DISCLAIMER: This is a fan fic, so I obviously don't own anything...except my deep and abiding love of the pair... oh.. and Pava... and Chad are my characters, although they don't show up much in this one, I would suppose Dorothy is my character too since we didn't see much of Andy's mother in the movie and I have no clue what her name was in the book.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is the Third story in the 'Like' series.  It's not as much a 'story' as Like Andrea, just a continuation of that universe, much like "Like Family" was. Thanks and everlasting gratitude to my all knowing Beta reader Kamouraskan.  My stories are always better with Kam's input. I don't always take his advice though, so any mistakes, omissions, or errors are mine. I made them, I may as well own them.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Like Life
By Gin


Part 20

Andy meandered toward the house she lived in with Miranda; Miranda's house. She didn't even notice the reporters as she walked in and headed directly to the kitchen for a drink. As she passed the small sitting area a voice stopped her in her tracks.

"This is the proper place for you to yell at me."

Miranda watched Andrea's shoulder's slump even as the young woman turned to face her.

"What are you doing here?"

Miranda blinked. "Apparently we need to talk." She tilted her head, regarding Andrea thoughtfully. "Where did that argument come from?"

Shaking her head, Andy moved to sit next to the white-haired woman. "I don't have a clue. You said something that just hit me the wrong way and that was it, I thought you thought I was a kid and nothing could change my mind." She gave her fiancée a pleading look. "Miranda, you should be at work…"

"I've told you before, you are more important to me than work." Intense blue eyes studied Andrea closely. "You are young, yes, but you are far from a 'kid' in my eyes." She reached over to caress Andy's arm. "I would not do this to a 'kid'." She moved from her seat kneeling in front of the young woman. Linking her fingers behind Andy's neck she pulled the dark head down so their lips were very close to each other. "I would never, ever, do this to a 'kid'." She finished the distance to press their lips together for a long, long moment. "I love you Andrea, more than I can ever tell you."

"I love you, Miranda. I'm sorry I overreacted, I really don't know why your innocent comment hit me so wrong."

"Andrea, we are both under a great deal of stress at the moment. There are too many things happening to us that are beyond our control."

Andy clung to Miranda, burying her face in the Editor's neck. "I don't want to fight with you."

"It's over now." Miranda smiled and petted the back of Andy's head as the young woman's face was still nuzzling the side of Miranda's neck. She closed her eyes, savoring the sensation. Breathing deeply, Miranda began to return the tiny kisses she felt just below and behind her ear. "Oh God, Andrea…" Miranda felt the young woman moving, sliding out of her chair and went with the motion finding herself stretched out on the thick carpet that defined the sitting area they were in. Andrea's kisses deepened and Miranda's began to feel the floating sensation she always experienced in Andrea's arms, when suddenly the brunette stopped, searching the older woman's face intently.

"Where's Peggy?"

Chuckling and catching her breath, Miranda grinned. "I sent her home for the afternoon."

"Good." Andy immediately rolled back into Miranda and continued her very welcome assault on the ear she found under a lock of soft white hair.

"Andrea," Miranda gasped then moaned as a particularly sensitive bit of flesh was caressed by Andrea's lips, "you know very well I'm too old to be rolling around on the floor."

"Mmmm…" Deep brown eyes twinkled down at the half-heartedly protesting woman. "You know very well that's bullshit." Andy smiled as Miranda had no response for that and proceeded to demonstrate that Miranda was not too old to be rolling around on the floor, she was in fact, quite good at it.

Miranda walked down the halls of Runway fighting the urge to smirk as she watched the employees see her and turn the other way. She could have gone to her office and called for what she wanted, but this way the people were kept on their toes and it made her slightly less predictable. She breezed into Nigel's office without even a knock. "Do you have the Polaroid's from the shoot?"

Nigel scrambled for the requested photos. "I'd expected you to call for these sooner. I'd have sent them to your office whenever you wanted."

That earned him a 'look' for the obvious. "I was delayed at lunch."

"Ah…" Nigel bit his tongue to keep from asking what the delay had been. "Well I think you will be pleased with the results."

Miranda turned to walk out of the office, glancing at the photos and speaking as she exited, "You'll know if I'm not."

Exhaling in relief, Nigel looked around his once again peaceful office unable to shake the feeling he'd escaped some kind of tragedy; much like the one person on the block who still had a house after a tornado had swept through.

"Andy…" The girls yelled for the young woman as they entered the house. "Andy!"

The brunette appeared at the door of the study, concerned. "What… What's wrong??"

Both girls rushed to the woman and hugged her, unaware of their identical smiles as Andy's arms dropped around their shoulders automatically. "The reporters say Judy's trial starts tomorrow and that you and Mom are going to have to be there…" Caroline squeezed a bit tighter. "Will…she… be there?"

"Yes, the trial starts tomorrow and yes, Miranda and I have to be there." Andy took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. "And yes, she will be there."

"Aren't you scared?" Cassidy released her hold slightly to look up into Andy's face. "Will she try to hurt you and Mom again?"

Smiling, Andy shook her head and reassured the girls. "I'm not scared. We'll be in the courtroom and she'll be under guard." Jiggling both girls in her embrace, Andy reminded them. "Besides, your mom will be with me."

Caroline nodded. "Mom wouldn't let anyone hurt you."

Cassidy voiced the obvious corollary. "And you wouldn't let anyone hurt Mom."

"Exactly." Andy's eyes alternated between the girls. "We were going to speak to you about this tonight."

"Okay," the girls said, in unison.

They released their holds on Andy and retrieved their packs. Caroline spoke logically. "We'll just go start on our homework, until Mom gets home."

Andy nearly laughed as they thundered up the stairs and smiled softly to herself. How could I have ever thought they were monsters? Oh yeah, because they were! From spoiled brat monsters to loving little girls in how many steps? Wandering back into the study, she flopped onto the couch, in front of her laptop and shook her head in tolerant amusement. Maybe they are still the same spoiled brats… I'm just under their spell or something. Maybe loving them is what makes the difference.

Miranda called and informed them that there was a crisis at Runway and she would not be home for supper. So instead of them all talking over the subject of the trial, Andy and the girls discussed it for a little while. Long enough to dispel most of the girls' fears, or so Andy thought. Since she knew Miranda was going to be late, and she had a big day tomorrow with the trial and the charity event, Andy went to bed nearly as soon as the girls did. It seemed like she had just drifted off when she was brought sitting straight upright by a blood curdling scream. Tossing the covers off, she ran downstairs to the girls' rooms.

Cassidy's room was first and she pushed the door open only to find the girl sleeping. How could she have slept through that scream?! Andy shook her head and quietly, although if she slept through the scream a door closing wasn't going to wake her, closed the door and continued to Caroline's room. Pushing that door open, she found Caroline, wide eyed, sitting up in bed.

"Caroline…" Andy sat on the edge of the bed and gathered the girl up in a hug. "Shhh… s'okay…"

Caroline's choked voice penetrated the darkness. "He killed you…"

"No… Munchkin, I'm right here. It was just a nightmare… I'm fine." Andy tried to catch the girl's eyes, holding her head in both hands, forcing Caroline to look at her. "I'm right here."

"The man with the scar on his cheek… He killed you, it was so horrible… Mom was devastated… we were so sad… you were gone…" Caroline was crying now and Andy could feel a tear or two trailing down her cheek as well.

"I'm not going anywhere, I promise. I'm right here." Andy spoke with a low intensity, trying to calm the girl down. "I'm never leaving, I would never leave Miranda, or you, or Cassidy."

"But he killed you." Caroline looked with haunted eyes at the woman who was for all intents and purposes her second mother. "You were dead."

"It was a nightmare Caroline, it wasn't true. I'm right here. I'm not dead." Andy smiled at the girl who was beginning to calm down. "It's okay, no one is going to hurt me or your mom."

Caroline was breathing normally now, and she yawned, blinking a little. "You sure?"

"Definitely." Andy gently urged the girl to lie back down in her bed. "We are safe and sound, cozy in our house, no one is going to do anything to us." She put a little pressure on the girl to scoot and lay down on top of the covers next to her. "Now you just close your eyes and go back to sleep, you have a big day tomorrow too."

Caroline nodded, closing her eyes. She liked the feeling she got when Andy was here, like nothing could hurt her, she was safe now, with Andy watching over her. She wondered as she drifted back to sleep if that was how her Mom felt when Andy was asleep next to her; her last conscious thought was that it probably was.

"Andrea?" Miranda whispered voice penetrated the fog Andy was in. "Andrea, wake up."

"Oh…" Andy blinked and looked around, slowly rising from the bed so as not to wake the girl. "I must have fallen asleep." Leaning forward she kissed Miranda on the cheek and whispered in her ear, "She had a nightmare."

Nodding, Miranda leaned down and whispered softly to her daughter. "Good night, my darling."

They exited the room quietly and went upstairs to their own.

"You should have heard the scream, Miranda, in fact, I'm surprised you didn't." Andy straightened the tangled sheets she'd left earlier and slid back into bed with a sigh. "She said I'd been killed… she was very upset about it. I think she's worried about the trial, and us being in the same room with…"

"Yes, I can see where that might cause her some concern." Miranda disappeared into the bathroom for her nightly ritual.

"It wasn't just concern, Miranda, she screamed and when I got there she was crying. It took me a while to convince her I wasn't dead and I was the one talking." Andy draped her arm across Miranda's stomach as the woman joined her in the bed. "Tomorrow morning you need to assure her that everything will be fine at the trial."

"Yes." Miranda pushed a thousand inappropriate and unworthy thoughts out of her head. "I will." She turned to her young lover and traced the soft cheek she found. "Tonight, however, I think I should assure you."

"Me?" Andy took a deep breath and nodded. "I am a little scared."

"So am I, Darling, but we know that together we can get through anything." Miranda smiled against Andrea's lips knowing they would soon be as together as two people could get and afterwards Andrea's arms would be around her and all would be right with the world.

"So she'll be handcuffed?" Caroline was interrogating the detective.

"Not only handcuffed, shackled." Jo motioned the girl to finish her cereal. "That means her feet will be cuffed too, and her hands and feet will be chained together."

"And there will be guards?"

"Guards, and the bailiff…" Jo grinned. "And I'll be there."

"You will?" Cassidy had been listening with great intensity.

"Yes, I'm scheduled to testify." Jo looked up at Andy and Miranda. "I think if you asked the D.A., you could get out of testifying. This is pretty much an open and shut case, I honestly don't see the need to even put you two on the stand."

"I think we need to." Andy took a sip of her coffee. "I want to feel like I'm a part of bringing Judy to justice for what she did to us, to Miranda."

"I too feel that testifying will bring me a sort of closure to this whole messy business." Miranda took a bite of her omelet. "I want my version of what happened on record."

Jo raised her eyebrows. "Fair enough." She noticed the kids were done eating. "Got your backpacks? I'm sure your ride will be here any minute."

"Yup." Cassidy and Caroline both pointed at the items in question piled by the door.

"Good," Andy said as she looked at her cell phone screen. "Because Roy is here." She leaned down and hugged both girls tightly. "You guys have a great day at school today, and have a safe train ride AND have fun at your Dad's this weekend!"

"We will, Andy." Caroline hugged the woman tightly and whispered in her ear, "Thanks, for helping me last night, Ma."

"Any time, Munchkin." Andy winked as the girl rolled her eyes.

Cassidy stepped up and hugged Andy tightly. She too whispered in Andy's ear. "Try to behave yourselves tonight."

Laughing, it was Andy's turn to roll her eyes. "I'll do my best, Sweetie."

Cassidy sighed, she could tell from the tone in Andy's voice there was most likely going to be a huge press surge tomorrow doubtless with a picture of her Mom and Andy in some compromising position; most likely kissing. "Please just keep in mind that people, with cameras, are watching."

"We will try, Bobbsey." Miranda hugged her quickly. "Now you better be going."

Nodding, Cassidy shouldered her backpack and grinned at them. "See ya Sunday night."

Part 21

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