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A Good Message
Title: A Good Message
Rating: R
Pairing: Miranda/Andy
Prompt(s): My prompt from the 2008 Valentine's Exchange: "Something sweet and funny. A day in the life of Mirandy. All of the little moments in the relationship that aren't always recorded."
Summary: Sweet and funny, eh? My first ideas were about Andy's disapproving parents, Miranda's anger, and moving in together. It isn't exactly one day in the life, but I tried my best.
Disclaimer: I own nothing related to "The Devil Wears Prada."
A/N: This fic is for [info]thanatopsis76! I'm a big fan of her writing, so I was excited to write this story. This fic is brought to you by at least two bouts of writer's block, one bout of stomach flu, and a very sleepy Miranda.
A/N 2: Please note: I took some liberties in terms of time frame. The story takes place about two years after the end of the movie. Because the recession of 2008 plays into this story, I imagined that the Fashion Week during which Andy leaves Miranda was October 2006, even though the movie came out that year. The action of this story takes place from November 2008-January 2009. Apparently I decided "sweet and funny" could also handle a tiny bit of recession-talk. Nothing too dire, though. I also decided to experiment with present tense in this story, though there are a lot of memories that take place in past-tense. Also, each of the three chapters starts out in Andy's POV and shifts to Miranda's after the break.

I.

Andy just knows she is about to make Miranda very, very angry.

It won’t be her fault—she’s only the messenger. But this message is one more addition to a very unsightly stack. Miranda is already getting slammed by the press every single day, to the point that the two of them have stopped being able to laugh about the mixed metaphors. They’ve come to an unspoken agreement that “Dragon Lady Robs Cradle for Fresh Meat” is a lot easier to laugh off than the more recent “Andy and Editrix Shacking Up: Last-Ditch Effort to Save Troubled Affair?” Miranda reports that the more fearless members of her social circle make no attempt to hide the fact that they think she’s throwing her life away, and that dating a former employee isn’t in the finest taste. Her daughters have finally come around to Andy but are sad about moving out of the townhouse and have been taking it out on everyone since they found out last month. Worse still, when Miranda informed her mother of the impending address change during their latest monthly phone call, her mother’s response was to laugh mirthlessly. She said, in the old woman voice Miranda once admitted she couldn’t quite get used to, “Oh, Miriam. You still think it’s going to last, don’t you?”

And now Andy’s parents, who have been displeased but relatively close-mouthed during the entire “affair,” have spoken. Really spoken. When they hung up, Andy practically had to peel her clenched fingers away from the phone. Don’t expect us to visit anytime soon. That was her mother, probably on the bedroom extension. You’re making a big mistake. Her father, from the den. She’d tried to communicate the truth of the situation: that they really, really love each other and stay together at the townhouse nearly every night anyway. That 2008 hit a lot of people hard financially, and if Miranda wants to remain as wealthy as she is she really shouldn’t live in a place that’s quite so massive and expensive to maintain. That Andy desperately needs a home base more stable—both structurally and emotionally—than Doug’s couch. He’s been very gracious in the weeks following a lease/roommate fiasco so traumatic Andy still shudders when she thinks of it, but his vocal support of Andy and Miranda moving in together is at least in part due to excitement over getting his living room back. She knows that there was nothing she could have said to make Joanne and Richard approve, but she over-shared and over-explained anyway, becoming increasingly upset.

As Andy makes her way toward Miranda’s study, hot and shaky and nauseous with pain, she wonders if she’s up for her inevitable reaction, if she’s an idiot to throw more fuel onto the fire of Miranda’s already substantial rage. She’ll be sure to spout off bitterly about how ridiculous and close-minded Andy’s parents are. She’ll mean well, but will very likely make Andy feel worse in the process. Andy doesn’t see any other options, however. It’s only been a few minutes since the phone call, but she feels like she’s going to explode.

The tears start falling the moment she enters the study and sees Miranda looking up at her with nothing but warm concern, setting the Book down on an end table and scooting over to make room on the love seat. When Andy’s choked-out play-by-play is truncated by harder crying, Miranda wraps her arms around her and whispers over and over, “Oh, sweetheart. Oh, sweetheart.” They stay like that for a long time, holding and being held. When Andy’s crying stops, Miranda’s murmuring stops too. But it isn’t replaced with fuming, or ranting, or anything but quiet, stillness, and the occasional kiss. The kisses are light and don’t progress to anything heavier, but they do plenty to fight the ache of the evening.

Eventually, Andy pulls away. “I need to call my sister,” she says suddenly. “I want to talk to her before they do. I know she’ll get it.”

Miranda nods. “All right,” she says. “I’ll be in here if you need me.”

---

As she sits in a production meeting the next morning, Miranda’s mind wanders to plans for the new house. She’s looking forward to a change in location, and especially to the idea that she and Andrea will be equally invested in turning their shared space into a home. She’s contemplating pleasant minutiae (what color to re-paint the bathroom, whether they should get a new wine rack) when a memory of the night before leaps suddenly to the forefront of her thoughts: Andrea, sobbing against her shoulder as she recounts the phone call with her parents. Apparently the conversation with her sister, a college student at some Catholic school in Milwaukee, went better, but it did little to take away the sadness in Andrea’s eyes. Fury consumes her, and it requires every ounce of her self-control not to snap at any of her colleagues any more than she already has, or to do what she really wants, which is to storm out of the meeting and call Andrea’s cell phone.

By the time the meeting creaks to a stop and she’s back at her desk, Miranda’s blood is still boiling but she no longer thinks it is such a good idea to call Andrea. The poor woman is hard at work, and has probably spent the morning trying not to dwell on her parents’ hurtfulness. She doesn’t need to worry about Miranda too, not in this moment. Instead, she calls Nigel. He sounds harried when he picks up the phone—the recession has changed very little about business at James Holt International, and Nigel’s performance as managing director is in no small way responsible. Still, his voice warms as soon as Miranda swallows her pride in a way she couldn’t have done even a year ago and says stiltedly, “I’m having a difficult time.”

“I’m glad you called, Miranda. Could you meet me for a drink later?”

Miranda’s day is packed, and even though she and Nigel have gradually rebuilt their friendship in the past year, they hardly ever socialize by themselves. Still, she hears herself say “Yes.”

That evening they sit at a corner table in Nigel’s favorite martini bar. Nigel gets a little tipsy and tells her, in no uncertain terms, that homophobia sucks and public scrutiny is awkward, but that he knows both Miranda and Andrea well and is more than convinced they can handle it. He says he completely freaked out during his coming out process, and that he sometimes felt like there were newspaper headlines about him even though the only people who knew or cared were his own family and friends, and that he can’t imagine the experience of actual headlines dissecting the way he lives his life. When they get to the subject of Andrea’s parents, he leans across the table and boldly takes her hand. Of course she has every right to hate them, he says, but adds that it was really smart of her not to call Andrea when the belated rage set in—they’re still her family, after all.

Miranda is a little taken aback. It’s not like she’s never weathered anyone’s disapproval, though it does seem a bit more personal this time. She called Nigel because she wanted a chance to let off some steam, not because she was in need of some kind of gay mentor. Still, she supposes, that designation isn’t so far from the truth. She’d known Nigel was gay long before she was even close to admitting the same thing about herself.

By the time they gather their bags and prepare to head home, Miranda feels a little better. Nigel leans over and kisses her cheek. “Tell Andy that when you get settled in the new place, I’m going to demand an invitation. And maybe some of that raspberry cheesecake she makes, though I really shouldn’t indulge.” He pauses, and grins mischievously. “But maybe no dinner beforehand, you know what I mean?” They both know that Andrea is a talented baker—much to Caroline and Cassidy’s delight—but that she can’t cook to save her life.

“I’ll tell her tonight.” Miranda smiles a terse little smile. “Thank you, Nigel.”

“My pleasure.”

II.

“Morning,” Andy murmurs at Miranda’s back. No matter how they’re arranged when they fall asleep, Miranda always turns away at some point in the night, usually taking more than half the covers with her.

“Mm,” Miranda replies, inching a little closer and redistributing some of the blanket to Andy.

“You remember my sister gets into the city today? And we have the dinner at her friend’s place?”

“Of course.” She doesn’t elaborate. There’s no ‘I’m looking forward to it’ or ‘You must be excited’ or even a likely more honest ‘I can’t believe she’s coming—and what was going through that tiny brain of yours when you arranged the dinner?’ When Miranda is upset about something—and she’s upset about this—Andy knows not to expect any compensatory chattiness. Andy can admit that it’s probably prevented Miranda from hurting her on more than one occasion, but it’s made the other occasions hurt worse because neither of them can pretend they were unintentional.

Okay. Fine. So they aren’t going to talk about this right now. Andy decides to try a different route. She kisses Miranda’s shoulder, nudging at the silk strap of her nightgown with her lips. “Want to shower together? It’s only six.” Showering with Andy is easily one of Miranda’s all-time favorite things, in no small part because it’s an efficient combination of some of the most pleasurable elements of human existence. Hygiene and sex and hot water, all in one package.

“I should get to the office quickly today since the dinner is so early,” Miranda says, sliding out of bed. She stalks toward the attached bathroom and shuts the door. When Andy hears the water start for a shower, she sighs and tries to put herself in Miranda’s position. She imagines what it would be like, at fifty years old, to be established and known and powerful in practically every arena of her life except one. To start over with a new partner and find that everything she’s worked for, everything she believes in, even the happiness she is finally starting to accept for herself, means nothing to that woman’s parents. The dismissal would be angering, and, on another level, would probably seem absurd. Why should Miranda bother, at this stage of her life, with people who find her disgusting? She can afford not to. Andy feels a throb of sadness. It’s been weeks since the move, and her parents’ uncomfortable distance continues to hurt.

Still, things are manageable, even if they haven’t calmed down completely. Page Six and the other gossip columns have been a bit quieter lately on the subject of their relationship, causing Andy to facetiously remark at dinner one night that she wanted to know why Angelina Jolie’s domesticity is so much more interesting than theirs. Cassidy pointed out that Angelina Jolie has “a million kids”—and warned Andy, in utter seriousness, that she shouldn’t feel like it’s a competition. Everyone laughed for a long time, Cassidy included. Andy is happy that the media attention has waned, and even more happy that her sister is coming to New York for a long weekend, even if it’s causing a strain in another aspect of her life. She is right where she wants to be, and she’s thankful Rachel is willing to meet her there.

After recovering from the freezing cold hell that is relocating in the city in January, it hasn’t taken long for the new place to feel like home. It’s still a mess because Andy insists on a D.I.Y. approach to as many of the improvement projects as possible. She polishes and paints and unpacks on her rare days off, “with or without the help of any Priestlys, but preferably with.” One weekend, she helped the girls paint their new bedrooms, any color they wanted. Miranda and Andy admire the rich, golden tones of Caroline’s new room and guess that Cassidy is going to want the salmon-pink to be painted over before the year is out, but giving the girls a choice has worked wonders in terms of their willingness to adapt to the new house.

The fact that another eleven-year-old girl, Emma, lives next door has helped, too. The three have been playing together after school, and when Andy dropped in one evening to tell them to come home for dinner, she was stopped on the front stoop by Emma’s mother. “Andy,” she said shyly. “You should tell your—please tell Miranda that you all are welcome for coffee anytime. Emma is very relieved by your arrival—the six-year-old boy who lived here last wasn’t nearly as interesting.” They haven’t set a time yet, but Andy thanked her profusely and smiled the rest of the evening.

She can tell Miranda likes the house, too. She relaxes here. Even after Andy had been dating her for months, she was sometimes a little tense when they spent long periods of time together at the townhouse. Miranda was, on a purely technical but very real level, the host, and Andy was the guest. Andy was the host that one weekend Doug was out of town and they spent approximately thirty-six hours making out on his couch, but that was extremely different.

Here, Miranda snacks when she’s hungry and yawns when she’s sleepy and wears, if not actual pajamas, loungewear around the house on the evenings she stays home. Not that Miranda gets sleepy particularly often. She’s frequently tired: tired of explaining why she shouldn’t have to explain herself, tired of being at a boring party or meeting, tired in her bones or from a headache. Sleepy is different. It isn’t dull—not dull at all—but it’s nearly edgeless. Clumsy. Warm.

Andy thinks it’s pretty adorable to see the most defensive person she knows turn so utterly defenseless. Typically, the Book is the only thing that can make Miranda hold still for more than a few minutes, but on the rare occasions that Miranda becomes unusually concerned with trading couture for something from her pajama drawer, Andy knows she is in for a treat. She hopes those rare nights will continue despite having taken advantage of them one time—only once. She’d been trying to think of a way to tell Miranda about Rachel’s visit all evening, and it was no coincidence that the courage aligned with Miranda curled up on the sofa, practically comatose. Miranda snapped awake, admitted she was glad to find out that Rachel would be staying with Courtney, her best friend from high school and a student at Columbia, agreed to “see what she could do” as far as going to a dinner at Courtney’s apartment, and said abruptly that she wanted to go to sleep. That was a week ago, and nothing has been quite the same between them since.

Andy’s nervous, but she knows that her sister is truly kind, and genuinely interested to meet Miranda despite all the horrible things she’s heard from her parents. She hopes Miranda gives Rachel a chance long enough to see that this is true. She also hopes Miranda is paying attention to all the concessions Andy has made, since she really would have preferred for Rachel to stay with them. She hears the clanking of utensils and china coming from the kitchen, and realizes she should hurry up and dress if she wants her breakfast time to overlap with the twins’. She shakes her worry out of her mind, telling herself that even if the dinner is a disaster, she’ll still have Miranda and she’ll still have Rachel. Perhaps they’ll never appear in the same room again, and perhaps it’ll take Miranda five years before she so much as yawns in front of Andy, but she trusts them both to stick around.

---

Miranda feels grounded by the kiss Andrea quickly presses to her cheek as she slides into the backseat of the car. As they pull away from the Mirror building, Andrea leans toward the front seat. “Thanks for picking me up, Roy.” She collapses back into her seat, buckles up, and sighs. “God, I thought I was never going to get out of there—how was your day?”

“Fine,” Miranda says. It was so bad she can’t commit herself to talking about it. “You look nice.” She hopes Andrea both believes her and takes it as a peace offering.

“Thanks. Oh, I completely forgot—I told Rachel I’d get her some wine.”

Miranda is surprised. “Isn’t she underage?”

Andy meets her eye. “Well…yeah. That’s why we’re bringing it.” She leans forward again. “Roy? I’m sure there’s a liquor store near the apartment. Would you mind just dropping us off when you see one? I think it’s a block or two before Courtney’s building.”

“Sure,” Roy says tentatively. It’s clear that he senses Andrea’s request doesn’t line up exactly with Miranda’s wishes. Still, he knows she is to be listened to. Andrea is the only one of Miranda’s travel companions who makes requests, or, for that matter, acknowledges his presence at all. Sometimes it seems as if Miranda’s friends assume the car is a magic carpet, driverless yet able to cater to Miranda’s every preference. This attitude is the norm, but Miranda still finds it somewhat annoying. When she thinks about it, she imagines this would be the case for Roy as well.

She can’t resist picking up the argument; she never can. “You are not buying alcohol for an underage person.”

“Sure I am—it’s Rachel. She’s twenty years old. Practically old enough. It’s just a couple bottles of wine to have with dinner.” She grins, and glances at Miranda. “It’s not all for my sister. I mean, I think I know a couple people in this car who might appreciate its presence.” This is true, but beside the point.

“It’s illegal and I don’t approve.”

“Jeez, Miranda, it’s not like Caroline asked us to pick her up some wine coolers to go with her after-school snack. You’re such a square.” She puts her hand on Miranda’s knee, and eyes her ensemble. Deep blues and greens, tailored edges tempered with just enough softness. Miranda chose carefully this morning, regretting only a little that Andrea and the girls were done with breakfast by the time she made it down the hall. “An incredibly fashionable square.”

Miranda’s lips twitch, but she will not smile. The rest of the car ride to Morningside Heights is passed in silence, broken only when Roy pulls up to the shop.

“Thanks so much, Roy!” Andrea says cheerfully.

“No problem, Andy.”

“We won’t be needing you later,” Miranda adds. “Goodnight.”

“Goodnight.”

“Really?” Andrea asks once they’re out of earshot. “You planning to stay the night?”

“I thought we could take a cab home…in case the dinner runs long.”

Miranda waits outside in the chill while Andrea darts into the shop. It’s only a minute before she returns, a brown paper bag tucked under her arm. “What did you select?”

“Yellow Tail Shiraz. I got one of the big bottles. Cheaper that way.”

When Miranda wrinkles her nose in what she hopes Andrea recognizes as her this-is-too-pedestrian-for-words face, Andrea says, “It was my favorite when I was in college. She’ll love it.”

The rest of the trip to Courtney’s walk-up apartment is very brief, and Andrea looks somberly at Miranda before pushing the buzzer. “Thank you for being here, Miranda.”

Miranda nods quickly, saying nothing.

“I know this is a little odd,” she continues. “But Rachel’s cool. She’s not like the rest of my family—sometimes I think she’s more mature than my parents, actually. And Courtney’s really nice. I’ve known her since she was a little kid.”

Maybe they should have talked about the details sooner. “I’m sure it will be fine, Andrea.”

“Yeah, it will be. I just want you to know that they’re good people. They aren’t going to, you know, say anything they shouldn’t.”

“I’m not worried,” Miranda says. She is so worried she thinks she might die, not least because Andy’s feelings are hurt so easily, and this night could hurt very much indeed. “Go ahead and push the buzzer.”

III.

Rachel and Courtney have dressed up for the occasion. They both hug Andy and shake Miranda’s hand and smile nervously. They look lovely, familiar and safe to Andy. She bets that to Miranda, they look like college students, trying hard.

Rachel, being tired from travel, and Courtney, seeming a bit bewildered by the idea that Miranda Priestly is dining in her home and that this woman’s girlfriend is Rachel’s big sister, announce that they have decided to order in Thai food rather than attempt to cook. The first thing Rachel does after the hurried introductions is to usher everyone toward the “dining room table,” which would have been a more accurate description if the dining room wasn’t actually a small piece of no man’s land hovering between the sitting room and the hallway. Andy stifles a laugh when Rachel says, “Miranda, I wasn’t sure if you were vegetarian or whatever, so I played it safe.” Has she really never mentioned the steak lunches? Sometimes Andy looks back on her almost-year at Runway as a veritable parade of steak.

Once they’re all seated with their food and healthy portions of wine, Rachel leans forward, grabs Andy’s arm, and says, “Andy, you look so good. I know I say this every time I see you, but seriously, it’s a relief how good you look.” She turns to Miranda. “I guess I have you to thank. I feel like I should have some kind of speech prepared. Seriously, thank you. I was worried those sweaters would resurface after she quit Runway, but a few things must have stuck.”

“Andrea has always made her own choices,” Miranda says coolly, though she’s smiling. “Still, the attentions of my colleague Nigel did a great service to more people than he might have originally suspected.”

Rachel smiles. “I’m just glad she didn’t let herself go after she bailed on you in Paris. Can you imagine the retaliatory velour track suits and stuff she could have gotten into? Hurting no one but herself, of course.”

Andy tries to quiet her sigh of relief. Brave, funny Rachel, who doesn’t know the meaning of “taboo.” She can handle even the most merciless of teasing if it forges a connection between Miranda and her sister. They’re going to be okay.

“I’d take a lumpy sweater any day,” Miranda says. She gestures at her plate. “The pad thai is delicious. Thank you.”

They spend the rest of the dinner in surface-level chatter—Rachel’s studies at Marquette, how glad Courtney is to have transferred to Columbia from University of Cincinnati, a series Andy is starting at The Mirror. Miranda doesn’t contribute many details from her own life, but she doesn’t seem particularly uncomfortable.

As soon as they’re done eating, Courtney stands. “I’m, uh, sorry to do this, but I’m going to have to take off. I promised my boyfriend I’d meet him somewhere. Ms. Priestly, it was really nice to meet you. And it’s always great to see you, Andy.”

Rachel flashes Andy a knowing look. It’s obvious Courtney is giving the sisters some pre-planned time alone with Miranda. Courtney makes a beeline for her purse, on a table by the door, and takes off.

“More wine?” Rachel asks. She gets up and pours an inch or two more into everyone’s glass, then slumps heavily into her chair with a sigh. “So. Mom and Dad are being idiots about this. Complete idiots.”

A pause as the energy shifts in the room, and she continues. “Sorry, I just didn’t know how to bring it up.”

Andy and Miranda sit up a little straighter. “I’m sorry if you’ve been hearing too much complaining from everybody.”

Rachel waves her hands at this. “Don’t be,” she scoffs. “I’m furious about the whole thing—I mean, they raised us to be pro-gay rights, you know? After the election you could hardly get Mom to stop ranting about Prop 8. But show ‘em an actual queer person—like, in the family—and they freeze up. It’s so hypocritical!”

“It’s me,” Miranda says quietly, bitterly. “I appreciate the sentiment, but I’m certain it isn’t homosexuality that has your parents so upset. It’s who I am.” Andy takes her hand, the first time they’ve touched since arriving at the apartment.

The room is silent for a moment. The truth of Miranda’s statement is undeniable, and Andy has known that Miranda has believed this from the beginning. But if Andy can’t refute the statement, she can force a little honesty of her own. “It’s been so awful, Rach. I’ve hardly been speaking with them, because they don’t want to hear most of what I have to say. You can only talk about work for so many minutes, you know? They keep sneaking in little jabs, especially Mom. The other day she asked me if I’d done the math—if I’d figured out how old I was when the twins were born. I could practically hear her shuddering.”

Miranda stiffens, and Andy feels a pang of regret. She hadn’t told her about that one.

“That’s ridiculous,” Rachel splutters. “It’s not like you gave birth to them when you were fifteen. You just happened to be fifteen when Miranda did. Big difference.”

“Yeah, and we don’t make the girls refer to me as their stepmom or anything.” She glances at Miranda. “I don’t think anyone is ready for that.”

“Well, anyone can see that you’re well suited for each other. Not that Mom and Dad are looking, of course.” Rachel smiles sweetly. “When I go home for spring break, I’m going to work on them. Relentlessly.”

Miranda speaks. “I would hate for you to harm your own relationship with your parents because of this…difference of opinion.”

Rachel shrugs. “I’m not too worried about it. I won’t be cruel. You’ve gotten a hellish first impression, but we’re a good family. Mostly. And if being nice doesn’t work, I can always chain them to the furniture and read aloud from Foucault ‘til I head back to Milwaukee.”

They regard each other for awhile. Another silence. Finally, Andy chuckles. “Okay, I think that was enough emotion for one evening. Rachel, why don’t you tell us about that boy you’ve been seeing?”

Rachel’s face lights up, and the rest of the night passes quickly, and more easily for having gotten some of the mess cleared away. It’s nearly ten before they get up from the table. Andy hugs Rachel tightly at the door. “Thank you,” she whispers fiercely, clinging to her sister for a long time.

The cab they call arrives quickly, and it’s only a short time before they’re home. Miranda sighs as she hangs up her coat and heads into the living room, but it doesn’t sound like tiredness or exasperation. It sounds stagy. Andy follows, and sees that Miranda has headed to their bookcase. “Goodness!” Miranda says in a strange, high voice, running a finger across the spines of books. “What a night. It’s getting late! I think I’ll just pick out a book and turn in.” She’s taking off her blazer, unbuttoning her shirt.

“Oh, really? That’s what you’re going to do?” Andy hurries to Miranda, placing her hands on her sides under the loosened fabric of her shirt, suddenly a little bit guiltily glad that the girls are with their father until the next day.

“Well yes, of course. What else is there?” Miranda turns in Andy’s arms, her eyes sparkling.

“I can think of a few things.” Andy grins, and her smile gets wider as she notices, just to the left of Miranda’s head, a copy of North and South by Elizabeth Bishop (Miranda’s) right next to The Last September by Elizabeth Bowen (hers). They’d toyed with the ideas of two bookshelves, but finally decided to put everything together and alphabetize. Here they are, in their house, in their lives, and nothing has been a complete disaster.

Andy’s giddiness grows as Miranda continues. “Andrea, why are you looking at me like that? It’s almost as if you’re—well, I know this couldn’t be it, but—it’s almost like you’re suggesting we have gay sex.” Her voice drops to a whisper. “I wouldn’t know how to begin. What goes where? I mean, I’m such a square—ah!” Miranda gasps as Andy helps herself to the clasp of her bra, the zipper of her trousers. Soon they’re both undressed and nestled together on the couch, wine-warm, relieved about the evening, content to let the weird week evaporate before them. For a long time, there is nothing but their breathing and mouths and fingers, and the occasional giggle whenever Andy remembers that the day started with strained quiet and is ending with Miranda making a gay joke. Ending with love.

---

It’s over an hour before they untangle their bodies from the couch, force themselves to brush their teeth, and climb into bed. Miranda’s limbs are heavy with exhaustion. It is safe and warm in the dark, but there’s something cold lodged in her chest, and she won’t be able to sleep until she gets it out.

“Andrea,” she whispers.

“Hmm?” Andrea snuggles closer, wrapping an arm around Miranda’s waist.

“Do you think Rachel might like to stay here tomorrow night? I thought she could, ah, meet the girls. See the house.”

Miranda’s eyes haven’t completely adjusted to the darkness, but she can tell Andrea is smiling. “I’ll call her in the morning. I think that would be wonderful.” There is a melting, a substantial calm.

“She's a lot like you. I really liked her.” The last chunks of ice float away.

“I’m glad. Really glad.” Andrea yawns. “Sorry, I’m pretty sleepy.”

“Me too.”