Chapter 20

The very thing that gave Miranda great joy when she had been married, the last three times, was now her least favorite. Months before Andy, Miranda delighted in getting away, taking time for herself and dealing with business matters in beautiful places that were not New York. However, with Andy occupying the same bed as she nearly every night, rumpling her sheets, cuddling with her, holding her, touching her, making love to her…a business trip sounded less than appealing.

She didn't want to leave the following morning, what with it being days from Thanksgiving, and Andy so warmly cuddled into her side.

Miranda sensed that her alarm clock was about to go off. She reached over and clicked it off only seconds before the insistent alarm could sound. She didn't want to wake Andy up any earlier than they already had to be up. Miranda guessed that she wouldn't be seeing her girls before she left, but as she pulled the covers off of herself to slip out of the bed, she turned to find a figure standing in her doorway. She couldn't quite make out who it was; however, the red hair alerted her to the fact that it was one of her daughters.

"Bubsie?" Miranda attempted to cover up her scantily clad body by reaching for her robe that was lying by the bed.

"Morning mom." It was Caroline. She could tell by her voice.

"Why aren't you asleep?" Miranda whispered, trying as hard as she could to not wake Andy.

"I wanted to see you before you left." Caroline moved towards her mother. Miranda quickly covered up her lovers naked body so that her daughter wouldn't see, and then allowed her daughter to walk into her arms. She hugged her slowly, sleepily. Caroline glanced over at Andy and Miranda looked over as well, hoping that she hadn't uncovered a naked body part on accident. "I like her there." Caroline whispered against her mother's stomach.

Miranda breathed, realizing that her daughter was giving her her seal of approval. "Yes, well I must get ready for the day. Why don't you go back to bed?" Miranda leant down and kissed her daughter's cheek. "And pass that along to your sister."

Caroline nodded and sleepily moved out of her mother's room. Miranda was going to have to remember to lock her door. She didn't necessarily like to wake up to her daughter hovering at her door.

Just as Miranda moved to take a quick morning shower, Andy rolled over in the bed. "Miranda?" She called out, her voice tired.

"Yes, honey. I'm here. I'm going to take a shower. If you'd like to see me off, I'd advise you to be ready in thirty minutes." Miranda slipped out of her robe, tossing it on to the bathroom floor.

"I was planning on coming with you to the airport, Miranda." Andy sleepily, irritably mentioned.

"I know, darling, I'm just giving you a time frame." Miranda turned on the water in the shower, flooding out Andy's reply.

Moments later Miranda felt the shower door open and allowed Andy's naked body to press into her. She didn't want to leave this. Miranda exhaled, turning to kiss Andy awake under the warm spray of water.

Moments later they were dressed and ready to leave. Miranda's bags were placed in the trunk, and both Miranda and Andy walked towards the front door. Just as they were about to leave, Cassidy pounced on her. The girl's sleepy arms wrapped around her mother's waist. Miranda gave her a quick kiss. "You'd better get back to sleep, darling." Miranda pressed her gently away.

Cassidy hugged Andy quickly and then said goodbye to her mother once more. Miranda was surprised her girls had woken up so early; they didn't have school for it was Thanksgiving break. And as Miranda and Andy exited the townhome, she began to wonder if they'd have even had school to begin with, for there was a coat of snow on the ground, and fresh snow was falling.

"I hope your plane gets out on time." Andy noted after they slid into the back seat.

"Well it'd better. Natalie has a detailed itinerary for the trip. I can't be late." Miranda noted, as she skimmed over a newspaper Roy had picked up for her. Andy scooted closer to Miranda and kissed her gently.

"I don't want you to go." Andy hummed, her lips colliding with Miranda's.

"Neither do I, but I must." Miranda whispered, vigorously returning the kiss with tired lips. They'd stayed up all night making love. They were both physically and mentally tired.

"I hope you're going to be home in time for Thanksgiving." Andy quietly stated, running her fingers gently across Miranda's stomach, her fingers finding their way between Miranda's coat and beneath her shirt. She wanted to feel Miranda's skin beneath her fingers. Miranda sighed, wishing that they could go back to bed.

"Unless something horribly wrong happens, I should be back by Thursday." Miranda assured her.

"Well, let's hope." Andy grinned.

And before either was ready, Roy pulled up to the airport curb.

Knowing that the paparazzi could be hot on their heels, Andy realized this was it. For the next six days. And hopefully it would only be six days. Their kisses became quick and needy. But Miranda knew she had to go.

"I love you." Miranda breathed, their lips connected for one last, long kiss and then it was time for her to go. Roy had already checked her bags and as she exited the car, Roy re-entered it.

Andy couldn't take her eyes off of Miranda as she walked, head held high, into the airport. Andy followed her until she could no longer see the gray-haired woman. She felt silly, early morning tears threatening to fall.

Looking down she wiped at her eyes.

"She's never been like this before." Roy mentioned as he pulled away from the curb.


Miranda had instructed that Andy stay in the townhome with the girls. She'd wanted her to be there for them so that they wouldn't have to bring the nanny in, and she decided the girls and Andy could use a little more bonding time.

The first night the townhome just felt empty. Everyone was quiet during dinner. There was hardly any conversation, and every couple of minutes Andy felt as if Miranda might walk in and join them, as she sometimes did. But Miranda never showed up, and Andy knew she shouldn't think that she would. She was half-way across the world in France.

In an attempt to entertain the girls, who seemed uncharacteristically quiet and resigned, Andy played Wii with them until they collapsed on the floor and Andy had to drag them to their respected bedrooms.

Andy finally fell into Miranda's bed, which now seemed larger than it had when both she and Miranda occupied it. Now she felt like she was drowning in the middle of a sea of red, helpless and alone. She wrapped Miranda's exotic, expensive comforter up and around herself, inhaling Miranda's scent off the unclean sheets. She wished she was there.


At four in the morning, Andy's cell phone began ringing. She groggily reached for it, hoping and praying it was Miranda.

Sure enough it was. Andy opened the phone and mumbled something that sounded like a "hello".

"Don't talk, just listen." Miranda cautioned, knowing her lover was half-asleep. "I hope you didn't stay up too late playing Wii," Andy frowned. How did she know they'd stayed up playing Wii? She hadn't told her. "I figured the girls would feel the need to drag you into a game or two. Further, I made it here just fine. I've already gone to a meeting and the level of incompetence at French Runway is baffling. I had no idea it had gotten so bad," Miranda sighed. Her voice lowered as she went on, and Andy figured she was in the middle of a crowd of colleagues. "And I miss you, terribly. The bed is extremely stiff here and I was hardly able to sleep, though I only got to sleep for three hours, completely pointless." Andy grinned, Miranda had just told her she missed her as if she were giving work orders. "I do hope I am home soon. But I must go. I love you, tell the girls I love them too." Miranda calmly stated, lowering her voice so that only Andy could hear, "oh and Andrea, go back to sleep." And with that she hung up.

Andy let the phone slip from her grasp and she turned on her back. Thoughts and dreams of Miranda began to weave together until she heard her alarm going off the following morning.


The next couple of nights went in similar fashion. Miranda would call whenever she got a chance, update Andy, and then tell her to sleep. Andy began to realize that the woman sounded exhausted and in desperate need of some sexual relief. She sure hoped the six days would dwindle down quickly.

But on the fourth day, Miranda called in a state of complete and utter panic and furry. "They have extended this trip over Thanksgiving. There's no way I'm going to be able to get back by Thursday. Fucking bastards." Miranda mumbled, clearly miserable and horribly angry.

"What?" Andy sat up in bed, completely awake.

"There's no way, Andrea! No fucking way I'm going to be home. These irresponsible, incompetent assholes have decided that the layout isn't working, and of course it isn't. They're a bunch of useless morons." Miranda cursed, her voice dipping dangerously low.

"Calm down," Andy tried to put on her most soothing voice, but she could tell Miranda was still pissed.

"Calm down, how the fuck can I do that?" Andrea listened as Miranda blew a rough stream of smoke out of her mouth.

"We'll figure something out," Andy sighed. "I refuse to let you spend Thanksgiving alone in France."

Miranda just bristled, her mind was clearly clouded with anger.


After Andy hung up with the older woman, she sprang out of bed. She no longer cared that it was four in the morning. She was on a mission.

She quickly did some online research, snagged the last three tickets available, racked up her credit card bill, tossed some clothes into three suitcases from three different closets, and then slowly woke up the girls…


Miranda leaned back in her plush chair, tossing the newest mock-up of French Runway onto the table and then pinched her nose between her thumb and forefinger. She could feel a migraine coming on. Today would be lousy, especially with a migraine.

She was fresh from the shower, where she'd gotten herself off to images of Andy in the most interesting of positions. She was supposed to be getting ready for a lunch with Natalie and Guillame, the fashion editor of French Runway. However, she was too angry to bother at the moment.

She watched as the clock clicked closer and closer to noon. The sun was bright outside; she'd closed all but one window, not feeling up to having the happy morning sunlight stream into the room. She was in a dismal mood, and she felt the need for near darkness.

Perhaps it would have been better to out herself to the public so that she could have Andy there with her. And her girls. She missed her girls.

But they had decided not to; it would have been too messy.

So now they were stuck apart for the holidays.


Miranda lit a cigarette and inhaled deeply.

The lunch…she had to get ready for it.

And in a matter of minutes, Miranda was pieced together immaculately. There was no hint of the angst she felt from being so far away from her love.


Caroline sleepily stared over at Andy, who had her head buried in a magazine. She looked quite focused, sitting there reading.

Caroline couldn't help but wonder if Andy missed her mom as much as she missed her. Caroline hated when her mom went away without her and her sister.

Though she supposed Andy wouldn't have woken them up so early and dragged them out of bed if she didn't miss her too.

And just as she began studying Andy through heavy eyelids, Andy glanced over at her, caught her staring, and smiled. Caroline tiredly smiled back, snuggling back against her sister.

Andy reached across the aisle and stroked Caroline's hair. "Go back to sleep, I'll wake you up when we get there."

Caroline nodded and gave herself over to sleep.


Miranda returned to her hotel room, Natalie hot on her heels. She was busy puffing away on a cigarette and skimming through magazines as she entered her room. "Do you see this?" Miranda shoved a magazine at Natalie. "This is what Runway needs to beat, and right now it is not. And I would like it very much if someone here in France could figure this out and put forth the effort to make it better. You say the sales are down, well I can imagine why…look at this," Miranda held up French Runway, "as compared to this," she held up the aforementioned magazine. "Do you see the difference? Even the articles are better." Miranda skimmed through Runway, pinpointing a horrendous article she'd read the night prior. "No one cares about hair health when the tips in the magazine are exactly the same as they were a month before in Vogue. No one is going to care." Miranda sighed, falling into a chair, the magazines thrust into Natalie's hands.

"Well, Miranda, I see your point. But we don't have the resources…"

Miranda eyed her.

"Well what in the world do you propose we do? Hire someone out of left field? Bring in some inexperienced person because you find everyone who is experienced incapable? Would you like to run French Runway?" Natalie was out of ideas.

"No," Miranda shook her head and pulled out a sheet. A new editor on the scene, an unknown. Miranda had seen her work out years before. She'd pulled together a little nothing magazine in Italy and had made it a billion dollar magazine. Further, Miranda was quite certain they had similar qualities. "I did some research. Victoria knows fashion and she knows editing. I've been tracking her for quite some time. I would look into flying her out here. She might be invaluable to the company." Miranda mindlessly stated, letting the paper fall on the table.

And just as she did so, she heard voices outside her door. Familiar voices. Her head shot up and she strained to hear children's voices out in the hall.

"What?" Natalie glanced up from Victoria's fact sheet.

"I just…" Miranda got up and went to her door, beginning to wonder if her longing was making her hallucinate. But as she opened her door she staggered backwards in surprise. "Andy?"

Andy looked up from the luggage she was struggling with and smiled. "Hey honey." She grinned, and their lips were immediately pressed together.

Natalie watched from her spot on the couch, rather perplexed by this new situation.

Cassidy and Caroline rushed in behind Andy and wrapped their arms around Miranda. "Mom!!!" They cried happily. And Miranda bent down to kiss each of her girls.

It was while this was happening that Andy realized they were not alone in the room.

Natalie cleared her throat and stood up. She moved to shake Andy's hand, "hello." She smiled, a confused smile.

"Oh, Natalie," Miranda quickly wondered how she was going to explain this.

"Hi, I'm Andrea Sachs," Andy cut in.

"Well, nice to meet you, Andrea." Natalie continued smiling, feeling as if she were missing something. After no one offered further explanation, Natalie clasped her hands together and grinned. "Well, I'd better get going. I'll see you later at the dinner, and I will look into this Victoria."

Miranda nodded and watched her go. The girls squirmed past their mom and raced through the suite, taking in its immaculate detail.

Miranda and Andy watched as Natalie walked out of the suite, and then closed the door behind her. Andy turned to Miranda and grinned. "How completely awkward." She laughed, fingering the necklace around Miranda's neck.

"Yes, quite." Miranda smiled, leaning in to kiss her again and again. "Why are you here?"

"I couldn't stay away from you." Andy grinned, glad to be back in Miranda's arms. "And you better appreciate it; I do believe I maxed out my credit card getting the three of us here."

"Oh don't worry about that. I will take care of it." Miranda smiled, hoping her girls would find something to occupy themselves with so that she could take Andy right then. They began to make their way to the bedroom, but were stopped by Caroline.

"Mom, is there a pool?" Caroline innocently inquired.

"I do believe there is. Why don't you and your sister go find it?" Miranda suggested, picking up a key to the suite off the table. "Take this with you, and please don't get lost. And do not go out of the hotel, and do not…"

"Talk to strangers. We know." The girls replied in unison.

"All right, be careful." Miranda shook her head, then turned back to Andy.

As soon as the girls raced to their suitcases and put on their swim suits, followed by their quick exit, Miranda pounced on Andy before the door could even close behind her daughters. She nearly dragged her to the bed and with little word spoken between them, they made love to one another. Over and over. Until they collapsed breathless on the bed beside one another.

Miranda turned to kiss Andy, "God, I'm glad you came." She sighed against Andy's neck.

"Me, too." Andy grinned, her fingers stroking Miranda, running up and down her soft skin. "I missed you, so much."

"Too much." Miranda laughed.

"Yes." Andy laughed, kissing Miranda's forehead.


That evening Miranda had a dinner, but afterwards she took the girls and Andy out to L'oulette. After ordering, Miranda brought out three red boxes with the infamous Cartier emblem printed on top.

"Mom! What is this?" Cassidy cried.

"An early Thanksgiving present. For my three girls." Miranda winked at Andy and handed a box to each.

Andy's eyes widened at Miranda who just smiled and nodded for her to open it. The girls had already done so and were jumping in their seats. "Mom, it's gorgeous!" Caroline exclaimed, extracting the gold and silver band.

"Thank you mom!" Cassidy grinned, leaning over to kiss her mother.

Andy still hadn't opened hers and Miranda nudged her under the table, impatiently waiting for her to indulge her. Andy shook her head and opened the box, revealing the most gorgeous, and probably extremely expensive trinity bracelet from Cartier. "God, Miranda. It's beautiful."

Miranda smiled, "like you." They reached over and kissed as Miranda pulled the bracelet out of the box and slipped it onto Andy's wrist. "I love you."

"Love you." Andy grinned, kissing her again.

The twins exchanged grossed out looks at one another and Andy glanced over to them and laughed at the expressions on their faces.

Miranda looked over at her girls and smiled.

Yes, this was exactly where she wanted to be. This was how her life was supposed to be. Her girls looked happy and radiant, and as she glanced over at Andy she noted how beautiful and elated the younger woman looked.

And she realized that her greatest disappointment had turned out to be the greatest love of her life.

~The End~