Disclaimer: I do not own the Devil Wears Prada.
Andy sat at the kitchen table sipping her coffee, her laptop resting on the table in front of her. She was supposed to be reviewing the notes from her editor, but she couldn't find her concentration. It had been sacrificed to the child sitting in her lap who had hands balled into her shirt. The child's weight felt comfortable and comforting even in its awkwardness.
Andy didn't think that she would ever feel completely at ease while holding Emily and Raymond's daughter in her arms. She suspected that she would always feel like she was infringing on something sacred that existed between parent and child. These moments that she was afforded with her stepdaughter made her think that perhaps this was a thing Raymond should experience. He should be able to hold Olivia while she slept. He should be the one running a comforting hand along the girl's back while holding the dream monsters at bay.
Instead, he was across the city doing whatever it was he chose to do with his time when it wasn't his turn to spend time with his daughter. He had no way of knowing that Olivia had run herself ragged from play and hardly even had enough energy to crawl up into Andy's lap before she fell into sleep.
It was a precious moment that Andy couldn't help but feel she was stealing away from Raymond. No matter how ridiculous the notion, she felt guilty from taking something that she wasn't convinced was hers to take. She wrapped her arm more tightly around Olivia's small frame urging her stepdaughter to snuggle even further in.
A wave of appreciation swept over Andy along with a fresh wave of guilt. She had been a step parent before, of course, but with Miranda's twins it had been entirely different. For one, the girls were older and they had been long past the snuggling up stage by the time Andy and Miranda had married. It also helped that their father was a complete ass and Andy felt repulsion when he was mentioned rather than guilt. He had been a terrible father and was always overly content with pushing his daughters off onto anyone willing to take them on.
Andy had accepted the challenge and eventually won over Miranda's daughters enough to become their confidant. She was too young to be their mother and none of them tried to play out a role that would never successfully hold. Even after Miranda and her divorce, Andy still maintained a relationship with Cassidy and Caroline. She had refused to abandon them like so many others had carelessly done in the past. She had even refused to completely abandon Miranda. She had fought for Miranda's tepid friendship and was still fighting to attain something that resembled the companionship they had shared in their marriage.
Life had not been shy in offering Andy a few rude awakenings about the choices she had made throughout the years. This guilt she carried was just one of her realizations and she knew that it wouldn't go away, because Raymond was a wonderful father who loved his daughter more than anything. He made an effort to be everything his daughter needed from a dad and Andy was one of the reasons why he didn't get to do that full time.
It didn't matter that Emily had made a conscious decision to give Raymond full custody, because even full custody still leant itself to part time custody every other weekend and alternating holidays. There was no way to be a full time parent when a child was split between the lives of their parents.
"You can't be comfortable," Emily whispered as she finally let her presence be known. She rested against the wall, her arms casually resting at her sides as she looked onto the scene. "You should put her in her room."
"Why would I do that?" Andy asked as she smoothed down Olivia's hair. "If she moves then I might have to start working."
"You should be working." Emily pushed up off the wall and stepped closer to her lover. Her eyes roamed over her four year old daughter and how at peace she looked resting in Andy's arms. It was an image that helped ease fears she wasn't yet ready to vocalize.
"I should be," Andy admitted, "but then I wouldn't be chasing away the dream monsters."
"Dream monsters?" Emily questioned, "I didn't know you were the one to see to chase them away."
"Oh, I'm very good at it," Andy seriously replied. "The best really."
Emily smirked, but said nothing further. She simply leaned down and kissed Andy's forehead and then reached out and gathered her daughter in her arms. Olivia stirred just long enough to recognize that she was in her mother's embrace before she fell back to sleep.
"Get to work," Emily ordered as she walked out of the kitchen.
Andy watched her lover walk away, letting the sudden emptiness of the room seep into her. She took in a deep breath and then turned to her computer. She focused on the screen and tried to accomplish the things she had been setting to accomplish when she originally sat down and started up her laptop.
She looked at the clock on her computer task bar and realized that she had let more time pass than she had originally intended. She had only promised that she would allow Olivia to sleep for twenty minutes and then would properly prepare Olivia for bed. She hadn't meant for an hour and a half to pass her by. She had wanted to be done with her work by the time Emily got home from the banquet she had been attending for work.
It was just one small effort she had been trying to make to spend more time with her girlfriend. They lead busy lives full to the brim with all the things that offered a piece of fulfillment to the dreams they were chasing. Andy was writing her books and was a permanent fixture as a Sunday morning political pundit. Emily decided that print media was quickly becoming an endangered species and so had jumped on the opportunity to be a consultant for a new cable channel dedicated to the art of fashion.
Their fundamental selves hadn't much changed after they had ended their marriages and chosen to be together. They were living in the future and Andy couldn't really grasp onto if this is what she had pictured it would be like. She hadn't afforded herself the luxury of picturing much of anything while she was still married to Miranda, but what she had pictured usually involved less work, and less responsibility.
It was a naïve prediction of the future, but she knew that having the reality of a future with Emily was…not necessary a thing that could ever happen. But, it had happened. It was happening and she was still adjusting to the changes.
Two years together and they weren't married. They didn't even live together, not officially at least. Their lives were merged but only to the extent where either one of them could make a quick escape if necessary. It was a mentality that they needed to outgrow, but it wasn't something easily given up.
They had grown so accustomed to being a part of each others' lives and then being pushed out at the turn of the ticking clock that they didn't know how to become permanent fixtures. Andy helped Emily with Olivia when the moment called for it. Emily attended all the tapings of Andy's show when time permitted, but they lingered in each other's gravity without stepping down onto any firm surface.
Andy took one last look at her laptop and then closed the lid. She wouldn't be getting work done, and in truth she didn't want to be working. She wanted to help Emily tuck Olivia in. She wanted to grab onto the moment of intimacy while it was standing in front of her.
She stood up and then followed the same trek Emily had taken when she walked off with her daughter. By the time Andy reached them Olivia was settled in bed and Emily was sitting on the edge of the small bed running her hand gently through Olivia's hair.
When Emily spotted Andy, she got up and then led Andy out of the room. "Did you finish your work?" she asked.
"Work isn't important," Andy casually replied as she slipped her hands around Emily's waist.
"Really?" Emily raised a brow. "Then what it is you find worth your attention?"
"You," Andy honestly replied intent on holding nothing back. She leaned over and then brushed her lips against Emily's connecting with her girlfriend on a level that left no room for misinterpretation. She guided Emily to their bedroom, making sure to lock the door after they entered.
"Did something happen I should know about?" Emily brushed the back of her hand down Andy's face soothing away the tension that lingered.
"I don't want to lose you," Andy confessed.
"Oh," Emily uttered caught mildly off guard. "I wasn't aware you were losing me."
"Let's keep it that way," Andy pleaded. "Please," she added in mild desperation.
"My precious, precious love," Emily whispered, "we must one day let the past go."
"One day," Andy agreed and then claimed Emily's lips again. One day seemed almost too far away. She couldn't help these moments from appearing when the guilt brewed over and her love felt too intense to keep under control.
It didn't matter that they were living in the future since they hadn't yet figured out how to completely live in the present. They were still bruised from the actions they had taken while their love was an affair instead of a precious thing to be cultivated and handled with care. The switch wasn't flipped that easily, at least not for them.