Hey guys, I barely edited this. I'm so sorry. I'm thinking of one more chapter and an Epilogue. We shall see!
"Mom, stop pacing," Caroline said. She was feeling dizzy watching her mother walk back and forth in front of the picture window in Miranda's room. Miranda had told her of the conversation she and Andrea had. She felt hope for her mother and wanted this desperately to work out.
She and her sister had never gotten to really know Andrea, but the times they were together, they really liked her. They also noticed their mother always had more time for them. After Andy's departure from Runway, their mother was back to running a half hour behind in getting to their events and having to leave early, whereas Andy had her out to get there in time and to enjoy the evening. Things changed in their mother, a darkness that they'd never seen. Her mother's divorce became an afterthought. Yes, her mother was devastated, no one wanted to go through a divorce, but there was a bit more of a loss.
While she was getting some things from the bathroom for her mother, Cassidy was in Miranda's closet gathering clothes as her mother didn't seem to have the capacity to put garments in a bag.
"Caroline, I don't know if I can do this," Miranda said as she sat on the side of the bed.
Cassidy poked her head out of the closet, "Coward."
Miranda and Caroline looked at Cassidy. Caroline shook her head and gestured to their mother. "Not helping!"
Caroline dropped her mother's bag next to the bed and sat by her. "The woman you have been pining after for over a decade asks you to go and talk and spend the evening, and now you want to back out?" She scoffed. "That's pretty cowardly."
"Why didn't I sell you when I had the chance," Miranda groaned and put her head in her hands.
Cassidy and Caroline put their arms around their mother to comfort her, "What my *evil*," Cassidy glared, "twin was trying to say, why do you not want to go when you've come this far? You love her."
Cassidy nudged her mom, "Caroline's right, you love her."
"I thought it was the evil twin comment, " Miranda chuckled as Cassidy rolled her eyes. She sighed. They were both right. "You're right." She began to tear and fiddled with her necklace. "I'm scared she will reject me after it's all said and done."
"Do you think Andy would go through all this if she didn't feel the same way," Cassidy asked. She brushed the forelock from her mother's eyes and kissed her cheek.
Miranda shook her head.
"Go get 'er, tiger," Caroline nudged.
"Caroline..." Miranda shook her head.
"Go get your girl!" Cassidy egged on.
"Get that babe!" Caroline pushed more.
Miranda stood up and walked to pick up her bag. She turned back to her cackling daughters, "You're both disowned. Get out of my bed and close the door on your way out."
"Use protection!" Cassidy yelled.
Miranda shook her head. Her daughters never lost their pranking and teasing, it just got worse with age, but she wouldn't have it any other way. They're the light of her life. After all is said in the end, they will always be there. Miranda heard a ping on her phone, signaling her Uber had arrived. She walked down the steps with wobbly legs and got in the car. She confirmed the address with her driver and she was off to Greenwich Village.
Andrea arrived at Anna's early and let herself in. She saw a box of her favorite cookies, as promised, and a note that the wine was in the fridge, but to help herself to anything else she wished.
She stowed away her things in "her room" and went across the street to one of her favorite spots by Anna's to get some dinner for both Miranda and herself.
Once she got back, she transferred all the food to warming dishes until Miranda arrived. She felt nervous. So she decided to open the bottle of wine to calm her nerves. She cracked open the box of cookies and broke off a piece. As she chewed she felt herself calm. She wanted this to go well, but with all the unsureness of everything, she had to wait and see. She knows she has feelings for Miranda, but as she told Nigel, she couldn't voice her actual feelings. But as Nigel said, Miranda was the one that needed to hear it.
She heard the doorbell, and that brought her out of her thoughts.
She opened the door and saw Miranda in all her beauty. That beautiful smile, slightly filler hair, dressed to perfection.
"Hi," Andy smiled as she turned to let Mirnada in.
"Hello," Miranda softly returned and walked in.
"Do you want any wine?" Andy asked as she shut the door.
"Yes, that would be lovely," Miranda said as she followed Andrea to the kitchen.
This was awkward. They were both fidgeting. Both not making eye contact. Two powerful women, accolades out the wazoo, both know world leaders, influencers, the list goes on, but they couldn't look or talk to one another.
"Are you hungry?"
They said at the same time and laughed.
"Why is this awkward?" Andy asked.
Miranda sighed and chuckled. She shook her head and took a sip of liquid courage.
"I guess it's because this evening is filled with the unknown."
Andy nodded and shook her arms out. "Okay, let's have dinner. We both need food. We're having Fokuru. Hope you still like Japanese?"
"I do. Sounds lovely. Anna and I have ordered from there before. It's really good."
Relieved, Andy plated up their dinner and led them to the breakfast nook.
"Anna would have your head if she knew we were sitting here and not at the dining table," Miranda laughed.
Andy joined in the laughter, "I always eat here and ignore her. It's a table and I can look out in the courtyard. Nuclear Wintor doesn't have an affect on me," she shrugged.
Miranda nodded as she laughed. "Oh, I haven't heard that in a while."
"I think I'm the only one that calls her that to her face," Andy giggled.
"You're the only one who's allowed," Miranda noted. "I like that you two are close."
"Yeah?" Andy smiled.
Miranda nodded. "She really cares for you."
"I care for her too, but she's not only my friend, she's like another mother to me. She calls me to check in, makes sure I'm eating, sleeping..." Andy trailed off and she dove in for more rice.
Miranda nodded, "She gets like that with people who are close in her network."
"Yeah, I'll keep her around."
"More like she'll make sure you stay around. Once you're in, the only way out is death." Miranda deadpanned.
Miranda and Andy shared a laugh.
"Thank you for helping Cassidy. She's really excited."
Andy smiled, "Of course. Mark says he's really excited for her to join the team. He's really impressed, and he's not one to get excited about stale vision. She must be as talented as you say."
"I don't tend to throw around accolades without substance. If I felt she needed more experience, I would have never let you make that call."
"I'm happy to have played a part," Andy smiled.
When they were finished eating, the awkwardness seemed to creap it's way back in from their flowing dinner conversation. What else was there to do? Someone needed to make a move. Someone needed to just fucking start talking.
"Goddammit," Andy breathed as she put her face in her hands. "Why are we making this more difficult than it has to be?"
"Andrea," Miranda said as she took a chance to reach across the table and place a hand on Andy's to pull away from her face. She held it tightly and looked into the eyes that seemed to bore into her soul. "This matters. This is our hearts in the balance. This is everything to me, at least, and I venture to say this means something to you as well."
Andy squeezed Miranda's hand, "This means a lot to me too, Miranda. I've been so stubborn. We both have," she quickly added.
Miranda nodded. "We have, but we've both grown. You with your career and growing into the most fascinating person that I know, and I with loss of my own doing, but with growth for the better."
"I don't want to get into what happened in the past. I feel like it's a dead horse and we just need to move past it. I just want to know, Miranda," Andy steeled herself and found herself holding on to Miranda's hand for dear life. "What do you hope comes out of this?"
Miranda sat for a moment. She had to choose her words carefully. She'd made Andrea push her away before, she wouldn't do it again, but then this was her heart.
"Us. I want us. I want a life with you, however the capacity you may have me. But I know for sure, Andrea, that I want you. Only you."
Andrea pulled Miranda's and to her lips and kissed them.
Miranda's heart smiled, but it quickly left when she saw tears brimming Andrea's eyes. "What do you want, my darling?"
Andy took a moment to collect herself, while still holding onto Miranda's hand. It was as if she was using Mirnada to anchor herself. "My mind..." she paused," says go for it." She ran her thumb across Miranda's knuckles. "But my heart asks, what if you shatter me?"
Miranda gasped. "Darling..."
"No," Andy shook her head. "No apologizing." She knew Miranda was about to launch into her past. Her past wrongdoings. No, this was about now. "This is about now. This is about my letting you in."
"Come," Miranda said as she got up, still holding Andrea's trembling hand. She walked to the kitchen, releasing her intended's hand to grab the bottle of wine. She led them to the living room and sat them down. Miranda sat close to Andrea, but left enough room to not crowd her.
Andrea held her glass and took a sip. "You never left me," she said, gathering her courage.
"What do you mean?"
"I never realized it till Nigel pointed it out. He said I've always had something reminiscent of you without even realizing it. So as you see, you've always been near me." Andy smiled as she sipped her wine. She was calming down and feeling a bit more at ease.
Miranda was processing what Andrea just told her. This gave her hope. This let her know that she needed to let her feelings known.
"Andrea, you don't know how much I loved to hear that. I could be a bit self-centered, but that's the Miranda you knew. You, my darling, leaving changed me. It was ugly how I got here, but I couldn't be more grateful. I had to make those mistakes, as horrible as that sounds." She held up her finger when Andy went to say something. "Let me rephrase, I'm a bit nervous and this isn't coming out correctly. I had to lose everything that personally mattered to me in order to realize that I was actually the Devil to people who were there for me and had my best interests at heart.
"You healed my heart without me even realizing it. You made sure I was always there for my babies, and that quickly changed after you left. You made sure I had time to recharge. You made sure I was happy, and to be honest with you, I was. I know I'm a hard nut to crack, but you crack me more than anyone ever has." Miranda smiled at Andrea, resisting the urge to stroke the back of her hand against the woman's cheek.
Andy smiled back. "Nigel made me realize that why I was with Connor, my ex-fiance, was because he worked at Bloombury," she paused as she looked at Miranda. "Harry Potter." She smiled when Miranda grinned. "My dress the night of the Met Gala..."
"Valentino, my favorite,"Miranda smiled. "You looked remarkable. I couldn't take my eyes off you."
Andy blushed and continued, "I interviewed Anna for the Women in Power piece, when I could have easily asked you, but..."
"She's my best friend," all the pieces were falling into place.
Andy nodded to collect her thoughts. "I want to take you and kiss you to the inch of our lives and make love to you till we're both cripple, but..."
"But, you're still afraid of being hurt," Miranda said sadly. She reached for the bottle of wine and refilled their glasses.
"I am," Andy nodded. "With you, I'm just me. I'm not a reporter with her dream job. You make me flustered and confused, but I know in my heart that I do want to be with you. And you being right here, in this moment, I only receive clarity."
"This is your route, Andrea. I was foolish before by blurting out my affections before, and I don't want to scare you away again. What can I do?" Miranda asked, reaching for Andrea's hand that was on the back of the couch.
They didn't cling to each other this time. They simply linked their fingers and finely truly looked in each other's eyes.
"I..." Andy paused, to look at their joined hands. "I want you to keep doing what you're doing. We're not easy people, but we both know we want each other."
Miranda nodded and smiled. "We have established that, but what can I do to make you more comfortable?"
Andy took a deep breath to muster all of her courage. "I want you to kiss me."
Miranda smiled. "You want me to kiss you?"
Andy nodded. "I want to see if I... if it's not all in my head."
"Andrea, I'm not going to kiss you for some experiment, I'm too invested. If you don't want this, tell me. If you're unsure about this. Tell me. I will not be an experiment for your curiosities," Miranda pulled away and turned from facing Andy, resisting the urge to get up and pace.
Andy looked at Miranda shocked. She put her foot right in her mouth. She moved closer to Miranda and retook her hand. "Miranda, look at me."
Miranda closed her eyes as she sighed. She turned her head to Andy, seeing nothing but honesty.
"You're not an experiment or some project. I know what I feel for you is real. Being a professional wordsmith, I can't seem to form proper statements to get a girl to kiss me."
Miranda smiled and ran her finger over Andrea's cheek. Her smile grew slightly larger when Andrea grabbed her hand and kissed it.
"That's the second time you've kissed my hand tonight," Miranda smiled.
"Maybe you should take the hint, Miranda." Andy raised her eyebrow, challenging.
Miranda reached for Andrea and pulled her close. They shared a momentary breath, looking into each other's eyes before Miranda took the plunge. Oxygen. Finally. This was a life source. Recharge from over a decade of feeling lifeless on the inside and now, she was feeling alive again.
Andrea was flying. Her heart was feeling as if it would beat out of her chest and jump right into Miranda's. The feeling of their lips moving in tandem and tongues tangling. This is what was missing.
They pulled away from each other and Andrea caressed Miranda's face, while the other woman stroked the back of her neck.
"I care for you, so much. You must know that," Andrea said in a serious forced whisper to Miranda.
Miranda nodded, unable to form words at the moment. She felt the tears forming in her eyes and unable to stop it. "You have no idea..." her breath hitched, "how long I've wanted to find that out."
Andy pulled Miranda to her to initiate another kiss. Short, but oh so sweet. "Nigel was right. I couldn't get the words out, because you were the one that needed to hear them."
Miranda pulled Andrea into a bone crushing hug. She settled into the side of Andy's neck. She knew this would be the safe haven after a long day, a place of refuge from the storm.
Andy could feel Miranda relaxed against her. She stroked her back absently as if she had been doing it for years. "We should head to bed. It's after 1 AM."
Miranda looked at Andrea, "May I stay with you. Just to be near you."
Andy nodded. "Absolutely." She grabbed Miranda's hand and headed to bed.