DISCLAIMER: The Devil Wears Prada and its characters belong to Lauren Weisberger and 20th Century Fox. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

It's All Relative
By HbH


Part Five

Miranda hadn't been asleep for very long before Andy realized that she could no more read in the hospital with her than she had with her mother. Puzzle books were what she liked in the hospital, when she was under tension. They weren't mindless but there was no narrative to follow.

As she was working a sudoku, Miranda suddenly woke with a cry and leapt into a sitting position. Andy threw her puzzle book down as her heart rose into her throat. She jumped up and was instantly at Miranda's side. "Miranda? What's wrong? Pain? Where? Chest? Abdomen? Where? What!?"

Miranda looked at Andy's alarm with astonishment, "No—I'm fine. I just realized that I forgot to take my makeup off."

Andy's shoulders slumped and she said, with a mixture of relief and hostility, "Fuck, Miranda! Don't do that! You're in the hospital, for God's sake! How do you think I'm going to react if you leap up in the bed like you've been hit by an arrow?"

"I can't help it if my ingrained habits remind me, even in my sleep, to obey the cardinal rules of skin care—one takes off one's make-up and moisturizes before sleeping. Even if one has to crawl into the bathroom after a night of heavy drinking to do it. Evidently, I was so busy scheming to hug you earlier that I forgot."

Although Andrea had been pleased by the hug and was more than pleased to know that Miranda had put some thought into it, she scowled and assisted Miranda into a standing position, "You'll be the death of me, Priestly."

Miranda arched one eyebrow, "Oh no—not yet, Andrea. Just wait. I haven't even started with you."

Andy pretended to ignore her but decided that if Miranda thought that this lower, sexier tone of voice would make up for scaring the hell out of her through sounding very hot, then she was….probably right. Damn it.

They grabbed their bags and Miranda demanded that Andy remove her makeup as well. After they did so, Miranda offered Andy the use of her special night crème, which was probably compounded of unicorn horn oil, mermaid extract and Aphrodite's hair, for all Andy knew. It was rich and fantastically creamy, smelled more heavenly than it probably cost (which was probably saying something) and was the lightest and most delightfully soothing thing she'd ever put on her face. Her skin was certainly happy to have it.

After they'd finished their ablutions and added their moisturizer, they stood side by side looking into the mirror.

"Andy, would you like to know one of the pains of age?"

"Sure. If you want to tell me."

"Look at us. Really look at us. Without makeup, I look older. Without makeup, you look younger. That's age."

Andy looked at their reflections and saw the truth of that statement. Without makeup, Miranda's eyelashes were certainly paler and her face looked…slightly washed out, more lined, slightly less perfect. The gentle easing in the skin of her face was more obvious. She looked older.

Without makeup, Andy realized that she did look almost like a teenager. Her eyes were bright and the lack of foundation made her look perkier, less mature. She looked younger.

And as she took this in, she saw that Miranda acknowledged the fact that she'd registered this. "You see—that's the truth of us."

Andy wouldn't lie. "So what? It's true. You do look older, Miranda. I do look younger. But you're more beautiful to me without your makeup than with it."

Miranda stared down at the sink and said, "Don't make fun of me, you silly girl—I'm twice your—"

"Age, experience, wisdom, beauty, yeah, yeah, yeah. Kiss me, pretty girl."

Andy turned and kissed her gently—and then really kissed her, kissed her until Miranda parted her lips and let the younger woman kiss her fully. And Andy did, sweetly and then fervently, enjoying the taste and softness of Miranda's mouth and feathering her hands, as she realized she'd always wanted to do, through Miranda's gorgeous white hair. It only lasted a few moments before they both moaned.

And then Andy broke the kiss, "You need to get back into bed, sweetheart. Your age is immaterial to me, but your health is not. You're beautiful. I want you and I wouldn't want you any younger than you are."

"I find that difficult to believe."

"Then I'll work doubly hard to convince you." She put her arm around Miranda and led her out of the bathroom. "And I expect you'll enjoy it."

As they walked toward the bed, Miranda threw back her head and laughed, a wholehearted, lusty laugh. Andy smiled and asked, "What? What's so funny?"

"What the hell are we doing, Andrea? One gunshot and one day later, we're making out in a hospital bathroom."

"I think we're either the slowest-witted women on Earth or the fastest studies ever."

"Probably both, actually. Do you mind?"

"Not a bit. Do you?"

"I never question myself. And I suggest you never question yourself, either."

"Gotcha. I won't."

After Miranda had been safely ensconced in her bed, she said, "Andrea, please remind me to tell Emily to make that scholarship anonymous or I'll have the press hounds from hell on me and poor Wanda."

"Of course, Miranda."

Miranda looked at Andy and raised her eyebrows, "You enjoy playing at that little submissive thing, don't you?" She mimicked perfectly, 'Of course, Miranda.'"

Andy smiled as she took her seat in the recline-a-bit, "I like doing it about exactly as much as you like hearing it."

Miranda cocked her head to one side, clearly reflecting on her behavior. "Believe it or not, I've actually never given it any thought but you're right. I do—I do enjoy it when a fresh young assistant offers me her throat, figuratively speaking, of course. And they always do. Eventually."

Andy chuckled but stopped when Miranda continued, "But I must say, now that we've brought up the subject, I couldn't believe the difference when you made that offer. You weren't offering your throat in the way all those other silly little girls did—simply because you were afraid of me. No no. Not you. You offered your throat willingly and I saw that look in your eyes—and you must know your eyes are so expressive. You made the offer because you really wanted to give it to me and you wanted me to take it." Miranda stared at Andy for a very long time. "I didn't just enjoy that. I loved it. I'd never had that. And I've never gotten over it."

Andy had never truly realized that yes—her completely willing submission—that's exactly what she'd offered Miranda. She had wanted Miranda to accept it, had been thrilled when she had and it embarrassed her deeply to know that she'd been so transparent. She picked up her puzzle book and flipped toward the page she'd abandoned.

"Get some rest, Miranda," she said, turning her attention to her book. She knew this would anger the other woman. But probably not as much as hearing that her submissiveness had pleased her former boss and had, apparently, pleased her, too. It embarrassed her; it angered her. And it was entirely, utterly true. For both of them. Fuck me, she thought—and fuck Miranda.

From the sudden cooling in the emotional temperature of the room, Miranda knew that she must have committed a faux pas, but what to do about it? Ignore it? That was her usual reaction. Go to sleep? Yes. That was it. She tried but Andy's sighing and almost violent work on her puzzle book kept her from sleep.

After one hour she sat up again. Andy jumped to attention, yet again, at the sound of Miranda's voice. "Goddamn you, I'm sorry. I'm sorry if I need you—if I want you or if I want you to need me. Is this how you really are? Are you always going to punish me for needing you?"

Andy was more than nonplussed by this but it didn't keep her from lashing out, "I'll never punish you for needing me, you….you….jackass. But I'll never be happy if you just assume I belong to you or mock the fact that I want to."

Immediately Andy thought, oh ffffffuck. She'd really just said that.

Miranda sneered, "Dumb-ass, jackass—do I sense a theme here?"

They stared at each other for a few moments. They'd both just gone way over-the-top and Andy knew they both knew it. And Andy was well aware she had to go first. "I'm sorry, Miranda. My anger was uncalled for."

"It was on my part as well. We're clearly going to have a tempestuous relationship."

"True—but we're also clearly going to have one."

"Let's not belabor the obvious, Andrea."

"Andy. Call me Andy."

Miranda glared at Andy and the younger woman gave her a tremulous smile. "Call me Andy. When we're alone—it means you're not mad at me anymore. Please."

Miranda stared. At Andy's smile—her face—she was so young, so lovely. In that instant, Miranda remembered that she was the older person in this arrangement and that she should presumably be the one who was more accommodating, although this went against every part of her nature. "Very well, Andy. My Andy. You are mine or want to be. And don't argue the point that you like it. That's also belaboring the obvious. It may embarrass you but it is obvious. To both of us."

Although Andy blushed, yet again, Miranda continued, "And don't you dare think I'm mocking you. Do you think it's so out of the question that I might have been entranced by the fact you wanted to please me? Not because you were afraid of me or because you had to. Not just because it was a job. But because you honestly and unashamedly wanted to take care of me and make me happy? Is that so hard to believe? Look at me Andrea."

Andy looked up and Miranda said, very quietly, "Let me be frank because we're both adults. Although we both understand the implication that there is a slightly sexual element to your submissiveness and my enjoyment of it, that was not what I was speaking of. That part of our relationship we may or may not enjoy later. I was referring to your simple and very honest desire to please and take care of me. That is what I couldn't forget."

Andy felt her heart go everywhere but where it should be..."But…I don't want to be just your….dutiful little Girl Friday."

"Don't be obtuse—I don't want you as a servant or an assistant. I want you to be my girl every day. And I could be yours, too, if that's acceptable."

Andy's mind reeled out to Jupiter for a moment but she scrambled back and answered, "Of course, Miranda," in her snarkiest tone.

The only sign that Miranda had found this amusing, which she had, was in her eyes. "Good. At least we have that settled. As I said before, when you see a thing needing to be done, do it. And speaking of needs, I need some rest, because two tantrums in a day are wearing. Unless, of course, you need to argue more. I, personally, do not."

Andy stared at Miranda, who didn't have three heads but might as well have had. "No—no more arguments here."

"Good. Then kiss me goodnight. Yet again, may I remind you, you terrible, awful girl."

Andy graciously and happily kissed Miranda and stroked her cheek, then sat back in the recline-a-bit and began her puzzle.

After a few minutes she heard Miranda clear her throat, then said "I never have….you know….with a woman."

Andy looked up, "Really? Me neither." She turned back to her puzzle book and said with studied nonchalance. "We're both gonna have a really steep learning curve. We're probably going to have to work really hard at it…." She looked up at Miranda, "And practice a lot. And I mean a lot. A lot a lot."

Miranda's cheeks bloomed as she replied, "Well. We'll see. But we'll certainly have to get to know each other a bit better before we indulge in such...shenanigans."

Andy gaped, "Miranda Priestly! I would never, in a thousand years, think that I could come up with a way to make you call 'sex' shenanigans. I'm so impressed," she giggled suddenly, "with myself!"

"You are impossible and I don't know what I'll ever be able to do with you."

Andy smiled, thought for a few moments and responded, "You know exactly what you'll do with me. In fact, now that I really think about it, from the first moment we met, we were going to end up in bed. When you interviewed me, you condescended to me, you disdained me, you dismissed me—so why did you hire me?"

Miranda didn't answer.

"And when you gave me that exquisitely painful cerulean sweater lecture, you wanted to teach me something—but it wasn't just about fashion, was it? You wanted me on your leash—and I stepped right into my collar. And when I started wearing Chanel and Dior, don't think, now that I look back on it, that I didn't know your eyes devoured me every time I left you."

"If I'm that obvious, why even mention it?"

"Because I think it may mean that I'm important to you—and have been for some time."

"If you don't know that, then—"

"I'm only just beginning to know it, Miranda—you're not so easy to read and you know that. Let's give it a rest. Go to sleep, my love."

A few moments passed.

"Am I?"

"What, Miranda?"

"Am I your love? You said you didn't even know how to like me."

Andy almost smiled. Miranda, despite her concrete personal walls, was actually so fragile. "Like doesn't enter into our equation. I truly don't think you really 'like' me yet either. Of course you're my love. I won't say words we're not ready for yet but you are, in a way I will never be able to express, incredibly dear to me. Even before we met again, if I'd really focused on the one person I'd most want to please, impress, make proud of me, no one would exist but you. There'd only be you."

Miranda nodded and closed her eyes. After a few moments, she said, "The feeling's mutual."

As they rested in their bed and recline-a-bit, they both laughed at the same time.

"We're going to fucking kill each other!"

Miranda answered. "No question about it."

Andy turned out the light but not before kissing Miranda one more time. But as she kissed her, Andy said, "I will never leave you unless you push me away."

"Then we're stuck together, I suppose."

"Seems so—sleep tight—I'll be here, love."

"You are—Andy. You are my love."

"Don't belabor the obvious, Miranda."

Miranda rolled her eyes at this in the darkness, but once they'd settled down, they were both so exhausted that they fell asleep in five minutes.

When they awoke, after the 4AM vitals check, they looked into each others' eyes and caressed each others' hands as they had the morning before.

Quite casually, Miranda began to sing in such a quiet, almost insanely beautiful voice that it pierced Andy right through the heart, "What a difference a day makes/Twenty-four little hours./ Brought the sun and the flowers. Where there used to be rain/ My yesterday was blue, dear/Today I'm part of you, dear/My lonely nights are through, dear/Since you said you were mine…"

Miranda took her hand from Andy's and waved it—"Anyway. You get the idea."

"Miranda! You can sing."

"Of course I can—I'm full of surprises."



"I already knew that. I was really surprised by how incredibly soft your lips are. But let's get some more rest."

"Excellent idea, Andrea."

"We're alone. It's Andy."

"Andy it is. My Andy."

"Of course, Miranda."

"Stop it."

They both grinned as they fell back to sleep.


Andy approached Wanda's supervisor, Michelle Davis, and asked if she could speak to Wanda for, perhaps, 30 minutes around the beginning of her shift.

Michelle was immediately protective, which Andy appreciated. "About what? Do you believe she's done something wrong? If so, I need to know before you speak to her or I need to speak to her myself."

Andy backpedaled immediately, "No, nothing like that. It's about a scholarship for her son, Juan Carlo."

"Someone wants to help Juan Carlo?"

"Miranda wants to help Juan Carlo, to pay for a scholarship to one of the best schools in the city, if not in the country."

Michelle's eyes narrowed, "Why? Why on Earth would she want to help them? By all accounts, she's a bitch on wheels."

Michelle thought she had Andy's number. The girl had obviously slept in her clothes, was very pretty, yet not all that impressive, rumpled and sleepy as she was. Yet another young go-to-minion of a powerful person, another of a coterie of such girls and boys she'd seen in Manhattan for years.

She instantly knew she hadn't understood quite as well as she'd thought when Andy's eyes tightened. "You will never call Miranda Priestly a bitch in my presence again. Not only is it unprofessional, you don't know her and I don't tolerate disrespect toward her. And just a word to the wise, if she knew you had treated me less than professionally, you cannot even imagine what would happen to you. That being said, if I need to speak to your supervisor in order to have a conversation with Wanda about a wonderful opportunity for her son, just give me the name and I will. And, of course, all of what I've just said is confidential. If this hits the press, we'll know where to come to file a grievance."

Michelle swallowed her spit. "You can speak to Wanda at 9AM. I'll ensure it."

"Thank you, Ms. Davis."


It was too early to call. Of course it was. Serena knew it was. But fuck it. She'd call. And be happy or….reap the whirlwind. Whatever. Emily could deal with her caprice, surely.

As she called, she prepared herself for anything.

Even a groggy voice. "Hello?"

"Emily—I'm sorry to call you so early but I wanted to know if you would join me for tea and a movie today—maybe 3:30—at my home, no?"

There was an extended pause, in which Serena's heart dropped, and then Emily said "Yes, of course—give me your address."

As she supplied it, she could hear Emily giving her attention to the information. "Got it—I'll be there. Ta, luv."

Aw. Emily was either sleepy enough or opening up enough to use slang. Serena beamed, though Emily couldn't see it. "I cannot wait to see you, English."

Emily was still groggy but she rose to the bait, "Nor I you, Brazil."

Serena said with some feeling, "You don't know."

"You can't know, Serena. We'll leave it at that. Cheers!"


Wanda opened the door to an empty office and sat across from Andy, looking slightly pale and ready for almost anything. "Ms. Andy, what have I done?"

"Wanda? You haven't done a thing."

"But when Ms. Michelle said you must see me, very importantly, what could I think? I must have offended Ms. Miranda."

Andy smiled and took a sip of her awful hospital coffee, "I'm so sorry. Would you like some coffee, Wanda?"

"No, Ms. Andy, I'm too frightened to drink."

Andy smiled again, a tender smile. "No, Wanda, don't be afraid. You've done nothing wrong. Do you remember that you told Miranda about your Juan Carlo, about how smart he is—and what you wished for him?"

"Oh si. Si."

"Do you know the Dalton School? That's where her twins go."

"Of course. Very good and so impressive but so very expensive."

"Wanda, Miranda has always wanted to give a scholarship to that school and she thinks perhaps it might be good for Juan Carlo to go there on that scholarship."

Wanda rattled off such an excited speech in Spanish that Andy couldn't follow it at all. She asked, "Does this mean you're happy, Wanda?"

"Is this true? Does she mean it?"

"Yes. The scholarship would take him from now through high school."

Wanda crossed herself and began to cry, which Andy hadn't anticipated.

"Why would God bless me so?"

Andy thought for a moment and said, "Because you deserve it and Miranda saw it."

"But what can I do to deserve it? That is so much money. I don't know what to say."

Andy smiled again, trying to reassure this sweet woman, and said, "I must ask you a few important things."

"Si. What, Ms. Andy?"

"Does Juan Carlo do anything—like sports or community activities where you live?"

"Of course! He does the football, what you call soccer, and he plays on a team. And he tutors little children in math two days a week after school at the Boys and Girls Club."

Andy beamed and lied as she never had before. This was going to be her, totally her, but she'd pass it off as Miranda. "Perfect! Wanda, Miranda wants to make sure your Juan Carlo stays a part of his neighborhood, you see? She wants him to be a part of where he grows up."

"Oh si, she is very wise. Who could think it? It would hurt my Juan Carlo to be somewhere he—"

"Wanda—that's another thing. The scholarship pays for transportation. But it also pays for clothes, because I know you must understand that the children who go to Dalton are usually wealthy. She wants him to feel like the rest of the children at the school. The scholarship will pay for school clothes but she very specifically wanted to say that it might be good for him to take those school clothes off and change into what you can personally afford for him after he gets home and before he plays football or tutors. It's not to make you or him feel ashamed. She wants to help but doesn't want to take him out of his community. You know how children are. It's not good to live two lives but to suddenly go to a new school and wear new and more expensive clothes—that might make his friends jealous or angry. It might not be good. Do you think that's right?"

"Si—perhaps so. I will ask him. He is a very smart boy."

"Cool—if he thinks his friends will be alright, Miranda will be fine with whatever he decides. But keep that in mind and remember—his participation in whatever community activities in your neighborhood he enjoys are a condition of his scholarship."

Wanda was openly crying now, "How can I thank her—how can I—"

"Wanda? Just say thank you. That's all. She'd be embarrassed by anything more."

"Ah. She is modest, no?"

Andy thought, for a fleeting second that, no, that was the last thing Miranda was.

"She is. Say thank you and sort of ignore it. She'll arrange for her assistant to get the paperwork and stuff together, okay?"

"I will. But I could never imagine God could grace my family in this way. He is mysterious, no?"

"He is, Wanda. More mysterious than I ever imagined."

"We must wait on His plans—and be grateful."

"I know I am. And Wanda?"


"She's going to want to meet him."

"Of course."

"You know what all the nurses have been saying about Miranda?"

"That dirt? That trash? Si."

"You probably know that I worked for her for about a year."


"Wanda, when I met her, I didn't know or really understand who she was. She's very wealthy but what she is even more than that, Wanda, is incredibly influential. You saw what I said on TV?"


"Her opinion does influence billions and billions of dollars globally, every year. She is probably the most influential woman you will ever meet. And although, as you saw, she can be very sweet, she truly is scarier than you could ever imagine. Ever. And I'm very serious. She is like nothing you've ever seen. When you bring Juan Carlo to meet her—and I'm sure it will be at her office at Elias Clark, prepare to be frightened. She's going to frighten him for a reason, I think."

Wanda's eyes twinkled. "Ah. Si. The fear of God—that's what she wants to give my boy?"

Andy nodded vigorously, "The fear of God. Believe me. No one can do it like her."

Wanda shrugged and winked, "It cannot hurt him. We all need it."

They laughed and continued their conversation.

As Andy walked into the room after her talk with Wanda, Miranda gave her a glance.

"Slide on ice, sweetheart."

"She's happy?"

"Over the moon."

"Fine. Good. She won't make a scene with me, will she?"

"Nope—I told her not to. You know what was sweet?"


"She asked me, just to make sure, that you wouldn't be depriving yourself or your family with this gift."

Miranda rolled her eyes, "You couldn't deprive me with a stick—but, yes, that was sweet."

Andy smirked, "And I think you're very sweet to do it."

Miranda's blue eyes snapped, "Don't be appreciative. You know that makes me testy."

"Oh right---like what doesn't?"

"Not much, admittedly, but smart aleck comments aren't on that short list."

"Ah….that's the Miranda I know."

"Shut up."

"Sweet talker."

"Is there a fly in the room? I'm sure something is buzzing. I can't quite hear it."

"You're just angry because I'm leaving to take a shower."

"But you're leaving me all the same. You always do."

"Only for a few hours. Wanda will get you cleaned up and then John and the girls will keep you busy soon enough."

Miranda looked deeply, deeply peeved, "They won't be you. And you won't stay with me tonight and I won't be—"

Andy interrupted, "Miranda Priestly."

Miranda scowled but didn't look at Andy. "What?"

"I'll come back to visit this afternoon but I have to stay home tonight—Monday's my early day. But do you think I won't be miserable sleeping without you tonight? I want to. I wish I could."

Andy watched Miranda swallow and then she said "I don't….understand myself right now. At all. You come here and everything changes and I'm stupid and lost and…"

Andy took Miranda's hand, "Don't be ridiculous—you're not stupid or lost. You're happy and all at sea on you oil rig, just because somebody wants you. And you want her. Don't make it such a big deal, although we both know it's a very, very big deal. For both of us. And, as far as sleeping and waking together? In time, I bet we can find a way to work that out."

Miranda sniffed and offered, quietly, "If you're going to be reasonable, I may have to kill you."

Andy looked into Miranda's eyes and said, very sweetly, "I'm nowhere near reasonable right now. And if it weren't too early to say it, I would say something."

Miranda smiled an honest, open smile. "I would say it, too. And I'd mean it."

"Well then, aren't we lucky. I'll be back this afternoon—maybe you could plan a few arguments we could have—think about it."

"I can't wait to see you again, my—"

"Love. I'm your love, aren't I?"

"Get out of here—but kiss me first."

Andy kissed her quickly, chastely.

"I like longer kisses better, Andrea."

"Andy is my name when we're alone. And I like longer kisses, too. But we're in a semi-public setting."

Miranda sighed. "Leave that puzzle book with me, damn you."

"Tyrant! Despot! Taskmaster!"

"Go away—if you're going to be like that."

"I'll be back…."

"Said the Terminator…"

"Miranda! You have seen some movies."

"Go away, you wretch!"

Andy smirked as she left.

As she left, both of them realized they were stupid—and both of them knew they were in love.


What could she wear?


Emily mulled over the question endlessly. She wanted to impress—but not too much. It would be ridiculous to over-dress for a semi-casual date. Was it even a date? Serena was certainly going full-press, so to speak, but was this a date? She'd just have to see.

She left her make-up simple. But what to wear?

The jeans she wore were Escada. Which were entirely and insanely expensive and which she'd entirely ripped out of The Closet. She decided on a simple Chanel blouse.

When she arrived at Serena's apartment, she was stunned to see the woman wearing Levis and a simple "Made in Brazil" sweatshirt. She looked like a goddess.

Emily had brought flowers, which Serena caressed and took care of immediately, placing them in a vase. "You are too kind, my dearest."

Emily took in the fragrant smell of tea—her favorite Lady Grey tea. How did this woman know?

"You made me tea?"

"Of course, just for you. Have a seat."

Serena's apartment was like her home country—beautiful yet full and lovely. The furnishings were lush and colorful. There was one rounded room that was full of light and window seats and only held a cello and music stand.

Serena placed a teapot on a table for Emily and a plate that held only three tiny petit fours and three cucumber sandwiches cut into hearts.

Emily looked up at her and Serena said "Tea—for my English. I will play for you."

As Serena took her place at her cello, Emily knew immediately, having musicians in her family, that this was a musician. The woman put on her half glasses and began to play.


Bach's Arioso.

She sighed, deeply, and took a bite of her cucumber sandwich.

To Be Continued

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