DISCLAIMER: The Devil Wears Prada and its characters belong to Lauren Weisberger and 20th Century Fox. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To emeraldorchids[at]outlook.com
They spent most of the weekend in each other's arms, both in bed and on the couch. Miranda helped Andrea draft a polite and grateful letter, turning down the Assistant Editor position, and Andrea helped Miranda pack for her trip to Connecticut.
"Well, I think you're all packed," Andrea said on Friday morning. Nigel would be meeting Miranda at the townhouse shortly since he would be driving the Elias Clarke SUV for the weekend.
"I'll only be two hours away if you need anything. James has your numberand Emily's for that matterif there's anything with the girls."
"I'll take care of it," she said while Miranda was digging through her purse to find her phone. "There's one other thingI got you this," she said, handing Miranda a large shopping bag.
"For me?" she asked, surprised.
"Yes. A gift for your trip."
Miranda's eyes widened and she eagerly opened the bag, pulling out a large pillow.
"It's the mini version of the giant pillow you ordered. I slept with it for the past week, so, um, it should smell like me," Andrea said, blushing.
"This is perfect," she said, kissing Andrea on the cheek. "I was just thinking of grabbing a pillow to take in the car."
"What time are you leaving?"
"Nigel said he'd be here in" she peered at the clock on the wall, "forty minutes."
"We have time if you want to, you know before you leave for the weekend."
Andrea watched as Miranda's lips turned upwards in a grin. "You're spoiling me, you know that?" she said, kissing Andrea. Her lips were consuming as she lifted her leg, trying to make contact with Andrea's thigh.
"Oh wait, wait," Andrea said, pushing her back against the counter. "I've got this," she said, sinking down to her knees. She put her hands on each side of Miranda's belly, softly caressing her skin.
Miranda moaned and arched her back as she gripped the edge of the granite.
Andrea slipped her fingers inside the waistband of Miranda's tights and gently tugged them off. With her underwear and tights around her ankles, Andrea lifted her pleated sweater dress and bunched it between her breasts and her belly. "So beautiful," she whispered as she pressed kisses to Miranda's swollen belly. "Gorgeous sexy," she said, trailing her kisses lower and lower.
Miranda's body was jerking, and Andrea could tell by the way she was holding her breath that she was about to orgasm at any second. Again, she gently traced her fingertips all the way around her belly and continued placing wet, soft kisses on her skin. She felt Miranda's belly tighten beneath her, signaling her orgasm.
Andrea kept her hands on her belly as she bent further to taste her juices, which were practically gushing. She licked, lapped, and sucked, sending wave after wave of arousal through the editor's body. She slipped her underwear and tights back up, then smoothed out her dress over her belly.
Miranda opened her eyes and took a deep breath. "Oh my god, Andrea. Next time, I have to be sitting down for that," she said.
Andrea smiled and led her to the kitchen chair, kissing her softly on the lips. "I'm going to go get cleaned up before Nigel gets here," she said.
"Wait," she said, tugging at the young woman's wrist. She kissed her hard. "I love you. I'll call you when we get there."
Andrea nodded and headed to the bathroom to rinse out her mouth and reapply her lipstick. She heard the front door open, so she quickly dried her hands and met him in the foyer.
"Hey Six, I figured you were here. We're waiting on a call from Valentinothey should be letting us know which shade of green the jacket is. Can you call me with that information right away?"
"Sure, but I thought today and tomorrow were vacation days for you?"
"Well," he said, shrugging, "the magazine never sleeps!"
Miranda emerged from the kitchen looking as composed as ever, carrying her Snoogle under her left arm and her purse on her right. "Are we ready?" she asked.
Andrea nodded and grabbed Miranda's bag, along with another small cooler. She threw Miranda's Vuitton duffle into the back, and placed the cooler in the backseat. Inside were several bottles of water, an apple, a yogurt, and a snack pack of Oreo cookies.
"Nigel, I hate to disappoint you, but I plan to sleep in the backseat," Miranda said.
Andrea held the door open for her while Nigel walked around to the other side.
"Not a problem," he said. "Andy, do you need a ride back to Runway?"
"Uh, I was just going to take the subway."
"Nonsense, get in," Nigel said. "I haven't been behind the wheel in about five years, so this should be fun."
Miranda groaned in the backseat. "Just don't make me sick, please."
Once they were on their way, they heard a very loud moan coming from the back seat. Nigel's eyes widened, and Andrea quickly turned around to see Miranda on her side, curled against the pillow.
"Is everything okay?" Nigel whispered to Andrea.
She smiled. "She just got a new pregnancy pillow. Apparently she likes it."
"I love it," she said from the backseat. "Don't think I can't hear you."
"I almost wish you were coming with us, Six," Nigel said as they pulled up at Elias Clarke.
Andrea chuckled nervously. "Let's just say I'm grateful for a bit of free time. Have a nice trip, hope the shoot goes well, and I'll call if I hear from Valentino or the girls!" she said as she exited the vehicle.
By the time she made it to her desk, she already had a text message from Miranda: Do you not have enough free time anymore?
Andrea smiled and wrote back: I was just saying that. I would happily give every minute of my free time to you (like this morning). I love you. Enjoy your pillow. xo
She had only talked to Miranda twice over the weekend, but it sounded like she and Nigel were having a nice time in Hartford. On Monday morning, she knew something was wrong the minute she walked into the office. Emily was frantically answering call after call.
"Here, look," she said, shoving Page Six in Andrea's direction. "If I weren't waiting for a call from Valentino, I would just ignore these phones all day. Bloody hell, why couldn't she warn us?"
Andrea started laughing as she looked down at the paper. It was a beautiful picture, really, but she could see how easily it could be misconstrued. Miranda was wearing flats and almost flaunting her baby bump, and Nigel was holding her hand, whispering something into her ear that made her laugh. Anyone else might have had to do a double-take because Miranda's face looked so different than the intimidating editor.
"Did she see it yet?" Andrea said.
Emily shook her head. "At least she doesn't look like a whale with her belly peeking out from under her top as she's eating a hamburger."
Andrea snapped a picture of the paper with her iPhone and messaged it to Miranda with the note: Should I be jealous? xo
Thirty seconds later, her phone rang. It was Miranda.
"You have got to be kidding me!" she said.
"I know, isn't it crazy?"
"Really, this is too good to be true. All of the compromising photos they could have used, all the looks of discomfort, the awkwardness, poor lighting and anglesI mean, I can hardly believe it."
"I know," Andrea said. "It's a great photo. You look amazing, radiant, you're glowing. And you're smiling. Annnd, it's Nigel."
"What does the caption say in the photo? It didn't come through."
"'A Baby On the Way for Royal Family of Runway,'" Andrea said, trying not to laugh.
"I have to go show this to Nigel," Miranda said. "Will you call the girls this morning and just give them a heads-up? Sometimes photographers catch them unaware. Actually, nevermind. I can call them myself."
"Are you sure? It's not a problem," she said.
"No, no, I will call them. Oh, and Andrea, you have no idea how badly I wish you were here."
"Likewise," Andrea said. "Tuesday night?"
"Yes, and bring a bag if you'd like. This pillow is amazing, but it's not you."
"I lo" Andrea began, catching herself. "II'll have that for you when you return."
"I love you, too, darling," Miranda said, ending the call.
"Was that Miranda?" Emily asked.
"Is she livid or what?"
"Actually, she found it quite entertaining,"Andrea said.
"Who is this person and what has she done with Miranda Priestly?" Emily wondered aloud.
Not long after returning from Connecticut, Miranda's baby bump became quite obvious. Even her walk was just a little bit different. She was wearing items mostly from Donna Karan's collection, though under some circumstances, she would wear non-maternity clothes in a size or two larger. She could no longer effectively disguise it with cardigans, wrap blouses, and other accessories, so she opted for empire waist dresses, lycra-blend dresses, and some high-waisted skirts. She began wearing a larger, cotton bra without an underwire, and since she needed to change her underwear so many times a day, she opted for the 5-for-$30 kind from Victoria's Secret.
Miranda's sixteen-week appointment went well. The doctor confirmed that both placentas and amniotic sacs were just fine, and the babies' heart rates were well within the acceptable range at 124 and 131 bpm. Miranda's blood pressure, again, was high enough for Dr. Assaf to begin discussing gestational hypertension, but her urine tests did not show any elevated proteins. Regardless, Miranda would be monitored for signs of preeclampsia throughout the rest of the pregnancy.
Andrea received two more offers, and while she was pleased, Miranda again advised that she turn them down and kindly explain she was looking for a Staff Writer position at minimum.
After her trip to Connecticut, she found herself wanting to spend more and more time with Andrea. Once the girls knew about the pregnancy, she decided it would be okay to also tell them Andrea would be staying with them overnight a lot "because mommy needs her." Somehow, they still hadn't pushed any more about Andrea was sleeping in the same bed as their motheror maybe they knew why and it didn't phase them. Whatever the case, they still hadn't disclosed their relationship to anyone else.
Next month, Nigel and Emily would be flying overseas for Milan Fashion Week. Several months ago, since Dalton's Spring Break coincided perfectly with Milan this year, she arranged for Caroline and Cassidy to spend the week at their grandparents' house just outside of Boston. While it would make sense to cancel the trip and stay home with them herself, she decided it would be good for them to see James' mother and father. And even better: it would give her the opportunity to escape the city with Andrea.
The Runway offices were buzzing with excitement as the team prepared for the upcoming Milan Fashion Week. This year, Elias Clarke was hosting the closing party, so there were a million extra preparations, all of which Emily was handling brilliantly.
Miranda realized she would soon be facing the prospect of having two entirely new assistantsabout the same time she would have two newborns at home. That was certainly not an ideal situation, so she made note to discuss this with Andrea later. After the she got through this day.
This morning was the semi-annual meeting of the Elias Clarke board of directors. The March meeting always includes the editors of all the various EC publications, while the October meeting includes the heads of finance. Today, Miranda was dressed to kill in a pencil skirt, a low-cut blouse displaying her swelling bosom, and tuxedo-cut blazer. From the front, it was nearly impossible to tell Miranda was pregnant because of the way the blouse was tucked in, although there was no mistaking her profile when she turned.
"Andrea?" Miranda called.
She quickly jumped from her chair and hurried into the office, walking in just as Miranda was swapping her 2" wedges for a pair of 6" Prada patent pumps.
"Wow," Andrea said.
Miranda looked up. "Excuse me?"
"I said wow. You look incredible right now."
Miranda grinned. "None of them have seen me since before Christmas. I need to work the sympathy vote today."
"You mean, they don't even know you're pregnant? But surely, the photos from a few weeks back?"
"No, I don't think so. Everyone thinks the photos were doctored because of that one with Nigel," she said. "Isn't that funny? Who would have thought all I needed to do to hide my pregnancy for a few months was to be photographed with a middle-aged gay man."
"Well, good luck today. Anything I can do?"
"Help Emily. She's overwhelmed with that damn party in Milan on the 28th. She won't ask for help, so you need to step in."
"Got it. Will do."
"I want to get up there before everyone else," she said, standing to her feet. "That way, they won't really see me until the meeting's over, or probably until I need to get up and pee." She grabbed her portfolio, her cell phone, and a bottle of Fiji water. "Are you sure this looks okay?"
"Emily!" Andrea called. "Serena, you too."
They both came running in. "Yes?"
Andrea pointed to Miranda. "Tell her she looks good in that outfit."
"She's right, you do," Serena said. "It accentuates your glow."
Miranda practically blushed. "Thank you, Serena," she said.
"You look amazing, Miranda. Really, that blouse is, well, perfect, and I would have never thought that a pencil skirt could look so, so"
Miranda smiled and walked past her. "Watch your mouth, Emily. I hear Brazilians can be quite possessive," she said, walking out to the elevators.
Emily and Serena were left speechless, and all Andrea could do was laugh.
"Does she know?" Emily asked.
"Miranda has a way of knowing everything, Em," Andrea said.
"Bloody hell! You don't think she'd fire me or anything, do you?"
"No, I wouldn't worry. She's got a lot to deal with right now. Your love life is low on her list of priorities," Andrea reassured. "In fact, give me Nigel's schedule for Milan. I'll figure it out while you focus on the party."
Emily's eyes widened. "A-are you sure?"
"Yes, Em. Just don't get hit by a cab in the next three weeks, okay? I don't want to go to Milan."
Emily smiled before painting on her haughty exterior. "Really, Andrea, I don't know what you're talking about," she said.
Three hours had passed and Miranda still wasn't back from her meeting. Andrea sent a quick text message asking if she was okay, and Miranda replied with a simple "yes." At least there was that.
After making a few phone calls to security and Irv's assistant, Andrea learned that they had a catered lunch delivered just over an hour ago. Just when Andrea was about to send another message, the elevator dinged and Miranda and Irv stepped off.
Before she could even begin to speculate why on earth Miranda was sharing an elevator with him, Miranda led Irv straight into her office.
"Make yourself comfortable," she said. "Andrea, some green tea for Irv and my lemon ginger water when you get a second," she said.
Andrea nodded and headed to the kitchen to prepare Miranda's water: a glass of Pellegrino with one thin slice of lemon and a disc of fresh ginger. For Irv, she dipped a teabag in hot water, in Miranda's least favorite Oscar de la Renta tea cup. When she entered the office, she was surprised to see Miranda sitting on the sofa. Irv had pulled one of the armchairs closer, and from what she could hear when she brought in the drinks, it sounded like they were talking about Miranda's pregnancy.
Andrea closed the door on her way outnot because Miranda asked her to, but because she didn't want to hear Miranda's fake laugh all afternoon. Instead, she focused on Nigel's schedule for Milan.
"Andy, what will you do while we are in Milan?" Serena asked.
"Oh, I'll just answer the phones and what not. It will be nice and quiet."
"Do you know if Miranda is taking the girls anywhere?" Emily asked.
"Well, it's their spring break. They were supposed to go up to Boston, but I thought with Miranda staying home, she would do something else with them," Emily said.
"Maybe. I don't really know."
"I thought you said you were friends with her, no?"
"She's my mentor. She's helping me find a job. We don't talk about things like what she's doing with the girls for Spring Break," Andrea said. "Do you know if Nigel has any other meetings scheduled?" She needed to change the subject.
"Not sure. Ask him."
After work that day, Andrea had Roy drive her to the townhouse. It was practically a ritual: book, dry-cleaning, or empty-handed, Andrea always stopped at Miranda's on her way home from work.
"Hello?" Andrea called out as she set her bag down. The house was unusually quiet.
"Hey Andy, we're in here," Cassidy called from the kitchen.
She walked into the kitchen and saw the girls doing their homework at the breakfast bar. "Where's your mom?"
"She said she wanted to rest for a while."
"Is she okay?"
"Yeah, I think so. She was trying to lay on the couch, but said she was stiff. So she did some stretches and stuff and went upstairs."
"Got it. You two okay down here?"
"Okay, I'm going to run up and talk to her. Come get me if you need anything," she said.
She quietly made her way into Miranda's room, not wanting to disturb her if she was sleeping.
"Andrea, is that you?"
"Yes," she said, sitting on the bed next to Miranda. "How are you?"
"Everything hurts," she said. "Can you massage my feet?"
"Sure." Andrea took her rings and watch off, setting them on the dresser. She grabbed a container of whipped argan oil and began massaging it into Miranda's swollen feet.
"Ohh thank god, that feels wonderful," Miranda said. "Those heels were too tight today. I should have never tried to wear them."
Andrea smiled. "Did the meeting go well at least?"
"Yes. Actually, it went perfectly. I didn't have to pee until they brought lunch in, but by that time, everyone was getting up. Felicia saw me first in the bathroom, then when we returned, the others all noticed, too, and they were all very congratulatory."
Andrea continued massaging her feet and ankles. "What did you and Irv talk about for so long?" she asked.
"Everything. He's reassured me that I can take as much time as I need off, and my job will be here when I return."
"What? How did that happen?"
"Mm, don't stop, keep rubbing," Miranda said, flexing her toes. "First, I invited Irv back to my office so we could catch up. I showed him the sonogram and told him I was having twins again, and that my doctor expected them sometime in July. Then, I got teary-eyed and told him how I was alone and didn't have anyone except for Nigel, who would no doubt be busy running the magazine."
"I had to earn his sympathy and it worked like a charm. He told me to call him or his wife if I needed anything. He was very supportive, really. I was surprised. It's been a while since I've had a somewhat normal conversation with that rat."
"Do you really feel alone? Am I not supportive?"
"No, no, no. I need him to think I need his support so that he doesn't replace me while I'm on maternity leave. Darling, you are beyond supportive." Miranda said. "When you texted me earlier to see how I was doing, that was so thoughtful I almost started crying. Come here," she said, patting the bed. She extricated herself from her pillow and curled up against Andrea. "I couldn't do this without you, darling," she said.
"Don't say that," Andrea said. "You're the strongest, most capable woman I know, and I have no doubt that you could manage anything you set your mind to. Can you turn over to your other side?"
Miranda turned and positioned herself against her pillow while Andrea pressed up against her.
"Is this better?" she asked.
"I can't see you, but yes, it's more comfortable," Miranda said.
Andrea wrapped her arm around and rested her hand on Miranda's belly. "What are the girls doing for Break?" Andrea asked quietly.
"Shoot. That's what I was going to do today," Miranda said. "I totally forgot."
"It's the same week as Milan, isn't it?"
"Yes. The girls were already planning on visiting Helen and George, and I don't want to interfere there. But I was wondering if you might want to take a trip with me," Miranda said.
"I thought you couldn't travelthat's why you sent Nigel to Milan."
"No airplanes. Car and train is fine. I was thinking of heading to the Hamptons for the week, just for a change of scenery."
"Isn't your place rented out for the season?"
"No, only through February 28th. Would you want to come?"
"Yes, I'd love to, but, Miranda, I don't know if I have enough time off."
Miranda rolled her eyes. "You took one day off in the entire time I've known you. You're entitled to five paid holidays and four sick days each year."
"Oh, um, won't it look suspicious if we take a vacation together?"
Miranda paused for a moment. "I think it will be fine. Will you come?"
"Okay." Andrea leaned forward and kissed Miranda's cheek. "The girls are probably getting hungry," she said. "I'll go make them some pasta."
"You still owe me a back rub," Miranda said.
"Is it that bad?" she asked with concern.
Miranda shrugged. "I'm sure it's just from sitting in those awful chairs in the conference room all day. I'll take a hot shower tonight. Let's go downstairs, I need to get moving," she said as she climbed from the bed and gently stretched her shoulders.
Andrea stayed over that night. Though she didn't want to admit it, she was a little worried that Miranda was so achy. She wasn't really complaining, but that could be due to the fact that Andrea's hands were massaging and caressing her for the better part of the evening.
As was becoming the norm these days, Miranda woke around two o'clock, needing to use the bathroom. Surprisingly, her bed was empty. She could have sworn Andrea spent the night. She quickly did her business in the bathroom, then pulled on her silk robe and crept out of the bedroom. She began to head downstairs until quiet voices on the staircase caught her attention.
"Cassidy is that you? Bobbsey, what's the matter?" Miranda asked, sitting next to her and Andrea on the step.
"I'm sorry I woke you up, Mom," Cassidy said, wiping the tears from her eyes.
Miranda exchanged a worried glance with Andrea. "Sweetheart, you did not wake me upnot at all. You know mommy has trouble sleeping because of the baby. Why are you crying?"
"I had a nightmare," she said. "You went away so the baby could be born, and you never came back."
Miranda's eyes widened, and Andrea just shrugged. "I told Cass that you weren't going away anywhere, and that even if you had to stay in the hospital, she and her sister could come visit you every day, isn't that right?" Andrea said.
"Yes, baby, of course," Miranda said as she pulled her daughter onto her shrinking lap. "Cassidy, I love you and your sister so much, I could never leave you. Remember when we went to Mexico for Christmas and I wouldn't let you out of my sight? Never, baby."
"But what about Milan and Paris?" she asked. "Sometimes you go away with Uncle Nigel for weeks."
"Not anymore, sweetheart. Uncle Nigel is going to Milan by himself this year. I didn't go when you and your sister were babiesI didn't go until you were almost six years old, did you know that? I didn't want to leave you."
"Why did you change your mind?"
"Well, Mommy and Daddy weren't living together anymore, and we worked out our schedules so that you would be visiting with him or your grandma and grandpa when I went away for work," Miranda said. "And now, when the babieswhen this baby's born, I'm going to be spending a lot more time at home." She exchanged glances with Andrea.
"Andy said you are going to take a whole month off work. Is that true?"
Miranda smiled at Andrea. "Yes, sweetheart. It will probably be more like two or three months because the doctors want to make sure that I rest, and that I am healed before I get back into my stilettos."
Cassidy giggled and hugged Miranda tight, then whispered something in her ear.
"Of course, baby, here," Miranda said, taking the girl's small hands and placing them on the left side of her belly. "He or she has been pretty active," she said. "Just hold still."
After a few minutes, Cassidy's eyes lit up. "Was that the baby?"
Miranda smiled and nodded.
"Can I talk to it?"
"Sure, if you want. I don't think the baby's ears are fully developed yet, but they say it can be soothing for them, and that they will react to your voice quicker once they're born," Miranda said.
"Baby brother or sister, I'm your big sister Cassidy, but you can call me Cass. Don't kick mommy too hard in the middle of the night, okay? The doctor said she needs to sleep," Cassidy whispered.
Miranda smiled and kissed her daughter on the forehead. "Thank you, Cassidy, I think that calmed the baby down," she said. "Why don't you let Andrea tuck you back in bed, and I'll see you in the morning."
Once Andrea helped Cass back into bed, she found Miranda still sitting on the stair. She reached out her hand and pulled Miranda to her feet, and they walked in silence back to the bedroom.
"They look up to you," Miranda said as she curled against Andrea. She slipped her hand beneath her nightgown and began stroking her belly. "Did you ever want children?"
"Sure, I did. I knew I didn't want to start a family with Nate, and honestly," she said, "I never really pictured myself as having a traditional family at all. I mean, the thought of a husband just never appealed to me."
"You grew up wanting to be a single mom?" Miranda asked with a smirk.
"No, no. It wasn't like that. I mean, some girls start planning their weddings when they're like twelve. I was never like that. I want kids, but I never really wanted to make a baby with a husband. Sorry. I never thought about the logistics."
"Well," Miranda said softly. "I guess you lucked out with me."
"Miranda, you know I wanted this before I even knew about the babies, right?"
"Mm-hmm. How could I forget New Years, or celebrating my divorce?"
"Why did you really come after me in Paris?" Andrea asked.
"What? I needed you to finish out the day."
"No, you really didn't. Everything was set. Nigel was with you at the last show. Your bags were mostly packed, too. There was something else."
"You were different. You cared, and I could feel it. I don't know how to explain." She reached and took Andrea's hand and placed it on her cheek before kissing her slowly and deeply.
It was Monday, March 24th, and Miranda was exactly eighteen weeks.
"Will we find out the sex today?" Miranda asked the nurse who was taking her blood pressure.
"Hopefully so, if they decide to cooperate," she said. "How are you feeling?"
"Wonderful," she said as she laid back on the table.
"You look great. I'm sure I don't need to remind you that you'll see a lot of growth over the next few weeks."
Miranda smiled. "As long as they're healthy," she said, folding her hands over her belly.
"Hello, Miranda," Dr. Assaf said as she walked in. "How have you been feeling? Back pain, swollen ankles, dizziness, constipation, gas, heartburn, sore breasts? Any of that."
"I've been fine, really," Miranda said. "My back is a little sore, but it's nothing that a hot shower doesn't soothe."
"Good. Make sure that if you use heat, you're not placing heating pads directly on your belly. If you need to use heat for relief, I would suggest a warmnot hotbath, or wrapping the heating pad in a blanket before placing it against your body," Dr. Assaf said. "Or, a shower as you said. Is there any other discomfort?"
Andrea quietly coughed.
Miranda rolled her eyes. "I am not telling her about that," she hissed.
"About what, Miranda?"
"You should probably tell me everything," Dr. Assaf said. "This is a high-risk pregnancy. You're over forty and pregnant with twins. I can assure you there's nothing I haven't heard yet."
"Fine," Miranda said. "Ankles are okay, except for the day I tried to wear six-inch heels. No heartburn. I was dizzy when I got up once or twice. I was constipated last week and took a laxative, then altered my diet to reduce gas, as it was becoming bothersome." She turned and looked at Andrea, "Happy?"
"And then last weekend, there was something with your eyes," Andrea said. "Remember, you said you thought you needed new glasses?"
"Oh, right. That's nothing. It was just eye strainhappens whenever I'm using that iPad for too long."
"See how easy that was, Miranda?" Dr. Assaf asked with a smile. "Did the laxative relieve you?"
"Okay, good. I trust you are getting a proper, balanced diet?"
"How often does the blurred vision occur?"
"I don't know, every day or so. It only lasts for a few minutes, and I can usually blink it away."
"Have you had your iPad for a while now?"
"Not really, just for the past few months."
Dr. Assaf made a note in the chart. "Okay, it's important that you tell me everything. We just want to take every precaution we can, here, because I want you to deliver two healthy babies," she said as she pulled the ultrasound machine closer. "By the way, have you thought at all about your birthing plan?"
"No, not at all."
"That's fine, it's still early. Of course if there are any complications, we may be forced to deliver via Cesarean."
"I'm sorry, but can you remind me what a 'birthing plan' is? It's been a few years," Miranda said.
"Oh of course. Actually, during your last pregnancy they really weren't doing this that much. But of course, now, we have so many women seeking natural deliveries with the assistance of midwives or doulasI'll have Lauren give you some info before you leave, and you can review everything at your leisure. It's basically a list where you can state your preferences for anything and everything during the labor and delivery."
"Wonderful, thank you." Miranda reached down and squeezed Andrea's hand while Dr. Assaf adjusted the ultrasound device. "We can work on that during our trip," she said.
"Oh, taking a vacation, Miranda?" the doctor asked.
"Yes, just to the Hamptons for a week."
"That sounds lovely. My husband's family has a place in Sag Harbor. Where are you staying?"
"I have a place in Sagaponack. I haven't been out there in a while, so it will definitely be nice and relaxing."
"Lots of leisurely long walks, yoga at the beach, right?" she asked with a chuckle.
"Yes," Miranda laughed. "That's the hope, anyway. How are the babies?" Miranda asked. She was looking up at the ceiling, and Andrea could see the concern in her face.
"They are both doing very well, Miranda. Both have strong heartbeats, and it looks like they are both very active. Take a look," she said, turning the monitor towards her.
"Which one is on my left side?" Miranda asked. "I can feel that one more."
"This one. It's a mirror image," the doctor said as she pointed to the screen. "She's a spunky one."
"She?!" Miranda and Andrea gasped.
"Yes," Dr. Assaf said with a chuckle. "We have a good view today. You're having two girls, Miranda."
Miranda clasped her hand over her mouth as tears streamed down her cheeks.
Andrea squeezed her other hand. "Can you make two prints of the ultrasound?" she asked.
The doctor nodded. "I'm just going to take a closer look at their anatomy and development. This is routine at eighteen weeks, so you have nothing to worry about, but it will take a few minutes."
Miranda looked back up and wiped at her eyes. Andrea grabbed a tissue and stood next to the exam table, gently dabbing at the tears, careful to stay out of the doctor's way. She gently tucked a lock of hair behind Miranda's ear, and Miranda kissed her hand.
"Twin girls," Miranda whispered. "I didn't even think that was a possibility."
Andrea smiled and gently kissed her on the lips.
"Miranda," the doctor said, "everything is looking absolutely perfect. This is the type of pregnancy we see in a thirty-year old, so you should be very grateful. Both twins' skulls are within 0.02 cm of one another, and their organs all show normal development. Twenty fingers, twenty toes, four arms and four legsthey're perfect."
Miranda smiled and squeezed Andrea's hand.
"I do need to check your cervix, though. Sometimes we see early effacement and dilation, so we want to make continue to monitor that as well. Rest assured, we have ways to keep you closed down there if we need to. I'll step out while you get changed"
"No, wait," she said, quickly unbuttoning her trousers and slipping them down. Andrea grabbed them from her ankles. "This is hardly the place for modesty," Miranda said with a shrug.
Dr. Assaf nodded and lifted Miranda's legs into the stirrups. "Again, everything is looking good. Have you been doing any other sort of activity other than the yoga you mentioned?"
"Climbing some stairs, and walking a little, but that's it."
"I only ask because you're already measuring almost ten weeks ahead. That's great for the babies, but with your petite frame, it could become a bit too much. I expect you'll begin feeling some round ligament pain soon if you haven't already. If it lasts more than a few seconds at a time, give us a call."
"Doctor, I just have one more question," Miranda said quietly.
"Um, what about sex? Is it still okay for the babies?"
"Certainly, Miranda. This should go without saying, but don't do anything that causes you discomfort. Some couples find that penetration is more difficult as the pregnancy progresses, so you may need to adjust your positioning, but it's safe to engage in intercourse until your water breaks."
"Miranda, I'd like to see you back in two weeks. In the meantime, keep doing what you're doing, and please call the office if there's absolutely anything you can think of. I'll make sure Lauren has the birthing plan paperwork for you at the front desk."
Miranda smiled and thanked her.
Once they made their way back to the town car, Miranda asked Andrea why she wanted two prints of the ultrasound.
"I was thinking that we could put one in a frame and give it to the girls as a sort of getting-to-know-their-little-sisters gift or something." When Miranda didn't respond, she started to backtrack. "But I mean, that's up to you. It doesn't hurt to have a second copy, especially for a scrapbook or something. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to push--"
"Andrea," Miranda said, interrupting. "I think they would love that. It's a wonderful idea and I'm touched at how thoughtful you are when it comes to my girls," she said, kissing Andrea softly on the cheek. "Darling, do you think the girls will be disappointed?"
"Well, they won't be the only girls anymore," Miranda said.
"No, just the opposite, actually. I think they'll be very excited to hear they're going to have two little sisters to take care of and boss around. Very excited."
"Are you serious?"
Andrea nodded. "God, Miranda, I love you so much."
Miranda smiled. "Are you sure it's not just because I let you slather platinum cream on my belly?"
Andrea's eyes widened, and they both laughed as Roy quickly pressed the switch for the privacy screen. "You've scared him off," Andrea said.
"He'll get over it," Miranda said. "Andrea, touch me, I want to feel you," she said.
"Don't make a horny pregnant woman ask twice, Andrea."
"Okay, okay," she said, carefully undoing her blouse and smoothing her hands over her belly. "You're so beautiful," she whispered. "So sexy, god. I want to devour you," she said as she placed wet kisses all over her belly. She slid her hand under the waistband of Miranda's pants and plunged her fingers inside the hot wetness. "You know what I love about these maternity clothes?" she said. "It is so easy to get in your pants."
"Mm, then I should start wearing them for you," she said as she choked out her orgasm.
Andrea caught her lips in a passionate kiss. "We're almost at Runway," she whispered.
"You go on up. I'll be around in a few minutes."
Andrea dug through her bag and quickly reapplied her lip gloss. "Did you mean itthat you would wear these pants for me?" Andrea asked.
"Of course, darling."
"No, seriously. I mean, if I asked you to wear something for meat workyou would?"
"Yes. Andrea, there isn't much I wouldn't do for you right now."
Andrea practically leapt across the backseat, hugging Miranda tightly.
"Andy!" Cassidy called, running to greet her at the door. "Mom, Andy's here!"
"Hey, Cass. What's got you so excited?"
"Mom said you were bringing a present for us. Did you forget it?"
"Nope. Why don't we all sit on the couch, okay?"
Cassidy nodded and ran upstairs to find her sister. Miranda suddenly appeared in the hallway. "You found a frame? I really want to tell them," she said.
"All taken care of," she said, pulling the frame out of her bag. She wrapped it in some tissue paper and a bow.
"Caroline, Cassidy," Miranda called, "we have something for you."
They came running down the stairs and eagerly ran to the couch. Miranda handed them the gift as she wrapped her arm around Andrea.
The girls eagerly tore at the paper and their squeals filled the living room as they fought to get a better look at the photo.
"TWINS!!??" Caroline cried.
"Oh my god, they are so cute!" Cassidy said.
"Cass, you can't tell that yet," Caroline said.
"Doesn't matter. I know they're going to be. I mean, Mom is really pretty."
"Are they boys or girls?" Caroline asked.
"Girls," Miranda said.
"Wow, there are going to be six of us now," Cassidy said.
Miranda squeezed Andrea closer and laid her head on the young woman's shoulder. "I'm going upstairs to rest for a while," she said, "and maybe I can even convince Andrea to give me another foot massage," she said with a wink. "Do you girls have a lot of homework left to do?"
"I just have science."
"I have to write three more sentences, then I'm done."
"Okay, why don't you take it up to your room, and maybe after you're all finished, we can watch a movie or something," Miranda said. They nodded and went back upstairs to their rooms.
"Another foot massage?" Andrea asked.
"No. I actually need to finish looking through the book, but I was going to do it in bed. Will you lay with me?"
Andrea nodded and followed Miranda up the stairs.
"I'll have a wrap from The Protein Bar."
"Quinoa and black bean?" Andrea called, halfway out the door.
"Yes, and get something for yourself, too."
Andrea stopped and turned around. "Really?"
Miranda shrugged. "Everyone else is in a Milan meeting for the next few hours since their plane takes off this evening."
Andrea smiled and ran out the door to pickup lunch. When she returned, she was surprised Miranda had pulled two chairs up to the table in her office. On one side was her ginger-lemon water, and on the other, a fountain Diet Coke that could only have come from the cafeteria downstairs.
"Is this alright?" she asked.
"Did you actually go down to three for that?"
Miranda smirked. "Contrary to popular belief, I have been in this building's cafeteria before."
As they were eating, Andrea put the other half of her wrap on Miranda's plate without saying a word. Before long, Miranda finished her own and took a bite of the extra half, grinning at Andrea across the table.
"So, I was thinking we could leave tomorrow when you're finished with work. It should be an easy day, but they might call first thing in the morning when they've landed with any last-minute details. Other than that, you should be able to leave at lunch."
"Okay, but Miranda I haven't had time to go prepare the houseyou know, dust, vacuum, laundry, groceries. I can go tomorrow afternoon and you can meet me Saturday morning if you'd like. That should be enough time."
"Why would we do that? I am perfectly capable of grocery shopping or changing sheets on the bed," she said. "Or if you want, I can just send a cleaning company there tomorrow morning."
"No, we can do it. I just thought you wouldn't want to."
"Andrea, I employ a lot of people to do a lot of different thingsnot because I don't want to, and certainly not because I am incapable. It's simply more efficient, and allows me to spend my time focusing on the magazine, my daughters you," she said. "This is going to sound ridiculous, but I kind of miss taking care of the house."
"YouMiranda Priestly misses being a housewife?"
"No, that is not what I meant," Miranda said with a laugh. "Certainly not. But there is something inherently feminine about it all. Taking care of the children, cooking their meals, ensuring they have clean sheets and clean clothes, washing the dishes, and keeping them healthy. I think I've always tried to ensure my daughters see me in that way, not just someone who pays others to take care of them."
"I think these maternal thoughts are stemming from those two," she said, pointing to Miranda's belly with a chuckle. "But yes, I know what you mean. And, I'm perfectly happy to cater to your maternal whims this week."
Miranda raised her eyebrow and gave her a curious look.
"I will do the vacuuming, and I will carry the laundry basket for you, but otherwise, you can cook and clean all you want," she said with a grin, "starting Saturday."
Miranda smiled and shook her head as Andrea cleared the plates. When she returned from the kitchenette, she set a bag of Oreo cookies on the table. Miranda looked up at her with tears in her eyes.
"What's wrong?" Andrea asked, squatting next to her chair.
"Nothing. Nothing at all. It's justyou get me so well. Fifty years and I gave up. I was too picky or complicated or demanding or something. There would never be someone who understood me and who could give me what I needed, I told myself. And when for a second I thought it could be you, I wouldn't let myself believe it. Butbut, it's"
"All this because of the Oreos?" Andrea asked as she squeezed Miranda's hand.
"I don't know, I'm just so overwhelmed," she said. "No one else in the world has everevergiven me an entire container of cookies." The phone at Andrea's desk began ringing.
Andrea leaned over and kissed her softly on the cheek as she stood up. "Let's talk more tonight, cookie monster," she said, running to answer the phone.
Several hours later, Roy phoned that he was downstairs. Nigel was already in the town car with his bags, but Miranda would be riding to the airport with them to go over any last minute details.
As she took her coat and bag from Andrea, she stopped. "Would you mind not coming over tonight?"
"The girls are leaving tomorrow right from school. James is going to drive them up to Boston and stay a few days. I want to help them pack and everything," she said.
"That's fine. You don't need to explain. I'll plan on coming by tomorrow afternoon. Is Roy taking us or are we driving?"
"Why does it matter?"
"Well, not really. I can't drive in heels, though."
"Andrea you do not need to bring heels with you this week. I hope you realize I plan to be in pajamas or loungewear for the next ten days."
Andrea smiled. "Okay. So does that mean I should not bring the 10" stilettos and sheer lingerie I have packed?" She watched as Miranda's breath hitched and her thighs clenched.
"I hate you for that," Miranda whispered, snatching her coat and heading for the elevators.
Roy did, indeed drive them the next afternoon, but they took Miranda's BMW SUV and he drove her Volkswagen coupe back to the city.
"Miranda, this house is gorgeous," Andrea said.
"It is, isn't it? The townhouse is larger in terms of square footageif you're not counting the guest house out back herebut I love how open this is. Two floors, lots of natural light, and an ocean view."
"You realize this looks like a Pottery Barn catalog, right?"
Miranda smiled. "Same interior designer," she said, pulling a dustcover off the sofa. "Why don't you help me uncover the furniture, and then I can run to the market while you vacuum. Sound like a plan?"
For the next hour, Miranda showed Andrea around the house as they went around removing dust covers. Andrea carried them all to the laundry room off the kitchen, and true to her word, left them for Miranda to wash.
When Miranda returned from the market, Andrea was just finishing wiping down the kitchen floor. There were several candles lit throughout, and the place smelled fresh and clean with a tinge of salty ocean air. Miranda carried one bag of groceries inside, then recruited Andrea to help her with the rest.
"So, what are we having for dinner tonight? I'm starving," Andrea said.
"Grilled chicken with asparagus. How does that sound?"
"Delicious," Andrea said. "Can I help?"
"Nope. Just keep an eye on my phone for any messages from Nigel."
"Can do," Andrea said, taking a seat at the island so she could watch Miranda work.
"Have you received any more job offers, Andrea?" Miranda asked while she minced some garlic.
"No. Just those three assistant ones. I was going to follow-up again on a few next week."
"Let me make some calls tomorrow first," Miranda said.
"Are you that eager to get rid of me?"
Miranda set down the knife and looked up at Andrea. "I need you to start training a new assistant for me."
Miranda nodded, then resumed cutting the ends off the asparagus.
"I have no doubt you will find a job before these babies are born, and when Emily comes back from Milan, if all goes well, Nigel will be offering her a promotion to Assistant Art Director. I will be losing you both."
"But Miranda, I can stay. If it's that important, I can stay in this job for a while longer."
"No, darling, you can't. You can't be in both places."
Andrea looked at her quizzically.
"I'm being selfish, I know," she said.
"No, I get it," Andrea said. "Not to be crass, but I'd rather be in your bed than fetching your coffee."
"I couldn't agree more."
"I will start training a new assistant for you. But, can we have three people on your payroll?"
"That's the other thing."
"Well, it's not badnot entirely. Once you find someone, I was thinking I would ask you to cut down to twenty hours a week. We can pay the new assistant intern wage while you're still here, and then bump her up to salary when you leave, that is, unless you leave us sooner."
"Wow, you seem to have this all figured out."
"But I would more than compensate you on the side, Andrea. As I said, it's selfish of me, and I don't want your income to drop because of this."
"Okay," Andrea said. "Okay, I'll do it."
Miranda placed the chicken breasts on the grill pan and they sizzled. "Good," she said.
Several hours later, Andrea slipped into her pajamas and joined Miranda in the enormous bed in the master bedroom. "Are you feeling better?" she asked.
Miranda nodded. "I think I was just on my feet for too long earlier."
Andrea grimaced as a pang of guilt washed over her for letting Miranda go grocery shopping and stand to cook dinner without taking a rest.
"Before you say anything," Miranda said, "it was my own fault. I was just feeling so good and relaxed being here, I forgot that my body tends to speak for itself lately."
"Can I draw you a bath? Or maybe rub your back?" Andrea offered.
"I'm really comfortable right now, actually. Maybe we can take a bath tomorrow."
Andrea smiled at the thought and reached up to turn out the light. She leaned over and kissed Miranda.
"We don't have to go to bed just yet. I mean, actually, can we talk about something?"
Andrea knew she really didn't have a choice, but the last thing she wanted to do right now was talk more about how she'd train someone to take her job. Something about that was just too unsettling.
"I looked over that birth plan sheet that the doctor sent home."
"Mm, anything good?"
"I think I really want to deliver them naturally," she said.
"Yeah, I just feel so different with this pregnancy. I don't know, giving birth is an experience I really want to have."
"Wow, so you're talking no drugs or anything, right?" Andrea said.
Miranda chuckled, "No, nothing. Do you think I'm crazy?"
"Not at all," Andrea said, reaching over and resting her hand on Miranda's belly. "It sounds amazing, actually."
"Of course, there's a chance they'll need to do an emergency c-section if there are complications, but I'd at least want to aim for doing it myself," she said. "I was reading about a doula or midwife to help with the labor and delivery, too."
"Oh," Andrea said, retracting her hand. "Yeah, those are trendy now," she said.
"Darling," Miranda said cautiously, "a doula won't replace youyou know that, right?"
Andrea's eyes widened, confirming Miranda's thoughts.
"Andrea, you need to stop this this jealousy. It is highly unattractive. I simply do not have the time for this childish behavior." Miranda clasped her hand over her mouth as soon as she said it, but it was too late. Andrea was already climbing out of bed.
"I'm sorry that you find me childish, Miranda," she said over her shoulder. "I'll be on the couch downstairs."
"Andrea, wait! Please wait," Miranda called after her, but the young woman did not turn around. Sighing, she quickly sat up and jumped out of bed. She staggered towards the door feeling unusually unsteady on her feet, and suddenly everything went black.
Hearing a loud thump, Andrea stopped midway down the stairs. "Miranda?" When there was no answer, she ran back up to the bedroom and found the woman on the floor next to the bed.
"Oh my god! Are you okay?" she asked, rushing to kneel next to the woman.
Miranda took a deep breath and pressed her palm to the carpet as she pushed herself up off the ground. "I'm fine. Go back to whatever you were doing."
"Butyou collapsed. Do you need me to call the doctor?"
"No. Fainting and dizziness is common with pregnancy. I wasn't thinking and got up too fast. Really, I'm fine," Miranda insisted as she pushed herself up onto her knees. She took another deep breath before standing to her feet. Pushing past the young woman, she walked out of the bedroom towards the stairs.
"Where are you going?" Andrea asked.
"To get a glass of water. Is that okay with you?" Miranda snapped.
"I'll go grab it for you. Did you want lemon with it?"
"No. I am completely capable of getting my own water. Just leave me alone," she said as she made her way down the stairs. She took caution to walk slowly and hold the railing.
In the kitchen, she poured herself a large glass of ice water and sat on the barstool while she drank. After a few minutes, she got up, grabbed a bag of pretzels from the pantry and refilled her glass of water.
"If you have something to say, now would be a good time," Miranda said quietly as she sat at the counter.
"I'm sorry," Andrea said. She moved away from the stairs and stood next to the counter. "You scared mewhen I saw you on the floor like thatare you sure you're okay?"
"Yes. When I was pregnant with the girls, the dizziness was much worse."
"But when you fellI mean, you're not hurt?"
"I'm sorry about before, Miranda," she said. "Honestly, I don't really know what a doula does, and I was too embarrassed to say so."
Miranda looked up in surprise.
"I know, I know childish," she said.
"Andrea, I don't expect you to know everything. You know that, right?"
"No, I'm serious, Andrea."
"I guess I'm just used to working for you and having to figure out what you're talking about on my own."
"What do you mean?"
"Seriously? You won't tolerate people asking you for clarification. You ask for 'that thing I saw at that place I like' and it's my job to figure it out. And you wonder why I was too embarrassed to say anything when I didn't know what a doula was?"
"But that's just me at work. I hope you've noticed I'm not such an Ice Queen at home, when we're laying together in bed."
"I know, I guess it's just hard to separate the two sometimes. I'm worried that if I get too comfortable around you, I won't be able to stay professional at work."
"Well, hopefully we won't have to worry about that much longer," Miranda said as she put the chip clip back on the bag of pretzels. She put the pretzels back in the pantry and placed the glass in the dishwasher, then walked over and placed her hands on Andrea's shoulders. "I'm exhausted. Come back to bed?"
The next morning, Miranda woke, draped across Andrea's body. She inhaled the young woman's scent and softly nuzzled her neck.
"Mmm, good morning, beautiful," Andrea whispered.
"Sweetheart, I'm sorry I was such a royal bitch last night."
"Let's just forget about last night, okay? You really scared me," she said.
"I'm tougher than you think."
"I know, I know, it's just you know, seeing you on the floor like that."
"Okay, okay," she said, resting her head on the younger woman's shoulder. Her hand began tracing lazy circles along her body, and she gently brushed her fingertips across Andrea's breast.
She gasped and wrapped her arm tightly around Miranda's body. "Are you feeling better today?"
"Much," she said, lifting her head and kissing her on the lips. "I don't want to get out of bed, though."
"Well, lucky for you, this is vacation and you don't have to," Andrea said.
"Oh, but you can't be serious."
"Um, well, I was going to make some calls for you."
"That can wait until Monday, can't it?"
A devilish smile crept across Miranda's lips. "This feels so scandalous."
Andrea laughed. "Like you're playing hooky?"
"Yes. What will we do all day?"
"I think we'll find something to keep us occupied," she said.
The following morning, Andrea woke just after ten o'clock. Miranda was still asleep, snuggled against her pillow. Andrea quietly slipped out of bed and threw a robe on, then headed downstairs to make coffee.
It was a rainy, grey morning. She had never quite realized it, but rain over the ocean was a much calmer phenomenon than rain splashing against the streets of the city. She pulled up Miranda's email on the laptop just to make sure she hadn't missed anything urgent, and then after switching the coffee pot on, she headed back upstairs.
Walking around to the other side of the bed, she softly leaned over and kissed Miranda on the forehead. "Good morning," she whispered.
Miranda's eyes fluttered open and she took a deep breath.
"I made us some coffee. I'm going to take a shower now," she said.
"What time is it?" Miranda asked, covering her mouth as she yawned.
Andrea leaned over and kissed her softly on the lips. "I checked and you don't have any messages, so relax."
"You're spoiling me, Andrea," she whispered.
"You deserve it," she said. "Just give me ten minutes."
Miranda nodded as the young woman headed into the bathroom. She pulled herself up slowly and adjusted the pillows so she could recline against the headboard. The delicious aroma of strong coffee drifted through the house, and she felt herself craving a cup. Her doctor advised her to limit her caffeine intake during the pregnancy, but did say it was okay to have a cup of coffee every now and then. This morning, she would definitely welcome that.
She reached over to the nightstand and picked up her phone, sending James a quick message to ask how the girls were doing.
She received a response almost immediately: They're fine. I'm just heading back to NYC now.
She scrolled through her contacts and dialed James' parents house. "Hi Helen, it's Miranda," she said.
"Miranda, dear, how are you doing?"
"Good. Good. And yourself?"
"Oh, well we're just having a great time here with the girls. They tell me you're expecting, too?"
"I am," Miranda said, smiling. "Twin girlsagain. Sometime in July or August."
"Well that's just wonderful. Are you feeling okay? No morning sickness or anything?"
"No, I feel great. I'm nineteen weeks along and I really have no complaints. I actually decided to take a trip out to the Hamptons this week while the girls are off with you and George."
"Good for you, Miranda. You need to relax, too."
"I'm grateful the girls were still able to come visit this week."
"Oh of course, anytime! We wish we lived closer so we could see them more often," she said. "And don't be a stranger once those baby girls are born. I know you don't have family around here, so you are always welcome here."
"Thank you, Helen. You have no idea how much that means to me. I promise we'll send photos as soon as they're born."
"Perfect," she said. "Cassidy is teaching Grandpa George how to check his email on the computer right now, actually."
Miranda chuckled. "And let me guess, Caroline is reading a book?"
"Can you put her on the phone? I just want to say hello."
"Of course! Here you areit was good talking to you Miranda. Call me if you need anything, really. I love you sweetheart."
"Thanks, take care and tell George I said hello as well."
"Of course. Here's Caroline."
"Hi Mom," she said.
"My darling daughter, how are you sweetheart?"
"Good. How are you? Are you in Sagaponack?"
"Yes, and it's wonderful. Very relaxing."
"Oh good. Are you sleeping a lot? I know you love sleeping when it's rainy out," she said.
"Actually I just woke up a few minutes ago, so yes, I am. And you probably won't believe it, but I stayed in bed all day yesterday," Miranda admitted.
"Whoa. Are you sure you're feeling okay?"
Miranda chuckled. "Yes. I feel great today. I'll probably go sit on the screened-in porch and read the papers this afternoon."
"Is Andy there with you?"
"Yes, she is. Why?"
"Just wondering. I didn't want you to be alone there, that's all."
"Andrea is actually taking very good care of me. She brought me breakfast, lunch, and dinner in bed yesterday," Miranda said.
"Not fair. I'm totally making her bring me breakfast in bed next time she sleeps over."
"No. Andrea is not our servant, Caroline."
"But she's your assistant, and she takes care of you."
"She is my assistant at Runway, but as you know, she's looking for a new job because she wants to be a reporter. When she comes over after work or on the weekends, she's there because she's mommy's friend. And she takes care of me because she wants me to stay healthy so the babies can grow big and strong."
"Well, can I at least ask her?"
"Yes, you can ask her politely," Miranda said. "What's Cass doing?"
"She's upstairs with Grandpa showing him how to do stuff on the computer. Do you want me to get her?"
"No, it's okay. Just tell her I called and said hi. I'll call back again tomorrow or the next day."
"Okay. Oh, and Mom?"
"Don't be mad, but Cass accidentally told Grandma about the babies, and Dad heard. He looked kind of mad or something."
Miranda sighed. "It's okay, baby. People are going to find outit's not a secret or anything. I'm sure your dad wasn't mad. He was probably a little upset at me for not telling him first, but don't worry. I promise he's not mad at you or your sister."
"Okay. Um, and Grandpa knows, too. He said we could help him make a gift for them this week."
"Darling, it doesn't matter who knows. I'm sure they'll like whatever you make them."
"Okay. Um, I gotta go. Grandma needs help washing dishes. Love you!"
"I love you too, darling. Tell your sister I love her too," Miranda said.
She sighed as she ended the call. Helen and George were truly remarkable people, and they had always been so good to Miranda. The girls were their only grandchildren, and even when she and James were getting a divorce, Helen was kind and warm and accepting. She never judged her for having a career or working late hours, and she really became a sort of mother-figure for Miranda.
Miranda dialed James on the phone.
"Hi James. I know you're drivingcan you talk?"
"Sure, putting you on speakerphone," he said. "What's up?"
"I wanted to apologize for not saying anything to you first. It appears the girls have told you about my pregnancy."
"Yeah, I was a little surprised, to be honest."
"Well, I was, too. I certainly wasn't planning it, but "
"It's okay. I get it. Are you still going through with the divorce then?"
"From Stephen?" Miranda asked.
"That's already finalized. He's living with one of his whores."
"Oh, but, I thought"
"No. It's not Stephen's."
"Holy shit, Miranda. You were cheating on him?"
"Look, it wasn't like that. He and I were already living separate lives. He was spending maybe one night a week at home."
"Is that why you were keeping it quiet?" James asked.
"Well, I guess that was part of it. I was also hesitant to make any sort of announcement in case something happened. They keep pushing this "over forty" talk at me and it just kind of made me nervous."
"Is everything okay?"
"Yes, surprisingly. Everything is wonderful. I'm feeling great, and I just love being pregnant this time around. I don't know what it is."
"What are you going to do about work?"
"Well, I imagine that's why I feel so greatthere's hardly any pressure. I can use my extended leave that's so expertly written into my contract, they have to hold my job indefinitely."
"I almost forgot about that. God, I'm a good lawyer," he said with a chuckle.
"An arrogant one, too."
"Well, that comes with the territory. I'm glad things are working out for you. Do you mind if I ask if you're seeing someone?"
"No, I don't mind," Miranda said. "But, that doesn't mean I will give you a completely truthful answer. That part, I'm still not ready to talk about."
"Fair enough. Do you at least have someone to help you out? Massage your feet or help you off the couch when you get stuck?"
"You make that sound so romantic," she said. "And I'll have you know I have yet to get 'stuck' as you say. That was one time, and I'm sure if you weren't there, I would have been able to get up just fine."
"Whatever. Keep telling yourself that," he teased.
"I'll have you know I'm really taking care of myself this timelots of rest, light exercise, more rest. I'm at Sagaponack this week."
"Oh, nice. Good, I'm happy for you. You never answered my question thoughdo you have someone to help you?"
Miranda paused for a few moments before answering. "Yes."
"Okay. Good, good," he said. "I'm glad."
"Yes. Well I should let you go."
"Yeah, I should get back to driving. Hey, call me if you need anything, okay?"
"You're starting to sound like your mother, James."
"Oh no, did she beg you to let her move in or something?"
"Nonot yet anyway. Why?"
"You know she thinks of you as her adopted daughter. She probably brags to her lady friends about you more than me."
"She does know we're divorced, right?"
He laughed. "Yes. Yes, she does. If you want me to tell her to lay off, I will."
"No," Miranda said, perhaps a bit too eagerly. "I mean, I don't mind, really. She's a very kind woman and I know the girls love her so. I really don't' mind."
"Okay, but let me know."
"I will. Listen, I need to hang up and go to the bathroom," she said. "Call me if the girls need anything."
"I will. See ya."
She tossed the phone onto the mattress next to her and got up, wrapping her robe around her as she headed down the hall to use the bathroom. When she returned to her room, Andrea was getting dressed.
"I'm going to take a quick shower now," Miranda said. "Would you do me a huge favor and bring half a cup of coffee up here for me?"
"Sure. Just half?"
"Yeah, for now. Thank you, sweetheart," she said, kissing Andrea softly on the lips. While she was fetching the coffee, Miranda stripped the sheets from the bed and tossed them in a pile. After spending the past thirty-six hours in bed, she definitely wanted fresh sheets.
The rest of the day was spent much like their previous day, only on the couch in the screened porch. It was cool in there, so Miranda was huddled beneath a blanket for much of the afternoon, although that didn't keep Andrea's hands away.
Miranda soon found that her favorite position was stretched out along the couch, leaning on Andrea. The young woman kept her feet propped up on the ottoman.
"Andrea, can I ask you a personal question?"
"Sure. Should I be nervous?"
"No, I don't think so," Miranda said, taking a deep breath. "Does your family know you're here with me?" It took Andrea a few minutes to respond, and Miranda was grateful that this position didn't allow her to see the young woman's face.
"I told them I was going with Doug."
"This guy who I used to be friends with. When Nate and I broke up, he stopped talking to me."
"What is the reason you decided to lie?"
"Jesus, Miranda. There's no way out of your questions."
"I'm sorry, it's a habit. You don't have to answer if you don't want to," she said.
"My mom is pretty easygoing. I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was in love with a woman, and she was a little surprised, but not upset."
"Did you tell her who this other woman was? I mean, presuming you were referring to me?"
"Of course it's referring to you. And no, I didn't tell her."
"Because you thought she would disapprove."
"No. Actually, because the night I spoke with my mom was the same night you got upset about me not denying our relationship to Emily and Serena. The night you thought I left."
Miranda turned around and placed her hands on Andrea's shoulders. "Darling, I'm sorry. I was just overreacting. My mind was getting ahead of me," she said, kissing her softly on the lips.
Andrea's hands found Miranda's hips & she eased her onto her lap. "It's okay," she said as she snaked her hands up across her belly and cupped her breasts.
Miranda rolled her hips against Andrea's core and leaned forward to take her lips once again. "Ugh," she groaned, pushing herself off her.
"What's wrong?" Andrea asked, gently brushing her cheek.
"I have to peeagain," Miranda said, rolling her eyes.
As Miranda was in the bathroom, Andrea pulled her phone out and saw a text message from Emily: Nigel, Serena, and I were thinking of giving Miranda a small baby shower next month. Since you're 'friends' with her, do you think she would like that, or is it ridiculous?
Andrea quickly wrote back. You know, I think she would love it. Keep me posted. BTW, stop worrying and enjoy Milan.
"Are they emailing you from Milan?" Miranda asked, taking her seat on the couch again.
"Yeah, but it's nothing," she said. "I was thinking, where are the babies going to sleep once they're born?"
"I really don't know," Miranda said. "I didn't want to get ahead of myself. And I mean, it's still early. I'm not even five months along." She absentmindedly cradled her belly in her arms.
Andrea draped her arms over Miranda's shoulders and kissed her softly on the cheek. "I'll take good care of you. You just plan the nursery."
Miranda smiled and leaned into her touch. "I guess they'll have to go in the guest room," she said. "But maybe they can stay in bassinets with us for a while," she said.
"You're really okay with me moving in?"
"Of course. Well, unless you've changed your mind."
"No, no. It's just, well, we haven't talked about that. If I'm living with you, it's going to be a lot harder to keep everything secret."
Miranda nodded and took Andrea's hand. "Next week, maybe we can invite Nigel for dinner. And I suppose we should talk to James, too, though I suppose he won't care. I do want to keep it fairly quiet until you accept a job offer," she said.
"Okay. That's fair. And I love the idea of the babies sleeping in bassinets in your room."
"Our room, darling."
"I love you, sweetheart," Miranda said.
"I love you, too, Miranda. You and your girls."
"Miranda, we need to go if you want to get home before the girls," Andrea called from the front door. "Everything's already in the car."
"Can you come here for a minute?" Miranda called back.
Andrea sighed and set the keys down before taking the stairs two at a time. "Where are you?"
She quickly ran into the bathroom and froze when she saw Miranda on the floor on her hands and knees. "What's wrong?" she asked, kneeling next to the editor.
Miranda took a deep breath. "My backsharp pains. Get me two Tylenol and a heating pad."
Andrea nodded and retrieved the tablets from the medicine cabinet, then handed them to Miranda with a glass of water. "Where's the heating pad?"
Thirty seconds later, she was plugging the electric pad into the nearest outlet and pressing it to Miranda's lower back. "What else can I do?" she asked, gently stroking her back.
Miranda took another deep breath. "Come sit in front of me. Distract me until the Tylenol kicks in."
"Are you sure you're okaythat this isn't contractions or something serious? Didn't the doctor tell you to call her if your pain lasted more than a few seconds?"
"Contractions peak and subside, and this isn't doing that. I have an appointment on Monday, I'll ask her then."
"Is it more comfortable kneeling like that?"
"Yes. I think I've been neglecting my pelvic exercises and my growing," she paused and grimaced for a second before continuing, "my growing belly is putting too much strain on my lower back." She gently began rocking her hips slowly.
"What does it feel like?" Andrea asked.
"Distract, Andrea. That means talk about something else."
"Right, sorry. So, um, the girls texted and they're on the train on their way home. Roy will be picking them up from the airport, and Emily already made sure the townhouse was cleaned and that the fridge was stocked for when you return."
"Keep going," Miranda said, taking another deep breath as she gently rocked back and forth.
"Okay, Nigel said Milan went wonderfully. The party was a success, and Irv even had some nice things to say about you. Apparently he apologized for your absence, explaining that he had been overworking you and you were taking a much-needed vacation. Nigel said he told everyone that you insisted you could take your trip another week, but he would not let you."
"I didn't tell you to make things up, Andrea," Miranda said with a chuckle.
"I'm not! Nigel sent me a long emailyou can read it in the car."
"I was just teasing. I believe you, darling. Have you heard any more about a job?"
"No. I followed up with Moira and Joanne on Tuesday after you phoned them, but nothing so far. It's okay. I still need to find a replacement and train her. Oh, I meant to ask, do you know if Emily will be getting that promotion after all?"
"Yes. Nigel told her yesterday, but she will slowly transition over the next month or so."
"Okay, so I will ideally be finding two new assistants for you. HR emailed me a bunch of resumes, but I haven't looked through them yet. If only I could clone myself "
"If you had a clone, I would want you both to myself," Miranda said. She took a few more deep breaths, then sat back on her heels.
"Yes. Help me up," she said, reaching out her hand.
Andrea helped ease her into a standing position, and led her to the chaise in the bedroom. "Let me rub your back for a few minutes. Tell me if it's uncomfortable."
Miranda turned and rested her head against the backrest while Andrea's palms applied pressure to her lower back. Nearly twenty minutes later, Miranda felt wonderful, though she could tell the young woman's massage had lost its strength. She turned and kissed herfirst on the lips, then on the palms of her hands. "Thank you," she said. "I think we can go now."
"Anything we need to bring with? It'll be a two-hour ride," Andrea said as they walked down the stairs.
"No, but I will need to get out and stretch at some point, okay?"
"Sure. Did you want to lay down in the backseat?"
"I'll be fine," Miranda said, grabbing a throw pillow from the nearby couch.
Once situated in the car, Miranda placed the throw pillow on her lap, wedging it beneath her belly.
Andrea leaned over the center console and kissed her. "Thank you for bringing me here this week. Did you have a nice vacation?"
Miranda grinned and nodded. "It was blissful," she said. "Part of me wishes we could just stay here forever."
"I know what you mean," Andrea said as she started the car.
"I'm sorry, Andrea."
"Hiding you. Not telling anyone, not wanting to be photographed with you. You must know I wouldn't do this if there was another way."
Andrea kept her eyes on the road and reached out to grab Miranda's hand. "I understand. If it were different, you wouldn't be you. And I like you just how you are."
Miranda smiled. "Mind if I close my eyes for a while?"
"Not at all. What do you want on the radio?"
"Your choice. Not talk radio."
Andrea turned the station and Miranda quickly drifted off to sleep.
They had been driving for over an hour, and Miranda was still sound asleep. Andrea smiled, thinking about their future. Suddenly, another car pulled in front of her, causing her to slam on the breaks and swerve to the shoulder, instinctively reaching her hand out to keep Miranda's body from propelling forward.
"I'm sorry," she said as soon as the car came to a stop. She was shaking, and the sound of horns on the road wasn't helping to settle her nerves.
"Are you okay?" Miranda asked.
"Yes. Don't apologize. I should be thanking you for safely avoiding a collision. Do you want to switch?"
Her eyes widened. "Really?"
"Only if you want. I trust you to drive us home, but you just seem a bit jumpy now."
"I'll be okay." Andrea took a deep breath and pulled back onto the road. "You feeling okay? Did you need to stretch?"
"I'll go for a walk once we get home. I'm actually fine right now," Miranda said. "This is going to sound crazyand don't you dare repeat it to anyonebut I honestly have no desire to go back to work."
"Maybe you'll change your mind when you're home by yourself because the girls are in school and I'm at work."
"True. I do really want to start handing over some of my responsibilities to Nigel permanently."
"Well, for starters, the tasks that are truly his job as Art Director: final approval of layouts, choosing models, overseeing cover shoots, seasonal spreads. Honestly, he should be reviewing the Book, too."
"I can have it arranged to get sent to both of you for a while if you'd like," Andrea said.
"No, no. I can't just throw that on him. He will have no chance at a personal life."
"Maybe with Emily's promotion, he can let go of some of the smaller things that take up his time, like overseeing the Closet. Emily would actually be great for that, you know. She knows it inside and out, and she knows the designers' lines by heart."
Miranda nodded. "That's true. I'll have to talk to Nigel first, though. We've been so busy with Milan, I haven't had a chance to sit and talk with him in quite some time."
"Let's have him over for dinner tomorrow!" Andrea said, "Oh. No, never mind. I'm sorry."
"He doesn't know about us. And you probably want to talk to him alone, anyway."
"I'm sure he has his suspicions but is too loyal to speak them. What if we invite him and his boyfriend?" Miranda said.
"They broke up last month. I think he's still single."
"Oh gosh, I had no idea. Well, let's have the four of us and Nigel. That will be fine. The girls haven't seen him in a while."
"Sounds perfect," Andrea said. She turned down Miranda's street and saw the townhouse parked out front.
"Crap, they got home before us," Miranda said, pinching the bridge of her nose.
"It's okay. I'm sure Roy helped them inside and they're getting settled."
Andrea climbed out of the car and grabbed Miranda's duffle bag from the back. As she walked around to the sidewalk, she saw Miranda crouched down, squatting next to the car with her hands on the seat. "What's wrong?" she asked, quickly dropping the bag and crouching next to her."
"Pain, again damnit!" she said.
Andrea firmly pressed the heel of her hand into Miranda's lower back.
"Harder," Miranda whispered.
"Can you use your hand to support your belly and lift it up at all? At least until you get inside?"
She reached down and took a deep breath, slowly standing back up. "It feels better," she said.
Andrea threw the duffle over her shoulder and guided Miranda into the house and to the sofa. "I'll be right back. Can I get you anything?"
Miranda shook her head, and Andrea headed back outside to move the car into the garage and bring in the remaining bags.
"Come lay with me for a minute," Miranda said. Andrea curled up along the couch with her. Miranda took her hand and placed it on her belly. "They're both kicking like crazy."
"Wow," Andrea said, gently nuzzling Miranda's neck.
"See," Caroline snickered from the doorway. "Told you she was Mom's girlfriend."
Andrea quickly jumped off the couch, and the bounce of the cushions caused Miranda to grunt. She looked over apologetically. "Hi, Caroline, Cassidy. Did you have a nice trip?"
Miranda pushed herself into a sitting position with a groan. "What Andrea meant to say is, yes, she is mommy's girlfriend. And I missed you so much this weekI want to know everything," she said with a smile.
The girls ran to hug Andrea and Miranda, each taking a seat next to Miranda on the couch, and each placing their hands on one side of Miranda's belly. "Is that her kicking, Mom?"
"Yes, baby. They're both very excited to be home, I think."
Cassidy looked up at Andrea who was still standing next to the couch. "Here Andy," she said, standing up and taking her hand. "You sit next to Mom. I'll sit on your lap."
Andrea smiled and quickly took the seat, pulling Cassidy into a hug on her lap. She reached down and took Miranda's hand, squeezing it tightly.
"I love you," Miranda whispered, barely audible.
"Love you, too," Andrea mouthed back with a dreamy look in her eyes.
"Miranda is that you?" an older woman called from the foyer. Her eyes widened and she looked to her girls.
"Oh, sorry. We forgot to tell you Grandma came back with us and is staying the night."
Before Miranda could piece together a coherent thought, Helen appeared in the doorway. "Oh my, I see you have company."
Miranda gently pushed the girls aside and stood to greet Helen, wrapping her arms around her. "It's so good to see you," she said. "You haven't been waiting long, have you?"
"No, your driver dropped us off less than an hour ago. Who is that," she asked, looking over Miranda's shoulder at the couch, "beautiful young woman? She works for you?"
"Well, yes, actually," Miranda stammered.
"It's Andy!" Caroline said.
"She's mom's girlfriend!" Cassidy added.
Miranda shrugged and nodded.
"Miranda, James didn't tell me you were gay," she said quietly.
"I'm not," she said. "I mean, I guessJames doesn't know. This is a recent development." She blushed and bit her lip. "Helen, this is Andrea Sachs. Andrea, the girls' paternal grandmother. Um, Andrea has been staying here, too."
Now it was Andrea's turn to blush as she stood and greeted Helen.
"Oh come here," the older woman said, pulling Andrea into a tight hug. "If you break Miranda's heart, you'll have to deal with me, you know."
Andrea smiled. "I don't think you have to worry," she said, taking Miranda's hand.
"How long are you staying, Helen? Of course, you're welcome to stay as long as you wish, but I was going to invite someone to join us for dinner tomorrow, and I'm hoping you can join."
"I was going to head back tomorrow, but I can take a later train. I really just wanted to see how you were doing. I'm not as concerned now, knowing this young woman is here to look after you."
Miranda smiled and quietly excused herself, heading upstairs.
"Andy, is Mom feeling okay?" Cassidy asked.
"Yeah. Sure. The babies are growing a lot, so sometimes it hurts when her body has to stretch so they can fit inside. But we had a really nice week at your house in the Hamptons, and your mom was able to get a lot of rest," she said. "So, I don't know about you, but we haven't had anything to eat since breakfast and I'm starved!"
Caroline and Cassidy giggled and nodded in agreement.
"Why don't the girls and I fix something in the kitchen, and you can go check on Miranda?" Helen suggested.
Andrea nodded and headed upstairs, finding Miranda curled up on her bed. Andrea sat next to her on the bed. "Your back again?"
"Mm-hmm," Miranda groaned. "It never really went away. I don't want the girls to see me like this."
"They asked me how you were feeling. Will you feel up to coming downstairs for something to eat?"
"Yes, of course. I took two more Tylenol. I can hardly feel it when I'm laying down, it's just sitting and standing."
"Hold on," Andrea said, getting up and heading into the closet. She came back with a small package. "I ordered this back when I ordered your pillow. They make a bunch of other types," she said as she pulled an elastic band out of the box. "Some go all the way up over your shoulders, but this is supposed to help hold your belly up and keep pressure off your cervix."
"Oh my gosh, why didn't you tell me about this earlier?" Miranda asked as she stood and put the band on.
"Does it feel better?"
"Yes," Miranda said, sighing in disbelief. "It actually does."
Andrea wrapped her arms around her growing waistline and pulled Miranda in for a kiss. After a few seconds, she pulled away. "If we go any further, I don't think we'll make it for lunch," she said, kissing Miranda softly on the nose.
The five women spent the afternoon eating the delicious salads and tea sandwiches Helen made. Miranda told the girls all about her week off, from long walks along the beach to breakfasts, lunches, and dinners in bed.
"Nigel, how are you?" Miranda asked, opening the door and letting him inside.
"Miranda, you look fabulous," he said, taking her hand and twirling her around a little bit.
"Oh please, I practically live in wrap dresses these days, but thank you," she said. "I'm glad you were able to make it tonight. I think we have a lot to catch up on."
"Hi Nigel," Andrea said, greeting him in the kitchen.
"SixI wasn't expecting you. Everything go okay last week without us?"
"Perfectly," she said with a smile.
"Uncle Nigel!!" the girls cried, running down the stairs and hugging him tightly.
"Hey! I heard you were at your grandparents house this week? Did you have fun?"
"Yep! And Grandma came back with us to see Mom," they said, dragging Nigel further into the kitchen. "Grandma! This is Uncle Nigel. Mom works with him."
"Helen, nice to see you again," Nigel said, extending his hand.
"You know each other?" Cassidy exclaimed.
"Yes, sweet pea. I met Mr. Kipling long ago when you and your sister were first born," she said, "and I don't think he's aged one day since then."
Nigel blushed. "Well, I brought some sparkling lemonade," he said, placing the bottle on the counter. "What can I help with?"
Several hours later, Andrea joined the girls and their grandma in the living room to watch a movie while Miranda and Nigel headed upstairs to the study.
Miranda rearranged a few pillows on the couch and reclined back. "Nigel, I hope you don't mind," she said.
"No, of course. Can I get you anything?"
"No, I'm fine. Please help yourself to a drink, though. There's Macallan in the decanter."
"Well, thanks, don't mind if I do." He poured himself two fingers of the amber liquid and sat in the chair next to the couch. "You didn't miss anything in Milan. It was really quite boring," he said.
"So about thatI honestly can't tell you how much I enjoyed my week off. At first, I worried what I was going to do all day, but after spending something like thirty-six hours in bed and the rest of the day taking long walks along the beach or curling up on the couch, I really have very little desire to get back to work."
"Wait, Miranda, you can't mean"
"No. I'm not ready to give it up just yet. But I did want to speak with you about giving you more responsibilityresponsibility that is rightfully yours."
"What do you mean?"
"When was the last time you checked your job description?"
"Oh, I haven't looked since I was first hired. My god, they didn't even use computers back then, Miranda. So much has changed."
"I know," she said. "Part of my job is to update the job descriptions of my staff each year. Your most recent is on file with HR. I haven't changed much, just added some things to encompass the intricacies and speed of digital publishing. My point, however, is that over the past twenty years, I seem to have usurped the majority of your responsibilities."
Nigel was shocked. "Miranda, I don't mind. Really. I know you'll make it up to me someday."
"Well Nigel, I'm hoping things can start to change now, for two reasons, mostly selfish. For one, this pregnancy is taking a toll on me and I simply cannot put in the long hours like I used to. Even once the babies are born, I know I will need time to get myself together again. Also, there's the issue of my retirement, if I should be so lucky to not be ousted first."
"What? Miranda, you can't be serious!"
"Relax. I'm talking ten years down the road. But even so, I want to make sure you feel comfortable and confident stepping into my shoesor anyone's really. Should you so choose."
"Wow. Um, okay. Yes. Yes, Miranda, I'll do whatever you need."
"No. I don't want you thinking of it as doing me a favor. Or doing this because I asked you. It's your job. It's always been your job, but I just wanted my hands on everything. You know, the higher up you go, the less day-to-day work there is to do. Part of my role as editor-in-chief is selecting a competent staff that I trust completely to produce the caliber of work that Runway is known for. I selected you long ago to be my Art Director, and I would do the same today."
"What exactly are you handing overor, back, I guessto me, if I may ask?" he said.
"Final approval on all layouts and seasonal spreads. Cover shoots, model selection," she paused, "run-throughs. I will continue to be present in the run-throughs, and I will still review the Book electronically for a while, but if you'd like, I can have it sent to you as well. We will still have our monthly meetings where we all can collaborate and identify trends and features."
"Butwhat will you do?" he asked.
"Nigel, you act as if that's all I do at work. Most of my time is spent in planning meetingsplanning the future of the magazine, subscription models, ways to monetize what others are giving away for free on the internet. I submit the final budget for our publication, which as you know partly determines the location and extravagance of our shoots. There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work to my job."
"Since when have you been in favor of 'behind-the-scenes?'" he asked.
"I don't think I ever was. I liked being able to do everything, and if I had my choice right now, I would probably choose a role like Serena'smaking an impact, but being able to go home at night and live my life."
"Fifty years old and you finally decide to settle down?"
Miranda blushed. "Well, yes, actually. Although it sounds terribly boring when you put it like that."
"So, just you and the girls or is there someone else in the picture?" he asked.
Miranda sat up. "I will answer your question, but please excuse me for just a minute," she said.
Nigel nodded, and Miranda waddled out of the study and downstairs.
"Andrea," she called.
The brunette hopped off the couch and met Miranda in the hall. "Everything okay?"
"Yes. How would you feel about telling Nigel about us?"
"Oh, um, tonight?"
"Yes, right now. I didn't want to say anything without you there."
Andrea smiled. "Okay. Yes."
"Wonderful. I just have to pee firstgive me a minute."
Andrea grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge, then followed Miranda back up the stairs.
"Sorry," Miranda said, taking a seat on the sofa again. "These babies are pressing on my bladder."
Andrea sat down on the couch next to her. "Hey Nige."
"What's going on?" he asked.
"Before I got up to use the bathroom, we were talking about me settling down, and you asks if there was someone else in the picture," she said. "Well, yes, actually. There is." She reached down and squeezed Andrea's hand. "Andrea," she said.
Nigel's eyes widened. "Waityou meanwow. I mean, what am I saying, geez. I love you two!"
Andrea smiled and rested her head on her shoulder. "Nigel, we'd prefer if you didn't say anything just yet. I'm still trying to find a writer position somewhere, and of course, Irv doesn't know."
"Yes, of course," he said. "Wow. I'm so happy for you, Miranda."
The following week at the office was relatively quiet. Andrea was busy interviewing new assistants. Miranda was feeling much better once she started wearing the maternity belt, and she actually found she was less tired than she was earlier in the pregnancy.
She had her twenty-week appointment on Monday and everything was progressing beautifully, according to Dr. Assaf. The babies were each just shy of one pound, and the doctor assured Miranda that the belly and back pain she was experiencing was round ligament pain and not contractions, as her cervix was still fully closed. She suggested some exercises to strengthen her pelvic floor, and advised Miranda to wear the maternity support belt for no longer than eight hours a day, as it could cause her body to rely on it too much and actually weaken the muscles she would need for childbirth.
Miranda explained that she had been thinking more about her birth plan and decided on a natural childbirth. Because it was a high-risk pregnancy, there would be a higher chance she would need an emergency cesarean, so Dr. Assaf strongly advised her to use one of the birthing suites at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center with its state-of-the-art surgical center and NICU. Not that she anticipated complications, but she explained to Miranda that she wanted her to be in the best possible place. Weill Cornell was one of the few hospitals in the area to allow midwives, and Dr. Assaf gave Miranda a list of several she had worked with recently that she recommended.
Miranda convinced Helen to stay for a few weeks, and she agreed only if Miranda would give Cara the two weeks off, which Miranda was happy to offer. Andrea didn't spend the night again after Saturday night, and while Miranda was curious, she didn't have time to dwell on it, as Helen kept everyone busy. Miranda secretly loved the extra attention from Helen, and it often made her wish her own mother could have been there for her these past thirty years.
On Thursday, Andrea received a call from Adam Moss's assistant at New York magazine, explaining that Adam had a chance to look over her portfolio and was interested in meeting with her. Andrea was flooredAdam was the Editor, and New York had just won a slew of awards the past year. She eagerly accepted the interview, and scheduled it for the following day, Friday, April 11.
The next day, Andrea spoke with Human Resources and hired Rachel Woodruff as the new second assistant. She would start immediately on Monday April 14, and would be compensated at a base hourly pay for the initial two-week training period, which was strictly limited to eight hours per day, forty hours per week. Andrea spent the rest of her day putting together a training program, complete with all the necessary information Rachel would need to learn. Promptly at 4:10 PM, Andrea stood from her desk, whispered something into Emily's ear, then headed out.
"Hi, Andy Sachs to see Adam Moss. I have a 4:30 interview."
"Oh, yes, hello, Ms. Sachs. We spoke on the phone. I'm Carla, Adam's assistant. He's on a call right now, but should be ready for you shortly, she said as she reached to take Andrea's coat. "Can I get you anything while you wait?"
"No, I'm fine. Thank you, Carla."
"Of course. And Ms. Sachs, I must say I love your shoes. I saw those online at BergdorfsCharlotte Olympia Monroe Slingback, right?"
"Yes," Andrea said, blushing slightly as she twisted her ankle. "These are way more comfortable than Louboutins, I have to say."
"Oh my god, I would die for a pair of Christian Louboutins!" Carla exclaimed.
Andrea smiled. "Have you ever been to Century 21 in Brooklyn? They have some steep discounts on pumps."
"No, I'll have to check that out. Thanks, Ms. Sachs."
"Please, call me Andy."
She smiled. Several minutes later, she stood and approached Andrea. "Ms. SachsI mean, AndyAdam is ready to see you. Please follow me."
"Ms. Sachs, pleasure to meet you," he said, extending his hand.
For a split second, Andrea was shocked at how good-looking he was. He looked as if he was a middle-aged model, plucked from the pages of Details or something. Thick, salt-and-pepper hair was piled on his head in a messy, but contained sort of way. His thick-rimmed glasses and baby blue eyes sparkled, and his velvet Dolce & Gabbana jacket made her want to reach out and pet him.
"Yes," she said, returning her focus to the interview. "Mr. Moss, the pleasure's mine. Thank you for taking the time to meet with me," she said, not missing a beat.
"Ms. Sachs, I won't deny that you name has been circling lately. You are apparently highly recommended by Miranda Priestly herself."
Andrea blushed and looked down at her hands folded in her lap. "A fact I'm still struggling to comprehend. She really has been an incredible mentor."
"Yes, I'm sure. But strangely enough, she has not sent such recommendation over to us here at New York magazine. We received your portfolio five or six weeks ago, and it wasn't until I ran into David Reedman at a charity event last week that I learned of her regard for you."
"Oh, um, I'm sorry, but I'm not in a position to explain Miranda's actions," Andrea said.
"Nor should you have to. I just wanted to meet you for myself and see what you have to offer."
Andrea's eyes widened. "Thank you. I appreciate that."
"So, I really only have two questions for you, but we can talk about anything you'd like. I'm not going to ask things like your strengths or weaknesses or what you do when you're in a difficult situation. That might work for an hourly employee, but not for my writers and editors. I need to know what makes them tick, how their mind works, you know," he said. "So, first question: When did you know that you were a writer?"
Andrea took a deep breath. "In sixth grade, we learned how to diagram sentences. For the first time in my life, I felt like this sentence written on the chalkboard with its linear diagram reflected the language inside my head. I'm highly logical, and from a young age, I embraced the economy of words. I fell in love with the English languagewhich of course led me to study other languages, German, French, Spanishand have since been in awe of the emotion that can be conveyed through rearranging somewhat common words in a different pattern. I contributed some short articles to my junior high publication, but in high school, I wasn't part of the paper. No one read my high school paper, and the teacher in charge of it was very unsupportive in terms of new ideas. In college, though, I found a different situation. As young adults, we were suddenly interested in what was going on in the world, and I contributed many times. My senior year, I was editor of The Daily Northwestern. I loved knowing that our editorial choices, our perspective was sometimes the only perspective some people got about some of these issues. College students don't watch the news all day long. For the most part, they don't have time to think about much more than their class assignments and projects. It was pretty empowering knowing that we were responsible for keeping most of the students in touch with the world."
"Excellent," he said. "I read your piece on the janitors' unions. That's solid reporting, Ms. Sachs."
"Thank you, and please, call me Andy."
"So, Andy," he continued, "why Runway?"
Andrea smiled. "Even though I anticipated this question, I'm afraid I don't have the perfect answer," she said. "I was desperate, and I submitted my application to every single newspaper from the Times to the Village Voice. When that didn't pan out, I began applying to magazines, hoping to gain some sort of experience that could help me get my foot in the door at a newspaper. I met with Human Resources at Elias Clarke and at the time, there were two openingsRunway or Auto Universe. I hadn't heard of either, though the title of the latter suggested it was about cars. I took the interview at Runway, and honestly my life has been a whirlwind since then. I was supposed to interview with Miranda's assistant, but by some fluke, Miranda walked in and wanted to interview me herself. It was hardly an interview. She wouldn't even touch the C.V. that I set on her desk. I tried to tell her about my experience as editor in college, and she did this thing where she flicks her fingers at me, signaling for me to leave. She was judging me by my looksmy hair was frizzy and I was wearing a tweed jacket with no shape from Casual Corner. I was so appalled that she hadn't even considered me, I told her just what I thought. And then left. I was so humiliated, I just wanted to crawl into a hole. To my surprise, she sent her assistant down to the lobby to bring me back upstairs and hired me on the spot. At first, I had all these thoughts about maintaining my integrity and not becoming another fashionista roaming the halls of Runway. But one day, it kind of hit me that in order to be successful in life, you often have to look the part. Not that you need to wear designer labels to work for a fashion magazine, but more like you have to carry yourself with an air of sophistication and snobby confidence to be recognized. It isn't that much different than what Aristotle argues about disguising your language based upon your audience, and when I realized that, I didn't feel as if I were letting myself down so much as I was making myself heard. No, I wasn't a fashionista, but I deserved to be there just as much as anyone else. And that, I guess, is why I chose to stay at Runway. Not to mention that working for Miranda instills the fear of blacklisting in you from day one," she added with a chuckle.
"Did Miranda ever threaten to fire you?"
"There were a few times that she insinuated if I didn't complete the task sufficiently, my services would no longer be needed, but I mean, that comes with any job. If you don't do your job correctly and don't perform up to standards, you risk losing said job. It's just that Miranda's standards are incredibly higher than most."
"And yet she never fired you? I hear there are some days she fires half her staff in one go."
"That's not true. She does have high standards, but she always lets you know if you're not meeting her expectations. Some people simply don't have it in them to work any harder, and then, well, working for Miranda probably isn't the best fit. She pushes each and every one of her staff to do better than they ever though possible."
"Well surely, you remember last fall when she fired the entire accessories department?"
"Miranda relies on her staff to bring fresh, creative ideas. The industry is built on being the first to identify trendsmuch like newspapers strive to be the first to break a story. When the staff becomes to comfortable, they don't take risks and they don't look outside the box, which is by definition the very essence of their role."
"So, I'm not going to get you to criticize Miranda Priestly on the record, am I?"
Andrea grinned. "She's a bitch. She's ruthless, and she will do whatever it takes to survive. Happy? She's also an incredible mother to her children, and a very thoughtful and kind woman."
Adam smiled. "Do you have any questions for me?"
"Actually, yes. Which position am I interviewing for? I really don't want to waste any more of your time if this is a lateral move for me."
"I completely understand, and, no, this would not be an assistant role. To be perfectly honest, we have one staff writer position open at the moment, though in the next few months we will have a few additional, slightly better positions. I still have a few other candidates to meet with before we can best decide who would fit where and formally make an offer."
"Excellent, thank you."
"Anything else?" he asked.
"No," she said, standing and reaching out to shake his hand.
"Andy, are you free on Sunday evening?" Adam asked.
Andrea's heart began racing. He couldn't be asking hernoit couldn't be.
"I'm only asking because my boyfriend Daniel and I are having a small gathering at our home, and I'd love for you to join us. There will be a few other writers and editors from the magazine there, and I'd love for them to meet you, as well."
Andrea sighed in relief. "I would love to, thank you," she said.
"Of course. Carla can send you the details. Look forward to seeing you," he called as she headed out of her office and back to the front desk.
Once Andrea left the building, she hailed a cab back to her apartment, still reeling from the unusual interview and ensuing invitation. She was relieved to learn that Adam had a boyfriend, but was concerned that he had something against Miranda.
When she got upstairs, she let herself into her apartment tossed her bag on the ground, walking over to the bedroom to change out of her clothes. Just then, she saw Miranda curled up on her side, fast asleep on Andrea's bed.
Andrea quietly slipped out of her shoes, then curled up behind her in bed.
"Andrea?" Miranda said, waking and turning onto her back.
"Shh, yes, it's just me. Go back to sleep."
Miranda shook her head and propped herself up against the headboard. "Why didn't you tell me about the interview? Or Rachel? And why haven't you been over all week?"
"I'm sorry," she said, burying her face in Miranda's neck. "I don't know why."
"Is it because Helen is staying here? She can go back at any time, you know."
"No, that's not it at all. I just kind of got nervous. Someone's going to find out about us and it will be a mess," Andrea said.
"Oh, darling, please don't worry about that," she said, gently stroking Andrea's back. "So tell me about your interview."
"How did you know?"
"Emily told me."
"What? I told her not to tell anyone."
"Apparently she's more afraid of me than of you. Who was it with?"
"Really?" Miranda asked as she pulled back in shock.
"Yes. Why are you surprised?"
"Oh, well, I haven't spoken to him in twenty some years, that's all."
"What happened between you two?"
"Why did something have to 'happen?'"
"I know you, and there's something you're not telling me. Plus, he was really trying to get me to cut you down in the interview."
"Pfft," Miranda huffed. "Figures."
"Fine. Back in 1980, which was well before you were even born, I was working as a Junior Editor at Runway. I had only been at the magazine for a year, and I was seeing Daniel Kaiser, a copyeditor, on and off. I don't even remember all the details, but he certainly wasn't my boyfriend. We just happened to be photographed together a few times, and there was a rather incriminating picture of him leaving my apartment in the early hours of the morning that made it onto Page Six. The next day, I received a call from Adam, who was working at Rolling Stone at the time, and he accused me of having an affair with his boyfriend and demanded that I stop seeing him. I was rather appalled that he thought it appropriate to pick up the phone and call me, but Daniel was nothing to me, so I had no problem backing away. I certainly didn't want to be caught up in their relationship, that's for sure."
"So, this Daniel that's the same Daniel he's still with?" Andrea asked.
"Yes, they've been together since then. Why?"
"Ughhhh," Andrea groaned. "Adam invited me to a dinner party Sunday evening at their place. Daniel will be there."
"Well, darling, it's not like you have to walk up to him and introduce yourself as my girlfriend or anything," Miranda said.
"I know. But Adam was just so damn interested in you. I'm sure Daniel will be the same. I wish I could bring you as my date."
Miranda laughed. "That would be perfect. Are you going to their party?"
"Yeah. He basically told me there were a few positions openone for staff writer and a few editorial positions that would be open in the coming months. He seemed impressed with me, and I got the impression that this dinner party would be my sort of final impression with the other staff."
"Well yes, that sounds like a wonderful opportunity. Did he say which sections he was considering you for, or do you not care?"
"Honestly, I'll write about anything."
"Do you mind my asking what you said about me?"
"I tried to be honest. He told me you didn't send a recommendation to him, so I was already suspicious of your relationship. I didn't want to come across as defending you too much. I basically told him what I thought of you at first, but then how I came to realize you did what you had to do, and that I'm grateful to have you as a mentor."
"Andrea, I need to point out that he may just be offering you a position to get back at me, since he knows you're one of my employees and that I'm personally recommending you elsewhere."
"Yeah, I know. I'm okay with that. I mean, it doesn't matter, right?"
"Well, if we do come out, what will he say then?"
"Oh shit. I guess he would be one of the few who would have the balls to fire Miranda Priestly's girlfriend, huh?"
"Well, let's just wait and see if I'm offered a position and what the details are," Andrea said.
"Okay. When will your last day at Runway be?"
"What? Oh, I didn't plan that yet."
"Now that you're training a new assistant, I need to give Irv a heads-up when he sees changes to our expenditures."
"So, Rachel agreed to a two-week training period at base hourly pay, forty hours per week. I should be able to have her up to speed by then. Then, I was thinking"
"I could move Emily to Nigel's team, and Rachel could fill Emily's role while you work on training someone else."
"Exactly. Would that work? If not, I could give my two weeks and Rachel can replace me. Whichever."
"I will talk with Irv. I think it will be best if I switch you to contractor effective immediately. You can be responsible for training new assistants, and I can arrange for Elias Clarke to pay a portion of your fee, while I would supply the rest."
"Whatever, I trust you. Would anything be different?"
"I think you would have to forfeit your insurance coverage. I can make sure you are covered through a temporary plan until you find a job. As long as you don't have any substantial medical costs, it shouldn't be a problem."
"Not a problem. Listen, I'm starving. Will you stay for dinner?"
"I'm here all night. James and Helen took the girls to dinner, and then a play. I actually think they're going to stay with James this weekend."
"Perfect," Andrea said.
Sunday evening's dinner party actually went really well. They lived in a loft in SoHo, and it was a gorgeous space. Adam introduced Andrea to several other staff writers and they all seemed so down-to-earth. The exact opposite of Runway gatherings. Towards the end of the night, Daniel approached her as she was admiring some of their artwork. She thanked him for his generosity in hosting that evening, and Daniel said how highly Adam spoke of her after their interview.
"So you work for Miranda Priestly right now?" he asked, quieter.
"She's an old friend of mine. Well, not old, but you know, we knew each other long ago. I hear she's pregnant, is that true?"
"Yes," Andrea said with a smile, turning her focus back to the Kandinsky on the wall.
"When you see her, will you give her my best? We haven't spoken in decades, but, well, I'm glad she's happy."
Andrea quietly nodded.
"Don't say anything to Adam, okay?"
Two seconds later, Adam walked up to the pair, placing his hand on each of their shoulders. "So, I see you two have met," he said.
"Yes, Daniel was just telling me about this remarkable Kandinsky," Andrea said. "How was it you said you acquired it again?"
"In Toronto," Daniel said.
"Oh, right, right. I was getting it confused with the Gauguin over there," she said, casually pointing to the opposite wall. "You have an exquisite collection," she said.
"Thank you, Ms. Sachs. If you'll excuse us for just one moment," he said, pulling his partner away. They were standing in the corner, out of earshot of most everyone, except Andrea, who had trained her ears to translate the slightest vibrations into words. "Well?" Adam hissed.
"Well what? She's brilliant. Fast-thinking, witty, charming, and would be a perfect addition to your staff."
"You really think so?"
Daniel nodded and walked away.
The following week, Andrea hadn't heard any more from New York magazine. An associate editor at the Wall Street Journal had offered her another interview, which was scheduled for two weeks out. They didn't have an open position, but were rather proactively interviewing.
Helen returned to Boston later that week, and Andrea saw how all three Priestly women were going to miss her presence. It was something that made her consider how her own mother would get along with them. Of course, her mother was only ten years older than Miranda, but still. She could see her fitting in.
On Monday, April 28, Andrea was at the doctor's office with Miranda for her twenty-three-week appointment. It was Rachel's first day as second assistant, and Emily's first day on Nigel's team. The babies were 18 and 19 ounces, and her belly was measuring 31 centimeters fundal height. As Miranda was getting dressed, Andrea's phone rang. She excused herself and quickly took the call.
"Hey Andy, it's Adam Moss."
"Oh, hello, Adam."
"Do you have a minute?"
"Good. I wanted to tell you that we were all very impressed with your work and we think you have a bright future. If it wasn't obvious, the dinner party was really the second part of your interview."
"I assumed as much, thank you."
"Well, I think I have even better news for you. I'd like to offer you the position of Style Editor for New York magazine."
Adam chuckled. "Yes, seriously. I take it you're surprised?"
"No, I mean, yes, a little. Wow, thank you."
"Andy, we'd love to have you on our team. Please, take some time to think about it. I'll have Carla send over the offer letter that has specifics about salary, benefits, and what not. Don't hesitate to call me this weekend if you have any questions."
"Wow, thank you so much. I'll look everything over right away and get back to you early next week."
"Perfect. Take care, Andy."
Miranda walked out of the exam room and met Andrea in the hall. "What's wrong? Who was that?"
Andrea smiled. "I just got a job."
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