DISCLAIMER: The Devil Wears Prada and its characters belong to Lauren Weisberger and 20th Century Fox. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: After writing The Blessing Revealed, I proclaimed quite loudly that that was IT. No wedding. The reason I said that was due to the simple fact that I felt I just couldn't. I did not think my skills at dialog were good enough to handle a larger group of people…and blah, blah, blah. Essentially I did not think I was good enough and that started to really, really, eat at me. I am not usually the type of person that says 'I cannot do xyz'. Then I realized something: There is more than one way to tell a story. So I am telling this story the best way that I know how--through my own eyes—using someone else. You will remember this person from his brief mention in The Blessing Revealed. Oh, and the summary? Just read…you'll see. Important Note: Please understand right away that I take any sort of religious/spiritual ceremony very serious. Therefore this story is –pretty serious and involved many hours of writing notes, researching, making some phone calls and even a few prayers. Enjoy. Editor: Peetsden (from LJ)
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To brithna[at]gmail.com

The Blessing Received
By Brithna

 

Death would have been kinder than this, yes, much kinder. Paul Blake found himself standing in the middle of room full of people; each one laughing and pointing at him. Each one telling him he was a fool for even trying. Then there was Miranda, her glare spoke volumes as did Andy's tears. All of the sudden from somewhere in the back of the room Bono started singing. Singing? Wait. Why doesn't he go by his real name? Paul. His real name is Paul. Then Bono stopped singing about a beautiful day and started laughing at him too. Now a loud annoying beeping sound was coming from the ceiling…

"What….wait…no." Paul gasped for air and threw the covers off. He could feel his heart racing and struggled for a moment to remember where he was. Oh, yeah. Home. In bed. Dream.

Paul reached for the alarm clock by his head and blindly turned it off, then reached under his pillow for his phone where Bono was still singing about a beautiful day. Bono really should go by his real name. Paul shook his head to clear away the remaining cobwebs of sleep and tried to focus. It was just a dream.

He rubbed his face with his hands and ran them through his hair. This dream he'd been having for the past two weeks was pretty freakin' stupid and always left him feeling like a complete idiot. "Come on, it's not like you haven't done this five times before!" He dropped his arms back on the bed and silently proclaimed that the pouting was over. He was right. He's married five other couples and those were all homeruns. This one would be too. Just because he was about to marry two people whom he loved and adored so much, made no difference. Right?

Repeating that fact to himself over and over, he sat up on the edge of the bed and put his sneakers on. Paul couldn't stand to be barefoot. He left the lamp off and dropped to the floor to start his standard morning work-out. One-hundred pushups, one-hundred sit ups and at least three miles on the treadmill at a break-neck pace. His father told him more than once that it looked like he was running from something; but Paul wasn't running away from something, he was running toward something. Most of the time he didn't know what that something was, but every now and then he did, and counted it as a blessing.

After his push-ups and sit-ups, Paul took a towel into the living room and started up the tread-mill. He would make it four miles today, there was time.

Usually he could focus solely on the mile ahead but he started making a list of everything that still had to be done almost immediately. Paul wondered if anyone was downstairs working yet.

The space beside the restaurant was recently vacated and Miranda wasted no time in scooping it up. Paul renovated the upstairs into an apartment for himself and they made plans to expand the restaurant. Some walls were knocked out and the floors refinished, giving everything an open, clean feeling. A few set of elegant French doors separated it from the restaurant until he figured out what else he wanted to do; but for now the open space was starting to come in handy.

Paul began hosting dinner parties and small events which drew in a considerable amount of money that Miranda quickly declared be set aside to finish the renovation. That sounded fine to him so he did as many as he could. There was no need to go into debt after all, when you could pay for it in cash.

Now, that space would be used for a wedding. Paul wasn't quite sure how Andy ever got Miranda to agree but, this afternoon the two of them would be married right there in the very restaurant where everything started.

He laughed in between deep breaths. How many things had to line up right for those two to find each other again and survive to tell the tale? An awful lot of things, not to mention the grace of God himself. That was the only reasonable answer.

Paul's mind drifted off to the food and he ran a little faster. There was a lot left to do. Hopefully Cassidy had found some time to sleep. She was still in the kitchen with a full staff when he went to bed at two. Even though this was Miranda and Andy's big day, this was also Cassidy's. Preparing this meal, feeding nearly hundred people, was her biggest test so far. With a little guidance from Miranda, Cassidy chose the menu and took off. Paul mostly stood in the background providing support and pushed her to delegate tasks and give direction to her kitchen staff. The sooner she learned that the better off she would be.

Caroline on the other hand was not the least bit interested in food, but in organization and perfection. She was hardly sixteen and had already organized several events Paul held in the new space downstairs. Caroline had her mother's eye and her attention to detail was flawless and when she was in control, everything was her way or no way at all. There was no need to guess who she learned that from. His entire staff was downright afraid of her. After all a few years back when she was only fourteen Caroline kicked one of his wait-staff out of the restaurant because she felt he 'had not properly memorized the menu'. God help anyone that screwed up today because this was her test too. With a little help from Emily and Nigel, Caroline had been getting the downstairs space ready for four straight days. That room would probably never be the same again.

When Paul finally bothered to look down at the digital screen on the treadmill, six miles had passed instead of four. He walked for another half mile to cool down and went over the ceremony in his mind for the millionth time. All month long he worked at finding just the right words. This had to be perfect and it had to convey the feelings that Miranda and Andy had for each other. Which spelled 'stress' for Paul, but he was happy to do it; honored to do it. He was just glad that Miranda actually agreed to have him perform the ceremony. Of course, it probably helped that by now Miranda knew so much about his background, she knew he could do it. She had faith in him which meant more than anything right now.

Growing up without a father in New York City was no easy task, especially when your mother was hardly at home. Someone had been watching out for Paul though, because along the way he gained a big brother. That big brother came in the form of Daniel Blake, from the Big Brother Big Sisters of New York City program.

Daniel Blake would end up saving his life in more ways than one. He took Paul to the park, taught him how to play basketball, taught him how to survive and make good choices; but Daniel also did two other very important things. He took Paul to church and he taught him how to cook.

When Paul was eighteen his mother died from a drug over-dose with the help of her latest boyfriend, and even though Paul was of age, he still wanted a chance to be a part of a real family. So, Daniel adopted Paul and they formed their own family, becoming a father and son.

Through Daniel's example Paul found his way to God and figured out that he could not only feed people with food, but with words. He went on to minister to the youth in his church and had the privilege to become a Big Brother to several young men in his community.

For one of his brothers, he was fortunate enough to officiate at his wedding. In fact this was the very same brother, Joshua; that worked with Andy, which was why she was in his restaurant five years ago when Miranda walked through the door. The four other weddings under his belt were performed for people in his church and now here Paul was about to marry off two of the most important people in his life. Yeah, he wasn't scared at all. Not one bit.

Paul took off his head phones when he heard the sound of a fist pounding on his front door. It wasn't even eight in the morning yet which meant it was probably Cassidy, freaking out again about the food. When would she learn to have confidence in her abilities?

"What is it Cass?" Paul threw open the door but it wasn't Cassidy at all. It was Emily. Emily, the woman he'd been trying to get close too for a year. Emily, the woman that he wanted but couldn't have only because she didn't think she was good enough. Or something.

"Emily? Hi." Paul opened the door all the way and moved aside. "Come in. Is everything okay downstairs?"

Emily stood there staring at him with those green eyes that he could not get out of his mind no matter how hard he tried and then he felt like an idiot. He was in nothing but gym shorts and sneakers and he probably reeked of sweat. What a way to impress a lady. Emily finally came in and began to berate him in her usual manner.

"Bloody hell, do you realize what time it is? We have a million things to do today and you choose to run a marathon instead? Must I do everything myself? Do you even have your suit? Have you even checked on the preparations? The food?"

"Yeah..uh…I mean yes, I know what time it is. No, I didn't run a marathon…only six miles. No, you don't have to do everything yourself…yes, I have my suit and no, I haven't checked on the food yet. But I was about to. I swear." That all just fell right out of his mouth as if he had practiced those answers for ages.

"Well then, what are you waiting on? Move...move! And take a shower for God's sake." She was waving her hands around and looked totally put out.

Paul stumbled off into the kitchen and she followed right on his heels as if she was afraid he was going to get lost or go back to the treadmill. "I need to eat something first. Would you like something?"

"No." She scoffed. "Certainly not. I look like a whale as it is. Now hurry up."

Paul started throwing fruit, milk and a hand full of other things into a blender. "Sit down Emily." He truly hated it when she started in about her weight. She did not look like a whale but no matter how many times he told her otherwise she would not accept his compliments.

To Paul's great surprise, Emily sat down. When he cranked up the blender she rolled her eyes and started playing with her phone. Always checking emails, always checking text messages. Paul poured his smoothie into a glass and poured Emily a glass as well.

"Now…taste that and tell me it isn't good." He sat down and took a big gulp. His stomach thanked him for it. Emily tasted hers and though she tried to cover it up, Paul knew she liked it. "See, I knew you would like it."

"You knew no such thing."

"Okay." Paul was not going to argue with her today. He didn't have the strength for it. "So tell me what you've been up too so far? How was last night?"

"What have I been up to? Seriously? My God, what have I not been up to!" Emily took another drink of her smoothie and Paul smiled. "I walked into your office this morning to find Cassidy on the floor asleep! Imagine what we'll have to do to make her look even half way decent today. Caroline is running around downstairs like a bloody general, Miranda is in a complete fog and God only knows what Andrea is doing.

Last night was a complete waste of my time. Andrea insisted on dragging me around town with her friends and I'm fairly certain I contracted some sort of disease from one of the many bar stools I was forced to sit on.

Meanwhile, Miranda, Nigel, and God only knows who else went to some bloody musical and diner. I would have preferred that I can promise you. Then I had to listen to Andrea whine half the time about how she did not want to spend a night apart from Miranda. It was sickening. I'm surprised I'm not dead yet."

In a fit of insanity Paul reached across the table and put his hand on top of Emily's as she took a breather. "Emily, I'm sure everything will be fine today. You'll see. Just relax."

Emily pulled her hand away and crossed her arms in front of her chest. "Just relax? Everything will be fine? Really. I just hope you don't make an arse of yourself today."

Okay. Paul needed a second to pull himself together after that. He was used to Emily's insults but today of all days he was hoping for a little reprieve. Not only did he want to do well for Miranda and Andy, but wanted to do well for Emily too. Whether she would ever realize that or not was a different matter. Apparently the look on his face must have betrayed his casual demeanor because she seemed to quickly regret her words. Or something.

Then something very strange and unworldly happened. Emily put her hand on top of his. He was almost afraid to look up but did anyway. It couldn't get any worse could it? Emily was blushing.

"I should not have said that. You will do fine. Otherwise Miranda wouldn't let you do this in the first place."

What an awesome motivator. That wasn't exactly what Paul had in mind but it would do. The six dates he had managed to wrangle out of Emily had ended in much the same way. Her saying something nasty and then regretting it. Only to apologize but not really.

"It's fine. I have it all down. I won't disappoint you…them. I won't disappoint them. I need to go take a shower now. I'll be down in soon." Paul got up and took their glasses to the sink and without another glance he disappeared to the bathroom, leaving Emily at the table. She knew the way out.

When he returned to the kitchen fifteen minutes later, showered and in clean clothes, the pitcher for the blender and the glasses had been washed and dried. All the ingredients he left on the counter were back in the refrigerator and there was a plastic glass with a lid on the top with a note that read "Here is the rest of your smoothie. Drink up, you're going to need it."


By noon Paul was ready for something stronger to drink. Cassidy was in the kitchen fighting again with his little brother Matthew who was cleaning and grabbing whatever was needed from the pantry. For some reason every time those two were around one another, they fought. Paul wasn't quite sure, but it all sounded a bit like love at first sight to him. God help everybody when Miranda finally figured out that her daughter was in love with the resident dishwasher.

Other than the fighting, the food was coming along nicely and the cake delivery was on schedule, but there were so many people running around that it was driving him crazy.

The restaurant side of the building looked amazing. Every table was immaculate. Especially his table. Well actually it wasn't his table per se, only one part of it.

Very early on it was decided that Miranda and Andy did not want gifts under any circumstances, which was understandable because they wanted for nothing. So instead, a table was placed in the middle of the room and around a large centerpiece of red roses were four empty vases, each different from the other. A card was placed in front of each vase indicating the charity it belonged to. Paul was happily represented with a vase for Big Brother Big Sisters of New York City. Throughout the evening, guests would place their financial gifts in the vase of their choice. Rumors spread quickly that Miranda personally called quite a few guests and may or may not have let slip that they should bring four envelopes instead of just one.

When Paul heard loud voices in the next room he figured now was a fantastic time to stop looking around and get busy. Caroline was in the corner surrounded by the wait-staff giving them instructions yet again on how she wanted the service to go. Once she was finished he took her aside and made her promise not to kick anyone out today. She wasn't happy about it but relented-only for today.

"Uncle Paul, I can't help it if they're all ingrates."

"Caroline, listen to me. You can't run over everyone all the time to get things done. There has to be a balance. Okay?"

Caroline looked at him like he'd just spoken in Ancient Greek. "Okay, whatever."

Paul took a deep breath and smiled. "Alright now how are you? Are you ready for the show?"

This brought the Caroline he loved up to the surface. She smiled and hugged him. "Yes, I'm going to look ridiculous. I know I'll cry."

"Well don't tell anyone but I might cry too." Which was true. Just looking at all this made him want to tear up. Paul wasn't the crying kind of guy but today that was probably going to change. "Have you talked to your mother today? Where did you sleep last night?"

Caroline took his arm and led him through the French doors to the other side of the building. Yet again he was amazed at what he saw. "I talked to her like an hour ago. She sounded funny. Stressed. But then again, she's always stressed. I think she's packing all their bags for tomorrow. Anyway, I was here a long time last night so I slept at Emily's place since its close by."

"Ah, okay. Hey, the chairs look good." He wasn't up for hearing Caroline talk about Emily.

"Of course they do. I spent half the night rearranging everything. You see…" She pointed in a circle around the room in front of her "when you told me about the circle, I thought of this."

Instead of rows of chairs going straight across the room on either side of the aisle, the chairs were set to form a large semi-circle around the room. Ultimately, it would almost surround the couple.

"Wow. Caroline this is awesome. Seriously awesome."

"I know. It makes things a little tight but I think it will do nicely. Your little circle speech hit the spot. Thank you."

"You're welcome, now where is your mom?"

Caroline giggled "At the hotel. Sleeping off her night of partying. Gram is not impressed. I called mom at eight and woke her up. She said something about me being grounded and Alaska so I hung up.

"Hm…well it's…" Great, Emily was coming through the door "I'll call them both. Everything is looking great. I'll be back in a minute." Paul headed off to his apartment just in time avoid another one of Emily's verbal tirades.


"Hello, Miranda? It's Paul."

"Good afternoon Paul. I trust you are ready?"

"I'm ready. Are you ready?" Caroline was right Miranda did sound a little weird. A little far away.

"Yes, of course. Why wouldn't I be?"

"Just checking. No cold feet?" Paul could hear Miranda sigh and could sense an eye-roll.

"No, don't be ridiculous. Now tell me, are things going well or is it all completely horrendous?"

Paul rubbed his forehead. Something was wrong. Today's Miranda was totally different than yesterday's Miranda. Her voice was way too even and her words came out flat. "Everything looks great. You'll love it. Now tell me what's wrong."

There was a pause on the other end of the line. "What's wrong? I'm a tired, old woman that is what is wrong. I have no business marrying her. I'm too old."

Oh, God. Never, not ever, had Paul heard Miranda speak about their age difference. "Miranda you're over thinking this. You've been together a long time and I've never heard you talk about this before. You're not too old and she's not too young, okay? Remember that speech you gave me a few years back about how I was put on this Earth to 'create culinary works of art'? Well you were put here on this Earth to love her and that's that. Period."

"I should have never given you that little speech because you speak of it far too often. I think it went to your head."

"Well, it may have but it's one of the nicest things you have ever said to me. Feeling better now?" Hopefully so, because Paul couldn't afford to have her crumble today.

Miranda cleared her throat. "Yes. Actually, yes I am. I'm still tired but that is to be expected. Nigel kept me out far too late and there is all this packing to do…and I have no idea where my children are, or my future wife."

"Your kids are here. Cassidy is in the kitchen and Caroline is still giving orders. Those two are really something."

"Hm, yes they are. I do hope Cassidy is not fighting with Matthew again. I cannot even pretend to understand that whole little drama but honestly I'm trying not to think about it."

Good, please don't. "Me either…they aren't fighting though. Everything is going great." Liar. "And reports tell me that your future wife is at the hotel where she should be."

"Well she certainly is not picking up her phone."

And thank God. She was probably suffering from a serious hang-over. "I'm sure everything is fine. I have to go now Miranda. What time are you getting here?"

"I will be there at three and don't worry. I will not be poking around. The girls will be with me then and God knows who else. Have that back room cleared."

"I will. Andy is setting up in my apartment…Miranda thank you for letting me do this for you today."

"Don't thank me Paul. Thank Andrea. She convinced me. You were not my first choice but you are the right choice and that is all that matters. I know you will not disappoint me today."

Never mind about crying later. He was about to cry right now. "I won't. It'll be good, you'll see. Now I have to go. I'll see you at three?"

"Yes. You will see me at three, darling."


Paul hung up the phone then immediately dialed Andy's number.

"Paul?"

"Yes it's Paul. How is the future Mrs. Priestly today?" Paul could hear some rustling and voices in the background.

"She's horrible. Why did I go out with these animals last night?...Ouch!"

"Because you wanted to. What's going on?"

"My hair. It's a disaster. I wanted to wear it down but I may not be able to. Do you know…do you know that my Grandmother was out all night with Miranda and Nigel? Did you know that?"

No he didn't know that but he would have paid good money to see it. "Constance? Constance went out with them? Wow. Did she have a good time?"

"Yes, Constance! Who else? She's the only grandmother I have left. Oh, they had a fabulous time from what I've heard. She got back here after I did! I'm going to kill Miranda. Having fun without me…As you can imagine Mom thought it was the funniest thing ever. Instead of chastising her mother for being out all night she came down on me instead! And I'm the one getting married! Argh."

Paul bit back a laugh. It was funny. Constance was half crazy. To think of her out in public with Miranda Priestly was almost too much. No wonder Miranda was tired.

"Have you talked to my honey today? I miss her so much. I can't believe it. I can't believe you people talked me into spending the night away from her. How dumb. If I had been sober enough I would have walked back to the house last night."

She sounded so hyper yet so pathetic all at the same time. "First of all, calm down. All that yelling and screaming isn't going to help your nerves. And yes, I have spoken with Miranda. She's fine. She said she tried to call you."

"I bet she did but I'm surrounded by traitors who took my phone away from me." Paul could hear her yelling out 'traitors!' to everyone within ear shot.

"It's for your own good. Just deal with it. You'll see her at four o'clock sharp because if we're one second behind schedule Caroline will kill us all."

"Don't I know it? She's worse than Miranda."

"I gotta go Andy. Call me before you arrive so I can make sure the coast is clear. I do not want you two seeing each other before it's time. Are we clear?"

There was a heavy, dramatic sigh then "Yes…damn-it."

"Good girl. Now be here at three. Not a second sooner." Paul was savvy enough to know that Miranda would arrive at least fifteen minutes ahead of schedule so If Andy showed up at three there was no way they would see each other coming or going.

"Fine…traitor."


Like clock-work Miranda arrived at two forty-five. She was accompanied by Nigel of course who was carrying several garment bags and two other people Paul had never seen before. Judging by what they were carrying, they were no doubt in charge of hair and make-up, although Miranda already looked impeccable. For someone who professed to be tired and old she looked anything but.

As planned, Miranda was allowed to make a quick sweep through the restaurant to give her nod of approval. Once Caroline finished giving her the grand tour, Miranda retired to an empty room that once served as the office in the other space. Cassidy went upstairs to Paul's apartment to take a shower and get dressed, while Caroline, who finally declared that she could do no more in either room, followed after her mother.

Fifteen minutes later Paul was fighting to keep Andy from running off to find Miranda. After a second attempt, he posted his brother Joshua in front of the door to his apartment to insure she did not escape again.

Paul looked at his watch and ran to his office to change.

"Christ, Dad you scared me." Paul's father was sitting in his office chair with his feet propped up on the desk.

"Sorry 'bout that. I figured I would wait for you in here. It seemed like a safe place." Daniel got up and gave Paul a hug.

"I'm glad you're here. These women are trying to kill me." Paul sat down in an extra chair.

"Oh, yeah? You expected anything less?" Daniel laughed.

"No…yes…I don't know, but they're all killing me and I'm so nervous."

"You have your notes?"

"Yeah right there." Paul pointed to a small stack of papers by his computer. Daniel put on his glasses and quickly scanned through the notes.

"So…I see that Miranda was firm on her stance about the Rabbi."

"Firm doesn't begin to cover it. She wouldn't even discuss it. Then again her mother Eva would never discuss anything like that with me either. I don't know what happened but somewhere along the way everything just…"

"It's okay son. Everyone has their own reasons for what they do and do not believe. You know that. And I think it's very safe to say that Miranda believes in God. Everyone with children believes in some form of God, trust me. Maybe God has something else in mind for her. It's not really ours to question."

"I know she does. That's why I left in some things…that I wanted. They have no idea what I'm going to say. Seriously. We have not practiced any of this at all."

Daniel looked surprised. "Really?"

"They said they didn't want too. They have their vows memorized and know where to stand and that's it. Caroline made a PowerPoint presentation, of all things, to show everyone where to walk, where to stand and how to leave. "

"Well it does leave the element of surprise wide open. I think it's fine. As far as your notes…you put your heart into it. It's a good message. Are you hoping someone in particular might hear it?"

Paul smiled weakly. "Yes. She won't though. Dad, I can't reach Emily."

Daniel leaned forward and put his hand on Paul's shoulder. "Don't give up. Not yet. A blessing will come your way soon. That's what half of this" Daniel lifted up Paul's notes "is about anyway. Now…I think we need to say a prayer in hopes that you survive all these women who are trying to kill you. Does that sound like a good idea to you?"

"Absolutely."

Father and son joined hands and Daniel prayed for Paul and the women whose lives were about to change.


Twenty-five minutes were left as Paul hurried to Miranda's room and found it surprisingly quiet. He poked his head in the door and saw Constance and Miranda standing by the window. Other than that the room was empty.

"Hi, ladies. I hope I'm not interrupting?"

"No, not at all. I'm just giving Miranda a little pep-talk. You can have her now." Constance gave Paul a kiss and floated out of the room.

"She's quite amusing." Miranda gestured toward the door. "And you…you look surprised?"

"I…well…a little. This is not what I expected you to wear but I have to say…you look hot." Paul laughed. Miranda was dressed in what Paul's meager descriptive abilities could only say was a 'power suit' on steroids. It was black and obviously tailored to fit her perfectly.

"I'll take that as a compliment I suppose. I bought it four months ago for a board meeting and Andrea went…well" Miranda blushed "She went absolutely crazy over it. She thinks I'm wearing a dress. Nigel has been giving her false information for quite some time."

Miranda's eyes shone and Paul shook his head. "This should be fun. When she sees you, the ceremony will go from a rating of G to R and then some. I swear you're both trying to kill me."

"Don't be so dramatic. I am sure she will be on her best behavior. Sit." Miranda sat down in a chair by the window and motioned for Paul to do the same.

"I only have a minute then I need to go check on her. Are you ready?"

"I'm as ready as I can be. Here are the rings." Miranda pulled two gold bands out of her pocket. "The smaller one is hers. Do not forget."

"I won't forget. Are you nervous?"

"Hm…yes. I'm not sure why though…then again this is drastically different than the other times. Drastically different."

"In what way?" Besides the obvious.

"Darling, this time I'm actually serious. That's reason enough to be nervous. I don't know what I would do if things…"

"Don't even think about that. You know what your vows mean; you know what you have to do and as long as you honor her every day you won't fail."

"This is true."

"Yes it is. I'm going now. I'll see you in…crap…ten minutes."

Paul ran from the room and up the stairs to his apartment. He kicked everyone out except for Andy then sat down with her. She looked like she was going to hyperventilate. Not good.

"Okay, you need to breathe. I am not performing this ceremony in the E.R." He took both of her hands and forced her to focus.

"I'm okay…really. I just…I don't know."

"Whatever it is-tell me now because we only have…less than ten minutes before we need to be downstairs."

"I feel like I can't breathe! I was fine till thirty minutes ago. I just feel…we've been together for five years so what's the big deal?"

"This is normal, I promise. You're just very excited and a lot has been going on and here we are at the final moment. That's all. You're going to be fine. You look beautiful by the way."

Andy sat up straight and looked down at her dress. "Really? I hope she likes it. It's not something she would have picked out that's for sure. Then again, I almost never wear something she would have picked out. But, whatever…I wasn't about to put on some huge wedding dress. That would have killed me. Do you really like it? It's summery…and it only comes down to my knees but…I'm rambling…oh, God."

"Yes, you look gorgeous and the flowers in your hair are a hit. Now look at me."

Andy shut her mouth and took a deep breath. "Okay...looking."

"Listen, when you get down there…only one thing really matters. You and her. That's it. Nothing else. Just focus on her and everything will be alright. Okay?"

"Okay. I can do that."

"I know you can." Paul pulled her up out of the chair. "Now come on. We've gotta get downstairs before Caroline kills us."


Paul deposited Andy into her father's care and Emily marched them off to where they needed to be. The logistics of this whole thing were a little tricky and several people had been pressed into service to ensure that neither Miranda nor Andy saw one another in the process of getting down the aisle.

He spent a few minutes welcoming people that stopped him on his way to the restaurant side of the building. There had to be close to two hundred people here and there was no doubt that it was about to be standing-room only. Paul liked that though. He wanted them to be completely surrounded by the people that were here to support them.

Just before he went through the double doors to take his place he heard someone behind him and turned around. It was Emily. Most of the lights were already off in here and the whole place was lit with candles. Paul decided that Emily looked especially beautiful in candle light.

"Emily, do you need anything?" He said quietly.

She came right up to him which was a surprise. Emily was not one for close quarters. "I don't need anything but your tie does. Come here."

She began fiddling with his tie and smoothing his shirt. Paul stood there silently, looking down at her.

"Now that's better." She kept her hands on his chest and finally looked up at him. "You will do fine. I really am sorry about earlier."

"It's ok. I know. You look beautiful."

Emily pulled her hands away "I doubt that. Now give me your jacket."

"What?" What could possibly be wrong with his jacket?

"You're not comfortable and you're too hot. I can tell. The vest is very nice and with the tie you look quite dashing. Give me your jacket."

Well okay then. He was uncomfortable and it didn't help that he was so nervous. Which was probably why he was already sweating. Maybe taking the jacket off would relax him. He took it off and gave it to her without further argument.

"You have the rings?" She folded his jacket gently over her arm.

"Yes, here in my vest pocket."

"Do you need your notes?"

"No. Emily, I…"

"Shh…you're out of time. Go."


Seconds seemed to turn into minutes as Paul stood up front and waited for the music to start. It was all very much like his dream. Except no one was laughing at him yet, and Bono wasn't singing. Thank God. Suddenly Emily caught his eye and nodded. It was time.

The procession would be short. Neither of them felt the need for a huge bridal party so this was all about family. Actually it seemed very fitting now that he thought about it. Four people were about to become permanently bound together so that was all that was really needed.

Some piece of soft classical music started playing. Emily informed Paul of its name several times but he couldn't remember it now. It sounded nice though. A few seconds later Kathleen made her way up the aisle, escorted by Nigel; which was so fitting seeing as how they got along so well. Then it was Andy's grandmother's turn. Constance was escorted by Paul's father, Daniel. And of course Constance demanded to sit on 'the grooms' side of the room. Somewhere along the way she had apparently become Miranda's surrogate mother.

So far everything was beautiful, everyone was beautiful and Bono had yet to appear. All was well and Paul finally started to relax. He caught sight of Emily again and she nodded once more. Paul gave a signal for everyone to stand.

Miranda appeared with a daughter on each arm. It was like a little fashion show coming down the aisle. Miranda was gorgeous all by herself but with the girl's on either side of her she looked complete. When they reached the front of the room, Paul couldn't help but step down from his little platform and give the three of them a hug. He quickly got back in his place and Miranda stood in front of him facing the aisle with Carolyn on her left and Cassidy on her right.

Paul felt a small breath of air get sucked out of the room as Andy walked down the aisle with her father. She was beautiful and he knew Miranda liked what she saw because it looked like she wasn't breathing. Paul tried not to look at Andy's father, Richard, because he was about cry. If Paul saw that then he would start to cry and there wasn't time. So instead, he focused on Andy who seemed to be doing just fine for someone who was freaking out not ten minutes ago. She was doing what Paul had told her to do, focusing on Miranda.

Just before Andy reached them Paul noticed Emily close the doors. She leaned against them and watched him intently with a small smile on her face. This made him feel better than he had all day. Much better.

Richard passed Andy off to Caroline and Cassidy with a kiss then took her flowers and handed them to Kathleen as he sat down. Caroline and Cassidy stepped forward with Andy and passed her off to Miranda. There was some secret meaning to all that passing around but Paul was never made privy to it.

Paul gave everyone a chance to get seated and Caroline moved to Miranda's side and Cassidy to Andy's side. They were all holding hands and once it was clear to Paul that the four of them were totally oblivious to everything behind them, he began.

"Exactly five years ago today Miranda and Andy met in my kitchen" Paul pointed behind him. He would never out grow talking with his hands. "for the first time." As he expected several people in the crowd snickered. He wasn't about to look at Miranda's face.

"Now it's no secret that they knew each other already; but on this particular night…everything in their past was set aside. In doing so, all that remained was two people. Just two people standing there waiting."

Paul paused for just a moment and focused his attention on Emily. This next little part was for her.

"But you see…it's not quite that simple. You have to reach a point in your life where you're finally ready to let yourself be loved. You have to reach a point where your heart is open, because it doesn't matter how hard you look for it, if your heart isn't truly open and ready, then you will never find it. But more importantly…you have to be ready to love someone. To love someone selflessly and with every ounce of strength you have.

Through God's incredible sense of humor…" Paul looked at the couple in front of him and they were holding in their laughter. Good. At least no one was passing out. "Miranda and Andy were able to open their hearts to one another that night and they were able to finally let themselves be loved for who they really were, instead of who and what the world thought they were supposed to be."

"Now if you find this love…trust me when I tell you that just because it may be different from anything you've ever known or thought you would even want-doesn't mean isn't worth trying for, or that it won't survive." He pointed to the two women in front of him again "You see Miranda and Andy couldn't be more different." That definitely got some laughs from the crowd and from the kids too. "Yet when they're together they couldn't be more the same. In each other they find the balance needed to become better people, better partners and better parents."

Paul placed his hands, palms up and flat, in the air. One higher than the other.

"Andy brings Miranda down to a place where she can see what's really important in life, a place where she can find joy in the simplest of things. Andy provides her with the security to know and believe that she can trust someone with her heart and to love her regardless of the mistakes she might make."

Paul lowered one hand then continued "And Miranda? She raises Andy up and pushes her to become more, to reach for her dreams. Miranda provides her with the security to know and believe that she can trust someone to protect her and to love her regardless of the mistakes she might make."

Paul lifted his other hand and the two were now even and he left them up for a moment. "Do you see the balance? Do you see the strong foundation this makes? Anything can be built on a foundation this strong."

Paul put his hands down and took a quick second to breathe. This was turning out to feel very different than the other five times he had done this.

Paul looked out over the crowd and started again. "In honor of the love and security they have found in one another, the two of them have chosen to solidify this bond in front of you all here today and in front of their children. In essence, they have chosen to bless each of you with a chance to witness this bond in hopes that you will open yourself up to find the very same love and security that they have."

Paul made sure he had their attention "Now ladies...if you will please join hands we'll finally get started so you can get on with the rest of your lives." He smiled, they smiled, the kids smiled. Paul had to resist the urge to hug everyone. Caroline and Cassidy however hugged their parents and stood a little off to the side of each.

He stepped off the slightly raised platform and blocked out everyone else. It was just the three of them now.

"I ask you now, in the presence of God, your family, friends and most importantly your daughters to declare your intention to enter into a union with one another."

He turned to Miranda first since she had won the coin toss yesterday. Yes, a coin toss. It still made him want to laugh. "Miranda, will you have Andrea" He'd been threatened with death if he did not say her name the way Miranda did during this part. "to be your wife, to live together in holy marriage? Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to her as long as you both shall live?"

"Yes. I most certainly will." Miranda's eyes never left Andy's and Paul could see her grip tighten on Andy's hands.

Next he turned to Andy. "Andrea, will you have Miranda to be your wife, to live together in holy marriage? Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to her as long as you both shall live?"

"Yes. Absolutely." The grin on her face spoke volumes and Miranda smiled right back.

"And now you will exchange vows." They had these memorized so there was no need for Paul to prompt them line by line. Just as before, Miranda went first.

"I promise before God and all who are present here

to be your loving and faithful wife

and I will serve you with tenderness and respect.

I take you to be my wife from this time forward,

to join with you and to share all that is to come,

to give and to receive,

to speak and to listen,

and in all our life together

to be loyal to you with my whole being."

Miranda squeezed Andy's hands again and her eyes shone with tears that were on the verge of escaping. She nodded and Andy began to say her vows.

"I promise before God and all who are present here

to be your loving and faithful wife

and I will serve you with tenderness and respect.

I take you to be my wife…"

Andy hesitated for a moment and it was no surprise because she wasn't as good at holding back her tears as Miranda. And just like always, Miranda pulled out a tissue, cupped Andy's chin and wiped the tears away. Paul struggled to breathe around the lump in his throat that was now officially the size of a golf ball. He looked out over the crowd and there was hardly a dry eye in the place. Miranda put the tissue back in her pocket and Andy started right where she had left off.

"I take you to be my wife from this time forward,

to join with you and to share all that is to come,

to give and to receive,

to speak and to listen,

and in all our life together

to be loyal to you with my whole being."

All three of them took a deep breath and Paul pulled the rings out of his vest pocket. "There is always a lot of talk about the meaning of a circle. The general shape and its origins are rich in history. For me the shape and origin is not nearly as important as what is inside the circle. As I'm sure you've all noticed you're all sitting inside part of a circle that encloses this couple. Their children, family and friends are inside this circle as a show of support and love. These rings…" Paul held them up for everyone to see "These rings are visible signs not only to them, but to you, of their bond." Paul lowered his hands and continued. "Inside each of these rings is the word: trust. They chose to have that written inside these rings because they place all their trust in one another. Trust is the needle, thread, and fabric that keeps their foundation balanced and strong."

Paul took a second to look down at the rings trying to figure out which was smaller since they both looked the same to him. He finally picked one and gave it to Miranda. Hopefully it was the right one. Miranda took Andy's hand and started to slip the ring on.

"I give you this ring

as a symbol of my love,

my faith in our strength together,

and my bond to you."

Andy was crying again but waved Miranda off when she started to pull out another tissue. Paul gave her the ring and she took Miranda's hand.

"I give you this ring

as a symbol of my love,

my faith in our strength together,

and my bond to you."

Paul stepped a little closer and took their joined left hands in his and bowed his head. "I ask God to bless this marriage and keep it. I ask that He watch over them and allow their love for one another to continue to grow. Be with them through their struggles and protect them. Be with their children and let their parent's love be an example to them always. Amen."

Paul stepped back again and folded his hands in front of him. He knew without a doubt he was about to cry. But that was okay.

"What God and open hearts have brought together, let no one ever break. For as much as these two have bound themselves to one another with vows, and the giving and receiving of rings, it is with great pleasure…" His voice faltered. "it is with great pleasure and extreme honor that I pronounce you married in the eyes of God. You may seal your marriage with a kiss."

Andy, who had been literally screaming for Miranda all day long, closed the distance first and almost knocked Miranda over when she threw her arms around Miranda's neck. Miranda hugged her waist and the kiss they shared was so gentle yet so full of passion. Just as Paul started to wonder if he was going to have to separate them, everyone started clapping rather loudly and it broke them out of their fog.

The girls quickly surrounded them along with Andy's parents, grandmother and of course Nigel. Miranda had probably never hugged so many people in public in all her life. Everyone was on their feet now and still clapping so Paul wiped his eyes with the back of his hand and joined in. Joshua and Matthew were going to make fun of him for days.


Now that the party was in full swing, Paul needed a real break. Dinner had been served, the cake cut; both cakes since Andy had to have her chocolate cake and cherry ice-cream, and the drinks were flowing. Nothing else was left to do but enjoy the night. So that's what Paul intended to do.

"Joshua can you keep an eye on the kitchen?" Paul yelled over the music. The other side of the building has been transformed from a wedding chapel to a dance floor.

"Yeah, brother I got it. Go chill out back. You deserve it. I'm ready to get away from this music anyway!"

Paul patted him on the back and headed outside behind the kitchen and plopped down in his favorite lawn chair. Hopefully he wouldn't be missed for a while. Paul drank the last of the water he brought outside with him. He should have brought more water. Oh well, he wasn't about to get back up.

Instead of focusing on how thirsty he was, Paul leaned back and replayed the evening in his mind. There wasn't one thing he would have changed about the ceremony. Not even the fact that he cried. The day you get to see Miranda Priestly that happy, it's an automatic that you get to cry. No matter who you are.

The food was good, great even. Cassidy passed her test. Cooking school, France, Italy, all that, was in her future now. Hopefully she was having some fun since Paul had basically barred her from the kitchen for the night. She had done enough and there were more than a few capable people around to take over for her.

He had almost had to do the same thing to Caroline. General Priestly, as he had just decided to nickname her, was still marching around giving orders and just as he was about to demand that she go sit down somewhere; her friend Brooke showed up and General Priestly turned back into Caroline in heartbeat. Within two seconds they were off to eat or gossip or whatever it is that sixteen year old girls do.

The newlyweds were certainly having a good time. Miranda was on a cloud and since she had no enemies within a mile radius of her and this restaurant, she was truly relaxed with all walls down. It was a rare treat and Paul knew he would likely never see it again. When she wasn't being pulled into the back by her wife for a heavy make-out session, Miranda was visiting with everyone and beaming from the many compliments everyone was giving her daughters for their hard work.

There was no need to say that Andy was happy, or even to describe just how happy she looked. It was written all over her face. It would not surprise Paul if the smile she was sporting became permanently drawn on her face. In fact, the only time she wasn't smiling was when a waiter came and got whatever Miranda needed. Andy didn't like that. She liked, wanted, and needed to attend to Miranda even on a day like today. It wasn't like a 'servant' type of thing either. It was simply one of her ways of showing Miranda that she loved her; which was quite possibly one of the sweetest things Paul had ever seen.

That attentiveness was certainly not one sided though. Miranda was just better at not pouting about missed opportunities. Her talents were shown off best at home. Paul had witnessed it many times. Nigel told him amazing tales about when Andy used to work for Miranda, and how she always knew what Miranda needed before being asked for it. Well, that was Miranda now. Whether it be a glass of water or whatever else you could imagine; if Andy needed it, Miranda was already busy getting it for her.

"Paul?"

Paul sat up straight and opened his eyes. "Yeah?" It was Emily and boy did she look beautiful. As always.

"What on Earth are you doing out here?"

"Taking a break. Is everything okay? Are you having a good time?" Emily sat down in a chair next to him which made him smile. Hopefully she would stay a while.

"Everything is fine. Miranda is guiding Andrea around as usual, making the rounds."

"Ah, I see." That was something else Paul was fond of watching. He had been fortunate enough to attend several events with them and witness firsthand how Miranda would guide Andy through a room, always with a hand on the small of her back. Always. "My other question though…are you having a good time?"

"Quite. Those devil spawn of hers have out-done themselves once again."

Paul leaned back in his chair "Yes…yes they have. Thank God." He reached for his water bottle and sighed. Empty.

"Here I'll go get you something else to drink. I need something as well. What do you want?"

Paul stared at her for a moment. This was probably the first time Emily had actually offered to do something for him. "Just find Joshua in the kitchen and tell him I want a 'C and C'."

Emily disappeared without another word and Paul closed his eyes again. He could already tell that most of tomorrow would be dedicated to sleep.

A few minutes later Emily was back. "Here is your drink. What may I ask is a 'C and C'?" She sat down next time again with her own glass of wine.

"Thanks." He took the glass from her. "It's just a coke."

"Just a coke?"

"Yeah it's just a coke. You know like…when people say 'jack and coke'…well this is just 'coke and coke'." Emily didn't understand, he could tell by the look on her face. She probably thought he was nuts. Better try another way.

"Emily, I don't drink. I don't drink alcohol."

"Oh." She looked down at her wine glass and then back up at him.

"No…no don't think anything like that. I don't care that you drink or anyone else for that matter. I just can't."

"You can't?"

"No…I can't. Emily, my father was a raging alcoholic and my mother was a drug addict. I've never done any drugs and I'm too scared to touch alcohol…so..." Paul held up his glass "I stick with these. Any time you hear me say I need something strong to drink? This is about as strong as it gets."

"What else are you scared of?"

Emily's face was very serious and it took Paul a second to focus. First she asks him what he wants to drink and now this? This was most definitely the most personal question she'd ever asked him. Ever.

How was he supposed to answer that? There were really only two other things he was truly scared of and the first was sort of dumb and the second was downright horrifying sometimes and probably wasn't something she would want to hear about. Oh, well. She asked and Paul was too tired to come up with a logical reason to not tell the truth.

"Only two other things really. The first: losing these." Paul held up both his hands and waved them around. "As you know I can't cook without them and I certainly can't talk without them either. That's pretty apparent." Paul put his hands down and looked away from her. It would be easier that way. "And the other thing? Well, you. I'm scared of you."

Emily scoffed "What? Me?"

"Yes. You." He gave her a chance to respond but she didn't. She sat silently rooted in place. Paul put down his coke and looked at her again. "I'm afraid of you. I don't know how else to explain it. Maybe it's not that I'm afraid you…so much as I'm afraid to know why. Why you don't like me. I'm afraid to know that I really, truly, once and for all…have no chance."

"Why I don't like you?" Emily's eyes were wide and her face was red.

"Yeah…you don't seem to like me very much. I'm not sure why, but you always…I don't know. I don't think you like me very much but I keep coming back. And I always will until you finally tell me not to."

"Keep coming back to what?" Emily set her wine glass down on the ground next to her.

"Coming back…to see if you will finally let me in one day." Paul took a drink of his coke and Emily remained silent. At least she hadn't gotten up and left. That was something. "I keep hoping that one day you'll actually let me compliment you without coming back at me with something to brush it off."

"Paul I never said that I did not like you."

"You don't have to."

"Paul you don't want me. You might think you do, but you don't. I'm not…"

"No, stop. You don't get to tell me what I do or do not want Emily. Emily I love you. I don't care what you think I want or need. I love you. Just you, just like you are. Okay?" Paul took a deep breath and stood up. He wasn't going to walk out and leave her sitting here but he was positive that he couldn't sit down anymore. And this tie had to go. Now. Paul started ripping at it and became more frustrated with every second that past. He felt like it was literally choking him.

"Stop, stop. Here, let me."

And just like that she was in front of him working on his tie. "You should take better care of your things. You'll ruin a tie by clawing at it like that."

"Yes, Emily." Paul put his arms around her while she loosened the tie more. She did not pull away.

"Paul…" Emily finished with the tie and threw it into a chair, then began unbuttoning his shirt collar. "I want to believe you. I really do. But I'm afraid of you too. You scare me. You're too nice. Too good for me."

Paul couldn't believe what he was hearing but it really shouldn't have come as a surprise to him. Of course she would feel that way. That was the biggest problem here. She didn't think she was worthy of anything. "Emily, you are good enough for anyone on this planet. Don't ever think otherwise. I don't know why...or when…or even who made you feel like this about yourself but I wish you would stop."

"You really are very sweet you know. So polite…so respectful...and good."

"Emily, I'm not always polite, respectful and good. Sometimes I'm a real jerk. I promise."

"Well that's refreshing to know…Paul can I ask you something?"

"Yes."

"That part in the ceremony…about opening your heart?"

"Yes…that was for you."

"I know…I knew that as soon as you said it. You looked right at me. But…you need to know that it might take me some time. If you promise to keep trying then perhaps I can promise to try and let you in?"

"I promise to keep trying."

"Good then. I promise to keep trying too."

Now that they seemed to have reached agreement, she took his hand and led him back inside. As Paul followed along, he thought about what his father had said. Maybe he was right. Maybe there was a blessing coming his way. Maybe this was the beginning of it.


"Darling, are you alright?" Miranda was seated with Andrea at their table watching everyone enjoy themselves. The party had been going on for a good five hours and showed no sign of stopping.

Andrea couldn't hide her yawn. "Yeah, I'm fine honey." She smiled and kissed Miranda's cheek. "Are you having a good time?"

"Yes, very much. Paul and Emily seem to be having a good time as well." Miranda pointed over to them. They were seated at a table deep in conversation. It was the closest Miranda had ever seen Emily come to having a legitimately good time. Andrea moved her chair closer to Miranda and leaned her head on Miranda's shoulder. "We should go soon darling. We have an early day ahead of us tomorrow."

"No. I want to stay a little longer. Besides…we won't be going to sleep any time soon."

This was certainly true. Miranda had a few things she wanted to accomplish when they got home. There would be plenty of time to sleep on the plane tomorrow morning. Plenty of time. "Well then we'll stay as long as you like. I wonder where the girls went off to."

Miranda turned her head and scanned the room. Nigel was off dancing with Kathleen again, Constance and Richard were surveying the wine table, and Paul's father Daniel was dancing with one of Andrea's many cousins. Yet the girls were nowhere in sight. This made Miranda a little uneasy since Matthew was nowhere to be seen either. She prayed to God he and Cassidy weren't in the kitchen having another battle. Miranda was certainly not in the mood for that tonight.

"I don't know honey. Do you want me to go look for them? Or…you could come with me? We could spend a few minutes in Paul's office? I promise to be good."

Miranda smirked and her face went red. They had already disappeared three times since the party started and each time Andrea had tried to strip her naked. Miranda sighed and her voice took on a hint of fake sarcasm. "I suppose…if you must. Let's go." Miranda smiled and pulled Andrea out of her chair. One more office encounter couldn't hurt.

The heated anticipation Miranda was experiencing as she led Andrea through the door to the kitchen would be short lived though.

"My, my…what do we have here?" Her glare fell upon Cassidy and Matthew who were sitting across from one another at the very same kitchen table she and Andrea sat at five years ago. They were holding hands. Who knew that was possible after all the fights Miranda heard about?

Cassidy and Matthew both went pale and it looked as though Cassidy had simply lost the ability to form words. Miranda could feel Andrea squeeze her hand which was no doubt some sort of code for 'don't freak out'. Miranda had no intention of 'freaking out'; but she did have a few choice words for the both of them.

"Cassidy…I believe you've been leaving a few things out when we sit at the dinner table for nightly discussions. "

"Uh…maybe."

"Maybe? Indeed. So the two of you fighting…I suppose you don't get along very well in here; but it certainly appears that you get on just fine in any other circumstances. Doesn't it?" Miranda paused for a second when she realized that Cassidy was staring at the hallway where Paul's office was located. Oh, no. Not both of them. Miranda didn't know if she could take finding out that not one but both of her daughters were in relationships that she knew nothing about.

By now Miranda had one hand on her hip and was rubbing her forehead with another. She wasn't upset that they were dating. They were sixteen and it was bound to happen sooner or later. She was upset that apparently she was being kept in the dark.

"Cassidy…You are sixteen years old and therefore we cannot lock you in the house forever…although I would certainly relish the opportunity. But what I can do is require you to have the decency to not keep things from us. Do not do this again. I cannot even begin to understand why you thought that would be necessary in the first place."

Miranda turned her gaze to Matthew. "And you…if you ever so much as think about disrespecting her in any manner, there will not be much hope for your survival. I expect to see you at my dinner table when we return in a few weeks. That's all."

Miranda turned and immediately marched off to find Caroline who was no doubt in Paul's office. And dear God, yes, here she was. On the couch with her friend Brooke, cuddled up looking at Martha Stewart Magazine, of all things. Miranda was officially done with surprises tonight so she turned to her saving grace and said "Darling, would you mind? I just cannot even…"

Andrea patted her on the back and took over. This was usually how these things panned out anyway. "Caroline…what's up?"

"I…we're…"

Miranda noticed that neither Caroline nor Brooke moved from each other's side. Perhaps they were experiencing the same shock that she was.

"So…you and Brooke, huh?" Andrea waved her hand between the two of them. Even after all these years it was always reassuring to Miranda to watch the balance that played out between them where the girls were concerned. Where Miranda was too harsh and abrasive, Andrea went about things with a smoother approach. Where Miranda could be too lax, Andrea would come close to breathing fire. This particular moment was a perfect example of Andrea's smoother approach.

After giving Brooke a hesitant glance, Caroline finally decided to speak. "Yes."

Andrea let out a deep breath and sat down on the couch next to Caroline. "Why didn't you tell us? Was it because you were afraid of what we might say?"

This dumbfounded Miranda. She hadn't even considered that Caroline would be keeping this from them because Brooke was a girl. After all, that definitely not an issue in their household. Obviously.

"A little." Caroline looked up at Miranda with a little fear in her eyes. Ah, so she had been afraid of what Miranda would say, not Andrea. Miranda started to say something but decided to wait.

"Baby, I'm not sure why you would think that would be an issue…but it isn't okay?"

"Okay."

"We love you no matter what. I think you know that. You need to understand though…that if you want us to trust you, then you have to be honest with us. You can't keep this kind of stuff from us. If you're dating someone, you need to let us in on that. Now your sister has pretty much done the same thing and she just got this same speech. Don't do this again, okay?"

"Okay, I'm sorry."

Andrea gave her a hug then leaned across her and shook Brooke's hand. "It's very nice to meet you. You know who we are but I'm afraid we don't know much about you. When we get back…Caroline will be inviting you over for dinner. Won't you Caroline?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"Okay then. We're done here unless you have something you would like to say?" She turned to Miranda.

Yes. She did have something to say. "Brooke, I will give you the same speech I just gave dear Matthew out there. Do not disrespect my daughter in any way, because if you do, you won't survive it." Miranda started to walk out of the room but turned back around "Caroline…darling, I love you. Do not ever forget that."

Without another word Miranda left the room, headed up the stairs to Paul's apartment and sat down on the landing.


Andy watched her go and smiled. There was no doubt about it; this was going to be hard for Miranda. It was sort of like the last dying breath of the girl's childhood had just left the building. As hard as this was for Andy to see, it wasn't a shock or something she couldn't handle. Miranda on the other hand had not only given birth to them, but she had also lived the last sixteen years refusing to even contemplate the day when the girls would grow up, date, get married, in essence: not need her anymore. Andy had been trying to tell Miranda that this was coming sooner rather than later but Miranda wouldn't discuss it. It looked like those days were over.

Andy climbed the stairs and sat beside her. "So…Caroline's got herself a girlfriend. Who knew? And she's cute."

Miranda kept looking at the stairs below them. "You really know how to be sympathetic sometimes you know that?"

Andy slid her arm around Miranda's shoulder. "I know…I'm sorry. I know this hard for you. It's hard for me too."

Miranda let out a deep breath. "I know it is…I didn't mean to imply…"

"Honey, I know that."

They sat in silence for a moment then Miranda threw up her hands. "Why…today of all days…my wedding day…did I have to find this out? Why were they keeping this from us?"

"Miranda, you don't always take new information…change…well. You know that. I think the important thing is that we know now and they know what we expect. Now…whatdaya say we just forget about this and go back to the party? I'll even go get you a shot of whisky and then you can tell me all about where you're taking me tomorrow."

Miranda stood up and offered Andy her hand. "That sounds absolutely lovely darling but for the hundredth time, I am not telling you where we're going on our honeymoon."

"That is so unfair. I hate you right now."

"I know you do, darling, but I'll survive."

Andy started to follow Miranda down the stairs but stopped "Hey…come here."

Miranda stepped back up to her and gave her a questioning look. "Yes?"

Andy brushed Miranda's hair back and kissed her lightly on the lips. "I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for marrying me."

Miranda laughed and kissed her again. "Andrea, you really are very silly sometimes. It is you that should be thanked. As Paul said…you love me regardless and you have no idea how much that means to me. You make me a better person and furthermore, my mother was right. It was time that I made an 'honest woman' out of you."

"I love you Miranda…" Andy wrapped her arms around Miranda's neck and kissed her deep and slow. She was beyond ready to go home now and apparently Miranda was too. In between kissing she said, "Darling…I think I can…forgo that drink…"

"I think so too. Take me home Miranda. Take me home."

The End

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