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 10

Miranda's eyes narrowed and Andy could see the older woman trying to form a concise sentence while her mind still reeled from shock. Unfortunately, Andy wasn't going to be patient. There were too many wrongs to right, and too many things that she needed to say before Miranda did something drastic like expelling her from her life or, perhaps, setting her on fire.

Andy rose to her feet and closed the distance between them. She tried to take hold of Miranda's arms but Miranda was too quick and she stepped sideways in an evasive manoeuvre before crossing to stand near the closet. Andy watched her go, her hands frozen around the open air for a moment before she twisted them together at her midsection. She surveyed their positions and was glad that this time she stood between the woman and the locking bathroom. Thank god for small mercies.

"Miranda... I know this is... is... all messed up..." Andy started, the stuttering returning no matter how hard she tried to sound calm and collected.

Miranda 's eyes widened in exasperation and she draped her forearm over her eyes in irritation. "Messed up? Andrea, we've quite surpassed 'messed up'. "

Andy couldn't help but smile at the whole ludicrousness of the situation. "I know... I just --"

"This is absurd." Miranda interrupted, pacing towards the bed and then back towards the closet.

"It's... hey... it's not absurd.... I just--" Andy stuttered, using her hands in an attempt to coax out the words she was trying to find.

"What exactly is this Andrea?" Miranda's pacing stopped and she reeled to face Andy. "What do you expect this to be?"

Andy swallowed the lump that was rising in her throat, her eyes flicking in both directions as she tried to find a way to describe how she was feeling. When nothing came, she merely looked at the Editor, speechless. Miranda's eyes narrowed again and she shook her head. "That's a--"

"I love you!" Andy blurted and immediately clapped her hands over her mouth.

Miranda's own lips fell open. Red blotches slowly spread across her cheeks. She closed her mouth, opened it and then closed it again as she stared at Andy. It was the Editor's turn to be speechless. "I...what on..."

Andy's heart was thudding loudly in her ears and her pulse beat an unnaturally fast rhythm. She tried to steady herself as her vision swam. The adrenaline was egging her on - forcing her off into oblivion with no hope of return. "I.... I love you and I can't change that."

Miranda moved to speak and Andy stepped in front of her, taking a firm hold of the older woman's arms. She looked sincerely into Miranda's eyes, her own filling with tears. Desperation threaded through her voice, causing it to sound weak and wavering despite the severity of her words. "Don't ask me to change that."

Miranda stared at her for a good long moment before shifting her eyes to the side and opening her lips. A small sound escaped but it was muffled as they closed again. She closed her eyes and pulled a deep breath into her lungs. "You are my assistant..." she reminded Andy, dropping her chin for a half a second before looking back at her.

The younger woman let out a gruff sound of protest and released Miranda's arms.

"God dammit Miranda. Yes... I understand that I'm your assistant! You remind me every single day. You tell me how far beneath you I am, where I fall in your order of priorities. But you've spent your whole life climbing to the top and struggling to become the great fashion icon that you are. That's great Miranda, but what do you have to show for it? Three failed marriages and no one but your assistant to take care of you."

Miranda was so shocked by Andy's outburst that rage didn't have time to develop. No one had ever spoken to her in that way, and it set her mind spinning. The worst feeling of all was that both of them knew that Andy's assessments were horrifically accurate.

Andy pushed forward, "I'm sorry if it sounds harsh - but how do you think I feel? When you call me 'nothing', when you send me off to accomplish the impossible and make a snide remark when I fail. And you know what? It wouldn't even bother me if I knew... if I knew you didn't give a shit about me. But I look into your eyes every day, Miranda. You can't pretend that you don't see something worthwhile in me... you can't pretend that I'm 'nothing' to you. One day... you're going to wake up and find that you have everything you want... and nothing you need."

Miranda's slender brows rose above her eyes and then her chin tilted forward and she looked down at her feet for a moment in silence.

"Miranda.... say something. Defend yourself, yell at me... FIRE me! Just do something passionately for once in your personal life and make it count!"

Andy didn't have time to react. Miranda's neck snapped up and she hooked her bandaged wrists behind Andy's neck, pulling her forward in an obscenely intense kiss. Andy's knees gave out and she grasped on to Miranda to keep from falling down, but neither were very good at balancing and the pair tumbled back on the floor. Andy's shoulders hit the carpet first. It was remarkably soft and it cushioned her body as Miranda's came down on top of her. Miranda's thighs were straddling one of Andy's as she explored the younger woman's lips with wild abandon. The line between want and need blurred and Miranda seemed to determined to experience what she'd been hiding from.

Miranda's attempted to paw at the buttons on Andy's blouse but her fingers were still not up to the task. She moaned in frustration as she sat up, giving Andy a clear hint and Andy's own fingers tore at the buttons, pulling off the garment and shrugging it aside. Miranda's lips pulled upwards in a satisfied smile when she saw that Andy was wearing a lacy pink La Perla bra. She'd obviously learned more fashion sense then that which showed on the outside. She leaned down and placed several tentative kisses along the slope of Andy's neck, trailing down her chest until her lips met the soft lace border of the bra. She took it between her teeth and pulled back, the material snapping against Andy's skin.

"Off." Miranda grunted as she motioned to the bra. Andy nodded and angled her arms backwards to give her fingers access to the clasp. It came undone with minor fiddling and she tossed it into the growing pile of abandoned clothes. Miranda's gaze moved easily over Andy's newly exposed skin and she touched her fingertips to one breast carefully. Andy moaned and arched towards her, the feeling of her boss' hands upon her making her ache with desire. Miranda bent down and took one of Andy's nipples between her lips and pressed them together, her tongue swirling around the small tip of flesh in her mouth.

Andy writhed and moved her hands back to Miranda's robe, untying it for the second time that evening. It slipped back easily and when Miranda's lips finally left her breast, she pulled the robe down and off of the Editor's shoulders. Miranda tensed immediately and lifted her arms in front of her chest, hiding the taut pink buds. Andy let out a soft sigh and took Miranda's arms into her hands, pulling them carefully away. Andy smiled warmly up at the Editor before allowing her eyes to ravish the soft white skin she had been concealing.

Miranda moved off of Andy, sitting on her hip as she attempted to get up without grinding her bruised knees into the carpet. Andy sat up immediately, halting her actions. "Miranda... no... not again... what did I--?"

"I feel disgusting."

Andy's lips opened in protest but Miranda interrupted, "I haven't had a shower in days now. I need to have a shower before..." She blushed.

Andy grinned. Modesty suited Miranda.

Her concern melted away immediately and she got to her feet, offering her hand to Miranda in a chivalrous gesture to get the woman to her feet as carefully as possible. Once they were both standing, Andy led the way into the bathroom and reached into the shower, turning the handles and adjusting the temperature. Hot water sprayed out from both shower heads, filling the small glass room with steam. Miranda moved to stand in front of it, still holding her arms across her chest. Andy smiled and stepped closer to Miranda, sliding her hands down the curve of the woman's side and along the rise of her hip. Her fingertips slid beneath Miranda's panties and Miranda bit down into her lip as Andy pulled the soft fabric down her thighs and calves. Her eyes were drawn to the newly revealed skin and she was admittedly surprised to find that Miranda didn't have any hair where she had pictured it.

In her fantasies, she'd never been able to imagine what color it was, because of Miranda's prematurely silver bob. She had imagined that maybe it was blond, or light silver... perhaps even red if her children's hair color was taken into consideration. She shook her head, not wanting to even think of Miranda's children as she stood, admiring her exceptionally naked body.

She lifted her fingertips to the dip between Miranda's legs and pressed them to the extremely soft skin. Softer, she noted, than the velvet panties she was wearing previously. "Oh my god..." Andy smiled, her voice rasping sensually as she finally drew her eyes up to Miranda's. The Editor turned away from her and stepped into the shower, angling herself so only her side could be seen. She kept her hands above her head, pressed to the glass to keep them away from any moisture and she looked over her shoulder at Andy.

Andy smiled warmly, "Can I come in?"

Miranda's own lips turned up in a soft, shy smile and she nodded her head. Andy ran her hands down her own flat stomach to the line of her trousers, seeking out the button with her fingers. Once she'd managed to unbutton them, she slid the grey material off of her hips and kicked them aside, following the same process with her panties only moments later. She stood before Miranda then, completely naked, and was pleased to see the Editor's eyes make a slow journey from her toes to her face in one appreciative gesture. A smile spread across Miranda's lips and she stepped further into the shower, signifying that Andy should follow.

Andy did as expected and stepped behind Miranda, pressing her naked body to the back of Miranda's in one electrifying movement that made both of them gasp in unison. Andy could feel her nipples harden as they slid over Miranda's wet skin, and she snaked her hands around the Editor's waist to stroke at her warm abdomen. Miranda arched into her, resting her head against Andy's shoulder and turning her glance heavenward as Andy's fingers made hot trails up and down her slick skin.

Andy's heart fluttered wildly in her chest. Everything she wanted and needed was coming true in this very moment. Miranda was letting her guard down, welcoming Andy in and for once not treating her like an 'assistant'. She felt a strange sense of pride swell in her chest, that of all the affections Miranda could have in her position, of all the people she could have chosen, she chose her. It was exhilerating to think about and she was breathless as her hands lowered to glide down in between Miranda's thighs.

Miranda let out a moan which she caught in her mouth by biting down into her lower lip. Andy was still standing behind Miranda, her arms circling her slender waist. The Editor's thighs parted and she leaned forward, bracing herself on the shower glass. Andy's smile widened and she stroked her fingertips over Miranda's delicate flesh several times before sliding her fingers between the slick folds. Miranda's body betrayed her and she let out another moan, this time uncaught and she herself seemed surprised by how vocal she was.

Miranda's whole body stiffened beneath Andy's touch and her damaged fingers clawed at the glass desperately, very much reminiscent of her earlier dream. Andy lowered her chin the way she'd imagined Stephen doing it, but unlike his boarish appearance in her ealier fantasy, Andy nuzzled her nose against the slender column of Miranda's neck and nipped at her sensitive skin. Her fingers began to slide more quickly, in deep strokes and she circled Miranda's clit in firm circles. Miranda's hips were griding against her palm and it encouraged Andy to press even more firmly, her own hips moving in time as she rolled them against Miranda's.

"Oh god... oh go..ohh ... And.....rea!"

Steam billowed around them as Miranda's neck arched back, the muscles working hard within her throat, strangling a cry as it passed through her vocal chords and out past her lips. She came with a very audible moan and her whole body went limp beneath Andrea's touch, her breath coming in short jerks and gasps as she turned around in the younger woman's grasp. Their breasts pressed against one another's and Andy's eyes closed softly, savouring the feeling.

Andy grinned and with great reluctance, pulled back so she could finally admire all of Miranda's body. Her eyes roamed over her beautiful legs, the curve of her thighs, the way her abdomen pulled taught over her muscles. There was no way this woman looked like she could have at one point been pregnant. Her gaze travelled upwards then towards Miranda's breasts, over the slope of her elegant collarbone and then up the length of her swan-like neck to her face. When she arrived there, she noticed that Miranda's glance was cast away from her again, and her cheeks were blotchy and red.

Andy slid two fingers under Miranda's chin and edged it upwards. Miranda's eyes remained fixed elsewhere and Andy spoke tenderly, her fingers stroking small circles under the curve of Miranda's jaw. "Miranda, look at me..."

Miranda's eyes lifted slowly, and her dark lashes seperated to reveal her glittering blue eyes. Her cheeks were still flushed, and Andy saw an overpowering uncertainty pooling in the royal blue depths. "You are absolutely beautiful." Andy smiled delicately and lowered her lips to Miranda's. Their mouths moved passionately together; both of them savouring the way it felt. When they pulled back, Andy's chest was rising and falling as it pulled air back into her lungs. "You literally take my breath away."

The corner of Miranda's mouth lifted in a smirk and her own bandaged wrists rested against the nape of Andy's neck. Andy pressed Miranda backwards so that the whole length of her glistening, wet body could press against the cool shower glass. Their lips found one another yet again and Andy could feel the wet fabric of the bandages at her neck. The makeshift, 'nurse' side of her knew that the bandages would have to be changed, but they had lots of time to do that. Now that she had the object of all her infatuations, dreams and thoughts, limp beneath her grasp, looking into her eyes with a mixture of lust and passion - little else seemed to matter.

She hoped things could stay like this forever. She didn't even think about Emily, about the reprecussions of what the British woman knew. She didn't think about Miranda's secrecy about the way she'd damaged her wrists. She didn't even pay a single thought to her own relentless, painfully raw confession of love or the way she had basically torn a strip off of Miranda for her shortcomings.

There were things she'd have to apologize for and still an endless amount of wrongs to right. But all that mattered now was the feeling of Miranda's warm skin beneath her caress; the blue eyes that sparkled sincerely back at her and the gentle weight of the beautiful woman in her arms.


Part 11

The water had run cold before Andy and Miranda stepped out of the shower together. They hadn't spent the entire time having sex, though both of them had not been able to stop caressing and admiring the other. It was as if neither believed that what they were experiencing was true.

Andy was first to get out and she left wet footprints across the floor as she padded over to the towel rack and removed both white fluffy towels. She wrapped one around her body and tucked the flap firmly at her breast while she took the other towel over to the shower and held it open for Miranda to step into.

Andy folded the towel around Miranda's skin and brushed her hands over the fabric, and incidentally Miranda's curves below, as she dried the Editor's porcelain-white skin. Once Miranda's torso was dry, she wrapped the towel around her and picked up a third towel to remove the droplets of water from Miranda's legs, her décolleté and eventually her hair.

Andy then gathered the spare dressings from the bathroom counter and carefully wrapped both wrists the way they had appeared before. Miranda had watched her with interest, a small appreciative smile showing at her lips.

Andy went for the hair dryer but Miranda opted to go without blow drying this time and instead, whispered "Bed." to Andy in a low, sultry and promising tone.

Andy walked behind Miranda, waiting for the Editor to lead the way. Butterflies fluttered around in her stomach as she saw Miranda turn to her when she arrived at the bed, sliding her fingers carefully over her own breasts. Andy's brow rose with interest and Miranda locked eyes with her as she parted the towel and let it slip to the floor.

She stood before Andy then, completely nude excepting the bandages at her wrists; and looking absolutely, genuinely perfect in every sense of the word. Andy couldn't resist approaching, a large grin on her lips as she captured Miranda's for a sensual kiss. Moving carefully with one hand on the small of Miranda's back, she managed to lower Miranda down to the bed and crawl on top.

Miranda looked mildly frustrated with Andy taking the lead again but, with two wrists completely out of commission, there was little she could do to argue her point. Andy touched her lips to Miranda's pulse point just below her chin and then began leaving a hot trail of kisses down it, through the valley between Miranda's breasts and along the fine muscles of her abdomen.

Andy had never been with a woman before, but something about Miranda always seemed to bring out the best in her and this particular task was no different than the others. Her lips pouted as she traveled over the triangle of skin nearing the equidistant point just south of Miranda's hips. She could feel the texture change as she glided her lips lower, where the hair was absent, leaving only a velour-soft expanse of skin. Even lower still she moved until she felt moisture, wetting her lips and heard the telltale sign of Miranda's moan from somewhere near the headboard.

With enhanced anticipation, Andy let her tongue slide between her lips and descend through the breach in Miranda's skin. Miranda cried out and her hips jerked forward as Andy's tongue was coaxed along the sleek passage of heat, over the hardening hood and down into the deeper recesses between Miranda's legs.

The Editor bit down into her lip to quiet herself but only succeeded in muffling the cry, her thighs spreading further apart as she ground herself deeper into the mattress. Andy seemed to be grateful for the increased access and she showed her gratitude by gliding her tongue further down until it dipped lower still, eventually disappearing completely beneath the surface.

"Ohhh Annddr….." Miranda whimpered as her back arched completely away from the mattress, her head rolling back on her shoulders, pushing deeply into the pliable pillow.

Andy's tongue slid lower still, her eyes almost rolling backwards at the sheer taste and sensation of the new experience. Unchartered territory, Andy mused as the tip of her tongue rolled along Miranda's searing inner walls until it could go no further. She wriggled her tongue back and forth slowly, delighting in the way Miranda's muscles contracted around her, feeling a new rush of heat as it tingled around her taste buds.

"Oh god.. please… jus… please.. Andrea!!" Miranda cried, her hands flying to Andy's head in an attempt to push her down harder. Andy would have none of it and she withdrew her tongue, looking at Miranda with a gleam in her eye. "Huh uh… I want to make this last."

Miranda growled and retracted her arms. "You're going to kill me…" She said breathlessly before crying out again as Andy returned her tongue to her clit, swirling it around the hardening bud and sliding up its protective hood with her teeth. She had just barely touched the tip of her tongue to the sensitive crest before Miranda's body stiffened beneath her and her breath came to a skidding halt in her throat.

As Andy watched Miranda's orgasm approach, she felt a pounding and tightening throbbing at the aperture between her own legs. She swung her left leg over Miranda's and squeezed her thighs around Miranda's calf, desperate for the small amount of pressure. It didn't take much and Andy's tongue and lips faltered in their assailment of Miranda's scalding, tensing flesh to part with her own cries in a crescendo of "Miranda, Mir… Mira… oh… ye…."

Miranda was completely silent for a second, her lips frozen open in a silent scream, her eyes tightly shut and her back arched completely off of the bed. Then her voice came back and she let out a strangled shriek of "Ohhhhhhhh god!" before falling back limp and breathless, her lungs working overtime to draw in short gasps of air.

Andy came at precisely the same time, collapsing down upon the Editor, her cheek pressing to Miranda's stomach, her thighs quivering at the slightest movement beneath her.

After a few moments to reclaim their breath, Andy crawled up and laid next to Miranda, sliding her arm just at the base beneath the older woman's breasts, pressing herself against Miranda's hip. Miranda's neck rolled to the side, facing Andy as she managed to slowly pull her eyes open. She blinked several times, trying to focus before she let a long lingering sigh escape from her oval lips.

"Andrea… that… you…" For an Editor, it was surprising that she couldn't find the words to piece together a sentence, but Andy had rendered her completely speechless and Miranda didn't seem to mind. A smirk crept across her lips and turned the corners upwards before an exquisitely stunning, full-out smile lit her entire face. Andy couldn't believe her own reaction as she felt tears prickling her eyes.

Miranda noticed the tears and the smile faded, concern drawing across her brow. "Andrea?"

Andy shook her head incredulously, smiling as two tears escaped the ridges of her eyes and slid down her cheek toward the pillow beneath. "I…. it's just… you are so, fucking beautiful."

Miranda's smile returned and she tilted her chin towards Andy who met her halfway, their lips meeting in a slow and decadent kiss. When they parted, both lay silent, gazing into each other's eyes, imprinting the way each other looked in the warm, sweaty afterglow.

Finally, Andy raised herself up, propping her head on her elbow as she trailed her fingers down Miranda's abdomen and back up before following a path along Miranda's arm towards the bandages at her wrists. She opened her hand, protectively cupping it around Miranda's and allowed her eyes to find their way back to hers. "Miranda…?"

Miranda's eyes traced Andy's before murmuring, "Mmm?"

Andy traced the bandage's borders with her fingertips. "Will you be honest with me?"

Miranda paused momentarily but then nodded slowly and seriously. "Always."

Andy's lips rose at the corners in a tender smile. The smile was brief but her eyes were aglow with sympathetic sincerity "It wasn't really the fall that did this, was it?"

Miranda stiffened and her lips thinned as her eyes swivelled away from Andy, towards the ceiling. They rested there for sometime as the muscles in Miranda's jaw clenched and unclenched under the faint line of her skin. Andy was about to take the question back when Miranda finally spoke, her eyes still focused away.

"No – it wasn't." Miranda admitted.

Andy nodded and remained propped on her elbow as she traced slow circles over Miranda's injury, allowing the woman to elaborate if she felt inclined. Andy wouldn't push, but she couldn't help wonder how everything had come to pass.

Miranda let out a shaken sigh and then began.

It was Friday morning at the Priestly townhouse and Miranda was just descending the stairs in her favourite pair of violet, closed toe Louboutin's. The girls had already gone off to school and she knew Roy would be patiently waiting outside in the car. With a quick glance to her appearance in the mirror and one gentle glide of her palm across the side of her silver hair, she was ready to go.

A knock pounded against the front door and she turned towards the offending sound, her eyes narrowing even in the absence of anyone there to see it. She had really hoped it would be a good day and if Roy was going to do something outrageous like hurry her along, she was going to have to spend the rest of the day sending Emily to all of the reputable chauffeur companies in New York to find a suitable replacement.

Miranda's heels clacked loudly beneath her stride as she crossed to the front door and pressed her thumb against the lock. The metal clicked beneath it and her fingers turned the handle, swinging the door open while an ice-cold look of distaste spread glacially across her face.

It wasn't Roy at all.

The man who stood outside of Miranda's townhouse, taking his own life into his hands as his hand froze midair to the buzzer, was none other than Stephen. Miranda's eyes widened and she looked both ways to see if anyone was around before zeroing in on him. Her teeth gritted together in a desperate attempt to remain calm and logical but the fire in her eyes revealed her inner rage.

"What – are – you - doing here?" Miranda asked, annunciating each word as if it were the last she'd ever speak.

Stephen ran a hand through his grey hair and stumbled forward towards her before catching himself on the door frame. He peered at her through half lidded eyes, the alcohol wheezing from his lips with every breath. "Miranda… I need to talk to you."

Miranda's scowl never faltered, and her eyes narrowed further as he came closer. Roy had apparently noticed Stephen's movement and he'd flown out of the car and was standing near the luxury vehicle, watching the scene with concern. "Ms. Priestly…?"

Miranda's eyes flicked to him and she saw that he was offering his assistance, but she shook her head slightly. Roy relaxed only a fraction before turning away to face the other direction, still clearly listening for any signs of distress but at the same time, giving his employer the privacy she both deserved and demanded.

"Stephen, you are not supposed to be here. In case you missed the papers served and signed to you by the courthouse, you are not to be anywhere within my vicinity. You have been awarded the slight sum the judge offered you and you have no claim over anything else, ever again."

Stephen's lips parted and he struggled, swaying mildly as he spoke. "Miranda… I know. I know. I'm sorry. I just needed to speak to you… I'm in… well… I'm in trouble, and… please Miranda. Have some… pity at least. You used to love me once; don't you think it was for a reason?"

Miranda's expression remained glacial, but as she looked over his tousled hair, to his shirt that was buttoned up incorrectly and loose from his trousers, she managed to find a trace of benevolence. She jerked her head towards the car and stepped out on the landing. Her key turned in the lock behind her and she breezed past Stephen's staggering body as he moved to follow. Roy opened the door for Miranda and she slid in, her Louboutin's the very last to enter and he closed the door firmly behind her, right on Stephen who had been attempting to squeeze in behind.

Roy fixed him with a glare of his own, motioning for him to use the other door – which he did not open – before climbing into the driver's seat.

A few moments later, Stephen had managed to get himself in the backseat and Miranda caught Roy's eyes in the rear view mirror. She nodded her head once and he responded in kind, pressing a button on the dash that raised a dark privacy screen between them.

Once they were alone, Miranda turned to Stephen, her eyes dull and disinterested as she waited for him to speak. When he didn't, she spoke with agitation. "Well?"

Stephen stuttered and moved closer to her on the seat. Miranda turned her gaze away from him, choosing to look at the passing scenery as the car rolled along the New York streets to Elias-Clarke.

His voice rasped unattractively in her ear, "Miranda… I'm… I'm a mess without you. I'm sorry I even… started this whole damned thing in the first place…it's you I really want. Not that blond… stu…" He stammered.

"Prepubescent." Miranda offered.

Stephen's lips closed and she could hear him swallow before continuing "… she was nothing. I'm really sorry. God damnit. Mira…."

"Don't call me that." Miranda snapped, her eyes darting back to his with seething intensity.

Stephen momentarily moved back in shock but soon had pressed forward, towards her again. "I just… I need you."

"Don't insult me Stephen. We both know the real reason you're here. Your unintelligent mumblings repulse me." Miranda's glare burned into him. "You need money."

Stephen at least managed to hide a small bit of his defeat before Miranda shook her head. His expression grew firmer, his whole face flushing before her eyes. When he opened his mouth, his voice had hardened, gone was the apathetic, grovelling of before. "You fucking got everything! I have debts to pay, Miranda; debts that I can't meet with the goddamned settlement I got. Three years of marriage and you walk away with not a single dent in your bank account and I'm scraping to get by, with investors giving up on me, the bank attempting to freeze my assets… "

"Pathetic…" Miranda spat, shifting closer to the door and further away from her encroaching ex husband.

Something flicked in Stephen's eyes at the word. He sneered, his eyes forming dangerous slits beneath his lowered eyebrows. "What?"

Miranda turned to meet his gaze, her own eyes flaring with anger. "You are pathetic. Get out of my car."

Her hand moved to the privacy screen button but Stephen was too quick.

He grabbed her wrist and twisted it roughly behind her, pressing her back against the car door as his other hand grappled to claim her free one. Once he caught it he pushed her lower on the seat, roughly shoving her wrists behind her back and holding them there as he moved his heavy body on top of hers.

Miranda yelped as she felt the ligaments tearing beneath her skin, her eyes squeezing shut as the plain flashed angrily through her body. She struggled beneath him, her knees pinned below his girth as he lowered his face to hers. His voice was gruff, and small flecks of saliva touched her face as he spoke mere inches away from her turned head. "You fucking bitch… cold, heartless… ice queen. The papers have it all right about you. Bet they'd like to know you're frigid as well…" His mouth descended on her neck and he kissed her roughly and sloppily, the alcohol filling Miranda's nostrils as she squeezed her eyes shut.

The weight of Stephen on top of her - with her wrists restrained, twisted behind her back and forcing more pressure on the already strained soft tissue - made Miranda cry out in pain. It seemed to surprise Stephen and a sickening grin spread across his face. "Well that's the first time I've heard you make noise when I'm on top of you..." He bent down towards her chest and Miranda felt a surge of strength course through her veins.

In a moment of drunken weakness, Stephen had shifted downwards to get better access at her blouse and Miranda had managed to slide her knees upwards towards her chest. Using the precisely placed heel of one Louboutin right into the juncture between Stephen's legs, she kicked forward with all of her might and Stephen flew backwards, howling in pain.

Miranda scrambled to a seated position, glancing out the window just as the car rolled to a stop outside of Elias-Clarke. She went to push the door open and let out a cry of her own when the pain shot up both of her arms at the slight movement. She bit down on her lip and used a combination of elbow and damaged fingers to open the door and scrambled out of it quickly, banging into Roy as he was rushing around to open it for her.

He looked at Miranda, noticing her distress, having also heard the muffled screams from the back. "Ms. Priestly… are you hurt? I thought it was just an argument, I wasn't sure."

Miranda shook her head and looked at Roy with a painful but piercing expression. "His apartment is five blocks away, drive him there and circle back. I will need you to be here to pick me up in ten minutes. Tell no one anything. I will deal with this another time."

Roy obeyed and he made sure all the doors were locked before climbing into the front seat and steering the car back into traffic. Miranda held her head high as she strode forward, in a half run, her heart beating quickly from what might have happened if she had not managed to get the upper hand in the situation. Her mind was reeling.

She'd have to press charges, but then there was also the matter of a very public trial and she could just see it dragged through the press. It would affect the twins deeply who had looked at Stephen as another father figure; and would no doubt cripple her reputation as being completely undaunted. Too much was at stake if it came out like that. There had to be another way…

She passed through the glass doors and moved through the building, people parting for her and averting eye contact almost immediately. An idea suddenly came to her and her eyes darted around the lobby for an unsuspecting victim. She spotted a young man with a music device in his ear travelling across her path, and she had to swerve to collide with him.

She went down quickly, slamming her knees into the floor and falling forward on her wrists painfully. She cried out and the young man froze when he realized what he'd done. His feet took off in survival mode before he could think and he dashed towards the guard station, flagging one down and motioning in Miranda's direction before heading for the front doors and disappearing into the crowd of people on the sidewalk.

Miranda was hunched over in blinding pain, but a small smile managed to play at her lips. She would prevail.

Andy's eyes were opened wide in horror as Miranda finished. Her lips were dry and the tears that ran from her eyes were no longer from happiness. "Oh my god Miranda… That's… oh my god. You have to… stop him. You have to turn him in. I can't believe he did that to you! That fucking bast… oh my god." Andy sat up, her eyes flicking back and forth as her mind reeled over ways that Stephen could meet his demise by her own hands.

Miranda's voice was soft below her. "Andrea… I have thought long and hard about this --"

Andy turned to gaze at her, wiping the tears from her cheeks with white fingertips. "I'll kill him myself!"

Miranda couldn't help but let a low chuckle escape from her lips. "You won't need to. I'm going to press charges. He'll get what's coming to him."

Andy's stiffened muscles relaxed slowly at Miranda's words and she lowered herself back to Miranda's side, cradling Miranda in the safety of her arms. "I am so sorry… so sorry that you had to go through that. God Miranda… I don't know what I would do if… he… if anything happened to y--"

"Andrea, nothing happened to me. I am fine. My wrists will heal and Stephen will get exactly what he deserves." Miranda pushed the elegant ridge of her nose against Andy's neck and a contented sigh escaped her lips. "Now go to sleep or I'm sending you to the guest room – or better yet, back to that chair in the hallway."

Andy couldn't help but smile and she pressed a kiss to Miranda's temple, squeezing the older woman tightly in her arms. "I'll be good."

"Good." Miranda echoed and promptly fell asleep. After much contemplation, Andy did too.


Part 12

The sun stretched over the New York skyline, casting a beautiful glow over the entire city as the early morning traffic made its way about in the streets below. It was another Monday, like every other Monday and New York City remained constant in its tradition, filling its subways, streets and expressways as people rushed towards their workplaces.

For Andrea Sachs it was a very different day. It was a day unlike any other. It was a special day, one that awoke her with a smile as she blinked back the night's sleep. The first thing she could focus on was a small sea of silver, so close to her eyes that she couldn't make out any definite details. She inhaled. It was intoxicating; the smell of cleanly washed, tangerine scented hair. She tilted her head forward, her nose slipping between the silky strands, delighting in the way they felt.

She lay that way for awhile, breathing in the beautiful smells and feeling the soft texture of delicate hair as strand by strand it caressed her curve of her skin. Her arms rested on a slender hip bone and her fingers trailed lazily over a bare stomach ever so carefully as not to wake the sleeping form. Andy could hear Miranda breathing, the air being drawn in and pushed out in even cadence. It was a soothing sound; peaceful. She smiled and shifted to a sitting position on the bed, angling herself at the headboard so she could peer down at Miranda's sleeping body.

She looked so small, so defenceless. Her throat was bared, curved forward against the pillow, her hair tousled around her face from sleep. A soft blush decorated her cheekbones and Andy delighted in taking a closer look at the woman she loved. Yes, Andy admitted to herself, she loved Miranda. The very words and meaning behind them felt incredibly good to think, though she would never say them aloud. She wouldn't frighten away Miranda, especially not at such a crucial time. So many things had happened in the past few days. It was indescribable. The emotions, words and actions that had all passed between them, changing them forever. There was no going back and only uncertain steps in what would be a long journey forward.

Would this be permanent? Would Miranda want what Andy wanted? Did she feel the same way? There were so many questions plaguing Andy's mind, but the questions didn't touch the constant smile on her face as she stroked the hair back from Miranda's forehead. She loved Miranda, and that was good enough for right now - regardless of the what ifs and the what coulds.

Miranda shifted ever so slightly in her sleep, her muscles moving beneath her skin in soft patterns. Andy watched them move until Miranda stilled and her eyes traveled towards the bandages tightly binding the Editor's wrists. Her smile faded.

All she could think about was that bastard and how he had hurt Miranda. Stephen. The name sent a fierce jolt of anger down to the very deepest reaches of her soul. Her eyes narrowed and she bit into her lip. He plagued her thoughts. The scene replayed in her head on a permanent loop, narrated by Miranda's soft voice as she revealed what had happened. Miranda had given him the benefit of the doubt. She'd accepted that he needed help and had even contemplated giving it. But Stephen had pressed on, obviously knowing that he could humiliate Miranda in very few ways. He had decided that the way he could humiliate her most had been by taking all sense of control from her. He had pushed himself on her. He'd pressed her down, he'd given her pain. If Miranda hadn't gotten the upper hand he could have even...

Andy stopped herself. She couldn't allow her mind to go there. She tried so hard not to let it, but the images were there, haunting her just like they had when she had spent the first night in the townhouse. Only now the images were violent.

Stephen in the shower behind Miranda, sneering over her shoulder as he forced her against the glass. Stephen pressing Miranda into the very bed she was sitting in, thrusting into her, her head colliding viciously against the headboard; thudding as it met the wood. Stephen at the stairs, holding Miranda's hips impaling her on him as she cried out in pain; jerking and pushing as she tried to struggle free. Stephen and Miranda on the kitchen counter, his large hand in her hair pulling back the silver shanks as her lips parted in a silent scream of horror. Stephen was everywhere; growling, grinding, grappling and forcing himself on the woman she loved.

When she blinked she felt tears sliding down her cheeks. Her lip quivered and she sniffed quietly, clearing her throat very softly. Her hand went to her own cheek, the back of it collecting the tears to hide them before Miranda woke up. It wouldn't be fair on her. She needed to be here for Miranda now, more than ever. She would worry about the repercussions of what she knew at a later time. Maybe it was an isolated incident. Stephen had been drunk after all. But it didn't matter, Miranda had at some point shared a home with a man that hadn't thought twice about restraining her and causing her immense amounts of pain.

Her finger trailed back over Miranda's cheekbone and around one ear before burying itself in the silver strands, stroking Miranda's scalp. Miranda's lashes fluttered slightly at the touch and parted to reveal dark, blazing blue eyes as she slowly awoke from slumber. She looked so vulnerable to Andy, so innocent and so fragile, with all of her walls let down and Andy smiled softly. "Good morning...."

Miranda didn't jerk out of her grasp or pull the walls back up around her, like she had been slightly worried she would. Instead, Miranda's lips curved up at the corners in a soft smile of her own as her blue eyes focused on Andy's darker ones. "Good morning..." Her voice was raspy, low and luxurious and it made Andy's stomach flutter which spread quickly down to the apex between her thighs. Miranda's head turned on the pillow and her eyes swivelled to the alarm clock. They widened when she realized the time and she went to sit up but Andy's hands pressed into her shoulders holding her down. "Nuh uh..... you stay there." Andy commanded softly, her smile widening as she moved to straddle Miranda's hips.

"It's ten thirty, I have things to do Andrea..." Miranda protested but Andy clapped her hand over Miranda's mouth. "No you don't. You're out of commission for a good twelve more days at least, so spending a Monday in bed, isn't going to kill you... I promise."

Miranda's muffled response caught at Andy's fingertips and she let out a huff of air, narrowing her eyes. Andy grinned and leaned forward placing a kiss on Miranda's forehead before moving her hand away and capturing Miranda's moving lips with her own. Andy's dark russet hair slid forward, billowing around her shoulders and caressing the circumference of Miranda's face like a halo. Miranda's lips parted, her tongue sliding against Andy's as their lips melded together seamlessly.

Andy sighed and rolled her hips against Miranda's, delighting in the way her naked skin felt as it brushed across the Editor's sensitivity. Miranda let out a surprise 'Oh' and she watched as Andy moved over her. Andy shook her hair around her shoulders and stretched backwards in an elegant arc as she began grinding against Miranda, feeling their warmth pressing against one another. Miranda's expression of surprise darkened sensuously as her eyes clouded with lust. Andy's hands cupped the sides of Miranda's breasts and she kneaded them softly beneath her fingertips, squeezing her own fuller breasts between her arms in the process. When Andy stole a glance downwards she could see Miranda watching her intently, the Editor's breath coming in shorter gasps, her cheeks caressed by a warm blush. Miranda was looking at her as though she were the sexiest woman alive and it allowed her confidence to bloom beneath the gaze.

She continued to move against Miranda, grinding her hips slowly and firmly against her as the warmth between both of their legs met each other with each enticing movement of their hips. A rhythm had formed between them, developing in speed like a horse switching from a canter to a gallop. Their lips were parting, their cries coming out in soft waves, almost in time with one another as they felt the exact same experiences at the exact same time.

A wetness had developed between them allowing their skin to glide more effortlessly together, the warmth growing hotter each time their apexes touched. Andy moaned, arching further back as she felt Miranda's hands lightly on her waist. She picked up the pace, moving against Miranda more deeply with each circle of her hips. Miranda's eyes were shut, her neck thrown backwards, her lips parted. A muscle worked in her cheek and down the length of her neck as arched below Andy.

It was amazing. They moved as a pair, completely in unison, just like any straight couple would during the very same act. They could feel every single dip, swerve and lift of one another as they pressed together, rocking back and forth in tandem.

Andy could barely hold on any longer. She needed to release and she didn't think she could hold out any longer. Luckily for her Miranda was stiffening beneath her, her own cries getting louder as she bucked and thrust against Andy, begging her in silently staggered sentences to "Please... ple.. please let me....co..." Andy was more than happy to oblige, even without hearing the words directly and with one final, lengthy jerk of the hips, both women were crying out in a duet of uninhibited pleasure.

They were still pressed together as their orgasm erupted between them and they could each feel the pulse beneath the other's skin as their muscles contracted and released in long luxurious waves. The moisture between them was warm and wet, a combination of their own mixing essences coupled with the sweat from the heat of what they'd just experienced.

Andy collapsed on the bed beside the older woman and took her into her arms listening to Miranda's racing heartbeat as she pressed her ear to the Editor's chest. Neither felt compelled to move and Andy was fairly certain she'd convinced Miranda that staying in bed had been a good idea, after all.

The morning had been lovely. Miranda had given up all hope of protests of leaving the bed early and had only just finished being dressed by Andy at one o'clock in the afternoon. Andy would have protested that too if there weren't bigger issues to face that day, so she had agreed with Miranda that they would get ready and prepare to speak to the police station.

Andy had made the phone call for Miranda, as Miranda's assistant and the man on the other end of the phone had told them that they would send a police officer over within the next few hours to take a statement. When Andy had explained the imparity of complete and utter confidentiality, the officer had told her that she could be assured of it. The case was immediately marked high profile as soon as Miranda Priestly's name had been spoken and she'd been given rush access to the best officer at the station to take over the case.

Andy smiled. It really paid to have a name like Miranda's. A surge of pride swelled in her chest and she couldn't help but turn a glance towards Miranda who was pacing the floor in front of her.

"Thank you officer. We will expect her shortly then? Alright. Thank you. Goodbye." Andy placed the receiver back in the holder and looked up as Miranda turned to face her, her features written with anxiety. Andy stood up slowly and crossed to her. "They said you don't need to worry about anything. It won't be publicized. Once your statement is given, they will take Roy's - being that he was the only witness - and then they will question Stephen. He seems to think it'll be over very quickly for you."

Miranda let out a sigh as she ran the fingers of her 'good' hand over the more damaged wrist. "I wish it were over now."

Andy nodded and wrapped her arms around Miranda's waist from behind. "I know... I know." Her chin fit easily into the nook of Miranda's shoulder, her nose nuzzling back into the Editor's hair. "They wanted to know why you didn't do it sooner."

Miranda bit into her lip, tensing beneath Andy's grasp but she didn't pull away. "I didn't want to hurt the girls. If this gets out - and god - it will get out --"

Andy's hands softly stroked Miranda's abdomen beneath her silk blouse. "It won't... they said you can expect full confidentiality..."

"It always gets out Andrea." Miranda turned in her grasp and regarded her a moment as if she wanted to say something else. Miranda's eyes said enough in themselves and Andy moved back only slightly to give the Editor space. They both knew what Miranda was thinking and Andy was glad that she hadn't voiced it. What they were doing, what had developed between them - would get out. It would become public knowledge without either of them consenting to it if it what they were doing was going to continue. Please god, let it continue. But they were safe now. No one would find out until much later and even then...

Oh god... Emily.

Andy had been so caught up in everything that she'd forgotten that Emily knew. Or at least, she thought she knew. But then, really she did know, because what she thought she knew and what Andy knew that she thought she knew, she was right about. Andy shook her head, not quite sure if any of it made sense. Regardless of that, she had to talk to Emily - to convince her of a likely story; anything to make certain that Miranda's first assistant knew nothing.

Should she tell Miranda? No! Definitely not. Andy knew it wasn't a good idea. Especially not with the stress already piled high on the Editor's shoulders. She didn't need more to think about. She would deal with it when Emily brought the book. It was the only way she could make things better, to ensure that whatever it was that her and Miranda shared, could last. It had to develop into a relationship at least before the press got their groping, greedy hands on the story - if they ever did. If the press got word before that then it would surely hurt what chance they had at surviving as a couple. A couple. The word seemed impossible to think of. Something out of reach.

Andy forced a genuine smile and placed a soft kiss to Miranda's cheek. "It'll be fine... we'll get through this." Andy winced slightly. She hadn't meant to say 'we'. How dare she include herself in Miranda's life like that, by pure assumption? There was no 'we' officially yet. In fact, Andy had very little to do with Miranda's life at all. She hadn't been there when it happened and she hadn't known the background between Miranda and Stephen. She hadn't done anything but help Miranda as an official assistant while she recuperated, and somehow somewhere in there she had fallen head over heels in love with her. Andy swallowed "I... mean...uh... "

Miranda's stare penetrated Andy and her lips pursed together before finally parting. "Yes, we will."

Andy's eyes widened as Miranda's smile did the same.


Part 13

The interview was over more quickly than Andy had imagined. She'd expected them to be there for several hours, but in actuality they had been and gone within the same hour they'd arrived.

The officers had arrived within the hour following the phone call and had taken Miranda into a separate room to collect her statement. Andy had taken the free time to check e-mails on the computer in the study.

She felt awkward as she lowered herself into Miranda's leather chair behind the large sweeping desk. She felt out of place and intrusive, despite Miranda's permission to use it.

Andy swept her hands across the desk and powered the computer up, her eyes roaming over the framed photographs on the Editor's desk. Andy had never seen Miranda's study, or at least not from this angle. The only other time she'd actually been in that particular room was during a visit with the book over a month ago, when Miranda had called her upstairs. At the time, Andy's stomach had been in such tight knots about Miranda's summoning that she had stood on pins and needles, not paying much attention to anything except for the pointed toes of her own Jimmy Choos. It turned out her worry had all be for naught when Miranda merely asked for the book to be handed to her before dismissing her.

The photographs were mostly of the girls in various poses with one another. Some of them were clearly professionally done but the one that stood out the most was a small frame filled with the squished faces of both girls as they tried to take a picture of themselves. It made her smile instantly.

Her eyes moved to the other photos and stopped when they arrived at a photo of Miranda.

It was the only photo of Miranda on the desk, and in fact, it was likely the only photo of her in the entire house. Anywhere that was visible, at any rate. She lifted the dark frame into her hands and looked at it.

The picture was clearly taken by an amateur photographer and it was completely candid.

She was sitting on some steps in what appeared to be a garden, with one leg crossed expertly over the other, her posture as regal as a Queen's.

What was very different from the Runway Miranda is that this Miranda was sporting a large radiant smile as she held three fingertips at her lips, the other hand extended towards the camera as if to stop the photographer from capturing her image.

Her silver hair was swept casually over one eye and her blue irises were so bight that they practically leapt off of the page. She looked happier than Andy had ever seen her. It was breathtaking.

The bottom of the picture had children's writing across it. 'To Mommy. We love you.'

Next to the heart-warming message were little signatures, the type that children do when they first discover that signatures exist. The 'i' in Caroline's name had a flower where the dot should be and Cassidy's 'y' swirled in a flourish beneath the rest of the letters.

Andy had an intense urge to take the photo. It was something so beautiful, so unique, so unguarded.

A thought occurred to her.

Her eyes roamed the top of the desk and beneath it until they spotted the large fax, print and scan device, tucked neatly in the corner. When she checked the paper tray she wasn't surprised to find it already loaded with professional quality photo paper. Feeling incredibly guilty and embarrassed, Andy lifted the top and placed the photograph, frame and all, in the scanner's bed. She pressed the "COPY" button on the side and watched as the scanner's light made work of the photograph, mimicking its patterns before lifting the paper into its teeth and sliding out a pristine copy of the photo.

Andy placed the frame back on the desk where she had found it and lifted the copy into her hands. She admired the image that stared back her. The line of Miranda's throat; the fact that she had designer trousers on, folded up at the ankles with beautifully bare feet; the way her blouse's top button was casually undone with her sleeves rolled back to be quarter length on her arms; the way the sun caressed her skin and reflected off of the sweep of silver just above her brow.

A small shuffle sounded outside in the hallway and she could hear the voices of the officers as they walked down the hallway in the opposite direction. She quickly slipped the photograph between the pages of the folder she'd brought with her and tucked it neatly under her arm as she walked towards the door.

By the time she arrived in the hallway, the officers had already left the hallway and she could hear the door clicking shut in the entranceway, signalling their departure. She walked towards the sitting room, folder still tucked under her arm as she rounded the doorway. Miranda was seated inside, her eyes set on the floor, her jaw fixed tightly as she studied the pattern on the rug.

She didn't hear Andy approach and when Andy's hand descended on her shoulder she tensed beneath the touch and jerked backwards. Her blue eyes shot upwards and Andy could see the defences raise and slowly begin to lower again when she realized who it was. Andy smiled warmly and she kneeled down in front of Miranda, collecting her hands within hers. Miranda, still getting used to the newness of the situation seemed reluctant to allow their hands to clasp but finally her muscles relaxed under Andy's fingers.

"How did everything go?" Andy asked casually, being sure not to push.

"It was... fine." Miranda answered, her eyes seeming to look anywhere but at Andy. Andy sighed softly and gently stroked Miranda's fingers.

"So what happens next?" Andy asked, her hand leaving Miranda's to glide along the dip of hair at the Editor's forehead, collecting it away from her eye and sweeping it aside to sit further back along her hairline.

Miranda's eyes finally met Andy's "They speak to Roy and then to Stephen."

"Oh..." Andy's chin dipped down and when she looked back up at Miranda there was anger swirling around in the depths of her deep brown eyes. "I'd like to be the one to talk to Stephen... though I doubt there'd be much talking. I'd like to grab the asshole by the b--"

"Andrea." Miranda interrupted. Her voice sounded tired and agitated. She lifted her hand and turned her head to the side, closing her eyes.

"Well, it's true! Miranda I --" Andrea started but Miranda slid her hands out of Andy's, stood and walked towards the door to the sitting room.

Andy turned her eyes wide with confusion and she scrambled to her feet awkwardly "Where are you going?"

"I have work to do." Miranda said simply as her retreating figure disappeared down the hall. Andy rushed afterwards, catching up after several quick strides.

"Miranda! I'm sorry; I didn't mean to upset you!" When Miranda kept walking, Andy reached out and took Miranda by the elbow, surprised when the Editor spun to face her at a breakneck speed. Her cool blue eyes flicked down to the hand at her elbow and then slowly moved back to Andy's face.

Andy observed Miranda's narrowed eyes and she let go of the older woman's arm her own eyes still filled with anxiety. Miranda turned and continued on her way up the stairs leaving Andy standing near the base, looking up at the Editor's back. Her heart was pounding in her chest, desperately looking for the words to make everything better, the panic clouding her thoughts forcing all clarity deeper inside. What was Miranda doing? She couldn't possibly be ending all of this, retreating because of one simple thing she'd...

There was a sound of a throat clearing two floors up, interrupting Andy's thoughts, and then a soft voice spoke from over the banister. "Well are you coming or are you going to prove correct my doubts in your capabilities as an assistant?"

Andy stretched to the side, peering over the railing up towards the spiralling ceiling. She met Miranda's gaze, as Miranda stood two floors up, looking down at her. Andy could see an amused smile playing across the Editor's lips. Andy's own lips lifted in a smile and the lines of worry that had creased between her brows began to melt away.

She took off up the stairs, hitting them two by two as she hurried afterwards.

The day had gone reasonably quickly as Miranda conducted most of her work from home. Andy was glad to have programmed the majority of Miranda's contacts into her blackberry, so she could easily reference and call them when the Editor asked.

Miranda made the usual demands of "Get me Patrick", "Call Valentino", "I need Mark." - and Andy had diligently gotten a hold of the people requested, passing the phone to Miranda each time once she'd gotten past their assistants.

She had also become Miranda's hands and had taken the seat next to the Fashionista, her fingers flying across the keyboard in a flurry as Miranda dictated to her. They worked like this for hours until their dinners had been delivered to them in the study by the cook.

They ate in peaceful silence, and Andy even managed to get a smile out of Miranda when she refused to let the older woman eat by herself, regardless of the fact that Miranda had almost full use of the fingers on one of her hands. Andy's argument was that it was simply quicker if she did it, but secretly it was because she liked watching Miranda's mouth part in subconscious anticipation of each bite.

She liked it even more when she could trick Miranda into opening her mouth before pulling the fork away at the last second, causing the Editor's lips to close on open air, a glare forming around her eyes in the process. The game had only been successful twice before Miranda stopped opening her lips at all until Andy relented and gave her the fork.

Much later, when Andy went to return the plates to the kitchen, she caught a flash of blue on the entrance way table and she quirked her eyebrow with interest, depositing the plates in the dishwasher before heading back to the table to see what it was.

It was the Book, Andy realized, surprised that Emily hadn't made any noise delivering it. It was earlier than expected but she lifted it into her arms and made her way back towards the study.

Her thoughts remained on Emily and she knew she was going to have to have that discussion sooner or later.

They were going to have to talk about it before Miranda returned to Runway, that much she was sure of. How she was going to bring it up in the first place, she was slightly less sure of. She was going to have to think of an explanation for her appearance, and for not better explaining herself at the time.

Her mind spun as it turned over possible solutions to the problem, coming up empty handed in the end. She'd arrived at the study so she shook away the thoughts, deciding to think about it later when could think more clearly.

She crossed to Miranda who was seated behind her desk, reviewing a few e-mails on her computer. She put the Book down on the desk and smiled warmly at Miranda whose brows were creased in distaste at whatever she was reading.

"Can I get you some tea, Miranda?" Andy asked, drawing her hand through her own hair to sweep her fringe out of her eyes.

Miranda looked away from the screen as she regarded Andy over the brim of her glasses. Her lips quirked up in a soft smile and she nodded her head in compliance. Andy smiled back and turned away, heading towards the kitchen.

It took her very little time to find the tea and to prepare it. It was Twinings of London's Earl Grey, Miranda's favourite, she had discovered. It surprised her that Miranda had the simple tea in her cupboard, let alone that it was a favourite.

It was a very common tea, only a few dollars for an incredibly big box.

She'd pictured Miranda being more likely to order something from some endangered rainforest, or the rind of an organic bergamot orange plucked from the garden of some ruling monarch of some exclusive country somewhere.

Andy looked at the Twinings box noticing that the company also made a tea called 'Lady Grey'. Andy smiled at how fitting that name was and decided that the next time she was out she would be certain to try and locate some.

The tea cup was more like Miranda, made of exquisite bone china, white with a black star gazer lily painted at its base with loops and swirls sneaking up the tea cup towards the lip. It had a matching saucer and Andy was very careful as she poured the piping hot water inside and dipped the tea bag into its sizzling depths.

Once the tea was prepared she made her way back towards the study and pushed the door open with her back, balancing the cup carefully on its saucer. She smiled as she placed it down before Miranda and made a little presentation sign with her hands, proud of her accomplishment of not spilling over the edge.

Miranda didn't look up at her. Andy tapped her finger to the table "Voila! Pour toi Madame Priestly!"

When Miranda didn't budge a second time, Andy's smile faded. "Miranda...?"

She circled around Miranda's desk and saw that the Editor was peering down at the Book. Her cheeks were red and a small vein had appeared at her temple. The Editor's jaw was clenched tightly and her knuckles were white as they clutched the pages.

"That bad?" Andy asked, half in jest as she tried to lighten the mood.

She had wondered if the Book was going to be a problem, there having been a full business day without the Boss there to crack a whip with the usual shooting glances of pure disappointment aimed at her employees.

But apparently it wasn't the book that held Miranda's attention. Instead, it was a single white sheet of paper sheathed between the book's thick pages. Andy didn't have time to read what the paper said because Miranda had lifted it and was holding it tightly beneath her white fingertips.

Miranda's glare rose and Andy swallowed roughly when the glare settled upon her. Suddenly it felt like she was back at Runway, having just made a comment about ridiculously similar accessories.

She opened her mouth to speak but she realized she hadn't done anything wrong and therefore didn't have an excuse to mutter. There wasn't anything that Miranda could possibly have to criticize her about. She hadn't even been at work for the weekend! Miranda knew that. So why was the Editor looking at her with an ice cold stare, sending a shiver of raised alarm up her spine?

Miranda thrust the paper out. Her voice was dangerously low. "Can you tell me the meaning of this?"

Andy reached shaking finger tips out to take the paper out of Miranda's hand and turned it around so she could see it right side up.

There was a date at the top, matching today's and beneath it was Miranda Priestly's name followed by a comma then a few short sentences. Andy's hands began to sweat and her eyes widened considerably, her trembling fingers making the paper flutter.

It was a letter of resignation with a tendered two weeks of notice and it was signed by Emily Charlton.


Part 14

"Miranda...I...." Andy stuttered, searching her mind for an explanation to Emily's very real resignation letter, shaking between her fingertips. So many thoughts rushed through her mind and she tried to capture them, but each one evaded her.

Miranda attempted to tear the paper out of her hand, but winced with what was obvious a tremor of pain coursing up the length of her arm. "Andrea..." Her tone was low, threatening.

There was no escape, guilt was written plainly across her face and Miranda looked like she could smell it in their air between them.

Andy's hand shot to her forehead, her voice coming out quickly, in a mismatch of broken sentences. "Well... uhh... see... she. We were.... you know..." She blushed furiously, motioning between herself and Miranda.

"And she was... with the Book. And I... but she, and her shoe was broken! And there she was with the broken shoe, she saw me, and suddenly she knew! And I didn't know what she knew, but I was pretty sure that.. uhh.. that she thought she knew, and that I knew that she thought she knew and what she actually knew, was right!" Andy forced her finger in the air as if she'd just punctuated the clearest monologue known to man. A monologue of Shakespearean proportions so well thought out and so clearly designed that the very words would go down in literary history.

Sadly, Miranda's brows had knit together in confusion and she pinched the bridge of her nose, clearly not having understood a single thing that Andy had explained. Andy closed her eyes.

Miranda's voice cut through the silence abruptly. "Once again, in English Andrea... you do still speak English, don't you?"

Andy nodded furiously though she couldn't help feel a prickle of pride tingling up her spine making her want to say something snide back. She refrained however, which was probably for the best. Miranda didn't seem in the mood for a verbal sparring match.

Her second attempt was much better. She took it slowly, forming each sentence in her mind before speaking it, but she found herself unable to look into Miranda's piercing blue eyes. "After you... kissed me." Miranda flushed. "I ... went downstairs to get the schedule from Emily. She took one look at me and knew we were... doing something. I had lip gloss all over my face and my hair was a mess. She accused me of... well... doing exactly what I was doing and then didn't give me a chance to explain before storming out!"

Andy's eyes rose slowly to assess Miranda's expression and she wasn't surprised to see the tension written all over the Editor's face.

Miranda's lips had parted and her neck was strained as she listened in slight horror to Andy's admission. They hadn't even been together for a full day and already someone knew. It never failed.

Miranda's eyes narrowed, her throat working at a rough swallow. "Why didn't you tell me?"

Andy answered before thinking, "Oh I dunno Miranda... maybe cause it sort of slipped my mind when you locked me out of the bathroom and wouldn't talk to me!" Her heart raced inside her chest and she fixed Miranda with her own version of 'The Glare'.

Miranda, much to Andy's shock, didn't react. Instead, the Editor fidgeted in her seat and then stood, sliding past Andy to pace to the other side of the room. A moment of silence seemed to hang between them while both of them tried to outlast the other for having to be the first one to speak.

It was Andy who finally spoke as one of her hands kneaded into her shoulder. "What do we do now?"

Miranda's chin jut to the side and her eyes squinted as she considered her own options. "I don't know... but I refuse to accept this."

She shook the paper in her hand, the sheet rattling as the air caught beneath it. Her jaw clenched fiercely together and she set her eyes on the phone, perched on her desk top. Andy's gaze followed Miranda's and she reacted instantly, flying forward to pick up the receiver before Miranda got to it first.

Miranda looked at her with an incredulous expression and Andy put the phone back in its cradle, her hand still resting on top to protect it from the inevitability of Miranda's tensed fingers.

"Miranda, please... let me talk to her. I know where she lives; I had to go over to her house one time to pick up a schedule when the internet was down at my apartment. I'll talk to her... maybe I can make her see that this is a little act of..." Andy made a gesture in the air as if she was trying to come up with the appropriate word.

"Stupidity." Miranda finished for her.

"Impulsiveness." Andy corrected her.

Miranda's eyes squeezed shut. She looked exhausted and now, thanks to Emily, even more stressed out then she had been before.

Andy looked at the clock. It was almost 9:30pm. "I'll go as soon as we're finished your notes in the Book."

Miranda looked at her for a long moment before nodding her head.

They went to work immediately and once Andy had placed the last sticky note that simple read, "Vile." on the final page, the Book was closed and she collected it into her hands.

She placed it on the table in the entranceway and convinced Miranda to follow her upstairs. She had been thinking about this part of the night all day, looking forward to the moment when she would be able to undress Miranda Priestly and worship her body in the process. She'd even thought of placing little feather light kisses over every single piece of skin as it was revealed to her.

Unfortunately for her, Miranda wasn't in the mood for anything but a clinical change, and Andy knew better then to attempt to get frisky with her.

From the way Miranda laid in bed and turned away from her without so much as a word, Andy quickly realized that her own fate relied on getting Emily to reconsider. Miranda couldn't do without her first assistant. She was a necessity. She did everything Miranda wanted without question. She never challenged her or second guessed anything Miranda said. And even though Miranda would never admit it, Andy was sure that the Editor had grown so accustom to having Emily around. Emily was irreplaceable.

"I'll... uhh... be back soon Miranda." Andy stuttered quietly before turning the bedside lamp out and walking with her hands out in front of her until she found the bedroom door.

She hurried down the stairs and took her coat from the hall closet, shrugging it on and adjusting the collar around her neck. She buttoned up the front and tied the belt at her middle. With book in hand and the night's cool caress on her face, she was off down the street towards her destination.

She had one hell of a miracle to make.

It took Andy three rings on the buzzer outside of Emily's apartment to get a response and when it finally came it was a gruff, "What?" shouted through the phone.

"Emily? It's Andy..."


"Fuck." Andy cursed, pressing the buzzer yet again. There was no response so she pressed it again, and then another time for good measure.

"Go away!" Emily growled through the intercom but Andy interrupted with "Don't hang up!!! Let me just talk to..."


"Oh no fucking way, bitch..." Andy growled, her feet killing her from her decision to walk most of the way there - in heels of all things. She pressed the intercom again, again, again and once more. No answer.

Finally, having enough of Emily's dramatics, Andy decided that two could very easily play at that game. If Emily wanted theatrics, she would get them.

Andy stepped backwards away from the building, peering up at the windows and counting the floors up. Emily's apartment was on the third floor and from the view that Andy had looked out on from her living room way back when, she knew roughly which window was hers.

Andy cleared her throat, set her jaw and began yelling. "EMILY?!?! Emiiillllllyyyyyyyy?"

A few lights went on in the building and Andy could see a face appear at one of them. It wasn't Emily, but at least she had an audience.

"Emily?!? If you don't let me up there, I am going to damn well have this conversation right now, with all of your neighbours here to play stenographers! I'm sure they'll all be happy to take notes for you."

Emily still hadn't appeared and Andy knew that the bluff wasn't enough. She managed to yell a little louder, her voice a growing crescendo as it made its way skyward. "Okayy...... here goes. Now... I know that you're in love with MIRA --"


Andy couldn't hold back a grin and she hurried forward, opening the door to the apartment building and rushing forward to the narrow stairway jutting off of the lobby.

She knew there'd be a way to get in and public humiliation about Emily's love for Miranda, or any woman it would seem was enough to convince the British girl that taking this personal call was a really good idea.

She arrived at Emily's door a few minutes later, in a confident position with tempered nerves, albeit slightly out of breath. She'd only just lifted her hand to knock when the door swung open.

Emily stared at her, her red hair surprisingly pulled back in an unfashionably loose pony tail wearing a matching set of silk pajamas. Andy would have called her cute, but she had an inclination that it wasn't the way to get on the assistant's good side.

"Emily... we need to talk." Andy stated, and Emily stepped aside, gesturing her in with the agitated sweep of her hand.

"By all means... god knows what other scenes you intended to create out there."


"Look I know what you're going to say." Emily snapped, rounding on Andy as she shut the door behind them. "I'm being a fool to give up Runway - this job - as easily as I did... well I will have you know that it was a very hard decision to make but one I thought long and hard over and just so you know, you had nothing to do with it. So don't think you deserve all of the credit."

Andy could swear she heard Emily's 'harrumph' as she tilted her chin towards the ceiling and averted Andy's gaze.

Andy stepped closer, her voice serious but soft, a genuine concern pooling in her eyes. "Emily, I didn't come here because I wanted to gloat... I... came here because we need to talk about this."

"What's there to talk about?" Emily said as she moved to the couch and sat down rather ungracefully.

"This... this whole thing!" Andy said with exasperation as she came closer and sat down next to Emily. The British woman tensed visibly. When she didn't say anything, Andy took a deep breath and continued. It was time to lay out all of her cards on the table.

"Emily... what you saw last night.... you were right about it. Everything. Me and Miranda... it... it just sort of happened."

Emily huffed and rolled her eyes but Andy went on.

"I can't explain it. I just know that... I love Miranda and I think, she might... have feelings for me in some way and... I just... I don't think you or anyone else should try to change that."

"Oh please, Andy. I don't need all of the drivelling details. I could care less about ... who Miranda's sleeping with."

Emily winced even at the words coming from her own mouth but she continued. "I've worked for everything I've ever gotten. But you... You waltz right into Runway and walk all over everything that I've tried to achieve. I've put myself on the line day in and day out for that woman and not a single thank you is sent my way. Then you come in here, to a job you didn't even bloody well want in the first place, without a bloody scrap of qualification, not even knowing who Miranda Priestly: Fashion Icon, even bloody the hell was!"

Andy's eyes were soft as she listened, the bricks finally falling into place. "But Emily, I never meant to replace you... I can't replace you!"

"Well that's sure saying a lot, considering you already have. It wasn't me that Miranda requested to care for her in her hour of need. It wasn't me who went to Paris with her, to be at her side through fashion week. It wasn't me who she let into her home and into her life... who she trusts like no other..."

Emily's admissions were as much a true statement as they were a blinding reality, for the first time sinking into Andy's conscious mind. It was true. She had been all of the things Emily said and Miranda had been more open to her then she had realized.

Everything that had finally come to a head this weekend, the passion she had experienced with Miranda the night before... the long lingering looks, the assessments. There had been blatant displays all along. They'd been spiralling towards the inevitability of their actions for over a year and something struck Andy to the core when she realized as if for the first time - that her own feelings were not one sided. Miranda's feelings, if possible, were just as strong if not stronger than her own.

She looked to Emily, trying to find words but her voice had failed her.

"I won't even be missed. Miranda will have a new assistant in no time. As you know, a million girls would kill for my job."

"No." Andy stated, finding her voice. "No... no one else will do. Miranda needs you Emily."

Emily's eyes narrowed and she raked her fingernails over the back of her hand. "No she doesn't need me. She doesn't need anyone."

"She does."

"How do you know?"

"She told me."

"What?" Emily asked, shocked by the admission.

"She said that she needed you more than anyone at Runway. That you were irreplaceable."

"She said what?" Emily choked her blue eyes wide as she stared at Andy.

Andy's head tilted to the side "Well not in so many words."

Emily's expression fell, smacking her lips together as she rose and then lowered her eyebrows. "Ah."

Andy leaned forward using her hands frantically to convey a point. "No Emily... you should have seen her. She said she wouldn't accept your resignation and then she just shut herself off. She just shut down; she would hardly even speak to me... like it was my fault!"

Emily seemed to be selfishly mollified by that and she let a satisfied smile creep across her face. "She did?"

Andy nodded, running her hands through own hair. "She's so infuriating! It's not like I control anything anyone else does, and suddenly it's my fault you decide to resign at the drop of a hat. And now she expects me to come over here and make this all right, at god knows what time it is, while she lays home, confident that I can make the impossible, possible."

"She's incorrigible" Emily smiled, a hint of wistful admiration clear in her mind.

"She's impossible." Andy growled in frustration. "And what's worse, I know there's no way I can get you to come back... I'm sure that whole Harry Potter thing was a lot easier then this ridiculous task is supposed to be. I just wish sometimes that I could --"

"I'll come back." Emily stated, blinking a little in surprise at her own quick change of heart.

Andy stuttered, mid sentence and looked at Emily "I'm sorry?"

Emily tried to swallow a smile, doing her best impersonation of a Miranda glare. She was frighteningly good at it. "Oh Andy... do try and keep up. I said I will withdraw my resignation."

Andy closed her mouth and then pulled together a sentence."But... what... I mean... why did you change your mind?"

Emily shook her head. "It is as Miranda said... I'm irreplaceable. It'd hardly be fair on the woman if I up and left her during one of our busiest times, when she will need me the most. And if I try to teach someone to be my replacement, they'll just end up doing everything wrong anyways. And I don't even want to imagine what horrors would come of you attempting to make decisions for Miranda when she's out of the office. I can imagine the color combinations you'd suggest... horrifying."

Andy grinned; completely ignoring the disparaging remarks aimed her way. She could definitely handle Emily back to her old, arrogant self.

They talked for a few more minutes before Andy left the Book in Emily's hands to be taken to Runway in the morning, happy in the knowledge that Emily's mornings at Runway were no longer numbered. She couldn't wait to give Miranda the good news. Maybe the impossible just wasn't so impossible after all.

Andy made her way down the stairs of Emily's apartment complex and out in to the street.

She did not see Emily watching her from the window three stories above, the Book firmly clasped between her darkly manicured hands; nor did she hear the words "Well played, Andrea." fall from the British woman's lips.


Part 15

It was just after midnight when Andy finally turned her key in the lock of Miranda's townhouse and slid through its front door. The light was still on in the entryway, as was one on the upstairs level, guiding her easily upwards towards her destination.

She felt elated about what had transpired at Emily's and the entire trip home she'd walked with a new bounce in her step. She couldn't wait to tell Miranda. Absentmindedly, she wondered if the Editor would be asleep, having gone to bed hours ago, but somehow she found she was not surprised to see the sliver of light shining out from beneath her bedroom door.

Andy turned the knob in her hand and slipped inside the room. Miranda was sitting on her bed, in a comfortable nest of duvet and pillows, with a magazine propped awkwardly on her lap. Her blue eyes rose to Andy when she entered, and her lips pursed together as she awaited the news.

Andy's own lips spread into a wide smile and she closed the distance between them, lowering herself to her knees on the bed and crawling towards Miranda. "Emily has decided to reconsider, and has withdrawn her letter of resignation."

Miranda's eyes traveled over Andy as she crawled closer, a flicker of lust making itself known in the recess of her cool blue eyes, but the smile Andy had expected didn't come. Instead she sniffed lightly and tilted her gaze back to the magazine, flipping a page with disinterest. "It's too late."

Andy's lips parted and a line worried her brows. "Uhh... what?"

Miranda didn't look up. "You heard me Andrea..."

Andy's eyes widened. "What the.... Miranda? But... you told me..."

"I said nothing of the kind. Besides, I've had time to reconsider and have come to the conclusion that she is easily replaced. That little display of disloyalty brought to light her true feelings about the job, and I believe she is doing me a disservice by being in my employ."

Miranda's eyes met Andy's on the last few words.

Andy was doing an impeccable impersonation of a goldfish. "But... but... Miranda.. I went all the way... and she.... she said yes! And she wasn't going to and you should have seen her... she is the most loyal person you could --"

"I won't defend my decisions Andrea. This discussion is over. Emily will have to seek other employment."

Andy was enraged. She had traipsed across the city, in the final hours of the evening. She'd embarrassed herself outside of Emily's apartment and, to top it all off, she had spent valuable time trying to convince a woman, almost as stubborn as Miranda, to return to her.

She sat back on her heels before folding then quickly unfolding her arms. Her eyes were defiant as her mind reeled with anger. Of all the arrogant things the woman could do...

It was time for Miranda to see what the end of Andy's rope looked like.

"No Miranda... we are talking about this right now…. Uhh no… I will be talking and you will be listening. I have done a whole hell of a lot for you in the time I've worked for you, and all that I have done could not even begin to match up to what Emily has. She has been fiercely loyal to you since day one. She idolizes you. She agrees with your every decision and will follow you to the end of the world and back without batting an eye! I mean for god's sake Miranda, she would throw herself off a cliff if it meant making you happy! And now, one wrong step on her part... and not even a wrong step... just an impulsive step based on feelings - which were so intense for you, by the way, that she couldn't stop her own irrational decision - and you wanna toss her away like you would one of the other mindless assistants you've named after her!"

Miranda's eyes bore into Andy as she stared, speechless as the girl ranted on mid-tantrum.

"And another thing... it wasn't very hard to convince her to come back either, because she's so damn considerate of you that she probably couldn't help but be grateful for a chance to change her decision! Miranda... if you're ever going to look past yourself for a minute... make it now!'

Andy sat back, her hands that had been wildly gesturing with every measured point in her tangent, finally lowered to her hips and her eyes softened, waiting for Miranda's reaction.

Miranda's thin nose tightened and she breathed through her nostrils as though she was about to release streams of flames from them. She said nothing, clearly using the time to formulate a concise and clear retort.

Andy however, didn't give her the time. Other feelings, spurred on by the rage, seemed to take precedence and she lunged forward, pressing her mouth against Miranda and stealing an intensely passionate kiss as her hands tangled in strands of silver.

Miranda's lips moved initially in protest against Andy's firm pout, but it didn't take long for the Editor to melt under the woman's administrations. When they pulled back, both women were panting, the look in Miranda's eyes one of pure, unadulterated want and need.

They stared at each other for only a few seconds of silence before both moved forward in a powerful embrace, fighting for dominance as their tongues slid along one another's, tangling and gliding within heated mouths.

It was both infuriating and extremely erotic to Andy that they could be drawn together in the middle of an argument. If she'd had time to think, she might have even wondered what other possible arguments at Runway might have lead to scenes just like this one, if she'd had the guts to go for it.

But now wasn't the time for thinking about missed opportunities. Now was the time to explore every bit of Miranda that she offered up, to devour her and enjoy every single sinful second of it.

Andy made quick work of removing Miranda's clothes, tossing each bit of silk somewhere on the bedroom floor. She smiled when Miranda urged her forward onto her lap, where she sat straddling Miranda's thighs while her own hands crossed above her, hooking into her shirt and yanking it off in an awkward fashion.

It too was discarded quickly and she left Miranda's lap as she struggled with her pants. Miranda tried to help but her wrists stopped her from being of much assistance, and she grunted in frustration through gritted teeth.

The pants finally came loose from her hips and she wiggled out of them, kicking them aside before pouncing forward and wrapping her arms around Miranda's waist. Miranda's chin tilted backwards and her lips parted as Andy's mouth met hers, and she melted beneath the younger woman's gentle touch.

Andy's lips left Miranda's in hot trailing kisses that touched the woman's delicate skin as her mouth slipped around one slender shoulder. Andy repositioned herself behind Miranda, her lips finding a soft place beneath Miranda's hairline at the back of her neck where her tongue swirled in a slow, sensuous circle.

When a soft moan escaped Miranda's lips, Andy moved so she was sitting directly behind the Editor, wrapping her long legs around Miranda's waist. Her knees pressed against delicate ribs and the insides of her ankles touched to the soft skin of Miranda's outer thighs. Her hands started at Miranda's shoulders, which she held carefully as she trailed her tongue's swirling movements lower, assaulting the expanse of skin between her shoulder blades.

Miranda trembled beneath the feather light administrations and Andy smiled against a particularly sensitive area of skin. Her hands splayed and moved lower, down over Miranda's ribs until they reached the base, where her hands veered suddenly off course to slide around the Editor's abdomen.

Andy's head rolled back as she could feel her nipples pressing against Miranda's skin and she let out a sensual moan, which seemed to make the soft hairs at Miranda's neck stand straight on end. Her hands moved lower still, her long fingers gliding easily until they disappeared between the Editor's thighs, eliciting a louder moan as they met moisture.

Andy ground against Miranda's tailbone, her hips moving in a steady rhythm to match her fingers that drifted along Miranda's sensitivity. The Editor's jaw tightened and her lips parted, a series of small gasps falling out from between her lips while her head rolled backwards and rested on Andy's shoulder.

They moved together in unison with Andy's hips gyrating forward against Miranda's, the older woman's hips rolling backwards, guided by Andy's roving fingers. Their sounds grew louder in the otherwise silent townhouse, their moans mingling until they sounded as though they came from the same person.

Andy's fingers moved more quickly, driven by Miranda's ragged breaths and trembling muscles. Their hips continued to move together, and Andy's free hand snaked around Miranda's waist using it to keep them securely together.

Andy could feel her orgasm rising just as Miranda's body began to stiffen in her arms. She knew that the Editor was as close as she was and she swirled her fingers in exquisite circles, gliding around in Miranda's natural moisture as she felt the pressure from Miranda's tailbone against her own clit.

Before she could restrain herself, she felt herself tipping over the edge careening into oblivion, just as Miranda let out her own strangled cry. They came together, jerking gently but sporadically as they moved against each other, their cadence gradually slowing as their breathing began to return to normal.

Andy slumped forward, her fingers brushing Miranda's clit as they slipped by and the Editor jerked from the pressure against her newly unbearable sensitivity. Andy chuckled softly, tilting her head to the side, allowing her cheek to caress Miranda's.

"Is that how you intend to win every argument, Andrea?" Miranda asked, breathless from their activities only moments before.

Andy's smile widened. "That depends, did I win?"

Miranda's laugh was caught in her closed mouth, coming out as an internal snicker. "What do you think?"

Andy turned her head and pressed a warm kiss to Miranda's moist cheek, clammy from sweat. "I think I'm pretty good at debating."

Miranda's smile was evident in her voice, though Andy couldn't quite see her lips. "I think you're right."

Andy shifted Miranda in her arms, who protested for a minute before giving in and turning to face Andy. "So does that mean... Emily has her job back?"

Miranda's lips pursed together as they so often did in her office, however the expression in her eyes was much lighter than it generally appeared. "I suppose. However, if I detect even a hint of this type of impulsive behavior again, I won't just fire her - I'll single-handedly ensure that a career in fashion and journalism is no longer in her realm of possibilities."

Andy smiled, though she knew Miranda's off-handed comment was, in actuality, quite serious. She made a mental note to relay the information to Emily whenever they were back at the office and on more stable ground. Something suddenly struck Andy and she was surprised she hadn't thought of it before.

With the new relationship developing between them, their dynamic in the workplace was going to be completely thrown off balance. There was no way she was going to be able to continue working for Miranda if their relationship remained as it was. Even if it didn't continue- Andy shuddered at the thought -it was never going to be easy to be in the same place as Miranda, watching as she moved on around her.

She knew what had to be done, no matter how strange and how painful it felt to speak it out loud.

Andy swallowed, her smile having faded sometime during her inner monologue. "Uhh.. Miranda... I... I've been thinking and... It really isn't right if I continue... being your assistant... not after this..."

Andy had expected anger to flare in the Editor's eyes and she realized she should stop 'expecting' certain behaviour out of Miranda because her guesses rarely proved true. Miranda's lips pressed together and she regarded Andy before tilting her chin in a nod. "I've realized that as well."

Andy nodded. It felt so weird; to be giving up something she'd worked so hard for, all in the matter of a moment's decision. But when she thought about it again, she really wasn't giving anything up.

After all, she hadn't stayed at Runway because she liked the job. - Far from it. She'd stayed out of a sense of loyalty to Miranda and a need to be in the Editor's presence. Miranda had become like a drug that she was dependent on, something that gave up all traces of choice to an indestructible need. In essence, she wasn't losing anything.

Andy's arms tightened around Miranda protectively and she squeezed her softly, revelling in the way the Editor felt substantial and real beneath her touch. "I... love you... Miranda."

Miranda's lips curled upwards slowly at the corners and her eyelids lowered as though she were being pleasured by the mere utterance. She didn't say anything, and somehow that meant more to Andy than hearing the sentiment returned.

They sat staring into each other's eyes for a long while before Miranda's lips parted and her nose crinkled as a yawn began to appear at her lips. She moved a hand to cover it. It was too late, the contagious action having already infected Andrea and causing her own mouth to open in response.

It was a clear enough sign for the both of them, and they lowered themselves against the bedding until their cheeks sunk into the thick pillows of Miranda's bed. Andy pulled the covers around them and snuggled closer to Miranda, breathing in the Editor's scent, all traces of any other life besides the one she was presently living abandoned for the feel of Miranda's beautiful body in hers.

For the first time since arriving in New York, Andy felt truly and honestly at home, and it was the last thought that passed through her mind before she fell into a blissful sleep.


Part 16

Four months later

"New York Mirror, Andy speaking."

"Hey Andy!" Pete's loud, New York-accented voice slipped through the receiver.

"Pete? Oh my god! What a pleasant surprise! How are you doing in there?" Andy tucked the phone in the crook of her shoulder, surprised to be hearing from him. She'd been doing a story on Pete months ago when he'd been arrested for a assault. He was generally a harmless guy but the victim had said something about his mother. You never said anything about Pete's mother. Andy had taken to Pete and had kept in touch with him since he'd been incarcerated.

"Remember that care package you sent three weeks ago?"

Andy smiled "Mmhmm.."

"Well, I finally found a way ta thank you for that!"

Andy's smile remained but her mouth parted in protest. "Oh Pete... you know I said that no thanks were neccessa--"

"But I want to Andy! Besides, I think you'll really like this one." Pete interrupted, his own joy given away in the tonality of his voice.

"Oh?" Andy couldn't help but be curious.

"Yeah... okay, remember I was tellin' you about Steel, that guy who bit George's finger off?"

Andy winced at the memory of that particularly gruesome tale. "Yes... Steel... right."

"Well... he got a new cell mate today, and you'd never guess who it was."

Andy's palm slipped over her forehead and she massaged at her temples. She could just imagine. "I'm sure I wouldn't... who was it?"

"Stephen Priestly."

Andy's jaw dropped and she choked on her own saliva. After a small coughing fit she managed to pull together a few words. "It's not Priestl... it's Tomlinson... but.... go on."

"Whatever... anyways, Steely's gonna show him a real good time while he's in here."

Andy's lips crept up in a wicked smile.

Pete continued "He owes me a few favors...and I just thought... what a great way to do somethin' nice for someone like you Andy."

Andy couldn't think of a nicer thing.

"You want I should give him somethin' from you?" Pete asked.

"Ohh... if you wouldn't mind, I think maybe something starting at the wrists..." Andy's smile grew just thinking about the small bit of revenge that Pete and his cell buddies could do to the bastard.

"Yeah yeah... that sounds good! I think I know just the thing."

Andy couldn't help the nice side of her conscious sneaking through. "You and Steel aren't going to get into any trouble are you?"

"Nah... trust me... the guards are gonna look the other way with this one. Miranda Priestly's gotta lotta fans in here."

Andy was both surprised and yet unsurprised by his answer. Miranda had fans everywhere. "Oh well... thank you Pete. That's the best present I could ever ask for."

"Yeah, don't worry 'bout it." Pete grinned, the sound evident in his voice and Andy was certain he was going to have fun with this one.

"Oh and thanks for using one of your owed favors on me." Andy replied, appreciatively.

"You mean Steely? Nah... that guy aint just doin' it as a favor to me. He idolizes Miranda, never misses a month of Runway. Maybe, you could... send me an autographed copy in the next care package? I'd have some real bargainin' tools there..."

Andy's smile faltered only slightly. "Well I'm not sure about that Pete... but I'll uh... try."

"Okay, listen, I gotta go. I'll let ya know how it goes. Nice talkin' to ya Andy."

"And you too Pete. Thank you." Andy heard the man hang up on the other end and she lowered her own phone back to its cradle. A large smile swept across her features. She'd been waiting until the time was right to show Stephen her 'appreciation' of his handiwork, and the opportunity had just fallen right into her lap. Somehow, some things just had a way of working themselves out.

The streets of New York seemed calmer than usual as Andy made her way down them. The entire city was wrapped in a thick blanket of white and snowflakes slowly fell towards the ground, sticking to her hair and eyelashes. Her breath moved out of her mouth in puffs of swirling white fog and she dug her hands deeper into her coat pockets to keep them warm. It was four days until Christmas and the city, although busy with activity, seemed to blur around her, forgotten. She would be spending the holidays alone this year, a fact that filled her with dread making her footsteps heavier beneath her.

The snow was beautiful, pristinely white with the odd trace of silver and it reminded her of hair she'd once dragged her fingers through.

Andy shook her head. She wasn't going to think about it. She wasn't going to think about Miranda. She'd made a promise to herself that she wouldn't try to think about things that were beyond her control. They weren't together and she would have to deal with that painful self-admission and get over it.

She bit down into the soft skin of her lip, using the small dull pain as a distraction.

It wasn't long before she arrived at her apartment building, slipping her key in the lock and stepping in out of the cold. She brushed down her coat and bag as she headed up the flight of stairs until she reached her floor and let herself in.

The apartment was warm and cozy but uncomfortably quiet. She shrugged out of her coat and hung it on the hook behind her front door to dry, placing her bag on the hook right next to it. She took her sweater off of the back of the couch and slipped it over her cold shoulders, walking towards the kitchen to make herself a cup of tea.

Twinnings, Lady Grey. Andy smiled softly.

Deciding it was best to change while the water boiled, Andy abandoned the kitchen and headed towards the bedroom, stopping dead in her tracks when she rounded the corner.

Lying on her bed, on her stomach, completely naked except for a pair of black lacy panties, was Miranda Priestly.

Andy's jaw dropped for the second time that day as her eyes took in every single inch of the woman.

The panties were the very same ones she'd held in shaking fingertips in Miranda's closet, those many months ago. Now here they were, displayed so deliciously before her, laced elegantly over the swell of Miranda's backside. Andy had a hard time prying her eyes away but when she finally did, she saw the Editor's eyes peering over her shoulder.

"Really Andrea... I was beginning to think you'd never come home."

Andy's smile widened and she moved forward, her eyes appraising Miranda as though she were newly discovered treasure. "I... I... but... you... you aren't supposed to be back.. til after Christmas!" Andy managed, though her shock was making clear sentences an excruciating challenge.

Miranda's own lips curled into a smile. "I know perfectly well what my itinerary said, Andrea. I did however choose to alter the itinerary and arrange to return in time to spend the holidays with you, if you find that agreeable. Or is there another girlfriend I should be made aware of?"

A dream perhaps? Andy lowered herself to the bed, sliding one hand up the length of Miranda's side. Definitely not a dream.

She gently pressed her hand into Miranda's ribs, easing the Editor on to her back, her beautiful breasts finally coming into view. "Oh... god.. Miranda... I... this is... the ... wow. I ..."

"Nuh no...English, Andrea." Miranda warned.

Andy couldn't help but laugh as she moved to lie down next to lover. "I'm sorry... Miranda... this is the nicest... this is more than I could ever ask for."

"Well I've always been considered a 'nice' person." Miranda's lips curled up in a wicked smile before leaning forward. Their lips joined in a smouldering kiss that melted away every single last chill that Andy had brought in from the winter New York wonderland.

Once they parted, Andy's fingertips stroked Miranda's cheek softly, sliding upwards to tangle into her silver hair. "So... what is first on the new itinerary?"

Miranda's smile brightened, one of those genuine smiles that Andy lived for, and the older woman shifted so that Andy was lying on her back and she was leaning over her.

"Well now that I'm no longer indisposed, Andrea..." Miranda drawled and her lashes lowered to half mast over her darkened blue eyes. "I think it is high time I showed you an Editor's cunning use of dexterity."

She lifted her hands and fluttered her fingertips before lowering and pressing those skilled digits down the length of Andy's body.

Andy shivered in anticipation and allowed her head to roll back into the deeper depths of the pillow. And as she allowed Miranda to make love to every single inch of her body, she couldn't help but revel in the old adage...

No good deed ever goes unpunished.

The End

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