The women ate their lunch leisurely and then took a shower. Miranda dabbed on a few spots of perfume from a bottle she kept in her purse and they both reapplied their make-up.
Miranda smacked her lips together in the mirror and then grinned. "I'm glad we did this."
"So am I." Jane confirmed with a shy grin. "And I can't wait to do it again."
They slung their purses over their shoulders and left the room. As they were approaching the elevators Miranda's phone rang. She picked it up, "hello Bobbsey."
"Hey mum, there's this thing at school tonight, like a department ceremony and all the honors students are going to get awards. Do you want to come?"
"Of course, Cass, I'd love to. What time?"
Cassidy filled her in on the details and then added, "you should bring Jane."
Miranda was momentarily stunned by the suggestion but managed to stutter out, "yes, I'll ask her. I love you, Bob, I'll see you and Caroline at six." Miranda hung up and slipped the phone in her purse. "Would you like to go to an awards banquet at UCLA with me? Cassidy asked me to bring you."
"Well, I'd hate to disappoint." Jane shrugged but her smiling belied the fact that she was thrilled to have won the favor of the Priestly twins so easily.
"You don't disappoint." Miranda pulled Jane into an embrace and kissed her deeply. Jane made circles on Miranda's back as they kissed.
Jane pulled back with heavily lidded eyes. "Careful or I'm not going to let you leave."
The elevator dinged and opened. They got in and pressed lobby. "I'm meeting the girls at 6. It's one now. I could pick you up around 5:30?"
Jane nodded, "perfect."
As the elevator doors slid open they were still kissing. The sudden rush of outside air alerted them that they were in the lobby. They exited hand in hand.
"Hey boss." Harley waved half-heartedly from a chair in the lobby.
Jane jumped and laid her free hand over her heart. "Harley! What are you doing here? And honestly, what are the odds?"
He laughed nervously as he stood up, "yeah, it's pretty whacky, right? Two midday trysts, same hotel, I am a witness to both..."
"What are you doing here?" Jane repeated more forcefully.
"I was here for a lunch with Lauren and a lawyer at the firm she wants to get hired at when I saw you... I just wanted to make sure you were okay. Just because the last time Jake had that heart thing, you know? I just wanted to stick around and make sure -- hi, I'm Harley." His babbling gave way to an introduction.
Miranda blinked at him for a moment, surprised at suddenly being addressed. She shook his hand. "Hello."
"Does Lauren know?"
He shook his head. "She didn't see you and..."
"And you didn't tell her?"
"Not my place... is it a secret?" Harley's eyes glinted in childlike curiousity.
"Why don't you run along and I'll call you if we need you?"
He chuckled nervously, "you got it, boss." He shoved his hands in his pockets, "and it was lovely to meet you..."
"Miranda," she said with a sigh when she realized he was incessantly fishing for her name.
Once Harley had fled the lobby Jane gave Miranda's hand a squeeze. "That's a good question. Is it a secret?"
"If it is we probably shouldn't have made out in the hallway." Miranda teased.
"Yeah, or here in the lobby." Jane ran her fingers through Miranda's hair and pressed her lips sweetly to Miranda's.
"I don't consider it a secret but ordinarily I make it a rule only to introduce the girls to people that I'm dating when it's serious but obviously they've met you already."
Jane ran her thumb over the back of Miranda's hand. "Trust me, I understand the strong desire to make sure your kids feel stability. All of my kids are out of college and I still feel protective of them, especially because the divorce was hard on all of them. We don't have to tell our children if we want to just feel us out for a while."
"I think that sounds good." Miranda smiled. "So, do you still want to come to the banquet?"
"Of course I do, I was invited."
Miranda grinned, "so you were."
"Girls," Miranda scolded, laying a hand over the screen of Caroline's cell phone, "don't text during a speech."
"He's just saying boring stuff." Cassidy rolled her eyes.
"Be that as it may, it's very rude."
Caroline looked up from her cell phone, "you walk out of boring speeches all the time. Since when do you care about rudeness?"
"Since do as I say not as I do." Miranda said pointedly and pulled the phone from Caroline's hand and set it face down on the table. Caroline huffed.
Miranda's cell phone vibrated. She rolled her eyes and saw a text from Nigel reading: urgent call when u get this. "Excuse me," she stood up from the table. "I'll just be a moment." She gave Jane's shoulder a squeeze as she stepped out of the room.
"So," Cassidy said, setting down her phone and turning to Jane. "How are things?"
"Things are good." Jane nodded, "how about your things?"
Cassidy shrugged, "would be better if we weren't sitting through this boring ass ceremony."
"It's not mandatory, is it?"
"We wanted to see you again. We thought it would be a good cover." Caroline explained.
"Cover for... what?"
"We just wanted to say that we know our mother can be kind of a control freak. She doesn't mean anything personal by it, you know, she just used to running the world so she's on a 24-7 ego trip."
"And we just hope that you can take it in stride because she's really a great person after you get past the rude, pretentious outer casing. She just seems so happy with you and we really love seeing her happy."
"She told you?" Jane's mouth was open in surprise, considering the discussion they'd had earlier.
"Oh please, we've sat through enough dinners with potential stepparents to know when one is auditioning for the role." Caroline smirked.
"But even if she tells you about how we used to treat potential stepparents we've matured so much since then."
"Also, we think you're pretty cool. We approve of you. We think you're good for her."
Jane nodded slowly, surprised by the whole conversaiton and unprepared for the way the twins finished each other's sentences. Her mind began to wonder what horrors they had inflicted upon unsuspecting potential stepfathers in the past.
As if reading her thoughts Cassidy added, "we were only bitches about it because they just saw us as baggage but you treat us like people."
"You are people." Jane laughed uncomfortably.
Miranda returned to the room moments later, "sorry about that."
"You know girls..." Miranda started, "when you invited me to this banquet I was under the impression that you would be receiving awards. So why did you really lure Jane and I here?"
"Just wanted to see you." Cassidy shrugged.
Miranda decided not to push but she found the circumstances suspicious. "Next time you want to see me let's do dinner at the house like usual. Okay?"
Caroline nodded, "yeah...."
Miranda kissed each girl and started across campus with Jane in search of the car. "One thing I can't understand," Miranda said after they'd been walking for a few minutes, "is why university campuses all over the country can't pull it together and actually have conveniently located parking lots. I don't want a ten minute walk to my car, what if it was cold?"
"It is cold!" Jane laughed.
"Oh honey, you don't know cold, I'll bring you back to New York with me this winter and we can play in the snow."
Jane breathed on her hands as they walked, "I remember the first time I saw snow. It was when I was in Paris. I'd just completed my final for the semester and I stepped out onto the street and it was raining down on me like confetti."
Miranda snorted a laugh. Jane took Miranda's hand and huddled close. "Are we almost to the car? I think I'm succumbing to hypothermia."
"I think we're almost there..." Miranda admitted slowly, looking around the parking lot.
"Maybe we should have had the girls escort us back..."
"We're not lost in a parking lot." Miranda said firmly, trying to convince both of them. Miranda dug her keys out of her wallet and clicked the lock button to see if she was close enough to make contact with the Lexus. After a few minutes of wandering and clicking it finally announced its location.
Jane let out an audible sigh of relief. Miranda pressed the unlock button and Jane hustled to get in and wrap her arms around herself. Miranda got in and turned on the heat.
"I can't believe it's only 7:45." Jane exclaimed. "It feels like we were adrift in this parking lot for a lot longer than fifteen minutes."
Miranda smiled indulgently. "I think there's a blanket in the backseat if you're that cold."
Jane reached behind her and pulled the emergency blanket out from under her seat. "Lovely. Thank you."
"It's still pretty early. Would you like to come back to my place for a night cap?"
Jane nodded, eager for a chance to finally see Miranda's house. "I'd love that." The drive was silent for a while before Jane looked over and said to Miranda, "the girls know."
"Know us. They know we're dating. They figured it out."
Miranda smiled proudly. "My cunning little demon children. I think they told Nigel to call me so they could get you alone, his crisis was easily solved at best and a complete waste of my time at worst. Did they torture you?"
Jane shook her head, "no. They wanted to emphasize that they liked me and not to be afraid if you'd told them how they'd treated your suitors in the past. I hesitate to ask..."
"They were rotten for the longest time. Partially because they were still mad about my divorce from their father and partially because they were so smart that they didn't know what else to do with themselves. I cannot even list all the pranks and practical jokes they pulled on suitors and my assisstants alike. They knew better than to play any on me which is probably what kept it going for so long, they wanted to punish me indirectly."
Jane nodded, "Jake was always the fun, permissive one and when he moved out my kids all hated me for months -- maybe years -- maybe they got good at hiding it. It's hard when your marriage dissolves and your children blame you for it."
Miranda agreed. "But we have wonderful relationships with our children now and I've even been able to have some pleasant sit down dinners with Lucas when we were discussing the girls' college."
"Where they'd go?"
"Which one of us would get to pay for it. We finally just decided to split the girls. I pay for Cassidy's and Lucas pays for Caroline's. It's the same expenses because they live together and go to the same school. For a while we made an embarrassingly big show about throwing money around at the girls, attempting to win favor."
"You know, I can imagine that. You're not big on losing."
"Is anyone?" Miranda chuckled.
Miranda pulled into the carport and cut the engine. She led them inside. Jane looked around the masterful entryway. It was immaculately clean and the marble floors seemed to sparkle in the light. Jane would have expected no less from the pristine, controlled woman in front of her. The house was Spanish style as were all of the houses in the area but Jane would be loath to refer to it as anything other than a mansion.
She quickly scolded herself for the hyperbole but had a hard time convincing herself it ought to be referred to merely as a house.
They walked down the hall and Jane took note of all the pictures of Runway covers which gave way to pictures of Miranda with various recognizable and unrecognizable celebrities which finally gave way to pictures of Miranda with her girls before spilling out into an even grander entryway. Two staircases curled up to the second floor and a chandelier hung from the tall ceiling, Jane gazed up in wonder.
"I know." Miranda said with a mollifying smile. "It's too big but it was the only house that fit all of my specifications that I was unwilling to compromise on."
"Which were?" Jane smiled.
"Marble floors," Miranda tugged off her scarf and stepped closer to Jane, "a room for Caroline and a room for Cassidy as well as two supplementary guest bedrooms, a home office, a pool and one other thing."
"What's that?" Jane asked, playfully pulling on Miranda's coat.
"Allow me to show you." Miranda extended a hand for the blonde. Jane took it and Miranda led them up one of the staircases and down the hallway. When they entered the master bedroom Jane's eyes were immediately drawn to the plush California King with the rich brown canopy and the matching cherry bureau and armoire. Miranda pulled her toward a pair of double doors and opened them to reveal a balcony that was fenced in by wrought iron.
Jane looked out over the landscape her mouth fell open in awe.
Miranda wrapped her arms around Jane and rested her chin on Jane's shoulder. "A view of the ocean."
"How many bedrooms?"
"Five and the master."
"Two for your children, three for mine. That seals it, I'm moving in." Jane joked, turning around in Miranda's arms. "Would you like to give me a tour of the rest of the house? I feel like I could wander off trying to find the bathroom and be lost for days."
"Don't be silly. The master has an en suite bathroom. You couldn't get lost if you tried."
"Don't underestimate my ability to get lost." Jane laughed, running her hands up Miranda's back.
"How about I give you the grand tour in the morning?"
"Are you inviting me to stay the night?" Jane whispered coyly.
"Well, it would be awfully wasteful for you to have to go home and then come back. Much more environmentally friendly for you to just stay over." Miranda whispered as she gently kissed Jane's neck.
"When you put it that way..." Jane's eyes slipped shut and she found herself completely willing to do anything Miranda asked.
Harley and Lauren were lounging on the bed while Grey's Anatomy played in the background. Harley did not consider him a fan of the medical drama but had managed to retain almost all of the important details since Lauren had started watching.
"So," Harley said, breaking Lauren's concentration. "What do you think of Callie's bisexuality?"
Lauren shrugged, "she was never my favorite character, but it's fine. It adds drama to the show."
"Out of the context of a show. How do you feel about bisexuality in practice?"
Lauren laughed, "Harley, are you trying to come out to me?"
"Me? No, no. I was just curious." Harley tried his best to look nonchalant.
"I have no problem bisexuality, homosexuality, heterosexuality or asexuality. It takes all kinds, right? And regardless of whether you are or aren't trying to tell me you're bisexual it wouldn't matter to me either way because I love you." She turned back to Grey's Anatomy for a moment before turning to Harley again, "unless you're asking for my permission to have sex with other people. I'm definitely not cool with that."
"I'm not bisexual." Harley insisted. "Once in middle school in the locker room I looked over at one of the other boys and it did nothing for me."
"Why the questions all of a sudden?" Lauren furrowed her brow.
"Someone I know... well, I found out that this person was a switch hitter and to be honest... it's a little unnerving. I've known this person for years and I never had a clue."
"Someone you work with?" Lauren asked.
"The boss." He said, hoping that the double meaning would prevent him from lying but not give Jane's secret away.
"I'm kind of surprised at you, Harley."
"Me? Why?" He was stunned.
"I thought you were more open than that. Don't treat your boss any differently. It's as trivial as finding out what kind of toothpaste he uses."
"No. I mean. Yes, I agree it's trivial in the grand scheme of things. I just brought it up because I wanted to know what your opinion of it was. That's all." He attempted to deflect her annoyance.
"I hope you haven't already made an ass of yourself."
"Yeah, no. Don't worry. I probably have..."
In the morning Jane awoke promptly at 5 like any other morning. She turned over to look at Miranda's sleeping form. Miranda's eyes flitted under her eyelids occasionally and her lips were parted slightly, every other breath came with a slight whistle through her deviated septum. Jane smiled at the beautiful naked woman beside her in bed. Jane gently ran her fingers through Miranda's hair. "Do you mind if I make coffee?" She whispered.
"Time is it?" Miranda murmured sleepily.
"It's five. You don't have to get up."
"Wasn't going to." She grinned groggily. "Give me half an hour? And of course you can make coffee."
"Thanks," Jane leaned down and kissed Miranda softly.
"Why do you think I had you over?" Miranda teased even as she was falling back asleep.
Jane pulled on her underwear and her sweater and left the room. She quickly realized that she didn't know where the kitchen was. She figured it would have to be on the first floor so she found her way back to the staircase and descended. After poking her head into several distinctly not kitchen rooms she finally found it at the opposite end of the hall from the carport.
Jane opened the coffee maker and found a new filter already waiting. She looked around the counter for coffee canisters and then in the refrigerator and finally in the cabinet.
"Are you trying to make coffee?" A voice came from behind Jane. Jane let out a soft yelp of surprise and whipped around. A petite hispanic woman stood by the pantry cupboard holding a canister of coffee. "I... I'm sorry, I did not mean to frighten you." The woman apologized, looking frightened.
"No, no, it's fine... the coffee's in the pantry cupboard?"
"Si. She keeps spares in there, too. She really likes her coffee."
Jane felt beyond self conscious standing there in her underwear in front of a startled woman. "Thanks. That's all I was looking for. I'll... I'll be back." She stuttered before making haste down the hallway. She didn't slow down until she was back in the master bedroom and launched herself back under the covers.
"I don't think it's been a half hour..." Miranda mumbled playfully.
"You didn't tell me you have a maid service."
"Is it Wednesday?"
"I take it you met Anita." Miranda laughed, "were you naked?"
"No. Thank god."
"You're lucky it wasn't Friday."
"Why, what's Friday?" Jane asked nervously.
"It's just when the grocery boy brings the groceries. He's a big guy, very muscular, I think he plays football."
"You don't buy your own groceries?" Jane was surprised.
"Why should I? I provide employment. I'm doing my part for the economy." Miranda pushed herself into a sitting position, pretty sure she wasn't getting back to sleep anytime soon.
"Yeah, but it's just so..."
"Arrogant?" Miranda offered.
Jane snorted, "it's just so upper class."
"I did tell you how much money I have?"
"Not an exact figure."
"I could call my accountant and get an exact figure if you'd like."
Jane shrugged, "of course I don't need an exact figure. It's not even really any of my business. It's not like I'm hurting for money either. I'm just... I guess I considered myself fairly wealthy and I'm just shocked by your affluence."
"Is it going to be a problem?"
Miranda wrapped the sheet around her. "You hesitated."
"I just have to get used to it, I suppose."
"You run a business. You employ people to keep the kitchen stocked and do the cleaning, don't you?" Miranda waited and Jane nodded, "think of me as a business. I am. I do work and I make a profit. Since I work from home this is my office and I pay people to help my business run smoothly."
Jane nodded, "that's a very astute comparison that makes it difficult for me to disagree with your logic."
Miranda smiled and Jane smiled back. "Why don't we get dressed and have a cup of coffee?"
After spending the morning together they decided to skip their usual lunch and plan a dinner at Jane's house. Jane was bustling about preparing the meal, she was making a prime rib with asparagus in hollandaise, mashed sweet potatoes and dark chocolate truffles for dessert. As soon as all the food was cooking on its own she stole away to the bedroom to change into the outfit Miranda had given to her. Miranda was twenty minutes earlier which Jane had come to expect.
Jane let Miranda into the house and Miranda was quick to admire Jane in the clothes. "I never cease to amaze myself." Miranda said playfully, "you look amazing. Of course, you're always beautiful but do you see what I was saying about the right cut for your body type?"
"I do." Jane kissed Miranda, "I'm considering letting you dress me from here on out."
"Dinner smells like heaven."
"Open up." Jane demanded playfully as she straddled Miranda's hips.
Miranda accepted the chocolate morsel with an appreciative mmm. Miranda laughed, "a couple more of these truffles and my hips are going to be too wide for you to straddle." Her manicured fingernails trailing down Jane's arm.
"You came to California you were a size two, maybe you're a four now." Jane teased.
Miranda feigned shock. "A size four? Christ in heaven. Four is the new six, you know."
"Yeah, yeah. So you say." Jane started unbuttoning Miranda's blouse, "but if size is all that important, how, pray tell, did a size eight end up in bed with a size two?"
"Easy and it's still a matter of size." The palms of Miranda's hands cupped Jane's breasts. "The more important question is how did a B end up in bed with a pair of luscious Ds?"
"Oh, I see your argument. You're saying it all evens out in the end?" Jane asked, moaning intermittently as Miranda kneaded her breasts. "I daresay if you came up to my size in waist your breasts would follow suit."
"Neither I nor the rest of my body have ever been joiners."
Jane laughed, "you're too funny."
"I didn't realize there was a limit on how funny I was allowed to be. Here I thought I was being reservedly funny." Jane laughed harder. Miranda's hands kneaded Jane's ass as it moved above her lap. Miranda's lips descended on Jane's ear, "I want to fuck you." She whispered.
Jane moaned, her fit of laughter all but forgotten as Miranda's words caused her whole body to ache with anticipation. "God Miranda," she buried her face in Miranda's neck.
Miranda's left hand continued to carress Jane's ass as her right hand started on Jane's zipper.
"Mom?" Lauren and Gabby gawked from the doorway. Harley hung back pretending he didn't already know.
Jane jumped up, pulling her zipper back up, Miranda pulled her shirt closed and crossed her legs.
Lauren ventured further into the room. "Mom, how did you end up... with Miranda Priestly?"
"It's..." Jane wrung her hands, "it's, well, it's complicated."
Miranda smirked, "it's not that complicated." Miranda buttoned her blouse back up. "Should I go?"
"No, Miranda, you stay." Jane took a deep breath. "Why don't we all go out and discuss this in the living room?" Jane grabbed Harley's t-shirt and pulled him back, "Harley..."
"I didn't breathe a word, boss, I swear. Lauren and Gabby bought The Hills on DVD and they thought you were lonely so they wanted to come over and watch it with you and I tried to talk them out of it but they thought I just didn't want to watch The Hills -- which I don't."
"Nor do I." Miranda chimed in.
"Oh thank God." Harley exclaimed.
"Harley. Living room." Jane said dismissively.
"I didn't breathe a word, either, boss, spare my life?" Miranda joked.
Jane shook her head and laughed, "come on. Let's go out to the living room." Jane took Miranda's hand and walked down the hall. The girls looked up at them from couch. "First of all, how did you know she's Miranda Priestly?" Jane couldn't help but let the curiosity get the better of her.
"Uh, mom, hello, she only runs the biggest fashion magazine in the country." Gabby gawked. "How are you sleeping with her and you don't know that?"
Lauren elbowed Gabby, "mom and fashion? Come on."
"This is getting off topic." Jane sighed. "Yes, I'm sleeping with Miranda Priestly. Well, dating. It's only been going on for a couple of days and before that I'd known her for about a month. I was going to tell you soon. We were just waiting to get to know each other a little better first. Any questions?"
"Yeah. Are you wearing Versace?" Gabby raised her eyebrows.
Miranda nodded, "the skirt is Versace, the blouse is Prada and the shoes are Manolos."
"Oh my god, could you hook me up?" Gabby's eyes were wide with excitement.
"Sure." Miranda nodded.
"What Miranda means," Jane said pointedly. "Is maybe for Christmas."
"Any other questions?"
"How did you meet?" Lauren asked.
"She came to the bakery."
Lauren and Gabby nodded. "Dad's going to hate that you're dating again."
"It's none of your father's business." Jane shrugged, "any last questions?"
"Is there any food left? I didn't have lunch."
"In the refrigerator, help yourselves." Jane motioned in the direction of the kitchen and her children and children-in-law made a bee line for the food. "That was easier than I expected."
"Things are different than when we were young." Miranda rubbed Jane's arm, "easy is a good thing."
"Adam Sanders, please?" Jake asked the associate who wondered past him. She pointed him towards Adam's office. "Hi. Remember me?"
"Unfortunately." Adam nodded. "What do you want?"
"Did you know Jane's dating again?"
Adam looked up, suddenly interested in the conversation. "Go on."
Jake sat on the side of Adam's desk, despite the look of annoyance he received because of it. "Some guy named Mirando Priestly. Heard of him?"
"Mirando? No. But a woman named Miranda Priestly bought the big Spanish Colonial house on Continental a couple of months ago."
"Do you memorize real estate listings?" Jake rolled his eyes, unable to believe his ex-wife ever had an interest in this boring man.
"No." Adam sneered. "It was one of the first houses that I designed an addition for and I was curious who bought it. No law against that."
"A woman named Miranda, huh?" Jake pondered this. "Think she's any relation to Mirando? Maybe a twin sister?"
"Maybe it is Miranda and she's dating a woman."
"Janie? I doubt that very much." Jake rolled his eyes. "I was married to for her too many years not know that she is all hetero."
"Maybe being married to you turned her." Adam smirked.
"Maybe dating you turned her, pipsqueak." Jake smacked him in the shoulder. "Google Mirando."
"The only reason I'm going to do this is to prove to you that there is no such person as Mirando." Adam opened his laptop and typed. "No results for Mirando Priestly, showing results for Miranda Priestly. First picture in the image search is a white haired woman standing with George Clooney."
"Is she an actress I've never heard of?" Jake squinted at the photo.
Adam clicked the wikipedia link. "She's a fashion editor from New York."
"Fashion. That seals it. She can't have anything to do with Janie." Jake rolled his eyes, "you have to ask her who she's dating."
"No! You ask the kids."
"They'll go right to Janie and tell her that I'm interested and she'll read me the riot act."
"She's not going to tell me! Besides she's never at the house while I'm there. Find some other patsy to do your dirty work."
Adam was around the back of the house scribbling notes on the plans when the door to the house opened up and Jane stood there. "Hi... thought I'd come out and see how everything's going..."
"It's, yeah, it's great." Adam was shocked to see her. "I never see you around anymore. Someone special in your life these days?"
"Actually... yes, there is." Jane smiled.
"Tell me about him." Adam was ashamed of himself for playing into Jake's suspicions.
Jane hesitated for a moment as she studied his face. "Not jealous are we?"
"No!" Adam shook his head profusely. "No, no. It's just friendly curiosity. I went out with a dental hygienist last week and all through dinner she had a piece of broccoli in her teeth and I... it was so comedically perfect that I couldn't bring myself to tell her."
Jane laughed, "I don't think I would have been able to make it through a whole dinner."
"So tell me about your new beau? Who is the dashing gentleman who has won fair lady's heart?"
"I... I'm happy. I don't want to jinx it by telling everybody."
"Hey, if you can't tell your architect who you don't know very well, who can you tell?" Adam laughed nervously as Jane continued to watch him with suspicion.
Jane clapped him on the back. "Okay, Adam, you guys have fun out here. There's coffee and croissants inside for anyone who wants them."
"Hey, I know we don't know each other well or anything but I felt like I couldn't be this close to Miranda Priestly and not get a sit down, you know?" Gabby smiled.
Miranda nodded. She was bound and determined to get along with Jane's children as well as Jane got along with hers. She sipped her coffee.
"It's hard being the unsuccessful daughter around my mother and Lauren -- and now you, I guess -- they don't take me seriously, though, but I really want to get a good job doing something I love and just get really bitchass great at it, you know? Is it all in the clothes? Because I-"
"Gabby. Dear.... may I say something?" Miranda put up a hand.
"Yeah, totally." Gabby nodded.
"Shut-up." Miranda slipped. "...that came out wrong but it's sound advice nonetheless. It is not all in the clothes, it is all in the attitude. When it comes to talking less is more."
Gabby nodded, still stunned.
"As someone who has interviewed thousands of people over the years I can give you this advice. Anything you want your potential employer to know you write it on the resume. When you meet the interviewer, you shake hands, introduce yourself, hand over the resume and stay quiet. They will ask if they have questions. Over eager is a turn off and never ever utter the words 'I need this job,' don't fidget, if you have a fidgeting problem sit with your legs crossed and your hands folded. When they speak to you be sure of every answer you give -- even if you aren't. When you leave you shake their hand and smile like you know you've gotten the job."
Gabby smiled slowly, "awesome."
Miranda pulled a small notebook out of her purse and began to write, "also, I am making you a list of words to avoid. Please note that bitchass is at the top."
Gabby smiled. "Thank you, Miranda."
Miranda smiled up at Gabby. "You're doing better already. So," Miranda set down her coffee. "Shall I take you shopping for an interview outfit?"
Gabby grinned excitedly. "I'd love that."
Miranda nervously walked up to the front door of Jane's house for the first family dinner she was invited to. She was early. As she was the first one there Jane greeted her with a deep kiss. "Mmm, you taste like you've been dipping into dinner."
"I have to taste it to make sure I'm not poisoning everyone, don't I?" Jane grinned.
"If that's what poison tastes like count me in," Miranda whispered as she kissed Jane again.
Luke, Lauren and Harley arrived and Jane decided that waiting for her unpredictable daughter might be foolhardy. Jane sat at the head of the table, Miranda sat to one of her sides which pushed Luke further down the table and would put Gabby at the opposite head when she arrived.
"Do anything fascinating today, Miranda?" Lauren smiled. "I've read Runway religiously since High School."
Miranda shrugged, "retirement is pretty uneventful. I'm thinking about flying out to a few of the upcoming photo shoots. My successor has been asking me to help oversee a few things."
"What did you do today, mom?" Luke asked as he took a big bite of green beans.
"I stopped by the construction to see how everybody was doing."
"Even Adam?" Luke raised an eyebrow.
"Even Adam." Jane confirmed tersely. "He was acting strange."
Lauren laughed, "we didn't exactly see him acting normally. You two were pretty stoned at the party."
Miranda choked on her mashed potatoes and started laughing. "Sorry." She waved a hand in front of her, hoping to push the attention away.
Jane smirked and took Miranda's hand, giving it a squeeze.
The front door banged open and an excited Gabby ran into the room. "I got the job!" She squealed. "You're looking at the new weather girl for channel nine news!"
"Congratulations!" Jane smiled, starting to stand in preparation for hugging Gabby.
Gabby, instead, wrapped her arms around Miranda, which startled everyone -- most of all Miranda -- "your advice was amazing and the woman complimented me on my outfit. How did I survive life without you before?"
Miranda patted Gabby's arm, "let's not be melodramatic, shall we?"
"Okay. That's another thing I should add to my list?" She dug out a notepad from her pocket, "Luke, mind if I sit next to Miranda? Miranda, can I pour you a glass of wine?"
"No, I'm all set. Thank you."
"Miranda, can I speak with you for a moment in private?" Jane stood from the table.
Miranda laid her napkin down on the table, "sure."
They walked out to the backyard and Miranda turned to Jane to say something but stopped when she saw the frown creasing her normally happy go lucky lover's features. "What did you do to my daughter? She's taking notes from you?"
"She asked me for advice in regards to interviewing. And obviously something I said was right because she got the job. You're always saying that you wished she'd get her act together and do something she really wanted to do."
"You've known me for a month you don't what constitutes always!" Jane snapped. "And what was it she said about her outfit?"
"I..." Miranda looked away guiltily. "I bought her a new outfit for her interview."
"After I told you not to?" Jane demanded.
"You didn't 'tell me not to.' You said to Gabby maybe for Christmas. It was one outfit and it was for a specific interview. I bought you clothes."
"We're sleeping together!"
"We weren't at the time!" Miranda scowled. "I was just trying to be nice. I figured I ought to since I'd told her to shut-up."
"You told my daughter to shut up?" Jane gawked. "Your daughters put ticker tape machines to shame with the amount of information they can spew out and you told my daughter to shut up?"
"I told her to shut up because she was asking for my advice but wouldn't let me speak. I apologized and I gave her the advice she asked for."
"And then bribed her with couture."
"It wasn't a bribe. It was for an interview. A specific interview." Miranda snarled, "stop yelling at me."
"Shut up." Jane snapped.
"Do you want me to go? What do you want from me? You brought the twins a box of eclairs when we went to UCLA. It's the same thing except you deal in food, I deal in clothes. I won't do it again without your written permission, okay?"
Jane frowned, "that's not what I want... I don't want you to go... you don't need my permission to do something nice... we should have talked about it though. We should have had a conversation about whether you could buy them clothes because those are expensive and I want my children to not feel like things will be handed to them. And for once in my damn life, I want to be the fun parent. I don't want to be the buzz kill in every relationship I'm ever in."
"You're not the buzz kill. I told Gabby to shut up. That's not fun."
Jane laughed weakly. "That's true..."
"You can be the fun one with my girls."
Jane snorted, "you're already the fun one."
"If you think I'm the fun one ask them about the ponies that Lucas bought them and the property in Albany he bought to keep them on. They were already ten years old and the jerk bought them ponies instead of horses. They were already too heavy for ponies. I talked Lucas into donating them to an equine therapy program. The girls didn't say a word to me for weeks. Believe me, I have always been the buzz kill."
"I guess buzz kill just means different things in our families, huh?" Jane smiled a little. "I'll figure out a way to spoil the twins."
"Word to the wise they love chocolate croissants."
Jane grinned, "that's my specialty. Later when we're alone we can talk about giving gifts to each other's children?"
Miranda nodded, "I think that would be good." Miranda kissed Jane softly.
The two women rejoined the kids at the table. They stared at them in anticipation and dread. "Calm down." Jane scolded a she took her seat.
Miranda sat down and gave Jane's hand a gentle squeeze.
"It just... sounded pretty heated." Luke bit his lip. "I mean, are you guys breaking up before I even had a chance to talk to her?"
"No." Jane furrowed her brow, "people can argue without breaking up. It's part of a healthy relationship. You shouldn't be so skittish around arguments."
"Is it because of me?" Gabby looked to Miranda with worry.
"No, it was because of me."
"Should I give you back the outfit?"
"Of course not, sweetie." Jane shook her head.
"If it's going to be a point of tension between you two maybe she should." Luke said and Gabby nodded in agreement.
"We worked it out. It's okay." Jane insisted.
"Hello dear." Lucas chirped sarcastically as he picked up the phone.
"I assume you know why I'm calling." Miranda pursed her lips.
"On the opposite side of the country and you're still giving me shit..." Lucas muttered.
"If you'd like me to come to New York to give you shit it can be arranged." Miranda snapped, "we have a deal. The only times of the year when we are allowed to give large sums of money to each other's twin is on their birthday and on Christmas."
"Now, which one of us was it that drove the girls to Hollywood and rang up a $5,000 bill buying clothes and dinner for both twins..."
"Don't do that. Stop using your position at the bank to access my account. It's unethical." Miranda sneered, "and I bought them things for school."
"I give Caroline an allowance. You're not supposed to spend money on Caroline."
"So am I supposed to tell Caroline that she has to stay home when I take Cassidy out? That's ludicrous. I live in the same city as they do and I can't ignore Caroline."
"Fine, then send me the bill for Caroline and I'll reimburse you." Lucas said coolly.
Miranda rolled her eyes. "I wish you'd become an adult already. Dealing with a five-year-old was passe when the twins turned six."
"Oh, I get it. You're telling me I'm a five-year-old. That is such a seven-year-old insult, Miranda."
There was silence on the other end as Miranda silently counted to three. "By the way, Lucas, I just dumped my NYC Bank & Trust stocks, I think you should do the same."
"I wasn't going to tell you but during the course of this conversation I decided you're right and I should act like an adult across the board. So, I'm telling you, the company is going to tank."
Lucas snorted, "I'm not biting, Miranda. Nice try. Don't forget to keep your receipts when you take the girls out."
There was a click on the other end and Miranda hung up with an eye roll. If Lucas chose not to believe Miranda's warnings that was his own problem. Miranda had to resist the urge to take the girls out and run up a very large bill but remembered her earlier vow to take the high road.
Miranda dialed Cassidy's number, "hey Bobbsey. Dinner plans tonight?"
"I think we're free." Cassidy announced, "I'm walking to Biology right now and if she doesn't give me a monster load of homework, I'm in. Called Caroline yet?"
"Just about to."
"Sweet. Peace out."
Miranda hung up the call and dialed her other daughter. "Dinner at my house tonight?"
"Uh... yeah, I just have to cancel something."
"You don't have to cancel anything, it's not a big deal."
"No, I want to come over and I don't want to go to this other thing. It's the perfect excuse. I'll see you tonight. Bye."
Miranda turned the phone over in her hand before deciding to call Jane. "Would you like to come over for dinner with the girls and me tonight?"
"Tee-Off. Absurd name but it's a wonderful surf and turf restaurant."
"What if I cooked?" Jane offered. "I could even do lobster if that's what everyone's in the mood for."
"I don't want to put you out."
"It wouldn't be putting me out." Jane waved her hand dismissively. "I love cooking. It's Friday so you have a full fridge, right?"
Miranda smiled, "right."
"Can I help the next person?" Jane smiled amicably. Jake stepped up to the counter and she sighed. "Hi Jake."
"You're dating a chick?" He demanded.
Jane grabbed a girl in an apron as she walked by, "Amber, can you man the front for a moment?" The girl nodded and Jane pulled off her apron. "Come to my office."
"I can't believe you never told me." Jake started as the door to her office was closing. "You accused me of keeping secrets during our marriage, but boy howdy, Jane Rebecca Adler, this is a doozie of a secret."
"There are multiple things wrong with your statement. One, I accused you of not opening up to me -- there's a difference. Two, it isn't a secret -- if it was, you wouldn't know about it. Three, I didn't know I'd be interested in a woman when we were married -- I was faithful mind, body and soul. And four, my middle name is Constance."
"Really?" Jake furrowed his brow in confusion. "Are you sure?"
"Whose middle name is Rebecca, then?"
"I don't know..." Jane watched him with confusion.
"Are you sure your middle name isn't Rebecca?" Jake insisted.
"Would you like to see my birth certificate?"
"I just don't understand how you're suddenly dating a woman. Are you doing this to punish me?"
Jane laughed ironically. "Don't flatter yourself. I'm 'doing this' because I met a beautiful, wonderful woman who makes me happy."
"Angelina Jolie is a beautiful woman and she didn't turn you into a lesbian!"
"You're being very narrow minded and I don't have to explain myself to you."
"I... I just don't get it, that's all, Janie. You have to admit it seems a little like a cry for attention. You can call me anytime, I'm single now, you know." Jake wiggled his eyebrows suggestively.
"I'm not." Jane sighed with exasperation. "If you'll excuse me, I have an appointment at eleven." She motioned to the door.
He watched her for a moment before retreating. She followed him out to the front. "Making sure I go?"
"No, waiting for my eleven o'clock." Jane smirked. As if on cue the bells on the front door sounded but it wasn't Miranda. "That would have been so great if that was her..."
Jake nodded, "I'd have to give you that one."
The door opened again and Miranda entered. "Hello." Miranda said watching Jake with uncertainty.
"I make a million dollars a year. I'm a named partner at my law firm." Jake announced, puffing out his chest.
"How nice for you." Miranda furrowed her brow, wondering why she was expected to care.
"Jake," Jane scolded.
"How much do you make?" Jake looked down his nose at Miranda.
"Well, I'm not a named partner at a law firm or anything as fancy as all that," Miranda mocked, "but somehow I manage to scrape by on three mill."
"Miranda, you don't have to-" Jane tried.
"I own two cars and a penthouse apartment with an ocean view."
Miranda sighed, "I also own two cars, a townhouse in New York, a suite at the Ritz in Paris and a home in Santa Barbara with an ocean view."
"I can bench 350 pounds."
"I doubt that very much." Miranda smirked.
Jake narrowed his eyes at her, "alright, you win this round, Priestly."
"Oh, were we competing?" Miranda feigned sympathy, "you lost pretty badly then, didn't you?"
Jake huffed out of the bakery. Miranda chuckled to herself and turned to see Jane looking somewhat annoyed. "What?"
"You don't have to play that game with him." Jane shook her head.
"I've dealt with men like him for my entire adult life. Men like him think that, because I'm a woman, they're more powerful or successful than I am. It just gets to me."
Jane took Miranda by the arm, "I'm sure that can be frustrating." She said knowingly. "Let me tell you what I had in mind for lunch. I packed a picnic lunch which I was hoping we could ignore at your place while we languish in bed."
"I love the way you think." Miranda whispered with a grin.
Miranda gripped the backboard of the bed as Jane's fingers drove into her. She moaned, "god, yes..."
Jane pulled Miranda's leg over her shoulder and pushed even deeper into her lover. Miranda groaned as she bucked into Jane's onslaught.
"Jesus..." Miranda hissed through gritted teeth as she rolled her hips against Jane.
Miranda's cell phone rang and Miranda reached out deftly and silenced it. Miranda's fingers dug deeper into the backboard as her orgasm mounted. Her cell phone rang and, again, she silenced it.
Jane's fingers curled inside Miranda and pushed and Miranda cried out as she gave in to her orgasm, writing against Jane as her body trembled. The phone rang again, Miranda silenced it.
"Why don't you just silence it?" Jane whispered playfully in Miranda's ear.
"Because I can't do that without looking at it." Miranda ran her fingers through Jane's hair, "and I've been pre-occupied for the last couple minutes."
"Oh right." Jane smiled triumphantly. She kissed her, "you could do it now."
Miranda picked up the phone and dismissed the missed calls dialog. "That's strange. All the calls were from my lawyer." The phone rang in Miranda's hands before she had a chance to change the ring settings. She answered it, "David, I'll call you later."
"Miranda, it's urgent." He insisted.
"I said I will call you back." Miranda snapped.
Miranda was about to hang up when she heard him shout. "They want to charge you with insider trading."
Miranda stopped dead in her tracks and brought the phone back to her ear. "What did you just say to me?"
"The Federal Trade Commission wants to charge you with insider trading for dumping your NYC Bank & Trust stocks right before it was revealed that Arnold Milano had embezzled almost all the funds out of the company."
"You're shitting me. He did not. They're bankrupt?" Miranda sat up, stunned.
"Why did you sell the stocks if you didn't know they were belly up?" David demanded.
"Because they're launching investigations into all the banks since the recession. I've met Arnold a dozen or so times and I always got a bad feeling from him. I didn't think he was a good person, at worst I thought there would be a scandal that would bring down the stock prices but I had no idea... They can't charge me with insider trading, I don't work there."
"Your ex-husband does."
"Are you kidding me?" Miranda rolled her eyes, "Lucas didn't tip me off. In fact, he didn't sell his shares, doesn't that prove that we weren't somehow in on it?"
"But your bank records show that he's deposited money into your account."
"I could strangle the bastard." Miranda groaned. She stood up and wrapped a sheet around herself. She put the phone to her chest and kissed Jane, "I'll just be a second."
"Take your time." Jane's brow was furrowed in concern.
Miranda padded down the hall and entered her office. She opened her macbook air. "The money that Lucas deposited in my account are reimbursements for money I spent on Caroline."
"Miranda, you have to come out here. You have to come back and we'll just nip this in the bud as quickly as possible. There wasn't any insider trading so you should be fine."
"The Trade Commission has been gunning for me for years. It's like a casino, the minute you start winning they suspect you of cheating."
"Well, to be fair, we haven't exactly seen a stock market savant of your caliber since... I don't know, Rockafeller?"
Miranda rolled his eyes, "Rockafeller made his money by founding an oil company."
"Maybe we've never seen a stock trader of your stature." David shrugged. "I bet if you'd been around in 1929 you'd've made money off the stock market crash."
Miranda chose to ignore David's joke and scowled. "Fine, I'll catch a flight out tonight. In the morning let's having a meeting, you know how to get in touch with my accountant and stock broker?"
"Yes, I'll set it up. See you tomorrow."
Miranda hung up and sighed with exasperation. Back in the bedroom she sat down on the bed next to Jane. "I have to go to New York," she pouted apologetically, nuzzling Jane's neck.
Jane rubbed Miranda's shoulder. "I could go with you. For moral support."
"I would really love that." Miranda smiled genuinely at Jane.