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
"What?" Miranda said. "Wait, let's get out of here. Tell me in the car."
Once safely ensconced in the town car, Andrea turned to Miranda. "Style Editor at New York mag," she said.
Miranda's eyes widened. "You're kidding. That'swell, that's pretty far from entry-level."
"Yeah, but it's amazing. I mean, that's like a dream job!"
"Well, I suppose."
"Miranda, what is it? Aren't you happy for me?"
"Of course I am," she said, pulling out her phone to browse through emails.
Back at Runway, after spending a few minutes with Rachel, she headed off to Nigel's office.
"Six, what's up?" he asked. "New girl stressing you out already?"
"No, she's fine. I got a job offer today. Style Editor at New York magazine."
"Oh my god, that's great! Congratulations, Andy!"
"Thanks," she said, smiling. "That was the reaction I expected. Miranda's having some sort of hissy fit."
"Well, she probably just doesn't want you to leave her," Nigel said.
"No, we've talked about this. I'm going to move into the townhouse once I leave here. A few weeks ago, she was actually looking forward to me leaving for that very reason. What do you know about a Daniel Kaizer?"
"The name sounds familiarwho is he?"
"Long-time boyfriend of New York magazine editor Adam Moss. Apparently he had an affair with Miranda back in 1980."
"Oh yes, that's where I've heard of him. He's still with Adam? Wow."
"Nigel, do you think Miranda would be upset if I took this job?"
"Because of him? Honey, that's water under the bridge."
"Since when is anything 'water under the bridge' with Miranda?"
"True. Does Adam know you two are together?"
"Oh gosh no. Do you think he'll fire me when he finds out? Or worse, try to do something to Miranda?"
"No, sweetie. I've only met him in passing, really, but he seems like a very amicable man. If you want this job, accept his offer."
"I do want this job, but I want Miranda more."
"Well that's just precious, but Miranda's a big girl. She can take care of herself."
"Nigel, you don't understand. I would do anything for her. I don't want to hurt her, but I'm afraid she won't tell me what she wants."
"Okay, look. Best I can do is take the girls one night this week. They can spend the night with me and you and Miranda can deal with whatever it is."
"Sure. I'll call Roy and let him know," he said.
She wrapped her arms tightly around Nigel's neck and kissed him on the cheek. "Thank you so much. I owe you one!"
The rest of the day, Andrea spent watching Rachel closely, filling her in on anything she may have forgotten in the past two weeks. Surprisingly, she needed very little guidance. Around three o'clock, Miranda called Andrea into her office.
"Shut the door," she said. Andrea did. "Why is Nigel taking the girls tonight? It's a school night."
"Oh, I asked him to. Miranda, we really need to talk."
"About what? Why do you think you can make these decisions regarding my children without consulting me?"
"Please, Miranda," Andrea said, kneeling next to her chair. "I'm sorry I didn't ask you. I love you so much, but I can see something's not right. Please."
Miranda closed her eyes and nodded. "Will the new girl be okay on her own?"
"Yes. Is there anything else you need to take care of? Nigel already left," Andrea said.
"No, let's go," she said. "And Andrea, I love you, too. Very much. Don't doubt that."
Back at the townhouse, Miranda excused herself upstairs to change into something more comfortable. When Andrea heard the shower turn on, she took a few minutes to make Miranda a blueberry-banana greek yogurt smoothie. Once the shower turned off, she brought it upstairs along with an apple.
Miranda wrapped her hair in a towel and stepped out of the bathroom in her robe, which had become a little too small to fully cover her bulging belly.
"I made you a smoothie," she said.
"Thank you," Miranda said, eagerly reaching for the beverage.
Andrea climbed up onto the bed and sat indian style. Miranda slipped on a pair of capri-length cotton lounge pants and a sports bra, then slipped a light, drapey cardigan over her shoulders before she crawled onto the bed and curled up against her pillow. "Okay, what was so urgent that you needed to talk to me about?"
"Well, a few things. First, I'm hurt by what you said earlier about making decisions regarding the girls. I thought you trusted me. You know I would never put them in danger or anything, right?"
"Yes, I know. I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that. I do trust you, immensely."
"Okay, good," Andrea said, leaning over and kissing her on the lips. "You were scaring me."
"Why don't you want me to take the job with Adam?"
"I never said that."
"Miranda, this is going to be a long night if you keep that up. Please, just talk to me," Andrea said, laying next to her and taking her hand. "Can you at least tell me whether it's the thought of me taking another job, or just this job in general?"
"Darling, I want you to find a job, and I want it to be the perfect job. You deserve the very best, sweetheart," Miranda said.
"So, you think this just isn't the right job?"
"I think it wouldn't hurt you to keep looking, that's all," Miranda said.
"Tell me this has nothing to do with Adam and Daniel. Tell me you just think it's a shitty job. Tell me there are plenty of other, better offers that are going to be throwing themselves at me. Tell me that, Miranda," she said.
Miranda closed her eyes and buried her face in the pillow.
"Tell me it's not about Daniel, Miranda!"
"I can't! I can't," Miranda cried.
Andrea took a deep breath. After a few minutes, she took the other woman in her arms. "Shh, it's okay. Thank you for being honest," she said quietly.
"Andrea, I do want the very best for you. And I'd be lying if I said that you'd probably get a better offer. I don't think you will. But I'm terrified of what will happen when he finds out about me. Or," she said, wiping her eyes, "when you decide the job means more to you than than me."
"Oh my god, Miranda, no, no, no. Never."
"How can you promise me that? Everyone leaves me. I told you, I'm the common denominator," she cried.
"Miranda, please don't talk like that. This morning, I went to talk to Nigelwhen I asked him to look after the girls. I told him that I want this job but I want you more. That I would do anything for you."
Miranda looked up at Andrea through bleary eyes. "You shouldn't say that, Andrea. I'm not worth it."
"Stop talking like this. You have two beautiful daughters who love you, and two beautiful girls in here who are counting on you right now," she said, placing her hands on her belly. "Miranda, what can I do? Just say the word and I'll do it."
"Darling, you need to make your own decisions. I can't tell you what to do," she said. "I have to go to the bathroom," she said, gently pushing her away.
When she returned, she noticed Andrea had rearranged the pillows on the bed.
"Lay with me, just for a little bit. I'll be your pillow," she said.
Miranda climbed onto the bed and snuggled against Andrea. "This will never work, darling," she whispered.
"I have an idea," Andrea said. "What if I talk to Adam, or better yet, if we go talk to Adam first. We can get his reaction and see if the offer still stands."
"Andrea, I am the face of his partner's infidelity. I can't just show up at his office," Miranda said.
"Miranda, Daniel asked about you when I was at their home. He asked about your pregnancy, and said he was glad you were happy."
Miranda sighed and leaned back. "The one thing I remember about him was that he always wanted children." She gently folded her hands on top of her belly. "If we go to Adam, we risk him going to Irv."
"So, we talk to Irv first," Andrea said. "If I accept this job, I'll be leaving Runway anyway."
"Oh, Andrea. It's not that simple."
"What is the worst that can happen if you tell Irv? He needs to know at some point. I'm sure he would prefer hearing it from you than the tabloids."
"Yes, but he could really make my life hell at work," Miranda said.
"Well, since you'll be on maternity leave, he would be making Nigel's life hell," she said with a wink.
"Andrea, sweetheart, I love your naive enthusiasm, but there is more to consider."
"Mmm, like what?" she asked, softly stroking the woman's belly.
"Oh god, Andrea," she moaned. "I can't think straight when you do that."
Andrea's hands caressed Miranda's breasts through the cotton bra. "Can I take this off?" she asked.
Miranda nodded and arched her back so Andrea could undo the clasp, gasping as her breasts bounced freely. "Not too rough," she warned.
Andrea gently cupped each breast and laved it with her tongue. She was careful not to pinch or suck directly on her nipples, and judging by her moans, Miranda was enjoying this foreplay very much.
"Wait, wait," Miranda said as she sat up. "I can't lay on my back like this." She pushed herself onto her hands and knees.
Andrea piled a few pillows underneath Miranda's chest and trailed her hands down the woman's back, slipping her hands beneath the waistband of her pants.
"Off, take them off," Miranda panted.
Andrea did, and trailed her hands slowly up and down Miranda's thighs as she positioned herself behind the woman. "Are you ready for me?" she whispered, softly grazing her fingers along the woman's swollen, wet slit.
"Yes, please, Andrea," she moaned.
The younger woman slowly began tracing her fingers along her folds, circling but not penetrating, careful to avoid her clit. "Oh god, Miranda, you're so wet. Talk to me."
"InsideI need you inside, oh god!" she cried out.
Andrea plunged two fingers inside the hot, wet center and slowly began curling her fingers.
"Oh godhurryI'm almost there. Please!" Miranda cried.
Andrea used her other hand to rub her clit vigorously, but to her surprise, it wasn't taking Miranda over the edge. She spun around so she was laying on her back and began sucking on Miranda's clit, gently using her teeth in the way she knew Miranda loved.
"I need more, Andrea. Deeper, go deeper!" she panted.
Andrea tried adding a third finger, and Miranda was anxiously thrusting her hips backward to no avail. Andrea reached up and cupped Miranda's breast, gently pinching her nipple, but Miranda swatted her hand away.
"Not that. Go in the top dresser drawer. There's a box in the back," she said. Andrea quickly retrieved the box, surprised to see two dildos, a harness, an egg vibrator, and a small tube of lubricant. "The purple one," Miranda panted. "Oh god, please."
Andrea squirted a drop of lube on her hand and rubbed it over the dildo before slowly inserting it, penetrating Miranda's core. She heard Miranda's gasp, and after giving her time to adjust, Andrea began pumping the dildo in and out until Miranda cried out her orgasm and slumped against the pillows. She slowly crawled up Miranda's body and took her face, kissing her.
Miranda pulled Andrea closer and deepened the kiss, her tongue expertly exploring the young woman's mouth. When they parted for air, the young woman began trailing kisses down her neck. "I'm sorry, sweetheart."
"Why are you apologizing?"
"Needing that thing," she said.
"Don't worry about it. I saw that harness you have, maybe we can play with that sometime soon, no?"
"Mm, yes," Miranda purred. "I was thinking, why don't you let me talk to Irv tomorrow?"
"Waityou were thinking of this while we were having sex?!"
"And you still let me try and seduce you?"
"Of course. I wasn't going to pass up that opportunity," she said with a smirk. "But in all seriousness, I'll talk to Irv. I've told you how easily distracted he is with my pregnancy. I'm fairly certain I can convince him of just about anything."
"Whatever you think," she whispered, draping her arm across Miranda's body. "My god, you're so sexy."
"Oh be serious," Miranda said with a laugh. "I'm a heifer."
"Noo, god no, Miranda," Andrea said. "How can you even think that? You're the most beautiful woman in the world."
Tears began to pool in Miranda's clear blue eyes. "You can't mean that," she said, rolling her eyes.
"I do, Miranda," she said, softly cupping her cheek.
Miranda closed her eyes and gently shook her head as the tears streamed down her cheeks.
"Don't cry," Andrea whispered as she kissed the tears at Miranda's temple. "How about we take a bath, and then I'll rub some cream on your gorgeous body?"
The next morning, they dressed and headed into the office together. In the car, Miranda suddenly put her phone down and turned to Andrea. "What were the details of your offer? You never said."
"I never looked," Andrea said.
"I don't want to know what I'm turning down."
"Andrea, you are not turning this down!"
"Let's just see how today goes. If you still talk to Irv and smooth things over, then I'll open the email."
"Darling, just for that I'm going straight up to Irv's office," she said.
Sure enough, once they arrived at Elias Clarke, Andrea pressed the button for the 18th floor, and Miranda pressed 32.
"Oh, hello, Miranda. What a surprise," Irv's assistant greeted her.
"I need to see Irv right away."
"I'm afraid he has a conference call in a few minutes. Can I schedule something for later this morning?"
"I'll only be a minute," Miranda said, walking into Irv's office and shutting the door.
"Well, Miranda, what a surprise," he said.
"Yes, que supresa," she said, rolling her eyes as she thought of Jacqueline. "There's something I need to speak to you about urgently," she said as she shrugged her jacket off her shoulders.
"Of course, please, come sit," he said, taking her jacket and leading her to the sofa. "Can I get you a glass of water or perhaps some tea?"
"No, I won't be long," she said.
"I must say, you are looking absolutely radiant. I trust the pregnancy is going well?"
Miranda took a deep breath. "Well, that's part of why I'm here. Yes, everything is going well, though my doctors are scaring me nearly to death with all this talk of 'over fifty' and 'high-risk multiples'I'm really quite scared. If something were to happen to me, there would be no one to look after my children."
"Miranda, you mustn't think that way," Irv said, sitting down on the sofa next to her. His hand awkwardly hovered in the air for a few seconds before he tucked it back on his lap. "If you need more time off, take it. Runway will be here when you get back, and of course, your health is more important than anything right now."
"Thank you, I really appreciate your concern, Irv. II'm sorry, I'm a little embarrassed to be saying this, but I've started seeing someone. A partner. Someone who can take care of me at home, and who loves my children nearly as much as I do," she said, dabbing at the corner of her eye.
"Well, I'm happy for you. Do I know him?"
Miranda took a deep breath. "Her. And yes, you do."
Irv's eyes widened. "Oh my. I suppose I did hear that Jacqueline was back in New York."
"What? No! I'm talking about Andrea Sachs."
"Yes. Soon-to-be former assistant."
"Well, I see why you wanted to come to me. How long has this been going on?"
"On the record, our relationship began the day she handed in her resignation. Off the record, well, that's off the record," she said. "I need to know if this will be a problem," she said, arching her back and smoothing her hands over her belly. She could feel Irv's eyes glued to her swelling bosom, and unfortunately the disgust only sent a shiver through her, making her nipples hard against her cotton bra. "Irving? Will this be a problem?" she repeated.
"Oh, um, sorry," he stammered.
Then, as if on cue, one of the babies kicked her hard, causing a gasp. She pressed her hand to the side of her belly and smiled. "The one on the left is a little spunky," she said with a shrug. "You can feel if you'd like. She's kicking now," Miranda said as she turned to face him.
He reached out an unsteady hand and gently pressed his palm against her blouse. "My god, that's amazing," he said.
"So, regarding Andrea, she will only be staying on for two or three more weeks, as she is about to accept another offer."
Irv slowly pulled his hand away. "That's fine. I trust that you would not jeopardize the magazine in any way. Just, you know, don't make a scene of it."
"We won't," Miranda said. "The last thing I want to deal with right now is a gaggle of paparazzi following us around."
"Thank you, Miranda, for coming to me. My offer still stands. If there is anything that my wife or I can donow or after the babies are bornplease don't hesitate to ask."
"Thank you," she said. "I should get back to my office, though. I realize I've kept you from a meeting."
Irv extended his hand and helped Miranda from the couch. She picked up her jacket and headed for the elevator, which Irv's assistant was holding for her. As she strode out of the elevator towards her office, she made eye contact with Andrea and gave a little nod, indicating that she should follow her.
"How did it go?" Andrea asked after she closed the office door.
"Just a minute," Miranda said as she rushed into the bathroom to relieve her bladder. She left the door cracked open. "He's fine with it," Miranda said. She flushed the toilet, then washed her hands. "He almost made me vomit, but whatever. We don't have to worry about him."
"Are you not feeling well? What did he do?"
"Aside from undress me with his eyes, I let him feel the baby kicking," she said, leaning against the doorframe. She reached down and took Andrea's hands and placed them on her belly. "I want to remember your hands, not his," she said.
Andrea leaned forward and chastely kissed her on the lips, careful not to smudge her lipstick. "Later," she said, "I have to get back to work."
"Come by tonight?"
Andrea nodded, then quickly walked out of the office.
That evening, when Andrea arrived at the townhouse, the Priestlys were all sitting in the living room. Miranda was on the couch with her feet propped up on the coffee table, Caroline was working on her Algebra homework on the other end of the coffee table, and Cassidy was lying on her stomach, taking notes from her History textbook.
"I come bearing gifts," Andrea said as she set her bag down next to the couch.
"Andy!" Cassidy squealed as she jumped up to hug her.
"First, I hope you had a nice time with Uncle Nigel last night. And second, because you are seriously the two prettiest, kindest, smartest fourth graders ever I brought you cupcakes," she said, pulling a pastry box out of her bag.
"Andy, did Mom tell you about our awards on Thursday?" Caroline asked.
"No, sweetie. What awards?" Andrea said.
"I didn't tell her because I haven't spoken to her since you told me, girls," Miranda said in her defense.
"Academic All-Stars," Caroline said, grinning. "I have the highest grade in Science, so I just know I'm going to get an award!"
Cassidy rolled her eyes. "I have the highest grade a lot of the time, but they give it to other kids because they 'put more effort' into their work. It's silly."
"Oh, just because it comes so naturally to you, huh? Well, I think my project on the solar system is insurmountable," Caroline said.
"Not the right usage, Caro," Cassidy said.
"Hey, girls. Cut it out," Andrea said. "Or your mom and I will eat your cupcakes."
Miranda's eyes widened.
"Don't worry," Andrea said, winking at her, "I bought six. You'll get one regardless."
Miranda bit her lip and softly shook her head. "Andrea, would you like to come with me to their Awards Assembly at school with me Thursday? It's at 1:30 PM."
"Yeah, please come, Andy!" Cassidy said.
"Sure. I'd love to," she replied. "Why don't you two get us plates and napkins and forks, and we'll divide up these cupcakes." When the girls were in the kitchen, Andrea took a seat on the couch next to Miranda, setting the pastry box on the table. "What do you have a taste for? Let's see if I could read your mind."
"Hmm, let's see. Chocono, wait, lemon. Whipped lemon with a buttercream or meringue frosting."
Andrea opened the box and pulled a cupcake out, setting it on the plate Cassidy held out. "One lemon meringue pie cupcake for your highness," she said, handing over the plate dramatically.
"Whoa, how did you know that's what Mom wanted?"
"Honestly, I have no idea. I bought six different cupcakes and hoped one was close."
Cassidy selected the red velvet for herself, and Caroline chose the double-chocolate cupcake. Andrea's options were now narrowed down to oreo cookie, birthday cake, or white chocolate raspberry.
"Here," Miranda said, holding out a forkful of the lemon cupcake. "Try this."
Andrea let Miranda feed her a bite of the rich lemon cake.
"Thank you for spoiling me, darling," Miranda said. "Girls, when you're finished can you take these into the kitchen? And make sure to save that Oreo one for me tomorrow."
Andrea cuddled against Miranda's side and took her hand as the girls returned to their homework. "I love this," she whispered.
"Me too," Miranda said. "You realize that it will only be quiet like this for a few months longer, right?"
Andrea smiled and squeezed her hand. "It will be quiet when we're watching them sleep," she said.
Miranda chuckled. "When they're sleeping, we're sleeping or running errands. I'm warning you, if this is what you think it will be like, you're wrong."
"It's not the quiet I like. It's having all the people I love here in the same room. I'll be the sleep-deprived parent, that's okay. You can sleep while I watch them," Andrea said.
Miranda softly chewed on her lower lip as she tried to hold back tears. "Parent," she said. "I like that."
They sat in silence for a while, watching the girls and just enjoying each other's presence. "So, can we talk about my job again?"
"I really can't believe everything went okay with Irv earlier," Andrea said.
"I know. He really has a soft spot for pregnant women. You know, he and his wife tried to have a child for years. She had several miscarriages, and one of them was in the third trimester."
"But he has two sons, right?"
"Yes. They eventually gave up and adopted two boysbrotherswho were living in foster care."
"Wow, I had no idea."
"His wife Myra is quite a remarkable woman. I don't know how she's stayed with him so long."
"Anyway, so he knows you and I are more-than-friends, and he's not going to fire you?"
"Correct. I told him I was scared, and that I couldn't do it on my ownwithout you," she said. "That is the absolute truth."
"Are you still worried something will happen to the babies?"
"Anything can happen. I can get in a car accident or slip and fall down my stairs. Nothing's certain until I can hold my babies in my arms."
"Nightmares?" Andrea asked.
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"They only happen when you're not here. And then I forget when I see you," she said with a shrug. "So, back to your job. Have you read the offer letter yet?"
"Yes. It's a five-year contract, $70,000 salary, based in New York with minimal travel. I mean, there has to be a catch, right?"
"Wow, that is a very generous offer. My first salaried position as Assistant Editor was $13,500."
Miranda smiled. "Andrea, I spent the afternoon re-reading my contract and our Code of Business Ethics at Runway. Are you familiar with the term 'conflict of interest?'"
"Sure, like when a politician is in the position to make decisions that can benefit him personally, and it kind of blurs the lines of whether he's able to do his government duty."
"Exactly. But in the business world, we also have this. It's what keeps a healthy level of competition between similar publications." She took a deep breath. "I really hate to say this, but if you and I are in a personal relationship, and you have a position in publishing where you're responsible for that publication's fashion or style coverage, the Board of Directors has the power to terminate me, whether or not I disclose this conflict."
Andrea closed her eyes and squeezed Miranda's hand. "Is it limited to fashion and style?"
"It's actually listed as 'style, including fashion, apparel, accessories, and beauty,'" she said. "But that wasn't what you wanted to write about anyway, was it?"
"No, you're right. So what do I tell Adam?"
"I think you should be honest with him. He might think better of you if you are upfront. You might even ask him if a different section is available like entertainment or politics."
"Yeah, I guess. It just sucks."
"It does, and I'm so sorry. It really didn't occur to me that they would be considering you for style coverage. No offenseit's just not your background. Though, I'm sure you would be wonderful at it."
"I'll call Adam tomorrow. Maybe this interview at The Journal will pan out."
"I'm confident you'll find something," Miranda said. "Girls, do you have much more homework to do?"
"No, I'm done," Cassidy said.
"Me too," Caroline said.
"Okay, why don't you head upstairs and get ready for bed?" Miranda said as she stood from the couch.
"Is Andy staying tonight?"
Miranda turned and looked at the young woman, who nodded. "Yes, she is. I'll be upstairs to tuck you in shortly."
The girls headed upstairs, and Andrea tugged Miranda backwards, onto her lap.
"Oh, Andrea, I will crush you," she said as she struggled to get up.
"No you won't," the young woman insisted. "You're as light as a feather, and I just miss holding you."
Miranda smiled and settled into her chest. "You say 'miss' as if " She let her voice trail off and they sat in silence for a few minutes. "I should go tuck them in," Miranda finally said as she went to turn the light off. "Are you coming?"
"Yeah, I'm going to take a quick shower first," she said. She caught up to Miranda on the stairs. "Look, I didn't mean to unsettle you. I know we've only really been together for a few months, but I don't know. It just feels like a lifetime."
Miranda nodded. "And then some," she said. "I'll meet you in the bedroom in a few minutes."
While Andrea was showering, Miranda made her way to her daughters' bedrooms. As was becoming ritual in the Priestly home, Miranda climbed up on Cassidy's bed with one daughter on each side as they took turns talking to the babies and feeling their kicks.
"Mom, what did you mean about the conflict of interest?" Cassidy asked quietly.
"Yeah, are you going to get fired because of Andy?" Caroline asked.
Miranda frowned. "I thought you two were doing homework."
"We have ears, you know."
She rolled her eyes. "No, mommy is not going to lose her job."
"So what is a conflict of interest?" Cassidy repeated.
"I can lose my job if I have a conflict of interest. Like, if Annayou know, from Voguewas my girlfriend instead of Andrea."
"She looks so old and bony."
Miranda's lip curled up in a smile. "But I could get fired because she and I would be able to tell each other secrets that we could use at work. Does that make sense? I'm sorry, I'm not explaining this very well," she said, hugging them both.
"No, I think I get it. Is Andy going to find another job?"
"She's looking, sweetie. I'm trying to help her, but she needs to do this on her own, too."
"I like having her here, Mom," Caroline said. "It's not like Stephen. It seems like Andy actually likes us."
"Yeah, like she's not just buying us stuff and hugging us because she wants you to think she does."
Miranda smiled. "I have no doubt she adores you, completely independent of her feelings for me. And I'm really looking forward to her staying here permanently."
"So, can we like call her and talk to her more and stuff? Since she's going to be moving in?" Cassidy asked.
"Well you will have to ask her for her phone number, but I'm sure she won't mind," Miranda said, kissing her on the forehead. "Okay you two, off to bed. I think you lulled the babies to sleep, so maybe I can get some rest, too." She bent over and kissed Caroline on the forehead, too.
"G'nite, Mom. Love you."
"G'nite, love you. And tell Andy I love her, too."
"I will, darlings. Sweet dreams," Miranda said as she turned out the light and shut their door.
As she made her way to her bedroom, she felt a dull pain in her belly that almost made it feel like she had to pee. She used the guest bathroom, but when she climbed into bed, the tightness was still there. Leaning against the headboard, she pulled out her iPad and began looking through the book.
Some time later, Andrea stepped out of the bathroom. Her hair was dry and she was wearing one of Miranda's silk sleep shirts. "I wish I had a camera right now," she said as she approached the bed. "You look ridiculous and adorable with this iPad resting on your belly."
"Andrea, what does 'DH' stand for?" Miranda asked, peering at the screen through her eyeglasses.
"Um, I don't know. Designated hitter?"
"You know, in baseball. A guy who's not playing in the field but just goes up to bat, usually for the pitcher."
"No, that's not it."
"What are you reading?"
"This article about pregnancy," she said, handing Andrea the iPad.
Andrea skimmed through the page and started giggling. "Miranda, I never thought you'd be browsing these mommy message boards. "I think it means dear husband," she said, handing the iPad back. "What were you looking up anyway?"
"Come on, it's not nothing," Andrea said.
"I just felt this weird sort of pain. It's different than what I was feeling before. But it's fine. It's better now that I'm laying down."
Andrea curled up against her and carefully took her glasses off, setting them on the nightstand. She turned out the light and pulled the covers up and around Miranda.
Miranda settled against Andrea's body. "I meant to tell you, the girls wanted me to tell you they loved you."
"When did they say that?"
"When I was tucking them in. Sometimes they act so grown-up, I forget they're still childrenmy beautiful, precious children," she said, softly stroking her belly as tears pooled in her eyes. "Andrea, I'm so glad you're here."
She smiled and pressed a kiss to the top of Miranda's head. "Me, too," she said.
First thing Wednesday morning, Andrea put a call into Carla at NY Mag and asked her to put a meeting on Adam's calendar for her today. This was something she wanted to discuss with him in person, and since his only available time was at 8:30 AM, Andrea headed straight to their offices.
"Andy, what a surprise. What can I do for you?" Adam asked as he shut his office door.
"First," she said, "I want to thank you for your offer. It's an incredible position and I can't tell you how excited I am that you and your team have such confidence in me."
"I'm sensing a 'but' here," Adam said.
"Well, yes. I want to be honest with you. I'm involved in a personal relationship thatalthough I have yet to see your Code of Business EthicsI'm sure would be in violation."
Adam's eyes widened. "What, are you seeing Rupert Murdoch's son?"
"Not exactly. Miranda Priestly."
"What about her? She's yourohh. Oh my god, you're dating. You and Miranda."
Andrea shrugged. "Love is never convenient."
"And look at that, you're actually in love," he said, shaking his head. "You know, I should have known. I've known many former Runway employees, and in all my years you're the only one who ever defended her actions."
"There's a lot more to her than meets the eye. Editor-in-chief is only a mask. But, I didn't come here to talk about her. I was simply going to ask if there was any possibility that you had an opening for a different sectionreally, anything but Style."
Adam took a deep breath and sat back in his chair. "The only other positions I have are contract writer/reporter. They're hourly, and honestly, I think you can do better than that."
"Well, I'm sorry, but I will have to decline your rather generous offer," she said, standing up and shaking his hand. "And, of course, we would appreciate it if you didn't say anything about our relationship."
"Of course," he said. "I'm sorry we couldn't make it work."
"Me too. Thanks again!" she said, heading out the door. Once in the cab, she texted Miranda. Turned down the offer. Told Adam about us. On my way to the office.
She didn't receive a response from Miranda, and hoped she wasn't upset. When she came into the office, Rachel quickly pulled her aside and asked for help on some disaster in Accessories, but when it finally calmed down, Miranda called her into her office.
"I got a call from Adam Moss this morning," she said.
"What did he want?" Andrea asked.
"To know if I preferred women back in the 80s."
"What did you say to him?"
"I told him it was the second time in nearly three decades that he and I have spoken, and both times he was asking questions about my personal life. I also told him that I don't like labels, so I've never considered myself 'gay'. I also reassured him that I never had any romantic interest in David whatsoever, and that seemed to put his fears to rest."
"Oh my god, I'm so sorry, Miranda. If it wasn't for me, he would never have called and harassed you like that."
Miranda shrugged. "Let's just forget about Adam, okay? I don't want to think about him for at least another twenty years, preferably more."
Andrea smiled. "I'm going to go home to my apartment after work tonight if that's okay. I know we're going to the girls' Awards Assembly tomorrow, and I really want to narrow down these applicants and hire someone by Friday."
Miranda frowned. "I have to sleep by myself?"
"I'm sure the girls would be happy to sleep with you if you want. I can talk to them."
"No, it's alright. They need their sleep. I would only keep them awake with my tossing and turning and going to the bathroom," she said. "I'm sure. I'll be fine."
Andrea nodded and headed back to her desk to check on the Accessories crisis.
Later that evening, Andrea was sitting on her couch with a mug of hot tea, trying to decide between the last three applicants. It was nearly one o'clock in the morning, but she knew if she didn't finish this tonight, she wouldn't have time the following day. Just as she narrowed it down to the top two, her phone buzzed with an incoming text: Are you awake?
Andrea smiled and tossed the folders onto the coffee table as she picked up her phone and called Miranda. "Yes, I'm awake," she said.
"You didn't have to call me," Miranda said.
"I wanted to hear your voice. Why are you awake?"
"Couldn't sleep. The babies were perfectly still all afternoon, and it's like they waited until I climbed into bed to start kicking and doing somersaults."
"Aw, I'm sorry. What about a bath? Would that help?"
"I don't feel like getting up again."
"Are you having more pain?"
"No, not really."
"Would you tell me if something was wrong?"
"Yes, yes, I promise."
"What can I do for you?"
"I don't know. I wish you were here to hold me."
"Do you want me to come over?"
"No, that's absurd. It's the middle of the night."
"It's only a ten minute cab ride."
"No. No. I will be okay," she said quietly. "Can you just talk to me for a while?"
"Anything. I just want to hear your voice."
"Oh, so my voice is going to put you to sleep?" she teased.
"Yes, is there something wrong with that?"
Andrea chuckled. "Not at all. Get comfortable and then put me on speaker."
There was a muffled sound on the other end of the line. Andrea took the opportunity to jump up and grab the closest book from her bookshelf, which happened to be a collection of Kate Chopin's short stories. "Okay, you're on speaker," Miranda said.
"So I spent the evening looking through the resumes of potential new assistants who I was able to interview over the phone. I've narrowed it down"
"Don't talk about work," Miranda said, interrupting her.
Andrea smiled and flipped open to the first story in the book. "I figured you'd say that. How about I read you a bedtime story?"
"Perfect," Miranda said.
Andrea began to read, and after she finished the first story, she quietly asked, "Still awake?"
"Mm-hmm," was the reply.
She kept reading until there was no longer a response. She looked at the clock and saw that it was nearly three o'clock in the morning, so she turned out her lights and went to bed.
The next day at the office, Miranda stopped by Andrea's desk as she handed her coat and bag to the new girl. "I need you to send me a new copy of your resignation letter, Andrea. I know you set it on my desk last Friday, the 25th, but I need to email HR an electronic copy," she said.
Andrea nodded. "I think it's on my home computer, but I can quickly re-write it. Dalton at 1:30?"
"Actually, we won't need to leave until 2:45," Miranda said. "I spoke with the Vice-Prinicipal this morning, and the awards portion doesn't begin until 3:30. Make reservations for dinner afterwardsI think the girls would enjoy Cantina Familiar. Four of us."
Andrea nodded. A few minutes later, she emailed her resignation letter, then sent Miranda a quick text: Am I invited to dinner or will James be joining you?
"Andrea," Miranda called.
She quickly jumped up and walked into the office, shutting the door.
"Darling, you're the fourth. Me, you, and the girls."
"Oh, okay," she said. "Sorry, I shouldn't have had to ask."
"No, I'm glad you feel like you can ask me those questions," Miranda said. "What time did you end up going to bed last night?"
"Close to three."
Miranda shook her head. "You must be exhausted. I would apologize, but I slept so soundly last night after you called," she said. "Can you stay tonight?"
"You bet," Andrea said, walking around to the other side of the desk. She leaned over and gently kissed Miranda on the lips. "That was your goodnight kiss from last night," she said. She kissed her again, "and this is your good morning."
Miranda smiled and Andrea could see her cheeks turning pink. She glanced at her computer screen for a second. "I wish you could quit today and move in right now."
"I'll start bringing more of my stuff over. Think you can share a tiny bit of your closet?"
"For you," Miranda said, "anything."
Both Caroline and Cassidy received awards this year, and Miranda couldn't have been more proud. It was the first school function she'd been to since she started showing, so of course the other parents were doting on her, telling her how wonderful she looked, offering their seats, etc. Although they were often too catty for her liking, she had to admit that the mothers at school were extraordinarily generous, and on this occasion, kind. No one asked about Andrea's presence, and she suspected that most presumed she was the girls' nanny, especially after the way they ran to hug the young woman afterwards. But for now, that was okay. The fewer questions, the better.
They enjoyed a fun dinner at Cantina, and that night, Miranda and Andrea made love over and over until the sun began to rise. Andrea had to be in the office at 9:00 AM to meet with Abby, who would hopefully be Miranda's newest assistant. Miranda, on the other hand, had no meetings scheduled, so she decided to work from home. The truth is, her bed smelled like sex and she wanted to stay there for as long as possible.
Andrea was delighted that Abby accepted the position. Like herself, Abby was an English major, looking to get her foot in the door in publishing. Both Abby and Rachel were highly competent, and she had no doubt that they would be able to keep the office running smoothly. She did wonder where Emily was looking that she had such a difficult time finding a decent employee, but then she remembered that first and foremost in Emily's mind was having a sense of fashion.
Friday afternoon was fairly slow, so Andrea finished typing up the task lists for Abby and Rachel. They would no longer be "first" and "second." For the time being, they would each be responsible for different things. For example, Rachel was the liaison with Accessories, and Abby would be the liaison for Editorial. Abby would coordinate and take notes at all the run-throughs, and Rachel would be responsible for coordinating meetings and conference calls with new designers.
Eventually, one of them would take on more responsibility with Miranda's personal lifedry cleaning, reservations, the girls' school functionsbut she knew Miranda would select one of them when she was ready. For now, she still had Andrea.
Andrea hadn't received any other job offers this week, so she spent the last few hours of her day preparing for her interview on Friday, May 9. Promptly at 6:00 PM, she closed her computer and headed home to the townhouse.
James was out of town on business, so the girls stayed home, and the four of them spent a very relaxing, fun weekend watching movies, television shows, and even some quiet reading. A few times, Andrea caught Miranda wincing as she held her belly, but every time, she reassured Andrea it was just ligament pain because her belly was growing so quickly. By Monday night, Andrea was not happy with that answer, so Miranda promised to bring it up with Dr. Assaf at her twenty-five week check-in on May 12.
The next morning, Andrea was going over the show requests that needed to be sent out for some of the upcoming Fall/Winter shows while Miranda, Nigel, and Irv were meeting to discuss who would handle what while Miranda would be out. She wasn't due for another three months, but Nigel wanted to have this meeting earlier rather than later so he, Emily, and Serena could prepare as much as possible.
After their meeting, they were casually chatting in the hall outside the conference room. Nigel was commenting on how calm the new assistants have been, and Irv even made a comment about the redhead being "too uptight," which caused everyone to burst into laughter.
Out of nowhere, Miranda reached out and gripped Irv's forearm. Nigel and Irv quickly exchanged glances, and they realized she was holding her breath and wincing. "Miranda, what's going on?" Nigel asked, taking her other arm. She shook her head and bit her lower lip, and Irv began to panic.
"Irv, why don't you head back upstairs?" Nigel said, giving him a dirty look. He knew the last thing Miranda would want would be Irv Ravitz fussing over her. "I'll just walk Miranda back to her office," he said.
As Irv was walking away, Miranda took a deep breath and opened her eyes. Without saying a word, Nigel led her down the hallway and back towards her office. Andrea saw them coming down the hall and Nigel quickly gestured to her to follow them in the office.
"Hey Abby, why don't you shadow Rachel for a while?" Andrea said. "Rachel, I think it would be really great if you could tell her anything you maybe wish you knew your first week," she said, quickly following Miranda and Nigel into her office and shutting the door.
"Miranda, what's wrong?" Andrea said, walking up to her and taking her hand.
"Nothing. I'm fine. Really, now stop fussing and go back to whatever it was you two were doing," she said.
Andrea led her to the couch. "Lay down and rest for a while."
"I will do nothing of the sort. I'm fine, Andrea."
Andrea ignored her and picked up her legs, spinning her so she was laying on the couch. She took Miranda's shoes off and sat on the edge of the couch, resting her arm across Miranda's legs, effectively pinning her down.
"Honestly, let me up, I'm fine," she said.
"Nigel, can you pour her a glass of water? I'd do it myself but she'll escape if I move my arm."
He chuckled and quietly poured a glass of still water from the pitcher on the console. Miranda rolled her eyes as she accepted the water and drank.
"What happened?" Andrea asked.
"Nothing. I just had more round ligament pain. It caught me off-guard. That's all."
"Nigel, what happened?" Andrea said.
"I don't know. She grabbed Irv's arm out of the blue and she was holding her breath for a while."
"Okay, so the pain was a little stronger than it's been in the past few weeks," she said. "I'm fine. I have some emails to send, let me up, Andrea."
Andrea bent over and kissed Miranda softly. "You promised you would tell me if anything was wrong, remember?" she whispered. Nigel awkwardly turned and looked out the window, trying to give the women some privacy.
"Yes, I remember. I promise, darling," she said, cupping Andrea's cheek. "Let me up."
Andrea nodded and stood from the couch. Miranda swung her feet around and sat up. Without bothering to put her shoes on, she got up and walked over to her desk. Andrea was whispering something to Nigel when they heard Miranda gasp.
She was bent over her desk with one hand on the surface and the other cradling her belly. Andrea ran over and wrapped her arm around her shoulders. "Breathe, Miranda. Exhale. In and out," she whispered.
"Should I call someone?" Nigel asked nervously.
"No. Nigel, go back to your office. I'll stay here with Miranda for a while, she'll be fine," Andrea said, hoping Miranda would be able to relax if Nigel left.
Miranda released her breath and quickly inhaled again. Andrea softly brushed her arm. "Are you okay?" she asked.
Miranda took a few deep breaths and shook her head. "I think so. I have to go to the bathroom," she said, squeezing Andrea's arm gently as she headed to the private en suite in her office.
Andrea sighed and leaned against the desk. From everything she read online, it was a little too early for her to be feeling Braxton Hicks contractions. Before she could let her mind wander any further, Miranda called out to her from the bathroom. She ran over and gently turned the knob, cracking the door open. "Miranda?"
"I'm bleeding," she said, wiping the tears from her eyes. "I need clean underwear, please."
Andrea nodded and quickly ran to her desk, fishing a pair of underwear and a slim pad from her purse. Andrea returned to the bathroom and knelt down next to Miranda. She put the pad in the silk underwear and carefully slipped Miranda's pants off from where they were pooled at her ankles. Andrea helped Miranda step into the underwear, then back into her pants. She gently cupped Miranda's cheek and kissed her softly. "Don't cry, it's going to be okay. Let's go have Dr. Assaf check and make sure the babies are okay," she said.
Miranda nodded. "Can you call her now?"
"I'll call while we're heading down to the car," she said. "I already texted Roy."
Miranda slipped into her shoes and grabbed her sunglasses, immediately putting them on. She marched out of the office and paused while Rachel gathered her coat and bag. Andrea quickly followed, grabbing her bag and giving Rachel and Abby strict instructions to postpone all of Miranda's meetings for the remainder of the day. If there was an emergency, she told them to ask Emily what to do. When she heard the elevator ding, she practically sprinted down the hall to join Miranda, who was apparently already on the phone with Dr. Assaf's office.
"Yes well, I don't know. No. Twenty-four weeks. No. Okay, we're on our way. Thank you," she said, ending the call.
"I'm sorry, I had to make sure Abby and Rachel were" Andrea began to explain.
Miranda held up her hand. "It's fine. Dr. Assaf wants to meet us in the emergency room," she said. She reached down and squeezed Andrea's hand. "I think I'm having contractions," she said quietly. Andrea could tell by the shakiness in her voice that she was on the verge of tears.
"Okay, we're almost in the car, and the hospital is less than two miles away. Just take a deep breath, and try to stay calm," she said. Judging by the way Miranda was gripping her hand, she was having another contraction.
"How can I stay calm?" she said through her teeth. "It's too early, Andrea. It's too early."
The elevator doors opened and Andrea led Miranda through the lobby and to the car, not caring who was staring at them. "Emergency room," she told Roy. She helped Miranda into the backseat and climbed in right after her.
"It's too early," Miranda cried, running her hands up and down over her belly.
Andrea silently prayed it was only a false alarm. She didn't want to consider the alternative.
In the emergency room, Dr. Assaf was already waiting for Miranda in an exam room. Her nurse hooked up the fetal monitor as she quickly removed Miranda's pants and underwear to do a fetal exam. "We have two strong heartbeats," the nurse announced, "not seeing signs of distress."
"Well, Miranda," Dr. Assaf said, "we have more good news. First, the babies are doing fine and don't seem to be in distress. Second, you're hardly dilated at all. You're starting to efface a little, but at this stage in a twin pregnancy, that's exactly what we would expect, though I suspect it's why you noticed some light spotting. I'd still like to give you some corticosteroids as a precaution to help give the babies' lungs a little boost. It's totally up to you, but I'd like to give you a shot of terbutaline to try and stop the uterine contractions."
Miranda wasn't responding, so Andrea took her hand. "Can you explain the pros and cons of the terbutaline injection?"
"Terbutaline is a beta agonist. Its primary use is for patients with difficulty breathing, as it relaxes the smooth muscles of the lungs and airways. The uterus is also a smooth muscle, so terbutaline will stopor at least relaxcontractions. Side effects can be anything from headache and dizziness to difficulty breathing and palpitations," she explained. "I'm going to give you the steroids now," she said, taking the medication from the nurse and injecting it into the IV in Miranda's arm.
"Miranda," Andrea said, gently squeezing her hand. "Do you want that medication?"
"What would happen if I don't take it?" she asked.
"Your contractions could cause your water to break, and at that point there would be very little we could do to stop labor. Terbutaline will slow down your labor. You may still have contractions, but unless your cervix is dilating or the babies are in distress, we won't really be concerned."
"And is this okay for the babies?" Miranda asked.
"Yes. It could elevate their heart rate, but there won't be any lasting effects."
"Okay, do it," Miranda said.
While the doctor was administering the medication, Andrea sat on the edge of the bed and gently brushed her thumb across Miranda's cheek. "See, everything's fine. The babies are going to be okay," she said.
"Oh god, I was so scared," she said, taking Andrea's hand and tugging her closer.
"Miranda," Dr. Assaf said, "I want you on bedrest for the rest of the week just as a precaution. I'll see you Monday morning for your twenty-five week appointment, and from there we can assess whether we should extend that, is that okay?"
"This means you are not to go into work for the next six days. I want you off your feet except when you're going to the bathroom and showering. No strenuous activity, no orgasms, no lifting anything heavier than a gallon of milk, can you do that?"
"Yes, of course."
"If not, I can arrange for you to be admitted here."
"Absolutely not," Miranda said.
Once Miranda was situated in her bed upstairs, Andrea made a call to Runway to tell Nigel Miranda wouldn't be in for the rest of the week. Nigel was relieved to hear that everything was okay, and he said he would pass the message along to Irv since even he called to check on how she was.
"Nige, do you think Rachel and Abby are okay without me there?"
"Yes, don't worry about anything here. I can spare Emily this week, so I'll have her look in on them. You just stay with Miranda and make sure she gets her rest. I'll call you if there's anything important," he said. "Oh, and Six? Tell Miranda not to worry about anything. I've got it covered."
"Thanks, Nige," she said, ending the call. She headed back up to Miranda's room with a glass of ginger-lemon water and a banana.
"Thank you," Miranda said. "For everything. Andrea, you're giving up so much for me. I don't even know how to thank you anymore."
Andrea crawled up on the bed next to Miranda and laid her head on her chest. "You don't have to thank me. I just want you and these babies to be healthy. I called Nigel. He's going to let Irv know you'll be out this week, and he wanted me to tell you not to worry about anything," she said.
"What about Rachel and Abby?"
"You know their names?"
Miranda rolled her eyes. "Of course I do. I know everything that goes on in my office. You were still training Abby, weren't you?"
"Well I covered the basics. She's been shadowing Rachel, and Nigel said he'll have Emily look in on them. They have my number, and I sent them both emails telling them to call me right away if anything comes up," Andrea said. "It will be fine."
"God, what am I going to do for the next six days in this room? And what if Dr. Assaf thinks I need more bedrest?"
"Then you'll do it. You know as well as anyone that the longer those babies have to grow inside you, the stronger and healthier they will be. And the sooner we'll be able to bring them home."
"I know, it's just what else am I going to do all day but worry about these babies?"
"Well, let's make a list of everything that needs to get done in the next three months. And we can work on it."
"Are you planning on staying here with me?"
Miranda sighed in relief. "I should probably tell you something about it being unprofessional or something, but I'm just relieved I won't be alone."
"I do have to run out to my interview Friday morning, but Cara should be here if you need anything," Andrea said. "So, I'm going to go get my computer and a notepad and we can start making that list."
"No, wait," she said, reaching out and tugging Andrea back to the bed. "We can do that later this afternoon. Right now, I just want you. That's all." She took Andrea's face in her hands and kissed her so hard Andrea was sure her lips would be bruisednot that she cared.
Miranda's lips were so soft and warm against her own, it wasn't until her hand was cupping her breast that Andrea realized what was happening and pushed away. "Miranda, no, you can't," she said.
"I know, but that doesn't mean I can't make love to you," she said with a shy smile. "Unless you don't want it "
"No, I do," Andrea quickly replied. "I was just concerned about you."
"Don't be. I'll just live in this constant state of arousal," she joked. "I want to taste you, Andrea. Will you let me?"
She grinned and kissed Miranda, careful not to jostle her from her nook on the bed. "What would be most comfortable for you?" she asked.
"How about you undress for me, then come lay next to me?"
"I can do that," Andrea said as she climbed off the bed. She unbuttoned her jacket and tossed it on the chair. She removed her necklace, watch, and rings, and set them on the dresser. Next, she unbuttoned her trousers and slid them down her hips, leaving them in a pile on the floor. She pulled her silk camisole off over her head and tossed it behind her. She reached around to undo her bra, but Miranda stopped her.
"Waitlet me do that," she said quietly. Andrea crawled back onto the bed and kneeled next to Miranda, her breasts practically spilling out of the flimsy lace bra. Miranda cupped her breasts through the lace, then quickly reached around and released the clasp.
Andrea slid the bra straps down her arms and tossed the bra at the growing pile of clothes on the chair. Miranda eagerly licked and sucked Andrea's erect nipples while she slipped her underwear off. Andrea leaned closer, balancing her weight on her elbow as she ran her fingers through Miranda's hair with her other hand.
"No," she said as she pulled Andrea's hair away. "You can't touch me. You cannot touch me like that. I justyou can't," Miranda said.
"Sorry," Andrea said, laying on her back. "I almost forgot."
Miranda sighed and tried to reposition herself to no avail. "Can you turn around? Or something? I can't reach you," she said. "Maybe put your feet up here by the pillows?" she asked.
Andrea repositioned herself and scooted back a little more so her sex was inches away from Miranda's lips. It would have been fine, except this position put Miranda's belly in her face, and she couldn't resist pressing kisses against the smooth, taut skin as she traced her fingers in circles.
"Andrea, stop!" Miranda said, swatting her hand away. "Come back here. Maybe I'll just have to use my fingers," she said, pursing her lips.
"I have an idea," Andrea said. She kneeled next to Miranda. "Can I?"
Miranda eagerly nodded and guided her hips as the young woman straddled her shoulders. As soon as her cool fingers parted her hot folds, Andrea reached out and gripped the headboard.
"Oh godMiranda!" she cried out as her hips bucked involuntarily.
The editor hummed in pleasure as she slowly dragged her tongue down her slit. She didn't want Andrea to come just yet, so she carefully held her folds open while her tongue darted inside, kissing and licking her everywhere except for her clit.
"Oh god oh god oh god Mirandaaaa," she cried out as she arched her back and rolled her hips, effectively grinding her clit on the woman's nose. She felt Miranda's hands take hold of her hips and still her movement.
Miranda reached up and cupped Andrea's breasts, and began kneading and rolling her nipples between her fingertips, eliciting a low moan from the young woman. "Come for me, Andrea," she whispered before she turned her lips to her aching bud, sucking it from its hood and gently biting down.
Andrea's body trembled as her orgasm spread from her core to the tips of her toes. As heady as it felt to look down and see Miranda between her legs, she ached for the closeness and the intimacy with the other woman. As soon as she was able, she lifted her leg back over Miranda and sank into the bed next to her.
Miranda gently brushed her hair from her eyes and Andrea leaned forward, licking her come from Miranda's chin. "Andrea darling," Miranda said, gently lifting her chin up. "I know I don't say this nearly enough, but you must know how often it crosses my mind. You are gorgeous and sexy and the most beautiful, kindest, most generous person I know. And I love you with everything I have," she said.
Andrea smiled as she gazed at the woman's sparkling blue eyes. She couldn't find the words to express the emotions coursing through her veins, so instead she leaned down and kissed Miranda as if her life depended on it.
Some time later, Andrea lay with her head on Miranda's shoulder. "I'm going to take a quick shower," she said. "Can I get you anything?"
Miranda shook her head.
When Andrea stepped out of the bathroom, she was glad she had actually put clothes on, as Caroline and Cassidy were sitting on the bed next to Miranda. "Hey girls," she said, joining them on the giant mattress.
"Andy, did the doctor really say everything was okay?" Cassidy asked.
Miranda rolled her eyes.
"Yes, Cass. She gave your mom some medicine to help the babies grow strong, and said your mom needs a lot of rest. She's not supposed to stand up unless she has to go to the bathroom," Andrea said, kissing Miranda on the forehead.
"I told you," Miranda said. "I'm fine. The babies are doing just fine. We just need some extra rest. Why don't you girls fix a snack and then come do your homework in here?"
"Really? I thought you needed rest?" Cassidy said.
"I am resting. I'm laying down and not doing anything. I miss seeing your beautiful faces," she said, softly poking her daughter's nose. "When you come back upstairs, can you bring me some almond butter and crackers?"
"Yep! Be back in a bit," she said, heading down to the kitchen with her sister.
Miranda carefully pushed herself up into a sitting position as she twisted and turned to stretch her back. Andrea was glaring at her. "What? I have to pee," she said, getting off the bed. "Would you mind grabbing some of the extra pillows from the guest bedroom?"
When Miranda returned, Andrea was already sitting on the bed, leaning back against the headboard. "Did you hear my phone ring earlier?" she asked.
"No. Is it something at work?" Miranda asked.
"No. I have a voicemail from my mom," she said, pressing in her code so she could listen to her message.
Miranda crawled up on the bed next to her and gently laid her hand on Andrea's thigh, since she could see how anxious she was. She was relieved to see Andrea smiling before she put the phone down. "Everything okay?" she asked.
Andrea nodded. "My mom said, 'How did everything work out with that woman you're head over heels for?' And then she said she hoped everything was good and that she'd someday get to meet her you."
"Well I don't see why you can't tell her who this mysterious woman is," Miranda said. "I actually would love to meet your mothersee where you get your charm and good looks."
"Maybe in a few months," Andrea said. "Once she finds out about the babies, she won't let you out of her sight."
"Oh yes. She has been desperate for grandchildren for years. At this point, she will take what she can get."
"What is that supposed to mean?" Miranda asked.
"Oh, well, I think she was expecting me to get pregnant, but now she's worried she'll be old and crippled by the time that happens."
Miranda chuckled. "And your mother's probably my age. Please, let's change the subject," she said. "I was thinking, I should probably call Helen. If she catches wind that I was in the hospital and didn't tell her, she would be a wreck."
"I'm going to run downstairs and grab myself something to eat while you call her then. Did you want anything else besides almond butter?"
"Not right now. Thank you."
Andrea spent the rest of the week keeping Miranda company and ensuring that she was, in fact, keeping to her bedrest. After the first day, Miranda was starting to go stir-crazy, so Andrea grabbed some pillows and made a comfy spot for her on the sofa in the study. They used her desk in lieu of the kitchen table, and Miranda was happy for even the minor change of scenery.
Miranda helped Andrea come up with an organized, massive to-do list for the next three months. When Andrea suggested the idea, she was thinking in terms of decorating the nursery, but Miranda began listing off everything she could possibly think ofso quickly that Andrea had to ask her to pause several times while she struggled to write it all down. In the end, though, it was probably better that she spelled everything out. Andrea was able to type up at least half of the list and send to Rachel and Abby to get started on, while the rest of the items were more personalthings that Miranda would want to do herself, most likely.
Thankfully, she didn't have any additional spotting or contractions, either.
Andrea's interview with The Wall Street Journal was a bit disappointing, as they were only proactively interviewing so they could easily fill a position in the event that one of their reporters left. Of course, she wasn't in a position to pick and choose, but she was still holding out for something well, better. Miranda had one more idea in mind, and promised Andrea she would work on it first thing next week, as soon as Dr. Assaf cleared her to go back to work.
But, of course, her appointment Monday morning didn't go exactly as planned.
"What do you mean modified bedrest?! And for the next ten weeks? Are you out of your mind?" Miranda hissed.
"Miranda, I know you have a demanding career, but I wouldn't ask you to do this if I didn't think it was necessary. I know you want to deliver two healthy babies, and you and I both know that their chances of survival will only increase the longer you can carry them. Two days a week you can go into the office or run errands, or I don't know, go for a walk. I still don't want you to exert yourself. Try to avoid climbing stairs, you know."
Miranda sighed and stared up at the ceiling.
"The babies are doing great. You haven't dilated, and you're healthy. You are doing everything right, Miranda. I don't want that to change."
"Can you give us a minute?" Andrea asked.
"Sure. I'll go check and see if your bloodwork is back from the lab yet," she said, quietly stepping out.
"Andrea, what am I going to do? I was going crazy after six days," Miranda said.
"Well, this isn't exactly as strict. Let's say you go into the office on Tuesdays and Fridays from 7-4. You'd only be spending Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday at home, and you can work from your couch if you need to. In two weeks, the girls will be finished with school, so I'm sure they will keep you busy at home."
Miranda pursed her lips. "I suppose. Helen did already say she was going to come in for a few weeks instead of me sending the girls out to Boston." She shook her head. "What am I even saying? There is no choice in the matter. I will do anything for these girls, even if it means staying in bed all summer."
Andrea smiled and kissed Miranda on the forehead. "And you know, I'll be there with you every day."
"You spoil me, Andrea," she said, kissing her softly on the lips.
"I can start working with the girls on your scheduledoes Tuesday and Friday sound okay?"
Miranda nodded. "I'll work from my home office for a few hours on Mondays and Thursdays, too, so arrange for Rachel to be over from 10 AM 2 PM. And maybe we can rearrange things and bring the little desk from the guest bedroom into my office for her to use. Or you, when she's not here. Maybe we should order a matching desk?"
"You're getting ahead of yourself," Andrea said. "Since the top of our list is converting the guest bedroom into a nursery, let's just move the small desk so we don't have to put it in storage. If I need extra space, I can take over the dining room table. I can take over that entire room, really. Have you ever used it?"
Miranda rolled her eyes. "Of course. Just, not in a few years. But Andrea, I don't want stacks of papers and books all over my dining room."
"Who said I was going to make a mess?"
"I've seen your apartment, don't forget."
"Well, that's because it's 500 square feet and I don't have anywhere else to put it," she said. "I'm going to call Emily now and explain that you're not coming in today."
"There are some items I need from my office if I'm going to work from home. I'll just be ten minutes."
Andrea glared at her.
"Don't look at me like that. I won't have you making me feel guilty for this," she said. "I know my body, and I'm only going in for some folders, a thumb drive, and my notebook."
"I can run up and get it for you."
"No. You will stay in the car. This is not up for debate," she said, sitting up on the exam table.
The doctor gently knocked on the door before re-entering the room. "CBC came back. Your iron is a little low," she said. "Iron supplements have a tendency to cause constipation, so I'm hesitant to suggest that. Why don't you try to incorporate some extra iron into your diet and see if that helps bring it upthings like spinach, lean red meat, beans, and almonds. I'd like to see you back in 2-3 weeks, then for the remainder of the third trimester we'll probably want to see you on a weekly basis."
"Thank you," Miranda said quietly.
When they were in the car on the way to Runway, Andrea leaned over and kissed Miranda gently on the cheek. "I'm sorry for what I said earlier. I'm just a worrywart. I love you and want to protect you."
"I know. And I don't mean to be unappreciative, really. I love when you're protective. It's been so long since I had someone who loved me like that. I'm just not used to it, that's all. Once these babies are here, I hope you will channel that fierce protectiveness towards them," she said.
"Of course I will," she said tracing her hang gently along Miranda's belly. The car slowed to a stop outside of Elias-Clarke. "I'll be waiting for you," she said.
Miranda nodded. "Two more months and they'll be here," she said. "Maybe I can bring them to work with me while they're still babies."
Andrea rolled her eyes. "Well, then no one would get any work done."
"That's true. Well, I'll just be a few minutes. I'll text you if something comes up," she said.
Andrea smiled and nodded, and quickly sent off a message to Emily as soon as Miranda left the car: She's on her way up. She needs to restgo easy on the surprise! I'll be up in a few minutes. She waited until she saw Miranda disappear inside the elevator, then climbed out of the town car and followed her up to the 18th floor.
When Miranda stepped off the elevators, Nigel was waiting for her. "Thank god you're back," he said, taking her by the arm. "You would not believe the item we just received from Brittany at DVFcome here, it's in the conference room."
Miranda stopped at the outer office where Abby was answering the phones. "Nigel, I just came to pick up a few things. The doctor put wants me on a modified bedrest for the remainder of the pregnancy," she said with a sigh.
"Are you feeling okay? Nothing's wrong?" he asked, slightly embarrassed he hadn't checked on her first.
"Yes, yes, I'm fine. My doctor seems to think it's because I've been laying low, so she wants me to keep it up."
"How far are you now?"
Miranda rolled her eyes. "Only twenty-five weeks. I'm just over halfway. I don't understand how some women can do this for forty weeks," she said.
"When were the girls bornor, I guess I'm going to have to start saying 'Caroline & Cassidy,'" he said.
Miranda chuckled. "Thirty-one weeks. But then they were in the hospital for so long," she said.
"I remember. You had to come back to work a few days after they came home," Nigel said.
"If I would have taken better care of myself and listened to my doctor when he told me to rest, I think they would have been stronger."
"You can't think like that, Miranda. Especially since you have two healthy, beautiful daughters."
"I know, but I'm already bigger with this pregnancy than I ever was with the girls. I just don't know if I can handle watching them hooked up to machines," she said.
Seeing that she was getting weepy, Nigel quickly changed the subject and led her to the conference room. Her eyes widened as she saw the room entirely decorated in pink and white bunting, bows, and balloons.
"Oh my god," she said, stopping in her tracks and covering her mouth with her hand.
Nigel smiled and squeezed her hand. "It's hard to have a surprise party in a conference room that has windows on three sides, but I hope you're still surprised," he said, opening the door and guiding her inside.
Miranda's eyes scanned the room and it brought a tear to her eye. She recognized the faces of nearly her entire staff, and they were standing in front of the side table which was stacked high with wrapped gifts.
Emily and Serena stepped forward. "We all wanted to congratulate you and wish you and your daughters-to-be the best," Emily said.
"And, I know at least some of us wanted to gush over how amazing you look. Pregnancy really suits you, Miranda," Serena said. Everyone quietly agreed.
"II don't know what to say," Miranda said as Emily led her to a chair. "I'm so overwhelmed. I wasn't expecting any of this at all." She looked over at the gift table and the cookie tray in the center of the table and began to cry.
"Where is Andrea?" Emily frantically whispered to Nigel. He only shrugged in reply.
"Thank you allso much," Miranda said. "This is all so incredibly generous "
Rachel saw that Miranda was awkwardly at a loss for words, so she stepped up. "Everyone, I know we all have loads to do today, and we don't want to keep you from your work. Please help yourself to some iced green tea with lemon and ginger and cookiesthey're vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free, and not processed near nuts. I'm not sure how long Miranda can stay today, but maybe we can convince her to open a few special gifts," she said, looking over at the editor.
Abby appeared out of nowhere and set two beautifully wrapped boxes on the table in front of Miranda, then she brought in a white, wooden twin cradle with a big pink bow and set it at Miranda's feet.
"Oh my goodness," Miranda said, looking down at it. It was about two feet high and four feet long, and was designed to sit on the floor and gently rock back and forth. There was a dividing wall that could be added in the center to separate the babies. "This is perfect for my office," she said as she picked up the gift tag. All the best, Emily & Serena (PS- We'll be happy to babysit if you ever need us!)
Miranda looked up at the couple who were standing along the wall, holding hands. "Thank you," she said. "Does that offer also include two nine-year-olds who will be on summer break in a few weeks?" she asked with a chuckle.
"Yes, yes, of course!" Serena said.
"Even if you just book an overnight at a spa or something, we'd be happy to help."
Miranda smiled and gently bit her lip to keep the tears at bay. "Thank you again."
By now, Andrea had joined the group, quietly standing next to Nigel along the wall behind Miranda's chair.
"Open that one next," Nigel said, pointing to an iridescent green box on the table. "It arrived a few days ago and Emily could not wait to give it to you," he said.
Miranda quickly unwrapped the box and pulled out a gorgeous, flowy aquamarine blue satin nightgown, a matching satin long robe, and a pair of matching embroidered slippers. She read the note card that was tucked into the box: Only the best for La Reina. Will send something extraordinary when the children arrive. Besos, Oscar.
"He designed this maternity robe just for you," Emily said.
"Emily had fun trying to get your measurements," Serena said, poking her.
"I actually needed a new robe. This is perfect," she said. She picked up the other box and shook it. It was unusually light for such a large box. Unwrapping it, she gasped when she saw what was inside. "Oh Nigel. I don't know what to say," she said.
"Say yes. I'll take care of everything for you," he said.
"Yes, yes! Of course, Nigel," Miranda said.
"What is it?" Andrea asked.
Miranda turned around and smiled. "The nursery," she said, holding up a sketch.
Andrea smiled. "We really need to get going," she whispered.
Miranda rolled her eyes and turned back to the room. "Again, thank you all so much. I would love to stay here and unwrap each of these generous gifts, but my doctor has rather inconveniently put me on a modified bed rest. I'll be in the office for two days each week and working from my home for two days. Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday I will be completely off," she said.
As the staff started to head back to work, Abby boxed up a few cookies for Miranda to take home and poured some iced tea into a tumbler with a lid. Rachel packed the gifts from Oscar and Nigel into a large bag, and Andrea helped Miranda retrieve some items from her office.
"I'll have a driver bring the rest of these gifts over this afternoon, Miranda," Abby said, handing her the iced tea and cookies.
Miranda nodded and headed towards the elevators. "Rachel, you will be working from the office in my home on Monday and Thursday. Arrive promptly at 9:00 AM."
"Yes, Miranda," she said.
"I've got a few things to grab, too," Andrea said. "I'll meet you down at the car in two minutes."
Miranda nodded and headed into the elevator while Andrea went to talk with Rachel and Abby. She set her bags down and perched herself on the corner of Rachel's desk. "I hope you both paid close attention today. That was the real Miranda Priestly, and she doesn't make an appearance too often in public. She is a warm, caring, and appreciative person. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise," she said. "When she needs you, you don't hesitateyou drop everything and run to her. Sometimes it's minor, sometimes it's serious. Learn to distinguish the tone of her voiceit cracks when she's scared, trails off when she's tired, and stutters when she's upset. When she's angry, she whispers." She paused for a minute, then picked her bags back up. "I trust you two to take care of her when I can't. Do not disappoint me."
"So Andy, is it true?" Rachel asked. "You and Miranda, I mean."
Andrea smiled and walked out, rushing down to meet Miranda in the car. "Sorry," she said, sliding into the backseat as Roy put her bags in the trunk.
Miranda just ended a phone call. "Well, that was unexpected, but very pleasant. Thank you, Andrea, as I'm sure you had something to do with it," Miranda said.
Andrea leaned over and kissed her softly on the lips. "You seemed genuinely happy."
"I was. I am. Why is that so difficult to believe?"
"It's not," Andrea said. "But I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen you happy at work."
"True," she said. After several minutes of silence, Andrea received a call as they were pulling up in front of the town house.
"Hello? Yes, this is she oh, hello. Yes, this is a perfect time," she said smiling over at Miranda.
Miranda quietly stayed in the car with Andrea until she ended her call. "Who was it, darling?"
"John Griffin from The Mirror. They have a News Editor position open and he wants to interview me tomorrow!"
"Darling, that's wonderful," Miranda said. "Let's talk more inside," she said.
Andrea quickly climbed out of the car and ran around to the other door to help Miranda out while Roy was taking the bags from the trunk into the house.
"Ooh," Miranda groaned as she began climbing the steps to the front door. She reached down and held her hand beneath her belly.
"Are you okay?"
"I think so," she said as Andrea helped her inside.
"Ladies, will there be anything else? I was going to head back to Runway to pick up the remaining gifts," Roy said.
"No, but wait here a few minutes, please," Andrea said.
"Not a problem. I'll have David bring the gifts with the other car," he said, heading back to the town car.
Miranda sat in the armchair in the foyer and kicked off her wedge sandals.
"What hurts?" Andrea asked.
"My back," she said. "I totally forgot to wear that support belt today. I didn't need it when I was just laying around here at home. It's my faultI should have remembered."
"Do you want me to start a warm bath for you? Or do you want to lie down for a while?"
"I can't go up the stairs just yet," she said. "Would you mind rubbing it for me?"
"Not at all," she said. "Do you want to sit on the couch?" Andrea asked, helping her up.
"No, I think I'll kneel," she said, tossing a pillow on the ground. She lowered herself to the ground and leaned forward, resting her head on her arms on the couch.
Andrea kneeled behind her and carefully pulled up her dress before placing her hands on the woman's lower back. "Right here?" she asked, applying gentle pressure.
"Yess," Miranda moaned.
Andrea gently massaged her back for the next twenty minutes, until her hands were too tired to keep applying pressure.
"Thank you, darling," Miranda said as she sat back on her heels. "I'm going to go lie down for a while," she said.
"Can I join you?"
"Of course," Miranda said, taking Andrea's hand and standing up. "You don't have to ask."
Upstairs, the two women fell asleep quickly. It wasn't until the girls came running upstairs after school that they woke.
"Mom, what are all those presents?!" Caroline asked. "Oh, sorry," she said quietly, shutting the door.
"What's going on?" Cassidy whispered.
"Mom was sleeping and I think I woke her up."
"Girls, get in here," Miranda said.
Caroline took a deep breath and walked over to Miranda's bedside. "I'm sorry, Mom," she said.
"Sweetheart, you didn't do anything wrong. I fell asleep for far too long. Apparently Andrea had the same problem," she said, looking over at the sleepy-eyed brunette.
"Sorry," she said as she sat up. "Hey girls."
"Hey, Andy," they replied.
"So, Mom, what are all those gifts downstairs?" Caroline asked again.
"My staff at Runway surprised me with a baby shower this morning. I didn't get to open all the presents, so maybe you girls can help me this evening?" Miranda said.
Miranda chuckled and pushed herself up into a sitting position. "Why don't you girls get started on your homework in the kitchen. I'll be downstairs in a minute and make a snack for you."
"We can do that ourselves," Cassidy said. "You don't have to come down."
"Sweetie, I slept through lunch and I'm starving," she said, gently tickling her daughter.
"Will Andy stay tonight?"
"Yes, sweetheart," she said without looking back at Andrea. "I think she's going to be here every night now."
That evening, Miranda and the girls opened all of the gifts from the shower, and once again, she was completely overwhelmed at everyone's generosity. Andrea carefully took notes regarding who gave what, knowing Miranda would likely want to send personal thank you notes.
"This is a lot of stuff, Mom. Where is it all going to go?" Cassidy asked.
"We're going to remodel the guest bedroom, and that's going to be their nursery. Uncle Nigel is taking care of that for me. It's going to look something like this," she said, handing the girls the sketch he gave her.
"Oh my god, that's so cool!" Cassidy said.
"Yes, it's very cool," Miranda said with a smile.
"How little are the babies going to be when they're born?" Caroline asked, holding up one of the onesies.
"Hopefully they'll be big and strong," Andrea said. "Since there are two of them, they're going to get kind of squished and not have a lot of room to grow, but if your mom keeps resting and eating and taking care of herself, I'm sure they'll be perfect. These onesies might even be too small for them!" she said.
"Or they might be too small," Miranda said quietly.
"Girls, did you finish your homework?" Andrea asked. They nodded in reply. "Why don't you head upstairs and get ready for bed. It's getting late. We'll be up in a few minutes." Once the girls were upstairs, she looked over at Miranda and saw the tears falling down her cheeks.
"What if something happens?" Miranda asked through her tears. "We have all this baby stuff. Two of everything. We're going to redo the guest room. I just couldn't bear it if we didn't bring two babies home."
Andrea wrapped her arm around Miranda's shoulder and held her close. "We will handle it. Whatever happens, we will deal," she whispered, pressing a kiss to the top of Miranda's head.
"It feels real now," Miranda said as she looked across the living room floor: blankets, towels, bedding, toys, bottles, burp cloths, car seats. "What if I can't do it?"
Andrea softly lifted her chin and looked her in the eye. "You are the most determined and capable person I know. You have so many people supporting you, please don't think this way," she said.
"That's just that many more people to disappoint," Miranda said.
"Tomorrow, let's look through that list of midwives that Dr. Assaf sent over. Maybe we can interview a few and then finalize that birth plan you were working on, okay?"
Miranda took a deep breath and sat up, wiping the tears from her eyes. "Yes," she said, nodding.
"Want to head upstairs?"
Miranda shook her head. "I'm going to stay down here for a while. Will you make sure the girls are in bed?"
Andrea nodded and headed upstairs.
The next few weeks passed without incident. Miranda interviewed several midwives over the phone and finally settled on Alice, a middle-aged woman from South Africa. She called several times a week, and stopped by a few times to check on Miranda and get to know her better.
Andrea's interview for The Mirror went well, and John offered her the position on one condition: she wouldn't be able to start until September 1st because he didn't have it in the budget. Andrea was relieved that she wouldn't have to leave Miranda alone so soon, and this gave her the opportunity to spend some time training with the current News Editor, unpaid, of course. Since leaving Runway and moving in with Miranda, she found she didn't really have any expenses, though, so it was okay.
Miranda made final adjustments to the nursery plans, and Nigel scheduled the remodel for the weekend of June 6th. The girls would be with James that weekend, and she an Andrea would head to a suite at The Four Seasons for an extended spa weekend until construction was complete. Nigel was sending Andrea photos of the renovation throughout the weekend, and she knew Miranda would love it. He even managed to put a daybed in the loft on the fourth floor, so someone else could stay the night if needed.
The following week, Helen stayed with them, and between Andrea, Rachel, Caroline, Cassidy, Helen, Cara, and occasionally Alice, Miranda was feeling perfectly pampered. She cut back to working from the office only one day a week, and she actually met with several designers and models in her home when it had been necessary.
At her thirty-one-week appointment, Dr. Assaf was very pleased with her progress. The babies weighed 3 lbs 10 oz and 3 lbs 3 oz, and they both measured over 17 inches in length. Once again, her cervical swab was negative for fibronectin, but her cervix was beginning to dilate.
"Miranda, you're at 2" right now, and I'm not concerned as long as you aren't feeling cramping or bleeding. I know we should continue to take every precaution, so I'm going to tell you to keep doing what you're doing in terms of modified bed rest and what not," Dr. Assaf said. "Now, I want to be honest with you. I never expected you to make it this far with the pregnancy, especially after those preterm contractions a few weeks ago. If we were to induce you today, I am fully confident your baby girls would be just fine. Ideally, we want them to stay in the womb as long as possible, though, because of course, that means less time in the NICU."
"If you haven't started going over labor techniques with Alice, I would suggest you do so. You're still planning on a natural delivery?"
"Yes," she said, "if all goes well."
"Excellent. I'd like to see you back next weekevery week from here on out. The babies will be rapidly gaining weight now, and you're likely to be more uncomfortable and unsteady on your feet. Be careful, don't drive, keep the stairs to a minimum, you know," she said.
"Thank you," Miranda said.
Miranda finally decided to officially go on maternity leave at that point. Irv was supportive, and she had absolute confidence in Nigel running the show. On Friday afternoon, Miranda was sitting at the kitchen table reading the news on her iPad when the doorbell rang.
"I'll see who it is," Andrea called, running down the stairs. "Hi, can I help you?"
"Andrea, is it?" the woman at the door said.
"Yes, I'm sorry, I don't know you," she said, cautiously stepping out onto the porch.
"I didn't expect you would, dear. Myra Ravitz," she said, reaching out her hand.
"Oh, Mrs. Ravitz, I'm so sorry. Please, come in," she said.
"I was hoping to see Miranda for a few minutesis she available? I don't want to bother her if she's resting," she said.
Miranda emerged from the kitchen and greeted Myra in the foyer with air kisses.
"Oh honey, you look wonderful," Myra said.
"Myra, it's been ages," Miranda said as she led her to the comfortable chairs in the den. "What brings you by? It's good to see you."
"Well, Irv has obviously told me about the pregnancy and dear Andrea," she said looking over at the young woman. "I just wanted to come by and congratulate you. And bring a gift."
"Myra, you didn't have to."
"Please. I spoke with Emily and Rachel, and they said you would be keeping the babies in your room for a while, and, well, I have two beautiful white bassinets that were never used, and " her voice trailed off.
Miranda moved closer to Myra on the couch and took her hands. "My god," she whispered. "I'm so sorry, Myra. I can't imagine how difficult this is."
Myra sniffled and wiped her eyes. "I held onto them for so long, hoping that, I don't know and then when our boys came along, they were already too big for the bassinets. I couldn't get rid of them. But now, if they can be of use "
Miranda squeezed her hands. "Yes, they will be perfect. We've been busy and haven't even had a chance to shop for them yet. Thank you so much," she said, "and give Irv our thanks, too."
"Take care of yourself, Miranda," she said, standing up. "If it's alright, I'd like to come by again once the babies are home."
"Of course, you're welcome any time," Miranda said.
"Can I have someone drop them off tomorrow? They're in boxes, but I can have him set them up if you need."
"Tomorrow is fine, and I don't think we're ready to set them up just yet, but thank you."
"Good, well, I don't want to keep you," she said. "Andrea, it was lovely to meet you. Take care of her."
"I will," Andrea said. "Thank you again." She closed the door behind the woman and went to meet Miranda on the couch.
"What are the girls doing?" Miranda asked.
"Cassidy had her headphones on listening to some music, and Caroline was reading on her Kindle," Andrea said, sitting next to Miranda.
"I didn't sleep well last night," she said. "I really just feel like shit today."
"Why didn't you say something earlier?"
Miranda shrugged. "I thought it would go away. I'm going to go up to bed."
"Wait," Andrea said, following her to the stairs. "Maybe we should call the doctor."
"I don't feel like putting clothes on and going in for a check-up," she said as she tugged her aqua robe tighter around her.
"Please. Some women get nauseous and stuff when they're going into labor. I just want to make sure you're okay," Andrea begged as Miranda climbed into bed.
"Relax. It's not labor. I'll see Dr. Assaf on Monday for my thirty-two week appointment. I've been feeling a few Braxton Hicks contractions today, which is why I was sitting in the chair earlier. My skin is so itchy it feels like it's on fire, but I think that's just from everything stretching so much to fit these growing babies," she said. "Oh, and my ankles and breasts are swollen. Was there something I missed?"
"What can I do?" Andrea asked. "Rub your feet? Slather some lotion on your skin? Massage your breasts?" she asked with a wink.
Miranda chuckled. "Definitely not that, though I am going to need a larger bra if you want to find me one. The feet and lotion sound good, though. Oh, and you might as well bring me some water," she added.
On Monday, at her thirty-two week appointment, Miranda was moving a lot slower than she had been the previous week. Dr. Assaf once again assured her that both babies were doing well as they were nearly five pounds each. Their amniotic fluid had begun to diminish, which Miranda already ascertained as she noticed imprints of tiny hands and feet on her belly when they were trying to move around.
The doctor also confirmed what Andrea had pointed out the day before: that she had "dropped" and Twin A had moved into her pelvis. During her vaginal exam, Dr. Assaf found that Miranda was nearly 80% effaced. The ultrasound revealed that Twin B was in a breech position, so she advised Miranda to try and encourage the baby to flip if she could.
Miranda presented her birth plan to Dr. Assaf at this point, and after reviewing, she was happy to accommodate her wishes. Dr. Assaf advised Miranda to also begin massaging and stretching her perineum in preparation for birth, a task which Andrea was happy to help with.
That afternoon, Andrea curled up on the couch with Miranda as they shopped online for a baby monitor for the babies' room. They quickly decided on one that could be accessed from anywhere via an app on an iPhone or iPad.
Later that week when Andrea was sitting on the couch with the girls, Miranda walked over and handed her a folder as she took a seat on the armchair next to them.
"What's this?" Andrea said.
"Mom is thiswhat you talked to us about last week?" Cassidy asked.
Miranda smiled and nodded, and both girls were clearly excited. "Andrea, I spoke with the girls and we all want you to be part of these babies' lives forever. In that folder is a pre-birth order that I've already filled out. If you agree, and sign where indicated, we can file this immediately, and your name can be listed on their birth certificates."
Andrea's eyes widened as she looked between Miranda and the folder on her lap. "Hohow is this possible?"
"Technically," Miranda explained, "it's a second-parent adoption. I know we haven't really talked about all this in detail, but I wanted to do this before it was too late."
"What do you mean?"
"The process is actually much more complicated once the children are born."
"Oh," Andrea said. "Wait, what am I saying. Of course! Oh my god, I couldn't want anything more," she said, tearing up.
Caroline hugged Andrea tightly and whispered something in her ear, causing Andrea's eyes to widen once again as she softly cupped the young girl's cheek.
"Sweetie," Andrea said, "you know you'll have to talk to your dad about that."
Caroline pursed her lips in a very Mirandaesque gesture and crossed her arms over her chest. "See, Cass? I told you she wouldn't want us."
"Whoa, whoa, whoa," Andrea said. "I did not say that. I love you two just as much as I love those babies," she said, gesturing towards Miranda. "But you have a father who loves you very much, too, and it would be unfair to try to take you from him. Even if it's not on paper, I want you two to know this."
"Can we call Dad?" Caroline asked.
"Absolutely not," Miranda said. "We will discuss this later. You can't just go springing this on people, Caroline. Please go upstairs and give me a minute with Andrea."
"Sorry, Mom. Sorry, Andy," Caroline said, heading up to her room.
"No, it's okay. Miranda, I'm so touched that you want me to be part of their life in such a permanent way. I want it, too. And I want you in my life in a permanent way," she said as she walked over and kneeled next to Miranda's chair.
"As do I," Miranda said. "This is rather inconvenient timing, but I really need to go to the bathroom."
Andrea smiled and helped her from her chair.
"Andrea?" Miranda called from the bathroom.
She quickly poked her head inside, her eyes widening in surprise when Miranda held out her underwear. "If that's what I think it is, that is really gross," she said, chuckling.
"I know," Miranda said. "I don't know what to do with it."
"Throw it away. I'll get you a clean pair of underwear," she said.
"Andrea, a mucus plug is most certainly not the grossest thing you'll be seeing in the next few months," Miranda said, rolling her eyes as she dropped the ruined panties into the bathroom wastebasket.
"I know, and I'm not squeamish, but it doesn't mean I want to see it," she said, running upstairs to grab clean panties.
When she returned, she helped Miranda into the panties, then captured her lips in a kiss.
"What was that for?" Miranda asked.
"When we were talking about permanency before. I love you and I can't imagine my life without you in it," she said.
"I want to explain what the girls were talking about. When Leslee was researching options for me, she learned about this second-parent adoption, which would allow you to be almost like a third parent for the girls. James and I would still retain our parental rights, but if something happened to both James and myself, you would legally be their parent. I mean, it's not really necessary. I know Helen and George would totally support you, but I think the girls are getting a little jealous of all the attentionand these babies aren't even born yet."
"Yeah, I was noticing that, too. When was Helen going to come back?"
"Two weeks, but we may need her sooner," Miranda said with a smile. "But back to the girlsI actually brought this up to James. He's fine with it."
"Oh, wow. Um, okay "
"I don't want to rush you. Take your time and think about it," she said.
"I just need to call my mom and fill her in on everything. Not like she's going to disagree or tell me not to do it, I just know she'll be hurt if I tell her,'Oh, by the way, you have four grandchildren now,'" Andrea said.
"And a daughter-in-law," Miranda added.
"Yes," she said, smiling and kissing Miranda once more. "A daughter-in-law who is due for another perineal massage, no?"
Miranda moaned as Andrea softly kissed the skin behind her ear. "Jesus, Andrea. I need you so badly," she whispered.
"Miranda, you know we have to wait."
"I know, I know," she groaned, pushing Andrea away. "Is it bad that I'm looking forward to this labor just so you can touch me again?"
"Still planning on that orgasmic birth?" Andrea asked, smiling.
"Well, even with painful contractions, I can't think of anything else I'd rather be doing," she said.
"I'm really looking forward to this, Miranda," she said, taking her hand.
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