow you to continue like this. I can't-"

"I'm sorry I made you worry, but-“

“I’m not taking them from you, I just want to help.”

“I don't need your help, I can do this.”

“I didn't say you couldn't! I just said I could help you do it faster. It's been a month and you're only now getting your first interviews.”

“I can do this.”

“Andrea…”

“No, don't Andrea me- I- I’m going to ace my interviews, I have a good portfolio and way better clothes than when we met, it’s gonna be alright, okay? I’ve waited this long, I can-“

“You know it's not easy getting a job, much less one on a newspaper, without having any type of word being spoken for you… and you've worked as my assistant.”

She hated that Miranda interrupted her, but went along with it. “I didn't finish my year.”

“That's irrelevant. You've shown promise, you are resourceful and a very reliable person. It's not like I'd be lying and it's not like I'm doing it just because! I mean you did work for me and I am in a position to give you a reference.”

Andy didn’t say a word. She knew it wasn’t worth it to call Miranda stubborn and she was so tired. She needed to sleep because tomorrow she’d be back to work and that this argument would lead them nowhere.

“Have you forgotten that our deal goes both ways?”

“Hm?”

“You don't stay mad at me and I don't doubt your love for them, slash your intentions…

So… you see, legally, I can't-“

“Are you serious right now?”

“A deal's s deal.”

“Miranda…”

“Don’t Miranda me. Just take it.” It really wasn’t up for debate. “Just say yes, Miranda.”

The older woman heard her sigh on the other side of the line and couldn’t contain a triumphant grin from brightening up her face. What’s better, she could hear Andrea smile through the phone. Her heart almost leaped out of her chest as she heard her, still smiling for sure, surrendering:

“Yes, Miranda.”

Chapter Text

Falling asleep proved itself to be a difficult task, more often than not, more often since she came to know the name of the silver haired editor in chief of a magazine she didn't even read.

As she opened her laptop, around three am and having given up on a good night of sleep, she noticed she had an email from said editor. It was very concise and contained one single file attached to it.

Andrea,

I wish you only prosperity, in this new chapter of your promising career. 

You may find attached your recommendation letter.

Respectfully,

Miranda Priestly

(Editor-in-chief, Runway US)

The letter simply said:

Andrea Sachs is a breath of fresh air in the midst of mediocrity. 

You’re an idiot if you don’t hire her.

Miranda Priestly. 

Just that. The woman was in such a position that she could write a two sentence recommendation letter, because her name at the bottom was all that mattered. In all fairness, Andy thought, she could have literally just written “Hire her. Miranda Priestly.” And it would still be worth everything.

“Thank you.” She texted, afraid that she’d wake her up.

When Miranda woke up, around seven in the morning, she noticed the text message, received in the middle of the night. Her first instinct was to write back, but as soon as she wrote the first letters of “Good morning” the same voice in the back of her head that screamed at her, for including Andrea in a list right after saying she didn’t need James, or Stephen for that matter, was back in full force, mocking her for sending the girl good night and now good morning texts.  

So, she deleted it and waited for the night to come, for Andrea to come to the townhouse at the end of the day. There would be plenty of time to say “You’re welcome, darling” Except, no, don’t call her that. Get a grip, Miranda, she’s twenty five years younger than you. 

Miranda Priestly found herself spending her busy days wishing for their end to come, for Andrea to come home to her. Miranda herself wanted to come home to Andrea and her girls. To come home to them. 

Since when was the act of coming home to someone so appealing? Coming home to her ex-husbands had always been a moment of anxiety and dread. She’d spend quarters, half hours on her porch dreading the fact that she had to come inside at some point. Her hand had lingered on the doorknob as she feared what she might encounter on the other side.

Her mind came back to the fact that Paris Fashion week was literally the upcoming one. The girls usually stayed with their father for this, but now she had Andrea to consider. Sending the girls to their father meant that Andrea would be without them for the whole week. 

The girls did love their father, though. Miranda had the sole custody of them but would always let them visit on weekends, sometimes holidays and vacations too. In short, their father was very much a part of their lives, despite their permanent residence, as in weeknights at least one weekend per month, at the townhouse.

Andrea didn’t come by on weekends. It was her alone time with the girls and, when they were with James, her alone time with herself. 

But Paris week was coming around. The girls would be at the townhouse for that week and the weekend when Miranda would be back home. The editor would be back on Saturday, preferably in the morning but already accounting for other people’s incompetence to make her arrive in the afternoon. The weekend before Paris, they’d be with their father, which meant a total of seven days apart.

Miranda got back to thinking of how she’d never spent time with Andrea, without the girls. 

Why would you, anyway? What could you possibly have in common? What could she possibly see in you?

That last one made her get up from her throne and call out for her new second assistant.

Actually, her only assistant at the moment. Emily was in recovery, with both psychological and nutritional experts on her back and the promise that Miranda would welcome her back, as soon as she was healthy and capable of both proving so and keeping herself that way, without constant vigilance from healthcare professionals.

So, her new assistant was handling everything. Very poorly, I might add, but it would have to do for now. 

“New girl.”

“Miranda, we’ve talked about this. I’m the only girl.”

The insolence made Miranda purse her lips in disgust. The girl took a deep breath and tried again, in a softer but still assertive tone.

“It’s Allison. Can we just go with that?”

The editor pressed the bridge of her nose between her fingers. It looked like it had been sculpted in marble, her nose, but that’s not the point. The point is that she had to count to ten not to fire the girl on the spot. 

Andrea wasn’t coming with her to Paris. Emily wasn't going anywhere anytime soon. Allison was the only person keeping Miranda from fetching her own coffee.

“Paris is next week. If you’d like me to bring you with me you can’t bring that attitude. I don’t need an assistant with an ego, I need one that’s competent, that doesn’t forget, that doesn’t misplace nor misinterprets. This is the most important week of the year, as I’m sure you’re well aware by now.” She needed her to understand. “There’s no one coming, do you know what that means?”

The girls didn’t dare interrupt the pause that she knew by now Miranda was only using for dramatic effect. “If you screw up, no one will fix it for you.” The editor concluded.

Allison couldn’t think of anything but Miranda’s lips when she cursed.

“No one’s coming.” She repeated, holding Miranda’s gaze.

The editor gave her a slight nod and resigned herself to trusting. It was either that or kidnapping Andrea. As soon as that popped into her head, she slyly smiled and Allison thought she had been the one behind it. 

Stupid girl.

Andrea might have been a cheeky assistant, but never disrespectful and certainly not incompetent. She was inquisitive and oh, so beautiful, of a natural beauty that meant she’d still be a bliss to wake up to.

Miranda’s smile turned sour at the realization that she was setting herself up for heartbreak and Allison was dismissed with a whisper “ that’s all”.

She went through her phone to re-read Andrea’s text messages and decided it was acceptable to say you’re welcome.

Her spiraling thoughts were interrupted when Nigel barged into her office. With a discrete knock on the glass door, but still.

“You have a minute?”

She got up to approach him. 

You have work to do, you foolish old woman. 

You have a position to defend, they’re coming for you.

 She had to fight the urge to lay the cards on the table with Nigel. They’d been friends and worked together for so long. 

“You seem distracted, is everything okay?”

“Yes. Paris. You know the drill.”

“I do… Are you really taking her with you?” He nodded towards the door.

“What choice do I have? It’s either that or having no assistant at all.”

“See? You do have a choice. You’re always saying we all have choices.”

“Yes. Okay.”

“Then, say it. You’re not stuck with Allison. You’re choosing her. There’s power in making a choice.”

“There’s power in making a choice.”

“Are you ever gonna tell me why you fired Andy?”

“I didn’t.” She was beyond frustrated at how foolish she’d been. “I didn’t fire her, she quit.”

“Okay, let me reformulate that. Are you ever gonna tell me why you made her quit?”

They measured each other for a couple of seconds, maybe a couple more, before Miranda turned around to face the large windows behind her desk.

“Do you know where she is?”

“Nigel.”

“Okay. I won’t push. Just… know that I’m here? That I care?”

She turned around to face him and felt like shit. His eyes were honest and he’d hate her in the span of a week. 

“I care about you too. Please, never doubt that.”

“Care to look this over with me? I need this to be ready and approved by three thirty.”

She extended her arm for him to come closer and hand her the mockups. 

All she could think of was going back home at the end of the day. All she could think about was Andrea and her girls and Paris and James Holt and Jaqueline and the shit show that would ensue. 

While Nigel talked, she looked over to the door to make sure no one was in a position to witness it and then let herself rest her head on his shoulder. His speech slowed slightly but quickly picked up. He let his own head touch hers, lovingly, as they kept their eyes and words on what his hands held.

When Miranda got home, Andrea was already there. She followed the chatter to find that they were all in the kitchen, having pancakes with chocolate and caramel and whipped cream, among other things she couldn’t place from her spot at the door. She leaned against it to take in how domestic it all felt, but not for long because her children were quick to register her presence and run towards her.

Chapter Text

“Girls, we need to talk about something. Come here.” Miranda gestured for them to join her on the couch. The three of them, who were playing with Lego on the fluffy rug in front of her, looked up. Miranda put the book aside and tapped the couch.

“Why don’t you come here?” Cassidy asked her and tapped the rug.

Andy and Caroline looked at each other and smiled, as Miranda complained but eventually joined them. 

“Careful, mom, don’t step on the Lego.”

But Miranda had already done so. She cursed and that made the twins’ eyebrows shoot up in their forehead, followed by a wave of giggling that had their mother rolling her eyes. 

Finally sitting down, with no sneaky Lego pieces under her, Miranda got comfortable and picked some pieces herself. 

“Is everything okay?” Andy asked her, catching her gaze.

“Yes. I wanted to talk to you about next week.”

“Are we staying with dad?”

“Yes. I mean, if that’s what you want. I’m letting you choose.”

“Can Andy stay with us at dad’s?”

Well, fuck.

“Ahm…” Andy looked like a fish out of water, but prettier. “I don’t know if that’s a good idea, baby, your dad doesn’t even know me, and-“

“Nonsense.” Caroline declared, sounding so much like her mother. “We have friends over all the time. Dad says we can bring our friends over, even if he doesn’t know who they are at first.”

“I know, Bobbsey, but Andrea has a job she has to go to.” Andy looked back at her, relieved, why hadn’t she thought of that? 

“Oh… So what?”

“We can’t be with her and dad!”

“Don’t be ridiculous, of course we can. We’ll just take her. She can go to her job next week.”

“We have this weekend with dad. Then the week here with Andy and mom will be back next weekend.”

“Andy, do you want to stay with us next week?”

She had to look over at Miranda to confirm, but ended up smiling at them and saying “Yes. But we have to talk to your dad first, okay?” 

Miranda knew that we actually meant your mother. She had to talk to James and find a nice way to say that this year he wouldn’t have the girls with him for Fashion week, because they were choosing to stay at the townhouse with her… friend.

“Mom, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing. Everything’s okay. We’ll have to talk to your father, yes, we should call him. You’ll spend this weekend with him and then the week here, with Andrea?”

“It’s Andy, mom.”

“But yes, can we do that?”

Andy, is this fine by you? You’ll take care of them for the week?”

“Of course.”

She still looked uneasy, so Miranda told the girls she would steal Andrea for a moment, so they could talk to their father and prepare everything for the week. They left them to their Lego sculptures and settled in the ground floor study.

“Sit, make yourself comfortable.” Miranda told her, as she closed the door and did the same. “Talk to me.”

“You’re really okay with me being here the entire week? Without you?”

“You’re here almost every day. You’re a reliable person, I see no reason not to trust you with them. You’ve been here alone with them before. Today when I arrived you were already here, remember?”

“This is different. And I-“ Andy stopped herself mid sentence, but had to continue because Miranda insisted. “I don’t want to leave them alone for the night.”

“I assumed it was obvious that you’d stay in one of our guest rooms.”

“And you’re okay with that? With me living here?”

“You’re not?”

“No, that’s not- That’s not what I’m saying. I want to.”

“Then?”

“It’s a lot of responsibility. If something happens, if they get sick or hurt themselves in anyway-“

“You can always call me-“

“But you’re not going to be here! If there’s a crisis, I’ll have to deal with it.”

“That’s the definition of being a parent, welcome to the club…”

“It’s not funny!”

“Andrea, look at me?” She asked, very softly, with a tender smile betraying her otherwise uninterested posture. She was laying back on her favorite armchair.

From the little loveseat, Andrea looked up at her. She tapped the spot on her side and Miranda surrendered to joining her. Their legs touched, side by side. The same she’d done with Nigel, earlier that day, she let herself rest her head on the girls shoulder. Andrea was slightly taller than her. 

The girl didn’t see it coming but didn’t fret, either. She was used to the proximity by the time it happened. They were together everyday, they watched movies, played board, card and videogames, they cooked and baked together… Miranda resting her head on her shoulder was just another Thursday. 

Thursday. 

That meant three days to go. On Friday, after school, the girls would pack to spend the weekend and their father. On Sunday, Miranda would fly to Paris. 

Wait.

“What about Saturday?”

“What about it?” Miranda whispered back, holding her own hands in her lap, fidgeting, so she wouldn’t give in to touching Andrea.

“Nothing, nevermind.”

“Say it.”

Andy turned slightly, so she could kiss Miranda’s temple a couple of times. The older woman closed her eyes at the caress and turned slightly to hide on the girl’s neck. She smelled heavenly.

Gathering her courage, Andy lifted her right arm to wrap the Miranda’s shoulders and pull her closer. “Should I come over? The girls are leaving Friday night and, well, you’re leaving Sunday morning. So…”

“I have so much to organize, to pack, to anticipate.”

“I understand. Stupid question.”

“No, not… stupid.” She looked up and instantly regretted it because they were way too close and Miranda’s eyes betrayed her. They lingered on Andy’s lips and when she looked up again to meet her eyes, it was too late. “Saturday night. Have dinner with me.”

“Are you sure?” Andy’s right hand traveled from Miranda’s shoulder to the base of her neck, absentmindedly playing the short dark gray hair that curled around her ears.

Miranda didn’t purr but her eyes fluttered closed when she felt Andy’s trimmed nails gently raking the back of her neck. 

Andy looked at her. Really looked. Miranda was such a beautiful woman. And she was so close. Because any other kiss might put their own little bubble at jeopardy, she resigned herself to kissing her forehead. 

Miranda’s hair smelled so, so good. All those white waves and darker curls at the back, the expensive products making it soft to the touch, she whished she’d have more opportunities like this one, to just… touch.

The older woman sighed heavily and locked eyes with her once more, making Andy’s hand slow its movements. “Just the two of us?” the girl whispered. Her mind screamed that Miranda was both a married woman and essentially asking her out on a date.

Miranda’s mind probably did the same, because her shoulders became stiff and she got up from the loveseat, away from Andy’s touch, away from her embrace.

She looked so hurt, like the time Andy asked her where Stephen was, all those weeks ago, or when she said that those blue belts looked exactly the same. The same intense blue stare. This time, though, Andy didn’t resort to apologizing. In a flash, she got up and chased Miranda, never letting go of her gaze and noticing just how much more terrified it looked from up close. 

Andy held Miranda’s shoulders, squeezed them with a meaningful look and wrapped her in her arms. It took a moment, but when the older woman finally relaxed and lifted her arms along Andy’s body to hug her back, the girl held her tight for emphasis and whispered “Yes. I’d love that. Just us.”

Miranda nodded at that and nuzzled her neck for comfort and proximity. No one else could make her feel so safe with something as simple as a hug. Andy’s words might have startled her but there was no real judgment behind it. She’d file for divorce, whether her feelings were reciprocated or not. 

Later, Andy paced around her apartment and tried to convince herself that Miranda was not flirting with her and that she was perfectly capable of taking care of two nine-year-old twin girls by herself.

She tossed and turned in bed. 

Her brain kept bombarding her with pictures of Miranda and the girls. It felt so good to come home to them, at the end of the day. She self-indulged in fantasies where Stephen never came back, sometimes, only to have nightmares about him appearing out of the bloom right the next moment.

It’s not as if they’d ever done, well, anything. It’s not like she was in an actual relationship with a married woman. No, not at all. 

There were moments where Miranda let her close enough, like this same night in the study, only a couple of hours ago. The scent and sounds came back to her. Miranda’s hair, Miranda’s voice, Miranda’s hands. The way the tip of her nose hid in the crook of her neck and the way it looked rosy sometimes, like a faint blush. 

She fell asleep in a pool of Miranda, of freckled red-haired giggles and Stephen’s rigid face looking back at her when she went up the stairs to deliver the book for the first time. The way Miranda looked at her that night, too. The same look. 

Just the two of us?

That question granted her that same haunting look. 

But then Miranda melted into her embrace and she had to bite her tongue not to say anything, not to take advantage of their proximity to kiss her. 

Oh, to kiss Miranda Priestly! She almost did but then woke up. Looking around and taking in the loneliness of her measly apartment, she started crying and didn’t stop until it was an absolute necessity that she did so. 

She had a job to go to and the next week she’d have an interview at the New York Mirror. She had Miranda’s recommendation letter. She had the love and trust of her children. She had dreams of kissing her lips, her neck and naked shoulders and mostly importantly, she had to stop. 

For her own sanity’s sake, she needed to stop. 

Stephen would come back. Miranda would kiss him. She’d raise her children with him. 

Pictures of Miranda in his arms made her nauseous on her way to work. 

She’d never felt this jealous before, never wanted something another person had so badly, never felt like throwing up because of it. 

“You’ve changed. Runway’s changed you, Andy… She has changed you.” Nate’s words came back to her. 

Chapter Text

The first time Miranda talked about her intentions to file for divorce was not with her then husband, Stephen, but with her ex, James. 

"Well, excuse me if I don't want a stranger sleeping under the same roof as our children! For an entire week! You want to leave her alone with our children, Miranda, I- I don't even recognize you anymore, this is-“ But the woman just stood still, sitting on of the two armchairs that framed the coffee table in the middle of the living room, sipping on the soft drink he’d offered her when the girls went upstairs, to unpack their things for the weekend. “Ugh, say something!"

"I will say something, once you stop yelling."

James paced nervously around his living room. "Look, I know the girls like her a lot, but they're children. I'm just trying to protect them. it's one thing having your friends over, it's another completely to let them look after the girls for an entire week."

"James."

"I'm not having it. They're my children too, don't I have a say in the matter?"

She didn’t feel like answering that. They’re my children too had never worked before, not even in court, so his ex-wife just sighed, putting up the unbothered mask and sipping her drink once more. She looked around, disdaining the interior design, or rather the lack of. 

"Miranda?" He called her.

"You've said all your wanted to say? Punched yourself out?"

"Yes. Go on."

"Andrea is extremely reliable. She loves our girls so much, she quit her job."

"What do the girls have to do with her job?"

"They became friends. 

I didn't notice at first but every night she would bring the book and my dry cleaning and stay late helping the girls with their homework and school projects, cooking for them, bringing them movies and all that. 

Again, I didn't know this was happening. I only found out because Andrea had an accident at work and couldn't come to the townhouse at the end of that day. The girls asked about her. They were worried and made me call her so they could talk to her and make sure she was okay."

"I know the girls like her, that's not my-"

"Shh, shh, shh, you've had your turn. Listen. I thought the same you're thinking of right now.” She looked him dead in the eye, hoping the message would sink it, hoping he’d be easily manipulated by the feigned empathy for his distressed state. “ Worse , perhaps... I thought Andrea was getting close to them as a way to get ahead, as a way to manipulate me somehow, to advance her career or blackmail me at some point in the future."

"Understandable." That’s all he said, taking a seat opposite to Miranda’s.

“Thank you.” She mouthed, not actually pronouncing the words but making eye contact. She needed him on her side. “But here’s the thing: She was so offended, she quit. 

She was terrified that I'd push her away from them, so… she quit. 

She's been working at a restaurant as a busgirl, waiting on tables, doing the dishes and delivering food on a bicycle, for god's sake... The other day, she was ran over by a car and we were all so worried for her.” Miranda had to slow herself down, to prevent herself from stumbling. “You have no idea… I felt as if one of us , you or the girls had been hurt.” Fuck. “As soon as she arrived to the townhouse I wanted to make her quit that damn job and accept my recommendation letter, but she wouldn't take it. 

She was too afraid I'd question her motives and forbid her from spending time with the girls. 

James, you have to trust me on this one. 

She loves our girls with all her heart."

Miranda’s passionate little speech hung in the air between them. She saw his ex-husband smirk starting to form, after a few heavy minutes went by.

"And you love her with all of yours, too."

She swallowed with great difficulty. Her elegant right hand toyed with the statement necklace that adorned her cleavage. James was drawn to her hand and his eyes might have dropped lower if this conversation were happening ten years prior. In that moment, though, and as proof that time really does change people, the only thing that James could focus on was her anxiety. The nervous gesture. The tension that betrayed her cool façade.  

"I see."

"The girls don't know anything.” She was quick to assure him of that much. “Not even she knows anything. I just- I can't help it…” Her voice was cracking and she knew she had to put an end to this conversation before she embarrassed herself any further. She was willing to, as she stepped into the house, but never more than the necessary to convince him to play along. “If you knew her, if you saw her with your own eyes…” You’d fall in love with her too  “…you'd understand."

After a brief moment, he tilted his head in a gesture that mirrored hers and asked "So... does this mean you're coming out? After all these years?” Of course, after all that’d transpired between them, he’d be aware. Miranda wouldn’t say the words, perhaps she was afraid that, by clarifying that she was a lesbian and not bisexual, as he seemed to perceive her, she’d hurt him. They had children together, that would come down the stairs any minute now. It felt wrong to say it. In all honesty, when Miranda came to terms with it, it felt wrong to know it. “Wait, aren't you still married? Where's Stephen?"

"Again, she doesn't know… I don’t want to scare her away and- Well, Stephen hasn't been home. He moved because we needed time apart to rethink our relationship.” She’d be dead before admitting her husband had so much as tried to abuse her. Then, it hit her. He had already. Psychologically, he had. And to think that she thought it was a smart decision, a strategic move, a- “And then- well-“

"Then An-drey-a happened."

"Yes.” He looked so smug. Miranda shook herself out of any thoughts that concerned Stephen and tried to focus on the fact that James looked way more manageable than in the beginning of their conversation. That’s what mattered. She came to that house with a plan. “Look, we can gossip all you want. Later. Right now, I need you to confirm that they can stay at the townhouse with Andrea for this week.”

“Are you sure that’s safe? I’m not even saying this about the girls, you clearly have all the good reasons to trust your friend , it’s just- Stephen… You’ll be all over the news if-“

“I know, I know… I- I’m, filing for divorce. Today, actually. I’m talking to my lawyer-“

“The one from our divorce?”

“Yes-“

“She’s a good one. Completely destroyed my life.”

“Oh, please-“

“Kidding… Go ahead and destroy his life. I’ve never seen you happy with him. Not even in the beginning. And the girls hate him.”

“The girls? Did they tell you anything?”

“Miranda. Calm down. Nothing happened. They just think he’s boring and they hated when you used to fight all the time… That sort of thing. He never laid a finger on them. And I… hope he never laid a finger on you?”

She shook her head. 

She almost said “almost” or “he did, in other ways”, but she was a big girl, she could control herself better than that.

James stood up from his armchair and made his way to close the space between them.

She looked up at him when she knew he’d come to stand in front of her. Rolling her eyes as far back as they’d go before being permanently stuck that way, she sneered “Don’t be ridiculous.”

“Oh, come on. I won’t tell.”

“I don’t really enjoy-

He took her hand and scoffed at that “Everyone enjoys a hug, once in a while, Miranda… Cut the crap.” And he wrapped his hands around her shoulders. Miranda sighed and let her hands come up to weakly hold on to his back. 

They felt the twins join them.

Miranda started crying.

James was quick to say “It’s just that mommy’s gonna miss you so much while she’s in Paris!" It was kind of him. "Give her extra kisses to compensate for the next week, okay?”

Miranda’s face was flustered with tears. Her pale skin was always easy to fluster, to bruise. She wiped her tears with the back of her hand and kneeled on the floor, hugging her children as if her life depended on it. As their tiny little hands eagerly hugged her back, Miranda found herself unable to stop the new tears from forming and falling. She looked up at James, who smiled tenderly at her.

She nodded at him. He gestured that he’d give them a minute. 

They smiled at each other, Miranda being the one to look away first and to close her eyes tightly as she held on to her darling girls.

“We’re gonna miss you too!”

“We’re gonna call every day, promise-“

“Don’t be sad…”

“I’m not, baby. I’m not sad. I’m so lucky to have you, I love you so, so much .”

“I love you-“

“too, of course, we do!”

“And we’re gonna miss you a lot.”

“Next Saturday, right? You promise?”

“I promise. Saturday I’ll be back. If we don’t have breakfast together, at least by the end of the day- ahm, we can-" she wiped her tears with the back of her hand and smiled at them "Pizza night, okay?”

“Yesss!”

“Don’t forget you said that!”

“Wait! I’ll write it down!”

“Like a contract, Cass, bring me a pen, quick!” Cassidy raced up stairs and her sister ended up following because “Waaait! Paper! Cass, wait! Ugh-“ 

Saturday took way too long to arrive.

Friday night took place over hundreds of nights, as Miranda tossed an turned.

The girls. My girls.

The divorce. The press. The Dragon Lady… drives away another Mr. Priestly.

Nigel. 

Oh, Nigel…

Andrea. 

The names and what ifs went on and on. An infinite, visceral loop. 

She wished the anxiety could be purged out of her body as she threw up. It’s a curious thing, anxiety. It’s definitely not just in your head. Or else, Miranda wouldn’t be trembling on the floor of her ensuite bathroom, having thrown up dinner and then nothing at all as the spasms raked over her weak body.

What had she done, over the past fifty years of existence, that resulted in her crying alone in her bathroom, in an empty townhouse with way too many rooms and no one to call?

Perhaps, she could- but no, it was already past five a.m., Andrea was obviously sound asleep. 

Miranda dragged herself to bed and exhaustion pitied her, taking over.

Chapter Text

“I guess you should know, I filed for divorce.”

“You did?”

Miranda nodded, but her eyes were still evasive, for she looked around the study as if she weren't a part of this conversation, as if she was just hanging out with friends and their banter didn't really interest her that much.

Andy didn't ask why because she thought she knew why. They'd grown apart, she was bored of him, he didn't understand her... the usual.

“How are you feeling?”

“Oh, great!” Miranda nodded. “Great... Why?"

“I don't know. I've never had anyone tell me they'd filed for divorce before. I don't know what's a good response."

"Understandable."

Well that was a disappointment.

Why though? What did you expect? That she'd say "finally" and get on her knees?

"Miranda?"

"Hm?

"Are you happy? I mean, happier?"

"Relieved is a better word… Like I don't owe him anything anymore?"

"What did you owe him before?"

"I-" Miranda tried, but ended up shrugging.

"Money?"

She shook her head in disgust. "Prenup…".

"Explanations about how you choose to spend your time?"

"Yes..."

"Faithfulness?"

"I've never been unfaithful."

"Of course, I wasn't-"

"Him, on the other hand..." She scoffed "But none of that matters now. I'm a free woman.” But that didn’t sound right. “Already was, that's not- I was always a free woman."

"Mhm, of course-"

"I'm just-" She took a moment to think of it "Freer. That sounds awful. More free is clearly wrong-" Andrea's laugh brought an end to her thoughts. All of them. She could only look at the girl and sigh in adoration.

Please don't break my heart. She thought and then hated herself for sounding so juvenile, so corny, so-

"Miranda, the freest woman in town... I could toast to that."

"Yes! I have-" She got up in a flash and rushed to the living room where she had the little bar with the drinks Stephen would more often than her indulge in. 

She rambled, most to Andy's surprise, about all that was available, her favorites, the ones that would go straight to the trash now that she was divorcing him- "I mean- unless you-"
"No, no, I don't like that either."

Miranda took almost all the bottles out of the tiny bar cart, very fancy but definitely not a major piece in the living room. She wanted to pick something really good for them to toast, something that Andrea would like, but somehow asking her directly felt unromantic. She wanted to pick something that would surprise her.

"I love seeing you like this." Andy beamed, fondly. "So excited and so full of life." She wanted to take the older woman in her arms so desperately.

Miranda poured their drinks and was extending her hand to handle the girl her own glass when she heard "You're so beautiful."

The drink hung between them. Miranda's hand trembled embarrassingly. 

Without taking her eyes from the older woman's wide blue ones, Andy reassuringly reached for her hand, the one that unsteadily held the glass.

"I'm-"

"Don't apologize." She thought Miranda was angry at her but then- "Please, don't." It wasn't anger. Miranda didn't want her to take it back. She just wasn't used to being complimented so bluntly. Of course.

Making sure she was looking her dead in the eye, she whispered "You really are."

Miranda nodded and Andy let go of her hand, holding the drink and sitting on the couch.

Miranda sat opposite her.

Andy rolled her eyes, drawing a smirk from the older woman, and got up to sit on the arm of the armchair.

Miranda smiled up at her.

Their glasses clinked.

"To Miranda Priestly, the freest woman in town."

Miranda acknowledged the toast with a polite nod and drank.

She felt like resting her head against Andrea again but next to her head were the girls' breasts and a thin layer of ice spread throughout her skin.

Again, this anxiety was of a pubescent tone and it embarrassed her to the tip of her ears.

"You're staying, right?"

"If you still want me to"

"Of course, I will always want you." oh no "to! I will always want you to! to stay" she raised her glass, blaming the two sips for her confession.

Andy eyed her suspiciously.

Against better judgment, she nodded and said "I know right... good, powerful stuff."

"Stuff?"

"Mhm!" she tried to contain a smile by taking another sip.

There's more she did against better judgment. She let the glass rest on the floor next to the armchair and said "I'll miss you."

“Me too. And since we’re blaming this” She raised her glass again “I’m so close to drugging you to sleep and putting you in one of the bags.”

“Again, Miranda, that’s-- borderline sociopathic, please don’t say that out loud in front of anyone else.”

“What? I’m just saying I want to take you with me.”

“By means of human trafficking.”

“Perhaps human trafficking can be justified.”

“Miranda!”

The older woman shrugged for the second time that night. Andy thought it was adorable and was certain she'd picked up the gesture from Cassidy.

"I'm here now" 

“You are.” 

Against all judgment, Andy smiled down at her and gently slid herself to lay across Miranda's lap. 

Andrea's legs were thrown over one of the arms of the chair, in a way that allowed her right hand to rest around Miranda's shoulders.

It was bold and bright, like dropping the fucking manuscript on the table and smiling at a dumbstruck editor. Except this time Miranda didn't have a necklace or a pair of glasses to toy with.

Andrea laced her arms around Miranda and closed her eyes as she hugged her close.

After a slow minute went by, Miranda had to force herself to breathe. Her arms embraced Andy's waist and pulled her closer.

They'd never been this close.

There were so few boundaries left to cross.

"Andrea..." she whispered and looked up. Pleading eyes searched for anything to hold onto.

"Shh... just say you'll be back." The girl brushed the defiant curl that fell over left eye.

She loved it when Andrea played with her hair with such tenderness and care.

"Promise you'll come home to me. To us." She whispered.

"Always."

Andy kissed her forehead, humming very lightly at the scent and taste of Miranda's skin.

They stood like that for long enough.

Enough for Miranda to confirm the girl had fallen asleep and to curse herself for not being young and strong and capable of taking sleeping beauty upstairs in her arms.

"Andrea... darling...."

"Hm?"

"We need to go to bed... this can't be comfortable"

"Oh my god, I- I'm sorry" Andrea sounded so sleepy "I'm too heavy..." She slid off Miranda's lap and awkwardly asked  "Was I hurting you?" 

Miranda was quick to follow her and reassure her that she was the perfect weight. 

She really was, but then Miranda blurted out that she'd rather cuddle her in her bed because, unlike her, she was an old woman with-

shit
shit shit shit

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean that."

"No?"

Miranda shook her head, embarrassment engulfed her. "The weight part yes, but the cuddling part- I didn't mean that part. I'm sorry." Andy was probably about to say something but Miranda cut her off, suddenly meaning business "You have everything ready in your room. You know where mine is, so, ahm, if you need anything, just let me know."

Andy nodded. She wasn't sure if Miranda was just flustered or rather trying to draw a line.

Perhaps she'd gone too far and made her uncomfortable. Perhaps Miranda didn't want her in her bed at all and it just-

"You did nothing wrong." Miranda said, bringing Andy back from her thoughts.

"Feels like it.”

"No, I'm just... I'll be up by five, I don't want to disturb you. You need to rest and to prepare for when the girls arrive tomorrow night. Get your things, make sure you've got everything you need for the week..."

Andy still looked unsure, so Miranda added in a lighter tone: "Plus, we've already cuddled and…" she looked over her shoulder, as if they were conspiring.

Then, looking down at her hands and extending her fingers to illustrate her point, she said" I don't see a ring on my finger... Do you?"

Andy shook her head, her eyes twinkling with amusement.

Miranda kept a composed and serious expression, as she concluded "I have a reputation to maintain, Ms. Sachs."

Oh, she was so irresistible in that moment, Andy wanted to say something along the lines of "I won't tell a soul" and kiss her... but Miranda filing for divorce didn't mean the older woman was now suddenly okay with Andy kissing her. It didn't mean that suddenly she wanted to. Or that she ever did.

But if it meant that Miranda felt happier and freer and, in her own words, relieved... then, on a higher level, it meant everything.

Regardless of their relationship's meaning, Miranda herself was looking her in the eye and expecting her to play along and it meant everything.

"Most certainly, Ms. Priestly." Andy nodded with a tiny curtsey that caused Miranda's cheekbones to turn pink and settle higher on her face.

Her blue eyes crinkled and Andrea couldn't look away if her life depended on it.

"Good night, Ms. Sachs..." Miranda extended her hand like the honorable damsel she was and Andy took it, bowing.

Closing her eyes, she proceeded to gently kiss the top of her knuckles. Twice.

Then, looking up at her, she whispered: "Goodnight, Ms. Priestly"

Andy was the first one to make it up the stairs into her bedroom, since Miranda had her own medication to take, which made her feel a hundred years old.

Miranda was up before daylight. She got dressed, checked her bags for the thousandth time and prepared breakfast for herself.

She thought of the girl upstairs, probably sleeping at the time, and of how much she wanted to say goodbye.

Miranda contemplated sneaking into the room and kissing her forehead before leaving, like the girls did more than once when Andy was too exhausted from working as a busgirl during the day and fell asleep in the middle of the movie.

But what if she wakes up? What if you startle her?

Then, she remembered that project the girls did for school about Disney princesses and Caroline telling her that kissing someone who's asleep is wrong, because the person doesn't have a choice and her personal space is being invaded.

She gave up on the idea and headed to the foyer, where she went through a mental list of everything she needed and stressed about the distinct feeling that she was forgetting something.

And then she looked up.

Andy squealed and stepped back, having been caught peeking.

Her heart thundered in her chest, but with no real reason to panic, for Miranda wasn't her boss anymore. They were friends. It was okay to want to say goodbye.

She didn't hear anything and it made her want to peek once more. It was just that Miranda had let go of her pumps before coming up the stairs.

"Creep" she taunted but Andy took no offense whatsoever. "I'll be back in no time, you'll see."

"Be safe, okay?"

"I have more bodyguards than the president, I'll be fine…"

"I'm serious."

"You don't need to be." Miranda nudged her to look up with a gentle touch and said "The girls are so excited to spend the week with you."

Andy's vision blurred a tiny bit but she nodded and tried to give Miranda a pretty smile to remember her by.

Chapter Text

The first few days in Paris went on as smoothly as they could. 

Allison was only half an idiot, not a complete one.

Stephen was also only half an asshole, not a complete one.

When he turned the key to the townhouse, he thanked God Mirand had sent the papers before Paris week took place. He wouldn't have to look at her, or her two stinky pests, or any of the staff that licked the floor behind her.

He tried to be quick and leave with just the essentials, but emotions got in the way and he ended up going through things like a child with ADHD trying to tidy up their bedroom.

Andrea felt uncomfortable for some reason she'd soon find out. She didn't notice the opening and closing of the door, for she was listening to music at the time. She paced around the house, bored and excited for the twins to come home from school and keep her company. 

It wasn't often that she'd be home from work so soon and have house to herself, but she wasn't complaining either.

It was just that… something was off.

It hit her when she passed the foyer on her way to the living room and found a pair of men's suit shoes laying around. 

Andy replayed the interaction with Stephen over and over in her head. 

It got worse each time.

No… it can't be. Of all people, the stupid assistant who came up the stairs.

Banging your married boss, how cliché is that?

She’s not all that hot, you know? 

Once you get close enough to really see her, once you see what she’s like underneath the fancy million dollar clothes and makeup… 

She didn’t want to tell Miranda any of this. It would be nice to vent about it to a friend, but not Miranda, she didn’t deserve it. And her friends had all sided with Nate after the break up. 

Then it hit her, that that was probably Stephen’s intention all along. To taunt Andy, so that she’d deliver the message and hurt Miranda in the process. Or he was just a sad dude in the process of divorcing a beautiful woman. Andy herself would hate to be him.

"Why does it matter to you? Not that I owe you an explanation, but we're not together. Miranda and I."

"Bullshit.”

“We’re just friends.”

“She left you in charge of her kids, she wouldn't do that if you were just her assistant. Or just her friend. Hell, she doesn’t even have any friends in the first place.

"Still, why is it so important to you?"

“Whether or not you’re fucking my wife? Geez, why indeed would that be important to me?” 

Andrea remembered how he’d paced around the kitchen, first empty handed and then with half a glass of whisky. 

"Just take whatever is left of your stuff and leave."

"And those two little pests? Just like her. Run while you still have legs.” 

"Now."

Stephen had the audacity to scoff at that, as if defying her. 

She tilted her head, in a way that mirrored Miranda, getting under his skin.

"I thought you'd like to leave with your dignity intact. But you'll have to put up with Cara and Roy and the girls on your way out, if you don't hurry up. And they'll see you as I do now… Not a pretty picture ."

Stephen could see it then: Their shared arrogance and the way it made the girl suddenly repulsive. He could see Miranda in her and was invaded by the same desire to break her neck. The same thing that came over the last time he and Miranda argued in person and he got kicked out of the house. 

He didn't like it one bit. He'd never understood guys who hit women. And he sure as hell wasn't starting now, he told himself.

Perhaps that was the bright side of being delivered the divorce papers. And of finding out that Miranda and the piece of eye candy that was entertaining her were so much alike. 

They could kill each other for all he cared.

Andy could see it in his eyes, he was leaving, he couldn’t stand her presence. 

"You know what? I was wrong, you two are perfect for each other.”

His laugh was sickening.

"You're two traps no man's gonna fall for ever again."

“Thank goodness, the bright side…” She remembered saying that and giving him a cold grin, gesturing with her hand once more for him to hurry up and go gather his belongings.

Thankfully, he didn’t return to bother her after that. Not that she'd scared him away, not that he couldn't have done her any harm if he'd wanted to. But he couldn't find it in himself, the anger towards the girl. Or the need for revenge or a dick measuring contest that would heal his ego. 

On the contrary, her similarities to Miranda repulsed him to the point of him not even wanting to look at her one last time on his way out.

Andrea was having her tea in the kitchen and flipping through a book of Miranda’s, which looked used and full of annotations and highlights, when she heard the front door close with a thud and knew he’d left. 

She let out a heavy sigh and this time her tears were of joy.  

When Cara walked in with the girls, she was quick to run to the nearest bathroom and make sure she looked fine, so that they wouldn't ask if she was okay. No one needed to know. She'd end up telling Miranda that he'd come by announced, later. 

"Mom really likes that book." Caroline told her, when she spotted it on the kitchen isle.

At the end of the day, the girls gathered around her phone to talk to their mother. Andrea gave them space to do so and laid back on the living room couch. Her mind ran in loops of Stephen, but she was still so glad he was gone. Gone from Miranda's life, gone before the kids were home, just- fucking gone.

It was a difficult phone call to sit through, when Miranda called her back around 11 p.m. and disclosed to Andy what her plans to save her position at Runway were. 

They talked about Jaqueline and how much younger she was. Miranda had a list of professionals that were both crucial to the success of the magazine and blindly devoted to her.  Nigel's ass was on the line and Miranda was choosing to save her own.

The older woman was uneasy during the entire conversation. She tried to seem proud of her plans but it was hard to boast about something that she hadn't put into practice yet. 

Nigel was the one piece that she wasn't so happy about. She was busy trying to find a solution, a way to give him something else, something even better… but the fact that she'd have to do the announcement, to disappoint him so publicly, well, there was no way to prevent that, without jeopardizing the entire plan.

Andrea was not a fan of that part, either. She understood that Miranda was anxious and that being the Editor-in-chief of Runway was only second in her list of priorities to her own children. But it was hard to endure that the man who had helped Andy excel in her job and who had believed in her and welcomed her when no one else did was suddenly collateral damage.

"And that James Holt gig was so absurdly overpaid, of course she jumped at it. I'll just have to tell Irv that Jaqueline is no longer available."

"Do you think it's gonna work?"

"I hope so. It has to work."

"You know you have my full support, whatever you decide and however it plays out in the end."

"I've decided already."

"Yes, I mean-"

"What?"

"I was just trying to say that I'm here for you. That I-"

"I didn't tell you this because I needed your approval. "

Andy knew better than to answer that.

Miranda knew better than to end the conversation in that tone.

"How was your day?"

"Shitty."

"How so?"

"Doesn't matter."

"Andrea…"

"I don't want to fight with you."

"Me neither. I just asked how your day was."

"And I just said I was here for you. How is that me being patronizing?"

"You weren't… I'm sorry."

"It's okay."

"It's not. I'm only bringing you down and your day was already… shitty. What happened, darling?"

“Stephen was here."

"Oh.

"A heads up would’ve been nice.”

"I'm sorry."

"I'm just glad it's over."

“That bad, huh?"

"Pffft, no, not at all… He was as pleasant as ever. Charming , even." The sarcasm didn't suit her, Miranda thought but had the wit not to say it.

"I didn't know, either... I wasn't expecting him to swing by to get his things this week, when I'm not there. But I guess he thought the house would be empty and it would be easier that way… I hope he didn’t bother you too much.”

“It’s okay, he was just, well- What was I expecting?”

“He didn’t touch you, did he? Oh god, were the girls with you?” 

“No, nothing like that." Andy dismissed her concerns and then explained: "Just… venting? I don’t know, he didn’t look angry. Just tired. He said some pretty nasty things and then left before the girls were back.”

“Do I wanna know?”

“No, I’ll spare you the details.”

She felt so useless, all those thousands of miles away, unable to protect her. She couldn't shake the feeling that she'd allowed Andrea to be alone with him.

"What were you thinking when you asked if he’d touched me?"

"He's… prone to making a scene. I really wish I’d been there with you.”

“Me too. You would’ve known what to say."

"I'm so sorry, darling."

"It's over now. But I like that, I like it when you call me that." 

The admission had Miranda tightening her grip on the phone and asking "you do?"

"Yes. And I like the way you say my name, too."

It felt good to have a distraction, to see the conversation drifting to a sweeter place. "What else?"

"Miranda Priestly… fishing for compliments?"

Miranda burned to the tip of her ears.

But Andy was just teasing "You have the most amazing hands." She said and could visualize the older woman's hands as she spoke "I like your little hand flourishes and the way you touch things. Like the book or the clothes you're judging or, better yet, when you brush the girls' hair."

Miranda wanted to tell her just how much she had to control her own hands to avoid touching Andrea all the time. 

She had tried, once or twice in the past few weeks, to relieve her own frustration with those same hands Andrea seemed to love. Her best efforts were rendered useless, though. 

She needed more. She could come until her pleasure became pain and it still wouldn't be enough. It wouldn't be Andrea.

But perhaps she didn't have to torture herself anymore, Miranda thought, after all… how often do friends compliment each other's hands?

"Remember Saturday night, when I kissed your hand?"

Oh, she definitely did. "Mhm."

"I've always wanted to do that."

Miranda sighed, assured that no, in fact, friends don't say I've always wanted to kiss your… whatever it is.

I'll tell her, as soon as I'm back home. I will.

"My hands would have straggled Stephen, if I were there with you, today."

"N-no, Miranda, don't-"

"I know, I don't want to talk about him either. But I can't take it off my mind. That you had to deal with him on your own. When he was never your problem."

"I'm a big girl."

"Of course you are, that's not- you're incredible, darling, I have no doubts you put his balls in a bag and threw them off the window."

Andy found herself smiling at how graphic Miranda's insults could be.

"My point is that you didn't have to. It wasn't your battle to fight."

"It felt good though, standing up for you." She chuckled. "Throwing him out of the house."

"Oh, I see.” Standing up for me, huh? “ You pissed all over your territory."

"In a way? Yes?"

"You never disappoint me… let's have some rest, darling, today's been way too long for us both. And tomorrow is only Wednesday."

"I hope the announcement goes well, tomorrow. And the meeting with Irv…"

"Oh, don't worry. Everything will go according to plan."

And it did.

Chapter Text

“Andy!” Caroline and Cassidy chorused as they saw her on the kitchen’s doorway, smiling broadly at them.

“Morning, Cassidy.” She approached the girl and kissed the top of her head. “Morning, Caroline.” She did the same for the second red-haired twin. “Did you sleep well?” 

“Good morning, Miss Sachs.”

“Oh, good morning, Cara. Sorry, I didn’t notice you at first, is everything okay?”

“Yes, we’re wrapping up breakfast and leaving for school, right girls?”

“Yeah! Andy, we’re having a show and tell today.”

The girls were quick to reach into their school bags and bring out their chosen items. Then, they proceeded to explain all that they were going to say for their presentation, quickly forgetting about breakfast and making Cara anxious they’d be late.

“Andy, are you calling mom tonight?”

“Of course, baby… Like we always do, we’ll talk to her a bit, give her a goodnight kiss, tell her how much we miss her… all of that, okay? I promise.”

“Mom’s arriving Saturday, right?”

“Yes, Saturday morning she’ll be here, don’t worry.”

That day was a painfully slow one for Andrea. All she wanted was for the night to come so she could call Miranda and talk to her, with the girls by her side on the living room’s big couch, feeling like they’re all together again. Her favorite people in the whole world. 

The interview at the New York Mirror had been great. Now all she wanted was to call Miranda, to tell her all about it. She thought she’d be proud of her and even mocked herself for how she still craved the older woman’s approval so dearly. Mommy issues, I guess.  

Later, when Miranda fell into a relaxed banter with her girls, Andrea just sat back on the couch and absorbed their voices and laughter like someone would lay back and enjoy a gentle breeze passing by on a boiling hot day of summer. 

Miranda was so excited, she loved this week but hated the unpredictability it entailed.

“And Andrea left me without an assistant!”

“You didn’t take Emily with you?” Cassidy asked.

“No… Unfortunately, Emily is sick. And the girl I brought with me as a replacement has a nut for a brain… Which means that I have to manage my own schedule for the week, the busiest, most important week of the entire year! It’s very tiresome, I might suggest a raise for the next assistants I hire. And I’ll interview them myself. ”

Now that she really thought about that, there wouldn’t be a former, more experienced assistant guiding and mentoring the new one. There would be two new assistants with no one to tell them not to touch Miranda, not to ask Miranda anything, not to bring her lukewarm coffee, not to go up the stairs… She felt a headache start to form at the thought, but then her children's dream-like chatter brought her back. She missed them so terribly. 

“Andrea, how did your interview go?”

Andy leaned in to participate. “Great! Thank you again for the recommendation. I’m really excited to start Monday.”

“My pleasure… Girls, give me a goodnight kiss and go brush your teeth. It’s getting late and tomorrow’s only Wednesday.”

“You’re here Saturday morning, right?”

“Right. We’ll be together in no time. I love you girls so much.”

Caroline and Cassidy took no time at all reassuring their mother that they loved her just as much and sending her hundreds, millions of thousands plus two zillion kisses over the phone. They ran up the stairs, because their mother was not there to tell them not to run in the house, and wouldn’t fall asleep before Andy hung up the phone and joined them upstairs, for a bedtime story and their goodnight forehead kisses.

Andy sat on her bed and sighed, phone in hand. 

“Can I call again?”

Miranda smiled at the simple text and called her.

“Hey!”

“Andrea.”

“Are you okay? You sounded… tired.

“Oh, I am. Paris is just such a difficult week. And… Remember our conversation last night? About Jaqueline?”

“Yes. How’s Nigel? You told me what was happening and what your plans were, but not how it actually played out. Did yesterday’s announcement go well?”

“As well as anything like this can go. He was devastated, obviously. I haven’t looked him in the eye ever since. But there’s always a new opportunity, I want to tell him that when we arrive and we have a moment, just us two. Tomorrow is the last day and the weekend will be a good time for him to… digest everything.”

“I could never do what you did to him.”

“You’re only now starting your career. You’ll realize, as you move forward, that you’re capable of many, many things you’d never even think of.”

Andy shook her head, for the words made her uncomfortable, but of course Miranda couldn’t see it.

“You’re driven, you don’t give up. You’d do anything to get what you want.”

“I literally quit my job. Because I’m not the type to play mind games to get ahead.”

“You went as far as quitting your job for the girls. Because you chose them. You had a priority and you would have done absolutely anything to protect it.”

It made sense, when she put it like that.

“I never thought I’d say this, Andrea but…” Miranda hesitated but knew that it was true and that the girl deserved the compliment, after having proven herself so honest and reliable, so devoted to her, no, not to her, she painfully reminded herself, but to Caroline and Cassidy. “I see a great deal of myself in you.”

“I- I really don’t think I’m like that. These are two completely different contexts, I mean, what I did- for them- it was for love. Not for my career. I’m only now getting a job as a reporter, after having spent more than a month waiting tables.”

“You’ll find that people who would do anything for love… they’d do anything for whatever they value the most at any point in time. The motive itself is not that relevant.  

Didn’t you and Nate fight because you were so devoted to Runway?

Where was this Andrea that would do anything for love at the time? You were at a benefit with me, and even found the time to flirt some more with Mr. Thompson while you were at it. 

Because your career was your priority then. And you did all you could to get ahead.

When that changed, when my girls became your priority, you threw it all away to keep them.”

Andrea didn’t respond and Miranda should have realized that this had crossed the line between a compliment to an insult a while ago. She should have apologized or asked her if she was okay. 

Instead, Miranda went ahead and said.

“I wonder what your next priority will be. And how you’re going to get rid of them.”

Looking back, it’s easy to understand that Miranda got offended when Andy refused to let Miranda compare her to herself. The girl had a point, after all Miranda had just stabbed her coworker and friend of more than twenty years in the back to save her own ass. And then she told Andy she was just like her.

It’s only understandable that Andy didn’t take that as a compliment.

And it’s also understandable that Miranda didn’t enjoy the feeling of telling the woman she loves that she sees a great deal of herself in her, only to be met with Andrea’s indignity when she stated that no, in fact, they couldn’t be more different.

So she did what she does best, when between a rock and a hard place, she fought back. She tore her down, touching all the buttons she knew were there from having had the opportunity to get to know her better over the last month or so.

“Take it back.”

“Hm?”

“Take back what you said. Not the thing about me doing whatever I can do to keep what’s important to me because, well, don’t we all? Isn’t it natural to want to fight for the things you want? And to want different things at different points in time, as you grow?

But take back the part about the girls. That was a horrible thing to say. I’m never getting rid of them. 

And, for the love of god, will you forget about Christian’s existence? We talked a couple of times, nothing even remotely inappropriate ever happened. He put in a word for me to help me get the manuscript you ordered me to get, as a punishment. You knew it was impossible and you wanted me to fail.”

Miranda’s anxiety started to kick in, so she made use of what she could remember. She muttered "Well, I'm sorry if you-"

“We have a deal, right? And that deal includes you not questioning my love for them. You remember the part where I can’t stay mad at you, that one’s for sure. I- I don’t understand, you started by saying that I chose them because I love them. And then you bring up Nate and Christian and tell me I’ll just discard your children like they’re nothing? As soon as I find my next priority ? Seriously?”

“Christian knew all along, that… weasel of a man. And I hated the smug smile he always flashed so easily when speaking to you.”

“He knew? Wait, this is all because you’re jealous? Of Christian? And Nate?”

“Ye- no, Andrea, that’s not-“ She sighed heavily, but that’s just a polite way of saying she growled.

“Go on then. Where did this all come from? Why did you feel the need to hurt me?”

“I wasn’t trying to hurt you! I’d never- Okay.” Miranda knew they’d have to talk it out. They were fortunately past storming out and sulking. She loved this woman and was nowhere near giving her up for a stupid fight. “From the beginning.”

“Yes.” 

“I thought I was complimenting you. I said you were driven. And that you’d do anything for what’s important to you. Right? 

But then you said that’s not true, that isn’t not like you’d ever do what I did to Nigel. That it’s not like you’re… like me. 

And that hurt.  

Look what you made me do, I’m talking about feelings.”

“Why did it hurt, exactly?”

“Well, in case you haven’t noticed… I lo- “ Come on, you can do this. “I don’t hate you. Not even a little bit. And I thought it was a good thing, to say that we had something in common. That we’re both ambitious people who stop at nothing to get what they want. But then you say you’re not like that. You’re not like… me. 

You don’t- This is ridiculous, but here goes. 

You don’t like me. And that hurts.”

Andy’s own anger subsided. “Who said I didn’t like you? Mir-“

You did! If you like me then why were you so offended? Why didn’t it feel like a compliment to you?”

“It’s just- What you did to Nigel was… tough. Really tough. And maybe you’re right, maybe I’d have done it too if something really important for me was on the line. Like Runway was, for you. You chose Runway. Like I chose our girls. 

Maybe you’re right, maybe we are pretty much the same. It’s just… scary. Or at least weird to think that one day my ambition will lead me to make choices that still actively hurt someone.

I wasn’t offended, and certainly not because I think you’re a horrible person or because I’d hate to be compared to you. On the contrary, I” Fuck. “I-- I miss you so much.”

“I miss you too.” Miranda admitted, not for the first time. 

“And I still feel kinda bad for Emily. She was so-”

“I just hope I successfully talked some sense into her. I mean, I told her she’s welcome anytime but… she betrayed my trust. I’d welcome her back to the industry, but not to Runway.

“Do you trust me ?”

“You’ve been babysitting my children for almost a week now. I hate to repeat myself, but… my children, Andrea.”

“I know, I just…I feel like you are still afraid I’ll just leave. When my next priority, like you called it, comes around.”

“I’m really sorry for having said that. I didn’t think twice. And you don’t deserve to be accused like that, you’ve done nothing wrong.”

“So you trust me?”

“I do.”

“I’m afraid I broke your trust, when… when I said what I said, the other day at the townhouse. You know, when Nate called and we broke up and- You looked so hurt. I feel like I pushed you in a direction you’d never even consider, like that was the most idiotic thing. And then I could tell you didn’t feel as comfortable in my presence anymore.”

“Not comfortable? You don’t remember sitting on my lap, the night before I came to Paris? Hugging me and falling asleep on that armchair?”

“I do.” Andy thought about it so much during the days that followed that night.

"Or that I was the one giving you my hand to kiss?"

"Mhm…"

“And the night before that, when I invited you to come over for dinner? We were on the couch of the study and you touched my neck.”

“Miranda…”

The older woman had to take a break. Hearing Andrea whispering her name like that, almost pleading in tone, made it ever harder for her to focus. And this was already a difficult conversation to be had. One she had prepared for when she was back in New York, for the weekend. She hated that she was doing this now and on the phone, for god's sake…

“You lied to me, didn’t you? You didn’t say those words… you didn’t ask where Stephen was just because the fight with Nate reminded you of my strained relationship with him.”

Andy shifted in bed, unsure of what to say. She was afraid of rejection, afraid Miranda would be offended or… But then she heard her say that: “It’s… ahm, almost three a.m." Miranda was still to comprehend how they could stay on the phone for hours. "It’s one of those times of day where you could get away with saying practically anything.” Miranda reminded her. 

They’d built a habit of sharing late night talks and it gave the older woman a sense of intimacy she’d thought impossible with anyone else.

Andrea’s voice didn’t come through and Miranda worried she’d been too straightforward.

“Andrea…”

“Don’t do this, don’t make me say it… You know I lied, you know why, you know the truth, too. No need to humiliate me.”

“Humiliate you… Is that really what you think I’m doing?”

“I don’t know what you’re doing.”

“Right now?” Go for it. “I’m missing you. Terribly. I realize I’ve said it twice already but here goes the third. It’s most of what I’ve been doing these past few days, missing you. 

I find myself looking for you, during the day, turning to the side to tell you something and looking back to check if you’re right behind me. But, then, you’re not.”

“I’m sorry-“

“No, please, don’t be! I brought this on myself when I accused you of befriending the girls with ulterior motives… as if! As if you’d ever use them to get ahead! Those are the words I overthink. You could be here with me right now of I hadn't been so… stupid.

And for the sake of transparency, I said those things because I was afraid of how it made me feel. Of how you made me feel when you spilled that coffee that morning and then… When we were in the bathroom, in my office, all I wanted to do was kiss you, kiss your hand, take care of you and tell you over and over again that you’d be alright, that everything was going to be just fine. 

And then, at home, when the girls asked about you… They were so worried, they clearly adored you and I- I’m a grown up, I can deal with my own feelings, but not theirs. I could never forgive myself if you hurt them. 

But, of course, you’d never do that. 

God, stop me when you’ve had enough of my monologue…”

Andy felt like she should just take the opportunity and be true about what she meant, that night. “I was going to say that it was stupid for me to think you’d ever cheat on him with me.”

“I would have.”

“Miranda… Even if you were cheating on him every day of the week, it would never be with me, I know that.

“Can’t you listen? I can’t be more explicit than this.” 

“I-

“N-no, listen… I would have . I wanted to kiss you, that night. I want to kiss you, I want it all the time …” Miranda hesitated, but knew she had to do this. She took a deep breath and said: “I want you .”

Andrea didn’t know what to say, or rather was too taken aback to say anything at all. 

Miranda felt her eyes sting at the silence that met her ridiculous love declaration. The room looked empty and pathetic and she felt so small.

She couldn’t believe that it was out now. What was it with her, that night, and saying the most stupid things?

She felt nauseous at the thought that, if the girl was to say it back, she would’ve by now.

“Only you can say this over the phone, thousands of miles away from me.”

“I’ll be back Saturday.” She gingerly replied, not sure if Andy was angry or not. Not sure if she was rejecting her.

But then Andy sighed and her name on the girl's lips, rolling out her tongue, was suddenly so beautiful. “Miranda…” 

“Hm?”

“This was already the longest week ever… And now you added the possibility of us kissing when you get back-”

“I can remove the possibility just as easily.”

“Don’t tease… The first time I wanted to kiss you was when I dropped the Harry Potter manuscript at your desk. I remember you giving me this insanely hot look, I had to use all my willpower not to go around the desk.”

Chapter Text

The night after that, Andy paced around Miranda’s study and impatiently waited for the older woman to call her. The girls were long asleep two flights of stairs above the ground floor study and all she could think about was their last conversation. Miranda had laid the cards on the table and now she couldn’t think of anything other than kissing her and the way Miranda had said  “I want it all the time , I want you.”

It was a difficult Thursday night to push through. Caroline and Cassidy had their mother on the phone for hours on end because, well, school drama. Andy gave them space to vent about these things, to ramble and revel on the stories Miranda had to tell them about Paris.

After putting the girls to bed and reading to them The Big Orange Splot for the second time that week, Andrea returned downstairs, with her laptop and phone in hand, to settle on the study.

There was this article she’d been conducting her research on. She had a lot of ideas and even the sources to back up all the content she had planned, but no real drive to actually… start. 

It was not like the article was something she had to do for work, she’d only start Monday and had nothing to do until then. But missing Miranda during the day was easy, with the last days of her work as a busy busgirl keeping her focus elsewhere. 

Then, at home, it got harder because everything screamed Miranda’s presence but the twins were a handful. They got tired at the end of the day and Andy got to experience their sleepy moody tantrums without their mother around. 

Plus, before the sleepiness kicked in, they were their usually curious and playful selves, dragging Andy to play their games and build their new Lego models with them. It got her mind off things.

But then they had to go to sleep and the hours between the twins going to sleep and Andy going too were filled with writing and thinking and scrolling through useless facts on the internet because she was researching something for an article but got distracted.

When the phone buzzed and she recognized Miranda’s name on the little screen, she melted and picked it up that same instant.  

She asked all about her day and reveled in the way Miranda was so passionate talking about fashion, about how beautiful the city was and then about all the places she’d take Andrea to, next year, when she was there with her.

They talked and talked and talked.

Miranda’s cheeks hurt from smiling so much more than usual.

“I really wish I could kiss you, right now…” Andy told her, at some point.

“Yes?”

“Yes. Have you taken the make-up off already?”

“Why is that relevant? You don’t like-“

“I’m always worried I’ll ruin your make-up and make you mad. I’ve only seen you without make-up once. Your skin looked so soft, I just wanted to shower you with kisses.”

“You can’t be serious.”

“I am! But then the twins came into the room and we played scrabble and… well- The point is I really wanted to. You looked so pretty and so relaxed. I bet you look so pretty right now.”

Miranda wasn’t expecting that. This was new, Andrea complimenting her so bluntly. 

“Are you already in bed?” Miranda asked her, because truly she couldn’t think of anything smarter or more interesting to say. 

“No, I’m at your desk staring at an article I’ve been struggling with.” After a brief pause, Andy prompted: “Can’t focus. You?”

“I’m going through photos of today’s shows… I’m sitting in bed against a pathetic bunch of pillows, I’ve rearranged them a million times but it’s just not… You know I like things done a certain way. Next year I’m bringing my own pillows. Or I’m bringing you.”

“Would you lay back against me, let me hold you?”

“Yes… I’d love that right now.”

“Just having you in my arms, dropping little kisses on your temple and whispering in your ear how beautiful you are…”

“Don’t you have an article to write?”

“I do… but having you like this, so close, feels so much better. There’s nothing I’d rather be doing right now.”

“You don’t say…”

“If you moved your head, just the tiniest bit to your right, I’d lean down to kiss your neck. Remember at the benefit when I had to whisper those snotty important people’s names in your ear? You were wearing that gown that had your neck and shoulders bare… I can’t believe I have you here, now, and I can just… kiss you. Your skin is so soft, Miranda…”

Miranda’s belly was invaded by an icy flutter, so she asked, whispering as if she were afraid anyone would hear her: “Andrea… What are- What are you doing ?” 

Andy’s smile was wide and bright, for the fact that she was suddenly in a position to dream of and speak of this filled her chest with warmth and giddiness. “Hmm, kissing your neck… running the tip of my tongue up to reach the back of your ear.” She sighed as her own desperation but figured she might as well go all in. “You have no idea how much I’m holding myself back not to bite down and leave a mark.”

“Darling… I have these photographs to go through and I-“ Miranda stopped herself and sighed heavily. Andrea’s voice was so sweet and the pictures she painted were so enticing. “You can’t leave a mark, people will see it tomorrow. I’ll be wearing a very low cut blouse.”

“Everyone’s going to be drooling for you. You’re…” Andy struggled, looking for the right word, and then whispered “… irresistible… so completely irresistible.”

“They’ll have no other choice but to resist, darling.”

“Yeah?”

“No one can touch me, but you…” If only. “You’re the one touching me now , aren’t you?” Miranda smiled at the absurdity of it. The things this girl made her say, the things she made her do.

“Yes… Can I-“ She sighed and had to take a moment, before trying again. “Can I slide the robe off your shoulders?”

“Mhm…” Andy heard closely, as Miranda let go of her gray robe and let it fall to her waist, uncovering her shoulders, arms and chest completely. “Is this better?”

“Perfect. You’re perfect… Please, lay back against me?” 

Miranda rearranged herself against the pillows that were still not to her liking and gave in. She was aching too painfully and Andy’s breathing on the other side of the line had become quite impossible to ignore. She had to be touching herself. Miranda remembered how the girl had let out a very shaky “yes” when she asked “You’re the one touching me now, aren’t you?”

“Miranda?” Andy was worried she’d crossed a line.  

She relaxed when the older woman’s voice came hoarse from the other side of the line: “Take off your shirt? I want to feel your naked skin, against my back.” That was an easy one, Andy could do that. Miranda heard the rustling of fabric on the other side and smirked at the thought. “You’re so beautiful… Wrap your arms around me, kiss my neck, but be- Argh… Careful with the teeth, I’ve told you, you can’t-“ Miranda’s sentence was stopped by her gasping, as her fingers slipped under her panties. 

“It feels like heaven to just- have you, here, with me, right now…” The girl said and then in awe, she whispered: “ Fuck … I have goosebumps!” Andy chuckled softly and Miranda was taken back realizing she herself had them. Her fingers were cold and her heart was racing. Just the thought of Andy’s open mouthed kisses covering her collarbone, her shoulders, the back of her neck, she side up to her ear, it was more than enough to make her shiver. 

Miranda put Andy on speaker, so she could rub her clit in increasingly urgent circles with her right hand and hold her left breast at the same time. She even inclined her head slightly to the right, exposing her throat as vivid images of Andrea’s mouth biting and sucking and marking her kept racing through her mind. 

Meanwhile, Andy gripped her phone tightly with one hand and lazily rubbed the path from her clit to where she was dripping from, up and down, spreading the moisture through her folds, careful not to set herself on fire too quickly.

She was close to losing her own pretty little mind at the thought of Miranda, somewhere in a French luxury hotel room, with her gray robe pooling around her waist, her thighs spread to accommodate her fingers and her head thrown back, producing the most delicious of sounds.  

“I’ve always thought you have the most perfect breasts…” the girl said and felt a current of electricity run through her spine, pooling at her belly, making her whisper “ow, fuck!” and whimper “Miranda…”

Hearing the deep moan that left Miranda’s lips as she said that, Andy continued “Your nipples are so hard…”

“Yes…” Miranda is not the type of woman who’s easily speechless, but-

“Oh… you like it when I pull on them? When I pinch your nipples between my fingers?” The older woman followed her words to do just that, moaning louder than expected and further encouraging her young lover. 

“Y-yes!” Miranda felt her core aching, unbearably so. Her taut nipple was rolled and teased by a hand that was less and less steady the closer she got the release the desperately chased. Finally, she had Andrea with her and could actually listen to her moaning in her ear instead of just picturing it. “I need you… ”

Andy’s brain short-circuited at that. “Oh… dear, I’m right here with you.” That must have hit a soft spot because Miranda groaned like all shame had evaporated from her feverish body. “Right here with you… I- f-fuck, I’m-”  

Inside, Andrea …” The girl couldn’t resist that and Miranda heard her hum her pleasure as she slipped first one, then her second finger inside herself. 

The angle was not easy on her wrist, she was sitting with her boy shorts still on and struggling to keep herself from making too much noise.

Miranda wouldn’t have any of that. She didn't wait all this time to now have Andrea stifle her sweet moans. “Let me hear you, darling-“

Andrea’s whimpers and breathy moans got more intense as the next moments went by. She passed the phone to her shoulder, holding it against her ear, so that that hand could help too. At some point, her brain lost the ability to process anything other than Miranda. 

With her eyes closed, she saw her, she heard her encouraging words and sounds of pleasure and pushed herself to the point of no return, where the only thing she could say was, at first, Miranda’s name and then, nothing intelligible at all.

Miranda’s whole face was burning as she heard her come.

Oh, it was too much, to know this, to picture her, to- “ Andre— aah! ” she moaned because she couldn’t hold it back anymore. 

Her usually calm and collected, soft spoken voice was shattering into a sigh that started with the girl's name and ended with her coming in strong waves. Her hips buckled up from the bed and let her head drop back as her body shook violently. 

Oh, Andy should have been there to catch her, to have this marvelous woman trembling in her arms and the soft white hair resting back against her shoulder.

After a few moments where not much apart from their breathing could be heard over the line, Andy was the one to break the silence, murmuring “Please, come back." and then "Come home to me.”

She was laying back against Miranda’s chair in the study, with tears in her eyes and her hands on top of her shorts, one of them reaching for her shirt to clean itself and properly hold the phone.

“I will, darling…”

“I really wish you were in my arms." She sighed. "So I could play with your hair, kiss you… fall asleep with you.” It felt almost cruel, that she’d have to open her eyes post orgasm and find that the study was empty.

“Shh, I’m here. If you’re still on my desk, come to bed. Let’s have some rest, come on.”

Andrea dragged herself from the chair and damned the guest room she was sleeping in for being upstairs. 

As she passed the door that led to Miranda’s suite, she stopped and wondered if the sheets had already been changed since the older woman had left. Cara would probably only do that the night before Miranda came back from Paris.

“Andrea…”

“Can I please stay in your room tonight?”

“Why?”

“I just- I know this will sound ridiculous, but I think your bed will smell like you. And I just want to close my eyes and feel that you’re with me.”

“It does sound ridiculous. Sweet, too. But… You know, I really value my privacy.”

“What if I just go straight to bed? I won’t touch anything, won’t go through your things, I promise. I just want to see if the sheets have already been changed and… sleep here, if they haven’t.”

“You little creep…” She gave the girl some time “So?”

Andy sat in Miranda’s bed and sighed. The whole bedroom was so her, so full of her . She gently took one of the pillows from under the covers of the huge cloudlike bed and sighed into it. “I’m stealing one of your pillows and heading back to the guest room. How about that?”

“That’s acceptable. Take it.”

Arriving at her destination and sliding inside the covers, Andy let her face sink into Miranda’s pillow and put the phone on speaker on the top of the other one, next to her. 

“I’m here. Do you want to be my small spoon?”

“Yes, but don’t tell anyone about it.”

“I love you.”

“You better.” Miranda playfully answered, a very honest, tired and sated smile spreading through her lips and lifting up her rosy cheekbones. “I love you.”

Chapter Text

Miranda grabbed her smaller things while Roy took it upon himself to unload the heaviest luggage. She couldn't wait to be home, to really open the door and see her girls.

Andy couldn't stay in the same spot for more than a quarter. Miranda had sent her a text stating that the plane had landed, that she'd be home in a maximum of twenty seven minutes.

"Andy, you're wearing out the carpet."

"Hm?" She turned to face the adorable redhead.

"That's what granny says when dad walks in circles like that."

"Are you okay?" Caroline chirped in.

"Yeah, of course."

"Is it because the pizza lady on the phone was rude?"

"No, baby... really, I'm okay, show me that" She gestured at the instructions manual they had in hand, for their new Harry potter themed Lego set, lowering herself afterwards to sit on the floor with them.

"I think there are pieces missing." Cassidy was always the first to play that card, whether it was a puzzle or Lego or anything else that required a certain amount of parts to play with.

"Or we just lost them, Cass, have you checked under the table?"

"Of course, duhh, but no... and nothing in the rug!" Cassidy ran her tiny hands through the material, playing with the fibers.

"It'll appear when you're not looking for it, don't worry." Andy assured them.

"Why is mom taking so long?"

"First the thing with the bags and she couldn't arrive for breakfast... The pizzas will be here before she is."

"She'll be here soon, ok? I told you she sent me a text when the plane landed."

"Let me see." Caroline crawled over the rug to sit right next to Andy.

Andy felt uneasy but handed the girl the phone, with Miranda's last message on display.

She reminded herself that Caroline was a kid, that it was normal for her to not see any trouble with asking Andy to see her phone and the proof that she received a message from her mother. 

Still, her mind went to Nate and the way he snatched her phone from her to see her texts and to scroll through the infinite catalog of calls from Miranda.

“What does it say?” Cassidy asked.

"It says here that she wants to kiss Andy. But not in front of us." She got up to show it to her sister.

Andy’s soul left her body.

"That doesn't make sense, Caro, we've seen them kiss a thousand times."

"Yeah and mom kisses us in front of you, too... what's the problem?"

Caroline handed her the phone back, saying: "Ask her why."

"And ask her what time she's really coming!" Cassidy added, coming over to Andy’s side to peak as Andy’s fingers hesitated on what to type.

The bell rang.

“Ooooh it's her! It’s heeeeeer !” The twins ran towards the door and Andrea followed them, afraid that they'd open the door to a stranger, such as the pizza delivery person or-

"MOM!!!!"

Miranda had rung the bell because she knew how to make an entrance, but quickly followed to turn the key and open the door herself, getting placated by her babies.

Still hugging her mom as tightly as they could but because curiosity got the best of them, they asked: "Are you afraid we're gonna be jealous if you kiss Andy?"

"Cause you can, she's our friend but she's your friend too."

"And you've kissed in front of us before."

Miranda looked terrified. Her head snapped up to Andrea and the girl felt herself freezing. Miranda narrowed her eyes and Andy pointed to her phone, shrugging.

How ?” She mouthed, but Andy didn’t have time to answer, for Miranda looked back down at her babies and said “I meant kill. But- As a joke, obviously.”

“Yes! Because of the pizza. I told her about it.”

Miranda’s eyes snapped at hers again. What the hell? What pizza?

Pizza night, tonight, we promised them. Just go along with it.

"I told you mom about how they didn't agree to change the ingredients to make that special order she likes. And, of course, she was angry-"

"And I was so angry… Yes! It's unacceptable that they won't-"

"The lady was just mean for no reason!" Cassidy was pissed.

"Of course, I would never kill someone over pizza, but- it was a bad joke, I'm sorry.”

“Don’t apologize to us.” Cassidy said. “Apologize to Andy, that’s not a nice thing to say to a friend.”

Caroline was quick to stand up for Andy, too. "And it's not like it's her fault, she tried-"

The bell rang again.

"Good evening, ladies!” The girl was so nice. Caroline couldn’t take her eyes off the tattoos on her arms. It’s not like they were often in a context where they could see it. “Can you confirm that this is your order?"

“No, it’s not my order.” Miranda said, peeking into the first box. “Because today, for some reason, you decided not to take my order.”

“Oh! I can take it back if it’s not what you asked. I’m-“

“No, no, wait.” The girl was grateful the brunette in a t-shirt and boy shorts stepped forward to take the pizza boxes. “It’s okay. We ordered them like this. It’s just that- Well, the person we spoke to, on the phone, refused to take our usual order, with the modifications we usually ask for, you know, to make them more to our liking. But that’s not on you.” This last month or so spent delivering food apparently meant she couldn’t let Miranda eviscerate the girl. 

“I’m really not sure whether or not it’s okay for the people taking the orders to change ingredients. When I order pizza, I usually ask for changes too, but I don’t order them from Alfredo’s. So I wouldn’t know.”

“Where do you order yours from?”

“I- I really shouldn’t.”

Andy handed the girl her own phone, with the notes app on display. Taking it, she wrote down the name of the pizza place she liked best and her own name and number under it.

“Thank you.” Andy smiled and closed the door.

The girls walked in ahead of them, to set the table and get everything ready while the pizza was hot.

Miranda couldn’t look at Andrea. She couldn’t shake the feeling that the girls had read that text. All she wanted was to cry of embarrassment and toss the girl's phone in the ocean, but she had pizza to eat and her children to spoil and the smell of their hair and the sound of their roaring laughter to focus on.

Caroline fell asleep sitting on the floor, with a piece of Lego in her hand and her little head resting on the couch behind her. 

Andy pointed it out. Her sister gently nudged her up and Miranda told them both to give Andy a kiss goodnight. 

The girls did so and their mother proceeded to lay her hands on top of their shoulders, guiding them up the stairs.

Cassidy was the one awake enough to reach the top of the stairs and stop. Looking over her shoulder, she said "We were serious, you can kiss her in front of us. Like you always did.” It just didn’t make sense. “We kiss her in front of you too. She's our friend too ."

Caroline gestured for her mother to come closer, so she could whisper in her ear: “We know you lied.”

Miranda kissed the top of Caroline’s head and heard a very, very sleepy Cassidy say "Why did you lie?"

Miranda’s shoulders came up at that. Why did she, really? What could be so wrong about admitting that she-

“Is it because you want to kiss her… like… like you used to kiss dad?” She almost added “ and Stephen” but, truth be told, she couldn’t remember her mother ever kissing him.

 There really was no point in denying it anymore. And the last thing she wanted was for their children to lose their trust in her. And she hoped Andrea would stay. So, she just nodded.

“Cool. But yes, not in front of us. It’s gross.”

“But we’re happy for you!”

“Yeah, very happy. Gross. But cute.”

“Andy’s cute.”

“So it’s not so gross.”

“Yeah. Very that.”

“Like a small kiss is okay.”

“No tongue.”

“No tongue is acceptable.”

Miranda smiled and echoed that “No tongue is acceptable.” And then quickly changed the subject "Brush your teeth, go pee pee and get all cozy under the blankets, ok?"

"Ok."

"I'll be up in a minute."

"Ok."

Andy shivered when Miranda came back into the living room. Her face showed nothing but her usual uninterested state.

"Can I at least explain it?” Andy asked and got a nod in response “Good. So, they asked if you'd take much longer to arrive. I said no and reminded them that you sent me a text when you landed. 

Then, Caroline asked to see the text. I let her. She's just a kid and she was sad and she just wanted to-“ Breathe, Andy. “Ahm, ok, then she says, and I swear it was a matter of seconds, she says- that you said-

She said you wanted to kiss me, but not in front of them.

And I panicked!

But Cassidy immediately said that it's okay because we're friends. And that they kissed me in front of you all the time and- What I'm trying to say is, they didn't see it like that.”

Miranda was so amused.

"Like what?" She dismissed Andy’s little speech with a hand flourish and feigned innocence.

Andy raised her eyebrows at that and Miranda felt more at ease now, the earlier embarrassment slipping away.

She thought it would be a good idea to go back to the kitchen, to have some tea, to talk it out, whatever it was.

Andy stayed glued to the living room couch for a few minutes before following her.

The older woman kept repeating to herself that it was okay, that everything was fine, that her girls saw no malice in the text, that her girls loved Andrea and that there was no reason for panic. 

She opened the drawer where she kept her collection of teas from every type and from everywhere. Some of them had been gifted to her and she really wanted to focus on picking a good one but her mind wouldn't stop distracting her from it.

Andy gathered her courage and stepped behind the older woman. 

Miranda's wandering hands, which picked and read and brought tea bags to her nose to judge them by their scent, slowed down as she felt the girl's presence. 

Closer and closer and closer. Her mind was immediately quiet and alert for… anything. Everything. She wanted everything.

Andy rested her chin on Miranda's left shoulder and wrapped her arms around her waist, pressing their bodies together. Not pushing her against the open drawer, but rather pulling her back against her, holding her very tenderly and softly.

Miranda's hands went back to motion. The next tea bag was picked out of its beautifully ornamented box and brought up to Miranda's nose.

Her hand hesitated on the next step but still followed through, bringing the tea bag a couple of inches to the left, so Andrea could have an opinion too.

She shook her head and Miranda put it down to pick another one.

Her hands were less steady when she felt Andrea's breathing on her neck, taking in how good she smelled even after a day of traveling, and then planting a very chaste and warm kiss below her ear.

At first she tensed up and tried to focus on just picking the damn tea, but then another kiss followed, lower on her neck.

Andy made her painstakingly slow descent to the soft spot where her neck met her shoulder, tasting all the expanse of increasingly hot skin along the way. 

"So much-" kiss "better-" kiss "than I could have-” kiss “ever imagined…" kiss kiss kiss.

Andrea’s lips were feathery light and the way they felt on the sensitive skin of her neck reminded her of that night, in Paris. Miranda couldn't help but let her eyes flutter shut and extend her neck a bit to the right, in a way that welcomed the girl’s kisses, just like they’d fantasized over the phone. 

She remembered telling the girl, that night, that she should be careful not to leave a hickey. And now the soft touches of Andrea’s lips were teasing her, making her breathe like the air was nowhere to be found. 

What’s worse, she wanted to feel her teeth and her tongue and to find her skin bruised in the morning. She wanted to see proof that the girl had touched her. It was beyond insane, she wasn't exactly a teenager anymore. “Please , darling…” She hated how that sounded. 

It was embarrassing and out of character and she was expecting Andrea to make fun of her.

Miranda pressed her right hand over Andrea’s, squeezing firmly as if she needed the support not to fall.

Andrea froze at that. She wasn’t quite sure if Miranda needed her to stop, or rather go further.

Afraid she'd push her luck, Andy took a deep breath and tried to draw the attention back to the task at hand. "What's that purple one?"

Miranda was confused by the sudden shift. She laced her fingers over Andrea’s, keeping her in place, but maybe it was for the best that they’d taken a step back.

“That box, there…” One of Andy’s hands extended a bit to point at it and then returned to its warm place around Miranda’s center. She felt the older woman’s hand come back to rest upon hers again, the fingers lacing and squeezing again.

"It's mauve."

"What is mauve made of?"

"Mauve is the name of the color." Miranda clarified as she flipped the box and read it. “Not purple… ” When she brought it up to Andrea's nose, the girl sighed pleasantly and she closed the drawer, happy to have found something she liked.

As she stepped forward to reach the kettle, to get their mugs, she felt Andy's arms tightening around her waist. She wasn't pressed against the counter, but she knew she could be. She wanted to be. Her mind wandered and she felt something in her belly swirl in response to the images that crept in.

“Let's say goodnight to the girls… We can drink it afterwards."

"They're probably asleep already, but-"

"Come on..." Andy kissed her cheek, her temple and was starting to step away… but Miranda instantly missed the warmth of her body against hers, so she turned and bravely stepped forward, back into Andrea’s arms. 

Her bravado didn’t take her all the way to kissing Andrea’s lips, but the kiss still landed on the girl’s cheek. “N-no.” She whined and kissed her again. One of her hands traveled up to hold a side of Andrea’s face, while her lips feasted on her jaw, her neck and then, right below her ear, she whispered: “ Please… ” 

This time, there was no room for doubt, Miranda wasn’t asking her to stop, she was begging her not to.

Miranda’s kisses got wetter and needier by the second, much like herself. 

Now it was her turn. And she wanted to finally lick and bite and suck Andrea’s skin. 

Finally, finally, finally.

She wanted to make her moan and gasp for air, because she couldn’t get that stupid phone call out of her head.

And she wanted her. All of her. And all of the time. And here she was, this warm fragile skin between her teeth, being gently sucked into Miranda's hungry mouth.

When Andy felt the sting that Miranda’s mouth provoked and the way her insides fluttered at that, she thought to herself that enough was enough and gently pushed her away, just enough to be able to turn her head towards her and lock their gaze. 

Andy’s eyes didn’t take long to drop to Miranda’s lips and the older woman leaned in that very second to kiss her. Tentatively at first, because she’d waited and wanted her for so long. 

Miranda didn’t want to ruin anything now, she didn’t want their first kiss to be anything short of perfection. But she didn’t have to think about it, she didn't have to worry, for perfection was right there, it was impossible to miss. 

She could feel it under her fingertips and taste it when their tongues slid together for the first time. 

Chapter Text

Miranda Priestly is a hell of a great kisser, don’t trust what that paper rag PageSix says. 

"Mir- Ahh" Andy sighed against Miranda's mouth, in desperate need of a moment to get her breathing in check. She felt her body respond with shivering that polled at her belly and an aching deep at her core that she'd never felt from just, well, kissing.

They rested their foreheads against each other for a moment. 

Miranda couldn't resist turning her head to rest on her shoulder, inhaling her sweet scent on the cheap cotton of the t-shirt. And then she couldn't resist kissing up her neck again.

"Miranda…" Andy was successful in cupping her beautiful face, looking her in the eye and finding that the older woman wanted everything but to allow for awkward silences or open a window for embarrassment to kick in. "Talk to me…"

Miranda closed her eyes, sighing softly and letting her shoulders slump. Andrea could read her impatience and how she was clearly not a fan of the prospect of having "the talk" before having sex.

"Can we go upstairs?" She asked and Andy didn't deny her. How could she? Miranda took the initiative and took her hand to lead the way.

Reaching the top of the stairs, she felt Andrea letting go of her hand to pull her back against her body, her hands wrapping her waist and their lips meeting once more. 

She tried walking back to cross the hall and reach her suite but soon found herself being deliciously backed into a wall. 

What's worse, she pulled on the weak collar of Andrea's t-shirt to pull her closer and that caused the girl to stumble forward and press her more intently against it. It felt good to have her so close and to be kissed like this. 

Their obvious hunger didn't feel rushed, it bordered on the slow and intense, bold strokes. They savored a moment of exciting exploration that took little whimpers to form their throats and weakened their knees. 

Miranda held onto the girl's shoulders and made sure she showed just how desirable she was in that moment, just how much she had wanted her for so long. 

Parting for air and sighing into Miranda's jaw, Andrea took a tiny step back and shifted her position a tiny bit to the left, so her right thigh could press forward. 

Miranda pulled her closer again, welcoming the new pressure against her with a gasp that ended up being met with an open mouthed kiss. 

The twins’ room was down the corridor, though, and Miranda had dreamt about doing this properly.

She wanted to shower Andrea with love and attention… and she couldn't do so over the phone or giving into the temptation and grinding down against her leg for quick release.

She wanted to do a proper love declaration in person and she wanted to have her girl come for her, in her big comfy bed, not over the phone like they ended up, and she wasn’t about to ruin her opportunity to do things right by coming against that fucking wall-

"An-drea…"

The girl touched her nose with hers and hummed a question mark, waiting for Miranda to say something, either of confirmation or denial.

"Not here." She whispered. "Not… like this."

Andrea wanted her here and had fantasized about her like this so many times, but then- They had to. Her mind raced towards Caroline and Cassidy. They couldn’t be so careless, with their twin girls in the house. 

They were most certainly asleep but during her week alone with them, she had learnt that they were prone to waking up to go pee pee, or to fetch a glass of water, or to ask her to snuggle up in her bed because they had a nightmare or missed their mother too much.

She held Miranda's hand to lead her into her room, the guest room being the most obvious choice in her fogged over brain, because she'd slept there for a week now. 

But Miranda stopped when they passed the door to her suite, clearly preferring that and pulling on the girl's hand to guide her inside.

Miranda immediately noticed that one of her pillows was missing.

Then she remembered how Andy had asked her to take it with her, to her bedroom, so she'd feel her closer when she went to sleep.

It was so like Andrea, to make her melt with things like that, with moments of vulnerability where Miranda saw her as a needy little thing. Moments where Miranda wanted nothing more than to be both the cause and the cure to Andy's distressed state.

She was pulled out of her thoughts because the girl refused to let her drown in them. 

She kissed Miranda and managed to guide her to the point of the older woman feeling that they'd reached the bed.

"Sit." Andy whispered against her lips, gently nudging her down so Miranda could sit on the edge of the bed. 

Then, she kneeled on the floor in front of her. 

Miranda held her face with both hands and leaned forward because, truly, she couldn't let go.

As she pulled her closer, Miranda felt Andrea's warm palms sliding up and down her thighs, caressing her, grounding her.

It was easy to slowly come to a position where Andrea was as close as she could be, with Miranda's legs as far apart as they needed to spread, to accommodate the girl's position in between them.

Giving her a moment, a chance to pump the brakes, Andy rested her forehead on Miranda's shoulder.

"Talk to me." The girl asked her again.

Miranda took the moment to simmer down and caressed her long chestnut hair, gently playing it between her fingers.

"Why do you keep saying that?" She whispered, trying her best not to sound too harsh. "Hm?"

Andrea looked up to meet her gaze. "It's important to me. I want to know how you feel and what you're thinking."

Miranda nodded, prompting her to elaborate on the matter.

"I don't want you to be uncomfortable with me. Or to do anything you don't want to do." Andy really wanted her to understand this. "I don't want to make you feel like we have to… ahm…" 

"Fuck?" She provided, her tone almost a plea, for there was no one who could sound as hot as Miranda Priestly when she truly wanted to.

"Jesus, Miranda-" Andy closed her eyes and sharply exhaled. The things this woman could do to her body, with just her voice… 

Miranda chuckled, giddy and proud of how easily she'd made the girl turn red and lose all sense of direction and eloquent speech.

She kissed her forehead and asked, in her deadly soft spoken voice, that this time carried no venom whatsoever, none at all. "Do you want to?"

Andy struggled but nodded anyway, there was really no point in dodging such a simple question.

Miranda kissed her forehead again, smiling against her skin like a child on Christmas Eve against a shiny new thing. She kissed and kissed until she hovered close enough to Andrea's ear, to confide in her that "That makes two of us, darling… "

When she felt Andy's hands tightening on her waist again, that shivering feeling came back. The girl gathered her courage to nudge the shirt up Miranda's back but, unlike a t-shirt, it had incredibly annoying little buttons, which Miranda helped her undo, after a minute of amusement where she observed Andy's trembling fingers struggle with such a simple task.

As she slid Miranda’s shirt down her shoulders, Andrea found that she couldn’t stop herself from covering the newly uncovered skin in kisses. Open mouthed kisses, followed by lighter, small ones. 

Breathe, Miranda. 

Miranda held herself steady with one of her hands behind her, while the other caressed Andrea’s dark curls. She rewarded the girl’s kisses and nibbles with the sweetest of whimpers and only interrupted her caresses to unclip her own bra, to offer her more of herself.

Andy's gasp didn't go unnoticed and what's best, it fueled Miranda's confidence. 

She loves you, Miranda, she does.

She remembered how all but subtle the girl had been at the benefit, when she wore that black gown that showed off the creamy expanse of her chest, neck and shoulders. 

Andrea had always had a certain way of making her feel desirable. She looked at her, not in a predatory but rather desperate way. 

Like Miranda made her weak instead of aggressive. Like having her naked from the waist down meant she absolutely needed to taste all that enticingly exposed skin.

It was reassuring and comforting because being Miranda Priestly carried its own set of quirks. She was bombarded with images of sickeningly thin young girls, their bodies on display for her to judge and purse her lips at. 

She was rounding on fifty and taking a lover half her age. But her insecurities were crushed by the way Andrea, oh so thoroughly, worshiped her body.

Miranda felt Andrea's tongue slowly but firmly coming up the valley of her breasts and used the hand that held the girl's hair to guide her towards her right nipple, extending her chest forward in a way that led to room for doubt.

Andrea looked up in adoration and gratitude as she latched on. Her eyes fluttered at the taste and the texture of Miranda's hard nipple in her mouth. 

Her cunt ached deeply at the sounds of her own wet suckling and of Miranda's increasingly labored breathing.

Andrea felt so safe and warm, rhythmically tugging the taut nipple in her mouth, while the older woman caressed her hair and told her just how beautiful she looked in that moment, how good her mouth felt, how irresistible she was.

She suckled with such pleasure and dedication that Miranda felt the need to nudge her to switch sides before it became too intense for her. 

Looking down she registered just how red and swollen the tortured nipple looked, shining with traces of Andrea's wet mouth. The girl lifted up one hand to touch it, to palm Miranda's right breast and squeeze, while her teeth tested just how sensitive the left one was. 

She was in awe that Andrea could be so hungry for her, yet not in the sense that she needed release.

She was reminded of how James was often passionate but in the sense that I need to have you only meant that he needed to come, not that he truly needed to have her.

And the way Andrea was now kissing her ribs and humming at how the soft skin of her stomach felt on her lips and fingertips…

Miranda's expression softened sadly at the recalling of her past experiences, honestly both with men and women, for they not only paled in comparison but were just completely different in every possible way. 

Andrea wasn't using her. Instead, she was learning how to please her best, which meant she looked up to follow Miranda's reaction to her kisses and caresses and saw her teary-eyed expression. 

Worried she'd done something wrong, she immediately leaned back and called Miranda's attention, to make her look at her. 

"Talk to me?" But Miranda immediately looked away. "Please… I can't do this if you won't talk to me."

"There's nothing to talk about, I'm just- I'm so lucky to have found you.”

"Miranda…"Oh, she could be so sweet, so far from the ice queen persona she put up in front of everyone else. "I'm the lucky one… but I feel like you're hiding something from me and I don't like it." Andrea said, leaning back to sit on her heels. It eased her kneeling position. 

She rested her head on top of one of Miranda's thighs and, looking up at her, she waited.

Miranda shook her head and panic rushed over her. Here she was in the arms of this beautiful young woman, who wanted nothing more than for her to be there with her… and yet, her thoughts were drifting, comparing, regretting-

"Miranda…" She cooed.

The older woman found she enjoyed the intimacy of having her head on her lap and reached down to caress her hair. "My mind is playing tricks on me, that's all." She looked down to confirm that Andrea wasn't convinced. "I was thinking of… other times." That sounded horribly. "Of other people." 

"Oh." 

"N-not like that! I was just… it's sad that I've never felt like this before. I just got a little emotional thinking about that. I'm almost fifty, I shouldn't be just now finding you."

"But I'm here now."

"I know… and that's all I want to think about. You… Here and now. I'm sorry, darling…"

"It's okay, I guess it's normal-"

"I'm not usually like this."

"Hm?"

"Nervous."

Andy smiled at that, thinking it was adorable that a woman that used to be her boss and made her so anxious with a disapproving glance was now here… nervous.

"Would you like to stop?" She asked, without any real malice or disappointment in her voice.

Miranda shook her head, very sure of herself. 

"You just needed a break?" Andy's smile was so bold and bright. Miranda returned her gaze to her and couldn't help but warmly smile back.

With the hand that caressed her hair, she encouraged her to come closer. She let her hands come up to frame Andy’s face, to bring her closer for a deep, unrushed kiss.

Finding the edges of the old t-shirt Andrea walked around the house with, she tugged and whined at the fact that they had to stop kissing for her to slip the garment over her lover’s head. Oh, and of course Andrea was not wearing a bra, she had spent the day at home.

Andy smiled at the way Miranda’s eyes were fogged over and got up to get rid of her comfy shorts and panties too. 

Miranda’s face grew in astonishment, filling Andy with a sense of power that usually came with being on the receiving end of the fashion queen’s glances and appreciative looks. She kneeled again, reaching for the button, zipper and weird clasp situation that held Miranda’s suit pants together.

She looked up, just to be sure.  “May I?”

Because the older woman nodded, cursing her in her impatient mind for moving at such a glacial pace, Andy gently undid her pants and smiled at the way Miranda’s hips lifted from the bed to help her slide them down her legs. 

Sitting so close to her, Andy could literally see how the fabric of Miranda’s panties had grown a darker spot of gray at her core. Miranda held her breath and watched as the girl slowly pulled her panties off her, clearly noticing the transparent line of her own wetness drawn in between the luxurious fabric and her own body as she did so. 

Andrea was quite certain it couldn’t get better than this. She had Miranda looking down at her, naked in her own bed, visibly dripping because of her. 

For her. 

Andrea was salivating. She wanted to kiss the tender skin of her thighs and feel her trimmed patch of hair against her nose, she wanted to fucking eat her alive but-

Miranda partially leaned back on one hand, while the other extended two fingers to touch under her girl’s chin, making her look up at her eyes.

“I- I’m sorry, it’s just that-” But the look on Miranda’s face was nothing if not sweet. Sighing, with a chuckle at how nervous she found herself, she caressed the top of Miranda’s thighs and said “It’s you.” She kissed the soft skin of her thigh, first the top and then inside, as Miranda lifted it and wrapped it over her shoulder.                                    

"You’re here." Andy pressed her tongue up her abdomen, drawing a whimper out of her, closing her slips around her sensitive skin in wet kisses that made it impossible for Miranda to sit still. 

"I’m not dreaming, you’re really here. ” Having said that, she drew a clear path down, softly kissing and enjoying the fact that the scent of Miranda’s aroused state could be so sweet from up close. It made her mouth water and made it impossible for her to prolong her teasing. 

“I am…" Miranda gasped when the girl's lips reached her core and felt her heart thunder painfully at the sight of her little tongue darting out to taste her. "I will be.” She whispered with her last tiny puff of air.

Andrea hummed with her eyes closed, breathing her in and feeling her mind go blank at the feeling. This time when her tongue came out was to slowly paint a longer path,  from Miranda’s perineum to the base of her clit. Miranda was incredibly responsive to each long, broad stroke.

Andrea’s tongue came up again, circling the tiny hooded pearl, pressing it down, then closing her mouth around and gently sucking.

Miranda caressed first the girl's cheek, then her hair, gently tucking it behind her ear and making the long brown curls drape along her back. 

It was a mix of holding her breath to prevent herself from being too loud and taking deep shaky breaths. It was a mix between watching with the utmost attention, looking away, closing her eyes and looking her dead in the eye.

It was both chasing release and holding it back because she didn't want to go off like a firecracker in just a couple of minutes. 

Again, she couldn't stop herself from praising the girl, who was so thorough in her worship and so quick to pick up on how best to please her. 

It was a combination of moaning and whimpering breathlessly and finding little bits of air to exhale in the form of praise. And Miranda knew how to set the girl on fire with her words, how to make her voice soft and sultry enough to make her moan without touching her. 

It made it impossible for Andy not to press her own legs together, seeking any sort of friction that would ease her own ache.

Miranda felt one of Andy’s hands slowly coming up her torso, pressing her down. The older woman resisted that, for she wanted to somehow find the strength to hold herself in a position that allowed her to watch. 

The last thing she wanted was to come facing the ceiling. 

And she made sure she found her breath to tell her just that. “ I want to see you.”

Ever the perfect assistant, Andy took a moment to reach out for a couple of pillows for Miranda to lay back against. She understood that Miranda wanted to feel her close, to look her in the eye, to caress her hair… but she could see that she was increasingly close to the edge and that her arms were starting to tremble.

The older woman protested against the interruption but sighed happily at the added comfort. Andrea was quick to bring her lovely mouth back to drawing tight circles around her clit, turning whatever was left of her mind to mush.

Not a couple of minutes later, Andrea felt that Miranda was quivering and trying to reflexively close her legs around her head.

She wrapped her arms around her thighs, pulling her close and laying her tongue flat against her, so that the buckling of Miranda's hips could help her ride out her high.

Andrea was rewarded with the sweet shattering sounds that escaped Miranda’s lips as she came, together with the way her essence flooded her tongue and dripped a little into the bed beneath them. 

When Miranda opened her eyes again, she found that her lover rested her head on her tight and gladly licked her own lips for the remains of her. 

“Come up here…” She called for her, in a soft whisper that couldn’t hide how breathless she still was.

Andrea flashed her million dollar smile at her and came closer for her kiss. "Mmm, you taste so good, Miranda…" The girl sighed and deepened their kiss to prove a point. “ So good…”

Her mouth and the way she kissed her tasted good, her skin tasted good, kissing the top of her head when they hugged and nuzzling her soft white hair tasted good… her hard nipples and the nectar that was still glistening on Andrea’s lips, nose and chin were just plainly addictive. 

They made their way up to the center of the bed, Andy hovering above the older woman, kissing her for the thousandth time that day and convinced she’d never have enough. 

When Miranda wanted to roll them over to top her, Andy let her. 

She welcomed Miranda’s renewed energy and enthusiasm, pulling her closer and loving her weight on top of her.

Miranda couldn't resist the wonderful trail that led her mouth from the girl's collarbone to her tits and soon had her struggling to keep an even breath after the other. 

Oh, the deadly combination that was having her breasts kissed and sucked on, while the older woman sneaked one of her legs in between hers, sweetly pressing upwards. 

She couldn’t stop herself from grinding her hips against Miranda’s thigh, moaning softly in her ear.  

Miranda felt her wetting her thigh and needed to sneak her hand in between to touch her. Fuck, she’s so wet already. Starting from where moisture dipped from and spreading it upwards to coat Andrea’s pussy in it. 

She could feel her clit appearing from under its tiny hood and the girl’s grip on her wrist, together with her ragged breathing and whimpers, guided her towards a pace and pressure that made it feel just right.

"Miranda!" Andy pulled her from feasting on her neck to give her an open mouthed kiss. A very sloppy one, because she couldn't be civil anymore. She moaned into Miranda's mouth and felt herself stand right on the edge as the older woman closed her lips around her tongue and sucked firmly. 

She touched her forehead to Andrea’s, kissed her nose, pulled back to look her in the eye. 

She understood Andrea was struggling to say something, so she slowed down and made her look directly at her. The girl’s doe eyes were pleading, as felt her grinding harder against her hand, compensating for the slower pace. Miranda’s own thundering heart clenched in adoration.

“What is it, darling? What do you want?”

“I want… ohh, I- you! ” She let out in a faint sigh.

Oh, but if only she could get her to say it. “I’m here…” Miranda whispered and  pressed her hand harder against the girl’s swollen clit, making her gasp and squirm. “I’ll give you everything you need… Just ask.” So many kisses and so impossible to deny the warmth that came with the feeling of her young lover starting to lose her mind beneath her. 

“Aargh, fuck! ” Andy whimpered, her brain rendered useless by the tone of the older woman's voice, so raspy and inviting. “Inside, please , Miranda, I- I need you.”

Miranda knew that her girl had never looked as irresistible as in that moment. 

She was suddenly a big fan of talking. 

And Andy had always been a fast learner, quick to read her features and reactions, as a good assistant should.

She pulled Miranda into a needy kiss that ventured to the older woman's chin, jaw and neck. Pressing down her hips rhythmically against Miranda's hand built her up but she needed more, so she used the newfound knowledge and her own whispered voice to say “I need you inside of me…" and "I've been wet the entire day, waiting for you."

She heard Miranda gasping and made sure she looked the older woman dead in the eye, when she whined, barely a whisper: “ Please , fuck me…” 

Miranda felt herself absolutely melting into the girl's calling. Her own little siren, so impossible to bargain with. She’d give her anything. Everything. 

They had time. And they took their sweet time, sharing with each other along the way the wheres and hows, taking everything there was to take until exhaustion finally took them both.

Chapter Text

Miranda woke up from her deep slumber feeling utterly out of place. As she lifted her head, she noticed she was facing the closed door instead of the bedroom window and pictures of her darling twin girls.

She looked around and quickly picked up on the fact that she had fallen asleep with her feet facing the wrong side of the bed.

And Andrea was nowhere to be seen.

Andrea.

"Ohh…" she sighed and buried her head in the sheets again. 

She started dreaming awake, recalling flashes of the night before, inhaling her lover's sweet unique scent, still ingrained in the expensive fabric of her sheets.

Downstairs, Andy made plans for the day with Caroline and Cassidy. 

Museums had a couple new interesting things to see, one of the twins insisted on a particular one about Egyptian relics, while the other rolled her eyes at the prospect of spending such a sunny day indoors.

There were innumerous parks to visit in hiking and biking trips, as well as skateparks but those last ones were not Miranda approved

Andy immediately understood that their mother was probably just concerned they'd break a bone, but the twins stomped their little feet at the indignity of having to skate straight on a boardwalk instead of doing cool tricks.

"Isn't it weird that mom's still asleep?"

"She's always complaining that we sleep in on the weekends and waste half of a perfectly good day… " Caroline's impression was uncanny and caused a wave of laughter.

"I didn't wanna wake her up, she was sleeping so soundly." Andy recalled how Miranda looked, entangled in the sheets, with quite a look of her naked skin calling for her attention. She couldn't take her eyes off her. 

Miranda looked so peaceful that Andy didn't want to wake her up and so sexy that she had to force herself out of the room to resist doing so.

"You saw mom asleep?"

"Did you go to her room before coming down for breakfast?"

"Y-yes, I just wanted to check if she was already awake. She wasn't, so I came downstairs to find you eating your cereal on the couch."

" Atomic Betty starts at eight twenty five!"

"I really wish I could be like her and- and go to the galaxy and save the world and-

"And have my own robot!"

Andy chuckled at their enthusiasm. Then, or a more worrisome note, she had no idea what Miranda usually had for breakfast.

As her assistant, she'd usually bring coffee first thing and then midmorning some fruit or low carb snacks to keep her satisfied till lunch. 

Miranda ate like a bird throughout the day. Except for her steak, of course, birds don't eat-

"Pssst!"

"Andy! Earth calling…"

"Sorry, I was just- do you know what your mom usually eats for breakfast?"

"Oh, you know, orange juice, some fruit-"

"And toast, Cara usually makes toast for us and mom always waits till she's gone to another room to throw in some extra butter-"

"And then she drinks her coffee, do you need help with the machine?"

"You want to help me make her breakfast?"

"It's not exactly a tradition, mom doesn't have breakfast in bed-"

"But it could be! Oh c'mon, Caro, it's sweet…"

"Mom doesn't let us eat in bed, remember? She says it's not hygienic."

"Hmm…" Andy took some time to think and ended up deciding that "we could make her breakfast. And myself too, because I'm starving… and we can eat it here, ok? We just have to call her down to eat."

"I mean, it's still a surprise, but breakfast in bed sounds soooo romantic…"

"You watch too many lame rom-coms, Cass-"

"Romantic?"

The twins looked at Andy like she'd grown a third head and then back at each other, silently agreeing that something wasn't right.

"You don't want to do romantic stuff with mom?"

"What?"

" Shit! " Cassidy cursed and was scolded by her sister that very moment.

Caroline looked very seriously into Andy's eyes and told her "I'm sorry, we- we thought you knew."

"Sorry, Andy…" Cassidy looked down at her hands.

Andy felt like she had fallen asleep and lost a big chunk of a movie.

"Okay, let's… start from the beginning, ok?"

The twins nodded and looked at each other.

"Mom lied. She really wanted to say kiss in that text, yesterday… she wants to kiss you, like-"

"With dad, you know? Romantically."

"And, ahm… we-"

"We assumed-"

"Yeah, we thought you knew. We thought, I mean- she sent the message to you, so… you didn't know mom liked you?"

"And we mean like like."

Breathe, Andy.

Okay, here goes.

"Did your mother talk to you about this?"

They nodded.

"What did she tell you, exactly?"

"You know mom, she never tells anything to anyone-"

"But we asked her why she lied. Why she pretended she wanted to write kill and not kiss. And we asked her if she was embarrassed because she meant kiss… like- on the lips, you know?"

"And she said yes to that?"

"Yes-"

Andy took a minute to sit closer to the girls. She didn't want to screw this up. 

"And how do you feel about that?"

"About mom kissing you? Good-"

"Yeah, cool."

"No tongue is acceptable."

"No tongue is acceptable, yeah…"

Chuckling at the unexpected rule and at how they said it, she thought to herself that Caroline and Cassidy were the best thing she had in her life.

"And how do you feel about me kissing her?"

They looked at her like she was dumb. I mean, if you're kissing on the lips, you're obviously kissing each other, so…

"Same rule applies."

"No tongue is acceptable."

Andy smiled wholeheartedly at that.

"But you knew, right? That mom likes you?"

"And you like her back?"

Andy nodded enthusiastically and brought her hands to her face to hide the deep blush she knew was creeping in and the tears that she felt on their way to ruin the moment.

Tears of joy, of course, but still-

"Don't cry, Andy-"

"Yeah, it's okay, we already kinda knew…"

"Don't cry, don-" 

The twins were alarmed and got up to come closer, hugging her and feeling so safe when she hugged them back, whispering how much she loved the two of them.

"Andrea."

The three sets of eyes looked up to see Miranda dressed very casually but of course elegant as ever. She looked worried and hushed over to Andy's side, touching her shoulder with one hand and tilting her head up with the other. "What happened? Why are you crying?" She asked, first directly to the crybaby and right afterwards looking in between the two girls for answers.

Andy shook her head, getting rid of the little tears with the back of her hand and smiling down at her lap. 

She was just so deeply overwhelmed by all the love she felt for the three Priestly women, that words simply wouldn't come easy to her.

"We told her you liked her and that-

"You wanted to kiss her, but like, romantically…"

"But she seemed to know that already and she likes you too, so-"

"No idea why she's crying"

"Nonsense, really…"

Again, Andy couldn't help but laugh at the way Caroline pronounced nonsense, sounding so unmistakably like her mother. "I'm okay, I'm fine! I was just- I'm happy, I'm so happy that you're here with me." She kissed the girls' foreheads and smiled up at Miranda "I love you, the three of you, very much."

Miranda smiled down at her and gently hugged her head against her chest, kissing the top of her hair. 

"We love you too, darling." She said and then signaled with her eyes, playfully, that it was the girl’s turn to say it.

"We love you too!"

"Very, very much." 

Andy felt herself involved in a group hug that was so, so tight, it made her feel like all her broken pieces were being held together.

Miranda looked down at her girls and informed them that it was past long after breakfast time and yet, there was no breakfast in line of sight.

Unacceptable.

As she prepared her own and Andrea's breakfast, the girl helped her and tried to engrave all the details and specific ways in which Miranda liked things done. 

The girls were off to either play video games or watch the rest of the morning cartoon marathon. Miranda couldn't tell, she just knew the TV was on and that they had ran back to the couch with a bag of cereal that they ate directly from the box.

"You could've given me a heads up."

"Hm?" Miranda was setting the table in her own weirdly specific way but slowed down to look at her.

"The girls… you had already talked to them."

"Yes. I'm sorry, darling."

"It's not a problem, just- I was really caught off guard."

"They asked a lot of questions, huh?" Miranda smiled fondly, she knew her two little rascals to be very curious and inquisitive, sometimes to the point of inconveniencing the adults in their lives. Miranda was proud, nevertheless, of their wit and forwardness.

Andy beamed at her and helped fill their glasses with orange juice. "You should have seen my face… we were planning your breakfast and Cassidy said it would be very romantic if I brought you breakfast in bed."

"Oh, god, no… toast crumbles everywhere and then the sheets get sticky and smell of food, ugh-" 

"I see… Caroline was right, then."

"She said I wouldn't like it?"

"Yes, since you don't let them eat in bed."

"She's right, I don't. And eating on the couch is already a big stretch."

They ate in companionable silence until Andy brought up the twins' suggestions for the day. 

Miranda explained that she was afraid of what the press could print about the divorce and how she wanted to protect the girls from the paparazzi.

"They wouldn't photograph your children, right? You could sue them, they're children… no one would be that stupid."

"No, I know, but they could take pictures of me and-" she gave Andy a knowing look. "Of you."

Andy's face fell to her lap, her features suddenly blank.

"With the attention the divorce will bring, they're gonna be paying closer attention and- I don't want to hide you away, none of that… I just don't want them to put two and two together and-"

"We did nothing wrong. You filed for-"

Miranda touched her knee under the table "I know, darling. Trust me on this, I know. I'll have to talk to Leslie."

"The PR?"

"Yes. I want to talk to her first. If there's someone who can make anyone look good, in any circumstances, it's her… Plus, we're in New York and I'm surrounded by artists and half of the people who read the magazine are gay men." She explained, waving her hands around. She picked up a grape and inspected it, while she talked. "If she makes it look like I dumped his ass because I'm finally being true to myself and coming out as a liberated and independent queer woman …" She got closer to Andy, offering the grape to eat and feeling something icy swirling in her belly when the girl opened her mouth, taking the fruit and very briefly closing her lips around Miranda's finger. 

She chewed and then said, knowing that she really shouldn't be surprised: "You've really thought about this."

"The press? Coming out or… disclosing our relationship?"

"Yes."

"Let's just say I had some restless nights to fill and… well, my anxiety found a way to put them to good use."

"Restless?"

"Mhm…" Miranda nodded slightly and offered her another grape. 

"You could have filled them with me." Andy whispered and took the fruit in her mouth.

The grapes were ripe and sweet and she liked the way she felt the tip of Andrea's tongue brushing the pad of her finger this second time. 

She was doing it on purpose, Miranda thought and held her gaze. 

But two can play that game.

Miranda didn't answer that, for she knew the silence would accentuate her lustful gaze. She extended her hand again to feed Andrea the third piece. 

They were at a forearm's distance. Miranda could lean in to kiss her and put an end to this, but-

Andrea fixed her gaze and opened her mouth when she felt the succulent grape touch her bottom lip. Miranda stood still, expecting her to lean in and take it between her teeth.

Andrea stood her ground and opened her mouth a tid bit wider, daring, letting her tongue come out to press against the fruit that Miranda held now with a less steady hand. 

She licked it from the bottom up. 

Twice. 

And it was physically impossible to watch but Miranda couldn't take her eyes off the girl's mouth. 

She slowly pressed the grape forward, firmly, against Andrea's tongue and then inside. 

Again she felt the girl's lips close around her fingers and, this time, she was absolutely sure it wasn't by accident.

She chewed her own grape and when she looked back and Andrea, she saw that the girl nodded towards the fruit, silently asking for more.

Miranda ignored her with a very sly little smirk, amused by the girl's playfulness and surprised by her own disposition to participate. She couldn't remember the last time she'd done anything like this.

Andrea brought her own seat closer and sneaked a look at the door, looking out for the twins.

Miranda thought she looked absolutely stunning, her face bare and her cheeks clearly flushed from the teasing.

Miranda held another grape in between her fingers and gently brought it to a position where it touched the girl's full bottom lip. Again.

Andy kissed it. Chastely enough at first, but then touching with the tip of her tongue. She was about to pull it inside her mouth when Miranda pulled back slightly. And then a bit more. 

Andy gave her a look that was supposed to be of annoyance but ended up being just incredibly hot from Miranda's perspective.

"Close your eyes." whispered the older woman, so shy it was almost a question. 

Miranda was always successful in charming and enchanting with her voice. 

Andy hesitated but trusted her. 

When she felt the same piece of fruit touching her lips, she kissed it again. 

Miranda watched her like a hawk.

Andrea failed to pull the grape into her mouth and ended up leaning forward. She felt so giddy inside, for the fact that Miranda would so easily indulge in her playfulness and even add a level of interest to it.

"Open up, darling…" Miranda whispered and watched in awe as the girl did. 

Her tongue followed the grape like a trap right into the dragon's mouth and they both moaned at the feeling of their lips touching.  

Andrea's kisses tasted of orange juice and grapes and of something Miranda had missed so terribly.

"I was beginning to wonder- mmm" She was cut off by the shivering feeling of Andrea's tongue sliding against hers again. "If my morning kiss would take place in the afternoon…" Miranda said when she found a brief pause in between. 

Their foreheads pressed together.

They were startled by Caroline who dropped by the kitchen to get another  glass of chocolate milk and rolled her eyes when she saw that they were about to kiss "By all means, pretend I'm not here…" she filled the glass to the brim and looked over to see that Andy and her mother had jumped off their seats to put away the dishes and tidy up the table. 

"Were they snogging?" Cassidy asked her when she got back to the living room, with her eyebrows way up in her forehead.

"Affirmative." Her sister nodded and snuggled back on the couch with her.

Chapter Text

Sunday bliss eventually came to an end, with the twins falling into bed completely exhausted from excitement and drifting away to their land of dreams, with forehead kisses and words of kindness from both their mother and their friend Andy. 

Well, their friend and their mother's new girlfriend, Andy. 

Still a bit weird to think about, but apart from their mom being bubblier than usual, laughing more easily, everything was pretty much the same. 

Andy treated them the same. 

Apart from them kissing on the lips twice that day – no tongue, of course! They were pretty much the same. 

Dinner had certainly been fun.

"Did you ever notice that mom had a crush on Andy?" The girls chatted between themselves, while the two women in question wrapped up dinner in the kitchen.

Caroline shook her head at that but then "Well, maybe I noticed that Andy had a crush on mom…"

But Cassidy hadn't really noticed anything. 

Except for now. 

Now it was right there in her face and she laughed at it, taunting her mother at the dinner table on a Sunday night. "We only said you had to be her friend! But of course you had to go above and beyond , like you do with everything we ask…"

"Yeah, mom you really exceeded expectations on this one!" Caroline joined in, laughing really hard at their mocking of their history teacher's expressions, as a way of an inside joke.

"Just like that time with Harry Potter!" Cassidy recalled, her eyes wide with wonder, like their mother was this crazy talented witch that could come up with just anything.

"Oh my God!!! Yeah, we were having breakfast and said that we wanted to know what happened next-"

"And on the same day we talk on the phone and you say that you're working very hard to get it for us-"

"And Andy really did that! It wasn't even published yet!"

"You deserve everything, my little Bobbseys…" Miranda tenderly smiled at them, aware that she was spoiling them rotten but not one bit concerned. 

They weren't insolent children, they could very well respect a no if it came their way. She noticed how they loved Andy even though she didn't cater to their every whim.

Their father was also not often permeable to their childish emotional manipulation. 

Miranda thought that, yes, in fact, their daughters knew how to hear a no, they just didn't hear it from her often, because, truly, she could and wanted to give them everything.

She thought to herself that perhaps that could be enough. That she could be enough.

If her children still saw her with this childish wonder, that feeling that their mother was a superhero, then, perhaps, she was doing something right, after all.

Andrea would be starting her new job the next morning, Miranda reminded them, and they had school… which meant that bedtime was definitely not up for bargaining.

She didn't say no when they asked if they could watch just one more episode because that meant having them snuggled up on the couch with her and Andrea. 

One more episode meant fifteen more minutes of SpongeBob's strident voice, but it also meant fifteen more minutes of their children's giggling and of Andrea teasing her under the huge fluffy blanket that involved the four of them. 

She felt Andrea's finger's ghosting over her forearm, setting off a tingling sensation there that she wanted to scratch. Then the girl's nails raked over and it felt so satisfying.

She ended up not paying too much attention to the screen because then she felt Andrea's finger's wrapping around hers. Not lacing. Wrapping. 

That means that Andy found Miranda's open hand and closed her hand around her index finger, squeezing it slightly. 

Then she got her middle finger as well, holding the two fingers with her hand, keeping them still. Miranda looked at her sideways, questioning, but Andy only looked at her for a second, quickly returning her attention to the TV and blushing ever so faintly. 

But Miranda saw it, the mischief in her eyes, right there and burning bright.

Still unsure of what they were doing, Miranda gently touched the top of Andy's hand with her thumb, in soothing circles.

Andy eased her hold and slowly closed her hand around her index, middle and ring fingers. 

Miranda froze when she felt her warm breathing in her ear. She looked down to confirm the twins were glued to the screen and then came Andrea's voice, so softly and quietly, definitely trying her best not to be heard by anyone else.

"I miss your hands on me."

Miranda exhaled through her nose, audibly enough for Andy to smile in triumph.

Squeezing her three fingers, she whispered. "I want these fingers inside me…" Oh, you could barely hear it but it was definitely out there, causing Miranda's ears to burn, spreading a thin layer of ice over her body. 

"I want them now." Andy kept a certain pressure around Miranda's fingers,  for emphasis. " Please ." 

Miranda endured the teasing as much as she could, but eventually got up from the couch, sighing and letting her embarrassment dissolve in laughter when she saw the pair of twin blue eyes questioning her jumping off the couch in such an uncharacteristic manner. "Come on, Bobbseys, time for bed…" 

Cassidy held Andy's arm, hugging her for support and they made it up the stairs. 

Caroline skipped ahead and Miranda couldn't wipe her own smile off her face.

Having put them to bed, Miranda lingered for a while, watching her sleep, all cozily tucked in. 

She felt Andrea's hand snaking around her waist and dropping a couple feathery light kisses on her temple. 

Her life was so warm and everything seemed to fall so easily into place.

They closed the door to their babies' room as neatly as possible, careful not to make a sound. It wouldn't do to have them wake up again.

When Andy saw the older woman turn her attention back to her, she was suddenly reminded of her under the blanket shenanigans. She couldn't believe she'd been so bold as to say such things.

“I’m sorry if I-” 

But Miranda was stepping up to her personal space and causing her words to get stuck in her throat.

Miranda was amused to get her payback and be the one to fluster her now. "You don't want anymore?" She whispered, looking up to meet her gaze.

Andrea wanted to say something smart, to have a comeback at the ready, but she found it hard to snap herself out of her entranced state of mind. 

Miranda was so beautiful. 

And shamelessly flirting with her. 

"Pity…" She heard her whispered voice in her ear, followed by a playful nibble and soon became a trail of open mouthed kisses down her neck.

"I do!" She hissed. "I want–" But Miranda was already kissing her, their lips meeting and shutting her up for good while the two women stumbled across their way to their suite.

Once they stepped inside the room, Miranda thought that perhaps it was okay to press her up against the wall, now that they weren't out in the hallway and after she'd loved her girl properly the first time. 

Andrea gasped when her back hit the wall, followed by the all encompassing feeling of Miranda pressing their bodies flush together.

Soon her attention was divided in between kissing Miranda's demanding mouth and grinding down against the leg she'd sneaked between her legs. 

Miranda broke their kisses to slip Andrea's t-shirt out of the way. The girl beamed at her, first lifting her arms to help and then reaching for the knot that kept Miranda's gray robe closed. 

She let it slide off her shoulders, stunning Andrea for a while, reaching for the hem of her PJ pants and getting rid of them.

They kissed, hungrily, moaning at the feeling of their tongues clashing while their bodies pressed, skin on skin. 

Andrea wrapped one of her legs around Miranda's waist, pulling her closer. 

The older woman caressed the soft skin of her thigh and turned to kiss along her increasingly flustered neck. 

Feeling just how wet she was, how her arousal coated the top of her own leg, she pressed forward, harder, eliciting a deliciously loud moan from her. 

" Miranda!" She could feel the girl shivering against her. 

She gave her a moment, bringing herself up from her kissing her chest to look into her eyes. 

"Hm?"

But she didn't have words, she only panted, her pale cheeks tainted red, her forehead falling forward to rest against Miranda's.

Miranda was looking her in the eye when her fingers ghosted her young lover's cunt, a tentative touch. 

Andrea was so incredibly wet. Her eyes fluttered when she felt Miranda's hand cupping her. 

"Open your eyes, darling." Miranda whispered, as her hand further explored the girl's folds, teasing to get in, then coming up again to touch her clit, only to repeat its maddening path down.

Andrea's eyes were pleading, locking with hers, those big brown doe eyes that she couldn't look away from. 

She felt Andrea's hand on her wrist and gave in, she entered her with her middle finger as her palm gently pressed on her clit. 

The girl was so hot inside, so ready for her, Miranda felt a different kind of power that had nothing to do with her reputation as Editor-in-chief of Runway. 

No, this was different, it was the sort of power that came from being confident and safe, with this gorgeous woman naked and trembling with pleasure in her arms, begging her for more.

"I don't want to hurt you!"

"You're not! Oww, please, baby, I'm so close…"

It didn't take long for two fingers to turn three. Andrea loved the feeling of being stretched and owned like this, loved how Miranda could be rough enough to ruin her, yet so worried about her wellbeing and so attentive to all her reactions. 

She knew that just a word of a frown of discomfort would be enough for her to back down.

And when she was reminded to keep her eyes open, when she saw the utmost focus and adoration shining through her lover's face… Her lover, oh, out of all people, Miranda had chosen her , loved her , fucked her against her own bedroom wall because she couldn't wait… 

And she looked gorgeous, perspiration showing on her forehead, chest rapidly coming up for air, her fingers working her perfectly and bringing her closer and closer to the edge.

In barely any time at all, Miranda had to lift her left hand, to protect the back of Andrea's head from hitting the wall behind her as she came.

Andy's legs were like jelly, but Miranda was there to support her weight.

Soon, the girl recovered and kissed her, whispering in between just how perfect she was and just how much she loved her. 

Miranda glowed in light of her tender honesty and " don't leave a mark " ended up being replaced with " bite me where they won't see it. I want to see proof that I'm yours tomorrow when I look in the mirror." Because Miranda couldn't care less how it sounded, she was finally saying what she wanted and it crushed her that Andrea delivered with such pleasure. 

They fell asleep whispering about their fantasies because Miranda’s mind drifted back to the previous night and she let out a very tired "I wanted you to fuck me against the kitchen counter… I know it's cliché but-"

Andrea laughed and kissed her, so sweetly, so clearly to reassure and not provoke her. 

"I wanted to sit on your desk at Runway, on your chair, and have you eat me out with the door open for everyone to know you're mine."

Miranda laughed at that one, she knew there were office fantasies and it made her feel young and desirable that her much younger assistant had succumbed to her editor-in-chief persona’s charms. 

"I wanted to touch you when we used to ride the town car together."

"Ohh, I got that one too!" The girl chuckled lightly, sleepily, adorably. 

"Your-" Miranda yawned heavily, her mind drifting off, a soft smile on her lips. "-turn, darling…"

"That night before you went to Paris, on the armchair…"

They didn't have to go into detail, they could just let these little golden nuggets of daydreams out, back and forth, until sleep finally took over.

Turns out writers do have a thing for words. At least these two.

That night, Andrea found herself tossing and turning in bed. The first time she woke up, anxious for her first day at The Mirror, Miranda was right there with her. 

She observed how beautiful the older woman looked, no makeup, no light, no particular expression pulling her features in any particular direction. Just her pale skin, resting, her slightly crooked nose as adorable as ever, her chest coming up rhythmically with her relaxed breathing.

She scooted closer, finding comfort in her familiar scent, and went back to sleep.

The next time she woke up, she forced herself to hide her nose in the crook on her lover's neck and try to sleep through the rest of the night. 

But then she woke up a third time, angry and frustrated at herself for being so anxious and wasting precious rest time before such a big day.

This time, though, and to her greater distress, Miranda wasn't there.

She's probably just peeing.

Except she would be using the ensuite bathroom and she couldn't hear her pee– Ridiculous train of thought… Or see the little light on for that matter.

Andy forced herself to close her eyes and return to sleep. She still had three hours and twenty four minutes to do so.

But she couldn't. 

About a quarter went by and no signs of Miranda. 

She rolled into her side of the bed.

Giving up, she got out of bed, mumbling to herself that she was being paranoid but unable to ignore her gut feeling that something was terribly wrong.

She checked the guest room where she used to stay, the girls', the bathrooms upstairs… She slowly made her way down, wrapped in the gray robe that was tossed around, because she couldn't find the t-shirt she was wearing around the house that day.

No signs of her in the foyer, in the living room, in the kitchen… She even checked the pantry. 

Even the closet where Andy used to leave her dry cleaning at the end of the day. 

The study!

Miranda was indeed in the study, so focused on something that she didn’t even notice Andrea appearing at the door, leaning against it, silently watching over her.

Miranda was sitting on her desk and held her head between her hands, hanging low. Her shoulders came up like she was trying her best to draw even, deep breaths. 

But then she started crying. 

And it was absolutely heart-wrenching. 

Andy knew that Miranda was a very proud woman, who would hate to be seen like this. But she wished she trusted her enough to have woken her up, instead of coming downstairs alone and keeping it to herself.

She slowly approached her, trying not to startle her and half expecting Miranda to snap.

When she touched her messy white hair, though, Miranda’s shoulders only slumped lower. She let out a louder sob and completely collapsed. Her hands crossed in front of her head, letting go of the effort of holding her head and letting her forehead touch the desk surface. 

Andrea didn’t want to say the wrong thing, so she just focused on keeping a steady pace, caressing Miranda’s head in a predictable and reassuring motion, occasionally bending her fingers to scratch her scalp. 

Sometimes, when the woman you love is crying, all you can do is be there and comfort her the way she lets you.

Miranda cried in Andrea’s baggy old t-shirt, while the younger woman stood beside her, wearing her gray robe. 

After the big wave passed, Miranda picked herself up to look up at her girl.

“I’m here.” It was all Andrea could manage to say.

"I'm so sorry…" Miranda still had tears in her eyes and it was devastating to watch her like this. "I don't deserve you, darling, I-"

She looked so peaceful just a couple of hours ago. "What are you saying?"

"I will hurt you. I will say something wrong or do something wrong… God, I don't know what I'm doing."

“D-Don’t do this…” Andrea felt her chest ache and reached down to cup Miranda’s face in her hands, looking her in the eye, trying to calm her down but also desperate for some control over– over whatever this was.

“It's just that- I- I don't deserve you. I've never had anyone touch me or kiss me the way you do. Or care for me the way you do. I’ve never felt this way before, I- I don't deserve this. "

"You don't need to deserve."

Don't I?

But Miranda didn’t have the time to spiral down further, for Andrea was quick to ask her: "What happened to ‘ we don't deserve anything?’ And where's the woman that taught me that ‘ we don't get what we deserve, we get what we take’ ? What’s happening?”

“This is different.”

“How so?”

“You’re– You deserve so much more, you deserve-”

“I don’t care what it is that I deserve. I don’t want whatever you think I deserve.” Andrea kneeled next to Miranda’s chair. “Look at me."

"I-"

"Listen." Andrea was assertive this time, grabbing Miranda's anxious hands and, finally, her attention. "I. don’t. Want. It.”

“But-”

“No buts. I want you. Just you.” Her eyes were blurry and her own expression was struggling to keep from frowning, but she needed her to understand that. “I love you. Please, don’t push me away now. You can’t let me in and– and fall in love with you and- and then- Please-” She couldn’t hold it back anymore. 

Miranda was so angry at herself. She knew Andrea was speaking the truth. And now the girl cried into her pajama pants and Miranda wanted to apologize but-

"I'm afraid I'll push you away or– I'm afraid I'll hurt you or make something stupid and- and then you'll realize you're stuck with an ancient woman, who’s prematurely gone gray, with scars and cellulite and two daughters and…"

Andrea had never seen her like this.

"... And I'm afraid you'll wake up one day and know that you deserve more, know that you can have better than this. "

"When my next priority comes along?" It made sense now. That conversation made so much more sense in light of Miranda's fears.

“It will come and- and you’ll be stuck with me.”

“I'm not stuck with you. I’m choosing you. I’ll forever choose you and our girls, Miranda… I promise.”

“How can you know that?”

“The same way you do! Geez, how do you know you’ll always put your children first? How do you know you’ll love me tomorrow?”

“Don’t be ridiculous, of course I know-”

Of course you do! Because- Look at me… Miranda, when you love someone like I love you–” She wiped Miranda’s tears with her thumbs, soothing the reddish skin of her nose and cheeks, making sure she was looking her in the eye to hear the rest. “You just know.

Miranda’s eyes widened at that, her defensive expression melting as if Andrea had just gifted her the moon. 

She leaned forward to kiss her and the angle was not the best so she ended up giving up the chair and kneeling on the floor with her, kissing her through the doom and gloom and then hugging her so tight she risked being sued for a broken rib.

Chapter Text

The next morning was the first of endless mornings that had Miranda waking up surrounded by strong arms and with Andrea's heartbeat slow and steady behind her. 

She'd be the big spoon on several occasions and there would be times when they'd be too hot to cuddle, but this morning had a very sleepy Miranda Priestly snaking her hands around her young lover's arms and snuggling closer to her.

"Mira…" The girl murmured into her neck, breathing her in and sighing happily. She'd never get used to how good Miranda's own scent was. Late in the day when only the more subtle notes of her perfume showed or first thing in the morning when it was just her own essence and sweat. Or after showering when her expensive makeup and hair and body products made her smell good enough to bite.

Miranda scooted back into her embrace and let out a very sleepy "Morning…"

"D'you sleep well?" Neck kisses first thing in the morning. "Hm?"

"Yesss…" The older woman welcomed the caresses, practically purring.

She was still wearing one of the girl's old t-shirts, from having borrowed it the previous night in the middle of an anxious crisis. 

But Andy had brought her back to bed, very successful in the art of calming her down and reassuring her little worried heart.

And now here she was, cuddling in another one of her old baggy t-shirts, since Miranda had stolen the one she had the night before.

They had their naked legs intertwined and were both so sleepy, no desire to get out of bed whatsoever. Andy was optimistic about her new job but Runway was nothing new and after Paris week things generally tended to slow down.

"You're thinking way too hard way too early in the morning, love…" Andy's arms tightened around her waist, pulling her closer.

"Last night…"

"Mmm yes?"

"Thank you." 

"It was nothing. You're my girl, I'll always have your back… just don't push me away-"

"I won't!" She whined, so impossibly sweet, like a promise and a confession at once, as she laced her arms around Andrea's, hugging her back, desperate to feel her closer.

"Good…" Andy purred in her ear and gently bit down, pulling the earlobe into her mouth, kissing behind it. "I love waking up like this." She said and smirked at the way Miranda relaxed further into her embrace, grinding back against her groin. 

Tease .

"Me too… Stay, move in with us."

Andrea gasped, loosening her hold around Miranda's waist, her mouth leaving it's sweet spot on the older woman's neck as if she'd been burnt.

Miranda closed her eyes and cursed herself and her big mouth.

Andrea shifted in bed, pulling herself up on her elbow.

Then, Miranda felt her hand coming up to gently touch her shoulder and make her turn around. She sighed and surrendered. Good. More talking. Her morning routine was ruined.

Laying on her back, she looked up at Andy and lifted her own hand to caress her beautiful sleepy face. Mesmerized, she pulled her down for her proper good morning kiss.

She didn't want to wake up without her in her bed. She didn't want to have to say goodnight, close the front door and wait for the I'm home text. She didn't want to wake up anxious in the middle of the night and be alone to deal with it, like she got used to doing over the years. 

No, it just didn't make sense. 

"Stay–" Miranda melted into the kiss, deepening it and raking her short nails on the back of the girl's neck.

"Y-yes!" Andrea smiled into their kiss, radiant as ever. "We'll figure it out, okay? How to move my stuff, what I want to keep and what I want to donate or throw away… all of those things, in time-"

"But stay. Come home to me… don't you want to wake up tomorrow like this-" Miranda kissed her again, guiding her closer, whispering in her ear in her best bedroom voice "here… with me?"

Andy nodded and lifted her head again to kissed her forehead.

Looking down at the older woman, caressing her cheek and then hair, her messy and puffy white hair.

"I don't want to go back to the way things were before, either. I've always dreamt you'd invite me to spend the night, it was the worst part having to go back to my apartment alone at the end of the day."

"Then don't. Don't go back. We'll pick up your stuff over the weekend, we'll figure it out, but stay."

"My stuff? Pinch me, I'm waking up in Miranda Priestly's bed and she's using words like stuff   and asking me to move in with her- aaah!" Her blabbering was interrupted by Miranda actually pinching her side. "Hey! That hurt-"

"You asked for it…" 

"I have to pick my clothes, I don't have-"

"Really? You're afraid I won't have clothes for you?"

"I know, I know… speaking of which, what am I wearing on my first day at the new job, oh wise Fashion Queen?"

"Come…" Miranda dragged her out of bed, so incredibly excited to finally be able to dress Andrea like her own personal living Barbie. 

She really didn't deserve this, her mind kept pestering her. She was taking it anyway, though.

Later that day, Miranda kept failing to find it in herself, the energy to despise the pair of new assistants who messed up the simplest of things.

She just didn't have it in her.

The girls were so incompetent it was almost funny. 

She dismissed them and interacted as little as possible… but also as clearly as possible. 

Without a first, more experienced assistant to guide them, Miranda soon figured out that if she didn't give them very precise instructions, she'd be met with disappointment countless times throughout the day.

Both girls were terrified of her but, because there was no Emily to tell them not to ask questions and because Miranda was bubbly as a lovebird on the inside, she ended up sighing and resigning herself to holding up a meeting with them. 

She went over the basics, the coffee, the rules on how to approach her, the sort of tasks they were screwing up and how to do it properly… she didn't give them step by step instructions, but was very specific in detailing the outcomes she expected.

She wouldn't go as far as to tell them the why or how , but the what needed to be laid down as a foundation, or else she'd be left with zero functioning assistants and that was unthinkable for a woman as busy as herself.

Oh, she wanted to call Andrea and tell her all about it.

She wanted to go home to her and-

Incoming call

Andrea

She smiled like the damn fool she'd become and oh, her voice, Andrea's sweet voice laced with the excitement of a first work day that seemed to be going quite well!

"Miranda, you know something I've never thought about?"

"Yes?"

"Time zones."

"What about them?"

"How many hours of difference are there between Paris and New York?"

Miranda couldn't help but crack up laughing at that. Oh, it was too sweet. This whole time Andrea had no idea she was in Paris setting up alarms for crazy morning hours to talk to her and her children at the end of their day back home.

Oh, it was suddenly hilarious.

"It's about six hours, darling... I can't believe you're only now thinking about this…"

"We were calling you at horrible hours, you must have been so incredibly moody the entire week!"

"Like a sleep deprived dragon lady who missed her dragon girlfriend and her baby dragons, oh yeah, you should've seen me"

"Dragon girlfriend? And we weren't even dating!"

"Oh, come on… what would you call what we were doing? Having dinner together, spending hours late at night talking about the world and the universe and our dreams… flirting, texting each other, being jealous, cuddling, watching movie marathons…"

"Well, when you put it like that…"

"How would you put it?"

"Oh I was so nervous around you."

"Fancy way to say horny, but okay-"

"It wasn't- it was that, very much that, but also nervous . I was afraid I'd cross the line, offend you, lose you… Lose our friendship."

"I can't remember the exact moment we became friends. I remember the girls saying, making me promise that if I wanted to fire you one day I'd have to befriend you to make sure you stayed in our lives. They were afraid you'd stop coming over because of me. That I'd scare you away. And then I remember thinking that because of my paranoid mind we were neither friends nor coworkers. You were this woman whom I'd offended, who most certainly hated me, but was still ringing the doorbell and showing up with a DVD to watch after dinner."

"You thought I hated you?"

"You had all the reasons to! I would've hated me!"

"Silly girl…" Stealing Miranda's lines, how dare you. "I know we had our fair share of fighting, and trust me there will be more-

"More?"

"Mhm, couples fight all the time, it's okay… but, as I was saying, we bicker and we fight, but I could never stay mad at you. Hate you… No, never. It would only take one of your signature death glares, you looking me up and down…" A heavy airy sigh escaped from Andrea's lips, as a conclusion to her rambling. 

Miranda could hear her smile through the phone. "One look?"

"Just one. It's just so hot, you have no idea-"

Miranda laughed on the other side of the line and that caught Nigel's attention. It was not every day that Miranda laughed out loud, especially not in a way that's heard outside her office.

"You give me that look today and I'll show you."

"What exactly?"

"What I've always wanted to do when you used to look at me like that."

"A lot of office fantasies then?"

"You haven't heard the half of them…"

"Oh, Nigel's here. I'll talk to you later, darling."

Andrea laughed and cursed the man for getting in the way of her teasing. She loved making the older woman speechless, flustered, getting under her skin with just her words. 

"Later… love you!"

"I love you too, bye bye…"

She crooked her finger to call Nigel closer to her.

"Yes. It's that."

"Can I at least have a name? You owe me big time."

"I know. And if making up to you means both personal and professional rewards… Here it goes…"

She hesitated, but he squinted her eyes at her, curiosity taking the best out of him.

"Andrea."

"Six???"

"No, no… Six is definitely not the name. It's Andrea. An-drey-uh."

"You just said I love you to… Andy?"

"Andrea."

" Our Andy?"

"Not Andy. Andrea." She wasn't sure she wanted to say the next part, but she did owe the man something juicy to cheer him up. "And not ours …" Come on, say it. "Mine." 

"Jesus Christ!" Nigel's eyebrows almost jumped off him head. "Mine… As in, you're hers too? Jesus… Oh."

" Oh. " She mocked him.

"Yes, oh!" He looked over his shoulder to be sure no one could hear him. Then, he whispered like it was the juiciest gossip ever, so exciting. "Oh my god , Miranda you're bangin-"

"Dating!" She accidentally raised her voice to correct him, but was quick to go back to a whisper. "I'm dating her."

"How many dates?" So naughty and so impeccably dressed, our Nigel.

"Oh, dear…" She smirked, too smug even by Miranda Priestly's standards.

He slightly shook his head, amused at his own excitement over the news.

He was hurt, but still fond of her, enough to root for her happiness.

At the end of the day, the sun still barely colouring the streets Inna warm light, Miranda left the Elias-Clarke building in a hurry, phone in hand, trying to get through to her girlfriend to check that they were both on board for the girls' recital.

They had agreed to speak as soon as they got off work, for the last of them to be ready would be in charge of picking up the drycleaning on their way home. Miranda had insisted that she wanted to wear a very particular blouse that was still to be picked up that day, because all the remaining thousand blouses were just not it.  

Usually her assistants brought the dry cleaning, but that was at night when the book was ready and she needed to be at the girls' school way before that.

Andrea was texting her about how she'd won the bet and how Mirand would have to be the one to pick it up.

Miranda was quick to reply that she was indeed out of runway sooner, just hadn't sent the text yet. But Andrea was very clearly not buying it.

Phone in hand and enjoying the bickering but still determined to get her way, Miranda was reaching the town car that pulled over to pick her up every day, when she saw her.

Andrea.

Across the street, phone in hand, texting and smiling down at her phone.

They lost track of what she was doing and slowed down to really look at her. She looked stunning and that smile-

Andy took her eyes from her phone, looked across the street and found her staring. 

Determined not to be the one picking up the drycleaning, because truly she was the one who got out of work first, it was a cold hard fact… she gave the girl one of her signature glares, making her slow down her pace and stare back at her in awe.

Andy had to remind herself to close her mouth, Miranda was so irresistible when she gave her that look. Jesus.

Miranda remembered their conversation on the phone earlier and put some extra effort into it.

Andy waved at her. Literally waved with the cutest fucking smile.

Then, dramatic as ever, Miranda turned on her heel, hand on top of her sunglasses, and elegantly slipped into the backseat of the car.

As soon as she sat down, she looked back at her phone:

That's hot. Andrea's text simply said.

It caused this ridiculous lovestruck smile to spread across her face. 

But you already know.

A second text followed the first one.

And you're still picking up the drycleaning .

The audacity.

Miranda's eyes twinkled as she peeked through the window to watch the girl walk by, in the clothes she had helped her pick for her first day at The Mirror. 

She couldn't take her eyes off her and her cheekbones were high and pink on her face, with the teasing written words echoing in her mind.

They were meeting at Dalton's, the girls' school- Their girls' school. She'd pick the damn dry cleaning, she couldn't care less. 

Roy pulled her out of her dreamlike state, looking at her through the rearview mirror, hesitating on getting the car started.

She quickly put on her faux annoyed expression and spit out the word: " Go ."