Disclaimer: See Part 1
Andy walked into the kitchen to find their guest sitting at the table. “Ma?”
Dorothy looked up from her tea and smiled. “Andy…” She looked her daughter up and down once. “How many of those running outfits do you have?”
Rolling her eyes, Andy looked down at herself and chuckled. “Miranda gave me ten of them, for my birthday.” This one was pink with black accents on the top and solid black pants with a black baseball hat. The small designer logo matched the one on the sides of her shoes, it was subtle but there on the upper left chest of her shirt. “This one kind of makes me feel like a tropical fish or something.” She scooped coffee grounds into the filter and started the coffee maker.
“You look very nice.” Dorothy assured her daughter. “I wasn't expecting you to be up this early. When did you make it home?”
“Around eleven I think.” Andy knew it was just after eleven thirty before they'd left the shoot. But, many nights they went to bed at midnight or later so there wasn't really any deviation in their regular schedule. “This is about the time I usually get up. I'm gonna take Patricia for a quick run.” She grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge and headed out the door.
Less than fifteen minutes later Miranda walked into the kitchen. “Oh, hello Dorothy.” Miranda poured herself a cup of coffee. “Has Andrea already gone?”
Nodding, Dorothy watched Miranda closely. “She said it would be a quick run.”
“Ah.” The older woman took a sip of her coffee, twisted gently to ease the aches from last night and sighed in relief. “She's not going to let Patricia play at the park very long then.”
“You, um… you both know each other quite well.” Dorothy saw Miranda stiffen defensively, but she continued with a question. “How do you do that? You've been together less than a year.”
Pressing her lips together for a moment, Miranda thought about the question. “It was Andrea's job for almost a year to anticipate my needs so she has the advantage over me in that area. I am still learning to read her, but she is so open and honest it's not terribly difficult at times.”
“It's very simple to tell when she's happy, she shares that easily. However, she doesn't like me to see when she's hurting.” The white-haired woman spoke quietly. “She was quiet for two days after we left Cincinnati. She finally told me how badly your reactions… your husband's and yours… had hurt her.”
“I can't speak for Richard, not about this.” Dorothy took a deep breath. “I know I overreacted,” she admitted to the woman her daughter loved. “You aren't what I thought you were.”
“What exactly did you think I was?” Miranda had been curious about Dorothy's reaction to the relationship she had with Andrea.
“I thought…” Dorothy shook her head and sighed. “I'm a bastard.”
Miranda smiled at the woman. “Well, I wouldn't go that far.”
Dorothy laughed. “No, I mean, I am, literally, a bastard. My mother and father were never married.”
“Ah.” Miranda nodded and remained silent for the woman to continue.
“I never knew my father.” Dorothy stared into her tea. “He never saw me, never knew I existed. He wined and dined my mother then after he'd gotten what he wanted, after he'd taken her heart, he crushed it.” She found the courage to look up at the white-haired woman. “He broke her.”
“And he was rich…” Miranda shook her head. “You know that for sure?” the editor asked quietly. “Perhaps your mother…”
“No.” Dorothy knew it wasn't a lie. “She wouldn't have told me if it wasn't true. She told me all about it every chance she got, the fancy places he took her, showed me pictures of her in the fancy jewels he had given her, that she later had to sell. They were my bedtime stories, warnings against the same thing happening to me.”
“Any pictures of him?” Miranda wondered who the mysterious man was.
“No, not that I ever saw.”
“You never asked?” Miranda knew she would have been curious about her own parentage in the same situation.
“Talking about it upset her, so I rarely brought up the subject.” Dorothy sighed. “I should have ferreted it out of her, before…”
Knowing there was more, Miranda sipped her coffee and waited. Her patience was rewarded, or possibly reward was the wrong word to use in this case, when Dorothy continued speaking. “… Two months before my nineteenth birthday I went to my mother's apartment to tell her I was pregnant. I'd been married for nearly three years by then… anyway… I.. um… went inside and…” She wiped a tear from her eye. “They said it was pills. She'd taken an overdose of her pain medication…”
Miranda felt the air leave her lungs in one large whoosh and didn't have a clue what to say to that. Any sort of sympathetic gesture coming from her wouldn't be appreciated. Dorothy would think she was being sarcastic, when in fact Miranda was extremely sorry for the woman's loss. No one should have to grow up without a mother. “Does Andrea know that?”
Dorothy shook her head. “I've never discussed it with her, never discussed it with anyone.” She sniffed and wiped her tears away. “I almost did the other night, but I changed the subject and she let me.”
“You should tell her.” Miranda stood to pour the cooling drink into the sink and rinse her coffee cup out. She slowly put it in the dishwasher. “She deserves to know.”
“I know, but I can't ever seem to bring myself to talk about it with her.” Dorothy shook her head. “It's even more difficult with Chad, he looks so much like her, my mother. Andy takes after Richard's side of the family, she and Pava are so much alike, in looks and personality.”
Miranda didn't smile, smiles were not appropriate at this time, but she had noticed that Pava and Andrea were quite similar, in many ways. Glancing at the clock, Miranda took a deep breath. “I'm going to make sure the girls are preparing for school. Andrea will be back soon.”
Dorothy nodded, watched Miranda disappear up the stairs and wondered what the hell she was going to say to her daughter when the girl returned.
Andy arrived home just in time to hug the girls goodbye. To everyone's surprise the children hugged Dorothy and kissed her cheek goodbye, knowing that the woman was going to leave today and she wouldn't be there when they got home.
Jo grinned, happy that Andy's mom was accepting her daughter's relationship. Jo knew it had been tough on Andy to be at odds with her parents. “C'mon you rugrats...” She guided the girls toward the front door. “Can't have you being late for school, now can we?” She winked at them. “Can't have me being late for work either!” She chuckled and looked in Andy's direction. “See you tomorrow night?”
“Of course.” Andy and Miranda both nodded affirmative. Miranda spoke as the trio walked down the hall. “Thank you, Detective.”
Dorothy watched the girls as they were escorted down the hall and spoke almost to herself. “I'm a grandma.” She looked up at Andy with her arm wrapped around Miranda's waist. “That is so weird to say… I'm a grandma.”
Miranda's lips twitched in the beginnings of a grin. “I'm glad you feel that way.” She sighed. “I'm afraid James' mother isn't really the ‘grandma' type… she has them over to visit a night or two every few months, but they have told me repeatedly how ‘boring' it is at her house.” She turned a full, genuine, smile on the woman. “You seem the type they can do things with… baking, cooking and such…”
Nodding in agreement, Dorothy only had to consider that for a moment. “That would be a true pleasure.” She tilted her head as she looked Miranda in the eye. “They are wonderful children. You've done an excellent job raising them.”
Taking a deep breath, Miranda shook her head. “They were monsters when I was the one making decisions. I spoil them.” She slid her arm around Andy's waist. “They've only gotten better since Andrea has been here.”
“Don't deny it. I know the reputation my children have at Runway.” Miranda's warning tone worked and Andy dropped the subject, for now. She turned her attention back to her soon-to-be Mother-in-Law. “When is your flight?”
Dorothy shrugged. “I thought I'd just go to the airport and get the soonest flight I could. I know a ticket on such short notice is going to be a little difficult to get. That's why I'm up so early. Hopefully the flights won't be sold out… I thought there might be a spot if I fly stand-by.”
“Ma, I don't want you spending all day at the airport by yourself!” Andy was appalled that her mother didn't have specific plans to get home.
Miranda spoke to Dorothy. “You should let Andrea take care of your travel plans. She is quite good at making things happen.”
“Yeah,” Andy agreed. “I'll go with you to the airport. Then if you are stuck there for a while, we can get a coffee or something…”
Or something , Dorothy thought. Like talk. She knew it was time to tell her daughter the story she'd told Miranda… but she certainly wasn't looking forward to it. “Okay. That sounds nice.” she lied. The fact was… the thought of talking to Andy about her grandmother terrified Dorothy.
Turning to Miranda, Andy asked. “Do you have a meeting tonight?”
“Not that I'm aware of.” Miranda didn't think she did, not unless a last minute thing popped up. But she had seen her tentative schedule and knew for the next week at least there was nothing scheduled after two pm. “Tomorrow is the charity thing in the evening, but nothing in the evening other than that.”
“I'll see you tonight for dinner then.” Andy kissed Miranda's cheek lightly. “If Ma really wants to get home today we should get to the airport.”
Miranda nodded. “Yes.”
Dorothy cleared her throat and chuckled to herself. “I'll just go make sure I packed everything.” She headed up the stairs, knowing that as soon as she was out of sight her daughter and Miranda were going to do a bit more than kiss each other on the cheek.
“I thought you might say something liked that.” Dorothy sighed and turned from the ticket counter to face Andy. “Guess I'm not going home today.”
Andy looked at her mother for a long moment. “Do you want to?”
“Your father wants me home, and I'd rather not upset him any more than I already have.” Dorothy exhaled softly. “Right now it won't take much to soothe him, but the longer I stay gone…”
“Is he really that controlling?” She'd heard the tone of her mother's voice earlier, when she spoke about her husband. Her father had never been the most laid back guy, but she didn't think he was that bad.
“Your father likes to know what is going on around him.” Dorothy spoke quietly. “I think that is part of why he reacted the way he did to your news. You surprised him, made him feel out of control.”
“You let him run your life.” Andy narrowed her eyes. “He calls the shots and you merely follow along? Ma, that's…”
“That's the way it is.” Dorothy patted her daughter's arm. “That's the way it has to be.”
“No… I love your father, and if he needs to feel in control, then that is what I'll give him.” Dorothy swallowed convulsively.
“Ma?” Andy asked, slowly. “What happens if he doesn't ‘feel in control'?”
“Don't worry.” Dorothy shook her head against what she knew her daughter was thinking. “He never hits me. He just gives me the silent treatment and sleeps in the guest room until he gets over it.” She sighed. “Sometimes it just takes a while until he believes he's back in control.”
Nodding, Andy thanked whatever god there might be that her mother wasn't a victim of physical domestic abuse. She reached for her cell phone. “Then let's get you home.”
“Andrea, the woman said there weren't any flights available.” Dorothy fell silent at the young woman's gesture. She watched, fascinated, as Andy spoke into the phone.
“Alex! Hey, how've you been?” Smiling into the phone, Andy laughed. “I hear ya…” She winked at her mom and got down to business. “Listen, my mom came to visit me and now she's trying to get back home to Cincinnati.” She nodded. “Yeah, I know, but I also know you have a hub in Cinci… What's it gonna take to get a ride-along for that leg of the trip?” Covering the speaker, Andy whispered to her Mom. “He's checking.” Her attention was brought back to the phone. “Yeah… That's great! Thanks so much, Alex! Sure… yes, definitely we'll have to get together for drinks. Let me know when you both can make it…” She laughed. “It will be cool to see Liz again too. Thanks again.” She disconnected the call and chuckled at her mother's amazed face. “Ten forty-five, Gate 12. Your boarding pass will be waiting at the desk.” She linked her arm with her mom's and rolled her eyes. “C'mon, let's go get some coffee.”
“No no no.” Miranda felt like wringing the neck of every person present in her office, one by one. Her phone rang and she punched the button to accept the call without even looking at the screen. “What?!”
“Um… Miranda?” Andy wondered what was going on at Runway to put that tone in her fiancée's voice. “Are you okay?”
“Not really, but I'll deal with it.” Miranda could feel her annoyance draining away. “Did your mother get a flight out?”
“I got her a seat on a flight at ten forty-five. We're here having a coffee. I'll hang around until she takes off. Do you want to meet for lunch?”
“That sounds lovely.” Miranda closed her eyes. “Come to my office and we'll decide from there where we'll go.”
“I'll be there.” Andy grinned into the phone. “I love you.”
“And I you.”
Andy winked at her mother. “Miranda, who's in your office with you?”
“I'm currently in a meeting discussing accessories…” Miranda chuckled. “…I just hope everyone here understands that they owe you their jobs and their lives at this point.”
“Ouch… what's wrong?”
“It's a simple misunderstanding.” Miranda glared at each stunned person in her office. “They seem to believe they have a choice regarding my suggestions.”
They could all hear Andy's laughter through the speaker that was quickly pulled away from Miranda's ear.
“Miranda…” Andy's chuckle died down. “You know they aren't that stupid.”
Grinning as the people in her office flinched at that comment; Miranda's eyes took on a particular gleam and put the phone back to her ear. “Sometimes I have serious doubts about that.” She knew it was time to end this conversation. “I will see you at lunch, we can discuss it then.”
As a seasoned reporter, Andy had done enough interviews to know a stop signal when she heard it. Miranda's tone was clear, enough talking about this. “Yes, I'll see you then.” The fact that Miranda had an office full of people listening to this conversation made the Editor's next words as shocking as they were sweet.
“I love you, Andrea.”
Miranda's voice had that certain lilt that let Andy know the woman was smiling. And probably scaring every person in her office into needing a change of underwear , the young woman thought as she responded with her own smile and soft words.
“And I you.”
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