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Sabotage

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25.

“Were you out of your bloody mind?” Emily shrieked. “I can’t believe you told her that.” She stood abruptly and started to pace. “And I can’t believe, that Miranda gave up on Andy so easily. You both are idiots. It’s no wonder that Andy run away.” She halted and looked at Ed, her eyes shiny from unshed tears. “I don’t know what to think of you anymore, Ed.” She turned to leave, but Ed hurried after her and stopped her before she could reach the door.

“Emily, wait. It’s not what you think. Please?”

Ed’s office, one day earlier

“We have a deal then.” Ed wasn’t happy with the outcome. She didn’t think Miranda was going to take the bait. But she did. The sick feeling in her stomach suggested, that gambling with her sister’s life might not have been her smartest move ever.

“Let me finish, Edna,” said Miranda so softly, that Ed had to lean closer to pick up the words.

“As I said, it has never been a secret, that aside from my daughters, Runway is the most important in my life. However, my priorities have changed recently. Could I live without Runway? Certainly. Could I live without Andrea? Possibly. Do I want to? Most definitely not. She is the greatest love that ever found me. The love I don’t deserve, yet I’m blessed with it. I cherish every moment I can spend with her, I’m grateful for every smile she grants me. I love her. So, no Edna. We don’t have a deal. That’s all.”

A huge relief, the second one that day, washed over Ed. She hadn’t screwed it up entirely. Andy wouldn’t be thrilled. No doubts there. She had specifically asked Ed on several occasions, to get a grip and respect her relationship with Miranda. As for Miranda, only God knows how she was going to adjust. Adjust? She corrected herself quickly. Miranda wouldn’t adjust. Why would she? It was all on Ed.

“I know you are frustrated with me, Miranda. I wish for you though to understand the reason for my actions. It’s not you, it’s…”

Miranda cut in, carrying the same soft tone as before. “It’s you. Obviously.” Rising to her feet she headed to the door. Half way there she changed her mind and turned back. “I’ve been playing nice, mainly because you are important to Andrea. Also I feel a slight appreciation of your efforts. I must admit that you worked hard to mend those broken fences. My daughters love you and that is very telling, they don’t usually accept just anyone. I on the other hand have been undecided if I like you or not. I’d say, what you did today, didn’t work in your favor.”

“Fair enough.” Ed conceded.

“Let me make it crystal clear, Edna. If you test me, or question my intentions towards Andrea ever again, you’ll face a very forlorn future in my family.”

“Duly noted. Be assured, it won’t happen again. I had no doubts about your intentions, but for Andy’s sake I had to ask. If you check the contract you’ll see, that I’ve already signed it. Either way, the job would have been yours.”

Miranda didn’t bother to answer. Not receiving the desired response Ed tried a different approach.

“In all honesty, wouldn’t you do the same for someone you love? Is it too presumptions to say that you would test your daughters’ suitors the same way?

“Perhaps.” Nodded Miranda thoughtfully. “That doesn’t change my sentiment though. I still strongly advise you to abstain from meddling in my affairs.”

“What can I say? I love poking the dragon.”

Miranda picked up the folder from the coffee table and stashed it in her handbag. “Having a hobby is good for mental health, Edna. Although you might want to choose something less dangerous.” Walking out of the office she called back over her shoulder. “I’ll let you know of my decision.”

Ed’s office, present

Emily and Ed hadn’t spent a single day apart since Christmas, they practically lived together. Ed was getting better at reading the redhead’s moods, interpreting her facial expressions or predicting her reactions. Or so she thought. She didn’t have to wait for Emily’s feedback on her confession to know, that the game was over. Ed already pictured herself single and miserable, probably for the rest of her life. Emily loved Miranda and apparently adored Andy and as for her feelings towards Ed, well, that was a different story. Ed didn’t believe that Emily’s attachment to her went too deep. They had great chemistry, the sex was exceptional but sometimes it appeared that the Brit barely tolerated her outside the bedroom. Ed exhaled and mentally braced herself for whatever was coming. The response she got wasn’t anything she anticipated though. Emily gripped the lapel of Ed’s jacket and pushed her against the wall. Wow, was she strong or what?

“Cheese, Ed.” Emily said forcefully. “Five. Different. Cheese. Fix this. Fix this or I swear you will sleep on the couch for the unforeseen future.”

Ed blinked. Then blinked again, catching up on what she was told.

“So you are not breaking up with me?” Ed asked quietly, just to be sure.

Emily loosened her grip and withdrew enough to try to catch Ed’s eyes, but Ed refused to hold her gaze. Emily slid her hands up Ed’s chest and cradled her face.

“Ed. Look at me.”

Ed reluctantly obeyed.

“Every time we have an argument or I express a different opinion on something you expect us to split. This is not how love works.”

Had Emily really said love? Or had her deepest, secret longing been set free at last and was playing tricks with her mind.

“Love? You love me?”

“Oh my days, Ed. Of course I love you. I thought it was bloody obvious.”

“Clearly not. I wasn’t even sure that you liked me.”

Emily stepped back and patted Ed’s cheek.

“About that love…right now I don’t like you too much. You screwed up royally and...”

“And I’m going it fix it. I promise.”

Ed couldn’t stop grinning like an idiot. Emily loved her. They could work on the liking part later after she cleaned up the mess she’d created. She gave Emily a peck on the cheek and left hastily, without saying goodbye. A minute later Emily’s phone signaled and incoming message.

“I love you too”

Somewhere in a cottage

Andy was having a bad day. As she had had an equally disastrous previous day, and as was no hope for any improvement for the following day, maybe calling her day bad was a bit of an understatement. She had made a mistake. One of those howcouldibeethatstupid kind of devastating ones. She had made a hasty decision, dictated by her anxiety, and now she was stuck in the middle of nowhere with a discharged cellphone and no gas in her car. Well, Miranda’s car to be precise. Not that it made any difference. Good news was, that the cottage she stayed in was well-equipped and luxurious. The very same cottage that she had spent Christmas in with Miranda. Their cottage. Quite literally, actually. Andy had secretly purchased it. It was part of the deal she had settled with Ed in regards to the company ownership. She wanted to surprise Miranda. Provide a happy place, where they could retreat to from every day stress. Happy place, yeah right. Last night, laying alone in bed, hugging an overstuffed pillow, she’d come to realize, that her happy place wasn’t a geographical coordinate or a building. But it didn’t matter anymore, did it?

The alarm biped and she checked the scones in the oven. They weren’t quite done yet. A couple minutes later, she juggled two full trays, trying to find an empty place in the messy kitchen. An unexpected, loud knock on the door made her jump and provided an unusual solution to her logistic issues. The floor.

“Fuck me.” She muttered.

There was another knock and a familiar voice was calling her name. Ed? Andy tore the door open and hugged Ed impulsively.

“Ed? I’m so glad you are here.”

A warm welcome? Ed wasn’t expecting that. Quite frankly she didn’t know where they stood. Andy hadn’t show any sign of distress the other day, during their phone call. It was a brief call mind you but also it was after she supposedly overheard the conversation with Miranda. Why wasn’t she angry? Furious. Devastated. Or something along that line. Did she really have to be so damn nice, making Ed feel even guiltier?

Ed returned the hug and guided Andy inside.

“I couldn’t reach you on phone. I was worried.” Ed said. She decided to follow Andy’s lead. Let’s pretend that nothing has happened. Shall we?

“Oh. My battery died and I have no charger. How did you know where to find me?

“A lucky guess? Plus I’ve heard the GPS giving directions in the background yesterday, when you called me.” Ed looked around and nodded in approval.

“It’s a lovely place. I see why you wanted to buy it.” Walking around she wandered into the kitchen right in the middle of two dozen cheese scones, scattered all over the floor.

“Wow, scones. Didn’t know those were growing from the ground.”

“You’re not funny, Ed.” Andy pushed past Ed and started to clean up. “Give me a hand will you?”

Ed blew raspberries in a half-hearted protest but assisted anyways. She hated kitchen work.

“So scones? Any chance that these are the famous five cheese ones?” asked Ed.

“They are hardly famous. But I know a special someone who will love these very much,” teased Andy and bumped Ed’s shoulder with her own.

Ed blushed.

“I’m going to propose her.”

“Oh my God, Ed. I’m so happy for you. I truly believe she’s your perfect match. And you’d better make her happy because I like her. I like her a lot.”

“I want your input on an idea I had, concerning the proposal. Emily isn’t close to her parents or any family member. I’m still a bit old fashioned though and I was thinking to ask permission from the person whose opinion matters the most. What do you think?

“Aww. You’re such a romantic. Who knew?” I suppose it’s a wonderful idea. Who do you have in mind?”

“Miranda.”

The glass bowl Andy was holding slipped from her hands and fell onto the floor, shattering into a million pieces. That’s me. Andy thought bitterly. Breaking things. Scones. Bowls. Hearts. She looked at Ed who was studying her intently, kindness shining from her eyes. Then the penny dropped.

“Oh you’ve heard. That’s why you’re here.”

“Of course I’ve heard. Andy what’s going on? You were so blissful, talking about happily ever after, unicorns and rainbows. And now you are hiding here in a mountain cottage for no reason other than a misunderstanding.”

“Misunderstanding?”

“It’s my fault. I’m the only one to blame and frankly I’m surprised you are willing to talk to me. You asked me not to interfere and I didn’t respect your wishes. I shouldn’t have taunted Miranda. You left without hearing her out. She didn’t mean what she said or at least not how it sounded at first.”

“She didn’t mean it?” Andy’s lips started to tremble and small teardrops started form in her eyes. “She doesn’t love me?”

“Of course she didn’t…Wait, what?”

“But she said she loved me.” Andy was crying now. “She called me a blessing and now you are telling me she didn’t mean it?”

Ed couldn’t believe her ears. And there was someone else who was quite taken aback by the turn of events.

“You ran away, because I love you? That’s hardly a compliment Darling.”

Andy gasped. Miranda?

“Yes. No. I don’t know?” Silly as it sounded, it was the truth. She had heard them. Every single word. Ed’s horrible proposition. Miranda’s shocking answer. Her first instinct was to confront them but she didn’t. She was too astonished to move. Then Miranda kept talking. What she said stunned Andy beyond words. She knew Miranda love her. But she didn’t know how deep those feelings were. It scared her. She freaked out and ran. She drove up to the cottage making arrangements on the go. By the time she got to the cottage her anxiety had eased and she was able to rationalize her thoughts. She was ready to turn back and do some damage control. Convince Miranda to forget her message. It didn’t happen. Her phone died and she run out of gas. End of story. Now Miranda was standing in front of her, clearly waiting for some kind of explanation and Andy had no idea what to say.

“Well, how about you two go upstairs and talk, while I clean up here?” Suggested Ed, as none of the women moved or talked and the silence became slightly uncomfortable. No reaction. “Or I go wait in the car and you can keep starring at each other. Mind the glass shards” With that she was out.

Miranda broke the silence first. She knew exactly what she wanted to say. She spent the last twenty four hours working on her speech, to make it perfect. Using big words and impeccable logic to demonstrate why they should be together.

“You asked for time and distance, Andrea. I genuinely hope you used your day off wisely and sorted out whatever you needed to, because in case you haven’t noticed I’m not a patient person. I can’t give you more time or distance. I’m here to take you home.”

Well, that wasn’t exactly what she planned to say. So much for sophistication and eloquence. And what’s with the possessive tone? You better rephrase that old woman, she scolded herself silently, before all your hopes go down the toilet.

“What I meant to say,” she started again, but she couldn’t finish, because suddenly Andy was right next to her and hugging her tightly.

“Yes,” whispered the younger woman against her neck.

“Yes?”

“Yes. I kinda sorted everything out.”

“All right then. Ready to go home?” Miranda asked.

“I am home,” came the answer and Andy tightened the embrace even more.

Dreams. They, like people, come in various shapes, sizes or colors. They can be grandiose, over the top, bigger than life crazy. Or simple, modest, down to earth. A white Christmas. A happily ever after. Or just a perfect scone. With five different cheese.

 

The End