Chapter 1: A Safe Place
It was quiet in the offices of Runway when she arrived, everyone had gone home for the night and she had already delivered the book to Miranda’s home so she knew that she had time. Andrea was exhausted, she had gotten home after dropping off the book to be hit with a nightmare situation. Literally. She had been in the apartment for mere seconds when he started on his usual rant at her which tended to be that she was spending too much time at work and paying more attention to Miranda than him, he was even jealous of their daughter.
Their three-year-old daughter; Madeline spent a lot of her time at a local nursery whilst her mother was working, despite the fact that Nate worked very few hours in the day. Andrea would drop her off on her way to work and then collect her each night, often having to wait until after she had delivered the book. The woman hated having to leave her there for so many hours a day but she had no choice because she needed the money in order for them to continue living and also because Nate was gradually syphoning off her wages through his alcohol consumption and spending habits.
Andrea had walked in the door that night with a very tired Madeline in her arms, speaking softly to her before Nate began to yell at the woman angrily. It was then that he had struck her across the face and knocked her to the ground as she struggled to keep a secure hold on their daughter.
The little girl began to cry in fear as she clung to her mother and it wa then that Andrea knew that she had to leave. So she ran. She ran with her daughter to the one place that she knew that she would be safe. She ran to Runway. She had briefly considered running to Miranda’s house but she was unsure as to how the woman would react to her assistant randomly turning up on her doorstep so late at night with her daughter.
Madeline looked up at her mother when they arrived in Miranda’s office, “Where are we Mommy?”, she asked tiredly as she rubbed her eyes. She was still a little scared from what had happened at the apartment with her ‘father’.
“This is where Mommy works Maddy”, she said calmly to her daughter, “It’s safe here and we can sleep here for tonight, okay?”.
“Okay”, she answered simply, trusting her mother as she climbed up onto the sofa, “Is this your office?”.
Andrea shook her head, “No, this is Miranda’s office”, she said softly with a smile.
“Why are we in Miranda’s office instead of yours?”, Madeline asked with a slightly tilted head.
“Because my desk is outside there, we walked past it on the way in”, Andrea explained, and because I feel safer when I feel closer to Miranda , she thought to herself.
Madeline curled up on the sofa, “Mommy? Can I have a blanket, please?”, she asked quietly.
Andrea smiled, “I don’t think we have a blanket here but I do have something that will do just the job”, she said softly, “Wait here for one moment and I’ll be right back”.
“Okay”, Madeline replied.
“Don’t go anywhere, okay?”, Andrea said as she cupped the girl’s cheek.
Madeline nodded, “I won’t move off of the sofa”.
It was eleven o’clock at night, Caroline and Cassidy were both with their father for the night so the house was quiet, too quiet. Miranda sighed heavily as she put on her coat, she had forgotten a set of notes at the office but also she decided that rather than to call Andrea to fetch them for her, she would go herself because she wanted to get out of the house for a while rather than to sit in silence with only the book as company.
“Good girl”, she whispered before pressing a kiss to Madeline’s head knowing that she would be safe there and that she was literally just going down the hallway to grab the poncho that she had seen and knew where it was in the closet. She knew that she wasn’t going far from Miranda’s office and she also did not want to pull her daughter around the Runway floor too much in case it was called into question by security as she knew that there was a guard change due soon.
Andrea left Miranda’s office and made her way down the hallway once she had closed the door slightly to the office.
When she arrived the offices were silent but as she walked closer to her office she noticed that there was a soft light coming from beneath the partially closed door. Miranda frowned slightly as she moved forward and she paused momentarily before pushing open the door slowly.
Her eyebrows shot up as she was met with the sight of a small girl sitting on her sofa, she had dark curly hair that were in bunches and she wore a pair of jeans along with a long sleeved top and a warm jacket that covered it. She had a small blue butterfly clip in her hair and a pair of black shoes on her feet.
“Hello”, she said softly to the child as she approached cautiously, wondering if her mind was playing tricks on her.
The child smiled brightly up at her, “Hello”, she said softly, “I’m Maddy”. “Mommy said that she’ll be back with a blanket soon and that I have to stay on the sofa until she gets back”, the little one explained without being prompted to, “Are you supposed to be in here?”, she questioned.
Miranda looked slightly confused at the question but she did not have a chance to respond before the little girl continued to talk.
“This is Miranda’s office”, she stated, “Did you know that? Mommy says it’s safe here and so we can sleep here for tonight”.
“Well that’s a good thing that I’m Miranda then, isn’t it?”, the Editor-in-Chief questioned with a raise of her eyebrow.
The girl’s jaw dropped, “You’re Miranda?”, she asked before grinning, “Mommy talks about you a lot”.
“She does now?”, Miranda questioned before she sat beside the child on the sofa, “So, Maddy? Is that short for something?”.
Maddy nodded, “Madeline”, she replied with a smile, “But Mommy calls me Maddy… unless I’m really naughty”.
“Well, I shall call you Madeline but I assure you that it is not because you have been naughty”, Miranda said with a soft smile, “Do you often sleep in my office?”.
Madeline shook her head, “No”, she said softly, “This is the first time. I’ve never been here before”. “Daddy was angry when we got home…”, the little girl said rather quietly, “He…”
Miranda looked very concerned, “He what dear?”, she asked.
“He was yelling at Mommy and then he…”, the little girl started to cry, “He hit her and knocked her over when she was holding me”.
The woman did not hesitate to put her arms out to the child in order to offer her comfort.
Madeline did not waste any time in launching herself into Miranda’s lap before snuggling up to her and clutching a section of her designer silk blouse in her tiny hand.
She wanted to ask what her mother’s name was but she had a feeling that she already knew, the little girl’s dark brown eyes and huge mega-watt smile gave it away.
The three-year-old little girl sobbed against Miranda’s blouse and making it rather wet as well as a little wrinkled as she clutched at it.
“Here I have the….”, Andrea stopped in the doorway to her boss’ office when she saw her boss sat on the sofa with her crying daughter in her arms, “...blanket”.
“I believe that is a poncho Andrea”, Miranda stated, “Even you should know that. Surely”.
Andrea nodded and moved closer to the sofa, “Hey Maddy”, she said quietly, “What’s wrong?”.
Madeline was starting to calm down but had not loosened her grip on Miranda’s shirt, “She was upset about what took place when you got home tonight”, she explained as she looked up at the dark-haired woman in front of her.
Andrea was unsure as to what to say, “I… I’m sorry Miranda”, she said as she bit her lip, “I didn’t know that you’d be back at work tonight, we’ll leave so that you can…”.
“No”, Miranda said simply, “Madeline has informed me that you were both planning on sleeping in my office tonight which you will not be doing”.
“But Miranda”, Madeline said through tired tears, “I don’t want to go home, please can I sleep here?”.
“No, Madeline”, the woman said simply, “You may not sleep here, it is simply not suitable for you so you will be coming back with me to the townhouse and you shall stay there instead”.
“Miranda, I…”, Andrea began to object.
“Really?”, the little girl asked, suddenly with a smile on her face despite the tear tracks that were covering her cheeks.
Miranda nodded, “Really”, she said with a smile in return, “You can both come and stay with me for however long you need to”.
Andrea bit her lip, “It’s okay Miranda we can just….”.
“Andrea”, she said in a warning tone, “You will be staying with me and that is final”.
“But why?”, she questioned as she watched Miranda stand up with Madeline in her arms.
Miranda shifted Madeline so that the young child was securely on her hip, “Because I simply will not allow you both to sleep here, it is not an appropriate place to be sleeping Andrea. Not for you or for Madeline”.
“But we could just go to a motel”, Andrea said softly, offering Miranda a way out of the offer.
“You will do no such thing”, Miranda stated firmly, “You will stay with me at the townhouse where I know you’re safe”.
“Thank you Miranda”, the dark-haired assistant said softly.
Miranda offered a small smile and a nod as she held the little one close to her, “Come”, she said as she snatched a file from her own desk before walking out of the office.
Madeline appeared to be rather comfortable in Miranda’s arms.
“Oh and leave the poncho there”, Miranda called back, “You won’t need it”.
“Would you like me to carry her instead Miranda?”, Andrea offered once she had caught up to them at the elevator.
Miranda shook her head, “No”, she answered, “She appears to be quite content where she is”, failing to comment about the fact that she rather liked to have the weight of a child in her arms again.
Once the elevator arrived at the Runway floor they both stepped inside and Andrea hit the button to take them to the lobby. “Thank you Miranda”, she said softly, “You really don’t have to do this you know?”.
The Editor-in-Chief shook her head, “I do Andrea”, she admitted quietly, “I do have to”. “I need to know that you’re safe”, she continued before pressing a kiss to the top of the now sleeping child in her arms, “I need to know that you’re both safe”. “I knew that something was wrong but I never…”, she paused as she struggled with the idea, “...I never considered that this would be what was wrong otherwise I would have offered for you to stay with me much sooner, you know that, don’t you Andrea?”.
Andrea nodded, slightly nervously.
“I will do everything I can to protect you both, Andrea”, Miranda said softly as the elevator doors opened up and she stepped out into the lobby.
The security staff kept their heads down as Miranda walked through the lobby and out to the front of the building where Roy was waiting for her with the town car, they did not comment on the fact that, for some reason, a reason unknown to them, she was carrying what appeared to be a sleeping child.
If Roy was surprised at the sight of Miranda carrying what he knew was Andrea’s child then he hid it very well, instead of commenting on it he simply greeted them and opened the door for them both.
Miranda shifted the little one in her arms in order to get into the car but did not let her go or put her down, instead she simply cradled her closer once she was securely seated in the car. Roy only closed the door once he knew that both Miranda and Madeline were seated comfortably.
Andrea walked around to the other side of the car and got in before closing the door.
“Home Roy”, Miranda commanded as she sat holding the child in her arms with Andrea beside her.
The younger woman looked a little nervous as she sat fiddling with her hands.
“Stop Andrea”, Miranda demanded as she glanced sideways at her assistant, “There is no reason for you to be nervous. Not anymore”. “When we get home then I will put Madeline in one of the guest rooms so that she can sleep and then you and I will need to talk”, she said softly, “It isn’t anything bad, I promise. I simply have some… questions”.
Andrea nodded, “Of course”, she agreed quietly.
Miranda reached out and took hold of one of Andrea’s hands in order to stop the nervous fiddling and in order to attempt to calm the woman.
Andrea stared at their joined hands, suddenly feeling much calmer despite everything that had happened that night and how exhausted she felt.
It was twenty minutes before they arrived at the townhouse and Roy was opening Miranda’s door in order for the woman to get out of the car, he offered to help her but the assistance was quickly brushed off.
Andrea thanked Roy before he left and she walked up ahead of Miranda in order to open the door to the house with the key that she had for delivering the book in the evenings.
When they entered the house it was silent, not a single person was there, and straight away Miranda went up the stairs whilst still carrying Madeline.
Andrea closed the door behind them and locked up before following her boss up the stairs to the guest room.
Miranda nudged the covers back with one hand before she carefully placed the three-year-old child on the bed then, as she placed the covers over the little girl, she pressed a soft kiss to her temple, “Goodnight Madeline”, she whispered softly to her.
Madeline mumbled in her sleep at the move but did not awake at all, despite the alteration in her sleeping arrangements.
Andrea watched with a smile on her face as her heart felt like it would explode with love for both her daughter and her boss; the woman that she had fallen in love with. She fell in love with Miranda without even noticing it herself, she knew that she found the older woman attractive because that aspect was rather obvious even from the moment that they had met but love had come later and the realisation of that was even later.
It was not until Nate accused her of being in love with Miranda and even of having an affair with the woman that she realised that she was, in fact, in love with the beautiful white-haired woman. She did, however, not want to have an ‘affair’ with her because she wanted so much more than that and she knew in her heart that Miranda deserved so much more than that. She deserved the world but Andrea knew that she could not provide her with that, no matter how much she wished that she could.
When Miranda stepped back from the bed, Andrea stepped forward and whispered a ‘goodnight’ to her daughter and an ‘I love you’ before she too pressed a kiss to her child’s head and she found herself smiling as she pressed a kiss beside the slight lipstick mark that Miranda had left on the little girl’s forehead.
“Would you like a drink Andrea?”, Miranda asked quietly as they stepped out of the bedroom and pulled the door to without closing it.
Andrea nodded, she knew that Miranda wanted to ask her some questions about what was going on and she did not blame her for wanting to, however, that did not make her any less nervous about the concept, “Please”, she said softly.
Miranda led the way towards the kitchen in order to get the drinks, “Will wine be acceptable?”, she questioned as she looked in the woman’s direction.
The woman again nodded in agreement, “Yes, that’s fine”, she said softly.
Once Miranda had poured the drinks she passed one of the glasses to Andrea, “I think we’ll talk in the living room”, she told her before starting to make her way up the stairs to the room that she had decided on.
Andrea simply followed her up to the room without argument, attempting to resist the temptation to watch Miranda from behind as she walked up the stairs and failing not to.
Miranda smirked slightly as she walked up the stairs as she purposely put a slight emphasis on the way that she was ascending the staircase, although, truth be told, it was something that she had found herself doing an increasing amount whenever she was walking up any staircase ahead of her dark-haired assistant. She found herself rather enjoying the attention that the woman lavished upon her despite Andrea’s attempts to be discreet or at least something that Andrea thought was discreet.
Andrea sat down on the sofa when her boss indicated her to and she sat at one end as she took a sip of the red wine that Miranda had poured for her.
The older woman smiled softly as she sat down at the other end of the sofa although not far enough that she was up against the arm of the sofa, “Andrea”, she said calmly, “I have heard what happened tonight from Madeline but I would like to hear it from you”.
The dark-haired woman bit her lip slightly in a nervous gesture before she began to speak, “After I dropped off the book I collected Maddy from the nursery”, she said before pausing, “Then I took her back to the apartment”.
Miranda mentally noted the fact that Andrea failed to call the apartment her ‘home’.
“When we got back Nate was already drunk”, she explained, “He was angry that I had taken so long to get back and so he was shouting then…”.
“He pushed you”, Miranda completed the sentence after a moment of silence where she knew that Andrea was having difficulty in explaining what had happened.
Andrea nodded, “I was holding Maddy when he pushed me so I fell with her”, she continued, “I struggled to keep hold of her and I was so worried that he was going to hurt her so as soon as his back was turned, I ran out of the apartment”.
“Why my office?”, Miranda questioned.
“It was the best place that I could think of”, she said softly, “It’s where I feel safe”.
“Why does it make you feel safe there?”, the Editor-in-Chief asked her.
Andrea paused, her silence showing her nervousness in concern with such a question.
“Andrea?”, Miranda prompted carefully.
“Because I feel closer to you”, Andrea admitted, “I thought it would feel safer than anywhere else and also Nate wouldn’t be able to get in there, not with the 24/7 security and so many cameras”. “I just wanted to be somewhere safe, somewhere where Maddy would be safe and warm”, she continued.
“Then why not here?”, Miranda asked with curiosity.
The younger woman sighed slightly and fiddled with her hands in a nervous gesture yet again, “I wasn’t sure you’d want me to”, she revealed, “I wasn’t sure how you’d react to me just turning up on your doorstep with Maddy”.
“I would have done what I did just now”, Miranda said softly as she reached out and took hold of Andrea’s hand, “Although I probably would have given Madeline a hot chocolate before putting her in the guest room”. “Please, never assume again”, the woman continued, “Please do not assume that I would not want you or Madeline here, promise me?”.
“Yes, Miranda”, Andrea replied automatically despite finding the concept a little surreal.
Miranda smiled, “Now, I would like to know why feeling closer to me makes you feel so much safer”.
Andrea hesitated in answering the question, appearing a little more nervous than she had done before, “I’m not sure…”.
“I think you do, Andrea”, Miranda said gently as she squeezed her hand in a reassuring manner.
“It’s not that I don’t know why”, Andrea admitted, “It’s just that I’m not sure I should say”.
“Why not?”, Miranda questioned with a raised eyebrow.
“It might change things”, Andrea said quietly.
Miranda nodded in recognition of that, “Maybe things changing wouldn’t be a bad thing?”.
Andrea looked up in slight confusion.
“Please, tell me?”, Miranda asked again.
The younger woman bit her lip ever so slightly before she confessed, “Because I love you”, she did not look up at her when she confessed it but instead looked down at their joined hands with baited breath.
Miranda moved her hand in order to cup Andrea’s cheek gently and maneuver the woman’s face in order for her to look at her in the eyes, “I’m glad that’s the reason”, she said softly, “Because I love you too, Andrea”.
Andrea found herself smiling brightly at her.
“Now do you see why I was so adamant that you stay here? Why I felt such a strong need to protect you?”, Miranda questioned, “I will always want to protect you and Madeline which is why I must insist that you stay here and not… there”. “You may, of course have a guest room each if you would rather stay in one of those rather than…”, Miranda paused before whispering with slight nervousness, “Me…”.
“Do you honestly think…”, Andrea began before pausing in order to look at Miranda properly and to look into her beautiful blue eyes, “...that give the choice...I would choose to be anywhere other than beside you?”.
“Oh, Andrea”, Miranda whispered, relieved at the idea.
Andrea smiled, “I will always choose to be with you Miranda”, she revealed, “No matter where or when”.
Miranda smiled brightly before leaning in to press a soft but brief kiss to Andrea’s lips before pulling back to look at her, “My Andrea”, she whispered lovingly.
Instead of responding verbally, Andrea opted to tug the other woman closer to her and re-initiate the kiss, but this time in a much more passionate manner.
“I love you”, Miranda said with a voice filled with love as she cupped the younger woman’s cheeks after they had pulled apart for air.
Andrea smiled, her smile even brighter than it was normally, “I love you too Miranda”.
“I think we ought to go to bed”, Miranda said softly, “It has been a very long day”.
The dark-haired assistant smiled and nodded in agreement.
“Just to sleep”, the Editor-in-Chief said with a raised eyebrow and a smirk.
Andrea smirked, “And there I was thinking it would be so much fun tonight”, she joked.
“Another night”, Miranda replied as she stood up from the sofa with Andrea, she wrapped her arms around the other woman’s waist and pressed a kiss on her lips, “I promise you”.
She nodded with a smile as she let Miranda lead her up the next flight of stairs to Miranda’s bedroom which was opposite the one that they had put Madeline in.
Miranda could not resist checking on the child and stepped into the room quietly in order to take a look at the little one, she had not known previously that Andrea had a child but that would be a conversation for another day.
Both women climbed into the bed after checking on Madeline and after preparing themselves for bed, which included Miranda giving Andrea some unworn pajamas before they lay entwined in eachothers’ arms in the quiet home.
If I had known that she had a daughter maybe I could have made… adjustments to the schedule , Miranda thought to herself, Well, I shall have to make adjustments now, maybe I could have the book delivered electronically so that Andrea doesn’t have to wait around the office for it? She snuggled up against Andrea a little more, if anyone to mention the snuggling she would, of course, deny it with passion, Paris is in two weeks time and I need Andrea to come… which means that I need to book a ticket for Madeline too. Maybe the twins would like to come with us to Paris rather than to stay with their father for the duration, although I would need someone to watch them whilst we attend the events. Cara has already been given the time off so maybe Jocelyn would like to come. She did watch the girls at that event that I had to take them to with me and that shoot that they came to, and she did want to come to Paris so maybe she could come and watch the girls? Yes, that’s what I’ll do. I’ll book four extra tickets and we can have some time with the children in Paris between shows. She planned and decided before she eventually fell asleep safely embraced within Andrea’s arms where she remained all night until a rather energetic three-year-old along with a very fluffy dog managed to find them and decided to both climb up onto the bed with them.
Chapter 2: Teddy Bear
Miranda awoke when she felt a tug of the duvet that covered her. She was lying with her head resting on Andrea’s chest, her arm over her waist, and one of her legs hooked over one of Andrea’s. She knew that it was not Andrea tugging at the duvet because it was being tugged from the wrong direction.
Carefully, she turned over as she disengaged herself from the other woman and she already had a smile on her face before she had fully turned over because she knew exactly who it would have to be. When she had fully turned over to face the opposite direction she was met with a pair of beautiful brown eyes looking up at her as the little one struggled to clamber up onto the bed. The Editor-in-Chief did not hesitate to reach out her hand and tug the little one gently up on to the bed.
“Thank you”, Madeline said quietly to the woman as she hugged the woman which consequently meant that she was lying on her, the child appeared to be quite dramatic as she sighed heavily from the ‘struggle’, “That was hard, your bed is really high”.
Miranda smiled and held the little one close to her, she didn’t mind at all that she was now lying on her, “Well, at least you’re up now”, she said softly.
Patricia chose that moment to jump up onto the bed which resulted in Miranda rolling her eyes and Andrea waking up fully.
“What’s going on?”, the dark-haired woman mumbled.
“It’s time to wake up Mommy”, Madeline said as she leaned over to put her nose against Andrea’s without moving from lying on Miranda.
Andrea shook her head and mumbled, “No, it isn’t”, before she pulled the covers up over her head.
“But the Sky’s awake, so I’m awake”, her daughter replied in a rather dramatic fashion.
“Then in that case”, Andrea mumbled, “Go back to sleep Ana”.
“Mommy hates mornings”, Madeline said as she looked down at Miranda.
“I see”, Miranda replied with a smile, “Well, how about we lay here for a little while longer and then we can go downstairs and I’ll make us some pancakes”.
“Pancakes!”, the dark-haired child exclaimed with loud excitement.
Miranda rolled over to face Andrea which made Madeline giggle as it dragged her with the woman and meant that she was lying in the middle of the two women whilst still snuggled up against the white-haired woman.
Madeline did not hesitate to snuggle up to her even more and Miranda did not pause before pressing a gentle, loving kiss to the child’s head, “I think I have a new teddy bear”, the woman declared quietly.
“I’m not a teddy bear”, the little girl said as she looked up into the blue eyes of her mother’s boss.
Miranda chuckled, “Oh yes you are”, she said with a bright smile, “ My little teddy bear”.
“Does that mean you have to keep me?”, Madeline questioned with a slight tilt of her head.
“Sure does”, the woman said with a smile as Andrea listened from beneath the covers.
“Hmm…”, Madeline appeared to think about it for a moment before she nodded, “That’s okay then”.
Miranda chuckled again as she held her ‘teddy bear’ close to her.
It was not long before they heard noises coming from downstairs, instantly Madeline’s eyes went wide and she ducked beneath the covers, although not letting go of Miranda at all.
“That is just my girls”, Miranda said softly, “Apparently they are home early”.
“Mom!”, they heard being called from downstairs as they also heard footsteps coming up the stairs towards them whilst they repeated the call.
“In here”, Miranda called out gently.
“Caro and Cass?”, Madeline questioned as she looked up at Miranda where the woman was holding up the covers a little bit so that she could see her.
“You know my daughters?”, the Editor-in-Chief asked her softly.
Madeline shook her head, “No, but Mommy tells me about them”, she said softly.
When Cassidy and Caroline arrived in the bedroom, gasps slipped from their lips as they realised that their mother was not alone as they had expected, “Mom?”, Caroline questioned as both of the girls tried to get a look at who was in the bed.
“Pull the covers back Caroline and you’ll see the answer to the question that I believe you are about to ask me”, their mother said with a smile.
Cautiously the two of them moved around the other side and flipped up the side of the duvet to the sight of Andrea’s bright smile. The two girls squealed and jumped on to the bed with them rather excitedly.
“Careful girls”, Miranda said softly, “You’re frightening Madeline”.
“Madeline’s here too?”, Cassidy asked as she buried under the duvet, nudging Andrea out of the way.
Caroline was quite happy to be snuggled up against Andrea’s side and watch what her sister was doing instead.
Cassidy grinned at the little girl, “Hi Maddy”, she said cheerfully.
Madeline watched her with caution, pressed up against Miranda, “Hi Cass”, she whispered, not moving away from the woman.
Miranda laughed, “Trust your daughter to be the one to get their names right on the first time she meets them”.
“How?”, Caroline asked with wide eyes.
“Mommy showed me photos”, the little girl revealed, “You have more freckles”, she said as she reached out and traced her fingers over Cass’ cheeks.
Miranda smiled at them all, “Not that I’m complaining”, the woman stated before asking her question, “But how comes you came home early? You weren’t due back for another four days”.
“We wanted to come home”, Caroline admitted, “We wanted to come home a few days ago but Dad wouldn’t let us so we pranked his girlfriend as much as we could until they said we could”.
“His flavour of the month begged him to let us come back to you”, Cassidy said with a slightly evil smirk.
“His ice-cream begged him?”, Madeline asked with pure confusion.
“What do you mean?”, Miranda asked, as Andrea laughed.
“Mommy chooses a tub of ice-cream each month for us”, Madeline stated, “She calls it our flavour of the month and each month is different, this month we have cookie dough and I got to choose it”.
Miranda, along with her twin girls, burst into laughter making the youngest little one confused.
“No”, Cassidy said after a moment, “We mean his latest girlfriend”.
“Oh”, Madeline replied quietly, “Then why is she a flavour?”.
Cassidy shrugged, “Because he always has a new girlfriend”.
Madeline seemed to think about it for a moment before turning to Miranda, “Do you have flavours, Miranda?”, she asked.
Caroline and Cassidy burst out laughing whilst Andrea bit her lip and Miranda raised her eyebrow but still appeared a little amused by the child, “No, Madeline”, she said softly, “That, I do not”.
Madeline still appeared to be a little confused, “So, Mommy slept in your bed but she… isn’t a flavour?”.
“Yeah, why is she in your bed Mom?”, Cassidy asked as she leaned up on her elbow to look at a now blushing Andrea.
“Because they’re together durrh ”, Caroline replied with a roll of her eyes.
“Really?”, Cassidy asked with wide eyes.
“I believe so”, Miranda replied with a bright smile as she looked over at Andrea and took her hand.
Andrea nodded her head, “Definitely”.
“But I thought you were dating that cook?”, Caroline asked her with slight confusion, “The one that yells on the phone”.
The dark-haired woman bit her lip and looked down for a moment before back at Caroline, “We haven’t been together properly for a long time”.
“Daddy hit Mommy and knocked her over”, Madeline revealed honestly.
Both girls’ eyes went wide and they launched themselves over to embrace the woman, “We’ll kick his ass if he tries again”, Caroline stated firmly.
“Or attack him with paintballs”, Cassidy said with a smirk.
“Can I help?”, Madeline asked with a giggle.
“Sure, you can use the smaller paintball gun”, Caroline said as she laughed.
Miranda rolled her eyes at them, she did not bother to attempt to tell them off but instead opted to advise them, “It would be safer for you to shoot your paintball guns from the upstairs windows rather than to attempt your first option girls”.
“Okay, Mom”, the two eldest agreed.
Chapter 3: Painting a Moronic Ape
Three-year-old Madeline was sat neatly on the sofa with Cassidy and Caroline either side of her whilst they read stories to her. The little brown-eyed girl was happily sat wearing a powder pink Le Chic dress that had been chosen for her by Miranda herself from a selection of children’s clothing that the Editor-in-Chief had sent Emily to multiple stores for. The range included 20 items of clothing which varied from Versace to Monna Lisa. Maddy leaned her head of dark curls to the side so that it was resting on Caroline’s shoulder as the older girl read the story out loud to them both. The twins were taking it in turns to read out loud from the book and swapping each time they turned the pages of the fairytale book.
Miranda and Andrea were both downstairs in the kitchen organising lunch for themselves and the three children.
“I love you”, Andrea said softly as she wrapped her arms around Miranda’s waist from behind.
Miranda put the knife down from where she had been cutting up the sandwiches to put her left hand on top of Andrea’s arm and then moved her right hand up to cup the other woman’s cheek before she turned her head to kiss her lovingly.
Andrea smiled into the kiss as she held the other woman close to her.
“I love you too”, Miranda said softly when she managed to turn around in Andrea’s arms.
Then there was a banging sound that came from the entrance hall, someone was not knocking on the front door to the townhouse but was, in actual fact, hammering on it with tightened fists in what was clear to be some sort of rage.
Miranda rolled her eyes and moved to go towards the door in order to open it.
“Don’t”, Andrea said with worry etched on her face as well as panic clear in the tone of her voice.
“Call the police whilst I answer the door”, Miranda said calmly.
“Miranda”, Andrea said with worry, “Don’t”.
“I’ll be fine”, Miranda reassured her calmly, “Now call the police so that they can arrest him when he leaves”.
Andrea did not have a chance to respond before the older woman made her way into the entrance hall and opened the door.
“Do you mind?”, Miranda said with a raised eyebrow, “The doorbell would have been suffice”.
“Where is she?”, the angered man demanded fiercely.
“Where is who?”, Miranda asked him calmly before then asking, “And who are you?”.
“Nate”, he replied, “And I’m looking for Andy”.
“Well, I suggest you look elsewhere”, Miranda said simply.
Meanwhile, upstairs, the three girls had heard the commotion downstairs, “Daddy is here”, Madeline whispered with fear in her eyes.
“He won’t get to you”, Caroline said softly, “I promise you”.
“Really?”, Madeline questioned as she looked up at the older girl.
“We Promise”, Cassidy reassured her, “I know what we can do”.
“What?”, the youngest questioned in confusion as the girl jumped from the sofa.
“Paintball guns”, Cassidy declared before running to get them from the other room.
Madeline’s eyes went wide, “We get to shoot him with the paint colours?”, she asked Caroline.
“Definitely”, Caroline replied with a smile as she wrapped the little one in her arms in a secure hug to reassure the still rather nervous child.
Cassidy ran back into the room with three paintball guns; two larger full-sized ones and one of their smaller miniature paintball guns for Maddy to use.
“There’s a little one!”, Madeline said with excitement.
“That one is for you”, Cassidy pointed out with a smile before she handed it over.
Cautiously, they moved to the window and opened it gradually before leaning out slightly, “Okay”, Caroline said softly before helping Madeline to hold the paintball gun, “Hold it like this...and then look through this part”.
Cassidy and Caroline were proud of how well the little girl was doing with the gun and how well she was following their instructions. “Okay, then you can shoot when you have your target in your sights”, Caroline said with a smile.
“What’s a target?”, Madeline questioned.
“Your dad”, Cassidy said before giggling.
Maddy started giggling, “Shoot the target”.
All three of them prepared their guns and were looking out of the window towards where the front steps were.
“Shoot the target”, Madeline declared before pulling the trigger.
In that moment there were blasts of colours that shot from the gun and attacked the idiotic male that was now stood near the bottom of the steps and yelling at Miranda. He had started out at the steps but had moved back when the first shot hit his shoe.
The sound of a police siren echoed around the streets and Madeline pulled herself into the house and ducked down, “Uh Oh”, she said, “We’re in trouble”.
“They aren’t coming for us”, Caroline reassured her as she knelt down next to her, “They’re here for him to take him away and to make you and your mommy safe”.
“Promise?”, Madeline questioned, her big brown eyes looking up at the two older girls.
“We promise”, Caroline said with a bright smile before the two older girls encouraged Maddy to continue shooting just like Cassidy had been doing.
When the police arrived to arrest Nate, the moronic ape was covered in a multitude of colours and the police were looking at them rather confused.
That was until they looked up in the direction of where the shots were coming from and saw Cassidy, Caroline, Madeline shooting paintball gun from the upper floors. Seeing the children defending their family and home from the clearly drunk man, the two officers smiled. They decided to let them have their fun for a moment before asking that they stop so that they could arrest the man and take him to the station for questioning.
Chapter 4: Those Boots
Later in the evening, Miranda wrapped her arms around Andrea and held her close to her as she pressed a kiss to the top of the other woman’s head, “I love you, my Andrea”.
Andrea turned her head slightly to look up at her, “I love you too”, she replied softly before she stretched up to kiss Miranda lovingly.
“I want you to come to Paris with me”, Miranda stated simply as she ran her fingers over the other woman’s cheek.
Her assistant raised her eyebrows in surprise, “But… I can’t”, she said as she stumbled over her words.
“Why not?”, she questioned.
“I have Madeline”, Andrea said straight away, “And I’ll also have Caroline and Cassidy, remember?”. She was referring to the fact that the twins father was not going to be looking after the girls so Andrea had volunteered a couple of weeks previously.
“Then Cara can come too”, Miranda replied as if it were the most simple of answers.
“You’ve already given Cara time off”, Andrea highlighted, “She’s going to visit her family in Puerto Rico”.
“Ah, yes”, Miranda said with a slight purse of her lips, “In that case, Jocelyn shall come with us”.
“Okay, but what about Emily?”, the younger woman questioned, “Her whole life is Paris”.
Miranda smiled softly, “I decided that I shall need you both in Paris”, she revealed, “Emily shall be spending some time at British Vogue whilst we are there, there is a possibility that she will be transferring to British Vogue next year as a position will be opening up”.
“And will I get to know what this… position is?”, Andrea questioned.
Miranda simply smirked and shook her head, it was clear that the answer was a ‘no’.
“What about Serena?”, Andrea asked her with widened eyes, “She’ll be devastated”.
“Serena will be going with her and when the time comes they will both be returning to the States”, Miranda said cryptically.
“When the time comes?”, Andrea questioned with confusion, “What do you mean?”.
“Well, a magazine can’t be without an Editor-in-Chief”, Miranda replied with a smile.
“You’re retiring?”, she asked with shock in her voice.
“Well…”, Miranda said before pausing, “Not quite yet but soon…”.
“Wow”, Andrea gasped with a little shock at the revelation.
“So? You will be coming to Paris?”, the Editor-in-Chief questioned with a raised eyebrow.
Andrea nodded, “Yes”, she said softly.
Miranda smiled brightly at the other woman before she leaned down to kiss her softly, “Make sure you pack those Chanel boots”, she whispered softly.
Andrea raised her eyebrow at that request before smiling, “I knew you liked those”, she commented, “Maybe I’ll wear them for you in Paris… just them”.
Instead of answering verbally, the older woman simply kissed her passionately and pulled her closer to her.
“I take it that you like that idea”, Andrea mumbled against Miranda’s lips as they pulled apart from each other.
“What do you think, my love?”, she questioned with a raised eyebrow considering how obvious the answer truly was.
Meanwhile, Madeline ran into the room to Caroline and Cassidy. Caroline looked up, “I thought you were going to see our Moms?”.
“I was but I haves to ask you something”, Maddy said as she stood in front of the sofa.
“What do you have to ask?”, Caroline questioned.
“Where is Paris?”, the little girl asked her.
“France”, Caroline replied, “Why?”.
“It’s where our Moms are taking us”, Madeline revealed.
Cassidy and Caroline looked at each other with surprise in their eyes, “Really?”, Cassidy asked her.
Madeline nodded, “Auntie Jossie is coming too”, she revealed, “And Auntie Rena and Auntie Em”.
“Ah, so you know already then”, Andrea said from the doorway.
“We’re really going to Paris with Mom?”, Cassidy asked her with wide eyes.
Andrea nodded, “We really are”, she confirmed.
The twin girls were extremely excited as they screeched and bounced at the news which made Maddy do the same even though she did not fully understand what was going on.
Chapter 5: Surprise for Emily
“Is everyone ready to go?”, Andrea asked the children with a smile as Roy took the luggage to the car. They had a larger car than usual and there were two of them rather than just the one as most of the American Runway party were travelling to Paris together.
“I forgot something”, Madeline said before she ran to the kitchen.
Miranda ushered the twins into the car and when the youngest little girl came out of the house she was stuffing a plastic container into her fluffy pink backpack, “Ready!”, Maddy declared with enthusiasm.
“Good girl”, Miranda said softly before putting her arms out to her and scooping her up in order to help her into the car. The Editor-in-Chief got in with her and helped to secure the child into her car seat.
It was not long before everyone was in the car along with the luggage that they were taking although they did not need to take very much as they would be getting a lot of clothing whilst they were in France for the time they were there.
In the first car was Andrea, Miranda, and their three children whilst the others were in the second car. The second car left from Miranda’s townhouse earlier than the first car as Emily needed to be at the airport in order to ensure that everything was arranged in time for her boss.
When they arrived at the airport, all three children were almost bouncing in their excitement, especially as the older two had been researching what they could do in Paris whilst they were there. They had, however, all decided that frogs legs and snails were not going to be on their menu at all. Not that Miranda blamed them that is, as she knew how gross they really were.
As they climbed the steps to the private jet, Miranda carried Madeline carefully as the little one rested her head on the woman’s shoulder. It was not that she couldn’t walk herself but that Miranda didn’t want the little girl walking across the tarmac to where the plane was. The woman was very protective over the young girl and Andrea could not help but smile at every interaction that she saw between them.
When they got onto the plane, the twins both went to sit down and Miranda put Madeline down on the floor. Madeline grinned happily but instead of going to her seat she dropped her bag to the floor and knelt down beside it in order to start digging around in it.
“Maddy”, Andrea said softly, “You have to go and sit in your seat so that the pilot can take off”.
“In a minute Mama”, the little girl said as she pulled out a plastic container.
Andrea watched her with curiosity, as did a few of the others.
“Aunty Em”, Madeline said enthusiastically as she made her way over to the woman who had previously been talking to Serena but watching the child out of the corner of her eye as she did so.
“Hello little lady”, Emily said softly in her British accent.
“I got this for you”, Maddy said as she offered up the plastic container.
Serena watched them both with confusion and Emily looked confused too as she took the box from her, “Thank you”, she said politely as she opened it.
“It’s cheese!”, Madeline declared as the woman opened the plastic container, “Cara helped me cut it into coobs like you like them”.
Serena as well as some of the others were trying not to laugh at the actions of the young girl.
“Thank you little lady”, Emily said politely as she took the container from her boss’ daughter and giving her a loving hug before kissing her forehead. “If you go and sit down in your seat for take off then once we’re in the air I’ll share some of these cheese cubes with you, okay?”, the assistant offered.
“Okay”, Maddy agreed straight away before she moved over to where the twins were sat and clambered up on to the seat where Caroline helped her to get strapped in. Miranda made sure that they were all secure before taking her own seat nearby where she sat beside Andrea.
Andrea found herself looking around the cabin at the people she was travelling with and found herself smiling at the fact that Miranda was holding on to her hand. She gently squeezed the woman’s hand and then watched as the twins explained take off to three-year-old Madeline. The little one seemed rather interested in what the older children were telling her and they were both holding onto her hands whilst she sat in between them.
Miranda, for the first time in a very long time, was looking forward to spending time in Paris and that was all because of her beautiful family.