Disclaimer: See Part 1
Andy looked up from her computer and laughed, startled when the girls dropped their backpacks at the door and basically tackled her. “Whoa!” She tried to deal with both arms full of squealing redhead girl. “What's the big deal? It's not like you haven't seen me in a week. We had breakfast together this morning, remember?”
“Yeah, but you're home now… you're hardly ever home when we are after school.” Caroline looked up at the brunette. “Why are you home now?”
“Well.” She settled back on the couch and let the girls snuggle in at her sides. “My boss thought it would be better for everyone if I worked from home for a while.”
“He fired you?” Cassidy narrowed her eyes. “He can't do that, there are laws….”
“No…” She squeezed the small shoulders under her right arm and kissed the top of the girl's head. “I'm not fired. He sends me my assignments, and I send the articles back. The internet is very helpful. The reporters gathered at the office were disruptive. I leave, they leave. It's only for a few weeks, probably.”
“Oh,” Cassidy considered that option. “So, while we're at school, you can work on your articles here.”
Andy chuckled. “Actually, I need to work a little bit even when you are here.” She grinned at the girls' falling faces. “You can work on your homework, and I'll work on my work work…” She took a deep breath and informed them, unconsciously wrinkling her forehead, “Ma will be here tonight, she's coming for a visit.”
Cassidy smoothed the wrinkles on the woman's forehead, “Don't worry…” Her twin cut off the rest of the thought.
“She wants to check up on you.” Caroline said with certainty. “She doesn't like you living with us.”
“She doesn't have anything to say about it.” Andy spoke to both girls, serious now. “I love you, and I love your mother. I'm going to live here until Miranda gets tired of me.”
“Good!” Cassidy hugged Andy tightly. “You'll be here forever then.”
Caroline agreed. “Yes, Mom will never let you go.”
Andy squeezed the girls tightly. “I hope not.” She released them and patted them on the backs. “Now go on…ya rugrats… get your work done, and maybe we can squeeze in a movie before Ma gets here.”
The girls chorused, “Yes, Andy.”
Andy chuckled as the girls grabbed their backpacks and stomped up the stairs to their rooms. She turned back to her laptop and shook her head mumbling to herself. “I should ask Miranda about reinforcing those stairs.”
Roy stood at the gate with his neatly printed little sign.
A reporter, Roy could tell, approached him and asked, “Does the Sachs you're waiting on have anything to do with the Sachs that Miranda Priestly is seeing?”
Roy turned a confused expression on the man. “Miranda who?”
The reporter sighed and walked off. “Nevermind.”
Smiling to himself, knowing Miranda herself had actually written the sign he was holding, Roy watched the snooper walk away. Good, he thought, vulture . He outwardly smiled as a hesitant woman walked toward him. He asked her politely, “Dorothy?” She nodded and he dropped the sign. “Do you have any luggage?”
“Yes, I have two bags checked.”
He nodded and gestured to the luggage carousel. “We should get your bags and be going.” He warned her, “Miranda is waiting in the car.”
“What?” Dorothy was shocked. “Why?”
“She has a meeting at the Marriott just down the road, in about half an hour.” He explained. “There was no time to get you, drop you at the house, then go back and get her…”
Dorothy snorted. “I could have taken a taxi.”
Roy nodded, “Yes, you could have, but she could have taken a different car too.” He took a suitcase that Dorothy pulled from the luggage pile and waited for her to find her other bag. While they waited, Roy passed along a theory he had. “I think she wanted a little time with you alone, to talk.”
Dorothy swallowed hard and grabbed her second bag. “Why would she want that?”
Gently taking the bag from the woman, Roy spoke quietly. “I wouldn't presume to guess.” He gestured toward the airport exit. “This way.”
She followed the man to the waiting car. She took a deep breath as he left the bags behind the car for a moment and opened the door for her. “Um… thank you.”
Roy smiled. “Of course.” He waited for her to get situated and closed the door. Quickly placing the luggage in the trunk, Roy took his place behind the wheel and headed toward Miranda's destination. In all honesty she didn't mind being late for meetings like this, she'd told him before that it did the designers good to wait on her for a few minutes, but Roy didn't want her to be too late.
Dorothy entered the car and was immediately struck by the unique spicy scent Miranda wore. She was also immediately aware that the woman was on the phone so she remained silent. The low, stressed, conversation lasted several minutes until the woman raised her voice, slightly and put an end to the debate.
“No, Nigel. I don't care what it costs. I will not allow that horrible layout to appear in the magazine. Redo it! That's all.” She disconnected the call and sighed. Miranda shook off the office problems and turned to her guest. “Hello.” Miranda's lips twitched in the beginnings of a smile. “How was your flight?”
“It was good.” Dorothy had wondered how she would react when she was alone with Miranda, she opted for polite. “Thank you.”
“I detest flying.” Miranda closed her eyes. “But it is often required for my job.”
“Mmmm…” It must be so difficult to fly on private planes all over the world. Dorothy thought snidely and watched Miranda closely. “We all do things we don't particularly like, for the sake of our jobs, or loved ones.”
“Indeed,” Miranda turned a rather intense look on the woman then redirected her gaze out the window of the car. “Here's one of them now.”
Dorothy followed Miranda's eye-line to see a nicely dressed, very handsome man standing in front of the doors of the hotel. His brown wavy hair shifted slightly in the breeze as the car pulled up to the curb. Before Roy could get out and open the door for Miranda, the man had done it.
Miranda plastered a fake smile on her face and Dorothy heard the fake sincerity in her voice. “Jean Paul! How wonderful to see you.” Air kisses near the cheek were exchanged and Dorothy heard the man's accented voice telling Miranda how lovely she looked, before the door closed.
“Okay.” Roy broke the silence. “Andy's waiting.”
“So, Andy is home, with the children while Miranda is out with this French man?” Forgetting the fake sincerity she'd heard in Miranda's voice, a wave of anger swept through her. “This is how she treats my daughter??”
Pressing his lips together, Roy didn't want to say anything to make the situation worse. “Maybe you should talk to Andy about that.”
Crossing her arms in front of her, Dorothy looked out the car window at the passing lights with a scowl. “You bet I will.”
Roy saw his passenger's eyes widen as they approached the house. “Don't worry. I'll walk you to the door.”
He pulled up in front and parked so Dorothy would have a straight shot from the car door to the door of the house. He lifted his phone to his ear and smiled when the voice answered. “She's here.” He nodded, disconnected the phone call and turned to the woman in the car. “Wait for me to open the door, I'm going to get your luggage first. Most of these guys are photographers, shield your eyes from the flashes and just ignore the reporters, don't react to anything they say. Andy is waiting to let us inside.”
“O…Okay…” Dorothy was nervous now, she wasn't sure what she expected, but this, wasn't it. “How long will this go on?”
Roy shrugged. “Hard to say. A few weeks… couple of months… depends on a lot of things.” He smiled at the woman. “Are you ready?”
“I suppose.” Dorothy slid closer to the door that would open and waited. In only a few moments the door opened and Dorothy found herself in a sort of weird disjointed dream slash nightmare. The flashes were too fast and she was immediately partially blind from the bursts of light in her face. She relied on Roy to get her safely to the door and they didn't even slow down as Andy opened the door for them.
Andy sighed as she automatically wrapped her arms around her mom and one reporter shouted a question, something about her needing more than one ‘mature' woman to keep her satisfied. They had agreed not to react, to just ignore the reporters, but she did want to give them the correct information. She had totally toyed with the idea of just letting the rumors fly, but then it would take forever to undo them, and it wasn't fair to her mom.
Stepping outside the door for a moment she raised her hands to silence the crowd. “Yes, I have loved the woman that just arrived for a long time. Longer than I can remember.” She rolled her eyes at the evilly grinning reporters scribbling in their notebooks. “She's my mom!” She laughed at the disappointed groans. “Get your minds out of the gutter, people.” She shook her head and re-entered the house. “Sheesh, those guys are seriously deranged.”
“Where do you want the bags, Andy?”
“Oh, I'm so sorry, Roy.” She gestured for him to put the luggage down. “I'll get them.”
As far as he knew they'd never had overnight visitors, not while Andy had lived here, but he'd gone toe-to-toe with the young woman on similar issues of him doing his job and her wanting to do it herself. He knew it was as pointless to argue with her as it was with Miranda, they always ended up winning. For half a second he wondered who won when the two women argued, but that turned into thoughts of them making up. He shook that thought out of his head, quickly. Chiding himself. No going there, Roy boy. He put the cases down and touched the brim of his hat, bowing slightly at the waist. “Will there be anything else, Ma'am.”
Andy laughed and smacked him playfully on the arm. “Cut it out.” The slap on the arm morphed into a gentle squeeze. “Thank you.”
He gave her a short nod. “Anytime, Andy.” He mumbled a quiet, “good luck” as he brushed past her then he was out the door and gone.
Automatically reaching out to turn the deadbolt after Roy left, Andy chuckled. “Well that was exciting.” Turning to face her guest, the brunette smiled and wrapped her mom in a proper hello hug. “Glad to see you.” She released the older woman and stepped back to look at her. “You look well.” She wrapped her arm around her mom's shoulder and asked, “How was your flight?”
“It was good, smooth.”
“Great.” She picked up the bags and moved toward the stairs. “C'mon, I'll show you to your room.”
Dorothy followed her daughter to the second floor and entered a room directly across from the landing. “Good gracious, Andrea, where have you put me?” The room was huge, twice as large as her own bedroom at home, and for half a second she thought it was the master bedroom then she realized Miranda would more than likely never give up her personal space.
Andy laughed. “Wow that sounds so weird, the way you pronounce my name, I'm so used to the way Miranda says it.” She lifted the cases to the bed. “Unpack if you like, the drawers in here are empty. There are a few of my dresses in the closet, but there should be plenty of room in there for your stuff.” She shrugged at her mother's question. “This is the guest room we use first. If there's more than one person staying I guess we'd open up the others.” She highly doubted they'd ever have more than one guest. Unless, she supposed, her whole family visited. Then Chad and Gram Sachs would need rooms too. Though, she really couldn't think of a circumstance that would call for that.
“How many guest rooms are there?” Dorothy's eyes widened as she investigated the large bathroom attached to her new digs.
“Four.” Andy smiled at her mom. “Two of them are smaller than this though, and don't have attached bathrooms.”
“Ah…” Dorothy nodded instead of rolling her eyes at the casual way Andrea informed her about the huge house. “Where is your room?”
Andy looked her mother in the eye and said, “ Our room is on the fourth floor.” She went on without letting her mother speak. “The girl's rooms are on the third floor. This one for the occasional guest is on this floor so they can be up and moving around without bothering anyone else, go down to the kitchen for a drink or snack… go to the TV room to watch a show… whatever.”
“TV room?” Looking around Dorothy realized there wasn't a television in this room.
“Yes, it's a home theater actually, with space for playing. Miranda built it for the girls after her first divorce, from their father.” Andy grinned. “They're there now, watching a movie. You wanna go see?” Andy linked elbows with her mother and began to drag the woman out of the room. “It's part of the nickel tour.”
They looked in on the girls quickly then Dorothy allowed herself to be led around the large house and despite herself was impressed. They avoided the kitchen only peeking through the door. Andy promised the woman working there that they'd be back for introductions when she wasn't quite so busy. Dorothy was glad but also a little dismayed at the ease Andrea seemed to fit in here. The last room on the tour was Andrea's bedroom. She peeked into the attached bathroom and saw Andy's hairspray and perfume sitting on a shelf next to one of the double sinks. It was then that the last clue-by-four flew through the air and smacked her on the back of the head. This was Andrea's home, this was where she belonged. They didn't linger in the bedroom too long, instead they returned to the sunroom to sit and talk.
It took a little while to get the small talk out of the way but Andy managed to find the courage and bring up a subject that had been bothering her.
“Ma?” Andy settled in the lounge chair. “Why did you react the way you did when we were in Ohio?” She looked at her mother intently. “What do you have against rich people?”
Dorothy rocked in the chair for a moment. “You never met my Mom…” She cut herself off quickly and sighed. She hadn't intended on saying that out loud and tried to divert her inquisitive daughter. “When does your housekeeper serve dinner around here?”
Narrowing her eyes for a moment, Andy debated with herself, go with the subject change, or push the issue? She could tell that her mother didn't actually want to talk about it. She sighed and replied. “Peggy doesn't serve the dinner, she just usually cooks it. It's still a little early for us. We don't normally eat until seven thirty or later.” She knew her mom and dad generally ate earlier than that. “We can go see if there are any munchies to have for an appetizer.” She stood and offered her hand to help her mother stand. “The girls may be up for a snack too.”
Snorting at that, Dorothy accepted the hand, glad Andy had allowed the subject change, and stood. “They barely eat anything.”
Andy laughed. “You'd be surprised.” She led the way to the TV room and the girls enthusiastically agreed to appetizers.
Peggy looked up and smiled as the kitchen was invaded. “Well, I wondered when you guys would be back down here. It's nearly time for me to be going.” She pulled a round tray from the fridge with a variety of bite sized fruits and cut veggies around the edge, several selections of dips were in the middle. The girls dug in as soon as Peggy put the tray on the table, each grabbing a carrot stick. The smiling housekeeper looked at the guest and gestured. “Help yourself, before the twin vacuums get it all.”
“Oi!” Caroline bit down on her carrot and protested. “We chew!”
“Yeah!” Cassidy grinned. “You should see Andy's brother when he eats, he is a vacuum.”
Dorothy laughed at the comment. “Well, that's true.” She watched Andy spear a bit of fruit with a toothpick and dip it in a tan colored sauce. She tried the same combination and smiled at the flavor. “That is very tasty.”
Nodding, Andy chewed and swallowed her bite. “Everything Peggy makes is.” She gestured to the woman, “Mom, this is Peggy. She does it all around here.” Reversing the gesture she continued. “Peggy, this is my mother, Dorothy.”
“Nice to meet you.” “A pleasure.” Both women smiled at each other.
As scary as the thought was, Andy informed them, “I'll be home tomorrow, but I'll be working, so you two will have a lot of time to get to know each other…”
Peggy stirred whatever was in the pan on the stove and nodded. “That sounds lovely.”
Dorothy watched the woman and smiled. “It does, actually.” She had friends back home, sort of, she would chat with the other teachers when she had a substitute job, and there were people she could talk with about current events or whatever, but when it came to Andrea's life, she didn't really feel comfortable speaking with anyone about it. This woman obviously knew her daughter and was accepting of the relationship she was in. It would be a relief to talk to someone with that attitude. There was Pava of course, but she had been so busy lately... “Oh, I forgot to tell you, Andrea.” She turned her head at the girl's giggles.
“Sorry,” Cassidy grinned. “It just sounds so funny when you say it like that. Mom says it different.”
Nodding, Dorothy continued. “Your Gram was going to come with me, but do you remember Mr. King?”
“Yeah, we met him once, for a minute. He seemed very nice.” Andy smiled at the memory of the man with twinkling blue eyes.
“Well, he's been pretty sick for the last week.” Dorothy shook her head. “He went into the hospital and Pava has been helping Mary out… sitting with her at the hospital, helping her out around the B&B.”
“Wow.” Andy looked over at the girl's troubled faces. “Maybe we should send some flowers or something…”
The kid's foreheads smoothed out at the suggestion and they nodded vigorously before they each grabbed another veggie bite.
Andy watched her mother thoughtfully and clearly remembered her Aunt Dawn asking her mother where Gram had ‘found her new girlfriend'. Her eyes narrowed at a very strange, but somehow not, thought that went through her head and vowed to herself to ask Gram about it as soon as she could.
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