DISCLAIMER: The Devil Wears Prada and its characters belong to Lauren Weisberger and 20th Century Fox. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: A loose sequel to Midnight.
And The Dawn Breaks
By quiethearted (QH Fletcher)
Andy dropped into the chair across from her friend, Beth, and grabbed for the glass of water on her side of the table. She held up one finger as she gulped half the glass before sitting back with a sigh.
"Damn, that was good," she commented returning the glass to the table and picking up the menu in front of her. "Sorry, I'm late. My last interview ran long and I had to run to catch the subway. So, how was your day so far?"
Beth laughed as her friend studied the menu like she didn't order the same thing every time they met at this particular restaurant. The waiter walking up to their table prevented her from answering for a moment.
"I'll have-," Andy started.
"The chef's salad, extra egg, ranch dressing on the side," Beth finished for her.
Andy laughed, shaking her head. "Am I that predictable?"
"Only when it comes to chef's salad. Other than that, it's anyone's guess." Giving her own order, she waited for the waiter to walk away before continuing. "In answer to your question, my day has been busier than usual for a Friday. Evidently, yours has as well."
"Yeah, it seems like I've been running since I woke up. I'm trying to get ahead on things so I won't have to work this weekend."
"Big plans for Valentine's?" Beth tried to maintain an air of nonchalance with the question. She had been attracted to the tall brunette from the first moment she'd seen her when Andy presented herself for her interview at The Mirror. As secretary to the Editor, Beth knew everything that was going on at the paper and had made a point of being in the vicinity of the News Editor's office that day. She had volunteered to take Andy on a tour of the building when it was obvious she would be hired and had made every effort to befriend the woman since. Andy was really too gorgeous for words, not to mention kind and loving. It was ridiculous that the other woman was wasting her time on someone that evidently didn't care for her beyond a physical attraction.
Andy flushed and looked away. She had given up trying to explain to her friend how she felt about Miranda. That the fashionista seemed content to leave their relationship in its current status was just something Andy would have to live with.
"No, no plans. The girls are home this weekend and she has a dinner meeting this evening. I may see her later tonight, I don't know yet. She has another meeting tomorrow night and I suppose she'll spend the rest of time with her children," she mumbled, not really wanting to get into this discussion right now. It wasn't the first time they'd had it and it seldom led to anything good. Sometimes she wished she'd never told Beth about Miranda, but she needed to talk to someone about it. Doug and Lily were no longer speaking to her, so that left Beth as both friend and confidant.
Beth sighed, brushing long blond hair back over one shoulder. "She hasn't mentioned anything about it?"
"No, but she's been really busy this week. I've only seen her once and then only for a couple of hours," Andy tried making excuses for her lover. She needed to push her attraction to the brunette aside and focus on being her friend right now.
The blonde bit her tongue and waited while their lunch was served. Taking a bite of her chicken, she chewed slowly while she tried to decide what tact to take this time.
"Andy, I know you care for her, but even you have to see that it's one-sided. You see her what once or twice a week, if her schedule allows? That isn't a relationship, sweetie. It's a convenience for Miranda." Reaching across the table, she rested her hand on her friend's. "I haven't known you long, but even I can see how this is hurting you."
Turning her hand to grasp the other woman's, Andy tried to explain. "She cares about me. I know she does. She just has a hard time sharing those feelings. Miranda is a really private, guarded person."
Beth shook her head slowly. "I understand that you want to believe that, but if you were important to her, she'd tell you that. She'd make a way to be with you, not just whenever it didn't interfere with the rest of her life. Andy, that's the whole point. You're not part of her life. She's just keeping you around to scratch an occasional itch. You deserve so much better."
Andy didn't want to believe Beth was right, but Miranda had never said anything to the contrary. If the young woman was brutally honest with herself, she had to admit that the woman who occasionally shared her bed had never done more than that. They often went for days without speaking and then Miranda would call to inform the brunette that she was on her way to Andy's apartment, if she bothered to call at all instead of just showing up. There was never any inquiry as to whether it was convenient for the reporter. Andy was always there and always available. Maybe that was the problem in itself, she was too willing to arrange herself and her life around what the older woman wanted, too willing to accept whatever crumbs Miranda tossed. Since that first night when the fashion diva had simply showed up to "lend a hand" as it were, she had continued to do just that. Andy was often woken from a sound sleep to the feel of a hot mouth devouring her neck while slender fingers slipped between her thighs. It was a relationship built on sex and while it was physically gratifying, it had begun to leave Andy with an unsettling feeling of not being valued as a person. Though she was hesitant to express her feelings out loud, thereby giving them more life than she truly wanted them to have, she couldn't help wonder if, indeed, this was all there was to be for her and Miranda. If so, then Beth was right, it wasn't enough and never would be.
The few times she had started to bring up how she was feeling about all this, Andy had stopped herself, ultimately afraid of the outcome of such a discussion. What if Miranda ended it? She wasn't ready to lose the older woman, but at the same time, couldn't continue in this way. Maybe it was time to end it herself before she got in too deep to ever walk away. Like that hasn't already happened.
Watching the other woman's face carefully, the blonde saw the moment was right to introduce a new option.
"Come out with me, Andy. There's a party Sunday night and I think you'd enjoy it."
"I dunno " She was hesitant to agree. Beth had made very clear when they first met that she was interested in being more than just friends, but Andy hadn't been able to see anything beyond Miranda. Even then, when she had been little more than obsessed with a picture, Andy knew it wouldn't be fair to the other woman to let her hope for more. Beth had seemed to understand that though Andy wasn't dating anyone neither was her heart free. As much as it hurt to think about, maybe it was time to give someone besides Miranda a chance. The editor had never done anything to indicate she wanted the two of them to be exclusive, either in the short or the long term, so there was nothing to stop Andy from accepting Beth's invitation.
"All right. I'll go, but, Beth, as friends, ok?"
With a smile, the blonde squeezed the fingers that still gripped her own.
"It's a start," she quipped before slipping her hand away and picking up her fork. Deftly changing the subject, she related an amusing story from earlier that day and endeavored to keep Andy entertained and her mind off thoughts of Miranda for the rest of their lunch. With any luck, La Priestly would soon be history and the blonde would get her own chance to make Andy Sachs happy. She made a silent promise to herself to do everything in her power to make that her foremost priority, even if it meant seeing the brunette choose someone else.
With no word from Miranda forthcoming that day, Andy decided to make it an early night. It had been an exhausting day and was only compounded by emotional turmoil she found herself in. She had not, yet, made the mistake of falling in love with Miranda Priestly, but it was a close thing. If the older woman had shown any interest beyond the prurient, Andy knew she would have surrendered her heart long ago; however, that didn't seem to be what Miranda wanted and Andy had no desire to be anyone's bootie call, not even La Priestly's.
Finishing her ablutions, she dropped her robe and slid naked between the sheets. She barely had time to release a deep sigh before sleep claimed her. Her dreams wrapped her in warmth and softness. The feel of a wet tongue gliding over the skin of her spine, faint sensation of teeth nipping randomly as strong fingers pinched and pulled at her nipples. Moaning Andy pressed backwards, forcing the rounded cheeks of her buttocks into a hot groin, curls tickling at her skin. Sharp teeth latched onto the muscle at the side of her neck as a hand moved back and pressed her knee upwards, opening her to the slender fingers that moved through liquid folds before sliding deep and strong within her. Stretching, filling, taking her with the solid confidence she found so arousing. She cried out, hips moving, impaling herself over and over until she arched forward in a shower of lights.
"I do so love how you come, Andréa."
Andy whimpered at the soft voice that stroked her ear.
"Miranda," she murmured, eyes closed, body too lax for movement.
"My meeting concluded a bit early and I couldn't think of anywhere I'd rather be than with you, in you."
"Are you staying?" she managed to ask.
Her question was met with a deep sigh.
"No, I have an early meeting so I can't stay long. I have a very full day tomorrow," Miranda admitted, her fingers still buried within her lover. She began to curl the tips stroking the younger woman deep inside. She reveled in the soft moan that escaped her lover. She loved being able to take Andréa like this, whenever the mood struck her, something that seemed to happen almost hourly. That she was the only one with the right to lay claim to the brunette's body in such a manner sent a shiver down her spine to pool low in her belly. If she had her way, Andréa would be in the editor's home, in Miranda's bed, waiting when the older woman came home each night.
She wanted the younger woman in ways she could not remember ever having wanted anyone else. She had to be careful, though. She didn't want to scare the other woman away with talk of love, the future and potentially, more children. I would love to watch that exquisite body ripen with our child. She supposed anyone who knew her would be surprised at her desire for more children and for herself, she would never think of such a thing. However, she very much wanted it with Andréa, if the younger woman wished to be a mother. To have a child, their child, would only strengthen the bond between them and Miranda could think of nothing more fulfilling than to hold a tiny dark-haired, dark-eyed little girl, the picture of Andréa, in her arms.
For now, she needed to keep such thoughts to herself as it was too early to speak the words she wanted to, words that would have been appropriate for her generation, but might not be for someone so much younger. A person from the Three Date Rule era might not understand the desires of someone from the Marriage First generation. No, she would bide her time and wait for the right moment. But until then she could make sure Andréa had no need to turn to anyone else for fulfillment while expressing her own needs in the only way she felt was open to her.
Miranda moved her hand gently back and added a third finger as she slid back in savoring Andréa's cry of pleasure. Twisting and stroking, Miranda took her lover again, driving her closer and closer until the brunette came and came, and again and again, giving the younger woman no chance to recover between. At last she withdrew, pulling the weak trembling body close to her, enveloping Andréa in her arms and body. They lay together, Miranda letting the slowly normalizing breathing and heartbeat sooth away the concerns of her day. She so easily lost herself in the younger woman's responses. It was home to her now and she had no desire to lose it.
"Perhaps Sunday," she began as if their conversation had never been interrupted. She frowned as Andréa, who had just begun to show signs of movement, stilled in her arms.
"I thought you were spending the weekend with the twins," the brunette deflected.
"I'm spending Saturday with them, but Sunday I thought we'd spend together."
"Doing what?" Andy asked, praying Miranda would at last make a move to take their relationship to a different level. It was the last chance she could afford the other woman and still walk away somewhat intact.
"Oh, I have a few ideas," Miranda assured, her tone salacious, as she stroked a full breast.
Blinking back tears, the brunette shook her head slowly.
"I have plans."
Now it was Miranda who stilled.
"Plans? With whom?"
"With Beth. She invited me to a party. I told her I'd go."
"Well, you'll just have to cancel," Miranda commanded unable to believe Andréa would spend Valentine's Day with anyone but her. It wasn't that she found the innocuous, overly sentimental holiday to be important. Indeed, the only concession she made to it in her magazine was a slight preponderance of red in the layouts and a bit more revealing lingerie on the models. This year was different, however, this year there was Andréa and it was important the young woman be with her on that day.
Andy moved away and wrapped the sheet around herself. Sitting up and turning to face the other woman, she wasn't surprised to see Miranda was still fully dressed. The older woman seemed to have a fascination for taking a nude Andy while remaining clothed herself. Andy had no way of knowing it was Miranda's driving need to show her how she felt, even if she thought she couldn't say the words yet, that caused her to not take the time to undress. Rather, Andy felt it was just one more sign that she was more thing than person in Miranda's life.
"No, I'm not going to do that. I told her I'm going and that's exactly what I intend to do." The young woman's tone was adamant. She just hoped the editor wouldn't notice the telltale trembling of her hands. She couldn't give in. If the only thing Miranda wanted was her body, then at least she could give it on her own terms. The thought of not having the older woman in her life at all was too nauseating to contemplate.
The editor rose and turned back to look at her lover sitting on the bed.
"So, you have a date for Valentine's." Her voice was level and chill.
"If you want to see it that way, I guess I do," Andy conceded.
Miranda's hand swept between them, her movements jerky and totally unlike her normally elegant gestures.
"And what about this? Us?"
"You've never once mentioned exclusivity, Miranda," Andy defended herself, irritated that she even felt she had to do so. "In fact, you've never mentioned much of anything at all. Bootie calls are just that sex with no strings."
The editor stiffened, freezing from the core outward. For the first time she could remember, Miranda felt she deserved the nomenclature, Ice Queen. She turned on her heel and snapped over her shoulder.
"I have to get home. The girls are waiting for me." And then she was gone.
Andy waited without breathing, listening until she heard the door slam with Miranda on the other side. Then she drew in a the largest lungful of air she could manage and screamed out her frustration and pain before collapsing face down on the bed to release the sob that had previously blocked her throat.
Nigel strode into Miranda's outer office the next day dragging Serena along by the hand. He had just received the last of a dozen desperate phone calls from Emily and he had had enough. The poor girl was bordering on hysterical. The second assistant had been sent for coffee over an hour before and had, evidently, kept on going. The editor had already changed the cover twice and the main layout four times before scrapping the whole thing and calling for a reshoot that was totally unnecessary. The photos were some of the best they had produced in months. Whatever had set the mercurial woman off had done so with the subtlety of a nuclear holocaust and the Brit was about to break under the strain, which with Emily's track record for dealing with the editor's moods was frightening in and of itself. If what the Brit said was true, Miranda had never been this out of control in the office in all the years he'd known her. He was determined to get to the bottom of this.
"Serena, phones. Emily, lunch and take an extra half hour," he directed, hoping that was sufficient time for the woman to decompress before she exploded. Now for the fun part. He straightened his shoulders and marched into Miranda's office closing the door behind him.
"Nigel, I believe you must have had a psychotic break to simply walk in here without being summoned."
It took all his willpower to suppress the schism of fear that traced through his heart at the sound of a voice that seemed to have no connection to a living thing.
"One of us has," he dared. "But it's highly doubtful that it's me."
The eyes that shot to his would have shattered the soul of anyone who didn't have the long years of history with the woman that he had.
"That won't work either," he admonished. "Fire me if you will, kill me if you must, but at least give me the courtesy of the truth as to why you're being such a royal bitch today."
The icy eyes widened at the full frontal attack.
"If you weren't my friend as well as my employee, I would do just that and no one would ever find the body," came the snarling retort.
"Myself and Donatella as your only friends. That, in and of itself, is ludicrous. Now talk." He dropped into the chair in front of her desk and crossed his arms over his chest to indicate a refusal to leave without the information he came for.
Snatching off her glasses, she threw them to the desk.
"Very well. Since the entire situation is your fault in the first place."
"My fault?" He sifted quickly back through the last couple of days but couldn't find one thing he had done that would have initiated this kind of reaction.
"Yes, your fault," she accused. "You were the one that encouraged me to begin a relationship with that that that girl," she bit out.
"Andy? That's why you're terrorizing the entire building?" What could Andy possibly have done?
"I am not terrorizing the entire building."
"Just the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth floors, not to mention security, the models and several top name fashion designers. What did she do, Miranda?"
"She has plans for Sunday," she hissed.
"All right. She has plans for Sunday. I don't see .Oh," he finished as it dawned on him what she was saying. "She has plans for Valentine's and it isn't with you, I take it."
If he lived to see the next millennium, Nigel doubted he would ever again hear one word so totally encased in ice and pathos. He had to admit he was shocked. Andy absolutely adored Miranda. There is no way she would be with anyone else if the editor was available to her, which only left one possibility.
"Miranda, what's been happening between you two."
He almost laughed when his friend blushed.
"I mean besides that," he hurried to add.
The rather startled look she gave him told him more than her words ever could. Rubbing his forehead to ease the tension headache that was starting, he considered how to proceed.
"Miranda, have you taken her on a date?"
"Yes, a date. Dinner? A movie? A walk in the park? Anything?" he interrogated.
She rolled her eyes and waved his suggestions off.
"Nigel, you know the paparazzi would be all over us if we did any of that," she huffed.
"Have you invited her to your home? Introduced her to your children? Talked about your relationship in any way?" He kept pressing.
She shifted uncomfortably and refused to meet his eyes.
"No," she acceded.
"Dammit, Miranda, I would never have told you how she felt about you, if I thought you were going to treat her like this," he was too angry to consider censoring his words.
"Treat her whatever are you talking about?" She stared at him as if he had lost control of his last brain cell.
"Mistresses get treated better than that. You've acted like she's your damn fuck buddy!" He lashed out. He couldn't figure out if her shock was from his use of the phrase or at his using it to her. At the moment, he really didn't care which it was. As she grew progressively paler, he drove his point home. "It's no wonder she's spending Valentine's with someone else. You are going to lose her, Miranda, to someone who treats her like she has value to them. And from what I can see, that would be just about anyone else." Too angry to continue, he stormed out of her office before he really said something that couldn't be forgiven, slamming the door as he went.
Too wrapped in her own thoughts to be angry, Miranda stared ahead with ever increasing fear eating at her heart.
"Oh, dear God, what have I done?" she whispered.
Hours later, Miranda walked slowly down the hallway towards Andréa's apartment. She had used the key the younger woman had given her as she had many times before. The difference was that this time as she slid the key into the lobby door, she realized what Andréa's giving it to her had truly meant. It wasn't simply to make it easier for the editor to have access to her body at all hours but an invitation into her life. One Miranda had continually abused. She promised herself that if she could salvage the wreck she had made of things, she would cherish both the gift and the meaning.
Knowing she now had limits to that access, she knocked instead of entering and waited impatiently for the younger woman to answer. Just as she was lifting her hand to knock again, the door opened and Andréa stood looking at her, face devoid of emotion.
"What do you want, Miranda?" The tone was equally as expressionless.
"I'd like to talk, if you have a moment."
Andy was surprised at the uncertainty in Miranda's tone, but she wouldn't allow it to sway her.
"It really isn't a convenient time right now."
Glancing over her lover's shoulder, blue eyes narrowed at the lithe blonde sitting on the couch. This would undoubtedly be Beth. Blonde, voluptuous and beautiful, the other woman attempted to return the challenging stare. Her efforts lasted only a moment before she dropped her eyes in defeat. She could practically feel the blaze of jealousy in those icy eyes singeing her eyelashes. Damn, no wonder Andy's so crazy about this woman. That level of passion would fixate anyone, though she had a feeling that for anyone but Andy it would be like cuddling an iceberg. Rising, Beth reached for her purse.
"I was just leaving," she began only to be cut off by the brunette.
"No, you weren't."
"Well, I am now," Beth insisted. "Look, Andy, if things are different tomorrow, call me. Otherwise, still friends, okay?" Nodding once to Miranda, she slipped out the door and walked away, happy to be able to do so. Andy Sachs was an amazing woman, but Beth didn't think she could fight the devil for her and win. Any woman that could bring Miranda Priestly to heel was out of her league anyway.
Face mirroring her irritation, Andy stepped back and gestured for Miranda to enter. She closed the door and locked it before following the editor into the living room.
"I repeat, which I enjoy just as much as you do, what do you want, Miranda?" She stood leaning back against the door jam, arms crossed over her chest.
Fidgeting with the strap of her purse, Miranda looked everywhere except at Andy. Why was this so hard?
"It has been pointed out to me that perhaps I haven't treated our .treated you as well as I could have. I may have, inadvertently, given you the impression that I don't value the time we spend together." She chanced a look at the younger woman to gauge how her comments were being taken. It didn't look good. Wincing, she forged ahead.
"I was wondering hoping, really that you might be willing to discuss the situation." She stopped and waited. It was as far as she could go without some form of encouragement from the other woman.
"Now you want to discuss this?" Incredulous did not begin to describe how Andy felt at Miranda's pronouncement. "You haven't wanted to do anything but fuck for the last three months and when I finally object then you're ready to talk?"
Miranda flinched at Andy's choice of word to describe their time together. It had been so much more than that for her.
"I really don't think that is an appropriate term for what we've been to each other, Andréa."
Andy pushed off from the door and used one hand to shove the hair back from her forehead. "What have we been to each other, Miranda? Because, so far, I haven't seen there being much more than sex between us. Don't get me wrong. The sex is amazing, but it isn't enough."
"I agree, but you are as aware as I am that I have to maintain a certain image for Runway. I have no desire for the paparazzi to blow this out of proportion before it has a chance to even develop," Miranda defended, only to find she had chosen the exactly wrong tact.
"Runway!? You being "La Priestly" don't mean shit in my bed. She's sexy as hell, totally unattainable and as emotionally frigid as they come. That isn't what I want. I'm not into being someone's trophy. Yes, I want heat and passion, but I also want love and security and commitment. If you can't give me all those things, then we need to end this right here before anyone gets hurt too badly to recover."
"It's too late," Miranda mumbled fixing her eyes on the floor at her feet.
"What?" Andy snapped.
With a sigh, Miranda lifted her eyes to meet the fierce glow of impassioned brown that were Andy's.
"I said it was too late. I'm already too far in not to get hurt, terribly hurt, by losing you. I'm in love with you, Andréa. I have been almost from the beginning. I was afraid of scaring you away if I told you too soon, afraid you'd think I was a silly old woman reaching for the unattainable." Embarrassed by her confession, Miranda fixed her eyes on the door over Andy's shoulder and waited for her verdict.
Andy just stared at her openmouthed as she slowly replayed the older woman's words again and again. Every time she came to the same conclusion, Miranda was in love with her. Turning her gaze to the ceiling, she blinked back tears as she tried to gain enough control to respond.
As the silence stretched on, Miranda became more and more uncomfortable until she couldn't take the tension anymore.
"I should go," she offered and stepped towards the door only to come up against a warm body that had moved with lightning speed to block her way.
"No, you should stay," Andy countered, sliding her arms around Miranda's neck and pulling her closer. "And make love to the woman who's in love with you while you tell her all the ways you're going to try to be the perfect girlfriend, lover and ultimately, wife for the rest of our lives."
"I can do that," Miranda agreed moments before soft lips covered her own.
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