Andy and Miranda settled back into life in the city after their return from Ohio, but things had also changed drastically.
On their return to Runway on Monday morning, after spending the weekend driving back to New York in Andy's Alfa Romeo Spider, Andy had been called down to Human Resources and had signed the "Love Contract" that had been drawn up. The twelve-page document covered every eventuality but clearly stated she would not lodge any form of Sexual Harassment case against Miranda.
She had expected this but what she hadn't accounted for, was the change in the behaviour of her peers. Andy found as soon as she stepped away from her desk to do Miranda's bidding anywhere within Runway, her presence was met with silence, followed by harsh whispering. She caught the unfriendly mutters about her now being Miranda's eyes and ears within Runway.
She desperately tried to ignore it, often grinding her teeth to stop herself from demanding to know what their problem was, but the tenth time it happened in four days, upon her entering the editorial department carrying a stack of articles needing corrections, she finally lost it.
"I suppose you think you're hot shit now?" Andy spun on her heel towards the voice in question and realised the question had come from Sophie, one of the junior editor's.
Frustrated, she sighed and made to hand Sophie the stack of paperwork. "You know what, Sophie? Go fuck yourself." She hadn't wanted to rise to the baiting but enough was enough. "Miranda wants these edited ASAP. She wants to see the amended content in the book tonight." Andy almost grinned at the look of abject horror on the other woman's face. "And as you know, the last thing the editorial team needs with Claire out of the office is Miranda down here on the warpath."
Sophie pushed the paperwork back at her. "Don't think just cause you have those new tattoos branding you, that you can come down here and push your weight about." She hissed.
"Whatever." Stunned by her colleague's behaviour, Andy took the stack of papers and shaking her head in disbelief, without another word, moved back down the corridor towards her desk. She flopped behind her desk and bent her head, her hair hiding her face from view and with a red pen poised over the first page, she set to complete the work herself. She started by scrawling a line through the first sentence.
"Andréa, what on Earth are you doing?" Miranda's soft voice jarred her focus from the words on the page.
She glanced up, biting her lip nervously. "I...uh...well, I'm..."
"Why are you completing those edits when we have a team of people to do that?" Miranda asked her, her voice turning cold.
"Uh...Sophie was...and Claire is..." Andy tried to explain but flustered and feeling like she had failed Miranda, yet again, she started stuttering.
"Sophie accused Andréa of throwing her weight around when she asked for the edits to be completed. Then she pushed the edits back at her." Emily's voice carried and Andy glanced across at the redhead who was returning to her desk. "I was with Paul and Serena. She was being a stupid, petulant little bit..." She blushed and amended her choice of words to describe the woman. "...bint."
Miranda huffed and Andy swallowed hard. She knew if things continued as they were, if she was unable to do her job effectively, it would make things harder for Miranda and Emily. Making a snap decision, she started typing and within minutes slid her chair back, and grabbed a printout. She stood and handed Miranda the letter offering her two weeks notice.
Miranda's hand trembled as she read the words held in the letter before her hand curled into a fist around it and she turned away, moving towards editorial where she was no doubt about to breathe fire on the unsuspecting Sophie.
During the week that followed, it became a regular occurrence for Miranda to be seen stalking along the corridors, providing various instructions to her staff in person rather than sending her assistants to deal with it. Sophie had been provided with a stern warning to remember her place and was coldly reminded that they would have no trouble replacing her should she ever step out of line again. When Sophie had tried to blame Andy, stuttering about her telling her to go fuck herself, Miranda declared it was solid advice.
As the days went by and Miranda turned her cold fury upon her staff, there were tears and tantrums almost daily and people muttered about leaving Runway but the fact Miranda felt she now had to take time out of her day to arrange every minor detail was understood by all, it had left her furious and they knew a line had been crossed.
Despite the issues at Runway, Andy and Miranda continued to spend time together outside of work and had dates when their schedules allowed. Page Six followed them to and from the chosen venues for the evening, and details were splashed over the gossip pages the following morning.
It often seemed as if most of New York had now heard of MirAndy, and for the most part, people outside of Runway were rooting for them to succeed in their relationship.
Andy spent what little free time she had, often while waiting for the book in the evenings, scouring industry job pages, looking for something that would be suitable. She sent cover letters and resumes off, often getting no response and she started to grow despondent. She knew, if push came to shove, she could live comfortably for a while without working, but she wasn't interested in sitting on her butt doing nothing. She wanted a chance to write. Then three days before her notice was up, she received a call from the New York Mirror offering an interview and she felt a small glimmer of hope once more.
Her interview went okay until she was asked about Runway.
"I must say I'm impressed. My only other question is, Runway?" Greg Hill's voice rose at the end of the words. "You've been there for less than a year. What the hell kind of a blip is that?" He scoffed.
"I learned a lot. In the end, though, I kind of screwed it up." Andy shrugged.
"I'll say. Sleeping with the boss is a total screw-up." Greg sniffed and shook his head. "You know, I called over there for a reference, left word with some snooty English girl. Next thing you know, I got a fax from Miranda Priestley herself, saying that of all the assistants she's ever had, you are, by far, her biggest disappointment. And, if I don't hire you, I'm an idiot." He grinned. "You must have done something right." His eyes glinted as if to say he knew exactly what she'd done to please the editor.
Andy didn't know what to say. The words stung a little and yet she understood Miranda's reasoning behind them. She had been warned, if asked, Miranda wouldn't show her any favouritism simply due to their relationship. She also knew Miranda was still rather upset over her leaving Runway after everything.
"I certainly don't see my time at Runway as a blip," Andy stated forcefully, wanting to set the record straight. "I came to New York to be a journalist and sent letters out everywhere, including here. Elias Clarke gave me a chance where other publications didn't. When I interviewed with Miranda, I told her what I am about to tell you now. I am smart, I learn fast and I will work very hard for whoever employs me." She watched as the man sat back, clearly stunned by her words. She knew the interview was over though and stood up. "Thank you for your time." She smiled ruefully, remembering saying the same thing to Miranda once upon a time.
Andy turned away from the man and made her way to leave his office. As her hand grasped the door handle, his voice called out to her. "Andy, wait..." Greg trailed off as she glanced at him over her shoulder. "...look, I'm gonna level with you, kid. I pulled you down here for the interview, but my orders were to give you a job anyway. My bosses want the scoop on you and Miranda, plus your by-line alone would help sell papers. You actually seem like a nice kid though and I'd love to have you on the team..."
"Yeah?" Andy queried. Greg nodded enthusiastically causing Andy to smirk. "Nah, thanks for the offer, but I don't think so." She was furious by his admission. "I'm certain once I tell Miranda what the deal was here, she'll decide you're definitely an idiot."
She heard Greg gasp as she walked away, her head held high. Leaving the shabby newspaper offices, she exited the building and merged into the busy midtown foot traffic easily.
Miranda tapped her fingers against her glass table impatiently, watching the clock on her wall as the seconds ticked by torturously slowly. She knew Andy would arrive once her interview at the Mirror was over, but it wasn't making the time pass any quicker. Catching Emily's small utterance of "about time," she glanced out of the office to see Andy settling at her desk. Emily scurried away quickly.
"Andréa, come," Miranda called out softly. Since they were alone, she thought it best to find out what she desperately wanted to know.
Andy arrived, pen and notebook in hand, hovering in the doorway, as was her new preference. She had declared it a necessary evil so neither of them could be accused of inappropriate behaviour in the workplace.
She arched an eyebrow. "Well?" Miranda demanded.
At the small shake of Andy's head, she stood and moved around her desk. Unable to stop herself, Miranda pulled her close and rocked her slightly. She could feel the dampness of Andy's cheeks against her neck. After a few moments, she pulled back and led her towards the large sofa. "Will you tell me what happened?" Miranda asked gently, taking the notepad and pen from her hands and tossing them on the coffee table.
She listened intently as Andy spoke of the interview and the final moments that had her refusing the position. As the story unfolded, Miranda found herself bristling in indignation. She heard Emily return to her desk and speak quietly yet firmly. "You can't go in there, Mr Ravitz. Miranda is otherwise engaged. She can fit you in at..."
Irv barrelled into the room and came to an abrupt standstill in front of them. "Well?" He demanded glancing at her as Andy's head lowered to her chest.
Miranda pursed her lips, shaking her head slightly in a negative gesture.
"All well and good," Irv stated, sitting in the armchair angled towards the two women.
"We do not have time for your riddles, Irving." Miranda seethed, her patience wearing thin.
"Andy, will you be a doll and look at me?" Irv asked, ignoring Miranda entirely.
Andy raised her eyes, her eyes glistening with tears. "Is there something I can do for you, Mr Ravitz?"
"You can start by calling me Irv." Irv grinned. "We're friends now, after all, I loaned you my jet and I don't do that for just anyone." He turned serious. "I know your last day at Runway is approaching, but on Monday, if you make your way to level three for 9 am, Janine will be waiting to show you to your new desk."
"Lev...my new...I don't...well, I don't understand." Andy's voice rose.
"Out in NY needs a staff writer. An executive decision was made to pull candidates internally. You were my clear choice for the position." Irv advised gently. "We are aware, after your conversation with Human Resources, certain changes will be needed in the months to come and this role will let you work remotely as you need to. Plus I'm aware your references will be exemplary." He turned his smile on Miranda.
Miranda was stunned, she honestly had no idea this was going to happen and she prided herself in knowing everything that was happening within the building. Glancing at Andy she saw the same stunned disbelief etched in her eyes.
Mr...Irv, I don't know what to say." Andy told him.
"Yes would be a good start." Irv declared. "The contracts are in here." He placed a folder on the low coffee table. "You have a few days to think about it but I'm sure you'll both see it's a reasonable offer."
Miranda relaxed back into the sofa and sighed. She would miss Andy's presence in her outer office, but at least she would still be close. She thought of the days to come. They could continue to travel into work together the morning after spending their nights curled around each other, she would still start her days calmed by the presence of the younger woman who would eventually be her wife. It would, for a time, be an acceptable solution.
"So how about it?" Irv prodded.
"Thank you, Irv." Andy breathed. "I'll take a look at the contracts and let you know."
Slapping his hands on his creased trouser legs, Irv smiled happily. "Good, good. Now, how is your mother?" He asked. "I hope she's recovering well."
Andy beamed a bright smile at him. "Her recovery's going really well, thanks. She and my sister are planning to head into the city for Thanksgiving next month."
"Are they flying commercially?" Irv asked, frowning. At Andy's slight nod, his frown deepened before his face settled into a neutral pose. "That would be an uncomfortable flight for her. Give me the details and I'll send the jet."
"But...but...I..." Andy sputtered.
"Just smile and agree, Andréa." Miranda found herself saying.
"Ye-yes, Irv. That would be wonderful." Andy stuttered. "Thank you, again. You've been too kind."
Irv slapped his thighs again and stood quickly before leaning in. "Just don't tell anyone, they'll never believe you." He winked. "Right, I'll be off. I have a meeting at Auto Universe." He rolled his eyes. "The board aren't impressed by recent sales." He sighed. "I don't know how you do it, Miranda but I wish others had your panache."
Miranda quirked an eyebrow in surprise as he rushed from the room, stopping briefly to say hello to Nigel and Jocelyn.
In some ways, Miranda was grateful for all that had happened in Paris. Irv had changed since then. Through her list, he had seen just what an impact her presence at Runway had and he had been surprisingly supportive of her relationship with Andy. Then again, Andy had the innate ability to charm just about anyone.
Andy stood, grabbing the file Irv had left behind and her notebook and pen. The movement pulled Miranda from her thoughts. "Is there anything I can do, Miranda?" She asked lightly.
"Yes, after the run-through I want you to cancel the rest of my day, arrange for the book to be sent electronically and tell Roy to be here, we will pick the twins up from Dalton before heading home." Miranda reeled off her instructions easily. "And Andréa..." She smirked as Andy glanced across at her nervously. "...coffee." She paused and watched Andy step towards the open door. "Get one for yourself and Emily too. That's all." She watched as Andy stalled, nearly tripping over her own feet and stifled a laugh.
"Yes, Miranda." Andy agreed happily.
The month had been hectic, but Andy was happy. Her job at Out in NY certainly challenged her and she'd just managed to secure an interview with Thomas Krever. The idea of interviewing him excited her. Thomas had done so much since joining the Hetrick-Martin Institute, a nonprofit LGBT youth services organisation.
Her initial work for the magazine had her compiling a detailed list of the historic LGBTQ sites to visit across NYC and while her work went in-depth about the well-known landmarks like Stonewall In And The Center, she also wrote about the lesser-known places, like Edna St. Vincent Millay's House, the Gay Activist Alliance Firehouse, the Pyramid Club, where part of her research had her enjoying a night out of drinking and dancing with Nigel and Doug, and the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe.
Her editor has been thrilled by the reams of research she had done on each place, even those that hadn't been included in her double-page spread, and she had been given a pat on the back for being so diligent as she stood blushing.
Life at Out in NY was far more relaxed than Runway in many ways, but there were moments she missed her fashionable life as Miranda's personal assistant. She hadn't quite realised how much she had come to rely on the contents of the closet or the pleasure she actually derived from watching Miranda in all her glory as she ruled the fashion world with an iron fist.
She missed Miranda and the twins in the moments their work took precedence and with Thanksgiving hurtling towards them and both Runway's and Out in NY's print deadlines due, both of them had been extremely busy. So much so they hadn't managed to find time to spare except for the small amount of time set aside for their late-night phone calls before they slept.
"I miss you so much, Miranda." Andy yawned, settling herself further under her comforter.
The apartment had been icy cold when she arrived home thirty minutes before and a notice advising the building's heating was on the fritz had been shoved under her door.
"Just one more day of madness and we shall have four whole days together. Roy is prepared to take you to the airport for Beth and Jillian tomorrow afternoon and I shall be home by dinner." Miranda hummed. "I must admit, I am looking forward to having the time free."
Struggling to get warm, Andy's teeth started to chatter. "Ye...yeah, me t...too." She pulled the comforter over her head and tried to get warmer.
"What on Earth is the matter, Andréa," Miranda demanded.
"So co...cold," Andy told her through clenched teeth. "The heating's out."
"Oh, this is ridiculous. I will not have you freeze to death on the other side of this Godforsaken city when you could be here with me, warm in our bed." Miranda stated. "If you haven't done so already, gather whatever you need for the week and pack a bag. I'm coming to bring you home."
Andy heard the shift of movement before the phone went dead. Scooting from under the blanket, she pulled another sweater over her head and sighed before moving to the closet and grabbing a Gucci holdall. She crammed jeans, t-shirts, sweaters and underwear into it as she shivered. She contemplated grabbing toiletries but knew Miranda had a stash of her favourite things on her side of the once bare twin vanity. The last thing she swept into the bag was her vitamins and medication.
Yawning again, her jaw cracked with the force of it and she rubbed the aching joint as she grabbed the holdall with her free hand and made her way into her small living space. Glancing around, she gathered her laptop, chargers and the notepads she was using for article ideas and research notes. She shoved them in her laptop bag and looking up into the corner of the room, realised her guitar case was missing. She could have sworn it had been there just the day before.
Panicking slightly, she started to search the usual places but failed to find it. The buzzer sounded and she jumped. Glancing at her watch she realised almost thirty minutes had passed. She rushed towards the door and pressing the door release, spoke. "I'm ready, I was just..." She rubbed her jaw again. "...I was looking for my guitar."
"Darling, I'm coming up." She heard the weariness in Miranda's voice. and opened the front door of the apartment in preparation, although Miranda now had her own key to come and go as she pleased.
Glancing around again, she shook her head when her eyes didn't immediately alight upon her guitar case. She searched her recent memory for the last time she had actually seen it and couldn't recollect, she was just so cold and tired and her brain felt fuzzy.
"Darling?" Miranda entered the apartment easily, her electrifying presence filling the room. "Your guitar was left at the townhouse when you decided you needed for it to be there when you were, remember?"
Andy groaned. It had totally slipped her mind. "Yeah." She shook her head. "I just forgot for a sec and..." She trailed off as Miranda pursed her lips. "...it's nothing, really." She offered, hopeful that Miranda would let the matter go.
Instead, the editor shook her head. "And how is your concentration?" Miranda asked, settling on the couch and crossing her leg across her knee as her finger trailed across her lips.
"It's fine." Andy insisted, sighing.
"You should see your doctor." Miranda declared softly. "You understand what Nathanial did to you was potentially one most lethal forms of violence he could accomplish. Based on the severity he has been charged with attempted homicide, although, as we were advised, under Ohio law it could easily have been dismissed as a misdemeanour domestic violence charge. Afterwards, there were days you struggled with speaking, swallowing and sing..."
"I'm fine." Andy insisted once more, interrupting Miranda. At the words though, she felt the pain and tightness in her throat once again. She rubbed at it unconsciously.
"Are you? Really?" Miranda asked.
Andy sighed and sat beside the editor, curling into her and shivering slightly. "I dunno." She admitted. "It's just little things, like forgetting I've been to the store or where I left my fucking guitar. I have to take more time to complete things." She sighed. "I used to find it so easy to plan my articles, but now I have to think about the steps I need to take to actually finish it. And because things take up extra time, on my good days I push myself even harder and I overcompensate for the days I struggle." She closed her eyes as she was pulled close. "I'm tired, Miranda, my brain feels fuzzy and this damn apartment is a fucking icebox."
"Your lease is up soon, is it not?" Miranda asked.
"Uh-uh." Andy yawned again. "Yeah, it's up on the first of January. I need to speak with the landlord and organise..."
"You don't have to renew it," Miranda interrupted.
Andy pulled back and looked at her, noticing how her eyes glinted in the semi-darkness. "What are you saying?" She asked, unwilling to jump to conclusions.
"You could move in with us. Think about it, it makes sense to do so now, rather than breaking your lease in six months after the baby arrives." Miranda sighed. "Just think about it. You have a few weeks, but with your heating out, making the apartment rather uninhabitable, why wait until then?"
Andy didn't know what to say. They had only been together a few months, and although it was true they had agreed upon a future, with Miranda wearing her ring and her having its likeness tattooed upon her finger, it seemed like their relationship was moving rather too quickly. "Isn't it too soon?" Andy asked hesitantly. "What will people say?"
Rolling her eyes, Miranda eased back and stood, holding her left hand out for her. She grasped it and Miranda tugged her to her feet. "Why concern ourselves with timeframes and what other people may say? As you know, Andréa, life can be cut cruelly short. I believe we should move through it at whatever pace suits us, rather than concern ourselves with what the rest of the world thinks." She shivered. "And to be blunt, as big of a devil as I apparently am, I cannot warm this icy hellhole."
Andy found herself giggling at the words as Miranda grabbed her bags. "You're not as big of a devil as people think, my love." She told the editor softly.
"I'll ask you not to repeat that in the company of others, my darling," Miranda smirked as she led her from the apartment. "People would think you were out of your mind."
Miranda woke to feel a warm body close against hers and inhaling, she found herself soothed by the scent of the woman she loved. Often, in these uninterrupted moments just before the sun started to rise, she found herself giving thanks for her many blessings. Primarily the fact Andy was now hers.
This morning, however, waking with a long, bare leg thrown over her hip and soft breasts pressed against her back, she not only felt blessed but also insanely turned on. Shifting slightly, her ass pressed against Andy and a low moan greeted the move and soft fingers snaked over the strip of skin between the silk pants and camisole she wore before they moved up and her right breast was squeezed. Her nipple was rolled and pinched between nimble fingers making her hiss. Miranda felt herself growing wetter as her desire surged.
When Andy's hand skimmed down her stomach and over the curve of her hip, she pushed back further and felt lips, offering the lightest of touches, against her quickening pulse point. Andy's hand slipped beneath the waistband of her shorts and she rose slightly, wanting to give her access. She removed her shorts quickly and efficiently and when she settled down once more, her bare ass met the scorching heat of Andrea's nakedness.
Miranda wanted, no, she needed to be taken by the younger woman and she was more than ready to let her do whatever she wished.
"Oh." Miranda couldn't stop her small gasp of surprise and she felt Andy's smile against her shoulder even as she started to move against her. Winding her arm back, her hand clutched at Andy's ass and pulled her closer as fingers fluttered maddeningly over her clit. She could feel Andy's pussy touching her ass and the scorching heat and wetness were intoxicating as her demanding lips sucked at the point where her neck met her shoulder.
She knew she would carry the brand for a few days but found she didn't care when it was Andy branding her.
Two fingers entering her and a thumb moving on her clit had her moaning loudly, her desire growing as her hips moved to meet each thrust and Andy continued to grind herself against her ass. Miranda could feel her inner walls clenching around the fingers inside her but before she could come, the fingers were removed and she was turned over. Her legs were spread easily and Andy was scissoring her.
Her breathing grew ragged as Andy moved against her quickly until she stiffened and cried out loudly. When she finally stopped shaking and relaxed, Andy snuggled into her side and pressed her head against her chest. Her arm wrapped around the younger woman's body. She absolutely adored the sensation of her body against the younger woman's strong, lean one.
Andy was still breathing hard but held her tightly unwilling to move. They stayed in each other's arms for a while, and as Andy hummed to herself, clearly content, Miranda found herself smirking at the knowledge she had such an effect on the brunette.
Miranda looked down into dark, expressive eyes at the sound of her almost purr. Arching an eyebrow inquisitively, she remained silent, waiting for answers.
Andy met her eyes and smiled widely before responding to her silent question. "I was thinking about how lucky I am to have you in my life, my love." She licked her lips. "I absolutely adore waking up with you, and falling asleep with you in my arms."
Miranda knew she would do just about anything to make the woman lying against her happy in their life together. Trailing her index finger over Andy's face and along her jaw, she was delighted when the younger woman sighed softly, her eyes sparkling with happiness at the gentle touch as she melted further into the embrace. She finally broke the silence. "Well, my offer from last night still stands. Falling asleep and waking up next to each other can be something we have every day, my darling." She flipped their positions so she was hovering over her fiancée. "You just have to say yes."
The suddenness of the move had Andy gasping and without saying anything further, Miranda seized her left leg and pushed it up until it was almost touching her chest, knowing she had the flexibility to hold it there, if necessary. She straddled Andy's right leg and settled herself until their clits brushed. Miranda had come by the knowledge over their time together that this was the best way to have Andy offer up an explosive orgasm since she was not always overly responsive to being penetrated.
They both moaned as Miranda began to rock her hips forward. She was newly amazed at the wonderful feeling their pussies and sensitive clits rubbing against each other created as she used her slight weight to force them closer together.
"You have work and..." Andy gasped.
Feeling the deep ache growing inside her and her body tingling, Miranda glanced down at Andy's beautiful face. "I find this is more important." She pressed down harder. Little moans tore from her throat as her breathing grew harsher and her thrusting hips caused Andy's long, toned body to move up and down with hers. Bracing her hand against the mattress beside Andy's head, she continued to thrust herself quickly against the younger woman loving the way Andy moved with her, her breasts swaying slightly as she pushed them towards their orgasms.
Andy began to gasp and moan and she picked up speed as she ground down harder and harder. Their mutual desire had their clits slipping against each other, mixing the pooling desire between their legs. The younger woman's small, breathless moans grew louder and she couldn't stop the predatory smile from forming on her face. She knew neither of them would last much longer but after that day was over they would have five full nights together, longer if she had her way.
Feeling the spreading warmth from her pussy, up through her stomach and down towards her toes, she knew her orgasm would crash through her anytime. "I'm so close." She whimpered the words through gritted teeth, trying to hold back.
Andy moaned even louder at her words. "Me too. Fuuuuuck!" She cried out softly, muffling her words with her arm.
"Come, my darling. I want to feel you come against me." Miranda demanded.
Her low words had the desired effect and Andy cried out, her upper body arching up off the bed as her legs shook uncontrollably until she exploded in a flood of juices right onto her wet pussy.
She couldn't help but look upon the brunette in absolute awe as she rode out the waves of her orgasm and yet the quivering and dripping wet pussy stimulated her own so her orgasm followed quickly as shocks of pleasure coursed through her body as it trembled uncontrollably. Her legs felt like jelly and she struggled to catch her breath as her orgasm continued to rush through her.
Unable to resist, she leaned down to capture Andy's lips in a passionate kiss and sighed into the soft whimper that met the touch. Between kisses, she spoke. "God, I love you, Andréa Sachs."
Andy exhaled and chuckled breathlessly. "I love you too, Miranda. My answer is yes."
Miranda felt triumphant in the knowledge she was still being granted what her heart desired the most. A life beside her beautiful Andy.
Roy stopped the Mercedes outside the Townhouse and exiting it, moved around it quickly removed the luggage from the trunk and placed it on the sidewalk.
The journey from Teterboro had sped by with Jill and Roy chatting ten to a dozen about all matter of things as if they were lifelong friends and rapidly finding they shared a love of football although Jill supported the Bengals and Roy waxed poetic about the Giants.
"Happy Thanksgiving, Roy," Jill yelled as she helped Andy ease Beth from the car.
"Happy Thanksgiving to you too," Roy called out jovially.
Andy walked beside Beth toward Miranda's front door but stalled as it swung open and a squeal of happiness followed a blur of red hair and pale arms entangled themselves around Jill, pulling her away slightly.
Andy felt both excitement and nervousness at the idea of spending this time with her family. The year before had seen her lounging around her apartment alone, since Nate was working, binge-watching Star Trek Voyager and eating leftover Chinese food. She could easily see how much she had grown in the last year and now she was preparing to settle down with her own family, the three C's, as she had started to refer to Cassidy, Caroline and the baby to come, plus her Miranda.
Roy started carrying their suitcases up the steps of the townhouse and she heard the soft mutter and he took the bags up the stairs. A shadow was cast in the open doorway, Andy's heart started racing as she waited for the woman she loved to step into the light. Miranda moved through the shadows and came to a standstill on the top step. In a black Bill Blass suit and teal silk shirt, she looked as breathtakingly beautiful as she had that morning.
Andy noticed the stiffness in Miranda's shoulders, even as she smiled down at the scene between Jill and the twins. She was clearly tense and Andy wondered over it. They had shared a relaxing start to the day, with Miranda preparing for Runway happily, before they settled in for breakfast with the twins.
When Beth moved slowly forward, using her walker for balance, she shook herself and stepped with her towards the stoop.
Miranda stepped gracefully down and met them halfway. She stopped in front of them and offered her that tense smile. "It's good to see you, Beth." Her tone was stiff. "You too, Jillian."
Andy realised Miranda was nervous and she wanted the woman to be as relaxed with her family as she had been in Ohio. She couldn't understand why this was different.
Curious, she watched as her mom let go of her walker and took the two steps forward to pull Miranda into her arms. "It's so good to be here, Miri." Beth pulled back, keeping her hands on Miranda's shoulders and her smile was wide and happy. "Thank you for opening up your home to us."
Miranda blushed. "Yes, well..." She faltered. "...come on in, make yourself comfortable."
Within fifteen minutes they were all settled in the den and Cara arrived carrying a tray of drinks. She placed them on the coffee table and with a small nod at Miranda walked from the room.
"I have gifts," Beth stated, breaking the silence. She started rummaging in the larger than normal handbag she hadn't left out of her sight. Soon enough she pulled small boxes from the bag and gestured for Cassidy and Caroline to take them.
Excited, they tore the wrappings and whooped at the sight of the small jewellery boxes. In perfect synchronisation, they flipped the box open and gasped at the sight of the matching silver Claddagh bangles.
Glancing at Jill, Andy smiled at the sight of the fingers of her left hand brushing her wrist where her own bangle sat. It had been something her dad had insisted they have years before.
Wrapping her arm lightly around Miranda, she saw the surprise in her eyes and decided to explain. "The Claddagh has been a symbol of love and friendship for thousands of years." She smiled as she twisted the knot ring sat on Miranda's finger. "My dad started the tradition by giving both me and Jilly a bangle when we turned eleven, and he always said he'd do the same when either of us had ch...children." Her voice broke on the last word and she glanced at Beth.
"That's so awesome, Andy." Cassidy breathed. "Thank you, Grandma."
"yes, thank you, Grandma." Caroline beamed across at Beth.
"You're both more than welcome, girls." Beth smiled sadly. "It's what Richie would have done had he been here."
"Would he?" Andy asked wistfully.
"Yes, baby girl. He would." Beth insisted. "He would have adored this little family as much as you do."
The moment was broken when Cassidy rushed to Jill and Caroline stepped closer to her.
"Would you help me with this?" Caroline asked.
Andy gazed at where Jill was helping Cassidy and nodded. "C'mere, honey." She smiled softly. "You know, this means you are family now." Caroline offered a wide, genuine smile as she helped place it on her right wrist, snapping the clasp together.
Beth explained what the bangle meant to them. "It is for unconditional love, loyalty and family."
Miranda stood quickly causing Andy to sit back in surprise. "Excuse me." She rushed from the room.
"What the hell?" Jill asked bemused.
"Go to her." Beth flicked her head towards the door. "Put her mind at ease about whatever has her tense."
Miranda entered the master suite and moved to the closet. Staring into the mirror above her dressing table, she kicked her pumps off while her fingers fiddled at her ears, pulling her earrings out and dropping them into her jewellery box. Shucking her blazer off, she let it fall to the floor and looked down at the buttons of her shirt, letting her fingers move over them.
She had honestly thought remaining dressed to impress would provide her with the usual confidence, however, in the face of her old friend, dressed down for comfort, she simply felt ridiculous. She had told herself she still had an image to maintain, regardless of their newfound relationship.
She remembered feeling comfortable in Ohio, wearing Andy's casual clothes and then the ones purchased at Zappo's, but now, in her power suit and on her own turf, she felt like a phoney. She doubted Beth or Jillian would be able to reconcile the woman she was here in New York City with that of the woman they came to know in Cincinnati.
Hearing the whisper of the door, she pulled the shirt front back together, clutching it closed at her chest. She spotted Andy as she passed the closet and watched through the mirror as she noticed her and stalled. Miranda held her breath, waiting for the explosion of vitriol at her behaviour.
"Do you want us to leave?" Andy asked uncertainly.
"No," Miranda admitted.
"You don't seem happy, Miranda." Andy insisted. "We can go back to my apartment or I can drop your name and book my mom and Jill in at The Plaza." She stepped into the closet and stood behind her hesitantly.
"No," Miranda felt her panic rise and spun on her heel. "I want you all here, it's just..." She faltered and Andy pressed herself close, her hands still clutching the shirt between them.
Gentle fingers trailed against her jaw and lifted her head. "What?" Andy breathed.
"What if they decide I'm not good enough for you?" Miranda exhaled a shaky breath. "What if, after all this, they see who I am and say..."
Andy's mouth pressed hard against hers, cutting off her words. "This is meant to be, my love." The lips continued to move against hers even as Andy stepped back slightly and she let her hands fall to her sides and her shirt parted. Her hands roamed over Miranda's hips and she felt the button of her trousers being unfastened and pushed down along with her panties. "You are enough, you are everything to me."
Miranda was lifted and gasped as her bare ass touched the silken countertop of her burnished mahogany dressing table. Her hands clutched the edges. "Wha..."
"You, Cassi and Caro are my whole world." Andy interrupted. "Can't you see that? Can't you see how much I want this...you?"
Two fingers teased over her clit and she shivered as she returned the kisses Andy pressed against her lips and she found the tenderness of them, the love held in the words spoken, the soft fingers entering her and filling her, removed all doubt from her mind. She inhaled the comforting scent of Andy.
"You need to see that, my love. You need to realise nothing in the world could come between us and..." She could feel Andy's smile against her throat and felt her heart expand as thoughts of them remaining together took hold. "...you need to relax."
She felt her pussy clench and whimpered breathlessly. "However you want me, I'm yours, my darling." She was happy to submit to Andy's desire for her.
Andy pulled her face in for a deep, yet tender kiss and they both sighed into the contact. Her body moved against the tormenting touch. They fit together so perfectly and it still left her awed.
Miranda let herself relax completely into the touch, and felt all of her tension melting away.
She let her mind wander back to those moments in Cincinnati, where they had made use of the Presidential Suite through the night and the day after their date at JeanRo Bistro after Andy had returned from the City tattooed with a single letter and a matching Celtic love knot to the one she wore on her finger.
She had experienced the incessant need to bury her tongue in Andy's pussy and lick and suck her until she had the brunette begging for mercy. She remembered how overwhelmed Andy had been, eventually having to command her to stop.
Since then, she had held back slightly but allowed the younger woman to show her devotion and love, like she was now, with tender lovemaking, which often led to them fucking in almost every room of the house.
Breaking the kiss, she gently stroked Andy's face, as she smiled. "I love you so much."
"I love you." Andy smiled tenderly at her, even as she began to stroke inside her more quickly. "My Miranda, it's only you, it'll only ever be you. Forever."
Miranda was now relaxed and Andy euphoric. She finally had what she had spent her life searching for but now she had to spend the day in front of the family pretending she hadn't spent the night before fucking her fiancée so hard, Miranda had sworn she saw stars burst behind her eyes.
She loved Thanksgiving and having her family with her, she knew she would have a good time. They'd all have fun today, she was sure of it.
"Cassidy, Caroline, can you two help me peel the veggies, please?" Andy asked.
"Yes, Andy." They agreed quickly.
She smiled gratefully and as she prepared the turkey allowed her thoughts to trickle back to the evening before and her way of getting Miranda to relax. The editor's submission to her desire while her ass rested against the elegant table she dressed in front of each day left her amazed.
She felt Miranda's arms snake around her waist and her chin rested on her shoulder. "I shall prepare the pumpkin pie, my darling. Okay?"
"Absolutely!" Andy agreed quickly.
Forgoing the stuffing and basting Miranda stated was crucial, Andy smeared her Grandma's herb butter mixture over the outer and inner skin of the turkey she was preparing and popped it into the hot oven. She had maintained that opening the oven to baste the bird at regular intervals would just dry out the meat and knew, from experience, the basting wasn't necessary to create a beautifully golden-brown turkey. Miranda had eventually relented with an exaggerated eye roll that had everyone laughing.
Turning to watch her family, she saw Jill stood between Caroline and Cassidy, chopping the vegetables the twins were peeling and giggling together. She loved how well they got on. Her mom was sat beside Miranda, talking softly to her as she measured the ingredients they needed for the pie crust.
As far as she was concerned, this was what Thanksgiving was all about, just taking the time to be a family. It was something she'd not been able to do after moving to New York with Nate.
If truth be told, there was only one thing that could make the day any better was the presence of those she had lost, her dad, grams and her brother, Brad. She missed them all so much and wished they could be there to witness her happiness.
"You know, your dad and I couldn't have been luckier than to have you, Brad and Jill as our children," Beth stated, pulling her from her thoughts.
She glanced at her mom and saw her watching her with a sad smile. "Yeah?" She queried.
"Yes. I miss them all too," Beth admitted. "I talk to him sometimes.. your dad I mean...you know, just before I go to sleep. I tell him my plans for the future we expected to have together."
At those words, tears sprang into Andy's eyes and she sniffed as a single tear escaped from her left eye, trailing its way down her cheek and dripping from her chin.
Beth eased herself from her seat and moved slowly towards her with her walker. She reached out and brushed away another tear as it escaped. "I know this year hasn't been easy for you, Andy. It's been tough for us all." She shrugged. "People showed us their true colours, which was good in some ways. It allowed us to see that despite what we believe, not everyone is good and they don't always have our best interests at heart. But we need to use these moments as a lesson for the future. To make space for the good people, and never give those who hurt us a chance to change the good people we are."
"I won't let that happen, Ma. I promise." Andy breathed.
"Good. You've turned into a wonderful woman, Andy. You're so sweet and genuine. The fact you have built this life for yourself amazes me." Beth chuckled. "You're not my little girl anymore and it's been a little scary, really, how suddenly I came to realise you had grown into such a strong, capable, beautiful woman. I am proud of you and so happy you and Miranda found each other and are creating this life together. It does my heart good to see it."
Andy flung herself forward, wrapping her arms around Beth's neck. "I love you, mama."
"Oh," Beth gasped in surprise. "You haven't called me that since you were little," she whispered, stroking her hands in soothing circles between Andy's shoulders. "And I love you too." Beth gestured for the twins, Jill and Miranda with her free hand and they were surrounded by warm arms in a family group hug. "I love you all so much."
Although Miranda had gotten over her initial nerves regarding Jill and Beth, she was still a little nervous to have Nigel and Doug over for dinner.
Dressed casually in black True Religion straight-legged jeans and the bright red long sleeve DKNY t-shirt she'd purchased on her shopping trip in Cincinnati, she wondered how Nigel would react.
She had managed to relax with Andy's family to a certain extent, after realising there would be no judgement, but Nigel was another matter entirely. He had grown used to her as she changed from Miriam Princhek and became Miranda Priestly and dressed down as she was, it was sure to raise an eyebrow or two.
Stalking to the dry-bar in the corner of the room, she picked up her decanter of Macallan and grabbed a scotch glass.
One wouldn't hurt, surely.
She could hear the laughter coming from the family room as Jill and the twins played on the various game consoles while Beth cheered them on and she knew Andy would be in the kitchen continuing her quest for the perfect Thanksgiving turkey, after claiming it would be the centrepiece of their meal.
Miranda found herself smirking as she heard Andy's words in her mind. "Basting is really unnecessary, Miranda. Surely you want a moist bird."
Her emphasis on the word moist the night before had Jill cackling heartily, while Beth swatted her gently up the side of her head as she sniggered and Andy blushed.
Glancing at the clock, she placed the decanter down and sighed. Nigel was due any time, he and Doug had been spending the day together watching the Parade but had agreed to be there in time for dinner.
The doorbell sounding had her moving quickly out of her study and down the foyer. Opening the door, she smiled at the two men shuffling on the top step.
Her nerves completely disappeared as she stepped back allowing them entrance and watched Nigel shrugging off his coat and scarf. Seeing him dressed down also, in jeans, loafers and a Forrest green sweater over a white shirt, she realised Nigel had also changed, and that could only be due to Doug's influence.
She sighed, it felt so good to be with everyone again. She finally felt like she was part of a large family and she realised it was a feeling she had been longing for but never had.
Miranda could imagine this would be what it was like for years to come and the idea of it made her happy. She had originally questioned if she should have hope that this would continue but had pushed her doubts away.
Of course, moments like these would continue. She had promised herself, as soon as it was feasible, she would make Andy her wife even if they hadn't taken the time to talk about it. Their future was going to be exactly like this, with lots of love and laughter, and no doubt surrounded by their family.
Leading the two men towards the kitchen, she inhaled the wonderful scents of their Thanksgiving meal.
Nigel hummed his appreciation as he stepped through the door and saw Andy. "Do you need help, Six?" He offered, glancing in the oven and frowning at the fact the glass was fogged up.
"Nope, Nige. I have this under control." Andy grinned. "We have turkey, chestnut stuffing balls, mashed potatoes with gravy, roasted sweet potato, Brussels sprouts, squash, roast carrots, cranberry sauce, buttermilk cornbread, and for dessert, we have apple pie with cinnamon ice cream or pumpkin pie with whipped cream." Her smile widened. "Or both."
Nigel exhaled and his eyebrows shot up as he looked at Miranda who smirked. "All those carbs." He exclaimed. "You'll be back up to a six in no time."
Andy laughed. "Jeez, it's not an everyday occurrence It's a once or twice a year thing although I firmly believe you should always have a little of what you like." She winked. "In moderation."
Cassidy and Caroline could be heard bickering as their feet thundered down the stairs and Miranda groaned. "It looks like the twins are ready to be fed. Will it be much longer, my darling?"
Glancing at her watch, Andy's head tilted to the side. "Another thirty minutes should do it. How about you guys assist me and work on setting the table while I finish up here and let the bird rest." She grinned and her eyes twinkled with mischief.
Miranda let out a long-suffering sigh and made to step around the brunette. "Yes, Andréa." She teased swatting her ass gently. "Douglas, would you carry the plates, Nigel the glasses?"
"Yes, Miranda." They agreed in unison.
Since there were so many of them, it didn't take much effort to set the table and once that was done, everyone sat around in the table, drank wine or soft drinks, and talked.
Eventually, as Andy moved in and out of the kitchen with the sides, declining all offers of help, Beth claimed it was great to be around adults who actually cared about her life after Nigel asked if she and Jill were managing okay in Cincinnati and if they needed him to travel down to chop wood or do anything around the house and Doug concentrated on their trip, how they were enjoying New York and what, if anything, they planned on seeing or doing.
With every answer, it became more and more clear to everyone that Beth and Jill were moving forward with their plans to leave Ohio and settle in New York. Jill had organised a meeting with Columbia Law while Beth was hoping to look at houses or apartments in the city or one of the neighbouring suburbs.
In the kitchen, Andy pulled out one of Patricia's clean bowls and grabbed the basket of cornbread and as if sensing something was about to happen, the large dog ambled after Andy into the dining room. As all eyes around the table watched as she took a little bit of everything from the table and placed it in the bowl, she grinned.
She laid the bowl down next to her empty plate. "Patricia, assis. Reste." She commanded. Patricia lay down next to Miranda, her head on her paws. "I'll just grab the turkey. Be right back."
Leaving the dining room, she entered the kitchen and glanced at the large serving platter holding the turkey and roasted sweet potatoes. She smiled happily. Her turkey looked mouth-watering, even if she said so herself. She had let it rest for over thirty minutes and used the meat dripping for her gravy.
Lifting the platter, Andy made her way carefully back into the dining room and placed the platter in the centre of the table. "I thought you would like to do the honours, my love," Andy explained, noticing Miranda's raised eyebrows as she placed the electric carving knife beside her.
With everything laid out on the table, it was certainly a sight to see. Dead centre was the gorgeous turkey, ready to carve. There were large bowls filled to the brim with fluffy mashed potatoes, stuffing balls, cranberry sauce, her buttermilk cornbread, roasted carrots, Brussels sprouts, squash and roast carrots. She hoped everyone was hungry yet she knew there was no way they would be able to finish all the food and she hadn't even included the desserts.
The doorbell rang, causing her to jump slightly and Miranda's lips twitched. "Would you get that, my darling?"
"Uh, yeah, but..." Andy sighed. "...yes, Miranda." Moving down the foyer, she heard Jill's low chuckle and Doug's squeal and wondered over it. Flinging the door open, she was stunned to see Serena, Emily, James and Amanda waiting. The snow had started to fall and each of them had a small dusting in their hair.
"Are you just going to stand there staring at us open-mouthed Andy Sachs, or will you invite us in?" Emily questioned, rolling her eyes. "It's bloody freezing."
Stepping back without a word, she left room for the four guests to enter the house. For the first time, she noticed the dishes in their hands. "What's all this?" she asked breathlessly.
James raised his dish first. "My mom's green bean casserole." He grinned. "The twins love it."
Amanda brushed a kiss on her cheek. "I assume Miranda didn't mention this?" She questioned. At Andy's quick shake of the head, she snorted. "Typical. My Pecan Pie should compensate." She and James moved away and were greeted with loud hello's.
Serena waved two bottles. "I have my special mulled wine with orange and spices." She unwound the scarf at her throat and stalked towards the back of the house leaving Emily loitering.
"You've been missed," Emily admitted. "I made my mac and cheese." She smiled softly. "Come along, Andy. I could do with warming up with a glass or three of that mulled wine and you look like you could do with one too."
"Sure thing." Andy grinned, stunned by the gesture Miranda had provided in inviting her ex-husband, his new wife and two of her employees, who just so happened to be her friends. She slipped her arm through Emily's and they moved down the foyer, following the sound of the noise and chatter. She looked around and realised their guests had all taken seats around the table while Miranda carved the turkey quickly.
This was what she wanted for her future with Miranda and she could picture the years to come, having everyone descend upon them for Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. The following year they would have their baby and she could see him or her being passed amongst the adults, being fussed over. She could imagine as the baby grew, how excited her little one would be to see Grandma and auntie Jillybean, imagine Miranda having little hands helping her make her pies, cookies and brownies or Cassidy and Caroline playing hide and seek or tag out in the yard while Patricia chased them.
As dishes were passed around the table, Andy closed her eyes and tried to ingrain the memory into her mind. It was a moment she never wanted to forget.
She sat beside Miranda and offered up a small smile as the editor popped some turkey, mac n cheese and green bean casserole into Patricia's bowl. Andy popped the bowl down and Patricia licked her hand in gratitude. Grinning, Andy loaded a little of everything onto her plate. She loved Thanksgiving food and there wasn't a dish on the table she wouldn't enjoy.
For the first few minutes of the meal, they sat in comfortable silence, eating from their plates.
James finally broke it. "Hey, Andy. Pass the cornbread." Without looking up, she picked up a slice and lobbed it across the table. The twins whooped as he caught it easily and placed it on the side of his plate. The rest of the table, except Miranda, broke out into laughter. "Thanks, honey." He chuckled as he dipped his bread into the gravy.
"A little decorum, please, my darling." Miranda insisted. As if making a point, she glanced up. "Nigel, would you pass me the cranberry sauce, please." Her eyes widened as a large serving spoon dug into the dish and Nigel's eyes glinted with mischief. Miranda glared, her head tilted imperiously to the side as if daring him to do his worst.
Gulping, Nigel placed the spoon back and picked up the dish, passing it to Amanda, who passed it to Serena, who then passed it to Andy.
Andy, having felt Miranda's relief, grinned and picked the spoon up. Most of the contents dropped into the bowl as she quickly turned and smeared it down Miranda's nose and chin.
Groaning, Miranda swiped at the sauce with a napkin as her free hand grasped a small stuffing ball and moving just as quickly, crushed it between her eyes. Andy couldn't help but laugh uproariously at the unexpectedness of the gesture from the usually dignified editor.
It had definitely been a great day so far and it was what Thanksgiving was supposed to feel like. She had a growing family, who actually showed they cared for each other, even when teasing one another. It was a family who seemed to be happy to simply take pleasure in the time spent together.
Feeling Miranda's lips press against the spot the stuffing hit, she sighed happily when she pulled back. "Let me tell you what I am thankful for." Andy gave each one of the people at the table a bright, megawatt smile. "I'm thankful for each of you, my family." She lifted Miranda's hand and pressed a light kiss against it before bringing it to rest against her cheek as she looked at the woman she loved with every beat of her heart. "But especially you, my love." She whispered. "Happy Thanksgiving."
A cheer rose through the room and lifting her eyes, she saw glasses raised and tilted towards them in a toast. A loud combined return of her words was provided by all. "Happy Thanksgiving. To family."