Like Love pt 1

By Gin

Miranda’s patience, what little there was left, was on the verge of dissipating.

Well?”

Dr. Dawson took a deep breath and exhaled slowly as she studied the numbers on the page in front of her. Looking up she gave Andy a significant look and managed to meet Miranda’s eyes. “Your liver is fine.”

Blinking at the relieved sound Andrea made, Miranda waited, knowing the doctor had more to say.

It was Andy’s turn to be impatient. “So what’s causing the bruising, the fever?”

Nodding, the doctor again slowly exhaled, wondering how she was going to handle this. “One is causing the other.” She held up her hand to stop any questions. “That is, the self-medication for one is the cause of the other.” She met Miranda’s eyes. “You took aspirins for your fever yesterday, correct?” She paused as her patient reluctantly nodded. “How many?” Her suspicions were confirmed when Andy and Miranda gave different answers.

Two.” Andy stated confidently.

Miranda grudgingly corrected her. “Ten.”

Andy blinked and turned to Miranda. “Ten?!”

Nodding, the older woman recounted. “The two you gave me, three more while you were making my fourth cup of tea, three more after you left to get the girls and two more just before you arrived home.”

Dr. Dawson tried not to smile, but her lips twitched. “How many before that?”

Miranda studiously avoided looking at Andy. “Since Wednesday of last week I’ve taken an average of eight aspirin pills a day.” The small gasp from Andy’s direction made her eye twitch. The doctor continued her questioning.

And today? How many have you had?”

Two?” Now Andy wasn’t quite sure of the answer.

Shaking her head, Miranda gave the true total. “Four.”

Miranda!!” Andy was appalled. Four aspirin in the last four hours?

The older woman just shrugged. “It didn’t seem to be working and I wanted to make sure my fever came down.”

You are one of the most physically fit people I’ve ever met.” Dr. Dawson met Miranda’s eyes. “But aspirin is a blood thinner, and you said you drank several cups of tea yesterday…” She turned to Andy. “Caffeinated?”

Um…” Andy thought back. “Yes.”

Shaking her head the doctor sighed. “Even as fit as you are, large amounts of aspirin, especially with caffeine, can cause easy or unexplained bruising so I don’t think we need to be concerned with that at the moment. Take Tylenol for fevers from now on, and take the correct dosage.” She smiled at the women's obvious relief then Andy spoke.

What caused the fever?”

Now we come to the heart of the problem.” The doctor tapped the results of the blood tests. “You have an infection.”

Miranda tilted her head, as if to hear better. “Excuse me?”

An infection, a significant one.” Dr. Dawson was not smiling now. “If you hadn’t come in today, I would have seen you within a few days in the ER.”

Andy reached out automatically to hold Miranda’s hand, frowning as she realized it was warmer than it should be. “What’s the treatment? Antibiotics?”

Normally, with these numbers, I’d admit you to the hospital so they could administer IV antibiotics overnight and observe you.” Isabella Dawson was no fool however and saw her patient bristling at that thought. “But, as the fevers suggest, your own immune system is starting to put up a hell of a fight. If you will agree to take one round of IV antibiotics here, in the office, I can send you home with some oral supplements and we can hope that will take care of it.”

Acceptable.”

She cautioned the woman. “I’ll need to see you back in four days for another blood test to make sure the numbers are dropping. If not, you’ll need, at least, another round of IV medication or possibly the overnight stay I mentioned.”

Of course,” Miranda grumbled.

Andy thought she heard the word ‘vampire’ from Miranda’s direction, but couldn’t be sure. “How would she get an infection like that?”

Shaking her head, the doctor closed the file in front of her. “Could be anything, we all come in contact with bacteria almost all day every day, there’s really no telling.”

Is it contagious?” Miranda suddenly thought of something. “Could I have caught it from…someone, or given it to…” She glanced at Andrea. “What about the girls?”

Doubtful, not with this type.” Isabella tried to think. “There are hundreds of ways a regular person can pick up bacteria, in the subway, on the bus, just walking down the street,” she thought about Miranda and her life. “It’s harder to think where you might have come in contact with something. I assume you don’t ride the subway very often.”

I don’t.” Again Miranda glanced at Andrea.

I do.” Andy looked stricken. “Could I have…” Oh God. Did I give this to her?

Possible, but again doubtful. This is more of a thing you have to pick up yourself.” Isabella took pity on the girl. “Any public place is rife with bacteria. Stores… parks,” inspiration hit her as to a place Miranda might have come in contact with something ‘public’ and she shrugged as she voiced it, “elevators. Normally people can fight it off, but if you’ve been working long hours, not eating correctly, your immune system gets weakened and isn’t able to combat the steady daily attack of the various bacteria it comes in contact with.”

Andy nodded, only slightly reassured. She made a mental note to buy some hand sanitizer. “So, how long does the IV drip take?”

I can speed it up somewhat, but I’d like to give it an hour and a half at least…”

I’ll call Peggy and ask her if she can stay with the girls.” Andy reached into her bag for her phone.

No.” Miranda’s eyes twinkled with mischief. “Don’t bother Peggy, call Emily, tell her to go to the house and stay with the girls until we arrive.” She eyed the doctor carefully. “Don’t speed up the process, do it correctly.”

Isabella smiled, glad her patient was cooperating. “I will.”

###

Miranda Priestly’s office.”

Hey Bethany, this is Andy, let me talk to Em would ya?”

Oh, sure Andy, hold on.” Bethany hit the hold button and looked across the aisle at her co-worker. “She wants to talk to you.”

Rolling her eyes, Emily’s lips pressed into a flat smile for a second. “Oh, goody.” With a deep breath, Emily picked up the phone. “Andrea, I really don’t know why you…”

Miranda’s sick.”

Emily’s heart stopped for a beat. “What?”

Miranda is sick.” Andy looked at the white-haired woman and winked. “We’re here at the doctor’s office now. She needs a treatment right away and it’s going to take a while, so she wanted me to call and ask you to please go to the house and stay with the girls until we can get home.” Pressing her lips together, Andy did her very best not to laugh at the outrage beginning to show in Miranda’s widening eyes.

She didn’t really say that, did she?” It wasn’t really a question, Emily knew full well that Miranda would never ‘ask’ and she would never, ever say ‘please’. Nevertheless, the English woman sighed, “Fine. I’ll leave in a few moments.”

Thanks, Em.” Andy held the phone to Miranda so that the older woman could thank Emily as well.

Miranda shied away from the device for a moment, knowing what Andy wanted. Then with a smirk, the editor leaned forward and spoke clearly and distinctly, “That’s all.”

Laughing, Andy disconnected the call and put the phone back into her bag. “You are such a trouble-maker.”

I’m surprised you told her of my medical condition.” Miranda wasn’t sure she liked the idea that Andrea was so free with such private information.

Her laughter stopped. “Miranda, that was Emily I was talking to. She’ll never tell anyone anything about you. You know that.” She paused. “Besides, I didn’t really tell her anything.”

I suppose she wouldn’t.” Trusting people was still so difficult for her. There were only a select few that were actually on the short list in her head of people to trust, sometimes Miranda forgot that Andrea and the girls weren’t the only people listed there. And Andrea was correct when she said she hadn’t really told Emily anything, only that I was sick, not with what, or what the treatment was.

Shall we get started?” Dr. Dawson stood, picked up the file and gestured to the door. “My nurse will show you to an exam room and I’ll be in to start the IV in a moment.”

Andy and Miranda stood, Andy linking her arm with her partner. “You don’t by chance have a CD player we could use do you?”

Actually, yes, I do.” Isabella looked puzzled at the brunette. “Why?”

Andy patted her bag, “Almost immediately after we told her about the impending wedding, Emily gave me a bunch of sample CD’s to review; to see if we want any of the bands to perform at the wedding reception. So far I haven’t even had a chance to listen to them, much less let Miranda hear them. I thought we might be able to do that now, while I have a captive audience, so to speak.” Miranda groaned and Andy laughed.

Isabella nodded as she reached the hallway. “I’ll find one for you.” Gesturing for her nurse, the doctor handed the woman the file. “Exam room four.”

Sure.” The rotund woman smiled kindly and motioned for them to follow her. “This way.” They walked down the hall and when they reached the door on the end, she opened it for them. “Doc’ll be in soon.”

Andy spoke for both of them. “Thanks.”

No problem, hon.” Sliding the file into the holder on the door, the nurse flashed them another kind smile and closed the door.

Miranda looked around the room, her nostrils flaring at the equipment surrounding a surprisingly comfortable looking chair. Bowing to the inevitable, Miranda sat and pulled her phone from her purse. “I’m going to call the girls. They shouldn’t hear about my so-called illness from Emily.”

Andy nodded and began to dig the zippered CD case Emily had given her out of her large bag. “That’s true, they’ll feel better hearing it from you.”

###

Emily ignored the handful of reporters standing on the sidewalk in front of Miranda’s home. She knocked on the door and wasn’t surprised when one of the children answered. “Hello.”

Hi.” The sullen girl opened the door wider. Without another word, the child turned and walked away, apparently not caring if the redhead entered the house or not.

Mumbling, “Brilliant,” Emily slipped through the door, closing and locking it behind her. The girl’s voice, she assumed it was the same one that answered the door, called down from the staircase.

We’re up here.”

Shaking her head, wondering what fresh circle of Hell she was walking into, the long time assistant put her foot on the bottom step. “Oh,” she blinked. When she’d agreed to do this the ramifications hadn’t occurred to her. In all the years she had worked for Miranda, Emily had never, ever, been upstairs. It felt very strange to be walking up to the actual living space her boss utilized.

She was barely able to take in the elegant surroundings and the unique scent, much like Miranda herself, of the house. There was only one door on the second floor with a light shining from it and she was drawn to it rather like a moth to a flame. She wondered how long it would take for her to burn. Squaring her shoulders and adjusting the strap on the messenger bag at her side, Emily remembered that Miranda had asked her to do this, or so Andy said. So she walked into the room with as much confidence as she could. It faltered immediately as each twin looked up from the books they were reading.

We don’t want you here,” one of them said.

Emily sat on the end of the overstuffed couch and sniffed. “I don’t particularly want to be here.”

Then why are you?” The other one questioned.

Miranda told me to be here.” Why I have no idea.

Do you always do what Mom tells you to?”

Emily’s eyes widened, “Of course.”

Both girls snorted at that and shaking their heads resumed their homework assignments.

Without anything else to do, Emily simply sat on the couch, and watched them. It took about ten minutes for one of the girls to throw her pencil down on the paper she’d been working on.

This is creepy! Do you have to just sit there and look at us like that? Don’t you have something else to do?”

As a matter of fact, I have several thousand things to do, none of which I can accomplish at the moment. I need my computer at work for that.” Emily shook her head. “Sorry if that’s an inconvenience to you, I didn’t ask for Miranda to get sick and need a treatment…” The stunned looks on their faces stopped Emily’s rant. Oh God, don’t tell me they didn’t know. Andrea I’m going to kill you… “I mean, you know… I never want her to be sick.”

Cassidy actually heard true worry in the woman’s voice. “Don’t worry, Mom will be fine.” She grinned at their sudden babysitter. “She called from the doctor’s office and told us all about it.”

Caroline nodded. “We were just a little surprised that you knew. Mom’s pretty private about her health.”

I only know that she’s sick, no details.” Emily wondered if she could get some from the girls. “Does this have something to do with the drugs that woman gave her a few months ago?” She was still angry at herself for allowing that to happen.

Shaking her head, Caroline refused that thought, that particular nightmare had no business in the light of day. “No, it’s some kind of infection. Mom has to take IV antibiotics for it.”

Emily absorbed the information, filing it away as she did everything she ever discovered about her intriguing boss.

What does Mom have you doing now?” At Emily’s blank stare, Cassidy prompted. “Several thousand things?”

Blinking, the assistant didn’t know which girl had asked the question but it didn’t matter. “I’m planning the wedding.”

Really?!” Cassidy moved to sit next to the woman. “What still needs to be done? You can use my laptop if you want…”

Everything! I still need to get final approval on the invitation design.” Emily was extremely grateful that the actual wording of the invitations had already been decided, but the design still needed to be settled.

Do you have them with you?”

Yes,” she began cautiously. She thought they might be able to finalize a design tonight at least, if she could monopolize Miranda’s time long enough for the woman to look at the choices. “But I really don’t think…”

Let us see them.” Cassidy tugged on Emily, wrinkling her forehead as her small hands wrapped around the woman’s arm. “I’ll bet we can guess which one Mom will pick.”

Caroline laughed. “I’ll bet we can guess which one Andy will pick.”

Emily pulled the binder she’d created of all the sample invitations out of her bag. “You can look at them.” She highly doubted the children would be able to predict either woman’s favorites though. Perhaps Miranda would be impressed that the children had been kept occupied. “When Miranda gets home maybe she’ll come to a decision.”

Nodding, the girls both began turning the pages of the binder slowly, carefully evaluating each example. Emily, on the other hand, was carefully evaluating the girls. After nearly an hour of watching them debate about the invitations, Emily realized just how different they were. One of them, as scary as it was to think about, was very much like Miranda in mannerisms and attitude. The other, oddly enough, seemed to favor Andy. She reached out to touch the shoulder of the one more like her former co-worker. “What is your name?”

Looking up from the book, the girl flashed a very Andy-like grin at their babysitter. “Cassidy.”

Nodding absently, Emily blinked and suddenly was able to tell the twin terrors apart. Well that’s something I guess. She wondered why she hadn’t seen the difference in them before. Then she answered her own question. You weren’t ever looking, were you? Caroline’s voice drew her out of her thoughts.

This is the one Mom will pick.” She pointed to a cream colored invitation with scripted gold lettering. It was very elegant and Emily privately agreed that it might just attract Miranda’s attention. The girl flipped a few pages farther. “This is the one Andy will want.” Her sister interrupted her.

No,” flipping through several more pages, Cassidy found the example she wanted. “This, is the one Andy will want.” She went back to the one Caroline had picked for Andy. “This is the one they’ll settle on.”

Settle?” Emily bristled at the thought. “Now you see here, Miranda won’t ‘settle’ on anything, she’ll get the invitations she wants!”

This was the second time Emily had made a statement indicating she thought it was going to be Miranda’s decision. “Better not.” Caroline warned. “Don’t think Mom has the final say… at Runway yeah, but here they decide things together.” She tapped the agreed upon sample. “This invitation is like the other two got together and had a baby, this is the one they’ll use.”

Emily looked dubiously at the off-white card Caroline was touching and could see elements of both chosen invitations in it. “We’ll just wait and see what Miranda…and Andy, have to say.”

Shrugging, the girls moved away from the binder and resumed their schoolwork. Cassidy looked up at their mom’s assistant. “You’re going to stay for dinner aren’t you?”

Um…” Dinner? Emily’s eyes widened and she shook her head. “I hadn’t thought about it, Andy didn’t say anything about dinner on the phone.”

Oh,” Cassidy thought about it for a minute. “Stay for dinner.” She smiled. “You can be my guest.”

Blinking at that, Emily wasn’t sure what to say. She didn’t want to refuse the girl though there was no telling what Miranda’s reaction to that would be. “Um… Okay.”

Great! We’re having pot roast.” Cassidy turned back to the page under her pencil. “It’s Andy’s favorite.”

Caroline agreed. “It’s really good when you use the dinner roll to soak up the gravy.”

Emily managed to keep her sarcastic reply internal. Oh Goody, carbs. She could feel herself gaining weight just thinking about it.

###

Miranda and Andy arrived home to find the girls going through the caterer’s menu selections. “What’s all this?”

Mom! Andy…” The girls immediately ran to hug their parents. “Are you okay, Mom?”

I’m fine.” Miranda smiled down at the girls. “The doctor gave me medication to take, but I’m sure the infection will be eliminated quickly.”

What’s up, Sweetie?” Andy eyed the things scattered on the coffee table.

We’re helping Emily plan the wedding.” Cassidy smiled. “We’ve already picked out the invitations and now we’re choosing the menu.”

Indeed.” Miranda cast a significant look at Emily. “Using my children to do your work for you?”

Of course not…” Emily wrung her hands together. “It’s just they asked to see… and I had them, so naturally I’d…” The assistant found her nervous hands covered with smaller softer ones.

It’s okay, Emily.” Cassidy rolled her eyes at the assistant-turned-babysitter and gave a little glare in her mom’s direction. “She’s just teasing you.”

Startled, Emily looked up at Miranda and blinked. There was a hint of a smile on the woman’s face. Oh my God, she’s teasing me? Joking?! It was so weird, but that little tiny bit of a smile on Miranda’s face and the slight twinkle in her eyes calmed Emily almost instantly. Wow. She patted the small hands on hers. “Thanks, Cassidy.”

No problem.” The girl smiled and she informed the adults. “Emily is staying for dinner, she’s going to be my guest.”

Miranda’s blue eyes widened as did Andy’s brown ones. Miranda was the first to speak. “Very well. Shall we?”

Nodding, the girls scrambled to their feet as Miranda linked her arm with Andy. Both women suppressed their grins as Cassidy linked her arm with Emily. They stopped at Andy’s insistence to wash their hands, like they wouldn't have anyway, then made their way down to the kitchen. Cassidy seated Emily at the table then helped her sister set the table for five.

Andy couldn’t help notice the dazed look on Emily’s face. It had to be strange for the woman, being at Miranda’s house, Miranda joking with her, eating at Miranda’s table. Emily had put Miranda on a pedestal for so long, Andy thought it would probably be difficult for her to interact with the iconic woman on such a personal level. Cassidy’s current actions would be a little disconcerting too. Andy leaned close and whispered to her former co-worker. “You’re doing great, just go with it…” Walking to the stove, Andy began to fill a plate.

What? Go with what? Just then Cassidy set a plate, heaped with food, in front of her. Oh my god.

Yeah, um… Sweetie.” Andy moved back to the table. “I think you got my portions and Em’s mixed up.” She took the over-laden plate away from Emily and replaced it with the plate she’d just prepared. It had a small amount of beef with a few onion slivers on it, one small potato, two bites of carrot, and a small section of celery. No dinner roll.

Thank you Andrea,” Letting out a breath of relief, Emily nodded at the plate. “Even this is more than I normally eat,” she looked at the other plate. “I’d never be able to eat all that!”

But you're so…”

Cassidy.” Miranda interrupted her child’s statement, knowing the next word would be, ‘thin’. She was a little disconcerted at this turn of events, she’d never expected Emily’s short stint as babysitter would be long enough for Cassidy to develop an apparent crush on the woman. She’d only wanted the assistant to be here when they got home to go over some of the wedding decisions with her tonight. “Everyone has different nutritional needs.”

Nodding, Andy put the full plate in front of her usual chair then moved back to the stove. “Speaking of which,” Andy grinned and put several vegetables on the plate in her hand, added a small portion of meat and half a dinner roll before placing it in front of Miranda. She had given Miranda slightly larger portions than Emily, but not much more. “Doc said you need to start eating better.”

With barely a glance at Emily, Miranda picked up her fork, stabbed a carrot and smiled at her future wife, “Yes, Dear.”

Rolling her eyes, Andy chuckled and took her seat. Leaning over she kissed the older woman’s cheek. She grinned and with a sing-song voice and a twinkle in her eye, Andy informed her fiancee adoringly, “I love you, Miranda.”

A tiny smile curled the corners of her lips and Miranda nodded and returned the chuckle. “And I you.” She turned to their guest. “Emily, I expect to go over the wedding plans with you after our meal.”

Dipping her head once, Emily was grateful for the change of topic. “Yes, Miranda.” She poked the food on her plate and tentatively licked the gravy that stuck on her fork. She wondered how much she’d have to eat before she could declare herself, done.

###