DISCLAIMER: Although I wish I did own these characters I 100% do not. Sad as it may be.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I would like to thank Kerri-Ann Allen for being such a great Beta!
CHALLENGE: Submitted as part of the Epic Proportions challenge.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Gone but not Forgotten
Miranda Priestley was in a bad mood.
Most people would say that this was not unusual but although she was snippy and mean, it was very rare that her mood was ever bad. She considered herself to be waspish but not moody.
Yet here she was, feeling low, perhaps even a little vulnerable and she could not shake it.
Something had changed with Miranda and she did not like it.
The divorce was impending and the girls were coping, Miranda was managing the situation as best she could, diverting the media attention and spending as much time with her children as she could. They had family days out and baked brownies together. They watched old black and white movies on Saturday afternoons, all snuggled up in Miranda's huge bed and now Miranda did not feel so guilty when she left them with the nanny.
Their father was being unusually supportive and Stephen had finally relented and said that he would spend time with the girls as often as he could.
So, all in all there was no reason for her mood to be this way.
A niggling voice in the back of her head kept telling her that there was one aspect of her life that was different. There was a hole that had been created a few months ago and had never been filled.
Miranda was ignoring the voice, pretending that what it was telling her was not correct.
In her heart, she knew there was a problem and she knew why it was there.
She stared out of the window at the stationary traffic and sighed.
"Erm Miranda," her second assistant's voice floated into Miranda's thoughts.
"What is it Marguerite?"
"More people have confirmed for your birthday and I've "
"Marguerite," Miranda interrupted. "I do not wish to hear anything about this party; I am only allowing it to happen because there are people higher up the pecking order than me who think it is a good idea. I myself, would much rather not celebrate the fact that I am getting older."
The young woman swallowed hard, fear resonating from her.
"Yes," Marguerite said softly.
Miranda sighed again. "Is there any chance that we could get to the office, today?"
"I can't control what the traffic is like?" the driver muttered.
Miranda met his eyes in the rear view mirror then turned her bad mood on to Marguerite who was sniffling with a cold.
"Could you please turn up the radio, I can't stand to listen to my assistant sniffing relentlessly."
Marguerite hurriedly took out a tissue and dabbed her nose as Reggie, the driver turned up the radio.
Miranda felt a pang of guilt. She knew that Reggie had recently been ill and still come to work. He had probably passed his germs to Marguerite, hence the sniffing.
A pleasant female voice filled the car singing an angry sounding feminist song about smashing up a cheating man's car.
"Who is this that's singing?" Miranda barked.
Reggie looked at her in the rear view mirror. "I believe that it's Carrie Underwood."
Miranda did not recognise the name and decided that she would Google Carrie Underwood as soon as she got to the office; if they ever got to the office.
"Miranda," Marguerite's voice probed again.
"Yes?" came the weary response.
"Do you think that I could have a day off next week?"
"A day off?" Miranda turned to look at her assistant. "Why on earth would you need a day off?"
"Well, my mother and father are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary and they're having a party."
"Pah," Miranda spat.
"If you need me then "
"You're not indispensable," Miranda snapped. "You can take the time off."
"Oh, thank you," Marguerite looked so grateful that Miranda wanted to laugh.
Marguerite snatched out her Blackberry and began tapping away on it.
"Helena Naro would like to know whether she can bring her daughter to your party," Marguerite muttered but it sounded like she talking more to herself than anyone else.
"What did I just say?" Miranda snarled. "Deal with it; I want no part of any of the shenanigans."
Marguerite nodded and then scribbled something on a notepad.
Reggie was looking at her in the rear view mirror again and Miranda flared her nostrils at him then gave him a 'what are you looking at?' look.
He averted his eyes and concentrated on getting her to the office and out of his car as quickly as possible.
He knew why she felt the way that she did.
Apart from Nigel, Reggie was the only person that had ever seen Miranda's guard slip. Oh and one other person that nobody ever mentioned again.
Not even Miranda's husbands knew her the way that Nigel and Reggie did. She did not need a man to hold her together, to advise her or to complete her in any way. She was Miranda Priestley, an independent woman that had built an empire.
Finally, the car pulled up outside of the Elias-Clarke building and Miranda allowed Reggie to open the door for her.
With the usual air of superiority she swept into the office, to the elevator and up to the Runway office where Emily was standing, holding the door open.
"Good morning, Miranda," Emily said.
"Have you confirmed with the Moennig girl?" Miranda barked as she dumped her belongings on Andy's desk. Oops, Marguerite's desk she must get that right in her head; MARGUERITE'S desk.
"Yes, she's willing to do the shoot and "
"What about Jennifer Beales? Did we get her too? We can't have just one cast member for our lesbian chic issue," Miranda went to her desk and sat down.
"We should hear back from her agent today."
"That's all," Miranda said. "Close the door."
Emily left the room, breathing a sigh of relief. That was one of the least painful morning meetings that had ever taken place.
Miranda sighed and wanted to put her head in her hands. There was definitely something wrong with her.
She could not even bring herself to be mean to Emily, and Emily expected it. Miranda suspected that she even liked it.
Miranda reached for her paper diary and found the number of her Doctor.
She picked up her phone and dialled.
"Could I please speak with Dr Warriner, it's Miranda Priestley."
A moment later she heard Dr Warriner's voice. "Hello, Miranda. How are you?" she asked.
"Are Dr's supposed to ask that question? Surely I am not well if I contact you."
Dr Warriner laughed. "Tell me what's up with you."
"I really don't know," Miranda felt as though she was going to start to cry.
Dr Warriner noticed immediately. "Why don't you come down to my office?"
"I don't have time," Miranda said. "Can't you send me some pills to take?"
Dr Warriner laughed. "Not if I don't know what's wrong with you. Come to my office," Miranda could hear her leafing through what she assumed was a diary. "I can see you at three o'clock this Friday."
"Fine," was all Miranda said and hung up the phone.
She was feeling emotional and that was ridiculous because Miranda Priestley did not do emotions. She has left them behind in the 70's.
She glanced through the glass at her assistants. It pained her to look at Marguerite sitting in Andy's desk. There she went again. Andy's desk, it was just a desk for crying out loud. It was not Andy's desk. That stupid girl did not own it.
Emily was talking on the telephone and Marguerite was staring intently at the computer screen. Miranda sincerely doubted that they were doing work. She knew that when she closed the door to her office they took the opportunity for a reprieve.
Reaching down into her shoulder bag she retrieved a copy of The New York Mirror and flicked through it until she found the name that she was looking for and began reading.
On the morning of her birthday Miranda climbed into the Mercedes to find a small, brightly wrapped package.
As Reggie pulled away from the kerb Miranda picked up the gift and looked at the tag.
It read, 'Happy Birthday, best wishes Reg.'
"Thank you, Reg," Miranda tore off the paper and smiled as she revealed the contents.
It was a Carrie Underwood CD. "That's very thoughtful of you."
"Happy Birthday, Ms Priestley," Reg smiled at her in the rear view mirror.
They drove in a silence that was almost companionable until Reg asked about the scarf that Miranda was wearing.
"I got it from the girls for my birthday," Miranda fingered the material and smiled as she remembered their expectant young faces as she opened the gift box the scarf had been in.
"Well they have obviously inherited their mother's excellent taste."
"Humph," Miranda sounded unconvinced and then said; "how much gas do you have in the car?"
"I filled her up this morning, full tank. Why?" Reg asked curiously.
"I was wondering how far away we could drive so that I don't have to go to my party this evening," Miranda muttered.
"Oh, don't be like that," Reg said. "I'm sure that you will have a good time and you never know who might be there," Reg trailed off. "There are going to be members of the press there and "
Miranda glanced at him sharply. "What are you talking about?" she snapped.
"Ms Priestley, I might just be your driver but I know that you miss Andy," Reg was feeling brave.
"Oh really?" Miranda said tartly. "And how exactly, would you know that?"
Reg smiled. "I see an awful lot."
"I am well aware of that. That is why you're so well paid."
Reg chuckled. "I also see things that you're not even aware are happening."
"Such as?" Miranda feigned boredom but underneath was frantically intrigued.
"You've not been the same since Andy left, you're unhappier than usual."
Miranda gave a snort of disagreement.
"Let's face it," Reg was diplomatic but right now he was laying the cards on the table. "She was your right hand and the closest thing that you've ever had to a confidante or a friend."
Miranda knew that Reg was right. She could not be bothered to dispute what he said.
"Perhaps you should be a psychiatrist," she muttered sarcastically.
"I'm far too old for a career change. I will stick to just being a driver," he pulled up at the Elias-Clarke building and got out to open the car door for Miranda.
As she got out, Miranda briefly touched his arm. "You're not just a driver," she said softly.
Roy grinned as she swept away, the dragon returning to her lair.
He had been her driver for years and in all that time he had never known Miranda to look as happy and relaxed as she had when Andy was around.
For all that Miranda pretended she found Andy irritating it was a front.
Reg knew that Miranda missed Andy but he also knew the reason why.
The attraction had come from Miranda at first. She was the one that would glance at Andy when the younger woman was not paying attention. Reg had seen it for himself.
But then Andy had begun looking at Miranda in an adoring way that was not the way an employee looks at an employer.
Andy's eyes had always spoken of what she was feeling. Times when Miranda had been less than complimentary to her, the hurt was reflected in Andy's eyes and when Miranda offered any sort of positive word to Andy her eyes shone brightly.
Oh yes there had definitely been something developing between them but Miranda had ruined it. Her lust for self-preservation had interfered in something that could have been the best thing Miranda Priestley could ever have experienced.
Miranda thought that she was too old for Andy and Andy would never think that Miranda Priestley would look twice at her.
Oh yes, Reg saw a lot and he had interfered a little.
Andy looked up to see her Editor standing in the doorway of his office.
"I've got something for you, you too Reynolds," the Editor waved them both to his office.
Trading curious glances the two of them stood up and went to him.
"What's up?" Andy asked.
"This came this morning," Ed held out a silver envelope. "It's for you."
Andy took the envelope and opened it curiously.
"No way," she looked at Ed and then handed the envelope and its contents to Reynolds.
"Ms Priestley requests your attendance at her birthday party?" Reynolds screwed up his face. "Isn't that your old boss?"
"Yes," Andy said. "I'm not going."
"Yes you are, you could get us an exclusive interview."
"I don't do events," Andy countered.
"You do now."
"I have nothing to wear," Andy threw up her hands resignedly.
"You just left a fashion magazine improvise," Ed said. "Got a tux Reynolds?"
"Now you have a date for tonight. Enjoy yourselves," Ed waved his hand dismissively in such a Miranda Priestley way that Andy felt infuriated.
"Ed," she began.
"Not another word," Ed said. "Close the door on your way out."
Andy went back to her desk and threw the invitation on top of her keyboard.
"This will be a nightmare," Andy said.
"It might be fun," Reynolds grinned. "It's bound to be a swanky affair."
"That's what I'm worried about," Andy muttered.
She was scared to see Miranda again.
Leaving Miranda in Paris had not been the smartest thing Andy had ever done.
Would Miranda give her the cold shoulder or strike her down with cruel words.
Letting out a loud groan Andy thudded her head into her hands.
Dr Warriner was looking at Miranda intently.
"I don't care much for the way that you're scrutinising me," Miranda said.
"I'm trying to make sense of what you're telling me," Dr Warriner folded her arms. "You have no physical symptoms of anything at all but you're convinced that you're sick."
"There must be some symptoms somewhere," Miranda waved her hand in the air.
"You're as fit as an ox, in great shape for your age."
Miranda knew that Geraldine was teasing her but she still narrowed her eyes warningly. "Be very careful."
"I don't know what you want me to," Dr Warriner returned to her office and allowed Miranda to dress in private. "All you can tell me is that you don't feel like yourself."
"Well that is my symptom."
"That's the only symptom?"
"Well then I feel very bad for charging you $500 for this consultation."
"So you should," Miranda pulled on her blouse.
"How are you feeling about the divorce?" Geraldine asked from her office.
"How are the girls doing?"
"They're coping very well."
"Is there anything else that's upsetting you?"
Miranda said nothing and Geraldine noticed immediately.
"No," but the answer was short and weak.
Miranda returned to where Geraldine was sitting waiting for her.
"What's upsetting you?"
Miranda inhaled deeply. "There's nothing upsetting me."
"Miranda, come on," Geraldine coaxed. "Is it because you miss Stephen?"
"Goodness, no," Miranda scoffed. "Please, give me a little credit."
"Then what is it?"
"Perhaps it's the menopause," Miranda suggested.
The doctor laughed. "It's not the menopause."
"Do you feel low?"
"Low mood? Are you eating?"
"Of course I'm eating."
"And your mood?"
"I suppose that you could describe it as low but I'm not depressed."
Geraldine sighed and gazed at Miranda steadily. "If you don't tell me the truth then I can't help you."
"Fine," Miranda said.
"How long have you felt like this?"
Miranda hesitated and stuck out her chin, reluctant to answer the question but she did anyway. "About six months."
"You're still upset that you were left in Paris, six months later?"
"It's not that she left me in Paris," Miranda said softly.
"Go on," Geraldine said gently.
Miranda remained silent.
"Is it because she left?" Geraldine asked softly.
"You always were far too shrewd."
"I've known you since college," Geraldine smiled. "I also saw you together at Emmerson's Charity Function. You never looked at Emily the way you looked at assistant number 2."
"Who knew that I was so transparent?"
"You're not," Geraldine assured her. "I just know you."
Miranda sighed heavily. "Then you must think that I am a silly old woman that has allowed my emotions to spiral out of control for someone that is almost half my age."
"I don't think that at all."
"I do. But I can't get her out of my head. I actually admire her for having the balls to leave me in Paris when I did such a selfish thing," Miranda laughed bitterly.
"That sure was ballsy," Geraldine agreed. "Have you been in touch with her since Paris?"
"Of course not," Miranda snapped. "What on earth would I say to her?"
"Hi, wanna go to dinner?" the Dr suggested.
"Very funny," Miranda pushed her hair back and glared at Geraldine. "I don't think that would work."
"She might say, yes," Geraldine smiled.
"I need to get over this," Miranda muttered. "I'm going insane."
"You're not insane. You're just not quite yourself."
"Will you be at the party this evening?" Miranda got to her feet and changed the subject.
"Wouldn't miss it for anything."
"Good, I wish I could miss it," Miranda pulled on her coat. "Well thank you. You have been absolutely no use whatsoever."
Geraldine grinned and gave her a small salute.
"You're not bringing that odious man that you keep pretending is your boyfriend, are you?" Miranda asked.
"Of course," Geraldine shook her tight, red curls and laughed.
"Why don't you just come out? It's completely obvious, there's no one in this God forsaken City that thinks you're really dating that fool. Just tell everyone that you like women and get on with it."
"I will if you will," Geraldine challenged.
"I'm in transition."
"Sounds like you've stepped over the line, to me."
"It's definitely the menopause," Miranda muttered. "See you tonight."
Andy stood close to Reynolds as they filed into the luxurious hotel that was the stage for Miranda's evening.
The doorman took her invitation from her and looked at her and then Reynolds.
"Right this way ma'am," he motioned for them to cross into the party and not where the other members of the press were standing.
"Oh no," Andy objected. "We're with the press."
"No ma'am, the press received invitations that were numbered. You don't have a number on here. You can go into the main party."
Reynolds whooped excitedly and tugged Andy into the party before she could say anything.
"Can you believe this? She must still like you."
"No," Andy said. "She would never have anything to do with making arrangements for a party."
"I'm pleased that I wore my tux now," Reynolds tugged at his collar. "Even though, I feel ridiculous."
"You look very handsome," Andy looked up at him and smiled shyly.
"Why thank you," Reynolds looked down at her and then right at her cleavage. "You look terrific."
Andy giggled and pulled up the front of her dress.
They lingered in the hall with all of the other partygoers. It was elegantly decorated; everything reflected Miranda at her finest.
"Is she here yet?" Reynolds looked around the room.
"No," Andy shook her head as she scanned the faces of the people around her. "I expect she will make a grand entrance. Probably down the staircase."
"Shall I get us some champagne?" Reynolds asked.
"I think that sounds like a good idea," Andy smiled up at him.
As he manoeuvred his way through the crowd Andy spotted Emily. She was barking orders at a weary, exotic looking young woman that Andy immediately knew was her replacement.
With Reynolds temporarily gone, Andy wondered why she was not in with the other members of the press and why she had been given an invite to the actual party.
"Here you go," Reynolds reappeared and handed her a champagne flute. "Do you know any of these people?"
"A couple of them," Andy gulped a mouthful of champagne and wondered why she had knots in her stomach.
"Are all of these people Miranda's friends?" Reynolds looked doubtful.
"She doesn't really have friends, they're more like acquaintances," Andy gulped more champagne.
"Are you alright?" Reynolds eyed the half empty glass.
"Yep," Andy said quickly.
"What's Miranda like? I've heard stories but you have first hand experience," Reynolds was looking around with interest but when Andy began to speak he leaned in close to her.
"She's an amazing, vibrant, intelligent, successful woman."
"Sounds like you have a bit of a hard on for her," he joked.
The look that Andy gave him was scathing, so he stole a kiss from her lips and then pulled away.
"Did you just kiss me?" Andy felt shocked.
"Well, we've had two dates, I suppose you could count this as our third and I thought it was about time that I kiss you."
A smile broke across Andy's face. "You're very presumptuous."
"There's going to be lots of beautiful models around here you know," Andy said. "I would hate to cramp your style."
"I'm here with the prettiest girl in the room," Reynolds muttered and rested his chin on the top of Andy's head.
"You're really not," Andy countered.
Suddenly everyone turned to look at the staircase where Nigel had appeared and was calling for everyone's attention.
"Good evening everyone."
Camera flashes went off everywhere and Nigel looked down at all of the waiting faces that were now silent.
"Thank you," Nigel smiled. "Now then, we are all here to celebrate a special birthday for one of my dearest friends."
"I thought you said she didn't have friends?" Reynolds muttered out the side of his mouth.
Andy dug him in the ribs with her elbow.
As Nigel's speech unfolded Andy wondered whether he had forgiven Miranda for the whole Paris debacle. Somehow she thought that Nigel would be more hurt than annoyed but Miranda would make it up to him.
Andy refocused on his speech.
"So, without further ado, we all know that she hates to be kept waiting," Nigel gave a quick wink to the crowd. "May I present Ms Miranda Priestley," he gestured grandly to the staircase.
Miranda was descending with a gorgeous young hunk on her arm that Andy was sure she recognised from a Hugo Boss advertisement.
The crowd broke into applause and Andy felt like the wind had been knocked out of her as camera light bulbs flashed eagerly. Even Reynolds pulled out his small, digital camera and took a few shots.
Miranda looked incredible. She usually dressed elegantly, with fitted but long gowns, she was wearing something out of character for her but it looked stunning.
It was a black, silken gown with one shoulder strap that rested against creamy white skin; it was tight around the waist and then flared out at the knees.
"Wow," Reynolds muttered under his breath.
In her head, Andy echoed the sentiment.
"Everyone is treating her like Royalty," Reynolds looked around at the adoring crowd.
"To these people, she is," Andy replied.
As Miranda led the way to the dining room everyone followed.
"I don't think that I can do this," Andy said as they moved with the crowd.
"It will be fine," Reynolds assured her. "I will look after you."
"I can't wait," Andy muttered sarcastically.
After food, drinks, adoring speeches and Miranda and Nigel dancing a refined dance together, the party at last got into full swing.
The mood was upbeat, the music became modern and Reynolds led Andy to the dance floor.
Andy felt guilty for having such a good time as Reynolds spun her around the dance floor.
"You're a good dancer," Andy gasped when the song ended and she headed back towards their table.
"You too," he said. "I'm going to get us a couple of drinks and then I'm going to dance your legs off."
Andy giggled as he disappeared in the general direction of the bar.
"Hello, Andrea," Emily appeared by her elbow.
"Is that your boyfriend?" Emily asked.
"Oh no, we work together. Thanks for the invite by the way," Andy said.
"Nothing to do with me, this party was Marguerite's responsibility," Emily said brusquely. "Are you going to come and speak with Miranda?"
"Erm " Andy looked over to her previous employer who had a crowd of people around her. "She looks a little busy at the moment."
"Yes," Emily pouted. "I think it would be a bad idea if you spoke to her."
"Oh," Andy could not hide her surprise. "Well, I think my Editor wanted me to get an interview if I could."
"Absolutely not," Emily said shortly. "If I had my way no member of the press would have been allowed through but Nigel and Marguerite decided to make an exception for you."
"Well um thanks," was all Andy could think of to say.
Reynolds returned and Andy felt relief.
"Hey," he greeted Emily. "I'm Carl Reynolds."
"Charmed," was all Emily said and then turned on her heal and walked away.
Reynolds gave Andy a curious look.
"Emily," Andy explained.
"Ah," Reynolds nodded and sipped his drink.
"She said that I'm not allowed to go and talk to Miranda," Andy laughed at how absurd it sounded.
"Oh well," Reynolds shrugged. "You're not bothered are you?"
Andy did not answer; she just took his hand and led him back to the dance floor.
The music changed and Michael Bublé began to play, a slow song, "You are Not Alone".
Reynolds looked at her and she gazed up at him and then looked around as the couples all around them moved closer together.
She allowed him to pull her close and they swayed to the music. She rested her head against his shoulder and listened to the words of the song.
It was a nice song and as they moved around the dance floor he tightened his hold on Andy and she felt secure in his embrace.
It was true that she had allowed him to take her on two dates.
Well, one was coffee and one was for a slice of pizza after they finished late one evening.
Then there was this party, so she supposed it was three dates.
There had been no one since Nate but Andy felt guilty for being here with Reynolds and liking the way that he held her.
She felt comfortable with him but the spark was not there. He was a nice guy, tall and strong with a handsome face and floppy brown hair that had a slight curl to it. Andy should be over the moon that he was interested in her but the truth was that she just liked him.
The truth was that this was the way things had begun with Nate. They were friends first and then lovers and then slid into a comfortable routine.
But Andy did not want comfortable, she wanted passion and to feel an earnestness to be with someone.
Andy knew that she had to tell him, she tilted her head up towards his face and as she did so he pressed his lips against hers.
'Oh no,' Andy thought as she sunk into the kiss and wondered if things could get any worse.
Geraldine could see Miranda from where she was standing.
She saw Miranda swallow hard. She saw Miranda's face fall when the boy that Andy was with kissed her on the dance floor.
Miranda's attention wavered from the conversation she was in and then she looked towards Geraldine and Geraldine immediately made her way towards Miranda.
When she reached Miranda she leaned down and whispered into her oldest friend's ear. "Are you OK?"
Miranda shook her head.
"Could you excuse us, please everyone?" Geraldine reached for Miranda's elbow and helped her to her feet and steered her away.
Emily tottered after them but Geraldine stopped her. "I can handle things from here."
In the bathroom everyone that saw Miranda enter, hurriedly left and the people that were still in cubicles, hurriedly washed up and left until there was no one left but the two of them.
"Are you going to live?" Geraldine pressed her hand against Miranda's forehead.
"If you're asking whether I'm about to die of a broken heart then I can assure you that I'm not."
"Splendid," Geraldine went to the mirror to fix her make up. "It's stinging though isn't it?"
"Like a bitch," Miranda put her hands on the wall in front of her and steadied her breathing. "This is not good."
"Just go out there and do your thing. That model you're here with is totally into you," Geraldine corrected her eyeliner. "Sex is good for relaxation."
"I could have any man that I wanted," Miranda muttered.
"You could have any woman you wanted," Geraldine winked at her friend. "I think you should go and talk to her."
"Not here," Miranda shook her head. "She's with that boy, they look happy. The chance is gone."
"Chances are never gone," Geraldine said.
"I think that this one is," Miranda went and stood next to her friend and began to correct her own make up. "What about you? Is there anyone here that you're interested in?"
"Oh sure," Geraldine plucked Miranda's lipstick brush from her hand and then turned Miranda to face her. "May I?"
Miranda nodded and Geraldine began to colour Miranda's lips using the lipstick brush.
"I'm always able to attract women. It's a benefit of being a doctor."
"What about true love?" Miranda asked.
"Ah, I never speak about that," Geraldine's fingers brushed Miranda's chin. "It stings too much."
"I wish you wouldn't waste your time feeling the way that you do. I'm not worth it," Miranda stroked her friend's face and looked deeply into her eyes.
"Yes you are," Geraldine handed the brush back and turned away quickly. "You know that you are."
Without another word she turned and left Miranda fixing her make up. Geraldine held on to her tears as she went back to the dining hall.
She spotted Andy immediately but there was no boy with her.
With grim determination she marched up to Andy.
"Um hi," Andy looked confused for a moment but then recognition dawned. "Dr Warriner."
"You remember me?" Geraldine gave her best flirtatious smile. "Call me Geraldine, please."
"How are you?" Andy made polite conversation.
"I'm good. I was surprised to hear that you left Runway. Any regrets about that?" Geraldine fished.
"Not really," Andy replied truthfully. "I love my new job."
"And you have a boyfriend, you look happy together," Geraldine knew that she was out of line but could not help herself.
"Oh he's not my boyfriend, we work together and well it's complicated. We're friends."
"I wish my friends kissed me like that," Geraldine looked at Andy from lowered lashes.
"That was a mistake," Andy looked around to make sure that Reynolds was not nearby.
Andy stopped talking and her gaze locked on a point behind Geraldine's shoulder.
"Miranda," she breathed.
"Andrea," Miranda greeted her coolly. "How nice of you to come to my little party."
"This is not a little party," Andy smiled. "You look beautiful, Miranda."
Miranda's heart pounded in her ears.
Andy's palms began to sweat.
"I think I will leave you to it," Geraldine said cheerfully and moved away.
"You look very nice," Miranda managed to choke out. "I see you managed to retain a sense of style when you left."
Here it came, the cruel onslaught that Andy had anticipated.
"What was Dr Warriner saying to you?" Miranda asked curiously.
"She was just asking how I liked my new job."
"And how do you like your new job?"
Andy realised that Miranda had not made eye contact with her yet. In fact, she was looking everywhere except Andy's direction.
"I like it a lot, thanks."
"Um Miranda about Paris," Andy began.
"I don't think we have enough time to discuss that," Miranda said briskly.
"No, you're probably right," Andy pulled a face.
"Would you like to come to dinner with me? You could explain it all then," Miranda finally made eye contact with Andy and held it fiercely.
"Dinner?" Andy felt her jaw drop open in surprise.
"Yes, you of all people should know what that is."
"Hey!" Reynolds appeared. "I thought that you had ditched me."
Andy was sure that she heard Miranda mutter, "if only," but could not be sure.
"I was just going to the bathroom," Andy forced a smile. "Carl, this is Miranda Priestley."
"Ms Priestley," Carl held out his hand. "It's a pleasure."
Miranda eyed his hand but did not take it. Instead she turned her attention back to Andy. "I will have Marguerite call you."
"Oh OK," Andy nodded.
"Charmed," Miranda nodded to Reynolds. "Carl was it?"
Andy's heart raced as she watched Miranda Priestley's exposed, retreating back.
"What a bitch," Reynolds mumbled. "She wouldn't even shake my hand."
"She's a formidable woman."
"That's educated talk for bitch," Reynolds said. "Shall we go?"
Andy nodded dumbly, although she could barely hear Reynolds speaking above the ringing sound in her ears.
Andy was busy at work but not too busy to think about her encounter with Miranda.
Reynolds was becoming more and more forceful about taking her out and Andy knew that she was going to have to say something to him.
Three days after the party, on a particularly gloomy Monday morning Andy's phone rang on her desk. She was standing by the coffee machine but she heard it and turned just in time to see Reynolds lean over and snatch it up on the third ring.
"Andy Sachs's phone."
He listened for a moment and then caught Andy's eye. "It's Miranda Priestley's office for you."
Andy went and took the phone from him.
"Hello," she listened for a moment and then took a pencil and wrote something down, then hung up the phone.
"What was that all about?" Reynolds asked.
"Just a work thing," Andy said evasively.
She looked towards the Editor's office then to Reynolds. "Would you cover for me? I need to go home early."
"Sure," Reynolds shrugged and chewed the end of a pencil. "Got a date?"
"No, nothing like that," Andy smiled reassuringly. "I just have to go somewhere."
"Something to do with Miranda Priestley?" he asked.
Andy did not reply, she handed him her fresh coffee and put on her coat and picked up her bag. "I appreciate this."
Reynolds muttered something incomprehensible and then went back to staring at his computer screen.
Out in the street Andy took a steadying breath.
Marguerite had not even asked if Andy was free for dinner with Miranda tonight. She had simply called her up, barked instructions and then hung up without giving Andy a chance to respond.
Yet Andy was not bothered. She knew that if Marguerite had given her the choice she would not have said she could not make it. She would have cancelled any plans that she had just to spend one more minute with Miranda Priestley and these feelings frightened Andy.
Right now she was going shopping to find the nicest outfit she could afford on her salary.
Because she wanted Miranda Priestley's approval more than she cared to admit.
Miranda was already at the restaurant when Andy arrived. She had thought it a strange choice; there were booths with curtains that closed to hide diners from the prying view of other people. It was mostly celebrities that used these booths so when the waiter led Andy to one she was extremely surprised.
Miranda was sitting in the centre of the booth with an untouched glass of wine in front of her.
"Hello," Andy greeted her shyly.
Miranda nodded but did not say anything.
The waiter helped Andy out of her jacket and Miranda looked her up and down approvingly, as did the waiter.
Andy noticed the look and said a silent prayer that God had helped her to find this perfect dress in the Bloomingdales sale. Lucky things like that never happened to her but right now Andy felt like the luckiest girl in the world.
Miranda was wearing a green silk blouse; Andy could not see what she was wearing on her legs because of the table but she was certain it would look impeccable.
"I hope you don't mind but I took the liberty of ordering for you," Miranda gave Andy such a look that Andy felt as though she was being tested to see how she would react. Miranda railed on, "I want us to be disturbed as little as possible."
"OK," Andy said cautiously.
The waiter poured Andy a glass of wine.
"Close the curtain please," Miranda said as he turned to leave.
He did so and Andy could not help but feel a little nervous.
This felt so surreal.
"Did you have a nice birthday?" she filled the silence.
Miranda rolled her eyes. "It was not unpleasant."
"Did you get lots of nice gifts?"
"Nice, is a relative concept," Miranda replied.
"That's a bit ungrateful," Andy felt her hackles go up.
"Is it?" Miranda arched a perfectly sculpted eyebrow. "It's ungrateful that I do not wish to be showered in gifts that I do not need?"
"Yes, when people have put the effort in to buy you something," Andy shook her head.
"Why are you shaking your head in that derisory fashion?"
"I'm not," Andy defended. "I don't want to "
"Andrea," Miranda said softly. "I know that you have a poor opinion of me but just so you know, I had Emily return all of the gifts and donated the money to a very worthy cause. Every single person at the party knows that I did that, I do it every year and I always have done."
Andy felt ashamed. Why did she care? Why defend the spending habits of people that had more money than sense?
"Oh," was all she could think of to say.
"Now then," Miranda rested her hand on her chin and fixed her eyes on Andy. "Where does your boyfriend think you are this evening?"
"He isn't my boyfriend."
"Do you go around kissing every man that you dance with?"
Andy let out an uncomfortable laugh. "No, but that was a mistake. I was looking up at him to tell him that I just wanted to be friends and he kissed me."
"He kissed you?"
"It looked like a mutual thing to me."
Andy sucked in her cheeks then blew them out slowly. "Just because I didn't beat him off with my handbag doesn't mean that I wanted it."
Miranda said, "Humph," sceptically.
"Did you invite me here to talk about Reynolds?" Andy snapped. "Because it will be a very short conversation if you did."
"I thought that you wanted to come to dinner to discuss the Paris incident. I thought that you wanted to apologise."
"I've changed my mind," Andy stuck out her chin stubbornly. "This was a mistake."
Miranda was momentarily quiet but then said, "I'm sorry that tonight was so last minute. The divorce came through yesterday and I forgot to ask Marguerite to contact you sooner even though the reservations had been made."
"I'm sorry," Andy said feeling guilty when Miranda was probably hurting. "About the divorce, I mean."
"How are the girls?"
"They're doing fine," Miranda shook her head sadly. "Two fathers already at their young age, I haven't done a very good job at choosing the right man have I?"
"We all make mistakes," Andy said.
"Some more than most," Miranda finally reached for her wine and took a drink.
"How are you holding up?" Andy ventured.
Miranda spluttered wine into her glass. "I'm fine, of course."
"Of course," Andy's tone was almost mocking.
"I don't want a man that stifles me or is afraid of me because I'm higher up the food chain than he is. Men are frightened of me," Miranda said.
"Everyone is frightened of you. You're Miranda Priestley," Andy did not know where this newfound boldness was coming from but she adopted Miranda's persona. "Tales of your incompetence do not interest me. Why can't you get to Chile and get those rugs that I ordered for the photo shoot? Do I have to ask you a thousand times to make sure that my coffee is hot? Where are those skirts from Calvin Klein? That's all."
Miranda stared at Andy dumbfounded at her audacity.
"I think I got it just about right," Andy picked up her wine glass and smiled pleasantly.
"You were never frightened of me," Miranda said thoughtfully, still looking shocked.
"I was at first."
Andy chuckled. "I can't tell you that. It's an inside secret."
"Was it when you saw me arguing with Stephen that night you came into my house? Did you suddenly realise that I too, am fallible?" Miranda asked.
"No!" Andy said hurriedly. "It was nothing to do with you or that; it was to do with me and things that I thought about."
"I'm interested in what you thought," Miranda's lips quirked.
Andy was not sure that she wanted to answer that. "What did you order for me?" she changed the subject.
"You'll see when it gets here."
"It better not be a salad," Andy muttered.
"Tell me why you're not afraid of me," Miranda encouraged.
Andy could not believe this new side to Miranda. She was being nice and it unnerved her, where was the scathing Miranda Priestley that she had come to know and love? This Miranda was even more frightening.
"Why are you being nice to me?" Andy could not fight her suspicion any longer. "I thought that you would be mad at me for leaving you in Paris and then launch a character assassination against me."
Miranda remained silent and did not speak until the waiter appeared with their salads.
"I did order you a salad; you're getting a little thick around the hips."
"A green salad?" Andy wailed. "I'm a growing girl."
"There's only one way that you will be growing," Miranda said.
"Excuse me," Andy caught hold of the waiters' cuff. "Do you have any..?"
"Ahem," Miranda cleared her throat.
"Never mind," Andy muttered dejectedly.
Miranda did not touch her own food; she merely sat and watched Andy who cleared her plate in record time.
"I'm waiting Andrea," Miranda said.
Andy sighed and laid down her fork then took a drink of water then eyed Miranda's untouched food.
"Would you like to eat my salad?" Miranda sucked in her cheeks to hold in a laugh.
"No," Andy said in a small voice.
"If you want it then by all means eat it," Miranda said.
"Are you sure you don't want it?" Andy's face lit up.
The older woman shook her head and pushed the plate towards Andy.
"OK," Andy stopped eating momentarily. "The reason why I'm not afraid of you is because you remind me of someone that I used to know."
"Really, and who might that be?"
"You said that as though I should know who Ms Donaghy is."
"No," Andy said. "She was my High School, English teacher."
"Ah, the old High School English teacher story," Miranda smirked.
"Do you want to hear the story or not?"
Miranda held up her hands apologetically then rested her chin on her palm.
"So, Ms Donaghy was the most beautiful woman that I've ever seen she had fierce green eyes and bright red hair that was always perfect and she was so passionate about English. But she was a formidable woman; she was strong and determined the ultimate feminist that commanded respect wherever she went. She was incredibly tough on the students, incredibly tough on me and she challenged me to always be better than I was. It took me a while to figure that out I thought she was always picking on me but she was actually teaching me to be the best that I could be."
"She was your favourite teacher," Miranda's tone was almost teasing.
"In my final year, just before graduation I saw her in a bookstore and we started talking. It was then that I realised there was more to this woman than the image that she presented. It was a façade to protect her."
"Protect her from what?"
Andy stuffed more salad leaves into her mouth. "Just stuff that she didn't want her students to know about."
"Anyway," Andy swallowed the last of the salad and put her fork down. "On graduation day she gave me a book, Stories of God by Rilke. She told me to always look for the opportunities that presented themselves but most of all to remember that things are never really as they seem."
Miranda adjusted her position but did not break eye contact with Andy.
"So what you're telling me Andrea, is that you're not afraid of me because your High School teacher told you that things are never really as they seem?"
"What if they are what they seem? What if I truly am this bitch that you think I am?"
"Not according to you."
"Oh, I think you're a bitch alright. But there's probably a very interesting reason behind you being callous and mean."
"You think that I'm callous?"
"If we both think that callous means hard and unfeeling then yes," Andy pushed the empty plates away and looked at Miranda steadily.
The waiter reappeared and the conversation ceased.
"Did you enjoy your salad Ms Priestley?" the waiter asked.
"Oh yes, it was the most delicious salad that I've ever tasted," Miranda smiled tightly.
Andy disguised her laugh with a cough and the waiter disappeared again.
"You think that I hide behind a façade?" Miranda asked.
"Yes, but I really don't understand why we're talking about this."
"Humour me," Miranda urged.
Miranda relaxed back into the booth and observed Andy's body language. It was stiff and stand-offish, the young woman was nervous and Miranda did not blame her. She needed to get Andy to loosen up somehow. Yet within that nervousness there was honesty and beauty.
It destroyed Miranda that she had to play games but it was the only way she knew how to behave. If only she could blurt out her feelings for Andy. If only she could tell Andy that she could not stop thinking about her that she could not concentrate on anything without Andy in her life.
Lord it was hot in here. Miranda resisted the urge to find something to use as a fan.
She could feel perspiration forming on the back of her neck.
"Do you want to know why I left you in Paris?" Andy asked.
Miranda shook her head, trying to hide the fact that she was going to internally combust. "I think that I have a pretty good idea."
"What you did to Nigel "
"I know," Miranda interjected. "I know that you think what I did was unforgivable."
"Nigel is incredibly loyal to you," Andy leaned over the table earnestly. "You sold him out for your own gains."
"I did him a favour," Miranda said.
"Only you could see it like that!" Andy exploded. "You made me realise that I had turned into something that I didn't like and if I hadn't left you in Paris you might have convinced me that you had done him a favour but I know what my conscience tells me and it tells me even to this day that what you did to Nigel was wrong."
Miranda looked down at the table cloth. "I'm not proud of what I did but I was not about to stand aside and let people destroy what I have built."
"You are the most self-obsessed person that I have ever come across in my life," Andy looked at Miranda with disgust. "You could have gone to any other magazine that you wanted."
"I don't want another magazine, I want Runway."
"Miranda, sometimes we can't always have what we want. Sometimes life deals us a hand and we have to get on with it. Like when I came to work for you I didn't want that job but I made the best of it and did the best that I could."
"You got something out of that."
"Yes, migraines for the rest of my life, sleepless nights and waking up in cold sweats wondering whether I have picked up the skirts from Donna Karan, even now, months later."
"Oh please," Miranda scoffed. "You do exaggerate."
"I'm not exaggerating," Andy said heatedly. "It happens."
"Andrea, I did not invite you here to discuss Paris, or you leaving Runway. I asked you to dinner so that we could talk about something completely separate."
The waiter reappeared and to Andy's surprise he was carrying a plate of duck with seasonal vegetables. Her face lit up as he placed the plate in front of her and then placed a huge steak in front of Miranda.
"Steak?" Andy stared in amazement.
"Yes, don't look so shocked. I like to eat a fine steak as much as the next person."
"How did you know that I like duck?" Andy tilted her head and looked curiously at Miranda.
"I heard you telling Nigel one day that the other boy that you were seeing had made you the most delicious duck dish the night before and that duck was your favourite dish."
"You remembered that?"
Miranda shrugged her shoulder and picked up her napkin.
"I can't believe that you took any notice of anything that I ever said," Andy could not conceal her bewilderment.
"You would be surprised at what I can hear from my office when the door is open."
"I'll bet," Andy mumbled.
She realised that she was fixated on Miranda's eyes. They were clear and bright and beautiful.
"I feel certain that you will enjoy this duck as much as you enjoyed that boy's."
"Nate," Andy said. "His name was Nate."
"And how is, Nate?"
Sadness washed over Andy. "I haven't spoken to him in a while," she admitted.
Taking a long drink of her wine did little to help Andy and she eventually gulped two more mouthfuls before making an attempt to eat her food.
"Do you miss him?" Miranda's probing question caught her attention.
"Are you still in love with him?"
Her reluctance to answer the question was obvious to Miranda but that did not stop her from twisting the answer out of Andy. "You've replaced him with that floppy haired boy you brought to my party."
"No," Andy said hurriedly. "I haven't replaced him with anyone but I don't think that I was in love with him. I miss having a relationship, having that person to go home to at the end of a crappy day at work, having someone that can hold you tight in their arms and tell you that everything is going to be alright."
"Sounds like a fairytale," Miranda muttered and stabbed viciously at her steak.
"You've been in love," Andy remarked.
"I've been married twice, what do you think?" Miranda snapped.
"Just because you were married doesn't mean that you've been in love. Real love," Andy supposed. "You also got divorced."
"What would you like me to say?" Miranda's expression had become dark. "Do you want me to tell you the name of my first love? Tell you all about when I was at college and I fell in love and lay beneath the trees reciting Keates like some soppy, pathetic teen movie?"
"If that's what happened," Andy said evenly.
Miranda let out a stark laugh. "So you don't miss the boy?"
"No," Andy replied.
"You just miss the relationship?"
Andy smirked. "That's clever."
"For once, we were talking about you and somehow you managed to flip the conversation around to me again so that you don't have to disclose information about yourself."
"Eat your food Andrea, before it gets cold and then you can finish mine."
Andy squealed. "Did you just make a joke?"
"Perhaps," the corners of Miranda's mouth moved slightly.
Miranda gave a gracious toss of her head.
"You do realise that if you leave any food I will eat it?" Andy grinned.
"Of course but you might want to save a little bit of room. I ordered you a dessert."
Andy finished her meal and then helped herself to what Miranda left and after the waiter had taken their plates and returned with a slab of chocolate cake with ice cream for Andy she finally began to relax. Two and half glasses of wine later of course.
"You've made an excellent choice," Andy beamed as she spooned a piece of cake into her mouth. "Oh my goodness," she let out a groan of pleasure and Miranda had to ignore the fluttering that this triggered in her stomach.
"I'll give you ten bucks if you eat a mouthful of this," Andy challenged.
"I beg your pardon?" Miranda shook her head as though she had misheard.
"Ten bucks if you eat some of this," Andy held the spoon out to Miranda who looked at the delicious chocolate cake that dripped with ice cream.
"Go on," Andy coaxed.
Miranda leaned forward and took the spoon in her mouth. Her eyes locked with Andy's as the young woman realised what Miranda had done, they held one another's gaze until Miranda wrapped her hand firmly around Andy's and slowly withdrew the spoon from her mouth.
Andy swallowed hard and stared at Miranda's hand that held her own. Her pulse was pounding in her temple. There was a chemical reaction occurring in Andy's brain that was disconcerting, hormones were crashing into other hormones causing Andy's heart to pound harder and faster than she had ever known.
"Where's my ten bucks? Miranda released her grasp.
Andy was quivering inside as she fumbled in her purse.
"Here you go," she managed to choke out and then ran her hands through her hair nervously.
Her shift of mood did not go unnoticed and the ten dollars was pushed back towards Andy.
"Are you alright Andrea?" Miranda's voice sounded as though she was smiling but her lips showed no sign of it.
"I think it's the wine," Andy mumbled and pushed the plate of chocolate cake away from her.
"Aren't you going to finish your desert?"
"I don't think that I can."
"Nonsense," Miranda picked up the spoon and ladled a small amount of cake on to it. "I'm sure that you can manage to finish this divine cake."
Andy's palms began to sweat as Miranda held out the fork towards her.
Was this for real?
Was it a trick, a cruel joke?
She felt that Miranda was trying to tempt her to more than cake.
"What are you doing Miranda?" she asked quietly.
"I'm encouraging you to eat; we don't want you to go below a size 8 now do we?"
There was something in the way that Miranda spoke that made Andy realise that her bravado and arrogance was covering up for something else. The spoon was still there waiting for Andy to take it in her mouth.
Two choices, Andy thought quickly.
Pull away and ruin whatever was happening.
Or, eat the cake and find out what exactly was happening.
Andy took Miranda's hand.
She lowered her eyes and looked at Miranda from beneath her long lashes as she ate. She used her fingers to reach the underside of Miranda's wrist and caress it gently.
Miranda did not flicker.
Andy allowed her fingers to linger on Miranda's skin and swirled her finger tips against the softness.
Still Miranda did not react but she did not stop Andy either. That was a good sign.
When there was no more cake left Miranda put the spoon down but Andy did not let go of her hand.
"Did you enjoy that?" Miranda asked.
"It was delicious," Andy did not elaborate on which part was delicious.
They gazed intently at one another but the quiet was interrupted by the return of the waiter and Miranda snatching her hand away, ruining the moment.
"Can I get you ladies anything else?"
"Another glass of wine for both of us," Miranda said.
"My pleasure," the waiter said and headed off.
"I shouldn't have any more," Andy rubbed her forehead. "I feel a little woozy."
"One more glass won't do any harm," Miranda said.
"I think it might tip me over the edge," Andy confessed.
"I just have to nip to the bathroom," Miranda said. "I'll be right back."
She hurried out of the curtain and Andy immediately reached into her bag for her cell phone.
"Please pick up, Lil," Andy whispered.
Miranda reached the bathroom and locked herself inside a stall.
She leaned against the cool tiles and let out a moan of relief.
After a moment she reached into her handbag and retrieved her cell phone.
She dialled Geraldine.
"Geraldine, thank God," Miranda panted.
"Are you OK?" Geraldine asked; concern evident in her voice.
"No, I am sweating like like "
"Like a whore in Church?"
"Nice analogy," Miranda spat. "Yes, anyway this must be the menopause."
"Miranda," Geraldine said patiently. "It's summer, it's hot."
"I've never had this problem before."
"You're not going through the menopause," Geraldine said. "I promise."
"But I'm having a hot flush!"
"You're feeling a little warm, it will be fine."
"Easy for you to say!"
"Listen, if you really want me to test you to see if you're menopausal then arrange another appointment but I think that we will find that it's a waste of time."
"Oh, so now you only think it would be a waste of time," Miranda was accusing.
Geraldine sighed. "I'm convinced that it will be a waste of time."
Miranda pouted. "You better not bill me for this consultation."
"This one's on the house," Geraldine said cheerfully. "Take it easy."
"Hello," Lily said sleepily.
"Lil, thank God," Andy gasped.
"Andy, I thought "
"Shut up and listen," Andy instructed. "I think that Miranda Priestley is trying to seduce me."
A temporary silence and then, "are you high?"
"No, she fed me cake," Andy whispered furiously.
"After you came down from your high?"
"No, during dessert."
"I'm confused," Lily said and she sounded it.
"What should I do?" Andy wailed.
"Well I mean, what do you want to do?"
"I've no idea, that's why I need you to tell me," Andy snapped.
"Well, I don't know what to suggest. Are you attracted to her?" Lily did not sound convinced.
"Um " a long pause.
"Are you?" a heavy silence.
"So, if she were coming on to you that would be..?"
"Not altogether an unpleasant idea."
"Right," Lily was quiet.
Suddenly the curtain swept back and Andy let out a yelp then a sigh of relief as the waiter smiled at her and placed the wine on the table.
"What do you think I should do?" Andy was becoming frantic.
"Just go for it," Lily pushed.
"What if I'm wrong?"
"You said that she fed you cake, didn't you?"
"That is not a normal occurrence on a dinner date with Miranda Priestley is it?"
"Not for me."
"Then I think it's safe to say that there's something else going on," Lily confirmed.
Andy smiled at the waiter as he departed but held the curtain open for Miranda.
"OK Reynolds, I have to go but I'll get right on that tomorrow morning," Andy said quickly.
"Happy lesbianing," Lily chirped.
"Work?" Miranda slid back into the booth but this time sat right next to Andy and draped her arm around the back of the booth as though embracing her.
"Um yeah," Andy put her phone back in her purse and tried to calm her physiological response to Miranda's nearness.
"How expertly timed that work calls you just as I go to the bathroom," Miranda purred.
Andy inhaled deeply. "What's going on? I think that I deserve the truth."
The smell of Miranda's perfume shot up her nose and made her feel heady.
"I can tell you the truth if you really want to know," Miranda crossed her legs and her skirt rode up a little, sending a shiver through Andy.
"I would appreciate the truth because you don't seem like the Miranda Priestley that I remember," Andy gulped.
There was a predatory gleam in Miranda's eye that filled Andy with excitement.
"I'm not the Miranda Priestley that you knew," she began to press her knee against Andy's leg. "I need to tell you something that's been bothering me."
"Go ahead," the pressure of Miranda's leg was distracting to Andy.
"I've missed you, Andrea," Miranda pressed her mouth to Andy's ear. "You left a hole in my life and nothing else seems to be able to fill it."
"What do you mean?"
"Isn't it obvious?" Miranda said. "I can't manage without you."
"Because I was your right hand man?"
"What's the other part?"
"Let's not be too honest just yet," Miranda smiled. "I think that spending a little time together might not be such a bad thing."
"As friends?" Andy wanted reassurance.
"As something," the answer was evasive. Not what she wanted to hear at all.
"You fed me cake," Andy whispered and then cringed as she realised how ridiculous she sounded.
"I don't understand what's going on?" Andy rested her elbows on the table in front of her and put her head in her hands.
"Don't make something more out of this than there has to be," Miranda advised. "I don't think that you're ready."
"Ready for what?" Andy moaned.
"Can I give you a lift home?"
"Yes," Miranda took one last drink of her wine and then picked up her purse.
"Oh, Lord," Andy prayed that it was the wine that was making her so confused; otherwise she was losing her mind.
Out in the street Andy huddled down into her coat.
"Can I give you that lift?"
The Mercedes pulled up and Andy recognised Reggie immediately.
"I think I'll walk," Andy said.
"But it's a cold night," Miranda said, "and I have a nice warm car."
"I'm not coming with you," Andy stuck out her chin defiantly. "I'm drunk and I have no fucking idea what just went on in there. I need to walk to clear my head."
With that, Andy spun around and walked in the opposite direction.
"Andrea!" Miranda called but Andy did not turn round.
Miranda sighed, that had not gone as planned.
For three days in a row a bouquet of flowers arrived at the office for Andy.
Each day the bouquet got bigger and Reynolds became more annoyed.
Andy knew that she should feel grateful but all she could think about was who Miranda had got to order the flowers and send them to her.
She could not imagine Miranda doing it and she certainly would not ask Emily or Marguerite. Then she wondered why she cared and gave the third bouquet to a woman that worked on advertising.
At first she was confused and upset with Miranda but now she was angry.
Andy's phone rang but she made no move to answer it.
"Sachs," Reynolds snapped. "Answer the phone."
"I'm busy; if it bothers you so much you answer it."
Reynolds leaned over the desk and snatched it up.
"Andy Sachs's phone."
"Surprisingly, it's for you," Reynolds slammed the phone down on the desk.
Andy made no move to pick it up. "Who is it?"
Reynolds picked the phone up again. "Who's calling please?"
He slammed the phone down again. "Miranda Priestley, herself."
"Tell her I'm not available."
"Tell her yourself," Reynolds stood up and went to the coffee machine.
Andy glared at him then picked up the telephone. "Yes?"
"Having a lovers tiff?" the voice on the other end of the line drawled.
"I'm very busy, what do you want?"
Reynolds returned to his desk with a cup of coffee.
"Did you get the flowers I sent you?"
Andy wanted to be mean and say, "What flowers?" but with Reynolds listening all she could say was, "yes, thank you."
"Would you like to come out for dinner again?"
"I don't think so."
"About the other night " Miranda began
"Listen, I really have a lot of work to get on with so if that's all you wanted then I really need to type up my report."
"Fine, that's all," Miranda sounded disappointed but terminated the call without a goodbye.
Andy slammed the receiver down.
"What's up?" Reynolds asked with a smug smile.
"Nothing," Andy snapped and stared at her computer screen.
"Miranda Priestley called you for nothing?"
"That's right," Andy shot him a furious look.
"OK then," he tossed a manila folder across the desk to her.
"Have a look," Reynolds stood up and walked away. "It might put a smile on your face."
Andy opened the folder to see photographs of Miranda's birthday party.
Her ex-employer looked radiant, she was smiling and elegant. Andy's heart skipped a beat and then another.
With a resigned sigh Andy picked up her bag and coat. "I'm off out, Ed!" she shouted.
The security guard greeted Andy like an old friend.
She politely asked about his daughter as she signed her name in the visitor's book and clipped on her visitors badge.
"Is Ms Priestley in?"
"I haven't seen her leave," the security guard said.
"Great," Andy purposefully strode towards the elevator and then out on the correct floor and towards the Runway office.
She opened the glass door and saw Miranda sitting at her desk.
"Andrea!" Emily leapt up. "We're not expecting you."
"Miranda is," Andy swept past Emily and straight into Miranda's office.
"I said that I didn't want to be disturbed," Miranda did not look up from what she was reading.
"I'm sorry Miranda," Emily sounded hysterical. "She just barged right in, I couldn't stop her."
Miranda finally looked up and when she saw Andy she removed her glasses.
"That's fine Emily, close the door please."
"But but " Emily stuttered.
"That's all," Miranda said.
Emily left and closed the door but not before shooting Andy a terrifying glower.
"Well, I hope you have an excellent reason for bursting into my office," Miranda said coolly and got up from her desk and went to her adjoining bathroom.
"You're kidding right?" Andy followed Miranda and watched as the older woman examined her reflection in the mirror.
"No, I'm not kidding," Miranda said. "I have a meeting in five minutes," she picked up her make up bag and began taking out tubes. "You better make it fast."
Andy walked into the bathroom and put her hands on Miranda's shoulders.
"I want an explanation," Andy said. "This is crazy."
"The explanation is too long," Miranda said. "And you're not stupid. However, you have made me feel incredibly stupid and I do not respond kindly to that."
"Then give me the short version of the explanation," Andy turned Miranda to face her. "I'm all ears."
Miranda felt weak as she stared into Andy's soulful eyes but she rallied her resolve.
"Kiss me," Andy said the words before she realised what she was saying.
Miranda did not need a second invitation, without a second thought she caught Andy's lips with her own and held them there.
Andy's knees buckled but Miranda wrapped her strong arms around the young woman and pressed their bodies together. She pushed Andy against the wall and her hands tangled in Andy's hair.
The kissing was frantic and was only interrupted by Miranda's phone ringing in the other room.
"My meeting," Miranda pulled away. "You have to go."
"Not this again," Andy griped.
"No, not like that," Miranda took Andy's face in her palm. "I'll call you tonight."
Andy smiled. "OK, but you better call me."
"I promise," Miranda began to fix her make up and assemble her clothing.
"You better call me," Andy wagged her finger warningly.
"I promise," Miranda repeated.
Andy waltzed out of the office. "Goodbye, Emily. Lovely to see you again."
Emily stared after her open-mouthed.
Andy felt smug as she walked to the elevator.
Miranda was going to call her tonight, and that kiss had been wonderful. She felt like she was walking on air. It was tender and strong and spoke of feelings.
Faced with her own reflection in the mirror at the back of the lift Andy smiled but then stopped.
Her visitors badge was gone.
Andy clutched at her jacket where the badge had been.
Oh no, they would not let her leave the building without it.
She quickly hopped back out of the lift and retraced her steps.
There was no sign of the badge anywhere and in her heart Andy knew that the pass had come off in Miranda's bathroom.
She could see through the glass door that Miranda was having a meeting with Nigel and Amelia and it looked quite intense. Emily was nowhere to be seen and Marguerite was playing a game on the computer.
Taking a deep breath, Andy flung the outer door open and Marguerite looked up.
"I need to go in there," Andy jabbed her finger towards Miranda's office.
"I don't think so," Marguerite leapt up.
"I think so," Andy darted forward and opened the door. "Erm, Miranda."
"What is it?" Miranda did not look up but she pursed her lips angrily.
"I think that my visitors pass came off when I used your bathroom earlier. I can't get out of the building without it," Andy ignored the curious stares that Nigel and Amelia gave her.
"Have a look," Miranda waved her hand in the direction of the bathroom.
Andy dodged into the bathroom and spotted the visitors pass immediately lying on the floor.
"Got it!" she called victoriously.
"May I ask why she is back?" Andy heard Amelia say.
"No, you may not," Miranda said evenly.
Nigel had swivelled around in his seat to look directly at Andy.
"Nice to see you again, Andy," he said.
"You too Nigel," Andy could not disguise her sunny disposition. "Bye, bye Miranda."
Miranda did not say a word but Andy did not care; she was going to call her later.
"Just a second!" Andy called as she went to answer the impatient doorbell.
It must be a new delivery guy because they were never usually that impatient.
"I'm here," she yanked open the door.
"Yes, you are," a smooth voice said.
Before Andy stood Miranda Priestley, wearing light blue jeans, a white shirt and a black, fur collared leather jacket.
"Hi," Andy beamed. "I thought that you were going to be the Chinese delivery guy."
Miranda rolled her eyes in a 'what a surprise,' gesture.
"I'm here Miss Andy," a small Chinese man appeared on the stoop, holding two bags of food.
Miranda glanced at the two bags he was carrying then to Andy. "Do you have company?"
"No," Andy handed the money to the Chinese man and took the bags. "Thanks, Liu."
The Chinese man laughed. "Miss Andy always orders three meals; she is very skinny for a girl that eats so much."
Andy laughed at Miranda's expression that was completely disagreeing with Liu's comment.
"Come in," Andy motioned to Miranda to follow her.
They went inside and Miranda looked around, taking in Andy's dwelling.
Andy went straight to the kitchen and took down a second plate from a shelf.
"When you said you would call I didn't think you meant house call," she said.
"Are you pleased to see me?" Miranda asked.
"Of course," Andy could not keep the grin off her face.
"I wanted to see you, we have unfinished business," Miranda crossed over into the kitchen and stood close to Andy.
Miranda kissed Andy for the second time that day. It was not as frantic as earlier, it was slow and deliberate, telling of emotion behind it as though Miranda had been waiting to kiss Andy for a lifetime.
The younger woman closed her eyes and sank into the tenderness of the kiss.
Miranda's left hand brushed Andy's cheek and her right hand pressed against the small of her back, pulling Andy as close as humanly possible.
"Oh my," escaped from Andy's mouth.
"Just what I was thinking," Miranda pulled away and removed her hands from Andy's body.
Placing her hands on her hips Andy attempted to calm her racing pulse.
"I've never been kissed like that before."
"How sad," Miranda commented and picked up the plates and food and wandered into the living room.
Andy followed a moment later. "You're staying for dinner then?"
"It would be criminal if I let you eat all of this on your own."
They sat down on the sofa and Andy allowed Miranda to dish out the food.
"I like what you've done with the place."
"It's home," Andy felt a little defensive.
"I was being sincere," Miranda shrugged out of her coat.
Miranda stared at all the food. "I think that Mr Liu is right, you are skinny for a girl that eats as much as you do."
"Hey," Andy nudged Miranda's knee with her own. "I don't eat that much."
Their eyes met and they both fought the urge to kiss again.
After polishing off all of the food Miranda leaned back on the sofa. "I am going to burst."
"Me too," Andy concurred. "You probably haven't eaten that much food since 1980."
"You cheeky "
Andy laughed and began to clear away the plates.
"Can I use your bathroom?"
"Sure," Andy inclined her head towards the bathroom. "You have to go through my bedroom."
She could hear Andy cleaning the dishes as she stood in the young woman's bedroom and looked around.
It was painted deep red; there was a black four poster bed with a black throw over the duvet. Two teddy bears sat on the pillows. One held a huge heart that said 'I Love You.'
A pang of jealousy surged in Miranda's veins. Who had given that teddy bear to her girl?
She carried on walking and into the bathroom where she swilled her mouth with mouthwash and checked her teeth.
Andy had opened a bottle of wine and poured two glasses when Miranda went back to find her sitting on the sofa with her legs folded underneath her.
"Those jeans look terrific," Andy looked Miranda up and down.
"Why else would I wear them?"
"Your ass looks amazing in them."
"Thank you, Andy," Miranda dropped down on to the sofa next to her.
"Did you just call me, Andy?"
"That's your name isn't it?"
"Yes but what happened to Andrea?" Andy put on a terrible French drawl as she pronounced her own name.
An easy silence descended and Miranda reached for Andy's hand.
"I'm pleased that you've forgiven me for being a stupid old woman."
"Oh, don't talk crazy. You're not THAT old."
"Ha, ha," Miranda glared but then smiled. "At dinner I was overwhelmed by how strong my feelings were for you. It scared me."
"So you do have feelings for me?"
"I know," Miranda acknowledged.
"I don't really know what to say, except that I feel something for you too. Lord knows why but I do."
"You don't have to sound so surprised by your own feelings. I'm quite a catch you know," Miranda looked hurt.
"You're a good kisser."
"You're not so bad yourself," taking her wine glass Miranda gazed attentively at Andy. "I don't know what to do with these feelings that I have for you. I've had them for a while and I thought that they would dissipate in time but the less you were around the more I needed to see you."
"Sounds serious," Andy mused.
Miranda chewed her lower lip thoughtfully.
"I was getting out of control. Nigel finally took me out to lunch one day and forced me to tell him what was going on with me. I couldn't concentrate on anything."
Andy burst out laughing.
"Why is that funny?"
"It's funny because, I can't believe that I would have an effect like that on anyone, let alone you and it's funny because I can imagine what Nigel said. You're surrounded by beautiful, skinny, glamorous women every day but you're attracted to me."
"Oh, no. Nigel understood exactly where I was coming from."
"Yes, as did my driver."
"You would be surprised by the army of secret fans that you have."
"Then I went to see Dr Warriner and told her that I was sick. She told me that I was love sick."
Andy laughed again.
"There's nothing funny about any of this," Miranda looked serious.
"I can't deny that I am incredibly attracted to you," Andy whispered. "I don't know what you want from me though."
"What are you prepared to give?"
Andy raised her eyebrows. "I've thought about stuff."
"Stuff?" the tone was teasing.
"Yeah you know, stuff."
"Well, that's a good start. The kissing was a better start," Miranda caressed Andy's knee.
The dragon had exposed her underbelly and was frightened of what the outcome would be.
"Do you want to date?" Andy enquired.
"I think it would be difficult given my position," Miranda said heavily.
"I'm sure that we could find a way. You're very resourceful," Andy smiled.
"This is true."
"I don't think I've ever had such a civilised conversation about dating," Andy laughed and she moved closer to Miranda so she could rest her head against the older woman's shoulder. "I do have a few ground rules though."
"Firstly, nothing that's over the top. I don't want you to take me anywhere or give me anything that I couldn't afford to give you."
"Secondly, we keep everything private until we're sure what's going to happen. You're being all sweet and innocent now but I don't know whether it will last."
A strangled laugh escaped from Miranda's throat.
"Thirdly, you're not allowed to comment on my weight, eating habits or appearance at all."
"Great," Andy looked triumphant. "And I also think that if we do get serious we should spend time together with your daughters."
"Absolutely," Miranda enthused. "They're with their father right now for spring break but as soon as they come back we can spend time together."
Andy looked at Miranda with interest. "I can't believe how amenable you're being."
"Very few people have seen this side of me."
"I like it," Andy whispered. "You know that you can trust me."
She leaned in and kissed Miranda's neck gently.
Miranda groaned in pleasure. "I think we should take things slowly."
But more kissing ensued.
"I agree," Andy pulled away. "But kissing is OK."
"Kissing is very good but I'm a woman with needs and I don't know whether I will be able to stop."
Andy stood up and walked to the window. "We should stop."
Miranda joined her. "Just one more kiss before I go."
"I can't believe it," Lily said for the hundredth time that day.
"Me neither," Andy conceded.
"I mean she's a dragon," Lily looked bemused.
"Hey, that's my - girlfriend!" Andy objected.
"You look far too pleased when you say that," Lily screwed up her face. "I just can't believe it."
"Would you stop saying that," Andy was becoming exasperated.
"Well, can I meet her?" Lily clapped her hands together. "She could get us into some really, really nice places."
"Not yet," Andy said slowly. "I don't even know what's going to happen. We're just trying each other out."
"What's she like though? Is she nice to you?"
"Of course she's nice to me," Andy looked at Lily as though she had grown another head. "I wouldn't be with her if she wasn't nice to me."
"What sort of things does she do?"
"Stop it," Andy looked into her coffee mug feeling embarrassed.
There were so many lovely things that Miranda had done over the past few days. Who would have guessed that she was such a romantic?
But Andy was not ready to share them with anyone.
"Have you done the wicked deed yet?"
"What?" Lily was indignant. "It's just a question."
Andy rolled her eyes.
"Not that it's any of your business but no we haven't. Not yet."
"Wow, I would have given her more credit than that."
Andy crumpled an empty sugar wrapper in her hand and threw it at her friend.
Miranda was disturbed by Marguerite.
"It's Dr Warriner for you," Marguerite said.
"Put her through, please," Miranda said.
"Marguerite," Miranda snapped.
"Sorry," the young woman hit the transfer button on the phone but then stared at it in amazement.
"What's the matter?" Emily asked.
"She said please."
Emily rolled her eyes.
"Emily! Close my door!" Miranda called.
Emily got up. "You've annoyed her now," she hissed to Marguerite.
"So, Young Blood, how's the menopause?" Geraldine's jovial voice sounded down the line.
"You were right it wasn't the menopause at all," Miranda turned away from the front of her office so her assistants could not see the smile that spread across her face. "I took her out to dinner."
"Well, that was a disaster but I managed to sort it out," Miranda laughed. "I can't stop thinking about her, Geraldine. What does that mean?"
"As much as it pains me to say it I think it means that you're in love."
"That's what I feared," Miranda admitted.
"So what have you guys been doing?"
"Just dating, I don't want to scare her away. Although if I don't get her clothes off her soon I think I will combust," Miranda laughed again.
"You certainly sound happy," Geraldine commented.
"I am," Miranda was surprised that she was.
"Good, well I have to go. I have a patient in five minutes and she's very attractive so I want to fix my make up."
"Go for it," Miranda encouraged.
"If Andy has any young attractive friends you can introduce me to I would appreciate it."
"I'll be sure to ask her," Miranda joked.
As she hung up the phone Miranda leaned back in her chair.
She wanted to get Andy something but did not want to break the 'over the top' rule that Andy had lain down.
What could she get her?
She buzzed Emily in.
"I have a very special task for you, Emily."
They both knew that tonight was the night.
They had been dancing around one another for weeks, fighting each other off when either of them became amorous. Sticking to their pact to take things slowly had been achievable but slowly the passion had built up and the desire was spilling over into other areas of their lives. Miranda had run for nearly an hour and a half on her treadmill and that had never been heard of before. Forty minutes was the maximum.
Andy had never been so certain that she wanted to make love to someone.
They had shared stolen kisses in the back of the car.
Miranda had even written her a beautiful letter and posted it to Andy's home address. It was all so romantic that Andy felt like she was in Dawson's Creek without any of it seeming cheesy.
Miranda had forced herself to hold back. Being older and wiser she was very comfortable with sex, with her own body and other people's but she was unsure how Andy would feel about seeing a woman of her age, naked.
In her apartment Andy slipped on her new underwear and twirled around looking at her body in the mirror.
"Well, you may not be a size zero but you look pretty darn hot," she told her reflection.
Andy put on her Mac and caught a cab to Miranda's home.
The door opened as she walked up the steps and Miranda was standing in front of her grinning like an idiot.
"Are those Chanel boots?" Miranda's keen eye missed nothing.
"They certainly are," Andy stepped over the threshold and closed the door behind her.
"Can I take your coat?" Miranda asked.
Slowly, Andy undid the belt of her Mac and slid it seductively from her shoulders to reveal the straps of her deep blue bra.
Allowing the coat to fall to the floor she feigned surprise. "Well, would you look at that? I forgot to put clothes on."
Miranda could not drag her eyes away from Andy's ass. "How careless of you."
Andy looked seductively over her shoulder at Miranda and then began walking up the stairs.
"Aren't you coming?"
She knew the way to Miranda's bedroom and once there she realised that Miranda had clearly had the same idea that she had.
Candles filled the room and soft music played.
Andy felt her heart melt but when she heard Miranda enter the room she turned and put her hands on her hips.
"You look beautiful in that dress," Andy said.
The black dress was short but stylish and sexy.
"I think I would like you to take it off."
Miranda remained still.
"Take it off," Andy purred.
Still Miranda did not move.
"You're staring," Andy smiled alluringly.
"I can't help it," Miranda muttered. "I don't think I've ever seen anything as wonderful and sexy as you look right now."
She closed the space between them and reached behind Miranda and pulled down the zip on the dress.
It immediately fell to the floor.
"Very, very nice," Andy fingered the lacy, red material of Miranda's bra, as she looked down she saw that Miranda was wearing stockings.
"I like these," she reached down and ran her hand over the stockings.
"I thought you could peel them off," Miranda whispered as she put her hands on Andy's hips.
"It would be my pleasure," Andy kissed Miranda's collar bone and then up to her neck. "You look amazing," she traced her fingers up Miranda's back.
"You don't look so bad yourself," Miranda smiled.
Andy locked her lips with Miranda's and then pushed her back on to the bed and made to straddle her but Miranda sat up.
"What? You're not going to make me wear a condom are you?" Andy joked.
Miranda narrowed her eyes but then smiled. "Not unless there's something that you want to tell me," she slid her hand between Andy's legs. "I thought that we could combine this with one of your other favourite activities."
"Horse riding?" Andy raised her eyebrows.
A laugh escaped from Miranda and she pointed to the night stand.
There was a pot of melted chocolate with a paintbrush lying beside it.
"Well, well," Andy smirked. "You certainly do know how to please a woman."
Miranda began moving her fingers that were still cupping Andy between the legs.
"Oh," Andy gasped and gripped Miranda's shoulder to steady her balance.
Gentle kisses were placed against her abdomen but Andy pulled away.
"You know that you're the Titan of the fashion world?"
"Yes," Miranda drawled.
"Well, I am going to be the Titan of our bedroom."
"This room, for this evening."
"I like it when you call it our bedroom."
Andy pushed Miranda back on to the bed and climbed on top of her.
"You're not allowed to touch me," she pinned Miranda's arms down.
"What?" Miranda wailed.
"You can't touch me until I'm finished with you. I want you to lie back and relax," Andy stepped back and took hold of Miranda's stockings on both legs.
With one, strong, swift motion she tore them off.
Miranda shuddered and then felt Andy's mouth at her right ankle. It sensually worked its way up her calf muscle and to her knee. Every so often Andy's tongue would leave a trail of wetness. The lips were soft against Miranda's skin. The sensation was like nothing Miranda had known before.
She closed her eyes and let out a soft groan of pleasure.
Andy's mouth reached the join at her thigh and hip and Miranda felt teeth dig into her skin.
"Mmm," she bucked slightly.
Another bite and the same response.
Strong fingers pulled the waistband of the underwear she was wearing.
Miranda writhed; this was going to be torturous.
Suddenly, the pressure of Andy was gone and Miranda's eyes flew open.
"Where did you go?"
"I'm looking for something," Andy's voice sounded far away but then she returned holding a black silk scarf. "I'm going to blindfold you."
A moment later Miranda was in a world of darkness.
"You are so sexy," Andy whispered in Miranda's ear. "I'm going to make love to you."
"Then I'm going to fuck you hard."
Andy unclasped Miranda's bra and tossed the garment to one side.
She looked down at Miranda's body; it was in fantastic shape, tight and strong, with perfect white skin.
She traced her fingers over ribs and down to a firm, taut stomach.
The hunger and desperation was overwhelming but Andy took her time.
She placed her mouth against the outside of Miranda's underwear and moistened it with her tongue, then snatched it down Miranda's legs and dropped the underwear on the floor.
She straddled Miranda and took her breasts in her hands, feeling the fullness of them made Andy giddy. She snuck a peak at Miranda's pussy and allowed her fingers to rub the small patch of hair that was there.
This achieved a whimper from Miranda. "Are you teasing me?"
"Do you trust me?" Andy's mouth was very close to Miranda's.
Deep kissing ensued and it was not long before Miranda moved her hands.
"No," Andy pinned them back down on the bed. "You know that's not allowed."
Andy reached for the pot of warm, melted chocolate and dipped the paint brush.
With a grin she painted over Miranda's nipple on her right breast. The warm chocolate made it peak but when Andy captured the peak in her mouth Miranda thought she was going to die of pleasure.
Andy repeated the act with the other breast and Miranda's hand became tousled in Andy's hair.
"I said, no," Andy pushed Miranda's hand down on the bed. "Am I going to have to tie your hands?"
With an irritated sigh Miranda admitted defeat and put her hands behind her head.
"That's better," Andy painted Miranda's body with swirls and used her tongue to lick away the delicious chocolate. She used laboured, sensual motions with her tongue and every so often used her fingers in sensitive places that Miranda did not know existed on her own body.
Then everything happened very quickly.
Andy put her mouth to Miranda's pussy and as soon as she heard Miranda's response and felt her body arch she could not stop licking and caressing. She put her fingers inside of Miranda and curled them.
Miranda tasted so good and the moisture enveloped Andy's mouth and chin and Andy did not stop until Miranda screamed with orgasm and every last shock from it had ebbed away.
Miranda whimpered with gratification. "That was so incredible."
"It was," Andy agreed she moved up the bed and snuggled against Miranda.
"How where did you learn to do that?" Miranda looked a little disorientated.
"I should have told you that it makes me sleepy," Miranda confessed.
"Don't worry," Andy kissed Miranda's torso. "You can sleep, we have all night."
But a few moments later it was Andy that had fallen asleep and Miranda lay next to her and watched her breathing rhythmically.
Andy awoke and immediately knew that she was in an unfamiliar bed.
The blankets smelled different to hers and only part of her body was covered with sheets.
She moved her leg to get it into the warmth of the sheets but it felt sticky.
She sat up and looked at her thigh.
Written in chocolate were the words, "I LOVE YOU."
Andy smiled and instead of going back to sleep she got up and wrapped the sheet around her. She noticed her Chanel boots lying on the floor and realised that Miranda had removed them, this received another smile.
"Miranda!" she called.
"In here," Miranda called back.
Andy followed the voice and found Miranda in the den.
"Hey," Andy greeted.
"Hello sleepy head," Miranda put down the book she was reading and adjusted her robe.
"Do you know who is responsible for this?" Andy whipped back the sheet to reveal the chocolate writing.
Miranda tried to look nonchalant but failed.
Andy went to her and the older woman pulled her down so she was sitting on her knee.
"I'm sorry that I fell asleep," Andy rested her head against Miranda's shoulder.
"Don't worry," Miranda said softly.
"I like the way you look without your make up on," Andy whispered. "You are stunning."
Miranda nuzzled against Andy's neck.
"What time is it?" Andy asked.
"It's about four in the morning."
"We have time for round two," Andy pulled back to look at Miranda.
"I do believe that it's my turn to be in charge," Miranda smiled playfully.
"Should I be scared?" Andy joked.
"I think you should," Miranda scooped Andy up into her arms with hidden strength.
Andy squealed and Miranda righted her to her feet.
"Do you really love me?" Andy whispered.
Miranda swallowed hard. "You want me to actually say it?"
Andy dropped the sheet that was hiding her naked body and wrapped her arms around Miranda's neck.
"I don't want you to say it if it's not true."
"It is true," Miranda said slowly and pressed the palms of her hands against Andy's naked flesh.
Andy smiled lazily at Miranda and then kissed her. "Take me to bed Ms Priestley."
In the few years that Andy had been having sex she did not think that she had ever been so well attended to.
Oh the boys had tried but Miranda had turned making love into an art form as she did with everything. The past two months had been fantastic and Andy knew that things were going to get serious. She felt it in her heart and good sense told her so.
She had spent time with Miranda when the girls were there and Miranda had not hidden her affection for Andy. She was going to tell the girls the situation when they came back from spending the week with their father.
Everything was going well and the secrecy made it a little more exciting.
Andy was satisfied.
As a matter of fact she was fully satisfied with everything.
Except the fact that she had to leave Miranda that morning because work beckoned.
Sitting at her desk looking around at everyone working frantically Andy could not stop smiling.
It could have been the exquisite orgasms that she had the night before, well it was that morning if she were to be specific.
Or it could be the fact that after work that evening Miranda was going to take her out to dinner with Dr Warriner and a friend of Dr Warriner's.
It was their first step towards acknowledging that they were a couple.
"What are you looking so happy about?" Reynolds snapped as he sat at his desk.
"Nothing," Andy said and turned her attention and her smile back to the computer screen.
She knew from his voice that this was going to lead to 'The Talk.'
"Yes?" she tried to look as innocent as possible but failed miserably.
"I we haven't been out in a while. I really thought that we were going to you know."
"I don't know, start dating or something like that," he said weakly.
Andy felt a stab of guilt. "Carl "
"Whoa, I know that it's not good news if you're calling me Carl. I get it," he busied himself looking through some papers.
"I'm sorry," Andy said softly.
"Hey, forget it," he said without the dispassion that was meant to go with the comment.
"I didn't want to hurt you in any way," Andy whispered.
"You haven't," his eyes were sad. "I understand. You don't want to date anyone right now."
"Um " was out of Andy's mouth before she thought about it.
"Are you dating someone else?" Reynolds looked incredulous.
"No!" but Andy knew it was too late; he was on to the trail.
"You are!" now he looked devastated. "Am I allowed to ask who?"
"There isn't anyone else," but Andy knew she was a terrible liar.
"Wow, you really are a dark horse."
"Hey!" Andy snapped. "We weren't even dating. That night that you kissed me I was going to tell you that nothing could happen between us but you were so presumptuous I didn't want to burst your bubble."
"Gee thanks, I love the fact that you pity me while you were off knobbing some other bloke!" Reynolds hissed.
"How dare you!" Andy spluttered.
"Hey!" a loud voice shouted. "Lois Lane, Clarke Kent, get in my office."
Andy narrowed her eyes and glared at Reynolds. "See what you've done. Ed wants in on the action now."
"Whatever," Reynolds got up from his desk and stomped to Ed's office.
"The cheeky bastard!"
Andy was relieved by Lily's reaction, she had thought at first she had been unkind to Reynolds but now that Lily confirmed he was in fact 'a cheeky bastard,' Andy felt better.
"I know," Andy muttered into her phone. "I was furious."
"I don't blame you," Lily was eating and her words muffled. "What you doing now?"
"Waiting for Miranda and her driver to pick me up to go to dinner."
"Ooooh, that's very out of you," Lily teased.
"I know," Andy muttered.
"Are you OK?"
"Yeah, I just didn't want to upset him, you know. And now that he thinks that I'm seeing someone else it's going to be hell. He is a reporter after all."
"Just tell him to mind his own business," Lily munched her food. "You can date whoever you want; one stupid kiss doesn't mean that you're married to the guy."
"We know that," Andy said. "I have to go, the car just pulled up."
"Have a good night; call me when you get home."
"I will," Andy hung up the phone and headed outside to the comforting arms of Miranda.
Reynolds was whistling and swinging a bagel bag as he walked around the corner.
He recognised the Mercedes immediately, he saw Andy come down the steps of her apartment and get into the car.
He fell back against the wall and watched with interest as Andy leaned over and was met halfway by a grey haired head that kissed her on the mouth.
"It's Miranda Fucking Priestley," he muttered to no one. "I don't believe it."
Andy was sitting at the dinner table with Dr Warriner, her date that was a stunning model that Andy recognised from Miranda's party called Orana, and Miranda.
"Would you like me to get him sacked?" Miranda asked seriously when Andy finished regaling the Reynolds tale to the enraptured company.
Andy laughed. "You can't do that. You have no clout with my Editor."
"Who knows how far my reach stretches," Miranda said airily.
"You're scaring me," Andy screwed up her face in concern. "I don't want him sacked. I just think that there's trouble brewing."
"Well," Dr Warriner smiled. "He better not mess with Miranda Priestley."
"That's what I'm afraid of," Andy muttered.
"Did he think that you and he were an item?" Orana asked.
"I think he thought that we were going to be," Andy sighed. "But who thinks that after a slice of pizza, a coffee and a stolen kiss?" Andy emphasised the word 'stolen' for Miranda's benefit.
"What's the worst he could do?" Dr Warriner asked.
"Dr Warriner, clearly you don't know what journalists are like," Andy laughed.
"Oh, I have an idea and please, call me Geraldine."
"OK, but honestly, Geraldine, try to imagine what a scandal this would be," Andy shook her head and looked at Miranda who gazed back.
"I'm not worried about a scandal," Miranda said. "Why would I be? The tabloids have already vilified me; this might turn out to be good for my image."
Andy knew that she was only joking but all that Andy could think about were her parent's back home reading in the newspapers that their little girl was dating the Devil of the fashion world.
"Oh Lord," Andy put her head in her hands and then straightened up trying to compose herself. "It's all fine, we can just deny everything."
"You've taken it to the worst extreme before anything has happened," Geraldine said quietly. "Just relax and let's have a nice dinner."
"I'm sorry," Andy said quickly. "You're right of course."
Miranda raised her menu and scanned it then scanned Andy. "You really are worried aren't you?"
"Not for tonight."
The Mercedes stopped outside Andy's house.
"I'll see you at the weekend then," Miranda looked sad as she spoke.
"It's only two days," Andy said.
"I know but it seems like a long time," Miranda sighed.
"You'll be in California, you won't even miss me," Andy tried to make light of the situation.
Miranda raised a sceptical eyebrow.
"It will be fine," Andy leaned over and kissed Miranda.
It was a lingering kiss on the lips, to remind her of what she would be missing while she was in California.
"You could always come with me," Miranda said when she got her breath back. "Skip work and come with me."
"No, I couldn't," Andy laughed. "Call me, OK?"
"Whenever I can," Miranda promised.
Andy got out of the car and stood and watched until it turned the corner at the end of her street.
Andy turned. "Reynolds," she could not hide her surprise.
"You and the Dragon Lady," he gestured in a feigned, impressed sort of way.
"What are you talking about?" Andy started up the steps to her front door.
"You know exactly what I'm talking about," Reynolds sneered. "I've got to hand it to you. You're a darker horse than I thought."
"You've got it all wrong!" Andy said.
"Oh have I? Well then do explain it to me because I didn't realise that she was your new BFF," Reynolds laughed spitefully.
"Just let it go, OK?" Andy said.
"I thought you just said that there's nothing to let go," Reynolds countered. "I can't believe that you're a closet case."
Andy took a deep breath then went right up to his face.
"Carl, listen to me very carefully. You don't want to mess with Miranda Priestley. If you go spreading rumours nothing good will come of it."
"Are you threatening me? Or is Miranda threatening me via you?"
"I'm not threatening you, Carl. I'm just stating a fact."
"I'll take my chances," he pulled a digital camera out of his jacket pocket. "And I have the evidence of your lingering, goodbye kiss right here."
Andy felt her cheeks flush with rage.
"Be very careful," she warned.
"You know what," Reynolds began to walk away but still faced her. "I can't believe that I was ever into you and that I came here to apologise for my behaviour towards you."
"I can't believe it either," Andy said and turned and went into her apartment.
She closed the door and leaned against it. "Shit, shit, shit."
She pulled out her cell phone and called Miranda. There was going to be hell to pay. But who was going to pay the most?
"Yes, Andy is very sick Mr Hetherton, she won't be at work today and I don't know when she will be back," Lily had always been a good liar. "Yes, I'll be sure to ask her to call you when she gets out of bed. You take care now, goodbye."
"Thank you," Andy looked up at Lily with a tear stained face. "Did he sound suspicious?"
"Nope," Lily tossed the phone on to the coffee table and sat down next to her friend. "Perhaps Miranda has managed to sort it all out after all."
"No," Andy shook her head. "Even if the Mirror was loyal to me and refused to print the photograph and some cock and bull story, there are other newspapers that would snap it up. Besides, I reckon that Reynolds will send it to a newspaper anonymously, or as a freelancer so that it can't be traced back to him."
"You weren't to know that he was watching," Lily said. "Why was he here anyway?"
"He said that he had come to apologise for his behaviour."
"Oh well, what did Miranda say?"
"She said that she would make a few calls and that we could sort it out when she gets back from California."
"So, you're just going to hide in here until this all blows over?"
"That's my plan."
"Good plan," Lily said sarcastically.
"Well, what else can I do?"
"Let's go find this Reynolds kid and kick his ass."
Andy rolled her eyes.
"Imagine what people will say. They'll never believe it."
"Oh really?" Andy muttered. "I hadn't thought of that."
"Your mom will freak out."
"Did you come here to help or to make me feel worse?" Andy asked.
"Sorry," Lily said quickly.
"I feel like a prisoner on death row," Andy said.
"That's a bit dramatic."
"You do know that this will be in the afternoon edition of whatever paper Reynolds sold that picture to?"
"How do you even know he had a picture?"
"Why would he lie?"
"Maybe he's just a jerk. If he really did like you then he shouldn't do anything with that picture. He should just delete it and forget about everything."
"I don't think that there's any good will left in the world any more," Andy was rueful.
The silence was disrupted by Andy's cell phone ringing.
She picked up the phone and looked at the number. It was not a number that she recognised.
"Is this Andy Sachs?"
"Who is this?"
"I'm Heidi Carlton from The Tribune. I was wondering if you have any comment on the breaking news that you're involved in a lesbian relationship with Miranda Priestley."
"Sure, I have a comment?"
"Yeah, no comment," Andy disconnected the call.
"Who was that?" Lily's face was scrunched up with worry.
"The Tribune," Andy said brusquely. "Wanting to know if I have any comment about my lesbian relationship with Miranda Priestley."
"It's started," Andy said woefully.
Miranda had called Andy as soon as she was in her car in California.
"The bloody Vultures ambushed me at the airport," were the exact words she had used. "I'm sending Geraldine to get you."
Geraldine had arrived an hour later and Andy had run out of the house with an overnight bag, jumped in the car and they sped off to Geraldine's home.
Andy was relieved to see that there were walls around the house and a sophisticated security system. No paparazzi would be getting in here, at least not legally.
Orana was standing waiting for them when they arrived and she hugged Andy tightly.
"Miranda is on the first plane back to New York. Come through and have a nip of Gin, it will make you feel better," she put her arm around Andy's shoulders and led her into the den.
A loud ringing came from Andy's bag and she fumbled for her cell phone.
"Oh shit, it's my mother," she looked up at Geraldine. "She must have heard."
"Answer it," Geraldine encouraged.
Andy took a steadying breath. "Hi, Mom."
"Andrea, what's all this nonsense in the papers and on television about you and that awful woman?"
"It's been on television?" Andy looked to Orana and Geraldine who both nodded.
"Oh God," Andy sank into a heap. "Listen mom, it's not the way that the media are "
"Andrea, I hope that there's not a grain of truth in this."
"Is there?" her mother asked uncertainly.
"Yes, it's true."
"You're seeing that older woman?"
"Yes," Andy said defiantly. "But that's not the official statement and you're not to say anything to anyone."
"I certainly will not be spreading news of that sort around!"
"Good," Andy said weakly.
"Andrea," her mother sounded defeated all of a sudden. "Where did this come from? What about Nate?"
"Mom, I can't talk about this now," Andy was tearful. "Just don't tell anyone and don't let dad say anything to anyone. Miranda has people that handle this sort of thing."
"Andrea," her mother began.
"Please mom," Andy begged. "I'll call you later."
Her mother hung up and Geraldine helped Andy to her feet. "Come on my girl," she said with gusto. "Let's settle you down with a Gin and a blanket."
Andy awoke to someone gently stroking her forehead.
"Hi beautiful," Miranda whispered.
"You're here," Andy sat up and wrapped her arms around Miranda and clung on tightly.
"Just, I don't know how they knew I was coming back but the paparazzi were waiting at the airport. I told Reggie to run them over and I would get him the best lawyer in New York," Miranda smiled. "I'm sorry that you've been dragged into this."
"My mother rang," Andy blurted out.
"I told her that we were seeing each other."
Miranda nodded slowly. "I've managed to speak with the girls. Their father was less than happy, to say the least. He wants to keep them an extra few days until this dies down. I agreed."
"Do the girls understand?"
"Yes," Miranda said simply. "They both said that they already knew."
"I am their mother."
"What about your mother?"
"Oh God," Andy rubbed her forehead. "She's probably called my Aunt Alice to verbally bash me."
"I've already got my people working on how we're going to play this out."
"You make it sound like a game," Andy looked up sharply. "My feelings aren't a game."
"Mine neither," Miranda said. "But the media is a circus. We have to be prepared."
"Prepared for what; an interview with Oprah?" Andy was angry and pushed Miranda away.
"That's not what I mean," Miranda reached for Andy as she stood up and walked away.
"Then what do you mean? We're going to call a nice little press conference, make an announcement of our engagement?"
"I didn't know I had proposed," Miranda joked.
"This isn't funny!" Andy yelled.
"I know," Miranda stood up and went to her. "You're overwrought."
"I am not overwrought!" Andy gasped.
"Let me deal with the media, I'm used to it. Two divorces remember?"
"Yes, I remember," Andy folded her arms.
"Hi kids," Geraldine walked into the room. "Your friend is here."
Lily walked into the room wearing a look of wonder and she gawped at the glamorous house.
"Hi," Andy went to Lily and hugged her.
"You OK?" Lily asked.
"I think so," Andy turned to Miranda. "This is Lily my best friend."
"It's nice to meet you Lily," Miranda was positively sweet and even Andy could not hide her surprise.
"You too," Lily shook Miranda's hand. "I've heard a lot of nice things about you."
Miranda laughed. "It's a shame that we have to meet under these circumstances."
"Yes," Lily agreed. "What's the latest?"
"My mother called," Andy flung herself down on to the sofa.
"Can I get anyone a drink?" Orana walked into the room with a radiant smile.
"Wow!" Lily exclaimed. "You're Orana Godwin."
"Yes," Orana smiled. "You must be Lily."
"I am," Lily nodded fervently.
"It's nice to meet you; can I get you a drink?"
"Why don't we all go and get drinks and let Andy and Miranda have a chat," Geraldine slid her arm around Orana and Lily's shoulders and led them away.
"What do you want me to do?" Miranda went to Andy and wrapped her arms around her.
"I don't know," Andy whispered. "I just want things to go back to normal."
"That isn't going to happen," Miranda said softly. "But I am prepared to stand up and tell the world that I have feelings for you."
"Well I can't tell them that I'm in love with you. That would be far too over the top," Miranda squeezed Andy's body against her own.
"I haven't told you that I love you," Andy muttered.
"Does that bother you?"
"It's early days."
"Do you want to sleep on it and then I can call my Publicist in the morning?"
"No, let's give a statement tonight," Andy looked up at Miranda's face that was filled with love. "We have a right to be happy. If we sneak about and pretend that we're ashamed then they will make more fuss. If we're honest and show how boring we really are the story will die down eventually."
"That's my girl," Miranda kissed Andy's forehead. "I'll make a man out of you yet."
Andy strode into her office carrying an empty cardboard box.
People looked at her with interest and Ed approached her immediately.
"Sachs, what are you doing?"
"I've come to clear my desk."
"Haven't you read the newspapers lately?"
"Yes but "
"Do you know who supplied the photograph and story to The Tribune?" Andy raged.
Ed shook his head.
"Reynolds," Andy said and put notebooks and nick knacks into her box.
"Reynolds?" Ed looked horrified.
"Yes," Andy picked up the box.
"I'm sorry, Andy," Ed squeezed her shoulder. "But there's no reason for you to quit. No one in this office will say anything to you. I'll make certain of that."
"How can I work here?"
"You'll have to work somewhere," Ed said reasonably. "Why not here where your friends are?"
"What about Reynolds?"
"He quit two days ago."
"No, he's gone to The Tribune."
"My thoughts exactly, so if you still want your job it's here for you. Get that box unpacked and get to work. They're trying to close that school on Sycamore. Get over there and get some details," Ed spun around. "As for the rest of you, you obviously haven't got enough work to do if you're gawking."
There was a flurry of activity.
"Thank you," Andy mouthed to Ed.
He gave her a wink as Andy unpacked her box.
"What time are your parents arriving?" Miranda asked as she stacked gifts beneath the Christmas tree.
"Their plane gets in at 9.30pm."
"OK," Miranda looked around frantically. "I think that we have everything ready."
"Relax," Andy soothed Miranda. "It's going to be fine."
"We've only been together for eight months," Miranda rambled. "Don't you think it's a little soon for them to be coming for Christmas and " Miranda began to pace but Andy caught hold of her.
"Please relax. It will be a little strange at first but everything will be fine."
Miranda embraced Andy. "I'm sorry."
Andy rubbed her hand soothingly on Miranda's back.
"Can I give you a gift before your parents get here?"
"Ooh," Andy pulled away and looked excited. "I love gifts, so yes."
Miranda went to the Christmas tree and picked up a small Tiffany's box. She led Andy to the sofa and sat down, tugging Andy down next to her.
"Andy, you have made me so happy, even before we were a couple I didn't realise how content you made me.
"Miranda," Andy looked embarrassed.
"You know that I'm not one for being all sentimental but I need to tell you that I love you," Miranda handed the box to Andy.
Andy took the box but looked at Miranda intently. "I love you."
Miranda's face broke into a smile. "That's the first time you've told me that."
"It's not the first time that I felt it," Andy looked down at the box that she was holding. "I wanted to be sure that we were going to last before I said it."
"Open it," Miranda nodded towards the box.
Andy opened the box to reveal a beautiful Lucida diamond ring.
"Miranda," Andy gasped.
"If you don't like it I can take it back."
"I love it," Andy whispered.
She took the ring out of the box and looked at it, wondering which finger to put it on.
She looked quizzically at Miranda.
"What does this mean, Miranda?"
Miranda flushed slightly. "It means it means whatever you want it to mean."
Andy hid her disappointment poorly and Miranda noticed.
"It's a ring, Andy."
"I know but "
"Andy, if you want it to be a ring of symbolism then it can be."
Andy looked at the ring then up at Miranda then held it out to her partner.
"Ask me," Andy said.
Miranda took the ring and sighed but she was smiling.
Andy raised her eyebrows.
Miranda got down on one knee.
Andy could not believe it as Miranda took her left hand.
"Andrea, you are beautiful, talented, wonderful and the most giving person that I have ever known. You have forced me to be true to myself and I can't imagine what my life would be like without you. Will you please accept this ring as a symbol of my commitment to you and our future together?"
Andy felt tears forming. "Yes, I accept," she laughed as Miranda slid the ring on to her wedding finger.
Miranda kissed Andy's hand then Andy pushed her on to the floor and climbed on top of her.
"You weigh a tonne, we need to get you on a diet," Miranda moaned.
"Hey, just because we're getting married doesn't mean that you can start on that," Andy poked Miranda hard in the belly.
They kissed and rolled around giggling like children.
"You should go and get your parents," Miranda said after a while.
"You're right," Andy got up and straightened her clothes and ran her fingers through her long glossy hair.
"I need to get dressed to meet the parents," Miranda allowed Andy to pull her to her feet. "I don't have much time."
"You will look fantastic, you've got impeccable taste," Andy grinned.
Miranda looked her up and down. "I know."
Mrs Sachs noticed the ring immediately.
Andy was certain that was the first thing Mrs Sachs looked for, as though to benchmark how serious this relationship actually was.
She had gone berserk after Miranda's press release. Andy had been amazed by how frank Miranda had been but Mrs Sachs was less than impressed.
The entire journey Mrs Sachs went on and on about Miranda and what she could possibly want with a young girl like Andy.
Every so often Reggie would shoot Andy a supportive glance.
When they pulled up at Miranda's house Mrs Sachs let out a gasp.
"This is where you're living now?"
"Yes," Andy got out of the car and Reggie got out to and opened the door for Mrs Sachs.
"This is far too swanky," Mrs Sachs muttered.
Andy sighed as she helped Reggie with the bags.
Suddenly, the front door opened and Miranda appeared.
Reggie and Andy carried the bags up the steps and into the house.
"Come on mom," Andy encouraged. "Dad."
Her parents followed her.
"Miranda, this is my mother Dinah, and my father Tom. Mom, dad this is Miranda."
Mrs Sachs gave a tight smile. "Hello."
"It's nice to meet you, Miranda," Mr Sachs shook Miranda's hand but looked a little in awe.
"Please, come in," Miranda said. "How was your flight?"
"It was fine," Mrs Sachs stepped over the threshold and into the lobby that was bigger than the Sachs's home.
Miranda turned to Reggie as the maid appeared. "Thank you, Reg. You can go home now," she slipped an envelope into his blazer pocket. "Have a lovely Christmas."
"Thank you Ms Priestley," Reggie said.
"Anna," Miranda said to the maid. "Can you take the bags upstairs please and then you can leave?"
The maid's face lit up. "I'm supposed to be here until midnight."
"You can go," Miranda repeated. "It's fine."
Andy shook her head as she handed the cases to Anna. There was no way her mother would be impressed by that.
"Come through," Miranda said. "I'll take your coats and then I'll get you a drink."
Andy could see her mother taking in everything as she handed Miranda her coat; the décor, the size of the house, the different pleasant smells.
"It must be difficult to keep this place clean," Mrs Sachs said.
"I have a lot of help," Miranda smiled graciously.
"Where are your children?" Mrs Sachs asked pointedly.
"They're spending Christmas with their father this year. We work on a fortnightly basis, they live with me for two weeks and then they live with him for two weeks. I will be going to visit them on Christmas day, in the afternoon."
"Ah," Mrs Sachs nodded but Andy recognised the look on her face. "And this tooing and froing for the girls. It must be a bit unsettling for them."
"My girls are very well adjusted," Miranda said placidly. "They like it this way."
Mrs Sachs did not look convinced.
"Drink?" Miranda asked.
"A Scotch for me please, Miranda," Mr Sachs sat down on the sofa and relaxed.
"Mom, Miranda bought your favourite " Andy began.
"Children should have a stable, normal home," Mrs Sachs stated. "With two parents that love them."
"Mom!" Andy exclaimed.
"I'm just saying," Mrs Sachs sat down next to her husband.
"My children have better than that. They have two stable homes, with people that love them very much in both places."
"And what do you think they will make of the ring that you have precariously placed on my daughter's finger?"
"They will be happy," Miranda said as she poured a Scotch for Mr Sachs. "I don't understand why you use the term 'precariously.'"
"I use that term because I don't believe for one minute that this is a stable relationship," Mrs Sachs narrowed her eyes dangerously.
"OK," Andy jumped into the middle of the feuding women. "Mom, have you been drinking on the plane? What's going on with you?"
"No, I have not been drinking!"
"It's OK, Andy. I had thought we could at least have a drink before the onslaught began but we might as well get it out of the way now," Miranda walked to Mr Sachs and gave him his drink.
"You are going a little over the top, Dinah," Mr Sachs received his drink with a smile.
"You would say that, laid back to a fault. That's where your daughter gets it from!" Mrs Sachs stood up so she was eyeball to eyeball with Miranda.
"Mrs Sachs " Miranda started but was cut off.
"I don't have a problem with the fact that Andy is with a woman," Mrs Sachs clarified. "I have a problem with the woman that she's with."
"Clearly," Miranda said.
"I don't understand why you would want to be with Andy, she's nothing like you at all. She doesn't belong in your world, she's smart and talented and caring. You are "
"That's enough!" Miranda suddenly barked and Mrs Sachs took a step back. "If you need to ask me why I am attracted to your daughter, then you clearly do not know your daughter at all. I know what you think about me, I'm sure that you've read the papers. You've probably even Googled me."
Mrs Sachs blushed at this and Andy realised it was true.
"But the fact remains that I've given Andy a ring as an indication of my commitment to her. If you don't like that then I'm very sorry but I can tell you that I have nothing but good intentions for your daughter. I know that there is an age gap but many older men get away with dating younger women. It's a growing phenomenon," Miranda paused for breath. "Now, if you would excuse me, I'm going to my study. I'm sure Andy can fix you a drink."
Andy watched open-mouthed as Miranda left the room.
"Mom, why did you have to do that?" Andy wailed.
"Because because you're too good for her," Mrs Sachs blustered.
"You haven't even given her a chance," Andy said sadly. "I have to go and talk to her."
Mrs Sachs sighed. "I'll go."
"No," Andy said. "I don't think you should."
"I won't do anything terrible. Where's the study?"
Andy looked at her father who shrugged his shoulders.
"It's up the stairs to the left, third door."
"Right," Mrs Sachs set off.
She reached the third door on the left and knocked lightly.
Mrs Sachs opened the door and went in.
"I really don't feel up to round two," Miranda took her glasses off and rubbed her eyes tiredly.
"I haven't come for that," Mrs Sachs motioned to a seat next to Miranda. "May I?"
Miranda waved her hand in consent.
"I didn't mean to come here with all guns blazing," Mrs Sachs began. "Can we talk mother to mother?"
"You have to understand that I'm very far away. I only get told snippets of what is happening and that's only when Andy feels like sharing. She raves on and on about her job but it's as though she wants to keep you all to herself. She was never like that when she had boyfriends. With you it's different and that's why I know she's so serious about you."
Miranda felt a pang of sympathy for the woman.
"It scares me that you've catapulted her into this world, being in the media spotlight, hanging out with these Hollywood types that are involved with drugs and goodness knows what else. I worry for her."
"I understand," Miranda acknowledged.
"You've had two failed marriages."
"My husband's were nothing like Andy. They wanted a stay at home wife that didn't want a career. I was not raised to be that way and I know that you haven't raised Andy to be that way either."
"You have a high profile job and you work with all of those gorgeous models, what happens if one of them catches your eye? Where does that leave my daughter?"
"Mrs Sachs, let me assure you. I see models in the same way that a teacher sees a textbook. They are part of my job and have their use but at the end of the day you don't want to come home and look at one."
Mrs Sachs smiled. "I don't know what to think. It's all been a shock and when we had those awful photographers camped out on our front lawn it was a nightmare."
"I apologise for that," Miranda said. "It can't have been pleasant for you."
"It wasn't," Mrs Sachs agreed. "But at least it's over now. Of course when you announce the wedding it will all start again."
"I don't think there's any danger of a wedding announcement," Miranda said hurriedly.
"Aren't you going to have a Civil Ceremony or something?"
"I don't know," Miranda answered truthfully. "We haven't had time to discuss it and it's still very early on in the relationship."
A brief silence hung in the air.
"I didn't mean to personally attack you so I hope that you can accept my apology. It is nothing to do with me how you raise your children. Lord knows they're fortunate that they have two parents that love them."
"Actually, they have four parents that love them, including Andy," Miranda smiled.
"My daughter is still young," Mrs Sachs said.
"I know and I will never stifle her but if she ever left me I could never replace her," Miranda looked at Mrs Sachs so soulfully that Mrs Sachs believed her.
"That's comforting to hear," Mrs Sachs smiled for the first time that evening. "Now, will you please come and get me a whisky before I choke?"
Miranda laughed. "It would be my pleasure."
Andy was lying in bed, with her left arm stretched out admiring the ring on her finger.
Miranda was brushing her teeth in the adjoining bathroom, when she finished she sauntered through wearing red, silk pyjamas, tugging off the light viciously.
"I can't believe that I have something so beautiful," Andy smiled at Miranda. "And the ring isn't bad either."
"You're very amusing." Miranda laughed humourlessly and pulled the blankets back off Andy and climbed on top of her. "You couldn't get me at Tiffany."
"That's true," Andy agreed. "Hey," she complained as Miranda rolled off her and on to the other side of the bed.
"I'm sorry I barked at your mother," Miranda punched the pillows into a comfortable position.
"She was like a Rottweiler and deserved it," Andy responded.
"You could have warned me that it was her that gave you your stubborn streak," Miranda snuggled down into the bed with her back to Andy.
"Oh no," Andy pulled Miranda to face her by the shoulder.
"What are you doing?" Miranda hissed as Andy began hastily unbuttoning the buttons on the red, silk pyjama top.
"What does it look like?"
"Your parents are just down the hall!"
"So?" Andy leant down and captured Miranda's nipple in her mouth.
But Andy did not stop and Miranda found herself weakened by love.
"I love you," she whispered.
Before Andy knew it the week was over.
Her mother had been fine since she had her little chat with Miranda and even when she had walked in on Andy and Miranda engaged in a clinch she had just waved it away and Andy realised that it was proof to her mother that Miranda really did care for her daughter.
Geraldine had come to dinner one evening with Orana and both of them had thoroughly charmed the parents.
Lily was there too and everyone had a great time.
Andy was sad as she stood at the airport saying goodbye to her parents with Miranda lingering nearby trying to look inconspicuous.
"Goodbye, mom," Andy hugged her mother tightly.
"Goodbye my darling," Mrs Sachs clung to Andy. "I love you."
As Andy hugged her father Mrs Sachs walked over to Miranda. "Goodbye Miranda, thank you for a wonderful time."
"It was my pleasure," Miranda gave a tight smile. "And it was lovely to meet you."
"You too," Mrs Sachs looked awkward for a moment but then pulled Miranda roughly towards her for a hug.
Miranda let out a surprised yelp then patted Mrs Sachs on the back.
"If you hurt my daughter I will kick your pampered ass from one end of Manhattan to the other," Mrs Sachs gave a soft warning chuckle.
Miranda pushed Mrs Sachs to arms length. "Understood."
Andy watched in delight as her father kissed Miranda's cheek and they exchanged pleasant goodbyes.
"Don't make any decisions about the union without me," Mrs Sachs instructed as they walked to the departure lounge.
Andy's mouth fell open.
"Don't look so surprised," Mrs Sachs winked at Miranda. "It's all very exciting."
Once Mr and Mrs Sachs had disappeared from sight Andy linked her arm through Miranda's and they sauntered out to the car.
"What did my mom whisper to you?" Andy asked coyly.
"I could never repeat it," Miranda laughed softly.
"I couldn't possibly."
Miranda sighed. "She said that if I hurt you she would kick my pampered ass from one end of Manhattan to the other."
"She didn't?" Andy laughed in surprise.
"She did," they had reached the car and Miranda opened the door for Andy.
"I can't believe it!" Andy declared.
"If you turn out like her I've got a fight on my hands," Miranda pushed her hair back and looked at Andy.
"Oh," Andy teased. "Was the big, tough Miranda Priestley frightened of a little school teacher from Ohio?"
"Yes," Miranda said frankly. "She was a tyrant."
"You will be the same when your girls grow up and bring someone home to meet you," Andy cuddled up to Miranda.
"You didn't tell me that your mother had a Herculean personality," Miranda absent-mindedly put her arm over Andy. "Although I should have known you inherited it from somewhere."
"Oh please," Andy scoffed. "I'm more Xena than Hercules."
"Mmm," Miranda whispered. "Andy dressed in all that leather."
"You do know who Xena is."
"Only because the woman that plays her did a shoot with us a few years ago. Fantastic body as I recall."
"Yeah," Andy said wistfully, "She does have a fantastic body."
Miranda's shoulder jerked Andy into a sitting position.
"Don't say she has a fantastic body," Miranda glared.
"Why not? You did. Are you jealous?" Andy giggled.
There was a long pause.
"No," Miranda's tone was child-like. "I just don't like the idea that you like looking at other women's bodies. And like them," she added.
"This from the woman who and I quote, couldn't wait to get Kate Moennig's pictures back because she's absolutely divine."
"In her clothes," Miranda defended her statement.
"You studied those pictures more than I've ever seen before."
"The girl is exquisite."
Andy wagged her finger at Miranda. "You must think that I'm stupid."
"Don't pull that face with me, Miranda," Andy warned.
"I " Miranda began indignantly.
"Don't deny it!"
In the front of the car Reg chuckled.
"Something funny?" Miranda lashed out at him but he just carried on smiling.
"Don't start on Reg because I put you in your place," Andy fumed and then she climbed into the front of the car and sat in the passenger seat.
"Andrea!" Miranda hissed. "Get back here."
"No," Andy was defiant.
The car was silent for two blocks and then a small voice from the back said. "Fine, you can look at other women, as long as you don't tell me about it."
"Was that an apology?"
"If it makes you happy to call it that then please, feel free. That's all," Miranda gave a small wave of her hand.
Andy and Reg exchanged a victorious grin and Andy climbed back into the back seat.
"You look at naked women every day," Andy snuggled up against Miranda again.
"I don't look at them. They're part of my job," Miranda emphasised the word 'look.'
"Whatever," Andy mumbled and closed her eyes and rested against the comfort of Miranda's chest rising and falling.
"Don't whatever, me," Miranda chastised. "It's the truth."
"I really don't care if you look at other women," Andy pulled away and moved to the other side of the car.
They made the rest of the journey in silence and when Andy got out of the car she ruffled Reg's collar.
"You should tickle the pussycat's tummy," he grinned.
Andy laughed. "Don't let her hear you call her that."
"Andrea!" Miranda called from inside the house.
Andy grinned at Reg. "I'm in trouble."
Reg laughed. He knew that it was Miranda that was really in trouble.
Miranda was hanging up her coat as Andy closed the door. She turned to Andy with her hands on her hips.
Andy slipped off her own coat and handed it to Miranda, who took it and hung it up next to her own.
"Are we fighting?" Miranda asked quietly.
"Not that I'm aware," Andy said breezily.
"Ah," Miranda nodded but looked unconvinced.
She followed Andy who walked through into the kitchen.
"I don't know how you've managed to turn me into this pussycat," Miranda said slowly.
Andy felt her heart flip. "You heard that?"
"I heard Reg last week when he said it."
"He's not being disrespectful," Andy began to panic.
"Oh please," Miranda waved the comment away. "He's absolutely right. I have turned into a pussycat."
She held her arms out to Andy who went to them willingly.
"The girls will be home soon."
Andy stroked Miranda's hair.
Suddenly Miranda's hand was beneath Andy's skirt.
"Hey," Andy raised a false objection.
"Hey, yourself," Miranda whispered.
Andy immediately succumbed to the kisses that Miranda placed across her collarbone.
"We haven't got time," Andy gasped.
"We've got time," Miranda growled.
She lifted Andy on to the kitchen counter and kissed the inside of her thigh.
Andy smiled as she watched her lover, Miranda looked up her at.
"What are you smiling at?"
"Am I amusing?"
"Oh yes, but that's not why I'm smiling."
Miranda straightened up feigning irritation. "Then why are you smiling?"
"Because I love you so much."
It was Miranda's turn to smile.
"Sometimes you're very sweet," Miranda said.
"I have something for you," Andy hopped off the counter much to Miranda's disappointment.
"Where are you going?"
"I'm coming back!" Andy called.
Miranda sighed and leaned against the kitchen counter.
Andy returned with both hands behind her back.
"I got you this," she held out a small box to Miranda. "It's not Tiffany but "
Miranda's eyes misted over and she opened the box.
"It's white gold," Andy looked at the ring and then at Miranda.
"I love it," Miranda whispered then she smiled cheekily. "But oh my, whatever shall I do with it? I mean what finger should I put it on? I have ten of them and I just can't think which one it should sit on."
"You're very funny," Andy muttered and took the ring and slid it on to Miranda's wedding ring finger.
Miranda kissed Andy on the mouth. "It's beautiful."
"I'm pleased that you like it," Andy returned the kiss.
"Does this mean that I'm stuck with you?"
"Absolutely," Andy wrapped her arms around Miranda's neck.
"That's the best news I've heard this hour," Miranda quipped.
"This new humour that you've developed is frightening me."
"You can blame yourself for that, my darling."
Their kissing was interrupted by a knock at the door.
"That will be the girls!" Miranda said excitedly and hurried out to the hallway.
Andy watched her go.
She had never felt so content or happy.
This was what she had always dreamed about.
With a satisfied sigh she followed Miranda to greet the girls and welcome them back to their home.
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