Building Dreams Together
In the months that followed impromptu get-together to celebrate her first paycheck is a freelance writer with Nigel, Emily, Serena and Miranda, Andy's world was turned upside down, rolled over and sat on it's ear.
Andy knew she was in love with Miranda and the older woman was in love with her. However, they maintained their distance. Taking time to allow the relationship to strengthen by way of Miranda respecting Andy's and her own desire to feel they had more equality in their professional lives, giving strength to the personal life together, they had yet to discuss.
Andy's name in publishing was fast becoming as well known as Miranda's. She had been published in every major magazine in the business and was approached daily with offers to write columns in newspapers, take editorial positions and there were book offers, lots of book offers.
She was earning more income as a freelance writer, substantially more. The young writer was able to move from her small one-bedroom apartment she had once shared with Nate to larger three-bedroom, in a better neighborhood.
Where Andy's talent for writing was a gift many envied, her skill for decorating was a nightmare that most would fear.
Miranda recognized the familiar number on her caller ID and answered the phone after the first ring.
"Hello darling" she had become extremely comfortable using the endearment when speaking to Andréa.
It always made Andy smile. "Hi Miranda."
"What can I do for you?" They didn't speak to each other daily, but their phone conversations and e-mail correspondence was becoming a very frequent event.
"I need a decorator" Andy pouted into the phone. "I moving into my new apartment. It's a beautiful space and if I attempt to use the little bit of style I have, I'm afraid it will turn out looking like a layout in 'Pawnshop Daily'.
Miranda laughed. Harder than she had in a long time.
"I'm serious. Stop laughing at me."
"I'm sorry darling." She calmed to a chuckle. "I doubt it is that bad."
"Trust me," she sighed, "it is that bad."
"All right. I'll take your word on it"
"So? Do you have someone you can recommend, within my budget."
The editor grinned. "I believe I have just the person." She took out a pen. "What is the address?"
Andy told her.
"When will you be available?"
"I'm here now. Any time, just let me know when to expect them."
"Let me make a phone call and I'll get back to you soon."
"Thank you sweetheart. I appreciate it".
"You are welcome Andréa. You'll hear from me soon"
Both women disconnected. Miranda went to work.
"Yes Miranda" she had heard her iconic boss laughing just a few minutes prior and now seeing the light in the woman's eyes, it was obvious she had just finished talking to Andy.
"Cancel my day and Nigel's. Reschedule whatever you need to. Make sure 'Emily' is aware, she will be answering the phones for the day. Call Roy, have him get a limo and meet us downstairs in thirty minutes. That's all."
Emily's head was spinning. Cancel Nigel's day, reschedule all of their appointments for the day in thirty minutes? Limo? Us?
"Nigel" she all but yelled into the phone. "She's canceling your day. The two of us are to be her downstairs in" the young Brit looked at her watch, "twenty-eight minutes to meet her." Now she was screeching.
"Emily, calm down. Eat a piece of cheese" he began to clear the items from his desk. "My day was appointment free, just fix Miranda's schedule. I'll be down to meet you."
"Right." The first assistant snapped to and got to work.
Roy was waiting at the curb with the door open. They all got in and when Roy moved back behind the steering wheel, Miranda gave him Andy's address.
Nigel and Emily looked at each other, Nigel spoke "okay, we give, where are we going?"
"It seems Andréa is in dire need."
"Of what?" His voice was a bit shaky with worry.
A smile quirked Miranda's lips. "If I am to believe her. Taste and style."
Both furrowed their brows in confusion. "For decorating her new apartment." She finished.
"Oh" in unison.
"So instead of hiring a professional decorator, you're taking us." Nigel asked.
Miranda glared at him like it was the dumbest question he had ever spoken.
"Why on earth not? We are the best at what we do. Our tastes for design are second to no one." She removed an invisible piece of lint from her skirt and folded her hands in her lap.
Emily and Nigel looked at each other and grinned. Nigel turned to face his boss.
"Basically, what you're saying is," he removed his glasses, pulled out a handkerchief, and wiped the lenses. "You want to help Andy decorate her new place," he returned his glasses and handkerchief then looked at her with an amused smile, "and your chicken to go alone." He sat and waited.
Miranda opened her mouth to speak, but the snarky retort died on her lips. He was correct. So she glared at him.
Nigel looked to Emily. They both began to chuckle, quietly. Miranda turned to look out the window, a slight grin on her face.
Andy was in her master bedroom closet hanging up her clothes when the doorbell buzzed. "Who is that?" she walked into the living room and pushed the button on the call box. "Yes, who is it?"
Nigel looked at Miranda and grinned. His unflappable boss was nervous. "It's me Six."
"Nigel? Come on up." She buzzed him (them) in.
Andy looked to what she was wearing in the mirror. A pair of heather gray yoga pants, riding low on her hips and a half T-shirt, exposing her tight abs. Her hair was pulled up in a sloppy bun with loose pieces falling around her face. "CRAP!" Oh well, the only thing Nigel would notice was that the T-shirt had the Gucci logo stretched tightly across her bust. She laughed, "I'm moving for crying out loud, not walking a catwalk."
Andy opened the door when the bell rang. "Hell…" there was Miranda standing in her doorway, smiling. "o oh." The woman she loved stood there looking at her, raking her eyes across her chest to her flat stomach and the curves of her hips. When her eyes met Andy's again, both were blushing. The young writer was speechless.
"Are we to stand in the hallway all day or may we enter." Miranda had regained her composure.
"Oh, sorry. Yes, come in, please." She stepped back and her friends entered. Andy closed the door behind them and took a deep breath. "Well," she walked past them, "this is a surprise."
"For us too." Emily said and Miranda shot her in icy look. "Eep"
Nigel jumped in to save Miranda from what he knew she would find hard to explain. "Apparently, you require a little flair," he swept his hands around the room. "If your decorating tastes bare any resemblance to your," he motioned to her outfit, "fashion sense…"
"Hey" she put her hands on her hips, but it didn't interrupt him.
"…then you are in desperate need of help."
Miranda began to walk around the room.
Andy was still looking at Nigel and crossed her arms over her chest and faked a pout. She turned to look at Miranda when the woman finally spoke. "You were correct. This is a lovely place."
Miranda dropped her Prada bag on a stack of unopened boxes. Turned to Nigel, "shall we?" He nodded and followed her as they began touring the apartment room by room.
Emily moved to stand next to Andy. "Congratulations"
Andy looked at her, "thanks Em. What's going on?"
"Well, it would seem you her girlfriend, okay, that just sounds strange," she looked at Miranda's back, "has decided to take it upon herself, and us, to help with the decorating of your new home."
"What? Em!" she gaped.
"I know. But you know how she is when she has made up her mind. She had me cancel our schedules today and ordered us to come with her."
"Em, I'm sorry. I only asked for a reference for someone to help me. I never expected her to do it."
"Yes, well". She smiled.
The two editors had made their way back to the main room.
"Great space Six."
"What do you have in mind?" he sat on an empty milk crate turned upside down.
"I love Art Deco." She glanced at Miranda to gauge her response. "But I don't know how it would look in here."
"Oh, I think we could make that work." He crossed his legs and pointed to her outfit, "that, however, will not. Go change then we can begin this little adventure."
"Change, why, where are we going?" she looked at each of them in turn.
"Shopping of course. Go, moved that size four ass of yours." He smiled at her.
Andy looked at Miranda, who was staring at her naked stomach. The older woman looked up and raised an eyebrow.
"Okay. Give me fifteen minutes. I'll be right back."
Andy was true to her word and returned dressed in a pair of black slacks and a red silk blouse. Her hair was up in a neat French twist and her makeup was done. "Ready."
Three heads turn, Nigel and Emily grinned and Miranda smiled at her.
They headed out, Nigel then Emily. Miranda held back just a bit as Andy gathered her purse and moved to lock the door. She leaned in to speak softly to Andréa. "Gucci would have been flattered." The older woman smirked when Andy sucked in a soft gasp, then blushed, nearly as red as her blouse. Miranda walked out past her. Andy could've sworn her hips swayed just a little more than normal as she watched her walk away.
Andy looked upward as she closed and locked the door and whispered "Thank You!"
Shopping with Nigel and Miranda should have been declared an Olympic event. It could be added to the decathlon.
After only five hours they had furnished Andy's new apartment. Living room, dining room, guest room, kitchen, both bathrooms and her office. It shouldn't have surprised her that the accessories, kitchenware's, linens and everything else was enthusiastically given to Miranda free of charge. Her appearance in their stores was worth more to the retailers than any cost of said items. Because of that Andy was well within the budget she had decided on. The only room left to decorate and furnish was her master bedroom.
Andy had seen a bedroom set she fell instantly in love with in the first store they visited, but knew the price tag was way too much for her to afford. Unfortunately, nothing she saw the rest of the day compared. So she decided she would settle for now and put it at the top of her list of dream items to work towards. That was truly okay with her. The furnishings and other items she had purchased were more than she could ever have dreamt of.
"Well" Nigel said, "all we have left is the master. Anything catch her eye today Six?"
"Yes, but for now I'm just going to get something to get me through."
Miranda eyed her incredulously.
"Everything is so wonderful, but I'm not willing to put myself in debt when I'm just starting to earn a decent living. I can live without a bedroom set. I have for years. Besides, it gives me something to work towards."
Miranda was still staring at her.
Andy returned to the glare, "what?"
"You will not settle."
Andy sighed, "Sweetheart, it's okay, really. I don't mind."
Nigel and Emily suddenly found the other side of the store fascinating.
"I do" Miranda stated firmly.
Andy took a deep breath. "The rest of my place is going to be amazing." She smiled, "I'm very happy. Besides, no one will be seeing the room."
"I would certainly hope not." Miranda said softly.
Andy smirked, stepped closer to the woman, took a breath and reached out to gently touch her hand.
The older woman looked down at the gesture. The simple connection of their skin meeting sent a pulse through her heart. She looked back up into Andy's big brown eyes.
"Well, maybe one someone, in the near future." She smiled and brushed her thumb over Miranda soft skin. "But for now, I don't really want anything extravagant and not be able to share it, or have to sleep in a big bed alone."
The simple stroke from Andréa's thumb was clouding the older woman's thoughts. She felt herself slipping into the caress. It'd been so long since anyone had touched her in such a simple loving way. Actually, had they ever? Her mind failed to remember such a mere gesture, filling her so fully.
"Perhaps it won't be too long of a wait." The editor whispered gazing again at their hands. Andréa's thumb paused at the statement, causing Miranda to look up at her again.
Andréa caught her breath, from the statement as much as the heated eyes meeting her own. "God you are so beautiful." Only when her love smiled at her, did she realized she had spoken aloud. She cleared her throat. The younger woman squeezed her hand. "I hope that is the case." She smiled shyly. "Until then, though, I can settle for cheap."
Miranda chose in that instant not to push the subject anymore. If this relationship was going to work, she had to learn to compromise and to swallow her pride. Accepting Andréa as her equal meant respecting her decisions.
"All right. However, I reserve the right to revisit this discussion when circumstances change."
Andy chuckled, "I can live with that. I would expect nothing less from you."
"Very well. Should we get something to eat?"
Andréa let her hand fall. Miranda felt the loss immediately. "Anything you want. I'm grateful for every minute I have with you."
"The feeling is mutual, I assure you." The older woman said lovingly. The two women walked over to Nigel and Emily.
"I believe a meal is in order. We can discuss a schedule to complete the renovations of Andréa's apartment."
"Yes Miranda." They reply together. She turned on her heel and headed to the door and waiting car outside.
Nigel cupped Andy's elbow and whispered in her ear, "so Six, which set did you agree to?"
He stopped in his tracks. Shook his head, smiled and caught up with the three women muttering to himself, "of course not."
Andy had become a formidable woman. Miranda's equal in most every way; her success, her talent, her drive and her stubbornness. Gone was the naïve assistant chasing after the icon. Before them sat the writer desired by every notable publication in the country. Beside Miranda sat the only person in her adult life she had ever willingly lowered her walls of protection for. There was nothing the younger woman could not accomplish, including understanding and accepting the challenge to master the maze of emotions and fears that the editor kept hidden from the world. She trusted Andréa. And on that was the foundation she would build a life with the woman.
After the four finished the meal they return to Andy's apartment. Emily had scheduled the deliveries for Saturday afternoon. Miranda, Nigel, Emily with Serena would return early Sunday morning to begin arranging the space that was to become Andy's new home.
She escorted them to the door. She hugged Nigel and Emily, "thank you, guys, so much. I can hardly wait until Sunday."
They hugged her back. They looked at Miranda, who was standing behind Andy with a brow raised.
"We'll wait in the car". Nigel said and they left.
Andy turned to face Miranda. She took her hand. They both looked down at the gesture, again, so simple yet so full of meaning. After a few moments of comfortable silence Andy spoke. "Thank you is not enough to tell you how grateful I am for what you have done for me."
Miranda remained silent, letting the woman's words wash over her.
"Today was probably the kindest thing anyone has ever done for me." She looked up to meet Miranda's eyes. They were soft and kind and so full of love. "Giving me the chance to become what you need and to love you is something I will never take for granted." She took Miranda's other hand in hers. "We've spent the last few months talking without speaking, feeling without touching."
Miranda's mind was screaming, her body hummed and burned. Every word Andréa spoke hit her soul. She never would have believed she could be this responsive, this unbelievably in love.
"We've come so far from where we began, but we both know we still have a long way to go."
Miranda blinked slowly.
"I would like to start moving towards our future together. If that's what you want."
"Yes," the older woman whispered, "that would be acceptable."
Andy released the breath she was holding and smiled, that beautiful smile that lit her eyes and filled Miranda spirit. She would never tire of putting that expression on the young beauty's face.
Andy leaned in closer to her ladylove and kissed her on the cheek. She closed her eyes, absorbing the feel of a soft warm skin beneath her lips. She heard and felt Miranda take two quick sharp breaths.
When Andy drew back and opened her eyes, she had to catch her breath as well. The smile on Miranda's face was one she hoped to put their a million times more. She was so stunning; she glowed and her eyes shone bright blue.
"I'll see you Sunday."
"Yes," Miranda squeezed the soft gentle hands in hers, "you will."
They released their hold on each other, reluctantly, and Miranda stepped around her to the door. She turned to her in the doorway, "oh, and Andréa, see that you flatter another designer as you did Gucci today on Sunday. That's all."
Miranda turned on her Prada heels and left an evil grin on her face.
Andy chuckled and shook her head, "yes Miranda." She closed the door on the retreating woman's back. Her head rested against the door and a long sigh left her lungs. "Damn, I love that woman." She turned and went to change her clothes and continue the tasks she was doing before the whirlwind that was Miranda had arrived.
Andy was up early Sunday morning. She was expecting the troops between eight and nine. That was almost 2 hours away. So she decided to take a walk in her new neighborhood to try to find a coffeehouse. Keeping Miranda and the other's well supplied with caffeine all day was definitely a must.
The writer made it back to her apartment twenty minutes before eight. Five minutes to spare, enough time to set up the coffee and pastries for everyone, before her loves standard fifteen minute earlier rival.
7:45 on the dot the buzzer sounded. Andy smiled as she walked to the intercom and push the button to allow everyone's entrance.
Miranda had picked up Nigel. Emily and Serena arrived as they pulled up in a car. The two younger women had made a decision to no longer keep their relationship a secret from their boss. After all, she was in a relationship with another woman as well. They knew she was well aware that it had no effect on their job performances, or she would have discovered it long ago. So, they were walking hand-in-hand to meet the car as it stopped and Miranda and Nigel got out.
Miranda looked at the join hands then up at their faces and gave a slight nod, turned and made her way to the steps of Andy's building and pushed the doorbell.
Doug arrived a little after eight. He had been the one friend, outside RUNWAY, that knew how Andy felt about Miranda. She had turned to him after Nate left for Boston, hoping he would understand her confusion and lack of sadness over their breakup. He had and was her biggest supporter in following her dreams, all of her dreams.
Andy knew his first meeting of the woman who had held her heart would be a dream come true for him. He had idolized the fashion editor years before Andy went to work for her as her second assistant. Dougie was extremely knowledgeable of the fashion world and Miranda especially.
The look of shock and surprise on his face was worth her decision not to tell him she would be there to help.
Nigel took in the designer jeans and Banana Republic crew-T he was wearing and gave Andy as sly grin and a wink when Doug turned to meet Emily and Serena.
"And this is Miranda. Miranda I would like you to meet my oldest and dearest friend, Doug." A true smile softened the older woman's face as she extended her hand to shake his.
"It is a pleasure to meet you Douglas."
"The pleasure and honor is mine." He smiled his charming schoolboy smile at her. "I have great respect for everything you have accomplished in your career."
Miranda could see the sincerity in his eyes, but then, any true friend of 'her' Andréa would need to be as honest and sincere as she was. Surely he was someone Andréa could lean on when she was not able to be there for her. The older woman had a feeling he would protect Andréa from anything that could hurt her, including one very famous Dragon Lady.
"Thank you Douglas. I take that as a huge compliment." Miranda turned to her employees. "Let's get started."
Everyone immediately moved to the boxes delivered the day before and began putting things in their appropriate rooms to be opened and organized.
It was getting close to 5 PM. Andy decided it was time to start dinner. "I hope everyone is hungry."
"Are you cooking for us Andy?" Doug asked with a happy smile on his face.
"Yes Dougie." She grinned slyly. "Is that okay with you?"
Miranda watched the interaction. Obviously Andréa's cooking was something Douglas was happily excited about.
"Are you kidding Andy, for one of your meals I'd do this," He motioned around the room, "everyday."
"Flattery will not get you extra helpings Dougie." She laughed, he frowned. Andy turned to Miranda and smiled, "I'm going to start dinner." Then she got a worried look on her face, "you'll be staying won't you? I shouldn't have assumed. I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for all they did today to help me."
Miranda's face softened with a slight smile. "We will be staying." Andy sighed and smiled. She headed toward the kitchen, with Miranda following. "I wasn't aware you cooked."
The young woman turned to look at her as they entered the kitchen. "Looking back, I think it was the only thing Nate and I really had in common." She grinned. "Unfortunately, our friends thought I was better at it than him." She turned and opened the refrigerator, "not a big ego boost for chef," she laughed. Andy moved to the counter with the items. "I guess that should have been the first sign we weren't meant to be." She turned to look at the woman she loved leaning regally against the counter across from her listening intently. "He never supported anything I did, if it inconvenienced him or is pride at all, especially working at RUNWAY. I guess I just got used to it. I didn't want to see what was obviously right in front of my face." She shrugged and moved to finish retrieving her cooking supplies.
Miranda shifted, "I will hel…" she caught herself, "may I help with anything?"
Andy turned in beamed a glorious smile at her. "I would enjoy that very much." She laid her hand on Miranda's arm and squeezed it gently, then turned to the stove. "Do you like veal?"
"Oh good. This is Dougie's favorite meal. I hope you guys like it." She began preparing the ingredients.
"I'm sure it would be lovely." Miranda smiled softly. "What can I do to help?"
Andy turned, "if you could chop up the vegetables for the rice…" she caught the look and Miranda's eyes, she looked, so at ease, comfortable. "…That would be great."
The two women glided around the kitchen together like a choreographed dance; smooth and easy, only touching on purpose when moving behind each other to avoid colliding. Both would smile when the electricity flowed between them at every touch, savoring the comfortable ease with which they worked together.
Miranda set Andy's new dining room table, with the new dishes she had chosen, while the writer finished up the meal. Doug opened one of the bottles of wine he had snuck out earlier to get and poured as the others seated themselves and Miranda and Andy brought the food to the table.
"Six, this smells incredible." Nigel told her. "No wonder it's hard work to keep that size four ass of yours." He chuckled.
"Ha, Ha, Ha. You're so funny Nigel." She leaned over and gave him a peck on the cheek, "but I love you anyway."
He smiled and blushed at the sentiment. "Ditto"
Andy looked at Emily and Serena. Em seemed uncomfortable looking at the food on the table. "Don't worry Em, you've earned these few carbs today." She leaned over to whisper between the two women, "besides, think of the energy it will give you for later." She winked at Serena, who smiled slyly. Emily turned as red as her hair. Miranda raised a curious brow, wondering what the younger woman could have said.
"Bloody hell, Sachs." But she grinned wickedly at Serena.
Miranda watched Andrea's interaction with everyone. She could tell the young woman felt at home and happy. Her heart filled with pride knowing she had had a part in helping her feel that way.
Andy waited for Miranda to take her seat, the one to her right. She then picked up her glass of wine. "I'd like to say something."
Everyone looked at her.
"What you have all done for me today is not something I will ever forget, nor can I repay your kindness and your friendship. You have helped to give me a new home and I hope to make many wonderful memories here with each of you." She looked at each of them as she spoke, but her gaze ended at Miranda for the next words. "I love you all very much." At Miranda's almost silent gasp she continued and looked at the rest of her friends, her family. "Thank you" she lifted her glass. "For someone to allow you to choose them as a friend is an honor. For them to allow you to choose them as family is a privilege." Tears rimmed everyone's eyes, including Miranda's. "To my friends, my family."
Everyone lifted their glasses and spoke as one "To Andy, Andréa."
She beamed with the tear a streaked face. They had begun to fall as she spoke, unaware her emotions had been so strong.
Miranda leaned over and cupped her cheek as she wiped the tears with her thumb. The silence was deafening, the gesture gentle. Andy cupped her hand with her own leaning into the touch and smiled at her love.
They retracted their hands and turned to face the others who quickly looked away, but had finally, truly witnessed the love between the two women. "Let's eat." Doug said breaking the silence.
Andy laughed. "Just save some for everyone else Dougie."
He deigned a hurt look and smiled, "if you wanted me to share, you shouldn't have made all my favorites."
Two everyone's pleasure, the meal; veal spedini, creamy rice with vegetables and steamed asparagus, was filled with conversation, laughter, smiles and wine, lots of wine, thanks to Doug.
"Andy this is one of the best meals I've ever eaten." Serena said around a mouthful of rice.
"I agree" said Nigel. "I think we need to make this a weekly get-together. We will supply the food and wine, and you work your magic."
"I'm glad to cook for any of you at any time."
Andy felt more content and relaxed than she had ever felt, in her new home with the people she cared about and the woman she loved. She leaned back in her chair with her glass of wine in her hands and just watched happily, taking in the new decor and furnishings as background to the view in front of her. Her friends were all involved in conversation and not paying her any attention, well most of them.
Miranda watched her love out of the corner of her eye. She was smiling as she looked on at her friends enjoying themselves.
The happy sigh that escaped the younger woman only confirmed in the editors mind that some things between them were not equal. Some things Miranda was going to have to better herself at to be Andrea's equal. Comfortably enjoying the interaction of friends was now top of her list. The fashionista was never one to ignore or back down from a challenge. She knew she could meet any obstacles their relationship would encounter, if only because of the beautiful woman on her left.
The woman who loved her.
Paris fashion week was quickly approaching. Miranda had originally thought she would feel remiss about going back only a year after Andréa had walked away from her. However, all she could feel now was grateful. The wonderful changes the year had brought them proved it to have been a blessing.
They were together. Well, kind of. They were working towards the stable permanency they both desired. Neither of Miranda's two failed marriages had any of the strength her relationship with Andréa was already showing.
Paris fashion week was the most important week of her year. The shows, designers, meetings, photo shoots were all the ingredients she gathered for the recipe she used to keep RUNWAY number one.
That being the case, wouldn't it make sense, from a business standpoint, of course, to also add the most sought after writer in the business right now? A writer, who could contribute to the experience that was fashion week in Paris. Someone who could take all the magic and beauty that fueled Miranda for the following year and present it to her readers. So that they too could enjoy the wonders of discovering all that magic and beauty had to offer.
Irv had been hounding her to get Andréa to write something for them. What better way than to have her go along with them to Paris to gather all of the information firsthand? Plus the added benefit of the publicity. Being seen there as part of the RUNWAY staff would be enough for Irv and the board members of Elias-Clark to wiggle in their seats with excitement.
Oh yes, and there was that added advantage of being in Paris with Andréa not acting as her assistant. But as her what, girlfriend? That's what they were to each other, right? Where better to have a first date than in the city of love.
Andy was typing away at her new desk, in her new office, in her new home. She was going through her e-mails and reading over job offers, when her phone rang.
"Honestly Andréa, is that really how a professional successful writer should answer her phone?" There was no malice in her voice, just teasing.
Andy grinned and leaned back in her chair. "You're absolutely right dear. How about this? 'Thank you for calling Andréa Sachs, extremely successful, professional, busy writer. I would love to talk to you, however, my girlfriend has me using this insanely long phone greeting, which, because I am so successful and busy, I do not have the time to talk to you.' Does that work better for you sweetheart?"
Miranda had tears in her eyes from laughing. "Maybe you should just stick with what you had darling." Her laughter was dying into chuckles.
Andy was laughing too. "You have the most musical laugh. It's delightful."
"Thank you. You do seem to bring it out to me." Her voice was now soft and sweet.
"I hope that will always be the case." Andy replied, just us sweetly.
"Hmm, me too"
"So, to what do I owe the pleasure of hearing your marvelous voice?"
Right, back to business. "I have a proposition for you."
"Really" she drew out seductively.
Miranda felt her stomach flutter. "A business proposition."
"I'm really not going to touch that one sweetheart."
"Andréa!" she was grinning into the phone. Andy knew that if she could see her, the older woman's cheeks would be flushed pink.
"Okay." She chuckled. "What is your proposition?"
"I would like you to do a twelve piece series for RUNWAY. Covering the designers and designs we will be viewing in Paris during fashion week. I want it to cover the experience of the week and how that lends itself to the following year and what it contributes to the production and content of the magazine."
There was silence on the other end of the line. She waited for a moment. "Andréa?"
"Yeah, yeah. I'm here." She was trying to wrap her head around it. "So, you want me, to go to Paris, with you?"
Miranda could hear the trepidation in the younger woman's voice. 'Stay calm Miranda, don't scare her off.' She thought. "Yes."
"And then write about it, for a year long series?"
"Yes." Miranda was beginning to think she may have made a mistake.
"And go to the functions, with you?"
'Oh my, I've blown it. It's too soon.' "Yes."
"As a writer for RUNWAY?"
Time to fess up. "Yes and no" she heard Andréa released a long sigh.
"Have you thought about the potential consequences of that no?"
"And are you sure you are ready to deal with all of the possible consequence?"
Miranda steeled herself, and with all the conviction and love she could put into her voice she replied, "Yes darling." Andréa was silent again. She waited, realizing she never wanted anything so much in her life as she wanted Andréa to say yes and to go with her to Paris again. "Of course, if you're not ready, I under…" she was interrupted.
"Yes?" A single tear began to silently fall over Miranda soft cheek.
"Yes, my love, I would very much like to accept your business proposition, and go to Paris with you."
"Really. I do have one condition, though."
"Oh?" The editor held her breath.
"I only fetch you coffee, if I want to." She said it is deadpan as she could with the smile on her lips.
Miranda released her breath and smirked. "I believe I can accommodate that condition."
Both women were quiet for a minute as they regained their composure and digested what this would mean. Andy spoke first. "We are really going to do this." It was a statement.
"I think," Miranda organized her thoughts quickly, wanting to use the right words for this. "I think, no, I know I want to start our next chapter. I'm ready to find out how our story is going to be written."
"I want that too, very much. Have you discussed this with the girls? It's going to be much bigger in the press than the divorce and I know you don't want them hurt anymore."
"Yes, I thought about that. I'm pretty sure they have some idea that something is going on with me, and I know they only want me to be happy."
"Miranda, I would like to make something very clear before we go any further. I will never, ever come between you and your girls. I know what they mean to you. I would rather love you from afar and live without you than see you or them hurt because of us."
Tears rimmed the editor's eyes again. "Darling, Andréa. That is one of the things that makes you so dear to me. I truly believe you mean that with all your heart. However, I don't think it will come to that." She sighed. "It may take them a while to adjust, but they are very resilient."
"Just like their mother."
"Yes, I guess so."
"If you like, if you think it would help, the three of you can come over for dinner and they can meet me again, this time, not as your assistant."
"I think that would be lovely."
Andréa smiled. "Good. Just let me know when."
"I don't have anything scheduled for Friday night. Does that work for you?"
"Friday it is. Do they have any favorite meals?" Andy grabbed a pen and a piece of paper.
"Caroline loves macaroni and cheese and Cassidy is a big fan of roast beef."
"And what about you?"
"You don't know?"
"I know never to assume what you may want. Your needs, those I can manage."
Miranda was blushing and her stomach fluttered again. "I believe you can, you are very good at anticipating my needs."
"Hopefully that will only improve over time."
"Indeed. As for what I like to eat, after the exquisite meal you prepared last week. I have no concerns about eating anything you fix."
"Alright, how does seven o'clock sound?"
"That sounds wonderful. I'll have Emily send you the information you'll need for Paris and the contracts." Miranda closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "We'll see you in a couple of days."
"I'll be here."
"Goodnight my Miranda."
"Holy Fucking Shit!" so much for her being eloquent with words. Andy covered her face with her hands. She took a deep breath and slid her hands to rest her fingers on her lips and whispered through them, "Oh. My. God. We are really going to do this. In four weeks, the entire world will know I'm in love with Miranda Priestly, and" she smiled. "That she is in love with me."
Andy picked up her phone and dialed "Dougie. I need you to get over here right now and bring alcohol."
"Honey, are you okay?"
"Better than okay. Just get here, fast."
He was already on his way out the door. "Okay, okay. I'll be there in fifteen"
She hung up and held the phone to her lips. Andy was sure she was about to explode from the excitement.
After the initial frenzy of her announcement to Doug wore off they sat in the living room, drinking wine. Leave it to Doug to bring her back to earth in an utterly realistic way.
"What are you going to do about your parents?"
"I haven't given it much thought yet. I guess I should just call them." She looked up at him, "or do you think I should tell them in person?"
"Well, you know my answer for that. I definitely wish I had done it over the phone." They laughed. They could laugh about it now. Doug's parents had come to accept him being gay. But in the beginning it was really hard on him, how they made him feel like he has let them down. She was there for him and he would be there for her.
"Yeah, and you just told them you liked guys. Let's not forget who I have to tell them I'm dating." She stopped laughing and grinned. Her parents knew only the side of her former boss that tormented and belittled her during her employment at RUNWAY.
"But things are different Andy. You are different. They know how happy you are. They'll realize that a big part of that is your relationship with Miranda. You'll see, it'll be okay." He leaned in and squeezed her knee.
"I hope you're right." She sighed and took a drink.
"Are you going to tell Lily?"
"Hmm. I don't know. We really haven't talked much since Nate. I don't think she really cares what I do anymore." She chuckled, "funny how my misery was okay with her, but now that I'm successful and happy, she doesn't want anything to do with me. So much for being my best friend."
"Yeah, well that's Lily. She doesn't even bother to return my calls. I'm a traitor in her eyes."
"Thank God! I don't know what I would have done without you this last year."
"You would have been fine. But I'm glad I was here. Especially now," he smiled evilly at her, "just think of all the 'perks' you'll get is Miranda Priestley's girlfriend."
"You ass." She laughed with him. They refilled their wineglasses. "She's bringing the girls over on Friday night for dinner." She tapped her finger on her glass she held it to her mouth.
"Wow. That's, wow." He looked at her for a moment trying to read her expression. "You're worried."
"Sure, wouldn't you be?"
"I guess so, yeah. I just didn't stop to think about it. Hmm. What if they won't accept it or you?"
"I already told her I will not come between her and her girls." She stared off into space. "Comical, isn't it. After everything we've been through and how far we've come, and now our fate rests in the hands of twin demon twelve-year-olds."
"It could be worse."
She looked at him with a questioning glare.
"They could've been triplets."
"Very funny smartass." She finished her glass of wine and filled it again. She wanted to get sloshed and forget about the feared results in the coming days. She felt more terrified about losing Miranda now than she ever would have believed.
She knew losing her now, would destroy something in her that would never be able to be rebuilt or replaced.
Part of her soul would die.
Andy decided to wear her True Religion jeans and Donna Karan blouse. She thought meeting the girls again in casual, comfortable clothes would help keep the mood relaxed. She grinned to her self as she turned to look at her backside in the mirror, "and hopefully Miranda will like the view."
It was 6:30. Her guests would be there in fifteen minutes. She went to the kitchen to check on dinner. Then to the living room to make sure everything was ready. She had rented a couple of movies and set up the Wii, just in case something was needed to occupy the girl's attention.
At 6:45 the doorbell rang. Andy walked over and hit the buzzer to let them into the building. She moved to the door, ran her hands through her hair, smooth her shirt and took a deep breath as she reached for the door knob. She opened the door just as Miranda was in mid-motion to knock.
She smiled broadly, trying to hide her fear and nervousness. "Hello ladies." Andy stepped back opening the door, "come in, please"
The girls preceded their mother into the apartment; Andy closed the door behind her. "Let me take your coats."
The three Priestly's handed them over and Andy hung them in the front closet. She turned and looked at Miranda. "Hi"
"Hi" she smiled at her. The twins notice the light in their mother's eyes. They looked at each other; they only ever saw her eyes glow like that for them. "Andréa, these are my girls." She laid her hand on one shoulder. "This is Caroline," then the other, "and this is Cassidy."
"It's a pleasure to finally meet you, officially." She said. She immediately noticed a difference in the twins. Caroline had several extra freckles on her nose, but that was the only obvious visual distinguishing difference, she hoped their personalities, would show stronger distinctions between them.
"I hope everyone is hungry."
"It smells delicious." Cassidy said.
"Well I hope the tastes that way." Andy smiled at her. "Why don't we go to into the kitchen." They followed her.
"I really like your place, Andy" Caroline said looking around.
"Thanks Caroline." She looked at the girl and caught the surprise in her, and the other two sets of matching blue eyes. The girl's voices were the distinction she was hoping for.
Both girls looked at their mother just smiled at them.
There was again, that glow, and it was one of her real smiles.
"I wasn't sure what you would want to drink." She opened the fridge, "so I got some juice, milk, soda, ice tea. Take your pick, help yourselves. The glasses are in the cabinet to the right of the sink." She looked at their startled glances to each other, then their mother. Andy had decided she was going to do this her way, be herself. Let them see just who it was their mother cared about.
That person was plain Andy. No-frills, no fuss. "Make yourselves at home. The Wii set up the living room or you can look around if you want. Dinner will be ready in just a few minutes." She smiled at them and they smiled back. "Miranda would you like a drink or glass of wine?"
My God, she loved this woman. "Yes, please. Wine would be excellent." She watched as Andréa poured a glass of wine. The young woman had in a matter of minutes, used her charm to relax everyone. The girls decided on juice, and indeed made themselves at home getting their own glasses and pouring themselves each glassful. They set them on the kitchen counter and turned to get an okay look from their mother to go explore. She nodded to them and they headed back into the living room.
Miranda took the glass of wine from Andréa, holding her hand around the other woman's. "Thank you."
"My pleasure." She beamed at her.
"How do you do that Andréa?"
Andy had turned to retrieve the food from the oven. "Do what sweetheart?"
"Make everyone around you feel so at ease and comfortable."
"I don't know. I just be myself, I guess." She turned back around to see Miranda staring at her ass she grinned. "Like what you see?" She raised her eyebrows in true Miranda fashion.
"Mmm indeed." She looked up to meet the younger woman's eyes. Andy saw the hodgepodge of emotions in them.
"What is it?" The younger woman continued to dish out the food onto serving plates, instantly deciding to let the older woman find her own pace for the answer.
Miranda sipped her wine. "It, it still surprises me, what I feel when I look at you." Andy kept her back to the woman, absorbing every single word, blinking slowly. She just nodded her head. "It's all very new to me."
At this Andy turned to face her. "For me too" telling her without saying it that she had never been attracted to a woman before either. "But for me, it feels right, more right than anything I've ever felt."
Miranda looked at her. "Yes, for me too" they smiled at each other.
"You want to get the girls and head to the dining room."
"Yes." The editor turned to retrieve her daughters. When the three entered the dining room, Andy had all the food on the table and their drinks as well.
She saw both girls faces light up when they saw their favorite dishes on the table.
They took their seats as Andy stood carving the roast. "Cassidy, if you pass me a plate…"
The preteen all but threw it like a Frisbee at her.
"Wow this looks good." Caroline was eyeing at the homemade macaroni and cheese.
Miranda was smiling at Andréa "Yes it does."
Andy smiled at her as she handed Cassidy her plate back, now containing her favorite entrée.
"Caroline" Andy motioned for the girl's plate and laid the meat on it as she held it out. She then filled Miranda's and her own. They all passed the other dishes. Once everyone's plates were full Andy spoke smiling, "Well, let's dig in."
Both girls took a bite of their favorites first. Andy and Miranda waited for the response. Huge twin smiles are what they received.
"Andy this is awesome." Cassidy said after she swallowed.
"This is the best mac and cheese I've ever had, no offense mom." Caroline smiled sheepishly.
"None taken darling." She took a bite of her pasta as well. She nodded her head as she chewed. When her mouth was empty, "Mmm, I agree it is better than mine. I guess I know where to send you when your cravings get too bad." The older woman grinned at her daughter.
Cassidy spoke up, "Andy, where did you learn to cook so good?"
Andy finished chewing her mouthful. "My mom, and my ex-boyfriend was a chef." The older woman saw the girls exchange looks.
"You had a boyfriend?" Caroline asked. Andy looked at Miranda, whose face gave nothing away. So she decided right then, her relationship with the girls was going to be an open and honest one. "Yes, I did. We were together for three years. We broke up about a year ago."
This was news to Miranda. She had no idea their relationship it been that long.
"Did you breakup because of mom?"
Miranda's eyes went wide this time.
"It may have had a little bit to do with it. He didn't like my job at RUNWAY. But it was more than that. We just grew apart and didn't have anything in common anymore." Andy took a drink of her wine.
It was quiet for a few minutes as they ate. Then Cassidy dropped the big bomb. "So now you love our mom?"
Miranda coughed, almost choking on her food and Andy patted her back.
She nodded her head and took a drink of water. "Cassidy!"
"What mom. We know you love her, you don't hide it very well."
Caroline chimed in. "You talk about her all the time and tonight we saw how you looked at her."
"You only look at us like that mom," Cassidy cut in, "it's your 'you mean everything to me' look."
Miranda's mouth was opening and closing with nothing coming out as she looked back and forth between her girls.
Andy grinned broadly and looked at her with her own version of that look, the one that said, you mean everything to me too. Her words were meant to answer the twins question, but also to tell Miranda what not yet been spoken in words.
"Yes Cassidy. I love your mother very much."
Miranda snapped her head to face Andréa. Her expression totally blanked. Very suddenly tears filled the older woman's eyes and began to run down her cheeks.
Both girls gasped. They had never seen their mother cry.
Miranda was trying to find her voice. What better place to declare their love for each other for the first time than in front of her children. The only two other people it would truly affect.
When she finally spoke, her voice was soft, but strong, and she smiled. "And I love you very much too Andréa."
Caroline and Cassidy rose from their chairs and moved to their mother side each wrapping her in a hug. Her arms unconsciously encircled them and held them tight.
Andy laid her hand on Miranda's arm and squeezed it. The girls held her tightly then each of them kissed a tear stained cheek. They released her and each girl gave Andy a hug in turn, then returned to their seats. Andy's face also, was now wet with happy tears. She laid her hand palm up on the table in front of Miranda. The older woman placed hers on top of it. They laced their ten fingers together, both looking at it and recognizing the meaning.
They were now a couple. They were together.
During the weeks leading up to Paris fashion week Miranda and Andy were both extremely busy. Aside from phone calls every evening to tell each other about their days, they had no time to spend together. However, with Andy now working from home, her schedules flexibility did allow her to take the twins to the park and a movie while their mother was spending long hours at her office preparing for the trip.
Andy was spending her time researching and collecting information on the designers they would be seeing and the history of the annual event. Her desire to write the best series of her career drove her to want to understand the beauty and magic that held fashion deep within Miranda's soul. She had come to realize that that love is what propelled the older woman to create, build and fight to maintain the iconic power house that was Miranda Priestly.
This trip held so many layers of meaning for the young writer. It was a chance to bring something new and original to the magazine. To write pieces that could share the knowledge and information about how and why the industry existed. And what that means to people who live in and for the world of fashion.
The trip was a chance to close the circle of her relationship with Miranda. Returning to the place where their ties ended and were given the opportunity to begin again. The place where they could let go of the past and start the future.
The trip to Paris together was also the venue they would use to announce their love to the world. A love so rare and intense, many people would find it impossible to comprehend or understand. Few would try. Most would deny his existence and call it a misguided attempt for Miranda to grab onto her youth or Andy to latch onto power. In the end though, they would have the strength of their love to hold them together long after the nay-sayers had returned to their small little worlds.
This trip to Paris was much more than just a jump over the pond. For Andy it was the real first step to heading her life in the direction her dreams had mapped out for her.
Once they arrived in the city of lights. Miranda went into full icon mode. Spouting directions to her staff with her normal rapid fire pace. It continued in the limo ride from the airport to the hotel. No one would notice the difference in the fashionista's demeanor, unless they were to looked down at the seat and see the pale hand with its fingers interlaced with the icons.
Andy sat quietly, looking out the car window as they glided through the Paris streets. Her own thoughts focused on the weeklong itinerary. Creating a tunnel vision of her own in her mind's eye the light at the end being absorbed into Miranda's world as she never was as her assistant. She was intent on capturing every moment and storing them away to use in writing the best articles of her career.
A thumb gently brushed over her fingers pulling her back from her thoughts. Miranda had not stopped speaking, which sent a thrill through Andy as she realized the older woman was unconsciously caressing her hand. She was so comfortable in their connection her love was unaware of her action.
Andy and Miranda became separated upon entering the hotel. Without a second thought Andy made her way to the desk to check in. While waiting for the key to her room she felt the presence of someone behind her. The writer turned and was looking into the face of Christian Thompson.
Miranda watched from across the lobby as the notorious playboy attempted to lean in and kiss her Andréa. Her lips split it into an evil grin as Andréa smoothly avoided the contact with a slight shift of her body, making Christian stumbled as he kissed thin air.
"Surely you're not still angry with me about what happened a year ago?" He asked Andy, using his best boyish charm smile.
She turned back to the desk, took a room key and thanked the receptionist. "Actually," Andy turned back to face him, "I just have no desire to have you kiss me." She caught Miranda's eye. "If you'll excuse me, I have things I need to do."
As she went to move away from him, he took hold of her arm.
Miranda saw Andréa jerk at the touch and headed to intercept the two writers.
"Mr. Thompson." He turned to see a fire and Miranda's eyes and heard the ice in her voice as she seethed his name.
"Miranda, how lovely to see you again." he moved closer to Andy. She smirked at his blatant attempt to show possessiveness. But it was time to make very clear to this Casanova, to whom Andréa belonged to and with.
Miranda held out her hand for Andrea to take, but kept her eyes on Christians. She wanted no questions in his mind as to the current state of their relationship. "Are you ready darling?" She watched as the colour drained from the man's face when he saw Andréa clasp hands with the editor.
"Always" she offered a smile to Christian, a scathing. Miranda-ish smile, "Goodbye Christian."
The writer stood, mouth agape, watching the women walk away. He finally shook his head to clear it then muttered to himself as he walked away, "That gives a whole new meaning to 'Miranda Girl'".
They entered the elevator still holding hands. Andy smiled at the joy that filled her over Miranda's jealousy. The silence, as always was comfortable between them.
Their fingers were still intertwined as the exited the elevator and headed to their rooms. Andy's was one door down from her loves, which gave them the closeness they both desired with privacy they were both aware they still needed.
The women stopped at Andy's door.
"We have a few hours before the first show." Miranda finally broke the silence.
"Good. I'd like to take a shower and change. Then get settled and set up my computer."
"Yes, very well. I will meet you down at the car in three hours." Andy could hear the bitterness in the older woman's voice. She had moved to release her hand, but Andy squeezed tighter.
"Hey." Miranda met her gaze. "We've got plenty of time. Okay." She brushed the editor's cheek with the back of her hand. "I'm not going anywhere."
Miranda smiled and leaned into the touch. "You're right. I'm sorry. I'm just being silly." She took hold of Andy's hand and gently kissed her palm.
"You are not silly. I want everything you want, but this relationship is at another new stage for both of us." Miranda looked lovingly into her eyes. "We've taken our time with every step to get here. I don't want to rush this part." She smiled at her love. "Let's just enjoy everything this week has to offer us, and take it one step at a time, okay."
"Yes. I want us to take pleasure in every moment we have together."
"Good." She leaned in and kissed Miranda on the cheek and squeezed her hand. "I'll see you in a while." Andy released the other woman's hand and unlocked the door. She stepped inside and turned to look at Miranda with all the love she had for her. "I'll never leave you again, my love." She turned and closed the door.
Miranda stood looking at the closed door and whispered, "And I'll never again give you a reason to." She moved a few steps to her own room and entered.
When Andy arrived in the lobby later that afternoon she found Miranda sitting regally and a classic wingback chair facing the elevators. She smiled at the woman knowing it was for her entrance alone, that her love was seated there. As she approached the older woman's eyes grazed across her body from head to toe taking in the outfit she was wearing.
Andy had decided to wear her favorite, a vintage Chanel black sheathe. She had pulled her hair up in a classic French twist and her feet were clad in a pair of black Prada pumps.
A grin slipped to Miranda's lips when she saw the shoes. Andy was more than aware Prada heels were as much identified with her iconic image as her silver white hair style.
Andy drew nearer and Miranda gracefully rose from her seat. She leaned in and kissed Andréa on the cheek, allowing her lips to linger longer than that of a chaste kiss hello. Her hand and immediately reached for Andréa's as she pulled back slowly. She whispered, "You look lovely dear."
"Thank you sweetheart" Andy stepped back, blatantly taking in Miranda from head to toe. She was wearing Andy's favorite charcoal Bill Blass trousers, (they made her backside look so delectable), with a Dolce top and jacket. The woman oozed power and confidence. She leaned back in to kiss Miranda's cheek then whispered in her ear. "You look hot!" When she pulled back she was pleased to see a slight blush in the older woman's cheeks.
Miranda cleared her throat "shall we go?"
The editor raised a brow at her. "Andréa…"
But the writer interrupted her. "Submissiveness allows me to walk behind you." She let a Cheshire grin cross her lips, "which is exactly where I want to be all day while you are wearing those pants."
This time the crimson rose from her chest to her cheeks. "Really Andréa."
"Really Miranda." She raised her brow and motioned for the older woman to precede her.
Miranda gently nodded and headed towards the door, putting just a bit of extra sway in her hips as she struted away.
Not for the first time or the last, Andy raised her eyes skyward and sighed a thank you to whoever had sent her this wonderful woman.
The car stopped at the curb next to the red carpet lined with photographers. Miranda squeezed the hand she held on her lap and looked at Andréa. "Are you ready?"
Andy squeezed back, looked into those beautiful blue eyes. "Are you sure this is what you want to do? There's no going back and I will not love you any less."
Miranda looked deeply into her expressive brown eyes." That is why I know I am ready. I want the world to know how much I love you. As long as I have you by my side, nothing anyone can do or say could change my mind about that."
"I love you Miranda."
"And I love you Andréa." Nigel had opened the door from the outside. "Follow me." She grinned.
"Ladies" Nigel offered his hand to Miranda who stepped out. Flashbulbs exploded all around them, but all she could see was Andréa's hand in Nigel's as he helped her exit the car. He moved between them and offered his elbows he each "shall we."
Both women smiled at him, then all three placed their respective business masks in place and headed down the aisle.
Andy was soon pulled away from them by reporters asking why she was there. It seems no one was aware or didn't realize her former ties to the Queen of Fashion, only that she was the most sought after writer around.
She answered questions put to her as eloquently as her words flowed across the paper. Andy informed them that she was in Paris as a writer for RUNWAY doing a series about the annual event.
Miranda watched, pride filling her as Andréa moved comfortably along the throng of camera flashes and shouted questions.
When they entered the event, all eyes moved to the fashion icon and her entourage. They moved to take their seats in the front row, but Andy remained behind. Miranda suddenly felt the empty air around her and turned to look for her love. A familiar panic rose in her chest. But her eyes found the younger woman quickly standing behind the rows of seats at her back.
The older woman raised a questioning brow at the younger woman. Andy lifted her voice recorder and made the universal gesture for talking to Miranda and smiled.
Miranda nodded her head. Turning back around she couldn't help but feel a little disappointed that Andréa would not be sitting next to her, but she also felt a contentment knowing Andréa was thinking of her. The last thing the fashionista would want would be someone talking continually, editing and event as it happened, sitting right next to her. She would be sure to thank the younger woman after the show.
The fashion show held all the beauty and magic Andy remembered from the previous year. From her vantage point this time though, she watched as everyone in the room looked from the catwalk to Miranda. All eyes wanted to see the reaction the icon gave to each piece displayed. Andy smiled being reminded that, that powerful woman was hers. That only she, Cassidy and Caroline knew the secrets behind what gave her the strength she showed to the world everyday.
After the show ended she was again at Miranda side. The editor introduced her to the designer. He knew right away who she was, the writer, he was a huge fan, and when she inquired if she could ask him a few questions for the piece she was working on, he excitedly grabbed her arm and led her to a quiet place away from the crowd.
Andy looked over her shoulder at Miranda and shrugged. The older woman smirked and gave a single nod before turning her attention back to the throng around her dying for her attention.
The designer was new, well, relatively, ten years in the industry was still childhood compared to a lot of his peers.
After asking the three standard questions she hoped she would have the chance to ask every designer they saw, they return to the crowd gathered there for him.
As she suspected her lady was ready to take their leave. Miranda leaned in to air kiss the designer's cheeks congratulating him on a good showing. The smile on his face was so huge Andy thought his face would crack. 'Oh the power' she thought. She smiled and thanked the designer for his time.
When they turned to walk away, Andy felt Miranda place her hand in the small of her back, encouraging their departure together. It would be a subtle statement for most, but for the Queen, Ice Queen of fashion to touch another person possessively it was a blaring announcement of her intentions to the world.
A few noticed. Andy heard soft gasps as they walked through the models, artists and photographers. No one made a comment. No one wanted to ensue the wrath of the Dragon Lady this early in the week. A week, Andy just knew, a few or more were expecting to be very interesting indeed.
"I wanted to thank you for your consideration." Miranda said as the car pulled away and headed to the next event on Miranda schedule.
Andy looked at her bit confused "for what sweetheart?"
She motioned to Andy's clutch, which held the voice recorder, "That thing, you used to take notes. Thank you for not distracting me while you babbled into it. Incessantly, I'm sure."
Andy smiled at the left-handed statement of appreciation. "You're welcome. It's called a voice recorder. I've found it to be extremely helpful when I need to keep my eyes alert and not have to focus on writing notes. I see much more that way." She took Miranda's hand in her own. "That was one of the things I needed to set up on my computer. I can download what I record, then reference it when I'm writing out my outlines and drafts." Andy looked down at their hands. "Writing this series for you is very important to me." Looking up she met the woman's crystal blue eyes and spoke confidently, "it will be the best thing I have ever written."
Miranda raised their hands to her lips and kissed the back of Andréa's. "I have no doubts about that."
Andy squeezed her hand. "No, you don't understand. I want it to be the best thing I have ever or will ever write." She looked at the older woman again. "This series is what I want to be known and remembered for." She saw the flicker in Miranda's eyes is the meaning of her words dawned on her.
"Forever linking us together." Miranda said softly.
Andy just nodded.
Miranda took the woman's face into her hands. She leaned in and Andy moved to mirror the motion. A thrill ran through them as their lips touched for the first time. They closed their eyes and fell into the feeling of the soft gentleness of the connection. Both women allowed a quiet whimper escaped when Andréa cupped Miranda face and they intensified the strength of the kiss.
As they parted they blinked her eyes open, looking into each other's glazed orbs. Andréa sighed. "I've wanted to do that for so long."
Miranda grinned. "Me too"
They sat back in their seats and reached instinctively for each other's hands. Andy began to giggle. The editor looked at her with a raised eyebrow, Andréa didn't giggle.
"I'm sorry. It's just, I'm sitting in the backseat of a car driving through Paris, kissing Miranda Priestly." She shook her head. "I guess dreams do come true."
Miranda's features softened. "You've dreamt of kissing me?"
Andy gave her one of her radiant smiles. "Since the first time I sat in this same place. A year ago."
"Wow" Andy smiled broadened at the completely uncharacteristic comment.
"Indeed." She squeezed the older woman's hand.
The next two shows that first day set the routine they fell into for the rest of the week. They entered together, Andy took a place behind her love to make verbal notes, they greeted the designer, Andy got answers to her questions, they left, together.
It was a comfortable pattern, both were finding enjoyable. At the end of long busy days, they would return to their rooms, change and would then dine together and Miranda suite. Kissing goodnight had become the best part of the day for both, sometimes with just standing and holding each other for long periods of time.
The fourth night was the first occasion to go out and be seen as a couple. Ironically, it was for a dinner recognizing the advances James Holt had made in the past year since becoming a global brand.
For the first time in a year Andy was feeling nervous about being at Miranda side. Her old fears of not being good enough to be with the woman were surfacing. It was silly, she knew that, but tonight's event would be where they would possibly verbally confirm the rumors and announced, in no uncertain terms to the world that they were indeed a couple. A couple, whose reputations preceded them. A couple, whose power and influence in the publishing world could make or break careers. A couple, whose beauty could and would outshine most all in their vicinity. A couple, who, by choosing to be together would set the fashion world on its ear.
Andy closed her eyes and took the breath before opening them again to look at her reflection in the mirror. "You can do this." She told herself. "You can do this for her."
She gave her body a once over one last time. It had taken Nigel and Emily weeks to accomplish the miracle of acquiring the dress. Miranda had not seen it and she hoped the older woman would take it for the deep meaning she intended it to say; that she had always heard every word the editor said, since her very first day.
Andy had given Miranda key to her room and knew the woman had entered when she heard the soft click of the closing door. She smoothed her lipstick, fingered her hair, took another deep breath and exited the bathroom.
Miranda was standing next to the couch when she entered the sitting room. Andy caught her breath. The older woman was breathtaking. A chill ran down her spine as she looked at her. "Oh. My. God. Sweetheart you look amazing."
Miranda turned to thank her love, but the words were lost and her knees gave out causing her to sink unceremoniously onto the couch. Tears filled her eyes as she ran them up and down Andréa and the gown. She was speechless. The gown was from the De la Renta cerulean collection. Andy stood still unsure of what to say about the reaction.
Finally Miranda found her legs and rose from the couch to approach Andréa. She walked around her taking her in from every angle. Then she found her voice, "How? Where?"
Andy smiled. "Nigel and Emily helped"
The editor moved back to face her love. "I have never seen you look so beautiful. Thank you, my love." She took Andy's hands into her own. "I don't think you know how much this means to me, that you did this," she spread their arms out from their sides, "for me."
"I love you Miranda."
"More than I deserve." She leaned in and they shared a light kiss. Soft enough to convey their feelings and not smear their lipstick.
"Shall we. The car is waiting" Miranda said casually, motioning to the door.
Andy blinked slowly. "Yes." She picked up her clutch, and they headed to the fate that awaited them, together.
Andy watched through the car window as the opulence of the city passed by. Miranda could sense the woman's unease. "What is a darling?"
Andrea turned to her. "Nervous I guess. I don't know what I'm going to say, if anyone asks about us."
"Hmm, I see." She tilted her head to get a clearer view of Andréa's face. "What you want to say?"
Andy smiled. "That I love you with all my heart and soul"
Miranda blinked and placed her hand to her chest over her heart. "Then that is what we will say."
The older woman moved her hand from her chest to gently place two fingers on the other woman's lips. "Is it not the truth, for both of us?"
"Yes." She took the hand into her own. "But, it could cause you so much trouble."
Miranda turned in her seat, careful not to wrinkle her dress." Darling, the only thing that could cause me trouble is not having you by my side. I have waited too long to share my life with you. I will not be shamed into hiding any longer, my love for you. Anyone who matters to us will be happy we found each other, those who are not can go to hell." Then she grinned. "And I know just the devil to get them a ticket."
Andy laughed, breaking the serious moment and causing her to relax.
"Please do not ever change my love."
"I think someday you may regret that request my darling."
"No. I love you, all of you. I've seen you at your worst and at your best." She smiled. "I know the Dragon has a heart." Andy placed her hand on Miranda's sternum and felt her fingers tingle as a beating beneath them. The older woman placed both of hers on top of it.
They sat like that for long moments, looking into each other's eyes. When the car stopped and the driver got out to open their door the activity brought them back to the world. Miranda squeezed her hand.
"Are you ready my Andréa?"
She nodded as the door next to her opened. The driver took her hand and helped her out of the car. She stepped aside as he assisted her love. Flashes and voices exploded around her. Then in the glow of the bulbs firing, Miranda exited the car. Andy caught her breath, at the vision.
Miranda immediately took Andréa's hand upon stepping out of the car. There was a moment of stunned silence from the crowd. Then there was a burst of activity all around them, trying to capture and confirm what they were seeing.
They tightened their hold on each other's hands as they took the first steps into the lion's den. Andy blocked out everything and everyone except for Miranda. Her heart was racing, her blood rushed in her ears as she smiled for the cameras.
It wasn't until she felt the other woman stop that Andy was pulled back to reality. Someone was asking her question, Miranda was smiling at her slyly.
"I'm sorry, I didn't hear you. Would you repeat your question."
To reporter grinned at her with an honest look in his eyes. "Is there anything you would like to say regarding your relationship with Miranda Priestly?"
This was it. The moment she had feared. Should she say what she felt? Should she ignore the question? Should she reply evasively? She looked at Miranda, and in that moment, seeing the love and happiness in her eyes she knew there was only one thing to say.
"I love her with all of my heart." She turned back to the reporter. "That's all"
Every reporter, photographer and guest near them froze in silence. Miranda smiled a true, bigger than life smile at Andy and they moved to enter the building.
Outside everyone was going crazy. Not that the young writer had just outed their relationship to the world, but that the Snow Queen, Dragon Lady, Devil herself had smiled. Truly smiled at the younger woman and they were all still alive to say that they had witnessed it.
Inside the women made their way to the table where their friends and colleagues were seated. Nigel rose to greet them, kissing them in turn on the hand. "Miranda, Andy." He pulled their chairs out for them to be seated.
"Thank you Nigel" Miranda nodded.
He nodded back and turned Andy. "You look absolutely radiant doll."
"Thank you Nigel"
Miranda looked Andy with loving eyes. "I don't know what you and Emily had to do to get your to hands on that dress Nigel, but I assure you it was more than worth it." She looked at him, "Thank you my friend."
Nigel just bowed his head at her and took a seat.
Much to Andy's delight, her relationship with Miranda was not topic of the evening. They enjoyed themselves very much. After the event, Andy gave their driver quiet instructions to take them to the fountain of the Place de la Concorde.
As they drew closer Andy saw her reaction of emotions move across Miranda's face. She took her hand and whispered, "Trust me." Miranda looked at her with fear in her eyes and a hollow feeling in her stomach she had hoped to never experience again. Her voice was trapped in her throat, so she nodded her confirmation.
The vehicle stopped and the driver help them out the car. Miranda exited first and when Andy followed she found her staring across the street at an empty flight of stairs.
The memory flashed and Miranda's mind. Turning to say Andréa's name and being met only with cameras flashing in her eyes. Only her trademark sunglasses permitted a shield against the bulbs exploding enough to see the figure in black walking away, away from her.
Andy ran her hand up and down the woman's arms soothingly.
Miranda turned to face her. She had a tear track on each of her cheeks.
Andy took her face in her hands and wiped each tier was a thumb. "I'm so sorry." She held her face and Miranda raised her hands to cover her loves on her face. Andy continued. "I'm sorry I hurt you. That was never or will ever be my intention. But I'm not sorry I left. I had to so we could be here, where we are now." She smiled. "And there is nowhere or with anyone else I ever want to be again. I'm in love with you Miranda. My heart is so full of love for you, I sometimes think it will explode. You complete every dream I've ever had or will have. I would only exist without you. With you, I live." Andy had tears running down her face. "I wanted to be here with you to start our new life together where our old life together ended."
Miranda clutched the woman's hands to her face tighter. "Oh my darling Andréa." She took a breath and gathered her words. "I never thought I could feel so much for anyone but my children. My heart has you wrapped around it so tightly you cause it to beat. I know I am not an easy woman love, yet somehow your heart is big enough to do so. Because of that I find myself, for the first time wanting to be better, to be good enough to deserve your love for me." She proceeded to pull each of Andy's hands to her lips and kissed them. "I know this relationship will have its obstacles, but in the end, a life with you is more of a blessing that I ever dreamed possible. I'm in love with you Andréa and I will be until I no longer exist."
Andy's face was soaked in tears, her eyes glowed with love.
They leaned into each other's space and kissed each other. Andy slid her hands around Miranda's neck, running her fingers through the soft gray hair at her nape. Miranda in turn slid her arms around the younger woman's waist. Together they pulled each other closer and deepened the kiss. Pouring into it all of the love and desire, want and need for the other that they felt.
When they finally broke to breathe they leaned to for heads together. "Thank you for loving me Andrea."
"Thank you for letting me Miranda."
So, they both knew, in this place that had once held sad painful memories for them both, now was the place where they had begun the life and dreams they would build together.