"Is there anything I can do?" Andy asked gently.
"Your job," Miranda stated coldly.
Andy stood, but instead of turning to walk away, she took a step closer to the silver-haired woman. "Miranda, when I said anything I mean anything." She placed additional emphasis on the final word.
In an act of bravery, Andy knelt at the older woman's bare feet, lifted her hand from where it rested in her lap and pressed her lips against the knuckles. Sighing, she leaned her forehead against well-defined cashmere-covered thighs and wound her arms around the other woman's waist.
Miranda found herself staring down at her assistant in disbelief, unsure what to do or say. With her free hand, she trailed the tips of her fingers through soft brown hair and sighed. "You should go." She husked.
Andy shook her head, burrowing her face further into the soft material of Miranda's grey robe. "I don't want to." She muttered.
Miranda's breath hitched and she squirmed slightly. The gentleness of the gesture astounded her and yet at the same time, she was becoming aroused by the sheer proximity of the younger woman. Shifting again, she tried to dampen her increasing arousal by thinking of the following day, but it was in vain.
That part of her, the part she had hidden from the world as much as she could, was reacting to the warmth of the woman on her knees before her, her arms wrapped securely around her waist.
Andy felt the stirring above her and Miranda's small hand stroking through her hair. Looking up into unguarded blue eyes, she saw desire reflected at her and raising herself, she swiftly straddled the editor's lap and leaned in to capture her lips.
Andy woke up with a start and bounding out of bed, rushed towards the bathroom, only just making it in time before she expelled the scant contents of her stomach.
The stomach flu she'd developed that week was relentless. For the last three days, she'd barely kept anything down. The dizziness, nausea and fatigue she was experiencing were almost debilitating and had seen her being sent home from work to rest and recuperate. Her boss had told her he didn't want to see her until it was clear she was on the mend.
What wasn't helping was the fact that when she slept her mind took her back to the final morning in Paris and the moment she woke up alone, in an unfamiliar bed, only to find the person she'd spent the night with, wearing that grey robe and pacing furiously while muttering incoherently.
She'd caught the words power imbalance and taking advantage, from where she lay.
Once Miranda realised she was awake, she dismissed her using the excuse that she needed to prepare for her meeting with Irv. Throwing on the same clothes Miranda had peeled off her the night before, Andy left the suite only to stumble into Christian Thompson in the elevator on the way to her room.
Blushing, she looked down, only to spot an unfamiliar copy of Runway peeking from the bag he carried. Snatching it, she demanded to know what it was and after he explained, she tossed the thing into his face, called him a shitbag, and rushed from the elevator, focussing on just one thing. Warning Miranda of Irv and Jacqueline's plot to dethrone her.
It was now perfectly obvious to her that Miranda was horrified by what had happened between them that night, she'd made no attempts to contact her in the weeks since then, not even willing to return her wave when they saw each other across the street outside Elias Clarke. At the time though, she'd hoped they could talk things through and make a plan to maybe see each other socially.
Dry retching, Andy's mind threw up images of those final hours in Paris. The attempt to warn Miranda, the luncheon where Nigel's dreams were dashed, the final car ride and the backhanded compliment she'd been offered.
No matter how angry she'd been at Miranda, over the stunt at lunch and hurting Nigel, to an extent she understood it was business. But when the car slowed, coming to a standstill outside the Petit Palais, she'd noticed the press swarming. Andy was suddenly terrified. If her time with Miranda ever became public knowledge, Stephen would use it against her and make her life even more difficult, and there was the chance that, despite her list, she would lose her job. Then there were the twins. She was certain they'd never understand.
It was all so overwhelming and so, she ran.
Andy knew she'd be okay as long as Miranda didn't blacklist her and luckily for her, despite everything, she'd been given a chance at The Mirror thanks to the dubious reference from the Runway Editor herself. The decision she'd made to walk away, losing her place in Miranda's life, was something she knew she had to live with, but some days, like today, it seemed impossible.
Andy let her thoughts roam to the night they'd spent together. It was the most beautiful one she'd ever experienced. She couldn't believe how much she'd adored being the sole focus of Miranda's attention. How she felt utterly loved and satisfied with Miranda above her, her arms on either side of her head as she moved inside her gently.
The tumultuous feeling in Andy's stomach eased. Rising to her feet, she flushed the toilet before washing her hands and rinsing her mouth out.
Moving gingerly towards her tiny living room, she grabbed a bottle of sparkling water and sat on the second-hand leather sofa she'd recently bought after returning from Paris only to find the apartment almost empty. Sighing, she scrolled through her contacts and made the call she'd been putting off all week. "Hi, I'd like to make an appointment with Dr Gibson, please—Yes, for Andrea Sachs."
The doctor had been pretty thorough, going as far as taking blood and asking for a urine sample, so all she could do now was wait. Fidgeting nervously, Andy tugged at her fingers, her knee bounced and she sighed. Closing her eyes, she breathed deeply, willing herself to calm down. A swirl of tiredness hit her like a truck and she found herself dosing until the click of the door snicking shut startled her. With her eyes blazing open, she looked up at her doctor, who grinned at her as she sat down.
"So Andy, it seems like we've found the cause of your nausea, fatigue and dizziness." Doctor Gibson stated.
Andy leaned forward, resting her elbows on her knees in anticipation of the answers. "And?" She prompted. "It's stomach flu, right?"
The doctor shook her head. "Congratulations, Andy. You're pregnant." Dr Gibson announced. "Your urine and blood tests confirmed the fact, now we'll just have to do an ultrasound and work out how far along you are."
"But–but, I've had a period. I—I'm often irregular and it was light but you know that's not unusual—Plus Nate and I always used—" Andy stuttered.
The news had blindsided her. It was not what she was expecting. Quite suddenly, it came to her that Nate was not the last person she'd slept with, but she'd not even considered Miranda when the doctor broke the news.
"I take it that it wasn't Nate?" Dr Gibson asked gently.
"It's impossible," Andy muttered.
"Come on, Andy. I'm sure things will make more sense once I've gathered more information. We should be able to work out the date of conception from the size of the foetus plus the day your last period began, and your average cycle length." Dr Gibson stood and led Andy towards the exam table. "I'll need you to unfasten your pants and lie back on the exam table. I'll just leave you for a few minutes to organise the ultrasound. If you want, you'll have a sonogram at the end of all this."
Andy unfastened her jeans and pushed them over her hips slightly before settling herself on the exam table. Unshed tears burned beneath her eyelids. "I can't believe this." She whispered. "What am I going to do?"
Dr Gibson returned and began to explain what she was doing as she squeezed some gel on her abdomen and ran the transducer over it. "I can't get a good visual. Would you mind if we do a transvaginal ultrasound?"
Andy shook her head and when the doctor placed a gown next to her and turned away, she removed her clothes quickly and covered herself in the blue gown before lying back down.
"I need you to take deep breaths, Andy. You need to relax." Dr Gibson stated lightly as she manoeuvred her so her knees were bent.
Andy tried to relax and focus on something else to help alleviate her growing anxiety, but the situation was awkward, especially having a virtual stranger insert a probe into her vagina.
"I see the heartbeat and there are the buds that will grow into arms and legs." The doctor stopped and she heard a few clicks. "Going off the size of the foetus and the date of your last period, I'd say you were around nine weeks pregnant."
"Nine weeks and four days," Andy admitted. "The conception would have been 1st or 2nd of October."
"That looks about right." The doctor nodded. "You have options, you know?"
"No, I don't," Andy whispered. "There's only one. I'm keeping it." She closed her eyes. "But how the hell am I going to tell the—" She fumbled over the word to use and frowned. "—Nevermind, I'll work it out."
Miranda glanced down at her phone, stunned once again to see the once familiar name lit up on her screen. After almost a week of sending the calls to voicemail, she was tempted to answer and find out what the young woman wanted from her, but at the same time, she was scared to do so.
With a sigh, she declined the call again and turned back to the book until her cell lit up once more, breaking her focus. Once again she declined the call and a few moments later a notification pinged to let her know a voicemail had been left.
Miranda stood and walked over to the small bar in the corner of the room, pouring herself a measure of scotch and throwing it back with a wince.
It had been an intolerably long week, with yet another second assistant leaving Runway, this time cussing up a storm. Six assistants had come and gone, since Paris, and not one of the departures had the same effect as that of Andrea. Not one of them had disappointed her as much as the beautiful woman who had run from her months ago.
Staring blankly ahead, her thoughts roamed to the moment she'd realised Andrea was no longer by her side. Amidst the swirl of paparazzi, held back by security, she'd turned her head to offer some word or another, only to see the woman rushing away in the opposite direction.
Her heart had ached from the feeling that once again she'd been found lacking in some way. Stalking up the steps, she pressed the speed dial that would put her through to her errant assistant turned lover, only for the call to ring more than once before diverting to voicemail. She'd tried again, and then one final time, whispering a short but heartfelt message to the brunette. "Come back, please, darling."
Andrea hadn't come back. It had taken over two weeks for her to hear anything at all about the young woman, but then a request had been made for a reference for one Andrea Elizabeth Sachs from the New York Mirror, and despite her initial idea to stall the young woman's career, she'd not been able to.
She understood Andrea was dissimilar from any other assistant she'd hired and different to anyone else working at Runway. She had the drive, intelligence and street smarts she needed to reach her goals. Given the chance, she knew Andrea could go far. Even before their time together in Paris, she'd come to like and respect the younger woman and she wanted her to achieve everything she set out to do. This had her pushing Andrea in an attempt to bring out her potential.
Andrea was both eerily similar to her and yet at the same time, nothing at all like her, and she'd come to adore her. It had been gradual, and for such a decisive person, it was shocking how much her opinion changed. Like her, Andrea had a backbone and a willingness to do what it took to succeed, but unlike her, she was inherently kind-hearted and empathetic. Her differences were qualities she had learnt to value greatly and she'd become somewhat dependent on the younger woman.
She'd let her guard down in Paris, allowing herself to be emotionally vulnerable, knowing she wouldn't get hurt.
Instead of a scathing recommendation, she'd written the simplest sentence.
Of all the assistants I've had, Andrea Sachs is, by far, my greatest disappointment. You'd be an idiot not to hire her.
Unable to concentrate on her work, Miranda picked up her cell, dialled her voicemail and listened.
"Hi, Miranda. It's Andy–uh–Andrea. Look, I have something to tell you and it's best to do it face to face so I was wondering if—would you meet me somewhere? My number hasn't changed, so call me. Please."
Frankly, Miranda didn't know what to do. She couldn't make herself available, only to watch Andrea walk away. She didn't want to live with the disappointment over the loss of her once again. Stabbing at the screen, she deleted the message, despite the fact she yearned to hear Andrea's voice over and over again.
"Mom? Are you okay?" Cassidy's voice came from the doorway.
Turning, Miranda saw her youngest daughter standing dressed in her pyjamas, her hair mussed and eyes sleepy. Standing, she moved towards her. "I'm fine, Bobbsey." She smiled softly. "Why are you out of bed, my little love?"
"I had a dream, then woke up and I'm thirsty," Cassidy muttered.
Miranda nodded. "Come along, I'll make you some warm milk and you can tell me about your dream." She took Cassidy's small hand in hers and they walked together into the kitchen. She settled Cassidy into a seat at the breakfast bar and turned to the stove, simply waiting for her daughter to speak.
"I dreamt Andy was here," Cassidy admitted quietly. "I miss her."
"I do too." Miranda's mind whispered. "More than anything."
Over the past year, Andy had made choices she wasn't overly comfortable with, and by doing so she'd realised what boundaries she was willing to cross. With the understanding of what she could and couldn't do, came the knowledge of what wanted.
Things had changed again since she found out she was pregnant. She knew what she wanted, above anything else, was the baby she was carrying. Having Miranda and the twins was a bonus that she couldn't allow herself to hope for.
Despite having no hope for more, Andy had tried to make contact with the editor, believing it was only fair for her to know. Her attempts had been futile when Miranda didn't answer or return any of her calls.
She had spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out an alternate way of letting the editor know about the baby. She didn't want to post a letter explaining things, in case it fell into the wrong hands. Not because she had an issue with anyone knowing, but if it was to be made public, it would be because Miranda wanted it to be, rather than Page Six publishing the news specifically to make her life hell.
Andy knew she could have handed a letter directly to Miranda, but since the older woman had made it clear she didn't want to hear from her, she had decided against it. The last thing she wanted was to be on the receiving end of Miranda's disgust or displeasure and there was always the chance that she'd toss the letter in the nearest trash can. In the end, she was doing the only thing she could think of to let Miranda know. She'd give her the first sonogram, holding the vaguest of messages on the back, in the hope she'd easily put two and two together and make four.
Moving up out of the subway from the 72nd Street station, Andy walked up 2nd Avenue until she reached East 73rd Street. She slowly approached the once familiar Townhouse of her ex-boss and feeling somewhat nervous, rang the doorbell.
The sound of feet pounding across the foyer greeted her before the door was yanked open and she met the bright blue eyes of Miranda's twins.
"Andeeeeee!" Cassidy squealed happily while Caroline glared up at her. "What are you doing here?"
"Hiya, girls." Andy swallowed nervously and pulled an envelope from her jacket pocket. "Can you give this to your mom?" The envelope shook in her hands. "Please. It's really important."
Caroline continued to frown up at her. "How important?"
"It's kinda life or death important. Well, not death, but definitely life." Andy babbled.
"I don't understand," Cassidy told her.
"Nevermind. Just give it to your mom for me, okay?" Andy requested.
Caroline shrugged and turned away. "Whatever, Ahn-drey-uh."
Cassidy's smile faltered when Caroline turned and stomped away and she looked up at Andy, searching her eyes. "I'll make sure mom gets your letter." She offered. "She misses you. We all do."
Andy leaned close and tugged Cassidy into her arms, giving her a brief hug. "I miss you all too, Cass."
Miranda was trying to throw herself into her work but instead of her usual laser focus, she was distracted.
Andrea had made no further attempts to call her cell, and she'd made the mistake earlier that week of throwing a letter she'd received from her former assistant straight in the trash. Unfortunately, upon later changing her mind and wishing to read the missive and attempting to find it, she found out the trash had been emptied and cursed Cara's efficiency. One thing held, there was no way she was going to root through the garbage to try and recover it.
The thought that Andrea had given up so easily dismayed her. It was so unlike the woman she'd come to know, the one who fired back at her during their initial interview and corrected her on her first day when she'd addressed her as Emily.
To take her mind off the brunette, she picked up her mail and sorted through the usual invitations and correspondence until she came across a nondescript envelope with her name and the office address printed on the front. Grabbing her letter opener, she slid it into the crease and pulled out the contents.
In her hand was a sonogram, and when she squinted down at it, she could see the fuzzy outline of the small foetus. Unsure why anyone would send her such a thing, she turned the small image and saw the message written on the back in a familiar scrawl.
Baby P-S. Conceived 10-01-2017. I'm sorry if I'm disappointing you again, but I'm keeping it. If you want to be a part of our lives, call me.
There was no signature, but there didn't need to be.
Unfolding the note that came with the photo, she easily recognised Caroline's careful penmanship.
We found this in the trash and were curious about what Andy had to say, so we opened it. We knew we had to save it before it was lost entirely.
Mom, Cassi and I know you love Andy and it's clear you miss her. Knowing that we decided to find a way to show you this.
Since she's having your baby, you need to fix this and get her back.
We're going to be the best big sisters ever, and we'll even help with any diaper changes (Cassi says as long as it's not poopy). And we know you'll be the best momma to the new baby, just as you are to us.
We love you, mom and we just want you to be happy.
Miranda knew she'd made an egregious error by ignoring the brunette's calls. She should have returned her call and met with her. Andrea shouldn't have needed to go to such lengths to get her attention. Turning the sonogram over again, she placed it down on her desk and stared down at it.
"Baby P-S. Does she mean Priestly-Sachs?" Miranda wondered to herself. "It does have quite a lovely ring to it."
"Miranda, I just wanted to—" Emily stepped into the office.
"Get out," Miranda stated coldly.
"But a new applicant for the second assistant has arrived, and I—" Emily tried to explain.
Miranda looked up, glaring at the redhead, desperate to be left alone with her thoughts. "Did I stutter? Was I in any way unclear? I said get out." Miranda hissed. "And close the door, I do not wish to be disturbed. That's all."
With a small squeak, Emily did as she was told slamming the door shut behind her.
Lowering her head, she finally let her emotions get the better of her. "Oh, God. What do I do now?"
Leaving the Mirror offices, Andy held her laptop bag closer and shivered as she moved steadily towards the nearest subway. The weather had turned bitterly cold that week, and although it would soon be Christmas, she had found the change in weather a little depressing.
Ahead of her, she spotted a familiar silver Mercedes idling at the curb and realised, unlike ordinary days when she went a little out of her way to get home from the subway station on West 50th Street, now, by wanting to get home as quickly as possible, she'd have to pass Elias Clarke.
Keeping her head down, Andy continued to walk, hoping she wouldn't run into anyone she once knew. Luck wasn't in her favour.
"Six?" The familiar nickname startled her and she glanced up only to catch the wide brown eyes of her one-time colleague and Creative Director of Runway, Nigel Kipling.
Trying, but failing to smile, she offered him a shy greeting. "Hiya, Nigel."
Nigel glared at her for a minute, making her squirm. "I see you didn't entirely forget the lessons you learnt at Runway." He grinned. "You look good, although you're gaining some of the weight you lost."
She bit back a groan at his words. There was no way she was going to explain why she'd gained weight, not before she'd somehow spoken to Miranda. "I suppose." She shrugged.
"We're heading for drinks. You wanna join us?" Nigel offered.
"N—no, I can't." Andy sputtered.
"Coffee then?" Nigel stepped close. "Come on, Six. Just give me half an hour and tell me what's been going on in your life since you left us." He urged.
"Okay then." Andy sighed.
"Shall we?" Nigel bent his elbow to her and she reluctantly took it and let him lead her towards the nearest Starbucks. "You've been missed, you know."
From the and warmth of the car, Miranda watched her former assistant say goodbye to Nigel then pass by the car on foot.
As much as she still felt the sting of disappointment, there was also a flicker of hope that hadn't been present for months. She continued to watch the young woman until she was out of sight, and knew she needed to do something, and quickly. Making her decision, she chuckled and glanced at Roy, giving the order. "To Andrea's, Roy."
"It'll take about 30 minutes. Roy advised.
"That's fine," Miranda stated softly.
Without another word, Roy eased out into the busy evening traffic, but instead of heading uptown, the car moved towards the Lower East Side.
Miranda sat back and considered the sonogram she'd slipped into her purse that afternoon. She felt ashamed for the way she'd reacted in Paris on the morning after their night together. Yes, she'd been vulnerable, but there had been no disgust when her difference had made itself known. There had been no censure in Andrea's beautifully expressive eyes, only acceptance and a hint of adoration.
Thinking back, she realised she and Andrea had somehow meandered onto a level-playing field. They were equals, and as people who could understand one other, why they behaved in certain ways, it had created, for want of a better word, a harmony in their working relationship that transcended into the physical.
The physical aspect of it all was what was so shocking to her. Never, in her 48 years, had she allowed herself to be as free as she had that night. There had never been anyone who touched her the way she had, bringing her such aching pleasure.
"We're here, Miranda." Roy's voice broke into her swirling thoughts and taking a shuddering breath, she nodded once.
"Thank you, Roy. Please wait for me nearby. I shall text you when I am ready to leave." Miranda grabbed her purse and left the warmth of the car, only to stall momentarily at the faded red door leading into the apartment complex. Glancing at the intercom system, she easily located the one labelled Sachs for apartment 3C.
Pressing the buzzer, she waited.
"Hi, Dougie?" Andy answered the buzz. When there was no response, she rolled her eyes. "Come on up, doofus." She pressed the door release and unfastened the deadbolt and chain before opening the door. She turned back to the kitchenette and poured herself a glass of sparkling water. Sipping it, she hoped it would settle her stomach. When Andy heard the door whisper shut, she spoke. "Hey, I hope you've brought something good—" She turned around "—for din—" The words failed her at the unexpected sight before her. "M-Mir–Miranda?"
"Andréa." Miranda exhaled before stepping toward her.
Andy watched various emotions flicker across Miranda's face before it settled on an appearance of calm. Unsure what to do or say as the editor moved closer still, she started to panic and the glass slipped from her grip. The smash against the linoleum made her jump and let out a small yelp.
Miranda's lips twitched up, in the hint of a smile before schooling her features. She stopped an arm's length away, broken glass and water pooling between them. Her hand reached out hesitantly to touch the small swell of her stomach with the tips of her fingers. When the gesture was met with no resistance, she settled her hand fully against the soft sweatshirt fabric of her hoody.
Looking down into Miranda's eyes, Andy noticed they shone with unshed tears. "Miranda, I—"
"I would apologise for coming by unannounced, especially since you seem to be expecting someone else, however, I believe we need to have a discussion," Miranda stated quietly as she took her hand. "Come, sit." Her free hand gestured towards the small two-seater sofa.
It was strange being invited to sit in her own home, but Andy let Miranda guide her around the broken glass and puddle of water and ease her down onto the sofa.
Rather than sitting down, Miranda moved back to the kitchenette and searched in the cupboards under the sink. She pulled out a small dustpan and brush and swept up the shards of glass. Finishing up, she threw a tea towel on top of the water. Her final step was to search the cupboards again, grabbing two tumblers and pouring water into them before returning to her side. She set the tumblers down on the low coffee table and perched beside her.
Miranda kept her eyes averted. "I-IwantyoutoknowthatI'llbehere." Her words ran into one another in her rush to get them out.
"Pardon?" Andy frowned.
"I want you to know I'll be here," Miranda repeated. "In whatever capacity you choose, Andréa."
Andy closed her eyes and tried to formulate a response. There was so much she wanted to say.
"I know you don't particularly like me, but please, don't shut me out." Miranda requested softly.
Andy's eyes blazed open. "You think I don't like you?" She asked.
"We can have an amicable relationship and co-parent." Miranda continued. As her question filtered through Miranda's mind, she bit her lip and shrugged in an uncharacteristic show of uncertainty. "Well, you couldn't leave me quick enough after—"
"I didn't leave because I don't like you, Miranda. I more than—uugh!" Andy lent forward, her elbows resting on her knees, and covered her face. "I couldn't have done—you know—if I didn't like you."
"Then why?" Miranda whispered.
Andy knew she needed to explain. The only way forward now was complete honesty. "I freaked out when I saw the press." She exhaled sharply. "I was petrified of potentially outing us."
"Go on." Miranda urged.
"If the world found out about us, with Stephen and Irv, I knew Page Six would crucify you, blaming you for the divorce and you'd be out of Runway, despite your list. And don't get me started on what effect it would have on the twins. They'd never understand." Andy told her.
Miranda was awed by what she was hearing. She watched as Andy rubbed her face. "Andréa, I—"
"I believed you needed to know about the baby, Miranda, but don't assume you have to be a part of our lives. You have a choice." Andy whispered. "I don't expect anything from you and—"
The words were cut off when a warm mouth attached itself to hers. She gasped but it was followed quickly by a moan as she was pulled into Miranda's deceptive softness.
Miranda was surprised by the events of the evening, more so to have Andrea beside her in the town car as Roy drove them towards the Upper East Side.
She'd promised the twins she would be home early and was a little later than expected, but the truth was, she hadn't wanted to leave Andrea and after finding out she didn't have plans with her friend Douglas, she'd extended the invitation to dinner. The request had initially been declined so she had spent time cajoling the brunette into agreeing.
She hoped to gauge her daughter's reactions to having her former assistant in their home, and then navigate the next steps.
Making it permanent.
Upon the car pulling up at the curb outside her home, she was unsurprised when the front door was opened and her daughters barrelled down the stoop and skidded to a halt only to yank the car door open quickly and launch themselves into the back seat with her. With her daughter's thin arms wrapped around her and with each of them settled on her knee, Miranda chuckled. "Hello, my Bobbseys."
"You're late." Caroline scolded.
"I'm sorry, Bobbsey, but as you can see, I have a rather good reason for being tardy." Miranda smiled and gestured to the seat beside her with a tilt of her head.
"Andeeeeee!" Cassidy squealed, pushing herself further into the car and scrambling onto Andrea's lap, her arms wrapping around the brunette's neck as she cuddled close.
Turning slightly and allowing Caroline to settle into her chest, Miranda watched as Andrea and Cassidy's foreheads touched. They both looked content, and despite Cassidy saying she missed Andrea, it stunned her. She wondered how Andrea had broken past her youngest child's usual defences.
Gazing down at Caroline, she saw the wariness reflected in her eyes. Patting Caroline's backside gently, she smiled down at her. "Come, my little love, I think it's time to go inside."
Caroline slipped from her knee and stepped onto the sidewalk and as she exited the car, she heard Cassidy's low voice. "Cara made Mac 'n' Cheese," she muttered. "I hope you and the baby are hungry. We usually have loads of leftovers."
"Oh, yum. I'm famished." Andrea grinned. "Come on, little one." Securing Cassidy in her arms, she slipped from the car and straightened up, moving with ease, despite Cassidy's weight.
Miranda was surprised by the display of strength and although Cassidy was small for her age, it concerned her. Surely it wasn't safe. Moving towards them quickly, she took Cassidy into her arms with a small grunt. "No heavy lifting." She arched an eyebrow. "I don't want you to strain your back."
"Yes, Miranda." Andrea teased.
"Mm, that's how it should be," Miranda replied with a smirk. to "Come along, darling."
Sitting back and letting out a sigh of contentment, Andy patted her slightly rounded stomach. In all honesty, she couldn't remember the last time she'd eaten so well, certainly not since Paris. Cara made the best Mac 'n' Cheese she'd ever tasted. Period. And best of all, there was no sign of the nauseousness that had been haunting her relentlessly morning, noon and night over the previous few weeks.
Hearing Miranda hum, she gazed across the table and caught her eyes. She smiled brightly at the woman and watched as she laid her cutlery down on her plate and dabbed her lips with a napkin. Each movement was so refined and elegant and she found herself captivated.
When Cassidy and Caroline got up and began to gather their plates and utensils, Andy stood to help, but Miranda's hand on her bicep stopped her. "Leave that." She smirked. "The twins have decided they want to prove they're now responsible enough to do certain things for themselves."
Andy was surprised. After her initial encounter with the little redheads and from hearing the way they were spoken about at Runway, she was certain that, although not necessarily as horrid as some claimed, they were no doubt spoilt rotten.
As if reading her thoughts, Miranda spoke. "They are aware that they are privileged, but that does not mean that they mustn't work for what they want. The one thing their father and I will not tolerate is indolence."
There was a smash and Cassidy groaned. "Sorry, mom."
"Well, I'm grateful we weren't using the Wedgwood bone china this evening." Miranda sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose. "As you can see, my Cassidy is rather butter-fingered and prone to feats of bumbling clumsiness so with this new responsibility, comes broken tableware."
Andy sat back down and watched Caroline hold the dustpan while Cassidy swept up the shards of porcelain. She remembered how her mom often despaired over her awkwardness growing up, and even now she was in no way graceful. "Hopefully, she'll grow out of it, although I never did." She grinned.
"Well it's clear, she must take after you then," Miranda stated, raising an eyebrow at her, her lips twitching in the hint of a smile.
Andy gazed at Miranda and her smile widened. "If that's the case, you'll have your hands full when she hits her teens."
"Then I shall endeavour to keep you around to assist me in the handling of her." Miranda teased.
"Just try and get rid of me," Andy muttered.
Miranda leaned close and clasped her hand, getting her attention. "If I have my way, Andréa, you'll never leave."
The twins had settled into bed fifteen minutes before, and they'd tucked them in and bid them goodnight before making their way to Miranda's study to talk.
Not that there'd been much talking so far.
Miranda sat holding Andrea close as she kissed her gently, simply allowing herself to bask in her presence and enjoy the feel of her lips against hers. She ignored the click of heels and soft thud that indicated Emily had arrived with the book until Andrea pulled back and she watched as the brunette closed her eyes and struggled to regain control of her breathing.
"I should go and let you get on with the rest of your evening." Andrea insisted.
She frowned in displeasure. "I don't want you to go," Miranda stated.
"The book just arrived," Andrea explained.
"And?" Miranda queried, leaning in to capture her lips. "We still have things to discuss." She whispered nipping Andrea's full bottom lip and taking delight in the soft moan that greeted the gesture.
Andrea pulled back again. "Okay, so let's talk."
Miranda wondered if Andrea was oblivious but glancing at the younger woman, she spotted her sly grin and knew she was being teased. She shifted back further, settling into the corner of the sofa. "Fine."
"I honestly didn't think it was a possibility, but I would like to co-parent with you," Andrea admitted.
"So, just co-parenting?" Miranda questioned, lips pursed.
"Well, even though we've spent some time making out, I didn't want to make assumptions," Andrea explained lightly. "I haven't much to offer you. I'm nowhere near your equal and—"
"You are my equal." Miranda interrupted. "Be honest with me, as a person have you ever seen yourself as unequal to me?"
Andrea sighed. "No," she admitted.
"That's as I thought. I hope you realise it's that alone that completely changed the way I behaved towards you. You understood the chain of command and respected my authority as your employer, but the belief you have in yourself, that you were equal to all, brought your true value to light." Miranda explained. "You've been sorely missed, darling, not only as my assistant but as a person. You were a valuable part of Runway and made yourself indispensable." She shook her head. "It's true, our position in life is unequal, but that is something you have time to work towards, Andréa, and I'd love to be by your side while you work towards reaching every one of your dreams."
Andrea bit her lip before smiling widely. "Acceptable." Her head tilted to the side and she gazed at her. "Are you busy in the morning?"
Miranda ran through her schedule. "I am supposed to be meeting James holt, but should I have the right incentive, I'll happily reschedule." She smirked.
"I have an appointment for my 12-week ultrasound. I know I've had one recently, but this one will check for things that could complicate the pregnancy or labour and check the development. The first scan didn't allow for all the appropriate checks." Andrea babbled.
Miranda was surprised by the offer. "I would love that, Andréa." She gazed at the brunette. "How do you truly feel about all this? She was curious.
Andrea smiled softly. "I know this was unplanned, but it's not unwanted." She shifted, settling more comfortably into the back of the couch. "You know, life has a way of surprising me in the most unexpected ways, but I think this may be one of those things that will make me happier than I ever imagined." She shook her head. "Does that make sense?"
"Yes," Miranda said. "I know that feeling well. My Bobbsey's weren't planned. I was always told I wouldn't be able to have children because of my differences." She shook her head sadly. "I had to learn to embrace the unexpected changes in my life, because the one thing I never thought possible happened and brought me on the most beautiful journey of my life, as a mom to two, extraordinarily rambunctious and cheeky daughters." She smiled and slid closer, her hand resting again on the slight swell of her stomach. "Caroline and Cassidy have been my saving grace, and I'm certain our child will also provide further opportunities for me to be a better person."
"You're not a bad person." Andrea insisted, causing Miranda to scoff. "I mean it. Yeah, your actions in Paris were questionable, but anyone in your position would have done the same. You're a perfectionist, so why would you expect less from those you hire? I know Runway's not just a job, it's your life."
"It's cost me two marriages," Miranda muttered.
"True, but did you ever consider quitting?" Andrea asked.
Miranda shook her head. "No."
"My ex, Nate, turned out to be insecure and fragile in the face of my ambition to be the best I could be. He became whiny, dismissive and mocking. Not to mention demanding. He questioned every choice I made." She sighed and brushed her fingers through her bangs. "If you were a man, I swear no one would ever question your behaviour," Andrea stated. "I want to teach my child that they can be whoever they want, achieve whatever they want, and I don't think they could have a better role model than you."
"You are truly remarkable, Andréa Sachs." Miranda breathed, awed by the understanding she'd just been offered. Pushing forward, she snared Andrea's lips with her own. "Stay." She whispered hotly against her lips. "Don't leave me."
"Never," Andrea muttered, her hand cupping Miranda's jaw. "I think I love you, Miranda Priestly."