Disclaimer: See Part 1
A knock at the bedroom door woke Andy and she glanced at the clock. Six am... ugh…
She took a deep breath, ran her fingers through her hair, and checked to make sure both she and Miranda were fully clothed, at least in pajamas, before she spoke. “Who is it?”
Miranda opened one reddened blue eye and groaned as she turned to sit up. “Enter.”
The door flew open and the girls only hesitated a moment before they jumped on the bed containing their Moms. “Have you looked outside yet?!” Their little eyes glittered in the morning pre-dawn light.
“Cassidy, you woke us up.” Andy laughed. “How could we have looked outside?” Her eyes narrowed at the girl. “What's out there?”
Caroline scoffed. “Losers.”
“Caroline, modify your tone.” Miranda winked at her daughter. “Some things need not be voiced, even if they are true.” She prepared herself for the worst. “How many?”
“There were seven trucks out front, and three in the back. I couldn't really count the people.” Caroline shook her head. “It's gonna be tough to get through them.”
“They're quick, the Mirror only hit the stands at five.” Andy realized something, something kind of important. “Doug never called me last night.” She grabbed her phone and dialed his number quickly. It went directly to voicemail. “Dougie… where are you? Call me!”
“That's weird.” She double-checked the time then dialed Lily's number, She'll be up. She was, this time it rang once before Lily picked up.
“Have you seen Dougie?” Andy was actually kind of worried. “His phone goes directly to voicemail.”
“Oh!... damn… I forgot. He's gone to that dumb conference this week. I was going to call him last night but was just too freaked out.” Lily realized who she was talking to. “How are you? I think I'm seeing your house on the news.”
Andy chuckled. “Probably, there are like ten news vans outside and a horde of reporters.” She wondered though, “What are they saying?”
“Don't you have your TV on?”
“We don't have a TV in the bedroom.”
“You're in the… is she…” Lily's exhale sounded through the phone. “Nevermind,” she answered Andy's question, “…they aren't saying much, just kinda…waiting… some of them are quoting your article.”
“She says, they aren't saying anything on the news… just quoting my article and…waiting.”
“There is nothing to say.” Miranda looked quite smug. “You scooped them.”
“Okay Lily, sorry to bother you so early but I was worried about Dougie.”
“Sure, Andy.” Lily sighed, at least that much about her friend hadn't changed. “Maybe we can try to do lunch, or drinks when Doug gets back. He's gonna flip you know.”
“Yeah, that sounds about right. Lunch sounds good, Lily.” Andy smiled. “I'll look forward to it.” She disconnected the call and pressed the edge of the phone against her forehead. “I'm gonna have to call Greg, tell him I'll be late today.”
“You most certainly will not be late for work, Andrea.” Miranda stood and walked into the closet, quickly choosing her outfit for the day, a gun-metal gray power suit. “We will continue our lives, ignoring them,” she indicated the press outside with a quick tilt of her head, “as much as possible.”
Andy grinned. “So, I should take my morning run?”
Miranda hesitated then nodded, “If you wish.” The idea of Andrea wading through the reporters didn't set very well with Miranda. Frankly, it worried her. “I will wait for your return and we can ride to work together.”
“Girls,” Andy smiled at the children. “Why don't you go ahead and get ready for school?”
Cassidy knew Andy wanted to talk to their mother in private. “Sure, Andy. C'mon Caroline.” She gestured to her sister and they left quickly.
Miranda was still standing next to the closet door so Andy got up and moved to hug her. “I'll be okay. I just want to go for my morning run.” She tilted Miranda's face up to lightly brush their lips together. “It's my normal thing to do, and I'd really like to continue it.”
“Most of them are in the front. You'll save yourself a lot of problems if you go out the back.”
Shrugging, Andy didn't have a problem with that. “I usually go out the back gate anyway.”
Miranda leaned into the young woman for comfort. “I don't know what they are going to say…”
“Or what I'm going to say back?” Andy chuckled. “I'll try very hard not to say anything.”
“Don't take too long.” Miranda warned. “As the morning wears on, more will gather and you don't have Patricia to protect you today.”
“I can defend myself… I've taken several self-defense classes,” she informed Miranda haughtily.
“Andrea, I hold a black belt in Karate…” She tightened her arms around the young woman's waist, “but that doesn't mean you wouldn't worry about me if I went out into that mess alone.”
“You, know karate?” Andy was intrigued. Will she ever stop surprising me? God I hope not. She thought about what Miranda had said and answered. “No, you're right, I would still worry about you.”
“Which is why I feel better when Patricia is with you.”
“But she could be…Patricia I mean.” Andy remembered where the boarding kennel was in relation to the park. “…it's actually not that much off my regular route to stop at the doggie hotel and pick her up. So she could be with me on the way back.”
That idea actually did make Miranda feel slightly better. “If the reporters don't leave you alone get their names and tell them that I'll ruin them!”
“Miranda.” Andy laughed. “I don't think it will come to that.” She kissed the tip of the older woman's nose. “I don't want to trade on your reputation that way anyway.”
“You don't?” Miranda laughed. “Isn't that how you do all the impossible things you do? Invoke my name?”
“Sometimes.” Andy admitted. “That's how I got Macy's to stay open.”
“And the steak at the restaurant.” Miranda reminded her.
“No… That was me.” Andy winked. “I told them I was a reporter at a New York newspaper and threatened to write a scathing review that would be carried in every major newspaper in the country…which would ruin their tourist business…” Miranda's lips stopped her explanation for a long moment.
“I love you, Andrea.” Miranda pulled the brunette tightly against her. “Never forget that, no matter what anyone says, I love you.”
Andy stroked the white hair under her hand. “And I you.” Releasing the embrace, they shared another short kiss. “Okay, I'm gonna take a quick shower…yes, before I go running. Gotta look good for the cameras, eh?”
“Mmmm…” Miranda's opinion of how she looked was evident in the gleaming blue eyes.
“Call the kennel would you? Let them know I'm gonna pick up Patricia this morning.”
“Yes,” Miranda picked up her phone. “I will.”
Caroline looked up from the breakfast table and was impressed. “Wow, Andy! You look famous.”
Andy laughed. “Do I?” She was wearing one of the outfits Miranda had gotten her, which she had to admit was rather nice. Different than she was used to though, skin tight black pants and form fitting white sleeveless shirt instead of the baggy stuff she normally wore. She'd pulled her hair into a pony tail and threaded it through the back of her white hat, needing the visor for shade and although she didn't need them inside, she was wearing a pair of designer sunglasses, at least she assumed they were designer, Miranda had given them to her as well.
“You sure do.” Cassidy swallowed her bite of cereal and agreed. “Just like all those celebrity pictures in the tabloids.”
Andy took her glasses off for a moment and rolled her eyes. Speaking dryly, she grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge, to take with her. “Great.” She poured half a small glass of juice and drank it before she picked up her water and put her sunglasses back on. “Okay… wish me luck.”
“Luck!” “Luck!” The twins laughed.
“Good luck, Andrea.” Miranda appeared at the kitchen doorway. “Be safe.”
Andy winked, even though it was hidden behind the sunglasses, then opened the backdoor and stepped out, quickly closing the door behind her.
“She'll be okay, Mom.” Caroline smiled at her mother's uncharacteristic nervousness. “It's just the press…”
Miranda never took her eyes off the door Andrea had just exited. “Exactly.”
Cassidy heard the worry in her Mom's voice and ran upstairs, quickly.
On the short walk across the small landscaped backyard, Andy came to the same conclusion Caroline had. It's just the press , she thought and took a deep breath as she pushed open the back fence gate. Immediately about a million flashes went off in her face. She laughed. “Well, that was a waste of film.” She smiled at the people gathered there as she firmly pulled the gate closed behind her. They all started tossing questions at her and she held up her hands to quiet them. “I'm just going for a morning run.” As she began to jog down the street, they followed her.
“Can you just answer a few questions?”
“Sorry, no time today.” She picked up the pace. “I've got things to do this morning.”
She fell into her regular running rhythm, leaving the reporters behind, and smiled. That wasn't so hard, she thought. Going out the front might be harder though. She slowed her pace a bit and made a quick call. That done, she forced the situation out of her mind determined to simply enjoy the normalcy of the moment.
“She got through just fine, Mom.” Cassidy returned to the kitchen from her post upstairs and reported. “They didn't follow her for long.”
“Good.” Miranda picked at her breakfast, she hadn't actually taken a bite yet and knew from the knot in her stomach that she wouldn't. “Thank you, my darling.”
“She'll be okay, Mom.” Cassidy walked directly to her parent and hugged her. “Don't worry.” She grinned at the older woman's widening eyes and spouted very familiar instructions back at her Mom. “It will just give you wrinkles.”
Miranda snorted. “I already have those.”
“No, you don't.” Cassidy looked at her like she was crazy. “Not many at least… not like, Grandmother, or Mrs. King, or Gram Sachs…and they don't even have too many… not like Andy's Mom…she has a lot.”
“Cassidy, many people have much harder lives than we do… Andy's mother worries a great deal about many things.”
“Don't give me that, Mom.” The girl shook her head. “I know it's true, but I also know your life hasn't been easy. We all know that. You've worked hard to earn what you have and I know you do worry about things….us… Andy… Runway.”
Miranda pulled the girl onto her lap. “Is it terribly upsetting for you, Bobbsey? There is so often chaos in your life due to my choices and I know I'm not here so very often…”
“Mom,” Cassidy took the rare opportunity to rest her head on her Mom's shoulder. “You always make time for us, no matter where you are.” She wrapped her arm around her Mom's neck and hugged her tightly. “We both know that if we need you, you'll be there for us.”
Miranda returned the hug. “I love you, and your sister.” And Andrea… The white-haired woman dropped her head to the small shoulder. “I'm sure I don't say it often enough, but I do.”
Cassidy pulled away to look into her Mom's eyes. “We know Mom. We love you too.”
“Where is Caroline? She should be dressed by now.”
“She's upstairs, watching the action from the front window.” Cassidy laughed at her Mom's expression. “She's also watching for Roy. It will be time for us to leave for school pretty soon.”
“Mmm…” Miranda pressed her lips together for a moment. “I was hoping Andrea would be here for that. I guess I didn't pay attention to the time when she left.”
Cassidy lowered her head back to her mother's shoulder. “She'll be okay, Mom.”
They sat like that for quite a while and were both surprised when the doorbell rang. Miranda stood and moved to answer it as she heard Caroline stomping down and they met at the foot of the stairs, in front of the door.
“It's the police, Mom.” Caroline looked worried. “It's an unmarked car, but they had lights on when they pulled up.”
Miranda reached down and smoothed the lines from Caroline's forehead. “Don't worry, it'll give you wrinkles.”
Caroline rolled her eyes at the familiar reprimand, but Cassidy smiled at her sister promising herself she'd let her twin in on the secret. Much like the code Wesley and Buttercup had in the Princess movie, when their Mother said things like that to them, what she meant was ‘I love you.'
Miranda opened the door, the clamor of the press overwhelmed them for a moment. Suddenly, she realized who was standing on the stoop and breathed a sigh of relief. “Detective Jo,” she smiled at the woman. “Please, come in.” She stepped aside as the impeccably dressed, dark haired woman entered their home, leaving four uniformed officers outside.
“Heard you might be having some trouble, Ma'am.” Jo winked at the girls. “A little birdie told me it was nearly time for you girls to go to school.”
They all heard a car horn honk once. Miranda smiled as the girls grabbed their backpacks. “Your timing is perfect, Detective.” She hugged and kissed each girl on the cheek before she opened the door. Jo ordered the uni's to escort the girls to the car, where Roy stood waiting to open the door for them. Miranda waited until Jo reentered the house then shut the door and looked out the window to make sure the children made it all the way to the car without incident. “Thank you, Detective.”
Jo held up her hand to wave off the gratitude. “When Andy called this morning she said the wolves were gathering at your doorstep. She wanted to make sure the girls were okay.”
Miranda nodded. “She's very thoughtful.”
“Speak of the devil,” Jo focused down the hallway. “Hiya, Andy.”
“Hey Jo,” Andy joined them, being pulled by Patricia.
Miranda immediately knelt to hug the dog's neck and ruffle the fur on her head and neck vigorously. She'd already applied her make-up though, so there was no licking allowed.
Andy laughed and spoke to Jo. “Now you see where I rate.”
Loving blue-eyes twinkled up at the joking brunette, but it was Jo who responded. “Oh, yes, my friend. It doesn't take a detective to see exactly where you stand around here.” Her dark eyes had a special shine in them as she continued. “After all, I don't see the dog wearing a ring like that.” She winked at Andy's expression.
Andy rolled her eyes and waved Jo away. “Excuse me, would you?” She smiled as Jo took a polite step back then Andy's focus was entirely on her partner. Wrapping an arm around Miranda, placing a small kiss on her cheek, she greeted her fiancée quietly. “Hi.”
Miranda suddenly found it difficult to speak but managed to whisper. “Hi.”
“Did the girls have any problems?”
Jo couldn't help smile at the scene as Miranda answered. “No problems. Thank you, Andrea.”
Miranda leaned into the young woman. She'd dealt with the press before, but she'd forgotten just exactly how hard it was.
Andy kissed the top of Miranda's head. “Of course.” She tipped her head to rest her cheek against the spot she'd just kissed. “Have you had breakfast, Jo?”
“Yeah, Blair makes me eat before I leave.” Jo rolled her eyes. “Something about keeping up my strength and having the stamina to chase criminals.” She had no clue why that response would make both women smile.
“Sorry, Jo, but I have got to take a shower.” She tightened her arm around Miranda for a second then released her. “Be right back.”
“Would you care for some coffee, Detective?” Miranda gestured toward the kitchen.
Jo sighed, “Perfect.”
“Andrea drinks her coffee with an obscene amount of sugar and cream in it, plus she adds other things on a whim, vanilla, cinnamon, or raspberry of all things.”
Laughing, Jo nodded, “I know. Blair is the same way. Their coffee ends up being more like a dessert.” She accepted a mug from her hostess and settled at the table. “I think they actually make it a game, see who can top the other in coffee additions.”
Miranda had gotten the impression from Andrea that Jo was the friend; the wife didn't seem to come up in conversation very often. “Do you dine together frequently?”
“No actually, not too often.” Jo took a sip of her coffee and nodded in appreciation. “Most of the time when I see Andy, Blair is busy, or out of town.”
Miranda's eyes narrowed and the tone of her voice carried a dangerous edge. “So when your wife is out of town, you seek out Andrea?”
Jo held up her hands in defense. “Yeah, but it's not what you are thinking.” She smiled. “Andy is a friend, and only a friend. I'm totally devoted to Blair. I wouldn't jeopardize what we have for… anything.” Jo took a deep breath and looked Miranda in the eye. “Andy wouldn't risk what she has with you either.” She saw the shock on Miranda's face and smiled. “I understand if you don't trust me, you barely know me, but you have to trust Andy. You have to know… she wouldn't hurt you for anything.”
Nodding, Miranda agreed. “Yes, I trust Andrea completely.”
“Glad to hear it.” Andy walked in, fully clothed in designer jeans and a solid white blouse, but toweling off her wet hair. She grabbed a mug from the cabinet and poured herself some coffee. Miranda and Jo watched, almost mesmerized as the young woman proceeded to fill her mug with sugar, cream, and today she added a splash of chocolate syrup. Stirring the mixture, she turned to her audience and pulled back slightly. “What?”
Jo chuckled and Miranda rolled her eyes. “Really Andrea, Chocolate?”
Andy took a sip of the concoction and closed her eyes in appreciation. Swallowing the mouthful, she sighed. “Oh yeah.”
Jo just continued to chuckle as Miranda shook her head in tolerant amusement.
They were readying themselves to walk out the door when Andy's phone rang.
“Hello?” She held up one finger to indicate the women with her should wait for a minute. “Yeah, Greg, what's up?” Blinking, she listened for a moment, paled a bit, then nodded. “Uh.. okay. Thanks, Greg.” I think. She looked apologetically at Miranda. “Greg says I don't have to come in today, the office is swarming with reporters, ones that don't work there, and…um, apparently Irv has called a press conference this morning at eleven, so Greg thought I might want to be there.” She could feel her heart trying to pound its way through her chest as she asked Miranda. “Do I want to be there?” The thought of the man, who was essentially Miranda's boss, well, sort of boss, having a press conference regarding her relationship with Miranda was not pleasant; in fact it was downright scary.
“Yes,” Miranda nodded then cupped the young woman's cheek in her hand. “But Andrea, you can not wear that to my office.” She winked at the relief flooding her fiancée's eyes.
“The Chanel then?” Andy felt the tension ease in her shoulders. If Miranda was teasing her about clothes, the older woman must not be too concerned about anything Irv might say.
Patting the cheek under her hand lightly, Miranda nodded and brushed their lips together. “Acceptable.”
Returning the kiss, Andy glanced at both women. “Be right back.” She bolted up the stairs to change.
Miranda called Roy, who was outside waiting in the car, to inform him of the delay. When she disconnected the call, they moved to the study to wait for Andy.
Jo knew it wasn't her place to ask, but couldn't help be curious. “Is this press conference trouble for you?” She settled into the chair she'd used the first time she'd been there.
“Irv is a pain in my, well…everything. The handling has been, delicate, but he's no trouble.” Miranda allowed herself to pat the detective's shoulder, before she continued on to sit on the couch. “Thank you for your concern.”
“It's just… I understand.” Jo smiled softly at the older woman. “Blair and I did all this almost twenty years ago.”
Miranda found it hard to believe the press would be interested in a lesbian police officer and her partner, even twenty years ago. “What does your wife do?”
Jo chuckled. “She is currently President and CEO of Warner Industries. Back then she was just the heir to the Warner estate. David Warner's only daughter.” Jo's voice was laced with love for her wife. “She worked her way up through the corporation; proved herself time and time again until her father finally realized his daughter was capable of taking over the family business.” Jo's eyes glittered at that memory. “God, she was so happy that day, the day he told her he was retiring and she could take over.”
Miranda absorbed that information quietly. Now she knew how the police detective could afford Armani suits.
They waited in silence for Andy to return and when she did, Jo gave a long low whistle. “Wow…” Jo grinned at her friend. “You almost look good enough to be hanging around her.” She indicated Miranda with her thumb.
Andy laughed. “Thanks.” She beamed at the compliment then turned to Miranda. Prepared to be judged by the only person who mattered, she asked meekly. “Acceptable?”
“Andrea, you look wonderful no matter what you are wearing,” Miranda glanced at Jo and continued with a smirk, “or not wearing. But, yes, this outfit is appropriate for spending the morning at Runway.”
Jo smothered her laugh at Miranda's comment behind her hand and trying not to look at Andy's reddening face she cleared her throat. “Ready to go then? I'll just escort you to the car.”
Miranda made sure she had a grip on The Book, and saw Andrea looped the strap of her laptop case over her shoulder before answering. “Ready.”
They had originally planned for Miranda to go with Roy to her office while Andy rode with Jo to The Mirror… but now since they were both going to Runway, Jo's taxi services weren't required. The detective smiled at the couple. “I'll even have time to run home and change.”
“Why change?” Miranda gave the helpful woman a glance and smiled. “This outfit is quite nice on you.”
“It's not exactly appropriate for my work environment.” Jo chuckled and turned to Andy. “Is a smile as good as a nod?”
Andy laughed, “Better!”
Feeling her knees give just a little, Jo leaned against the wall. “I don't know if I can handle better!”
Andy saw the confused expression on Miranda's face and leaned over, whispering for a moment, with one glance at Jo in the middle of the explanation. When Andrea finished speaking, Miranda nodded. “I see.” She turned her amused blue eyes on the detective. Her lips twitched once, her eyebrow rose, and she spoke. “You're welcome.”
Jo laughed and reached for the door. “Lady,” She grinned at the white-haired woman. “You are somethin' else.” She opened the door so any response was immediately drowned out by the reporters all yelling at once for attention. With the uniformed officers surrounding them, they made it to the car without incident.
Both women breathed a sigh of relief as the car door closed and they were surrounded by blessed silence. She had assured the detective they would be fine from here, Elias-Clarke security would provide escort from the curb to the building if necessary. The car began to move slowly, so as not to injure any of the reporters foolish enough to get close to the vehicle.
“Miranda?” Andy slid close and leaned against her partner. “Did you warn Irv yesterday?”
“No,” Miranda sighed and confessed. “He was informed…earlier.”
Something in Miranda's tone made Andy suspicious. “How much… earlier?” At Miranda's continued silence, Andy prompted. “Miranda, when did you tell him?”
“Must you ask so many questions?” Annoyance tinged the editor's voice.
“He was… informed, the day Judy was arrested.”
“WHAT?!” Andy pulled away, amazed at the revelation. “You can't be serious. He's known all this time?”
“He knew you were staying with me because of the cameras found in your apartment.” Miranda acknowledged. “I… implied that it was in our, meaning Runway's, best interest to take care of you because of the nature of the crime and where it was committed.” She shook her head. “Before our vacation I informed him of the true nature of our arrangement.” She held her breath and reached out to take Andrea's hand, exhaling softly as the young woman didn't pull away from her touch and in fact, tangled their fingers together. “Don't worry, Andrea.” She smiled and reached with her other hand, smoothing the furrowed forehead. “It'll just give you wrinkles.”
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