I'm baaaack. There were some grad school pain issues in the middle but i'm leaving with an MS for my sanity. Now to look for a job. But now I have more time to write and I've planned out the next seven chapters of my story and then it'll be the end. Hope you guys like the new chapter.


Andy woke up halfway through the beach trip week to the twins jumping on her bed yet again. She had grown used to this sort of wakeup call, really. But no matter what she didn't think she would get used to accidentally having a knee or elbow land on some part of her body. She grunted, shifting a bit to relieve the pressure on her spleen.

"Morning, munchkins," she said, eyes blinking open to see two smiling red heads.

"Hi, Andy," Cassidy said.

She looked both of them up and down. "Where are your bathing suits."

"It's Sunday, silly. On Sunday Mommy always takes us to brunch. There's this really good place down the road that does nice French toast that's covered in strawberries." Caroline smiled wide, showing the place where she'd lost a tooth.

"Well, how can I say no to strawberry covered French toast?" she asked as she sat up slowly. She wondered what in the world she was supposed to wear to a place like this. It was the Hamptons after all. Probably something nice, and definitely something fashionable because she was going out with Miranda. Thank god for Emily and her Closet raiding skills. She had enough clothing to get her through the two weeks she was out here, and probably more. Emily didn't understand the concept of packing light, but then again neither did Miranda, so it made sense.

She shooed the girls off the bed. "Go on, I'll get ready and meet you guys down stairs, ok?"

They nodded and started to go out of the room.

"Oh, is your mom awake?" she asked them as they reached the door.

Cassidy nodded. "Who do you think woke us up?" she asked.

Andy snorted. "Uh, you guys have been waking up plenty early on your own. Something about the beach, I don't know. I do know that I've been woken up by pointy body parts in my stomach for the last week or so."

The twins both grinned. "Sorry Andy."

"You may want to stop grinning if anyone is going to take you apologies seriously." She laughed and shook her head. "But go on, I'll be down in a second."

They disappeared around the door and she heard their feet on the stairs a second later.

Andy looked over at her suitcase and frowned. Ok, nice and fashionable wasn't really much of a guide here. She could call Emily and ask, but then Emily would ask where they were going. Or would Emily already know? She was Miranda's assistant after all. Or had been. And still seemed to know Miranda's schedule better than the girls who were Miranda's actual assistants.

She could just ask Miranda, too, but that seemed somehow like losing. Andy grabbed her cell phone and dialed.

"You had better be dying if you are calling me right now," Emily said in lieu of greeting.

"Uh no, not dying, but fashion emergency, if that's on par with dying." Andy opened her suitcase and started to grab out things she thought Emily would suggest.

"Oh, of course that's on par with dying, that might be even more important than dying."

Andy resisted the urge to snicker. Of course it was on par with dying in Emily's mind.

"What sort of fashion emergency?" Emily asked, almost sounding excited.

"I need to know what out of the things you packed me would you wear to brunch in the Hamptons." Andy held up a shirt, considering, but it was silky and looked much more like a fancy dinner sort of thing to her. She put it back and grabbed something else.

"You have those white capris I packed, don't you?"

"No, Em, I lost them on the highway here," Andy deadpanned. "Yes, I have them," she continued before Emily could actually take her seriously and have a conniption.

"Good, wear those, the sliver strappy sandals I packed, and…" she hummed, considering. "The sleeveless emerald blouse. It will be dressy but casual enough for what you need. Also, your skin looks decent, I suppose, in that color. But for the love of all that is holy do not drop any food on those pants or I will manage to come through the phone and strangle you myself."

Andy snorted. "I'm not five, Em, I can manage to eat without getting it all over myself. Besides, pants are usually under the table. Shirts are usually more in the line of fire."

"I'll kill you over that too. It's my neck on the line if I return something stained."

"Dry cleaning, it's a miracle thing," Andy said, deadpan.

"And what if you get something on it that makes it beyond saving, hmm?"

"I won't. Believe it or not sometimes I'm graceful. You know, comes with being a dancer."

"Oh no, I've seen you around home. Don't give me that."

Andy could practically see Emily scowling. "Whatever you say. I've actually got to get ready now so I look presentable in the outfit you put together for me. Thanks, Em, bye."

Andy took the phone away from her face and hung up before Emily could get in another word edgewise. She figured she had to be used to it after Miranda hung up on her so many times in her life. And if she was in a snit about it, well she'd work it off before Any got home. She loved her roommate, but about clothes sometimes things got a bit too much.

She quickly put on the outfit that Emily suggested and went into the bathroom. Her makeup was quickly done, something light and summery, nothing like any of her stage makeup. Her hair she just brushed out and let fall in glossy waves around her shoulders. She did look sufficiently summery. She nodded at herself before walking down the stairs to find both of the twins watching TV.

"Mom down yet?" Andy asked them, sitting in the middle of the two girls and putting her arm around each of them.

"Nope, but she should be down in a couple of minutes. It's been enough time for her to get ready," Caroline said, leaning a bit into Andy.

"Awesome." She looked up at the TV and some cartoon she didn't recognize was playing. "What are you guys watching?"

"Powerpuff girls," they both said at the same time.

"Oh, ok, I've heard of it, but I haven't ever watched it. Is it any good?" Andy asked them, settling back a bit more.

"Yeah, it's awesome." Cassidy smiled up at her. "They kick butt."

"Now Cassidy, there are much more appropriate ways to say that," Miranda said, coming down the stairs slowly.

Andy swallowed as she took in what Miranda was wearing a deep blue halter top that set off her eyes and showed off her toned arms and khaki capris that hugged her legs very, very well. She had one delicate silver jewelry and matching sandals. She looked fabulous as usual, but the slightly more relaxed look just was Andy's particular Kryptonite.

She felt her face heating up as Miranda's eyes raked over Andy. Miranda nodded just slightly before focusing back on Cassidy. She raised an expectant eyebrow.

"Sorry, Mommy, but it's true. They do save the town and put the bad guys in jail. It's awesome," Cassidy said, looking down on her hands.

"That was much more appropriate. Thank you." She looked over the group. "Are we all ready to go?"

Andy pushed herself up from the couch and walked over to Miranda. "Yup." She smiled widely.

"Girls?" Miranda asked looking past Andy for just a second, but then the girls were by Andy's side smiling up at their mother. "Well, I suppose that answers that then. Come along." Miranda turned and walked towards the door. She grabbed her purse off the table and then ushered the others out the door in front of her.

Andy went with the twins and helped them climb into the back seat and strap in properly. Miranda climbed into the driver's seat after locking the front door and Andy climbed into the passenger's seat and then they were off. Andy looked over at Miranda as they navigated through the green streets, passing more huge beach houses, getting closer and closer until a town sprang up almost from nowhere. It was nicer than any small town Andy had ever been in. It screamed money and power. Andy bit her lip. She had spent her life around high society, there was no way to avoid it when dancing, but she always felt just a little out of place. She had a feeling she wouldn't feel any different today.

Then again, today she had Miranda. Miranda made her feel completely safe and at home no matter where they were. If she just focused on her she could make it through.

"Andy, will you order bacon so I can have a piece?" Caroline asked.

Andy turned to face Caroline and smiled at the little girl. There were the twins too. They were only just starting to come into awareness about things like class. To them Andy belonged wherever they were because she belonged to them. And everyone knew that little kids could be a great distraction, besides all of that. She would be fine.

"I am always down for bacon, munchkin and if a piece just happens to disappear, well I don't think I'm going to notice." She winked at the girl and turned around again.

Caroline giggled behind her. "Thanks Andy."

"You spoil them," Miranda said, sternly. When Andy looked at her, Miranda was hiding a smile though.

"And you don't?"

Miranda pursed her lips and harrumphed. "You aren't supposed to turn my argument back on me. That's not how this is supposed to work."

"That isn't how it's been working so far? That's news to me otherwise." Andy grinned.

"Yes, well." Miranda's hand found Andy's and held on and Andy just kept on smiling.

In a few minutes they pulled up to a small restaurant that looked absolutely jam packed. If Miranda was anyone else, Andy knew they would be waiting until long past brunch time to get a table, but she just had a feeling that some Miranda magic was about to happen. Even though Miranda was so low key here in the Hamptons, the woman still wasn't that patient. About some things anyway. God knew they had waited so very, very long to start this.

Andy helped unload the twins, but for the most part now they just needed a hand down. A wistful smile crossed Andy's face, remembering years ago that first meal they'd had together in Saratoga when the twins' car seats had baffled her. God the girls had grown up so fast and they were still growing. Was it going to pass in a blink and suddenly they would be eighteen and leaving home? Is this what mothers worried about all the time?

"You're deep in thought," Miranda said, joining her as they walked towards the restaurant. The twins sprinted ahead of them and Andy shook her head at the fact that they still had all that energy after a week of playing at the beach practically all day every day.

"I'm just thinking about the day I met the twins and how tiny they were then."

"Oh they were." She sighed looking after her daughters with love written all over her face. "I still remember bringing them both home from the hospital and how small they were then. Have I showed you those pictures yet?"

Andy shook her head. "I'd like to see them though, whenever you have time."

"I have at least one album up here. I can show you those tonight if you would like. Most of them, however, are back at home. You can listen to the girls whine about me bringing out the baby pictures then, especially the one of them naked in the backyard completely covered in dirt after I left them alone for quite literally thirty seconds. It took me five minutes to find where they had gone and I was so worried and then I found them and I couldn't help but laugh. They were having a time of it, but they looked so bedraggled. It was adorable."

"Oh my god, that sounds so cute. I definitely need to see those now. And if I got the stories along with the pictures, I'd like that even more."

Miranda looked over at Andy, smile small, but bigger than anything she usually wore. "I would like that as well."

They caught up with the twins at the hostess's stand. The woman already had four menus in her hands and her eyes widened just a bit seeing Miranda, but she hid it well.

"Right this way." She led them to a shaded area of the patio and set down their menus. "Your server will be right with you."

Andy bet it would be about thirty seconds before a server showed. That's usually how long it took in the City, she doubted it would be any different here. "The new Emily call ahead?" Andy asked.

Miranda smirked. "No, the town grapevine let them know I was here and since I keep a consistent schedule they know to keep a table open on Sundays."

"How do you manage it even in a town full of the rich and famous?"

"New York is also full of famous people, darling."

"True, but at least there's more area to spread out. This isn't exactly a big town here. It's cute for sure, but New York probably has the amount of restaurants this place does in like two blocks."

Miranda hummed. "True enough. My reputation does most of the work, I suppose. Unlike Runway I rarely treat people in the service industry with anything less than respect."

And as many times as she had been out with Miranda, she could attest to that. She'd never thrown a fit to get her way. She'd treated them with that cool professional air that everyone except those closest to her got.

"They don't want to risk the Dragon because they don't know unless they were truly incompetent they would never get it," Andy said, actually looking away from Miranda and to the menu for the first time. Miranda was hard to look away from on a good day, but a sunny day in the Hamptons, making her hair shine like real silver and making the blue of her eyes that much more intense, well, Andy was only human.

"Yes, exactly." She turned to the twins. "French toast?"

They both nodded eagerly.

"I didn't think we would stray from the path this week." She smiled at them fondly. "And you Andrea, are you going to join the sugar driven masses or will you get something else?"

Andy eyed the eggs Benedict on the menu. She was a sucker for hollandaise sauce, but then again she was a sucker for sugar. "Have you tried the eggs Benedict?"

"You could say I have."

Andy looked up to find Miranda smiling at her with twinkling eyes. She shot the other woman a questioning look. Something was going on here that she wasn't exactly getting.

"It's what I get every time we come here. I do, however, steal a bite each from the girls and they pretend it's the end of the world and then steal a piece of ham in retaliation. So I can tell you both things are good and you can't go wrong no matter what."

"She steals french toast from you?" Andy asked, putting a hand over her heart acting completely scandalized.

They both nodded solemnly. "She says it's revenge for all the cherries we steal off of her desserts when she actually gets them."

"Indeed it is. The only time I get to eat a cherry off a dessert is when I'm at the various fashion weeks or when the twins are with their father."

Andy had to hide her laughter behind her hand. This was just too cute. "I think the solution here is a jar of cherries in the fridge at home."

The twins shook their heads.

"It tastes better when stolen," Cassidy said.

"Like the bacon we're gonna steal from you," Caroline said, smiling wide and showing off where she'd just lost a tooth not to long ago.

Andy had to nod. "You know, I think I get it." She flipped her menu closed. "I think I'm going to get the eggs and maybe I'll just happen to find a bite of french toast from somewhere."

"Ah, a joint offensive, wonderful."

Both the twins groaned. "I thought you were supposed to be on our side, Andy." Caroline aimed a pair of puppy dog eyes at her that could break anyone's heart.

"I have to be on your mom's side sometimes too." She reached out and held Miranda's hand.

Cassidy sighed dramatically. "Andy, just because you're dating doesn't mean that. Mommy is great but we're awesomer."

Andy had to blink at that. Had Miranda told them they were dating? Or had they just picked that up on their own? She turned to Miranda who was looking just a little stunned herself. No, it seemed like the girls were just very perceptive kids. Then again, they'd been all but dating for years now. But everyone else had just assumed they were friends. The twins had had more of an inside glance than anyone. Maybe they had seen things that no one else had, that they themselves hadn't worked out for so long.

"You are very awesome, I'll give you that," Andy said after a long moment. "But dating your mom does mean I'm going to take her side sometimes. You know, she's going to need some help in pillow fights. You guys have the advantage of being tiny and quick. How is she supposed to keep up without someone to watch her back?"

They thought that over for a while before nodding. "I guess," Caroline said. "But only because you're getting bacon."

Andy had to laugh at that. "Well, I'm glad bacon is the deciding factor here." She looked at Miranda who had settled down again. Whether the girls had thought they were dating for a while or had just picked up on it didn't seem to matter right now. They were fine with it, and that was the really important point. Andy squeezed Miranda's hand, feeling her cheeks tire from all the smiling. What a wonderful family she had ended up in.

The waiter came the next second with a pitcher of water and glasses and took all their orders. He scurried off again quickly in the crowded restaurant, looking slightly dazed after the encounter. Andy would have thought that he would be a little more immune to being star struck working in the Hamptons but maybe he was new or Miranda was a personal hero of his.

They were left in a moment of silence, just enjoying being with each other when another woman strutted up, smiling at Miranda, looking completely put together. "Miranda, darling, I heard that you had come up but hadn't seen you around."

Miranda's lips actually drew up in a slight smile of her own. Wow, Miranda actually liked this woman. Usually people who came up to the table when they were out got almost a glare.

"Ann, it's wonderful to see you. I haven't been much out of the house. Mostly we've all just enjoyed being at the beach. You know how the twins love the water."

"So you've told me in all those emails." She waved to the girls. "Your mom has told me a lot about you." Ann looked at them careful before pointing to Caroline. "Hopefully, I'm right, but based on what she's told me but you're Caroline and you're Cassidy."

They both nodded and grinned at the woman. Almost everyone got it wrong for a good long while after meeting them. Miranda must have described them well in detail and personality for Ann to actually guess right. Andy thought back to conversations she had with Miranda. She remembered an Ann. She was a buyer for one of the larger chain stores and often ended up at a lot of the same events Miranda did. Miranda actually liked the woman enough to seek her out for conversation at events and stay longer than required, and sometimes even went out for a lunch if their schedules allowed. In Miranda's world that meant she was a close friend.

"I don't remember you saying anything about this beautiful woman, however," Ann said offering her hand to Andy to shake. "Ann Tremont, lovely to meet you."

"Andy Sachs, the pleasure is mine." She shook the other woman's hand firmly twice before dropping her hand back to Miranda's.

Ann's eyes followed Andy's hand and widened her eyes. "Miranda, you've been keeping things from me. I've told you about all my latest adventures and yet here we are."

Miranda tensed under Andy's hand. Andy had no idea what Miranda was going to say. Was she going to just wave off everything, or maybe get angry at the intrusion into something private, or just admit that they were together? Andy didn't even know what she wanted Miranda to do. They were just starting out after all and she did want this to remain in the family for at least a little while. But she knew the last thing she wanted was for Miranda to just dismiss them.

"This is all very, very recent between Andrea and I."

Ann's eyes widened. "This is Andrea? Oh my, I didn't make the connection with the nickname." She turned to look at Andy. "For years now every email she's sent has had some tidbit about you. I had wondered if something like this would happen, but she's been so tight lipped."

"Keep it up and there will be no emails at all." Miranda frowned, but Andy could tell that it was all just a show.

"Please, I paid my dues. Do you know how many acerbic comments it took to even get this one to acknowledge me?"

Miranda rolled her eyes. "Please, you know as well as I do if I warmed up to everyone who had something witty to say about fashion I wouldn't be where I am today."

"Point made, however, I do remember that first email after a particular photoshoot so I know you can warm up to people almost instantly." She grinned at Andy and cocked a significant eyebrow.

Andy felt herself blushing more and more. This conversation was revealing so much about Miranda, she couldn't take it. "The feeling was mutual after that photoshoot."

"As it should be seeing Miranda in her element. My god. I can see why you would be drawn to her."

"You can return to your table at any time, Ann. There's no need to lay me completely bare today."

Ann's face morphed into a more serious expression. "I think you've still got some secrets left." She looked at Andy and Miranda's hands, still joined. "If this is all very new, I'm guessing you don't want it to be shouted from the rooftops? Not that I usually frequent rooftops, but I do occasionally find myself on them. Ridiculously pompous rooftops bars and such."

Miranda glanced at Andy and she shook her head just slightly. "No, no rooftops just yet. I think Andrea and I want to come out as partners all in our own time."

Ann nodded. She reached out and patted Miranda on the arm. "I understand. God knows those shutter rats don't need any help." She let out a sound of disgust.

"No, they most certainly don't."

Someone called Ann's name from across the restaurant. Ann turned to see someone waving towards a table that now had food on it.

"Ah, that seems to be my cue. I'm in town until Thursday. Come see me before then, I need all the details and you know it. I have a pool boy who knows how to surf if a certain pair of twins want to learn while we're talking."

Caroline and Cassidy lit up like Christmas tress but Miranda looked hesitant.

"He's a certified lifeguard with beach specialization. I only hire the best, darling."

Miranda relaxed. "Fine, fine, I'll call you to arrange a visit, but only know that I'm doing so because otherwise you would bother to me to death."

"You aren't wrong." She looked at Andy. "It was lovely to meet you. I look forward to finding out more about you soon, Andy. Bye girls, I'll make sure Carlos is ready for you to surf."

She flounced off the next second back to her own table.

Andy looked at Miranda and raised an eyebrow. Out of everyone that she had thought that Ann would be in real life, that had been more over the top than she'd imagined.

"Yes, I am aware of exactly what you're thinking. I thought the same thing once upon a time, but she wears you down and then she's a wonderful friend contrary to what the packaging might tell you."

Andy snorted. "I'm familiar with people being different than they appear. After all, I have you as a girlfriend and Emily as my best friend."

"Quite." Miranda sniffed.

"Andy do you know how to surf?" Caroline asked.

Andy shook her head. "No, I've never learned. It's been something I've thought about doing though. I bet you guys are going to be so cool when you go back to school and tell them that you learned to surf over the summer."

"Yeah!" Cassidy exclaimed. "Though Declan is going to say he did it first, but we know that he didn't."

"He just has to be the best. If anyone says they did it then he did it first or he did it better somehow. It's kind of annoying." Caroline scowled.

"Yeah, I've know some people like that. Sometimes, though, people do that because they feel left out because everyone else is doing cool things, but they aren't so that's how they make themselves feel better. I don't know Declan so I can't say for sure if that's why he's like that, but maybe you guys should think about that."

The twins both nodded solemnly. "Ok, Andy," Caroline said.

Andy turned back to face Miranda, realizing suddenly that she had just parented the girls on accident. Miranda, though, smiled slightly at all of them, just watching and listening and enjoying the time together. Andy relaxed. She didn't ever want to step on Miranda's toes with parenting. Obviously she was their mother and had final say. Though, Andy did love the girls to death and if anything ever happened to Miranda she would step in immediately to take care of them. She hadn't really ever thought of them as her daughters, but maybe they were heading towards that. God knew that these three were already her family in the city.

"What's going on in that pretty little head of yours," Miranda asked. "Hopefully you aren't planning on asking Ann about anymore juicy tidbits. Goodness knows now that she knows we're together she'll tell you just about everything she knows."

"No, that wasn't what I was thinking about, but that's good information to have for later." Andy grinned impishly. "But what I was thinking about was that you guys have become my family. I know it's cheesy and everything but—"

Cassidy cut her off. "It's not cheesy Andy, of course you're our family."

Andy felt tears prick at the side of her eyes. She didn't want to cry in the middle of a restaurant but it looked like they were heading straight for that. She reached out and hugged Cassidy to her side.

"Yeah, duh Andy," Caroline said.

"Thank you girls, that means a lot." She blinked and miraculously no tears made it onto her cheeks. These two little girls. God they were so special.

"It means a great deal to us that you feel the same way as we do, Andrea. You've been part of our family for a long, long while." Miranda squeezed Andy's hand.

Andy returned the squeeze hard, trying to convey everything that was going through her mind right then.

The waiter arrived with the food just at that second and their little family moment was broken. Andy was a little grateful since if it had gone on any longer she certainly would have cried.

They all settled down to eat and lo and behold two of her bacon strips managed to disappear and somehow two bites of French toast managed to find their way onto her fork. The place really had amazing food. She could see why Miranda kept coming back every time she made it to the Hamptons.

When they were finished Miranda paid and they walked out of the restaurant. The twins shot ahead of them again with their boundless energy, running towards the car while Andy and Miranda followed at a more stately pace. Andy slipped her hand into Miranda's and while Miranda didn't acknowledge it, she didn't pull away either and Andy definitely counted that as a win.

"I know that Ann invited us all to her how, but I also understand that going to friend's of friends houses can be awkward. If you don't feel comfortable going I won't hold it against you if you don't, Andrea."

Andy shook her head. "Miranda I want to go everywhere with you, fashion shoots, friend's houses, even Mount Everest if you want. As long as I'm with you I don't care."

Miranda pulled them to a stop on the sidewalk and looked into Andy's eyes. "Oh, Andrea, you silly, wonderful woman."

Miranda leaned in and kissed Andy gently before pulling back. Andy sighed. She never wanted to take kissing Miranda for granted, but god, she could get used to the woman pressing her lips against hers any time and anywhere.

"Mom! Andy! Come on!" Cassidy called. "There's a marathon of the PowerPuff Girls on soon."

Andy turned to walk towards the car once again. "I think that's our cue. Though them not wanting to go swim? Are they ok?" She laughed.

"Oh, don't worry I'm sure in a few hours they'll get bored and want to go out to the beach again." Miranda fell into step next to Andy.

"Ah, well, I'll be prepared for that then. In the mean time if there happens to be cuddling on the couch, I wouldn't be opposed."

Miranda's lips quirked up, amused. "We'll see what we can do."