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Arrested Heart

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Miranda was seething. She had just gotten back from Paris Fashion Week where her scumbag of a soon-to-be ex-husband had mailed her the divorce papers. Not only was he too much of a coward to wait until she got back from her trip but the idiot wanted to be compensated for the ‘public ridicule’ and ‘trauma’ he had faced while being married to her. The gall of that man!

Unfortunately for Miranda, things only got worse when she returned to find that her attorney wasn’t even in the country. Now she was looking at the face of her very tired friend on the computer monitor.

“What do you want me to do, Miranda? I haven’t had a proper vacation in four years and I’m not about to drop everything. I’ll be back in four to six weeks, depending on Catherine, until then one of our junior partners will be handling your case. I have the utmost respect for her and I have absolute faith in her abilities.” Robert said while trying to stifle a yawn. They had been over this a couple of times now.

Miranda sniffed. “And what makes this person so special?”

Robert just laughed at her. “Oh believe me, Miranda, once you meet her you’ll see.”

Miranda just harrumphed in distaste. After saying goodbye and turning off her computer, she slumped back in her office chair. Pinching the bridge of her nose, she let out another frustrated sigh. Miranda was so tired. Page Six had gotten wind of the divorce and were hounding her constantly. They were even camping outside the townhouse when she brought the twins home from the train station this evening. She gave them all a withering glare. If any of them dared publish a photo of her girls they were going to be blackballed so hard they wouldn’t be able to find a job anywhere near the eastern seaboard.

She sighed and pushed herself out of the chair. She trudged out of her study and up the stairs to her bedroom. As she got ready for bed she thought about what Robert had said. He had never sounded so positive about a junior partner before. The question rang through her mind as she climbed underneath the covers.

What on earth made this woman so special?

 

/DWP/

 

Miranda pursed her lips. The layouts before her were atrocious to say the least. She was going to have to have a talk with Nigel, he shouldn’t even have bothered sending her these. He knew better. She had just raised her head to tell Emily to call him when a striking brunette in a Chanel suit and a pair of Christian Louboutins entered the outer office. She strode with confidence and purpose. She walked right past the assistants’ desks, paying no mind to a very flustered Emily. The only thing keeping Miranda from gaping at not only her audacity but her beauty, was her iron self-control. She merely gave the woman one of her iciest glares when she walked right up to her desk. Not in the slightest bit deterred the woman stuck out her hand in greeting.

“Good morning, Ms. Priestly, my name is Andrea Sachs. I believe Mr. Carlisle told you he would be sending me.”

So this is why he sent her, Miranda thought mildly impressed. The girl hadn’t even flinched at the glare she’d given when most would melt into a nervous puddle at the door.

“I am so sorry, Miranda.” Emily huffed when she finally entered on her crutches. “Security will be here any second to escort this person out of the building.” She practically growled, but Miranda noticed that even Emily gave this woman an appreciative once over. Her pencil skirt hugged her curves perfectly and Miranda felt herself grow irritated at Emily’s unwanted attentions.

“That won’t be needed, Emily. Cancel my meeting with Irv and get me another Starbucks. That’s all.” Miranda rose as she spoke.

Emily scampered away as quickly as she could on her crutches and Miranda finally reached out to shake the hand that had been offered when she introduced herself.

“Good morning, Andrea. I must say I hope we won’t be meeting like this every time. It would be rather inconvenient.” They sat down and Miranda could see the corners of her mouth curl up in a smile. She has a beautiful smile, Miranda thought then promptly berated herself. This woman is here to handle her divorce! She can’t afford to let her hormones control her.

“I promise it won’t happen again if you can convince your assistants to actually take me seriously when I make an appointment.” She quirked an amused eyebrow. The corners of Miranda’s mouth twitched. This woman was rather charming.

“I’ll have to look into that.” Miranda smirked. “But down to business then.”

Andrea gave one nod, removed a notepad and pen and then started asking rapid fire questions. She was quick and efficient, not wasting anytime with platitudes or stuttering, writing everything down that she deemed important. Miranda was confused by some of the questions about Stephen’s work and finances but didn’t give it a second thought. Her coffee arrived ten minutes later and they finished not long after that. Andrea snapped her notepad shut.

“That is all the information I need for the time being, I’ll call you with any additional questions I might have.” She said as she put her notepad back in her purse.

Miranda hummed in acknowledgement. Before she could stop herself, the question tumbled from her lips.

“How old are you, Andrea?”

Andrea just smirked at her before answering, “I’m 29.”

Miranda’s eyes widened minutely. From what she had learned from Robert it took at least a couple of years for someone to be considered for Junior Partner.

Andrea laughed at the obvious shock on her face.

“Don’t worry, Miranda. Robert wouldn’t send me to help you if he didn’t think I was capable. If it makes you feel any better, I graduated top of my class at Stanford Law and I got a perfect score on the bar exam. I give no less than 100% and I’ll work my hardest to ensure you and your daughters get everything you want and deserve from this divorce.” She looked at her seriously, willing Miranda to believe her.

Miranda could see the absolute sincerity, determination and earnestness in those obsidian eyes. She had no doubt that this girl would fight tooth and nail to protect her interests and those of her girls. She felt an unconscious part of her mind relax at the reassurance. She sat back in her chair and nodded once. Andrea gave her another megawatt smile before leaving. Miranda had no idea how she knew this beauty was going to save the day, but she had hope. And by God, she lived on it.

 

/DWP/

 

Miranda had gotten a call from Andrea that same day with the details of their first court hearing. She’d been through this before and knew that nothing exciting would be happening today. This hearing was only to discuss the terms of separation, so Miranda sat in the defendant’s chair with a bored expression while Stephen’s attorney droned on and on. Stephen apparently wanted the townhouse and that had made Miranda seethe, but one look at Andrea’s face and she instantly calmed. She had studied the girl intently and knew that behind the professional mask Andrea was quite amused. Miranda didn’t know why, but the brunette had this twinkle in her eye that made Miranda think she might have a surprise up her sleeve.

They had met a couple of times for dinner and at the townhouse over the past few weeks to discuss the case. During this time Miranda had come to know the brunette quite well and found herself falling more and more for this remarkable young woman. She was intelligent, witty and had a wicked sense of humor. What had started out as mild attraction was now a full on crush and Miranda was powerless to stop it. She still didn’t know how this shy yet charming girl was going to win this case. Besides her rather grand entrance the first time they met, she hadn’t seen Andrea act even remotely authoritative. Robert was as crass and opinionated in private as he was in the court room.

Yet, Miranda had unwavering faith and trust in Andrea’s abilities.

The scraping of a chair woke Miranda from her daydreaming. She glanced up at Andrea when the judge asked if there was anything they’d like to change or add.

“Actually, Your Honor,” Andrea said, flashing a feral smile at Stephen’s table. “My client would like all charges to be dropped, Mr. Tomlinson to move out of her house and for the divorce to be finalized as of today.”

WHAT?!” both Stephen and his lawyer shouted. Miranda gaped. Even the judge seemed a bit thrown.

Miranda snapped her jaw shut. Andrea was standing calmly with her fingertips pressing lightly onto the table top and an evil grin on her face. She spoke in a low, calm and controlling manner. Miranda was never so turned on in her entire life. Andrea took control of the entire room, everybody riveted to her every word. Miranda felt herself shiver.

“Do you have grounds on which to base these demands, Councilor?” the judge asked. Andrea nodded, pulling out a thick stack of papers. Miranda recognized them as the prenup she and Stephen had signed.

“This, your Honor, is my client and Mr. Tomlinson’s pre-nuptial agreement.” She handed it to the bailiff who took it to the judge’s bench. “There are two highlighted sections. The first, you’ll see, is the infidelity clause.” At these words Miranda saw Stephen pale a bit. “In there it states that if either client is found to be guilty of adultery, that party won’t be entitled to any of the other party’s property, money, assets and so forth.” She held up one of the envelopes. “In here I have evidence of Mr. Tomlinson’s assorted affairs. Not only was he unfaithful to my client but he had several affairs and is currently supporting two of his mistresses financially.” She once again handed the envelope to the bailiff.

“And the second highlighted section, Ms. Sachs?” he asked as he took the first envelope. She handed another envelope to the awaiting bailiff.

“The second section is the Public Appearances clause, your Honor. Seeing as my client is a public figure and role model for many within and outside her field of expertise, she has a certain image to uphold. That clause states that if Mr. Tomlinson is in any way found guilty of damaging or altering that public image in a negative way, my client is entitled to a written public apology as well as financial compensation. In the envelope you’ll find photographs, video recordings, as well as eye witness statements stating that Mr. Tomlinson became intoxicated on more than a dozen separate occasions where he then proceeded to make a scene, sexually harass a number of woman as well as spouting off negative and degrading comments regarding my client. Not only that, your Honor, but in there you’ll also find proof that it was Mr. Tomlinson who gave Page Six confidential information regarding not only the divorce proceedings but Runway as well, all of which was protected under a Non-Disclosure Agreement signed by Mr. Tomlinson and which you will find enclosed within the same envelope.” The judge nodded at Andrea as she sat down.

“I’ll take both your arguments into account while I review this evidence in my chambers. This court will resume in one hour.” He banged the gavel.

Everybody stood as the judge made his exit but Miranda’s mind was still reeling. Andrea stared at Stephen as if she was about to rip him to shreds, the look in her eyes almost wild. Miranda had to suppress another shiver.

When she blinked again she found herself being steered away from a raging Stephen, out of the courtroom and across the street to a little café. She sat down across from Andrea while she ordered coffee for the both of them.

“I’m sorry, what?” Miranda blinked finally snapping out of her haze when she realized Andrea was talking to her. She gazed into Andrea’s soft expression, that evil glint nowhere to be found. She smiled a small smile.

“I asked if you were okay. You looked a bit gob smacked back there.” The concern in her eyes shone brightly. Miranda drew a deep breath.

“You just… surprised me, is all.” She spoke carefully. “I can’t remember the last time someone rendered me speechless in surprise.” Miranda returned her small smile. That smile morphed into a full-fledged grin.

“Well, I try my best.” She gave a slight shrug of her shoulders before winking at Miranda. Out of nowhere Miranda burst out laughing, Andrea joining in a moment later.

After recovering Miranda asked, “Did you see Stephen’s face? I think he was whiter than my hair.”

“Quite the accomplishment.” Andrea quipped and they started chuckling again.

“Is that why you asked me all those unusual questions?” Miranda asked after a beat. Andrea hummed in affirmation, taking a sip of the coffee that just arrived.

“I like to be thorough,” she said as she placed the cup down. “My father taught me that people hide many things that could be useful information to your client. You just need to look in the right closet to find the right skeletons.”

“Your father?”

“He’s an attorney as well, although he practices back home in Ohio.”

“Oh, well, you must thank your father for me. He certainly taught you well.” Miranda offered.

Andrea beamed at her. They drank the rest of their coffee in companionable silence, both stealing glances at the other every so often. They smiled shyly at each other whenever one was caught. Miranda sighed. All of this felt so comfortable, so right. How she wished she could have all of this every day. This easy camaraderie wasn’t something that she had ever experienced before. She sighed again.

Miranda startled when a hand rested lightly above her own, thumb rubbing soothing circles on her wrist. She looked up into espresso eyes, the concern shining even brighter than before. She turned her hand palm-side up, relieved when that soft hand gently took hold of hers and gave it a light squeeze.

“Don’t worry Miranda, when I’m done with him today he’ll never bother you again.” She soothed.

Miranda chuckled. “Oh I have no doubt that you’ll rip that bastard into shreds. I’m just tired. He’ll most likely try to appeal the decision if it goes through and then we’ll be right back at square one.” She looked away, gazing out of the window. Smooth fingers caressed her cheek softly before turning her head back to look at those expressive eyes. Miranda gasped at the fire she found in those dark orbs.

“Miranda, I promise you, where he’s going he won’t ever be able to bother you again.”

Miranda gazed at her questioningly. Andrea gave her another bright smile before leaning forward slightly and whispering, “I have one more trick up my sleeve.” She pulled her hands away as she sat back to gather her purse. Miranda missed the warmth immediately. As they walked out, Andrea flashed her one last Cheshire grin before they crossed the street. Miranda smiled.

Stephen was going to hell.

 

/DWP/

 

“Ms. Sachs, what are your client’s demands?” the judge asked after everyone had taken their seats.

Andrea stood. “My client would like all charges to be dropped as well as the divorce to be absolved during this time, your Honor, seeing as Mr. Tomlinson has no legal right to any of my clients assets, as well as compensation from Mr. Tomlinson for his violation of the Public Appearances clause.” The judge nodded.

“Mr. Goldman, is there anything you would like to add or evidence you want to submit to substantiate your allegations against Ms. Priestly.” He asked.

Stephen’s lawyer rose with a defeated sigh. “I’m afraid not, your Honor.” Miranda could see Stephen was fuming. Unfortunately for him that was always his biggest downfall.

“Very well then. In the case regarding Tomlinson vs. Priestly, I decree that all charges against Ms. Priestly are dropped. Furthermore, Mr. Tomlinson will receive no compensation in light of his infidelity. He will also be expected to repay Ms. Priestly for his violation of the Public Appearances clause in the sum of five million dollars. Lastly, I grant Ms. Priestly’s request for the immediate absolution of this marriage. Congratulations, Ms. Priestly, you are now a free woman.” The judge banged his gavel.

Miranda was ecstatic. Ignoring her normal stoic behavior she turned towards Andrea and pulled her close for a hug. The brunette hugged her back with equal fervor, embracing her more fully. It lasted a second or two longer than was appropriate but Miranda didn’t care. Stephen wasn’t getting a penny, the proceedings won’t be splattered across Page Six for months on end, her girls wouldn’t be bugged by any more paparazzos and she had gained a true friend.

She gave the brunette another smile as they exited the court room behind Stephen frantically whisper-yelling at his lawyer. She watched out of the corner of her eye as a clean shaven man in a suit stepped up to Stephen.

“Mr. Tomlinson, my name is Detective Cooper with the NYPD.” He pulled a pair of handcuffs out of his suit pocket and tightened them around Stephen’s wrists. “You are under arrest for embezzling, tax fraud and real estate fraud. You have the right to remain silent…” he led a struggling Stephen out of the building as he continued reading him his rights, his lawyer hot on their heels.

Miranda was speechless for the second time that day. She turned toward Andrea and saw her smiling.

“You did this, didn’t you?” she asked. Andrea just nodded.

“You found this while searching for ‘skeletons’?” Another nod.

The young woman took a step closer. “Miranda.”

Miranda felt weak. The breathy way in which her name was uttered sounded heavenly. She took a step closer. She looked at the clock behind Andrea’s head. 8:12 PM. Around them it was absolutely quiet, as if everyone had disappeared. She looked back at Andrea.

“Andrea,” she whispered. “Come home with me.”

Andrea smiled, nodding her consent before kissing her senseless.

 

/DWP/

 

Miranda took a deep breath. She was always nervous before these stupid events, not that she ever told anybody that. That would simply ruin her reputation as New York’s Ice Queen. No, all the outside world ever saw were her flawless and painstakingly fake smiles, never having an inkling as to her insecurities.

All, except the woman beside her.

She felt a soft hand gently squeezing hers. She looked up into Andrea’s chocolate brown eyes. The warmth and love radiating from them instantly calming her and making her feel at ease. She needn’t utter a word for Andrea had the uncanny ability to sense whatever she needed. Often times before Miranda knew it herself. She smiled thinking back on the last 18 months.

Andrea had managed to worm her way into Miranda’s home and her heart. She was gentle, kind and understanding. She never pushed too hard or expected too much. She was a great friend and a thoughtful lover. She had the patience of a saint and the determination of a pit bull. She wasn’t afraid to say how she felt or tell her what she wanted. She had a temper to match Miranda’s and never let her get away with bullshit. The twins adored her and Patricia had never been happier.

Miranda smiled again. She loved this woman with all of her heart. She made her feel safe and secure, loved and cherished, adored and worshipped. She gave as good as she got and Miranda was absolutely head-over-heels in love with her.

To be quite honest, Miranda was amazed nobody had caught on yet. They decided to take things slowly at first but after one night found that they didn’t give a damn. Let the world think what it wants, as long as she had Andrea, she could conquer anything.

And surprisingly, for once the world just let Miranda be.

They went out for coffee and dinners, both with and without the twins. They took walks in the park, went to matinees and even attended a few gallery openings here and there. Still, nobody had caught on.

Miranda chuckled. Honestly, people’s incompetency astounded her at times.

But after tonight there will be no doubt.

The car came rumbling to a stop at the Met. She could see cameras flashing like strobe lights at a nightclub. She looked at Andrea.

“Are you ready?”

Andrea just gave her a megawatt smile and leaned forward.

“I love you.” She whispered before kissing Miranda oh so softly.

“I love you.” She whispered as she pulled back, drowning in those mocha orbs a second longer.

As the car door opened Miranda took a deep breath, realizing that for the first time in 20 years, she wasn’t afraid. She smiled to herself, knowing it was all because of the woman now sliding out of the Mercedes. She took Andrea’s hand, holding it tightly in her own as they walked hand-in-hand down the red carpet and towards the rest of their lives.