"Mom…Mom…Mom!" Andy's efforts to break into her mother's rant were proving futile. Sighing, she leaned back in the chair and let her mom vent. The speaker phone allowed the vitriol to echo throughout Miranda's study. Andy couldn't help feeling that the pristine walls would somehow be tainted by the vicious things her mother was uttering against her relationship with their owner.
"…that conniving bitch is only looking for a young piece of ass and you're inexperienced enough to give it to her. Really, Andy, have you lost your mind?"
Andy's eyes widened and her face suffused with a red fury. How dare anyone say such a thing about Miranda?
"Now you just wait one damned minute!" she roared, startling her mother into silence. The door flew open and someone rushed in, but Andy was too intent on her anger to look up to see who it was. "Nobody and I mean NOBODY, says that kind of shit about Miranda in my hearing. You might be my mother, but she's my wife and I won't listen to that kind of trash about her. And for your information, she's the one who tried to end this, not me. I've got what I want, and that's Miranda. You don't have to accept it. Hell, you don't even have to like it, but you do have to shut up about it. This is my life and I make the choices in it. You're always going on and on about how you want grandchildren. Well, you've got them and more to come, if you're not so biased against their other mother that I decide you're a bad influence on my children. Think about that before you say one more word against my wife." Andy paused, chest heaving, and waited for a response.
"Andy, this is Dad. Your mother just walked out. I think it would be best if we called you back later. Give everyone a chance to calm down. I don't agree with your choice, but you're right. It is your life. I'll talk to your mom." His tone was placating and it calmed Andy just enough to respond without yelling.
"Remind her of what Granma said when you two announced your engagement. That's a damn big glass house she's living in," Andy snapped.
Richard chuckled softly. "I'd forgotten about that. You're right. We'll call you later, Honey. And for what it's worth, congratulations. I hope you'll both be very happy."
"Thanks, Dad." Andy ended the call. Grabbing her hair in fisted hands, she yanked on it and roared, "Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh."
"I believe my last budget meeting with Irv was more peaceful," Miranda observed from where she leaned against the doorframe. "Though I can assure you my vocabulary was much less colorful."
"Sorry," Andy muttered in a tone that made it clear she really wasn't. "But, dammit, no one gets to say stuff like that about you. Not even my mother."
"Am I to assume you will be railing against the paparazzi in a similar manner? If so, I'll have my attorney being preparing your case," Miranda asked with a smirk.
"And if someone, even your mother, said I was a conniving bitch who was only out for your money to your face, you'd just smile and say thank you?"
Miranda flushed. "Point made."
"Thought so," Andy responded with her own smug look.
"Do you think your father can calm her down?" Miranda asked, changing the focus of the conversation.
"Once Dad reminds her of how well her mother took their engagement, yeah, I think she will. She still gets incensed when someone brings that up. It might take a day or two, but she'll come around, or at least be less vocal about her objections. Anyway, that's over with for right now. How'd the closet clearing go?" Andy changed the topic entirely. She didn't want to talk about her mother any more tonight.
"I cleared sufficient space for the clothing you have with you. Since my last divorce, I had expanding into both closets, keeping more items than I previously had allowed myself to. I can have more shifted to one of the guest room's closets. I either need to weed out what I have more strenuously, or we need to look at remodeling," Miranda mused.
Andy rubbed her tired eyes with the fingers of one hand. "I don't want you to go to that kind of expense because of me."
"Not because of you, Darling. The plans already exist. I put the project on hold when Stephen asked for a divorce. The need was much less pressing when I took into account his closet and dresser space. It wasn't a permanent arrangement, just the most expedient. Your living here simply gives the reason to continue with my original plans, though I would like you to look over the blueprint and renderings. Some of that space is for your use, you should have input on its construction."
"Okay," Andy said slowly. "I don't know much about reading blueprints, but I'll take a stab at it."
Miranda smiled affectionately. "I believe I can talk you through it. The renderings will be helpful. They give a good visual of the finished product. We can take a look at them tomorrow if you wish."
Andy nodded. "Yeah. I mean, yes, I'd like that. I need to go to my apartment too. There are things I need to check on, pick up the mail and see if Sandy's okay." Andy stopped and her eyes widened. "Oh, wow, I forgot about Sandy. This may not be good."
Frowning, Miranda walked over to lean against the side of the desk. "And who, may I ask, is Sandy?" Her tone dropped to an icy level.
"You're jealous!" Andy barked a laugh. "Oh, Miranda, no. There's no need. Sandy's my cat."
Miranda sniffed and folded her arms over her chest defensively. "I do not do jealous. It's counterproductive."
Andy leaned her head against the back of the chair and smiled up at Miranda. "I have to admit that I've always hated possessiveness from the person I was involved with in the past, but from you…it's damned sexy, Miranda."
Miranda opened her mouth, closed it, opened it again and blushed furiously. "Really, Andréa," she huffed, "you have the most ridiculous ideas."
Grasping Miranda's folded arms, Andy encouraged her around the desk and into her lap. With her arms wrapped around Miranda's waist, she pressed a kiss to the nearest silk-covered bicep. "I don't consider it ridiculous to be possessed by you, or to like it. I think of it more as my extremely good luck."
"Everyone I've ever been with has cheated on me," Miranda admitted. She held herself stiffly in Andy's lap, staring straight ahead at the far wall. "Yet, I don't recall ever being jealous. Angry to be made a fool of, yes. Hurt at the implication I wasn't sufficient, yes. But never jealous." She glanced at Andy and then back to the wall. "You were right. I was jealous. I am possessive of many things, but this is the first time I've ever felt that way for a spouse or lover. It's extremely disquieting."
Andy tightened her hold on Miranda and leaned her forehead against that same arm. "You don't have to be though. I'm painfully monogamous."
"I seem to recall an incident in Paris," Miranda said softly.
With a finger under Miranda's chin, Andy turned her head until their eyes met. "Nate and I ended things before you and I left for Paris. I was very much single. If I did anything wrong that night, it was lying to myself. I slept with Christian to prove something, to me. He wasn't who I really wanted, but I was convinced I couldn't have that person. I told myself it was wrong to even want her, that it wasn't real. So I set out to prove that when the opportunity presented."
"And did you succeed?"
"The very next morning I ran off to find her and try to warn her about the things I'd found out. Not that you listened," Andy said laughing.
"Even then?" Miranda asked, amazed.
"Even then," Andy agreed. "Don't ask me exactly when, though. From the first moment I met you I was stunned by your beauty and intelligence, and totally irritated by your arrogance." Andy laughed and then sobered. "Before I knew it I just wanted to please you, however, whatever that took. I lived for those small nods of approval. I have to be the densest person alive because I didn't realize what it all meant until Nate said something that made me think. We were arguing and my phone rang. It was you calling. He said, 'The person whose calls you always take, that's the relationship you're in.' I took your call then, too, and let him walk away. You were more important, not Runway, not the job, you. I knew then I wanted you, but I wouldn't allow myself to accept it. Hence Christian." Andy shrugged. It really was one of the more foolish things she had ever done, but it hadn't been about him at all. It could have been anyone and that was worst of it. Anyone who wasn't Miranda would have done, because it was Miranda, or rather her desire for Miranda, she was running from that night. Seeing her, seeing the woman behind the icon, in the hotel that night had frightened Andy. Sitting across from her, Andy had wanted to take Miranda in her arms and never let go, to protect her from ever being hurt again. It was the moment she realized she cared far too much for her unattainable boss.
"I think we have all made similar mistakes in our lives," Miranda said. "Had you said something, done something, to relate your feelings to me that night we would have had a far different outcome. I wasn't ready to face my desires at that point. I was also in denial and would have rejected you out of hand, to my detriment. I'm sure you've wondered why I let you come back after your grand exit. When you came to Irv's suite that morning, both your appearance and your aroma screamed sex. It was that which made me angry with you." When Andy tried to comment, Miranda pressed a finger to her lips. "Oh, yes, even then I was jealous. It was not an emotion I am familiar with, not having experienced it in a very long time and never in a sexual context. I found it confusing to say the least, but there was no time to evaluate my feelings then. I still had my grand coupe to enact. It was only during those hours after you walked away that I had time to sit and think about what it meant. It was highly inappropriate and I found that…I missed you." Miranda sighed. "I didn't want to, but I did. I am sufficiently self-aware to have realized the cause. I wanted you, as well. I had just made up my mind to pursue you when I returned to New York when you appeared at my door asking for your job back. I had a decision to make." Miranda shrugged and sighed softly. "I chose the option that I knew would keep you close to me, not perhaps as close as I would have liked, but at least I saw you daily. What else could I have done? I still had a divorce to orchestrate, plus two children. My desires were prurient at best and I had little of hope of them being mutual. So there you have it. You are not the densest of persons. You're second densest," Miranda teased with a soft smile.
Andy laughed and followed it with a soft brush of lips to Miranda's. "I made the same choice. That's why I came back. If I couldn't have you, at least I could be close to you. But damn, Miranda, I wanted to kill every one of those guys you dated. Did you have to be so, so social?"
It was Miranda's turn to laugh. "Those weren't dates, Andréa. They were acquaintances who served as escorts when needed. It was beneficial to us both. Most of those men are gay."
Rolling her eyes, Andy pressed her lips to Miranda's neck. "I wish I'd known that then. I might have gotten a lot more sleep. I'd lie awake imagining them with you and I just wanted to scream. I've never wanted anyone as much as I wanted you. It was killing me to think someone else was allowed to touch you when I wasn't."
"You are under no such restrictions now, Andréa. In fact, touching is highly encouraged between married couples," Miranda informed her.
"Well aren't I the lucky one," Andy grinned.
"I had thought it was me, but perhaps you're right," Miranda said with a regal nod.
Chuckling, Andy hugged her tightly. "You are definitely going to keep me on my toes."
"As you are the taller of us, I believe the reverse will be more accurate, Andréa."
Andy frowned suddenly. "I don't think Caroline is happy about all this."
"She has reservations, yes. I believe that she will come around given sufficient time. I love my daughters, Andréa, but I am a realist. There will soon come a day when they will move on to have their own lives. Am I to give up any hope of finding happiness or companionship? It would give me pause if her objections were more strenuous, but they are not. Caroline merely does not wish to become attached to someone who may conceivably leave in the future. She doesn't wish to be disappointed again. She said nothing negative about you as a person, nor did she mention the more obvious discrepancies in our ages or status. I think she needs time to come to trust this, as we all do. Cassidy, however, is your greatest proponent. She has warned me in no uncertain terms about 'messing this up' as she put it."
Miranda's smile was filled with love and indulgence for her precocious daughters. Andy couldn't help wondering if there would ever come a time that Miranda looked at her like that. Then she realized she hoped to see even more in the look when it came her way. Not the platonic love of mother to child, but the passionate, heat-filled longing of a woman in love. That was the look Andy wanted from Miranda, and the one she probably would never get. It occurred to Andy that while Miranda had flirted with her off and on all day, she had yet to look at Andy with the all-out lust that must have been present the night before. Did Miranda not desire her while sober? She'd said she did, but Andy had seen no clear evidence of it beyond a few steamy kisses. Gentle fingers caressed Andy's cheek and brought her attention back to Miranda.
"What concerns you, My Darling?"
"Do you even want me now? I mean, you must have last night. I've gotten flashes of memory today. Just enough to tell me that you…well, you were really into it, Miranda. But today…" Andy trailed off, suddenly embarrassed with what she was saying and asking. How do you tell Miranda Priestly that you thought she'd tried to eat you alive? Not to mention asking why she wasn't attempting to do so again.
"You're wondering if last night was entirely the result of the alcohol I consumed," Miranda finished for her.
Andy nodded, still not comfortable speaking.
Miranda slid to her feet and held out her hand. "The girls expressed the wish for an early night as they were up very late last night. I believe it's time I tucked them in and we retired ourselves. My wife seems to require reassurance that I continue to desire her with the same intensity. I believe I can arrange a demonstration."
Blushing, Andy rose and let herself be led from the room. She didn't have many memories of last night and the few she did have weren't clear, but if what she did recall was true, she was about to have the night of her life. Technically the second one, but this one she would get to remember.