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Priestly's Piece of Paradise

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Day One
Cassidy and Caroline walked down the beach as their mother was approaching, they smiled. She scowled.

"Girls," Miranda motioned to the alcoholic beverages they both held in their hands, "you're too young for this."

"No age limit on alcohol consumption in Greece." Caroline said as she sipped, "come on, mom, it's Spring Break."

"Yeah, we turned down plans to go to Cancun to spend our vacation with our mother who we love and adore." Cassidy smiled charmingly.

"My friends are going to Prague." Caroline corrected.

"Alright, I gave up a really cool trip and Caroline made a really good decision." Cassidy grinned.

"Oh, I don't really care about the alcohol, I'm just really glad you're here." Miranda hugged them and kissed their temples, "I want you to tell me all about school and how much you hate it and miss me."

"College is great, mom." Cassidy smiled, "my lacrosse team is 6 and 0."

"You mentioned in your e-mail, I'm so proud of you. How are your grades?"

"Well," Cassidy chewed her lip, "not quite as good... but in my defense I took the hard classes first to get them out of the way. Next year will be infinitely easier."

"Oh Cass, I'm not going to lecture you just remind you that you're a very smart girl and I know you can do better but I trust you."

Cassidy nodded, kicking the sand.

"My grades are great." Caroline interjected, "and I'm writing for the school's literary publication."

"I'm very proud of you, darling." Miranda smiled, "I'm very proud of both of my girls and I hope that neither of you ever forget that."

"Well, you know, as long as we're doing the sappy thing, we're proud of you too. You just packed up and moved to Greece to live with the woman you love. That's really awesome, mom."

"Will you play Scrabble with us?"

Miranda laughed, "ah ha, I have found your sneaky ulterior motive. No, I'm never playing Scrabble again. Andrea's coming, you can probably trick her into playing with you though."

"Oh Andy's coming?" Caroline smiled hugely.

"We haven't seen her since we left for school! When's she getting here?" Cassidy inquired.

"Donna's going down to the dock to pick them up. It was apparently a surprise but Nigel accidentally gave it away it so I'm pretending I don't know." Miranda took one of the girls drinks and sipped it, "what are you drinking? This is pretty good."

"Get your own." Cassidy laughed, snatching it back.

Miranda looked at her watch, "I think the ferry should be coming in any minute, let's get back up to the landing to be surprised."

Miranda had learned her way around the grounds quickly enough. She led the girls through a winding path behind the hotel. "Mom, are you sure we're going the right way?"

"Have a little faith, babies, I live here, don't I?" The path suddenly opened up on the courtyard, "oh ye of little faith."

"I'll never doubt you again." Caroline grinned.

Donna got to the top of the stairs, she grinned, "so I found these people on the dock, they say they know you."

Nigel, Emily and Andy got to the top of the steps, "hey, look at what the cat dragged in." Miranda smiled and looked at Donna, "you minx, you set this all up, didn't you?"

"Oh shut up," Donna laughed, "I know you knew."

"Hello Miranda," Nigel smiled and stepped forward and hugged Miranda, "the girls just moved in together and they don't want to talk about it." He whispered.

Miranda nodded knowingly and kissed his cheek hello.

Next she hugged Andy and then Emily. Nigel and Andy had easily adjusted to happy, gentler Miranda but it still made Emily weary.

When Miranda let them go the girls squealed their excited hellos and ran to hug Andy. They had both grown very fond of Andy during their last three years of high school. Andy visited often and eventually won the twins over by playing Scrabble with them. Caroline even decided to attend Northwestern and got Andy to write her a recommendation. Cassidy decided upon Cambridge, the school which had expelled Miranda, for reasons she'd never confessed to her daughters.

Sophie came down from the second floor and smiled, "I was wondering what all the commotion was. I see the gang's all here."

"Sophie, would you mind showing them their rooms?" Donna asked.

"Not a problem at all, mum." She smiled at the trio, "please follow me, we have the best rooms set up for you, Miranda's been doing a bit of redecorating, but I imagine you'll be able to pick out what exactly's been influenced by her." She winked at Miranda with a smile before disappearing up the stairs with her guests.

Miranda wrapped her arms around Donna's waist. "Thanks for arranging everything."

"I'm just sorry it wasn't a surprise." Donna pushed Miranda's hair behind her ear.

"It's still one of the sweetest things that anyone's ever done for me."

"Well, you know," Donna smiled, "I like your friends and I wanted to bring a little bit of New York here for you, I know you're a little bored."

"I'm not bored." Miranda protested.

"Sweetheart, you're bored. You remodeled the goat house."

"Well... maybe I do feel a little bit unneeded, but I'm not unhappy here, just the opposite, I am so happy to be here with you, I feel like I've really found my home."

Donna nodded, "I believe that wholeheartedly, but that doesn't preclude boredom. In New York you worked well into the night and woke up at the crack of dawn, you had meetings and run throughs and lunch dates and dinner dates and charity balls and functions. I get that. Here we have breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same times every day and, well, life is pretty routine."

"It's not as bad as you're making it sound." Miranda smiled, "you make me sound like the terrier who chews up the furniture because no one left me any toys to play with."

"Yes," Donna grinned, "yes, that's the perfect analogy. That is exactly what you're like."

Miranda looked at her watch, "isn't it time for you to walk behind the maid and make sure all the beds are made properly?"

"Let's throw caution to the wind." Donna kissed her, "let's just say, today, that Myka will make the beds correctly."

"This is a big step for you, Donna." Miranda sucked her bottom lip into her mouth and kneaded her hips gently.

**

Emily grunted as she hoisted her valise up onto the bed. "Don't bother to help or anything." She snapped.

Andy rolled her eyes, "it's your own damn suitcase! I told you to pack lighter."

"Oh you did no such thing!" Emily set her hands on her hips and sneered, "you always do that. You wait until I've done something you think is stupid and then tell me you warned me not to do it."

"Just because you don't listen, doesn't mean I didn't say it." Andy folded her arms across her chest.

"Alright, ladies, back to your corners." Nigel said from the doorway. The women turned to look at him and deflated a little bit under his annoyed gaze.

"We're here for Miranda and we're going to be on our best behaviors, yes?"

"Don't condescend to us, Nigel." Andy glared.

"The two of you bicker like an old married couple." Nigel said and immediately regretted it.

"If I ever marry that woman," Emily spat, pointing at Andy for emphasis, "do the humane thing and put me out of my misery."

"Go to hell, Emily, why don't you go throw up your lunch?"

"Hey, hey." Cassidy and Caroline walked up, "everything alright up here?"

"Priestly twins," Nigel smiled with relief, "please get these women away from each other." Nigel took Emily by the arm and pulled her forward.

Cassidy offered her a smile, "why don't we go get a drink?"

Emily nodded staunchly, "yes, I think a drink is definitely in order."

Nigel put his hands on Caroline's shoulder, "I guess you get Andy. I'm going to go find your mother."

Caroline nodded, "cool, see you for dinner. Promptly at 6:30. Don't be late. Seriously."

Andy gave Caroline an apologetic smile as Nigel walked away down the hallway. She sighed, "sorry about that."

"No worries," Caroline sat down on the bed, "I have a bitch for a roommate and we fight all the time."

"But you two didn't choose each other to live with, right? It was a randomly assigned thing and now you're stuck." Caroline shrugged and Andy continued, "we made the conscious decision to move in together and it has turned out to be the most colossal mistake either of us has ever made."

"Can I make an observation?"

"Please."

"You don't fight like a couple about to break up." Caroline shook her head, "there's a lot of passion in it. I went through three of my mom's divorces and there's a certain amount of resignation and contempt in impending break up arguments that you seem to be lacking."

Andy shook her head, "I don't know. I think we're just too different. Differences that we didn't really notice when we were just dating but living together makes everything just... stick out, everything is just annoying tenfold."

Caroline shrugged her shoulders, "I've never heard anyone say that relationships were supposed to be easy."

"That's true but they are supposed to be possible and... I just can't imagine this relationship working."

"It's been almost four years..." Caroline pointed out.

"Four years too long."

"Whatever, you know more about it than I do." She looked up at Andy and smiled slowly, "so... Scrabble?"

"I thought you'd never ask!"

**

"I can't believe I'm sitting here with one of the Priestly twins." Emily mumbled into her third drink.

"Don't hold back." Cassidy rolled her eyes.

"You know what fucking kills me?"

"No." Cassidy put her elbow on the table and said, without any enthusiasm, "tell me."

"That I wouldn't have even been invited here if it wasn't for Andy! Andy's her friend and I was her slave for six years."

"She made you assistant editor, didn't she?" Cassidy raised her eyebrows.

"Only because Andy didn't work there anymore." Emily grumbled. "How are they friends?"

"Um," Cassidy furrowed her brow, "because she's likable? Because she's not the most obnoxious drunk on the planet?"

**

"Hey, Donna, I don't mean to interrupt," Skye announced, approaching Miranda and Donna, "but the food delivery man is here and needs you to check the order."

"Oh, of course." Donna smiled and gave Miranda a kiss, "hold that thought, darling."

Miranda smiled as Donna went off to attend to the pressing matter of the order. Miranda had tried to do it once to lighten Donna's load but the delivery man had been severely over-sensitive and now he refused to talk anyone other than Donna. Miranda pleaded ignorance.

Nigel came out from the hotel and spotted Miranda, "just the sun soaked island native I was looking for."

Miranda smiled, "cheeky."

"You look happy, Miranda." Nigel smiled, "happy looks really good on you."

"I am happy, Nigel. I've fallen completely head over heels in love for the first time in my life." She sat down on a deck chair and he sat down on the one next to her.

"Who'd have thought? You two seem so different."

"Oh, she's exactly my kind of woman. She's very discerning, not about her clothes as much, but about everything else. She's funny and smart and very loving. Also, she's gone through three maids this year alone because she's so fussy about the cleaning."

"Okay, now I get it." Nigel laughed, "what about you? How are you keeping yourself busy these days?"

"Chewing furniture." She smirked.

"What?"

"I'm chewing the furniture and chasing my tail. Donna thinks I'm bored and... I am. I don't want to talk about that, though, I want you to tell me how running the magazine with Emily is going. Better since last we conversed?"

He nodded, "much better. Annoying as it is sometimes to share the job with Emily it is also a godsend to be able to still have some semblance of a life."

"Micromanaging. Something I never had the knack for."

"Well, you knew how you wanted something done and who better to realize your vision than you?"

She shrugged. "I enjoyed it."

"I know you did." He grinned, "you enjoyed everyone pissing themselves when you showed up every morning."

"Who doesn't love a power trip?"

"Miranda, what if you became a contributing writer?" Nigel suggested.

She sighed and shook her head, "Nigel, I haven't done much writing in the last 20 years."

"You have such a unique and wonderful voice. It could even be a grievance column and everything, your witty contempt for incompetence is hilarious when it isn't directed at your shaking underlings, readers would love that."

She shook her head more firmly, "I'm not writing for Runway. It’s like a demotion."

“It’s not a demotion. It’s freelance. Miranda, you’re a gifted writer.”

“Nigel, no.

"Alright, I just want you to know if you change your mind it's an option." Nigel smiled a little and sighed, leaning back in his chair.

"Are Andy and Emily not getting along?" Miranda furrowed her brow, looking over the terrace to see Emily by the bar with Cassidy.

"Oh my god. Not even a little bit." He rolled his eyes. "It is so trying. An eight hour plane ride and half hour ferry ride with them is my new idea of what Hell must be like. Sartre said it right: “Hell is other people.”"

Miranda nodded knowingly. “I’m surprised that Andrea didn’t mention anything. I talked to her last month. Hadn’t they moved in together by then?”

“Methinks they’re both trying to pretend it isn’t happening.” He sighed, “they’ve been in their new apartment for a month and a half.”

“I’ve always thought they made an odd couple.” Miranda admitted.

Nigel scoffed.

Miranda turned to look at him and raised an eyebrow, “you scoffed?”

“They’re you and Donna. A fashion diva and a plainly dressed but fiery femme.”

Miranda shook her head definitively. “No, they’re completely different than we are.”

Nigel waited for her to continue and when she didn’t he gently encouraged, “on what do you base that claim?”

“They’re both very hot tempered.”

Nigel scoffed, “and you’re not?”

“You stop scoffing at me or I’m done with this conversation.”

“Forgive me if I say: case in point.”

“No, I’m not hot tempered. I’m demanding and occasionally unreasonable. Hot tempered people yell and it is completely against my nature to raise my voice, I find it barbaric and unnecessary. I am cool and calm in the face of crisis.”

“That you are, old girl.” Nigel conceded.

“Emily is no Miranda Priestly.”

“Right again.”

“And Andrea… she’s too smugly satisfied with herself to be a Donna. Donna’s mother was a little bit emotionally abusive so if you get too loud or firm with her she backs down, Andrea would come out swinging. Don’t take that to mean that Donna isn’t strong, she’s incredibly strong and she’s unfathomably smart, she doesn’t think she is because she never went to university but she’s smart as a whip.” Miranda paused to think for a moment, “Donna earns everything she has, Andrea feels entitled to it.”

Nigel nodded, “you’re right.”

“Donna and I complement each other and Emily and Andrea complement each other a little but there’s more overlap and there’s more missing. They don’t make a whole.”

Nigel laughed, “your gift of analogy is breathtaking.”

“I’m not writing for Runway.”

“But Miranda!”

“No.” She said firmly and quietly.

Miranda’s cell phone vibrated in her pocket. Miranda furrowed her brow. “It’s too early for dinner…” she said to herself. She read the message, “oh. It’s appetizers, Donna’s putting on the whole spread tonight.”

“The whole shebang.” He grinned, “I’m looking forward to the food.”

Miranda stood up and held out her arm to Nigel.

Nigel stood and hooked arms with Miranda, “lead on, Madame.”

**

Donna was bustling around the kitchen helping the cooking staff finish the appetizers. She flourished into the dining room and almost ran into Miranda. Donna smiled and put steadying hands on Miranda’s arms. “Do you need something, beautiful?”

“I came to help.”

“No.” Donna grinned, “you’re sitting down and relaxing.”

“When do you get to sit down and relax?”

“When I’m dead.”

Miranda rolled her eyes with a smile. Donna ushered her into the dining room, “go, go, go. Sit.”

Andy entered the dining room before Miranda could protest and Donna disappeared into the kitchen again when Andy greeted her white haired friend.

Miranda sighed but turned more congenially to Andy, “Andrea. How was your flight? We haven’t spoken yet.”

Andy laughed easily at Miranda’s formal speech, “it was long, actually. We had a little bit of a layover in Paris. Brought back some really bitter memories from Emily.”

Miranda pursed her lips. “The two of you, then.” She paused, “not getting on the way you’d hoped?”

Andy sighed and was about to continue when Emily entered the dining room with Cassidy, followed closely by Caroline. Emily held a martini glass in one hand and used the other to support herself against the wall.

Andy moved to her. She took the martini glass from her hand, set it down on the table and wrapped an arm around her. Emily leaned into her affectionately and Andy kissed her cheek sweetly.

“Perhaps a pot of coffee is in order.” Cassidy said as she moved past Miranda into the kitchen. Frankly, she was grateful to have handed Emily off to Andy.

Skye and Sophie followed Donna into the dining room with a few of Donna’s wait staff. Donna cleared her throat and the patrons turned to her, “thank you everyone, thank you all for being here. I for one feel very blessed to have so many good people under our roofs. Some of our good friends from New York are here as are Miranda’s two daughters. And I hope Villa Donna feels as much like home to everyone else as much as it does to me.”

“I’ll drink to that,” Nigel smiled picking up his water.

Miranda caught Donna by the arm, “now you’re going to sit here next to me if I have to glue you to your seat.”

“Yes, ma’am.” Donna smiled and sat next to her, she leaned in and kissed her.

“Your toast was very sweet.” Miranda murmured against her lips.

Donna’s lips curled into a smile. “I’m very happy.”

“So am I.” Miranda kissed her again.