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.

Miranda Priestly: Indisposed
By Kitnkabootle


Part 1

It was Friday morning and Andy had hoped it would go smoothly. She hadn't made any plans for the weekend, but she was imagining a nice warm bed, a stack of DVD rentals and an endless bowl of popcorn. It made her smile all the way from the door of her 1000-dollar-a-month-'low'-rent-housing apartment, down the streets of hey-i'm-walkin'-here New York and along the wait-is-that-urine? subway. But all in all, it was a great day, Andy decided.

That was of course, until she stepped foot onto Runway's floor of Elias-Clarke.

She had arrived early enough to stop in the cafeteria for some breakfast and was carrying an indulgent chocolate chip muffin, wrapped in a napkin, towards her desk to finish before Miranda arrived. Miranda of course, never allowed anyone to eat in front of her. Come to think of it, she didn't appear to enjoy eating in front of anyone either. Perhaps it was too 'common', too 'biological' for her. Whatever it was, Andy just chalked it up on one of the woman's lists of endless idiosyncrasies and left it at that. But god forbid you be caught with a crumb of food on your lip.

As Andy opened the glass doors that led to Miranda's reception area (and incidentally, the location of her own desk), she could see a familiar red-head standing near her own computer terminal, gesturing wildly in the air.

"What do you mean ambulance?!" an exasperated Emily shrieked into the phone, looking one frayed thread away from apre-mid life crisis. Normally, this wasn't something Andy would get excited about. After all, with Emily, crisis was par for the course and an every day event.

However, something about the way Emily's eyes remained frozen open as she yelled, unblinking - told Andy that somehow, this particular crisis was a cut above the rest.

Andy crossed to her desk and placed her muffin down. Emily's eyes followed the muffin in disgust before she waved Andy towards her. Emily covered the mouthpiece with one of her hands. "Miranda's been hurt."

Andy froze. Something in her heart suddenly went off, sending her pulse racing. The room began to spin a little and she had to press her hands to Emily's desk to steady herself. Words failed her. Ambulance... Emily had said something about ambulance.

Without waiting for Andy's input, Emily continued dramatically, "She... just fell. I don't know... she's fallen… in the lobby. The guards are there, they've called 911. Apparently she is refusing to get in the ambulance. Oh god...." Emily removed her hand from the mouthpiece "What?! No, that can't possibly -- Oh well god help us..."

The conversation came to an abrupt halt as Emily slammed the phone back into the receiver. The redhead's eyes slowly rose towards Andy's and the look she gave her could rival even Miranda's characteristic glare. "She won't let anyone help her. They told her she has to go to the hospital. She said she will only go by car and has requested that you accompany her."

Andy could do nothing but nod before grabbing her bag off of her desk and rushing towards the doors. It took only moments for the elevator but it felt like a lifetime.

Miranda had asked for her? That was odd. Miranda had rarely requested her specifically, unless accomplishing some impossible task was in order. But taking her to the hospital? Ah, perhaps that was it. Perhaps it was a perfect opportunity after all, to use Andrea. She could just imagine it. 'Andrea… Tell them, I'm fine. Make them release me... tell that Doctor to alter the charts... have my medical records destroyed... buy the hospital... make those nurses wear heels...'

Oh yes. There are many opportunities for the impossible to present itself.

Her body was all but shaking as she rushed off of the elevator and into the busy lobby. There wasn't a crowd. Andy had expected one, but now that she thought about it - she wasn't sure why. Miranda remembered faces a lot better than she remembered names. If the woman knew how to do one thing right it was hold a grudge and if passersby found her predicament a little too interesting, the Fashionista would certainly find a way to make those faces disappear.

In the corner near the doors was a group of security guards and a few ambulance drivers, shielding Miranda from view. As Andy neared she could see the Editor sitting on a chair, her arms held out before her - lifeless and bloodied - with torn tracks of skin down the palms. The knees of her black Armani pants were torn on one side, the other looking only slightly mangled. She looked pale, her skin almost the color of her silver hair, and she was in pain. She didn't say as much of course, but Andy could tell by the way her jaw was clenched, by the way her teeth were locked together and by the dullness of her eyes focused straight ahead.

"Miranda..." Andy started and pushed inside the group of men. Miranda's eyes blinked once and looked up at her, unseeing.

One of the burly ambulance drivers took hold of Andy's arm and pulled her aside. "She won't come with us - but she needs to get to the hospital right away. Her wrists could be broken, but it looks so far like they're sprained. Her legs might be hurt too. But she's goin' into shock..."

"What happened?" Andy asked as one of her unsteady hands snaked through her hair, brushing the fringe back from her brow.

The ambulance driver shrugged. "I dunno. We got the call from the guards here. Apparently someone saw her go down and called a guard over then they took off. I guess she's kinda difficult or somethin'..."

Andy nodded.

"Yeah, looks like they didn't wanna be around when she noticed them."

Andy nodded again. It was after all probably a smart move on the hit-and-runner's part. If Miranda had so much caught a look at the sole of their shoe, she would no doubt imprint it in her mind for a witch hunt later. However, for the time being, Miranda didn't look like she was seeing much of anything.

"Can you help me carry her?" Andy asked the two guards as she moved to Miranda's side - but the editor shifted uncomfortably, tensed and spoke. Her voice was low and unspeakably fatal. "No."

Andy looked at Miranda incredulously. "But... uhh....Miranda... we have to get you to the --"

"No. No one will carry me. I will walk." Miranda moved to get up, but with her knees in the condition they were and with her hands completely useless - she just rocked and then resettled.

Andy shook her head and looked back to the security guard. "Is Roy--?"

"Yeah... he's out there. We asked him to stay at the ready..."

Andy nodded and then looked back towards Miranda. "I... uhh… we're gonna move you. You can walk… just let me..."

Andy swallowed the lump of pure panic that had risen in her throat, and slid her own shaking hand around Miranda's waist. She could feel the older woman's breath intake sharply as she lifted her ungracefully to her feet. Her body was tense, the muscles straining underneath Andy's sweating hand. Miranda reluctantly walked beside her in small painful steps towards the lobby and then out in the street as they neared the awaiting car.

Roy had rushed up to help but Miranda shot him a look so cold it could have frozen all of greater New York, so they continued together.

Andy's arm was wrapped around Miranda's slim waist and her hand brushed against the editor's hip. It was kind of odd, Andy mused, that this would be the only circumstance that she would be able to hold her boss in such a way.

Now that she thought about it, she hadn't ever been this close to Miranda before in all of the time she'd been at Elias-Clarke. In fact, the closest she'd ever gotten was to hand a paper to the woman, or to observe some errors she was pointing out. Why did she feel so ridiculously proud of herself? It wasn't as if she'd walked up to Miranda like a football-buddy and wrapped her in a bear hug. She was supporting the woman so that she didn't fall. That was it.

Andy convinced herself that it wasn't a self-satisfied smile that she was holding back and pushed the thoughts right from her head. This was her boss. She wasn't just any boss either. She was the kind of boss that would eat you alive for having thoughts like that. Certainly not in a good way.

Roy stood back with the door held wide open for Miranda as Andy worked at manoeuvring her into the back seat. She didn't miss the way Miranda's cheeks flushed and then paled as she was seated, or the small strangled sounds of pain that somehow managed to slip by the editor's lips without her permission.

Once Miranda was in place, Andy closed the door, thanked Roy and rushed around to the other side. She climbed in and smoothed her hands down her skirt to keep it from moving up her legs before angling herself towards Miranda.

Miranda was sitting, her torso bent at an odd angle towards the window, her hands still limp in her lap where Andy had delicately placed them. She looked like she was biting her tongue to keep from crying out and her eyes - still glassy and cold - stared out at the disappearing buildings.

Andy said nothing. She regarded Miranda carefully, still trying to slow her own beating heart as she sat in silent worry. The ride seemed unbearably long, but miraculously Roy managed to get them to the hospital, in morning New York traffic in just under ten minutes.

Andy had seen that Miranda was checked in to the private room arranged for her, before sitting down in the waiting room - ironically with a copy of Runway selected from the magazine collection on the coffee table. It was over an hour before the doctor appeared. She was an older woman with raven colored hair and a dark complexion and she offered Andy a gentle smile as she led her towards Miranda's room.

"I understand you're Ms. Priestly's assistant." Doctor Johnson chuckled as she flipped through the clipboard in her hands. "Brave girl."

Andy couldn't help but smile in return. "So I'm told..."

"She took quite a fall. You'll understand that I can't go into too much detail for legality reasons. But I can tell you she will not have use of her hands for quite some time. Her left wrist suffered a grade 2 sprain and the right, grade 3. Her knees have been bandaged... nothing too badly damaged there, although there is quite a lot of bruising already. And although I am sure to hear about this from her attorneys..." Here, Doctor Johnson's eyes twinkled with good-natured laughter. "...I am ordering her on medical leave from her position, effective immediately for a period of two weeks to begin with, possibly longer. It will all depend on her appointment at that ti..."

Andy stopped listening. Her pulse had begun to pound loudly in her ears. There was no way in hell that Miranda would consent to staying off of work that long. And if she did consent, she was sure to make it absolute hell on her assistants.

Great. So much for popcorn and DVDs...

"Uhh... three weeks? Can't... umm.. I mean... can she work from home?"

Doctor Johnson considered this for a moment and then nodded "I suppose this wouldn't be a problem, but that does give me a perfect segue into my next question. Does she have anyone to take care of her?"

Andy thought about this for a moment. What she knew of Miranda's relatives was that none of them kept in contact anymore. That was, if they were still living. And after her latest divorce, Stephen had moved in with a much younger woman and had moved to Los Angeles.

"The twins!" Andy proclaimed before the realization hit her that they would be away at summer camp for another month. "Oh... uhh but, they're away and won't be back for awhile. I...uhh... actually, I don't think she has anyone." What a horrible thought. Andy bit into her lip. She really hadn't thought about Miranda's personal life until her own knowledge had been drawn out of her.

"Well, that won't do I'm afraid. She won't be able to do anything for herself. She has some mobility of her fingers on the left wrist but that would be only enough to really get some of the essentials done like using the bathroom, getting up or down, lifting food to her mouth... those kinds of things. But she will need a live in care aid for the time being."

Dr. Johnson lifted a sheet of paper off of the clipboard and handed it to Andy. "These are some contacts for in-home nurses. Maybe you can go over it with Ms. Priestly and make your selection. The bottom line is - she can't refuse in home care. She will not be able to take care of herself."

Andy nodded glumly. Oh great. And Hoorah! she got to be the one to deliver the good news! This day was getting better and better.

"Can I see her now?" Andy asked, the paper clasped tightly between whitened fingertips.

Dr. Johnson nodded and turned her hand on the door knob of the room they had been standing outside of. She pushed the door backwards and allowed Andy to pass through before closing it behind her. Andy jumped when she heard the door click. She had an odd feeling like she had just been tossed into the gallery pit of a gladiator stadium.

The hospital room by all accounts rivaled the size of her apartment. It was beautiful. A private suite, naturally - reserved for patients just like Miranda. She had to walk around a corner to actually get to Miranda's bedside, and when she saw the editor, her heart sank.

Miranda was asleep under a down filled quilt, her wrists rigid with splints underneath layers and layers of tensor bandage. They lay limply at either side of her and she looked pale. Miranda for the most part was always pale, but against the white sheets, white pillow cases and white walls, with a silver/white forelock brushed over her brow - she looked ghostly.Angelic, perhaps.

As Andy approached, Miranda's eyes shot open. So much for angelic.

She grunted under her breath as she tried to sit up, slowly building the mask of 'I'm above a mere-mortal and-uncompromised by injury'. Despite her best efforts, she looked no better off than before. Andy offered her a small smile, which was unreturned by the older woman.

"Miranda... I uhh... well… how are you?" Andy winced as the words escaped her own mouth.

Why did Miranda have the power to turn her to a stuttering mess, without even speaking a word? Andy really hadn't expected an answer to such a stupid question and wasn't surprised that Miranda completely ignored her but fixed her with a steely glare.

"I want out of here."

Andy nodded slowly. How to break the news? Perhaps it would be best to tear it like band-aid.

"Well uhh.. yeah... you can... you... well." Andy swallowed.

Like a band-aid, she reminded herself.

She sucked in a deep breath and then blurted out her words in one quick string, "Yes, you can leave. Roy will have the car ready as soon as you're able and we'll take you back to the town house. The doctor ordered you on bed rest for two weeks, to be determined further after that time. She gave me this list of in-house care nurses that you can have your pick of. All highly recommended, to take care of you for that time. You are able to work from home, but you have to have hel--"

"No." Miranda interrupted. Her voice cut the air like a sickle.

Andy's eyes were saucer wide as she gripped the paper that had now started waving back and forth in her grasp. "No?" Andy asked, unsure of why she did. Even if you lay dying in the street from a gunshot wound to the chest, you never asked Miranda anything.

"Absolutely not." Miranda reiterated and sucked in a breath of air through clenched teeth.

Andy nodded. "Ah... well.... they didn't give me any oth...."

"I will not have a nurse, without a modicum of decorum, stay in my house."

"But... but Miranda you can't. I mean, they're all supposed to be very good.... I mean, you won't be able to care for yourself. You don't have use of your hands!"

Andy was exasperated. It wasn't as if it were her decision what happened to Miranda. She had no choice in the matter, and regardless of what Miranda said--

"You will do it." The editor decided, tilting her elegant profile to the side with disinterest.

Andy had to stop her mouth from hanging open. Surely she couldn't mean... "Me? You.. uhh.. you mean... you want me to help at the house?"

Miranda turned her ice blue eyes towards her assistant, "No Awn-dray-yah, I want you to dance the tango with a Masai warrior."

"...ah.... well. Okay, yes. I... yes...." She scrambled, her mind was going a mile a minute. "But uhh, won't they need me at Runway?"

"You work for me exclusively Andrea. The last time I checked you were my assistant - so assist."

With those final words, the conversation was over and nursemaid Andy gained one hell of a patient.


Part 2

Once she had Miranda settled back in bed at the townhouse, Andy had managed to slip away to her apartment to gather a bag of clothes. She was to stay in the small guestroom only two doors down from Miranda's master suite. It was absolutely stunning, Andy remembered, as she stuffed a handful of panties into the bag and followed it with a few bras from the drawer below.

It occurred to her then, that Miranda would probably need help dressing. The nurse had forced her into the nightwear at the hospital but she would need help in and out of clothes, probably even to wash. She would be responsible for leading Miranda through simple day to day tasks while all the while being responsible for the editor's personal moments. Andy looked down at the bra dangling from her fingertips and blushed furiously.

Swallowing yet another lump of nerves that had gathered in her throat, she lifted a moist palm to her cold cheek and pressed it there. It would be fine. She could get through this. Whatever these weird feelings were, they could be ignored. She had become rather good at it since the first time she realized that her interest in Miranda Priestly extended far beyond the general call of duty.

This would be completely, one hundred percent normal. Couldn't a girl be a simple live-in care nurse for her dragon of a boss lady that she had an undying crush on - without raising eyebrows? Nah... it would be fine.

Andy's positive outlook dropped significantly on her first night at the townhouse.

She had taken Miranda's meal up to her from where the cook had prepared it and delivered it directly into Miranda's lap on a silver tray. Miranda had taken one look at the food and then sharply jerked her head towards the door, commanding the girl to leave without using a single word. Andy had done as directed, naturally, and had returned twenty minutes later after hopefully giving Miranda enough time to eat.

When she opened the door to Miranda's room, she almost gasped. The Editor was sitting just as she'd been left, but the tray had slid off of her knees and was sitting on the bed beside her. An overturned plate of chopped meat was in her lap and a bit of gravy decorated the front of her silk nightwear. Her hands rested limply in her lap next to the silverware that couldn't be clutched very well between her weak fingers.

She hadn't managed to eat any of the meal from the looks of things and to make matters worse, she was glaring at Andy as though the entire ordeal was her fault. Andy bit her lip and approached like a lion tamer prepared to crack a whip if necessary.

"Miranda...? Do you ... uhh... do you need some help?"

Miranda's eyes narrowed. It was enough of an answer and Andy moved quickly to Miranda's side. She lifted the plate and put it down on the tray after righting it. Gravy stained the white duvet cover and the front of Miranda's beautiful silk pajamas. Actually, the stain had fallen almost perfectly down the swell of her left breast.

Andy's eyes lingered a little too long and Miranda's glare became piercing. Andy almost whimpered but she gathered the tray and dishes and ran downstairs (all three winding flights) to deposit them in the sink. With the mess cleared, Andy uncovered her own dinner and set it in the oven to heat. Her feet carried her quickly back to Miranda's room where the Editor still sat, seething mad at the whole situation.

Andy tried to look positive as she gathered up the duvet cover to be washed and placed it in a ball by the door.

"Miranda... you... uh... that's dirty." Andy motioned towards Miranda's silk pajama top.

Miranda's own eyes lowered to the very same top and she inclined her head before looking back to her Assistant. "How observant we are Andrea."

Andy swallowed "Can ... we get you into... I mean... can I help you into new… clothes?"

Miranda stared at Andy as though the question was completely preposterous and it seemed like hours had gone by before her chin dipped quickly in a few short nods as though it was obviously the only course of action.

"The top drawer on the left." Miranda spoke, turning her eyes away from Andy and looking down at the stain across her chest.

Andy complied and went into the extremely large closet (if you could call it that) looking for what 'top drawer on the left', Miranda was talking about. She pulled the first drawer open but it contained what looked like store-folded rows of silk Hermes scarves. There were probably twenty in that drawer alone. She couldn't even tally what the cost of all of them would be without pulling out a calculator.

The next drawer made droplets of sweat form at Andy's forehead. It was filled with the sexiest and laciest lingerie that Andy had ever seen. Most of them were matching bra and underwear sets. Some were completely sheer, some were ruffled and some looked like mere wisps of fabric being held on by a string of hope. She blushed fervently as she pictured Miranda wearing them under her clothes at Runway.

One particular item of interest was sitting on top of the collection and she slowly moved her hand towards it, lifting the gorgeous black lace into her hands. It made her breath catch in her throat and caused her pulse to beat loudly in her ears. They were panties made out of what looked to be antique, vintage lace in an intricate pattern. The waist band was ruffled with a tiny black bow that would sit below the wearer's navel. The back side of the garment was completely open in a wide 'V' that allowed the black ribbon (that laced like a corset all the way up the fabric) to be tied at the top in another flirtatious bow.

But it wasn't the underwear that had her heart beating a mile a minute inside the confines of her chest. It was the person who would wear the garment and who had worn the garment that made her swoon.

"By all means Andrea, do take your time. You know how I enjoy waiting." Miranda called from back in the bedroom. It sent Andy in a wild panic as she shoved the panties back where they'd come from and went to opening the drawers and closing them at light speed to find the pajamas. Once she'd located them, she gathered them into her hands and carried them as delicately as she would a baby to their owner.

Miranda shifted and stood from her place in bed. Her knees, although painful, weren't enough to keep the Editor seated and she had taken to standing whenever she felt she needed to. She eyed Andy carefully and then pursed her lips together.

"Don't look at me. Look at the clothes as you place them on."

It was a simple enough command, Andy thought, but very, very hard for her to do.

She lowered herself to the ground, on her knees before Miranda. The Editor tensed and stared directly ahead, refusing to look down at her. Andy readied the pajama bottoms before moving her hands up to Miranda's waist at a cautious distance until she could crook her fingers beneath the waist band of the silky material.

Andy blushed when she felt her fingers graze against Miranda's warm skin. She'd never seen her stomach before. It was an extremely wonderful feeling, like stepping on untouched sand. Although she wanted to linger and wanted to slide her hands up the curve of Miranda's hip and over her gently muscled abdomen - she refrained. Instead she turned her head to the side, looking away as instructed while she slid the silken pajama pants down Miranda's thighs, over her knees and past the supple curves of her calve muscles.

Miranda stepped out of the silk pants, her perfectly manicured toes pressing into the white carpet. Andy looked down towards the fabric of the new bottoms in her hands and began gathering the legs together for ease of access. She did however make a bit of a show of it, as though the pajamas weren't cooperating, so she had time to gaze at the older woman's calves that stood so perfectly before her eyes. Her eyes traveled further up still and she saw the white skin turn purple near her knees and for the first time saw the real damage her fall had done. There were bandages of course, but around the bandages, the skin was almost black. It looked extremely painful and completely foreign on the porcelain skin, but Andy nonchalantly kept her head towards the floor and lowered her eyes soon after.

Miranda stepped into the pajama bottoms and Andy turned her gaze away again as she slid the fresh ones up the length of the Editor's legs until the delicate waistband was resting just above her hips.

Andy got to her feet then, her eyes trailing up Miranda's body as she moved, although the woman in question didn't seem to notice as her own head remained turned away from Andy. If she didn't know any better, she would say that Miranda Priestly - dragon lady - looked embarrassed.

Andy's hands paused at Miranda's top button, her eyes trying to find the Editor's for some silent confirmation that it was okay to continue. Miranda seemed to feel Andy's discomfort and she nodded her head once, her cheeks still flushed as she kept her head turned to the side. Andy echoed the nod with one of her own and then slid the top button through the buttonhole. The material pulled away showing Miranda's beautiful cascading white skin below. The next button followed and then several others afterwards. When she reached the middle button, her hand brushed against Miranda's breast and Andy couldn't help but notice the breath that caught in the Editor's throat.

She undid the remaining buttons quickly and then moved so she was standing behind Miranda. Her hands hooked into the silk collar of the pajama top and she slid it down the woman's shoulders, arms and then very carefully over the dressings at her wrists. Miranda's skin was flawless and soft to the touch, although Andy tried very hard not to allow her own skin to press against it. She could see the black lace of Miranda's bra and wanted to ask if it would be more comfortable for the Editor if she removed it, but something told her that, 'Can I take your bra off, Miranda?' wasn't exactly a good start to her time at the townhouse.

Instead, Andy dropped the dirtied silk shirt to the ground and held out the fresh pajama shirt from behind Miranda's back, guiding it slowly over her wrists and up the length of her arms until the collar settled around the back of Miranda's elegant neck.

Well that had gone surprisingly well. Andy smiled as she moved in front of Miranda and did up the new buttons. Miranda's face was expressionless, but she hadn't snapped or glared, so Andy figured she had done pretty well.

"I'm uhh... I'm just going to go get a fresh duvet."

Miranda disappeared into the bathroom and closed the door behind her. Andy shrugged and whispered, "You're welcome." to the empty bedroom. The bedroom didn't respond.


Part 3

It didn't take long for Andy to find the linen closet that seemed to host a small storefront of designer 'million' thread count duvet covers, sheets and the fluffiest duvet blankets she had ever had the pleasure of squishing between her hands. After struggling to get a cover on the duvet, she carried it back to Miranda's room and laid it out over the woman's bed. Miranda still hadn't returned from the bathroom so it allowed her time to clean up the pile of dirtied clothes and blankets that she had placed near the door.

As Andy carried them downstairs, she could smell the dinner she'd put in the oven to heat and it reminded her to plate it and place it on a new tray. Once everything looked presentable enough, she lifted the tray into her hands and carried it up to the master bedroom. When she re-entered the room, she saw Miranda perched on the fresh comforter, staring blankly down at her hands. She looked small and distracted and very unlike the boss that had almost glared a hole right through her, not twenty minutes before.

This all changed however when she sensed Andy's presence.

Miranda tilted her chin upwards and then forced her blue eyes back towards her assistant. Andy merely offered a weak smile as she held up the tray. "I... uhh...brought you dinner."

Miranda's eyes lowered to the tray as she considered it. Andy had cut the meat and vegetables into tiny, bite sized pieces. This appeared to annoy Miranda but she merely nodded, indicating that despite her own frustrations, she would indulge.

Andy looked at Miranda carefully. "I can... uhh... help you this time, just so... I mean it'll be easier if I help..."

Miranda swallowed clearly, the muscles in her throat working strenuously in time. Finally, she looked Andy square in the eyes and with a mixture of contempt and resignation, sat back and allowed Andy to sit on the bed beside her.

Andy was shaking but hoped Miranda wouldn't notice as she tried to calm her hand's path to the Editor's mouth. Miranda's lips parted to allow the food to pass through it and she lowered her teeth around the fork, effectively taking the morsel into her mouth.

It was fascinating to watch Miranda eat. Every single piece was chewed carefully and with a great deal of thought before being swallowed. Whenever she cleared her mouth she would allow her oval lips to part, the only sign given that she was ready for another bite. Andy managed to move the fork with a little bit more skill after the first few pieces, but she still held on to the silver tined tool as though it were an extension of her own fingers.

Once Miranda had eaten what she deemed was enough, the Editor turned her head away and lifted her bandaged wrists, flicking the fingers of one in dismissal.

Andy removed the plate from Miranda's lap and made her way towards the door. It was the Editor's voice that stopped her once she reached it.

"You will bring me the book when it arrives."

Andy nodded but Miranda wasn't looking at her. "Yes, yes of course..." She mumbled and then turned back to leave. She'd only managed to open the door and step through when she heard the same soft voice behind her.

"Oh and Andrea...?"

Andy turned. This time Miranda's piercing blue eyes were making their way up and down the length of her body. She paused and seemed to struggle with the possibility of making another demand but Andy saw Miranda's jaw clench and then release as silence fell between them. After an awkward moment when neither said anything to the other, Miranda made a clear decision.

"That's all."

Andy nodded and allowed the door to click closed behind her, finally letting out the breath she hadn't known she'd been holding.

Night had fallen over the townhouse on the upper west side of New York city and it cast an eerie quiet through the entire structure. Not a single noise seemed to permeate the silence. Not a foot fall, not a creak of floorboard. It was complete and utter quiet, much to Andy's dismay.

Even at her own apartment, Andy could rely on the strangled sounds of children crying or dogs barking and it provided her a comfort that she only realized she missed when it was gone. She'd never quite felt at peace in complete silence.

Since her break up with Nate, Andy had taken to sleeping with her laptop on, with itunes set to her favorite playlist. It was the only thing that could distract her from the thoughts that plagued her mind and forced her lashes apart in the late hours of evening. Or was it, the early hours of the morning? Either way, sleep didn't come so easily anymore.

It wasn't that she missed Nate. Sure she had felt some guilt over the dissolve of that relationship, but whenever she thought back on it, searching for an ounce of regret, she came up empty handed. When Andy was being honest with herself, she could even pinpoint the moment she stopped caring. It wasn't Nate's fault. If only it were that simple. If he had said something or done something unforgivable, it could have been an easy break. She wouldn't have had to explain anything to herself. She could have been the victim, a role she wouldn't have minded playing if it meant forgoing responsibility.

But Andy wasn't a victim. She had made a clear and concise decision.

The realization had dawned on her in Paris during fashion week. Things had been going smoothly and Andy felt as though she were finally at the top of her game. Everything Miranda wanted was there before the woman even thought of it, and Andy had even managed to sneak a little bit of time to go sightseeing. For the first time she had felt as though she had finally found true happiness in both her job and her life. Of course, her and Nate had had a falling out before she had left for Paris, but somehow she knew that if she wanted to rebuild that relationship that it wasn't too late. The ball was in her court and it was exactly where she wanted it to be.

Everything had been wonderfully, fabulously, and undeniably perfect. That was until she had entered Miranda's hotel suite to find a stranger sitting in the living area.

At least she had thought it was a stranger. She was so shocked by the shell of a woman she saw looking back at her, that she hadn't managed to find her voice.

On the couch sat Miranda Priestly, Queen of the fashion industry, stripped of crown and scepter. She wore not a single stroke of makeup and her usually perfectly styled hair was unkempt. Her eyes were raw and rimmed a bright red and her cheeks were damp with drying tears. She looked broken - defeated.

And then Andy had scuffed the floor with her foot and Miranda had become wise to her presence. Then just like an actor preparing for a scene, Miranda straightened and shifted in a vain attempt to regain her characterization of the ice maiden people thought her to be. With an off handed glance through her glasses and a tilt of the chin - the transformation was complete. However this time, there were flaws in her performance.

Her voice rasped unnaturally in her throat. She swallowed, she shifted and she made a gallant effort... but Miranda Priestly had been hurt and it was as visible as wine spilled on a white tablecloth.

Andy noticed something interesting about herself that night. When Miranda had lost her confidence, had dissolved in front of her, had shown too much - she had gone through a transformation herself. Her stuttering was gone. The shaking and all around fear that generally occurred in her boss' presence had completely vanished. She felt as though she had absorbed the Editor's lost authoritative aura and had shifted places. It wasn't a common reaction for Andy and it instilled a thought in her. She found that in that instance she acted as one of a pair, no longer a single. She was what Miranda needed her to be.

After it was all over, when Miranda had cleared her throat and instructed Andy to do nothing but 'her job', she had found herself thrust back into her own body. She was ejected from within Miranda's personal walls and cast off like the assistant she was. What had she really expected? It was a moment of weakness on Miranda's part. She had been in the right place at the right time. It could have been anyone.

Andy had gotten up and left Miranda as the woman had requested. She had then gone and found Christian Thompson and literally fucked him senseless. It hadn't been a happy moment for her by any means. It had been violent, rough and fast and she had even started crying half way through, although she had stretched her head back on her neck so that he couldn't see. Once he finally noticed, he had thought she was crying out from pleasure - the idiot. It turned out not to matter much because the morning hadn't even allowed for conversation to become awkward before Andy had discovered the plot to oust Miranda and had gone back to her in an attempt to save her.

At the time she had even seen it as a way to get closer to the woman. But as usual, Miranda didn't need saving. She had saved herself and Andy was left feeling unwanted, unneeded and unsatisfied. It was a complete reversal of how she'd felt when she'd first arrived in Paris. She had contemplated leaving Miranda right then and there; making a clean break. Of course it would have been painful but it would have been over. The thoughts she had started having would be forced from her mind; it would have been so easy.

But Andy had not left. She had gone to Miranda's side and dutifully did as Miranda had demanded. She had done her job. Nothing more, nothing less and life somehow just seemed to go on....

The sound of a door opening and closing, followed by the sharp clicks of stilettos to hardwood floor brought her back to reality. Andy rushed down the stairs to meet Emily, nearly knocking the other woman over as she took the book from her surprised hands. Emily's eyes moved up and down Andy's pajama clad form in absolute distaste. "Is the logging convention in town? I suppose it slipped my mind when I was dealing with disaster after disaster at Runway today because someone decided to take an unexpected vacation."

Andy's glance lowered to her own flannel pajamas. She had thought they were a rather good selection. They were better than the jockey shorts and a tank top which she often wore at home. And who was Emily to judge her when she was at home in her... Wait. Not at home. No, no, no. Who was Emily to judge her when she was at her boss' home in her... Oh god. Not much better.

"Hey!" Andy shook her head. "I'm not on vacation!"

"Well you might as well be. Here you are flouncing about in the latest special on K-Mart sleep-ware while I get to cancel and rearrange a week of Miranda's tightly packed schedule."

Andy shrugged. It wasn't even worth a comment. Of course Emily would be bitter about Miranda's choice, regardless of whether it had been thought out before or not. It wasn't as if anything she said would be able to change the Brit's mind.

But Emily surprised her when she articulated in a quiet voice behind Andy's retreating back. "How is she?"

Andy turned back around and tried not to notice the lines of worry that had nestled themselves above Emily's brow. "She is doing... okay."

Emily's eyes searched hers, just barely noticeably flicking back and forth before she nodded, apparently appeased by Andy's answer. "Yes well... don't let her see you in that." Emily's finger pointed at Andy's chest before roving upwards and downwards in a single, graceful movement. "It is quite enough to make one sick."

Andy couldn't help but smile. "Goodnight Emily."

She readjusted her grasp on the book and held it to her chest as she turned and headed up the stairs missing the slight look of jealousy lurking within the red head's clear eyes. Emily quickly smothered the unseen emotion and departed; the sound of the door's latch catching in its closure the only signal she had gone.

For Andy, it was time to re-enter the dragon's lair.


Part 4

"Why is it that I'm out of the office for a single day and the magazine suddenly degrades itself to the fashion equivalent of Good Housekeeping?" Miranda's words slipped from her mouth, coated in rising bile as she looked at the final page.

Andy had been furiously scribbling down every single thing Miranda had dictated to her while the Editor glanced through the Book. Every page was apparently worse than the last, though Andy with her 'untrained eye' hadn't noticed anything different than usual.

She had asked Andy to write 'Totally useless - get rid of it.' next to one article on Christian LaCroix's latest jewellery collection; 'Utter abomination.' on a special feature article about the reflection of global events on clothing design; and probably the most scathing review was 'Burns my retinas.' on the cover photo which showcased a theme reinventing Emilio Pucci inspired designs.

Andy closed the Book and looked down at the post-it notes shooting out from all sides. Her hand had cramped from all of the quick writing. She flexed her fingers, extending the digits and then retracting them several times. Miranda shifted next to her. When she looked up from the Book she saw that the Editor was looking at her over top of the frames of her Gucci reading glasses.

Andy knew that it was probably a cue to gather her things and head out, but something in her longed for it to be more. She smiled warmly at Miranda. "How... how are your wrists feeling?"

A muscle in Miranda's jaw twitched, clearly holding back a degrading remark - about babbling- no doubt. But those degrading remarks remained unspoken, much to Andy's amazement. "I'll live."

Andy's smile grew although her gaze remained sympathetic. "Can I uhh... get you more of the medication? It's been enough time..."

Miranda nodded and Andy slipped from her perch on the bed to go and retrieve the pills from the dresser. She opened the lid and tilted the pill bottle until two rolled out into her hand. She pondered bringing them back to the Editor on some sort of tray rather than unceremoniously in the palm of her hand - but she was limited as to what she had available. She considered her options a moment before plucking a tissue from its distributor and flattening it over her free palm before transferring the pills into its fold.

She poured some water from the pitcher she'd filled earlier into a crystal water glass and delighted in the ping that her fingernails made against the glass as she lifted it.

The glass felt cool in one hand and the tissue felt soft in the other as she carried them to Miranda. The older woman took the pills from the tissue paper and placed them on the moist curve of her tongue. Andy was so enthralled by the way Miranda's tongue glistened in the bedside lighting that she didn't even notice that the Editor had taken the glass from her between her own trembling fingers. Miranda's tongue disappeared behind her lips as they pressed against the rim of crystal and Andy watched as the glass was tipped upwards and as water slid between the tiny parting. Her eyes changed their position then, choosing to rest on the Editor's neck as she swallowed. The muscles glided exquisitely beneath her fair, thin skin and it made the hair on Andy's arms stand up.

Once she had taken the pills, Miranda held the nearly empty glass out, which Andy took quickly. She went to Miranda's bathroom to rinse it and was surprised by how beautiful her bathroom really was. The whole entire townhouse was beautiful, but something about this particular bathroom just objectified Miranda's persona. It was cream coloured and spacious with lighting around the mirror that lit the person standing before it like a photographer would light a cover shoot. The rest of the lighting was dim and comfortable; casting a warm, cascading, romantic feeling over the area. The soft stone tiling was warm beneath the soles of her bare feet as she stepped near the sink and turned the water on.

The light from the mirror reflected off of the rim of the glass and she noticed that the Editor's lips had left a whisper of an impression against its surface. She held the glass to the light and tilted it to peer through it, enjoying the small personal way Miranda had unknowingly left her mark. It was like a bee sting or a vampire bite; divinely decadent. It was enchanting and alluring. Something pulsed between her legs and she blushed just thinking about the sinful yet ridiculous thoughts she was having. Finally, unable to resist anymore, she glanced over her shoulders quickly to make sure that Miranda hadn't appeared out of nowhere before aligning the glass in her hands and bringing it to her own lips. The glass was cool beneath the soft fleshy pout of her bottom lip and she revelled in the idea that her lips were pressed to the same piece of crystal that Miranda's had touched only moments prior.

For good measure she finished the sip of water that was left in the glass and then with guilt, began to rinse it out. What was she doing? Taking out her silly, impossible fantasies on a cup? The whole situation had 'stalker' written all over it. But it was after all, only an appreciation thing... wasn't it? Sure, she had felt warmth spread across her abdomen as she'd done it, but that could have been just embarrassment. Sure, the idea of her lips touching the Editor's made her whole body tingle like it was asleep, but that could have just been nerves. Sure, she had unnaturally sexual thoughts about the woman every single day and every single night so much so that it led her to distraction and to doing drastic measures like kissing a cup to feel closer to her, but that could have just been... crazy.

Once it was rinsed, Andy placed the glass upon a fresh white hand towel folded next to the sink, allowing it to dry. She turned then towards the rest of the bathroom and let her eyes take in every detail. The bath tub caught her glance first. It was deep and large enough to fit two people comfortably. She blushed. The tub was jetted; she could see and on a small shelf next to it sat some of the most expensive, exquisite bathing soaps and shampoos that she had ever seen. She could imagine what the tub looked like filled with bubbles and hot water. She could imagine a certain silver haired woman laying down in that tub with the water lapping at her collar bone leaving wet expanses of skin in its wake. She could even imagine the Editor's neck stretched backwards against the cool lip of porcelain, her lips parted in a moment of quiet indulgence.

Her eyes begrudgingly moved from the tub to the shower then, noting that it too could fit more than one person. It could fit four or five by the looks of it. It was enormous and it had two shower heads spouting from separate sides. The windows surrounding it were all clear glass and it was lined with warm chocolate brown stone. Andy smiled, wondering it would be like to shower inside of it. She was used to showering in a cracked, footed tub with a stained shower curtain clinging desperately to five or six rusty curtain rings. This was the Cadillac of showers.

Suddenly another flash of vivid imagination washed over her and she could see the shower filling with steam. She could picture Miranda's naked form pressed against the glass wall, her hands on either side of her body.

The woman's head was thrown back in pleasure, her lips working at sensual silent sounds that Andy couldn't hear. Her muscles were tensing and releasing and her hands were gliding over the slick surface as most of her body remained veiled by the pooling steam. Andy felt a rush of heat between her thighs. The image of Miranda, completely unhinged on the verge of orgasm was almost too much for her to take in. It was too good not to indulge for a little longer.

But the dream shifted slightly and the steam began to grow denser, hiding more and more of the Editor behind it.

Miranda's lips were parting in an approaching scream, her fingers grappling at the glass for some type of grip. Then with a final thrust against the clouded glass, Stephen's chin slid into the nook of Miranda's neck from behind and bit down into the tender flesh.

Andy felt sick to her stomach. She was surprised that her own imagination would have let that particular character in.

Stephen. Stephen had touched Miranda. He'd even had sex with her. It was not like this was any new information - they had been married after all - but when she really thought of it in a realistic way, it made her furious. It was animalistic to picture some grunting, groaning, boar of a man on top of a delicate frame like Miranda's. To picture their sweaty, large and rough hands snaking through her silver hair. To picture those same hands grabbing the strands at the root and tugging at them...

Andy had to press her hand to the shower's glass to steady herself as her mind spun wildly out of her control.

She could picture it everywhere. She could picture them everywhere. She could picture them in their marital bed, Miranda crushed under Stephen's large body; Stephen's hips thrusting with wild abandon into the dip between Miranda's legs. Miranda's knees, squeezed against Stephen's ribs as her head came dangerously close to colliding with the headboard. She could see them on the stairs, Miranda straddling Stephen's hips as he lifted and lowered her against himself, without skill or care. His hands held her hips in place and he used her like a doll until he could release inside of her. Then they were in the kitchen. Miranda's back was on the counter and Stephen was over top of her, gripping her breasts and twisting them in his hands roughly as he moved. He was calling out her name, 'Miranda... Miranda.... oh god Miran...." with every lustful, sinful jerk. Miranda's lips parted too and she looked like she was going to scream again, but her eyelashes fluttered open and she called out, "Andrea..."

Andy's eyes flew open and she jumped. As much as the idea of Miranda calling out her name while coupling with her husband was intensely erotic, she knew her mind hadn't just taken that liberty. She knew it because when she opened her eyes, she saw Miranda's reflection in the shower glass. She was behind her.

Andy spun to face her. "Miranda.... I...."

Miranda's eyes were dissecting her; questioning why the girl was standing, supporting herself against her shower, no doubt noticing her flushed cheeks and damp forehead. "Andrea... are you ill?"

Andy stuttered and tried to look anywhere but into Miranda's eyes. It was as if Miranda had become the Basilisk from the Harry Potter books that her children liked so much; a creature whose gaze could kill even if merely caught in a reflection. Miranda's serpentine stare was penetrating her defences. When Andy met those twinned blue eyes, she could see the danger that lurked there. She had to think, quickly.

"I'm... no. I was just... uhh.. with the..." Andy made swirling gestures with her hand as she grappled with a possible explanation to her predicament. "... and the.... with the.... I mean to say... Miranda did you know that seventy percent of home accidents occur in the bathroom? I was just checking to make sure that your shower had sufficient grip for when you.... take a shower.... being that your... with the wrists and everything... you'd... it must increase your chances... I..." Damnit. She'd started strong! The statistic had been a really good idea and her explanation was flawless. But then Miranda's eyes had squinted lightly as if looking for the real merit in Andy's argument and Andy had melted.

Perhaps Miranda felt sorry for her, or perhaps she simply accepted the fact that her second assistant was losing her sanity, but Miranda did not question it any further. She merely drew part of her lower lip into her mouth and nodded before turning and vacating the bathroom, leaving Andy alone.

Andy used the few seconds of solitude to her advantage and regained her composure. A cool splashing of water against her cheeks helped this along and Andy used a hand towel to dry the moisture away before returning to Miranda's bedroom.

Miranda had seated herself back in bed and she was looking at Andy as she came back in. Andy glanced back at the bathroom door and then towards the Editor. "It's uhh... all clear in there. Your bathroom was really... safely... uhh…built." Oh god. Did she have to keep talking? Just shut up Andy... say something intelligent for once...

But much to Andy's surprise, Miranda's lips had pulled upwards at the corners in an amused smile that reached her eyes. She was even more surprised when the Editor finally spoke, the tone of her voice lighter than usual but still sarcastic and just as assertive, "What I would have done without your safety check, I'll never know."

Andy's surprised look vanished to be replaced by a spreading smile of her own. Feeling brave, she took a step closer to Miranda's bedside. "Is there anything else I can help you with?"

Miranda regarded her carefully, the smile still lingering at her lips, having not quite been controlled just yet. "No, I am fine, thank you."

Andy's heart fluttered. She must be dreaming. Miranda Priestly rarely smiled, and she most certainly never thanked anyone. But this wasn't a dream. It was all very real. Andy nodded her head and raised her hand awkwardly in a half wave before she thought better of it and lowered it back to couple with her other hand.

"Well... uhh... if you need anything... just... call, or let... me know. I'll have my... uh cell on..." She was just down the hall. "Umm... goodnight Miranda."

Miranda readjusted her wrists in her lap. "Goodnight, Andrea."

Andy was beaming when she turned around and headed towards the door. She could barely keep the excitement out of her step. How ridiculous it was to be so happy over something as simple as a 'goodnight'. But this wasn't just any 'goodnight'. This was coming from a woman who before this particular moment in time, Andy couldn't have imagined actually saying that simple word. She was just closing the door behind her when she heard Miranda clear her throat softly.

"Oh and Andrea...?"

Andy smiled. Hope swelled in her chest as she was summoned back into the room. She knew something small had changed between them. Perhaps it was the start to something more. Whatever it was, it was both thrilling and exciting. Andy turned around, the smile still present. "Yes?"

Miranda's eyes moved up and down Andy's form with expert precision. She tilted her head to the side and let the silence reclaim them. Finally she raised a brow.

"Is the logging convention in town?"

Andy deflated, the smile falling from her lips. She even went so far as to defend her pyjama choice, but as soon as her lips parted, Miranda turned away with a familiar phrase thrown effortlessly over her shoulder. "That's all."

Miranda 1 - Andy 0. Surprise, surprise.


Part 5

Despite all odds, Andy had managed to sleep rather peacefully in the guest bedroom. It was only a couple of doors down from Miranda's master suite and she found the proximity comforting. It was the closest she'd gotten to sleeping in the same place as someone else since Nate had left. The task of sleeping wasn't the hard part. The falling asleep process had been the hard part. However, she had anticipated it after the unusual evening she'd just spent fantasizing over a woman who couldn't be more indifferent to her.

Andy had washed her face in the en-suite of the guest bedroom and had laid her head on the pillow at exactly 12:36 am. Deciding to clear her thoughts of the day's events, she thought of her favorite TV show - The Office. She smiled. The Office had been a guilty indulgence of hers whenever she was actually home to watch it - which wasn't by any means on a regular basis. She had fallen in love with the characters but found that she couldn't sympathize with their thoughts regarding their annoying boss. They hadn't had a boss like hers.

No, no... don't go there Andy. Think happy, pleasant, un-Miranda-esque thoughts....

Andy concentrated hard. She pictured herself as a character on the television show. It was a trick she'd learned as a teenager while suffering from mild bouts insomnia. It kept her mind busy and allowed her to eventually fall asleep without realizing it.

She replaced the receptionist and took her seat as Andy Beasley, secretaire extraordinaire. She tried to imagine what it would be like to interact with the crazy 'Dwight' character and to flirt with the cute boy next door, 'Jim' character. It was all perfectly distracting. ''Stanley', yet another character in The Office strode over and placed a large stack of papers on her desk. He told her he needed the figures added up and she went to work diligently. But the numbers weren't making sense and the papers were expanding all over her desk. When she couldn't take it anymore, she stood from her seat and shouted, "This is too hard!!!"

Michael Scott, the boss, peeked his head out of his office door and looked at her. "That's what she said."

Andy grinned and went to sit back down but Michael interrupted her. "Hey... Andy Anderson.... Pam Anderson... Hooty McBoob.... why don't you just come in here for a little meeting. I have this impression I've been working on that I think you'll appreciate."

Andy pushed herself back from the desk and walked around it, heading towards the office that Michael had just disappeared inside. She was laughing even at this pretend scenario, and the thoughts she'd been avoiding couldn't have been more safely stowed away. She stepped inside the office and closed the door behind her, approaching Michael's desk. His back was to her and she picked up the 'World's Greatest Boss' mug.

"Well Michael - show me your impression."

The chair spun around and Andy dropped the mug. A woman with silver hair and immaculate makeup had replaced Michael. She peered up at Andy over the rims of her glasses and placed one well manicured palm onto the desk's surface. "Don't be ridiculous Andrea. I don't do impersonations."

Andy's eyes flew open and she rubbed at them vigorously with whitened knuckles. Why can't I just have a normal dream? She looked at the clock 12:41 am. Five minutes. She'd been Miranda-free for only five minutes. Oh god this'll be a long night.

It didn't help that the weather had picked up outside the townhouse and Andy could hear it banging against the thick window glass of her room. It must of been quite a storm because the glass window had managed to keep out the city traffic noises, yet was still allowing the howl of wind to penetrate its barrier. But Andy surprised herself and she eventually managed to fall into a deep, dreamless sleep. It didn't hurt that the mattress quality surpassed any others she'd even had the privilege of testing at a Department store and the sheets were so soft that she feared marking them by her mere presence. They didn't smell like Miranda, but they smelled like her house and that was enough of an association to permanently flush her cheeks as she slept.

It wasn't until an uncertain time in the very early hours of morning that Andy awoke with a start to a loud 'thud' coming from Miranda's bedroom. Andy flew out of bed, tossing the comforter back so hard that it stripped itself from the bed and landed on the other side on the floor. She looked to the digital clock but found it blank. Power outage. Fumbling through the house in the dark Andy managed to collide with a dresser, the door and ironically a lamp, before reaching Miranda's room. She didn't bother to knock as she swung the door open and rushed into the darkened bedroom. Miranda wasn't on the bed, that much she could tell. One half of it was still made from the night before and the other half had its covers tucked neatly back. Evidently Miranda wasn't very restless in her sleep.

Andy frantically searched the floor of the bedroom before running to the bathroom and opening the door. Her eyes had begun to adjust to the dark but everything still seemed completely foreign to her.

"Miranda?!" Andy called, gripping at the wall as she made her way out of the bathroom and back into the bedroom. Her heart thudded loudly in her chest. No response.

She heard a rustle coming from the closet and her eyes widened with hope as she rushed forward towards the noise.

The closet door was open and Andy ran right inside. She stopped just on the inside of the door frame. It was pitch black. The rustling had stopped and she couldn't see a thing. "Miranda?" She tried again. Nothing.

Andy took a few steps forward, her hands reaching around for objects that might find themselves in her path. She grasped something silky on a hanger and then glided her open palm through the row of clothing beside it. She turned away and stepped blindly into the darkness, holding her hands out in front of her in an attempt to stop walls and jagged corners from coming into contact with her forehead. She was so concerned with things at head level, that she didn't notice her foot catching on something, sending her totally off balance and crashing to the carpeted floor. Andy let out a yelp as she went down, but she was uninjured. "Fuck." She cursed as she placed her hands to the carpet in front of her. Her fingertips grazed something silky and she paused, peering around and willing her eyes to see what it was.

She felt something hot against her nose. A warm breath being let out. Goosebumps prickled her body as she realized she was kneeling directly in front of Miranda and the woman was breathing on her skin. Andy's whole body jolted and she sat back on her heels, lifting her hands and placing them back down again, this time on a very soft expanse of skin. She swallowed and lifted her hands as though she'd been burned, stuttering, "Mir... Miranda?"

The darkness sighed softly and then finally spoke. "Yes."

Andy let out the breath she'd been holding. "Oh my god... are you okay?"

Miranda swallowed and Andy could hear her tongue click against the roof of her mouth. "I am fine, I've just... fallen."

Andy wanted to reach out but she couldn't trust what she'd touch. "Oh... well the power is out."

A breathy noise came from Miranda. "How astute Andrea." She moved and Andy could feel a piece of delicate skin whisper across her forearm before gliding away. "It was what caused me to fall in the first place."

Andy nodded although she knew Miranda couldn't see. "Uhh.. why are you... I mean... why are you in the closet at this time of nigh... morning - anyways?"

Miranda made another indiscernible noise. It sounded disapproving. She was still very close, Andy could tell. When she failed to offer an explanation, Andy decided to take charge of the situation. "Okay.. well.. uhh let's... let's get you out of here."

"A fine idea." Miranda grunted miserably.

Andy lifted her hands again and slowly reached them out in front of her. Her fingertips met Miranda's skin and she rolled the fingertips aside until her palms replaced their position against the surface. She couldn't tell what she was touching but she could feel the muscles tense beneath her hands. Her fingers moved across the cool skin and she heard Miranda gasp. Her fingertips froze. That can't be good. She lifted them back before placing them down again, only this time, slightly higher. She could feel a lightly protruding bone and then another one mirrored beneath her other hand. Her fingertips slid upwards and finally she rounded a corner on the woman's body. Shoulders. Definitely shoulders.

Andy let out a sigh of relief and cursed herself for actually doing so. She was glad Miranda couldn't see the expression on her face. She felt as red as a tomato and her pupils were so enlarged from a combination of the darkness and an uninhibited lust that it wouldn't be hard for the Editor to become wise of her blatant thoughts.

Andy used Miranda's shoulders to help with balance but she didn't put any weight on the woman as she brought herself to her feet. "Can you... uhh.. can you give me your hands?"

Miranda didn't say anything but Andy felt two slender hands slipping between the woman's shoulder blades and her own hands before clutching them delicately. Andy let go of Miranda's hands soon after, but used them as a guideline to find where the bandages were on her wrists before clutching to the Editor's elbows. Andy moved very carefully in an attempt to help the woman to her feet, but as she did so she felt something brush against her calves. Two knees pressed against either side of her legs and she realized that she had been kneeling between the Editor's own legs all along. It was such a provocative and unexpected thought that Andy's palms lit on fire and began to sweat profusely.

Miranda was midway to standing when the sweat caused Andy to lose her grasp. She made a quick move to recapture Miranda's elbows, but failed causing the Editor fall backwards. Miranda's knees were squeezing against her calves involuntarily and it caused Andy to lose her balance, effectively being taken down with her. Perhaps a better description would have been, taken down ON her.

Andy could feel her entire body pressing down on top of Miranda's. She tried to move but her hands fumbled against bare skin instead of carpet. A strange question occurred to her then. She was surprised that it hadn't come to her earlier. Why hadn't she felt any of Miranda's clothes yet? There had been an awful lot of skin...

Andy's hands were trembling as they continued in their useless fumbling as Miranda grunted beneath her. Just as her hands met with the carpet, the lights came back on.

Andy could not have been prepared for the sight in front of her if she'd tried.

Miranda was on her back on the carpet beneath her. Her wrists were up near her head at either side of her silver hair, which was tousled slightly from the fall. She wasn't wearing her pajamas anymore. Instead, the Editor lay beneath her in only a black lace bra and matching panties. She couldn't see very much of the panties because her own thighs were blocking the view. She was straddling Miranda's hips, pinning her down beneath her size 4 weight while the Editor's silk pajamas lay abandoned around them.

Andy tried to play it cool, she really did, but the image Miranda had created beneath her had caused a rush of warmth and moisture between her legs and she thanked god she'd chosen flannel bottoms.

Miranda's cheeks were flushed as she looked up into Andy's eyes and a silence fell between them that was surprisingly electric. Their gaze never faltered and both of them were breathing a little heavier then they should have been. After what seemed like hours but was probably only minutes, Andy found her voice. "I'm... uhh.. sorry. Let me just..."

The dark haired assistant wobbled slightly as she managed to move off of the Editor and into a standing position. She bent down to help Miranda up and once they were both on their feet, Miranda turned away from her to face the wall. She looked oddly self conscious about her beautiful body and Andy longed to convince her otherwise, but she knew that she had no right to. She also had a feeling that Miranda wouldn't want to hear it.

Why would she? Especially coming from me, Andy thought bitterly.

But she refused to think about that now. Not while Miranda stood practically shivering with her damaged wrists held protectively over her front. She was facing the wall still, her gaze fixed directly in front of her at a row of jackets.

Andy unhooked the grey bathrobe hanging near the closet door. She carried it back towards Miranda and placed it carefully on the woman's shoulders. During a fleeting moment of unbridled bravado, Andy even managed to squeeze Miranda's shoulders soothingly before helping her into the robe and tying it off at her slim mid section.

This same bravado seemed to linger just long enough for her to ask, "Miranda... why didn't you just call me?"

Andy hadn't been expecting an answer. She had spoken quite out of line - questioning her boss' actions and reasoning in her own house. As the bravado vanished, so too did any remaining nerves that she had been fiercely clutching to. She was about to change the subject when Miranda surprised her yet again, with a response.

"I wanted to change before you awoke."

Andy nodded slowly. The woman was now facing her, meeting her eyes slowly. She continued through a clenching jaw, "I would have managed too if the lights hadn't gone out."

Andy nodded again. She imagined she was doing an impressive impersonation of a bobble head. "Yes.. yeah... but how about... how about next time, you just call me?"

Miranda looked as though she was going to tell Andy exactly what to do with her 'how-abouts', but she stopped herself just as her lips parted and then she moved to reseal them. She then nodded her head once and then several more times quickly in succession - then she looked away.

Andy smiled softly and placed her hand delicately to the small of Miranda's back. "I think it's best... you uh... lay down for a bit."

Miranda didn't protest. She climbed into bed, slipping between the sheets, and even allowed Andy to draw the covers up to her chest. But she didn't look at her again.

Andy turned the closet light off and the other various lights around Miranda's bedroom before closing the door firmly behind her. She paused on her way back to her room and turned back to look down the hall at Miranda's bedroom door.

Sighing to herself she drew her hands through her hair and headed to the guest room where she gathered the comforter under one arm and made her way back into the hallway, towing the expensive guest room's desk chair behind her. She set it directly in front of Miranda's door and lowered herself into it. The blanket felt cool against her skin and she laid back against the leather of the chair uncomfortably. Her eyes worriedly travelled over the surface of the door before finally closing as Andy let out another sigh.

As she slowly drifted to sleep she couldn't shake the image of Miranda laying flush beneath her. She could still picture the way Miranda's eyes looked as they had locked with her own. She could still see the whisper of blush across her collarbone and the rise and fall of her ribcage. In a word, Miranda had looked breathtaking. It was an image she would never forget and one she would never want to forget.

For the first time in years, Andy fell asleep with a smile on her lips.


Part 6

"Andrea... Andrea...?" A soft voice called from inside Miranda's bedroom.

Andy practically jumped to her feet as she swung the blanket off and climbed out of her makeshift bed. It rolled backwards unenthusiastically. She ran her hand through her hair and down the front of her pajamas to straighten them before turning the door knob in her hand and swinging it open.

When she entered she saw Miranda sitting on the bed, one leg crossed elegantly over the other. She was fully dressed in a gorgeous Armani skirt-suit and her hair was expertly styled just grazing across her right brow. She looked impeccable.

Andy was confused. She walked closer and noticed that Miranda's wrists weren't even bandaged as they rested across her knee. "Miranda… are… uhh… how did? Are you okay?"

Miranda jerked her head for Andy to come closer. Andy obeyed. She approached Miranda and stopped once she was standing directly in front of her. Miranda's gaze fell to her feet and then made their slow ascent up her body, moving at such an excruciatingly slow pace that she felt she was (for lack of a better term) being eye-fucked without lubricant.

"I'm more than okay, Andrea…"

Andy flushed a deep red. There was something indescribably sensual in the Editor's voice as it caressed her ears and sent shivers down the length of her spine.

"Really…?" Andy asked, swallowing the lump of pure panic in her throat. Was it panic? It sure felt like panic… or was it… excitement? "How … uhh.. how come?"

Miranda tilted her chin to the side and narrowed her eyes. "Because I like to get what I want…"

Andy's eyes widened. "Uhh yeah…?" She clenched and unclenched her hands to act as a distraction. "And… uhhh… what did you get?"

Miranda's lips parted and the point of her tongue peeked out to perch in between her lips. It sat there as she regarded Andy in painstaking silence, her fiery gaze locking with Andy's darker one. Finally the tongue rolled over her bottom lip and disappeared.


Andy physically jolted - her stomach churning with the onslaught of tingling nerves.

This couldn't be happening! Miranda felt the same way? Her mind raced. What would the Editor expect of her? Did it really mean what she thought it meant?

Andy's mouth had gone dry. "Oh… okay…"

Miranda lifted her wrist and crooked her finger, motioning for Andy to draw even nearer still.

Andy obeyed.

Miranda's hands were on her elbows then, pushing her down on to her knees. She kept her gaze on Miranda's face at first but soon found herself staring into the Editor's lap and consequently, up the woman's skirt.

Miranda parted her thighs as she placed her hands on Andy's shoulders. "Do you want to make me happy, Andrea?"

Andy nodded over enthusiastically. "Yes… yes Miranda... I do."

"Then give me what I want."

Andy felt Miranda's hands at the back of her head, drawing her downwards between her thighs.

From the new vantage point, Andy noticed that the Editor had forgone underwear in her dressing routine and was bare beneath the black material of the Armani skirt. Andy's tongue slipped out from between her own lips in anticipation and she extended it - closer and closer to making contact with the area between Miranda's legs.

"Andrea…?" Miranda's voice asked from above. "What are you doing?"

Andy pressed onwards, her tongue still stretching towards the center of her desire. "Giving you what you want Miranda."

Miranda's nails dug into her head and raked down her skull. The pain sent shivers through Andy's body but she still reached for it, her chin and tongue nearing her goal.

She felt Miranda's grip switch to her shoulders and she felt the Editor pushing her away forcefully. "What are you doing?" She demanded again.

She sounded firmer this time. It wasn't a question anymore. It was an accusation.

Andy's heart stopped.


Andrea jumped. Her lashes fluttered apart but she couldn't see any determinable shapes. Her vision was hazy and she had to rub her eyes furiously to clear them. She wasn't in Miranda's room anymore. She was just outside of the door, in the same office chair she'd fallen asleep in. Her body was twisted uncomfortably in the blanket and her back ached from the position she'd slept in.

What was worse, towering above her in the door frame was the woman herself – Miranda Priestly, looking sophisticated and beautiful if only slightly unkempt. Her wrists were still clearly bandaged and she was looking at Andy with a slight sign of impatience written across her features. She was still in her robe.

It had been a dream. Thank god it had been a dream. She couldn't bear Miranda pushing her away like that. Drawing her in and then casting her off like the assistant she was.

Andy brought her hands up to her cheeks to hide the burning blush that consumed her cheekbones and the circumference of her face.

"Well…?" Miranda asked, attempting to rest her hands on her own hips but failing as she winced in pain from the movement.

"Well?" Andy echoed, blinking out of total confusion. Had she missed something?

Miranda didn't conceal the eye roll as she gazed down at her assistant. "I asked what you were doing here."

"Uhhh… taking care of you….?" Andy tried, brushing her hands through her hair to tame the wild nest it no doubt appeared to be.

Miranda's eyes swiveled in their sockets again. "Don't be daft Andrea. I know why you're here. I want to know what you're doing outside of my bedroom, in a chair, at seven in the morning."

Andy swallowed and scrambled to her feet. Unfortunately her legs were all caught up in the blanket and she fell backwards, landing with a thud on her backside. Her cheeks were still on fire as she slowly looked up to meet Miranda's gaze.

She was surprised to see an amused lilt in the Editor's expression, but Miranda still had her head cocked to the side in wait for an answer.

"I… well… I was just. I didn't want you to fall again… like last night. And god knows you're stubborn enough to try something twice, even if it didn't work out the first time… and I knew I'd be able to find you quicker and …." Andy froze again.

This hot and cold business was driving her insane. Why didn't she just shut up? Why oh why didn't she just shut up?

It really was only a matter of time before Miranda would grow tired of her incompetence and have her off'ed and dumped in the Hudson with the other garbage. But when Andy met Miranda's gaze again, she was happy to see that the Editor hadn't started pouring the cement just yet.

She almost looked amused. A small smile quirked her exquisitely soft looking lips before one perfectly groomed eyebrow rose slowly above her blue stare. "Well, I hate to cut the sleepover short Andrea, but it is Saturday and I do wish to have somewhat of a normal day today."

Andy wondered what a normal day would be like for Miranda Priestly but she didn't question it. She didn't question anything. Instead, ever the obedient assistant, Andy rose to her feet and gathered the blanket under one arm and then began to retreat while rolling the office chair along with her.

Miranda cleared her throat and when Andy turned her way she was glaring impatiently. The Editor turned away then and headed back into her room, while Andy ran the remaining steps to the guest room and rolled the chair back into position. She tossed the comforter on the bed and rushed to get ready.

She even managed to set a new personal record for herself as she disrobed, showered and redressed herself all in a matter of minutes. There wasn't any time to waste, and consequently any time to spend on really perfecting her look. She was wearing dark yoga pants and a matching yoga jacket with a loose olive green tank top underneath. They were comfortable clothes and she would be damned if she let Miranda expect her to wear anything more.

Andy didn't have time to tidy the room so she closed the door behind her as she left, so that Miranda wouldn't have to look at the disarray if she happened by. She was quick to her boss's bedroom and when she arrived inside, Miranda was standing near the bathroom scrutinizing her reflection in the floor to ceiling mirror.

"Appalling…" the woman muttered under her breath as her chin tilted back.

Andy wanted to correct her immediately. Miranda Priestly – NEVER looked appalling. She never looked anything less than becoming. Even as she stood there in the grey bathrobe with her hair tousled and sticking out at odd angles, Miranda looked like a vision.

She didn't know what possessed her to say it, but before she could stop herself – the words had fallen from her lips.

"Maybe you'd feel better if you washed your hair…"

Miranda's eyes widened and then lifted upwards to look at that particular part of her appearance with newfound interest. It was a tiny gesture of self consciousness and Andy felt pleased to have seen the small fleeting expression.

Miranda swallowed and pursed her lips, no longer looking at herself but looking at Andy's reflection in the mirror. "And tell me… Awn-dray-yah." Oh oh. She was drawing the syllables out, making them sound poisonous and sinful. "How do you presume I go about doing that?"

The Editor lifted her bandaged wrists in front of her and then turned on her heel away from the mirror to stare at her dumbfounded assistant. Andy shrugged and dug her toe into the carpet.

"I could uhh.. do it for you."

Miranda's expression was indecipherable. She stood for a long moment, the silence having returned between them. Miranda finally broke the silence by turning and strolling into the bathroom. When Andy didn't follow, Miranda grunted impatiently.

Andy rushed after her then, pausing when she got inside and she looked from the shower and to the tub before blushing furiously. Oh god. The fantasies flooded back to her. She couldn't think about that though. She had a job to do. Focus, god damnit.

Andy looked around for a way to make this happen but the sink was too high and there was no way Miranda would be okay with her climbing in the shower or bathtub with her. Finally she hit upon an idea. "Wait… uhh.. wait here."

Andy took the townhouse stairs two at a time as she rushed towards the kitchen. She dug through the cupboards filled with expensive cookware and dinnerware and found a large interestingly shaped bowl. Satisfied with her choice she rushed back upstairs and directly through the bedroom into the bathroom. Miranda hadn't moved.

Andy placed the bowl on the edge of the lowered vanity counter and then disappeared back outside. When she returned for the second time, she was carrying a chair she had taken from the hallway. She put it down so that it faced away from the counter and picked up the pitcher of water sitting next to the sink. Dumping the still water down the drain, she turned the faucet to hot and slipped the pitcher beneath the stream.

Miranda watched in amazement as Andy moved before making her way over to the chair and sitting herself down. The younger woman turned off the water and set the pitcher next to the bowl. She moved over to the bath tub and looked at the shampoos she saw there. "Uhh… do you have a…? I mean do you prefer one?"

Miranda shrugged and tilted her chin down to look at her wrists, apparently leaving the decision in Andy's hands. Andy smiled and picked up one with a beautiful fragrance that smelled somewhat like a perfume she owned of Alfred Sung. She carried it back over and then set it down beside the water pitcher.

"Okay... uhh.. I'm just… if you could just lean your head back, into my hands. I can manage the rest." Andy smiled down at her boss, who had begun to lower her head backwards into the cradle of Andy's hands.

Miranda's hair felt wonderful beneath her touch. So wonderful that she didn't want to ruin the feeling by adding water - but since her boss was quickly becoming impatient in her hands, she had very little choice.

She kept one hand under Miranda's head, supporting it while the other lifted the heavy pitcher. Ever so slowly she tilted the pitcher forward, allowing a stream of hot water to flow from its lip and down onto the Editor's forehead where it spilled backwards over her hair, wetting the silvery bob in sections.

Miranda's eyes fluttered closed and it allowed Andy time to gaze appreciatively at her features. Miranda was even more beautiful up close. She had hardly a single line on her face and even without makeup she looked healthy and entrancing. Her nose was exquisitely slender, eerily mimicking the profile of an Olympian goddess. It swayed only slightly off centered which made it that much more interesting; a mild imperfection. It made her unique, unlike anyone else in this world. In fact, the imperfection in its own little way was actually the cause of her ethereal perfection as a whole.

Andy's smile widened as she placed the pitcher down on the counter and lifted the shampoo bottle into her hand. She clicked its lid open and then tilted it over Miranda's forehead, very close so that the cool creamy liquid wouldn't surprise her. Once she had enough there, she put the shampoo bottle back down and smoothed her hands over the Editor's head. She worked her hands through her hair, the soapy suds creating a sensual aroma around them. Andy's nails dug slightly into the roots, massaging Miranda's scalp.

Miranda's lips parted in a soft 'Oh' and her lashes fluttered lightly open, looking up at Andy with an unusual and unfamiliar look in her eyes. Miranda seemed to catch herself quickly, and she closed her lashes again, relaxing against Andy's hands.

Andy suddenly felt very powerful with Miranda's head cradled in her grasp. Her throat was stretched back, exposed to Andy's lingering gazes as they traveled up the length of it. She massaged slow circles at Miranda's temples and watched with interest as the Editor let out a barely audible sigh.

Andy smiled and dipped her fingers lower, spreading around Miranda's ears and then massaging the finger tips just under her ear lobe. Miranda shifted, blushed and then much to her own horror – let out a soft moan. Her eyes shot open then. She stared up at Andy and Andy stared right back down at her. Andy's smile widened but Miranda merely blinked as if couldn't believe what was happening.

"It's kinda fun… to do.. this…" Andy spoke, deciding that her babbling would probably annoy Miranda enough to allow her to relax again. It turned out she was right and Miranda's blue irises hid themselves behind the veil of her eyelids.

She raked her fingers backwards through Miranda's slick hair but Miranda's jaw was clenched so no further sounds were elicited, much to Andy's chagrin. Andy dipped her hand into the bowl below Miranda's head and washed one of her hands off before picking up the pitcher of hot water and pouring it over top of the foamy white curtain across Miranda's scalp. It washed away easily with the flow of water and Andy was careful to make sure that all of the suds were clear before putting it back down.

Miranda's clean head remained cradled in her palms for a few more moments until Andy managed to manoeuvre the fluffy white towel around it.

The dark haired assistant walked in front of the Editor then and she lowered herself to her knees before her. Her dream came flooding back but she shook her head and contemplated dumping cold water over her head to clear it.

Focused again on the task, Andy began working the towel in her hands around Miranda's scalp, doing her best to towel dry the hair. Once she was satisfied that the hair seemed dry enough, she lifted the towel away from Miranda's face.

Miranda's eyes opened then and both finally seemed to notice their proximity towards one another. Barely a breath apart, the two stared into each others eyes before Andy panicked and sat back on her heels, depositing the towel on the counter.

"All… uhh… all done." Andy climbed to her feet nervously and then stepped back. Miranda didn't move.

"Am I to catch a chill on top of everything else?" Miranda asked as she looked up at Andy. Her hair was definitely still damp and completely uncombed.

Andy shook her head. "No… no, no, no… do you uhh… have a hair – "

Miranda had already hooked her working fingers around one of the handles on a drawer, pulling it open to reveal a very sleek hair dryer.

"… dryer." Andy finished awkwardly. She took the hair dryer in her hand and picked up the brush sitting beside it. She noticed that the brush had a few silvery strands already woven through its tines and it made her smile. She couldn't say why it did, but normal, every day moments involving her boss seemed to have that effect on her. She was human after all.

She plugged the hair dryer into the socket and then began dragging the brush across Miranda's silver mane. It really was gorgeous. The brush moved easily through the older woman's hair, raking across her scalp in fine even lines. Andy was so entranced by the movement that she'd brushed the Editor's entire head several times before Miranda seemed to shift underneath her.

The movement caused Andy to remember what she was doing and she flicked the hair dryer on. It began distributing even heat over the Editor's head and she worked it back and forth as she curled the brush in long strokes, layer by layer; strand by strand.

The task was completed all too quickly and Andy switched the hair dryer off with mild disappointment. It was a job she would have done for days if she could have.

Miranda's hair looked warm, silky and dry; and before Andy knew it, her hands were gliding through its shining depths, caressing it and raking soothingly against the scalp below. The older woman let out a decadent sigh.

Andy's fingers halted in their movements and awkwardly retreated. Miranda's lashes had opened and she was looking up at her. Neither spoke again for a few moments. Time just seemed to settle and stop.

Finally in an act of self preservation, Miranda stood and breezed by Andy, vacating the bathroom completely. On her way by, a gentle "Thank you" fell from her lips, as if dropped like a penny on a New York street and forgotten just as quickly.

Andy smiled again and nodded but there was no one there to see it.

Miranda 1 – Andy 1.

She liked ties so much better.


Part 7

The rest of the day had passed with relative ease.

Andy had received both breakfast and lunch from the cook and had taken it up to Miranda on separate occasions. Miranda, who'd had prior frustrations at being fed seemed equally as frustrated on the second day as she had the first. She ate very small portions and when she was done she didn't say a word - she merely looked away in disinterest and flicked the fingers on one of her hands.

Andy noticed that Miranda seemed slightly more distant as she went about her business during the day. First, the Editor had sent her away after breakfast altogether - telling her not to return until the cook had prepared lunch. Then Miranda had requested that Andy bring her the New York Times alongside her meal and once she was finished eating, she'd had Andy sit beside her in a chair and turn the pages of the Newspaper after she'd read them.

Miranda's eyes scanned the words so quickly that it was a wonder how she managed to retain any information. She spent a bit more time in the business sections then all of the others and even paused on one particular article of interest, to reread it.

Andy shifted next to Miranda and uncomfortably bent forward so that she could turn the page when requested. Once the very last page was turned, Miranda nodded her head and sat back.

"Anything interesting?" Andy asked as she folded the print between her hands.

"No." Miranda replied, looking at Andy's hands as they moved.

"Good... uhh... were you... I mean... is there.. anything about you in there?" Andy knew instantly that it was a bad idea to make small talk, especially if Miranda was feeling even more standoffish then usual, but she couldn't curb her curiosity.

Miranda's eyes lifted to Andrea's "No, should there be?"

Andy shook her head. "No... I just mean. You're kind of ... a big deal, and ... falling ... the ambulance and everything."

Miranda's lips curved into a small, wicked smile. "They wouldn't dream of it."

Andy couldn't help but smile back. Miranda narrowed her eyes in confusion, posing a question with the single lift of her brow.

"I... oh.. nothing! I just... think ... well... you're... well.... you're just... you."

Andy tried to swallow the smile but she was quickly losing control of her emotions in the presence of this woman. She wasn't sure when exactly her self control had first started to diminish, but she did have an inkling that it started when her hands first elicited a moan from her boss. The thought made her cheeks hot.

Miranda rolled her eyes. "And what do you mean by that?"

Andy shrugged, "I dunno... you just have such a power over people. I find it... really... neat."

"Neat?" Miranda asked in disbelief.

"Yeah..." Andy bit her lip and decided it was time to change conversation. Besides there was something she'd been meaning to ask and it seemed a perfect opportunity - at least when the Editor wasn't glaring daggers through her head. "You know... your wrists were pretty bad... you uhhh... you must have fallen pretty hard."

Miranda's eyes widened suddenly and her attention snapped towards her assistant. Andy's own eyes widened in reflection at the Editor's sudden jolt and it sent a prickle up the back of her neck. Now that reaction hadn't been expected.

Andy continued slowly, "I just meant... the grades of the sprain... were....quite... severe, for you know... just falling..."

Miranda's glare continued to bore through her, her jaw clenching unbearably tight. "I didn't realize you'd had time to acquire a medical degree. Perhaps I'm not working you hard enough."

"Well...no! Miranda. I didn't mean anything by it... I just mean... that was.... it must of... it must of been painful."

Miranda's eyes had begun to narrow as they peered down the bridge of her elegant nose. "That's all."

Andy's brows knit together in worry. "I'm sorry.. I didn't mean to... I didn't mean anything by it..."

Miranda's glare didn't recede but she looked as though she was growing more and more impatient with Andy's continued presence after her dismissal. Finally Andy stood, taking both the dish and the newspaper with her as she made her way towards the door. She half expected Miranda to call her back in. Perhaps to berate her even further or perhaps to even... apologize? Whatever it was, she counted on being stopped before she'd managed to leave. It had become a tradition that she had begun to enjoy - even if the summon was only to be the recipient of a biting remark.

Imagine her surprise when not a single sound came from the Editor; even as the door creaked close and caught in the latch behind her.

In that instant, Andy regretted everything.

She didn't see Miranda until dinner that evening and even then she'd managed to sit with the Editor for only five minutes before Miranda had lifted her wrist and flicked her fingers in dismissal.

As Andy had gone to leave she noticed Miranda had moved to her feet and was standing in front of the full length mirror, scrutinizing herself yet again. Andy shrugged. There was only so much self depreciation that she could handle, regardless of how Miranda felt about her now.

She took a deep breath, set the dinner plate down on one of the dressers and approached Miranda from behind. Miranda's eyes went to hers immediately in the reflection. Andy had expected to see anger flare up inside their depths so she was elated to find she was wrong. Miranda's dark blue eyes looked like they were withholding something and her lashes protected whatever it was like Yeomen of the guard.

"Miranda... again... I just wanted to apologize. I didn't mean to upset you.... I just..."

Miranda lifted an injured wrist, her fingers slowly knitting together in a signal which told Andy that she wasn't interested in hearing whatever further apology she was starting. "I need to bathe."

Andy's brow rose and she blinked, surprised by the quick change of subject. It was however, a lot better than her awkward apology would have been.

"Oh... well... the Doctor said, tomorrow, after the bandages are changed... that you could take a bath th..."

Miranda turned around and fixed Andy with yet another glare. "Nuh no." The muscles in Miranda's throat moved and she tossed her head back, sliding her forelock of silver back from her brow. "I want it now."

Andy's lips parted as her heart stopped. That particular sentence coming from the soft oval of Miranda's lips made her forget where she was. It was a phrase she would have to memorize and imprint in her mind to be used in fantasies later. It sounded feral, derisive and oddly sexual.

After she regained her composure, Andy nodded her head quickly. "Yes... okay then. Yeah... but... how about if I get some water, and a cloth..... and that way we can avoid the bandages... and..."

Miranda's eyes widened visibly and she looked at her assistant as though she'd never cease to be amazed. "You're suggesting a sponge bath?"

Andy blushed and lowered her glance.

Miranda seemed to take pity this time and the younger woman wasn't entirely sure why. In a voice that was mostly a drawn out sigh, Miranda agreed. "Fine."

When Andy glanced up, a look of pure surprise and fascination had taken over her expression. "Uhhh.. really? Oh... ! Let me just... you can... how about...if you just... "

Andy had begun stuttering incredibly badly once the specific ideas of what the whole experience would entail flooded her mind. She walked around in a circle in an attempt to go in three different directions at once before deciding on what her first step would be.

Miranda watched Andy rush into the bathroom and return only second later with a large white fluffy towel. The younger woman smiled sheepishly before cracking her wrists, allowing the towel to flutter outwards before settling comfortably on top of Miranda's bed.

She rushed out again, this time heading for the kitchen. Once she'd returned she clasped a much larger bowl then the one she'd used to clean Miranda's hair with. She took it into the bathroom to fill it and once the bowl was sloshing around, filled with hot, steaming water - she sat it on a chair next to Miranda's bedside.

The Editor had been watching her closely, not having moved from her place near the mirror until Andy turned to face her. The younger woman shoved her hands into the pockets of her hoodie before taking them back out again and clasping them nervously in front of herself. "Well.. I think it's... best if I... undress you standing... rather then...laying..."

Andy felt the color draining from her own face and she almost had to reach out and steady herself. She was now standing in front of the object of all of her desires (the object that she didn't have a chance with) and was expected to say things like 'undress' and 'laying'. It made her palms grow clammy and she had to run them down the front of her thighs to dry them.

Miranda glanced around the well lit room uncomfortably for several moments before demanding that Andy, "Turn off the lights first."

Naturally, Andy complied, and soon afterwards they were standing in a dark room with the bedside lamp providing the only glow. Miranda took a few steps closer and then moved her wrists so that they were limp at her hips.

Time seemed to slow down as Andy smiled nervously and reached out, untying the knot at Miranda's midsection. The band of fabric pushed back, allowing the sides of the robe to slink apart on their own. The Editor was still wearing the black lace bra from the night before and this time, Andy managed to see the pattern on the fabric. It was actually rather sheer with small swirling pieces of opaque material that seemed to fall in just the right places to conceal some of Miranda's finer details. Two details to be precise.

Andy's fingertips slid across the cool skin as she pushed the soft grey robe off of Miranda's shoulders. It fell to the floor behind her. Miranda tensed immediately but she wasn't looking away this time. Her eyes had found Andy's instead, looking deeply into their recesses. Andy shivered involuntarily and forced her eyes not to roam. "Uhh... you can... if you just want to... lay down there on your... stomach."

Miranda looked as though she wanted to say something, but she flicked her eyes towards the bed once and then complied. She reclined slowly, her shoulder blades pressing into the towel before turning over on to her stomach. The room was bathed in moonlight with only a minimal amount of artificial haze coming from the lamp. It spread across Miranda's skin like a rolling sunset, bathing her figure in a warm glow. Andy's tongue absentmindedly trailed along the inside of her bottom lip.

Miranda moved her head and the light caught strands of her silvery hair, shining like a beacon in the darkened room. Andy extended a trembling hand and took hold of a cloth, dipping it into the large, steaming bowl of water.

It was so hot in fact, that it stung her skin and she sucked a breath in through her teeth. Miranda's eyes peered curiously over her shoulder and she saw her assistant wince.

"Perhaps it's better if you don't --" Miranda trailed off. If she had access to her wrists she would no doubt be circling them dismissively.

Andy shook her head desperately "No, no, no! It'll be fine... just... uhh.. it's just a little warm!"

Miranda tilted her head to the side a moment, regarding her with interest before nodding her head and pressing her cheek back into the pillow.

Andy lifted the cloth from the water and squeezed it between her hands; the clear liquid showered down from the cloth, dripping into the bowl and caused ripples to roll along its surface.

Once the cloth was damp but no longer soaking, she held it above the back of Miranda's arm and then lowered it to her skin. Miranda jumped slightly from the contact before relaxing muscle by muscle beneath it. Andy ran the hot cloth up Miranda's arm, massaging the muscles beneath as she worked. Once she reached the Editor's shoulder, she took the cloth away from her skin and dipped it back in the water and then began working on her other arm.

She most enjoyed sliding the soft, wet cloth down the curve of Miranda's spine. She could feel every single vertebrae as she rolled the thin cloth along beneath her fingertips. Miranda's back arched into her at first but she stiffened and stopped when Andy had gotten halfway down. It took every bone in her body not to climb on to the Editor's hips and straddle them.It would be so easy, so perfect...

Andy swallowed without ceasing her efforts. Relax, slow down... clean thoughts. Andy's patience was running thin and she was becoming more and more frustrated with her inner monologue. Granted, anyone would feel the same way in her position, if presented with such a beautiful exhibition. Anyone. There was only so much she could be expected to take.

The assistant continued down Miranda's legs, one at a time. The cloth glided easily over her thighs and down towards her knees where Andy paused for another dip of water before moving over the woman's calves. Miranda's whole body had begun to turn red beneath her administrations and she couldn't tell whether it was from the heat of the cloth or something more. Once she'd finished moving around the Editor's perfectly manicured feet, she sat back and dipped a clean cloth into the bowl. "Uhh... Miranda, if I can just get you to... turn over."

Miranda let out an uncomfortable sigh before easing herself over on to her back. She looked up at Andy and even in the low light, Andy could see a delicate blush creeping along the slope of the Editor's cheekbones. She was exquisite. Andy had to try very hard to remember to breathe.

She worked on Miranda's arms first, finding them the most familiar territory of all the areas on the front of Miranda's body. After she'd completed those areas, Andy began to get the hang of the pressure that Miranda was comfortable with, and she softly smoothed the hot cloth down the column of Miranda's throat.

Miranda's head dipped backwards into the pillow and her eyes closed. Apparently she liked it. This realization brought a smile to Andy's lips and a newfound confidence as she trailed the cloth along the exposed area of Miranda's chest. Soon she found herself gliding it across Miranda's sloping abdomen. She had beautiful curves; lean and feminine yet rippled slightly by taut muscles. Miranda's breath caught in her throat when Andy's fingertips inadvertently swirled around her navel. She worked lower still, just skipping the edges of Miranda's panties.

Andy was enjoying the process so much that she couldn't tell when it was that the Editor had gone limp beneath her touch. Once she finally finished with careful strokes at Miranda's feet, she looked up to see the woman's chest rising and falling at an even pace. Andy's smile widened. She looked so peaceful with her eyes closed, bathed only in the evening light.

Andy placed the dirtied cloths into the bowl and went to Miranda's bathroom where she washed the water down the bathroom sink. She gathered the things that needed to go back downstairs and carried them towards the door and after setting the items down, she crept back to Miranda's bed side. Miranda had shifted to her side in her sleep and Andy was able to wriggle the towel out from underneath her without causing the Editor's eyes to open. She pulled the cover up around Miranda's shoulders and tucked it into the nape of the woman's neck.

An urge slowly built in her stomach and before giving herself time to mull over it too much, Andy bent down.

If time had slowed before it was positively crawling now as her lips pressed to the skin just to the left of Miranda's delicately parted mouth. Andy felt Miranda's jaw clench beneath her kiss and she realized in that moment that the Editor wasn't asleep.

Andy's eyes fluttered open and as she lifted her lips from Miranda's skin, two blue orbs peered back at her.

Andy's own eyes widened in horror; the large brown pools filling with gathering tears as her shaking hand came crashing over her lips.

Then her survival instincts kicked in and she ran.


Part 8

The bedside clock whined noisily beside Andy as she stared into the glowing numbers. She had been awake most of the night, huddled in the darkened bedroom, contemplating her next move and she hadn't noticed that the alarm had been sounding for the past fifteen minutes.

She'd kissed Miranda. She had made the clear and conscious decision to place her lips on the small patch of skin just to the side of the Editor's mouth. She indulged. She enjoyed. She took a liberty she had had no right to take. The reiteration made her stomach ache.

She had to straighten things out. There had to be a way to explain herself. She could say it was a natural maternal gesture or a remembrance from a childhood moment. She could act like it wasn't a big deal, like it had meant nothing. She could pass it off as fleeting, or gone the alternate route and acted like it hadn't even happened. There were so many opportunities to create the perfect facade, or something close to it.

The only problem was, it had meant something. It had meant everything, and Andy wasn't a good liar.

She drew shaking hands through her matted hair and finally extended her hand to stop the alarm's incessant beeping. The silence haunted and horrified her. She could think of nothing else. Miranda hot beneath her; delicate and peaceful. She had loomed over the woman like a wild animal ready to sink its teeth into its prey, lowering her lips - stealing a kiss. She'd been caught, and like the coward she was she had fled to the guest room with her tail tucked firmly between her legs.

Now a whole night had passed. Miranda hadn't stormed into her room and demanded she pack her things or anything drastic like that; though god knew the woman was entitled to.

It felt like the calm before the storm as Andy showered and dressed for the day. She spent a little more time on her appearance, as though this minor attention to detail would somehow soothe whatever frustrations Miranda might have. She brushed her hair and dried it in long strokes, her long fringe kissing the tops of her eyebrows and highlighting the deep color of her eyes. She coated her soft full lips with a thin layer of flavored lip gloss and layered mascara over her long, curled lashes. She'd chosen to wear dark Armani pants (a gift from the closet) with a silk cream colored top that buttoned up the front and flowered in a feminine curve near her collarbone.

After one brief check of her appearance, Andy nodded to her reflection and dashed downstairs. She nearly collided with the cook who was midway up the first floor landing, carrying a large silver tray in her hands. Andy hadn't gotten her name yet and she would have questioned her own matters if her mind already wasn't busy wondering why the woman was headed upstairs.

"Excuse me... is that for Miranda?" Andy asked as she tilted to the side and leaned against the wall allowing the woman to pass.

The woman stopped and smiled warmly. "Yes. Ms. Priestly has asked that I deliver her meals to her today."

Andy's brow rose in a distinctly Miranda-esque expression. "B... but I normally bring her meals up to her."

The woman nodded her head and then continued up the stairs. "Yes, but she's asked me to do it today. She's also told me to tell you that you aren't to come in to her room until Emily e-mails the updates list she's expecting this evening."

Andy's eyes widened and then her lips parted in a silent 'Ah.' So that was going to be Miranda's strategy. Block her out, ignore the situation entirely and make her stew for the entire day, thinking about her wrongs. She'd have to busy herself for the whole evening until this 'list' arrived and then be forced to face her fear. Andy couldn't keep the stomp from her step as she marched back upstairs and closed the guest room door behind her.

She spent the rest of the day growing more and more angry and impatient with Miranda. 'How dare she?' Andy wondered as she lay back on the guest room bed, her neck angled over the side, her straightened hair stretching to the floor. Yes, she had made a mistake but at least she wasn't being childish about it and choosing to act like a petulant teenager, banning people from her room. Everything had changed between them once Andy had made the fatal mistake and there really was no way to alter what had happened. She'd have to own up to it.

Her fingers clenched into fists near her hips and she lifted one before driving it back down again into the mattress in an output of frustration. Her laptop sat on the bed beside her and she reached up to press refresh on the inbox of her e-mail for the hundredth time in the last ten minutes. No new e-mails.

A feral grow emitted from Andy's lips and she shoved the laptop aside, clambering to her feet. Fuck Emily and fuck Miranda - she was going to deal with this now.

Andy opened the guest room door and drew a great breath into her lungs. She felt empowered, just like a modern Joan of Arc or Elizabeth I. Andy set her jaw and walked full speed ahead, ready for a challenge. Miranda's bedroom door stood in front of her, seeming to get further and further away as she neared it, but still she ploughed on. There was no stopping and certainly no turning back.

Her hand was on the door knob. She knocked once in friendly warning and twisted, prepared to walk in and speak her mind, regardless of the consequences. She had gone too far not to. It was all hands to battle stations.

Her wrist jerked. The door knob clicked but didn't open. It was locked. Andy had to hold back a grunt of disapproval and a shriek of anger but she couldn't control her fist that pounded in quick successions on the white wooden door. She wasn't sure how many times she had knocked, but she knew she wouldn't give up until Miranda allowed her inside.

Finally she heard a click and the door swung inwards, her fist swiping cleanly through the air instead. Miranda stepped out from behind the door and faced her, a look of pure hostility written across her face.

Andy entered. It made no use; pretences aside she would face the dragon in her own lair.

Miranda slammed the door shut once Andy had passed through it and spun to face the woman who had so boldly entreated entrance. Her voice was dripping with venom. "How dare --?"

Andy's brows knit together. "No... no Miranda. This is ridiculous. Yes, yes I am sorry for what I did! I didn't mean to! It was accidental, uncontrollable... I did it. I'm sorry I did but I did it and it's over."

Miranda's eyes widened and she stepped forward quickly, surprising Andy who stumbled backwards several paces to get away. "How dare you storm in here and attempt this...?" Miranda flicked her chin down and up in reference to Andy's position. "I don't pay you to make a public display of the unintelligent thoughts that sweep through your mind. You are my assistant. I pay you to do just that and only that."

Miranda had rounded on her and was approaching quickly, a fierce stare glowing in the depths of her eyes. Andy took three steps backwards and felt her shoulders collide with the wall. Her breath caught in her chest as Miranda stalked towards her. "You are dispensable, like every other assistant I've had and when the time comes you will end up like rest of them. You will join the ranks of the many disappointments before you and the no doubt many disappointments to come."

Andy wanted to close her eyes, to pretend as though it was all a dream like the many other dreams that had haunted her since her arrival at the townhouse. She couldn't move, her expression frozen in horror as she listened. Miranda finally came to a stop just inches away from Andy, her eyes narrowed and fastened upon her. Andy bit down into the flesh of her own bottom lip willing to distract from the pain of Miranda's confessions. The Editor remained unfazed.

"You are nothing to me Andrea. Nothing." Miranda's words sliced through Andy like a serrated knife.

Andy's blood ran cold, forcing its way through frozen veins. It was the end. She prayed it would be quick and painless. Perhaps Miranda would simply fire her. Perhaps she would walk out and have Roy come in and physically remove her - not that he'd have a hard time doing it. At this point, Andy would have taken anything in exchange for the relief of the pounding in her heart and the sight of Miranda's icy stare burrowing into the depths of her soul.

Andy tensed when she felt Miranda's hands press against the wall on either side of her head. They were so close that their breaths were no longer their own but had melded into a mixture of both clean and expelled air between them. It was intoxicating and overwhelming. Miranda's dark eyes swirled with ferocity and unbridled emotion, glinting only enough to pick up the dim bedroom lighting.

"You are nothing." Miranda spat, the words shooting from her lips through bared teeth. Before Andy could recover, the Editor's injured hands flew to Andy's face and tightened over her cheekbones and ears. Then just as swiftly, Miranda jerked forward and crushed her lips firmly to Andy's in a rough, clenching and angry kiss.

"Muh..." Andy yelped against Miranda's lips but the Editor pressed on. Andy could feel Miranda's mouth moving against hers, her head gripped tightly in the woman's unforgiving grasp. Miranda's tongue forced its way between her lips, the searing hot slickness darting around in forced exploration. Andy tentatively tried to meet Miranda's tongue with her own but found it thrust aside by one quick, wet swipe.

She was being suffocated by the relentless kiss and she gasped and sucked Miranda's air into her lungs. Miranda sensed the shortness in breath and pulled back, staring deeply into Andy's eyes as her chest rose and fell with each pull of desperate air.

Andy could feel her cheeks burning as she eyed the woman of her infatuations, flushed from her own passion as she struggled to gain control of herself. Miranda's warm hands vacated Andy's cheeks and fell to her sides. She could see the older woman wince from the movement as if finally remembering the pain of her sudden actions. Miranda's eyes briefly lowered to the floor before returning, her silver hair caressing her hot skin. It was a valiant effort, but she still looked the same.

She wasn't the Dragon Lady, she wasn't even the Snow Queen. She wasn't cool, calm or collected. There were no more airs, no more graces, just one distinct and fatal look.

Miranda Priestly wanted to be fucked.


Part 9

Andy stared at Miranda blankly for a moment as she tried to comprehend what she was seeing. There was always the threat of mixed signals, misunderstood intentions, glaring inaccuracies that could linger in an expression and cause doubt in the onlooker. However this was one time when Andrea Sachs could see exactly what the other woman was thinking. Her guard was down, the drawbridge was lowered. Miranda was weak to an attack and Andy knew that if she was ever going to take what she wanted, she would have to do it now.

Lunging forward, Andy slipped her hands around Miranda's slim waist and pushed her backwards until her calves met the edge of the bed. Miranda lost her balance and fell just as Andy had predicted. Andy slid on top of the Editor, straddled her hips and pinned her down by her elbows. She was careful not to go near Miranda's knees or wrists, but she still moved roughly on top of the older woman in a struggle to hold her in place. The anger that had seethed inside of her had mixed with the terror Miranda had instilled and now she wanted to take back some semblance of her own control.

She'd been belittled and degraded all for the sake of Miranda's selfish attempts at her own preservation. But as she stared into the woman's eyes beneath her she could see the pure, unadulterated lust. It took her breath away. All of her hesitations vanished in that moment. Everything she'd wanted since she'd first discovered her infatuation with Miranda had the potential to come true - was, in actuality, coming true.

Andy leaned forward and pressed her bruised lips to Miranda's without flinching. Their lips melded together as Andy pressed harder against Miranda's elbows, pushing them into the folds of the mattress. She could feel Miranda's body tense beneath her but could also feel the woman kissing her back; their tongues fighting angrily for dominance.

Miranda moaned against the kiss and it sent a chill up the length of Andy's spine. Andy's kisses left Miranda's lips, fired on by the noises as she trailed her tongue around Miranda's jaw, swirling to slip across the Editor's earlobe. She let her tongue flick at the delicate skin near the base of Miranda's lobe while her lips caressed the tender flesh around it. She was breathing tempestuously, each heated breath catching and sighing into the Editor's ear causing Miranda's lashes to squeeze together while her neck arched backward into the bed.

Andy was kissing down her jaw then, leaving searing marks as she went, each one branding into Miranda's skin. She nudged her nose beneath Miranda's chin, pushing her head back further and exposing the long lily-white throat. A shiver coursed through Andy as she allowed her lips to place a delicate kiss just beneath Miranda's chin before sliding her tongue out and trailing it down the center of Miranda's neck in one agonizingly slow lick.

Miranda's throat muscles moved beneath Andy's tongue, straining with each gasp that fell from her lips. She was writhing, fighting against Andy's grip but Andy knew that it wasn't a wholehearted struggle. She could read the passionate thoughts behind Miranda's expression, in her appearance and in the animalistic noises she made beneath her.

Andy snaked her fingertips into the tie at Miranda's waist and she pulled at it desperately until the fabric came undone. The material slowly shifted but Andy didn't let it slink apart on its own. Instead she thrust her hands down the front of it, pushing the robe aside in either direction, exposing Miranda's bare stomach which shivered as it met the air.

Andy recaptured Miranda's arms and returned to kissing her way down the woman's neck, swirling her tongue in the small dip at its base, framed between two exquisitely raised collarbones. As she moved her kisses along the graceful curve of one shoulder, both of her hands slid eagerly behind Miranda's back and her fingers eagerly fidgeted with the material of Miranda's bra.

Once the clasps came apart, Andy tugged the garment's fastenings aside and pulled them off of Miranda's arms, throwing the bra carelessly away as her eyes feasted on the newly exposed skin. Miranda's cheeks were bright red as Andy looked at her and she turned her gaze away, burying her face into the flesh of her own arm.

Andy could sense the woman's discomfort but she couldn't for the life of her understand why. Miranda was more stunning out of her clothes then she was in them - and in reference to a fashion icon, that was certainly saying something. Her breasts were small, not tiny, and when she reached her hand up and placed it over one of the scandalously soft mounds, it filled her palm and the cup of her fingers perfectly. It was as if her hands were born to hold Miranda Priestly's breasts. The skin across them was as flawless as the rest, and just as porcelain white. Two small and pert, pink nipples decorated each breast, perfectly centered and painfully taut.

Andy smiled and stretched her neck downwards, her lips limply circling one firm nipple. Her tongue flicked lightly over the hardening flesh, eliciting a moan from Miranda's lips as her chest rose upwards against Andy's mouth.

The sounds Miranda was making and the way her soft, pale body rose and fell under Andy was enough to drive her over the edge. Her hand moved from Miranda's breast reluctantly and slid its way down over the curve of the older woman's abdomen. Her fingertips stroked the sensitive flesh near Miranda's navel before traveling further down and slipping slowly beneath the waistband of Miranda's panties.

She wanted desperately to see every inch of the Editor. She wanted to memorize every curve and taste every bit of flesh.

Andy sat back on her heels as her fingertips slid around the waistband. She was surprised to see a different pair of panties this time, but remembered her absence and realized that Miranda had probably been too disgusted to live in the same underwear for longer than a day; let alone crossing into two or three days.

This particular pair was just as enticing as the one before it. It was black again, but the lace from the previous pair was replaced by a velvety material that was incredibly soft beneath Andy's fingers. With a tingling of nerves and a painful throb between her own legs, she flicked her wrist and began to pull the fabric downwards.

Miranda tensed and her newly freed wrists flew to Andy's hands; touching them, stopping them. Andy looked to Miranda, her features marked by confusion. The Editor had seemed pretty submissive to her movements and even still as she panted and swallowed beneath Andy's lithe figure, yet she was stopping it; stilling Andy's hands with her own.

Miranda began squirming again and she angled herself beneath Andy so that she could push the younger woman off. Andy fell onto her side on the bed, still speechless as Miranda ungracefully shimmied off of the bed and held her robe weakly in front of her, shielding her beautiful body from view.

The silver haired Editor began walking backwards towards the bathroom but she stopped abruptly and jerked her head towards the door. Her voice was raspy. "That's all."

Andy's eyes widened. Oh no, no, no. Fuck 'that's all'. What the hell was Miranda doing? Leading her along, indulging, giving in to her fantasies, making her feel like she finally cared about her and then sending her away when things got 'too serious'. No. This was not happening. Andy wasn't the lamb to Miranda's lion. There was no way she was going to give this all up without a fight. Not after what had just happened between them.

Andy scrambled to her feet. It was her turn to stalk forwards towards her prey. "Like hell, that's all Miranda..."

A noise sounded from the downstairs hall of the townhouse. A door opening wasn't enough to have been heard with the bedroom door closed, but this particular noise was louder - as though something had been dropped heavily on the floor. Andy turned towards the noise momentarily and heard a door slam behind her. When she turned back, Miranda had vanished inside the bathroom and she could hear the distinct sound of the door locking.

This can't be happening; Andy thought as she angrily raked her hands through her hair and took off towards the lower level. She took the steps two at a time in her haste, the adrenaline pumping through her veins and edging her further and further down the spiraling staircase. When she reached the base she had to look both ways before she saw Emily in the corner near a vase of flowers, rubbing her ankle and cursing the heel that had broken off of her shoe.

"Are you hurt?" Andy asked, crossing towards her and plucking the small slender jump drive out from between her fingers. It was obviously the list of updates Miranda had requested.

Emily hadn't looked at her but was instead peering at a run developing in her stocking. "Oh for Christ's..."


Emily shrugged "I'm fine... I can't say the same for my Jimmy Choos. And these were my favorite pair..." Her gaze finally met Andy's and she dropped the shoe from her hand. It clambered to the floor.

"Oh my god." She muttered, her eyes widening considerably. Her fingers were trembling as she clasped her hand over her lips.

Andy watched her, her own eyes widening in reflection. She had seen Emily overly dramatic on many occasions but she hadn't seen her quite like this. "Emily?" she repeated but Emily just shook her head and then lifted her fingers from her mouth to point one shaking digit at Andy's mouth.

"Ohh... god. What is... why? What has happened?"

Andy's blood ran cold. She rushed the three paces down the hall to the entrance way mirror and studied her reflection. Her lips were red and raw, her lip gloss smeared across her face and down her chin. Her hair was tousled and her eyes were dark. There was no denying what she'd been up to. She scrubbed her hand across her chin to wipe the mess away.

"Emily..." Andy spun towards the redhead and stepped in front of her path to the front door. "I can explain..."

Emily stuttered and gasped as she blindly gathered her broken shoe and slipped it on before rushing forward in an attempt to evade Andy.

Andy thrust her hands out to stop her. "No... no.. Emily!"

Emily's eyes narrowed as she looked into Andy's eyes. "I can't believe... she'd... I mean... you! Of all people --"

"Emily! It's not what you think!"

Emily pushed past Andy and limped to the door with one 3 inch heel on one foot and a newly-formed flat on the other. "Oh I am quite sure I have the right idea about this."

Emily turned back to the door and grasped the handle in her hand. When she glanced back at Andy there were tears glowing inside their depths. "How could you do this?" She asked unsteadily, her weakness showing through in painful undertones. Her voice caught and she swallowed, biting down on her trembling lip before hardening her jaw to match her eyes, "More appropriately... how could she -- I mean look at you." Emily choked on a sob as she spun on her heel and left the townhouse, slamming the door behind her.

Andy shook her head. When had everything gotten so complicated?

Andy's fingers tightened around the metal jump drive in her hand. She couldn't think about Emily's reaction now. Granted, the British woman's reaction had both startled and surprised her, but she had bigger things to worry about. Things that made her heart thud faster in her chest, made her pupils dilate and her lips ache.

She rushed up the stairs and into Miranda's room, noticing that the bathroom door was still closed, a ray of light extending from beneath it in a thin stripe. She approached and let her knuckles fall against it twice in succession. There was no response.

"Miranda...?" Andy tried, her voice suddenly soft and soothing despite the events that had just transpired around her.

"Miranda... please. We have to...we... we have to talk about this."

Andy heard an indistinguishable noise from the bathroom before silence reclaimed it. A small sigh escaped her lips as she slid her fingertips down the door's surface and moved her cheek away from the cool wood. "Alright.... fine. I'm just... I need to tell you... I want you to know that I'm not sorry about what I did." She swallowed. She wouldn't cry. "…but I am sorry you don't feel the same way."

Andy's whole body slumped in defeat as she made her way backwards. Her feet carried her numbly towards the hallway but she paused in the doorway, looking back over her shoulder. She willed the bathroom door to open. She wished that she would see Miranda come through it, wished that she could make it all better, wished that a dream coming true could end much happier than it had.

She couldn't let this go. She was too far in, had too many chips in the pot. Andy realized that what she felt for Miranda wasn't just infatuation or a passing obsession. She was in love with her. Hopelessly, head over heels in love for the very first time in her life. It wasn't by any means a new revelation, but the weight of her own admittance to those hidden feelings made her heart ache.

She couldn't give Miranda up and, what's more - she wouldn't.

Andy swallowed as she looked from the bathroom door to Miranda's bedroom door. A breath found its way past her lips and she allowed it to fill and expand in her lungs for a moment.

She placed her hand on the door knob and lifted her voice towards the back wall. "Goodbye, Miranda." Then she pushed the door closed, with herself still secured inside. A small, satisfied smile snaked across her features and she crept quietly on the balls of her feet back to Miranda's bed.

Andy lowered herself to a seated position and crossed one long, slim leg over the other. She shook her hair back into place before leaning forward on her knee and waiting patiently, her palms sweating and her fingers clenching and unclenching to keep the circulation flowing. It seemed like hours had passed but eventually it happened.

There was a clicking sound and the bathroom door opened, bathing the dark bedroom in light. Miranda entered and then froze when her eyes found Andy, sitting on the bed staring up at her expectantly.

Part 10

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