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.
FEEDBACK: To Wayndaback[at]comcast.net

The End of a Very Long Beginning
By Wayndaback


He was between 6'2" & 6'4", a full head of wavy jet black hair, impossibly deep dimples that seem to shout "kiss me… put the tip of your tongue right here… you know you want to" and Caribbean blue eye… no not something pedestrian like aqua-marine. If there was one thing Miranda knew it was color and his eyes were Caribbean blue.

He was built, but not "football player going to go beer-belly soft" built. No he was built like a water-polo athlete: lean, toned, created for endurance, as if in his whole life his feet had never touched the bottom of the pool. His hands were huge his fingers' girth in perfect proportion to their impressive length. Miranda always noticed hands, loved beautiful hands and his were exceptional. When he pressed his hand to her back, just above the waist in a gentle yet possessive manner it made her seem suddenly smaller.

It made the silver haired icon want to rip his arm off and beat him to death with it. She hated him. The moment she laid her eyes on him she hated him, more than she had ever hated anyone or anything… more than Irv… more than polyester… more than staid mediocrity… more than tepid coffee. It was a hate of such purity, for a moment she reveled in the wholeness of it, thinking, 'That way lays madness.' And yet she was drawn to it.

She closed her eyes to dive deep into it, to wrap herself in the green rage as a protection, only to open them moments later to her true madness, chocolate brown depthless open soul windows staring straight at her with the purity of warmth. The young brunette smiled her crooked-awkward-absurd-so-damn-kissable-full-lip smile and then she waved at the icon, that shy dork wave as Miranda stood across the room holding court. Her Andrea was completely adorable.

'Arghh' the Ice Queen nearly groaned as she smiled placidly at the annoying buffoon talking about the resurgence of tweed. She was completely undone and the thought crossed her mind, 'I hate adorable… I want to rip off the arm attached to the hand touching her back and beat both of them to death with it.'

Instead she nodded her head slightly towards her assistant, not at the vintage Valentino that caressed her curves, nor at Andrea's fetching up-do, nor the Prada stilettos and the wonder they made of her legs… no those things barely registered outside of an inescapable peripheral awareness that was always with Miranda, no the nod was for the true thing of beauty… Andrea, who… still needed desperately to be beaten with a dead-man's arm for the temerity of letting him touch her.

"They are a striking couple are they not?" Nigel's voice whispered in her ear.

"Which couple would that be Nigel?" She feigned ignorance, while Nigel laughed at her sorry cover of indifference.

"Siegfried and Roy…you know who. You've had them in your laser sights since they arrived." His old friend looked irritated and a shadow of worry crossed her face so Nigel took heart and pity. "Miranda, I am your oldest friend. It is New Year's Eve. I've had entirely too much bad champagne… Irv the cheap bastard. I am feeling bold and cheeky. As this is a work party and there is not a single person here I care to impress, I have the time to indulge you and I will spare you the humiliation of acting like you give a damn and tell you what I know."

Miranda refused to make eye contact but gave an ever so slight nod of her head. Nigel was nearly gleeful of the monumental acknowledgment though most would have missed it entirely.

"His name is Chet Michaels: Top of his class at Yale. Did an internship with Judge Nichols, and was recently hired on with the prestigious Bach & Turner firm. Funny. Charming. Heart-stoppingly handsome, if you are into straight teeth and rugged good looks. Son of Donald and Sandra Michaels, yes the Metropolitan Board Chair. Has a reputation as a player but it appears, though we are only a handful of weeks into this relationship, our Andrea may have what it takes to make him retire his little black book. To hear Emily talk, it seems our doe eyed assistant is a rather smitten with the lad."

Nigel's eyes never left Miranda's face as he spoke, not wanting to miss a single nuance in the subtle shift of her emotions as she watched the couple charm their way around the room, while listening to his short bio on the offending hulk.

"A handful of weeks? His face is familiar… He's been on Page Six… He does not attend… He's all wrong for her." Her voice was whisper soft, more reflective as if she were making abstract bullet point assessments with no expectation of a response, but Nigel, blaming it on the bad booze pressed.

"Who then Miranda pray tell, would be right for her?"

Without hesitation, without taking her eyes off the brunette beauty and with a quiet conviction Miranda whispered, "Me." She might have been horrified at such a revelation had it been made to anyone else and if it didn't feel so good to finally speak it and in the telling, allow it, the hope, to actually be real.

Without another word Miranda and Nigel walked to a secluded anti-room, closed the door and sat facing one another on a leather love seat. He could tell the icon felt vulnerable and afraid which would normally incline her to be difficult a.k.a. impossible, but this seemed different, as if the earth might have just stopped on its axis to turn the other way.

"How long and when did you realize?" The specifics of what he was asking needn't be spelled out. As veteran sojourners they both understood subtext. This was not the time to surrender certain words and they were not Nigel's to supply. This belonged to Miranda and if an offering was to be made, she was the one who must lay it down.

"Paris, the first year…" She didn't need to say 'first year', he would know; he already did. She needed to hear herself speak these words, so the artist that is Miranda Priestly could paint the canvas with all the nouns and verbs of the truth she had so long denied, avoided, crushed, imprisoned, and diminished with the dismissive muted tones of defensive indifference. She needed to rediscover or create new, the adjectives to speak what this really was.

"… as I watched her walking away. She, misunderstanding me completely, knowing me perfectly. I knew I had pushed too far. It wasn't that I had crossed a line clearly marked by her integrity, loyalty and kindness; it was that she thought I sought to pull her over that line with me.

I saw it in her eyes the minute she heard it, the horror that she could betray as I had. I got defensive and afraid and threw the Emily debacle in her face, all the empirical evidence needed to be right… to win. Andrea saw the kernel of truth in it and even if I had made her do it… just as Irv 'made' me do what I had done… she'd made her choices, just as I had made mine."

The silver haired woman took a deep breath and closed her eyes against the memory, "I looked in her ever so expressive eyes and knew her every thought; she was afraid of losing herself, not in Runway, in me. I knew she would walk away and that more than anything in my life I wanted her to stay. I was out of my depth and too proud to beg so I threw a clue to my need "Stay close to me.' I had whispered."

Miranda gave a self-deprecating chuckle as Nigel squeezed her hand, "She was, is, always so good at reading my clues… exceptional actually… better than anyone. But I wounded you which hurt her and then I wounded her. She wasn't looking for clues. She was looking for escape, because in that awful moment she thought me capable of fundamentally changing all that made her so wonderfully Andrea. Maybe I was a little afraid of that too." Tears fell unabated down the icon's flawless skin.

Nigel, for his part sat once again amazed at how little escaped this enigmatic woman's vision and insight. Only a fool would accuse her of not being self-aware. She took a shuddering breath.

"Andrea crossed the street and made it all the way to the fountain without looking back; the whole time my eyes never left her. My world stopped. The journalists and photographers seeking my attention were incomprehensible gray noise. I prayed she would turn around… really and truly Nigel, I prayed, that this was not happening, that she would turn around and come back to me, not Runaway, not to the job, not to fashion, not to couture… back to me."

Miranda stood needing the movement to prevent maudlin dread from settling into her bones as she gave voice to the memory. Nigel smiled, waiting with his hallmark patience for her to exercise all the demons that had held her bound for so long.

"I called her hitting speed dial, my phone kept inconspicuously at my side. I watched her pull her phone out, read the caller i.d. and then look up finding me, our eyes locking immediately. Maybe 50 yards, a street, a throng of people, a whole world apart, starring right into each other and all I felt was panic and overwhelming loss. As she watched me, she threw the phone into the fountain, and my world came apart. I expected her next move would be to turn her back on me and walk away forever."

Miranda stopped for long moments shivering at the remembrance, as if looking at it with focused attention for the very first time. "Any other person and the rage would have been without range. My looked would have withered. As it was, my knees went weak. And my heart… I remember thinking, 'so this is what it feels like when your heart breaks'. The pain so overpowering I lowered my head trying desperately to make it to the other side of the crushing hurt.

When I lifted my head again, Andrea was still looking right at me. The look on her face telling me everything would be okay. The phone in the fountain telling me everything was going to be different. And in the next moment she was there beside me, her hand on the small of my back and I was possessed."

"It's been three years and a few months and we never once spoke of it. We have made this life: Runway, my girls, her free-lance writing, her friends, my… well… my you, together. I respect her intellect and wit. I admire her goodness. I cherish how my girls have claimed her as their own. I embrace her defiance to my will and her steel-rod strength that challenges me in provident measure. We are enmeshed in one another's lives and yet I keep her at a distance… always a world apart. But Nigel, I can't imagine her not in my life."

The thought took her to Paris and the tenuous turning point. The thought took her to an hour or so ago and the Adonis seeking to lay claim on her Aphrodite. The thought left her bereft. She paused, another thought coming unexpectedly, bringing another color on to the picture she was creating.

"I never prayed about or for Greg or Stephen. Aside from Greg fathering my two wonderful girls, my two ex-husbands have played rather non-essential roles in my life. Greg hasn't even been pivotal to the girls in the past 7 or 8 years. Ironic, how I worried so about what their leaving would do to my daughters…

Yet when Stephen and Greg were gone I did not miss them. The girls didn't miss them. I hardly remembered where their place had been in our lives and in our hearts. But Andrea's part … is pivotal. Everything falls apart if she walks off the stage, if someone takes her from the stage, from me."

Miranda gave Nigel an embarrassed shrug, "I know… I know it sounds so egotistical and egocentric and …" Nigel cut her off filling in, "And necessary Miranda to do the things you do. Small egos do not move the mountains that you do on a regular basis, to pursue excellence and beauty and bring it to the world. Certain compromises should never be made, the compromises that would make you be less, so someone can feel they are more…the pettiness and banality of a few can destroy the possibilities for 1000's. We've seen it happen. You get human arithmetic better than most ever will."

"Yes Nigel. I am a regular Mother Teresa; 100's comment on the similarities daily." Miranda drawled dryly.

"Miranda, I know you." He walked to her as she stared out a window into the dark and took both her hands in his, compelling her to meet his eyes, "People matter to you; thousands depend on your success to put food on their tables every month. I have watched you struggle with that responsibility for decades, always mindful of the hidden consequences of your choices.

Ultimately people are the purposes and principles they pursue. When you find those pursuits worthy, I have never known you to be anything but their greatest champion. Neither of those men had worthy pursuits and they resented yours.

Of course I see that, but more importantly, you must know that Andy sees you that way too. She sees you. She always has. It is one of the reason she didn't walked away, the reason against all reason she is still there every morning with her dopey radiant smile right outside your office door...waiting, always waiting. I don't think she will wait forever. It would be an unworthy compromise. Unworthy of you both."

The two old friends were silent for several minutes. Nigel fought it hard not to fill the space between the words already spoken. The next lines on the script were hers to say. She needed to say them, needed to hear them from her own lips. He would not, could not speak them for her. More time passed behind too much time already past, and a patient friend/supporting actor gave a gentle push, a leading prompt, "Say it Miranda."

The proud, powerful woman bowed head and sobbed. Nigel thought his heart might break watching her struggle with her fear, her vulnerability, her want, her need, her torturous hope. Squeezing Nigel's hand she softly asked, "Could you please ask Andrea if she could come here for a moment?"

"Of course." He leaned forward and kissed her cheek.

"Nigel," He turned towards her and Miranda firmly said, "Ask her. It is near midnight and she may prefer to remain where she is. Please let her know, that, that this is a request. And Nigel,… thank you."

"Of course." He smiled and slipped out the door convinced the earth had altered its rotation.

Nigel found his objective and her companion quickly. Making his way across the dance floor he was hugged enthusiastically by the ever effusive Andy.

"Nigel I am so happy to see you. I was afraid that you and Miranda had left or Irv had had you both kidnapped. I have been looking for you everywhere." And then she really looked at him, took him by both shoulders watching him intently.

"Nigel, are you okay? Is Miranda, oh Lord, is Miranda… did something happen… is she okay? Where is she? Nigel, what is going on?" In the greeting followed so closely be her intuitive concern Chet was a forgotten accessory. Andy pressed for information, Nigel observed Mr. Michaels who though he kept a hand on Six at all times, staking his claim, his eyes were ever scanning ever perusing his, no doubt, countless options.

Miranda's bullet point 'He doesn't attend'… he doesn't really attend his moment with Andy, not really. He is not engaged other than to own. Nigel saw it now. Miranda saw it immediately.

"Andy… Miranda is… She is" Nigel floundered trying to find the words. And the brunette was growing increasingly concerned.

"Nigel you're scaring me. Are the girls okay? Is Miranda sick? Where is she? Does she need me? Please just tell me." She was squeezing his hand painfully hard.

Directing his question to Chet, Nigel said, "Chet, my name is Nigel and I work with Andy. If you wouldn't mind, I'd like to take your breath-taking date on a spin around the dance floor?"

Shaking Nigel's hand Chet told Nigel to "spin away" which he immediately did.

"Nigel, seriously I am about to go unhinged on you. Where is Miranda?"

"Actually Six she asked me to find you and asked if you would come talk with her. She knows you are here with a date and if you would prefer to…"

Andy sighed relieved from what Nigel had said that whatever was going on with Miranda it wasn't life threatening and then grinned and asked, "She hates him, Chet, doesn't she?"

"Completely. Utterly. Unerringly."

"I knew she would. I kept waiting for her to come over and disassemble him, but she disappeared and ruined all our New Year's fun. And now I am completely worried. Honestly Nigel, what is going on?"

"Wait, I thought you were smitten kitten for Captain America? What do you mean you wanted Miranda to 'disassemble him'? Emily said…"

Andy rolled her eyes and cut him off, "Nigel in the words of Emily the man's a prat. He's using me to get to 'super models'. He was on a campaign to be my escort to this event just so he could go trolling." Andy rolled her eyes and grimaced.

"Emily, Serena and I had a bet; we each threw $50 into the pool wagering how long it would take Miranda to see through him and verbally castrate him. I don't know what Emily was up to, but I am not a kitten so not smitten…Yuck! Serena suggested I play it up, the dutiful girlfriend thing. She seemed to think it would make Miranda's reaction more entertaining."

Nigel felt like he was in a twisted Shakespeare play with the convoluted sometimes angsty comedy of errors taking place all around him. If he was reading it right, Emily was a financial opportunist; Serena was a romantic with an agenda. The Brazilian read Miranda well and was gambling on her reaction. Andrea, the guileless soul who after all this time with an innate ability to know Miranda's every need was completely blind to the Ice Queen's greatest desire.

"Six," Nigel's tone turned altogether serious and as he dance with her he pulled away a bit so he could look at her directly. "I am going to ask you a couple of questions and you are going to want to respond right away, but I want you to really think about it before you say anything. Deal?"

Andy nodded her head.

"Six, are you really and truly happy? Or is there something missing? If there is, do you know what it is and why aren't you trying to get it?"

Andy pulled in close as they continued to dance. She didn't want him to see her face, see the ache she couldn't hide when so directly called out. As the song ended she whispered, her voice breaking, "No, not really, truly. But what I am missing I can't have; it's… impossible." the defeat and resignation rolling off her as she spoke.

"Andy you are the girl who has consistently made the impossible possible, why not now?"

"Nigel those were Miranda miracles… I can't explain it but I feel like I can do almost anything for her if she asks it of me; I'd do anything for her if it would make her happy." Andy's eyes gave her away completely, they always did. Any small doubts Nigel may have had regarding Andy's heart completely evaporated.

"That's just the thing Andy. I've never seen Miranda more unhappy than she is right now. She.."

"Where is she Nigel? You said she wanted to speak with me. No wait. You said she ask for me. She never asks for anything. What's wrong? You take me to her right now or so help me I'll put my Prada so far up…"

"Slow down Six." Nigel shivered at the ferocity and opened the door he'd been leading them to all along. "Go find your happy Andy." He closed the door behind her and walked away to track down Emily and Serena.

Miranda stood looking out the window as Andrea walked into the room. She turned just enough to see it was her assistant and then turned back, hiding the shock that crossed her tear streaked face, "You came… I'm surprised the Ken doll you walked in with was willing to let you go." Her voice was soft, but her tone clip and disdainful.

"It didn't occur to me to ask him. He actually doesn't occur to me at all. I came because Nigel said you wanted me." The young woman's voice was gentle but faltering and she felt like she was walking into the middle of a scene and had no idea what her lines were and what her character's motivation might be.

The woman at the window seemed brittle, no that wasn't the word… Andy tried to assess the situation quickly but without seeing the enigmatic woman's face it was difficult. She had shifted slightly at Andrea's words, but the young woman was at a loss to interpret the meaning… "Fragile", that was the word, something about her seemed fragile. 'Like in Paris' she thought. Her usually regal posture was bent. It made her seem smaller. The sight made Andy's heart clench with concern.

Miranda was inordinately relieved at both what the young woman had said and the tone in which she had said it. The boy who never touched the bottom nevertheless could never rise high enough to touch her Andrea. 'Good' she thought, but Miranda was afraid so she pushed, as always, away, "Regardless, I am sure you have other places to be…"

"No place I'd rather be Miranda." Andy cut her off knowing the editor was feeling weak, for whatever reason and it would make her defensive and spiteful. She was hoping to preempt anything too disagreeable.

It didn't help; Miranda launched her verbal assault, "Is Chester as charming as Christian proved to be?" The consonance seemed hard even with her soft voice behind it and the implied cut was surgical; it stopped Andrea mid step. Christian and Paris were something they had never discussed.

Miranda still had not turned but the brunette could see her whole body had stiffened and her hands were fisted to her side. Andy could feel it coming and thought, 'We're going to bypass disagreeable and head straight to full on ugly.'

"Maybe you will soon sample a 'Charles' or a 'Chase'. Will the Davids, Dexters, or Daniels be the next to charm you? Or is it you who…" her voice faltered. Her white head bowed her shoulders slumped again and she braced herself against the window. "Sorry" she whispered heart-broken that feeling what she felt for the young woman behind her she would strike out so mindlessly, so viciously.

"You said sorry." She whispered, the surprise in Andrea's voice unintentionally pressing Miranda's wound.

"Yes Andrea. The word is in my vocabulary I just seldom find the need to use it and as is often the case I usually live to regret the practice." Again she struck out and again she bent beneath the weight of her acerbic temperament and all that it cost her. This, her Andrea, was too high a price and she cursed Nigel for putting her in the horrid place. She had dared to hope and now she just felt foolish.

Andy had learned long ago to ignore Miranda's emotional turrets. The mean spirited outbursts rarely revealed anything about the person to whom it was directed, but it said volumes about the editor. Something was making her feel threatened. So simply allowing the words to slide off her, Andrea walked towards the fractured woman at the window, gently took her shoulders and turned Miranda so they were facing one another.

In the dim light she saw the red rimmed eyes, the new tears forming, and the devastated expression. "Miranda" she whispered and without a second thought pulled her into a warm enveloping hug. "What's wrong? This can't be about Chet or Christian or any David for that matter… Are you okay? Are the girls okay? Talk to me sweetheart. What's going on?" She pulled away only enough to gently wipe the tears from the silver haired woman's face.

Miranda leaned into the hug again resting her face in the crook of Andrea's neck. It was weak and unseemly and unprofessional and unbecoming and nearly every "un" Miranda could name but she couldn't seem to give a damn; Andrea had just called her "sweetheart".

The younger woman was too consumed with concern to notice the endearment she had just used nor did she seem aware that Miranda was nuzzling into her neck. She'd never seen her iconic boss like this, not even in Paris. She seemed splintered and in pain so that Andrea's whole world narrowed to one single focus, one she knew well, something that had become so much more than her job, 'Make Miranda happy… fix whatever it was and make Miranda happy.'

They stood there for several minutes, neither one wanting to let go. But eventually they were defeated by 4" inch stiletto heels that made standing in one place for too long, too painful a proposition. Taking Miranda's hand, Andy led them away from the darkened window to the love seat. Both women slipped out of their shoes and then sat down tucking their legs beneath themselves as they turned towards each another.

Andrea took Miranda's hand again rubbing the pad of her thumb across the top of the older woman's soft skin. "Do you want to talk about it?" After Paris, the first year, the rule "never ask Miranda anything" was drop kicked into the fountain with the phone. Andy asked whatever she wanted whenever she wanted.

It didn't mean that Miranda always answered or if she did that it wasn't snide or biting. She was after all still Miranda, but Andrea asked and lived to tell the tale, and along the way an uneasy friendship had developed into a truly wonderful one. They had Q&A sessions through the Stephen divorce, the twins' pre-teen tantrums, Irv's pathetic power plots, the tutelage of brilliant designers, the trials of Runway, Andrea's free-lance work, family challenges, the loss of old friends and the discovery of new ones.

Talking about things wasn't uncharted territory for them, but this felt intimately charged in a way that was completely new. So when Miranda didn't immediately respond, Andrea wasn't surprised. She had all the time in the world for Miranda and was happy to wait.

She continued to caress Miranda's hand. She'd never held Miranda's hand before and she was mesmerized by the softness, the suppleness, the elegant beauty of it. She wondered if Miranda would mind if she just held it forever. She wondered if Miranda would mind if knew the unfriendship like feelings Andrea had for her.

"Nigel said I should 'say it'. I think he thought I would say it to him and it would somehow help, be a break through or some such thing. Honestly the man wearies me with his touchy- feely psycho-babble." Miranda's words appeared harsh; the tone was anything but, and Andrea just squeezed the hand she held and waited silently.

"It just seemed wrong to say it to him before I said it you, but now… this is hard. It hurts. I didn't know it would hurt like this. I've never felt anything like this before and I've never been more frightened in my life." Miranda was taken aback by the depth of emotion bubbling up to her surface.

Andy was now good and truly frightened. Was something wrong with Miranda or the girls… an illness… an accident… a death? Her mind reeled with all the potential calamities, but in every scenario running in her head, one constant remained, "Miranda, whatever it is I promise you I will be here for you, with you. You won't have to go through it alone. Just tell me what it is and we will take it on together." Tears of worry streamed down her face with the earnestness of her pledge.

Miranda looked into those beautiful chocolate brown eyes seeing nothing but warmth and concern reflected back to her. The thought that Andrea might be repulsed or put off, that she would run past the fountain this time and out of her life, that Miranda might never see that look again nearly…but 'that way lies madness' she thought for the second time that night, and she willed herself not to play the thought all the way through. Taking a gulping breath she resolved to finally, completely, for the first time to let go, to offer up her weapons of war and lay down the words of safe surrender.

"I love you Andrea. I love you. I love you. I love you. I am in love with you and probably have been since you first walked into my office. It is absolutely the only reason I can come up with for having hired you."

Miranda gave a rueful smile squeezing Andrea's hand and continued. "I am nearly twice your age. I am unbendingly impatient. I am thin skinned, a sore loser and ungracious winner. I hate small talk. I am horrible on the phone, oft times worse in person. I have a wicked sharp tongue that cuts more often than it ever compliments. I am told I snore though I never trusted the sources."

She paused as if contemplating whether to continue. This time Andrea caressed the hand within her own and smiled. Miranda looking intently into the young woman's eyes pressed on.

"And… I love beauty. I seek it out. I love when something is off in such a way it makes everything right. I love the music of Bach and the longing notes of a single violin. I love the stillness, the absolute quiet that blankets the world after a heavy snow fall. I love dumb drooly dogs who are blithely happy all the time. I love my children. I love that they clomp down the stairs and through my life bringing chaos, color and joy.

I will fight with a tireless passion for the things that I love, for the ones that I love. Andrea next to my girls, you are the most beautiful thing to ever grace my eyes and I love you." The pause was brief and as Andrea opened her mouth to speak, Miranda shook her head enough to let the young woman know she was not done

"Sitting here looking at you, knowing you, your verve, your depth, your stunning beauty, your warmth, your intellect, I can't think of a single reason you would want or care for me, not reason enough anyway. But Andrea, my darling Andrea, I continue to live on hope. I can't seem to stop myself, nor can I stop what I feel for you. Lord knows I have ardently tried. I had to tell you. I needed you to know that… that you had a choice… that I could be a choice."

Only her girls humbled her, being their mother, humbled her and now here with Andrea, this amazing, wonderful woman, she was humbled in a way she never thought possible. If she were completely honest she would have said it made her angry, to feel so exposed and defenseless. It made her want to strike out and wound again. It also made her feel light and free for the first time, since maybe forever.

Miranda was spent but kept her eyes fixed on Andrea. She had come too far to hide from the truth now. Andrea took the hand she still held in both her hands. She turned Miranda's palm up and placed a soft feather kiss in the center, then pressed it harder to her lips as a sob broke out and she continued to hold the older woman's hand more firmly to her face.

Miranda stiffened nearly pulling her hand away. She worried that Andrea's reaction was vicarious pain for the hurt the young woman was about to deliver. But before the thought could take hold in her heart, the younger woman with surprising strength slipped one arm around the editor's back and the other arm under her thighs and pulled the older woman onto her lap.

Andrea pulled her still closer bringing them cheek to cheek and the younger woman's hot breath in her ear, "I love that you are older than me. I love what you've seen, and done and know because you are older than me and who those years have made you." Andrea placed tender kisses on the on the brow above each beautiful blue eye. Miranda trembled.

"I love your skin. I love how soft and inhumanely smooth it is." The younger woman placed a kiss just behind Miranda's ear and a low groan escaped the editor. "I love that you play to win. 'Good' losers are probably good because they are practiced at it, and gloating can have its own grace." Andrea brought one of Miranda's hands to her lips ghosting over the tips of each finger and then kissing the palm again. Miranda's eye glassed over as she watched.

"I love your brilliant mind and all its big ideas; I would easily forego small talk forever for the privilege of knowing what you think." She kissed her temple gently pushing back the silver-white hair as she lingered there. Miranda whimpered.

"I love the sound of your voice on the phone. It resonates and stirs in me. And as much as your voice on the phone moves me… in person…"

"Andrea." Miranda's voice was somewhere between a moan and a growl making Andy clench at the sound.

"Shhhh…" the younger woman whispered against the editor's throat, "My turn. If you speak, I'll never get this out and Miranda, I need… Shhh no talking." And she kissed the center of the elegant neck before her.

"I love your voice. The first time I heard it directed at me, I could hardly speak. I babbled and stuttered. I still do. All these years and it still affects me, undoes me, all this time and all you have to do is say, 'Andrea, come here'… and sometimes I actually do."

Miranda gasp, the meaning not lost on her, the revelation setting her on fire. Andrea smiled reading every emotion knowing every thought. The brunette stroked her hands through the soft white hair losing herself in the silk of it. Miranda's eye were heavy with desire her own hands that had been resting on the young woman's waist were now drawing long patterns up and down Andrea's back.

"I know sweet Miranda… I am moving glacially and you do so love that." Miranda gave a small chuckle and pinched Andrea's side but true to the mandate said nothing.

"Which brings me to your wicked-sharp-cutting tongue…" The assistant was now caressing the editor's face. "I love your biting quick wit. The withering insights, their dry delivery laced with droll sarcasm but always, always truth. I have wondered more times than I can count why everyone isn't laughing because you are brilliantly funny." Miranda arched her brow at Andrea's assessment.

"I know. I know… no one else sees it that way. No one else sees you. In general people will say that humor is a turn on. But no one else sees how unbearably sexy your humor infused truth is. Only me.

Do you know how incredibly heady it is to be the only one, in a room full of people, who really sees you, gets you? Others may be drawn to the façade; I would imagine Greg and Stephen could be numbered among them, but I am attracted to you, not the name or title or even the vision gliding down the stairs of the event, lovely as it is.

Dressed only in a grey robe, no makeup, no designer labels, the aura completely dispelled and you take my breath away." Andrea looked deep into blue eyes, dark with desire. Impulsively she hugged the woman in her lap tightly and then pulled back again.

"No, probably not… you have no idea what being near you and being the 'only one' does to me. I am better for it, more complete because of it, more myself, my true self than I can ever be with anyone else. Amazing huh? The masses cower and hide from you, but you reveal me to myself. You seek beauty; I seek you."

Andrea leaned in and kissed the woman she loved like it was the first kiss, like it was the last kiss, like it was the only kiss the world would ever know. Lips parted. Tongues explored. Moans were swallowed. And after they recovered she whispered, her lips at Miranda's ear, "I choose you. I choose only you. I choose always you. Miranda, I love you. I loved you from the beginning. I love still. I love you always."

Long moments past. "Really?" Miranda whispered with tears slipping down her radiant face. "… You love…me?"

Andy could barely see through her own tears as she pulled away from Miranda just enough so they could truly look at one another. "Really…. Against all reason. Against better judgment. Against all the odds. Miranda Priestly I am hopelessly, completely, unescapably in love with you."

In a dimly lit room they held each other, not as lovers, that would come later; they were both romantics and Andrea old fashion. There would be dates and wooing, the slow simmer of a real true courtship. This night, this first night, was the end of a very long beginning. They held each other as two people who had both been lost and alone for far too long and were finally found, could only be found, in the arms that now held them.

The End

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