DISCLAIMER: The Devil Wears Prada and its characters belong to Lauren Weisberger and 20th Century Fox. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story is the seventh part of the Bodyguard Series. Do read Bodyguard 1 - 6 if you have not already. It would help with understanding this story. Thanks be to my readers!
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Bodyguard VII Fête
By The Raven


Miranda Priestly pursed her lips in disapproval. Unacceptable. It was five days until The Ball. So far, things had been running smoothly despite the utter incompetence of just about everyone at Runway.

Miranda had even managed to convince Andrea to come shopping with her, and they had a date for that arranged for tomorrow evening. That alone was an achievement. It was also something that Miranda was looking forward to.

But. This...

Miranda sighed and turned away in disgust, pulling her phone out and hitting a speed dial number on it. "Hello." The warm voice of Andrea washed over Miranda, instantly making her feel calmer.

"Andrea. It seems the public works department of this city has decided to tear up a pipe on my street. Therefore, I won't have water until tomorrow at midday." Miranda said imperiously into the phone.

"You can come stay the night at my place, Miranda." Andrea said at once. Miranda felt herself relax slightly. "And Patricia?" Miranda asked.

Andrea had never shown any objection to the huge dog that was the darling pet of Miranda's twin daughters. In fact her lover and the dog got along famously well. But, it was an entirely different matter to have the dog at Andrea's apartment. No matter how well behaved it might be.

"That's fine, Miranda. I'll see you when you get there. If I am late, just let yourself in and make yourselves at home." Andrea said, before Miranda heard another voice over the connection.

"Thank you, darling. You're busy. We'll talk later." Miranda hung up and dialled her assistant.

"Emily. See to it that the Mayor receives a letter about this. Also, bring the book, personally, to Andrea's apartment this evening. That's all." Miranda hung up and sighed.

It was time to collect the girls, pack, collect the dog, and make her way to Andrea's apartment. There was literally no water in the house right now. The mayor would hear about this. That was for certain.

Oh wow...

Andy realised that she would need to go food shopping and would also need to go home early to make sure everything was in order for Miranda's visit.

This would mark the first time that all of the Priestly household would spend time and spend the night in Andy's home. The guestroom was finished, but due to weekends away with their father, school trips, and just general busyness, the girls had not really seen the changes except in passing. Maybe.

Andy snatched up a piece of paper and started to make a list of things to get. Mainly dinner and breakfast items, and a few things to make her guests feel more at home. The apartment was otherwise fully stocked.

As she wrote, Andy started to actually feel excited in a good way. Unless Miranda was unduly busy or stressed by the upcoming party, things should go well this evening. No doubt Emily would be bringing the book and Andy was loathe to simply have the young woman drop the book off and leave.

That would be something to think about then, first things first.

At that thought, Andy's phone rang and she sighed. Hopefully she would be able to make good time and actually be able to get some of these things done before she needed to be at home. Work would not wait, though.

Thankfully though, Louise was starting to take on more of the load that had fallen onto Andy when Maria had left for the west coast. This was important. Not only for Andy's sanity, but for Louise's development. In time, Louise would fulfil her role perfectly and eventually she would outgrow it like Maria did.

The eventual goal for Andy's second in command was that she too would branch out and become an independent entity. But that was not in the cards anytime soon. Still, progress was being made and Andy was pleased.

She really did need to get out of here and get to the grocery store as soon as possible, though. Shutting down her laptop, she shoved it into her briefcase along with her paperwork. Then, she transferred her office phone to her cell phone and rose from her chair.

After detouring through the outer office, which at this hour was mostly empty. It was not early after all, Andy stopped at another office and stuck her head in. "I am going to work from home this evening. Miranda and the kids and the dog are coming." Andy told the woman sitting behind the desk.

"No problem. We've got the fort, Andy." Louise said, giving Andy a radiant smile.

"You think one of these days I could borrow you to teach her kids a few things? It is kind of hard to show them things when they are so much smaller." Andy asked, leaning against the doorframe.

She had been teaching Miranda's children self defence, and they had now reached a point where Andy needed to show them some of the things they had learned in a more practical application.

Short of going out and picking a fight, Louise was the next best option. "Sure thing, Andy. Just let me know when and I will make holes in my schedule. You know how much I like the kids and well, it is always good to see Miranda as well." Andy smiled at the words.

It was true. Louise and Miranda were becoming very good friends after having bonded during a situation that had happened a few months ago.

Time to leave!

Andy waved at her second in command and made her way to her car. With luck, she would have a few hours to get ready, but Miranda was always early for everything. So, the reality was that she had no idea how much time she had in actuality.

When Roy pulled up to the curb at Andrea's apartment building Miranda turned to her children. The girls were busily attending to Patricia and mostly behaving as if it was all one giant adventure. Miranda supposed that to them, it was.

"Remember, girls. The same rules apply in Andrea's home as do in ours." Miranda said, wanting to ensure that everything would go smoothly.

"We know, mom. Don't worry." It was Caroline who spoke and Miranda supposed that Cassidy was in agreement.

"Let's go." With the words, the Priestly family alighted from the car and made their way with luggage and dog to Andrea's apartment. Glad to have a key, Miranda led the way into the building and they were soon in the elevator.

Even Roy was in the elevator, to help with the suitcases. A muted ding announced their arrival on the relevant floor and soon they were all in the hallway as Miranda walked to the door and pressed the doorbell.

Hopefully Andrea was home. A few moments passed and the sound of latches told Miranda that her lover was indeed home. Thankfully.

"Come in. You too, Roy." Andrea said, reaching down to grab a suitcase and giving them all a very large smile.

Miranda nodded slightly at Roy who had asked with a glance if he should obey the summons. Andrea would not be happy if Miranda asked her to close the door on Roy. Miranda would do anything to keep Andrea happy. She also genuinely liked her driver.

"Girls, you can carry your stuff to the room over there, and then bring your mom's stuff to my room. The dog is fine, just leave her to explore." Andrea directed, before turning back to Miranda and Roy.

"They will ticket the car in a flash, Roy, but I wanted to give you this." Andrea said, handing the man an insulated travel mug and a paper bag.

"Thank you, Andy." The man beamed and Miranda realised that he probably had not eaten since breakfast. Andrea was remarkably sweet, despite being so deadly.

A few more moments passed and Roy was gone. Miranda turned her attention to Andrea and took her lover in. Andrea was wearing jeans, a sweatshirt and, an apron? Miranda then became aware of a delicious smell permeating the apartment.

"Dinner will be ready soon, though I suspect that Patricia needs a walk, so I will leave you to make sure it does not burn and go with the kids in a few minutes." Andrea said by way of explanation, before she moved to kiss Miranda.

The meeting of mouths was electric. Fantastic. Miranda dropped her bag and wrapped her arms around Andrea, pulling her closer. It felt like it had been forever since she had last touched her lover. Since they had last kissed, made love.

It had only been a day. But, it felt like forever.

The sound of little feet caused Miranda to pull away from Andrea and look over at her daughters. They were used to seeing Miranda be affectionate with Andrea, but there was no need to give them too much of an eyeful.

"You don't have a TV, Andy." It was Cassidy who noted this. Miranda smirked slightly.

"Nope. But I do have internet. And music, and books. I also have games." Andrea supplied as she untied her apron and tossed it onto the table.

"I think Patricia needs a walk. Let me get my jacket and some shoes and we'll go together while your mother finishes dinner." Andrea added. Miranda wondered if it was truly necessary for Andrea to go with the children, but she had long ago learned to trust her lover's judgement.

Moving to the kitchen while the three most important people in her life got ready to take her dog for a walk, Miranda wondered if she was up to the task of finishing whatever food Andrea had started.

"Do you need to go with them?" Miranda asked while they waited for the girls to be ready.

"Yes. I mean, it is a good neighbourhood, but they don't know it and I would never forgive myself if they got lost or something." Andy said softly. She was wearing a pair of sneakers and of course, her weapons harness was under the leather jacket she wore.

"The food only needs to be taken out of the oven when the timer goes off." Andy added. The girls came running up and after a few goodbyes, all four of them were in the elevator again.

"Where are we going?" Caroline asked when the elevator hit the ground floor.

"There is a park a few blocks away. We'll go there and Patricia can do her business and we'll come back. Dinner is almost ready and it is late, so longer walks will have to wait." Andy said as she guided the girls to the street and then she started to head in the right direction.

"Why don't you have a TV?" Cassidy asked as they walked along, stopping every now and then so that Patricia could check her pee-mail.

"I find the boring. I mean, if there is something I have to watch, I can just get it online. You know? Anyway, I usually barely have time to do what I need to do, so whatever leftover time I have does not have space for TV." Andrea said, glancing around. Night was falling, it would be dark by the time they got back to the apartment.

They walked in silence for the rest of the journey, but it was comfortable and soon they were in the park and Patricia was eagerly sniffing around for a place to do her thing. Andy tuned her senses into the space around them, and mentally willed the twins not to wander too much with the dog.

The girls seemed to sense that this was just a brief sojourn outdoors to tend to the needs of a dog, and soon they were all on their way back to the apartment. Once the door closed behind them, Andy sighed a little in relief.

In the daytime, the girls could walk the dog alone. Andy was wealthy and lived in a good neighbourhood, but she had not come this far by being stupid. In the darkness of an unfamiliar part of the city, all sorts of things could happen and they sure as hell were not going to happen while Andy was around.

By the time they reached the apartment everyone was eager and hungry for dinner, including Patricia. Quickly, Andy unlocked her door and ushered the girls in the followed with the dog.

"Wash your hands!" Andy called after them before she bent to take the leash and collar off the patient St. Bernard at her feet. "Good girl." Andy said, stroking the huge dog absently.

"You're good with children and dogs." Miranda remarked and Andy dragged her attention from the canine to Miranda.

"I had dogs when I was a kid. And I like kids." Andy said, moving towards her bedroom to wash her own hands. Picking up dog waste kind of made it a compulsion, actually.

"Dinner is ready. I am going to get the girls to set the table." Miranda called out and Andy turned to give her a wide smile. "Thanks." Andy said softly, before she moved towards her bedroom.

After washing her hands, Andy discarded her weapons and jacket and shoes and padded her way back into the main portion of her home. The children were setting the table, Patricia was comfortably curled up near the stereo on the cool hardwood floor, and Miranda was bringing food to the table.

It was almost enough to make Andy cry. How had she become this lucky and been granted a lover, a family, a dog. All in one swoop of the hand of fate.


Later that evening, the girls were doing their homework while Miranda sat in the living room going over some papers. Andrea had excused herself to make some calls and was in the bedroom and all was quiet, aside from the sound of music in the background.

The girls had convinced Andy to fire up her impressive stereo system and before long a selection of music very suitable for non-distracting background noise was shuffling in the machine. Miranda conceded that it was actually very soothing.

Glancing up, she spied the gorgeous view from the large windows that graced Andy's apartment. The skyline at night was breathtaking and it made Miranda wonder if there was a way to get to the rooftop. Maybe she would ask Andrea after the girls had gone to bed.

A low buzz sounded and Miranda realised that there was someone at the door downstairs. Andrea emerged from the bedroom and moved to the door. "Emily?" Andrea said into the small device. "Yes." Came a muffled answer and Andrea pressed a button.

As if sensing Miranda's scrutiny, Andrea turned towards her and gave her a brilliant smile that stone Miranda's breath away. Then her lover moved towards the kitchen and filled a kettle to put onto the stove to boil. Miranda watched with interest as a teapot was produced, and the seeming complicated act of making tea was undergone.

Andrea made it look easy though, no doubt she had much practise. Also, Andrea was so very controlled in her movements, so precise. It was fascinating. Not to mention arousing. Miranda could envision those hands on her own body and the thought made her flush slightly.

Seeming to respond to some inner timer, Andrea moved to the door and unlocked it before opening it. Emily stood there with her hand raised to press the doorbell. A slightly shocked look crossed her face before she lowered her hand.

"Come in, Emily. Tea is almost ready." Andrea said softly and stood aside to allow the British woman in. Miranda rose to her feet and moved towards the door.

This was Andrea's home, after all. Miranda would play by her rules. Let it not be said that she did not have manners, after all. "Thank you." Miranda said as Emily handed her the items she had come to deliver.

The poor girl looked somewhat bewildered, but recovered with great aplomb. Andrea guided her in and bade her to sit at the table, which Emily did after only the slightest hesitation. "Are you hungry?" Andrea inquired as she filled a tray with items and moved towards the table with them. Emily just shook her head in wonderment.

On an invisible cue, Miranda also sat down and moments later the three of them were sipping tea. Perfect tea. "Where did you learn to make tea like this?" Emily asked. Miranda smothered a smirk and ignored the question. The girl would learn in time to never underestimate her lover.

"Ah, I once knew someone from England. Also, I spent some time in Japan. So, I can also do a tea ceremony. Helps that I like tea." Andrea said with her voice filled with laughter.

"Can we have some?" Miranda turned and saw that it was Caroline who had spoken with Cassidy trailing behind. "Of course." Andrea said and arranged two more cups on the table. She had obviously anticipated this and prepared for it.

Miranda had learned long ago to never underestimate her lover. Others would learn in time, if they were smart.

When the time came for Emily to leave Andy walked the young woman out of the building and waited at the curb with her until she was safely ensconced in a cab. Emily had said she would ride the subway, but Andy would not hear it. Her apartment and Emily's were far apart.

"Thanks for the tea." Emily had said by way of conversation as they stood in the evening chill. Andy smiled privately to herself. She should make an effort to know this young woman.

It would help to have a friend in Runway, and Emily was so different to both Miranda and herself, that it would probably be fun to know her, just for variety's sake. "No problem. Someday you'll have to let me buy you lunch, or dinner." Andy has said, and then tried not to laugh when it looked like the top of Emily's head was about to come off.

Back in the apartment a few minutes later, Andy cleared up while Miranda put her children to bed and when her lover came out of the room, Andy smiled at her. "Everything ok?" Andy asked, seeing a question in Miranda's eyes.

"The girls would like you to say goodnight to them." Miranda said softly. Andy felt a swell of tenderness and quickly moved to fulfil the request.

When she entered the guestroom, she found the twins in the same bed, no doubt in reaction to the new environment, or because that is what they had decided to do this night. Who knew.

"Hi girls." Andy said in a low voice, sitting on the edge of the bed and looking down at the two sleepy faces.

"You cook really well, Andy." Cassidy said softly, reaching out to take Andy's hand. "And you also make good tea." Caroline added in tandem, reaching to touch Andy's arm.

"Thank you. Now, go to sleep and if you have any problems, your mom and I are just across the living room. If Patricia needs walking during the night, come and wake me and I will go with you. Promise me, ok?" Andy said gently. She received twin nods and whispered goodnights before she rose and left, leaving the door slightly ajar.

"They will be asleep in five minutes." Andy extrapolated when Miranda turned from her work to look at her.

God, she was beautiful. So relaxed, pristine, flawless. Andy sometimes felt that she was falling in love with Miranda Priestly all the time. "Does this apartment building have a rooftop?" Miranda asked out of the blue after a few moments had passed.

"Yes." Andy offered. "Do you want to go and see it? The girls will be fine here and Patricia can stay to watch over them." Andy added, sitting down on the easy chair and observing her lover sprawled out over the sofa with her work in her lap.

"When the girls are more deeply asleep, yes, I would." Miranda answered. Andy nodded and rose to her feet. If she got her briefcase, she could actually get some work done.

Her company was vetting three new applicants and now the resumes had arrived to Andy's desk. The first interview that the applicants had gone through was actually done by an agent posing as a homeless person. Anyone failing to treat the homeless person with the right combination of respect and reserve, would not advance.

After that, a series of tests were conducted. Physical performance, reference checks, background checks. There was a four hour exam to sit which tested aptitude not only in academics, but in real life situations. Upon passing those tests, the first actual interview was conducted.

Five agents would grill the prospective agent for an hour, making them leap mentally. Any crack in their armour, would disqualify them. If they were successful at that, a sixth agent would take them through basic protocol when it came to being interviewed by Andy herself.

Then, Louise would sit in while Andy interviewed them separately. After that, Louise would debrief the candidates, and then they would interview a second time with Andy.

If they succeeded, a one month provisionary period was commenced. It would be renewed each month for a year, depending on the agents performance. After that, a one year contract was drawn up. Upon completion of that contract, they would be signed on as junior agents.

That rank lasted depending on the performance of the agent, but usually by that time, all of Andy's agents were upwardly mobile and not at all staid. There was a reason Andy only supplied the best, that was because she demanded the best.

Turning her attention back to the paperwork in her hands, Andy signed the three contracts and tomorrow the three new agents would commence their duties. It was good to get new blood into the company. When Maria had left, she had taken some of Andy's best agents with her, which was fine.

Andy needed her West Coast Branch to be strong. In time, Andy hoped to send a few more agents over. Eventually she expected to have a dozen on the West Coast, which was a good number to build on.

Turning her attention back to her work, Andy settled into the comfortable silence of the evening and simply gloried in being in the presence of Miranda. Patricia seemed to sense her mood and huffed slightly in what sounded like contentment, before she rolled over and settled back into sleep.

Putting her work away, Miranda stretched. Glancing over at Andrea, she saw that her lover was only somewhat immersed in doing something with her laptop. Good.

Miranda got up and wandered to check on the girls. Glancing into the room, she found them both soundly asleep and decided that now was a good a time as any to go see the rooftop.

"The girls are sound asleep." Miranda said when she came back to the living area. Andrea looked up and smiled, shutting her laptop and then she quickly shuffled her work back into her briefcase.

Miranda followed her example. In a few minutes they were standing by the door and ready to go out. "Don't worry, Miranda. They will be safe." Andrea reassured her. Miranda believed her. She knew that Andrea would never put her children, or any children, in harms way.

Carefully closing the door behind them, Andrea led the way to a another door on her floor and slid a key into the lock. The narrow door opened silently and Andrea led the way up some stairs, before opening another door and then they were on the rooftop.

It was then that Miranda noticed that it was a private rooftop. "I own the whole top floor now, Miranda. Other residents can use the roof, of course, but most of the people in this building have other pursuits of the filthy rich. Most of them own houses as well." Andrea said, seeming to read Miranda's mind with her usual ease.

It was beautiful. Miranda took Andrea's arm and they walked to the fenced edge of the roof and looked over the city. The weather was mild and it was a clear night, which further enhanced the experience. Never mind that Andrea was with her to experience it.

Miranda felt a wash of heat flood her body when she glanced over at Andrea. Suddenly, Miranda wanted her lover, very much indeed. Andrea seemed to sense her perusal and turned to look at her. Framed by the city lights, Miranda could clearly see the answering call in dark eyes.

"Kiss me." Miranda commanded softly.

Andrea responded at once, pulling Miranda even closer and kissing her with reverence, and with passion. Miranda felt dizzy when she tasted tea, breath, and something uniquely Andrea. It was intoxicating, all consuming. Beautiful.

Miranda could feel fingers in her hair, caressing her scalp, pulling on her, demanding from her. Andrea's mouth was hot and wet against her own mouth and for a moment, Miranda felt dizzy as the world spun around her in a kaleidoscope of city lights and sensations.

When they broke apart, both of them were panting. Miranda closed her eyes and tried to gather herself together. This passion. So intense that sometimes Miranda felt like it was going to consume her alive. How exquisite. She could not think of a better thing, actually.

"Come." Andrea said, leading the way off the rooftop and back down the stairs, carefully closing doors behind them.

Then, they were back in the apartment and Patricia came to snuffle them softly before she resumed her sleeping just outside the room that the twins were sleeping in. Miranda pulled herself away from Andrea with difficulty and went to check on the twins once again.

They had not moved. Not that she had expected them to.

Andy lit a few candles that she kept dotted around her room and waited for Miranda to check on her children. It had been a few days since they had spent time alone together. With their hectic schedules and combined workloads, sometimes this happened.

It made Andy wonder if they would, or should, someday actually share an address. If nothing else, they would have each other to hold at night. Still, it was not something to rush into. Miranda had several failed marriages behind her, and Andy had her own share of bad luck romantically. Fools rush in, or something like that.

Still, the accommodations they had both made to their homes had meant that Andy and Miranda were seeing much more of each other than they had before. Miranda was able to work at Andy's apartment, and Andy was able to do the same at Miranda's townhouse.

The girls and the dog seemed to really have taken a shine to Andy and with their self defence training, their unruliness was becoming a thing of the past quite naturally. Miranda herself had mentioned it one evening when Andy had been cradling her head on Andy's sofa while music filled the space around them and they admired the skyline view.

Andy turned when her lover entered the master bedroom, immediately moving towards Miranda and pulling her in for another kiss. Andy's blood felt hot and heavy in her veins and only Miranda would be able to cool her off. Only Miranda had the power to control the supernova of desire that sometimes threatened to consume Andy entirely.

This was because Miranda was the cause of it. Of course.

Miranda responded beautifully to the kiss, her lips opening, mouth delving, tongue searching. It made Andy ache with want. Andy pulled Miranda's blouse free from her skirt, unbuttoning it with practised fingers and easing it off perfect shoulders.

Hunger burned in Andy as she moved her mouth along Miranda's neck down to that perfect shoulder, lavishing it, ravishing it. Miranda pushed herself into Andy, her fingers grabbing, pulling, demanding. The startled gasp in Andy's ear made Andy moan in reaction.

So exquisite. So beautiful. So perfect.

Andy undid the zipper of the skirt, letting it drop to the floor to join the blouse and then she ran her hands up Miranda's back, sensitive fingertips taking in the glorious sensory information as she did. Miranda was so hot, so smooth. A feast for Andy's ravening want.

Feeling Miranda push on her, Andy let herself be walked backwards and sat down on the edge of her bed with Miranda standing in front of her. Pulling her lover close, Andy buried her face into the soft skin just below Miranda's navel.

The tantalising hint of arousal only served to further whet Andy's appetite and when strong hands curled and moved in her hair, Andy found that she could not wait any longer. Easing a finger under the edge of Miranda's panties, Any eased the wisp of lace down. Her mouth followed its path and soon Miranda was shaking and leaning into Andy. It was glorious. Indescribable.

Andy coaxed Miranda to come closer and then eased a finger into her lover, teasing, stroking, revelling. A moment later, she added anther finger, before she added her mouth. Andy knew that Miranda was having a hard time maintaining her footing, but Andy also knew it would lend an edge to the sensations that Miranda was experiencing.

"More." Miranda whispered hoarsely from somewhere above her. Andy carefully slid a third finger into her lover and opened her mouth little wider.

By now, Miranda was leaning heavily on Andy's shoulders, her hips thrusting in time with the movement of Andy's fingers and mouth. Unashamed, she moaned freely, her hands exploring Andy's back while her body soared under Andy's touch.

An abbreviated eternity elapsed and Miranda was coming, her whole body rocking with the force of it. Andy felt short nails dig into her back as Miranda gave herself over to pleasure.

It was glorious...

By the time they had finally fallen asleep that evening, Miranda had spent a great deal of time satisfying her appetites on her lover. Andrea's body was a thing to marvel at. So responsive. She was always ready, provided that she was not too tired. Even when she had been injured, she had been ready. For Miranda...

Miranda found herself awake sometime in the early morning thinking about this as Andrea slept curled up around her. It was somewhat rare for Miranda to be able to catch Andrea asleep, so this was a treat she was not eager to let go of, even if it meant that she herself would lose some sleep in the process.

Making love to Andrea was, Miranda had decided, her most favourite thing to do. In fact doing anything with Andrea was her favourite thing to do. Sometimes, Miranda deeply wished that they were less busy, though. It seemed that lately their schedules had been clashing. Thankfully they had seen more of each other than Miranda had the right to expect.

The girls had taken a real shine to Andrea. For this Miranda was infinitely grateful. She did not want to even think about what it could have been like had this not been the case. Andrea spent time with them when she was over and made efforts to teach them every week in the home gym that Miranda had constructed in her townhouse.

Miranda was still very interested in the promised private lessons that Andrea had offered her some time ago. The idea of wrestling around on some mats with Andrea was strangely appealing. She wondered what it was like to have that power and strength applied to her. She also wondered what sort of power she would be able to have over Andrea.

It was a very compelling thought. Hopefully after this ball was over with, there would be time for such indulgences. Tomorrow, however, they needed to go shopping. Andrea had agreed to allow Miranda to direct some of her wardrobe, hairstyle and makeup, but only some of it. Miranda knew that this was a huge concession from her lover.

It made Miranda feel cherished.

But, not it was time to sleep. Tomorrow would be a long day and there would be vast amounts of things to do. It was best that Miranda try to rest as much as possible. With a sigh, Miranda rolled over and wrapped herself gently around her lover until she was comfortable. Soon the sound of Andrea's breathing lulled Miranda into repose.

Shopping with Miranda...

Andy carefully packed her bag as she thought about it. It had been another long day at the office, but the memories of the morning had made it more bearable than it would have been.

The twins had been delighted to discover that Andy knew how to make pancakes. Patricia had been elated to discover that Andy did not have any regular dog food, but did have some steak. Miranda had just been happy that Andy's coffee maker made coffee that was hot enough to burn a hole through her tongue.

All in all, it had been a great success. But, now came shopping. Andy waved to Louise absently on her way out the door. She wanted to go home and dump off her things and change before seeing Miranda. Right now, she looked like a bodyguard. She wanted to look like a friend, or even lover, when she was out with Miranda.

It made her hackles rise ever so slightly when people assumed that she was Miranda's bodyguard. Of course she was, but she was more than that, had been more than that from the day they had met.

Which reminded Andy that she wanted to stop by the jewellers as well. Andy wanted to give Miranda something unique, something fitting. She only hoped that Miranda would not mind her gesture, and hoped even more that Miranda would wear it to the ball.

Hopping into the shower as quickly as possible, Andy made short work of freshening up and now stood in front of her mirror drying her hair. What would she wear today? She needed to be comfortable, of course, in case it took a long time, but also because she wanted to be relaxed.

But she also wanted to look like she was as wealthy as she was. Miranda looked like a million bucks most of the time. It was only fitting, after all, that Andy would follow suit. Especially as Andy was somewhat sure that where they were going to shop was not exactly down market.

With her hair done, skin moisturised and a light sprinkling of makeup applied, Andy moved to her bedroom and started to get dressed. Lingerie, to start with. She might have to pose for many people in dresses and she did not want to expose too much of her body.

Million bucks or no, scars showed and Andy did not want questions or sympathy because of them. After that, dressing was quick and Andy accessorised carefully before she pulled her hair up into a loose up-do and then pondered how she could carry her weapons. If she could carry them.

Not the gun, too risky if it got lost in a dressing room. But Andy strapped a knife to each ankle and carefully arranged the break of her pants to make them invisible to even a trained eye. Slipping into her coat, Andy put the two halves of a pair of specialised gloves into the pockets and she was ready.

Then it was just a matter of checking watch, wallet, and phone before she grabbed her keys and was off. Leaving her car in the garage, Andy headed to the street and hailed a cab. There was no sense in her even trying to take the car. They would need a driver this time as there was no hope for parking where they might be headed to.

First things first, though. The jewellers...

Miranda was waiting in a very upscale cafe. They had arranged to meet here as soon as possible after work and then it would be time to go and see the many personal shoppers that Miranda had arranged for. Sometimes, it was really good to be wealthy, but it was even better to be Miranda Priestly.

The various design houses and boutiques had fallen over themselves to arrange for anything that Miranda asked for, or thought of, to a spacious and comfortable location where Andrea only had to be. Hopefully her lover would not mind. Miranda was not oblivious as to how exceptional it was that she had been given a free hand in helping Andrea decide what she would wear to the ball.

Moments later, Miranda felt rather than saw Andrea come into the cafe. Looking up, she glimpsed her lover being attended to by the head server of the establishment and a heartbeat or two later Andrea was at their table.

"Cappuccino, please." Andrea ordered and the man scurried off to do her bidding.

It was not surprising. Andrea looked like a million dollars this evening. Obviously she had gone out of her way to dress like a successful and wealthy business woman who was out for a casual evening of shopping. Beautifully tailored slacks and a shimmering silk blouse that Miranda could tell had been made for her were topped by a sprinkling of jewellery that was understated only in its size, not its worth.

The overcoat that Andrea had discarded was clearly another custom item and it showed off more of the very casual way that Andrea carried her status and wealth. Sometimes Miranda almost forgot that her lover matched her not only in temperament, but also in pocketbook.

"Good?" Andrea asked with some amusement sparkling her tone. Miranda fought a blush and nodded slightly.

"You know it is." Miranda replied, eyeing the elegantly shod foot that was resting next to her own.

"I can't really pull off wearing skirts. I mean, I can do dresses and gowns, but not skirts." Andrea extrapolated after her cappuccino had been delivered.

Miranda thought about it. Andrea had a gorgeous body, and had legs and an ass to die for. She would look fabulous wearing a hessian bag. But Miranda supposed that being who she was, as in a bodyguard, meant that skirts were just not practical and her discomfort with them would translate in making them look awkward on her.

It made sense. A gown or a dress was a planned thing, not a daily wear thing, after all...

Taking a sip of her latte, Miranda watched her lover take in the room they were in. It was very subtle, but as Miranda had studied Andrea now for some time, she could see it happen. It somehow thrilled her each time as well. The power of it. The deadliness of her lover, was very compelling after all.

After Andrea finished her coffee, Miranda rose. "Ready?" Miranda could see Roy waiting outside.

"As I'll ever be." Andrea said with a good natured smile. Miranda promised herself that she would do her best to make this as easy as possible for her lover.

She also surprised herself by realising just how much she was looking forward to going shopping with Andrea as well. How lovely a discovery that was.

A few seconds later they were in the car and moving into traffic.

As they pulled up to a location that Andy was actually familiar with, Andy could not help but ogle at her lover a little. It seemed that Miranda was in her element. Fashion and power. No doubt the personal shoppers and private fitting rooms they were about to be surrounded by were offered gratis to her.

Miranda could make or break careers, even a whole business could fall under her crushing blows, should the mood or the need strike her. Others found this to be abhorrent. Andy just though it was sexy...

Nodding her thanks to Roy as he held the car door open for them, Andy walked with Miranda towards the storefront they had stopped at. Immediately the doors were thrown open and what Andy assumed was the owner of the place gushed forth.

A second glance told Andy that she was mistaken. This was a designer. So, Miranda had a designer in mind. Interesting...

"This is Andrea. You will be dressing her tonight. Do not disappoint me." Miranda said and turned slightly towards Andy.

Andy bit back a smile as the man fawned all over her for a little bit, his eyes speculating, measuring, pondering. No doubt. Also, Andy was quite sure the man was wondering just who she was exactly.

"Shall we?" Miranda said and Andy walked with her into the boutique, which was promptly shut behind them and soon she was enclosed in an airy space that smelled of cloth and there was a whiff of expensive perfume in the air as well.

Shrugging out of her coat, Andy handed it off to one of the many assistants that were ready and waiting to cater to their every need and nodded as she was asked if she would care for some champagne. It seemed like a silly proposal, but who was she to refuse.

She was being treated like royalty, something she only rarely allowed, so she might as well throw herself into the experience as much as she could tolerate.

Miranda appeared at her elbow. "Do you want to look around a little before we start?" Andy glanced over at her lover, taking in what she was wearing under her coat. Hmm...

Andy's eyes strayed to her cleavage and she pursed her lips slightly. It seemed that Miranda had dressed to help Andy's mood. It was a nice touch and it was also a touch distracting, but in a delightful way.

"Sure. I mean I don't know anything about fashion, but I know what I like, so if I see something we'll add it to whatever you picked out." Andy smiled as she spoke the words and wondered if the people in this place knew just exactly who she was to Miranda.

There was a difference between dressing someone, and dressing your lover. A huge difference and anyone with half a brain would realise this the moment that Andy started to put clothes on, or saw them interact in a more intimate setting.

While Andrea examined clothes and deftly managed to avoid the irritating hover of many people who wanted to bend over backwards for her, Miranda cornered the designer she had chosen. She hoped that Andrea would approve in the end, as she was about to out herself and though in a few days everyone would know, she did not want this to be for nothing.

"She is my lover." Miranda said when she had the designer's attention. The man did not react at first. Miranda concealed a smirk.

"Your lover?" The man finally said, sounding a little breathless.

"Yes. And before you even think that I am her older, wealthy lover. You should know that she probably has more money than I do." Miranda continued, deciding right then and there to set the record straight.

"I thought about it carefully before I chose you. Not only are your designs acceptable, but you have a reputation that is large enough that even she has heard of you, but you are not common. Do not disappoint me." Miranda said softly. It was one of her more deadly tones.

She meant business after all...

"Of course, Miranda." The man finally breathed, seeming to straighten up his posture and then he walked towards Andrea.

Much better, Miranda mused as she went to check the dressing rooms. There would be hell to pay if they were not up to her standards. Walking into the area, she saw with satisfaction that shoes, accessories, accoutrements, bags and any possible needed thing were laid out, ready.

Even the selections that Miranda had made were there. All that was needed was Andrea. Miranda supposed that her lover was getting over a case of nerves. Though undoubtedly Andrea was used to opulence and personal shoppers, it was not every day that Miranda Priestly took you shopping.

Also, this was significant. In mere days they would be out, for better or worse. Who knew what that would do to their respective reputations, though all in their most intimate circles and work places, knew of course.

Still, there was a difference between those individuals, and the whole world. The only request that Andrea had made, was that she was not prepared to do any interviews, or answer any questions from the press. Miranda and her PR machine were to handle and coordinate everything and go through her lawyers if any details were needed.

It was an entirely reasonable request, especially regarding the nature of Andrea's work. Miranda had laid out a plan of action that would hopefully draw most of the attention to herself, and she was certain that Andrea would be able to handle herself with aplomb.

In some ways, Miranda was looking forward to the ball with great anticipation. In others, she was actually scared. Anything could happen, but hopefully only good things would.

Deciding that she had enough of browsing, Andy walked to the dressing area and prepared to take her clothes off. Miranda would not tolerate too many people ogling at her anymore than Andy would, so she was pretty sure that the various personal shoppers and assistants would be kept at arms bay until needed.

A quick glance at the tables of accessories etcetera, told Andy that the only thing she would be getting from this place was the dress itself. Shoes if necessary. But she would allow the various goodies to be used for effect. It was all kitsch, otherwise.

Miranda turned when she walked in and Andy saw something flicker across her lover's face. In an instant, Andy knew that the designer had been told just exactly who Andrea Sachs was to Miranda Priestly. Interesting. Andy wondered what else, if anything the man knew about her.

"I am ready. I did not see anything that caught my eye, so we'll just try what you selected, Miranda." Andy said as soon as she was close enough to Miranda to not have to speak much louder than a whisper. It was a mostly private statement, after all.

"Alright." Miranda said and without further ado, Andy walked into the spacious dressing room and started to undress. Outside she could hear Miranda giving instructions to the various people who were dancing in her attendance.

It was kind of fun, actually. Andy folded her pants and carefully reached down to release her ankle sheaths, sliding the deadly blades that she wore into her shoes for the time being.

The mirrors in the dressing view offered Andy a panorama of her body that she rarely got to see. While she was examining herself, Miranda spoke just outside the door.

"Ready?" She asked. Andy smiled softly at the almost childlike eagerness that Miranda's voice betrayed.

"For you? Always." Andy playfully replied. The door opened and Miranda stepped in carrying a dress that Andy paid scant attention to.

"Oh my God." The words escaped Miranda's mouth before her lover could stop them.

Andy shivered as Miranda came closer, eyes almost wild as they consumed her. Miranda had never seen Andy in lingerie before. In stockings and garters. The effect that they seemed to be having on Miranda was palpable. Andy felt a wash of heat spread through her body.

Feeling quite thoroughly blown away, Miranda attempted to focus on the task at hand. There were half a dozen people outside listening and waiting.

But, Andrea was exquisite in her silk stockings. In her silk bodice. In silk. The wisps of dark hair that had escaped her up-do were caressing her milky shoulders and making Miranda's hands ache. She wanted to reach over and touch, caress. She wanted to lean over and kiss the patch of skin that was displayed just above the shadows of Andrea's cleavage.

She wanted...

Dark eyes watched her. Miranda could see that Andrea was able to read her thoughts clearly. Obviously she was broadcasting them. Also, Andrea knew her well. Better then she knew herself, actually.

Now was not the time, though. Miranda arranged the dress and waited as Andrea inspected it. It was pure torment to stand and watch her lover take in the garment. She was like a living statue, pure lines, smooth curves. Beautiful.

"I like it." Andrea said as she reached for the garment.

Miranda watched as Andrea took it off the hanger and carefully stepped into it, adjusting the fabric as she eased it up her body. Each whisper of cloth was like a shout to Miranda.

A shout that said: Kiss me. Love me. Touch me. Fuck me.

"Zip me up?" Andrea asked softly.

Miranda knew her lover was more than flexible enough to do this for herself, but who was she to deny them both this?

Moving close, Miranda could now feel the heat from Andrea's skin. Smell her perfume, her lotion, her. It made her mouth water and she was sure that she had begun to sweat at some point.

Forcing herself not to fumble, Miranda reached for the zipper, easing it up the long planes of Andrea's back. Each bite of the zipper seemed to taunt Miranda. Each breath she took was filled with Andrea. It was one of the most erotic moments of her life.

When she was done, she stepped back and took the dress in.

"Oh my..." Miranda breathed.

Andrea was born to wear this dress. It had been Miranda's first pick, it was her favourite. She had been able to tell that it would fit her lover, not only physically either.

Andrea turned to face the main mirror and her movement made Miranda realise something. At some point in time, Andrea had been trained to walk in a dress like this.


There was so much about Andrea's life that Miranda did not know.

"It's perfect." Andrea said softly, looking at Miranda with unreadable eyes.

"But then you knew it would be, didn't you?" Andrea added as an afterthought.

"Yes, I did." Miranda said as she moved closer to her lover once more.

"I have shoes that will match this, but for the designer I should put some on now. Also, I have jewellery, even a bag. I don't want anything but this dress. I do want this dress though." Andrea went on to say, her hands smoothing the delicious fabric.

"Then it is yours." Miranda said.

The dress was perfect. The deep red colour suited Andrea. The elegant line of it showed off her body. When Andrea reached up to pull hair pins from her hair to let her hair cascade down her shoulders, Miranda almost had a heart attack.

"Beautiful." She murmured, unaware that she had spoke aloud.

Dark eyes turned at the words and Andrea smiled a slightly shy smile at Miranda. It made Miranda fall in love with her again.

The designer went mad when Andy stepped from the dressing room and after finding her some suitable shoes, the event was wrapped up with the promise of having the perfectly fitted garment delivered to Miranda's townhouse by tomorrow.

It had been fun, but Andy was more than glad to be getting back into her own clothes. Miranda was arranging the details which allowed Andy to be more efficient. It was nice of her lover to take care of these irksome details for her sometimes. Andy had never been fond of shopping, but Miranda had made it fun.

A final adjustment to ensure that the ornate leather sheaths at her ankles did not show, and Andy was ready. Grabbing her coat she stepped out of the dressing room and into the flurry of fawning assistants. Blah. Andy waved them off gently and with a smile and went to find Miranda.

She wanted to go now. She wanted food and drink, and she wanted Miranda...

Finding her lover finalising details, Andy walked up and nodded at the designer before turning to her lover. "Ready to go?" Andy sincerely hoped that Miranda was ready to go.

"Yes." Miranda said, seeming to read her mood.

"Thank you again." Andy said to the assembled cast to this madness, which earned her a flickering of smiles. Andy assumed they were not used to the rich and famous being so nice to them.

Andy was not famous, not yet anyway.

Feeling Miranda touch the small of her back, Andy stepped forward and they were soon on the sidewalk once more. "Where to?" Andy asked, glancing around for the car as she shrugged into her coat.

"Food would be an idea." Miranda said as she adjusted her clothing.

"Your place or mine?" Andy queries, a wicked smile on her face.

"I have reservations at that steak place you like." Miranda said, her eyes gleaming with a fire that made Andy feel very hot all of a sudden.

That steak place, was in fact one of New York's best restaurants. They did have superb steak, though and it sounded like a good way to finish off their evening.

"You made that fun, thank you." Andy said as they watched the car pull up and Andy reached down to open the door. It was the gentlemanly thing to do, after all.

In many ways Miranda was her queen...

"You made it easy." Miranda said once they had slid into the car and when she leaned into Andy the evening went from good to perfect.

Miranda was not an especially demonstrative person, so Andy soaked up every gesture. They were well suited that way, Andy herself was very reserved, in part due to who she as a person, but also because of what she did.

"Let's go then." Miranda said after a moment and soon they were driving to the aforementioned restaurant.

It was good to be Miranda Priestly at times. Or a lot of the time, actually. When they arrived at the restaurant they were immediately welcomed and ushered in and seated at the best table in the house.

The meal had been excellent, the service impeccable, but now they were on their way to Miranda's townhouse and Miranda just wanted to be there already. It had been a long day and she was tired. Also, she had Andrea to peel out of her delicious lingerie and to consume.

Miranda had every intention of devouring her lover tonight. Memories of her in the dress, in the flesh, in silk stockings, made Miranda hunger to be home and in bed with Andrea.

Thankfully they were almost there...

When Roy pulled up to the curb, Miranda practically leapt out of the car and thankfully Andrea followed quickly. It only took moments for them to open the door and enter the house and finally they were alone.

It was late and the girls were in bed, but Miranda's babysitter was still around, so she would need to be dismissed before anything could happen. Thankfully the woman appeared quickly and after a few words were exchanged, they were truly the only ones awake in the house.

Miranda turned to look at Andrea, dropping all her masks and shields as she did. "I want you." Miranda whispered, grabbing the lapels of Andrea's jacket and pulling her forward.

The kiss was demanding, hungry, almost desperate in its intensity. Andrea responded beautifully, at once. Her arms went to Miranda's hair and she opened her mouth, taking Miranda in. It was heady and Miranda actually felt a little feint.

When they parted, Miranda was gasping for breath and Andrea was panting. They really did need to make an effort to make it to the bedroom, just in case the girls woke up.

"You go check the girls, I will see you in the bedroom." Andrea said seeming to read Miranda's mind as usual.

"Don't you dare undress." Miranda said as she turned to walk up the stairs. She was sure she heard a small chuckle as she climbed.

Andrea would pay for that...

It only took Miranda a couple of minutes to check on her daughters and on her dog and when she arrived to the bedroom, Andy knew that Miranda was going to make her scream tonight.

She just knew it...

Miranda did not pause in her intent and after closing the bedroom door, she advanced on Andy. It was fucking sexy and Andy felt pinned like a butterfly in a display case, helpless and unable to escape her fate. Thankfully her fate was going to be much nicer than that of said butterfly, but the feeling was still there.

Miranda's normally aquamarine eyes resembled sapphires now. They were dark, and sparking with secrets, with lusts. Miranda grabbed her and pulled her into a kiss. Andy felt her blood boil and roil in her veins as they fought for dominance with the kiss.

Feeling hands on her shirt, Andy was unable to suppress a gasp a few moments later when Miranda tore it open, her impatient hands working on the fastenings of her pants in the moment after.

"Take your shoes off." Miranda growled into one of the endless successions of kisses that they were sharing. Andy readily complied, her own hands making short work of Miranda's clothes as she did.

When Andy was reduced to nothing except her lingerie and stockings, Miranda stepped back from her, looking at her with ravenous eyes. The hunger in them made Andy shiver slightly.

"I want you, Andrea. You drive me crazy sometimes." Miranda whispered as she came close once again, her hands caressing over the silk of Andy's bra.

Andy could only moan as that talented mouth descended on her neck, she leaned her head back and put her hands on Miranda's shoulders, giving her body to her lover. Wanting Miranda to consume her, fuck her, make love to her.

Miranda did not disappoint and a moment later, Andy felt the scant lace of her panties moved aside and Miranda was filling her, one finger, then two, then three. All the whole Miranda's mouth worked on her neck, licking, sucking, kissing.

When Miranda moaned her pleasure directly into Andy's ear, it was like someone had set Andy on fire. Arching and thrusting into Miranda's touch and body, Andy gave herself over to sensation, to feeling.

To lust...

When Andrea's teeth closed on her shoulder, Miranda did not spare any thought as to if she would need to wear concealing makeup at the ball, rather, she felt wild inside. Andrea was normally so controlled, so measured and reserved. To know that she could drive her lover to the point where she would lose control was an intoxicating power.

Miranda would never get enough of it, ever. Right now, Andrea was gasping as she rode Miranda's fingers, her breaths coming in short bursts as strong fingers clawed at Miranda's back. Andrea was muttering incoherently into Miranda's ear. Each word was a symphony of sensation and of sex for Miranda. She was addicted.

Nothing else in her life, not Runway, not the book, could compare to this. Her skin felt as if it might catch fire. Like she might have an orgasm simply from standing here and fucking Andrea against the wall. It was exquisite and then when Andrea started to have an orgasm, Miranda felt the savage and primitive power of it wash over her.

Determined to drive Andrea past the brink, Miranda bit down on her lover's shoulder, timing it carefully, perfectly...

Andrea screamed.

A wave of pleasure washed over Miranda at the sound of it, not quite an orgasm but close enough to one to qualify. Magnificent, Andrea was simply magnificent.

"I love you." Miranda whispered into a delicate ear as Andrea finally stilled, her whole form almost crumpled against Miranda's.

"Me too." Andrea murmured, her voice a breathy whisper of itself.

Guiding Andrea away from the wall, Miranda pushed her down onto the bed, pleased when Andrea fell boneless and without resistance. Quickly, Miranda pulled off what remained of her own clothes and then knelt by the bed.

Reaching up, she started to ease a stocking off Andrea's leg, kissing the elegant stretch of skin as she went. Andrea stirred under her touch, mumbling something into the quiet room. They were both breathing heavily but otherwise there was no sound.

The other stocking was also removed before Miranda eased Andrea's ruined panties off. In moments she was naked, her bra tossed aside as well. Miranda found that she was still hungry. Hungry for Andrea.

Leaning in, Miranda gently parted strong thighs and nestled her body between them, leaning down to kiss the smooth abdomen so close to her mouth. The muscles twitched under her touch.


Andy arched up when she realised what Miranda was about to do. After the mind numbing orgasm she had just experienced, she was pretty sure she was spent at least for the next little while, but Miranda it seemed had other ideas.

The though of it sent a brand new wave of arousal coursing through Andy's body. To have all of Miranda's power, determination and focus directed at her like this was just so erotic and it turned Andy on beyond measure. Also, the knowledge that only she got to see this side of the all powerful and feared Miranda Priestly drove her wild.

"Hurry." Andy said when Miranda would have delayed.

Suddenly Andy could not wait to feel Miranda's mouth on her and true to form, Miranda did not disappoint. However, Andy could feel another orgasm arriving at breakneck speed and before she had time to process it she was indeed coming again.

Oh my God.

Feeling her brain short out, Andy was engulfed by pleasure. Hearing Miranda moan only added to it. Moments, or lifetimes later, Andy was finally still. Miranda was resting her head on Andy's hipbone and for the moment, the only movement and sound was the two of them breathing.

It did not last long, though. Andy roused herself and sat up, urging Miranda onto the bed. Now it was her turn to have her wicked way with her lover, and any delays were simply no longer acceptable. Not for Andy anyway.

Rolling then over so that Miranda was on top of her, Andy moaned openly when Miranda straddled her hips, her back arching as she ground herself into Andy. The sight of it was beautiful, breathtaking. It made Andy feel feint, actually.

But now was not the time to delay. Miranda was obviously aroused beyond all measure. Andy eased her hand into the space between their bodies and caressed gently. Miranda fell forward and caught herself with her hands before kissing Andy and pushing down onto her hand.

Fuck yes!

Andy pushed with her hand and her hips and Miranda moaned into the kiss, her breathing erratic and her movements beginning to be frantic. She was so close and Andy could not wait to see her come. Could not wait to feel her come. Adding another finger, she moved her own hips again and Miranda's movements became disjointed.

"Come for me, Miranda." Andy urged gently, kissing the edge of her lover's jaw as she spoke the words.

Miranda did, melting against Andy, moaning, moving. Her whole body clenched around Andy, enveloping Andy in a tidal wave of beauty and sensuality. Miranda's fingernails dug into Andy's shoulders and she collapsed against Andy, breathing hard.

Exquisite, was the only word that Andy could think of, and even it was not really adequate to describe the situation. Words alone could not define Miranda Priestly, after all...

The day before the ball, Miranda found that she was utterly buried in work. Even though Emily and her second assistant were bending over backwards to ensure that everything went right, there was simply so much going on that it was making Miranda crazy.

Tomorrow, she would need to leave work early to be at her townhouse to get ready. The girls had asked very nicely if they could watch the process and with Andrea's blessing, Miranda had acquiesced. Andrea would also be arriving at the townhouse to get ready. Her dress was there and she had assured Miranda that she had shoes and accoutrements that would match it perfectly.

Right now however, Miranda felt the beginnings of a headache at her temples and was pretty much certain that the next person to ask her a stupid question would get thrown out of her office via the plate glass windows that overlooked the city.

Feeling presence enter her office, Miranda looked up impatiently before almost dropping her pen. "Andrea?" She said. Her lover was standing in front of her, a bag in her hands and a smile on her face.

"Come with me." Andrea said simply. Something about the way she said it disarmed Miranda and she rose to follow without hesitation.

"Emily, I can be reached on my phone if necessary. That's all" Miranda said as she moved up to walk with her lover through the runway offices.

Andrea took a detour into a nook of the offices and a little while later, opened a door that Miranda was pretty sure she had never really looked into before. A tiny space was revealed, with a small table and two chairs. It was bare otherwise, but it had a fabulous view.

"Why isn't this space in use?" Miranda asked.

"No power. No nothing, and just too small. I found it when I was here the first time." Andrea said, pulling out a chair for Miranda and moving to sit in the other chair.

Reaching into her bag, she first pulled out a beautiful red rose in a simple vase and set it on the table. Then she withdrew two wrapped packages and two covered cups.

"Not very elegant, I am afraid, but it is the best I could do on such short notice." Andrea offered as she handed Miranda some napkins and smiled.

Miranda felt her heart melt a little. Andrea was a romantic, it was so sweet, and somehow not at all cloying. "It's perfect." Miranda said, and it was.

Unwrapping her package, she felt her stomach rumble in anticipation and looked up at Andrea with curiosity. "I know a lot of people, Miranda. They might not be in fashion, but they do know how to make the best food on the East Coast." Andrea said by way of explanation.

"I can see that." Miranda said, eagerly picking up the sandwich, or well, ambrosia filled bread, that she had been offered.

Taking a bite was almost orgasmic and Miranda did not hide her appreciation, much to the delight of Andrea, who was watching her with an intense expression in her face. When Miranda licked her lips, she saw a flicker of heat pass over Andrea's face. It was very satisfying, to know she had this effect on the beautiful woman before her.

When Miranda was done eating, she reached for her cup and opened the lid curiously. Andrea smiled and took a sip of her own drink. "Try it." She offered, something enigmatic in her tone.

Never one to balk at a challenge, Miranda did. "It's sun tea." Andrea said when Miranda looked up at her in surprise.

"You put what you want in a large glass jar with a lid, add cold water and leave it in the hot sun, inside or outside. There is something beautiful and peaceful about it." Miranda listened to Andrea speak and had a flash of inspiration.

"You made this." Miranda knew it was true as soon as she said it.

"Yes, I did." Andrea said softly. "Do you feel better now?" Andrea asked as she started to clear the table of debris.

"You know I do." Miranda replied. And she did. Perhaps the rest of today would be more bearable. Andrea had that effect on her...

Andy arrived back at work in good time and sought out her second in command first thing. She had a favour to ask of the woman and wanted to get her answer as soon as possible.

"Louise, you have five minutes, I need to ask you a question." Andy asked as she arrived at her employees office.

"Sure thing, Andy." Louise said at once and Andy moved into the office and sat down.

"You busy tomorrow? I mean starting in the afternoon and going possibly until dawn, depending." Andy asked immediately. She and Louise were friends and the woman was settling into her position very well.

"No." Louise said after a pause where she was obviously consulting her mental calendar.

"I need to hire you to act as my chauffeur and bodyguard. Or rather, chauffeur and bodyguard for myself and for Miranda. Starting when I arrive at her place, and ending whenever the night is done." Andy said in response.

Louise was silent, obviously asking for elaboration.

"The Ball is tomorrow and I am attending as Miranda's significant other. In a gown and heels, I can't very well kick ass as well as I might need to, and it would be unseemly anyway. I am supposed to be her date, you know?" Andy added, folding her hands over her chest and forcing herself to relax.

Just for an instant, she wished Maria was still here, but she was determined that Louise would become just as good and she needed to trust her implicitly for that to happen.

"No problem." Louise said without any hesitation. Andy relaxed slightly for real.

"I'll draw up a thirty-six hour contract for you." Andy said after a period of silence. "I want to do this by the book, so that if there are problems you are covered. Also, I just want it all to go right and be right." The words were true. Andy desperately wanted things to go right tomorrow night.

"You'll be great. You can't be anything but great, Andy." Louise said and sensing that things were done, rose to her feet with Andy quick to follow.

"Just make sure that whoever you leave in charge, won't spill beer into our servers." Andy joked. No doubt Louise would leave two agents in charge, to ensure a back up plan was also in place.

Her task done, Andy moved back to her office and got ready to basically not be at work tomorrow. She would need to leave at noon, pretty much. Go home, shower, get some things, have Louise bring a car and then the madness would begin.

While she remembered, she wrote Miranda a text message telling her that she would provide car and driver for the evening. She did not think Miranda would mind, or that Roy would for that matter...

Andrea was due to arrive within the hour. She had promised that she would arrive no later than four in the afternoon and if there was anything about Andrea that was predictable, it was that she was punctual to a fault and always did as she said she would.

They would need to eat, but nothing too filling, and nothing that would make them bloat. Emily was on hand should Miranda, or conversely Andrea, need anything while they were getting ready. Emily would be attending the event with Miranda, but separately. Miranda had learned long ago to never go to any large gathering without her best assistant with her.

It helped that Emily was very easy on the eye and knew how to dress, therefore she would not stand out. But, now was not the time to concern herself with these matters.

Clothes, makeup, hair. Andrea had said she would arrive freshly showered and wearing no makeup, with her hair natural. The thought of it sent a lazy swirl of arousal circling Miranda's body. In truth, she would just as eagerly be throwing Andrea into bed and making love to her for the evening.

The downstairs door opened, and Miranda knew that Andrea had arrived. In her bathrobe, Miranda moved to the landing and made her way down the stairs. She caught Andrea while the other woman was still making her way through the hallway.

She was in faded jeans and a tee shirt, her feet encased in sneakers. Behind her, was Louise, who looked every bit the bodyguard she was acting tonight, but with much more expensive clothes than average and an almost regal air about her.

"Louise. Please make yourself at home. Emily is around here someplace if you want some company, though she may have to dash off at any time. If you are hungry, thirsty, my kitchen is yours." Miranda said by way of greeting and grabbed her friend's hand warmly.

She was rewarded with a rare smile and a nod, and Louise quickly made herself scarce, obviously understanding the need to be out from underfoot until needed.

"Andrea." Miranda said to her lover, feeling a sharp stab of arousal in her lower abdomen. It was mixed with a healthy dose of anxiety as well.

"I have all the stuff I need here, but I left hair and makeup things for you to provide." Andrea replied, pointing at a bag at her feet and moving to embrace Miranda.

Those strong arms felt heavenly around her, and Miranda breathed in the scent of her lover. Shampoo, lotion, perfume, and something unique to Andrea. The scent was at once heady, but also very comforting. It calmed her, and made her feel safe.

"We should eat something first, try to relax for a few minutes. They are still setting things up, and we have some time before we need to start getting ready." With the words, Miranda pulled on her lover's hand and walked her to the kitchen.

"Sounds good to me." Andrea said softly, nuzzling into Miranda's neck and sighing as Miranda ran her fingers through the soft, soft hair that spilled over her arms.

It was another perfect moment in a long line of perfect moments with Andrea...

After having some tea and some food, they had talked for a while before it had been time to ascend the stairs and for the primping to begin. When they arrived to the floor where Miranda had her bedroom and private study, Andy became aware of the other people in the house.

A hairstylist, a makeup artist. There was also a dresser. In all, the ingredients needed to make sure that both she and Miranda were perfectly coiffed for the evening. Andy sighed silently, but did not show her slight discomfort. This was for Miranda, and she would do it without complain.

Andy opened the bag she had brought with her and pulled out the shoes and clutch she would wear, along with a few jewellery boxes and other odds and ends. The dress did not allow her to wear any weapons on her person, so she would have to rely on her own body and on Louise.

That was ok, it was not the first time, nor would it be the last time, that she was in this situation. Slipping her ID, a small fold of bills and VISA card with a ten thousand dollar limit on it into her clutch, she reminded herself to add a compact and lipstick later. When she knew what she was wearing for the evening.

Walking into Miranda's closet, Andy put the rest of her person effects and her weapons into the safe and closed it, twirling the lock. Now it was time for her to submit to having her hair done. Pulling one of her shirts from the rack in front of her, Andy shrugged out of her tee shirt and slid it on. It would make dressing easier, later.

Back in the bedroom, she found Miranda with the makeup artist, and so she walked over to the hairstylist and sat down.

"Just some sort of elegant up-do. Not too much fuss, or too many things, ok?" Andy said. She really could not see herself abiding with anything too elaborate, and anyway, the dress demanded a certain degree of simplicity.

The stylist nodded and soon Andy was being primped over and she was left to her own thoughts. It had been a long time since she had been to an event such as this as a guest versus a bodyguard. She forced herself to relax and ran a mantra through her head as she meditated past having a stranger fuss over her hair.

An indeterminate amount of time passed and the stylist asked her to take a look. Opening her eyes, Andy could not help the smile that appeared on her face.

"Thank you, it's beautiful. Perfect." The smile the stylist gave her at the words was beatific. Andy relaxed some more and rose to her feet, turning to find Miranda standing behind her with an unreadable expression on her face.

"Andrea. You could go to this event dressed as you are, and you would steal the show." Andy glowed at her lover's words. "Thank you." Andy replied and moved towards the bathroom. She needed to use the facilities before too much else happened and it was not likely that interrupting the makeup artist was a good idea.

She also needed a few minutes to herself.

Miranda was distracted while Andrea was being subject to the whims of the makeup artist. Her lover had been very firm about the fact that she only wanted a minimum of makeup. Not that she needed much, or any makeup really.

When the makeup artist had moved to apply concealer to a scar on Andrea's upper body that would be visible in the dress, Miranda had felt angry. The scar was part of who her lover was, it was not ugly, it was Andrea. Miranda could recall many times running her tongue along the oversensitive skin, feeling Andrea writhe beneath her.

"Use the concealer on blemishes only." Miranda had said, before she could stop herself. Not that Andrea was blemished in any way, but sometimes she had bruises from training and not everyone had perfect skin all of the time, after all.

The makeup artist had given her a surprised look, but Andrea had looked at her in the mirror and for a moment, Miranda had thought that her lover might cry. How extraordinary...

Now they were both being given some breathing space to put on their own lingerie and talk while the hairstylist and makeup artist left. Needed samples were tucked into clutches and Miranda made a mental note to give Louise her key so that they would be able to enter the townhouse when the day was done.

After determining that Emily could be released to get ready for the evening, Miranda had called her daughters in to have a look at the progression of the transformation.

Looking at Andrea standing in stockings and wearing one of her shirts open in the front had caused Miranda to almost cancel the evening. Under that shirt, Andrea was encased in a corset, that was designed not to suppress extra flesh, but to enhance Andrea's already generous curves.

Miranda decided then and there that it was a sad thing that the world of fashion would possibly reject Andrea as one of their own. She was singularly one of the most beautiful and exquisite women, no, humans, that Miranda had ever known.

The girls were suitably impressed and had showered them with questions before the time came for them to dress. The girls would see the final product before they left, of course. But now it was time to make that final product happen.

"Miranda." Andrea said before Miranda could call the dressers in.

Curious, Miranda moved towards her lover.

"This is for you." Andrea whispered once Miranda had gotten close.

She handed Miranda a box. A Jewellery box, a ring box to be precise. What on earth? Rather than gaping, Miranda opened the box and looked inside with an eagerness she had probably never felt before when being offered jewellery.

Nestled in the box was, what could be considered a very simple ring. But Miranda had a trained eye and she knew that this was not the case, not at all. It was a gold band, white, rose and yellow gold combined, and hammered by hand. Narrow, elegant. And it was studded along its length with precious stones.

It looked like an artistic representation of a galaxy, actually. And it would fit the ring finger of her right hand, it seemed. Miranda pulled the ring from the box and held it in her hand. It was solid made of 24 carat cold. It was obviously a custom piece at that.

"Who made this?" Miranda asked as she slid the ring onto her finger, feeling its weight for a moment, before it blended into her hand and the ring warmed up.

"Someone I know. I'll tell you about him another time. I think the dresser is going to riot if we don't let her in soon." Andrea said in her enigmatic way.

"Yes, we will discuss this later, Andrea. Thank you, though. It is simply beautiful. It reminds me of the universe, or a galaxy." Miranda said as she walked to the bedroom door and opened it up, calling to the dresser who was waiting somewhat impatiently.

"Well, giving you the real thing would be kind of complicated, but let me work on that." Andy said, a smile in her voice.

Miranda decided that not only was she with the most beautiful of women, she was also with a woman whose concept of romance was unparalleled. When had she become so lucky?

It was time to go...

Andy walked down the stairs to the first floor in search of Louise. The bodyguard had been sequestered on the bottom floor doing paperwork the last that Andy had heard.

Miranda's housekeeper had been keeping her in snacks and drinks, as well. Which was nice. It was unlikely that Louise would have eaten much though, as she would need to be unhindered and sharp this evening.

Finding her friend and employee sitting in the kitchen reading a book, Andy cleared her throat. Louise's head whipped up and then her mouth dropped open.

"Holy shit." Louise whispered and Andy fought the urge to squirm. Still, it was a nice assessment.

"Miranda is coming and she is very impatient, me being her lover and you being her friend, notwithstanding. Just so you know." Andy teased and pulled her wrap around her shoulders.

"Stop staring. I can still kick your ass, even in these heels." Andy added when Louise had failed to blink for a while.

"Andy. You're fucking gorgeous. You know that?" Louise said in a rare moment of candour and then as Andy watched, her professional mask fell into place seamlessly.

No doubt it would crack when she saw Miranda depending on her lover's mood, but even so, Louise was brash enough and friendly enough with Miranda that she would tell her what she thought at some point.

Miranda chose that moment to sweep into the room, and Andy fought to breathe. Gorgeous, just gorgeous.

Glancing at Louise, Andy saw her eyes bug out a little. "Louise thinks you are hot enough to melt tarmac, Miranda, but she is in bodyguard mode, so she won't say it right now." Andy translated as the three of them left the kitchen.

They had already said goodbye to the girls earlier. Now it was time to go and Andy felt the nervous flutter of anticipation coil around her lower abdomen as they left the townhouse and got into the car.

Hot enough to melt tarmac?

Miranda fought the urge to smile as she sat in the back of the limousine with Andrea. No doubt Andrea's ability with metaphors had played a part in that statement, but still, it was amusing and delightful.

Hoping that the rest of the evening would be equally lighthearted and delightful, despite the fact that it would probably not be, Miranda focused on her lover instead.

Andrea was beautiful. The deep red colour of the gown she wore set off her pale skin and made her eyes seem like they were molten chocolate. Her makeup and hair were perfect. Elegant, minimalist...

Her accessories were resplendent. Nothing obscured her throat, but her ears had diamonds in them, as did one of her wrists and what looked like a signet ring adorned one of her fingers. It made Miranda realise that as much as she knew about Andrea, she did not know nearly enough.

"Tell me about your ring." Miranda said, taking Andrea's hand and running her fingers along the elegant bones of it. The ring was solid gold and from where she sat, Miranda could see that it was engraved with an actual seal.

"I suppose I am European nobility. My family blends well, but an ancestor was the black knight. So, when I turned eighteen this ring was made for me. I even have a title." Andrea said softly, running her fingers along Miranda's hands. "But I prefer just to be Andy Sachs, even though it is important to me, does mean something to me." Andy added.

Miranda did not know what to think or say. A title? "Will you tell me more?" She did not want to press, but she desperately wanted know.

"Of course. I will let you read the papers that tell the whole story, much better than I could." Andrea replied at once. Miranda doubted that some dusty old papers could tell a story better than Andrea could.

"Alright. However, what is your title?" Miranda hoped that Andrea would answer her question.

"Marquise." Andrea answered.

That told Miranda something, Andrea was at least in part, French. How interesting this development was, and it went a long way to explain the noble baring of her lover.

"May I use it to introduce you, or are you incognito all of the time?" Miranda asked, knowing that Andrea would realise that she was only talking about this night. Not other times.

"Yes, but only when it is suitable." Andrea said with a warm smile and Miranda smiled back. It was very gratifying that Andrea trusted her to know when it was suitable, and when it is was not suitable.

Miranda settled back into the seat and gathered her focus. She would need it the moment they stepped out of the limousine...

The car rolled to a stop and Louise opened the privacy shield, glancing back at Andy. It was time.

"Ready?" Andy asked Miranda. This was it. The moment they stepped out of the car would mean that they were officially out.

"Yes." Miranda said, and Andy nodded at Louise who quickly stepped out of the car and came to open the door.

Miranda accepted the offered hand and stepped onto the curb and the noise level immediately went up and Andy could see flashbulbs going off like crazy.

Taking Louise's hand, Andy exited the car, becoming The Marquise Andrea Sachs in that moment, and putting aside her preferred self, that of Bodyguard Andy Sachs, for the time being.

Miranda turned and offered her arm and Andy took it, nodding briefly to Louise. Her bodyguard would ditch the car and join them as soon as possible. Right now hired hands were keeping order on the red carpet and that would be sufficient, for now anyway.

It was surprisingly easy to slip back into her birthright and Andy had no trouble navigating the carpet in her heels and gown. She had requested that Miranda take charge of this segment of the proceedings, as she did not want to be involved anymore than she had to.

Andy watched as Miranda smoothly navigated the bedlam and knew that her lover was actually very diplomatically avoiding any engagement with the press, merely stopping them every now and then so that photographers could take pictures.

It was a fashion event, after all. Andy was not concerned. In these clothes, made up and with her hair like this, she looked nothing like her professional self, so only the very few and very observant would make the connection.

It of course, helped that Miranda was utterly devastating in her gown. A shimmering black number that accentuated her figure, her flawless skin, her hair. Andy wanted to eat her alive, to be honest. It was a pleasant distraction, especially when Miranda was forced to stop at the very end of the red carpet.

If she did not, the rumour mill would be especially cruel in the morning...

"Miranda! Miranda! Who is your date tonight?" The clamour of the reporter's question grated on Miranda's nerves. But if she avoided this particular reporter, then tomorrow's tabloids would be outrageous.

At least this was a reputable broadcaster.

"This is Andrea." Miranda said, enunciating herself carefully.

"Is she a friend?" Came the rapid fire question.

"No." Miranda answered. It was only a small lie, Andrea was her friend after all.

A few more questions followed and Miranda deftly deflected them onto other things. The reporter quickly realised that whatever story he hoped to get a scoop on, was not going to happen right now, especially with security looking very edgy.

Finally, they arrived at the doors of the building and moved in as they were opened before them. "That went well." Miranda suggested as Andrea took in the room before them. It was teeming with people.

"Much better than I have seen on many other occasions." Andrea agreed. "Emily is over there with Louise." Andrea added and Miranda glanced in the direction that her lover had indicated.

Neither bodyguard or assistant stood out especially much and Miranda found herself inordinately pleased by that. Louise was stylish and elegant in her expensive suit. Emily, was, well. Emily. It worked for her and secretly Miranda was very pleased that her assistant had the guts to be herself. So few did in this world, after all.

Miranda had a sudden premonition that it was going to be a successful evening. Now it was time to mix and mingle and Miranda felt nothing but pride as she guided her beautiful lover into the throng of people. There was no going back.

There was no way to un-ring a bell, after all...

It had begun. A steady procession of people, couples, singles, groups, sought out Miranda. Without fail, Miranda introduced Andy as her associate, companion, friend, or lover. Sometimes, Miranda used her name and title, other times, just her first name, or first and last name.

To Andy's trained eye, Miranda had an uncanny knack of knowing just how much to reveal to anyone in particular. Of course, if they were to get together and compare notes, it could become a rather frantically odd game of Chinese Whispers, but Andy was not concerned. In the end, the people here were not as concerned with Andy as they were with Miranda.

This suited Andy just fine. Her family had plenty of practise in how to remain low profile. French nobility surviving the French Revolution, had to. Some of the success came from the fact that her primary noble ancestor was a black knight. He had married a landless Lady and well, eventually Andrea Sachs had been born into the world.

Contrary to popular notion, Andrea had not been born in Ohio. She had moved there later in life, that was all. But, now was not the time to digress into her personal history. She was here to be with Miranda, right now, in the present.

Nigel, one of Miranda's closest confidants and most trusted employees had just sidled up to them and a mostly pleasant light hearted conversation was being conducted. Pleased despite herself to be complimented on how she looked, Andrea had to suppress her smile when Nigel told her that she carried herself beautifully, like she was born to wear a gown.

If only he knew...

Feeling rather than seeing Louise move about in the periphery of the room, Andy found that she felt remarkably relaxed and safe with her most competent agent on her own personal case. It had been a good decision to make. She also knew that Emily was in the vicinity as well, always ready to react to any hint that Miranda needed or wanted anything at all.

They had to be here at least another hour, or it would be unseemly. However, Andy was more than ready to go. Better not show it too much though, many eyes were watching and looking for any hint of weakness.

Feeling Miranda's arm slip into hers, Andy focused her attention back on her lover and found herself face to face with of all people, Stephen, Miranda's ex-husband. Or one of them anyway.


"Miranda." Stephen said by way of greeting. He reeked of booze and Andy fought with herself not to tense into bodyguard mode.

"Stephen. Who let you in?" Miranda said, her voice dripping with scorn, even though it was perfectly neutral and pleasant sounding. Andy was just used to interpreting every nuance that was Miranda.

Damn it. Why had he been invited? Why had she not been told? Someone was getting fired tomorrow, even if this did not turn into a debacle. How excruciatingly unfortunate.

Miranda could feel Andrea tense beside her, then relax at the same time. No doubt her lover could interpret and predict the actions of a drunken and angry ex better than Miranda could.

"I could ask you the same thing, Miranda. A little young for you, isn't she?" Stephen asked, his words slightly slurred.

Oh no he didn't. Miranda felt something hard and deadly bloom inside of her. He would pay. First order of business would be a note from her lawyers, a friendly reminder of their agreement to be amicable with each other. However, privately Miranda intended to eviscerate him and his reputation.

It would be subtle, and effective. He would never even know that she had done it. Excellent.

"Never mind him, Miranda. He is just jealous. His only company is Wild Turkey. Now come, there are some very famous looking people over there who look like they are just dying to talk to you about shoes." Andrea said smoothly. Only supreme self control stopped Miranda from letting out a snort of laughter.

"Why you little bitch." Stephen said, taking a step towards them, his face purpled with rage.

Before his foot even touched the floor, Louise was between them. She did something that Miranda did not see, and a moment later was escorting a very cooperative Stephen away from them. Outwardly it merely looked like a friend was taking care of a drunken friend, but Miranda knew there was more to it.

"What did she do?" Miranda asked as they walked towards the very famous people that Andrea had mentioned.

"She has his fingers in a lock. Either he comes along nicely, or he risks a break or a sprain. It leaves no marks unless he struggles, and he may be an ass, but I doubt you married a stupid man, Miranda." Andrea replied, stopping a server to snatch a couple of glasses of champagne from them.

Miranda nodded slightly and then looked around for Emily. Her assistant appeared almost before she had finished the thought. "See to it that Stephen is removed from the event. Nicely. We don't want to give anyone fodder." Miranda said softly. It was true. The event, Miranda, and Stephen by association, did not need the publicity.

"Also, see to it that my lawyer has a note drafted for his lawyer by morning reminding Stephen of the terms of our divorce." Miranda added in a stream of quick words. Emily nodded and moved away to do her bidding.

Glancing at Andrea, Miranda decided that they would stay just barely another hour and then make their way home. Though she was holding up well, Miranda was tired of being here and not for the first time, wished that she did not have to attend these events. It would be different if this was purely for pleasure.

Alas, it was not, it was also for business. That was the annoyance. Maybe they could all go on vacation sometime soon. She, the girls, the dog and Andrea, that is. Perhaps to a beach someplace where they could all relax and be out of the spotlight and the many stresses of work and life for just a little while.

First however, there was this ball to get through...

It was time to go. Miranda was saying her goodbyes and Andy was at her side, counting down the minutes until they were back in the car. Her feet hurt and she was quite fed up with making nice. This whole event had reminded her why she had chosen to follow her heart versus her heritage.

As they walked to the door, assistants rushed to fetch them their wraps and some moments later the blinding glare of flashbulbs were their sole company as they walked to the curb. Magically and true to her training, Louise pulled up right on time and leapt out of the limo to open the door for them, and then, mercifully, there was silence and privacy once more.

"Louise." Miranda said as they pulled away from the curb into the traffic.

The woman looked up into the rearview mirror briefly. "Yes?" Came the answer. Andy saw her employee touch her ear. Obviously reporting in.

"Thank you." Miranda continued, her voice heartfelt. Louise's eyes smiled in the mirror and then she raised the privacy shield.

"Finally." Andy said softly, kicking her shoes off and leaning back into the seat. "Tell me we don't have to do something like this again for at least a few weeks." She added.

Miranda chuckled and shook her head. "No. Not for a while. But not everything is so high brow." Miranda said and reached for Andy's hand.

"It went well." Andy reassured her lover. It had gone well, asshole Stephen aside. Andy did not get any bad vibes from anyone she had met and knew that between her own lawyers and Miranda's, anything nasty could be cleared up quickly enough.

Sometimes it was fun to be rich and powerful.

"Yes, it did." Miranda answered. "You have a lot of practise with this sort of thing. I can see in how you move, how comfortable you are with the clothes." Miranda said pointedly in continuation of her previous thought.

Miranda missed very little. "Yes. I have a lot of practise with this sort of thing, Miranda. I grew up with it in many ways." It was true. Even as she said the words, Andy knew that she would tell Miranda things that no one else knew.

"My family tried to make life as normal as possible for me when I was a kid. But normal is relative, as you know." Miranda nodded her understanding, indicating that she knew Andy was talking about the twins.

"My money is my own, Miranda. My family was never rich, just noble. Each generation had to make itself, as though we are old money, all the money was long gone long ago." Andy said after a short period of silence. It somehow seemed important to make sure Miranda knew that she was a self-made woman.

"I had figured that out." Miranda said and hoisted herself to sit next to Andy, leaning into her comfortably.

"I can't wait to get home." Miranda sounded tired, actually. Not especially surprising. This whole party had to be draining to arrange, and add the regular stresses and new stresses to it, and one would have to be superhuman not to be tired.

"I love you." Andy said softly, kissing the beloved head that was resting on her shoulder.

Eyes that were as blue as a noon-day sky looked up at her. Andy always marvelled at how incredibly expressive they were. Not to mention how beautiful they were. Warmth spread through Andy's tired body as she stared hypnotised into Miranda's eyes.

"I love you as well, Andrea." Miranda eventually replied, closing her eyes and resting against Andy once more.

Opening her eyes, Miranda briefly cursed her body clock which had woken her at an ungodly hour on a Saturday morning. Last night, they had arrived home and had barely been awake long enough to undress and shower before they had crawled into bed and fallen asleep.

Some party animals. Just as well they had not tried to go to any after parties. Nothing like a long workweek to dampen one's spirits a little.

But, now it was weekend and she felt well rested. Looking over to where Andrea slept, Miranda smiled softly. Andrea's hair was wild from her having gone to bed with it wet and to Miranda's eyes, she was just beautiful. Sometimes it was hard to believe that this divine creature shared her bed and her life.

Brown eyes opened under her scrutiny, their instant focus uncanny. It seemed that no matter how tired she was, Andrea could wake up in an instant. How much training had that taken to achieve? What kind of training did it demand?

So many questions.

"Good morning." Miranda whispered, lowering herself to brush a kiss across those luscious lips.

Andrea wrapped her arms around Miranda and pulled her close, kissing her thoroughly and sending delicious shivers up her spine. Their naked skin pressed together was heavenly and Miranda decided that she wanted nothing more today than to spend a great deal of time naked with Andrea.

"It is now. A good morning, that is." Andrea said when they had pulled apart. A strong hand brushed the hair back from her face. Miranda almost purred in reaction.

Running her hand down Andrea's body, Miranda paused to caress a hip and Andrea moved into her touch, closing her eyes and opening her body language. Miranda needed no further encouragement.

Moving her hand again, she brushed past the coarse hairs that graced the junction of Andrea's thighs and a moment later, her fingers slipped into heat and wetness. Miranda felt her own body clench in sympathy as Andrea gasped softly, arching into her.

Moving her mouth to Andrea's neck, Miranda delicately kissed it, moving her hand in tandem with her mouth. Andrea seemed to melt into Miranda, her body squirming, hot. It made Miranda's mouth water.

Moments trickled by and Miranda moved her hand lower, sliding her fingers along sensitive flesh. Andrea moaned openly now, her free hand shoving the covers down off of them as the temperature rose.

Then, quite suddenly, Andrea was overwhelmed by her orgasm. Her whole body coiling around Miranda and her breath coming in sharp bursts. Miranda felt a surge of something primal deep inside of herself as she calmed her movements.

To think, she could do this exquisite thing, to this beautiful woman. How extraordinary, and how damn sexy.

Gently, Miranda pulled her hand away and wrapped herself around her lover, closing her eyes as they both caught their breaths. The feel and sound of Andrea's strong heartbeat under her ear lulling Miranda into a sensual doze. Good morning, indeed...

By the time they made it downstairs, the girls were awake and so was Louise. It had been Miranda who had insisted that Louise stay the night. It was uncomfortably late by the time they arrived home and the bodyguard was technically still on contract.

As for the limo, Miranda had merely made a phone call and someone had come to pick it up. The marvels of being infamous.

It seemed breakfast was in full swing when Andy walked into the kitchen and she surmised that the twins had discovered that Louise could make a mean bacon and eggs breakfast with all the trimmings.

"Good morning." Andy said as she moved towards the coffer maker. Louise was wearing a set of Andy's sweats and was looking like she was born to have kids crawling all over her.

Louise was the eldest of many siblings, most of whom were quite a bit younger than her, so it made sense.

"Andy!" The girls exclaimed in unison and rushed over to give her a hug, temporarily abandoning their new playmate.

The repeated the procedure when Miranda walked in and soon all of them were sitting down to breakfast as Miranda gave a brief rundown of the ball for the girls to enjoy. Andy and Louise interjected some commentary, but main they sipped their coffee and ate their breakfast.

While Andy was putting dishes into the dishwasher, she looked over at Louise who was staring into space. "You doing alright?" Andy asked, quickly finishing her task and moving to sit down with her friend.

Miranda and the girls had gone off to supervise homework projects and check email or something. All in all, it was a fine Saturday morning for all. However, Andy was curious as to what was on Louise's mind.

"Yeah. I am fine. I was just thinking about last night. You know, I have seen you take down five men bigger than that asshole, at the same time. It felt kind of strange in a good way to be protecting you. You know?" Louise said thoughtfully as she took another sip of her coffee.

"It was important. I had to be Miranda's date, no matter what really. Appearances and all that. I knew I could rely on you to do things right, so there you have it." Andy replied after a while.

"You want to show the twins some self defence stuff before you clock off? I mean, after we digest for a while, that is." Andy asked. It would be a good day to do it and it would help both her and Louise work out some of the kinks no doubt leftover from last night.

Andy knew that her employee had wanted to do much more to Stephen than just walk him away and lord knows Andy had wanted to kick his teeth in. Anyway, it was high time the girls got a more practical demonstration of what they were learning.

"Sure. Maybe in an hour or so?" Louise said, a smile forming on her face.

"You betcha. See you there." Andy said and rose to her feet.

Where was everyone?

Miranda suddenly realised that she could not hear Andrea, Louise was no place to be found, and the twins were being suspiciously silent as well.

Rising from her chair, Miranda walked out of her office and looked around, trying to see if she could discern by sound alone where everyone was. Finally, a thump from the gym gave her a clue. Intrigued, Miranda followed the noise and looked into the space, her eyes widening at what she saw.

Louise and Andrea were locked in a hold on the mats in a tangle of arms and legs. More remarkably, Cassidy and Caroline were in an identical hold on the mats beside them. Obviously a lesson was being had and Miranda wanted to watch, so she stayed where she was.

"Ok, up." Andrea's voice was muffled, but everyone disengaged and rose to their feet rather smoothly and in unison.

"That only really works as a last resort, and only if your opponent is a similar size and strength to you." Andrea said as she stood facing Louise. All four of them were wearing the blazing white clothes that Miranda had become accustomed to seeing them in as they practised. She assumed that Louise had been given some spares belonging to Andrea.

"Louise is going to be the attacker now. She is going to grab me and try to pin my arms to my sides." Andrea said, nodding to the other woman.

Louise lunged forward and grabbed Andrea's arms, locking her fingers around them in the blink of an eye. Andrea reacted explosively, lifting her arms and moving forward, effectively pushing Louise back. As she did so, she hooked her foot behind one of Louise's legs and the two of them went crashing to the mats.


The two women leapt to their feet.

"That works only if you are big enough. A variation that I want you to focus on is this." This time, Andrea attacked Louise, who dropped to the ground and pulled on Andrea, then used her legs to kick out to devastating effect.

"Now, I am going to pair you up with me and Louise, so you have some idea how this feels when a big person does it to you." Andrea said and the twins immediately split up and joined one of the two women.

While Miranda watched, the girls learned the moves. Then they practised on the women until they were confident. When they were ready, Andrea announced that she and Louise would now resist and use more strength, so that the girls would learn what it was like to deal with a stronger opponent.

Caroline managed to successfully fell Louise the first time she tried, but Cassidy took two attempts. There was some more practise and Miranda realised then that neither bodyguard was actually resisting with any skill. They were merely being strong and large, so that the girls would learn what an adult opponent felt like.

"And we break." Andrea called as she lay flat on her back with Cassidy tangled up on top of her.

Miranda suppressed a laugh when Andrea rolled to her feet and stood up with Cassidy's dead weight on her. She pretended to be oblivious before looking at the girl and tickling her. Cassidy shrieked and the warm down was a raucous game of tag. That was another thing that Miranda had noticed, Andrea used games, even in training her adult student, to teach them things.

It lowered resistance, and relaxed people and got endorphins going. Also, laughter was no doubt a good way to overcome sore muscles and stretched tendons.

Miranda had no doubt that Louise and Andrea had both noticed her, but before the girls did, Miranda crept away. She did not want to interfere with this very important time if she could help it, though she often was subject to demonstrations of the homework that Andrea assigned to the girls.

But, now it was time to think about lunch. Also, Louise would be leaving soon and Miranda wanted to talk with her before she did. With a smile on her face, Miranda moved towards the kitchen and almost laughed at the silliness she had just witnessed in the gym.

Life was good...

Louise had left shortly after lunch after Miranda had extracted a promise from her to come for dinner sometime during the next week. Andy suspected that Miranda was rather enjoying having a friend that was not afraid of her, and also, it was clear that the twins thought she was the bees knees.

It was nice that a coworker, employee and friend of Andy's got along with the people that were important in her life. Also, Andy was pretty sure she would be able to rope Louise into more demonstrations of self defence concepts without trouble.

"Is she involved with anyone?" Miranda asked out of the blue as they were sitting together on the sofa in the room that the girls used as their playroom.

Andy looked at her love. Briefly she wondered why Miranda had not asked Louise herself, but then she remembered that Miranda, for all her directness, was also very oblique.

"Yes. She has a girlfriend. They have been together for I think, five years. Her lover is a doctor." Andy supplied.

"Their hours and their devotion to work make them suitable for each other, no doubt then." Miranda said after a pause.

It was true. Louise had been lucky in that regard. Last Andy had heard, the pair had exchanged rings and had actually bought an apartment together. It really was sweet...

"And Maria?" Miranda asked.

"She is a bit of a rolling stone. Heartbreaker all the way. But when she is with someone, she is with them." Andy replied. Maria was in fact bisexual, which added a new dimension to her heartbreaker status.

Miranda's questions stilled and she relaxed against Andy's side as they watched the girls play their Wii. Patricia was resting by the doorway and all in all it had been a perfect Saturday thus far. Andy suppressed a yawn and closed her eyes as she leaned back against the sofa and let her thoughts wander.

Just perfect...

The End

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