DISCLAIMER: The Devil Wears Prada and its characters belong to Lauren Weisberger and 20th Century Fox. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I love getting feedback! Esp. if it's nice! Feedback would be great but please be gentle and constructive! Ltlenara@hotmail.com this is a response to the challenge on Ralst's Christmas wish list for Nataixoco – I hope you like it. Spoilers for the film (obviously). The action takes place some time after the end of the film and Andy didn't leave.  I have tried to keep dates and times as realistic as possible but some might have had to be tweaked to suit the story.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

All Change at Christmas - Emily
By Lenara


Thursday 18th December - Morning

Emily Charlton looked at the mounting pile of work she had to do before 5pm tomorrow. Runway was officially closed for the Christmas week and Emily had been ordered on holiday with her parents. Normally Emily would have to be pulled away from the office kicking and screaming but this time she was glad to be going away. Emily had caught Miranda and Andy under the mistletoe last night and since then Andy had been floating around in a romantic daze and Miranda had been, well... nice. Not nice in the ordinary human way but for Miranda she was, nice. This, therefore, turned Emily's world upside down, she could cope with a pissed off Miranda she could cope with a disappointed, late, arrogant, infuriated Miranda but a nice Miranda was getting on her nerves. Even Serena had picked up on the dragon lady's good mood and had commented on it this morning. Not that Emily could talk about it, there was an unwritten, unbreakable rule that you NEVER gossiped about Miranda and her life. Emily valued her life and her career too much to break that. Besides Emily had far too many of her own problems to cope with. Right on cue her foot twinged reminding her that she had a physio session tonight, the last before Christmas. Fortunately Andy was the chosen one now who took the book and dealt with the dry cleaning.

Christmas, uggh, she didn't even want to think about! She had been looking forward to going home to England and spending an uneventful week with her parents and hopefully shagging Daisy Goodwin from next door. Her erstwhile best friend from senior school was currently girlfriendless and it was a casual agreement that they had when they were single. Casual sex was all that Emily had ever wanted or needed. Not that she was a slut or easy, just that she didn't go in for the doe eyed romantic bollocks that was currently pervading the office. She had caught Andrea day dreaming at least three times today and whenever Miranda walked past there was this wistful sigh that sometimes escaped her lips. It was enough to make the English woman gag. However her parents had put paid to the Daisy Goodwin shagathon when they had announced that they had had enough of the cold in England and wanted to enjoy some sun for Christmas. They therefore told Emily, via email over the weekend, that they had booked the family on a 7 day cruise around the Caribbean, leaving from Fort Lauderdale on Sunday. Beverly Charlton was a very no nonsense woman and not to be trifled with, she bore a not too dissimilar resemblance to Miranda if you looked at it that way, but with a wicked sense of humour and a love for her children that was unrivalled. It was fortunate that Emily's elder sister Catherine had married last year and was starting to produce the grandchildren that Beverly and Richard so dearly wanted. It was some consolation to Emily that if she had to endure a week's holiday with her family that at least she had her own cabin to retreat to at night. You never know, she told herself with a wry smile, you might get lucky with a dancer!

Friday 19th December - Lunchtime

Serena walked purposefully toward the Editor in chief's office hoping to catch Emily and take her to lunch. From the first day that she had arrived at Runway she had found the English woman enchanting. Serena had had many relationships with both men and women but had never really connected with any of her partners in the way that she had connected with Emily. Unfortunately the English woman was very reserved and did not give too much about herself away and so Serena was powerless to know even what sex she preferred never mind if she would be interested in her! The Brazilian woman stopped and shook herself. It would not do to fall for this woman, she told herself. She was a work colleague which was fraught with problems, not to mention that she was first assistant to the most powerful woman in publishing if not in the world certainly in New York and America. Resolved that she was not going to fall for Emily, Serena pushed the doors to the office open and called out to Emily. "Hey, are you free for lunch?"

The look that Emily gave her and the smile of yes was all that was needed to break Serena's resolve and send her tumbling.

Emily looked at Serena as they munched on a non descript, no fat, no carb, no taste lunch in the Elias Clarke canteen. Emily had always been an awkward girl and had dreamed at school of being best friends with the cutest coolest girls in school. Once she had grown up she dreamed of shagging the cutest, coolest girl in school, it had never materialise (Daisy was a rather pretty but not terrible exciting girl). When she started working at Runway she had seen the models in the hallways and her old insecurities came flooding back, however one day a new girl started and had taken Emily's breath away with her beauty, and poise. Of course the accent was pure sex but Emily was determined to live out her dream and be the friend of the cutest, coolest girl in the building. Emily determined to become this new girl's friend. Over the past year Emily and Serena had become firm friends and regularly met to have lunch or to gossip and bitch about the other girls at Runway.

"So of course I now have to unpack my warm winter clothes that were packed for England and repack my suitcase with sarongs and swimsuits." Emily finished her mini diatribe by sipping at her sparkling Evian.

"Well, think yourself lucky, at least you will be with your family for Christmas. I will be alone over Christmas and as the magazine is shut down for a week I can't even escape to work," Serena tried not to sound petulant but was really not looking forward to spending Christmas on her own. She was hoping that Emily would be free so that they could spend time together but now even that was taken away.

Emily suddenly hit on a fabulous idea. "Come with me! It will be terrific fun; I could do with a friend to get me through a week of my mother cooing over the new baby and enforced family time." Emily offered, temporarily forgetting her seducing dancers plan in favour of having a friend to gossip and bitch with.

"Look Serena, my parents are rather well off and have given me this cruise as my Christmas present. They have paid for me to have a twin cabin and told me I could bring a friend. I thought that it would be totally impractical to find someone at short notice but I would LOVE you to come along. It will be so much fun and you wouldn't have to pay anything except for a few drinks on board." Emily finished off this speech with a rather endearing look on her face and her best puppy dog eyes. For some unknown reason spending the week with Serena was very attractive.

Serena reckoned that there were probably a hundred sensible reasons why she shouldn't gatecrash a family holiday and how impractical it was that on Friday lunchtime she was even contemplating going on holiday on Sunday morning, but powerless to think of any on the spot and bewitched by Emily's gorgeous brown eyes and not wanting to be alone she agreed.

Sunday 21st December – Morning New York JFK Airport

Emily bustled through the airport with her usual efficiency and self importance. Having accompanied and organised Miranda for the past 2 years, getting her and Serena to Fort Lauderdale on 2 days notice was a piece of cake. Emily was secretly quite pleased to be leaving behind all the nonsense of Christmas and the Miranda/Andy debacle was enough to make anyone puke. It was a blessed relief in the end that Miranda had taken herself off early on Friday afternoon to leave Emily utterly non plused about anything vaguely romantic and Christmassy. As she rolled her eyes at yet another fat bloke dressed as Santa and another appalling rendition of 'Happy Holidays' she clacked her way through the airport to the First Class lounge. Mentioning Miranda's name when booking had not only saved them a pretty penny but also had secured First Class upgrades for the two women both ways!

Serena was in another world. As a not very important member of the art department she always travelled economy, only her boss Nigel was allowed to travel first class with Miranda. Also Emily was so efficient and attentive that she made the whole experience a breeze. Serena wondered if this was how Miranda felt with someone looking after her every whim.

Soon the two women were sitting in first class sipping champagne when Serena noticed that Emily was a bit more tight lipped and fidgety than usual.

"Are you ok Emily?"

Oh the way that her name rolled off the Brazilian woman's tongue if she hadn't been so nervous she would have found it an immense turn on.

"Oh I'm fine I'm just not over keen on being parted from terra firma that's all." Emily's over cheerfulness was only marred by her teeth chattering together. "Once I'm up in the air I'm ok it's just the going up and going down that scares the hell out of me."

Choosing to avoid commenting on Emily's choice of phrase Serena tried to mutter what she hoped were soothing and encouraging pleasantries "Well I'm not sure what to say for the best. Finish your champagne and hold onto my hand and try to take your mind off it. Tell me about James Holt's new collection."

So as the plane hurtled down the runway at speeds that Emily didn't want to contemplate, she held Serena's hand and explained the new collection and Miranda's various responses to the pieces. It wasn't until the stewardess came round with the food that they realised that they were still holding each other's hand long after the plane had taken off.

Sunday Lunchtime – Fort Lauderdale

The ship was beautiful, originally designed for the American market it had been adapted for the British traveller a few years ago and simply took your breath away when you entered it. Serena and Emily had both acted very cool when they first embarked the ship and saw the towering atrium but could see in each others eyes that the other was very impressed. The steward that was showing them to their cabin was very courteous and tried to show them the various public rooms as they passed them, Serena's eyes lit up at the prospect of an art gallery and Emily's eyes lit up at the mention of a Casino. Soon they were standing in front of a cabin door and were faintly puzzled that it was called the Oronsay Suite. As the steward opened the door they were taken aback at the size of the room. There was a sitting area, a dining area, a gorgeous marble bathroom, a balcony with an outside sitting area and sun loungers and a bedroom. As the steward explained that their butler would be along to speak to them shortly Emily finally got her brain in gear and realised that the bed was made up as a double, she was sure that her mother had told her that she was to have a twin room. As she set down her handbag and took the splendour and luxury of the room in she looked at Serena who was having trouble fighting off the tears.

"What's up?" Emily asked the smaller woman.

"I can't describe to you Emily, I know that we work amongst luxury and opulence at Runway but I come from a simple family in Brazil. Just working in such a place as Runway was a dream come true for me. This, is, something else. I know that as Miranda's first assistant that you get luxury treatment everywhere you go but for me, it's not quite the same. Whilst you are in the Hilton we are in the Holiday Inn. This is just incredible." Serena suddenly rushed forward and hugged her friend. "Thank you so much for inviting me to share this with you."

Emily was sent out of kilter at her friend's response; she was so cool and composed at Runway and acted the same as all the models that Emily didn't even begin to think that there was anything other than money behind the Brazilian woman. She held onto the smaller woman and accepted the hug willingly, she was normally so reserved and standoffish that people didn't even try to touch her; normally the only contact with people was a brief brush of hands as they shared an air kiss.

Their moment was broken by the arrival of their steward who introduced himself as Jude and explained about the safety procedures, that there was lifeboat drill at 4pm and what time they wanted their tea in the morning.

As he was leaving Emily called out to him

"Jude, is it possible that we could have the room made up as a twin?"

"No, Madam I am afraid that it is not possible. The configuration of the cabin on the stern of the ship means that the beds are fixed as doubles. I am sorry that this is not to your liking Madame. Normally I would offer to try and move you to a smaller cabin but I am afraid as it is Christmas the ship is completely full." Emily sighed, aside from the impossibility of the ship being full; the thought of asking Serena to move out of this wonderful cabin was not an option. Emily knew that there were only 4 suites on the ship, and that they would all have fixed beds as they were on the stern of the ship. Moving cabins would certainly mean moving to an inferior cabin.

"Emily, it's fine, I am sure that we will be ok sharing a bed." Serena did her best to appease her friend and to help out the very apologetic Jude. "After all we are both adults and both women."

Yes, though Emily, that was the problem!

The End

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