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"Hey, Andy!"


Serena's greeting is warm, so Andy waves across the small office as she signs for her paycheck. She had been planning to get straight back to her apartment and hit the books, but she figures a quick chat won't hurt; it gets lonely when you rarely see your colleagues.


The only downer is that Serena is standing around with Emily, clearly in the midst of one of their legendary bitch-fests. Andy wants to like Emily, really she does, but there's just something a little bit scary about the girl.


Nigel is still on the phone, so Andy wanders over towards Serena and Emily, taking in their impossibly glamorous outfits. Serena, who would look good even in a potato sack, is dressed to the nines in a stunning red cocktail dress, complete with sparkling diamonds at her ears and throat. Emily, for her part, is dressed in her typical severe black, her makeup as bold and dramatic as Andy has ever seen it; they must both have assignments for the evening.


Emily is still talking as Andy approaches, and Andy doesn't like the mocking tones she hears.


"And then--can you believe it?--the pathetic cow started to cry. Said she'd never experienced anything like it!"


Emily breaks off into a cackle that Andy doesn't hear much outside of haunted houses at Hallowe'en, and she's disappointed when Serena joins in. Sometimes, Andy thinks she and Serena might be great friends, but there's just something about her that stops Andy from pursuing it. Perhaps the occasional lazy cruelty of a woman who's spent her whole life being beautiful and fawned over.


"This was a client?" Andy asks, already spoiling for the fight.


"Yes," Emily hisses as her laughter subsides. "She actually thanked me."


"Well, I don't think that's something to laugh at," Andy states quite calmly. "I know this job can be sordid sometimes, but don't you think that's kind of amazing? That you get to do that for another person?"


Serena leans in, her delicate perfume teasing Andy's nose just a little. Her hand is cool as she places it on Andy's bare arm.


"Oh Andy, such a dreamer. Only you could make being a call-girl sound like we're solving world peace."


"Hey!" Andy protests, but she's drowned out by a fresh wave of laughter from the other girls. Thank God this job is nearly done with, she thinks. Just another week until her bar exams and she can kiss the whole sorry thing goodbye. Before she can storm off in annoyance though, Nigel ends his call and summons her over.


"We've got a job for you, Six."


*


Andy is cursing pretty loudly by the time she gets back to her apartment. Her night of hard study has been interrupted by the detailed assignment Nigel handed over to her, then some kind of ridiculous delay on the subway which makes it much later than she'd intended. Thankfully it's not an urgent assignment, and she won't be going to meet with the client until the following evening, but she can already feel the sting of tiredness in her eyes that will make tonight's reading and practice questions a complete bitch.


She looks around her neat little studio, taking in the calm before assaulting it with a mountain of collected dry-cleaning that gets hung over every available surface. There are no specifications about what to wear, beyond the fact that tomorrow's client doesn't want 'some model type', but that could mean anything. Nigel seemed to be suggested that she'd been selected for her Midwestern innocence, but even that took hours in front of the mirror to achieve these days.


Deciding to worry about tomorrow, tomorrow, Andy steps into the kitchen and performs a quick raid on her almost-bare fridge. She winces at the sight of Nate's last message - a parting shot left under a fridge magnet that she can't bring herself to throw out.


I can't be with someone who does what you do, is the simple explanation. Andy won't call him in a week, when she passes (she will pass, oh just watch her pass) but she'll enjoy the satisfaction of tearing up that mocking little piece of paper. There are a hundred things to regret, if she chooses, and perhaps keeping her real job a secret from her boyfriend is one of them. But, Andy reminds herself, she doesn't really miss him--and that probably says more than anything.


Someone had to pay her way through law school, she rationalizes for the hundredth time. With her dad losing his job, and her mom long since dead, there had been nobody to turn to when the offer from Columbia came in. Four years ago, Andy had made her decision, and with no student loan debt and a healthy bank balance to begin her professional life, she isn't going to apologize for another damn thing.


She grabs some leftover takeout and dumps it on a plate. As it reheats, she lets her mind wander to tomorrow night's assignment, wondering if it might well be her last. Andy has never been in demand the way that Serena is, nor does she specialize in anything that might be found in Emily's Chanel bag of tricks. She does well enough for herself though, and that's really all that matters.


*


Andy wakes up late that Friday afternoon, sample bar essays scattered all over her bed. A few more questions had turned into an all-night study session, and she's aching all over when she wakes. Andy checks her phone to make sure that nothing has changed for her 8 o'clock appointment, then drags herself towards the bathroom and the shower that is rightfully hers.


*


She's in a particularly good mood when she arrives at the New York Palace. This isn't a venue she's typically invited to, but hotel assignments are always more fun, somehow. It's harder to relax in a couple's home, perhaps, although Andy usually finds a way. The bellhop gives her a knowing smile as she walks away from reception, but Andy just rolls her eyes. She learned a few years ago not to let opportunists try and cash in on her work - so many hotel workers thinking they can intimidate her into giving them a cut. Well, so far she's done nothing illegal, and if some idiot wants to risk embarrassing one of their wealthy guests, that person will be fired long before anyone comes to arrest Andy.


Not that she knows if tonight's client is particularly wealthy, beyond the fact that he can afford Nigel's exorbitant fees. Nigel doesn't believe in taking away from 'his girls' so he charges a top-dollar escort fee with his own cut on top from the client. It's part of the reason why Andy's been able to be selective about her jobs, and allowed her the extra time around exams and finals. All she knows is that she's to ask for 'Stephen', which the receptionist didn't find strange at all. Probably briefed with a quiet hundred-dollar bill for his trouble, Andy muses as she takes the elevator up to the required floor.


With one final deep breath, she’s knocking on the door. Self-preservation has her on edge, because even with all of Nigel’s checks and guarantees, there’s no way of knowing what will greet her on the other side of this door. Andy’s done three different self-defense courses, not to mention the basics of Krav Maga, plus there’s always the pepper spray in her purse. To think that this industry is safe just because she’s at the higher end of the payscale would be naive, Andy knows, and she’s aware that only luck has kept her relatively unscathed so far.


She’s greeted by a smart-looking man in his mid-50s. Gray hair, a healthy country club tan, and even though his tie is undone, there’s no mistaking the expensive cut of his clothes. Andy offers her most confident smile, and he stands aside to usher her in, without a word. There’s a glass in his hand, and it’s not until he walks across to pour himself a generous refill that he speaks.


“Get you anything?”


Andy’s reflex is to shake her head, but she catches herself in time to ask for bourbon. She’s geared up for the night ahead as ever, but it can’t hurt to dull the edges just a little. Especially since the door to the suite’s bedroom is wide open and there’s no sign of the wife in either space.


She takes a seat on the burnished leather sofa, feeling the cool surface pressed against her bare thighs. The man, presumably ‘Stephen’, hands over a heavy crystal tumbler and Andy takes a quick sip.


“So,” she begins. “Will your wife be joining us soon?”


“That, young lady, is the million-dollar question,” he replies, running one hand roughly through his cropped gray curls. “I did tell her to meet me here half an hour ago.”


“Right,” Andy replies. It’s too soon to worry, since they’ve paid for the whole night. Stephen hasn’t shown any signs of requesting a solo performance yet, so there’s no need to offer a blunt reminder of the Third Party service rules. Andy might effectively be a call-girl, but the agency caters exclusively to couples. Andy’s role is as a kind of sexual facilitator, addressing whichever issues or fantasies the couple raise, generally focusing on the woman in order to make things satisfying between the couple once more.


She’s been through this particular setup more times than she cares to count. Men who grumble over the phone to Nigel about ‘frigid’ wives, or henpecked husbands grasping to provide a threesome fantasy fulfillment for a demanding wife. But for a man simply wanting to enjoy two women for himself, that client would be advised to look elsewhere. Andy hasn’t slept with a man apart from Nate in the past four years, but even that fact wasn’t enough to stop him breaking up with her. She downs the rest of her drink in annoyance at the thought of him.


“Is what I’m wearing okay?” She asks, figuring that she can class things up or down a little with the items brought in her bag. ‘Not a model’ isn’t really a lot to go on after all, and if they have time to prepare the perfect scene, Andy’s willing to go the extra mile.


“Yeah, yeah,” Stephen replies, clearly uninterested. Well, his eyes linger for a while on Andy’s cleavage, something that the dark blue Versace dress emphasizes rather well, and she can’t blame a guy for looking.


Just when the silence stretches out into awkward, there’s a knock at the door. Stephen scurries to open it, only for a hurricane of activity to sweep past him. Andy is transfixed at the sight of the woman who’s just walked in, a vision with silver-hair and a preposterous fur wrap around her shoulders.


“You’re late, Miranda. Again.” Stephen growls as he shuts the door.


“I told you on the phone, the shoot ran long,” Miranda throws back over her shoulder, sounding utterly bored. She looks much more interested in the sight of Andy before her, but as Andy withers a little under the intensity of the gaze, she’s not sure that’s a good development for her.


“What’s this?” Miranda snaps, apparently unapologetic for referring to Andy as an object rather than a person. Rich people, Andy thinks with a barely-contained eye roll.


Stephen has crossed back towards the sitting area now, leaving Andy stranded on the sofa between man and wife.


“We discussed this, Miranda. To help our marriage. You agreed, dammit.”


Miranda is staring at her husband, mouth pursed in obvious disapproval. If she remembers the conversation, she doesn’t seem inclined to admit it. Andy’s been here before, with husbands springing ‘surprises’ and it never, ever ends well. Except for her, since she still gets paid. She considers speaking up, offering to go and have a drink downstairs while they work things out, but something in Miranda’s demeanor scares Andy into silence.


“Tonight is not a good night. I have to work tomorrow. And why we had to book a hotel room is beyond me.”


“If I waited for you, Miranda, I’d be waiting a long damn time. Now, either you want to save our marriage, or you don’t.” Stephen downs his drink and thumps the glass down on the coffee table. He pulls his undone tie away from his collar and undoes one more button before taking a step closer to Andy, and by extension, Miranda. “But the fact remains that this young lady--”


“Andy,” Andy helpfully supplies when he looks at her. She’s never seen the point of using a false name.


“Andy,” he continues, “is here to see if we can’t remove some of the tension you’ve been complaining about when I try to make love to you. Now can you please, for the love of God, relax like a normal person because it is Friday night and the damn magazine can survive an hour without you.”


He’s practically yelling by the time he finishes, and Andy looks away from Miranda on instinct. She doesn’t want to get caught in any more of the crossfire, if the angry pink circles at the top of Miranda’s cheeks are any indication. It’s weird though, Andy thinks, because she’s sat through scenes like this before and never once has she been rooting for either party. And tonight, despite Stephen’s obvious frustration and very valid points, she finds herself rooting for this imperious woman who still hasn’t shed the fur wrap she walked in wearing.


Speaking of which, almost as though she read Andy’s thoughts, Miranda drops the wrap over the back of the sofa. Some of the fur brushes the bare skin of Andy’s back and she’s surprised (and a little disgusted) to find that she enjoys the sensation. Maybe it’s fake, Andy tries to tell herself, but it’s hard to picture this Miranda woman being overly concerned about the plight of the mink.


“And this,” Miranda retorts, leaning over Andy to pluck the drink from her hand, “is what you thought would interest me?”


“You told me you’re not attracted to models,” Stephen protests, pacing a little now. Andy wonders when exactly she should start to feel insulted.


“Well, she’s certainly not that,” Miranda huffs, sipping at the drink like it was hers all along. Andy decides to nip this in the bud once and for all, and so she stands, feeling confident again on her heels. She steps around the couch until she’s right in front of Miranda, who looks faintly amused at the bold move.


“Hey, I’m not so bad, right?” Andy asks sweetly, trying not to grudge the two hours spent on her hair and makeup. She reaches for the hidden pins holding her hair up, gambling that it will catch Miranda’s attention. As Andy shakes her long, brown hair loose, there’s no mistaking the way Miranda swallows: hard.


Ah, so Miranda has somehow talked her husband into thinking this is his idea when she’s clearly attracted to women? Smart lady, Andy thinks, ignoring her own surge of arousal when Miranda briefly licks her lips. Andy isn’t used to enjoying these assignments, though it sometimes happens along the way. This is the first time she can think of where she’s actively wanted to kick the husband out and have the wife all to herself.


“That dress is at least three seasons out of style,” Miranda snarks, clearly trying to get a hold of herself. Stephen doesn’t seem to have noticed, from the way he’s still scowling at her, and Andy wonders how a guy who can bag a woman like this in the first place can be so oblivious.


“So I’ll take it off,” Andy sasses, just a little.


It’s clear that Miranda’s dress is brand new and utterly fashionable, though Andy’s never really thought that it matters. Good dresses look good, and that’s her whole experience despite the occasional pointer from Serena. Andy rakes her eyes up and down the dress that’s clinging to Miranda like it was painted to every curve and wonders if it’s time to rethink that philosophy. It’s not quite black, maybe a really deep purple, and it looks so silky that Andy isn’t sure she’ll be able to refrain from touching it for long. She’s really hoping that Miranda’s attitude won’t blow her chances.


Luckily, Andy’s cheeky comment has provoked a flash of hunger in Miranda’s face that suggests Andy will get to touch the damn dress and hopefully a whole lot more besides. And in that moment, Andy is really, really done with the chit-chat. Summoning her courage, and hoping she’s not about to get slapped, she steps as close to Miranda as she dares and places a soft, quick kiss on her lips before Miranda can retort.


Forcing herself to remember why she’s there, Andy beckons to Stephen before stealing a second kiss, longer and more insistent this time. When she pulls away, Stephen is standing right beside her, excitement plain on his face. He’s practically bouncing with glee, and Andy kind of hates him in that moment.


“Your turn,” she instructs him, but she has to duck her head when he moves in to kiss her.


“Uh uh, Stephen. You remember the rules, right? Non-negotiable.”


He gamely tries to cover his disappointment, before stepping in to kiss his wife. Andy has relaxed the rules before, but tonight she’s in no mood. Let Stephen finally have satisfying sex with Miranda, but he’ll be keeping his hands well away from Andy, even if she’ll be doing most of the work tonight.


Miranda seems unresponsive to the kiss until Andy steps behind her and trails her fingertips over the exposed skin of Miranda’s shoulders. She moans, just a little and barely audible, but Andy’s already a little drunk on the power. The heavy crystal glass falls on to the thick carpet without breaking, and Andy knows the game has officially begun.


Stephen leads Miranda by the hand towards the suite’s bedroom, practically pulling her along in his haste. Miranda, in turn, reaches blindly for Andy who grabs her hand and squeezes tight. Once they reach the bed, Stephen starts unbuckling his belt with fumbling fingers, and Andy doesn’t employ her usual tactic of making the husband wait. Tonight, she wants him over and done with, out of the way.


As he dispatches his pants and socks, Andy wraps her arms around Miranda from behind, kissing her neck--with light kisses at first before teasing with open-mouthed ones. Miranda tilts her head back, reaching into the touch with her eyes closed. The moment is spoiled by Stephen in front of Miranda, his hands stroking and then squeezing her breasts through the dress. Andy hears Miranda’s quiet hum of displeasure and knows she has to act. Taking a chance, she whispers in Miranda’s ear.


“Let him have you, if you must. Then you’re all mine.”


Miranda nods, almost imperceptibly, and grabs Stephen by the wrists.


“Unzip me, darling,” she purrs, turning around to face Andy. Stephen looks as happy as a kid on Christmas morning, and Andy almost feels sorry for the poor bastard. Until he shucks off his unbuttoned shirt and boxers, after which Andy decides she’s really not interested.


Still, she makes out with Miranda a little, because hell, Andy really wants to. She tells herself she’s doing it to turn both Miranda and Stephen on, so they can overcome the issues they’ve been having, but when Stephen unwraps a condom and impatiently tugs Miranda down onto the mattress, Andy finds herself looking away even as she kneels there next to them.


It’s over, in a mercifully short time, but Miranda’s been holding on to Andy’s hand the whole time. She doesn’t think Stephen has even noticed as he rolls off Miranda, panting and sated. Andy absolutely hates him in that moment, just as she hated Miranda’s obviously faked sounds of pleasure.


“Now, darling,” Miranda smiles at him. “Might we have the bed?”


Dopey and compliant, Stephen stumbles over towards the armchair by the window. He’s clearly planning to enjoy the show, but Andy can’t think about him when Miranda turns her gaze back on Andy. She actually shivers, despite being the only one still fully dressed.


That doesn’t last long, because when Miranda gets up on her knees and kisses Andy like her life depends on it, she’s also reaching around to unzip the three-seasons-old dress. While Miranda is still wearing her bra (plum lace that makes Andy’s mouth water, or perhaps what they’ve covering is to blame), she has no mercy on the subject of Andy’s own lingerie.


Andy retaliates by slowly removing Miranda’s bra at last, kissing her way over ever inch of skin as it’s uncovered. When she licks experimentally over Miranda’s nipple, Andy’s thrilled by the excited ‘ahhh’ that it draws from Miranda.


It’s going too fast, she realizes, and so she kisses her way back north until she can capture Miranda’s mouth once more. Tonight, Andy isn’t thinking about how soon she can get out of there. Tonight, she doesn’t care if she actually stays the whole night and earns every damn penny. In fact, she’s enjoying herself so damn much that she almost feels like she should offer to give the money back. But, well, she hasn’t quite lost her mind yet. And for the disappointment of Stephen, Andy will enjoy taking his money to treat Miranda in a way that such mind-blowing beauty deserves.


“Let’s take it nice and slow,” Andy murmurs against Miranda’s cheek, and Andy’s delighted by the hissed ‘yessss’ that she gets in response.


Which is exactly how she proceeds, turning Miranda gently onto her front (with an irresistible squeeze of Miranda’s ass, which is really just inviting it, honestly).


“I’m gonna make you feel so good, Miranda,” Andy says, and if it’s loud enough for Stephen to hear, she doesn’t much care. He doesn’t exist to her now, not when she’s presented with the elegant slope of Miranda’s shoulder blades and the curve of her thighs.


Andy leans forward, skimming her bare breasts over the apparently very sensitive skin of Miranda’s back, before peppering light kisses along the length of Miranda’s spine. It’s an exercise in restraint that Andy doesn’t know how she’s going to pass, but she steels herself and continues with the maddeningly slow pace. Andy doesn’t miss anywhere, from rubbing her thumbs over Miranda’s delicate ankle bones to twisting her tongue against the backs of Miranda’s knees. Andy lets her index finger run lightly over very wet lips, but otherwise ignores Miranda’s cunt for the moment. There will be plenty of time to lavish attention there, and Andy’s very much looking forward to it.


Miranda, for her part, gives excellent (if non-verbal) encouragement. She moans, almost despite herself, when Andy’s hands or mouth encounter a particularly sensitive spot--and when Andy rakes her nails over Miranda’s ass cheeks, it practically has Miranda biting down on one of the over-stuffed pillows.


She turns over without complaint when Andy asks, and Andy’s tripping a little on the fact that this woman should give into her so easily. It’s not exactly rocket science to work out that Miranda is not someone who readily relinquishes control, but tonight she seems just fine so long as Andy doesn’t stop touching her. And that, Andy can definitely comply with.


They’re lying pressed against each other, kissing deeply as Andy lets her fingers run through Miranda’s short hair over and over again. It’s clearly a precisely-styled cut, flawlessly maintained and kept looking ‘just so’, but here in this king-sized hotel bed it’s mussed in a very sexy way that means Andy just can’t stop playing with it. The silver strands feel like silk under her fingers, and it’s so easy to tug a little when she wants Miranda to move her head slightly or kiss just a little bit harder. In fact, they’re so lost in the simple art of making out (what happened to no kissing on the mouth? Andy wonders to herself) that it’s not until the mattress dips that either woman seems to remember Stephen was even in the room.


“I was wondering,” he says, reaching for Andy’s ass before she bats his hand away. “If we might get to the uh, main event anytime soon?”


Miranda props herself up on her elbows, looking as haughty as any queen could hope to (despite the flush in her cheeks and the lock of hair that’s falling over her left eye).


“You’ve had your ‘main event’,” she informs him, her eyes steely with determination. “Now, wasn’t the point of this exercise to fix the issues I’ve been having in my sex life? I suggest you leave that to, uh--”


“Andy,” Andy supplies again, trying to ignore the sinking feeling in her stomach at Miranda forgetting her name.


“I know,” Miranda hisses. “But please tell me it’s short for something.”


“Andrea,” Andy confesses, her upset having evaporated. Nobody but her parents have ever used her proper name though, and she’s a little uneasy about it cropping up in this setting. But Miranda, with her impossibly kissable mouth, does something quite wonderful.


“Andréa,” she breathes, making the word sound exotic, glamorous, and nothing at all like a word anyone related to Andy would say. It’s perfect, and Andy finds a new surge of arousal tugging behind her nipples, and between her thighs, at the sound of it.


Stephen clears his throat obnoxiously, unhappy at being ignored while Miranda and Andy stare at each other. Miranda pulls her eyes away from Andy’s face with considerable irritation, but she manages not to snap.


“If you’re bored, darling, I’m sure you could order some room service. Or find something to do in the living room.”


Miranda uses darling like a slap in the face, and Andy can’t help wishing she were more than the hired treat for the evening. It doesn’t bode well to develop any kind of feelings for a client, and honestly Andy is usually just glad when people are clean and relatively attractive.


“Fine,” Stephen says, pouting in a way that is not at all attractive on a grown-ass man. “I’m going to get a sandwich. Try not to be all night about it.”


Ordinarily, a petulant interruption like that would have killed the mood, but it seems like Miranda can go from nought to sixty in two seconds flat (once her husband is out of sight). She reaches for Andy with flailing hands, trying to grab and stroke and pull their bodies back together all at once. Andy giggles just a little in between the renewed flurry of kisses, and Miranda seems pleased at the development.


Christ, if she didn’t know better, Andy could mistake this for the real thing. Two people hooking up for no better reason than mutual attraction, with no financial implications beyond who was going to spring for breakfast, maybe. Regardless, she’s breathless and a little dizzy and eager for more.


“This is better,” Miranda mutters before nipping playfully at Andy’s earlobe. “Without him.”


Andy wonders if that statement doesn’t extend beyond this evening, but Miranda’s mouth is now wandering in the direction of Andy’s very interested nipples and it gets kind of hard to think about implications when her back is arching into Miranda’s pointed licks. This clearly isn’t Miranda’s first rodeo, and how Stephen could have described her as frigid is beyond Andy’s comprehension. This is a woman who likes sex, and clearly knows what she likes. Not exactly hard to work out where the fault must lie.


If she had a playbook for these assignments, one of the most important plays would be Andy’s insistence on getting her client off first. She finds yet another rule being shattered though, as Miranda takes a firm hold on Andy’s hips--firm enough to bruise, in the good way--and continues her teasing of lips and teeth and tongue down over Andy’s abdomen.


And just like that, for the first time in too long, someone is going down on Andy Sachs. She’s been telling herself she doesn’t miss it, that it isn’t a big deal, but the way she’s gasping and rocking her hips into every touch of Miranda’s tongue would suggest otherwise. Andy’s so used to making these ‘dates’ about the client and the end goal of making them happy that she’s not prepared for the intensity of Miranda actually--dare she think the words?--making love to her, like Andy is someone she can genuinely connect to.


This isn’t supposed to happen between two complete strangers. It isn’t supposed to work first time, without clashing heads and fumbling fingers and awkward questions, but somehow it is. It isn’t supposed to feel like there’s emotion and yearning behind every flick of a tongue or gentle pressing of fingertips. Andy can feel her climax building, and though part of her feels conflicted about it, there’s no stopping the cresting wave now. Miranda draws determined circles with her tongue, lavishing attention on Andy’s clit that feels unbelievably good, and before Andy knows what’s hit her, the orgasm breaks like a sunburst.


She surprised by how strong it is, by how her back arches so high that she worries she might pull something. Andy’s surprised by the tears spilling silently from her eyes, but she wipes them away quickly, before Miranda can see and assume her call-girl is some kind of idiot.


Gathering her wits, Andy reaches for Miranda. They kiss quickly, sloppily, and it’s incredibly good. Andy can taste herself on Miranda’s lips and tongue, an indulgence she makes the most of. Before Miranda gets any other bright ideas though, Andy coaxes Miranda up onto her knees.


It takes only a moment of crawling over rumpled sheets, and then a little wriggling once Andy is lying down again, but when Miranda has a knee on either side of Andy’s head, it’s hard to think of another place Andy would rather be.


She’s a little shocked, not to mention flattered, on discovering how wet Miranda is. Andy has taken her time kissing and nipping up each of Miranda’s trembling thighs, but the first swipe of her tongue through Miranda’s folds is the prize she hadn’t realized she was waiting for. What has so frequently been a chore for Andy in the past is now an obsession, a taste and a feeling that she isn’t sure she can get enough of. Miranda is holding on to the ornate headboard with what looks like some kind of deathgrip, and her previous lack of words is apparently no longer an issue as she curses and prays and rides Andy’s mouth like a woman possessed.



Too greedy to stop at just one, Andy lets Miranda recover from her first orgasm for all of a few seconds before slipping her tongue inside and aiming pointedly for that rough little spot which never disappoints. This time Miranda actually shrieks as she comes, and there’s a flood of moisture over Andy’s mouth and chin that she revels in. Feeling that Miranda is close to collapse, Andy extricates herself before helping Miranda to lie down comfortably. The hair stroking starts again almost unconsciously, as Andy watches Miranda come back to herself slowly. They’re kissing again before long, Miranda apparently eager to taste herself on Andy, and Andy only too happy to allow her. By now, Andy would normally be tensing up and looking for the first chance to get out, but she’s still buzzed from her own climax and the high of doing the same for Miranda. Thank God it’s almost time to quit, because she’s clearly getting too soft for the job if this is how she reacts to one decent assignment.


“Do you have to go?” Miranda asks lightly, clearly aiming to appear unaffected by the answer. Andy doesn’t miss the hint of desperation in her eyes, though, and so she shakes her head by way of response. They’re having what might be described as a ‘moment’, when a cough from the bedroom doorway interrupts. This time, Miranda looks irked enough to kill, and Andy actually feels a little frisson of fear at the sight. Boy, is she glad to not be on the receiving end.


Instead, Andy leans back against the pillows, comfortable in her nudity as Miranda grabs a silk robe and stalks across the room to her grumpy husband, who appears to have dressed himself again, this time in more casual clothes. Both disappear into the sitting room, and there’s a hint of raised voices before a door slams and Miranda comes striding back in, looking far more peaceful than when she left.


“He’s going home, to watch the game.” She half-explains, as though throwing a guy out of the kinda-threesome he paid for is something that people do every day. Andy suspects that Miranda is just used to getting her way, and there’s no denying that it’s pretty hot to watch. Andy also can’t deny that she’s thrilled to be rid of the distraction so easily. Now she can devote herself to whatever time Miranda has left to give her.


Instead of coming to bed, Miranda turns and walks back out into the suite. Andy considers following her, but decides it might not be the best idea without an explicit invitation. She only has to wait a few moments anyway, before Miranda returns with some pricy-looking champagne and a couple of flutes. Dropping all three on the bed, she loses the robe and rejoins Andy at the top of the bed.


There’s no touching yet though, and there’s a definite morning-after awkwardness to the moment. Andy doesn’t want to spoil it, and so she strokes one hand gently down Miranda’s arm.


“You okay?” She asks, genuinely concerned.


Miranda’s head snaps up in what might be surprise. Even with her hair messy and her makeup worse for wear, the woman is stunning. She also seems at a loss in the face of Andy’s concern. Not wanting to push, Andy reaches for the bottle.


“I’ll pour,” she offers, and Miranda reaches for the glasses in agreement.


They sip the champagne in silence, and Andy wonders if perhaps Miranda wants her to go. Maybe after finally getting laid like she deserves, Miranda would prefer the luxury of sleeping alone in a hotel room. It’s clear she’s some kind of high-powered something, and those workaholics never get enough rest. A decent sleep might do as much good as a couple of orgasms. Andy shakes her head a little, wondering when exactly this tipped into psychoanalysis.


She isn’t supposed to care, remember?


“So, how was your day?” She offers, lamely. Miranda looks at her incredulously, arching one eyebrow so high she might strain something. But she relaxes after a moment, apparently deciding that she does feel like talking.


“Well, there isn’t a decent photographer left in the country, it would seem. Not to mention the fact that everyone who can afford a Nikon thinks they’re qualified to direct a shoot.”


Andy nods along, pretending she knows what in the hell Miranda is talking about.


“Anyway, I fired the real problem, and the shots will be ready by tomorrow morning. That’s all that matters,” she nods, as though convincing herself.


“So you, what? Run a gallery?” Andy enquires, thinking she’d better contribute before getting any more lost.


Miranda actually laughs at that, and seeing Andy’s confusion only laughs harder. Andy doesn’t much like it, since it feels a little too close to being mocked; that’s one thing she’s never been able to stand. It’s possible to be smart and still not know everything, dammit.


“You don’t know who I am?” Miranda asks, clearly amused.


“You’re Miranda,” Andy deadpans, none the wiser. Is this woman famous? Is Andy supposed to care?


“And you have no idea what I do?” Miranda continues, her cheeks tensing from the strain of holding back another laugh.


“Obviously not,” Andy shoots back, her pride wounded.


“Oh, that is just precious,” Miranda snorts. “And I thought you were just putting the effort in to try and finagle a modeling contract out of me.”


“Why would I want to be a model?” Andy huffs, having never even considered the idea.


“Why indeed? Though you probably have the bone structure for it, if you lose some weight. I think Meisel could probably do something interesting with that face, yes.”


Miranda’s sizing Andy up like she’s a fancy dress in a shop window, and although Andy is used to that at least a couple of times a week, she still doesn’t care for it.



“You didn’t think I was too fat when you were grinding against my face, lady,” Andy almost growls the words, before draining her glass and clambering off the bed. “And for your information, I don’t need a modeling contract. I don’t need this damn job in a few days, either.”


“Oh? Moving up in the world, are we?” Miranda is enjoying the cruelty, Andy can see from the gleam in the woman’s eye. It should anger Andy, and yet part of her is still drawn to it.


“Yes. I take the bar on Wednesday, not that it’s any of your business.”


“Really? I think you’re already in the more noble profession of the two,” Miranda says with mock politeness. “Does this mean I’m your last hurrah? Or will you be taking a goodbye tour through the frigid bitches of the Upper East Side? That’s how you think of me, isn’t it?”

Andy opens her mouth to deny it, but Miranda cuts her off.


“So before you get on your high horse about how I generalize about call girls, perhaps you should check the foundations of your glass house. You don’t know the first thing about me, regardless of where you’ve put your mouth.”


“Spare me the lecture,” Andy sighs as she reaches for her bra where it’s been tossed on the floor. “I don’t care what your problem is. Either you’re some closet case, or you married a guy for how good he looks on a sheet of paper instead of how good he is between the sheets.”


“How observant of you,” Miranda tries to deflect, but she’s clearly seething. Not used to the help talking back, it seems. Andy is picking up her dress and so she doesn’t see Miranda slide off the bed and walk towards her. It’s only when she stands that she discovers the other woman right beside her.


“I thought you were actually enjoying yourself,” Miranda says in a near-whisper, and it’s the saddest thing Andy has ever heard.


“I was,” she flounders for a moment, still practically naked with her best dress clutched between trembling fingers. “I would have done that for no charge.”


Miranda looks outraged at the comment, and so Andy scrambles to fix her mistake.


“I mean, you’re beautiful. If you had hit on me in a bar, I would have come home with you for sure. How could I not? And the being mean for sport thing? It’s actually kind of a turn on.”


Miranda smirks at that, apparently mollified.


“But let’s not kid ourselves here. You might be enjoying the sparring match, but there’s no way this is anything more to you than a night of fun with the hooker your husband bought you. So if you hurt my feelings, who cares, right?”


Andy is trying to control the unexpected emotions that are threatening to spill over, and so she’s slow to react when Miranda touches her again. This time, Miranda is prying the dress from Andy’s fingers, letting it fall back to the floor.


“I knew, of course,” Miranda begins. “He’s not exactly subtle, and so I knew this would be his solution to the fact that I just don’t want him in my bed anymore.”


She leads Andy back towards the bed, where they each perch on the edge of the mattress. Head bowed, Miranda continues.


“And I told myself I would come here tonight and laugh in his face. I would throw the girl out and tell him I want a divorce. I was absolutely determined, right up until you had the cheek to kiss me.”


“I can be quite cheeky,” Andy agrees, trying to keep the smile from her voice.


“I don’t judge you for what your job is. Plenty of people judge me for mine. I’m the editor of Runway, since you apparently don’t know.”


Andy nods, but really isn’t much wiser beyond knowing that it’s a pretty famous fashion magazine.


“All I know is that a beautiful woman kissed me tonight, and after that nothing else mattered for a little while. Not my marriage; not the children sent to their grandparents again because I have to work the weekend. Not the fact that I’m one hundred thousand dollars over budget and my boss is looking for an excuse to get rid of me.”


Miranda looks up, taking Andy’s hand in both of her own.


“You did that, Andréa, who makes her own name ugly. I have no idea how, or why, but you did.”


“I think probably because I wanted to?” Andy ventures. “I mean, I didn’t know about all that stuff, but something in me just wanted to make you happy. I can’t tell you how much I don’t usually care about that. But tonight? It wasn’t work. Well, maybe the part where your creepy husband kept hitting on me.”


Miranda smirks at that, her eyes shimmering just a little. They’re a greenish blue that Andy can’t quite find a color name for, but they’re gorgeous for sure.


“Well, thank you.” Miranda says the words as though they’re causing her physical pain. “But I think I should let you go now.”


“Hey, I’m not nursing some Pretty Woman fantasy, if that’s what you’re thinking--”


“No,” Miranda states quite calmly. “But your new life starts in a few days. You should go and enjoy that.


“On one condition,” Andy says, leaning in close once more.


“Name it,” Miranda replies.


“Let’s go one more time before you throw me out.”


Miranda bristles at the suggestion, and for a long moment Andy thinks she might have genuinely have offended her.


“Well, if you insist,” Miranda sighs, but she’s smiling when she does. Not one to miss an opportunity, Andy leans in the rest of the way to steal a heartfelt kiss.


*


Andy is stepping out of the Convention Center onto 11th Avenue with a spring in her step. Having buried herself in books and practice essays for the past few days, it’s mostly just nice to finally be out in the fresh air with nothing pressing to do. There’s a chill in the air, sure, but she’s wrapped up well. Her results will come in May, but she’s already confident. With the rent paid for the next six months and plenty left to live on, she has the city (if not the world) at her feet. Her laptop is reassuringly heavy in her shoulder bag, and Andy wonders if it might not finally be time to indulge herself in a little writing for the joy of it, after all these years of work.


She’s so relieved to be done with essays and multiple choice questions, Andy doesn’t notice the silver Mercedes pulling up at the curb. She’s checking her phone for messages - good luck texts from her friends, but notably nothing from Nate or her father - and so Andy doesn’t see the woman waiting until that woman touches Andy on her forearm.

As an adopted New Yorker, Andy is ready to let loose with a few choice insults for invading her personal space, but she’s struck dumb instead by the sight of the woman in front of her.


“Miranda?” She squeaks, incapable of saying much else. Around her, other students stream down the steps and off into the afternoon, but Andy doesn’t see any of them. She feels a little like Scrooge, confronted by the ghost of her very-recent-past, at the moment when she should most feel like moving into the future.


“I wanted to--” Miranda begins, but she looks ill at ease in the midst of the sidewalk. “Will you come for a drive?”


She asks it like it’s nothing, like Andy couldn’t possibly have plans better than being chauffeured around the city in a car that probably cost as much as her apartment. And yet, despite all the good reasons to refuse, Andy finds herself saying simply, ‘yes’.


Once they’re both seated in the back seat, Andy pulls off her leather gloves and loosens the scarf wrapped around her neck. It’s February, and she’s dressed for it. Miranda looks as though she’s just stepped out of a board meeting, all severe pinstripes and slashes of red.


“So,” Miranda begins again. She seems calmer, here in the security of her car. “This is the first day of the rest of your life, hmm?”


Andy snorts at the cliché, but confirms that it’s mostly true.


“In the spirit of which, I wondered... would you like to have dinner some time?” Miranda is staring out of the window as she asks, sunglasses firmly in place despite the grayness of the weather, but the hitch in her voice confirms the genuine interest in Andy’s answer.

Andy knows how easy it would be to turn the offer down. In the past four years she’s been unmoved by grand promises and threats alike. She’s not a commodity to be bought, has never really thought of herself this way, but even so being asked feels nicer than it should. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that this is a considered move on Miranda’s part. She’s obviously put a little effort into tracking Andy down, has been careful not to invoke any of the previous dynamic between them, or the subject of money.


It’s genuine, in short, and Andy likes that really quite a lot. So with careful consideration, and the luxury of a long look at Miranda in profile, she takes a deep breath and answers.


“I think I’d like that,” she says, with really no effort at all.


It’s exactly what Miranda wanted to hear, if the sudden relaxation in her posture is any indication. She reaches for her sunglasses, pulling them off in one fluid gesture, before turning back towards Andy.


They smile at each other, there in the confined space of the car. Despite the metal around her, and the traffic, and the high-rise buildings that block out the sun, Andy has never felt more free.