Chapter 2

It had been a very hard winter. Andy breathed in the smell of growing grass as she sat on a bench in Central Park, watching people take advantage of the Spring day. Sun caressed her face lovingly as she tilted it, eyes closed to everything but this moment. A flash of penetrating blue eyes broke her from her relaxed state, causing her to grimace.

That woman was a menace to her peace of mind. No matter what she did, Andy could not banish thoughts of her boss. Andy shook her head as she acknowledged just how weak she was. She should have quit after that night. She should have walked away any number of times over the last three months. In fact, she should have walked away long before she had put on a show for Miranda in her bedroom, like some well-trained monkey. She had nearly walked away seven months ago during Paris Fashion Week. She hadn't though. She had made a choice.

Andy sneered at herself.

She had chosen for the last three months to appear at work every day with a bland smile on her face, ready to carry out Miranda's demands. She never summoned Andy to her home again. Nor had Andy expected her to. Andy delivered the Book and dry cleaning every night, then left—never interrupted by the woman who had destroyed any hope she had harbored of having her feelings returned. The callousness of Miranda's actions that night had nearly caused Andy to run away. But the challenge in the older woman's eyes had sparked a sense of stubbornness within Andy that had kept her in that bed, pleasuring herself while she dared Miranda to be affected, and it had stopped Andy from leaving Runway. She would not be chased away.

Hearing a well-known ring, Andy sighed as she raised the phone to her ear. "Hello, Miranda."

"Where are you?"

Andy mentally reviewed Miranda's schedule. She was supposed to be spending time with her children, which was why Andy had been enjoying a rare Saturday afternoon to herself.

"Central Park." Andy knew not to say more. Unnecessary commentary merely irritated Miranda, and Andy did not want to bear the brunt of caustic remarks.

"Come to the townhouse at once." Andy looked at the phone, confused. She next looked at her outfit. She wore jeans and a tight T-shirt with a zipper sweater over it. Knowing Miranda would not approve, Andy shrugged her shoulders in resignation and got up to trot across the park. It wouldn't take her more than ten minutes to arrive at the townhouse.

Ringing the doorbell, Andy pasted a friendly smile on her face and turned her gaze toward Miranda's cheeks once the door opened. This was a trick Andy had adopted after that night. She never looked Miranda in the eye. Never. She did not wish to see that smug, knowing look ever again.

As Miranda turned away, Andy took it as her cue to enter, and she followed Miranda into the sitting room. Andy could not hear Miranda's daughters anywhere, but she did not care to ask where they were. Even if she did care, she couldn't ask. No one asked Miranda anything. Ever.

If she could have asked Miranda questions, she might have ventured to inquire why she had instructed Andy to wait for her in her bedroom, why she had ripped out her heart with such cruel words, why she had watched Andy as she had touched herself, and why she had continued to allow Andy to work for her. But she couldn't ask any of those questions, and if Andy were being honest with herself, she didn't think she could survive hearing the answers.

"Sit." Andy did. She pulled out her ever-available pen and pad from her oversized purse, ready to jot down the latest slew of directions. She sat quietly, not caring how long it took for Miranda to mentally compose her list. A crystal glass was thrust under her nose, filled with red wine. Andy automatically took it, looking up in surprise. That was her mistake. Her breath fled as she was seared with an intense look. "So you can still look me in the eye. I had wondered, Andrea," Miranda drawled as she sat next to Andy on the sofa and sipped from her wineglass.

Andy felt her cheeks burn as she bit back her anger. Her jaw worked, clenching and unclenching. Ripping her gaze away, she drank from the glass. It was good. Strong. Aromatic. Oak with a hint of plum and tobacco. Andy could envision poker and cigars, leather and heat. A hand plucked her pad and pen away, throwing them to the floor.

"Look at me." Did Miranda sound angry? Frustrated? Andy gazed at those cheeks. They looked soft, well-moisturized. No one could deny that Miranda took care of herself. Very good care. Of herself.

The sound of a glass set on the coffee table gave Andy just enough warning as her wineglass was summarily removed and a strong grip turned her chin toward Miranda's face. Still, Andy chose to direct her gaze away from those killer eyes.

"For three months you have not deigned to look at me. Vapid smiles and mechanical actions—where are you, Andrea? Where is that spark, that flicker of defiance and personality that used to follow my every move?" Miranda demanded. When Andy did not answer, Miranda growled in frustration. Andy nearly grinned. It pleased her, just a bit, to know Miranda cared. Perhaps it was Miranda's ego, her arrogance, that spurred her to find out how she had lost her most obsequious, loyal follower. Andy wondered how she could not know. Was she so out of touch?

"You expect me to explain myself, to apologize for the way I treated you. You know nothing. This is just another example of why I could never give myself to you. You. So quick to judge, so quick to act like a wounded animal." Miranda became silent as Andy controlled her breathing and looked at the far wall. She would not give Miranda the satisfaction of reacting. She may have been naïve, she may have wanted Miranda so badly she could taste her need, and all right, it was true she still wanted her even now, but she would never admit it.

"Goddamn it!" Andy heard as she was pulled forward forcefully and lips smashed into hers. She sat rigidly, not sure what to do. Lips moved against hers as she remained unresponsive. If she gave in, she would be lost. She knew Miranda wanted her to respond so she could gloat over the truth that Andy still desired her. Andy would not give in. She could not allow herself to be so vulnerable again.

Noting her lack of response, Miranda placed her hands on Andy's cheeks and forced her tongue into Andy's mouth. Andy moaned and froze in horror. Miranda pushed her back on the sofa and covered her with her body, plundering Andy's mouth as tears leaked from the younger woman's eyes. Her body became limp as she gave in to the torrent of emotions. She could not hope to get out of this with her heart, bandaged and well-hidden these last few months, remaining intact. Miranda grasped it tightly for reasons Andy could not imagine. Knowing her destruction was at hand, Andy opened her mouth and swallowed Miranda's kisses even as her arms remained motionless.

"Andrea. Please." Andy opened her eyes when she heard Miranda's voice break. She stared at eyes full of sorrow, full of tears.

"I'm afraid," Andy whispered. She realized this might turn Miranda away from her. She hated weakness, after all. Instead the older woman nodded as tears splashed onto Andy's face. Andy finally raised shaking hands, gently wiping the tears from Miranda's cheeks. "I don't think I could survive if you turned me away again. If you care for me at all, Miranda, please don't do this if it's just some game."

Miranda rested her forehead against Andy's as their breathing evened out. She did not dare hold Miranda, even though she desperately wanted to. As if hearing her thoughts, Miranda ran her hands down Andy's arms and pulled them around her waist, wrapping hers around Andy's neck and twining her fingers through silky hair. Miranda turned her head to the side, resting it on Andy's shoulder. "I do care for you, despite my efforts to deny it." She delivered a kiss to her jaw. "This is no longer some game. And, if anything, I am the fool to have played with your feelings. Please forgive me."

Andy wanted to believe her. How could she, though? How could she trust that Miranda was not doing whatever she could to regain control of their relationship, such as it was? If Andy were smart, she would finally and definitively walk away. To have her hopes raised, only to have them destroyed once Miranda felt confident that she was again in command, it would break her. Andy knew she shouldn't walk, she should run far, far away. She even tensed as such thoughts ran through her mind.

"Don't run away. Let me make amends," Miranda murmured before arching up to kiss Andy. "I regret how I treated you. I have burned for your touch."

This time Andy kissed Miranda voraciously. She pulled Miranda closer and roughly sucked on her tongue, scraped her teeth against the addictive muscle, and pressed her lips forcefully as she squeezed her eyes tightly closed. She couldn't get enough. All those lonely nights spent remembering Miranda's inscrutable look as she watched Andy pleasure herself, all those days seeing Miranda and not being able to touch her, all those months feeling desolate and defeated, Andy wanted to wipe all those feelings away with these kisses, these emotions, this passion that consumed her so completely she could not help but surge against Miranda, pulling the older woman forward by the hips and grinding against her.

"Come upstairs," Miranda panted.

"No," she muttered before capturing the older woman's lips again. Miranda would not control what happened next. She would not even be on top. Andy moved her body carefully, flipping Miranda while she continued to demand Miranda's lips to respond. Pushing her knee between Miranda's legs, she undulated against her hot center and began to rock her pelvis as she ripped at Miranda's blouse. She heard Miranda gasp but ignored it. She knew this excited Miranda even as it frightened her. Miranda would not be in control this time. She would not decide when she would climax. Andy was in control. She would break Miranda apart and piece her back together.

After shredding Miranda's blouse, she pulled the bra down, not caring to take the extra time to unclasp it. Andy sucked on one breast as she pinched the other one, reveling in the screech Miranda voiced, the bow of her back as her hands pulled Andy's head closer. Andy quickened her body's movements, worming her hand in between their bodies and pressing against the seam of Miranda's slacks. She could feel moisture seeping through the fabric as Miranda's body moved forcefully. "Andrea!" Miranda gasped.

"Do you want to come, Miranda? Are you ready?" Andy whispered heatedly as she stared boldly into hazy eyes. "Don't come, yet. You have to wait until I say." Andy watched Miranda swallow convulsively before nodding. With a smile of triumph, Andy kissed Miranda, invading her mouth with her tongue, rubbing in time with their bodies' movements. She heard Miranda whimper as her hands grasped Andy's ass. She could tell Miranda was close.

Ripping her mouth away, Andy shimmied down Miranda's body and unzipped the pants as she tongued Miranda's belly button. She felt Miranda's abdominal muscles quiver as she pulled pants and soaked panties off, lifting both legs over her shoulders. She attacked Miranda as she had the older woman's mouth—roughly, sucking and nipping as Miranda screamed. Not slowing down, Andy pushed two fingers inside, feeling internal muscles squeezing them, pulling them in. Andy looked up into wild eyes. "Come for me, Miranda. Come for me now." Andy rubbed on the inner wall hard and sucked on the protruding clit as Miranda convulsed. Andy pinned the lower half of her body down as Miranda's back curved over the couch. Andy felt vindicated, powerful, alive.

Once Miranda's body sagged limply against the sofa, Andy climbed up her spent body and pulled her into her arms. Looking down, Andy noted tears streaming down that beautiful, porcelain face as eyes slid to the side. "Miranda," Andy whispered. "Look at me." Slowly, vibrant blue eyes connected with Andy's hopeful gaze. "We can take turns being in control. Okay?"

She held her breath as she waited for Miranda to decide. A satisfied smile crossed Miranda's face transforming it and illuminating her eyes. "I believe it's your turn to scream, Andrea." Before Andy could react, she found hungry lips and persistent fingers pushing her over the edge she had skated while ravaging Miranda's body. As Andy shrieked Miranda's name, she stared into passionate eyes and knew she would always want to see that searing look. "Now can we go upstairs?" Miranda asked as she pulled her hand out from Andy's pants and nipped at Andy's ear. Andy nodded, closing her eyes as Miranda ran her hands up Andy's ribs, cupping her breasts.

Jumping up, Andy extended a hand to the practically naked woman, taking time only to remove the bra before pulling Miranda toward the staircase. "Where are the girls?" Andy asked as she climbed the steps, looking back toward the naked woman and nearly tripping at the sight. Andy saw Miranda smirk, and she smiled shyly.

"They are with their father," Miranda answered as she propelled Andy toward the bed. Andy smiled brightly, allowing herself to finally register the unbelievable truth that Miranda cared for her.

With an "ooph!" Andy found her hands full of glorious softness. She giggled, feeling happiness steal over her as she looked into dancing blue eyes.

"Now, I believe you have too many clothes on. I refuse to wait another minute to see your luscious body again." Miranda pulled off Andy's clothes quickly then stopped to stare. "I couldn't stop thinking of you. I tried. God knows I tried." As Miranda sucked on a collarbone, Andy groaned. "When I finally stopped running from my feelings, I realized you were running from yours." She paused her actions and propped herself on her forearms, gazing at Andy with a soft expression. "I would not have given up if you had refused me tonight, even if you had run away. Somehow I would have earned your trust."

Andy sighed as elegant fingers splayed over her heart. "I can hardly believe this has happened. I'm afraid you'll change your mind." Andy thought about how devastated she would be if Miranda decided she no longer wanted her. Andy hadn't been exaggerating when she had told Miranda she wouldn't survive.

"I won't," Miranda said definitively. "I won't disappoint you," she promised and ended the conversation with another kiss.

The End.