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The Opening of Hearts

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Miranda Priestly sat on her very expensive love seat in her study on a quiet Friday evening. The proofs she had been going through lay abandoned on the small coffee table before her, and her hands instead clutched a crystal glass filled with some very strong whiskey. She rarely indulged, but tonight was an exception. Stephen was currently on the top floor of her house groping some twenty-year-old blonde. Miranda snorted. How clichéd. She had come home early this evening, with the intention of taking a warm bath and relaxing after a week from hell, but the second she walked through her front door she knew something was wrong.

The girls had left after school with their father for the weekend, and Miranda was looking forward to some peace and quiet. If Stephen decided not to argue tonight, that is. As Miranda had ascended the stairs, there was a thud somewhere in one of the top floors. Intrigued and a little weary, Miranda decided to see if Stephen was home early too. But she was not prepared to encounter the sight that greeted her.

On the third floor, Miranda was about to call out her husband's name when she heard it. A moan. A woman's moan. Followed quickly by the tell tale and quite disgusting, animalistic grunt from Stephen. It was clear what was happening in his room. Approaching his door, Miranda would have rolled her eyes if she hadn't been so angry when she saw the idiot hadn't even bothered closing his door. Through the gap, she was able to see her husband's naked back as he kneeled on the bed, and before him, on her hands and knees, a young female body that cried out and threw her blonde head back.

Miranda, enraged and humiliated, silently descended the stairs to the ground floor and hid in her small study at the end of the corridor. She paced for almost 30 minutes before sitting down in her love seat. How dare he? How dare he humiliate me in this way? Was she really such an awful wife that her husband would have a mid-life crisis with some young, Barbie girl who probably had breasts firmer than rocks? Miranda fumed, but she knew she would not even confront him about it: she would simply file for a divorce and hopefully not talk to him ever again.

Not knowing what to do, she began going over some proofs from the latest shoot. She needed to take her mind off the subject, or a relaxing evening would become the complete opposite. But working was good. Working was safe.

Only 10 minutes after she had began to work, however, she realised that she was barely paying attention at all, and that in fact she had not made a single correction to any of the photos. With a frustrated huff, Miranda stood and went to her liquor cabinet. Seeing her favourite (and strongest) whiskey, she poured herself a large glassful and sat back down again, bringing the bottle with her.

She should have seen this coming, really. Stephen had cowardly informed her that he wanted a divorce while she was in Paris for fashion week more than two months ago. She winced when she remembered that night: the way Andrea had looked at her, her big almond eyes showing such understanding and compassion. It was never the same after that night. Andrea had seen her with her walls down, and now their work dynamic had changed completely.

Stephen had regretted it. When she was back in New York, Stephen had told her that he hadn't meant any of it, that he wanted to stay with Miranda and that he would do anything to make their marriage work. Not wanting a scandal, and not wanting to hurt the girls, she had agreed to give their marriage another chance. She snorted.

That worked out wonderfully.

She could not tell how much time has passed, and she was sure the bottle had been full when she had poured her first glass. How much had she had already? Her head felt fuzzy and she was quickly heading towards complete and utter drunkenness. She stood to go put away the liquor, but when she heard the usual rattling of keys and her front door creeping open, she couldn't help but hold her breath as her heart sped up.

.....-.....

Andy Sachs had had one hell of a week. Work had been absolutely terrible, with her boss ordering a re-shoot of Dolce and Gabbana for the latest Autumn issue and firing a total of 5 people. To make matters worse, Nate had finally moved his things out of her apartment. Took him long enough. He had gone back to Boston almost two months ago, and barely two weeks after he'd arrived he had met someone else and was now in the process of moving in with her. Which is why he phoned Andy up only three days ago demanding she let him get his things. Andy, of course, had no objections. He had been a complete unsupportive idiot to her since she'd gotten her job at Runway, and had been a total jerk towards the end of their relationship. Now, he played innocent, claiming she was the guilty one for their break up and thus tainting her friendship with Lily and Doug. God, even her parents were on his side.

Now, completely rid of a disapproving boyfriend, Andy felt like she could finally relax again in her own home. Things were starting to feel okay again. Doug was coming around, apologising for taking Nate's side so rashly, and Lily seemed to be on the same path, and Emily had (almost) forgiven Andy for Paris and their relationship was now much better than it ever was before. But most importantly, Miranda seemed to appreciate Andy's efforts more. Since Paris, things had changed between them.

Andy had found Miranda crying. Crying. No make up, no perfect hairstyle in place, no breath taking, expensive clothes on her body. Just Miranda wrapped up in a silky bathrobe and with what looked like a broken heart. Andy had listened to Miranda's words closely, had taken every little detail of the woman in. And that is when Andy saw Miranda as truly human. A person who had feelings, who had a heart, who breathed air, just like everyone else. A person who was in pain. Although Andy had a feeling it was more on behalf of her daughters rather than her failed marriage. The bastard never deserved her anyway.

Since that night, Andy couldn't help but notice new little things about Miranda: small details that allowed her to see the woman beneath the Dragon Lady persona. The way her voice often softened when she was pleased about something, or the way the corners of her eyes would crinkle just slightly when she found something amusing. But her favourite was the way she sometimes bit the side of her mouth just so to keep from smiling. This rarely happened, of course. Andy had only seen it twice: once when speaking with her girls on the phone, no doubt Caroline had made a particularly smart comment or other, and the other time just last week when Andy had answered something especially witty at Emily's sarcastic comment about Andy's clothes. Miranda had been sitting on her desk working and Andy was about to enter the woman's office when Emily had, as usual, snarled something about Andy's appearance. Andy hadn't even taken her eyes off her boss when she answered the rude comment. And she had seen it. The Miranda Not-Smile. Andy didn't even remember what Emily had said, or what she'd answered back. All she remembered from that moment was the sight of Miranda hiding an amused smile, and feeling warmth spread to every single cell in her body.

Andy knew she should not feel this way towards Miranda. This was her boss. Her female, married, twice her age, icy boss that could render men to tears and could tear you apart with a single comment from her sharp tongue. I am in so much trouble. I am absolutely fucked.

The town car slowed to a stop, and Andy realised that she had arrived at Miranda's house.

Speak of the devil.

Andy quickly got out of the car, dry-cleaning and Book in hand, and waved to Roy as she ascended the steps. She made quick work of opening the door and left the dry cleaning and book in their respective place. She was turning to leave when she heard the breaking of glass and then-

"Shit!"

Andy froze, stunned. Did Miranda just curse? Before her brain could warn her that she was entering dangerous territory, she quickly turned back around and saw a light at the end of the hallway.

"Miranda? Are-Are you okay?"

"Andrea? Be quiet! Get in here." Miranda harshly whispered loud enough that Andy could hear it.

Andy had a bad feeling about this, and Miranda sounded unsettled. Even though the fight-or-flight instinct kicked in, Andy silently and slowly walked towards Miranda's study. Dreadfully, she entered the room and almost gasped.

Miranda was on her knees on the floor, picking up large pieces of glass with her bare hands, which were trembling just slightly. Her hair was tousled, as if she's run her hands through it several times, her feet were bare, and her blouse pulled out from under her skirt, wrinkling slightly at the bottom. To say Andy was shocked was an understatement.

"Miranda," Andy said, softly closing the door behind her, "are you okay? Here, let me help you."

Andy proceeded to do just that, helping Miranda off the floor and into the love seat, then carefully taking the glass from her outstretched hands and placing the pieces on a corner of the coffee table. Kneeling back down on the floor next to the broken glass, Andy reached into her bag and got out a packet of tissues, cleaning up the largest pieces of glass from the floor and mopping up the liquid.

"Thank you."

Andy froze for the second time that night. It was a whisper that Andy almost missed, but she had heard it, and Andy was so shocked that she turned around to face her boss, not even bothering to stand up.

Miranda looked down at her second assistant, literally kneeling at her feet, and felt her heart grow lighter. She took a deep breath and looked away from those mesmerising brown eyes, but Andy had seen the teary blue orbs, and she saw the way Miranda was wringing her hands slightly. Andy knew this sign well: Miranda was upset by something. She had seen it that night in Paris, and another time in the car on the way to the hospital when Cassidy had broken her arm after falling from the monkey bars of the school play ground.

"Miranda, are you okay? What's wrong?" Andy whispered soothingly, as if dealing with a frightened deer.

"Nothing is the matter, Andrea." Miranda repressed the need to cringe, hearing her hoarse voice sound weak and a little drunk.

"Please, I-I want to help."

At that, Miranda snorted and rolled her eyes.

"Of course you do. You always try to help, don't you, Andrea? You are so naive and innocent, but surely even you must know there are things one simply can not do?"

Andy remained silent after that, not really knowing how to answer and clueless as to how to deal with an emotional Miranda Priestly. She stood up and sat on the settee opposite Miranda, placing her hands over her lap and waiting, although for what, she knew not. Miranda swallowed thickly, not looking anywhere near her assistant. Her beautiful, kind, compassionate- Stop! She took a deep breath and slowly let it out.

"Just go, Andrea." Miranda waved her off in dismissal, but her voice seemed fragile, her gaze was cast downwards, and her right hand came up to toy with her necklace, which usually meant she was overthinking.

"No."

Miranda looked up sharply at that, and her gaze turned cool as she regarded the young woman sat across from her. Andy had no idea what she was doing. She could easily get fired for this, but it hurt too much to see Miranda this upset, and she cared more about Miranda's well being than her job. Miranda seemed very upset, and very drunk if the bottle of whiskey on the coffee table and her disregarded appearance was anything to go by.

"No?" Miranda arched a brow, looking at Andrea with a bored, yet cold expression on her face. The Ice Queen's walls were slipping into place, and Andy hated it.

"No, Miranda. You are upset, and drunk, and I am going to take care of you. Even if you don't want to tell me what's wrong, I am not leaving until I'm sure you are feeling better and will come to no harm."

There was a pause, and Andy didn't even breathe as she waited for Miranda's response. Just as Miranda opened her mouth to retort what was likely a harsh, sarcastic remark, she was interrupted by the sound of heels coming down the stairs, walking across the entrance, the front door opening and then closing again. Miranda, seeming unimpressed, looked at her wristwatch and let out a dark, humorless, icy chuckle.

"One hour. Stephen really has outdone himself this time." Miranda looked at Andrea, a contemplative look on her face before something akin to defeat crossed her blue eyes. It broke Andy's heart. "Very well" she whispered, "You want to help me, Andrea? Get me out of here. Get me out of this house."

Chapter Text

Andy could not believe it. Surely she had fallen into some kind of alternative dimension? She was sat on a spacious, comfortable sofa in the middle of a large suite at the Ritz hotel. But that was not the most surprising part. No, what made this situation so incredibly bizarre was that Miranda Priestly was sat at the other end of the couch, her legs curled up beneath her, and wearing very very casual clothes, by La Priestly's standards anyway. She wore black slacks and a loose beige cashmere sweater the fell off her left shoulder (something Andy was trying very hard not to stare at). Her hair was far from her usual styled coif, and her make up had been removed, leaving the skin underneath to show its natural smoothness. I bet it's soft to the touch. Andy regarded the woman sat a few feet from her, and felt the urge to pull her into a tight embrace. Of all the things to be doing, Miranda currently sat with a far away look in her eyes, her perfect teeth nibbling at her bottom lip, and a glass of red wine clutched in her hand so tightly that her knuckles were white.

They had been in this hotel room for almost an hour. At the townhouse, Andy had waited for Miranda in the study while she silently ascended the stairs. When she had come back down with what looked like an overnight bag, Miranda had led the way out of the house and into the night. Roy had been waiting for Andy to deliver the book, so they got in and drove off.

"Where to?" Roy had asked.

"The Ritz." Miranda answered, looking out the window and ignoring Andy's presence.

Andy had looked at her, surprised. Why was Miranda going to a hotel? Did she expect Andy to stay with her? Had something happened with Stephen? Andy was full of questions, but she was intelligent enough to keep quiet lest she got kicked out of the driving vehicle into moving traffic.

Once they had gotten to the hotel, Miranda demanded a suite with two rooms. The hotel staff scurried to achieve the demands of the Ice Queen, and within a few minutes Andy and Miranda were led to a beautiful suite with two rooms that were separated by a large living area. Am I supposed to stay here with her? Oh God, Andy had thought, how am I going to survive this night?

Now, however, Andy pushed aside her fear and her confusion. She could clearly see that Miranda needed somebody, and it made her incredibly sad to realise that, if Andy Sachs, Miranda's lowly assistant, was the only one sharing this room with Miranda, then it meant that the fearful Dragon Lady had nobody to turn to at a time of this kind of distress. She was alone, and perhaps she was okay with that most of the time, but right now, Miranda needed someone to keep her company. To keep her grounded. So far, she hadn't even talked, or let go in a rant full of rage, or burst into tears on Andy's shoulder. All she did was sit there, looking absolutely lost, and drinking the wine she had ordered from room service.

Andy, always wanting to help, sat quietly at the other end of the long couch, because she felt it was what Miranda needed right now. She just needed to know that there was somebody -anybody- who was still there, next to her. Andy had helped herself to some wine at Miranda's nod when she had reached for the bottle, and now twirled the dark liquid in the glass. She had a million questions she wanted answers to: most importantly, what had made Miranda break down like this? Andy had never seen her drunk, and it would also be the first time she had seen Miranda in tears had it not been for that night in Paris.

Andy wanted to laugh. This situation was very similar to the one back then. Except Miranda had talked, had expressed her feelings and her fears. Andy wanted that again. She wanted Miranda to trust her and to be able to open up to Andy, so that she could help her. Andy discreetly looked at the clock on the wall. 11:30 pm. They had been sat here in complete silence for more than an hour. The only thing they had actually done since walking into the room was call room service, sit on the sofa, and refill their glasses from time to time. Well, at least Miranda had changed and made herself comfortable. Maybe Andy wasn't staying after all? She didn't have a change of clothes.

Being unable to stay silent any longer, Andy spoke.

"Miranda-"

"He is having an affair."

The silence changed from comfortable to freezing after Miranda's whispered confession. Andy was shocked, not knowing exactly whom Miranda was talking about, though she had a sneaking suspicion who the 'he' in question was.

"Who? Stephen?"

"Of course it's Stephen." Miranda drawled, her speech now slightly less coherent than before. The alcohol seemed to be quickly getting to her enough for her words to slur slightly. "The idiot forgot to close the door. Or keep quiet for that matter." Miranda let out a short, quick laugh that sounded cold and anything but amused. With her eyes cast down and her body curling in on itself, she looked more defeated than Andy had ever imagined Miranda could possibly be. "She's some twenty year old blonde who has perfect skin and a pair of breasts that'll keep him happy for a long while."

Andy gaped. That last comment almost made Andy blush, hearing those words from Miranda made her feel a little warmer than usual. Miranda. Who the fuck would cheat on Miranda? God, if I ever had her I would- No, no, don't go there Andy. Besides, nobody had more perfect skin than Miranda, and certainly nobody could have a better pair of-

"You can go if you like, of course."

"What?"

"You do not have to stay here."

Andy's heart clenched painfully at the thought of leaving Miranda. She could not do it. Not now. Besides, Miranda had said this with no emotion whatsoever in her voice or her face, just complete indifference and coldness, but Andy had the feeling that she did that because she was feeling vulnerable and did not want to admit that she needed somebody. Miranda usually hid behind her walls when she was feeling emotions ranging from anger to defeat. Andy had seen it happen in Paris, and since then had noticed it on a daily basis.

"No." Andy said, determined. At this, Miranda finally looked at her.

"No?" she repeated. She couldn't believe what Andrea had just said. Dare I hope? How could she possibly want to stay with me?

"I'm not going anywhere, Miranda."

Miranda looked surprised at this, looking at Andy as if she had never seen her before, the way she had looked at her on her first interview while Andy gave her little speech. Andy couldn't help it: she took both their glasses and set them in the low table in front of them. Then, she slowly moved her body across the couch and neared Miranda, sitting closer to her. Andy tentatively took one of Miranda's hands in her own. I knew it. Her skin is as soft as silk. She was glad Miranda did not move back, or flinch, or lash out at her for daring to touch her. Andy didn't know whether she could have survived a second longer if Miranda had moved away from her. Miranda, however, was too sad, or too drunk, to care at the moment. Having physical contact with someone actually felt... good. Wonderful even.

"Miranda, I want you to understand this: I am not leaving you. Ever. I am staying right here and I will do my absolute best to provide you with anything you need. No matter what that idiot did to you, you are not alone. I am here."

There was a long silence after that, where Andy felt her heart beating wildly in her chest and felt her lungs burning from lack of breath, and Miranda's body was giving similar signs. She could not believe her assistant, dear Andrea, was saying those words. They were too good to believe. Everyone else has left you, you old fool. There is no way Andrea will keep to her words. Who'd stay with you? Miranda shook her head sadly and looked at the beautiful sight of her hand encased in Andrea's own.

Andy felt fear settle in her gut. Had she gone too far? Had Miranda realised the depth of her feelings? She meant every word she said. How could she ever leave Miranda? Fascinating, beautiful, breath-taking Miranda.

"Nobody ever stays." Miranda whispered brokenly, and, to her dismay, unwanted tears sprung to her eyes, clouding her vision and burning in humiliation.

Before her tears could fall, however, she felt strong arms wrap around her and pull her towards a warm body. Andrea was hugging her. Hugging her. And it was the most wonderful feeling she had ever experienced. She couldn't remember the last time anyone hugged her apart from her girls. The young woman smelled of spring and lavender shampoo and Andrea. Miranda could feel herself melting into the embrace, and finally gave in, burying her face in Andrea's neck, letting the tears fall and holding on for dear life.

Andrea, for her part, was struggling to maintain her composure. She could feel Miranda's breath on her neck, her soft breasts pressing against her own, and the smell that was purely Miranda. Her silky white hair caressed Andy's cheek, and she could feel the editor's hands clutching at the back of her shirt. Holding Miranda was the most amazing experience of her life. The soft body under her fingertips trembled slightly, and she knew Miranda was crying. Right. Get a grip! She needs your support right now. Enough of this nonsense. Andy began to run gentle circles on Miranda's back, trying to comfort the woman in any way she could.

They sat there, hugging, for a long time, or maybe it had been mere minutes, but Andy felt she was in paradise, and Miranda was feeling something very similar too. If it weren't for the newfound trouble in her life involving a certain cheating husband, Miranda would have considered this moment one of the happiest of her life, aside from the birth of her girls. As Miranda drew back from the embrace, she heard Andrea inhale deeply, and wondered if she had made the young woman uncomfortable by showing such deep emotions, and if their working relationship was tainted forever. But when she looked at Andy's face, there was gentleness in her dark brown eyes, and a small, shy smile curling her full lips, and Miranda thought she had never seen a lovelier sight than her Andrea so close to her, the young woman's arms still loosely wrapped around her frame. Somehow, Miranda knew that Andy had meant what she'd said: that she would not leave her. Not yet anyway, and that was enough for Miranda.

They looked into each other’s eyes for a moment longer, Andy's heart shattering at seeing the redness and puffiness tainting the blue orbs from crying. And yet, despite Miranda's broken appearance, Andy thought she had never seen Miranda more beautiful than at this moment.

Miranda broke their stare, drawing her eyes downwards and away from Andrea's intense gaze that felt more like scrutiny. I must look like hell. I need to do some damage control. Control, yes. Get this situation under control.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to-"

"Don't apologise, Miranda. You have done nothing wrong. I'm the one who is sorry to see you this way. I-I wish I could help you and take away your pain."

Miranda felt her breathing catch at hearing those words. Andrea's eyes were so full of sincerity that Miranda did not doubt her honesty. Her heart felt about to explode, and she felt warmth spread out from her middle towards the very tips of her toes. Suddenly feeling overwhelmed, and lacking air, Miranda removed herself from the embrace and stood, taking a deep breath to try and calm her uncontrolled emotions. She felt her feelings slowly spiralling into chaos.

Andy instantly missed her heat, and had to suppress a whimper of loss as Miranda turned to look down upon her. The older woman caught the unease in Andy's eyes, and the sudden tension in her shoulders, but she also saw the warmth in the woman's eyes, and the quivering smile she gave as she waited for Miranda's next course of action. Miranda cleared her throat lightly, not trusting her voice and fearing it may be hoarse from crying. She despised crying, especially in front of people, but, as usual, Andrea had made herself an exception.

"I'm going to bed." Miranda told her, and indeed her voice sounded weak and rough, even to her own ears. She cringed. Resisting the urge to let down her defences and throw herself in the arms of her Andrea again -when had she become her Andrea? - Miranda waited for the assistant's response.

"Oh." Andy tried not to look disappointed at that. Miranda, even in her still tipsy state, saw through it, and was confused as to why Andrea would want her to stay. Nobody ever wants me to stay. Usually, people can't wait to have me out of their sight. "Okay. Goodnight, Miranda."

Miranda stood there for a moment longer, gazing down at the young woman, her heart still beating too fast for her comfort and her mind reeling with everything that had happened that evening. With a deep breath and a straightening of her back, she nodded and walked to her door as gracefully as she could muster. She could hear Andrea moving, the clinking of glass, and steps retreating in the other direction of the suite. Just as she opened her door, Miranda turned around and found Andrea almost at her own door, ready to go to bed as well.

"Andrea."

Andy turned instantly at Miranda's calling, and waited with bated breath as the woman seemed to carefully contemplate her next words.

"Thank you."

Stunned, Andy nodded and smiled weakly. Miranda's voice had been soft and quiet when she said those two words, but Andy felt utterly elated by them, and she could feel her heart speed up.

"A-Anything, Miranda." Andrea managed to answer.

"Goodnight."

And with that, Miranda quickly turned and went into her room, snapping the door shut behind her.

"Goodnight." Andy whispered into the empty room, quickly losing control of her feelings.

Miranda Priestly had confessed a personal problem to her. Miranda Priestly had let Andy hold her. Miranda Priestly had cried on her shoulder and held tightly onto Andrea. Miranda had looked absolutely beautiful, letting her guard down and looking at Andy as more than an assistant. But most of all, Miranda Priestly had apologised, and thanked her, and then wished her good night, and when she had said those three simple things, Andy felt Miranda had meant them, and that they were not just simple politeness, but actually meant much more. Her heart soared in her chest.

Shit. Andy thought, still frozen in place in the middle of the suite.

Shit, shit, shit.

Chapter Text

On Monday morning, Miranda strode into her office, her face firm, and a scowl gracing her mouth. She had had the weekend from hell, and she was not about to hide it. Word had already gotten out that the Dragon Lady was seething fire, and people were nearly hurling themselves out of her way. Before she reached her office door, she threw her heavy coat and bag onto Andrea's desk, not even faltering in her step. She did not look at her second assistant, forcing herself to ignore her presence. At least for the time being.

Andy sighed when Miranda entered her office and left her sight. Her boss had decided to completely forget about their night at the hotel. Not only did she revert back to her cold, unapproachable self, but Miranda was also completely ignoring her.

When Andy had woken up early Saturday morning, she had quickly pulled herself together as she dressed in the clothes she had worn the day before. After patting down her hair into something akin to presentable, Andy had left her room in search of Miranda. Only to find that the woman was already gone. Andy had nocked on her door, and after receiving no answer had called reception to ask if they had seen her. To Andy's dismay, the answer to that was yes, Miranda Priestly had been down to reception about two hours before to pay for their suite, and then had promptly left. Without a word to Andy.

After that, Andy had heard absolutely nothing from her boss. She received no calls during the weekend, which was something very rare from Miranda. Andy had spent all that time with a painful knot in her stomach, and her mind was constantly troubled with thoughts of the silver-haired woman.

Andy listened as Miranda picked up her phone and started snarling to whoever the poor soul at the other end of the line was. Andy cringed. Miranda was in a terrible mood - more so than usual - and Andy had no idea how to handle the situation. Just a mere 58 hours before, Miranda had been crying on her shoulder, holding on to her, letting her in. Andy missed it. She felt the loss of the woman keenly as the editor persona rose in all her terrifying glory, making life a living hell for everyone around her.

Andy didn't know anything about what had happened to Miranda once she had gone home on Saturday. Had she confronted Stephen? Had she asked for a divorce? Had she already kicked him out? Andy hoped she had done all those things. She doubted Miranda was one to hold back, and Andy felt what seemed like deep satisfaction at the thought of Stephen finally getting what he deserves. But Andy had no way of knowing any of this for sure. She couldn't very well go up to Miranda and ask her. Hey, Miranda, did you fight with him or just kicked the asshole out without a word? Andy snorted. Yes, and then she would throw me out the window for my insolence.

Miranda wasn't even talking to her. As in, at all. All orders for her were passed through Emily, who got quite a satisfied smirk every time it happened, thinking Miranda was giving Andy the silent treatment for something she had done wrong. But Andy hadn't done anything wrong. Not really. She had tried to be supportive for Miranda, had tried to comfort her in any way she could, and after that heartfelt 'thank you', Miranda's walls had snapped back into place, making Andy feel completely useless and empty. It's like she had seen a glimpse of something beautiful, radiant and full of light, only to then be submerged into complete darkness. Andy had several theories for why this had happened.

First theory: Miranda had only used Andy for her own benefits, not really caring that it was Andy she was leaning on as long as it was a warm body that offered comfort. Andy didn't very much like this idea, because she was desperate for Miranda to trust her, Andy Sachs, on a very personal level. Yeah, as if Miranda actually trusts anyone. Second theory: Miranda felt that Andy reminded her of a moment of weakness and just needed a little time away from that, which Andy was okay with, really. As long as it would help Miranda, Andy was sure she'd endure anything. I was there during her breakdown, I'm sure she doesn't need a reminder of it so soon afterwards. It's understandable. And third theory: Miranda was humiliated. She regretted opening up to Andy and showing herself so deeply. And somehow, this thought broke Andy's heart more than anything else she had ever experienced. More than the death of her grandparents, more than her first boyfriend cheating on her with her high school nemesis, more than Nate leaving her and almost instantly seeing another girl. The thought that Miranda wished she hadn't invited Andy into her hotel room, opened up to her, shed tears upon her shoulder, made Andy sick to her stomach.

Andy closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Get your shit together, Sachs. You've got work to do. It was true. Her schedule was pretty full today, and most of the things she had been instructed to do were errands (some which were quite pointless) outside Runway. Away from Miranda. But if there was anything Andy was good at, it was being Miranda's best assistant, and there was no way Andy was going to let these feelings get in the way of her work. If she could help Miranda at all to make her life easier, she would damn well pour her very soul into it.

....._.....

The week went on, and it was torture for every single person working under Miranda. Even Emily was starting to lose her cool, indifferent persona, and had resorted to using her "I love my job" mantra more and more as the week progressed. Andy, for her part, was in agony over the Miranda Problem, not to mention living on coffee. She had not slept well since Friday night, as thoughts of Miranda plagued her mind whenever she was unoccupied.

At night, Andy would close her eyes, and she would see piercing blue ones staring back. She could hear the soft, commanding voice in her ears, and could almost smell the woman's perfume drifting on her nose. If Andy tried very hard, she could still feel the woman's soft body beneath her hands from when she had held her, and the feeling was so painfully missed that Andy's fingers would tingle with the desire to touch the woman again. Andy would lie awake for a long time, tossing and turning, unable to keep the older woman from her thoughts, and when sleep came it would be filled with dreams.

In some dreams, Andy would see Miranda with Stephen while he touched her. Touched her neck, her thighs, her hips, her breasts. Meanwhile, Miranda would look straight into Andy's eyes and tell her, with a voice filled with contempt, "You could never have me. You will never have me. I'll never be yours, I will be someone else's." And then she would turn to Stephen, whose face suddenly disappeared into a blank, anonymous face, and Miranda would reach up and kiss the mystery man, gripping his clothes like she had gripped Andy's during their embrace, and she would press herself ardently into his body, giving a long, low moan as the man answered greedily to her attentions. Andy would often wake from these dreams crying, her heart feeling like it had dropped five floors down her apartment building and despair twisting her gut.

Other dreams, however, she was the figure at the receiving end of Miranda's ministrations. She was the one who grabbed Miranda's hips, the one who ran her fingers through white soft hair, the one who was kissing those wonderful lips that sent shivers down her body, the one who dragged her lips and her teeth down that creamy, perfect neck. She was the one who made Miranda moan. Andy would wake from these dreams breathing hard, almost gasping for breath, and with a deep, desperate desire gripping at the very core of her being. Sometimes she would even wake with her hands halfway down her pants. These dreams had gotten more and more frequent since the night at the hotel. No, this was not the first time Andy had these very inappropriate dreams about her boss. After dreams like these, Andy would crawl out of bed and drag herself into a cold shower, giving up on the hope of getting any more rest.

By Thursday afternoon, Andy felt she would go crazy from no contact whatsoever from Miranda. The woman didn't look at her, didn't speak to her, and no longer took her to previews or drove with her in the town car. Andy was sat at her desk, firing off emails and rearranging Miranda's schedule when she felt her heart literary skip a few beats.

"Andrea."

Andy, frozen in place, could not believe her own ears. Miranda was calling her. Oh thank God, finally. Not wanting to annoy her boss by making her wait, Andy got up on shaky legs and rounded her desk, sharing a worried glance with Emily, who answered by raising her eyebrows as if saying, "Don't ask for pity from me, you must have done something to deserve this." Taking a deep breath and gathering her courage, she entered the crystalline office.

My God, she's beautiful. Andy couldn't take her eyes off Miranda as she walked to stand before her desk, notepad and pen gripped in shaky hands as she waited for instructions. Miranda looked up at her and ran the rim of her glasses over her lower lip. Jesus Christ, why does she have to do that? Please, someone kill me. Let me die. Miranda waved at her to shut the door, and Andy quickly moved to obey. When she faced the woman again, she couldn't help swallowing hard through her suddenly dry throat. Miranda kept staring at her, a thoughtful look on her face as she tilted her head in her usual manner. Finally, she straightened her back and spoke.

"Make a one night reservation for tomorrow at a hotel that isn't the Ritz. Get me a suite with two rooms."

Andy couldn't breathe. She stared at Miranda in shock, her mouth hanging open slightly and her eyes wide. She willed her heart to stop beating so hard and her stomach to loosen the suddenly tense knots she felt.

"O-Of course. I'll do it right away."

Miranda focused her gaze back to her laptop, and Andy knew it meant dismissal. She didn't know what to think: did Miranda want Andy to come along this time as well? Or maybe she wants to work out her marriage? Maybe the room was a romantic stay for Stephen and her? The thought made Andy's stomach clench, and an image of Stephen groping and manhandling Miranda's gentle frame made her feel sick. Just as she was about to open the office door and make a run for the bathroom, Miranda called her name. Turning to face the woman, Andy was sure her knees would soon give way. Oh please, she silently begged her, please let me go. I can't stand the thought of him and you-

"Bring some clothes for yourself this time."

Andy's brain froze, and she lost her breath. Had it not been for the fact that she was standing up and very much alive, she could have sworn her heart had given up after that instruction. It's me. It's me she's taking with her. She doesn't regret opening up. She needs me again. Oh God, it's me. Not him. Me. Unable to form words, Andy nodded and quickly left the office, ignoring Emily's curious and somewhat accusing stare and rushing straight to the ladies' room.

Once in the privacy of the bathroom, Andy looked at herself in the mirror as she tried to get her erratic heart to calm down before she suffered cardiac arrest, and she carefully began to control her harsh breathing into calm breaths. Once her brain was able to function again, she closed her eyes and thought tomorrow night couldn't come soon enough.

This woman will be the death of me.

.....-.....

Friday night found a very anxious Andy sitting in a large sofa that commanded the large living room of the suite at the St Regis Hotel. It was 10 pm, and the room was lit warmly by the soft glow of two lamps that stood on low tables on either side of the sofa. Her right leg was shaking nervously while she bit her lip, waiting for Miranda with her hands grasped tightly on her lap. Andy, as Miranda had ordered, had called room service to bring a bottle of red wine while Miranda went to her room to change into more comfortable clothes. She had been there for a while now, so Andy, desperate to have something to do, went to her own room. She pulled out her best loungewear clothes from her overnight bag and quickly changed. She didn't even remove her make up before quickly returning to her place on the couch.

Less than thirty seconds after she sat down, Miranda came out of her room, wearing much the same thing she had worn the week before, except this time the sweater was a dark grey to go with the black trousers. Like last time, she had taken her make up off, as well as her jewellery and her shoes. Andy's insides melted at the sight.

Miranda didn't notice Andy's reaction to seeing her, and instead sat down on the other end of the sofa. Andy quickly reached forward and took the wine from the coffee table, quickly filling a glass for each with the dark liquor. As she handed one glass to Miranda, their fingers brushed, and Andy felt electric shocks shoot up her arm and into her centre at the contact. Miranda looked into Andy's eyes then and quickly took her hand away, glass clutched firmly in her hand. Andy watched as the older woman took a sip, closed her eyes and hummed in pleasure. Oh God, help me. Andy's muscles clenched at the sight and sound Miranda made, and watched in awe as all the tension seemed to leave the woman's shoulders as she leaned back against the couch.

Andy took a sip of her own, and her eyelids fluttered. It tasted divine. No wonder Miranda had reacted that way, especially after the week she must have gone through. They sat in silence, relaxing into the comfortable cushions and quickly emptying the bottle of wine.

"I'm divorcing him." Miranda said after almost an hour of silence. Andy wanted to cry at the news. Yes! Take that you bastard!, Andy thought gleefully, trying very hard (and thankfully succeeding) in hiding a smile. She quickly pushed her joy aside when Miranda started speaking again. Right. Miranda. Focus. This can't be a nice experience for her, can it? "He finished moving out yesterday morning, and my lawyers think the divorced should be final in a few months."

That explains why yesterday afternoon she had asked Andy to make the reservation. She needed this. Not knowing what to say, Andy asked, "How are the girls?"

"My girls." Miranda said, almost thoughtfully, and she looked sad, broken, which, oddly enough, is something she hadn't seemed when talking about divorcing her husband. Whenever she talked about Stephen, she used a cold, distant tone, like she didn't really care about him anymore. "My girls didn't take it well. They didn't particularly like Stephen, which is something I only found out a few days ago, but they still feel betrayed. They think it's my fault."

Andy closed her eyes at the bitter tone in the other woman's voice. She could not even imagine what Miranda must have felt when her own children made her responsible for the divorce. The twins meant everything to Miranda. Andy had not truly realised this until that night in Paris, and it hurt her to think that the girls had hurt Miranda like this.

"I tried to explain it to them, but they are right, in a way. There is no point denying it. I drove Stephen away, just like I drove Greg away. And everyone else in my life, really. If I were different, it would have worked out with Stephen, and my girls wouldn't have to suffer because of me."

Miranda's little speech angered Andy for some reason. She felt angry at all the people that had deserted Miranda. She felt angry at Stephen for throwing Miranda away like he did. She felt angry at the twins for not supporting their mother, who loved them more than anything in the world. She felt angry at herself, for being unable to take her pain away, and for the fact that she would never get the chance to make her happy, and love her the way she deserved to be loved. Can't she see how beautiful she is? Before she could filter her words, she spoke.

"That's bullshit, Miranda."

The woman looked at Andy, stunned. Andy didn't know whether it was at her use of language or at her fierce, passionate tone, but Andy didn't really care at the moment.

"I beg your pardon?"

"I said that's bullshit. It is not your fault Stephen is an idiot. It's not your duty to change any aspect of yourself just to satisfy him and fit into his idea of 'the perfect wife'. If Stephen couldn't accept you for who you are, couldn't love you for who you are, then it's his loss, and it's his fault. Not yours."

Miranda gaped, actually gaped at Andy. Her eyes had gone wider, and she seemed frozen in place. Andy tensed, waiting for the Dragon to unleash her fury at Andy for overstepping into things that did not concern her. But the scathing words never came. Instead, Andy watched as Miranda looked away from her, took a sip of her wine, and lost herself deep in thought.

Nothing else was said for the remainder of the night.

Chapter Text

Later that night, Miranda stared up at the ceiling of her hotel room. Her mind was reeling over the words Andrea had said. Goodness, she had not expected that. It was Stephen's loss for not loving her properly? I am quite sure that people are lucky not to love me. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Andrea had seemed genuine, if the fierceness in her dark eyes and the passion filling her voice was anything to go by. What's more, Andrea had seemed angry, although why exactly Miranda could not begin to guess. Does she really care? Why would she care? Usually, when the 'Ice Queen' was having a problem, people kept an even bigger distance from her, and she couldn't really blame them. Miranda would not often be there for others, and if anyone came near her they would probably end up getting damaged in some way or another. That's just the way she was. She damaged people, and hurt them, until they eventually left. It's no wonder you're a lonely, foolish old woman.

But Andrea was different, of course. She always had been. The week before, Andrea had come into her study after hearing her glass breaking, and then had offered Miranda help. The older woman was sure that, had it been anybody else, they would not have thought anything of it, and would have raced out the door. Anyone else definitely wouldn't have come to a hotel with her, and held her while she cried.

God, this is too much. Andrea's words replayed in her mind over and over again.

"Couldn't love you for who you are..."

"His loss..."

"Not your duty to change any aspect of yourself..."

Andrea was clearly too naive for her own good. Did she not know what Miranda could be like? It really came as no surprise that nobody could stay with her. It must be draining and exhausting to put up with her. She knew she was not an easy woman, but she loved deeply, and cared a lot, and tried her best to make the one she loved happy. Granted, she hadn't actually loved Stephen. Not really. But she had loved Greg, and she loved the girls, and if things didn't get under control she would soon find herself loving Andrea too.

Loving Andrea. The thought didn't scare Miranda as much as it should, and it didn't send her into panic mode like she would have expected. Miranda thought that being able to love Andrea would be absolute bliss. The young woman was the only person in Miranda's life who seemed to care. But why would she care? Perhaps she's only using you. Oh God, maybe she will use this and go to the press, or maybe she wants to get ahead, or- Stop it. That isn't who Andrea is. Andrea wouldn't do that. Besides, nobody could fake such compassion. Miranda wanted desperately to believe Andrea was honest, but doubt still lingered at the corners of her mind. Has life turned you into such a lonely creature that you can no longer even accept kindness without expecting the worst?

Miranda sighed and rolled over. When sleep finally came to her, she drifted away with thoughts of her Andrea.

.....-.....

The next morning, Andy woke up extra early. She didn't want to miss Miranda before she left, so she was up at 6 and hopping into the shower. By 6:30, she was ordering breakfast from room service. Scrambled eggs, toast, fruit, orange juice and centre-of-the-sun-hot coffee.

When she put the phone down, Miranda's door opened.

Andy looked up, and immediately lost her breath. Miranda stood there in a beige blouse and what looked like her usual black slacks, although these accentuated her curves more. Her make up was natural, with only some concealer and blush, and her heels were already in place. Her hair, however, is what drew Andy's attention. Miranda's hair was wet. She had obviously taken a shower and had combed it back without drying it. She didn't look as relaxed and comfy as she had last night, but the image Miranda created was enough to send Andy's heart into overdrive.

Miranda stopped just outside the door, noticing Andy staring, and raised an eyebrow in challenge and something akin to amusement. Andy quickly averted her eyes and swallowed, trying to control her erratic heartbeat.

"Um, good morning, Miranda."

Miranda grunted a response and went to sit on the couch.

"I've ordered breakfast, in case you were hungry. Eggs, toast, fruit and coffee. Unless- unless you planned on leaving before breakfast. I would understand if you wanted to-"

"Stop talking. Breakfast is fine. Does your room have a hair drier?"

"Oh. Yes, it does. Do you want me to fetch it for you?"

Miranda nodded, and Andy rushed to do as told. When she came back, Miranda took it from her and strode back into her room.

Andy waited sat on the sofa, just like last night. She felt nervous. Did Miranda want to have breakfast with her, or would she send Andy away? Maybe she wanted some time alone. Andy understood, but she selfishly hoped Miranda would still need her around.

A nock on the door, followed by a male voice calling "Room service!" prompted Andy to move and go into assistant mode. She let the hotel worker in, tipped him, and sent him away. Andy moved the large breakfast to the table that was placed some distance behind the couch. She went about setting the table, and just as she was finishing, Miranda came out, her hair back to its usual style, with the front lock curling endearingly over her left eye.

Andy straightened and waited for Miranda to sit before sitting herself. The older woman didn't make eye contact with the brunette, and instead began to dig into her eggs and toast. She only just realised she had missed dinner yesterday, and was absolutely famished. Andy followed her lead, digging into her own eggs and then starting on the grapes that were in the bowl of fruit.

They ate in a relatively comfortable silence, both enjoying the delicious food and slowly relaxing in each other's presence. When Miranda finished, she checked her phone for the first time that morning. Worry knotted her gut when she saw three missed phone calls from her girls, two from their father, and a text from him that was sent at 9:30 last night. Her phone had died sometime around 8 pm yesterday, and she hadn't bothered charging it until she fell asleep last night. She had needed to disconnect from people (except Andrea) and hadn't check her phone when she had plugged it in.

Swallowing thickly, she tapped on the missed message, and felt nauseous reading it. Oh God, she was going to vomit.

Andy heard the loud clatter of a fork hitting plate and looked up. Worry took hold of her as she saw Miranda's expression. The woman was frozen in place, not even breathing, very pale and with an unreadable expression in her eyes. Her fingers gripped her phone so hard that her knuckles had gone white, and she seemed to be shaking.

"Miranda?" Andy whispered, concern lacing her voice.

Miranda didn't respond. Instead she placed a trembling hand over her eyes and put down her phone. After a moment like this, she pushed herself up from the table. On shaky legs, she slowly made her way to the couch in a daze. Andy quickly stood and followed after her, sitting next to her and looking at her with concern. The woman seemed so shaken, Andy had never seen her in such a state of shock before.

Before she could help it, tears were streaming down Miranda's cheeks, her body now visibly trembling. Andy didn't know what to do. She had no idea what had happened, but didn't feel Miranda could answer even if asked. When Miranda placed the back of a shaking hand to her lips in order to stifle a sob, Andy quickly moved closer, arms outstretched.

Without thinking, Miranda leaned into the embrace as Andy enveloped her in her arms. When Miranda began sobbing, Andy stared ahead with panicked eyes. Miranda had cried on her shoulder once before, but they had been silent tears, and her body hadn't convulsed like it did now. She could not stand to see Miranda in such pain. Whatever had happened, it had completely broken the woman in her arms. Has something happened to the girls? At that thought, worry clenched her stomach painfully, and she felt absolutely useless to help Miranda. Not knowing what else she could do, she began rubbing her hands soothingly across the woman's back, wishing she could take the pain away as the soft body beneath her shook with pain.

Long moments passed. Andy wasn't sure how long they had been hugging - and Miranda seemed to calm. Now, her tears were silent, and still she held onto Andy like a vice. Andy let her, of course. Anything for Miranda. The young woman was still incredibly worried, but Miranda seemed to read her thoughts, because her voice soon came from where her face was buried in Andy's neck, and it sounded hoarse, faint, and weak.

"The girls have left me."

And then she began to cry again, her tears falling onto Andy's skin. Andy could do nothing while her mind scrambled to process this. No. No, no, no, please. Not this. Anything but this. Out of all the horrible things that could happen to Miranda, this was the worst. Andy leaned them backwards until they were resting against the back of the sofa, and Miranda curled her legs underneath her, dropping her shoes off along the way. She leaned her body into Andy, and the brunette though they could be cuddling if it wasn't for the fact that the other woman was trembling in agony, and the fact that Andy felt a pain in her chest simply from imagining what Miranda must be feeling.

After a long while, Miranda went still and almost limp in her embrace. Andy couldn't help herself and reached up to touch the woman's hair. Miranda relaxed even further, and Andy took it as a sign to keep going. So they lay there in their embrace, each deep in though while Andy's fingers soothingly ran through silky white hair. After 10 whole minutes of silence, Andy felt the need to speak.

"I'm so sorry, Miranda." Andy whispered.

Miranda did not answer, and Andy realised that her breathing had deepened and her arms no longer held on to Andy, but were loosely draped around her waist. Miranda had fallen asleep.

.....-.....

Miranda began to stir an hour later. Andy had gently laid them further back, and had draped the blanket that had been over one arm of the couch over both their bodies. While Miranda slept, Andy had kept touching her hair and softly caressing the woman's shoulders, trying not to think about what it meant that Miranda had fallen asleep in her arms. She's exhausted. It doesn't mean she trusts me that much. She probably couldn't help it. It doesn't mean anything. Miranda's face was still buried in her neck, and her long breaths made Andy feel at home. I could get used to this. Why does it feel so right? Andy had half sat-half laid on the large sofa with Miranda almost draped over her, thinking about Miranda's situation and her own feelings towards the older woman, and Andy had reached a conclusion. Andy would stay by Miranda's side no matter what. If Miranda needed someone to talk to, Andy would listen. If Miranda needed someone to show her affection and support, Andy would do just that. If Miranda was horrible towards Andy and started lashing out, Andy would take it so Miranda could vent. No matter what, Andy would do it. Because Andy knew that no matter what Miranda could be like, Andy would never be able to abandon her. And even if it hurt Andy to be this close to this woman and not actually have her, she would do her best to be what Miranda needed.

Miranda slowly came into consciousness. The first thing she noticed was gentle fingers running through her hair, and a warm hand running over her back in soothing circles. Andrea. Those hands belonged to Andrea. Only she can smell this good. Only she would dare touch me like this. The other thing she noticed was that she was heavily leaning on the other woman, and that she had her face buried in Andrea's long neck. God, please let me stay here forever. But she knew she had already imposed on the younger woman. She had no idea how long she had slept, but she couldn't imagine Andrea being very comfortable.

Actually, Andy was comfortable. Her legs ached a little, but she had moved them around enough while Miranda slept so as to not cut off the blood flow, and had also stretched her muscles whenever they began to hurt. Andy noticed the change in Miranda's breathing, and wasn't sure what to expect from the other woman. Will she murder me?

Miranda slowly straightened, blinking the bleariness from her eyes and slowly moving away from the embrace. She didn't look at her assistant, although she could feel the woman's eyes on her. Arching her back, she stretched and let out a little sigh when she felt her back popping in several places.

Andy nearly chocked. She was sure Miranda had heard her sharp intake of breath. If the woman had indeed heard it, she gave no sign of it. Instead, she settled back onto the couch and leaned her head backwards, looking up to the ceiling. Andy tried to ignore how her elegant neck stretched out invitingly. She could barely contain herself from the urge to lean in and kiss it.

"What time is it?" Miranda asked, eyes closing.

"Almost nine."

Miranda's eyes shot open and she gave Andy and incredulous look.

"I've been asleep for a whole hour?"

"Yes. You must have been exhausted. Did you not sleep well last night?"

"No." Miranda was not about to go into detail over how the woman before her had plagued her thoughts and dreams. And the bout of crying hadn't helped in her exhaustion either. She felt weak, and her eyes were burning unpleasantly.

"Do you want to talk about it?"

At that, Miranda leaned her head back again and shut her eyes once more. After taking a deep breath, she began.

"When I checked my phone this morning, I had several missed calls from the girls and their father. Greg had sent me a text, so I read it, thinking something had happened to my girls. Apparently, they have decided to live with their father for a while. Yesterday evening, while I was still at work, they packed up their things in a fit of anger, called their father, and demanded he take them to Connecticut with him and his girlfriend. They tried to reach me before they left, but my phone was out of battery and I had no idea they were planning to leave. This angered them more and so they left without telling me. Greg didn't want me to worry, but was not going to say no to the girls living with him, so he explained everything with a text. They left last night and will come and get the rest of their things sometime next week."

There was a long silence after that, in which Miranda tried not to cry again, and Andy regarded the older woman sat beside her.

The girls had left her. Miranda's treasures had chosen their father and his girlfriend over their mother. They had not even talked to her about it.

"They said it was too much for them. They needed some time away from me and away from the press. They don't want to be here when news of the divorce gets out. And I can't blame them. For any of it. I can't blame them for not even wanting to say goodbye."

That last sentence is what triggered Andy. She had been trying hard not to cry, because what was happening to Miranda was painful even for her, and she couldn't even begin to imagine how the older woman was feeling right now, and Andy loved her and wanted her to be happy and- God.

Miranda opened her eyes when she heard a shuddered intake of breath. Looking at Andrea, she was shocked to see the woman crying. She was wiping the tears away and looking downwards, but the trails of tears already tainted her cheeks and Miranda felt her heart constrict painfully at the sight.

"Andrea?"

"I'm sorry." Andy sniffed, still not looking at the older woman. No doubt she was making a complete fool of herself. "I just-It's just so unfair Miranda. I wish- I wish I could do something to help..."

Andy trailed off as Miranda touched her hand. Looking up, Andy saw a small smile - a true smile - gracing the woman's beautiful lips. Her eyes were red-rimmed, but there was warmth shining in them as she looked at Andy. Slowly, Miranda linked hands with the younger woman and squeezed. Andy looked down to their hands, because she couldn't actually believe Miranda was touching her like this. This wasn't the same as the hug. No, this was Miranda touching Andy. This was Miranda giving Andy comfort.

When Andy looked at Miranda's face again, only one thought passed her mind: She is so beautiful. I have never seen anything more beautiful than her and she is smiling and she is beautiful.

"Andrea, you have done so much already."

At the words, Andy felt more tears coming, and she desperately wiped them with her free hand, tearing her gaze away. Thank God neither of them had worn mascara this morning. This was a teary day, which was something very rare. Especially for Miranda.

"Not enough, Miranda. Not enough."

At this, Miranda leaned forward and touched Andy's chin, urging her to look up at her again. Andy lifted her gaze to the other woman, eyes wide and heart racing at the feel of Miranda's fingers touching her skin.

"Andrea, I promise you. This is more than enough. You are the only one that can help me, and you have. You have."

Miranda felt like she was saying too much, and regretted her words. She hated making herself vulnerable, but Andrea needed to hear this. She needed to know that she was wonderful, so Miranda forgot about her pride and about her image and simply spoke the truth.

Andy was having an out-of-body experience. Miranda has just said the most beautiful words Andy had ever heard, and she could feel her heart was about to burst from her chest. She was unable to form words, so she just nodded and looked at their joined hands. Miranda's hand felt so right in her own.

Miranda noticed it and quickly withdrew, instantly missing the warmth of Andrea's skin. She stood from the couch.

"I am going to book another night here, and then I'm going to the townhouse get some work and more clothes. You are welcome to stay too."

Andy quickly stood up too, almost elated at the offer. Her feelings of impotence and helplessness were dimed when the idea of staying with Miranda registered in her mind.

"I'll stay."

Miranda smiled gently at the young woman's eagerness, and Andy beamed.

"Alright. Do you need anything from your home?"

"Yes, actually. I need to go get some work and some clothes too."

"Call Roy and tell him to pick us up. I'll drop you off and then go home. I will only take 15 minutes to get everything ready, so I'll call you when I'm leaving and I will come and pick you up on the way back here."

"Alright. Although I don't mind getting the underground."

"Don't be ridiculous Andrea, your house is on the way to mine from here, is it not?"

"Well, yes, but-"

"Then you are coming with me. End of discussion."

Andrea nodded in defeat, and Miranda almost sighed of relief. She needed Andrea close to her. The woman soothed Miranda more than anything or anyone else, and today she was going to need all the support she could get.

.....-.....

An hour later, they were back in the hotel room, each with a new bag of clothes and another bag full of work to do. The car ride to the way to Miranda's had been spent in comfortable silence, and they had each gone to their own homes to get their things. The ride back to the hotel, however, had been very different.

Andy had felt the tension in Miranda. It was clear the woman was trying to keep it together, and she sat very rigid in her seat, her face turned towards the window with an expression so cold Andy felt the temperature drop a few degrees. Clearly, going back to an empty house had showed Miranda the way it was going to be for a long while. They rode in silence for fifteen minutes until Andy could not take the feeling of uselessness anymore. Tentatively, she reached out to Miranda. Miranda caught the movement and turned to glare at Andy. When she saw the young woman's calm, understanding face, however, the glare disappeared. So she allowed Andy's warm hand to take her own, and she felt her fingers squeeze hers gently before Miranda looked at Andrea's face once more. The brunette smiled softly and tilted her head, as if saying, "it's okay. I'm here for whatever may come." Miranda relaxed into her seat, and, for the first time in her life, believed that everything would be okay as long as Andrea was by her side.

Both women set down their overnight bags in their respective rooms, and went into the living room with their work. Without even speaking, both women silently agreed to get to work, each at one end of the sofa. For hours, they worked in peaceful silence, the only sound being the scratching of pen or the typing on a laptop.

By the time lunchtime came around, they had done a great deal of work, which surprised both women, as they had both had similar thoughts about working together: How am I going to get anything done with her sitting just a few feet away? But in the end it had been a very successful arrangement, and before they knew it they were calling up room service.

"What would you like for lunch?" Asked Andy as she picked up the phone.

Miranda thought for a long moment before answering.

"Pizza."

Andy looked up at her, shocked. When Miranda shrugged her shoulders indifferently, Andy laughed and nodded.

"What topping do you want?" Andy said, smiling warmly, which made Miranda quickly realise that Andrea hadn't laughed at her.

"Pepperoni."

Andrea's smile widened even further, and she got a strange shine in her eyes. Andrea dialled, and Miranda stood, curiously watching her assistant, who looked gleeful and almost as if she was up to no good.

"Yes, I would like to order two pizzas for suite 314. Yes, that's fine. Yes." Andrea turned to look at Miranda over her shoulder, and her smile turned into a smirk. "Two pepperoni pizzas."

Miranda smiled then, and rolled her eyes. Of course they would have the same taste in pizzas, and of course Andy would make that fact seem like she had just discovered Miranda's deepest secret. Honestly.

Ten minutes later, the pizzas arrived, and they sat at the dining table to eat. Andy could barely contain her laughter at seeing Miranda Priestly eating pizza with her hands and humming in delight at the first bite. When Andy opened her mouth to comment, Miranda glared at her, although there was no malice in her eyes. Andy got the message though, and decided not to tease Miranda about her unusual choice of food. The meal was spent in comfortable silence as both women indulged in the fatty food for the first time in a long time.

When they finished, they carried themselves back to the couch and, with full stomachs, threw themselves into their work. By the time Andy had finished, it was almost dark outside. Checking the clock, she was stunned to see it was already 6 pm. They had been working for almost six hours, non-stop. Andy put her laptop aside and stood, stretched her back and felt her sore muscles complain after the lack of movement for the last hours. When she turned, Miranda was staring at her. Is that a flush?

Before Andy could dwell on it, Miranda cleared her throat and looked back down at her laptop screen. Andy got an idea. The woman really needed to relax after this morning's trauma.

"Miranda?"

"Hmm?"

"Would you like me to draw you a bath?"

Miranda looked up at that, perking at the idea. Andy smiled, knowing Miranda so well by now she could tell basically every single gesture the woman made. Moths of studying Miranda closely really paid off.

"I'll go do it while you finish up. You don't mind me going in your room?"

Miranda waved in the direction of her room, focusing back on finishing the last of her work. Andy went into the other woman's room and was not surprised to see it was immaculate. She went through to the large en-suite bathroom and turned on the hot water. She looked around for oils and such, and smiled triumphantly when she found lavender oils and matching candles. This hotel was a five star hotel after all; of course it would have pretty much everything, including a box of matches in one of the drawers. The tub was enormous, and Andy was certain it could almost fit three adult people. While the water ran, Andy returned to the bedroom and called room service from a phone on the nightstand. She ordered a bottle of champagne and another bottle of red wine. When she went into the bathroom, the bath was almost full, so she set about placing four candles on every corner of the tub and the other two on the sink. After putting in the oils, she lit the candles and looked around, very satisfied with herself.

She turned the lights off and went back into the living room just in time to see the door shut behind a hotel employee. Miranda was stood there holding two bottles of liquor and looked at Andy with a raised eyebrow.

"I didn't know which one you wanted for the bath, so I ordered both." Andy explained, knowing Miranda's question.

Miranda rolled her eyes good-naturedly at that and lifted the champagne bottle slightly. Andy nodded and took the bottle from her, opening it with a loud pop. She poured the bubbly liquid into a flute and handed it to Miranda.

"The bath is ready. Here, take the bottle with you in case you want to refill."

Miranda nodded and took the bottle, turning without another word and entering her room. As the door shut, Andy poured herself a glass of wine and flopped down on the couch, almost spilling her drink all over herself. Andy took a long sip, leaned back, and sighed. Today had been awful, but Miranda was coping much better than Andy had expected. Then again, this is Miranda Priestly we're talking about. Nothing can beat her. Andy sighed again and took a gulp of the wine, enjoying the soft burn as it went down her throat and pooled at her belly.

.....-.....

Miranda entered her bathroom and gasped. Andrea had outdone herself. The soft glow of the candles shone a soothing warm light, and the smell of lavender filled the air. Miranda set her flute and the bottle down and quickly took her clothes off. Stepping into the hot water, she let out a loud hum of appreciation. As she leaned back on the tub, she reached for her drink and took a swing. Marvelous. Closing her eyes, she relaxed for what felt like the first time in weeks, and all the tension left her body.

Forty minutes later, Miranda emerged from her room dressed in light grey loungewear and freshly out of the bath. Her skin felt soft due to the oils, and her body felt like it had melted in the bath. Her muscles were relaxed, and her face no longer held a frown or a scowl. Miranda Priestly, relaxed. She found Andrea on the sofa and sat next to the younger woman, placing her champagne and the almost empty bottle on the coffee table. She noticed that half the bottle of wine was gone, and Andrea seemed as relaxed as Miranda felt. It was clear they were both a little far from sober. Andrea turned to her, smiling.

"Hey. How was your bath?"

"Wonderful. Thank you, Andrea."

Andrea waved her off with the hand that wasn't holding her glass. "It was nothing. I think you needed it."

"I mean it, Andrea. Thank you. For everything."

Andrea looked deeply into her eyes then, and there was a warmth there that Miranda had never seen directed at her before. From anyone. The younger woman smiled sweetly.

"Anything, Miranda. Now, would you like some wine? I've ordered another bottle, because this one will be gone in no time."

"Yes, please."

If Andrea was surprised at hearing Miranda ask so politely, which was a change, she didn't show it. She went about filling Miranda a glass, and leaned back on the cushions after said glass was in the older woman's hands. There were small sandwiches on the coffee table that Andrea had ordered for a small dinner, and they tasted delicious. They drank and ate in silence for a while, their tipsy state making them feel content and calm. Then Miranda decided to break the silence and asked,

"How are your parents?"

Andy looked at her, stunned. Miranda began to explain, something she never did. But this was Andrea.

"It's just that, I sometimes heard you speaking about them to Emily, but I haven't heard you mention them in a while. Besides, I feel like there is a lot I should know about you, and I don't."

"Oh." Andy said, lamely. Miranda wanted to get to know her better. Alright. "Well, my mother's name is Elizabeth, and my father's name is Richard. They live over in Ohio and they are both lawyers."

"Hmm. And how are they? You didn't answer my question."

"Well... I don't really know. We're not really talking right now."

Andy lowered her gaze and bit her lip. She didn't know why Miranda was asking her questions, but then again, 'La Priestly is famous for being unpredictable'.

"May I ask why that is?" Miranda said, frowning.

Andy felt uncomfortable, but she answered anyway, looking around nervously while she talked.

"Well, we are not on the best of terms. When Nate, my ex boyfriend, and I broke up, he moved to Boston and started seeing another girl. My parents heard about this because apparently he still emails them from time to time. Anyway, they got angry that it came from him and not me, and I tried to explain that I hadn't actually known he got a new girlfriend so fast. They were angry with me. My parents really liked him and were always hinting that they wanted us to marry and have children soon. I was okay with that at first, because I felt he was the love of my life." Andy scoffed coldly at this and rolled her eyes at her own naivety. "But about a year ago, when I started working for Runway, things changed between us. He started criticizing my work, he spoke against fashion, against you, and no matter what I said or did, nothing would change his mind about any of it. Anyway, he often emailed my parents to tell them, because he was 'worried for me', and so, consequently, my parents disapproved too. When I told them we had broken up, they blamed everything on me, and kept insisting that Nate had left me because of how much I had changed and how little love I showed him. And when they found out he got a new girlfriend, my mother called me at least four times a week to remind me that 'I could be that girl if I had done things the right way' and that she was very disappointed in me for 'throwing away my life'."

When Andy finished ranting, she finally looked at Miranda, who was scowling. Just as Andy started to fear she had annoyed Miranda by talking so much, the other woman spoke.

"They have no right to tell you those things. I don't think it's right for them to take his side, and most of all I don't think it's right that they would put their preferences of your life ahead of yours. You are an adult, and you should be able to make your own decisions. If Nate whatever-his-name-is was not able to love you for who you are, then it is not your fault."

Hearing her own words in Miranda's speech made Andy smile, and Miranda gave a little smile of her own. Andy took a gulp of her wine, hoping that what she was about to say next would not upset the editor.

"That's not the only reason we are not in good terms."

"Oh?"

Andy took a deep breath, took a swig from her glass, and gathered her courage.

"They seem to think that Runway is not good for me. They think that I am more stressed than I should be, and they've heard about the attacks, and now they want me to leave Runway and go back to Ohio. When I refused, they were certain I had been brainwashed and that this was not the girl they had brought up. They were convinced that you had manipulated me into staying. Just over a month ago they actually turned up at my house with no warning and said they were taking me back with them. I stood my ground though, and that's when they realised that I was very serious about staying on at Runway and not leaving New York. So they said some horrible things about me, about you and about Runway, and then they left. I haven't heard from them since."

"Good God." Miranda looked horror stricken. "Honestly Andrea, do they think you are some sort of puppet they can boss around?"

Andy laughed at this. "Yes, I think they do."

Miranda's mind latched on to something Andrea had said, and quickly turned from horrified at the girl's parents to worried after the girl's health.

"Attacks?"

"Huh? Sorry- what?"

"You said something about 'the attacks'?"

"Oh." Shit. Damn alcohol. "Yeah, that's- it's not important. It's nothing really, I mean-"

"Andrea."

Andy knew that tone. She sighed heavily.

"I used to suffer from panic attacks during high school and the first few years of college. I went to therapy and learnt how to control them, so I was fine for some years. They aren't a big deal, I promise. They don't interfere with my job or anything. Really, Miranda-"

"You've had panic attacks since starting your job at Runway?" Miranda had turned pale, and she looked absolutely horrified.

"Well, erm, yes, but Miranda, really, they don't interfere-"

"God fucking damn it."

Andy's mouth dropped open so fast she was sure she had dislocated her jaw. She had never heard Miranda swear like this, and she really couldn't understand why Miranda looked so horrified. Surely everyone at Runway suffered panic attacks? Wait, what if Miranda just doesn't like the fact that I get them? Maybe she thinks it's weak. Maybe she thinks they get in they way of my work. What if she's disappointed in me? Oh God, please don't let her be disappointed in me.

"Why didn't you tell me?" Miranda spat, her face harsh and anger filling her voice.

"I-I didn't- Miranda, they're not a big deal, I promise. I'm sorry to be a disappointment, but I'm working very hard to control them and I-"

"Fuck!" Miranda raised her voice, shocking Andy even more.

It was the first time Andy had heard her raise her voice. Miranda stood up and began to furiously pace, anger tainting what had been a relaxed expression, her shoulders stiff and her eyes told Andy she was lost in thought.

"Miranda."

The woman kept pacing, ignoring her.

"Miranda." Andy tried raising her voice, but still got no reaction from the older woman.

Andy set her glass down and stood, moving to stand in front of her.

"Miranda, please."

The pleading tone seemed to get Miranda out of her daze and she looked at Andy. My Andrea. My sweet, loyal, beautiful Andrea. Miranda pulled the woman into her arms in a fierce hug, placing her face in what was now her favourite place to be- Andrea's neck.

Andy stood, hugging the woman back, her heart beating a little faster than usual. This is what happens when you're an emotional wreck and think it's a good idea to drink.

"I'm sorry." Miranda whispered.

"What? Miranda, what-"

"I'm sorry, Andrea. I'm so sorry."

They held onto each other for a moment before Andy stepped back and looked into Miranda's eyes.

"Why don't we sit down and you can tell me what exactly it is you're sorry about?"

They made their way back to he couch and sat closer together than before. Andy took Miranda's hands in her own in a sign of comfort while the other woman composed herself.

"Forgive me. I just- God, you are not a disappointment, Andrea, don't you ever think that. I just- I feel terrible for what you must have gone through under my employ. I feel responsible for this. You were fine until you started working for me. I should have paid more attention. I should have been more tolerant. I regret the Harry Potter incident, and the hurricane incident, and any other impossible things I did that caused you pain and worry. I'm so sorry."

"Miranda, listen to me, okay? I need you to understand this. Yes, there have been times when I suffered panic attacks due to things that had to do with Runway, but they were not all because of you. Not even close. I had just moved here from Ohio, the city was too overwhelming, I had to start paying my own rent, my boyfriend and I were having problems, my best friend and I got into a huge fight, my cousin got sick with cancer, I had a pregnancy scare, I lost a friend in a car accident and my brother-in-law got mugged and spent two weeks in the hospital. All those things happened to me in little under a year. I have panic attacks for many things, not just work-related. This year has been absolute crap in regards to my personal life, but I'm still here, and I'm happy, and I feel stronger. You know why? Because of you, Miranda. Even though I had to go through all those things in the span of eleven months, you were always there, and you were always Miranda Priestly, and that was comforting for me because I knew that no matter what happened, you were there, ready to give out orders that I gladly took on just to get away from everything. On top of that, you showed me what it's like to be strong, Miranda. When I got to the city I was a young and naive girl who didn't know shit about anything. You taught me that no matter what life throws at you, you have to take it head on and learn from it. Grow stronger and more powerful. You taught me so many things, Miranda, all the panic was worth it."

Miranda stared at Andy silently, surprise written all over her face. Her shoulders had lost some of the tension, but she still seemed stricken after Andy's confession.

"I still feel guilty. I should have-"

"You didn't know, Miranda. Because I didn't want you to know. Every assignment you gave me made me more confident in my skill, and I was able to control my panic attacks in a way, thanks to you. Because now I don't get panic attacks from things I used to get them from. Now, I go through things that would have triggered them before, and I'm perfectly fine. Do I make sense?"

Miranda nodded wordlessly, still looking at Andy with wide eyes and breathing a little heavier than usual.

"That's settled then. No more guilt, okay? It was much worse during college, and if it had gotten to a point where I couldn't take it anymore, I would have quit. But I'm still here, okay? I'm here."

"Yes. Yes, you certainly are." Miranda smiled softly, and took a deep breath, finally seeming a bit more relaxed. They reached for their own glasses and sat back.

"Anyways, I've told you a lot about myself tonight. I want a little of you in exchange."

Miranda looked up sharply at that. Good God, she did not just say that. Calm down, you old thing, your dirty mind is playing tricks on you again. She cleared her throat, trying to get her breathing back into control.

"What would you like to know?"

"I told you about my parents, now you tell me about yours."

"Well, my mother's name was Mary, and my father's name was Charles. I don't really remember my mother. She died when I was seven, so I have very little recollection of her. All I know about her are the stories my father used to tell me and the pictures we had in the house when I was younger. She died of breast cancer. I remember not understanding what it was when I was little, but as soon as I found out I got myself checked. They told me my chances of having it myself were slim, but I still go to the doctor every six months just in case. Anyways, my father and I grew very close after her death. I'm the oldest of three: the youngest is called Grace, and my younger brother by three years is called William. William and I are relatively close, although he moved to England ten years ago so I don't see much of him. My sister is the odd one out, and always has been. My brother always looked up to me because I had several characteristics that I shared with my father, and he related to that, but Grace was not interested in me like he was, so she always went her own way. She doesn't communicate much with either of us, apart from the mandatory Christmas and birthday cards."

"I'm sorry to hear that. And I'm sorry about your mother." Andy was sorry. It saddened her that Miranda had grown up without a mother. Although it probably explained why she sometimes shared some characteristics with men. And Miranda had said so herself: she was similar to her own father. Andy listened to Miranda, fascinated. She hadn't known much about Miranda's past, and she was absorbing every word.

Miranda flicked her hand indifferently at Andy's statement, like it was nothing at all to worry about who Miranda had lost.

"My father died twelve years ago, shortly after the twins were born. He had been in the hospital for a while and it was clear he wasn't going to make it. When they called me telling me he wouldn't last the night, I went to the hospital to say goodbye. He told me that I always reminded him of my mother, because I looked just like her, but that he was glad I had turned out to be so like him, because I was his rock after she'd gone." There was a small pause in which Miranda stared into space, as if reliving a memory. "Anyways, that's it really. Not much more to say in the family department."

"Wow." Andy said, awed that Miranda had told her so much, and in such detail.

"Wow?" Miranda raised a curious eyebrow.

"Sorry- I mean, it's just very interesting to me. I like knowing more about you."

Miranda looked at Andy, and then tried to think of something else to say that would change the subject. She was feeling a little uncomfortable after revealing all of that. Damn alcohol. Speaking of which-

"The wine is gone. Shall we open the second bottle?"

"Sure." Andy quickly did so and refilled their glasses.

"So, is there anything else you would like to know about me?"

"There are a lot of things that I'd like to know about you."

Miranda tried not to blush at this. She mentally shook herself, getting back to the conversation before she would give away her thoughts. She's not flirting with you! Stop it!

"I can't promise to answer all your questions, but you may ask, as long as I get to ask questions too." Okay, this was definitely the wine speaking. Since when had Miranda allowed anyone to ask her anything they wanted?

Andy agreed with a blinding smile. "Favourite author?"

"Dickens. And Shakespeare. You?"

"Jane Austen." Miranda rolled her eyes. Of course. "Favourite band or musician?"

"Tchaikovsky. Or for more 'modern' music, Joni Mitchell. You?"

"Lana del Rey and Adele. And The Police. And the Beach Boys. Anything from the 60's, 70's and 80's, really." Miranda raised her eyebrows. Trust Andrea to have good taste. She was very much familiar with every name she had mentioned.

"My turn to ask the questions." Miranda stated, wanting to get some control over the conversation. "Favourite book?"

"'Her Naked Skin' by Rebecca Lenkiewicz. It's a play, actually, about the suffragette movement. I highly recommend it. What about you?"

"The suffragettes, huh? I'm glad I found a fellow feminist." Andrea laughed, and smiled merrily. "I can't actually choose a favourite book. Actually, yes I can. Harry Potter. Unexpected, I know, but it brings back the best memories of my days. Every night I would read Harry Potter to my girls after a long day at work, and I would feel so happy to be with them. And it would remind me why I-"

Miranda abruptly stopped, her expression turning to realisation, then to absolute heartbreak. Andy immediately sobered up, realising that Miranda had probably forgotten that the twins had abandoned her. Damn wine. God, I hate seeing her like this. Andy watched as the woman withdrew before her, eyes cast down and her posture becoming less relaxed. She looked defeated, and lost, and Andy hated it.

"They'll be back, you know." Miranda looked up at Andy with sadness clouding her eyes. "They love you. They just need a little time."

Miranda, suddenly feeling very tired, nodded her head weakly. She swallowed thickly before clearing her throat.

"I'm going to bed."

Without looking at Andy, she stood and crossed the space to her door. Andy felt her loss like a knife in her heart, and could not bear the woman walking away without anything else said between them.

"Miranda?"

The older woman turned slightly to look at Andrea.

"I'm right here if you need anything, okay? Anything at all."

Miranda gave her a weak smile that was more like a twitch of the lips, and nodded her head.

"Goodnight, Miranda. Sleep well."

"Goodnight, Andrea." Miranda said after a pause.

With that, Miranda went to her room and quietly shut the door. Andy watched her until she disappeared. Taking a deep breath, she slumped against the couch, trying to ignore the pain in her chest.

It'll be all right. Miranda is strong, and I will help her with anything she needs. It'll be all right.

The pain did not go away.

Chapter Text

After that weekend, nothing was the same.

On Sunday, Miranda and Andy parted ways, but it was clear Miranda was in no mood to talk, so that morning nothing much was said between them. Andy spent the Sunday cleaning her apartment until it was spotless, and then went jogging to try and clear her mind. Her thoughts had not left the older woman for a single minute since she'd gotten home. The way Miranda had cried on her shoulder, how easily she's fallen asleep in her arms, the way Miranda had held her hand, how she had claimed she wanted to know more about Andy, the way she had been so distressed after learning of Andy's panic attacks. But most of all, Andy worried about Miranda, and how she was holding up. No doubt the woman was throwing herself into her work, as she usually did when she was upset or had a problem. Going back to an empty house had to be hard for her.

Andy sighed. In the morning she'd have to go into work, and Andy didn't really know what to expect from Miranda. She looked at her alarm clock. 2 am. Great. She'd get four hours of sleep tops. Andy grunted, and cuddled deeper into her duvet.

Thoughts and dreams of Miranda dominated her thoughts for the remainder of the night.

.....-.....

Andy's suspicions were correct. When Miranda got home on Sunday, she felt an emptiness haunting the house. The silence was almost unbearable. The only living thing remaining was Patricia, who stuck to her leg the minute Miranda got through the door. Thank god Greg's girlfriend was allergic to dogs, otherwise the girls would have taken the dear St Bernard with them, and Miranda would have been completely alone.

She had gone up to the girls' rooms to see how much they had taken with them. She was not surprised to find much of their things missing. More than half of their clothes were missing from their wardrobes, and they had taken most of their books and electrical devices.

Feeling hollow and lonely, and beginning to really hate herself, Miranda spent the day working like a madwoman. She only stopped to eat and by the time she was done with everything it was well past 1 am. Her eyes hurt and her body felt weak, so Miranda dragged herself to bed and was instantly asleep the moment her head hit the pillow.

She had never felt such pain before.

.....-.....

The week passed very slowly for both Andy and Miranda. Andy watched as Miranda reverted back to Dragon Lady mode, terrorising not only the Runway department of Elias Clarke, but everyone within the building. Meanwhile, Miranda grew more and more desperate each day that passed without a word from her daughters, only receiving the odd message from Greg telling her they were fine.

Both women were miserable, but Andy could tell things had changed between them.

For one, Miranda no longer treated her like any other assistant. She no longer snapped at her or sent her on useless errands or gave her impossible tasks. Andy suspected this was because Miranda now knew of her attacks, but Andy felt grateful, because she was very sleep deprived and felt on the verge of collapse. Miranda seemed to soften around Andy, but nobody had seemed to really notice, so Andy guessed she was the only one who could tell.

Andy, for her part, worked even harder to make life easier for Miranda. She went on coffee runs without being asked, and when she gave the older woman the scalding beverage Miranda gave her a grateful look. Andy also rearranged Miranda's schedule so that she would have more time between meetings, which would make her stay at the office longer and keep her away from an empty house. Also, Andy didn't really leave Miranda's side often. She was always around Miranda, a few feet away. What Andy would do was write everything Miranda did or said in a special notebook. It might seem crazy, but Andy had her reasons.

Miranda was distracted. Everyone could tell. Yes, she had less patience than ever, and yes she demanded even more from her employees (except for Andy, who actually got less work shoved her way). People knew something was wrong, but nobody dared to ask. The woman seemed tired, and more often than not suffered from a headache that made her just a little slower than usual. Whenever somebody did something wrong, Miranda would take her frustration, her anger and her grief out on them, so everyone was treading on eggshells around the woman, and tried their best not to mess anything up. Miranda's distraction was the reason Andy decided to write everything down, in case Miranda forgot about something. In that case, all Andy had to do was look at her notes and give her the information she'd forgotten. Once again, Andy was proving herself to be irreplaceable in Miranda's eyes.

On Thursday, Miranda called Andy into her office and asked her to reserve a shared suite at a different hotel for them. Andy smiled gently and nodded before leaving to do as told. The young woman wanted to cry of joy at another chance to spend her Friday with Miranda, and so made an even bigger effort with her work so both women would have little to do over the weekend.

When Friday came, both women went to the Hotel Plaza, where they went about what was quickly becoming a routine. Change clothes, order wine, sit on the sofa, drink.

Tonight was slightly different, however. Miranda did not seem to want to talk, so Andy kept quiet. I will be anything Miranda needs. If she needed to be quiet for the woman, then Andy had no problem with that.

They spent hours like that, just sitting side by side having glass after glass of wine. This time, they had ordered two bottles from the start, knowing that just one would not do much for either of them. By the time they were finished with her second bottle, both women felt the exhaustion of the past week creep up on them. It was only 11 o'clock, but they silently agreed to retire for the evening. When they stood up from the couch, Andy gently took Miranda's hand and squeezed, giving the older woman a comforting smile. Miranda closed her eyes for a moment before looking back up at Andrea. Darling Andrea. She nodded once and squeezed back. Then they parted ways and retired to their respective rooms.

That night, both women slept soundly for what felt like the first time in weeks.

.....-.....

The next week passed much the same as last one. On Saturday, both women left the hotel to go back home. Miranda still hadn't felt like speaking, so they had kept quiet until saying "goodbye" to each other as Andy was dropped off at her apartment building.

The girls still refused to speak to Miranda, so she depended on Greg's text messages in order to know how they were. This week, however, Miranda felt a little better and more rested since the night at the hotel, which had done wonders for her sleep-deprived mind. She was more focused this week, though people could still see something was off. Her lawyers had contacted her, telling her that since Stephen had applied for a divorce in Paris and since Miranda had caught him cheating, it was going to be a very short procedure, which would take little over a month to get finalised. This was extremely unusual, and Miranda had the suspicion that her name had something to do with it, but she was not about to question it. She would be completely rid of Stephen in a month, and that was good enough for her. She tried not to think too much about her daughters' abandonment, and avoided the subject regarding her growing feelings for Andrea. In so little time, her life had spun completely out of her control, and she hated it.

Andy spent her days working hard for Miranda, and doing little things that would make the woman's life easier. Andy now kept Excedrin tablets in a drawer of her desk, and she would check Miranda for signs of headaches, which were easy for Andy to tell thanks to her thorough study of the woman. As soon as she saw the signs, like the pinching of her nose or the deepening of the frown, Andy was rushing to get the woman coffee and handed her the cup with two tablets of the remedy.

Miranda would nod at Andy in appreciation, and would relax slightly after downing them.

Andy was a blessing.

So when news of her divorce leaked on Thursday morning, Miranda immediately called Andy and asked - not demanded - that she book them in for a night at a hotel. Andy nodded determinedly, and got to work.

The press were absolutely ruthless. The horrible articles printed about Miranda made Andy want to go to every publication and tear every single journalist to pieces with her bare hands. She forced everyone at the office not to buy a single newspaper or magazine that was likely to criticise Miranda, and had asked the guys from IT to block gossip pages and blogs from the computers near Miranda's vicinity, including those belonging to the woman in question while she was out of the office. Miranda obviously knew what the press was saying about her, but that didn't stop Andy from making every effort to shield the woman from it all.

Friday evening found Miranda and Andy in The Carlyle's suite Royale. They were sat on the sofa, as usual, wearing comfortable clothes and no make-up. They had gone through more than half a bottle of red wine in silence, as Miranda seemed very much lost in thought.

After a while, Miranda shifted, and Andy looked up at her.

Miranda was looking at her with a thoughtful expression and what seemed like insecurity clouding her blue eyes. She cleared her throat, pushing away the fear of Andrea walking away or using what she was about to confess against her. She took a deep breath.

"I never loved him."

Andy's brain stopped for a second, and then went into overdrive. This explains so much. This is why she never seemed to enjoy his company, why she had to fake those smiles that never quite reached her eyes. It's why her laughter was always forced whenever he tried saying something funny, why she never really wanted to answer his calls while at the office. It explains why there she never seemed happy.

"Oh." was all Andy could say, as she stared at Miranda with parted lips. I knew it! She couldn't explain why she was so happy at the news.

"At first it seemed like a good idea. I felt the girls needed a father figure in their lives, apart from their own father. I believed I needed the image of a good home life so the press would back off. I felt that, by marrying, I would be less alone, and I would be able to do much better. The first year was good. It wasn't perfect or happy, but we were content, and we tried our best not to start arguing over everything. If I'm truly honest, I don't know when that changed exactly. Only three months after our first anniversary I found myself sleeping alone and wondering what had gone wrong. That was the first night he spent in the guest room, and after that he never came back. I hadn't realised we had started to argue so often, and from that day on it got worse. For months we would fight very often, although I tried to shield the girls as much as I could. I couldn't see them go through that again. With Greg and I it had been different, we didn't fight that much, but the girls still suffered from our crumbling marriage, so I tried to do things differently this time. It didn't particularly work, though I tried my best."

Miranda sighed, taking a long sip of her wine. Andy listened with rapt attention, never looking away from Miranda.

"Anyway, after a few months of constant fighting we just gave up. We made a sort of silent understanding that it was no longer worth it to care, so we just," Miranda shrugged, giving a heavy sigh and closing her eyes for a moment. "we just let everything go. It was not worth our breath anymore. We were doomed from the very start, so we just stuck it out for as long as we could. We rarely saw each other apart from the odd public appearance and sometimes when we would have dinner with the girls. We put on an act to keep everyone happy, to look like a regular happy couple." Miranda snorted, rolling her eyes. "It was stupid, really. I'm not surprised he had a mistress on the side. I don't know how many affairs he had, but I'm sure he had more than one lover. Anyway, we should have ended it back when it started getting bad. It would have saved us a lot of time, and fights. He felt I prioritised my work over him, and I felt he disregarded the demands of my work to suit his childish wants. It's been three years since we married, and we only managed to actually get along during the first one. Pathetic, isn't it?"

Andy wanted to say a lot of things, like the fact that she thought Miranda was very brave for marrying a man she didn't love in order to give the girls a father figure, or that she thought Stephen was a complete asshole for making Miranda's life harder, or that she should be with someone who loved her no matter what. Someone like me.

"He never deserved you."

It slipped out before Andy could help it, and now she was staring at the shocked face of the woman who held Andy's heart in her hands.

"What?" Miranda couldn't have heard her right.

"He didn't deserve you, Miranda."

Miranda laughed. A real but unpleasant laugh that sent chills down Andy's spine, because Miranda wasn't really laughing out of happiness.

"Don't be ridiculous, Andrea."

Andy straightened, going from worried to defensive.

"I'm not such thing Miranda. The asshole did not deserve you."

"Please." Miranda scoffed, rolling her eyes. She looked away, not able to look at the brunette, and suddenly there was a lump in her throat, and the damn wine had really gotten to her because she was getting emotional and wanted to cry. 'I don't deserve you,' Miranda wanted to say. She decided to let go, to put Andrea back in her place, to make her understand, because Miranda could no longer take the words of comfort Andrea gave her. Not when Andrea didn't feel the same way as she did. "I was lucky he even wanted to marry me. He must have been absolutely insane to agree. I'm an impossible woman who hurts everyone around her. I destroy the few people that dare come near me, and I don't really know why. I fail everybody's expectations. I failed as a friend, as a daughter, as a sister, as a wife and as a mother. I failed, Andrea. It's all I ever do. Don't tell me he did not deserve me. I'm the one who doesn't deserve anyone."

Andy stared in shock, trying to fight the urge to slap her. How could this woman think so little of herself? For all the grand, confident, Dragon Lady persona, the woman beneath was small, insecure and broken. How can she not see how much she's worth? Why can't she see what I see? She felt angry. She felt angry with Greg, and Stephen, and the twins, and with herself, because she knew that no matter what she did she would never be good enough for this woman. And that caused Andy so much pain she wanted to double over in agony. Logical thought forgotten, Andy reached forward to roughly set their glasses down, and then quickly moved into Miranda's personal space. The older woman flinched, not expecting the sudden movement, and her breath caught when Andrea placed both hands on her cheeks, cupping her face with warm hands.

Andy forced the woman to look at her, and the fierceness in her eyes made Miranda gulp. Oh dear God.

"Listen very carefully Miranda. You. Deserve. Everything." Andy spoke very clearly, making sure Miranda understood her. Sitting so close to Miranda, their faces only inches away, made Andy want to hit the woman on the head until she understood that Andy had never seen anything more beautiful than a wide-eyed, gaping, surprised Miranda. She wanted to kiss the woman senseless, to make her see what a wonderful creature she was, to make her feel loved. Andy managed to hold back, but just barely. "Fuck Stephen. Fuck Greg. Fuck everyone! Your value does not decrease based on some people's inability to see your worth. They have no idea the kind of woman you are. They don't see you, Miranda. They don't see the caring mother, the passionate editor, the brilliant mind, the sharp wit, the graceful way in which you take everything upon your shoulders. They don't see the strong woman who doesn't let anything destroy her. They don't see the insecurities that make you human. They don't see the wonderful person that does her absolute best to reach the standards thrust upon her. I do. I see you, Miranda. Which is why it makes me so angry that you'd think you don't deserve anyone. You have no idea how much I value you, and how much you've changed my life for the better. You do not 'destroy' everyone around you. I'm still here, and I'm okay, and I'm not going anywhere. You deserve everything, Miranda." Andy gulped, suddenly feeling exhausted. She whispered, "Everything."

Andy felt out of breath. She looked into the other woman's eyes, her beautiful face still held in Andy's hands, so close to her own. Miranda took a shaky breath, and suddenly Andy was thrust back into reason. She quickly let her hands fall and moved her body away from Miranda. Closing her eyes, she focused on controlling her emotions and her pounding heart. She was sure she'd angered Miranda, or at least frightened her. Andy had never felt this kind of sudden rage before. It's so unfair. She slowly stood up, not daring to look at Miranda, but feeling the woman's eyes on her.

"Good night." She whispered, and quickly retreated into the safety of her room, leaving behind the person she loved more than anything in the world.

Once under the covers, Andy cried herself to sleep.

Chapter Text

On Monday, Andy called in sick. She spent her day in bed, sleeping, crying, and reading some of her favourite books, which suddenly no longer appealed to her as much as they had before.

What had seemed like an unusual crush on her boss had quickly escalated into something much, much bigger, and Andy had no idea what to do. She felt her heart was breaking for the other woman and the suffering she was going through, but it was killing Andy to see her, and hold her, and talk to her, all the while knowing she would never be Andy's. Close, but not close enough.

Andy rolled her eyes at her own self-pitying thoughts.

She hadn't seen Miranda since their conversation of Friday night. She had woken up in the middle of the night, at around 3 am or so. The memories of what had been said a mere few hours before came rushing back, and with the realisation that what she felt for Miranda went far deeper than she had ever expected, Andy barely managed to avoid a panic attack. With harsh tears running down her cheeks, she had packed her things, trying not to make much noise but not knowing if she had succeeded. Her mind was far away, and her body was working on autopilot. She had quickly dressed and made the bed before leaving her room. She jumped when she had accidentally banged her door shut, and had rushed in the direction of the door leading out of the suite. Andy's tears were chocking her as she passed the sofa where she had sat so close to Miranda, their glasses of wine still on the table, and Miranda's perfume still lingering on the pillows. Throwing her bag over her shoulder, Andy covered her mouth as a sob broke through. She was almost hyperventilating. She had to get out.

When she was out of the hotel, the night air slapped at her skin as she ran, not really sure where she was going. She was gasping for air, sobs wrecking her body. She finally stopped when she felt her legs burnings, bending over to catch her breath. The rest of the night was a daze. Andy vaguely remembered catching a taxi home and slipping into bed, where she once again cried herself to sleep for the woman that could never love her back.

.....-.....

Miranda was worried. Very worried. Today had been awful without Andrea. The young woman had called in sick, but Miranda wasn't completely sure that was true.

On Friday night, Miranda had just fallen asleep when she heard a loud bang. Startling awake, she could hear Andrea moving around the living room. She sat up in bed while she heard Andrea's quick, frenzied movements. She was wondering what on earth the younger woman was doing when she heard what sounded like a broken sob, and Miranda's heart froze. Andrea was crying. She quickly wrapped a robe around herself as she made her way to the door, wanting to talk to her and find out why she was upset. With Andrea's faint sobs tearing at Miranda's chest, she reached for the door handle. Just as she was about go into the living room, she heard the front door open and then quickly close again.

After that, complete silence. Andrea had left. All of a sudden, Miranda had felt a terrible pain in her chest, as if an iron fist were suffocating her heart, and she couldn't quite stand upright anymore. Andrea had felt. Leaning her forehead against the cold wood of the door and taking deep, steading breaths, Miranda knew that she had somehow lost Andrea, and she didn't know why.

Now, three days later, Miranda couldn't concentrate on the work before her. She could hear Emily typing away on her desk, while the other desk remained silent. She missed Andrea. Dearest Andrea. Taking a deep breath, Miranda closed her eyes and leaned her face on her hands, taking a shaky breath and trying to push away the stinging sensation in her eyes.

.....-.....

Andy woke on Tuesday morning with dark circles under her eyes and a broken heart. I hate this. Feeling sorry for herself, Andy made her way to the shower, determined to make it through the day without a meltdown. Miranda needs you. Put your ridiculous feelings aside and help her. Once this is over, you can drown in your misery or whatever.

When she arrived at the office, she quickly got to work. She needed a distraction, and some time to get herself into the comfort of old routine before she saw Miranda again. Half an hour later, she got a text from Roy saying Miranda would be arriving soon. Andy was out like a shot, quickly making her way out of the building and to the nearest Starbucks.

Exactly 17 minutes later, Andy walked into Miranda's office, coffee in hand and a fake, wavering smile on her lips. The older woman looked up and gazed at Andrea as the young woman placed the cup on her desk, made eye contact for less than a second and quickly went back to her desk. Miranda felt confused and very disappointed. She had expected the usual "Good morning, Miranda", accompanied by that blinding smile that always made Miranda's day brighter. Instead, Andy had said nothing. Worst of all, her smile had seemed forced, and her eyes... God. In her eyes, all the sadness in the world. She had seemed pale, and tired, and her cheeks were a little sunken. Miranda had no idea what had happened to the woman that Friday night, but it had affected her deeply. With an unsteady hand and a heavy heart, Miranda took her coffee and tried to concentrate on her work. She failed miserably.

.....-.....

The week carried on much the same way. Andrea barely smiled and always had a distant look in her eyes. Miranda was very worried for the girl, and wanted desperately to help Andrea like she had helped her. But Miranda didn't have friends or any experience in comforting people, so she had no idea how to go about it. For now, all she did was give her big tasks that were not useless, but not stressful either. Andrea seemed to be fine with this, but Miranda couldn't be sure, because the woman's face seemed expressionless, and she didn't look Miranda in the eye anymore. At first, Miranda had thought it was because of what she had told Andrea about not loving Stephen, and that Andrea was maybe disappointed in her, but then Miranda remembered the way Andrea had held her, and had defended her, and had told her that Stephen was wrong. She was confused about what could have gotten Andrea into such a state, but the divorce and the twins' continued silence seemed to be taking up a lot of her time and energy, and Miranda barely had time to dwell on the young woman, even though she was more worried than she cared to admit.

Andy, for her part, was trying to help Miranda as much as she often did, but she quickly found herself lacking the energy to do much else. She wasn't sure why this was. She was sleeping her usual hours, even if that sleep was often restless and more often than not she woke up in tears. Andy also felt numb. She had promised herself she would help Miranda, but the realisation that she was in love with the woman had gripped her senses, and the pain of it being unrequited love made Andy want to burry herself alive. She knew, deep down, she had been in love with the woman for a long time, only she hadn't noticed it until now. So Andy took every minute as it came, and simply hoped for the best: hoped that Miranda would have an easy divorce, that her children would come back to her, that she would find love in a man worthy of her, and that she would be happy. Andy wanted all of this for the silver haired woman, but when she thought of another man touching her, kissing her, loving her, it made Andy feel like she couldn't breathe, and suddenly she would feel trapped and like she needed to run away from everything around her.

She had considered leaving New York. She was desperate enough, and Andy felt that nothing in New York would bring her happiness anymore. The only thing that could make Andy happy was Miranda, and that was an impossible future. Maybe she would find some work in Ohio. It wouldn't make much of a difference if she left: her friends wouldn't miss her, Runway wouldn't miss her. Miranda wouldn't miss her. She had nothing here. Andy had decided that she would stay until the divorce was finalised, but then she would hand in her notice and go back with her parents, just like they had wanted her to. Every time Andy thought about leaving, a constant thought would plague her mind over and over again:

Miranda wouldn't miss me.

.....-.....

On Thursday morning, Miranda was at her wit's end about how to deal with her assistant. She could not bear to see Andrea like this, just the shell of a girl who had always seemed happy, with her easy smile and bright eyes. Which is why Miranda had come to a decision to put a stop to it.

"Andrea, come. And close the door."

Andy obediently stood from her desk and went into Miranda's office, shutting the door behind her. Standing before Miranda, she kept her eyes focused on the desk instead of the woman. If I look at her, I will burst into tears, and then die of heartache.

"Won't you look at me?"

Andy was surprised by the pleading tone in Miranda's voice, and she could never deny Miranda anything. Gathering courage and swallowing tears, Andy took a deep breath and raised her eyes.

Miranda was looking at her with her brow furrowed, and Andy would have believed she seemed concerned if it weren't for a voice in her head shouting, "She doesn't care about you!"

What Miranda saw in Andrea's eyes nearly undid her. The young woman seemed to be worse than ever, almost as if she were on the verge of collapse, and a darkness clouded her hollow, sad eyes. Swallowing past the knot that had gathered in her throat, Miranda looked down at her laptop, unable to look at the young woman in the eye anymore.

"Will you please book a room for tomorrow evening? The usual."

There was a pause where Andrea did not move. Miranda looked up again, opening her mouth to question the woman's inability to move, when Andrea spoke.

"No." She rasped. "Not the usual. I can book a single suite if you wish, but I can't come with you."

Miranda's heart dropped and her stomach turned painfully. She felt an awful sense of worry, anguish and fear rip her chest apart.

"Pardon?" Miranda hated hearing her voice so weak.

"I can't come with you, Miranda. I have other matters to attend to."

"Oh."

There was a long silence after that in which Miranda felt like she might throw up. She promised. She promised she'd stay with me. God, I should have known. I should have not let myself hope.

Grief, regret and guilt quickly taking over her, Andy watched as the emotions flittered across the woman's face before an expression of indifference slammed into place.

"All right. Don't bother booking it then."

"I'm sorry." Andy whispered, lowering her eyes.

"That's all."

Andy looked up at that, but Miranda was already focused on her work. She quickly returned to her desk, willing her tears not to fall. She hadn't been dismissed with that phrase for a few weeks now. She had hurt Miranda. She had broken her promise to the woman, and to herself, but Andy wasn't sure she could survive another night with the woman without doing something she would regret. Andy felt she would rather die than spend another night so close to Miranda and not actually have her.

From now on, Andy would have to help Miranda from a distance, even if it broke her apart.

.....-.....

The weeks went by, and nothing changed in Andy's life. Her sorrow had lessened slightly in exchange for throwing herself into her work, but she still barely smiled, and very rarely looked at Miranda in the eye. Andy could not bear the sight of Miranda anymore. It hurt too much. Every time she looked into the beautiful woman's eyes, something inside Andy would break even further.

Miranda, however, was feeling less miserable than before. Her girls had finally ended the silent treatment, and now called her every day. It had been difficult at first, and a little tense as the girls were still a bit reluctant to forgive her, but after a few calls, the girls seemed back to normal, and Miranda could not be happier about this development. The divorce was going extremely smoothly and would soon be over, thank God. Just a little over a week from now, her lawyers said. Stephen would not take a single penny from her, since he had cheated, and Miranda was well on the way to finally getting her life back under control. She still missed the girls, but they were talking to her now. Miranda had the feeling Greg had talked to them about why men often cheated, and the girls had come around slightly. Granted, they still felt their mother pushed everyone away, but now they didn't actually think it was her fault Stephen had cheated on her.

The only thing that still hurt Miranda, and this hurt her more than anything else, was Andrea. The sudden distance the woman had forced between them startled Miranda, and made her retreat further into the walls she had built around herself. Andrea had lied to her. She had looked into Miranda's eyes with her innocent, eager and sincere brown ones, and had lied to her. And Miranda had been foolish enough to believe her, and she hated herself for it. Have you learnt nothing? Miranda was unusually harsh at the office, and was even more vicious towards everyone. Except Andrea, of course. No matter how betrayed she felt, she could never voluntarily hurt Andrea. Instead, Miranda spoke softly to her, trying to get the young woman to look at her. She gave the girl important tasks that usually were Emily's job, but she thought Andrea was grateful for the distraction, so Emily got the useless errands now. Another thing Miranda did, which she hated doing, but couldn't help herself, was waiting for Andrea when the woman came to deliver the book. She would peer out of her study and watch as Andrea moved to put away the laundry and the Book. Every time Miranda watched her, Andrea seemed not to be paying attention to her surroundings, and seemed even more broken than at Runway. Miranda thought it was because when no one was watching, Andrea let her guard down, and the utter pain and sadness that would take hold of the young woman's eyes would make Miranda's heart clench painfully.

Three Fridays had passed since they last went to a hotel together. Three Fridays that Miranda had spent drinking herself into unconsciousness.

.....-......

On the Thursday before the third Friday away from Miranda, Andy went out. She didn't care she had work the next day. Two days ago, she heard from Lily that Nate had gotten his new girlfriend pregnant, and Andy snapped. She had failed Miranda miserably, all because she was going through an emotional crisis, and now Nate had gotten some girl pregnant, and it made Andy mad that he's happy while she's in such pain, and the feeling of utter loneliness was really getting to Andy, especially when she knew that the only person who could make her happy would never care for her in return. It was all too much for her, so when she finished delivering the book, she went to a bar.

Andy drank, and drank, and drank. It felt good to forget about Nate, about her friends, about her parents, about Miranda, about her future. In this bar, Andy felt free, and nothing really mattered anymore. Young men came up to her and bought her drinks, and Andy drank them all, and laughed for what felt like the first time in months. Then Andy saw this woman. A young, beautiful, blonde woman with blue eyes and a sexy smile. Andy, in her drunken state, walked over to her, and invited her to dance. Their bodies pressed together firmly, breasts to breasts and hips to hips. Andy closed her eyes, throwing her head back and letting the loud music take hold of her as the young woman's hands grabbed her hips, firmly swaying her to the beat, grinding against her. When Andy looked into the blue eyes and saw the fire in them, she licked her lips, and suddenly the woman was kissing her, grabbing her hair, moving her hips faster against Andy's. Andy responded in kind, feeling the tension leave her body as she kissed the other woman senseless, tangling her fingers in short, light blonde hair that reminded her of-

Miranda.

Andy stepped away then, startled, looking at the smirking woman with huge eyes. Suddenly, the resemblance Andy had seen at first looked anything but right. This woman looked nothing like Miranda. Andy had to get out of here. She wanted to be away from here. Andy turned quickly and moved away, leaving the confused woman behind as she tried to escape the dance floor, but she couldn't go anywhere. Dancing, writhing bodies surrounded her, and the smell of sweat and alcohol filled the air, and the music was too loud, and Andy didn't know which way the exit was, and she couldn't see past the mass of people surrounding her, and the blood started pumping in her ears, and her heart rate rocketed as the alcohol suddenly made her feel dizzy.

The last thing Andy remembers is the thought of how disappointed Miranda would be if she could see Andy like this. And then everything went black.

Chapter Text

On Friday morning, Miranda Priestly strode into the Runway offices and immediately noticed that Andrea's desk was vacant. She turned to Emily with a raised eyebrow, and the redhead began to shift in her seat.

"I've tried calling her, Miranda. She isn't answering her phone. I've rung five times already."

"Call her again. Immediately."

She went to sit at her desk, listening closely as Emily rung Andrea. After a few moments, Emily spoke.

"Finally! Why haven't you answered my calls? I've been trying to reach you all morning! Get your fat arse over here right now!"

There was a pause.

"What do you mean you're not coming into work? You already had Monday off!"

Another pause, and now Miranda was frozen in place, worry setting in the pit of her stomach. It was very unlike Andrea to skip a day of work, let alone two in one week.

"At the hospital?"

Miranda held her breath and closed her eyes. Please, please, please let her be all right.

"My God, Andrea! What on earth happened to you? ... You can't tell me? What the bloody hell does that mean? ... Oh please, that's a ridiculous excuse! ... Fine, forget it, but I'm not covering for you!"

Miranda had stopped listening to Emily's rant. Andrea. Hospital. Hurt. Something's happened to Andrea.

After a moment of Miranda's body not responding, she gathered herself and was out of her chair like a shot. She rushed to Emily's desk, extending her hand towards her assistant.

"Phone. Now."

Emily stopped mid-sentence and gave Miranda her phone, surprise written all over her face. Miranda ignored her and returned to her office, shutting the door behind her.

"Andrea?" Her voice was shaky, and her hands trembled, and her knees felt weak. Miranda sat, ready to hear horrible news.

"Miranda?"

Miranda closed her eyes. Andrea's voice sounded raspy and weak, but hearing it calmed her somewhat. She was well enough to speak to her, at least that was something.

"What's wrong, Andrea? What's happened?"

"M-Miranda, it's nothing, really. I just had to spend the night at the hospital, but I'm home now. I'm sorry I can't come into work today, and I'm sorry I didn't call sooner, but my phone died, and I couldn't plug it in until a couple of minutes ago."

"Andrea, stop talking. What happened?"

"Nothing, Miranda, really."

"It's not nothing!" Miranda shouted, losing her composure. She had a lot of pent up emotion, and knowing her Andrea had been in the hospital was too much. "You spent the night at the hospital, Andrea, there must be a reason for it! Now tell me!"

There was a long silence on the other line, and Miranda thought perhaps Andrea had hung up. Before she could check, she heard a small, raspy whisper come through.

"It's nothing, Miranda. It's not worth your concern."

And then the line went dead. Miranda stood there, hand pressed to her lips and eyes screwed shut while she tried to take deep, calming breaths.

If she only knew.

.....-.....

Andy spent the rest of the day recovering. She felt extremely stupid for her reckless actions last night, but she turned out okay, so it could have been much worse.

She had begun to panic on the dance floor. That, combined with the sheer amount of alcohol she had consumed, made her collapse. Someone at the club had called an ambulance, and when Andy woke in the hospital she'd felt weak and disorientated, but the doctors said she'd be fine and had released her early in the morning.

Andy tried not to think about the fact that she'd kissed a woman last night. She hadn't kissed a woman like that since her first year of college, when she'd had a fling with a girl named Becky. Andy was only experimenting, and Becky had been very attracted to her, so they'd spent a couple of months sleeping around and having fun, as so often happens in college.

But then Andy had met Nate, and she left Becky for him. She had felt bad, because Becky had started to show signs of wanting a more serious relationship, but the blonde soon found another girlfriend and seemed happy, so Andy didn't feel too guilty.

Andy wasn't sure what that made her. Was she gay? Bisexual? Do I have a thing for blondes? She didn't really know. The only thing Andy knew was that she wanted Miranda more than she had ever wanted anything in her life.

Andy sighed. Reaching across her pillow, Andy picked up her phone and saw two missed calls from Emily and one from Lily. Andy didn't feel like speaking to either of them; so instead of calling back, she let her mind wander back to the person who held her heart.

Miranda's divorce would be final on Wednesday. Andy was really happy about that, because it meant Miranda would be completely free of Asshole Stephen. But it also made Andy feel dread curl up in her chest until it was difficult to breathe.

Once the divorce was finalised, Andy would hand in her notice. She could no longer be around Miranda. It was making her question her own sanity, not to mention she felt like she was quickly descending into full-on depression. Andy hated it. She'd never been one to wallow in self-pity, or let anyone get in the way of her happiness. She was able to move on from things fairly quickly and usually recovered perfectly fine. This was different. There was a hole inside her that was slowly tearing her apart, and Andy had no idea how long she would last without going completely crazy.

For the past month, Andy had helped Miranda as best she could, given the circumstances. She had helped Miranda as a perfect assistant would, making her life as easy as possible and keeping her away from any damage regarding the divorce. She had blocked Stephen's number from the office, and she often spoke to Miranda's lawyers herself so they would not burden Miranda as much. She didn't think Miranda noticed, but then again why would she notice anyways? You are nothing for her. You were just a shoulder to cry on during a weak moment. Now she's happy. She doesn't need you anymore. You should leave before you end up throwing yourself off a bridge or something. She wouldn't miss you, so why stay?

Andy took a deep, calming breath, pushing those thoughts away. She only had a few more days to get through. Now, all Andy had left to do was solve the problem of the twins, and she would walk away from Runway. From Miranda.

She knew they were calling Miranda every day. They often called during office hours, and Andy would smile slightly whenever she heard Miranda's voice soften for her girls. She wished Miranda spoke to her like that, or looked at her with warmth in her eyes, or smiled a true smile. She wished Miranda would hold her tightly, and kiss her, and take the pain away. One time, when it had been only them two in the office, the twins were speaking to their mother, and Andy heard Miranda laugh - a real laugh - at something they had said. And the sound of her rich, happy laughter had been the most beautiful sound Andy had every heard. It was so beautiful she had wanted to cry.

Andy was determined to call the girls tomorrow. She had gotten closer to them since Paris, after they found out she was the one who had gotten them Harry Potter. Since then, the little monsters had taken a liking to Andy. Sometimes when she delivered the book, they would come down to say hello and talk for a few minutes. Even if Andy hated what they'd done to Miranda, she needed to speak to them and let them know she was their friend. She needed to convince them to return to Miranda because, even though they spoke everyday, Andy knew the woman missed her daughters terribly. Maybe if they come back she'll be able to laugh like that more.

With that plan in mind, Andy closed her eyes, willing herself to fall asleep.

It took hours to finally achieve it.

.....-.....

The next morning, Andy dialled Greg's mobile number. The perks of working for Miranda was that she had all of the woman's contacts in her phone, and Andy was going to take advantage of it.

"Hello?"

"Hello, I'm Andy Sachs. I work for Miranda. We've talked on the phone a few times."

"Ah yes, of course. What can I do for you?"

Andy took a deep breath.

"You see, this may sound strange, but I need to talk to the twins for a moment. You know how Miranda is. Are they available?"

"Erm, yes, of course." He sounded confused, but gave them the phone anyway.

"Hello?" A girl's voice said after a few moments.

"Hey! It's Andy."

"Andy?" This was Caroline. Andy recognised her voice, since it was slightly lower than her sister's.

"Yep! How have you girls been?"

"We're fine. School here sucks though, and we miss Patricia."

Andy laughed at that.

"I bet you do. Listen, can you and your sister talk for a minute? I have something to talk to you about, and it's kind of a secret."

"Okaaaay, hold on."

A short while later, Caroline was back on the line.

"Okay, you're on speaker, and we're in our room so dad won't hear you."

"Hey, Andy," Cassidy said. "So what's the secret?"

"Well, I needed to ask you girls something. Do you plan on going home any time soon?" Better cut straight to the point if you want any answers from the Priestly girls.

There was a long silence, and Andy felt her heart beating hard against her chest.

"I promise, I won't tell your mom," she added in the softest voice she could muster. "I'd just like to talk to you girls about it, if you're okay with that."

"We don't know," Cassidy began, hesitantly. "We started talking to her again, and she seems much better than before." Andy wasn't sure what Cassidy meant by that, but decided not to question her about it. "Why do you want to know?"

"Well," Andy began, hoping with all her might she'd get this right. "You see, your mom is kinda sad. I mean, she really misses you guys, you know? And I think she would be so happy if you came home. You should see the way she smiles every time you call her. She gets so happy every time you guys talk, but after a while she gets sad again, like she wants to talk more, you know? And I think it's making it very hard on her to go home and be all alone."

Andy waited, ignoring the pain in her chest when she remembered the woman's small, barely noticeable smiles every time she talked to the twins. There was a heavy pause on the other end of the line, and Andy feared she'd gone too far, until a small voice reached her ears.

"Really?"

Andy had no idea who had spoken, because the voice sounded teary and just a little trembling. For some reason, Andy felt this was a good sign.

"Yeah. That's why I wanted to ask you guys if you were planning on coming home."

This time, Andy had to make an effort in order to catch the whispered confession.

"We thought she was mad at us."

"What?" Andy asked, surprised. Now this she hadn't expected.

"Yeah." Caroline. It was Caroline speaking. "We were mad when she told us about Stephen, and we said very mean things to her. I think we went too far, because she barely spoke to us for the next few days, and she stopped calling us Bobbsey, and she barely left her study. At first we just thought she was sad about Stephen and what we said to her. But when we left we thought that maybe she was mad at us, especially for leaving without telling her, so we were scared to call. And when we did, she seemed happy, but we still weren't sure. We thought maybe she was still mad, and that she preferred to live without us."

"Oh, honey," Andy felt so much sympathy for the girls at this moment. They had grown on her after Paris, and hearing them this worried made her want to reassure them. "I promise you, there is nothing your mom would want more in the world than for you to come back. She was so sad when you left, she cried, and I don't know about you girls but I've never seen her cry before." Technically a lie, but Andy really needed to get to the girls right now.

"No, she never cries." Cassidy admitted quietly after a small pause.

"She's not mad at you. She was actually angry with herself because she thought you didn't love her anymore, and she was so sad that she could barely concentrate on anything for a whole week. Trust me, guys, she misses you so much, all she wants is for you to come home."

There was another silence after that, and Andy heard a sniffle. She was pretty sure the girls were crying.

"We'll talk to dad,” said Caroline.

"Yeah. We don't want mom to be sad. We were angry at first, but not anymore."

"That's okay, girls. Being angry is normal, but right now I think you should be with your mom. She needs you."

"Okay."

"Are you guys all right?" Andy asked as gently as possible.

"Yeah, we feel better now that we know mom isn't mad at us. But we feel kinda bad for leaving her." Caroline said.

"Yeah." Cassidy agreed, sniffling again.

"Don't worry about that, she would forgive you anything. You girls just think about it and talk to your dad, okay?"

"Okay." Came twin replies.

"I have to go now. Be good, okay? And if you need anything, you have my number."

"Thanks Andy."

"Yeah, thanks Andy. Bye."

"Bye."

Andy hung up, feeling very relieved that things had gone well. She got back into bed and under the covers, even though it was only 3 in the afternoon.

Even after thinking she had no more tears left, Andy cried, hugging her pillow tightly to her chest, wishing desperately that she was hugging Miranda instead.

Nothing left to do but wait for the divorce to be over, and then I will leave Miranda's life forever. And while I won't really know how to live without her, she will hardly even notice that I'm gone.

Chapter Text

The week went by with little change for Andy. She still did not want to speak to anyone, not her friends, not her parents. When she was at Runway, she spoke to people only when it was necessary, and now more than ever she avoided Miranda at all costs. Her days working with the woman were counted, and the feeling of dread increased as the hours passed. It was Tuesday. Tomorrow morning, the divorce would be finalised, and Andy would let Miranda celebrate or do whatever Miranda Priestly did after getting a divorce. Andy would wait until Thursday to hand in her notice. She would go into Miranda's office, say that she was quitting, and avoid any type of eye contact with the woman. Then she would pack her things and leave before she could throw herself at the woman's feet and beg for forgiveness.

If she took one look at Miranda, she would break apart, and Andy wanted to leave with her little amount of pride intact. She could not let Miranda see her crumble at her feet.

So Andy spent the past few days preparing herself for the moment when she would leave Miranda's life forever. Just the thought of not seeing Miranda every day made Andy want to vomit.

Oh, God, how will I get through this?

At least the girls were back. They had moved back into Miranda's house on Monday, and finally the woman seemed at peace with the world. She seemed calmer, and didn't lash out at anyone for the entire day. Overall, the week so far was going wonderful for Miranda. Her girls were back, she was getting rid of Stephen, and everything was finally falling into place. She would soon find Mr Perfect, and she would be perfectly happy. Without me.

Andy curled up more into her pillow. It was 2 am, and Andy had the feeling she would get very little sleep tonight.

.....-.....

Not too far from Andy's apartment, there was another woman who was experiencing the same kind of insomnia. Mirada lay awake staring at her spotless ceiling, not really sure what to do.

Her girls were back. Finally. She had spent all Monday with them, hugging them and kissing them until they were screeching at her to "cut it out". She couldn't quite believe they were back. It had all been very sudden.

They had called her on Sunday to tell her that they were moving back the next day, and that their father would drive them down at noon so the three Priestly women could have lunch together. Miranda had cried of joy. They didn't say what had made them change their mind, but Miranda didn't care right now. Her girls had returned to her, and that is all that mattered at the moment.

Their time apart had actually brought them closer together. Miranda had learnt not to take her girls for granted, and now she was coming home in time for dinner, after which they would huddle in the sofa and either talk or watch a movie.

Miranda couldn't be more pleased with this change in her life.

Not to mention the divorce. Quick and painless. Tomorrow was the day where she would finally be completely free of him.

Miranda was grateful that Andrea had taken on such a burden when speaking to her lawyers for her, and making her days so much easier. Andrea had even managed to reduce her hours so she could get into the office later in the mornings and leave earlier in the evenings.

Andrea.

Miranda still did not know why the woman had spent Thursday night in a hospital bed, and her thoughts never failed to make her nauseous with anxiety. Was she ill? Did she have some kind of sickness? Did she have an accident? Whatever it was, Miranda wanted to reach out for the younger woman. She probably would have, had the woman not been so painfully distant. She didn't even look at Miranda in the eye anymore. She barely spoke, barely lifted her beautiful brown eyes from the floor. She no longer smiled. She seemed pale and tired and like a completely different person from the bright, young woman who had breezed through life with a beaming smile and a light in her eyes. This would explain her going to the hospital. Maybe she received bad news. Maybe she's very ill, maybe she's in pain, maybe she's dying and - Oh God.

She was going to be sick. Taking calming, deep breaths, Miranda closed her eyes. She'll be okay. I'm sure nothing is wrong. If there was, she would have told you, or her doctor would have let you know.

Please, oh God, please, let her be all right.

.....-.....

Wednesday found the editor in chief out of the office for most of the day, and Andy felt quite relieved. She had left to sign the papers for the finalisation of her divorce. The press had caught wind of this and had returned to attack Miranda with a vengeance. Now that the divorce would be final, with no going back, they were chasing Miranda around while she completely ignored their presence, as usual. The things that were being said about her were incredibly cruel. Every time Andy saw a horrible comment about Miranda, she felt the very strong urge to hunt down all of those disgusting little shits who said such things, and throttle every single one of them with her bare hands.

Andy worked her hardest, making arrangements for Miranda for the next few weeks. She knew that whoever was replacing her was going to have to get used to the job, and would probably not be very good at it at first, so Andy wanted to save Miranda some pain by working as hard as she could.

When Miranda returned, she had a very satisfied look about her, and Andy wondered if she would look as happy if Andy was the one satisfying Miranda. Stop it! Don't start with that now.

The rest of the day passed with Miranda looking better than she had in months, and Andy looking the complete opposite. Even Emily had asked her if she was all right. Andy once again found herself lying through her teeth at that particular question, claiming she had a headache and just needed some rest. Emily didn't question her further.

When 6 o'clock came, barely two hours after she had arrived, Miranda was striding out of her office, ready to go home. Today she was having a celebratory dinner with her girls, and she was not going to let work get in her way of spending time with them. Not anymore.

After Miranda had left, Andrea dragged herself home, ready to flop in bed with sheer exhaustion for another sleepless night.

.....-.....

"So, girls, how is school going?"

They were at the dinner table, the three of them, eating a delicious meal that consisted of spaghetti and ice cream for dessert. The girls' "celebratory meal" was not Miranda's favourite, but she was willing to sacrifice her diet if it meant the girls were happy.

"Good. This school's way better than the one at dad's. Over there, nobody had any idea of what a normal wardrobe looks like. Plus, the food was nasty."

"Don't say the word 'nasty' Caroline, it doesn't sound nice."

"Fine, the food was bad."

"Did your friends miss you?"

"Yeah, although Sophie got a really bad haircut, which is weird, 'cause she said her mom took her to the best place in town to get it done." Cassidy said, wrinkling her nose.

Miranda chuckled. She had missed this so much. Her girls filled her life with such happiness, she had no idea how she'd managed to survive without them for an entire month.

"Girls, can I ask you something?"

Mutual hums came from the girls as they ate their pasta, peering at their mother with interest after noticing her uneasiness.

"What made you come back?"

There was a silence while the girls looked surprised, as if the answer was obvious. But Miranda had no idea.

"Don't you know?" Caroline asked.

"No. Should I?"

"Well, yeah, you see her every day."

"Who?" Miranda asked, furrowing her brow. The girls were talking in riddles now.

"Andy."

There was a pause as Miranda's sharp intake of breath almost made her choke. What does Andrea have to do with this?

"What about Andrea, darlings?" She forced her voice to be calm and gentle, but she knew she was probably overdoing it, because her heart had sped up just at the mention of the young woman.

"Well, she called us on Saturday and talked to us about coming back here with you."

More silence. Miranda had no idea what to say. Andrea had -

"What?" She asked, stunned.

"Yeah." Cassidy took over the conversation. "She asked us if we had any plans to come back soon. When we said we didn't really know, she told us that you were really sad when we left, and that it would make you really happy if we decided to come live with you again. Stuff like that. So we thought about what she said and we decided to come back."

Miranda was frozen in place, looking wide-eyed at her children. Dear God. She's the reason. She's the reason my children came back. She brought my children back to me. She - oh God.

"Oh, did we tell you that Angie got a boyfriend? He's a year older than us, but he's really cute and she told us that..."

Miranda didn't really hear the rest of the conversation. Her brain wasn't functioning properly. Andrea had called her girls. She had convinced them to return. Andrea, who didn't have to do that, took it upon herself to do this for Miranda. I need to thank her. Really, really thank her. Oh, Andrea...

For the rest of the meal, the twins chattered on about this and that, but Miranda could barely focus on what they were saying. Her mind was far away, thinking of the young woman. She had made a decision: she was going to ask Andrea to book a room at a hotel for Friday night, like they used to do, and she was going to get to the bottom of this. The woman looked like a corpse, and Miranda was going to demand she tell her why she no longer smiled, why she no longer looked at her in the eye, why she looked so broken. She could no longer watch Andrea suffer like this. The woman had helped Miranda more than anyone else ever had.

It's time to give something in return.

.....-.....

At 10:15 that night, Miranda waited in her study for the tell tale opening of her front door and the soft footsteps across her entrance. When she finally heard the rattling of keys, she stood, gathering her courage and steadying herself. She took calming deep breaths. It's now or never.

When she finally opened her door, Andrea was already leaving. Miranda silently rushed down the hall, knowing it was too late. Before she knew what she was doing, the name was already escaping her lips.

"Andrea!"

The front door was already closing when Andrea heard her name being called, but she did not have the will power to stop it from shutting, and she was too tired to stay at Miranda's doorstep and wait for the woman to come rattling off instructions for the next day.

She could not face Miranda right now. Not yet. It was taking all her strength to get through tonight and face the woman tomorrow. She was going to quit; she was going to save herself before she got even more hurt. Andy needed to survive.

Miranda stood in her entrance, staring at the closed front door for a long time, thinking that this door closing had a much larger meaning than it appeared, and suddenly feeling a bitter emptiness settle over her entire being.

The feeling lasted all through the night.

.....-.....

The next morning, Andy had to fight the strong panic she felt was coming. She could feel it lurking at the back of her mind, but she willed it to stay at bay, chanting to herself, "It'll be all right. It'll be all right. It'll be all right..."

When Miranda walked in, Andy tried her best to not look up as the woman strode past her desk. Her perfume hit Andy, and she was taken back to a memory that had haunted her for weeks. Miranda's arms around her, her face in Andy's neck, her soft skin just a layer of clothing away from Andy's touch. Miranda's silky hair running through her fingers, the woman's deep breath against her cheek as she slept, the weight of her body against Andy's chest. And Miranda's perfume enveloping her in a perfect embrace that felt a little too much like paradise.

"Andrea."

Andy looked up slightly, focusing her gaze on the woman, but not quite looking her in the eye.

"Come into my office when you have a moment."

Andy nodded. Lately she had felt so weak, so sleep-deprived, she could barely speak. Functioning as she normally would took up all her energy. Between the lack of rest and her little appetite, Andy wondered how long her body would be able to keep this up.

Today it will all end though. Today you will pack up your things and leave her.

Andy stood and walked into Miranda's office. Better get it out of the way already.

"Close the door, Andrea."

If Miranda's voice was slightly softer, Andy took no notice: all she could hear was her heart beating in her ears as she did as told. If Miranda looked at her with warmth and gentleness and worry in her eyes, Andy could not know: she didn't dare look for fear she might completely lose it.

Miranda took a deep breath, readying herself to do what she hadn't done in what felt like a long time: express an infinite amount of gratitude.

"Andrea, I-"

"I quit." The words came out before Andy could stop them, and she had to suppress the tears that were gathering behind lowered eyelids. She doesn't care about you!

There was a very, very long silence after that. Miranda felt she could not speak, or draw breath, or move. What? She's-She's quitting? Her heartbeat suddenly went from haltering to pounding in less than a second. This can't be happening. Please, don't let this be happening. I can't lose her. I can't.

"Wh-What?" Her voice sounded weak and raspy, even to her own ears, and Miranda would have cringed at the sound if she didn't feel like she might faint. She's leaving me. Andrea is leaving me.

"I'm quitting. I can't work for you anymore."

To Miranda's utter disbelief and dismay, tears began to blur her vision, and Andrea's hunched figure lost focus, and Miranda wanted to shake the girl.

"Why?"

"I'm sorry, Miranda." It was killing Andy, but she had to do this. She had to move on, or the pain would consume her whole, and then there would be no going back. Miranda would destroy her.

"Andrea," Miranda felt a the tears about to spill past her eyes, but she couldn't let the girl walk away. She had to do everything in her power to keep her close. I need her. I need her more than I've ever needed anyone in my life. "Andrea, you can't quit. We have to talk about this. You need to give a reason for quitting, and we have to find a solution! You can't quit." She knew her voice was showing her panic, but she did not have the will to hide her emotions.

Andy had begun to tremble in her effort to keep herself together. She hadn't thought leaving would be this hard. Miranda wanted to solve this. Why on earth would she want her to stay? She needed to get out of this office, away from Miranda. She needed to leave right now, or she would completely fall apart.

Miranda felt her heart clench painfully when Andrea stood, still not looking at her. This was it. Andrea was leaving her. She had to do something. Now.

Andrea turned, and Miranda tried to think of ways to make the young woman stay. She began to panic when her mind came up blank. She had nothing. What the hell is wrong with me? She's leaving! And she was. Andrea's hand was almost at the door handle. Suddenly, Miranda snapped, and shot up from her chair, hands outstretched to her Andrea.

"Andrea, please!"

That made Andy pause. There was something in Miranda's voice that made her freeze. I never could deny her anything. She didn't dare turn to face her, and she focused instead on her trembling hand, outstretched, ready to make the escape. She took a deep breath, willing her tears not to fall. But then she heard Miranda's whispered plea.

"Please."

At that, Andrea finally turned, and Miranda's heart broke when she saw tears streaming down the young woman's beautiful face. Why is she crying? God, she's beautiful even when she cries. At least Andrea was actually looking at her in the eye. She was clearly surprised to hear Miranda pleading, but the young woman seemed so torn Miranda barely paid it any mind.

"Andrea, please, let's talk about this, all right?· She said as softly as she could. "Why don't we book a room at a hotel tomorrow, and we can talk, alright? I have something to tell you that is very important." She could keep the tremor in her voice as she said, "Can you wait until then before leaving me?"

Andy thought for a moment. She wasn't sure it would be wise for her to spend another Friday night at some hotel with Miranda, but maybe it would give her some sort of closure. Maybe, just maybe, it would be a good choice in the long run. She wasn't sure she would be able to live with herself if she let Miranda down just at the end of their time together. Besides, I can never refuse Miranda Priestly.

Slowly, Andy nodded, lowering her eyes to the floor once more.

"Thank you." Miranda sighed, relieved beyond belief that she had gotten through to the girl. "You can take today off, and tomorrow if you wish. But please come with me on Friday. I have to speak with you. After that, you may leave, or stay, or do whatever you wish. But first, let me talk to you."

Andy nodded again. She cleared her throat, hoping her voice didn't tremble too much.

"I won't come into Runway tomorrow, and I think I'll go home now, but I'll see you on Friday. I'll send Emily the details."

"All right."

There was short silence as Andy waited for some kind of dismissal, but something told her that the dismissal wouldn't come, so Andy rushed out the door before she would combust.

What the hell have I done?

.....-.....

Thursday and Friday passed in a daze for both Andy and Miranda.

Miranda was in turmoil. She couldn't believe Andrea wanted to leave Runway. Leave her. Miranda's theory that Andy was terribly ill was getting more and more into her head, to the point she wanted to call Andrea's doctors herself and demand they tell her everything about the young woman's medical history. Except Miranda didn't know who her doctors were, and she hoped to persuade Andrea into telling her what was wrong tonight. Maybe Miranda could get the woman to open up, and it could go two ways: either Miranda was put out of her misery if Andrea told her she was all right, or she would be completely shaken if Andrea confirmed her fears.

Besides, Miranda really wanted to thank Andrea for her efforts with the girls. And with the divorce, and for the comfort she gave Miranda, for holding her while she cried. For everything. Miranda wasn't sure what she would say, or where she would start. All she knew was that she needed to express her immense gratitude. Andrea had gone far beyond her job requirements, and had given Miranda more care and support than anyone else had ever given her. God, she's one special creature, and I love her for it.

Meanwhile, Andy was about to tear her hair our. She had no idea what Miranda wanted to tell her that was so important. She had no idea why Miranda had almost begged Andy to see her tonight. And she had no idea why she'd agreed to go. Andy was feeling helplessly lost, and so she spent the entire morning and afternoon in bed, wishing this whole situation was a dream and that she would somehow wake up back in time, when she hadn't worked for Runway, when she had been truly happy, and when she hadn't been desperately in love with Miranda Priestly.

Maybe a meteor will hit planet Earth and I won't have to face her at all.

Andy scoffed. God, I'd prefer to be killed by a bunch of rocks falling from the sky rather than face La Priestly. Well done, Andy. You really are pathetic.

With that, Andy curled in on herself and tried to take a nap. She failed miserably.

.....-.....

 

At 8 pm that evening, Miranda Priestly strode into the Four Seasons Hotel. The clerk at the front desk immediately handed her a key saying, "Suite 731, Ms Priestly. Have a nice stay."

Miranda barely looked at him as she took the key and got into the nearest elevator. She used the ride to calm her nerves and get her chaotic emotions under control.

Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out...

She didn't know how tonight would turn out. All she knew was that there was something deeply wrong with her Andrea, and she wanted to help, even if the young woman decided to leave her in the end.

When she got to the suite, she found Andrea sat on the couch, wringing her hands and biting her lip while a deep furrow marked her brows. It took a few short seconds for Andrea to even realise Miranda was stood at the doorway watching her, but when she did she jumped up and silently gestured for Miranda's coat and bag. Miranda waved her off and draped her things over one of the chairs around the dining table. She made her way to the couch and sat. Andrea followed suit, and then began pouring them the red wine the young woman must have ordered for them. How long has she been here for?

Andy was a wreck. She felt small and the urge to run away was intense, but she was determined to stick it out for as long as she could bear. She should get straight to the point. Yes, cut to the chase, it'll make things easier.

"What did you want to talk about?"

Miranda took a deep breath.

"First, I would like you to answer a few questions."

"I can't promise anything." Andy immediately felt trepidation at Miranda asking her questions. Oh, God, if she has caught on to my feelings for her, I am done for.

"Are you in good health?"

"What?" Andy didn't know what she expected, but it certainly wasn't this.

"You spent the night at the hospital last week. I want to know why, and I want the truth, Andrea."

"I'm fine, Miranda. It was nothing. I collapsed, that's all."

"Did the doctors say anything? Are you telling me the truth?" Miranda squinted her eyes suspiciously, still unsure whether to believe the young woman or not.

"Of course I'm telling the truth! The doctors ran several tests, and they said I was fine! I just forgot to eat that day, is all."

"You forgot to eat?"

Andy nodded, hoping she was being convincing. She was not about to tell Miranda she had drunk a little too much, made out with some woman, and then began to panic because her thoughts were plagued by Miranda herself.

"And you don't have any kind of illness? Nothing?"

"No, I don't. Why are you asking me this?"

Miranda gave a deep sigh of relief. Thank God, oh thank God. She's fine. She's okay.

"Nothing, I was just worried."

"What?"

Miranda looked up quickly. She hadn't meant to say that. Why on earth had she said that? Andrea was looking at her in stunned silence. Change the subject.

"Well, now that we have that clear, I wanted to thank you, Andrea."

"What?" Andy knew she was repeating herself, and probably looked quite stupid at the moment, but this conversation was going from unexpected to down right bizarre. Was this real? Was this actually happening? She's thanking me for what, not helping her as I should have? For letting her down? For wanting to quit?

Her confusion and shock must have shown on her face, because a small smile graced Miranda's beautiful lips before taking a deep breath to compose herself.

"I know you called the girls. I know you are the reason they came back to me, Andrea. I wanted to thank you for that, and for speaking to my lawyers so I wouldn't be overwhelmed with the divorce, and for adapting my schedule to my situation so that I would be better, and for bringing me coffee whenever you felt I needed it even though I didn't ask for it, and for bringing me food when I forget to eat. I wanted to thank you for being there when Stephen cheated, for offering me such compassion and support, even though I don't really think I deserved it. Thank you for taking care of me, for giving up your Fridays in order to make me feel better, and for keeping me company. Thank you for holding me when I broke down, for drawing me that bath, for giving me so much, Andrea. I am forever grateful."

Andy was speechless. Her breath had caught somewhere in her throat, and now she felt she couldn't draw breath. Her heart was pounding so hard she feared Miranda could hear it, and she felt tears sting at her eyes. Before Miranda could see them, she quickly lowered her gaze, biting her lip when it began to tremble slightly.

She noticed. She noticed, and she's thanking me.

She felt soft fingers touching her chin, tilting her head, urging her to raise her eyes to the beautiful woman that sat before her, but Andy shut her eyes tightly. Two fat tears slid down her cheeks, and she fought down a sob that wanted to break free. Miranda's heart-felt gratitude had hit home, and Andy felt herself collapse. The breaking point she had feared was upon her, and there was nothing she could do to stop it.

"Andrea." Miranda whispered, closer than Andy had expected.

Still, Andy did not open her eyes, and she felt her chin tremble slightly. She furrowed her brow in concentration as the sob that was curling up in her chest like a snake about to strike got harder and harder to contain.

"Andrea, look at me."

Andy finally did. She opened her eyes and took in the beautiful sight that was Miranda. Now sitting closer to each other, Andy could see the flecks of green that adorned the woman's enchanting eyes, and she felt herself get lost in them. Andy's breathing sped up as Miranda's orbs filled with warmth and a gentleness Andy had never seen there before. Andy's entire body tingled as the fingers at her chin moved to gently cup her cheek.

"Thank you."

Miranda was very surprised at her own words. She knew she had wanted to express her gratitude, but knowing the young woman was all right, and seeing her so broken, and then seeing her cry, made something in Miranda snap. As she looked into Andrea's eyes, she saw an affection there that Miranda had never seen directed at her before. Andrea's brown eyes pulled her in, and pure adoration shone in them. Miranda couldn't quite place the other emotion there until Andrea's lips parted slightly to draw a shaky breath.

And that's when Miranda lost control of her actions.

They were kissing, soft lips caressing one another's as both women trembled with the electricity that shot through both their bodies. Andy released a relieved sob into the kiss, and Miranda immediately wrapped her arms around the younger woman, softly caressing her back and down her sides while Andy's fingers gently touched Miranda's hair. Before they knew it Miranda had pulled Andrea onto her lap and was kissing so softly and gently that Andy felt more treasured than ever before. Neither of them had felt anything like this before. This utter, blissful relief that made their lives feel complete for the first time in a very long time.

Andy was still crying, because the emotions coursing through her were too much, and kissing Miranda was overwhelming her senses, and the feel of the woman's arms wrapped around her tightly made Andy feel like Miranda needed her.

Miranda could hear gasps and soft moans filling the air, but she couldn't be sure who was emitting them. Perhaps it was the both of them. Kissing Andrea felt better than anything else she had ever experienced in her life. Thank God they were sitting, because her knees would not have been able to take these sensations. She had never felt like this before. Andrea, oh, Andrea...

"Miranda, Miranda, Miranda." The young woman mumbled between kisses.

It was then that she realised she had spoken the young woman's name aloud, and that they were quickly running out of breath. Softly parting from the kiss, Miranda looked into the Andrea's eyes as she reached up to wipe the tears from her cheeks. Both breathing heavily, they gazed at each other, fear and confusion mere background feelings compared to the roaring love and desire that clouded their judgement.

"Miranda, I-"

Before she could finish, Miranda was kissing her again, this time much more deeply. She grabbed Andrea's hips and pulled her closer, making the younger woman gasp. Oh, God. Straddling Miranda was Andy's new favourite place to be in the entire world.

Andy's nails tenderly scratched Miranda's scalp, which made the older woman shiver beneath her touch and groan in pleasure. Tongues began a passionate dance as hands began to roam more freely. All the pent-up fear, worry, desperation, agony, desire, and love were coming up to the surface like a raging wave that was crashing their bodies together. They melted into each other as the kiss grew in its intensity. Andy's head was swirling. I'm kissing Miranda. Miranda is kissing me, and holding me, and - OH!

Andrea broke the kiss as she gasped, feeling Miranda's hand had quickly moved up to fondle her breast. Andrea arched into her touch, and Miranda took advantage of the position. She began to kiss Andrea's creamy neck, sucking slightly on her pulse point and softly nibbling on the woman's earlobe. The brunette was almost hyperventilating, writhing on Miranda's lap and her shaky hands holding Miranda's head in place as the older woman racked her teeth lightly down the side of Andrea's neck. She felt completely in control. Until Andrea moaned long and loud. The sensual body in Miranda's grasp arched further, bushing their breasts together, and the little control Miranda had left dissolved when she heard her name fall from Andrea's lips in a gasp.

"Miranda."

"Andrea-"

"Don't stop. Please, Miranda, don't stop."

Miranda gently kissed the trembling woman in her arms. This kiss was very different to the last one. It was gentle, and soft, and soothing. Slowly, Andrea's laboured breathing slowed, and her body stopped shaking as she melted into Miranda's embrace.

Miranda broke the kiss, and gathered the young woman up against her body when Andrea leaned in to burry her face in her neck.

"Miranda." Andrea's soft sigh caressed Miranda's skin, and she smiled.

"Darling, we might be comfortable elsewhere, don't you think?"

Andrea moved back at that, and looked at Miranda as if she'd never seen her before.

"What?" Miranda asked. Had she said something to wrong? Was she going to fast? Maybe she doesn't want this as much as I do. Maybe -

"You've never called me 'darling' before." Andrea said, a beaming smile slowly gracing her slightly swollen lips.

"Oh." Miranda didn't really know what else to say.

Andrea leaned in then, softly running her lips over Miranda's.

"I like it."

Miranda smirked then.

"Well, darling, what do you say we go somewhere more comfortable than this sofa?"

"Yes, Miranda." Andy teased.

Miranda laughed at this, and Andrea's heart melted at hearing the beautiful sound, and she watched in awe as Miranda tilted her head back and her face lit up with joy.

And at that moment, Andrea thought she had never felt happier.

Chapter Text

They somehow made it to one of the bedrooms. Andy wasn't sure how exactly, since she was too busy kissing Miranda's intoxicating lips. Their hands roamed, tangling in hair and gripping hips as they moved towards the bed. The sound of soft moans filled the room, but neither knew exactly who was making them, and neither particularly cared.

There were very few thoughts passing through their minds. Between how incredible it felt and how breath-taking the other woman was, there was a word that repeated itself in both their minds.

Finally.

Andy, unable to wait anymore, began to unbutton Miranda blouse with trembling fingers. Miranda smiled gently at her and, seeing that the other woman was struggling, took it upon herself to discard her own blouse. Andrea watched in breathless awe as more of the woman's creamy skin was revealed. When Andrea saw white lace as the blouse parted, her brain froze, and she stared at Miranda's magnificent beauty.

Miranda's libido rocketed at the expression on Andrea's face: desire. They were both breathing a little heavily, and their hair was tousled, and their lips a little swollen from the overwhelming kisses. Miranda though they must make a very strange picture indeed.

But when Andrea licked her lips, Miranda lost all capacity of thought, and she pounced.

She was all over Andrea at once, tearing the young woman's clothes off as she assaulted her lips once more. Andrea responded in kind, pushing off Miranda's blouse and pulling at the zipper of her skirt.

Soon enough, they were lying on the bed in nothing but their underwear. Miranda lay beneath Andrea, and she regarded the woman hovering above her with a pounding heart. She was feeling self conscious of her body, knowing that it was not a young one, and for a moment feared Andrea would turn away from her. But the look in Andrea's eyes told her that she needn't worry. The woman was looking at her with darkened eyes that held such deep emotion Miranda felt her breath catch. She is so beautiful.

Andrea was experiencing a very similar thought. Miranda lay beneath her, chest heaving, encased in beautiful white lace that adorned her skin perfectly. Cheeks flushed, lips parted, pupils dilated with want and hair a perfect mess. She looked at Andy as if she was a treasure, and she couldn't help but feel like everything was finally right in this world.

They regarded each other for a moment as they tried to calm their breathing, trying to process that this was in fact real, and not just another dream. Miranda raised a hand to softly caress the young woman's cheek.

"Andrea." She whispered, looking deep into dark brown eyes.

And Andrea snapped. She leaned down to kiss the woman's lips, and then her cheeks, her chin, her jaw, down her neck. Miranda shivered under her delicate touch as she felt Andrea's full lips flutter over a very sensitive spot beneath her ear. Andrea noticed and softly nibbled there, licking and kissing. Miranda gasped, and arched her neck.

Andrea took full advantage of this, spending several minutes kissing the elegant neck she had wanted to worship so many times before, while Miranda moaned softly and trembled with need.

My God, how can she do this to me? I've never felt like this in my life. Has she done this before? I have never - OH!

Andrea had nibbled her way down to her cleavage and was currently kissing right between her breasts. Miranda's hands came up to tangle in the woman's hair as her breathing hardened. Andrea's deft fingers snuck behind her and unclasped her bra, slowly bringing down the straps and removing it from her body.

When Miranda's breasts came into view, Andy lost her breath.

I knew it. Nobody could have better breasts than Miranda Priestly.

She began placing soft, teasing kisses on the creamy globes, running her tongue underneath one of them and making Miranda gasp and arch her back. When she finally took a nipple in her mouth, running her tongue over the sensitive peak, feeling how it hardened upon her tongue, Miranda moaned her name. Andy's ministrations became vigorous, desperate, and the woman beneath her took it all.

Body trembling, Miranda felt she would combust from arousal. Sex had never been extraordinary for her. It wasn't bad, but nothing like what she'd heard and read when people discussed it. Now, however, she believed every word. Her body felt like it was on fire, and there was a deep warmth on her lower stomach that was recoiling and tightening with every little thing Andrea did.

Arching into Andrea's mouth, Miranda thought the woman would be the death of her if she didn't get a move on.

"Please..." She croaked. "Please, Andrea..."

Andy sensually moved her lips down Miranda's body, kissing and licking every spot within her reach. Miranda gasped when she felt Andrea's delicate tongue dip teasingly into her belly button. Andy placed her hands on Miranda's hips, feeling the shudders that were possessing Miranda's body, and then kissed over the thin material of her underwear. Miranda had never in her life thought she would beg, but she already had, and she was ready to do it again. She could feel Andrea's breath over her most sensitive part of her body, and when the woman's fingers slowly pulled down her underwear, she felt she would explode from anticipation. Just the mental image that Andrea's position brought made Miranda clench in need.

She thought she heard Andrea hum "Miranda", but she couldn't be sure, because Andrea's lips had begun kissing her folds, and her tongue was caressing her warmth in a way that made Miranda want to sob from sheer pleasure.

Miranda heard herself make a noise that was somewhere between a moan and a shriek as she felt Andrea's tongue touch her throbbing clit, and her back arched as her fingers gripped Andrea's hair and she thrust her hips into the warm mouth pleasuring her so thoroughly.

Andrea was in heaven. Miranda's smell, Miranda's taste, Miranda's touch, Miranda's sounds... It was nearly overwhelming, but Andrea revelled in the sensations that were coursing through her body, unable to truly believe that Miranda was letting her do this.

I'm going down on Miranda Priestly.

She opened her eyes and gazed up at the woman, and nothing could have prepared her for the sight that awaited her.

Miranda was panting, breasts heaving with each intake of breath, eyes shut and head thrown back, cheeks tinged a beautiful pink and a sheen of sweat covering her enticingly, her iconic hair sticking to the nape of her neck. She was writhing underneath her, the fingers at Andy's head pulling almost painfully at the brown locks. Andy moaned at the sight, and Miranda answered in kind as it sent ripples of pleasure through her body. The young woman began to lick with vigour, dipping her tongue into Miranda, making the woman whimper and moan. Miranda began to thrust her hips urgently into Andrea's mouth, needing more, more, more...

Andrea understood, and excruciatingly slowly inserted two fingers in Miranda's tight, wet opening. The woman moaned and gasped, starting to beg all over again.

"Please, oh God, Andrea please - YES! There, oh, yes, darling, right - ah! - there. Don't stop, don't stop, don't stop, don't stop - Oh, Andrea!"

Andrea had begun to curl her fingers, and started thrusting into the woman at a faster pace, hitting her right on the spot that made Miranda lose control. Andy paid special attention to Miranda's clit, swirling her tongue over the sensitive bud as the woman thrashed and panted, biting her lower lip to stifle screams of pleasure. Oh, no. I'm not having any of that.

"Let go, Miranda. I want to hear you." She said in her most commanding tone, her gaze still fixed on the woman who consumed every aspect of her being.

At that, Miranda looked down at Andrea and locked her eyes on dark brown ones clouded with desire. The sight of Andrea's face between her legs as she used her fingers and tongue on her made Miranda break apart. Her orgasm was upon her, spreading through every cell of her body and reaching deep into her soul.

Miranda threw her head back and arched as her body tensed and her toes curled. She heard herself scream something that sounded suspiciously like "Andrea!", and her hands pulled on the woman's hair as she was lifted off the bed in ecstasy.

Andrea watched, fascinated, sucking Miranda's clit into her mouth and loving Miranda's responding moan and tremor. Miranda Priestly having an orgasm was probably the most extraordinary sight she had ever seen.

So, so beautiful. So perfect.

When Andy finally slowed her ministrations to a stop, Miranda slumped back onto the pillows, panting and feeling like her body could melt right through the mattress. Andy crawled up her body and kissed her breathless lips. She didn't remove her fingers from inside Miranda, and she felt the tight muscles relax after the last spasm left her body.

Miranda's breathing calmed somewhat, but then Andrea was moving her fingers again, and Miranda's arousal was back full force. She was obscenely wet, and would have been embarrassed if it weren’t for the satisfied look in Andrea's eyes. Soon enough, Miranda was moaning again, holding on to Andy's shoulders as she felt another orgasm fast approaching. Andrea was alternating between looking at her and kissing everywhere she could reach. When Miranda's walls began to tighten again and her orgasm was just a few thrusts away, Andrea spoke.

"Look at me, Miranda."

Miranda's eyes fluttered open, and if the sight of Andrea alone almost made her come, a third finger joining the thrusting into her did. She felt stretched and full and it was her Andrea doing this to her. Her beautiful Andrea who was looking down at her as if she was something incredible.

Tears sprung to her eyes as Miranda came again, a long wail leaving her lips as she arched into the other woman.

When she regained her bearings, she felt lips caressing her cheeks, and she realised she was crying and that Andrea was kissing her tears away. The young woman's arms enveloped her in a soft embrace, and even though she felt sticky and sweaty and absolutely spent, for the first time in her life Miranda felt that she had finally found home.

"Are you okay?" Andrea whispered softly as she lay next to her, looking into her eyes and touching her hair.

Miranda gave a weak smile.

"I have never been better."

Andy beamed at that, and leaned in to kiss Miranda's lips. As the kiss got more passionate, Miranda rolled them over, and when Andrea's legs parted Miranda settled between them.

"I've never done this before." She confessed, a little embarrassed and feeling a little self-conscious now that her senses were returning.

Andrea placed her hands on either side of her face, gently cupping her cheeks as they looked into each other's eyes.

"There is nothing you could do that would make this any less perfect than it already is." She said.

Miranda smiled at that, and began kissing the creamy expanse of skin from Andrea's jaw down to her breasts. Noticing that the woman was already panting and trembling under her touch, Miranda made quick work of the undergarments and cupped Andrea's slick folds. The woman moaned and arched into her touch, taking hold of the sheets and gripping them tight. It was clear this wasn't going to last.

Miranda inserted two fingers, and Andrea gave a loud gasp and then a whimper, moving her hips to the slow thrusting of Miranda's fingers. Miranda watched, entranced. She hit a particular spot then, and Miranda smirked at Andrea's reaction.

"Yes! Oh, God, Miranda!"

Miranda began thrusting in earnest, loving the feel of Andrea tightly gripping her fingers. Andrea, for her part, was lost in the feeling of Miranda inside her and on her and around her. This is where Andy was meant to be.

When Miranda's thumb began to rub against Andrea's clit, she was lost. Tears rushed to her eyes as she looked at the woman hovering above her, she came with a shout and with Miranda's name falling from her lips. The older woman watched in amazement as Andrea's head was thrown back and her body tensed as her walls contracted around Miranda's fingers.

When Andrea slumped back, Miranda rolled off her to lie next to her and pulled the teary woman close. Andrea buried her face in the crook of her neck, as she let the tears fall. Miranda didn't say anything. She felt Andrea needed a moment, and she was correct. Andrea's emotions were spinning out of control. A naked Miranda priestly was holding her, and her skin felt soft against Andy's, and Miranda's perfume mixed with the smell of skin and sex was better than Andy could have ever imagined. It was all so surreal, Andy had to refrain from pinching herself. With all the emotion storming inside her, it was a miracle she wasn't downright sobbing. Miranda. Andy kissed her shoulder and then rested her head there, catching her breath and calming herself as Miranda ran gentle fingers up and down Andrea's spine. This soothed Andy more than anything else possibly could, and soon the tears stopped and Andy felt like she was herself again. It seems like this has been emotional for the both of us, Miranda thought.

"Miranda?"

"Yes?"

Miranda smirked at hearing that both their voices sounded a little rough.

"Thank you."

At this, Miranda looked down at the young woman, confused.

"Whatever for?"

Andrea lifted herself slightly on one elbow and gazed at the beautiful woman before her, hair sticking to the nape of her neck, cheeks still a little pink, and a very satisfied and relaxed gleam in those blue eyes she had fallen in love with.

"For giving me the chance to show you how much I care about you. Because I do, Miranda. I-"

Andrea stopped herself and lowered her gaze, taking a deep breath. You have to say it. It might be your only chance if she ends up regretting this and pushes you away.

"I love you, Miranda."

Miranda froze. She hadn't expected that. It would be a little too soon for anybody else, but they had been dancing around each other for months, since before Paris. For some reason Miranda didn't feel panic or like running away. She actually felt extreme relief and joy, and she didn't make an effort to hide it.

She leaned in and captured Andrea's lips with her own.

"I love you too, you silly girl." She said softly as she looked into warm brown eyes.

It was Andrea's turn to look stunned.

"You - You do?"

"Of course, my darling."

Andy felt her heart soar. Miranda didn't say 'yes', she said 'of course', like it was obvious, like it was inevitable. And she had called Andy 'my darling' again. She could certainly get used to that. She beamed and kissed Miranda's lips. I don't think I'll ever get tired of kissing her.

Miranda laid back down again, too tired for another round. In all her life, she only had multiple orgasms once before, and it had been on her wedding night with Greg. Of course Andrea would be different to anyone else I have ever been with. It's only our first time together and she has already made every single sexual experience of my life seem like some sort of joke.

That's when it hit her.

"You've done this before, haven't you?"

Andrea looked confused, so Miranda refrained from rolling her eyes and explained.

"With another woman."

"Oh." Andrea was silent for a while, looking at Miranda with a little trepidation curling in her stomach. "Well, yes, I have. But I've only been with just the one, and it was in college so..."

Miranda smirked. Of course it was in college.

"Well, I must admit, I'm quite glad you did. I have never in my life felt like that before."

Andrea smiled smugly at that, the trepidation gone at seeing Miranda's lips quirk. She was amused.

"Oh, really?" Andrea said, giving Miranda a sexy smirk of her own and using a flirtatious tone she hadn't used in a long time. "Well, if you don't mind, I'd like to do this again. I have many other tricks up my sleeve."

Miranda shivered at the thought.

"Hmm, I can't wait to learn every single one of them. But first, I have to rest. I'm not a young woman anymore, and these past weeks have been unusually tiring for me."

"I shall wait with bated breath." Andrea teased, a warm smile on her lips. They were going to do this again. Thank God. I couldn't possibly survive if she pushed me away after this.

"Honestly, Andrea." Miranda rolled her eyes good-naturedly and fought a smile.

They relaxed into the embrace, their fingers softly caressing one another as they felt their bodies melt under the covers and into each other's arms.

They fell asleep feeling happier than they remember ever being.

Chapter Text

When Miranda woke up the next morning, it took a few moments to realize where she was. She was naked, and an equally naked warm body was pressed against her. Miranda smiled. Andrea's arms were firmly wrapped around her, and her soft breasts were pressing against her back. She could feel the young woman's breathing against the nape of her neck, and Miranda's heart fluttered. They were spooning. Spooning. Miranda Priestly did not spoon.

Once again, Andrea's insufferable habit of making herself an exception to every rule I have is proving to be quite unbreakable.

Slowly, Miranda turned in the embrace, coming face to face with Andrea's sleeping form. She looked peaceful, and in a deep slumber. Has she slept at all lately? Miranda turned her head slightly to check the time on the alarm clock and almost let out a surprised yelp. It was almost 11 in the morning. Miranda couldn't recall another time she had woken up so late in her life. It looks like we both needed this beauty sleep, then. Speaking of beauty...

Andrea began to stir, and when her warm eyes finally opened, a beaming smile graced her lips.

"Good morning, beautiful."

Miranda blushed at the compliment. It had been some time since anyone called her that and actually seemed to mean it.

"Good morning, darling. And I believe I look anything but 'beautiful' at the moment." Miranda rolled her eyes half-heartedly. She had no make up on, her hair was a mess, she still had sleep in her eyes and probably had crinkles on her cheek from the pillow.

Andrea scowled at that.

"Well, I'll just have to prove you wrong then."

And then Andrea was on top of her, kissing her fiercely and making Miranda feel like the most desirable woman in the world.

.....-.....

An hour later, they finally managed to pull themselves away from bed, and decided to take separate showers, because otherwise they would take another hour or so before they could eat breakfast, and both women felt quite famished.

After they were both showered and clothed in comfortable lounge wear, they ordered a huge breakfast from room service consisting of pancakes, eggs, fruit and coffee. Miranda was reluctant to eat the pancakes at first, complaining that it would do more harm than good to her body, but then Andrea pushed a plate full of them in her direction, and when the young woman began eating with vigour, giving little sighs and moans of pleasure, Miranda couldn't help but try them.

She ended up eating three entire pancakes on her own.

When she had finished, Andrea was staring at her with a smug grin, and Miranda couldn't help but glare at her and kiss the grin away. The kiss alone made Andrea's eyes soften, and for several moments she gazed at Miranda with brown orbs full of warmth and love and affection. Miranda had to turn away in order to get her feelings under control, because if Andrea kept looking at her like that, she's do something stupid, like ask the young woman to marry her and spend the rest of her life with her. I couldn't possibly live without her.

Andrea, for her part, was walking on air after waking up in Miranda's arms, her skin soft beneath Andy's fingertips and the smell of sex still in the room. Andrea could not think of a time she had felt happier than when she woke up to Miranda's beautiful face and breath-taking smile. She still could not completely wrap her mind around the fact that Miranda loved her back, that all this time she had spent in utter despair and agony, the woman had returned her feelings. How on earth could I ever think about leaving this woman? I couldn't leave her for anything in the world.

They spent the little of what was left of the morning catching up on work. They sat on the couch, as usual, and worked in comfortable silence. Andy didn't have a lot to do, since she wasn't sure she still worked for Runway, given the new circumstances, so while Miranda went over some photos, she decided to update her CV and did a little research on potential jobs she could take up as journalist. She wrote down several subjects she was interested in, and dropped down some ideas for potential articles. She still had to talk to Miranda about the new changes in their relationship and what those changes would entail, but Andy didn't think it could do any harm to get a little work out of the way.

Almost three hours later, Miranda set down her things and stretched her back, throwing her arms over her head and giving a little sigh as she felt her back give several pops. Andy watched, entranced, immediately thinking back of how the woman's back had arched in a very similar way when making love. Gulping and taking her eyes away from the enticing body, Andrea tried to get back to her work, only to put everything away with a huff 10 seconds later. When she looked at Miranda, the older woman was looking at her with a smug smirk on her face. Andy mock glared at her. Oh, she did that on purpose! Why the little minx -

"Honestly, Andrea, stop scowling. It's not my fault your mind wonders..."

Andrea huffed and glared more intensely at the older woman. Miranda let out a chuckle and leaned towards Andrea, giving her a soft kiss. Andrea couldn't help but melt under Miranda's talented lips, and a sigh escaped her right before Miranda drew back.

"Better?" Miranda asked with a wicked glint in her eye.

"You are evil."

"So I've been told. Now, I wouldn't mind continuing with our prior activities from this morning, but I'm afraid you left me feeling quite sore, and I doubt my body could take any more of you without breaking in two."

Andrea shivered.

"Hmm, I left you sore, did I? Interesting. I guess I'll have to do that much more often as punishment for being a tease."

Miranda's breath caught in her throat at the though of Andrea 'punishing' her. Oh, we will definitely have to explore that notion. Andy caught Miranda's heated expression and was quite satisfied with herself.

"See?" Andrea continued, leaning back into the pillows with a self-assured smirk. She looked at Miranda right in the eye and purred. "I can play dirty too."

Miranda shuddered. Oh, God. Focus, Miranda.

"Yes, I can see that." Miranda took a deep breath. "Andrea, I believe we should talk about certain things don't you, darling?"

Andrea would have been worried or fearful had Miranda not added that term of endearment at the end. As long as Miranda called her 'darling' in that warm, soft tone of voice, Andy knew that everything would be all right.

"Of course. Yeah, sure," she said with a smile as she sat up.

"I was thinking... maybe it would be better if you stopped working for me. I don't think it would be good for our relationship if you were to work for me, and personally I don't think I would get any serious work done with you so close all the time." Miranda smiled.

"I think I would be in a very similar position." Andrea chuckled. "So, I quit, effective immediately. We can say I quit on Thursday, in case some people felt it was indecent to start a relationship with me still working for you. People would believe it since I left in the middle of the morning and I haven't come back."

"Yes, that's a good idea. Although I wouldn't worry about what others might think."

Andrea startled at this.

"You want people to know?"

Miranda thought for a moment. Suddenly, she remembered her girls, and the press, and the divorce that had been finalised mere days ago, and how it might affect Andrea's career prospects.

"Not yet. I highly doubt the press will go easy on us, and I don't want to make the girls suffer through that again so soon after the divorce. And I want you to have a secure job before people find out. Otherwise, they could say that I'm the reason you got the job, and it would lessen your credibility. I don't mind contributing, but I think that, for your sake, you should try to get it on your own."

"I completely agree. If I'm perfectly honest, I was hoping you would say that. I have to tell my family, and I don't think my parents will be very happy. Then again, they aren't happy with me anyways, so I don't think it'll do much more damage than has already been done. And I think Caroline and Cassidy should be told before anyone else. I'd like to get to know them better. I really like them, and I really don't want them to suffer because of me."

At that, Miranda cupped Andrea's cheek. She knew her girls could be difficult, just like their mother, but to hear such sweet words about them coming from Andrea's lips, and the worry in her eyes, made Miranda realise that the girls weren't going to be a problem at all.

"And they like you very much. Believe me, darling, they will be happy that I finally found someone they actually care about, and someone who doesn't treat them like they're six. I'm more worried about the press, your job, and your relationship with your parents at the moment, so I think it would be a good idea if we told as few people as possible."

"The twins are the only ones who need to know, really. And Nigel, if we want." Miranda cringed at that slightly, but didn't comment, so Andy took it as something for a later discussion. "My parents can find out in a while. We're still not talking, so I doubt they'll be asking me about my love life any time soon."

"I'm sorry, Andrea."

"What for?"

Miranda shrugged.

"For the situation with your parents. For the hell the media will give us both because of me. For any complications that are sure to come our way. For whatever has been happening to you lately that made you lose your brightness. And I'm sorry in advance for all the things I will say that I don't mean, all the late nights at work, all the 'ice queen' moments, and for generally being someone impossible to live with. I will try my best, but I can't promise to be the perfect partner you deserve."

"Hey, hey, hey," It was Andrea's turn to cup Miranda's cheek as she kissed her lips. "Let me tell you something, Miranda. I respect the work that you do, and I will never get in the way of it. I love how passionate you are, and how hard you work, and I will understand that sometimes you won't always be there because you have things to do. And that's okay, as long as when you're with me or the girls, there is no work, just us: no distractions or stress or pointless arguments. You are not an impossible woman. Just because your useless, imbecile, utterly idiotic exes were unable to show you how perfect you are does not make the fact any less true. You are perfect to me, Miranda, and I can hardly believe that I have you."

Miranda's heart fluttered in her chest. Her Andrea had used words to once again render Miranda's emotions into chaos. How can she think so well of me, after what I have been like in the past?

Miranda leaned in and gently kissed Andrea, trying to convey how grateful she was, how much love she felt towards her. Keeping the tears at bay was a challenge, but then it seemed Andrea caught onto something she had said and pulled back.

"What do you mean 'whatever has been happening to me that made me lose my brightness'?" Andrea asked with a frown.

"Well, you have been acting strange for the past couple of weeks. You seemed tired and weak, and sad. It was like you weren't really living anymore. You wouldn't look at me, but everyday I could see it in your eyes that something was wrong, and it was tearing me up inside. Will you tell me what happened, darling?"

There was a long pause in which Andrea looked at her with a stunned expression and a bitterness in her eyes that made Miranda's heart clench. Andrea shut her eyes for a moment as she took a deep breath.

"Miranda, I don't want you to be upset. Please, don't push me away, I couldn't bear it." Andrea paused and lowered her gaze, not wanting to see Miranda's disappointment when she expressed how utterly pathetic she was. Miranda, for her part, was incredibly worried, and her heart had sped up. Whatever Andrea was about to tell her, it would not be good. "It was you, Miranda. You did nothing wrong, it was just that I... I couldn't bear the thought of you getting a divorce, because even though I was glad you were getting rid of Stephen, I knew that the next Mr Priestly would be on his way, and when he'd make an appearance in your life I don't think I would be able to handle it. It was killing me to see you everyday, and have those glorious Friday nights with you, and hold you, and talk to you. Because it was never enough. I realised I was hopelessly in love with you, and I knew that you would never even give me a second glance. I was heart-broken, but I wanted to help you in any way that I could, and I felt so utterly pathetic and guilty and terrible for not being able to help you more. I'm sorry, Miranda, but I just couldn't bear it."

There was a very long silence after that. Andy still didn't dare look up, and she readied herself for some sort of dismissal, or Miranda telling her she never wanted to see her again. She wasn't expecting to see a trembling hand reach towards her face, lifting her chin and making her meet blue, teary eyes. Andy was shocked to see Miranda's eyes so open, conveying such deep affection and sadness behind her unshed tears.

"Oh, my darling. My Andrea. I am the one who's sorry. I should have done something to help you. I should have told you about all this long ago. I'm so, so sorry. And, God, there will never again be another 'Mr Priestly'. You are the only one, Andrea. It's you." Miranda heard her tremble in her own voice, but couldn't care less as she drew the younger woman into a tight embrace. "Is this why you wanted to quit?" Then realisation slammed down upon Miranda, and she quickly drew back, eyes wild and voice rising. "Is this why you spent that night at the hospital? Oh, God, Andrea-"

"No, Miranda. That was not your fault. That was me being immature and careless and absolutely pathetic. I got news that my ex-boyfriend, Nate, got his new girlfriend pregnant. That, on top of everything else, made me do something stupid that I deeply regret. As for me quitting, yes, it was because of that. I didn't feel right having such strong feelings for my boss, especially one that was way out of my reach, so I decided I needed to get away. Although now I realise it would have been pointless, because I could never escape from you Miranda. You are stuck in me and there is no way I could ever forget about you."

"Oh, my darling," Miranda felt tears flooding her eyes once more. Her emotions were a complete mess, raging from relief, to agony, to joy, to guilt. She had never felt so off-balance in her entire life. "I could never forget about you either, Andrea. I don't think there will be anybody else better than you."

They kissed again, and this time it was full of passion and desire and hope.

Chapter Text

The kiss, which had started out slow and sensual, soon became desperate, with both women struggling for air as their tongues caressed one another in a passionate dance. Hands roamed, tangling in soft hair and fondling full breasts. As Andrea pinched Miranda's nipple, the older women moaned, and Andrea was immediately tearing her clothes off to get to soft skin. Soon enough, Miranda found herself naked except for the thin material covering her most delicate area of her body, and she was pushed backwards on the sofa until she was lying down. Andrea quickly tossed her own shirt off and quickly moved between Miranda's legs, looming over her and locking gazes with darkened blue irises.

They were both breathing harshly, their breaths mingling together with the proximity of their faces. Miranda felt desperation crawl in her stomach as her need spiralled out of control. She needed Andrea to take her. Now.

"Andrea." She moaned, pleading, begging.

Andy pounced at that. Soon, her lips were assaulting the creamy expanse of skin of Miranda's elegant neck, licking and sucking as her hands cupped soft breasts. Miranda groaned, toes curling with desire and feeling wetness pool between her thighs. Andrea became slightly rougher at the sound, and she bit down on Miranda's neck. Pain pierced Miranda where her lover had sunk her teeth in, making her cry out, and she loved it. Andrea's tongue darted out and ran over the bite, making sure to leave a mark. She had no idea what had come over her, this possessiveness, this need for control, but Miranda seemed to enjoy it, and she was revelling in this submissive part of the older woman. Andrea felt the strong need to take Miranda and never let her go.

Suddenly as desperate as the woman underneath her, Andrea began to kiss her way downwards and made quick work of Miranda's knickers. Soon enough she was teasingly blowing on Miranda's wet folds, and the woman was trembling in anticipation.

"Please, Andrea, please, I - OH!" Miranda threw her head back as Andrea began to eat her with furious intent, like someone in the dessert who had found water after days of dehydration. When Andrea harshly sucked on her sensitive clit and ran her teeth lightly over it, Miranda couldn't help a loud "Yes!" of ecstasy. When Andrea stiffened her tongue and plunged into Miranda's core, Miranda could only let out a strangled shriek as Andrea's tongue ruthlessly massaged her walls.

Andrea kept lapping at Miranda's essence, circling her clit, wanting to take it all in, to consume Miranda whole.

She wanted to make Miranda Priestly scream.

She slowed her ministrations to a painful pace, and just when Miranda was going to complain about the sudden change, Andrea plunged three fingers into Miranda's core as far as they could go. Miranda arched, eyes widening before rolling back as her lips formed a silent "O". Andrea started pounding her fingers in earnest while her tongue quickly, ruthlessly, circled the little spot of nerves that made Miranda tremble and gasp. The older woman could do nothing but grip the sofa cushions and try to take in air whenever she could. It seemed her body could no longer even take in oxygen as she felt her orgasm overtaking her. Eyes shutting tightly, back arching even further, Miranda screamed as she experienced the most powerful orgasm of her life.

When she came to, Andrea was laying draped over her, caressing her cheek and a mixture of lust and tenderness filling her almond eyes. Miranda took a shuddering intake of breath as she looked at her lover, bewildered and completely head-over-Prada-heals in love.

"My God, Andrea. You are going to be the death of me."

Andrea chuckled and a wicked glint came to her eye that sent a shiver through Miranda's well-sated body.

"Believe me, there are a lot of other things I have in mind for you. We have barely even started."

.....-.....

That evening, they decided to stay another night at the hotel, fully intending on taking advantage of their private time together, where no one could reach them and no one could judge them. They had a lovely dinner while talking of this and that, and Andrea could barely look away from Miranda. The older woman looked stunning: no make up, silver hair brushed but not coiffed, and a shine in her eyes that told Andrea all she needed to know. Miranda smiled a lot through the meal, more times than Andrea had ever seen before, and she could not help but watch the glorious woman in awe and fascination. God, she is the most beautiful creature I have ever seen.

"Why are you looking at me like that?"

They were sitting on the couch with glasses of wine, and Miranda had caught Andy staring while they drank in comfortable silence.

Andrea blushed and looked away.

"Darling?" Miranda questioned, curious now.

She took a deep breath and focused her gaze once again on the woman of her dreams.

"You're just... You're so... I - "

"I am just what, Andrea?"

"You're just so beautiful I can't keep my eyes off you," Andy blurted, blushing.

"Oh, don't be ridiculous, Andrea," Miranda snorted, rolling her eyes. "I am no such thing. I know what I look like at the present moment and I do believe the alcohol has affected your senses."

"I'm serious, Miranda. I have no words to describe how breath-taking you are."

At this, Miranda looked at Andrea with a serious expression, looking into brown eyes as if trying to discover their truth. Andrea put her glass down and took Miranda's hands in hers, softening her expression and letting her emotions shine in her eyes for Miranda to see.

"I love everything about you. I love the way your eyes crinkle at the corners whenever you find something amusing. I love the way your voice softens when you talk to the girls, or the way it sounds when you're in the throes of passion. I even love the way you can make grown men cry just by using your deadly tone. I love the way your lips move when you speak, and how they quirk up when you try to hide a smile, and when you purse them in displeasure it makes them look just a little too kissable for my own sanity. I love the way you smile and the way you laugh, because the sight is almost blinding, and it changes your whole face, and it lights up your eyes. Oh, your eyes, Miranda. They are a soft blue, but most people don't see that they have green and golden flecks just around the irises. And they can be so gentle and show so much love that I will never understand how some people could ever call you 'Ice Queen' when your eyes can hold such warmth for the people you love. And I love your iconic hair, and I love your soft neck, and your elegant shoulders, and your delicious breasts, and the thin scar under your bellybutton that shows the love you have as a mother, and the small lines on your hips that show how wonderful and strong your body can be and how it can create life. You are a strong, wonderful, beautiful woman, Miranda, and I love every single thing about you."

Miranda stared at her, lips parted in amazement. She couldn't believe someone actually felt those things towards her, and yet Andrea's eyes held such honesty and such love that Miranda did not doubt the truth behind her words. It was overwhelming, and suddenly she felt extremely grateful and fortunate to have Andrea in her life.

"Oh, darling," she whispered shakily as she drew Andrea into a tight embrace. "I feel the same way about you. There is no one that could make me happier, and there is no one I would rather love than you, my darling. You are my treasure, my angel, and I don't know what I could do without you."

They held tightly to one another, basking in the love they shared, feeling comfort and happy and at home in their embrace. After several long moments, Miranda kissed Andrea's lips softly, trying to show her everything she felt just with the touch of her lips, because words were simply not enough. When they drew apart, Andrea needed answers.

"Miranda, what on earth could make you think that you are any less than perfect?"

"I think you forget that I've been married twice, my dear." She said with a chuckle that sounded bitter to her own ears. "Believe me, I do not look the same as I did when I married my first husband. At the time, Greg thought I was beautiful, with tight muscles and flawless skin and perky breasts." Andrea opened her mouth to argue, but Miranda put her hand up to silence her protests. "However it is that you feel now, there is no point denying that my body has changed over the years, especially after being pregnant. Anyway, after I had my girls, Greg began to see me less and less desirable. He encouraged me to wear make up at all times, he rarely bothered undressing me completely in the odd night he wanted sex, he no longer looked at me like I was something special. Once he woke up before me, and saw me without make up, and he looked at me as if he barely recognized me, then told me that I looked too plain, that he liked me more with make up on. Then, with Stephen, well... there were no good years when he saw me beautiful. He acted like Greg had been in our last years of marriage. But I wanted to make it work, so I did all I could to please him."

Andrea looked at Miranda, horrified and shocked. Before she could process her own words, she spoke up.

"What fucking assholes! Are they blind? Who the fuck - " She suddenly shut her mouth, teeth clashing with the force of it, when she realised the manner in which she was speaking in front of Miranda Priestly.

To her utter surprise, Miranda laughed. Andy composed herself before looking up at the older woman. Miranda held such tenderness in her deep blue eyes that Andrea felt her breath catch.

"Seriously, Miranda, why on earth did you marry them?"

"Well," Miranda started, giving a great sigh, as if she were about to recite a long, painful Greek tragedy. "I loved Greg. We had been courting for two years before we got married, and he was intelligent and funny and caring. I thought he was great, and after so many people telling me that he was the perfect man for me, I believed it to be true. Two years after our marriage I found out that I was pregnant. It was a complete surprise, because we had been careful. Greg didn't want children. Not at the time anyway. I was scared of telling him, but I had to because I quickly started showing. When I told him, he went into shock, but then he seemed to accept it. He didn't help much, and during the beginning of the pregnancy I was mostly alone and scared that I wouldn't be a good mother.

"When I was five months along, we learned that they were twin girls, and Greg seemed to be very happy with this. He began to help more, and we talked of names and he seemed like he actually wanted to have them. I felt so relieved. Anyway, the girls were born, even though there were complications, which is why they had to be born by C-section. Cassidy was too small, and the doctors though she wouldn't make it." Miranda took a deep breath and quelled down the tell tale agony that came every time she thought about that awful experience. "But after two days she was stable, and our worries went away after we were finally allowed to take them home. After that it was all about the girls. We focused solely on them, and we forgot about our crippling marriage and our arguments.

"But when the girls turned one, it all went back to how it was before. During the next few years work caught up with me and I started working long hours again, Greg started being distant and started sleeping in the guest room. It all went down hill, and four long years after the girls' first birthday he filed for a divorce for no apparent reason. I saw it coming, but I hadn't expected it to come out of nowhere, so it took me by surprise. But I knew there was nothing left to do, so I agreed. He said that I could have custody of the girls as long as he got two weekends a month and some holidays, so it was all rather smooth. For the first few years we remained on acceptable terms for the girls. We could at least talk to one another and be in the same room.

"When the girls turned ten, two years ago, it all got much better between us. We were both married to someone else by then, but the girls wanted us both at their birthday party, so we agreed and after the party he stayed for dinner. We talked for hours, catching up and remembering the good times of our marriage. Somehow, all the bad memories melted away, and now we are - not exactly friends - but we've learned to respect one another, and we can do each other favours if the need arises. Besides, he's never gone to the press regarding anything about me, so I thank him for that. He's a good man, really. It's just that we were not as well suited as everybody said we were."

There was a silence after that while Miranda took a long sip of her wine and Andy stared at her in amazement. The more she learnt about the woman, the more she wanted to know. It warmed her heart that Miranda felt comfortable enough - trusted Andy enough - to say all these things. This was huge coming from Miranda, since she didn't open up to many people. It seemed to Andy she was the exception to this.

"Wow, Miranda. Thank you for sharing that with me. I feel lucky to know more about you."

Miranda chuckled at that.

"Yes, well, that story has a relatively happy ending. Stephen, however, is a different matter. I already told you that I married him for all the wrong reasons, and now, three years later, I can't even speak to him in a civil manner, let alone be in the same room without him throwing one of his childish tantrums. I'm sure the divorce was a blessing for him. Now he can have as many affairs as he likes without me getting in the way of any of it."

"Well, if it means anything, I hate his guts."

Miranda laughed again. She realised that she would be doing that a lot more often now that Andrea was in her life the way she had wished for so long. The happiness that realisation brought her made her lose her breath and her fingertips tingled, and she somehow knew that this was it. This is what all those books, all that poetry, all those love songs were about. Miranda had never understood them. Yes, she had loved Greg once, and she loved her girls, but she had never understood the idea that a person could mean your entire world, that your entire day could change with just a smile from that one person. Looking at Andrea's smile right now made Miranda realise that she would rather die than live a day without the beautiful brunette in her life. Feeling emotional all of a sudden, Miranda stood up and extended her hand for Andrea to take.

"Shall we go to bed, dearest?"

Andrea's smile grew into a beaming source of brightness, and Miranda couldn't help but smile in return as she watched brown eyes fill with tenderness and love.

They quickly retired to the bedroom, discarded their clothes and slipped into bed, quickly seeking each other's warm touch. After murmurs of "I love you", they spent the night making slow, passionate, exquisite love, proving to one another just how beautiful they were.

Chapter Text

The next day, Miranda and Andy went to the townhouse for lunch. The girls were returning from their weekend in Connecticut with their father, and Miranda wanted to have lunch with them. When Andy had suggested they see each other when Miranda had some free time during the week, Miranda had given her a strange look. "Why would we wait till then? Come have lunch with us. The girls will be happy to see you." Andy had beamed and agreed, heart fluttering in her chest with love for the older woman.

Now, minutes before the girls were supposed to come, they were setting the table while stealing small smiles and looks filled with affection.

"I'm going to go freshen up a bit before they come. I'll be two minutes," said Miranda.

Andy watched the enticing body as it sauntered out of the room and up the stairs. Just as she placed the last fork in place, the front door opened.

"Mom! We're home!" came twin yells.

"Hey girls," Andy said as she made her way to the twins.

Exited shrieks of " Andy! " was her response.

"What are you doing here?"

"Your mom invited me over for lunch, is that okay?"

The girls gave her a strange look.

"Mom doesn't invite many people over for lunch," Cassidy said.

"Yeah, especially her assistants," Caroline frowned.

"Well," Andy said, trying to keep a calm, serene expression on her face. "I don't really work for you mom anymore."

"What?!"

"Don't worry," Andy quickly said, "we're friends now, and I think I might come around more often. We can hang out as much as you girls want now."

"Oh."

"Okay. That's cool."

Andy sighed in relief. If the girls were okay with Miranda and her being friends, that gave her hope that they wouldn't mind about them being... something more.

"Girls," a velvety voice came from above them.

All three turned towards the stairs, and Andy almost lost her breath when she saw Miranda stood on the stairwell, one fine hand elegantly placed on the railing, a smile lacing luscious lips and a brightness in her eyes that made Andy's stomach flutter.

"Mom!"

The girls rushed forward and Miranda quickly stepped down the remaining steps to embrace her daughters.

"Hello my darlings."

Andy stepped back, taking in the scene before her. There was little she loved more than seeing Miranda be motherly and loving with the twins, and the way Miranda closed her eyes briefly when she pulled her daughters close to her chest made Andy's lips twitch upwards.

"Girls, go put your things upstairs before lunch. Then you can tell me all about your weekend."

The girls did just that, and as their footfalls heavily ascended the stairs, Miranda turned to her lover with an outstretched hand. Andy quickly stepped towards her and took the soft hand with a smile. Miranda leaned in and softly kissed her lips, but before Andy could respond to her touch, Miranda stepped back with a gentle smile and a tug of the hand.

"Come along, Andrea. Lets serve lunch while the two beasts get ready."

"Yes, Miranda," Andy grinned.

.....-.....

Lunch was delicious. Miranda had made a tasty salad to share between herself and Andrea, and some pasta for the four of them. They sat at the table eating joyfully as the girls recounted their weekend away with their father. During the dessert, however, things got a little awkward.

"So are you two, like, best friends now?" Cassidy said over a mouthful of apple pie.

Miranda froze, while Andy chocked on her water.

"Well, Bobbseys, would you be okay with Andrea being mommy's best friend?"

"I mean, yeah, we would. But it's a little sudden." Caroline said with a curious look on her face.

After sharing a look with Miranda, Andy leaned forward onto her elbows and took a deep breath.

"The thing is, girls, I really like your mom. She's really important to me, and has been for a while. I care about her a lot, which is why we decided that I would look for a job somewhere else in case things got weird. It's hard to be best friends with your boss, you know? My new job won't be as awesome as working for your mom, but we can see each other like friends instead, which is loads better."

When she finished her small speech, Andy glanced at Miranda to check if it was all right to speak to her children in this way. When she looked, however, Miranda had an affectionate smile on her face and a shine in her warm blue eyes. She was looking at Andrea like she held the entire world, and Andy thought it was exhilarating. They stopped gazing at each other before it got too obvious and looked at the girls instead.

"Do you understand, darlings? Is it okay for Andrea to come over more often?"

"Yeah. We kinda get it now."

"Yeah, Andy's cool."

At this the young woman grinned and her posture changed to comically prideful. She looked at Miranda with an expression that said 'You heard that? I'm cool!' Miranda could only roll her eyes and try to hide a smile.

They made quick work of the rest of the pie and then the girls went upstairs to finish their homework while Miranda and Andy cleaned everything up. While Andy rinsed, Miranda dried, and soon they found a quick, coordinated pace that worked for them both. Seeing Miranda do such regular chores like cleaning the dishes made Andy feel at home and very much privileged to get to see the older woman like this.

"That went well," Andy said as she finished rinsing a plate and handed it to Miranda to dry.

"Yes it did. I told you they like you. Oh, and that little speech..." Suddenly Miranda was behind her, pressing Andrea against the counter. Andrea put down the dishes before she could drop them at the feel of Miranda's full breasts pressing against her back. Miranda's hands gripped her hips and her nose nuzzled her neck before soft lips dragged up to caress her earlobe. "Expect full compensation later."

Andy shivered at Miranda's whispered promise. The feel of Miranda's lips against her skin teased Andy like nothing ever had, and suddenly it was difficult to breathe. Before she could draw breath, let alone give any form of reply, Miranda was gone, getting back to work on the dishes like nothing had happened. Andy pouted but didn't say anything. The compensation will be worth it.

By the time they finished, it was almost 2 o'clock and the girls came downstairs having completed their homework.

"Now we'll have the rest of the day free!" Caroline grinned with an air of pride.

"Mom, can we go take Patricia for a walk and get ice-cream on the way? Pleeeeease?"

"Girls, you just had lunch," Miranda complained, rolling her eyes. "I swear, your stomachs are endless."

"Oh, come on, Miranda. I kind of want ice cream too. Besides, it's a sunny day and we should spend it outside."

Miranda looked at the three faces before her, the three people she loved most in the world, and couldn't help but feel like everything had finally fallen into place in her life. She wanted to laugh at their 'puppy faces', their eyes enlarging and lower lip pouting slightly. She sighed heavily, she had looked forward to a calm day at home to catch up on some work. But how can I refuse when they look at me that way?

"Fine."

"Yay!" came two twin cheers, and soon enough they were running up the stairs to change into warmer clothes.

"Watch the stomping!" Miranda shouted after them, giving another deep sigh as the girls' raucous moved further up the house. "Honestly, the little beasts might as well have elephant feet."

Andy laughed and took Miranda's hand.

"They're wonderful, Miranda."

Miranda grinned cheekily.

"I know."

.....-.....

The walk was peaceful. They made their way to Central Park where Miranda sat on a bench while she watched Andrea play soccer with the twins, Patricia running around behind them. The girls' laughter made Miranda smile, and she was quite surprised to see that Andrea was actually very good on her feet, and the young woman taught the twins a few tricks. Andrea got tired before the girls though, and so came to sit with Miranda. They watched the girls in comfortable silence, enjoying each other's company and basking in the sunlight. When the girls came demanding ice cream, Miranda obliged, and they made their way to a near-by ice cream shop. After ordering chocolate for Cassidy, vanilla for Caroline, raspberry for Andrea and mango for Miranda, the four of them made their way back home, each eating their ice cream cone with not a care in the world. Even when Miranda saw a passer by take a picture of them, and soon after a flash coming from behind some trees, she couldn't bring herself to care. She was surrounded by happiness and love, and nobody would stand in the way of that.

By the time they arrived at the townhouse, it was nearly 5, and Miranda managed to extract herself from the small group to go to her study and get some work done. While Miranda worked, Andy went upstairs with the girls to the playroom. They wanted to show her their new video game, and Andy found that she had lost the capacity to deny anything to any of the Priestly women.

The twins taught her how to play Mario Kart, and Andy quickly became very good at the game. So much so that she was beating both girls and was teasing them about it while the girls scowled at her and demanded another go.

Before they knew it, it was nearly 7 p.m. Miranda finally finished going through everything and as she made her way up the stairs to search of her three troublemakers, she heard loud laughter. She couldn't help but smile as Andrea's laughter joined the two more childish ones. They really are getting along.

She came to the playroom and leaned against the open door frame, taking in the scene before her. Her Andrea was sprawled on the floor writhing in laughter as the twins tickled her ruthlessly, two wide grins on their happy faces.

"You can beat us at Mario Kart, but you can't bear us at tickle war!" Caroline giggled.

"Stop! Oh, please, stop! You're killing me! Ah!" Andrea said between gasps for air and shrieking laughter, trying helplessly to roll away from the twin monsters.

"Girls," Miranda chuckled.

The girls stopped at the sound of their mother's voice and looked up. Worried they had gotten in trouble, they quickly lowered their gazes guiltily.

"Sorry mom."

"I'd rather you didn't kill Andrea. She promised me a few favours, and I owe her a few myself."

Andrea blushed at this and looked away, sure that she'd be unable to keep her hands to herself if she looked at Miranda's smug smirk any longer.

"Okay," Caroline relented. "Sorry Andy."

"I'll get back at you girls for that," Andy said with a fake glare and a teasing grin.

"Yeah, you go ahead and try," Cassidy rose to the challenged. Remembering Miranda, however, she focused her attention on her mother. "Mom, can we watch a movie?"

"Okay, but not Mean Girls. If I watch that one more time, I will go absolutely crazy."

"Fine. Andy, what do you want to watch?"

"Oh, I don't mind. You girls can choose."

"No, no," Caroline said sternly, resembling her mother to a scary extreme. "You are the guest, so you have to choose."

"Okay, erm, do you guys like musicals?"

"Yeah."

"Have you watched The Phantom of the Opera?"

"No."

Andy looked up at Miranda with a question in her eyes. Miranda smiled gently and shrugged, finally leaving the threshold and moving to sit on the large couch.

"Caroline, baby, can you set up the movie renting on the TV?"

Caroline set about programming the TV while Andy moved to sit on the sofa a safe distance from Miranda.

"Mom, can we have pizza for dinner?" Cassidy asked as she crawled across the floor and sat at Miranda's feet.

The older woman smiled and pocked the girl's nose.

"Yes Bobbsey. Would you like to call and order for all of us?"

"Okay. Andy, what topping do you want?"

"I'll have pepperoni." Andy grinned. She still couldn't get over the fact Miranda and her shared favourite pizza. Out of all the things to feel giddy about...

"Okay. Two pepperonis, one barbecue and one margarita. Got it."

Cassidy left the room to make the call as Caroline finished setting up the TV.

"Andy, is this one it?" she asked pointing at the movie cover on the screen.

"Yeap."

"Okay, it's ready."

Caroline put several pillows and a blanket on the floor in front of the two adults, then left the room after declaring she was going to make pop corn.

Once they were alone, Andy gazed at Miranda while the other woman fluffed up the pillows behind her and curled her legs underneath her. When she noticed Andrea watching, she arched a questioning eyebrow.

"I just love seeing you like this," Andy shrugged. "With the girls. I could get used to this."

Miranda's smile was heart-melting as she reached up to caress Andy's cheek.

"Me too," she whispered.

Andy turned her head to kiss Miranda's palm before it dropped. Cassidy came into the room with a grin on her face.

"Pizza will be here in 15 minutes."

"At this time of night? That's weird, they usually take much longer." Andy said.

"Well, yeah, but I'm starving and I wanna eat while watching the movie, so I said mom's name and they said it'd be here in fifteen minutes."

Miranda chuckled while Andy tried to stifle a laugh.

"You shouldn't do that unless it's completely necessary, baby," Miranda shook her head half-heartedly, a small, proud smile on her face.

"Those poor people are probably panicking right now, throwing themselves all over the place," Andy said, a little horror stricken when she realised that the workers in the restaurant were probably feeling exactly the same as Andy had felt most days working for Miranda. God help them.

Miranda laughed.

"I promise I'll give a nice tip for their troubles."

Just then, Caroline came in with two big bowls of popcorn. She placed one on the floor in the middle of the blanket and placed the other one on the sofa between Miranda and Andy. The four of them settled in comfortably as the movie was put on play. They restrained themselves from eating too much popcorn, preferring to wait for the pizzas before really digging in. As they watched in silence, Andy's hand often grazed Miranda's in the bowl, and the two of them couldn't help but exchange secret looks and smiles as the minutes went by.

The pizza came on time and, since she had already watched it, Andy went downstairs to get them and prepare a large tray with water for all of them, napkins and two pizza cutters. She went back upstairs and gave each Priestly woman their corresponding pizza: margarita for Caroline, barbecue for Cassidy and both pepperonis for herself and Miranda. They ate in bliss, and Andy couldn't help but grin as the twins seemed entranced by the musical. When the scene of Point of No Return came, where the phantom and Christine sing the seductive song and let their passion show in warm caresses, Andy couldn't help but look at Miranda, only to find the older woman's eyes were already focused on her. Andy's breathing caught in her throat as Miranda leaned towards her slightly and laid a delicate hand on Andy's thigh.

What sweet seduction lies before us?

Andrea felt Miranda's hand slowly travel up her thigh, their heated eyes never losing their passionate connection. Miranda's warm fingers caressed Andrea through the thin material of her loungewear trousers, and when she gave a soft squeeze Andy had to stifle the small sound that attempted to escape her parted lips.

Our passion play has now at last begun.

Miranda's hand reached the top of her thigh, and Andrea watched in breathless awe as the goddess before her licked her lips with a hungry expression.

How long should we two wait before we're one?
When will the blood begin to race?
The sleeping buds burst into bloom?
When will the flames at last consume us?

Andy felt that if Miranda did not stop this quiet seduction, she would lose control in front of the girls, and that would have too many negative repercussions. She took Miranda's hand in hers and brought it to her lips, then back down to the sofa where she soothed the older woman's soft skin with her thumb. At this gentler, slower approach, their expressions changed, and the burning passion and anticipation melted away significantly. Now, all they felt was pure love towards each other, their locked gazes conveying nothing but warmth and affection. Andy gave a soft smile, and Miranda responded in kind, squeezing Andy's hand slightly.

Say you'll share with me one love, one lifetime
Lead me save me from my solitude

Miranda mouthed the words 'I love you' before turning back to the movie, never removing her hand from Andrea's. Andy wouldn't have had it any other way.

.....-.....

When the movie finished, the girls set about picking everything up after their mother said it was their turn to clean up. As the girls left with the pizza boxes and popcorn bowls, Miranda and Andrea set about putting the room back in order. Once everything was in order, they went downstairs only to find the twins had sorted everything out and were quietly having a discussion in the kitchen.

"Girls?"

Miranda stared at her daughters with a raised eyebrow, noting there was something wrong in the girls' demeanour. They both jumped and swirled around to face their mother. "Is something the matter?"

"Um, we were just wondering," Cassidy spoke, shifting her weight from foot to foot nervously, "can we do this more often? Make it like a tradition sort of thing?"

Miranda was a little surprised by this and shared a look with a beaming Andrea. Guess it couldn't hurt, could it? I certainly wouldn't complain.

"Sure, baby. And you know what? I have a better idea. We will do it on Sunday nights when you have the weekend with your father, but when you're with me Andrea could come over on Saturday and the four of us could have a sleep over. Would you like that?"

"Yes!" both girls squealed in excitement, and Andy's smile grew to an impossible degree of happiness. She was being accepted into this little, unique, wonderful family, and the girls seemed so comfortable around her she was a little taken aback by their relaxed and open attitude around her.

"Okay, girls, it's time for bed," Miranda said, ignoring the twin groans that emerged from the small redheads. "You have school tomorrow and Roy is picking you up at seven thirty. Go get ready for bed and I'll be up in two minutes to kiss you goodnight."

Both girls gave deep, heavy sighs and reluctantly dragged themselves forward towards the doorway. As they passed Andy, both girls looked at her.

"Goodnight Andy."

"Thanks for coming, it was really fun."

"Goodnight sweeties." Andy said, smiling warmly at them.

When the girls were far up the stairs and a safe distance from hearing range, Miranda came forward and wrapped her arms around Andrea, pulling the woman into a tight embrace. Andy gave a little sigh of contentment, nuzzling Miranda's neck and taking a deep breath of the woman's perfume.

"Darling, would you like something to drink?" Miranda murmured in her ear.

"Sure. Whatever you're having."

Despite the invitation, neither of them moved, happy to simply stand in each other's arms and bask in the love they shared. They felt happy and slightly tired from such a wonderful day. In each other's arms, they found peace and love. After long moments, Miranda slowly drew back.

"I'm going upstairs to tuck the girls in, I'll be down in a minute. Head over to the den, there's a liquor cabinet. Help yourself to anything you want and make yourself comfortable. Some white wine for me."

After a quick peck on the lips, they parted ways. Thanks to the quick tour Miranda had given her earlier before lunch, Andy knew her way around and quickly prepared their two glasses of wine. She sat back on a lovely couch and gave a deep sigh of contentment. Today had been an amazing day. Seeing Miranda so open in her own home, getting to know the girls better, watching the motherly side of her lover show herself, playing soccer with the girls in the park. It all seemed like a normal day any normal family would have. Andy couldn't help but smile, feeling eternally grateful that Miranda had chosen her, of all people. Is this what it'll be like from now on? It seemed too perfect for Andy, but she knew that this is where she was meant to be. She had finally found home.

Miranda came in the room and locked the door behind her before making her way to sit beside Andrea. This time, she didn't leave a safe distance between them. Instead, she leaned into Andrea, kissing the woman's neck twice before reaching for their glasses.

"What should we drink to, darling?"

"To a very happy day. The best I can remember."

Miranda's radiant smile took Andy's breath away. They clinked their glasses and drank their wine for a few moments in silence. Suddenly, Miranda reached over and took Andy's glass, setting them both on the coffee table before the sofa. Then she reached up to cup Andrea's cheeks with both hands, looking deep into brown eyes.

"Darling, this was also the best day that I can remember. You make me so happy. I find it a little ridiculous, actually. All my life I thought I didn't need anyone. I refused to rely on someone else to be happy. But then you came along and tore that belief down with you bright smiles and beautiful eyes. And now I can honestly say that I would be disappointed by anyone else except you."

Andy was speechless, and stared at Miranda with a whirlwind of emotions rising in her chest. Before she could respond, Miranda met her lips with a deep kiss, and Andy felt herself slowly give in to Miranda's enticing body. Somehow, her raging emotions calmed, and all she could focus on was Miranda's lips, Miranda's smell, Miranda's weight on her. She scooted lower, resting backwards as Miranda moved to fully lie on top of her. Andy gave a frustrated grunt when Miranda pulled away, but then she felt arousal cloud her senses as Miranda smirked down at her with hooded eyes and dishevelled hair.

"Now," Miranda breathed, liking her lips. "Are you ready for your compensation?"

Andy shivered.

"Oh God, yes."

Chapter Text

Life was good. Actually, no, life was more than good. Life was wonderful. For the very first time in her life, Miranda had to actually try very hard not to smile like a lovesick fool. Thoughts of Andrea came to her mind at the worst times possible, and Miranda's eyes would shine brighter and she had to purse her lips in order to hide her smitten smile. Sometimes, these thoughts would just be of her time with Andrea, of the way the girls had so easily opened up to her and their laughter resonated in Miranda's ears as memory after memory of the four of them together made her heart flutter. Other thoughts, however, would be downright inappropriate. Miranda had never thought of herself as a sexual being. She'd enjoyed sex for the most part, yes, but she had never craved it. Now, however, things were very different. Sometimes, Miranda's mind would drift off, and it would conjure up images of the two of them in bed, on the floor, on the kitchen counter, on the sofa, on her office desk at home, in the shower, in the bathtub, against the wall... All these memories would make Miranda blush, and she could feel her breath deepen slightly, and she'd sometimes rub her thighs together to try and dissipate the sudden desperate need between her legs. Her record of ruined pairs of underwear so far was 10 in a single week. Andrea liked to keep count.

Needless to say, in these days, Miranda would call Andrea on the phone and they would meet at Andrea's apartment. Every time, Miranda barely made it past the door before slamming Andrea against it and thoroughly taking what was hers. Andrea certainly didn't seem to mind this at all. In fact, it seemed she sometimes suffered this condition too. Once, Andrea had come to Runway after texting to make sure Miranda was still there working after hours. Thankfully, she hadn't encountered anybody on her way, and the office was empty as Miranda had sent her assistants home. Miranda hadn't even been expecting her, but Andrea had walked over to her and dragged her into the private bathroom of her office. Miranda was unable to get any work done for the rest of that night.

Anyways, life was wonderful, and Miranda felt extremely happy, and there wasn't a single day that went by without a call or a visit from Andrea. She felt cherished and loved and happy. Andrea had found a job in the Mirror and was quickly moving up, gaining more recognition for her articles and getting more attention from her boss. Miranda felt proud. Everything had fallen into place so smoothly, Miranda couldn't quite believe it. She hadn't shared a single word with Stephen since the divorce was finalised, her girls seemed to adore Andrea, and Miranda finally felt like she had come home.

Today, however, she was a little bit nervous. It was Saturday, and after three weeks of being together, Andrea and Miranda had decided to tell the girls. This way they wouldn't have to sneak around so much. Not that they did much sneaking around, since it had become common for Andrea to stop by the townhouse every other day and always spent one night of the weekend there. But they both felt the girls were old enough to understand, and they deserved to know. It would make things much easier.

They weren't particularly worried. The girls loved Andrea, and they often looked at Miranda and Andrea in a way that Miranda felt like they knew something was up. Maybe they did. They were very intelligent, her girls. She wouldn't be surprised if they knew all along. But they needed to hear it from their mother.

So, of course, after a lovely dinner the four of them went to the living room and took their usual seats - Miranda and Andrea on one sofa and Caroline and Cassidy on the other one. The twins looked at them expectantly, and Miranda had to hide a smirk. Of course the little beasts knew there was going to be a talk. They sometimes scared her with their sharp intuition and intelligence. She glanced at Andrea and could immediately tell the young woman was nervous about this.

Andy was nervous. What if the girls didn't approve? What if they didn't want another press ordeal? What if they didn't like her enough to share their mother with her? She knew that the twins were Miranda's world. If the girls said 'no' to their relationship, Andy was sure that Miranda would call the whole thing off. Just the thought of it made Andy's stomach turn painfully. The past three weeks had been the happiest she had ever been. Everyday she felt like she was walking on air. So far, they had seen each other every single day expect two. Yes, Andy was keeping count, because seeing Miranda meant sharing loving looks and learning more about the fascinating woman. From all those days they had seen each other, not a single one had passed in which they hadn't made love, and not a day had passed where they hadn't reassured each other that this was real. Andy still had trouble believing that Miranda had chosen her of all people, but the older woman was quite persistent. Their relationship was serious from the very beginning, and somehow all their barriers had crumbled around them on their first night together. Andy took a deep breath. Perhaps things would go well. Maybe Miranda would persuade the girls to give Andy a chance.

"Girls, we have something to tell you." Miranda started. She cleared her throat slightly. Better to get straight to it. She took a deep breath. "Andrea and I are together."

There was a silence after that in which Miranda and Andrea stared at the twins in tension while the girls looked at them expectantly. After a few moments, Caroline raised an eyebrow, resembling her mother to a point where Andy almost shuddered.

"That's it? That's what you wanted to tell us?" Caroline said, unimpressed.

"Well," Miranda gulped. "Yes?"

"God, mom," Cassidy said, rolling her eyes. "We figured that out ages ago."

After a moment stunned silence from the two women, Andy spoke.

"And you're okay with this? With me?" Andy leaned forward, needing to make sure the girls were all right with her relationship with Miranda.

"Well, yeah. You're cool, and you don't treat us like we're the same person or any of the usual stuff." Cassidy said, grinning.

"Yeah," Caroline nodded, like they were discussing the weather. Clearly, Miranda and Andy hadn't been doing a very good job of keeping things a secret from the girls. "I mean, you're way better than Stephen, and mom has been smiling more lately. We figured it was because of you. Besides, we know you spend loads of time together, and mom doesn't really have friends, so we kinda just assumed."

The tension left Miranda and Andy in an instant. Their bodies almost slumped with relief. Miranda hadn't been too worried, but there had always been the possibility of the girls not being okay with any of this. She was glad her instincts had been right.

"Bobbseys, why didn't you say anything?"

"Because, we wanted it to come from you. We guessed you weren't telling us cause you wanted to be ready. We get it."

Miranda tried not to gape at her daughters. It amazed her how much they had grown and how mature they'd become.

"Oh." She whispered, not really knowing what else to say.

"But Andy has to promise something." Caroline said as both girls stood from their couch and came to sit between Miranda and Andy.

"Whatever you say, sweeties. What's up?" Andy said, smiling and wrapping an arm around Cassidy while Miranda did the same with Caroline.

"Well, we know that mom can be difficult sometimes."

"She sometimes gets angry and says things she doesn't mean."

"And sometimes she works too much."

"And she isn't always in a very good mood."

"But you have to promise to stay. You can't walk out on her like the others did."

"And no cheating."

"Definitely no cheating. Otherwise you'll suffer the consequences."

"You have to promise to be patient and take care of her and respect her job."

"You can't fight with her for stupid things."

"So no walking out on her. You're stuck with us now, got it?"

There was a silence as the girls stared up at Andy expectantly. Miranda sat there, bewildered. Her girls had never done this before with any of her other partners. She felt proud and just a little embarrassed. It was slightly confusing. When she looked up at Andrea, she was surprised to find the younger woman smiling. She'd expected surprise or even defensiveness at being made to promise such things. Instead, Andrea smiled down at the twins and then looked up at Miranda, locking shining, loving brown eyes with surprised blue ones.

"Girls, let me tell you something about your mother," Andrea started, looking at all the Priestly women in turn. The smile never wavered, instead seemed to grow even more. "The thing is, I really care about your mother. A lot. I don't really see my life without her. I don't think I could live without her. And I know she's stubborn, and works a little too much, and sometimes she keeps people away to protect herself. I know all that, and I love her all the same. I love everything about her, even the "difficult" things. You know why? Because she is also loving, and caring, and funny, and intelligent, and she is so incredible that sometimes I can't believe my own luck. Your mother means the world to me, and I will do everything in my power to stay with her, okay? I promise not to walk away, and frankly I don't think I could ever cheat. Your mother has ruined any other person on the planet for me. I only want her, and I will stay with her for as long as she wants me."

Caroline and Cassidy looked at her, considering, trying to find any hint of lies or deception in Andy's speech. When they found none, they nodded, and, as if they could read each other's minds, they got up from the couch and left the room, closing the door behind them.

Andy turned her gaze to Miranda after she'd watched the girls leave. Blue orbs watched her in fascination, filled with love and affection and the hint of tears.

"Darling," Miranda whispered, emotions rolling inside her like a storm.

Before she could say anything, Andrea found her lips taken by Miranda's soft ones. They kissed softly, deeply, slowly, conveying all their love and their hope through their touch. Words were not enough. Miranda had felt insecure all her life, always fearing the worst when in a relationship with someone. All her husbands had grown tired of her and her work, they had found her unbecoming and frigid, and they had left her in order to find someone better than her. But Andrea was different. Now, Miranda understood. Andrea was not going to be like that, because she accepted Miranda entirely. All the things Miranda hated about herself, Andrea loved and treasured. All the things Miranda's husbands had complained about, Andrea embraced with all of her being. Miranda no longer felt fear. She trusted Andrea with her heart, body and soul.

When they grew apart, Miranda had tears on the verge of falling, and Andrea leaned in to kiss them away.

"I love you," she whispered against her eyelids.

Miranda sighed softly.

Yes, I am finally home.

.....-.....

After that night, things changed slightly in the Priestly household. Now, Miranda and Andrea no longer felt like they needed excuses for Andy to go to the townhouse. Now, she had dinner there almost every night, and slept over at least three nights a week. The girls didn't change their treatment of neither women one bit. In fact, the four of them seemed to draw closer together, and now Andy felt like she was part of the family. When she was at work, she'd often receive calls from the girls inviting Andy over for dinner, or just to chat for a while, or ask her a question about their homework. The days passed, and Miranda and Andy's relationship seemed to strengthen after they knew the girls approved. It was a huge relief for both of them, and their love grew even more.

Sometimes, Miranda would watch Andy interacting with her girls, talking and laughing and playing video games, and she almost felt like crying. Her girls seemed so happy around her Andrea, unlike they had been with Stephen. They loved Andrea, and Andrea loved them too. She felt so thankful and so incredibly lucky to have Andrea's love. She had no idea what she had ever done to deserve the younger woman, but every day she thanked God and any other higher power for Andrea's presence in her life. Miranda knew that Andrea was the one. She was getting old, something Andrea insisted she loved about her, proving it by kissing the lines around her eyes and mouth and making love to her like she was the most desirable woman in the world. If their relationship was to end, Miranda knew that she would never find anyone after Andrea. It would be impossible for her.

She told Andrea this while they were cuddled on Miranda's sofa in the den. Miranda was leaned against Andrea's chest with her legs curled underneath her, her ear resting above Andrea's heart. There was something extremely intimate and satisfying about listening to Andrea's heartbeat. Her eyelids were heavy as Andrea's fingers ran gently and soothingly through her hair, and Miranda felt surrounded by warmth and love. In such a daze, Miranda didn't think before she spoke.

"There won't be anyone else but you. No matter what happens, I could never be with anyone else but you."

Andrea paused, and then tightened her hold on Miranda, leaning down to kiss her brow.

"You know," Andrea whispered, smiling softly and resuming her caresses. "I feel exactly the same way."

Miranda sighed deeply, relaxing further into their embrace. This is exactly where she was meant to be.

.....-.....

"What are you going to do about your parents?"

They were in Miranda's bed, naked and laying close to each other. About half an hour ago, they had finished another round of love making (the third one today so far) and they hadn't really bothered leaving the bed since.

Andrea still hadn't made up with her parents. From what Andrea told her, they were still distant and not really communicating. It hurt Miranda to see Andrea get hurt by her family, which is why she wanted Andrea to know that she was loved in this house, and that she was not alone.

"Well, I think I should tell them about us before the press finds out. I'd like them to hear it from me. I guess they'll go crazy and probably disapprove even more, but I don't really care anymore. It's not like things could get much worse with them anyways."

"Oh, darling," Miranda said, pulling Andrea closer to her. "You have a family here. I hope you know that. And I will support you, whatever you decide."

Andrea smiled at her sweetly, believing her words.

"I know. I love you."

"I love you too, darling."

After a short, comfortable silence, Andy thought of something.

"Hey, Miranda?"

"Hmm?"

"You said you want to come out to the press, right?"

Miranda moved away slightly to look at Andrea.

"Of course. Those vultures are not going to stop me from being happy. I will not keep you hidden like a dirty little secret. I am very proud to have you as my partner. Besides, we started once you had already quit your job as my assistant and when the divorce was finalised. We are doing nothing wrong, so I will not feel guilty about anything."

"So, when do you want us to come out?"

Miranda smirked.

"Soon. I'm waiting for the right moment. I'd like you and your parents to be slightly on better terms. I don't want to make things even worse. And I want more time to pass since the divorce. It's only been a month since the press backed off and left me alone."

"Yeah," Andy said, cupping Miranda's cheek and smiling. "Yeah, I think that's a good idea."

Miranda smiled in return, loving the closeness and the warmth coming from Andrea's body. Heat flared up inside Miranda's stomach, and she wanted to roll her eyes at herself. Honestly, she felt like a teenage boy. Will I ever get enough of her?

Andrea must have seen it in her eyes, because suddenly her brown orbs darkened and she smirked seductively.

"Are you ready for round four?" She whispered huskily before licking her lips.

"Thank God the girls are with their father." Miranda managed to chuckle as Andrea rolled on top of her.

"Thank God, yes, because I intend to make you scream."

Miranda closed her eyes, a shiver rushing down her body at Andrea's voice saying those words. Andrea leaned forward and nuzzled her ear, playfully nipping at her earlobe before kissing and licking down her elegant neck.

"What do you want?" Andrea whispered.

"Everything." Miranda gasped, arching into her touch.

"No," Andrea said in a more commanding voice. "That's not an answer, Miranda. Tell me what you want now."

Miranda's breathing was laboured and her skin tingled everywhere as anticipation clouded her senses. She loved this side of Andrea. They had done this several times already: Andrea taking control, being the dominant one. Miranda loved it. On some of their encounters, she had been the dominant one, and Andrea seemed to love being submissive too. It all depended on the day, apparently, but they complimented each other beautifully. And when this side of Andrea rose, Miranda felt the thrill of desire fill her very core. She closed her eyes.

"Please, Andrea, please don't make me choose. Whatever pleases you, I'll take anything. I'll do anything." She panted.

Andrea growled into her ear. Miranda had never said these words to anyone before, but apparently they were the right ones, because Andrea quickly jumped off the bed and headed into the closet. Miranda almost grunted at the loss, but soon enough Andrea was back on the bed carrying a dark backpack, and moved to straddle Miranda. Andrea had brought that bag three weeks ago and she'd told Miranda not to open it but to always keep it in her closet. Miranda had agreed, because right after stating her wishes Andrea had kissed her, and Miranda's brain had shut down, so she hadn't even questioned her about the mystery bag. Now, she looked with rapt attention as Andrea slowly unzipped the bag. Miranda watched on with widening eyes and increasing desire as the younger woman began to lay the contents of the bag on the bed around them.

When the bag had been emptied, Andrea leaned forwards and whispered into Miranda's ear, "I'll repeat once more. What. Do. You. Want?"

Miranda looked around, wanting everything she saw. There were toys of different shapes and sizes, dildos, vibrators, strap-ons, handcuffs, a riding crop, thick strings of black lace and some items that she didn't recognize. She barely knew where to start, until she looked up at Andrea and saw the patient eyes going hard. She needed to decide, now. With a trembling hand, Miranda pointed to a dark blue strap-on that was very much pushing Miranda's limit. It was long and think, bigger than anything she'd ever had before. Andrea reached for it and placed it on her lap.

"What else, Miranda?"

Miranda gulped. Andrea always seemed to read her mind. She pointed to one of the pieces of black lace. Andrea collected the silk, smirking in satisfaction.

"Mmm, good, Miranda. I like your choices. Now," she said as she stood up and began to clear all the items back into the bag. "On your hands and knees."

Miranda did as she was told, placing herself on all fours in the middle of the bed. Her body was buzzing with anticipation, her arms trembling. Their little submissive/dominance play had never gone to this level before, with Andrea ordering Miranda into such a submissive pose with free reign of toys involved. Miranda took a deep breath, trying to calm her erratic heart from beating out of her chest. She could hear Andrea zipping the bag close, then weight on the bed behind her, then a silky strip of lace caressing her back up to her neck. The lace came in front of her face and soon it was placed over her eyes and tied back in a firm knot. With no sight, Miranda's other senses came to full force. She could smell Andrea in the sheets, hear her every move as she lowered herself on the bed, feel every fleeting touch.

"Now, Mira, I'm going to make you scream." Andrea husked behind her, kissing her way down Miranda's naked back. Miranda whimpered. She could feel Andrea's breasts like a whisper moving against her skin as full lips teased downwards. Andrea's mouth moved over her spine and down her ass. She bit into Miranda's soft flesh, making the older woman yelp. Andrea chuckled darkly.

Andrea laid on her back beneath Miranda, her hands grabbing the woman's hips and slowly pulling her down towards her face. Miranda instantly knew what was happening. This was one of Andrea's favourite positions, and Miranda loved it. She gave a soft moan as Andrea's tongue slowly ran over her lips, teasing her flesh. It was incredible. Miranda was extremely wet, and Andrea hummed at the exquisite taste on her tongue.

"You may not come, Mira. I want you to ride my mouth, but you're not allowed to come, understood?"

Miranda moaned her approval and urgently surged her hips downwards, moaning again as she was enveloped by Andrea's greedy mouth. She rocked her hips, her body undulating in waves as she panted and groaned, throwing her head back as her pleasure quickly grew. Andrea grabbed her hips and her ass, kneading the flesh and encouraging Miranda's thrusts, taking in as much as possible, thrusting her tongue into Miranda's core and lapping at her clit. Miranda's thighs started trembling on either side of Andrea's face, and Andy knew that she wouldn't be able to hold out that much longer. Gripping Miranda's hips, she held the woman above her as Miranda's soft wail of disapproval filled the room. Andrea shifted down the bed, leaving Miranda to support her own weight once again. Miranda listened closely as Andrea moved around the bed behind her, still trying to catch her breath. She had been so close, so close, but of course Andrea knew her too well. She stiffened as Andrea once again held her by the hips and slowly approached her from behind, leaning over her to place a kiss on the nape of her neck. Andrea straightened and brought the strap-on to Miranda's folds, teasing her, and Miranda couldn't hold back a gasp.

"Don't worry, Mira, you're wet enough. Believe me." Miranda could hear the smirk in Andre's voice.

As if to prove her point, Andrea thrust the tip into her. Miranda's mouth hung open as she moaned at the pleasure that came over her. Oh yes, this was going to be good.

Slowly, excruciatingly slowly, Andrea pushed forward, expanding Miranda inch by inch, stretching her and filling her. Miranda moaned and leaned her upper body down, leaning her forehead against the mattress as she panted. When Andrea was finally buried in to the hilt, she paused, letting Miranda adjust. She'd been right, this was bigger than anything Miranda had ever experienced before, and there was a slight pain that mixed delightfully with the pleasure. Just as slowly as she'd entered, Andrea moved her hips back, slowly moving out of Miranda until only the tip remained.

"Mira, I want to hear you as I fuck you. Scream for me."

And then Andrea started pounding into her so hard and fast and deep that Miranda screamed, her eyes shutting tight under the blindfold and her hands forming tight fists around the bed sheets. She could hear her own wetness as Andrea fucked her almost brutally. Miranda loved it. Andrea's thighs slapped against her ass, and the dildo hit a spot inside her that had never been reached before. She felt incredibly full and stretched as Andrea's thrusts sped up impossibly more. Miranda could hear herself screaming her pleasure, but did not even attempt to keep quiet.

Andrea barely knew where to focus her eyes. She was fucking a blindfolded and very submissive Miranda Priestly from behind. Andrea smirked, getting an idea. She suddenly stopped her thrusts, remaining very still and letting go of Miranda's hips. Miranda wailed in complaint, feeling the loss of movement keenly and her breath came in harsh and fast. Andrea took a moment to admire the sight: Miranda's back covered in a sheen of sweat, her hair sticking to the nape of her neck, her perfectly round ass curved up in the air to take as much of Andrea as possible. Andrea chuckled darkly, watching as a shiver ran down Miranda's spine.

"Fuck yourself on me."

Miranda's breath hitched, and after a slight pause she began to thrust her hips back against Andrea's.

"Ohh," she moaned, and started thrusting harder, pushing herself back with her arms, head leaned down.

After a few thrusts, Andrea could see this was not enough for Miranda. So even though she loved watching Miranda fuck herself on her, she took charge again.

Miranda felt one hand grip her hip, and the other weave into her hair. She gasped as her head was pulled back, her neck elongating and face cast to the heavens. Her hair pulled painfully at her scalp, but then Andrea was fucking her with purpose again, and Miranda forgot all about the pain. Miranda could feel the bed moving with the force of Andrea's thrusts, and she could hear her own wetness and Andrea's hips slapped against her. She started moaning again and Andrea began to grunt behind her, the strap-on no doubt rubbing against the young woman's clit. The thought made Miranda's moans grow louder, and Andrea knew she was close.

"Come for me, Mira. Come for me now!"

Miranda came, hard. She wailed and arched, body tensing and eyes rolling back into her head. Her fists tightened around the sheets and her walls clenched around the dildo for long moments as the orgasm shook Miranda's body violently.

After the final wave of pleasure and spasm left her body, Miranda slumped forward, completely spent, her body feeling weak and exhausted after the biggest orgasm of her life. Her eyelids dropped, and soon she was enveloped in darkness.

When she came to, Andrea was laying beside her. The covers were over both their bodies and Andrea had taken the blindfold off Miranda and the strap-on off herself. The young woman was placing gentle kisses all over Miranda's face, on her forehead, on her eyelids, on her nose, cheeks, chin and lips. When Miranda finally managed to open her eyes, Andrea smiled at her gently, although a hint of concern shone in her brown irises.

"Hey," she whispered, trailing her fingers down Miranda's cheek. "I lost you for a minute there. Are you okay?"

"Hmm." Miranda gave a weak smile and closed her eyes.

"Did I go too far?" Andrea whispered anxiously.

Miranda opened her eyes again and gazed at her lover.

"No, darling. Not at all." Miranda gave another reassuring smile, moving her face into Andrea's soft caresses.

"Okay, I'm glad. I love you. Let's go to sleep, okay?"

Miranda nodded weakly and Andrea moved closer, pulling her into a tight embrace. As Andrea's fingers ran over Miranda's back in gentle, soothing circles, Miranda sighed deeply, her body relaxing even further with her lover's ministrations. It was with Andrea's warmth and Andrea's scent and Andrea's touch enveloping her that Miranda drifted off to sleep with a soft smile on her lips.

Chapter Text

It was a little strange seeing Miranda Priestly blush. Andy loved it and found it utterly endearing, especially when she was in the throes of passion. Right now though, Andy took a deep breath and tried not to think about a passionate Miranda. They were having dinner at the townhouse with the twins, and they hadn't seen each other in an entire week. Yes, they had talked on the phone every night, but Andy had been given a really good story in the Mirror and there had been a problem with a photo-shoot at Runway, so the week had been busier than normal for the both of them. Their schedules had clashed everywhere, and not a single lunch had been free to see one another. All in all, it had been a miserable week for the both of them.

So when Thursday night came along and they were both in bed talking on the phone, Miranda had exploded. She had gone on a rampage on how unacceptable it was that they hadn't seen each other in so long, and Andy had tried not to laugh. She was in complete agreement, of course, but she could almost hear the pout in Miranda's voice. If she had used less eloquent words, Andy could have said the older woman had been whining. So Andy had agreed to have dinner at the townhouse the next day, and now here they were, the twins, Miranda and her, eating a delicious dinner consisting of hamburgers and french fries.

Caroline and Cassidy were talking about some girl at school that had cheated on her boyfriend, while Andy and Miranda didn't stop making eyes at each other. It was a silent agreement that Andy was spending the night, if the fire in Miranda's eyes was anything to go by.

It's been way too long.

When Andrea purposely liked her lips as she looked Miranda up and down, the older woman blushed profusely and looked away. Andrea smirked knowingly, and from then on Miranda avoided any eye contact with Andy.

After dinner, the girls wanted to watch a movie, which made both women internally groan. They needed each other, now. They hadn't had a single moment alone so far in the evening, and the tension between them was a little too much to bear.

"Bobbseys," Miranda said, "I'm so sorry, but I need to finish some work, and I'm going to need Andrea's help to take some notes for me. Why don't you two start watching the movie, and we'll join you later okay?"

"Ugh, fine." The twins rolled their eyes and headed upstairs to the top floor, already discussing movie options. When Miranda heard the door to the playroom close, she spun around and pinned Andy against the kitchen counter.

"Well, well, I never knew you could be such a tease, darling," Miranda growled, leaning in to whisper in Andrea's ear. "I wonder, what shall I do with you, hmm?"

Andrea trembled, heat coiling in her stomach and arousal flooding her body.

"Anything, Miranda," she husked back. "Do anything you want to me. I'm all yours."

Miranda gave a feral growl and finally crashed her lips to Andrea's, pressing against her firmly. Andrea moaned and immediately opened up to Miranda's questing tongue, bringing her hands up to run through soft silver hair. The dance of tongues was desperate, aggressive even, and only when they were both in crucial need for oxygen did they draw back, breathing harshly.

"My study. Now." Miranda gruffed, immediately turning and dragging Andrea behind her.

The made it to Miranda's office, quickly shutting and locking the door behind them.

"Mira..." Andrea begged, not really sure what she wanted to say.

Miranda pushed her backwards until Andrea's legs hit one of the large armchairs and she fell back to sit on it. She stared up at Miranda with eyes full of lust, not sure what was going to happen in this encounter. Every time they had been together, it had either been passionate lovemaking or rough, raw fucking. Andy had the feeling this time it would be the latter. They had all night to go slow, but right now they needed release.

Miranda quickly threw her shirt off and pushed her skirt down, stepping out of it and coming to straddle Andrea. The younger woman moaned when she saw Miranda wearing her favourite black lace underwear, and when Miranda was in her arms she leaned in to press her face between full, perfect breasts and inhaled deeply.

"Andrea," Miranda murmured, running her fingers through brown thick hair. "I need you, now."

Andrea looked up at Miranda, silver hair mussed, that lovely flush set on her high cheekbones, chest rising with deep, shaky breaths, electric eyes burning with desire. Andrea knew Miranda couldn't wait any longer. She snaked an arm between them and quickly cupped the older woman through the lace. Miranda moaned and her eyes drifted shut. She undulated her hips against Andrea's hands, and Andrea watched in fascination as the older woman trembled. Quickly, Andrea dove her fingers past the waistband of Miranda's underwear to find her dripping wet.

"Please, Andrea..." Miranda whispered, looking down at Andrea through hooded eyes.

Andrea groaned at the sight, and quickly thrust two fingers into Miranda, knuckle deep. Miranda gasped and arched against her, fingers digging into the skin at Andrea's shoulders. Andrea curled her fingers, and Miranda moaned. She began to thrust herself on Andrea's hand, her hips undulating in smooth waves as pleasure tore through her. After only a few thrusts, Andrea angled her hand better and thrust in another finger, filling Miranda so deliciously that the woman had to suppress a scream of pleasure. Instead she arched further into Andrea, pressing their breasts together and exposing her neck to Andrea's talented, wicked lips and tongue. She began to thrust in earnest, riding Andrea's fingers fast and hard, her breaths becoming harsh pants and moans as her mind was filled with pure desire.

"Oh, God, Andrea," she groaned. "Yes, yes, yes, oh! Missed you, missed you so much, oh, Andrea!"

When Andrea's palm pressed against her clit, Miranda came with a strangled wail, head thrown back in ecstasy as she rode out her orgasm. After several moments she slumped forwards against Andrea, panting into the younger woman's neck. Andrea left her fingers inside Miranda for a bit longer, not wanting to leave the other woman's body just yet.

When Miranda's breathing was finally under control, Miranda leaned back to look into warm brown eyes that held both love and lust. Immediately, Miranda's energy came back to her, and she kissed Andrea hard before moving down to kneel on the floor before the young woman. Andy's pants were quickly undone and removed, and then her shirt and underwear followed. Miranda had barely even touched her yet and Andy was already trembling, her core weeping with want. She didn't have to wait long though, because soon Miranda was lapping up at her juices desperately, as if being deprived of Andrea's essence for a week had made her mad with need. She mouthed her so thoroughly that Andrea was soon on the verge of orgasm, gripping onto the chair for dear life and attempting to swallow her cries as best she could. But then she opened her eyes and looked down. She saw Miranda's perfect silver hair bobbing up and down between her legs, and Miranda was moaning against her, and Miranda's hot blue eyes opened and looked up to gaze into Andrea's as her tongue thrust deep into Andrea's tight walls. And then Andrea was coming so hard her body arched off the chair, hands coming to grip Miranda's hair, a strangled shout caught in her throat as she gasped for air.

When the last wave of pleasure left Andrea's body, she slumped back into the chair, utterly spent and incredibly satisfied. Once she managed to catch her breath, she opened her eyes too see Miranda smiling up her with adoration in her eyes. Andrea reached down to softly caress a warm, soft cheek, returning the older woman's smile.

"Move in with me."

Andy froze. Miranda stared up at her, eyes widened slightly, as if she was just as surprised as Andy by the question, but then her face relaxed again and she stared at Andy with warm eyes.

"What? Miranda, are you serious?"

Miranda crawled on top of the chair again, coming to sit sideways on Andy's lap.

"Yes, darling. I want you to move in with me. I can't stand not seeing you every day. This past week has been...difficult, and I find that I want to fall asleep with you every night and wake up next to you every morning. I don't want us to be apart anymore and I - "

"Yes." Andrea jumped in, mind completely made up.

"Yes?" Miranda looked at her, looking surprised.

"Yes. I want to move in with you."

"But, darling, don't you want to think about it? You know I'm a very difficult woman and you should be absolutely sure - "

"I'm sure, Mira. I want that too. I want to go to sleep with you next to me and I want to wake up to your beautiful face. I want to have breakfast with you, have dinner with you and the girls every night when work allows us to. I want a life with you, Miranda."

"Oh, darling," Miranda gave her a watery smile. She leaned down and buried her face in Andrea's neck, breathing in the woman's scent deeply and loving the feel of warm skin against hers and Andrea's fingers running through her hair. Andrea held her tight, unable to stop smiling. She was moving in with Miranda. She was going to live with the woman she loved. Yes, it may seem soon for people, but it made perfect sense. They simply would not - could not - live without each other. After long moments of basking in each other's warm embrace, Miranda moved back and off Andrea's lap.

"I think we should go join the girls. They might be wondering where we are."

"Yeah, but I need to wash my hands first," Andy said with a smirk, holding up her still damp fingers and wiggling them in the air. Then, with a mischievous expression, she licked the digits clean.

Miranda gulped and desire shot through her once again. Andrea noticed the change in her expression and she chuckled as she turned to put on her clothes. Miranda did the same, trying to calm her desire. Later, there will be more time for that later. Once they had made themselves presentable, and after stopping in the bathroom to wash their hands and put on some perfume, they headed up the stairs to join the twins.

The twins had decided to watch The Perks Of Being a Wallflower, and Miranda and Andy quickly caught up with the movie plot. By the end of the film, Andy was feeling rather emotional, and Miranda had to admit she was feeling sentimental too. The twins were both quietly weeping as the credits rolled around, and they quickly wiped their tears as they set about tidying up the place. Just when they were going to say goodnight, Miranda grabbed their hands and pulled them towards the sofa, sitting them between herself and Andrea.

"Darlings, we have to ask you something. How would you feel about Andrea moving in?"

The twins looked at their mother with surprise, but their expressions quickly turned into excitement.

"Yes!"

"That'd be so cool!"

Andrea beamed, relieved the twins approved. Miranda gave a tender smile and ran a hand through her daughters' hair.

"When's she moving in?" Caroline eagerly asked.

"Yeah, Andy. Can you come live with us this weekend or do we have to wait, like, a whole week?"

Andy looked at Miranda, who was looking at her with an open expression. It was her choice then.

"Well, I don't have many things to move in with me, so that won't take long. I rented the apartment half-furnished so most of my things are just clothes and books really. I do have to clean up the apartment really well though, and tell the owner that I won't rent it any longer."

"Don't worry about cleaning it, I'll send Cara over and she can take care of things. If you like we can go over there this weekend and I can help you pack your things."

"Yeah," Andy said, smiling at sparkling blue eyes. "Yeah, I'd love that."

"Okay, girls, it's late, off to bed. Don't forget to brush your teeth."

After kissing both adults goodnight, the twins left, excited chatter trailing behind them as they discussed plans for when Andrea lived with them.

Miranda stood and extended her hand to Andrea.

"Well, darling, it seems my little monsters approve of you living with us. Now, I believe it's our turn to go to bed, yes?"

Andrea grinned and jumped up, wrapping her arms around Miranda as the older woman snaked her arm around her waist. They made their way upstairs in silence, feeling happy and loved as they basked in each other's touch. They reached Miranda's bedroom, and after locking the door, Miranda turned to find Andrea already pulling her shirt of. Andrea stepped forward clad in her bra and trousers, and wrapped her arms around Miranda's waist, bringing their foreheads together.

"Now, my beautiful Mira, let me prove to you just how much I love you."

Miranda smiled before her lips were captured in a sweet kiss.

Miranda felt more loved than ever before in her life.

Chapter Text

Andy was nervous. Scratch that - she was a wreck. Miranda sat beside her on their bed, looking at her and holding her hand, softly running her thumb over Andy's palm in comfort. Andy stared at the phone on her lap, feeling her stomach churn unpleasantly at the thought of what she had to do.

"Andrea," Miranda's voice was soft, soothing. "Darling, look at me please." Andy did, and saw warmth and love in those deep blue eyes she loved so much. "Whatever they say, whatever you decide to do, you will always have a home here. We will always be your family. No matter what happens."

Andy gulped and nodded.

"Would you like your privacy?"

After a moment of hesitation, Andy tremulously said, "Yes, I think I want to be alone for this."

"Of course. Remember, I love you." Miranda leaned forward and pressed a kiss to Andy's temple and squeezed her hand before standing up. "Good luck. I'll be just next door in the study."

Andy nodded, trying to control her breathing. Okay, Sachs, lets do this. With her heart in her throat, she picked up her phone and dialled.

"Hello?" Came Elizabeth Sachs' voice.

Andy took a deep breath. "Mom, hi." She could hear her voice trembling.

"Andy? What is it? Is something wrong?" Elizabeth's voice sounded concerned.

"No, nothing's wrong mom. I just wanted to talk to you and dad. Is now a good time?"

"Um," Elizabeth seemed uncertain. "Sure. Hold on, let me get your father."

After some moments in which all Andy could hear was movement coming from the other end of the line, her father's voice spoke.

"Hey Andy." Richard Sachs said warmly.

"Hey dad. Am I on speaker?"

"Yes." Elizabeth said. "What did you want to tell us?"

Okay, this was it. Do it quickly, like a band-aid. No beating about the bush.

"Okay, the thing is I'm moving and - "

"Oh? Where?" Elizabeth said.

"Well, that's the thing, mom. Remember Miranda?"

"Your boss Miranda? How could we forget?" Her father asked incredulously.

"I know," Andy said with a forced chuckle. "Anyways, she's not my boss anymore."

"What?"

"Did she fire you, Andy?" Elizabeth's voice was already starting to get that tone she always used when she was angry.

"No! No, nothing like that, mom. I quit."

"You quit?"

"Yeah, but not because of her, I promise. She didn't do anything bad or anything. I just found a better job. I'm working at The Mirror now, as a true journalist."

"Oh, honey that's wonderful!" Richard's voice was pleased.

"Congratulations baby! So why are you moving? And where?" Elizabeth said.

"Well, you see, after I quit, I met up with Miranda, and, well, we've beeninarelationshipeversince."

"What was that? Andy, speak clearly, you're on speaker and you know how bad the quality is." Richard said.

Andy took another deep breath.

"Okay, mom, dad, please don't get mad. I'm happy and I'd like you to accept that."

"Andy," Elizabeth's warning tone made Andy almost shiver. "What's going on?"

"Miranda and I are together."

There was a long silence, and Andy could feel her heart beat double.

"It's been going on for a while and I'm moving in with her."

More silence.

"Hello? Are you - "

"I knew it. Andy, what on has that woman done to you?" Elizabeth's voice was shrill.

"What? No! She hasn't done anything, mom. I'm happy. I love her and she loves me." Andy scrambled to make the situation better.

"That's ridiculous! Is she threatening you?"

"Elizabeth..." Andy could hear her father trying to calm his wife.

"Don't 'Elizabeth' me, Richard. Andy, she's using you. How can you say you love her after everything she put you through? She's a sadistic, horrible person. She's probably just using you for sex!"

"Mom! How dare -"

"Or is it some kind of mid-life crisis for her? She's rich and powerful and she could have anyone she wanted. You are a pretty young thing who throws herself at her feet, of course she's using you."

"Mom! She's not using me! She loves me!" Andy felt tears burning her eyes, and she tried not to shout too loudly, but knew she was failing miserably.

"Elizabeth, let her - "

"No. No, Richard, I will not. Nobody does this to my baby girl. This is ridiculous, Andy! She's a woman twice your age with two kids and multiple divorces! You should be with someone like Nate, young and who actually cares about you. You think she won't get tired of you? That she won't toss you aside like she does with everyone else?"

"Mom," Andy almost sobbed. She raised a trembling hand to her face, wiping the fat tears rushing down her cheeks. "You don't know her. How can you say those things?"

"Because I've lived Andy. You're young and inexperienced and she has money and power. I know you think she cares about you, but she doesn't. She doesn't care about you at all, Andy!"

"Elizabeth, stop." Richard pleaded.

"Mom, please!" This time Andy could not hold in the sob that broke from her chest. Despite Miranda's words and actions since they got together, Elizabeth had hit Andy where she was most vulnerable. What if it's true? What if she gets tired of me?

"I'm just telling you the truth, Andy. She will break you like it's nothing and then you'll be thrown out. You'll be alone again and with nowhere to go. She will be perfectly fine and you'll be out on the street. Don't be fooled Andy, that woman is a snake and she will spit you out the minute she doesn't want you anymore."

Andy slipped from the bed to sit on the floor, barely able draw breath.

"Elizabeth, that's enough." Andy's father cut in. "Andy, we'll call you back in a few days. Take care."

And with that, the phone disconnected, and Andy was left with her mother's words ringing loudly in her ears, haunting her with her worst fears.

She's just using you.

You think she won't get tired of you? That she won't toss you aside like she does with everyone else?

She will spit you out the minute she doesn't want you anymore.

Andy felt her heart hammering in her burning chest, her stomach turning nauseously, her body staring to shake. She tried to draw breath, but found she couldn't, her lungs seemed unable to take in air. Suddenly, she wasn't in her body anymore. She was somewhere far away, her mother's voice still following her. Miranda voice sounded over the chaos, "Darling?", but it sounded so far away Andy could barely make it out. She was unravelling, losing control, lapsing into the darkest corners of her mind.

.....-.....

Miranda sat in her study. She could hear Andrea's muffled yet loud words, but couldn't quite make them out. She listened for mere minutes before everything fell quiet. Miranda assumed the conversation was over, and by the sound of it, it had not gone too well. She decided to give Andrea a few moments in case she needed some time to herself.

She barely lasted two minutes without rolling her eyes and standing from her chair. She needed to see that Andrea was all right.

Her heart jumped painfully in her chest when she opened their bedroom door to find Andrea on the floor, her cheeks stained with tears, and barely able to breathe.

"Andrea?" Miranda asked, rushing forwards.

When there was no response from Andrea, Miranda realised what was happening. She quickly kneeled on the ground next her and took the frail body in her arms.

"Andrea! Darling, listen to me. Listen to my voice. You're having a panic attack. Come back to me, Andrea."

Andrea only seemed to cry even harder, gripping Miranda's shirt until her knuckles were white. It seemed like she was unaware of her surroundings, of Miranda. Her harsh breaths were coming in strained pants, quick and sharp, and several painful sobs broke from Andrea's chest. It made Miranda's stomach drop and her eyes water. It gave her so much pain to see her Andrea like this; she could barely control her own reactions.

"Please come back to me, darling." She said into the soft brown hair beneath her lips, closing her eyes. "Everything will be all right darling, it's okay. Shh, you're safe. I love you, Andrea, everything will be fine..."

After several long moments, Andrea's trembling slowed to a stop, and her breathing began to deepen and calm. She seemed to finally come to her senses, and Miranda quickly leaned back to look into terrified, sad brown eyes that were looking at her with desperation.

"What is it?"

"Please don't leave me. Please." The harsh whisper made Miranda's heart drop.

Miranda took Andrea further into her arms, pressing the young woman's face into her neck protectively and weaving her fingers through brown locks. She could feel Andrea's tears falling on her skin.

"Shh, I won't leave you. I could never leave you. I'm here, I'm here."

They sat in their tight embrace for a while longer before Miranda puled them both up and sat them on the bed. She wiped Andrea's tears away with her thumbs, leaning in to kiss her brow, and then pressing their foreheads together.

"Darling, why would you think I'm going to leave you?"

"Because," Andy's voice was shaky and strained. "You're you and I'm just me and you'll get bored of me and you'll leave me and I'll be left heart broken and alone and - "

"Andrea, Andrea, stop."

Tears were filling those big brown eyes again, and Miranda sighed deeply, cupping the young woman's face in her hands and looking deep into her eyes.

"Is this because of something your parents said?"

Andrea looked down and nodded.

"Andrea, look at me." Once they were gazing at each other's eyes again, Miranda continued. "I want you to understand something, okay? I will never leave you. I couldn't. You know why? Because I love you more than I've ever loved another individual in my entire life. I can't live without you, Andrea. I look at my life before you and I realise just how empty it was without you. I built walls around myself, I kept my heart hidden away from the world. I was alone, even though I was married, I was alone. I placed an armour on my shoulders from a very young age, and until recently it has never failed me. I was empty, Andrea, until you came and filled my life, made my life, with everything that I had kept at a distance my whole life. You were able to climb the walls around my heart. You were able to crawl beneath my armour. I still don't completely understand how, but you did. And I am so grateful that you did, because now I'm not empty anymore. I am bursting with love for you. I feel loved every time I look into your eyes. My girls and I are closer and happier than we've ever been, because of you. All because of you, Andrea. My Andrea. How could I ever live without you? I wouldn't survive."

Tears were once again streaming down Andy's cheeks, but this time they were not tears of despair. They were tears of relief and joy and love, because Miranda's usually impenetrable orbs were open and truthful and warm and loving. Miranda once again wiped Andrea's tears away before leaning in to kiss her fluttering eyelids.

"I adore you, my darling. Never forget that."

Andy gave a watery smile, feeling emotions rolling within her that were almost overwhelming. She loves me. She loves me.

"I won't." She whispered.

"Good." Miranda smiled softly at her, the smile only reserved for her.

Andy was enveloped in Miranda's arms in another tight embrace. She buried her face in the woman's soft neck and closed her eyes, smelling Miranda, feeling Miranda, and feeling the love between them like a diamond, strong and beautiful and unbreakable.

.....-.....

That evening, the girls came home from a friend's party to find a very delicate atmosphere. As soon as they walked through the door, they knew something was wrong. Nobody came to greet them at the door, and it was silent in the house. Without making their usual raucous, they silently looked around for their mother and Andy. Very soon they found them in the main living room of the downstairs floor. Miranda was sat on the edge of the couch reading a book, and Andrea was asleep, covered by a blanket and with her head resting on Miranda's lap. Miranda's free hand was softly running through Andy's brown locks, and when the twins looked more closely, they could see Andy's face was slightly pale and puffy around the eyes.

Miranda looked up when they came in and put down her book on the arm of the sofa. She brought a finger to her lips, and then indicated the girls to come closer. The other hand never seized its soothing motions through Andy's hair. Caroline and Cassidy took their shoes off and silently walked to stand beside their mother. Miranda indicated they should move even closer, and they did so she could almost whisper in their ears.

"Andrea has had a very bad day, Bobbseys. She had a fight with her parents and she's very tired and very sensitive right now. When she wakes up, we need to show her how much we love her and how much she belongs here with us, okay?"

The girls moved back to look at Andy, who even in sleep looked exhausted. They looked back to their mother and nodded. Caroline moved forward again.

"Should I order pizzas for dinner?" She whispered.

"And ice cream." Cassidy added.

Miranda smiled at her daughters, her two little angels, and nodded.

The girls silently left the room again and made all the arrangements for dinner, picking out a movie for later - Sister Act - and ordered both pizza and ice cream for all of them. Meanwhile, Miranda sat with Andrea, watching her lover while combing her fingers through the long brown tresses. She didn't want to wake her Andrea up, and would remain right where she was until the young woman got some rest.

Ten minutes after the girls had ordered their food, Andy began to stir. The first thing she noticed, without even opening her eyes, is that she was laying on Miranda's lap. The woman's smell surrounded her, and she could feel delicate fingers massaging her scalp. The next thing she noticed is that she had no idea how long she had slept for, but it seemed like a long time. She blinked her eyes open, and turned her head to look up at Miranda, only to find blue eyes already watching her.

"Hey you," Andy murmured, reaching up to rub sleep from her eyes.

"Hello." Miranda smiled down at her.

Andy slowly sat up, moving her neck around to make sure it hadn't cramped up. When she turned to face her lover, however, she caught her wince as she moved her legs.

"Oh! I'm so sorry, Miranda. Here, let me."

Andy immediately moved and knelt on the floor before Miranda. She began to massage the older woman's thighs with care, making sure to kneed the muscles loose. She heard a soft sigh coming from above her and looked up to see Miranda gazing down at her. A graceful, perfect hand moved to cup Andy's cheek.

"Never apologise for giving me a beautiful view and contact to your lovely form, Andrea. I assure you, your rest is more important than any pain."

Andrea smiled and finished her massage before moving to sit beside Miranda.

"Do you want to go to my place tomorrow and pack?"

Andy was surprised by what she saw. Relief flooded Miranda's eyes, and it seemed like a weight had been lifted off the woman's shoulders. Miranda smiled, a gorgeous smile that spoke volumes.

"Yes," she whispered coming to lean their foreheads together. "Yes, I would love to."

Andy decided not to question what she had seen. She was sure Miranda had feared her parents' words would make her change her mind in some way. But after Miranda's wonderful treatment today and her endless reassurances, Andy knew that her mother's words could not be further from the truth.

Soon their food arrived, and they spent dinner speaking about many things, none of them related to Andy's earlier sadness, and Andy soon forgot about her mother's cruel words. As she looked at the three faces before her, all she saw in them was love and happiness and joy, and Andy realised that this was her family now. This was her home.

They watched the movie, but instead of the girls sitting apart from the adults as usual, they all huddled together on the same sofa. The twins sat on either side of Andy, but Cassidy made sure that she didn't take up too much space so that her mother could be as close to Andy as possible. They snuggled beneath a blanket and relaxed in each other's arms. When the movie ended, Miranda told the girls it was time for bed. The twins' answered surprised them both.

"Mom, can we sleep with you guys tonight?" Caroline asked.

"What?"

"Yeah. Do you think we could all fit in your bed? We want to sleep with Andy tonight." Cassidy said.

Miranda smiled at the girls and felt her heart leap in her chest. She looked up at Andrea, who was looking at the girls while trying very hard to control her emotions and not tear up. She knew why the girls were doing this, and she could not be happier that they wanted to show her she belonged here.

"Of course we'll all fit together Bobbseys. We'll have to snuggle up a lot though. Go get ready for bed, Andrea and I will wait for you in our room."

The twins jumped off the couch and hurried upstairs. Miranda stood and offered Andy her hand.

"Come, my love. I believe tonight we have company."

Andy smiled up at her and took her hand.

.....-.....

When they reached the en-suite bathroom to their room, Andrea closed the door, turned towards Miranda and hugged her close.

"Thank you."

Miranda smiled into Andrea's neck.

"There is nothing to say 'thank you' for, darling. We love you."

Andy once again found herself blinking back tears, and she hugged Miranda ever tighter. She took a deep, calming breath and collected herself before moving back to look at Miranda and smirking.

"Does this sleeping arrangement mean we have to wear clothes to bed?"

Miranda rolled her eyes and tried to hide a smirk of her own.

"Unfortunately, yes. Even though I love to fall asleep with your naked body pressed to mine, I promise to make it up to you. We are going to your apartment by ourselves tomorrow, are we not?" There was that mischievous glint in those blue eyes that Andy loved.

"Yes, thank God for that." Andy said, kissing Miranda's nose and moving to start brushing her teeth.

They went about their usual nightly routine, but before Miranda could open the door to head back into their bedroom, Andy took her hand and kissed it. She looked at Miranda's blue orbs and reached up to softly caress her cheek.

"I love you, Mira."

Miranda smiled. She only now realised she had no idea where Andy had come up with that name for her. She had started using it and Miranda had simply gone with it. But she loved it, because nobody called her that except her Andrea. It was only for them to share, nobody else.

"Me too, darling. Me too."

Some time later, when the four of them had finally settled into bed, Andy looked around her. Cassidy was cuddled up to her left side, and Caroline to her right. Their deep, heavy breathing easily told Andy they had quickly fallen asleep. She looked up at Miranda, who was on the other side of Caroline, and Andy was surprised to find the older woman had fallen asleep too. They were all huddled close, and Miranda and Andy were holding hands above Caroline's head. Even in sleep, Miranda held onto Andy's hand and was determined to not let go. Andy looked around once more, and felt utterly and completely at peace watching their sleeping forms next to her, safe and happy and alive. Andy had the three people she loved most in the world right here, peacefully sleeping and giving her more happiness and love she had ever had in her life. Andy smiled and took a deep breath.

Yes, this is my home. This is exactly where I'm meant to be.

Chapter Text

A week after the dreadful telephone call to her parents, Andy decided to go to the park with Miranda and the girls. She kept telling herself she didn't need her parents, that she had a new family. Nevertheless, it hurt to realise that her parents only supported her when it was convenient for them, and not when she was truly happy. She felt betrayed by their condescending attitude, and frustrated that her mother hadn't even allowed her to explain anything before lashing out and insulting both Miranda and Andy. She was sure that this would not be the last she heard from her parents, and she was still hopeful that they would come to accept her relationship with the silver-haired woman. But she could not deny the anger, betrayal and utter disappointment she felt.

Andy pushed those thoughts away and focused on how happy her life was at the moment. She had easily moved out of her apartment last Sunday, only spending a few hours with Miranda collecting all her clothes and books. Everything else Andy could dispose of. Andy suppressed a chuckle when Miranda had seen her wardrobe in all its nerdy glory. The look of horror on her face had been priceless, but Miranda had dutifully remained silent when Andrea had given her a warning look. While packing her clothes, Andy could hear Miranda sniff in disgust and even give the odd small whimper of helpless horror at several garments of clothing that Andy had kept from her nerdy college days. Overall, the packing of her clothes had been very much amusing to Andy and slightly traumatic for Miranda.

After they finished packing Andy's belongings, they had made up for the night before, just as Miranda had promised they would. It had been slow and tender, passionate and deep, and they had gazing into each other's eyes while murmuring their devotion and gasping each other's names. When their love took Andy's body in an electric current of passion, Andy had felt overwhelmed, and several silent tears escaped and trickled down onto Miranda's neck. The older women hadn't said a word, but simply ran her fingers through soft curls and held her lover in a loving embrace.

With just a few boxes, they had returned to the townhouse in the afternoon. Andy was pleasantly surprised to find Miranda had already made room on her wardrobe for Andy's clothes and on her shelves for Andy's books. That night they had made love again, and they had finally fallen asleep in one another's arms late into the night. It thrilled Andy to wake up the next morning next to Miranda's warmth, then having breakfast together in the kitchen, and then kissing goodbye before parting ways to go to work. The entire week had been that way, and Andy could not be happier in her new home. She loved her life, and she revelled in the love and joy that she woke up to every morning and went to sleep to every night.

Andy sighed. The sun shone on her face, warming her skin, and she smiled lightly at the sky as a smooth breeze swept through her brown curls. She was sat on a bench in a rather secluded part of Central Park, surrounded by tall trees and orchestrated by the singing birds. Miranda was sat close enough that Andy could feel the woman's heat radiating from her body. Leaning her head back, she closed her eyes and sighed heavily, and smiled again when she felt Miranda's fingers softly caressing the back of her hand. She could hear Cassidy and Caroline's laughter in the distance as they played with Patricia, and Andy felt another rush of gratefulness flood her for her new happiness.

Her phone rang in her pocket, and she fetched it out. Looking at the name on the screen, her good mood was drowned by dread and anxiety settling in her gut. Miranda clearly sensed this, and she took Andy's hand in hers and gave it a reassuring squeeze. Taking a deep breath and closing her eyes, she answered the call.

"Hi, dad." Andy said, in as much of a neutral voice as she could muster.

"Andy, hello." Andy swallowed nervously when she heard her father's unsettled tone. She had no idea why he was calling her, or what to expect from this conversation. "Listen, your mother is not with me at the moment, so it's just me this time, okay?"

"Erm, okay?" Andy answered, trying to keep the trepidation from her voice.

"Okay, um," Richard took a deep breath and slowly let it out. "Could you tell me what's been going on? Properly this time, without your mother cutting in. I'd like to get the whole story."

"Oh," Andy felt surprised. He didn't sound like he was patronising her or out to attack her further. Hope simmered in her chest. "Well, there's not much to tell. Miranda's husband - ex husband - cheated on her and I helped her through the divorce. We grew close and, well, we fell in love. We're in love, dad."

There was a short silence.

"I know, Andy. I can tell you love her. But we just don't want you to get hurt. We know what she can be like - "

"No, dad," Andy interrupted, her voice firm and stern. They had no right to judge Miranda, no right at all. "You don't know what she's like. You don't know her at all. She has proven to me over and over again how much she loves me, and I will not tolerate another insult towards her. I love her, and you need to respect that."

"But Andy, listen - "

Before her father could speak another word, an elegant hand reached out towards Andy's face and took the phone from her. Andy gasped and turned, only to see Miranda give her a calming smile and placing a reassuring hand on her thigh. With her other hand, Miranda brought Andy's phone to her own ear.

"Mr. Sachs?"

"Erm, yes? Who is this?"

"This is Miranda Priestly, and I believe that you fear for your daughter's welfare, is this true?"

"Well, I mean, yes, I - " Richard Sachs stammered.

"And you are concerned that I will somehow hurt her or use her to my own advantage?"

Andy watched, fascinated, as Miranda calmly spoke to her father, blue eyes focused onwards towards the skyline, voice calm and collected, and her hand still placed on Andy's thigh. Andy trusted Miranda and knew the older woman would not do anything to make the situation worse, so she leaned back on the bench and let Miranda have her say. She watched and listened closely to Miranda speak, taking the soft hand on her thigh. Please, please let him come 'round.

"Yes," Richard answered her, his voice back to normal. "Her mother and I fear that your intentions aren't exactly noble. We know who you are, and how you treat people, and how your marriages have ended. Andy is young, we don't want to see her getting tossed around and used to somebody else's whims."

Miranda paused slightly, taking a deep breath before continuing.

"You see, Mr. Sachs, that is where you are wrong. My intentions are quite noble, I assure you. There are very few people in this world I would allow to live with me, in my house, with my children. There are very few people that I trust and love enough to share my life with them. And it is true that my marriages have not been successful, however you must know that they were simply not right for me. Andrea is different. She has made herself an exception to every rule I have always lived by, and I assure you that she is well loved and taken care of. I have offered her my home and have shared my daughters with her, and I guarantee you that no harm will come to her. I too am a parent, and I understand your fears and your accusations. It cannot be easy to accept your child has a relationship with someone as difficult as myself, but I will never abandon her like certain others have done before me, and I will remain by her side for however long she wants me. I promise you that I will do everything in my power to keep Andrea safe and away from any hurt or harm that may come her way. And believe me, I always keep my promises."

There was a pause at the other end of the line, and Miranda waited calmly. She had said her peace, now the ball was on his court. She could feel Andrea's eyes burning into her, and was about to turn to look at her lover when Richard Sachs finally spoke.

"Well, that's, erm, that's good. I'm glad. You must understand it isn't easy for us to come to terms with this, but I will make the effort. Can I speak to my daughter?"

"Of course, Mr. Sachs. Goodbye."

Miranda handed Andrea the phone, and Andy had to tear her eyes away from her love in order to speak to her father in a coherent manner. Her heart was still speeding from Miranda's speech.

"Hey, dad. Do you understand now?"

Andy heard her father clear his throat and take a deep breath.

"Yes, yes I think I do. Honey, I'm glad that you're happy, and I promise that I will work very hard to be okay with this. I must say I'm not horrified, you always did talk about her a lot, so I guess perhaps it shouldn't come as such a surprise. I will talk to your mother and try to make her come to her senses."

"Thank you so much daddy," Andy said, blinking back tears. "This means a great deal to me. Thank you."

"I've got to go now honey, we'll talk soon okay?"

"Okay."

"Bye Andy, I love you."

"Love you too."

The phone disconnected, and Andy stared at it, then closed her eyes and smiled. He's coming around. He's coming around. And because of Miranda. She looked up into deep blue eyes that were filled with love and warmth. Andy threw herself into Miranda's arms, burying her face in her long, soft neck. She could not stop smiling as she felt Miranda's hands rubbing her back. It seemed like things between her and her parents wouldn't be so bad after all.

"I love you, Mira." Andy murmured, placing a kiss on the warm skin beneath her lips.

Miranda in turn kissed and nuzzled Andrea's curls on the top of her head.

"I love you too, my darling."

.....-.....

That night, after the girls had gone to bed, Miranda and Andy were comfortably snuggled on a couch in the living room, draped over one another, while they watched Breakfast at Tiffany's. Hands softly roamed, toying with the hem of clothes and fingers running through soft hair. Andy could hear Miranda's heart beating beneath her ear, and she sighed contentedly as the movie came to an end. They didn't move from their positions until several moments later, when Andrea suddenly realised something. Sitting up slightly, she looked down at her lover.

"Do you think we should tell Nigel?"

Miranda looked confused.

"Nigel?"

"Yeah. He's a friend to us both, and I thought that, since I live here now, we should probably start telling certain people. It won't be long until the press finds out that you have a young female lover sharing your home, right? Wouldn't it be better to tell at least a few people? I don't think Nigel would be pleased if he found out with the rest of the world, and not before."

Miranda looked pensive for a moment.

"You're right. I think we should tell Nigel, but I'm not interested in anyone else knowing. I think I would like to catch them by surprise." She smirked mischievously.

Andy rolled her eyes.

"Oh, of course you want to go for the drama. You do realize Emily will have a heart attack, right?"

Miranda's smirk grew larger, and an evil glint came to her eyes. "I am well aware, Andrea." She drawled.

Andy laughed. Living with this warm, loving Miranda made her sometimes sometimes forget that Miranda often enjoyed watching her subordinates suffer. She was sure that Miranda was purposely going to frighten Emily to death after word of their relationship got out.

"You can be really evil sometimes, you know that?" Andy teasingly asked.

"Hmm, so I've been told." Miranda answered, her smirk turning into a sensuous smile and her eyes darkening. "Perhaps I should be punished for that?"

Andy's breathing caught and she licked her lips.

"Do you think," Miranda continued in a sultry voce. "Perhaps I should be... tied up? Or perhaps a spanking would be more efficient?"

Andy's breathing was already laboured, just imagining the things she was going to do to her lover.

"Bedroom. Now." She commanded, before jumping up and hauling Miranda off the couch.

Dragging the older woman upstairs, Andy quickly took them to their bedroom before locking the door behind them. Quickly and almost roughly, she tore Miranda's clothes off before getting rid of her own. Once they were both without a single strap on their bodies, Andy took a quick moment to admire her lover's body in all its gorgeous glory, before harshly pressing Miranda up against the wall.

"Now," she breathed huskily into an enticing ear before licking its shell, noting with a smug smirk that Miranda's breathing had sped up, chest rising with deep sharp breaths. Andy moved to look into Miranda's face, warmth settling deep into her stomach when she saw Miranda's eyes filled with the blue fire that Andy adored. "What did you say about a punishment?"

Chapter Text

Andy took a deep breath, calming herself. It had been a while since she had spoken to Nigel. She hadn't actually seen him since she'd "quit" her job at Runway over two months ago, and since then they had emailed each other, although not frequently. They were both incredibly busy: Nigel was being given more responsibility at Runway, and Andy had her new job and family.

Andy fidgeted on the stool, tapping her fingers against the bar, playing with the straw that came with her Coca Cola. She looked around, scanning the people around her, and it was clear Nigel still hadn't arrived. It was Sunday, so it wasn't too crowded, and the music wasn't too loud. Andy wanted to tell Nigel in a public place. For some reason it mad her less nervous, and she at least knew that his reaction wouldn't be too dramatic if there was an audience. She and Miranda had only agreed to tell Nigel last night after their day at the park, and she wished Miranda was here with her to tell Nigel about them. Miranda had insisted, however, that she wouldn't be there when Nigel found out. She wasn't very good at revelations, and in general didn't deal with people very well. So they had agreed that Andrea, the most gentle and patient of the two, should be the one to tell their drama queen of a friend.

"Six!"

Pushing the cloud of worried thoughts away from her mind, Andy turned on her seat and beamed at Nigel, waving him over. When he finally weaved his way through the crowd and got to her side, he gave her a crushing hug. He went to sit on the stool next to her when she stopped him.

"Hey, Nige. Do you mind if we sit somewhere else?"

"Sure. Lead the way, princess."

She grinned at him before getting up and moving to a secluded table in a quiet, deserted corner. She really had missed him and his endless teasing. After settling down, she reached across the table and took his hand.

"I've missed you, Nige."

"Me too, Six." He gave her a warm smile and squeezed her hand.

A handsome waiter came over, and Andy smirked and rolled her eyes at how Nigel eyed him up and down. After requesting two margaritas, Nigel leaned back on his chair, eyes giving the waiter another once over before shifting his gaze to Andy.

"Is he getting a nice, generous tip tonight?" She teased.

"Oh, please. Look at him. He can take my wallet."

Andy laughed, glad that there was no tension between them after these months of not seeing each other.

"So, tell me Six. How's the job at the Mirror going?"

"Good, good. I'm really happy there," Andy said, smile still on her face.

Nigel stared at her for a long moment before stating, "You certainly seem happy."

Andy shrugged, and was about to answer when their waiter came back with their drinks. Once he left, Andy dived into her drink, taking a few big nervous gulps. As she placed her drink down, she looked at Nigel to see him staring at her with an eyebrow raised.

"Thirsty," she offered.

Nigel rolled his eyes.

"What's up, Six? This meeting must be for a reason, since it's been so immediate and out of nowhere. What is it?"

Andy took a big breath, preparing herself for the conversation ahead.

"I'm seeing someone."

There was a pause in which Nigel stared at her, obviously waiting for her to continue. But her mind was blank, and she didn't know how to actually say the words out loud. She should have probably scripted a little speech in her head before meeting up with him.

"I'm really happy for you Six, but are you going to tell me about him or...?" Nigel asked, motioning with his hand for her to keep talking.

Andy took another deep breath.

"Well, erm, you see, there's not actually a 'him'. I'm with a woman."

Nigel's eyes widened at this, and his eyebrows went skywards, but otherwise remained motionless. He kept quiet, knowing there was something more.

"Okay, erm. How do I put this? Well, she's older than me." Andy paused. "Actually, she's kind of much older than me. And you know her."

"Andy," Nigel said, lifting his hand. "What are you getting at? You're really nervous, what's going on? Who is she?"

"Okay, okay. But before I tell you, you have to promise me that you won't freak out or go crazy or judge us, because we're really happy together and we love each other and it's been the best thing that's ever happened to me and - "

"Andy - "

"It's Miranda."

There was a long pause in which Nigel just stared at her, face frozen. Then he slowly blinked, as if not really believing he heard right.

"I'm sorry, what?"

"I'm seeing Miranda."

Another long pause. Andy could feel her heart drumming in her chest. His face didn't change; he still seemed frozen on the spot. Was he even breathing?

"Miranda Priestly?" He asked, pronouncing the name slowly.

"Yes."

Finally, Nigel's brain seemed to catch up from his shock, because his eyes grew wide like saucers, his eyebrows shot impossibly high and his mouth gaped open before snapping closed. For the next few moments his lips moved, but no words came out. He gave up on being coherent, and simply gulped down half his drink. After taking a deep breath, he looked at Andy, who was looking at him with a worried expression.

"Well, erm," he cleared his throat, scratching his head. "I must admit, I would have never thought that would be your answer."

"Nigel - "

"How long have you been together?"

Andy sighed, "Two months, just a couple of days after her divorce."

His eyes widened again. If Andy didn't feel this nervous she would find Nigel's repertoire of expressions tonight highly amusing.

"Holy shit," he said, dumfounded. "How? I mean... how?" He asked, bewildered.

Andy took a gulp of her drink before telling him their story. The night Andy had walked into Miranda drunk after she had found Steven cheating on her, the Fridays spent at the hotels, how she had held Miranda when her children had abandoned her, how she had taken care of her and comforted her, how she had worked to deal with the divorce as much as she could so Miranda wouldn't take the brunt of it all, how she had convinced the girls to come back to their mother, how bad it had been for her before she realized Miranda loved her too... She told him everything.

Nigel listened to every word with rapt attention. When she finished, he leaned back and gave a low whistle of amazement.

"Holy shit," he repeated. "All this drama going on between you two and I had no idea."

Andy looked at him incredulously.

"Really Nigel? You had no idea? You didn't notice anything different between us while I worked for her?"

Nigel thought for a moment.

"Well, yeah, I noticed that she seemed to treat you differently. Especially towards the end before you quit. I guess you had the whole 'hotel gatherings' going on by then. It wasn't obvious, but now that I think about it, yes, she did treat you differently than any other assistant she's ever had. It was like you were more, like she respected you and appreciated you. By Miranda standards of course. You didn't get as many scathing remarks, and she rarely made you cry. And before you went all depressed, I sometimes thought I saw her smile more often. Once or twice I even thought she was smiling at you, but then I was sure I had imagined it. And of course I could tell something had happened to you. Your last month at Runway was like you were a completely different person. And I could tell she was worried about you. She never said anything, but she looked at you a lot, more often than usual, and I caught her frowning once when she did, like she was concerned about you." He paused, making up his mind. "Yes, I guess you were always different. I don't know how, but you were, and I guess that makes this," he said, waving his hand in her direction, "a little less hard to believe."

She smiled at him, glad he didn't seem upset, or wasn't freaking out, or didn't do any of the other 50 possible negative reactions Andy had conjured up in her head.

"Yeah," she sighed. "I get it. It was hard to believe at first, and I was the one participating in the relationship. It's still kind of hard to believe that I'm part of a family now, and that Miranda has chosen me of all people to live with her and be her partner."

"Wait, wait, wait," Nigel said, shaking his head and leaning forwards. "You two are living together?"

"Erm, yeah. I moved in last week." Andy smiled, not able to hide how happy she was about that step in the relationship.

"Well shit, Andy. This is really serious," he stated, looking at her with a mixture of amazement and awe in his eyes.

"Yeah, it is. She has changed my life. It's only been two months but I can easily see myself spending the rest of my life with her." Her eyes glazed over, and her gaze turned distant, a smitten smile curling her lips.

"Hello?" Nigel waved his hand in front of her face. "Earth calling Andy."

Andy snapped back to the present, blushing at how ridiculous she was being. She felt like a teenage girl giggling with her friends about a crush, but it felt so good to actually talk to someone about her and Miranda, she couldn't help feeling cheery.

"Sorry," she said, grinning. He rolled his eyes in response.

"Honestly, I have seen people get many different expressions at the mention of Miranda Priestly. Terror, hatred, admiration... But I have never, ever seen someone look so absolutely smitten about her." He grinned. "I'm happy for you, Six. And I'm happy for her too. She's one of my oldest friends, and I know she has never been particularly happy. But lately she seems much more at ease, and relaxed. I'm glad she's found someone as special as you Andy."

Andy blushed again, and beamed at her friend, trying to keep her emotions at bay. Nigel supported the relationship, and was happy for them.

"Thanks, Nigel. That means a lot to me. You are really important to Miranda and I. You're one of the very few people who know about us, and the only one that has actually reacted well, so thank you."

Nigel smiled, but then frowned as he heard the last part.

"Wait, who else knows?"

"Well," Andy sighed, shoulder slumping slightly. "My parents. I haven't been talking to them much since Nate and I broke up. We haven't really been on the best of terms for a while, but since I was moving in with Miranda I felt like I should tell them, and so I called them last week."

Nigel gave a sympathetic wince.

"Yeah," Andy chuckled, rolling her eyes. "That didn't go very well. My mom kept on accusing Miranda of using me, like I was some kind of a sex toy, and was insulting us both. She hung up on me before I even got to properly explain how everything had happened, and that our relationship now is actually very different to the working relationship we had before. But," she said, brightening up. "Yesterday my dad called, saying that he wanted to talk to me properly without my mom getting in the way. He said he was worried about me, and then Miranda stepped in and gave him this amazing speech of how much she cares about me and how she isn't taking advantage of me. By the end of the call, he seemed to come over to our side. It'll take time to get used to, but he's not against us, which is good."

Nigel sighed.

"Well, I'm glad your dad is a wise man and made the right decision. But I'm sorry about your mother. It mustn't have been fun to hear all those things from her. Believe me, I have had my fair share of bad experiences with family because of sexuality and relationships. More than enough. Don't worry, Six, they get over it. My mother is a profound Christian who goes to church every weekend and believes homosexuality is a sin. She still gets touchy when anything related to my love life or gays in general come up in conversation, and I have never taken a boyfriend to meet my parents, ever. That's just a side of myself that I simply cannot share with them. They accept it, but from afar. They want it nowhere near them. But at least it's better than how they were some years ago. We spent 8 years without any contact at all after I came out, before my dad reached out to me, and slowly we began to be able to speak again. It's a process, Andy. Give them time."

He smiled kindly at her, and she smiled back, nodding her head slightly, trying to keep the tears at bay. She had never heard Nigel's story, and it struck a chord in her. That, coupled with how supportive he was being made her chest feel heavy. She took a deep, calming breath before taking a long sip of her drink.

"So," he grinned, drifting the conversation to a lighter tone. "Welcome to the gay club, darling. It seems we're expanding. I'm very glad you could join us in our glorious multitude of gays."

Andy laughed. "Thank you. It's a pleasure being here."

At that, Nigel leaned forward. Seeing the wicked glint in his eyes, Andy immediately knew she was in trouble.

"Tell me," he smirked. "What's it like being with the 'Ice Queen'?"

Andy threw her head back, laughing. She looked at Nigel, trying to keep her blush at bay.

"Oh, believe me, it's anything but ice." She said, smirking. Just thinking about Miranda made a shiver run up her spine and her eyes cloud over.

Nigel chuckled. "That good, huh?"

Andy licked her lips. "Better."

He shook his head, looking away from his friend, who looked about ready to explode.

"Okay, cool it Six. I don't think I want to know the details," he chuckled, teasing the young brunette.

Andy shook her head, pulling herself together. Nigel. Right.

"I can't help it, you started it."

"Yeah, I didn't know you'd turn into some kind of lioness in heat."

"Oh, but you don't know the half of it! She does this thing with - "

"NOPE!" He quickly snapped, raising his hand to stop her continuing. "Don't want to hear it. Nope. No way. Keep those details to yourself and Miranda, I'd rather keep my mind intact, thanks."

Andy laughed, and called to the waiter for more drinks.

.....-.....

Andy crawled into bed that night, snuggling up to Miranda and giving a long sigh of contentment. She was past the point of tipsy, having spent a good portion of her night drinking Margaritas with Nigel, chatting and laughing together like old times. She had laughed so hard she had cried on several occasions. Telling Nigel about her and Miranda made her feel like a weight had been lifted off her shoulders. Overall, it had been an amazing night, and Andy hadn't gotten home until 11 pm.

Andy took a deep breath, the smell of Miranda caressing her senses. She watched as the older woman worked on the Book, poised elegantly against the headboard. Andy smiled, admiring her beauty.

How am I so lucky? I mean, she could have anybody she wants, she's fucking gorgeous. Best ass I've ever seen in my life. It should be illegal to be that beautiful. Makes me want to rip her clothes off every time I see her. I mean look at her. Great breasts too. And holy shit her face. Lord help me. I'll never get tired of looking at her face. Fucking hell, I'm horny. Damn Nigel.

"Should I be concerned that you're saying Nigel's name after declaring your horniness?" Miranda's voice washed over her, sounding neutral and only slightly amused.

"Huh?"

Miranda rolled her eyes before looking away from the Book and focusing on a glassy-eyed Andrea.

"You were speaking out loud, darling." Miranda said, trying very hard to keep a straight face and not laugh at Andrea's eloquent declarations.

Andy remained looking up at her, her brow furrowing in confusion. Andrea's puzzled face was incredibly endearing and utterly adorable, and Miranda couldn't hold back a smile.

"Oh," Andrea said, and then shrugged. It's not like she had said anything secret, all those things were true.

Miranda chuckled before turning to place the Book on her bedside table. She snuggled down into the sheets, resting her head on the pillow beside Andrea's.

"Andrea?"

"Hmm?" Andy answered, smiling goofily at Miranda.

"How much did you drink tonight?"

"Dunno. Ask Nigel, he kept buying me drinks."

"Did he now?" Miranda asked, amused. Drunk Andrea was very endearing indeed.

"Yeah. He said it was to celebrate me getting laid by Miranda Priestly on a daily basis." Andrea giggled, then suddenly stopped and frowned, as if coming to a life-altering realisation. "Actually, no. He didn't say 'laid'. No, no." She shook her head slightly, ruffling her hair against the pillow. Miranda smiled, amused by Andrea's monologue. "He said 'fuck'. We drank to me fucking Miranda Priestly on a daily basis."

Miranda's eyes widened significantly.

"He said what?" She asked, incredulous. Why on earth would Nigel drink to their sex life? Why would he use such a crude word as 'fuck'? And why on earth did he know that Andrea and her did it on a daily basis?

Andy looked up, confusion apparent on her face, until realisation dawned on why Miranda was staring at her with a mixture of horror and embarrassment written on her face.

"Oh, no, Mira. It's fine. He was drunk too, really drunk, and nobody heard. The bar wasn't crowded and we were in a quiet area."

Having said her peace, Andrea (rather ungracefully) crawled over Miranda and hovered above the older woman.

"He took it well then?" Miranda asked.

"Oh yeah, he was cool about it." Andy shrugged and flicked her head, as if pushing the subject of conversation out of the way. "Now, Mira, I've been craving you all night, and I want to taste you."

Before Miranda could respond, she found herself being thoroughly kissed by Andrea. With a low moan, she lost herself in the deep kiss as tongues duelled and hands roamed, gripping and caressing. Their conversation could wait to the morning.

Andrea sat up, straddling Miranda's stomach. She tugged at Miranda's clothes impatiently, struggling to get them off the older woman's body.

"Off." She commanded, her mind sobering up slightly.

Miranda quickly tore her blue nightshirt off while Andrea quickly followed her actions. Andy quickly moved down the bed, taking Miranda's underwear with her. She looked at Miranda's gloriously naked body from head to toe before tearing off her own underwear. Both women were already wet and wanton. Andy dove between Miranda's legs, placing the woman's gorgeous thighs over her shoulders. Miranda's breathing deepened, her body immediately reacting to Andrea, and already anticipating what was to come next. She yelped when she felt Andrea's teeth sinking into her inner thigh.

"Can't wait anymore." Andrea's muffled voice floated to her ears before her own whimper filled the air.

Andrea dived forward, burying her face between Miranda's thighs, letting out a long moan. The older woman gasped as Andrea's tongue immediately began to lap at her, eating her out with vigour, her movements desperate, almost rough. Miranda's back arched as she gave a deep moan of pleasure. Andrea moved her tongue to Miranda's clit, giving it a great deal of thorough attention, humming at the musky taste that was Miranda.

Miranda was panting, gripping the sheets in a vice-like grip. She could barely make a sound, almost unable to even draw breath, mouth forming a silent 'o' and eyes wide in shock. Few times had Andrea been this desperate, absolutely ruthless with her mouth, taking Miranda with a ferocity that surprised the older woman. Nobody had ever shown her such need, but Andrea seemed to want to drink her in, eat her whole. Andrea's hands were gripping her hips, nails scratching her in her attempt to get closer to Miranda's body. It was delicious, Andrea's lips, teeth and tongue mercilessly bringing her closer and closer to release.

Andy was in heaven. If she died right now, she would die the happiest person on earth. This was her favourite place to be, between Miranda's trembling thighs, with the delicious taste of the other woman in her mouth. She felt like she would combust, unable to get enough of Miranda. It was a desperation she had never felt before for anyone else, but she had wanted this, exactly this, for hours. She pressed her face closer to Miranda, her nose rubbing against her clit as she used her tongue to thrust into her panting lover. This earned a loud "Yes!" from Miranda, who reached down with both hands to grip chestnut locks. Andy gave a long moan as she felt her hair being pulled and nails digging into her scalp. Miranda began to move her hips to Andrea's thrusts, rubbing and grinding herself on Andrea's mouth.

Andy let Miranda's right leg fall from her shoulder, straightening it out and bending the left one further. With one swift move, she straddled Miranda's right leg, grinding down on Miranda's shin with purpose. Andrea sped up her mouth's pace impossibly more, matching her hips as she ground down on Miranda's smooth skin. Miranda looked down, and the sight that awaited her took her breath away. Andrea's head buried between her legs, brown head rising and falling with each thrust of that talented tongue, and Andrea's hips rolling in quick waves as she humped Miranda's leg. With that vision engraved in her mind, Miranda arched and wailed, her body stiffening as her orgasm tore through her in long, thorough waves. Andy looked up, and the sight and sound of Miranda coming made her quickly follow her lover over the edge, body shattering to a million pieces of ecstasy.

Moments followed where the only sound in the room was loud panting coming from both women as they tried to get their breath back. Breathing and heartbeat calm again, Andy looked up, resting her chin on her hands over Miranda's pubic bone. She always recovered faster than the other woman, and she loved watching Miranda in post-orgasmic bliss. She watched as a flushed and panting Miranda swallowed thickly and covered her eyes with her hand. After a few calming breaths, she looked down and locked gazes with chocolate-brown eyes. Andrea was looking up at her with a very satisfied smile, her eyes slightly glassy but less so than before. And most prominently, with Miranda's juices still coating the woman's lips and chin. As if reading her mind, Andrea's tongue sneaked out to lick her lips clean and gave a hum of pleasure.

Miranda's breath hitched at the sight.

"Get up here, you minx," She grumbled, using her thighs to encourage the young woman upwards.

Andy smiled and crawled up, wiping her face on the duvet. She settled with Miranda under the covers before cuddling up to the older woman.

"That was delicious," Andrea stated, giving Miranda a gentle squeeze.

"I'm sure it was," Miranda answered, chuckling. "Next time, though, come home earlier so we can spend more time... giving our palates the pleasure they deserve."

Andy snorted, hugging impossibly closer Miranda's warm, exhausted, slightly sweaty body. Placing a soft kiss on Miranda's collarbone, she stifled a yawn.

"Goodnight, Mira."

"Goodnight, my love."

Chapter Text

"Why did you fall in love with me?"

Andy's head snapped up, her eyes focusing on Miranda, who was sitting on the love seat across from her. Miranda kept her eyes on the Book, as if she was indifferent to Andy's answer, but the tightening of fingers, rigid shoulders and clenched jaw told Andy a different story. Not knowing where this was coming from, Andy decided to tread carefully.

"I don't know," She responded, truthfully. This seemed to be the wrong thing to say though, because Miranda's lips immediately pressed into a thin line, and her posture grew even more rigid than before.

Andy put her book down and made her way around the coffee table between them, then crouched down at Miranda's feet.

"Miranda, look at me."

Miranda reluctantly lifted her eyes from the Book, even though she hadn't even been paying attention to it in the first place. Her mind had drifted, and suddenly she had found herself with thoughts that made fear and insecurities invade her mind and haunt her thoughts. When Miranda's eyes focused on Andrea's, the young woman took the Book from Miranda's lap and set it behind her on the table, then took warm hands in hers.

"I need you to understand something, Mira. I love words. It's one of the things I love most in the world. In my entire life, I've always had words to express how I felt, what I did, why things happened. Words have never failed me, not ever. Until you." Miranda was still looking at her with uncertainty, so Andy took a deep breath and tried to explain herself as best she could. "When I met you, the second that I saw you, words left my mind. For some reason, I was left speechless and incoherent. And ever since that moment I first laid eyes on you, I've never really gotten that ability back. I've done my best, and I've managed sometimes. But I can never explain why I fell in love with you, not even to my own mind. Because there are just no words to describe how much love I have for you. I can never describe how breath taking you are to me. I can never describe what my chest does every time I see you or hear your laugh. I can never describe the million reasons why I love you, simply because no word of any language will make you justice. I love you with everything that I am, with everything that I give, and the more time I spend with you, the more I learn about you, the more I'm certain that I will love you even after my last breath leaves my body." Andy looked up at Miranda, eyes wide and sincere, putting all her emotions right on the surface for Miranda to see.

Miranda gulped, not knowing what to say to that. She felt stupid for asking such a question. Hadn't Andrea proven that she loved her? As she looked down into warm, caring, beautiful doe-eyes, she felt her heart flutter, and suddenly all the negative thoughts left her mind just as the tension left her body.

"Well," She began, clearing her throat in embarrassment. "It seems that I am now the one who's left speechless."

Andrea grinned, knowing whatever had taken hold of Miranda earlier had vanished.

"Thank you, darling." Miranda whispered, reaching up to caress Andy's cheek with the back of her fingers.

"What happened? Why did you ask me that?"

Miranda rolled her eyes at herself.

"I'm sorry, darling. It was stupid." Miranda reached over for the book, but Andy took her hands once more.

"No, no. I want to know what happened to you. I don't want you to doubt me."

Miranda smiled gently down at her lover. Andy was too kind, too caring sometimes. Miranda knew she didn't deserve it.

"I don't doubt you, Andrea. It's just that," Miranda sighed, before shrugging faintly. "There aren't many people who have stuck by my side. Since I was young, I always seemed to drive people away. I tried to understand why, I tried to make myself better. But no matter how much effort I put in, people always ended up abandoning me anyways. I've never had true friends, unless you count Nigel as a friend, and all my past romances, my husbands, they all left me for someone better. I got lost in old memories and I started to panic. I'm just scared that you will leave too." There. Brutal honesty.

In a moment, Andy quickly swept off the floor and sat next to Miranda, pulling the older woman to her and embracing her tightly.

"Listen to me, Miranda. I think that nobody has ever really understood you as well as I understand you. Yes, we've had small arguments, but what couple doesn't? And there will be more arguments to come, I'm sure. And you'll work late and I'll probably annoy you at times and there will be many complications when people find out about us."

"Is there a point to all this, Andrea?"

Andy grinned. "Yes, there is. My point is that there isn't anything in this world that would stop me from loving you. Not your work, because I love that Runway is such a big part of you and I respect all the work you do. Not what people will say, because we will know what is true and what really goes on between us. Not any argument, big or small, could make me walk out the door. I'm here, Miranda, and I'm here to stay until we are old and crippled, and even then I will still love you just as much as I do now."

Miranda chuckled, keeping her emotions at bay. She knew Andrea, and trusted her implicitly, and loved her just as much as Andrea was saying she loved Miranda.

"Darling, I'm sure you realise that by the time you're old and crippled, I'll be long gone."

Andrea immediately stiffened underneath her.

"Don't say that, Miranda" Came a shaky whisper. "You don't know that for sure. And even if it were true, I hope you know that I will die with you. Every day without you will kill me and destroy me, and no matter what happens I will still love you. So that when we meet again in another life, we can continue loving each other like we do now."

Miranda smiled gently, taking a deep breath. She wanted to commit this moment to memory. The way Andrea felt underneath her, her unique scent, how her heart beat its steady rhythm under Miranda's ear, the ticking of the clock on the wall behind them, the quiet noises from the street of wandering cars and people in this peaceful night.

"I love you, my Andrea," She murmured, before placing a kiss on the young woman's shoulder.

"I know. I love you too."

"Good. Now get back to work. I need to continue my endless endeavour to terrorise my staff."

Andy couldn't help but laugh at that.

"They have my utmost sympathy." She said, grinning.

Her grin got even wider when Miranda rolled her eyes.

.....-.....

"Darling?"

Andy was walking down the stairs of the townhouse when she heard Miranda call her. It was rather unusual for Miranda to raise her voice, so the fact that she was calling out to Andy made the young woman hesitate.

"Yeah?" She called back.

"Can you come here please?"

Andy frowned. Miranda's voice seemed to be holding something back, as if she was upset by something. As she made her way towards the den where she knew Miranda would be, she felt very much like she was walking into a trap.

When she passed the door into the den, she saw Miranda standing over her desk with her back towards her. A feeling of dread passed through her as she couldn't see Miranda's expression and it was clear by the tension in the older woman's shoulders that something was up.

"What's up?"

Miranda simply waved her hand, indicating Andy should come stand next to her. Andy cautiously approached, and was surprised to see a package sitting on Miranda's desk.

"What is it?" She asked.

Miranda sighed sharply.

"It's from Nigel. I recognised his handwriting on the card that came with it."

Miranda handed Andy a small note, and Andy felt extremely puzzled and curious as she read it.

"I hope you two wear these, even though you, Miranda, are going to hate them. But I spent a great deal of time on them so I expect at least a picture to prove that they didn't end up in the trash.

PS: Andy, you're welcome."

Andy placed the card down and looked at her lover.

"Well, do we open it?" She asked.

"I suppose we must, although I'm very much dreading it. I don't even want to think about the contents of this."

Andy smiled and placed a hand on the older woman's shoulder. "Hey, it might not be that bad. You know Nigel, he's overly dramatic sometimes."

Miranda looked at her with a sombre expression before rolling her eyes.

"That is exactly why I am dreading this."

Without further ado, Miranda got a pair of scissors from her desk drawer and began to cut the tape away from the box. Once it was open, both women stood there looking at the box for a moment before Miranda gave a great sigh of resignation and reached inside.

Andy watched as Miranda extracted a cerulean blue, short-sleeved t-shirt of fine material with a deep V neckline to show off a fair amount of cleavage. When they read what was written on the front of the shirt in white letters, both women's eyes widened considerably.

I am Miranda fucking Priestly.

Miranda gaped at the shirt and then looked at Andy, completely confused. Andy blinked before slowly turning back to the box. She could see that another shirt was in there, and so she reached in to pull it out. When she did, she struggled very hard not to burst out laughing.

"What is it?" Miranda asked from behind her, still very much bewildered over the shirt she held.

Andy looked at the shirt in her own hands. It was identical to the other one, except not completely.

She slowly turned towards her lover, holding up the shirt so Miranda could read the words on it.

I am fucking Miranda Priestly.

When she saw the expression on the woman's face, she couldn't help herself and burst into a fit of laughter.

"Andrea!" Miranda scolded, which only made Andy laugh harder at the woman's indignation.

Miranda pursed her lips and crossed her arms, watching Andy with a raised eyebrow and waiting for her laughter to die down.

"Are you quite finished?" she asked after several moments.

Andy took a deep breath and wiped a few tears away, trying her best to pull herself together.

"Okay, okay, I'm done, I'm good."

"Wonderful," Miranda drawled. "Now, what on earth was he thinking?"

"Oh, please! You have to admit he's got a great sense of humour."

"Oh, please."

"I'm going to wear this every day."

"Don't be ridiculous, Andrea."

"I'm totally wearing this to sleep."

"Oh, be serious."

"Ooh! I know! I'll wear this when we come out! The paparazzi will go crazy!"

"Andrea!"

Andy couldn't help her laughter any more at the situation and the expression of horror on Miranda's face. Miranda huffed in annoyance and strode out of the room while Andy leaned against the desk for support.

Oh, this is going to be brilliant.

Chapter Text

Andy grunted when she heard an incessant ringing. She rolled over in bed and squinted at the clock, seeing it was 9 am. Miranda and her had decided to sleep in today, but apparently someone had other plans.

Reaching for the phone, she tried not to sound too sleepy.

"Hello?"

"Hey, Andy-baby. It's me."

"Doug?" Andy asked, incredulous. They hadn't spoken for a long time. Feeling more awake now, she sat up slightly in bed.

"Yeah. Listen, erm, I've been thinking things over a lot, and I'd like to meet up with you one of these days so we can talk properly. I know I've been avoiding it but I think we need to talk. Would you do that?"

"Um... I guess?"

"Look," Andy heard him sigh. "I'm really sorry about everything. I've been a pretty awful friend, but I'd like to talk things over with you. Please?"

"Um," Andy said, rubbing her eyes. "Yeah, sure. Name time and place."

"Thanks Andy. Is today good for you?"

"Let me think." Andy had agreed to have lunch with the girls and Miranda, and after the girls went to a sleepover, Miranda and Andy were going to have a romantic night in. "I think I'm free around 4 this evening, but I have to be back by 8."

"That's great. You want to meet at our usual place?"

"Sure."

"Okay, I'll see you then. Bye, Andy."

"Bye."

Andy hung up and stared at her phone, thoughtful.

"Who was that?" A husky, sleepy voice asked.

Andy smiled and looked down to see Miranda peeking up at her from under the covers. With ruffled hair, droopy eyes and pillow marks on her cheek, Miranda looked absolutely beautiful. Andy scooted down the bed until she was lying down, and Miranda immediately curled up against her, leaning her head on the young woman's shoulder and wrapping her arms around her waist.

"That was my friend Doug," Andy started while running her fingers through soft silver hair. "He wants to meet up with me and talk."

At this, Miranda looked up at her.

"What do you think it's about?"

Andy frowned. "Well, I don't think it'll be anything bad. He apologised for the way things went with us and for not being a great friend."

Miranda reached up and ran her thumb gently down Andy's brow, smoothing out the frown that was there.

"It sounds like he has finally come to his senses. When are you seeing him?"

"I'm meeting up with him at four."

"All right. Now," she began as she rolled on top of Andy and kissed her lips gently. When she drew back, she smiled down at her lover. "Good morning, darling."

Andy beamed up at the goddess on top of her.

"Hmm, from where I'm looking, it sure is a gorgeous morning."

Miranda chuckled before leaning down for another brush of lips.

 

.....-.....

 

During lunch with the girls, Andy started feeling a bit nervous about her impending meeting with Doug. She didn't really know what to expect, and she wanted to avoid any sort of drama at all costs. She was so happy in her new-found family and life was so good, she didn't want to deal with any problems with friends. Her tension must have shown, because Cassidy and Caroline looked at each other worriedly.

"Andy?" Cassidy asked in a small voice.

"Yeah, munchkin?" Andy replied, doing her best to smile.

"Did you and mom fight?"

Both Miranda and Andy drew back, startled.

"What?" Andy asked, perplexed.

"Bobbsey, why would you think that?" Miranda said, a frown marking her elegant brow.

"Well, you guys have been sorta quiet and Andy is acting weird. Plus mom always used to fight with dad and Stephen."

Miranda flinched at this, and swallowed, her gaze lowering in remorse. It was true that she had fought a lot with Stephen, and with Greg too. She had done everything in her power to shield her girls from it all, but it was clear that her daughters were too bright for that, and they had caught on. Miranda often worried they would end up having trust issues in their love lives because of the bad example Miranda has given them in that area. How can they believe in love and marriage and family when she has failed so spectacularly, more than once?

Her mussing was interrupted by a warm hand covering hers and giving a gentle squeeze. She looked up into loving brown eyes and an understanding smile. Her dark thoughts immediately left, because she realised that no matter what mistakes she had made in the past, they no longer mattered. Andrea was here, and she was different, and she was the right choice this time.

"No, munchkins, we haven't fought. I love your mom no matter what, okay?" Andy sighed, looking apologetically at the twins. "I'm sorry I've been acting weird, I'm meeting up with an old friend today, and I'm a little nervous."

The twins gave a sigh of utter relief, and their postures relaxed immensely.

"Okay good," Caroline said, "Because we think fighting is stupid, especially since mom actually loves you."

Andy snickered at Caroline's blunt, no-nonsense attitude, while Miranda simply rolled her eyes at her daughter's antiques.

"Why are you nervous about meeting your friend?" Cassidy asked, regarding Andy closely.

"Well, we haven't been on the best of terms lately. It's been a while since we've hung out, and I don't know if this meeting will just end up in an argument and more problems. But I really love him, so I don't want that to happen, you know?"

The twins nodded, and Cassidy frowned a little. After a moment she stood up and rounded the table to Andy's side. She gave the brunette a small hug and a kiss on the cheek. Andy raised her eyebrows in surprise, but smiled at the girl who looked so much like her mother.

"You have a family here, Andy, and we all love you. So whatever happens with your friend, everything will be okay."

And with that she went back to her seat and the twins started talking about their next school recital.

Andy sat there, her expression one of mild surprise at Cassidy's words. She felt Miranda's hand turn underneath hers and squeeze her gently. She turned to gaze into warm blue eyes and smiling lips, and suddenly the weight that had been in her chest ceased. She felt calmness replace the anxiety from before, and she let out a deep breath.

Because it was true, Andy thought as she turned to the conversation the twins were having.

I have a family here, and as long as I have them everything will be all right.

 

.....-.....

 

Andy was almost ready to leave the townhouse to go meet Doug at their usual cafe when Miranda stopped her at the entrance.

"Andrea," she began, taking Andy's hands. "I want you to know that if things go well with Douglas, you can tell him about us."

Andy's eyes widened.

"Really?"

Miranda rolled her eyes and smirked. "Do I ever say anything I don't mean?" She gave Andy a short peck on the lips and brushed the brown locks behind Andy's ear. "If you feel comfortable enough with him, and you think he can be trusted, then yes, I don't see why you shouldn't tell him. I know he is important to you, and that we need to slowly open up to more people. It is entirely your decision."

Andy beamed at her. This was a big step for them. It's one thing to tell Nigel, because they both trusted him. But Miranda didn't know Doug, so it spoke volumes about how much she trusted Andy that she would give her blessing for Andy to tell him about them.

"I love you." Andy said, leaning in for another quick kiss.

"Me too, now go or you'll be late." Miranda said, giving her a small nudge towards the door.

After one last glance over her shoulder at the woman she loved most in the world, Andy left.

 

When Andy got to the cafe, she immediately spotted Doug in their usual booth at the far corner of the place. Doug smiled at her and stood, enveloping Andy in a crushing hug the moment she was by his side.

"Hey Andy." He murmured, still not letting her go.

Andy closed her eyes and revelled in the embrace. It had been so long, and Doug was her best friend. She was glad to be back.

"Hey Dougie, I've missed you." She said before moving away to get a better look at him.

"Me too, girl. Me too."

They moved to their usual seats across from each other, and Doug looked her up and down with a curious expression.

"You look great. Actually, more than great, you're glowing."

Andy smiled and felt a small blush covering her cheeks.

"Thanks, Dougie. You look good too."

He waved her comment off and leaned forward.

"Yeah, yeah. Who is he?"

Andy drew back slightly, startled by the question.

"Erm, a - actually, uh..." She stuttered before deciding that she shouldn't say anything about her love life yet. She needed to talk to Doug a bit first, get back to being friends with him. "I'm not really ready to talk about that just yet."

Doug smiled and nodded in understanding. "Yeah, I get it. Anyways, you do look amazing. I think I've never seen you looking so good before. You look really happy."

Andy smiled. "I am. I really am."

"Well then," Doug said, leaning back in his seat, never losing his smile. "That's all that matters."

A fleeting thought passed through Andy's mind, worrying if he would think the same when he found out the truth. Then her inner voice reminded her "It doesn't matter! Everything will be all right!"

"Anyways," she cleared her throat. "How are you?"

"I'm fine," Doug said with a slight shrug. "Same old, really. My job is still a pain in the ass, but it looks like I may get a promotion soon, so that's great. Oh, do you remember my ex, Liam?"

Andy nodded. Liam and Doug had only been together 4 months, but he had been a really nice guy.

"Well," Doug continued. "I ran into him the other day at the Met museum. He was there with his boyfriend."

Andy cringed in sympathy, and Doug nodded in agreement.

"It was so awkward, it was seven whole minutes of strained small talk and awkward silence. Honestly, his new guy seemed like such an idiot. He was only making it worse by constantly commenting on how much he liked my glasses and the fact that his grandfather had worn the same ones. Honestly, it was painful."

Andy laughed and shook her head.

"Oh, Dougie. That's what you get for having so many boyfriends and flings. Sooner or later you're gonna run into one of them."

"Touché." Doug said, chuckling.

The barista came to their booth and they ordered two cappuccinos. When the woman left, Doug leaned closer over the table.

"So, you have a new job at The Mirror, I heard. Care to tell me how that change came about?"

Andy furiously tried not to blush. Of course everything reminded her of Miranda. Trying for nonchalance, she waved her hand in the air.

"Well, you know. I spent almost a year at Runway, so it was time to move on, really. I went to The Mirror, and they hired me." Andy shrugged, grateful that at that moment the barista came back with their coffees. She took a big sip, even though it was way too hot for her. She smirked internally, wondering how on earth Miranda could stand to drink her coffee this hot. That woman was a mystery. Superhuman, probably.

"And how did our beloved Fashion Queen react to you quitting her job?" Andy almost - almost - choked on her coffee, but managed to keep it together. Of course Doug would ask about Miranda. He was a fan of hers, and Andy had the suspicion that Doug was able to see through her back when they were still friends and she still worked at Runway. Maybe it wouldn't come as such a surprise to him that she and Miranda were together?

"Well, erm, I don't know. The new job has kept me pretty busy actually, but I'm really happy there and the work is finally what I really love, you know?"

Andy was quite proud of herself, she didn't think she'd let anything show in her voice or her expression. She was hopeful that she'd pulled it off. She took another sip of her coffee when Doug kept looking at her with a contemplative expression. After a few moments he shrugged and moved on from whatever had occupied his thoughts. Andy wanted to slump in relief.

"Well, I'm glad you're making a way for yourself Andy. You're a hard worker and a fantastic journalist, and I'm sure things will be great for you."

Andy smiled at him sweetly. "Thanks, Dougie. I appreciate that. But anyways, I was wondering... Have you heard from Lily lately? I don't know much about her. How is she doing?"

Doug gave a small wince and reached up to rub the back of his neck. "Yeah, about Lily. Erm, I haven't heard much from her either."

Andy frowned, leaning forward in concern. Doug sighed, looking very guilty and apologetic.

"Well, when she got angry at you when you went to Paris, she told me some things about you. Something about you cheating on Nate. I'm ashamed to say that I believed her. I mean, you changed so much and you grew so distant, I just took her word for granted. Didn't even question it, didn't even come to ask you about it. I was stupid and selfish. I think it's because I missed you, and I needed an excuse to be angry at you. So I wouldn't miss you anymore, you know? Anyways, that didn't really work. I kinda need my Andy-baby." Doug gave a small smirk, and Andy smiled in return. "Anyways, I spent some time trying to get myself into order, but I realised that I wouldn't actually have order unless you were my friend. It was around that time that Lily really started going berserk. I mean, she started thinking and saying all kinds of shit, and then when she sided with Nate when he got that girl pregnant I realised she was going down the wrong path. I've met Nate's new girlfriend, and let me tell you she is nothing compared to you. She also has a lot of jealousy issues, and I didn't particularly like her. Anyways, I realised that the real friend I should be supporting is you, not them. So I've been distancing myself from them both, and now I'm trying to make things right." He sighed and took her hand in his over the table. "I am so sorry for deserting you Andy, I realise now what a horrible friend I've been and I should have been there for you."

Andy stared at him, wide-eyed and speechless. Doug shifted in his seat under her gaze.

"Can you forgive me? Do you think we could go back to the way it was before?"

Andy blinked, shaking away her surprise and her shock. She beamed at him and squeezed his hands.

"Yes. Yes, of course, Dougie. You know you're my best friend."

Doug was so swept up in relief that he gave a great sigh and sagged forward completely until his head was leaning on the table. Andy laughed and poked his nose when he straightened up.

"Drama queen." She teased.

They grinned at each other. Yes, things would go back to the way things were.

 

.....-.....

 

Miranda was sitting in her study working on the next Runway shoot when a message came through to her phone. When she saw it was from Nigel she rolled her eyes and braced herself. After his little present on Friday she was really not looking forward to seeing him again. She could practically see his knowing grin at the office come tomorrow. Not to mention the endless teasing she would be receiving from him. Mustering up her courage (and her patience) she read the message.

Well hello there my fair lady,

I know it's a sunday but I was wondering if your highness has any plans for this evening? I'm thinking we need a nice long chat, don't you? Come on, for old times' sake?

Say time and place, I'll be there

-N

Miranda once again rolled her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose. When did he get so daring around me? I must be going soft. She thought about her dear friend, who has stuck by her side for the last 20 years or so. Oh, the stories they have together. Miranda smirks and chuckles just thinking about some of them, like that time in the year '85 when they went to a club and met two guys who had a fair amount of marihuana with them. The four of them somehow ended up in one of the guy's apartment, all of them high as a kite, listening to Bonnie Tyler and making pancakes at 4 a.m. It is still one of the best nights Miranda can remember from her youth.

Another more risqué memory was when Miranda had just met Greg, back when she was 35 years old, and she had gone to Nigel for some advice to seduce him. That night ended up being a very drunken night at Nigel's apartment, and they had somehow decided it would be a good idea to do a small photo-shoot of Miranda in rather minimal clothing. Miranda still blushes just thinking about it. She had been wearing her favourite white lacy lingerie, back then she'd had a size 0, perky breasts and a toned stomach, plus all the alcohol consumed got rid of all inhibitions, which resulted in some rather interesting poses. When the two of them had woken up the next morning and had seen the photos sober, Nigel had been gushing excitedly over the photos and teasing her for some of the "very steamy" provocative poses, while Miranda had been mortified and refused to ever show them to anybody. She had even forced Nigel to give her the photos so she'd be the only one with access to them.

Miranda paused for a moment. Maybe she would show them to Andrea some day. She was sure the young woman would... appreciate them.

She shook her head, focusing back on the text message from Nigel. She sighed, re-reading the text. "For old times' sake?" Miranda frowned. When had she drifted away from her only friend? They were still friends, but not as close as they used to be. It bothered Miranda that she had allowed that to happen. She had felt extremely guilty over what she'd had to do in Paris, but she'd made up for it now, and she was determined to move things so that their friendship grew back to a semblance of what it was before. With newfound determination, Miranda typed a message back.

For old time's sake. 7 pm, my house.

PS: If you ever call me 'your highness' again, I will not be held responsible for my actions.

-M

Miranda put her phone down and sighed. It would be an interesting evening.

Chapter Text

Andy and Doug spent a long time chatting and laughing, catching up with each other and remembering the good old days together spent in college. Andy was having a wonderful time and was very glad to have Doug back. It seemed like no time had passed, and she had already completely forgiven him for taking Nate's side. She felt calm and relaxed in their little cocoon of happy reminiscing. That is, until Doug grew serious and his expression became pensive.

"You know, you still haven't answered my question." He said, never taking his eyes off Andy's.

"Hmm?" Andy tried to sound indifferent, and really hoped that her nervousness wasn't showing on her face.

"Who is he?"

Andy cleared her throat. "Why are you so sure I'm with a guy?"

"Andy, come on. You're different, there's something about you I haven't seen before. I remember seeing something like it when you and Nate got together, but it was never this strong and it died down rather fast didn't it?" He smirked. "So, you wanna tell me who the lucky chap is?"

Andy stayed quiet for a moment, then took a deep breath.

"It's not a guy."

"What? Come on Andy, you can't deny-" He stopped talking abruptly, his eyes widening significantly and his jaw slackening somewhat. "Wait a minute. Are you saying what I think you're saying? You're with a woman?"

Andy sighed and looked around, realizing that the cafe had filled up and there was no longer much privacy to talk about this subject.

"Not here," she said while standing up.

Doug immediately followed suit, quickly leaving some bills on the table, and followed her out of the cafe.

"So," Doug said once they were out on the street, hugging his coat tighter against the cool breeze. "Where to? You apartment?"

"Erm, I kinda don't live there anymore."

"What?" Doug said, turning to look at her in surprise.

"I moved out. I don't live there anymore."

"Oh." He offered, not really knowing what else to say. "Okay, well, how about we go to my place then? Although fair warning, it's kind of messy and I haven't cleaned up in a while."

Andy rolled her eyes and chuckled.

"Suits me. Lead the way, Sir."

"My pleasure, Madam."

Once they managed to hail a cab, make their way to the lower side of Manhattan, and enter Doug's apartment, Andy steeled herself for another "coming out" revelation. She wondered if Doug would follow Nigel's example and be happy for her, or if he would be leaning more towards her parents' side and call her crazy.

Doug quickly poured two glasses of water before they both made themselves comfortable on his sofa.

"Okay, Andybaby, spill it."

Andy took a deep breath and braced herself.

"Okay. Well, remember Miranda?"

"Miranda Priestly? Of course, she's rather memorable."

"Well," Andy paused, before deciding to just launch in head-first. No point beating about the bush. "It's her."

Doug stared at her blankly, clearly not following. Andy sighed again.

"It's her. I'm with Miranda."

As if in slow motion, Doug's face changed from uncomprehending to complete and utter shock. His eyes widened like saucers, his eyebrows rose to a nearly impossible degree and his mouth fell open in disbelief. Andy waited a few moments for him to process the information.

"W-What? You and Miranda? Are you serious?" He finally managed.

"I'm completely serious. In fact that's why I don't live in my apartment anymore. I moved in with her nearly a month ago."

"Oh my God." Doug said, still staring at her incredulously. "Oh my God."

There was another small silence in which Doug tried to process it while still staring at Andy with his mouth agape.

"Holy shit, Andy!" Doug finally said. "How on Earth did that happen?"

Andy smiled. "It's kind of a long story. I helped her through the divorce. It was a really shitty time for her and she and I grew really close, especially when her daughters decided they'd had enough and went to live with their father. It was tough on Miranda, but at least she wasn't alone. She had me. Although it was kind of hard being there for her and knowing that she didn't want anything else. It started really tearing at me and I realised I was almost at my breaking point, so after the divorce was finalised I went into her office and told her I was quitting. She pretty much begged me to let her talk to me first, and that Friday we went to a hotel so we could talk privately. It was a sort of tradition of ours. Every other weekend we'd stay a night at a hotel and forget about the world. Anyways, we talked and she confessed that she loved me. I obviously returned the sentiment and well," Andy tried hard not to blush, "it all went from there really."

"Wow," was all Doug could manage after a small pause. "Holy shit. I wasn't expecting that."

"Yeah, well, me either if I'm completely honest." Andy laughed, a little nervously.

"I'm really happy for you, Andy."

That made Andy smile with relief. "You are?"

"Yeah. You always did talk about her a lot. And you know that I'm the last person to judge who people date. I'm just glad she makes you so happy, it's clear that you are."

Andy smiled gently, almost dreamily. "Yeah. Yeah, she does."

Doug snorted. "Damn girl, you should see your face right now."

Andy blushed and playfully slapped his shoulder. Then she looked at Doug's smiling face and she grew more serious.

"Thanks for supporting me in this, Doug. You have no idea how much it means to me."

"Hey, you know that I'm here for anything."

"Yeah, I know. And the same goes for you of course. It's just that we haven't really told anyone yet. The only people who know are Miranda's twins, Nigel and my parents."

Doug grimaced.

"Ouch. How did they react?"

"My parents? Believe me, it was not a pleasant conversation, I'll tell you that. But my dad seems to be coming 'round. It's my mom who has the bigger problem with it."

Doug nodded. "Yeah, I can imagine. But don't worry," he said, reaching out and taking her hand in his. "They'll accept it one day. They love you and when they realise that you're happy, they will support it."

"I hope so," Andy said, slumping back into the cushions. "God, I hope so."

At that moment, Andy's phone rang. When she retrieved it from her bag, Miranda's name was displayed on the screen for both Andy and Doug to see. Andy smiled as she answered the call.

"Hey, gorgeous."

She could hear Miranda snort at the other end of the line, and she could almost see her rolling her eyes.

"Hello, darling."

"What's up?"

"Nigel texted me earlier and he's coming to the townhouse in half and hour. Are you still with Douglas?"

"Yeah. I already told him, by the way." Andy said, looking a Doug with a happy grin on her face.

"He took it well, I assume."

"Yeap."

"Good. I'm very glad that he supports you. Otherwise he would have had to deal with me." It was Andy's turn to snort and roll her eyes. "Anyways, I was calling to tell you about Nigel, and I'm thinking of having him for a late dinner tonight. I was wondering if you'd like to invite Douglas as well?"

"Oh, okay, hold on." Andy said, before covering the phone with her hand and turning to Doug. "Miranda wants to know if you'd like to join us for a late dinner tonight. Nigel will be there too."

Doug looked slightly shocked, but also exited at the prospect of finally meeting the Miranda Priestly. He nodded eagerly. Andy chuckled and turned back to her conversation with Miranda.

"He says he'd love to come over. What time should we be there?"

"I think 8 will suffice. I'd like to spend some time with Nigel alone before you all arrive."

"Oh?" Andy asked, a teasing lilt covering her voice. "Should I be worried about this 'alone time' with Nigel?"

That earned another amused snort from Miranda.

"Oh please, darling. I think we are both very aware of what team Nigel likes to play with."

At that, Andy couldn't suppress a burst of laughter.

"I had no idea you spoke so freely of your employees' sexuality, Miranda."

"It is not a common hobby of mine, I assure you." Miranda chuckled.

Andy, still chuckling, tried to round up the conversation.

"Okay, so Doug and I will be around at 8. Want us to bring anything? We can get take out, since it's Cara's day off and I doubt you'll want to spend your 'alone time' with Nigel cooking."

"That would be fabulous. I'll let you choose dinner, I don't really mind what we eat."

"Okay. See you at 8. Love you."

"As do I."

Andy hung up, unable to hide the goofy smile on her lips. She finally looked up to see Doug staring at her, a grin and an arched brow marking his features.

"What?" She asked.

"Nothing, you are just ridiculously smitten and I've never seen you like this before. Not even with Nate."

Andy blushed. "Yeah, well, I can't actually help it. I mean she's just..." She drifted off, not really having words to describe Miranda and actually do her justice.

Doug waved her off. "Yeah, yeah. You have a little bit a drool, darling." He pointed at his own chin and raised an eyebrow at her mockingly.

Andy glared at him. "You're just pissy cause I have the best girlfriend ever while you're bumping into exes with their new boyfriends."

Doug laughed. "Touché." He shifted on the sofa so he was sat sideways facing Andy, and leaned forward eagerly, a tinge of mischief in his eyes. "Now, tell me the sordid details."

"Dougie!" Andy almost shrieked, mock outrage evident in the way she drew her hand to her chest in horror. "I am not giving you any sordid details!"

"Oh please, you couldn't keep your mouth shut about Nate. Why should this be any different?"

"Because she's Miranda!" Andy said, almost laughing at how ridiculous her argument was.

"So what? The woman is a walking sex symbol, you expect me not to pester you until you tell me what she's like?"

"What is up with you gay men wanting to know what my girlfriend is like in bed?" Andy said, rolling her eyes. "Honestly, you and Nigel are the worst."

"I think it has to do with Miranda herself. People are always confused by her when they think about her that way. On the one hand, she's the 'Ice Queen' and completely ruthless, so many people would think that she's frigid and mechanical and doesn't have time for nonsensical things like sex. That's for mere mortals like us, she's on a totally different league. On the other hand, everyone can see that she's passionate and commanding, and so people often wonder if those qualities extend to the bedroom as well. Is she dominant like she is at work? Or is she submissive because she enjoys not being in charge every once in a while? Does she like losing control and being taken or be the one doing the taking while watching the other person lose control? She's an enigma, so I think that's why everybody wonders what she's like in the bedroom."

Andy started at him with wide eyes, shocked speechless.

"People look that deep into Miranda's sex life?" She narrowed her eyes. "And how the hell do you know all that?"

"Well, you know me, I love the gossip. I gotta tell you, there are several theories about your lady going round. Most of them are outrageously ridiculous, and everybody knows it. There are others, like the ones I've told you just now, that would make sense. It's why people can't make up their minds, because she's unpredictable and both theories suit her."

Andy buried her face in her hand and groaned. Then, she laughed.

"Oh, I've got to tell her about this."

"So, are you going to answer me or what? Do you realise I could get information many people would die for to know? I wouldn't tell a soul, of course, but at least the damn mystery would be solved for me! I'd be like, on a whole different level from the rest of the gossipers, because I'd actually know the truth!"

"Jesus, Dougie. You and many other people really need to get a life."

"Yeah, yeah, whatever. So tell me, what is she like?"

Andy laughed and rolled her eyes. Then took a deep breath. If she was honest with herself, she'd been dying to be able to talk about Miranda with somebody. Nigel knew the basics, but he didn't want the "sordid details". She'd always liked talking about this kind of thing, so the fact Doug was interested but knew how to keep a secret was rather convenient to Andy. But for some reason, this time she didn't really want to give away any of the details of Miranda. She knew that Miranda trusted her implicitly, and Andy knew she was incredibly privileged to be able to know first hand what Miranda was really like, both in bed and out. She wanted to keep that between Miranda and her, and nobody else.

"Okay, Doug. I'm going to tell you the real basics okay? I'm not giving you details, I'm not telling any anecdotes, and I'm definitely not going to be explicit. Those are for myself and Miranda alone, got it?"

Doug nodded eagerly.

"Okay, well, out of the two theories you suggested, it's the second one. She is the opposite of frigid. I swear to God, Doug, that woman has more stamina than I do. It's ridiculous really, and very unfair. She puts every single 50-year-old woman to shame. She's always passionate, sometimes she's gentle, sometimes she's rough. And I'd have to say that she likes being taken more than doing the taking, but she definitely enjoys that option too. So there."

Andy was blushing deeply now, and just thinking about it made Andy shiver. She was trying hard to take deep breaths in order to steady her breathing. As memories came to mind, her eyes glazed over, and she shut her eyes in order to get herself back under control. When she had gotten herself back together, she opened her eyes to see Doug looking at her in awe.

"Wow. Well, I'm very happy for you girl. It seems like you guys are at it like bunnies."

Andy blushed furiously at this, and looked away. Doug's eyes widened.

"Damn. How often do you guys have sex anyways?"

Andy cleared her throat.

"On average? Every day."

Doug whistled. "How long have you two been together?"

"Just over three months."

"And you're still doing it every day? Wow. She does have stamina."

Andy laughed and could feel herself blushing even more. Talking about Miranda in this way was actually very nice. She wasn't giving too many details of their love life, but it was nice to finally be able to openly talk about the person that Andy loved most with someone who didn't judge them badly, and someone she trusted implicitly.

Doug leaned forward and wrapped his arms around Andy. The brunette quickly got over her surprise at the unexpected hug and embraced her friend of 8 years back, inhaling his comforting scent and closing her eyes, feeling such relief that he had returned and that he had accepted her new life.

"I'm so happy for you, Andy," he said quietly.

Andy felt her eyes burn at the emotion in his voice, and sighed contentedly.

"Thanks, Dougie. You have no idea how much this means to me."

"Well," he said as he drew back slightly to look into her face, and gave his usual warm smile. "You know I love you, dummy."

"I know, smartass. I love you too."

They grinned at each other. Andy looked at her watch, seeing it was 7:15 already.

"I think we should get going. Especially if we have to pick up dinner."

Doug stood up from the couch and did an exaggerated bow. "Lead the way, milady."

Andy rolled her eyes and stood up, quickly gathered her purse and coat before leading the way out the door and to the street bellow.

.....-.....

 

Miranda wrung her hands together. Nigel was bound to come any minute now, and she was nervous. How could she take their friendship back to what it used to be? She barely knew how to handle having friends, how could she possibly make amends to the one most loyal friend she'd ever had? Emotions and people had never been her forte. It's why she chose to devote her life to fashion, because clothes and colours and textures and art were not as complicated as humans. They were beautiful and filled her with the joy she had never really found in her life. Until now, of course. Now she had Andrea, and her relationship with the twins was better than ever before, she was rid of Stephen, and she felt like she had finally found her place.

Miranda took another sip of her wine. She relaxed into the couch, taking a deep breath before slowly letting it out. Everything would be all right. She would make things better with Nigel, and then Andrea would come home, and after their dinner she would curl up in her young lover's arms and fall asleep to the breathing and the scent and the love of Andrea. That was all that mattered.

A knock at the door brought her back from her musings. Squaring her shoulders in determination, Miranda put down her wine and got up from her couch, making her way briskly to the entrance. When she opened the door, she found Nigel standing tall, with a warm smile on his face and a bottle of champagne held out towards Miranda.

"Good evening, Nigel."

"Evening, Miranda." He answered, the smile growing on his face.

She let him in, and when he had hung up his coat in the closet, he turned to her and wiggled the bottle lightly in front of her face. She rolled her eyes.

"Yes, Nigel, I can see you've brought champagne. You don't have to shove it in my face, my eyesight is perfectly functional." She said before turning and leading the way into the living room.

Nigel snorted. "Some things never change. Anyways, I brought the most expensive booze I had, because celebrating just can't be done with cheap stuff." He sighed as he sat on the comfortable couch and put the bottle on the coffee table while Miranda went to the cabinet for two champagne glasses.

"And what, pray tell, are we celebrating?" She asked as she sat down next to him.

"You, of course!" He said, like it was the most obvious thing in the world. Miranda repressed the urge to run and lock herself in her bedroom when she saw the knowing, smug smirk that took over Nigel's features. "We're celebrating that you are ridiculously in love with our dear Andy, and that you're finally happy."

Miranda sighed and slumped back on the couch in defeat, watching as Nigel opened the bottle and filled both their glasses with the sparkly liquid. She sat up once more to take the glass from him and couldn't supress a smile at Nigel's antics.

"To your love, my friend." He raised his glass to her and took a large sip.

Miranda's smile grew at the reminder that they were celebrating her happiness. Not a successful business deal, not a perfect photo shoot, not a divorce. They were toasting to her happy, love-filled life. With this thought, Miranda drank from her glass and sighed when she tasted the delicious liquid. It really was good quality booze.

After a small silence, she put her glass down and turned to him, although she didn't look him in the eye.

"You are, you know."

Nigel looked at her, confused. "I am what?"

Miranda bit her lip before looking into his kind eyes. "My friend. You always have been. The most loyal friend I've ever had. I don't think I'd be able to fully manage without you."

Nigel looked at her, shock and surprise clearly on his face. When he was finally about to speak, she raised her hand.

"I know that I have not treated you as you deserve, and that for a long time now I have created a distance in our friendship. I know that I don't deserve you, but I wanted you to know that I truly value your friendship, more than you know. I'm sorry I haven't shown you the way I should have."

Nigel stared at her, baffled after this declaration. He knew deep down that Miranda cared for him. At least she cared for him more than she did for most people. He had always accepted that she was a very torn woman who didn't show her emotions easily to people, and he had always accepted that. Which was why this declaration was such a surprise.

He exhaled slowly, thinking about how to answer. Joking or teasing her about it was definitely out of the question, since she'd probably think he was laughing at her when she showed vulnerability. He took a deep, calming breath and looked into deep blue eyes.

"I know, Miranda. I've always known that you cared for me to some level, and I know that this sort of thing doesn't come easily for you. And I accept that. It's perfectly all right. I accept you apology, and I hope you know that you are also very important to me. I have a soft spot for you, old friend." He grinned.

Miranda released a breath of relief and, for the first time in what seemed like a long time, gave her friend a complete, full smile. Nigel was almost blinded by its beauty. Sometimes he forgot that Miranda was human, and he was so used to seeing her that her astounding beauty seemed to slip from his mind. Seeing her like this, sitting on her sofa in comfortable clothes and smiling a radiant smile, made Nigel realise how much he had truly missed her. The real Miranda was back, and Nigel could see that sparkle in her eyes that told him everything he needed to know about her newfound happiness.

Life was truly amazing.

Chapter Text

When Andy and Doug arrived at the townhouse, Nigel and Miranda had already been talking for what seemed like hours. They had thoroughly caught up on each other's life, and they were enjoying themselves so much, it surprised them both how they had managed to forget how good their friendship was.

Andy was very surprised to hear a bark of laughter coming from the living room and was about to roll her eyes at Nigel's inability to control his volume when another, more masculine laughter joined the first. Was that Miranda who had cackled so loudly then?

She turned to look at Doug and his eyes were as wide as her own: even he knew that Miranda Priestly rarely laughed, let alone cackle. The pair quickly and silently made their way down the hall to the entrance of the living room, where they froze at the scene before them.

Miranda was sat on one end of the couch, her bare feet up on Nigel's lap, a wine glass in her hand, and her laughter filling the room as she leaned backwards over the armrest in glee. Nigel, for his part, sat on the other side of the couch, his shoes left on the floor as he sat sideways facing Miranda, his right arm resting on the back of the couch and a glass of the same wine in his hand. He was covering his face with his other hand, trying to stifle his laughter, but clearly failing as it came out in a series of snorts and wheezing noises.

Andy watched, entranced, as Miranda's neck extended further as she threw her head back and her arm came around her stomach, like the laughter was giving her physical pain. By the time the laughter died down, both Miranda and Nigel were wiping their eyes.

"Oh my God, Nigel," Miranda finally managed to say between deep breaths. "I can't believe you still remember that!"

"Oh please, Miranda," Nigel responded, rolling his eyes. "How could I ever forget the first time you and I smoked together? You managed to roll the perfect joint and I thought you must have been so experienced! Then you go and take three small hits and you were a mess! Seriously, I have never in my life seen you like that. You were quoting Titanic for Christ sake!"

At this, Miranda laughed again and shook her head.

"I was not!"

"Yes you were! I clearly remember you looking down at the floor and saying 'Jack... Don't let go, Jack.'"

Miranda could not keep from cackling again.

"It was so dramatic," Nigel continued. "I swear to God you did a better job than Kate Winslet. I can't believe you don't remember."

"I certainly don't, and thank you for reminding me," Miranda shook her head and rolled her eyes, but she was grinning and looking at Nigel with warmth.

"You're very welcome." He answered, raising his glass towards her and winking.

At that moment, Andy decided to make their presence known.

"Well, looks like you two have already started with the wine, hm?"

The both turned to her, and Miranda's smile immediately widened, and Andy could see a new light shine in her crystal eyes.

"Well, you can't really blame us Andy. We haven't had this much fun in years," Nigel said, smiling at her.

Andy chuckled and smiled warmly at her silver-haired goddess. Miranda reached her hand towards Andy and the young woman stepped forward eagerly, coming to stand by her lover's side and leaning down to give her a kiss.

"Hello, darling," Miranda said, reaching up to softly brush Andy's hair behind her ear.

"Hey you."

The smiled at each other for a moment, and then Nigel's voice cut in.

"Do I not get a hello, or are you two gonna just stare at each other all night? Would you prefer I leave?"

Andy straightened up and walked towards Nigel's side of the couch, rolling her eyes as she leaned down to hug him.

"Yes, hello you needy doofus."

Nigel reared back and faux gasped, placing a hand on his chest in mock offense.

"Needy? The girl with the big puppy eyes just begging for attention is calling me needy?"

Andy turned to Miranda and rolled her eyes again, and the silver haired woman hid a grin behind her glass as she took a sip of wine. Before anything more could be said, Andy turned and motioned for Doug to come towards them.

"Miranda, Nigel, this is my best friend Doug. Doug, this is Nigel, and you already know about Miranda." She smiled cheekily.

Nigel extended his hand and shook Doug's with a pleasant smile on his face. When it came to Miranda, however, Doug didn't shake her hand, instead opting to kiss it and bow slightly. Andy could not help but roll her eyes.

"It's a pleasure to finally meet you, Miranda."

"Likewise. Andy has spoken very highly of you."

Doug blushed and Andy could see the satisfied smirk on Miranda's lips. Honestly.

"Well," she clapped her hands together, "why don't we set the table so we can have dinner?"

"Of course, darling. What did you get?" Miranda said as she took her feet off Nigel's lap and sat up, immediately reaching to take Andy's hand.

"I got us Indian food. I know everybody here loves it, and I got your favourite," she said, squeezing the older woman's hand slightly.

"Mm, sounds wonderful." Miranda grinned at her with a smitten expression, and then pecked Andy's cheek before leaning her chin on Andy's shoulder, a satisfied smile on her face and blue glassy eyes sparkling up at her.

An amused Andy turned to Nigel. "How many glasses of wine have you two had exactly?"

"Oh, only two." Nigel shrugged. "Plus a bottle of champagne."

Andy and Doug looked at each other knowingly.

"Right, well, no more alcohol for you until Doug and I have caught up with you two."

"Yes, madam." Nigel said, standing up and raising his glass towards Andy before taking a big gulp.

Andy shook her head and smiled when she heard Miranda's soft chuckle near her ear.

.....-.....

Dinner was a very pleasant affair. Andy was positive that she had never seen Miranda so inhibited, and Nigel was amusing the others with extremely bad jokes that Miranda somehow found hysterical. The food was delicious, and Miranda and Nigel opted for water while Andy and Doug went for wine. Soon enough, therefore, Andy felt a very pleasant buzz, and by the glassy appearance of Doug's eyes, she knew her friend was just as tipsy as her.

"So, have you guys worn the shirts I made for you yet?" Nigel asked while grinning mischievously.

"No, we have not." Miranda said, faux glaring at him.

"We loved them, Nige! We're waiting for a special occasion really." Andy said, winking at him.

"What shirts?" Doug asked, slightly confused.

"Oh, just some really beautiful shirts I got for the happy couple here."

Andy leaned sideways towards Doug. "I'll send you a picture," she whispered, then smiled innocently when Miranda glared at her.

"By the way, Six, has Miranda showed you the photos?"

"What photos?" Andy asked Nigel, noticing how Miranda froze.

"Oh, Nigel, we had a deal." Miranda groaned as she slumped back into her chair and covered her face with her hands.

"What photos?" Andy asked again.

"I think Miranda should tell you about them." Nigel smiled maliciously before turning to his silver haired friend who was glaring at him through her fingers.

"I'll show them to her later. In private."

Blue eyes met brown ones then, and Andy knew that whatever those photos were, they were only for Andy to see. She smiled at her in understanding and nodded, winking at the older woman. Miranda returned the smile with gratitude.

"Has Andy ever told you about the time the neighbour’s Chihuahua chased her up a tree?" Doug suddenly slurred out of the blue.

Nigel nearly spit his water, Miranda sat forward with plain curiosity and amusement on her face, and Andy dropped her head on the table with a groan.

"Dougie..."

"Yeah, it was pretty hilarious." Doug continued, a huge grin on his face. "Andy here had her meat sandwich in her backpack and on her way to school the neighbour's dog smelled the food and started chasing her down the street. Andy was so scared of this small little dog she ended up climbing a tree and stayed there for fifteen minutes before the neighbour manage to grad the dog back inside the house."

Miranda turned to look at Andy with widened eyes, and for a moment she tried to hold her laughter. But when Andy raised her head from the table and glared at her she broke into peals of laughter. Nigel joined her almost immediately, and Doug eventually joined in. Andy pouted and crossed her arms while she watched her three companions laugh at her expense, their drunken cackles filling the room.

"It was a mean dog." She mumbled, which only made the other three laugh even harder.

When the laughter finally died down, Andy got her revenge.

"It's not as bad as wetting the bed at the age of eight." She stared at Doug with a smug expression.

"That's not fair! My mum said I had Nuit Bladder Syndrome!" He exclaimed, trying to ignore the bemused expressions of Nigel and Miranda.

"Yeaaah, I googled it, and there's no such thing." Andy smirked.

Doug's impression of a fish made Nigel and Miranda burst into laughter once again. Doug just glared at Andy and she responded by sticking her tongue out at him.

"Oh God, that was brilliant." Nigel finally managed after his laughter died down, wiping at his eyes.

"Yes, well, you shouldn't laugh Nigel," Miranda intervened, smiling sweetly at her bald friend. "Seeing as you're the one who got so drunk one time you ended up cross-dressing and showing up at the house of the straight man you were crushing on, claiming to be the 'woman just for him'."

Andy's eyes widened significantly, before Doug and her broke into cackles at the mental imagine of a cross-dressed Nigel.

"Oh, yes," Miranda nodded, as if reading their minds. "Blonde wig and all."

Andy laughed even harder at that and nearly fell off her chair when she saw Nigel's embarrassed expression.

"Oh yeah?" He said, looking at Miranda defiantly. "At least I didn't get sick from eating too many pot brownies! You ate half of them and there were thirty of us at that party!"

Doug and Andy gaped, not able to imagine Miranda eating pot brownies. She barely ate normal brownies at all.

"She barely even made it to the bathroom before losing it," Nigel continued, looking at Andy and Doug. "I had to hold her hair up while she puked her guts out and claimed that a demon was possessing her because it wanted a banana milkshake."

Andy stared at Miranda in disbelief, but the pink on her cheeks and the pursed lips told her that Nigel wasn't lying. And, once again, Andy nearly fell off her chair. The two men joined in her hysterical laughter while Miranda glared at them.

"A banana milkshake!" Andy shrieked, and the three of them laughed even more.

"Well," Miranda said after the other three managed to finally collect themselves, standing up. "If you are quite finished, I think we should move to the living room."

The other three stumbled after her, and Andy could swear she saw Miranda hiding a smile.

.....-.....

An hour later, the group was even more drunk than before after another bottle and a half of wine had been consumed. They were sprawled in the living room: Doug was slouched in the armchair, Nigel was lying back in one of the couches, and Miranda half laying-half sitting on the other couch with Andy's back resting against her chest. Miranda couldn't help running her fingers through soft brown locks, and could almost feel Andy purring against her.

"Tonight was soooooo much fun," Nigel slurred. "We should do it again."

Andy giggled.

"Yaaaaaasssss," she said before bursting into giggles again.

Miranda raised her eyebrows at her.

"Darling, I'm fairly sure you're very drunk." She said, feeling tipsy herself but not nearly as drunk as her lover seemed to be.

"Hell yeah I'm drunk." Andy answered. Then sang completely out of tune, "Drunk in looooooove!"

Doug laughed lazily at his friend's antiques, and Miranda's chuckle encouraged Andy to do a little dance where she was laying down, which made her look like a seal trying to wiggle around to a non-existent beat,

"Alright, darling," Miranda said, amusement and tenderness in her voice, "I think it's time to go to bed."

Andy looked up at her and frowned, and for a moment seemed like she was going to protest, just like a little child would do.

"Will you come to bed with me?" She asked in such an adorable voice Miranda couldn't stop her smile from widening nor her hand from cupping a delicate cheek.

"Of course."

"Okay then!" Andy smiled widely and rushed to get up from the sofa. In her rush, she wavered on her feet and stumbled backwards before Miranda quickly sat up and caught her.

After steadying the young woman, Miranda looked at Nigel. "Nigel, call a cab for yourself and Douglas. Could you show yourself out? I think I'm going to take care of this one." She nodded towards the brunette who was leaning against her and smiling at nothing.

"No problem, chief." Nigel said, sitting up slowly and rubbing his bleary eyes, shaking his head in order to sober up slightly.

Miranda wrapped her arm around her young lover and began to make their way towards the door when a hand landed on her wrist. She turned to see Nigel standing next to her with a smile on his face.

"It was an amazing night, Miranda. Thank you for this."

Miranda took his hand in hers and squeezed it.

"No, thank you Nigel. I needed to remember how much I've missed our friendship. I promise I won't forget again."

They smiled at each other for a moment longer, a silent understanding passing between them, before Miranda continued to help Andy out of the room. As she passed by Doug, he looked up at her and grinned.

"Thanks so much for having me over, Miranda. Take care of her, yeah?"

Miranda smiled at him warmly. She liked Douglas, and tonight had proven to her that he took his friendship with Andrea very seriously.

"I'll do my best. Goodnight, Douglas."

Miranda and Andy made their way out of the living room and slowly managed to ascend the stairs, Andy leaning on Miranda in a sleepy state. Once they finally got to the room, Miranda helped Andrea undress and put on a nice pair of soft pyjamas. After helping her into bed, she took care of her own nightly routine and thanked the lord that she was not as big a lightweight as her younger lover. Once she finally crawled into bed and turned off the lights, Andy immediately snuggled up to her and wrapped an arm around her waist.

"G'night Mira." Miranda heard Andrea mumble against her neck.

"Goodnight, my darling." She answered, combing her fingers through long locks of almond hair.

"You're gonna show me those photographs." Was the last slurred thing she heard Andy say before the young woman's breathing deepened as sleep fell over her.

Miranda chuckled and kissed her lover's forehead.

"Anything you want, my love." She whispered, before letting sleep take hold of her too.

Chapter Text

Andy lounged in the love seat reading To Kill A Mockingbird, the soft glow of the lamp gently illuminating the study. She felt relaxed, comfortable, and happy. After a long day of work, this is what she loved to do. She raised her eyes and looked at her lover, who sat on the plush armchair across from her going through the Book, which had come much earlier this evening than usual. This way Miranda could haver dinner without any other responsibilities on her mind, and she could spend the rest of the evening relaxing as much as she wanted. Miranda seemed relaxed right now, which made Andy smile. Runway was doing very well these days. Miranda had given more responsibility to Nigel and had decided to trust her team more, despite Miranda having final say in most everything. This made Miranda's workload considerably lighter, her work hours shorter and left her more free time to spend with her family. Lately, it was unusual for Miranda to miss dinner, since she was usually home in the evenings almost every day unless there was a dinner to attend to or an emergency that needed fixing right away.

Andy ran her eyes appreciatively over her silver-haired goddess. Her make-up free face was set in concentration, and her hair seemed soft after the hairspray had dissipated under the many times Miranda had run her fingers through it. The elegant neck seemed to beckon to Andy, and the eggplant off-the-shoulder cashmere sweater left a tantalising shoulder bare to Andy's gaze. Coffee brown eyes continued their exploration, taking in the elegant set of the shoulders in question, the soft wrist that rested relaxed over a crossed knee, the way the red pen dangled from delicate fingers. As her eyes kept descending over the exquisite figure of Miranda, Andy had to smile. Miranda had a few quirks whenever she was deeply concentrated, and she was currently doing Andy's favourite one. The older woman had the tendency to bounce her foot to an imaginary rhythm, and Andy loved to watch her calf muscles flex and relax while her delicate ankle moved in small circles. It was so casual and human, and represented what Miranda was like: never able to keep still for more than a few minutes at a time.

Andy reversed her gaze's trail up Miranda's body, admiring the crossed legs in delicious skin-tight jeans, and then zooming in once again on the delectable shoulder and neck that were exposed for her eyes only. Andy licked her lips.

"You're staring, darling."

Andy's eyes snapped up and she found herself under the amused gaze of her lover. Caught.

"Well, you can't really blame me, can you? I mean look at you." Andy said with a smirk.

Miranda rolled her eyes and hid a smile with a purse of the lips. Andy put her book down and stood, walking around the small coffee table between them and sitting down on the arm of Miranda's seat. She smiled when she felt Miranda's arm immediately wrap around her waist.

"How's work going?" Andy asked, feeling the tension in Miranda's shoulders.

"It's not atrocious," Miranda said, sighing. "But I wish I could say I'm happy with it. I'm not. There's something... missing, but I don't know what it is. I suppose this is the best it's going to get before our deadline."

Andy looked at the page that Miranda had been inspecting. The model was beautiful, with a gorgeous figure and plump lips. She had a lovely face, but Andy realised that she was focusing more on the model's lips (which were painted a bright red) rather than her eyes. Looking more closely, Andy realised the model had beautiful, gentle eyes, brown with green specks, with a spark in them that shone even through the page. Andy was almost taken aback by their beauty. The only problem she realised, was that the lighting made it difficult to focus on the eyes, because all the attention was drawn to the lips and the clothes on her body, while the light focusing on the eyes and upper face was darker. Andy frowned.

"What is it?" Miranda asked, clearly seeing Andy's expression.

"Well, I don't want to tell you what to do or anything, you obviously know more about this than me..."

"Andrea, stop stalling. You're a brilliant woman, and I'd like to hear what you have to say."

Andy looked at her and saw honesty in the blue eyes she adored so much. She took a breath.

"It's the eyes, I think. I mean, the clothes are amazing and she's got a tremendous figure, but I think her eyes are her best quality, and you can barely see them. The light doesn't shine on them, and makes the reader focus more on the rest of her, when really it's the spark in her eyes that should draw them in. Er, I think."

Miranda looked at her for a moment, considering, then looked closely back at the picture. Her lips parted and her eyes widened a fraction when she realised how true Andrea's words were.

"You're absolutely right. We can retouch the photograph to make the eyes stand out more against the light." Miranda looked up at Andy, smiling at her and her blue orbs sinning with adoration. "Andrea, you're incredible, did you know that?"

Andy blushed and looked away, but Miranda reached up and delivered a quick kiss on her lips.

"Thank you, darling. I think you figured it out."

"Well, it was nothing - "

The sound of a phone ringing cut through Andy's words, and she reached into her pocket to retrieve the device. When she looked at the caller ID, she froze.

"Who is it?" Miranda asked, worried at Andy's paling complexion.

"It's my parents."

Miranda tensed, and squeezed Andy's side in a comforting gesture. Andy kept looking at the phone, debating whether to answer or not.

"You should take it, Andrea. They might be coming around, and ignoring them will only push them further away."

Andy nodded, realising the truth behind Miranda's words. She accepted the call and with a shaking hand put her phone to her ear.

"Hello?"

"Hi Andy," she heard her father's voice say.

"Hello Andrea." Her mother's voice was like stone, and Andy cringed. That was never a good sign. Plus hearing her full name said by anyone who was not Miranda just didn't sound right anymore.

"Hey," she answered, trying to keep her voice steady. She could feel Miranda's gaze on her, but felt that she should be alone for this conversation with her parents, and let Miranda finish her work. She stood from the armchair and leaned down to silently kiss Miranda's lips. She smiled reassuringly when she received a concerned look from the older woman, and hastily left the study.

"How are ya?" Her father's voice was warm and reassuring, and Andy gave a small sigh of relief as she made her way to the lounge. "We haven't spoken in a while."

"I know, dad. I'm really sorry about that. I've been very busy lately; work has been crazy and my schedule has been all over the place. But I've been good. Really good." She paused to think of what else she could say, feeling like bringing up Miranda so early on in the conversation my ruin the (temporary) pleasantness. "How have you guys been?"

"Oh, you know, the usual. Not much has been going on. Although you remember Jack, the old man next door? You used to walk his dog?"

"Oh, yeah. I remember him." Andy said as she sat down on the sofa and got comfortable. She had a feeling this small talk was going to lead to a longer, more serious conversation.

"Well, he passed away last week. It was pretty sad. His kids came up for a few days, and they're all grown up. You remember Sam and Jill?"

"I'm sorry to hear about Jack, he was really nice. And Sam and Jill? Yeah, I remember them. How were they?" Andy tried not to worry at her mother's continued silence.

"They're good. I mean, apart from their father's death. Jill had her second kid a few months ago and Sam proposed to his girlfriend a few weeks ago."

"That's great! I'm happy for them. Haven't seen them in years, I bet they're different people now!" Andy tried very hard to sound cheerful.

"Yeah, they - "

"When are you going to settle down, Andy?" Her mother's voice came through, and Andy was taken aback.

"What?"

"I said, when are you going to settle down?"

"Mom," Andy began, taking a deep breath. "I am settled down. I live with Miranda now, and I love Cassidy and Caroline as if they were my own children. I already have a family." 

"That's ridiculous!" Andy flinched at her mother's shrill tone. She could hear her father trying to cut in and calm her down, but Elizabeth would not stay silent. "You didn't even raise them! I've heard they're just as evil and selfish as their mother! When are you going to realise that you deserve better than them?"

At that, Andy's spine straightened, and her face hardened.

"Listen, mother," Andy's cold, harsh tone seemed to do the trick, because there was stunned silence coming from the other end of the line. "You can say anything you want about me. You can talk all the shit you want, call me a slut, a gold digger, whatever. I don't care. But I will not sit here and listen to you talk about my family like that. You don't know them, and you are being cruel not just to the love of my life, but two young girls who have done absolutely nothing to deserve your ignorant, hateful comments. I have had enough of your attitude. Because, guess what? There is nothing better for me than Miranda and the twins. I could go searching the entire planet, and I would never find anything better. And you know why? Because I belong here. They love me, and I love them, more than anything else in the world. So you have a decision to make. I didn't want it to come to this but you have left me no other choice. I have given you time and space to accept my newfound happiness, but I see you clearly haven't even tried. So, you have to decide what you want to do: either accept that my life is by Miranda's side, or don't contact me again." There was a gasp, but Andy did not let that stop her. She was on a roll. "You want to keep me as your daughter? Then you have to accept me for who I am, and that means accepting that I love Miranda and her children and that they're my family. The choice is yours."

There was a long silence after Andy's speech, but Andy could hear small sniffs that could only mean her mother had started to cry. Wonderful.

"I'm sorry."

Andy's eyes widened. The shaky whisper was so quiet, Andy wasn't sure if she had heard right.

"What?"

"I'm sorry, Andy." Her mother began to cry in earnest, and Andy felt a pang of guilt.

"Don't cry, mom," she sighed and rubbed her temples. "I know it's difficult to understand. But you have to stop being so mean about this, okay? Your words hurt a lot, and I think you know that."

"I know, I'm so sorry honey." Elisabeth sobbed. Andy felt tears prickling her eyes, and she blinked them away.

"Look, everyone else we told has accepted it. Just a few nights ago Doug and Nigel were here for dinner and the four of us had a great time. They were surprised about the whole thing at first, but they've accepted it now and they're happy for me. That's what I'd like you to do, too. I don't need you to suddenly understand my situation, but just support me and trust me enough to know that when I say I'm happy, I really mean it."

Another long pause, and Andy held her breath.

"You heard her, Elizabeth," Richard spoke. "She has told you, again, that she has found a family and a home. I have tried over and over again to make you understand that their relationship is different than when Andy worked for Miranda. We should give them a chance."

Andy could hear her mother sniffing, and could tell the wheels in her head were turning. After a tense pause, Elizabeth spoke. But her words could have knocked Andy over with a feather.

"I want to meet them."

Andy almost chocked on her saliva.

"Wh-what?"

"I want to meet Miranda and her kids. You're right, I'm judging without knowing them, and I can now admit that it's wrong to do that. So I want to meet them in order to have a better perspective on things."

Andy sighed.

"What do you propose, mom?"

"Well," Elizabeth began after a small pause, and Andy could easily tell there was a silent conversation being held between her parents. "Your father and I are willing to fly over to New York for a couple of days. We could go the weekend after next?"

Andy sat, mouth agape, wondering how a conversation that had started with her mother insulting her family had suddenly turned into her wanting to fly halfway across the country in order to meet them.

"Um... I, uh, o-okay. I'll talk to Miranda about it. We would have to arrange work in order to clear our schedules, and have to plan everything for you guys..."

"Andy, if it's too much trouble, don't worry about it. We can come another time." Richard said, his voice soothing, almost as if sensing his daughter's rising level of anxiety just thinking about her parents meeting her new family.

"No, no. I mean, I want you to come. I want you to see how fantastic Miranda is, and how great Cassidy and Caroline are. It'd be great for you to finally see the proof that I really have a home here. I'll see if I can arrange it and let you guys know, okay?"

"Okay, sweetie. We love you. We'll talk soon okay?" Richard's voice was so loving and soothing, Andy felt tears well in her eyes again.

"Yeah, we will. I love you too."

"Let us know about the trip, Andy. But don't stress over us, okay honey?" Now Elizabeth's voice was warm and gentle, a huge contrast to how it was at the beginning of the call. Andy marvelled at how standing up to her mother the way she did had changed everything so drastically. "I love you and I'm sorry for my harsh words. I'm still not happy with the situation, but it's been... difficult for me. Still, I've been hard on you. Can you forgive me?"

Now Andy felt a few tears run down her cheeks, especially hearing the tremble in her mother's voice. She had never been able to witness her mother crying without her being affected as well.

"Yes, I forgive you mom. I know it's... different to what you wanted for me. But I promise you, I am the happiest I have ever been, and could never find anything better. I feel loved and cherished every single day by the people I care about the most. It's..." Andy sighed, a smile taking over her lips, and the warm feeling in her chest made her heart feel tight. "It's magical."

"We're happy for you, Andy. Truly. We're not exactly comfortable with it yet, but we'll get there. I promise." Richard said, his voice trembling slightly too.

"We love you, Andy," her mother said.

"I know, mom. I love you guys too."

"Take care. Bye."

"Bye."

Andy hung up the phone, feeling a hundred times lighter, as if a huge weight had been lifted off her shoulders. First her dad had starter to come around, and now her mother seemed to be doing so as well. Shutting her eyes, she sent thanks to any higher power above that things were getting better between her and her parents.

Letting out a deep, cleansing breath, she rose and left the room to go back towards the study, only to come face to face with Miranda right beside the lounge entrance. Her blue eyes were looking into hers deeply, as if trying to discern Andy's feelings. Miranda's own eyes were glassy with emotion, adoration, and what seemed like pride.

"Are you alright, Andrea?" Miranda softly asked.

Instead of answering, Andy pulled her lover tightly to her for a strong embrace. Miranda's arms quickly wrapped around Andy's waist and squeezed her back. After a moment of enjoying the closeness, Andy moved back slightly, only to take Miranda's lips in a deep, slow, searing kiss. Tongues curled around each other and bodies pressed against one another until not a breath of air was left between them. Feeling all the love and happiness she had just felt a moment ago while talking to her parents about her family, she tried her best to show Miranda what she felt through the passion in her lips, tongue and touch. Miranda whimpered, and gripped at Andy's back, trying her best to keep up and not melt from the mind-numbing, toe-curling kiss.

When they finally parted to catch their breath, Andy leaned her forehead against Miranda's.

"I have never been better," Andy whispered with a smile, cupping Miranda's soft cheek and looking into the orbs of ocean blue she loved so much. Miranda smiled a radiant smile and sighed before burying her face in the crook of Andy's neck. "How much did you hear?" Andy asked gently, running her fingers through snowy hair and softly pressing her lips against Miranda's neck to show she was not upset that Miranda had probably heard her conversation with her parents.

"Most of it." Miranda moved back slightly to look into Andrea's eyes, her own ones asking forgiveness. "I'm sorry, I know I was intruding in a private conversation, but I was so worried I couldn't concentrate on the Book, and I wanted to be nearby in case you needed me..."

Recalling the last time she had spoken to her parents, Andy could not blame her. After her meltdown, she understood that Miranda wanted to be close to her.

"It's okay. Thank you."

"I'm very proud of you, by the way. Standing up to your mother like that took a lot of courage. I didn't think I could love you even more, but hearing you talk about me and my girls that way... Nobody has defended us like that before. I'm glad you realise how much we love you, Andrea."

"Every word was true, Miranda. I wouldn't change you guys for anything in the world."

Seeing the sincerity in Andrea's eyes, Miranda pulled her close once more, giving a kiss to her neck and tightened their embrace further. They held each other close and sighed in contentment.

"Are you guys okay?"

Andy and Miranda looked up to find two identical read heads at the bottom of the stairs, looking at them with equally worried expressions. Without breaking the embrace with Andrea, Miranda reached her arm out towards her daughters, beckoning them into the hug. The two girls scrambled towards them and threw their arms around them, which made Andy grin and Miranda roll her eyes.

"We're okay, kiddos. We're just having a moment," Andy said, reaching down to run her fingers through Caroline's hair, who was pressed tightly against her.

"Good. We thought something bad happened. Or that you were breaking up. Lesbians always hug when they're breaking up." Caroline said. Miranda and Andy looked at each other in amusement, and Andy couldn't help but snicker when Miranda rolled her eyes.

"Yeah, that would totally suck," Cassidy stated sternly, drawing the attention of the women. "We want you to stay with us forever, Ma."

Andy's eyes widened, her gaze jumping to Miranda's, and she found the older woman's expression of surprise to be the same one as her own. After the initial shock of hearing Cassidy refer to Andrea as 'Ma', Miranda's eyes softened, and a joyous, luminous smile appeared on her lips. The twins had never called Stephen 'dad'. Andy saw so much love in her expression that it was her undoing. With a warm swelling feeling in her chest, Andy started crying and Miranda reached up to wipe away her tears. Leaning her head on her lover's shoulder, Andy cried silent tears of happiness and relief, because her parents were reaching out to her and making the effort to understand, because Miranda loved her like nobody else ever had, because the girls who Andy loved like her own daughters loved her too and accepted her as another parent. Even though the twins had not even seemed to realise Cassidy's 'slip', it meant the world to Andy, and she could tell through Miranda's expression that it felt the same for the other woman.

They stayed in their little family hug for a few moments longer before Caroline's stomach growled loudly, which made Cassidy giggle, Andy snicker, and Miranda chuckle.

"Okay, Bobbseys, I think it's time for dinner, don't you think? I think Cara made your favourite lasagna."

With twin cheers of excitement, the two redheads were off like a shot down the stairs to the kitchen. Miranda and Andy smiled fondly at each other and Miranda reached up to wipe the traces of tears from Andy's cheeks.

"I love you, Andrea."

"I love you more," Andy answered, a teasing grin gracing her features to diffuse the seriousness of the past hour.

"That's preposterous, darling. It's simply impossible," Miranda answered, raising her eyebrow defiantly and giving Andy a softer version of the Priestly glare.

Andy laughed and kissed her once more before taking her hand and leading the way down to the kitchen.

"Whatever, Priestly. You're my favourite dragon, and I'm the best dragon-tamer around."

The thwack Miranda gave to Andy's behind echoed in the staircase, followed by Andy's surprised shriek and Miranda's buoyant laugh.

 

.....-.....

 

"Miranda?" Andy asked a few hours later.

"Hmm?" Came the sleepy response.

They were in bed on their way to falling asleep after another passionate love making session, but Andy felt restless. She snuggled closer to Miranda's warm body under the covers, and nuzzled a soft shoulder.

"My parents want to come visit."

Miranda sighed and willed herself to wake up enough to have this conversation.

"I know darling, I heard you talking about it with them," Miranda said, turning her head to look at the brunette.

Andy paused, not really sure why she wanted to talk about this now, but feeling like she had to get it off her chest.

"Is it... I mean, is it okay with you? I was thinking they could come the weekend after next. It's your turn with the girls and we could arrange work to have the weekend free. They could stay in a hotel and during the day we could all have lunch together, and maybe show them the MET museum, and then we could go for a walk to Central Park with Patricia - " Andy was cut off by Miranda's soft fingers laying on her lips.

"Darling, stop worrying. Yes, it's perfectly fine if they want to come visit. I would not keep you away from them, and I'm sure they want to see you. Stop fretting over the details, we have time to sort everything out. I'll have Emily clear my schedule."

She felt Andrea relax next to her, and the deep breath she let out graced Miranda's skin.

"Oh. Okay, that's great. Thank you, Mira," Andy said, placing a kiss on Miranda's collarbone.

"Go to sleep, darling. Tomorrow is Thursday, and we have the girls' school recital."

"Oh! I totally forgot that was tomorrow!"

"Well, you should get your energy. The day is going to be longer than usual, so brace yourself."

Andy snickered and she could almost feel Miranda smiling.

"Goodnight, Mira. Love you."

"I love you too, Andrea. Sweet dreams."

With another weight lifted off her shoulders, Andy drifted to sleep, listening to Miranda's soothing soft snores and comforting heart beat.

 

.....-.....

 

Andy loved the recital. Cassidy and Caroline had both played beautifully, and Andy had cheered more than any other time in her life. Miranda had to hide a smile when Andy gave her daughters a standing ovation, enthusiastically cheering and clapping. After the girls had done their piece, Andy had gushed to Miranda about them, and Miranda really couldn't hold back a smile any longer 

"Did you see them, Miranda? They were amazing! They looked so good up there! Where on earth did they learn how to play the piano like that? Jesus Christ we're raising two little Mozarts!"

Miranda had felt her heart swell at Andy's last statement. Yes, we're raising them, together. Because Andy had a great influence on the twins, and Miranda knew that her lover cared about the girls almost as much as she did. She had felt a great deal of pride after listening to her daughters play - they were very good after all - but she had seen many of these recitals, so she had already known they would be good. It was Andrea's first time, however, and it was clear the younger woman was just as proud and impressed as Miranda had been on her first recital.

When they left Dalton, Miranda had proposed they go have dinner somewhere to celebrate. Andy had looked at her with a worried expression, however, and Miranda knew why.

"Miranda, we're not out yet. We've barely gone out in public together before. Are you sure about this?"

"Andrea, don't worry. I have work dinners with members of the Fashion industry all the time. It will not be unusual for me to go to dinner with another woman. Besides, at the recital none of the other parents looked at us strangely. Maybe the possibility that we are together doesn't cross people's minds just by looking at us, hm?" Andy had smiled sheepishly, and a beautiful blush had settled over her features. "Don't fret, darling. Let the press say what they like. I think it is time to start easing our way into the public. I'm ready to 'come out', aren't you?"

Andrea had beamed at her and nodded, then proceeded to cheerily suggest places they could go. In the end they decided for a nice family-friendly hamburger place near Central Park. When Roy came to pick them up, Andy sat up front but couldn't help turning in her seat to smile at the vision of an amused Miranda squished in the back seat between two excited almost-teenagers. The two women shared a smile as the twins talked about the recital, how nervous they had been and some very amusing anecdotes from 'backstage'. When they arrived at the restaurant, they managed to secure a table in a corner of the room, away from most prying eyes.

Once they had all ordered their food (hamburgers for Andy and Caroline, chicken nuggets for Cassidy, and a salad for Miranda), Miranda became serious and the girls immediately sensed the change.

"Bobbseys," she began, leaning forward. "Andrea talked to her parents yesterday, and they would like to come here and meet us. What do you think?"

Caroline and Cassidy turned to each other and had a silent conversation between them. Andy was already used to the twin speak, and she simply took a deep breath to calm her nerves about their answer.

"That depends," Caroline said. "Were they nice to Ma, or were they being mean?"

Andy's breath hitched. Again, she was called Ma. Miranda took her hand under the table and gave it a soft squeeze. Blue eyes sought out brown ones, and Miranda smiled warmly at her. Andy realised that she would be Ma from now on, and she was perfectly happy with that.

"Well," Andy said, turning back to the twins. "My dad seems to be more accepting of me being part of your family. He seems to be coming around much easier that my mom. She's having a little bit more difficulty understanding. But it's okay. I've set her straight about what she can and cannot say about you guys, and she seems to have realised how happy I am and how much I love you. So I think they'll start being much nicer from now on."

Another short, silent conversation took place between the young redheads, but soon enough they turned to Andy with wide, honest grins, which put the brunette at ease immediately.

"Yeah, they can come," said Cassidy.

"I mean, they're kinda like our grandparents now, sort of." Caroline said slowly, as if just realising this.

Cassidy nodded vigorously, eyes widening. "Yeah! We have three grandparents now! That's so cool!"

Andy had to bite her lip to keep it from trembling. Why was she so emotional lately? She blamed her cycle, but then again hearing the twins speak about their family so confidently and so honestly, it made everything seem more real. Miranda's hand squeezed hers once more, and Andy turned to face the love of her life through tear-brimmed eyes.

The smile Miranda gave her was enough to tell Andy she was feeling just the same.

Chapter Text

Miranda Priestly did not often show emotions in front of her minions. She specifically avoided showing emotions such as surprise, shock, and speechlessness. She wanted her minions to believe that nothing fazed her, so she always kept a cool, indifferent mask when she was around her subordinates.

Which is why right now, Emily found herself adding a speechless Miranda to the list of shocks this evening. Miranda stood there in the foyer of the townhouse, staring at Emily, not quite sure how to proceed, while Emily stared back, mouth agape and eyes wide in disbelief.

The assistant took her eyes off Miranda and looked back up towards the stairs, where Andy was frozen in place, staring down at her like a deer caught in headlights. 

It was her own mistake, Andy knew, because she had failed to realise it was 10 pm when she went downstairs. When she saw Emily come in with the book, she had tried not to make a sound and go back up the stairs, but Emily had turned before Andy could make her retreat and had seen Andy standing there in the middle of the stairs, wearing only a thin tank top and boy shorts. The redhead had ground to a halt and her mouth had dropped open at the sight of her former colleague in Miranda's house, and dressed like that.

Once Emily got over the initial shock, she had proceeded to freak out.

"What on earth are you doing here?!" Emily said in a whisper that sounded more like a quiet shriek.

Just as Andy was about to answer, Miranda had come into the foyer, her steps quiet without her heels, and had faltered when she saw her assistant and her lover looking at each other in disbelief. When the two young women realised the editor was in the room, Emily's eyes grew impossibly larger. Now the three of them were frozen in place, Andy and Miranda watching as Emily seemed to put everything together in slow motion. Miranda was the first to snap out of it.

"Emily, have you brought the book?" She asked, schooling her features back to neutral and walking forward until she was standing in the middle of the foyer between Andy and Emily.

"Y-Yes, Miranda. I have it right here," Emily stuttered, pulling the book out from underneath her arm and handing it to the older woman with a trembling hand, but barely managing to look away from Andy.

"Hey, Em," Andy waved awkwardly. "How have you been?"

Miranda turned to look at her like she had grown another head, but Andy ignored her and smiled at Emily.

"I-" Emily, wild-eyed, kept looking between Miranda and Andy before shrieking, "God, I knew it!" Miranda and Andy startled. "I knew there was something else going on between you two!"

"Em - " Andy tried to cut in, because Emily seemed to be jumping to the wrong conclusion about her time spent at Runway.

"Don't bloody 'Em' me! I knew you were getting special treatment, but I never thought it came from screwing - "

"Emily!"

Both Andy and Emily jumped at Miranda's raised voice. Andy watched as the redhead immediately paled, seeming to have snapped out of her shock, and Emily's eyes widened comically as she realised what she had said. 

"If you value your job," Miranda continued in a cold, deathly whisper, and Emily visibly trembled. "I suggest you consider your next words very carefully. 

Emily looked at Miranda with such fear that Andy could not stay quiet any longer.

"Em, please. Some other night we can go out for drinks and I'll explain everything, okay?"

Emily turned panicked eyes towards her and swallowed hard before nodding her consent.

"Of course. I'm sorry, Miranda, that was extremely inappropriate and out of line. I apologise. You have my absolute discretion."

Miranda's icy stare remained firmly in place, but she nodded once. "That's all." 

Emily didn't hesitate before rushing across the foyer and scrambling out of the house, heart beating wildly and mind rushing to catch up with what she had just discovered.

Miranda and Andy watched as the front door nearly slammed shut, and there was a silence that flooded the foyer with an indescribable tension. Andy could see Miranda's rigid posture, how her anger was making her practically vibrate. Throwing caution to the wind, Andy stepped down the remaining stairs and came up behind Miranda, placing a hand softly on the older woman's tense shoulder.

"Miranda?"

"How dare she assume - How dare she speak to you like that?" Miranda hissed, her rage making her spit her words as if they were poison.

"Miranda, it's okay. She was in shock, I'm sure she didn't mean any of it," Andy said softly, trying to placate the older woman.

Miranda turned to her, her steely eyes boring into Andy's.

"How can you say that, Andrea? After she accused us of having an affair while you were under my employ! After she said that I showed you favouritism because we were fucking - "

"Miranda, stop."

The older woman's speech came to a screeching halt, and she took a deep breath to try to compose herself, but the fury at Emily's words still pumped through her like blood. 

"Mira, listen. Many people are gonna jump to that conclusion. It won't be the last time we hear those accusations. It's horrible and fucked up that people would diminish our relationship to some kind of sordid office affair, but it doesn't matter what people think. We know what really happened; we know what is real and what isn't. Emily grew on me and I want to be on good terms with her, but if she can't accept us, then fuck her. We don't need hers or anyone else's approval. But first you have to give her a chance to come to terms with it, okay?"

"Andrea, you know that when it comes to Runway, I make the decisions. You have no say on whether or not I fire my assistants." Miranda's cold voice made Andy freeze. She had dealt with an angry Miranda before, and knew that the older woman was prone to lash out at the nearest target when she was in 'Dragon mode'. Taking a deep breath, Andy took Miranda's hands in hers.

"I'm not trying to control Runway, Mira. I'm simply suggesting that you let Emily keep her job. She's a good assistant and she worships you, she'd never do anything to put you or Runway in danger. She takes good care of you, and because I love you I want that to continue. I forgive what she said about us because I know that deep down she adores you and was simply in shock. Give her another chance, please love?"

Andy held her breath while she looked deep into sharp blue eyes, trying to show Miranda all the love and warmth she had for her just through her gaze alone. This, Andy had learnt, was the best way to get to Miranda when she was angry. In moments like these, Miranda turned into cold fury, so Andy used all her warmth and love to battle that icy rage. After a few moments of staring at each other, Andy saw the tell-tale sign that Miranda had surrendered to Andy. Her posture relaxed, and her eyes softened slightly.

"You're right, darling. I'm sorry for lashing out. I'll let Emily keep her job. But if I hear a single negative comment about you or our relationship from her, I will not be held accountable for my actions."

Andy smiled and wrapped her arms loosely around Miranda's waist.

"Sounds fair to me," she said before leaning in to press a soft kiss on pouting lips. "Come on, I still have to finish my article and you have to go over the Book."

"I expect a massage later as a reward for being so complacent of Emily's behaviour," Miranda said dryly. 

"I'll give you all the massages you want," Andy responded, winking at Miranda. "Anything for my favourite dragon."

Miranda snorted, but allowed Andy to pull her up the stairs.

 .....-.....

"Oh my God."

"Hm," Miranda hummed in response.

"Oh God, Miranda." 

Andy had to cover her mouth in shock, because she could not believe her eyes.

They were in bed, lying back against a mountain of pillows, a photo album pulled open across Andy's lap while Miranda leaned against her lover, looking over Andy's shoulder at the old photographs. The current photo the were looking at pictured Miranda on a worn sofa, lying back against the arm rest, legs stretched out sideways across the sofa, giving a tantalising view of creamy calves and thighs. She was wearing a very short, cream-coloured negligee, and one of the thin straps fell down an arm, giving a perfectly uninterrupted view of the elegant shoulder and collarbone. Her hair was longer and was more blonde than it was now, but it was fussed slightly, which gave her such a sensual look Andy had trouble breathing. A thirty-five-year-old Miranda looked into the camera, eyes hooded and lips slightly parted as she blew cigarette smoke from her perfect mouth. Her posture was relaxed, one arm draped over the back of the couch, the other stretched downward towards the floor, a burning cigarette dangling from delicate fingertips. It was enthralling, and Andy had trouble looking away.

"Jesus, Mira..." 

Miranda chuckled and kissed Andy's neck softly.

"Like what you see?"

"Oh, fuck yes. My God, you look so beautiful. I think this is my favourite one so far. Can we have it printed bigger and hang it up?"

"Don't be ridiculous, Andrea. Nobody else has seen these pictures apart from Nigel and myself. I don't want to share them with anyone else."

"Neither do I," Andy said as she ran a finger down the ethereal figure in the photograph. "I'd like to hang it up in here, or in our bathroom. Somewhere just the two of us will see it."

Miranda considered this for a moment and observed Andy gazing down at the picture, such admiration and love and lust in her brown eyes that Miranda was unable to deny her wish.

"Alright, we can have it framed as long as it does not leave this room."

Andy turned to her with a radiant smile on her face and leaned in to give her lover a chaste kiss. "Thank you, Mira. I can't describe just how much I love this. How much I love you."

Miranda smiled softly back at her. "I love you too, silly girl."

Andy grinned goofily at her and turned back to peruse the rest of the pictures. Some pictures were gorgeous, like the close up one of Miranda looking downwards, long lashes resting against pale cheeks, lips turned into a small smile, face relaxed and perfect, hair swept to one side so that it became a halo around her against the light in the background. Another picture that took Andy's breath away was one that showed Miranda from behind, her naked back an expanse of delicious skin and defined muscles, with Miranda's head turned to the side and eyes gazing down, so that her profile was so perfectly captured, Andy almost felt like weeping at the sheer perfection of it. Then there were other photographs that almost sent Andy into cardiac arrest, like the one with Miranda lying across a mattress, wearing nothing but wine-coloured lingerie. She had one arm thrown above her head, her hand gripping the sheets, while the other was delicately placed on her stomach, her hand coming teasingly close to the lace covering her most private area. But what really made Andy's heart speed up was the expression on Miranda's face. She had her head thrown back, her body arching slightly off the mattress, breasts almost slipping out of the lacy bra. Her eyes were closed and lips parted, as if in ecstasy, hair fanned around her and her neck a stretched in enticing invitation.

When her eyes fell on this particular photo, Andy forgot to breathe, and after long moments of gazing at it, she slowly turned darkened eyes to Miranda, who was pressed against her side looking at her, blue orbs filled with insecurity and uncertainty, waiting for Andy's reaction. Before Miranda could speak, Andy had pushed the photo album to the floor and grabbed at Miranda, pressing her down onto the mattress and crushing their lips together. Miranda whimpered in surprise, but responded to the kiss wholeheartedly. She could feel Andrea panting against her, could feel her heart beating wildly against her chest. Instinctively, she wrapped her legs around the brunette's hips and burrowed her hands in long brown hair. Andy forced Miranda's mouth open and immediately delved her tongue past the tantalising lips, beginning a deep, rough dance of tongues and teeth that left Miranda burning up and feeling breathless. She moaned, pressing herself up against the young body above her.

"Fuck, Miranda, you have no idea what you do to me." Andy panted once they parted lips, moving to hungrily kiss and bite at Miranda's neck, making the other woman moan and arch. "You're so beautiful, so stunning. God, I'm going to devour you, Miranda." Andy bit down on the sensitive spot between Miranda's neck and her collarbone, and Miranda gasped and arched further, giving herself over to the absolute pleasure Andy was wrecking on her body. "I'm going to eat you alive."

"Oh!" Miranda gasped again when Andy's hands grabbed her breasts, pinching her nipples. When Andy pressed her hips down between Miranda's legs, Miranda nearly sobbed. "Oh God Andrea, please!"

Andy wasted no more time and proceeded to take Miranda thoroughly, roughly, desperately, filling Miranda with as many fingers as she could take, licking at her folds with a vigour that had Miranda lifting her hips off the bed and furiously rubbing herself against Andy's mouth. When she came, it was long and hard, chest heaving and hands gripping the sheets, just like in the picture, head thrown back and lips parted as she screamed Andrea's name, hips furiously grinding against Andy's mouth while Andy sped her efforts even more. Miranda wasn't allowed to rest, because Andy kept on worshipping her body, so roughly that Miranda thought they would break the bed. When Miranda reached her second orgasm, Andy watched her back arching off the bed, her eyes rolling back. Hands gripping at the hair of the woman between her legs, thighs trembling and locking around Andrea's head, Miranda heard herself screaming her pleasure ("Oh yes there! Yes! Harder! Oh God oh God oh God oh God Andréa!") as if from a distance, and could not remember feeling this much pleasure in her life. When she finally slumped back, completely spent, she covered her eyes with a trembling hand as she concentrated on calming her erratic breathing. She felt Andrea crawling up her body, placing kisses as she went up her torso, and then taking her into strong arms.

Once she had finally managed to catch her breath, Miranda buried her face in the crook of Andrea's neck and breathed in the unique scent of her lover.

"Good God, Andrea," She croaked, voice hoarse from expressing her pleasure so thoroughly. "Nobody has ever - I have never felt like that before." 

Andy chuckled and kissed Miranda's damp forehead, running her fingers through the white hair she loved so much and pulling back the strands that were sticking to Miranda's temples.

"Well, you brought it out in me. I'm so glad Nigel took those photos. Remind me to send him a thank you gift."

Miranda chuckled weakly, smiling into the crook of Andy's neck.

"Hmm." Miranda purred, and Andy had to grin because Miranda always acted like a satisfied cat after sex. As Andy ran her fingertips across the woman's back and through her hair, she felt the older woman's body relax even more against her.

"Go to sleep, Mira. The girls will be back tomorrow afternoon and I want us to sleep in."

"Mm'kay," Miranda mumbled, and Andy grinned because there was nothing cuter than a sleepy Miranda. "G'night, darling."

"Goodnight, Mira. Love you," Andy said, sweetly placing a kiss on Miranda's temple.

Soon enough, Miranda's soft snores began to lull Andy to sleep, and she cuddled the woman closer before letting herself drift off.

Chapter Text

Hey everyone.

First and foremost I would like to ask you to read this the whole way through. Writing this story has meant a great deal to me, and during a time where everything in my life was filled with uncertainty and imbalance, this story gave me the stability I needed and a way to express my creativity and hope. Which is why it's a little hard to write this.
If I'm completely honest with myself, I am not doing great at the moment. It's one of the reasons why I haven't updated in over a month. I have hit rock bottom after a loss that has deeply affected myself and my loved ones. It's why I need some time to myself, away from certain things that cause me stress (like university and writing this story), because I need some time to recover and get back on my feet. Without giving out too many details or being over-dramatic, I'm pretty much hanging by a thread.
I can't express how sorry I am about this. I promise this story will be done, hopefully things will turn for the better sooner rather than later and I'll soon be able to give you the updates you all lovely readers deserve. Your support has meant the world to me, and the thought of disappointing you weighs very heavily on my chest. I am not abandoning this story, I am simply taking some time off from my life to piece myself back together again. I hope you will all still be around for the end of this story. It's so special to me, I am determined to give it the proper, happy end it deserves.
Thank you all so so much for your support. Thanks to this story, I have met really amazing people that I will always cherish, and I have found peace and happiness in every review and comment you guys have written. I promise to give back my thanks to such an amazing community, fandom, and readership by continuing with this story.
Lastly, I want to say to all of you out there who are struggling through a bad time, those who suffer with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts... I want you to know that you are not alone. I know it's difficult to believe this through dark times, but I promise you it gets better, and one day you will find your light and your happiness, and you'll be so thankful and proud that you made it through. Don't let the struggles of today keep you from living your tomorrow. Be patient with yourself, take care of your physical, emotional and mental health, and most importantly: keep on fighting through all the struggles that you face. You will not regret it.
All my love,
Charlotte x

 

“It is such a mysterious place, the land of tears.”

“You - you alone will have the stars as no one else has them...In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night...You - only you - will have stars that can laugh.”

"You become responsible forever for what you’ve tamed. You’re responsible for your rose.”

― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Chapter Text

Andy opened the front door and stood there, gazing at their guests for a few moments. She couldn't believe they were actually here.

"Are you gonna come give us a hug, or are you just going to stand there?" Her mother said with a slight teasing tone and a weak smile.

Snapping out of it, Andy rushed down the front steps and into her parents' arms. "Mom, Dad. I've missed you."

Elizabeth tightened her hold on her daughter and took a deep breath. They hadn't seen their daughter in over a year, and it felt good to have her in her arms again.

"We've missed you too, honey." She whispered, getting slightly emotional. It didn't matter that they were here to meet the Priestly family, or that she wasn't happy about the arrangement. In that moment, all Elizabeth Sachs cared about was that she was with her baby again.

After helping her parents with their luggage and showing them around the house (Andy tried her best to not be affected by her parents' incredulity that their daughter lived in such an expensive house, and she tried not to laugh whenever her mother's mouth would gape at the pricey art pieces and the sophisticated furniture and the expansive rooms), the three of them went to sit in the den with some tea and cookies the girls had made the day before.

"Miranda will be home later this evening before dinner, and the girls should be back from their piano class in about an hour."

"Good," Elizabeth said. "That way we have uninterrupted time with you."

Andy tried her best to smile at that, but even she felt her smile wobble at the prospect. After talking about Andy's job and latest assignments, the questions about her new family and living arrangements came.

"Are you sure this is the best thing for you, Andy?" Elizabeth asked.

"Yes, mom. I'm the happiest I have ever been, and I know I will never be this happy anywhere else. This is my home now."

Elizabeth sighed, and there was a long silence that made Andy want to squirm in her seat.

Suddenly, Richard stood up.

"Right. I'm going to go take a walk around the neighbourhood."

Before Andy could even respond, he was out of the den. When Andy heard the front door close, she turned to her mother, eyebrows raised in question.

"I felt it would be good for us to have time to talk." Elizabeth said, moving closer to her daughter on the couch.

"Okay," Andy said, squaring her shoulders and taking a deep, fortifying breath. She reminded herself that she belonged to Miranda and the girls, and nothing her mother said would change that.

"I wanted to apologize," her mother started, and Andy immediately felt her jaw slacken in shock. This was the complete opposite of what she had expected. "I know that I have been very hard on you and very unfair towards your new family. And I wanted to explain myself by telling you something that nobody else knows, except your father. Although he only knows the... lighter version."

Now Andy was worried. Her mother had never looked so serious or solemn before, and she had never confided in Andy with a big secret. She had always been a loving, caring, humorous mother. To see her this serious was making Andy nervous. She watched as her mother took a deep breath and steeled herself for whatever would be revealed.

"You know I love your father very much. We have been together for thirty years, and I could not have asked for a better husband. But what you don't know is that I was with someone for a long time before I met your father." Andy listened with rapt attention, and so her mother continued. "His name was Victor. We were together for eight years, and I thought that one day we would get married and spend the rest of our lives together. We were so in love. Sometimes I look back and I feel like I was just a naive, silly girl who had no idea what she was getting into. Victor was quite a bit older than me. Old enough to have an ex wife and three children. But none of that bothered me, because I loved him. He was so wealthy and so powerful, he always took care of me. I thought that he was the one for me. Until he basically threw me out." Andy could not hold back a soft gasp, and Elizabeth smiled sadly. "He told me that he had been having an affair with someone else. A woman who was, and I quote him, "in his league and actually worthy of him". He didn't want me anymore, he said that he had never really loved me, he just needed someone to entertain him while he found wife number two."

Andy was stricken. She had no idea her mother had been through this sort of ordeal. How could anyone do this to her? How could anyone have used her that way? Andy reached out and held her mother's hand, unable to help the stinging in her eyes.

"I lost everything. I lost my home, I lost my partner, and I lost those three charming children. All my hopes of a future with him were ruined, and I felt incredibly stupid for not having seen the signs before." Elizabeth shook her head as if chastising herself. "Anyways, after that I met your father, and he helped me through it. We fell in love and, well, here you are." Sad brown eyes met Andy's. "I'm so sorry that I let my own experience dictate how I saw your own. I saw so many similarities between your relationship with Miranda and my relationship with Victor, and I feared that you would go through the same thing that I did. I wanted things to work out with Nate because I felt like you would not find anyone better, and I'm sorry that I let my disappointment turn into hostility towards you. I'm trying my best to fix things. And your father is also doing his best to be okay with all of this. We just need to make sure that you are truly loved here."

Andy didn't know what to say. The woman sitting next to her was her mother, but for the first time, Andy didn't see her as such. She saw her as an actual person, with painful experiences and a life before Andy had come along. She understood why her mom had acted the way she had when Andy told her about Miranda. Hell, if Andy went through something like that, she would do everything in her power to keep her children from experiencing such a horrible thing as well.

"Mom," Andy said, trying not to get choked up. She leaned forward and hugged her mom tightly. "I'm so sorry you had to go through that. It must have been horrible, I understand why you acted the way you did. And I forgive you. Of course I forgive you. You were just being a mother. I would do the same for Caroline and Cassidy if I went through something similar."

Her mother moved away from the loving embrace and looked deeply into Andy's eyes.

"You see them as your own children, don't you?"

"Yeah, mom. I told you, this is my family. And I know that it must be hard for you, but I promise, this is no Victor. I hit the jackpot, mom." Andy grinned, hoping to lighten the sombre atmosphere in the room.

Elizabeth smiled.

"I know. I just have to see it for myself, you know? That way I will be certain that you will not make the same mistake as I did, and that you will not get hurt."

Andy hugged her mom again, pulling her close. When was the last time she had hugged her parents like this?

"Thanks mom. And thank you for telling me. It must have been hard."

Elizabeth shrugged slightly and smiled. "I've moved on. I found a much better man, and I got a much better family."

Andy grinned.

.....-.....

An hour later, the twins opened the front door with shouts of "Andy! We're home!" They waited for the customary greeting.

"In here!" Andy's voice rang out.

The twins looked at each other and made their way towards the den. Sitting on the sofa and one of the armchairs were Andy and her parents.

"Oh." Cassidy said. "Hello."

Caroline waved weakly, and Andy chuckled.

"Girls," Andy said, opening her arms and beckoning the twins towards her. "This is my mom Elizabeth, and this is my dad Richard." Both adults in question smiled at the girls and said their hellos. "Mom, dad, this little chipmunk here with the longer hair is Caroline," she said, putting her hand on the top of Caroline's head. "And this one over here with the most freckles is Cassidy."

"It's so good to finally meet you," Elizabeth said warmly. "Andy's told us a lot about you."

"Yeah, but we know you don't like us anyways." Caroline said, frowning at them and crossing her arms against her chest.

"Hey, now," Andy said, turning the girls around so they could face each other better. "That's not true. My parents were just worried about me. They've never met you guys before and yet I suddenly called them telling them I have a new family and I'm living with you guys. It's not that they didn't like you, they just didn't like not knowing and they were worried about me because they didn't know who my new family is, you know? But I promise that they're really nice and they want to get to know you guys, so just be the sweet and caring girls you are, okay?" Andy smiled at them, which, along with her words, made them feel much more relaxed.

"Okay." Cassidy said, turning back towards Andy's parents on the couch and smiling.

"Yeah. Sorry. We kinda forgot you were coming today, we just weren't prepared." Caroline said, although she still looked at them warily.

"It's okay, Caroline." Andy's mother said. "It's true everything Andy said, we do want to get to know you."

"Andy's told us nothing but good things about you, so we sorta already like you already." Richard winked at them and smiled.

Tentatively, the twins smiled back.

.....-.....

Miranda got home at 7 that evening. She felt energised and satisfied with her day, as many things had been accomplished and many disasters had been avoided. Now, for the most challenging part of her day: meeting Andrea's parents.

As if summoned by her thoughts, the young woman appeared in the foyer with a big smile.

"Hello, gorgeous."

"Hmm, hello to you too." Miranda said, returning the smile.

Even as Andy helped Miranda with her coat, the young woman could sense Miranda's nervousness, if the tension in her shoulders and tightening around the eyes was anything to go by.

"So listen, I've resolved everything with mom."

"You have?" Miranda said, raising her eyebrows in surprise.

"Yeah. I can't go into much detail, but she has a pretty good reason for acting the way she did. She had a little, um, experience and she was scared the same thing would happen to me."

"Ah. Say no more. I will play nice." Miranda said. "Now, where is my hello kiss?"

Andy rolled her eyes and leaned in to kiss Miranda lightly. She sighed as soon as soft lips touched her, and all the tension she had been carrying in fear of today seemed to melt away. As they pulled back, Miranda hummed and smiled.

"Much better."

"Ready to meet the parents? I promise they'll play nice too."

"Good enough for me. Lead the way, pretty woman."

Andy snorted and started leading Miranda to the kitchen. Ever since they had watched Pretty Woman together, Miranda had barely stopped calling her that.

"I do not look like Julia Roberts, Miranda. Look at her! She's, like, next level gorgeous!"

"I never said you looked like her, I said her smile reminds me of yours. Yours being much more beautiful, of course, but it is the closest anybody has ever gotten to your smile. And, by the way, darling? You are 'next level gorgeous' too."

And that had been that. Now, Miranda had a new pet name for Andy, and Andy was simply going with it.

When they got to the kitchen, Miranda was surprised at the sight that greeted them. Andy's mother was at the stove cooking while teaching Cassidy how to chop the ingredients, and Richard was sitting on the table with Caroline trying to make a castle out of cards.

"Girls, look who's home." Andy said, and twin redheads turned to the doorway. When they saw their mother, they rushed towards her with a gleeful "Mom!" and wrapped their arms around her waist, one on each side of Miranda.

"Hello, Bobbseys." Miranda said, smiling at them and leaning down to press a kiss on each girl's forehead. "How was your day?"

"Good." Cassidy said, moving away and pointing at Elizabeth. "Andy's mom let me help her cook and she taught me a secret trick on how to cut onions without crying!"

Miranda smiled wider at Cassidy's enthusiasm. "Did she now?" She looked up at Elizabeth, who was approaching. "I would love to learn that trick."

"I'll be happy to let you in on my secret trick." Elizabeth smiled and extended her hand. "It's nice to meet you, Miranda. My name's Elizabeth."

"It's a pleasure to finally meet you, Elizabeth." Miranda responded, shaking her hand. "And you must be Richard." She said, turning to the man who had stepped up next to his wife.

"Lovely to meet you, Miranda." He said, shaking hands with the silver haired woman.

"Likewise." Miranda smiled politely.

She could easily see where Andrea got her dark eyes from. While Elizabeth had honey coloured eyes, Richard had chocolate brown ones. But that seemed to be the only feature Andy got from her father, apart from her rather tall frame. Everything else, including the full smile, Andy got from Elizabeth.

"Richard taught me loads of card games, mom! Now I know games we can play on road trips and stuff!" Caroline said excitedly.

Miranda smiled at her daughter and at the word 'stuff', she looked at Andrea, who was gazing at her with a knowing sparkle in her eyes and a secret smile.

"That's lovely, Caroline. I can't wait to play all these new games."

"Mom was making lasagne. It's her specialty." Andy said, moving towards the cabinets in order to start setting the table.

"Sounds delicious. Do you need any assistance?" Miranda asked, looking at Elizabeth with as much kindness as she could muster for someone who was basically a stranger.

"Sure. Would you mind mixing these ingredients in the pot for the sauce and stirring it for a while? I'll take care of the pasta and the cheese."

"No problem."

As Andy and the girls set the table, Richard started cleaning the cooking materials they no longer needed and clearing everything away, while Miranda and Elizabeth finished cooking the lasagne in relatively compatible silence with the chatter of the girls, Andrea and Richard in the background.

When they finally sat down to eat dinner, Richard and Elizabeth talked a little about their work, and how different New York was to Ohio, and what a lovely house this was. Miranda put up with the small talk, seeming interested and asking questions at the right times. But it wasn't until the girls asked Richard and Elizabeth what Andy was like growing up that the conversation really got interesting for Miranda. Most of the stories had Andy either blushing beautifully or trying not to choke on her wine in embarrassment, and Miranda was deeply enjoying listening to anecdotes of a little Andrea chasing squirrels up trees and getting in trouble in kinder garden for kissing the boy she wanted to marry and crying after a chicken chased her at her uncle's farm. Caroline and Cassidy were cackling while Miranda was trying her best not to lose her composure. Every time she chuckled, Andy sent a glare her way, but she would just smile and say something very Miranda.

"Darling, you never told me that you fell face first into a puddle. So you did fall and smack your little head on the pavement." (After saying this, Andy smacked her arm, which made her laugh even more.)

"I did not know you were in the chess team in college, Andrea. You must have been quite the party animal." (To which Andy responded, "At least I was invited to parties, you dragon!" which earned a snort from Miranda.)

"Did you always want to be a dentist, or was it just a fleeting thing that you liked to grab people's front teeth and check their molars?" ("I was five, damn it! Give me a break!")

By the time the meal was finished and desert (vanilla ice cream and brownies) was devoured, Cassidy and Caroline stood from the table and carried their plates to the kitchen. When they came back, they each hugged and kissed their mother in turn.

"We're going to finish our homework and then go straight to bed. We're going to meet Kat at the park tomorrow morning to play with her new frisbee, so we won't get to sleep in." Cassidy said, pouting at the thought of getting up early on a Saturday.

"Alright." Miranda said, chuckling at her daughter's adorable expression. "Say goodnight, Bobbseys."

"Night Elizabeth, Night Richard." They said in unison, then moved to Andy and hugged her.

"Night Ma." Cassidy said.

Miranda saw how both Richard and Elizabeth's eyes widened at the term used for Andrea by the girls, and had to hide a smirk.

"Night munchkins. Pancakes tomorrow?"

"Yeah! Love you Ma." Caroline gave her a loud, smacking kiss on her cheek, then the twins giggled and rushed out of the room when Andy pretended to be disgusted ("Eugh!") and started wiping her cheek.

After the girls left, the adults moved into the living room with more wine being poured. The two couples sat on two sofas facing each other, and they all leaned back and got comfortable. Elizabeth, Richard and Andy talked about the Sachs family, catching up and letting Andy know how everyone was doing. During the hour's worth of talking between the three, Miranda quietly listened and observed how Andrea seemed much more at ease now than these past few days where she had been consumed by anxiety about her parents' visit. So far, it seemed to be going well, and Miranda was glad that her lover was much more relaxed now, as if a weight had been lifted off her shoulders. She was brought back to the conversation when Andy asked Miranda about her day. Miranda pursed her lips and huffed.

"Honestly, it's like I have to do everything myself. We avoided several crises, but the incompetence of my staff is still too high. And Emily cannot seem to function lately, I'm sure you can guess why. She can barely look me in the eye; she really needs to get a grip. And every time I see Nigel he smiles in this smug, knowing way, and he has often asked me if I have added any shirts to my wardrobe recently." At this, Andy barked out a laugh at Nigel's antiques. She had yet to tell him that she had worn his shirt as pyjamas several times, much to Miranda's exasperation. "And if Serena and Emily do not proclaim their love for each other soon, I will do it for them. Honestly, how much more obvious can those two get? They've been inadvertently flirting and making eyes at each other for months now."

"Maybe they're already together." Andy supplied helpfully while running her hands through silver tresses in a soothing way.

"I don't think so, but I will talk to Nigel just in case. He has always been a gossip queen. Anyways, how was your day?"

"Well," Andy said. "It was good. Greg let me come home early because I told him I was having family over," she sent a smile to her parents. "and he said I was free to take the day off if I needed to. Apparently he has been very happy with some of my work lately, and he told me that my article on women's shelter in the city might make the front page next week."

"Oh darling, that's wonderful! I'm so glad he is seeing your talent and your potential. I'm so proud of you, that piece was incredibly moving and not many people are discussing this issue. Well done." Miranda smiled and leaned in to kiss Andy's cheek, while Andy blushed over the praise.

"It sure is good news, honey." Her mom gushed from the other sofa. "I'm very glad things are going so well for you."

"Congratulations honey. Make sure you let us know so that we can buy the paper and hang it up in the kitchen." Richard said with a proud smile.

"Thanks guys." Andy smiled. The wine was making her drowsy and she leaned her head against Miranda's shoulder. "This has been the perfect evening. All my family in the same room, getting along," she mumbled, taking Miranda's hand and giving it an affectionate squeeze. "Thank you."

Miranda looked at Elizabeth, and they shared a look filled with understanding and acceptance. Even though Elizabeth was still uncertain about her daughter's relationship, even though Miranda hated how Elizabeth had treated Andrea, they silently agreed to get along. For Andrea's happiness. Miranda turned her gaze on Richard, who simply nodded slightly, as if understanding Miranda's unspoken gesture to be amicable.

"I think we should go to bed. Elizabeth and I are pretty tired after our flight, and we'd like to get some rest so that we can see the city tomorrow." Richard said as he stood.

Elizabeth followed suit and took everyone's wine glasses to the kitchen. Miranda tipped her head at her in thanks, and proceeded to nudge Andrea from her sleepy state.

"Andrea."

"Hmm?" Andrea murmured, burrowing her face into Miranda's neck.

"Darling, it's time to go to bed." Miranda saw out of the corner of her eye that Elizabeth came back into the room and stood beside Richard, murmuring quietly between themselves.

"But I'm so comfy and you smell so good."

Miranda chuckled, lifting her hand to run her fingers through brunette locks.

"Thank you, darling. But your parents are tired and I also want to go to bed. It's getting rather late."

"Oh. Kay." Andy said, covering up a yawn and standing up with Miranda. The Sachs followed them out into the hall and up the stairs while Miranda told them about several art pieces that they liked. Just before reaching the third floor, Elizabeth touched Miranda's arm slightly. Immediately knowing what was about to happen just by looking into Elizabeth's eyes, she turned to her lover.

"Andrea, go on ahead and get ready for bed. I'll be there in just a minute."

Andy looked between her parents and Miranda, feeling a bit hesitant, but when the silver-haired woman nodded and smiled reassuringly, Andy realised this was inevitable.

"Okay. Goodnight mom, goodnight dad." She said, kissing her parents on the cheek and giving them warning glances, silently asking them to be nice.

When Andy had walked down the hall and shut their bedroom door, Miranda turned to the Sachs.

"I know what this is about, and let me cut to the chase. I have very noble intentions regarding your daughter. Richard, I believe we already spoke about this on the phone, but I might as well tell you again in person. Elizabeth, I guarantee that no harm will come to Andrea. Not while I'm alive. I love your daughter more than I have loved anyone else in my life, and I intend to do my absolute best to make her as happy as possible. I have shared my home, my daughters, and myself in ways I don't share with others. These things have never been easy for me to do, but I have done them for her because she deserves everything I can give her and much more. So no, I will not hurt her. I will not abandon her or kick her out or ruin her or anything ridiculous like that. I want exactly what you want for her: I want her to be happy." Miranda paused, taking in the slightly taken aback expression of Elizabeth and the calm expression of Richard. After all, him and Miranda had had this conversation before. "Any questions?"

"I - well, no I - " Elizabeth cleared her throat. "I wasn't exactly sure what I was expecting when I came here. I expected what I had read about you. A selfish, self-absorbed workaholic who does not care about anyone but herself. But I've been proven wrong. And I'm sorry to have judged you without actually knowing you. You are clearly nothing like people paint you to be."

"I wouldn't go that far," Miranda chuckled, trying, probably for the first time in her life, to lighten the mood. "But I accept your apology. You are not the first one to judge me based on the persona I put forward for the press and the public world, and I guarantee you will not be the last."

"Well, we're sorry anyways." Richard spoke up for the first time in a while. "I also made the mistake of judging you. But I hope that we can keep getting to know each other, and that we can all get along. As family."

To Miranda's surprise, Elizabeth didn't flinch at the word 'family'. Instead, she nodded very slightly.

"I have to admit, I have never seen Andy as happy as she is here. She has changed a lot since I last saw her, but I think it suits her. It's like she has grown into her skin. And I guess we have you to thank."

Miranda waved her hand, dismissing that last sentiment. "I'm glad we understand each other. And I am sure that we will get along just fine. We all want what is best for Andrea, and she seems to think that the best is here with me, so until she changes her mind, she's stuck with me." Miranda tried to joke, even though she had just spoken her greatest fear: that Andrea would realise Miranda did not deserve her and would leave.

"No," Elizabeth said, shaking her head. "I don't think she's ever going to change her mind about you. A mother knows these things, you'll find out when your daughters are older. Andy's keeping you. I've never seen her look at anyone the way she looks at you."

Miranda tried her best not to blush, but she felt a little comforted by Elizabeth's words. After all, if Andy's own mother said so, it must be at least half true, right? She smiled at Elizabeth and nodded in acceptance. They bid each other goodnight, and Miranda sighed as she watched the Sachs move to the other end of the hall into the guest bedroom. She walked to her own bedroom and opened the door to find Andy already snuggled in bed waiting for her. She quickly went about her night routine and changed into her silk nightdress before crawling into bed next to her lover, who immediately moved into her embrace.

"Should I be worried about that?" Andrea's sleepy voice was muffled by Miranda's neck.

"No, darling. Everything went perfectly fine. Don't worry."

"Kay. I trust you."

Miranda smiled and moved back to turn the night lamp off before once again cradling her lover's warm body against her.

"Goodnight, Andrea. I love you."

"Love you too, Mira."

And with the satisfaction that things would be all right, that Andrea was no longer in pain because of her relationship with her parents, and knowing that Andrea loved her, Miranda drifted off to sleep.

Everything felt right in the world.