DISCLAIMER: The Devil Wears Prada and its characters belong to Lauren Weisberger and 20th Century Fox. No infringement intended.
PREREQUISITE: The Fall and The Landing (Just do it. You won't know what in the hell is going on otherwise so just do it.)
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FEEDBACK: To brithna[at]gmail.com

Ninety Days to Glory – A gift for RSG80
By Brithna

 

The concept of time was never something you really gave thought to until now. Time just passed, things just happened as you went along in life, years just flew by. But now you count it, add it up, store it away. It has been ninety days. Well, 90 days, 2160 hours or 129,600 minutes—however you want to look at it—since he has been gone. Even though you have tried to stop counting on multiple occasions throughout, you cannot help yourself. Or so it seems.

There are, in truth, moments where you find yourself in a different place; a place where you do not count, a place where there is peace. But in the realization of it, guilt follows and you begin to count again. The guilt is made of two things. One: that you have stopped thinking about him. Two: that you have ruined the moment, the reason why you were able to stop counting to begin with.

Ironically, there is no doubt in your mind at all that Nigel himself does not want you to count or to feel guilt…about anything. There is no doubt in your mind that Nigel only wants you to move forward. Even if it is by crawling on your hands and knees, you know that he expects you to move. After all, he left you a letter telling you as much.

His exact words were: "Don't forget that, eventually, you need to go live an actual life—soon."

Ninety days is probably far beyond his definition of "soon" because while you have been crawling, you have not begun to live, to have a life…not fully. Not the kind of life he was talking about. You are still, in some instances, "stubborn" and "wasting time".

But in some ways you are doing exactly what he told you to do because he also told you to take care of Andrea, and you've kept your word on that point at least. Sometimes, though, besides counting the days, hours and minutes that Nigel has been gone, all you think about is whether or not you're doing a good enough job. Every now and then you feel as if she is doing the bulk of the carrying, which isn't right…so you try harder. You keep crawling and try to stand up as often as possible.

Since that day, except for work, the two of you have hardly been out of each other's sight. In fact, you all but live together. The only thing that prevents the notion from actually being true is that you've yet to officially ask her. Andrea's apartment is still full of her things, for the most part, but nearly all her nights are spent at the townhouse…in your bed.

Neither of you talk about why it's this way. Neither of you talk about how if she does not come to your house; you end up at her place…in her bed. There is a lot the two of you don't talk about and there is also a lot the two of you don't do, and you know that Nigel is probably ready to come back and kill you because even though you have both been in each other's beds for ninety days now, you've yet to even so much as kiss her. To be fair, Andrea has not kissed you either but he probably sees that as your fault somehow. And he is probably right.

You're fifty-five and hardly have any recollection of what "dating" even looks like, yet you're certain Nigel intended for you to have at least gotten that far by now. But you haven't asked her, and she hasn't asked you…and that's probably your fault too. Each and every night you hold one another though…tightly, so tightly that you are able to forget to count the days, hours and minutes. That should count for something in his eyes, shouldn't it?

And you have stopped crying, for the most part, so hopefully that counts for something too. There are times, however, in between looking at your watch and worrying about whether or not you're taking good enough care of Andrea, that you catch a few tears coming down over the simple fact that if it had not been for him, you and she never would never have met again.

Years passed by and you spent much of them trying to forget that Andrea and Nigel were still in contact. But then the day finally came when he brought you together because he wanted the both of you to hear the news at the same time.

At first, when things were not quite so serious, when there was still hope, you didn't have much to do with each other. Then things changed. You saw each other more often, talked more…but it was hardly ever personal. Hardly ever anything you really wanted to talk about. Yet, somehow, seeing her face and hearing her voice made things seem less difficult. Never easy, but less difficult.

Then it was over. The math problem was finally solved and there was a very brief moment of glory. Very brief. You couldn't hold onto it for long…and then you started to fall but you never hit the ground. Andrea was there in seconds and she's been catching you and crawling along with you ever since.

Sometimes it feels as if you made some kind of unspoken vow to each other ninety days ago. So far, neither of you have broken it and in your heart, you know that neither of you ever will.

In light of that, you also know in your heart that you have got to get things going. You've got to get on with it before Nigel comes back and steps on your head a couple times with his favorite pair of loafers. You've got to stand up.

It's all so ridiculously backwards, how you want to proceed, considering that you live together in one place or other, but you want to take Andrea out. On a date. Right now.

As soon as you make this decision—while staring at yourself in your executive bathroom—you take off your watch and she is all you can think about.

Obviously, since you don't have your watch, you have no idea what time it is when you reach The Mirror but you guess it's close to noon. Bringing Roy into this whole dating business just felt wrong so you took a cab, then got impatient with traffic and walked the last three blocks, your heart pounding louder with each step. You're not necessarily nervous about going into the building, you both handed out open invitations and the corresponding access cards to each other's work a long time ago…but you've only been here twice. And this visit is for something far more important than bringing up a forgotten messenger bag—twice.

Everyone looks at you as you walk through the halls, then quickly away. It's likely that half the world knows something is going on between you and Andrea but after seeing pictures of you both coming out of Nigel's funeral service holding hands, you stopped reading the papers…all of them.

Basically, for about eighty-five days you've just been hoping you haven't missed anything of real significance going on the world; but you're almost certain that you haven't. Andrea would have told you all about it otherwise.

When you reach her office, the first thing you see—besides her beautiful face that is staring at a computer screen like it is the most important thing in the world—are four cups of Starbucks coffee that you instinctively know are only half finished. Andrea gets that from you but doesn't have an assistant to throw them away for her, so they all pile up. She does the same thing at home—no matter which place is home on that particular day—and you spend most of your time following after her, washing coffee cups. You don't mind much…except when they start to pile up on her nightstand because you just don't think drinking and eating in either bedroom is very proper.

Since these are paper cups, you go right over and start picking them up without another thought. It's almost second nature but the sudden movement startles her.

"Hey!" She looks up at you like you're the most important thing in the world now instead of a computer screen.

As you toss the cups into the trash, you greet Andrea in your usual way: with sarcasm.

"Your office is an absolute pig-sty."

"Have you seen either of your nightstands lately?" She fires back at you with a smirk. "They're piled high with junk! And then you dump half of it on the bed in the morning when you need something." Surprisingly, at the end, a faint blush spreads across her face…and yours. This is the first time the word "bed" in any form has ever been spoken aloud between the two of you.

You ignore the blush on her face and yours but you do, knowingly, return her smirk. "Books are not junk."

"And post-it notes, pens, legal pads, magazines, fabric samples—"

"You can stop now." You hold out your hand, trying to remember which table the fabric samples are on because you're actually going to need those in a few days.

And, of course, she reads your mind. "They're at your house."

"Oh…okay." You reply with part relief and part sadness. The fact that there are two places you live with Andrea has been depressing you for…well, a while. Today is probably not the day for that talk so you cover your sadness with sarcasm—always sarcasm. "Well, you leave coffee cups everywhere."

"And you always wash them." She grins. You glare.

A moment of silence passes and suddenly the image of Nigel, stomping your head into the pavement, makes you think about moving forward…but in a way, Andrea beats you to it.

"Well," she says, pointing to the chair you're still standing by. "I didn't forget my bag this morning."

"No," you say and sit down. "I just—"

"Were in the neighborhood?" Andrea smiles again as she interrupts you. It's that same smile that makes you think about kissing her. You never do though. You're always too busy counting the days as they go by. But you're not planning on ever being that busy again. Starting today.

You answer her back with another glare. "Precisely."

There's no glare to go along with her response but she does raise an eyebrow. You'd like to say she gets that from you too, but she doesn't. It's just something that happens when she's trying to figure you out. "Well?" She questions with that eyebrow still raised high.

Your heart starts to beat faster all over again and you can see Nigel clearer than ever, kicking you in the head so hard it actually starts to hurt. What a bastard… You have no idea how this is supposed to work, yet you've been sleeping with the woman for ninety straight days. None of it makes any sense.

To make your head stop hurting and to make her stop looking at you like you've lost your mind or something, you just get on with it. "I'm here to ask you…out. On a date. I confess I have no real plan…besides lunch." You wave a flippant hand in the air like this is nothing, when in truth, it is everything. "And I've cleared the rest of the day…if you're able. Or want to. Or…and we can do whatever you like, of course. I just thought we—"

"Yes," she stops you in midsentence, her eyes huge. "I can push everything back. None of it…uh…matters anyway. Today. I…yes."

For a second you can't say anything at all but are finally able to swallow and speak like a normal person. Or so you think. "Good." You smile then realize you're not about to speak like a normal person at all. "I'm glad," you say like a fool, and then you just can't shut up. "I'm…sorry I haven't…before. I wasn't ready. And then I didn't really…know how."

"I know you weren't," she says, shaking her head. There's a little sadness in Andrea's eyes and you almost feel like adding up the time that's gone by again…like feeling guilty, but you stop yourself because of what she says next. "I wasn't either. But I sleep pretty good at night…so we can't have been doing too badly. What do you think?"

"I suppose you're right," you say, ready to get back to the sarcasm you're so good at delivering. "But I really do wish you would stop with all that coffee in bed on the weekends, Andrea. The cups just pile up and it's disgusting." You make a face. She makes a face right back.

"Who reads the paper in bed without a cup of coffee? Tell me? Who does that?"

"I don't."

"You stopped reading the paper!" She laughs and begins to dig in her bag that rests on the edge of her desk. "And hey, they don't pile up because you wash them, remember?"

You refuse to comment on that because in all honesty, you like doing it. It makes you feel good. Normal. Working less on the weekends, just so you can follow Andrea around the house to pick up all her coffee cups, makes you feel normal.

"Yep," she points at you and sets a newspaper on her desk that she finally found in her bag. "I knew you weren't going to say anything. I knew it." After she gets done pointing, she holds the paper out to you. It's folded to a certain page. You take a deep breath. "You really should start reading the paper again, Miranda. I've been trying to keep an eye on things," she says, very serious now, "but you might not be too happy with this one."

You suck in another deep breath and take the paper as she comes around the side of the desk and sits next to you. Finally, you look at it and the dragon that has been sleeping for far longer than ninety days, starts to come alive. It's a picture of you and Andrea, obviously, but it's also a picture of your children and that is a line you never allow to be crossed without some kind of retribution.

But then, instead of immediately blowing up, something weird happens. You slow that dragon inside you down just enough to really, really look at the picture.

The four of you are coming out of the Starbucks down the street from Andrea's apartment…and everybody—including you—looks happy. God, the caption even says so.

Caroline's arm is around your waist; she's laughing about something silly, you can't even remember what it was, but you're laughing too. Cassidy's leaning on Andrea, showing her something on her silly cell phone, and she's laughing too. It was probably something from Tumblr. You still don't understand that website but it's all Cassidy can talk about. That and fan-girling and something about ships…whatever that means. Andrea says it's better that you don't understand at all, so you stopped trying to figure it out about forty-three days ago.

There is one thing that bothers you about this picture though. Caroline and Cassidy are two months shy of their sixteenth birthday and they're nearly as tall as you already. That bothers you far more than the fact that millions of people have seen this, that millions of people have some kind of access to you and your family…your family. You like the sound of that but the fact of the matter is, your babies are no longer babies.

This makes you sigh heavily. "They're so tall," is all you can say, with a pathetic look on your face. You turn and look at Andrea when you see her, out of the corner of your eye, nearly slide right out of her chair, sighing just as heavily.

"Thank you, Jesus." She sighs again and rubs her forehead. "If that's all you're worried about then at least I know no one is about to immediately lose their job or worse—be killed. Whew…"

"Well, I still might." You frown. She smiles. You frown some more.

"You can't do this forever, Miranda," she says softly, still smiling. "You can't fight with the Press forever. You know that."

"I haven't been!" You say a little louder than you ought to and regret it.

Andrea puts a hand on your arm like she often does to calm you down when you're not getting your way about something. "Because you haven't been reading the paper. That can't last forever either, you know."

The dragon inside you wants to start breathing fire because Andrea is pushing you and you're really not used to that. And God knows you've never responded well to being pushed. There's got to be a reason, though. If Andrea is pushing you for something else besides, "Please, make some coffee already," or "Turn the damn light off and lay down," then there's something else going on.

"Why are you showing me this?"

"I just…" she pauses, looks down, then takes your hand. "I just wanted you to see that it's not as bad…as you might thing. I mean, I don't know if you're…ashamed or afraid of what people think—"

You stop her here because she's wrong and you definitely feel guilty because if this is how she has felt for ninety days, then you are a real asshole. "I am not ashamed, Andrea." You say it firmly while gripping Andrea's hand tighter. "And I have never cared what they think. Never."

"Then why don't you read the paper?" She says, finally looking up at you. "You stopped when you saw the first picture. I feel like it's because you know there's more of them…and people are saying things. That's kind of a given, you know."

Without thinking, you lean over a bit and kiss her cheek. It's not completely out of the norm; you have at least done that a couple of times when you just couldn't help yourself. "Andrea, that picture represented everything I did not want to see. Your pain. My pain. What the day meant… I didn't want to see that. And the caption, the truthful accusation they put there." You pause, feeling that dragon start to fully spread it's wings and you know your face is full of anger. You force it down, however, and allow your face to reflect nothing but what you feel for her. The last thing she deserves to see is your furry.

"It was the truth," you continue. "We are together, but that was not the day I wanted to see it spread around for the entire world to get a piece of, Andrea. After that I just…couldn't. I was too angry…but I am not anymore and I would like to go on."

Once you're finished, a part of you feels like crying but you refuse because an even bigger part of you, honest to God, just doesn't. All you want to do right now is figure out what dating Andrea Sachs looks like and feels like. In front of the entire world too, because you are going to walk out of this building with her hand in yours. You are.

"Do you realize that we've never, not once, spoken about our relationship?" She asks, looking at you like you're a little bit crazy again. "Not even that we have one to begin with?"

Using her words from earlier, you reply, "I sleep pretty good at night…so we can't have been doing too badly. What do you think?"

"I think you're supposed to be taking me out on a date right now. That's what I think."

You chuckle softly and stand, pulling Andrea along with you. Every time you think an answer from her is going to be complicated, it never is. "That's correct. Where would you like to go for lunch?"

"I'm thinking…that place I like. On 36th."

As you both start to walk down the hallway toward the elevator—holding hands, obviously—you run through all the possibilities because, God, there could be a million possibilities on 36th Street. On any street for that matter.

By the time the elevator door closes you still haven't thought of a single one and start to worry because this "dating" business is quickly turning into a disaster. You have no idea what "place" she "likes" on 36th and you'd like to smack yourself for ever taking up the habit of saying that line since it's plainly biting you in the ass now. Before you can say as much, Andrea pushes whatever button it takes to make the elevator stop mid-trip…and then she's right in front of you.

"Or we could skip lunch," she whispers just inches from your mouth.

Now that you're not counting, adding up time or worrying about anything that doesn't involve 36th Street…you want nothing more than to skip lunch because while the two of you have been sleeping in a bed together for ninety days, that's all you've done. All you've done is hang on to each other and sleep.

"Well, I did say we could do whatever you wanted, didn't I?" You manage to say that with absolutely no air in your lungs.

"You did." Andrea slides a hand up your arm then rests it on the back of your neck. "You did say that…"

You lean closer. Your lips are almost touching already. "I suppose we'll just skip lunch then."

"Looks like it."

The concept of time is completely lost on you again when she kisses you. You know now that time will just pass on, things will just happen as the two of you go along in life and the years will just go by...and you won't tally any of it up into some number. You'll use moments like this to tell the time by. You'll use pictures, like the one in the newspaper that you've currently got tucked away in your purse. You'll use her hands on you…like right now…they're all over you, pressing you up against the wall, telling you that it's time to move on even further. You'll use all sorts of things that do not involve a watch…or guilt.

There's hardly anything gentle about the way the two of you are going at it here in the elevator. You won't go that far, but you don't mind this at all—the rough and hurried way you are kissing, the way she is touching you like no one else ever has, the way it feels to pull Andrea's hair until her head is tilted back just enough for you graze your teeth along the soft skin of her neck—no, you don't mind this at all. You especially don't mind it when she tells you she loves you in the middle of all this. But you do mind it when someone bangs on the elevator door and she pulls away before you have a chance to tell her just exactly how much you love her too. You do mind that—very much.

While you both smooth yourselves out, Andrea punches whatever button it is that will get the elevator going again. In fact, she punches the button so hard, you're almost afraid she broke it.

"What did the poor button ever do to you?" You say, feeling pretty sarcastic right now. And happy.

"We're not done," is all she says, trying to put her hair back into something that's supposed to look like a ponytail. You can't help but laugh at her. She is a complete disaster. A beautiful disaster.

"I should hope not, Andrea. I should hope not…"

Just before you reach the bottom floor, Andrea turns to you. "Do you have any idea, any idea at all how hard it's been lately to be next to you every night and not touch you…the way I want to?"

Of course, at that moment the door opens and she walks out like none of that just came out of her mouth. Part of you wants to kill her. Part of you wants to fuck her right here in the lobby. And now you can hardly walk just thinking about that second option.

Once you're outside and have caught up to her—because she is practically running toward a cab—you grab her hand. A few people actually stop and look at you but you aren't even close to caring. You love this woman. So what in the hell does it matter?

"You can't say things like that and then just walk off, Andrea," you say under your breath as you continue on down the sidewalk…still holding hands.

"Hey, it's not my fault the door opened!"

"Yes, I'm sure." You glare at her even though she can't see, since she, apparently, has decided to not look at you.

"Well, it did!"

The two of you go back and forth like this for several minutes, which is completely ridiculous. Finally, a cab is procured and just before you slip inside, you say, "You can just tell me all about in, oh, twenty minutes." By your guess, that'll be how long it takes to get to her apartment.

Looking at you out of the corner of her eye, she says, "No, I'll just show you."

Twenty minutes has never gone by more slowly. Never. And you can't even begin to sit still. In fact, Andrea has to put a hand on your knee to stop you from tapping your foot and that does anything but help the situation. By the time the silent car ride is over, you are ready to scream.

How the two of you make it up to her door, you'll never know but while you were only guessing when you said it was going to take twenty minutes to get to Andrea's apartment, you know for sure that only twenty seconds go by from opening that door to ending up naked on her bed.

Andrea is relentless. So relentless that while you're completely naked, you can't get a single stitch of clothing off of her. She won't stop kissing you, touching you…she won't stop telling you how beautiful you are or how much she loves you long enough for you to be able to do anything at all.

When Andrea tells you that you're all she's ever wanted, you stop caring about her clothes for a little bit…because that's exactly how you feel about her. And when she starts paying incredibly close attention to your breasts with that insatiable mouth of hers…and when you feel one of her strong hands on your inner thigh, you can't help it. You reach down and lift her hand just a little higher. Right where you need it.

You scream and want her everywhere at once. She says your name like you've never heard it said before.

The feeling of her hand makes you lose your mind. Completely lose your mind and you never want it back. Never. Part of you does comes back down to earth, though, when she says your name again, soft and low, brushing back your hair with her free hand. Her other is steadily working you up, stroking, teasing, still not inside yet. And you're so wet, but Andrea knows exactly how to keep the pressure just right so you feel every single move she makes.

"Miranda…"

You somehow blink enough times to actually be able to see her face. She is the most beautiful thing, a definition of glory that you have never read about in any book that is stacked up on either one of your nightstands. Books don't speak about this kind of glory because words, any kind of words, are simply not good enough.

Moving your body against hers and against her hand, you try to breathe and speak at the same time. "Andrea…" All you can get out is her name.

"Please," she says, with the look of love on her face that you've seen so many times before. A look that always makes you feel like you don't have to count time anymore. "Will you let me show you? Let me touch you the way I've wanted to? Please, Miranda."

You have no idea why she's even asking. The answer should be obvious but then again, this is just like her. Andrea is always so careful, watchful, and protective…of everything besides her coffee cups. "Darling, yes." You breathe in deep as everything in you starts to burn. "Show me what you've wanted. Please, love me… Show me…" Whatever else you were going to say is lost. With your arms wrapped around her neck, you're not looking anywhere else but into each other's eyes when she shows you what she's wanted. When she slides effortlessly inside…

You scream and want her to inside you forever. She says your name like it's the first and last thing she wants to say for the rest of her life.

Compared to how everything has been since Andrea stopped the elevator, this is so slow, so intense and deep and you never stop looking into each other's eyes. You're so close that you can see yourself in her.

There's great irony in that statement. You've said something like that before, but back then you were nothing but a complete fool, running off at the mouth about things that were so stupid. So stupid that Nigel swore at you, then told you quite plainly that he wanted to kick you in the head. Many, many times.

But now you really see yourself. The way she sees you. That is what you see now and you can only hope that she sees herself in your eyes too.

Before you lose all ability to speak—because you know you're headed there—you have to tell her the most important thing. The thing you haven't said yet. "I love you. I love you…" There's no telling how many times you say it. But each time you do, she moves faster and deeper inside you like she never wants to leave.

And you don't mind that. You don't mind that at all and with tears in your eyes and her name on your lips, you let go. The room could not possibly be filled with more glory and love than it is right now. It couldn't possibly…

Even though there is all this glory in the room, everything goes dark as you let go again and again; and she catches you again and again…relentless. She is relentless. It's as if she is tearing you apart, inside and out and you don't mind that at all either because you want this to last forever. You want to be torn down in her arms so that she can rebuild you, using only the best parts that are left. The parts you give no one else. The things inside you that no one else has ever seen, the good things…you want her to have them. You want her to take them. And she does.

When you wake up, you know you're someone else, you're whatever Andrea has built you into. You also know that, somehow, you're on top of her and damn it—she is still dressed. Finding strength from God only knows where, you raise up on your forearms and look down at her. She has her eyes closed but you know she's awake because when you move, she holds you even tighter and her smile grows. For some silly reason you brush her bangs back and kiss her forehead.

"I love you."

Finally she opens her eyes. "I love you too, Miranda. You okay?"

You nod then bury your face in her neck. "I am…but I'd be even better if you were out of these clothes."

She laughs. "Oh, is that so?"

Briefly you look up then return to her neck. "Yes." You say, trying to sound authoritative or something, but it comes out more like a moan.

"Well, you can do anything about that any time you like." There's a little of that smart-ass tone in her voice. That same tone she uses when the two of you are locked in a kind of sarcasm war—which you usually win.

You mimic her. "Oh, is that so?"

Andrea nods then gently pushes you up until she can kiss you. This kiss is slow, very slow and her hands roam all over your back and further down. By the time you need air, you're so turned on all over again that you can hardly stand it. And Andrea knows it too because when you sit up, straddling her thighs, and start to unbutton her shirt…she tries to touch you again. You almost let her but decide against it. You'll just have to wait. She'll just have to wait because you have to see her. Right now. You have to see her.

She pouts when you brush her hand away but a few seconds later when you've finally got Andrea's shirt open and bra undone, she stops pouting, just like you knew she would. It's hard to resist her breasts while you're trying to unbutton her pants so you don't even try to stop yourself. You pay attention to both things at once and soon enough those pants are across the room. Soon enough, all of her clothes are across the room and the word glory ceases to do the job of describing Andrea Sachs.

At first you don't know what to do with what is before you. There's just so much of her that you want to touch, and so much that you feel for her…it's all completely wrecking your thought process. She reads your mind in seconds though and makes a brilliant suggestion.

Reaching up for you, she simply asks you to kiss her and if there's one thing you know you can do right—based on the last hour or so—it's kiss her. The only difference now is that you don't stop at her mouth, her neck, her breasts…no you don't stop there. The more you let your lips and hands travel over Andrea's body, the more noises she makes and the faster her breathing becomes. When you get to the beautiful curve of her hips, you nip at her hot skin then tease the spot with your tongue. There's a moan from somewhere deep inside her and then her body tells you exactly where to go and what to do, opening up and letting you in. Your tongue slides through her with such ease…

She screams and it feels like she wants you everywhere at once. You stop just long enough to whisper her name and it sounds so beautiful. It always has, even the first time you met Andrea, the first time you said her name…it was beautiful to you even then.

Soon enough, you've rendered her absolutely helpless, which is absolutely fine with you. Pushing her legs even further apart, you go in deeper, determined to taste every single drop of what she is giving you. It's not until she can't even hold your head in place with a vice grip, that you quicken the pace and then before you know it, Andrea is screaming again. Her back is drawn in a tight bow and her head is tipped back…and more glory fills the room.

You never allow Andrea the chance to come down from it, crawling up until you have possession of the continued scream, until you have possession of what has been waiting for you there inside.

She hangs on more tightly than ever before while you lose all ability to speak, to think, to do anything but be hers. That's all you want to be. Just hers.

When you wake up there's no telling how late it is. Your bodies are tangled together in the blankets and sheets and in many ways—this is how it always is. But it's different in so many others. You've finally moved. You can finally say that you are living an actual life with her. And for God's sake, if Nigel isn't happy now, then he can feel free to come back and kiss your incredibly happy ass.

For a while you just lay there in each other's arms, staring, kissing, touching each other with the tips of your fingers like you're discovering something new with each movement. Later on you can tell that Andrea's mind is somewhere else though. The look of apprehension on her face is unmistakable.

"What is it?" You ask, hoping that she'll tell you, because sometimes she doesn't. Sometimes she holds things back, which is probably another thing that is your fault.

Without answering you at first, she turns over completely and starts digging around on her nightstand. You'd like to make a sarcastic remark about how it's full of just as much junk as yours, but you don't. So long as she's not about to bring some three day old coffee cup into the bed, you're going to keep your mouth shut about it. For now at least.

Finally she finds whatever it is she was looking for and turns back over, landing in the same spot as before, wrapped up in your arms.

"Gotta show you something," she says, still looking a bit apprehensive. You force yourself to keep your face neutral as she hands you a letter. "Open it."

You open it…it's a letter from her landlord. Andrea's lease is up for renewal in three weeks. And thank God, his number is right there at the bottom of the page. And thank God, the cordless phone is plugged in on your side of the bed.

You're quick and before she can even comprehend what you're doing, you dial call the landlord right there in bed. Naked. With an equally naked woman in your arms that is definitely looking at you like you're crazy now.

She mouths, "What are you doing!" as Mr. Wilkerson answers the phone. You don't have a watch on, of course, but you're certain the conversation doesn't last thirty seconds at the most. Apparently, Andrea Sachs has an assistant now who was left with a very important message to give him concerning her lease—that will not be renewed. Now or ever.

When you hang up with him, you grin at her, which is a rarity. "You have to be out in two weeks."

Andrea shakes her head at you and rolls her eyes, but you can tell she's happy. In fact, she's so happy, she takes yet another jab at your nightstand debacle. "Good, cause it'll take a solid week for you to pack up all your shit over there."

You glare. She smiles innocently and then you pull her on top of you, officially done talking about the landlord and nightstands. But…just as you're about to start all over again, you hear your cell phone ring from in the living room where you dropped your purse. And it's not like you can't answer it because it's the girl's ringtone.

Andrea knows this too and jumps up faster than you'll ever be able to and runs her naked ass into the other room to find it. By the time she makes it back a few seconds later, your face is burning hot. Stupid phone. And where is a boarding school when you need one?

Jumping back into the bed, Andrea hands you the phone and pulls the covers over you both, obviously cold. She snuggles in close as you answer.

"Hello, girls."

"Hey. We're out of school." It's Caroline and you mouth her name to Andrea since you know she'll want to know. She always does. And at least you know what time it is now.

"Good, how was your day? Are you on your way home?" You have to ask the second question because who knows where they'll end up if you don't keep them in check.

"Boring," she huffs. "Shane wasn't at school today."

She sounds completely dejected but you're completely thrilled. You've been hearing the name "Shane" far too much lately and even though Andrea tells you not to worry, you do. You can't help it. But—you know you've got to try and make nice over this somehow so until you have a real reason to do otherwise, you will try to be nice.

"I'm sorry to hear that, darling."

"Yeah, me too. Cassidy says hi. What'd you do today? When are you coming home?"

And now…you sit up. You sit up because you're naked. Andrea is naked. Everyone here is naked. And you've just made love for hours. And how in the hell do you… Oh, boy.

"I left work at noon," you say, feeling like someone is strangling you. "Tell your sister I said hello." This makes Andrea sit up and she's already laughing and you're already reaching for pillows to smack her with.

And of course, Caroline flips out. "What? Noon? Are you sick?"

In the background you can hear her telling Cassidy that you must be dying from some unknown plague. "No, Caroline. I am not sick. I went to The Mirror. To take Andrea to lunch." Which you never did do.

"Oh… Really?" She asks like she doesn't believe you but there's a hint of "this is pretty cool" in her voice. "Where did you go? I'm starving."

Isn't she always? But…where did you go for lunch? You can't even speak now. But you can hit Andrea again with the pillow and do.

"Shit!" She says, trying to defender herself.

"Is that Andy?" Caroline asks because, of course, she heard.

You cover the phone for a moment and tell Andrea to kindly, "Shut up, please!"

"This is fucking hilarious," she laughs again and you smack her in the head again.

"Mom, what are you doing to Andy?" Caroline asks you and you feel like you're locked in an interrogation room.

"Nothing…nothing, darling." Somehow you're able to keep from choking.

"Well, where did you go eat?!"

"We didn't." You finally confess because what else are you supposed to do? You can't even think straight right now… Ha! Straight. Now that is funny.

"Where are you, then?"

"The apartment." No one ever says "Andrea's apartment" anymore because, over time, it's slowly become everyone's. Just like the townhouse. So—it's either "The house" or "The apartment" and nothing else. Both places are home; but not for long.

"Oh…" Caroline says and then there's silence. Well, not really silence because you can tell she's covered the phone and there is definitely a conversation going on in the background.

When you hear words like "finally having sex, I guess" and "fine, whatever, but everybody better be dressed…" you fall over onto the only pillow that's left on the bed. And really, how did they know you weren't having sex before?

Cassidy's voice catches you off guard a second later. You were too busy trying not to listen to Andrea laughing at you to actually notice they'd switched. "So are we staying…you know, at the apartment tonight? Or dad's…or whatever?"

This much you can at least respond to without feeling like you're dying. "Here. You are staying here. Don't you always?" Because they always do. Unless it's truly their time to spend an obligatory weekend with their father, they're always here if you are. That's how it has always been.

"Yeah, well…you know." She says this like she is completely unsure of what direction this is all about to go. Truthfully, Cassidy has always been afraid you'll find something that takes up more of your time than Runway already does. Even though you've been at home more than ever before, in the past ninety days, it's likely that Cassidy doesn't think that habit will last for long.

You really don't know what else to say besides, "Cassidy Rae, I love you very much and you are not going anywhere but here. Do you understand me?"

Andrea's eyes get a little big. Usually when you throw down the Middle Name Card, someone, somewhere, has royally messed something up. You shake your head at her and she lets out a breath. Nobody's dying today. Not even the Press.

"Love you too, Miriam Rae," Cassidy says, the sound of relief is loud and clear in her voice. The fact that she just threw down the Real Name Card tells you that everything is okay. "Can you meet us at Starbucks?" She keeps on. "I'm starving too. And we'll get something sugar free, we promise. And we can get something for Andy."

And of course you believe that. Of course. Sugar free. As if. The fact that Andrea is not invited does not surprise you and it doesn't mean anything bad. It just means they want a little time with you and you don't mind that at all. "Yes. What time will you be there?" Andrea mouths "Starbucks?" and you nod. She smiles and you smile right back because now she knows everything is really okay too.

When you're able to finally get off the phone with them you know you've only got about thirty minutes or so to shower and change if you want to beat them there. If you don't, they'll have already bought an entire gallon of coffee to bring Andrea and that is the last thing you need. By the end of the night and the next morning you will have no doubt washed at least ten coffee cups, and you're really not in the mood for that. Not right now at least.

In fact, you're really not in the mood to take a shower, get dressed, much less go to Starbucks. Throwing down the phone, you can hardly remember why you were on it to begin with. You pull Andrea to you and it's amazing that she is able to stop you.

"No..no, no." She laughs, pushing you away. "You gotta go. Get in the shower or you'll be in serious trouble and you know it."

You glare and get up. She grins and starts making the bed and pulling something out of the closet for you to wear. It's a good thing you've got half a wardrobe here and it's an even better thing that Andrea still knows how to dress in a less hideous fashion.

By the time you get out the door, you are well acquainted on how to give and receive a proper goodbye kiss—that much you know for certain. There's no way to tell how much time you have left until beating the girls to Starbucks is a failed mission. You've got your cell phone but you refuse to look at it. You have no interest in time and will figure out shortly, that you've already failed in beating them anyway.

You fail to get there on time because you see a man across the street about a block away from your destination. He's wearing a horrible looking suit; plaid, of all things, and ten different colors. It's truly horrible. It makes your head hurt…like someone has just kicked you. Like Nigel has kicked you harder than ever before.

You stop and really look at him. He stops and points down at his shoes. Those stupid loafers. That you hate. In fact, you hate them so much—the suit too—that you buried him in them. Mostly because it made Andrea smile and at that point, you were desperate to find anything that did. But you did it out of love too, even though you didn't admit it at the time, you knew he'd want that. He loved that stupid suit. Nigel…

That's when it hits you, he's still looking at you, smiling now, but it hits you that you've got to look at your phone. You have to know what time it is.

It is exactly 4:27pm. Exactly ninety days now. Right now. Exactly ninety days.

You look back up and he is still there. The fact that you aren't crying isn't shocking at all. Too much glory exists in this moment for crying. Glory in watching him go. Glory in watching him come back…and not to kick you in the head either, but to just stand there and look at you. Like he sees you. Like he sees the you that Andrea has put together using the best pieces. Using the good things. That is what he sees. And can you tell, by the smile on his face, that he sees glory in this too. He sees the glory that he made possible.

Another second goes by and he waves. You wave back and then watch him go again. It doesn't hurt and you don't fall. In fact, it feels like you're standing up straighter than you have in forever.

Your cell phone goes off. Suddenly the sidewalk is crowded with people…on both sides of the street. How you never noticed that it wasn't, you'll never know. You don't want to know. It doesn't matter. Your phone goes off again and you finally look at it. It's Caroline telling you the mission to beat them has been lost and that Andrea has already called them with her order. Of course. Of course

When you get there, they're walking out the door with two large cups of something that you know is full of sugar and two cups of what you know is just good, strong coffee.

As you hug them both, you ask how many grams of sugar they're about to consume. They immediately swear up and down that it's all the barista's fault. You highly doubt that but let it go. What's the use?

You hold onto the coffee. They hold onto their latest fix and onto your arms, but you quickly start to wonder why you're between them since they're talking nonstop to each other. It's all madness that you cannot begin to understand. Something about Tumblr…again.

When the word "manip" pops up, you almost ask them what that means but quickly remember that Andrea says you really shouldn't know anything at all about Tumblr. There's talk of ships and then Cassidy goes on and on about some television show called Voyager and then something about manips and ships all over again.

You are blissfully oblivious. They are high as kites and couldn't be happier by the time you all make it back to the apartment.

When you get there, Andrea is waiting outside and you, at first, wonder if something is wrong. Her smile tells you differently and her words do not surprise you at all.

"It's such a glorious day out," she says, waving her hand in the sun before taking her coffee from Caroline like it is the greatest gift. " We can't spend it inside, Miranda."

You can't do anything but nod and put your arm around her waist as you all keep walking down the sidewalk, because she is right. Just as it was ninety days ago, this day is glorious. This day is full of nothing but glory.

The End

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