DISCLAIMER: The Devil Wears Prada and its characters belong to Lauren Weisberger and 20th Century Fox. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To qhfletcher[at]gmail.com
By quiethearted (QH Fletcher)
"So tell me, how has life been treating the great journalist?" Nigel asked as he sipped his second appletini. The first had disappeared as he regaled Andy with the latest happenings at Runway.
"It's been interesting," Andy replied, smiling mysteriously. "You already know most of the work stuff from my e-mails. The life stuff well, it's a little confusing, but good."
"Confusing? That practically screams 'There's a woman involved.' So tell Uncle Nigel everything," he said, chuckling.
Andy blushed and took a drink of her Cosmopolitan. "There is a woman, yes. She's " Andy paused as if not sure how to continue.
"She's what, Six? A reigning monarch? A cannibal? You need to be more specific," Nigel teased.
Instead of answering, Andy pulled out her phone and after pressing a few keys handed it to Nigel. His eyes widened at his first glance of the picture she'd displayed.
"Please tell me you're making a very bad joke, Andy," Nigel pleaded.
"No, no joke. Unless it's on me, of course," she answered ruefully.
"She's the image of Miranda!"
"Yeah, there is that. I met her about a month ago when I did an article on her company. She's very successful. After the story ran, she called and invited me out for a drink. I had a good time," Andy said with a defensive shrug.
"Of Chandler Enterprise? That Elizabeth Chandler?" Nigel asked, amazed.
Andy nodded shyly and took refuge in her drink.
"What about Miranda?" Nigel was concerned that Andy was becoming involved with someone who had a resemblance to the woman she really wanted. Such a move could only spell pain for his friend later.
"What about Miranda?" Andy shot back, frowning. "It's not like she'd ever be interested in me. I had a crush, fine. I need to move on. Elizabeth is brilliant, attractive, and most importantly interested. She calls me, asks me out, and to be honest, she is hinting around about becoming more serious. Yes, she's driven, just like Miranda is. But there's a big difference between them. Elizabeth goes after what she wants, and she wants me."
"Andy, I just don't want you making a mistake by getting involved with someone because there are similarities to Miranda. You don't need to settle," Nigel said, sighing. "You could have anyone you want."
"No, no, I can't," Andy said shaking her head and blinking back tears. She paused for a moment and dabbed at her eyes with a napkin before continuing. "But I can have Elizabeth, and I think, given time, I could come to love her. She knows there was someone I cared about a great deal and that it never came to anything. She says she's willing to wait as long as is necessary. That I'm worth the wait to her. She only asks that I let her use that time to show me how life could be with her, with someone who actually does care about me."
Nigel closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. Miranda, what have you done? Your stubbornness and pride are going to cost you something priceless. "So are you going to give her this time?" he had to ask.
"Yeah, I guess I am. Elizabeth asked me to take a few days to think about it. She doesn't want to rush me into anything. That should show she really does care about me, right?" Andy asked hopefully.
Nodding, Nigel smiled gently. "It shows remarkable consideration for you, Six. So when are you going to tell her?"
"We have a dinner date tomorrow night. It's as good a time as any. She wants me to go away with her this weekend. We haven't you know," Andy reddened and shifted uncomfortably.
There's still time, Nigel thought, amazed. This woman really seemed to care about Andy's feelings. Maybe it would be best to just stay out of it and let Andy move on. Then Nigel thought about how Miranda had acted after another chance encounter with her ex-assistant. For Emily's sake, if no one else's, Nigel knew he had to try to reach Miranda once again. So far his every attempt had been rebuffed.
"I'm sure you'll make the right choice," Nigel assured her, patting her hand comfortingly. And, if he had anything to do with it, he knew which one it would be.
"Nigel, I already have plans for this evening," Miranda exclaimed. "I don't know why it's so important to you that I change them." That he had walked into her office and closed the door without her summons was bad enough, but his continued insistences that she accompany him to dinner tonight was becoming highly irritating.
"Andy has met someone," Nigel stated bluntly.
Miranda fought to retain her composure, though she was sure she'd paled in response to his statement. She removed her glasses, folded them, and laid them on top of the images she'd been studying to buy time. "Then I sincerely hope she's happy," she snapped. "I do not, however, see what this has to do with my dinner arrangements."
"I'm not so sure she is happy as much as she's settling for second best," Nigel continued. "I believe you know the woman, Elizabeth Chandler."
Anger flared at the name. "Elizabeth is my age. She goes through young women faster than I do couture. Whatever is Andréa thinking? That woman is only out for one thing, and it's not happily ever after."
"She also has short, silvery blonde hair and blue eyes. Then there's her commanding demeanor and general aura of power. Not to mention, her exquisite taste in fashion and personal sense of style. Remind you of anyone we know?" Nigel asked, smirking.
"Yes, yes," Miranda waved his words away. "I've heard the comments about the similarities between us. Utter nonsense. We look nothing alike."
"The resemblance is close enough to catch the eye of a certain young reporter who thinks she can't have the real thing, so the imitation is looking very good to her," he replied.
"Whatever are you babbling about, Nigel?" Miranda fumed. How dare anyone like that approach Andréa? She was young and impressionable. Easy prey for the likes of Elizabeth Chandler. It was frustrating that she, Miranda, didn't have the right to step in and end this charade. Elizabeth could never treat Andréa in the manner she deserved.
"For a woman who has made her career on the finer uses of subtlety, you have been remarkably obtuse on this subject, Miranda," Nigel sighed. Pulling a handkerchief from his pocket, he began to clean his glasses methodically. He held them up to peer at the lenses and returned to cleaning them, clearly unsatisfied with his efforts so far. "Andy Sachs has been in love with you for years, or was. She's making a concerted effort to move on."
"With Elizabeth Chandler! That's not moving on!" Miranda argued. "If all she wants is a quick fuck and to be tossed away the next day, she should have called me. I can do that as well, if not better."
"My god, Miranda, what has happened to you? Andy doesn't want a cheap thrill from anyone, least of all you. Did you not just hear me? Do I need to hit you with a clue by four? She loves you! And if you don't get your head out of your Dior-clad ass and soon, you're going to lose any chance you might have with her! I don't know how much plainer I can put it." Nigel glared at her.
Miranda blinked several times, too stunned to speak. Nigel was the only being on the planet who stood the slightest chance of surviving after speaking to her in such a manner. "She loves me? Are you quite sure, Nigel?"
"As sure as I can be when Andy opens her mouth and says, 'I love Miranda.' Perhaps it was wishful thinking on my part, but I must say she's convinced me. I thought the tears were a nice touch as well," he responded sarcastically.
"SheAndréa cried, over me?" Miranda was having a difficult time wrapping her mind around the reality of Andréa returning her feelings. Why would Andréa want her when she could have anyone? Well, anyone except that over the hill player, Elizabeth Chandler. That simply was not acceptable. If Elizabeth laid so much as a fingernail on her Andréa, Miranda would remove it with pliers slowly. "Why is tonight important?" she demanded.
"Elizabeth gave Andy time to consider their spending time together which will begin with a weekend away this weekend. Andy is to give her answer tonight."
"Which will be?" Miranda glared at him as if the entire situation were Nigel's fault.
"She's going to say yes, Miranda. For all the wrong reasons." He looked at her significantly.
Miranda narrowed her eyes. "Then I shall just have to remind Andréa that the right reasons do not include Elizabeth Chandler. Have Emily make us a reservationat an adjoining table. Have the black Dior that arrived today sent to my home. Roy will pick you up first. Dress carefully, Nigel. There's a point to be made. Several of them, in fact." Elizabeth might think she had knowledge of fashion and style, but Miranda intended to take her to school on that point and many others, including just who Andréa Sachs belonged with.
When the town car pulled up in front of his building, Nigel was waiting just inside. He was much too nervous to wait upstairs. The look in Miranda's eyes when she'd given him those instructions Nigel shivered. He had felt his testicles crawl up into his body for safe keeping at that look. He would not be Elizabeth Chandler tonight for all the couture in world, nor for all the pretty boys who wore it. Miranda was out for blood, and she wouldn't be stopped until Elizabeth was nothing more than a footnote in Who's Who, The Once Was edition.
Nigel nodded at Roy, murmuring hello as he slid into the backseat and almost jumped back out when he found himself face to face with Miranda. "I thought we were picking you up," he gasped.
"A needless delay," Miranda sniffed. "Speaking of, Roy, we will arrive much quicker if the wheels are actually turning."
Rather than responding, Roy steered the vehicle into traffic and finished fastening his seatbelt one-handed.
"In a bit of a hurry, are we?" Nigel teased, grinning.
"Nothing of the sort. I merely dislike dawdling." Miranda settled her wrap more comfortably around her shoulders and stared out the window. She was not at all in a hurry. She merely wished to be sure she was seated prior to Andréa entering the restaurant. Miranda intended for Andréa to see her immediately.
Arriving at the restaurant, Miranda refused to be seated at their table, instead choosing to perch on a stool at the end of the bar. She intentionally sat with her back to the door but had a clear view in the large mirror behind the bar. She was sipping a Manhattan with Nigel and discussing the day's events when Andréa walked in on the arm of that over-aged player. Nigel waved to attract Andréa's attention, and Miranda smiled smugly as those large eyes widened further at seeing who he was seated with. Andréa looked uncomfortably at her companion and tried to steer her toward their table, but Elizabeth was clearly having none of that, as Miranda had expected. The woman always sought her out when their paths crossed. Miranda didn't expect tonight to be any different.
"Miranda, my dear, it's lovely to see you," Elizabeth gushed, having dragged Andréa over by the hand.
"Yes, I'm sure it is," Miranda replied, pasting on the fakest of fake smiles in her vast repertoire. She gave Elizabeth a slow once over and pursed her lips slightly. She was satisfied to see the other woman shift uncomfortably and fidget with the jacket she was wearing. Really, would Elizabeth never learn to dress her age?
"How have you been?" Elizabeth tried with a strained smile while slipping her arm around Andréa's waist.
"Simply brilliant. Though I am a bit perturbed with you," Miranda said with false teasing.
"Really? What could I possibly have done?"
"Word has reached me that you're attempting a merge with one of my holdings," Miranda explained with a soft tsk.
Elizabeth frowned. "I'll have to speak to my people. I was unaware we were attempting to buy one of your companies."
"You misunderstand. The acquisition I speak of is of a more personal nature." Miranda's smile turned draconian.
Clearly flummoxed, Elizabeth stared at her. "I can't imagine what I might want that you have, Miranda."
"Then be so kind as to take your hand off my Andréa," Miranda stated coldly. She ignored the stare Andréa gave her that seemed to question her sanity.
"YourI wasn't aware that you were seeing Andy," Elizabeth responded, tightening her grip on Andréa. "We've spoken at length, and she's never mentioned you."
Andréa looked helplessly from one to the other, before turning a pleading gaze on Nigel, who shrugged and lifted his glass in a silent toast.
"It would seem I've been somewhat remiss in making my intentions known; however, I am rectifying that error at this time. Remove your hand from Andréa's person." Miranda notched up the ice factor in the glare she was giving Elizabeth.
Elizabeth paled but refused to back down. "I think you're a little late, Miranda. Andy is going away with me this weekend. That should make it pretty clear that she'd rather be with me."
"Umm, guys, we really don't need to do this," Andréa tried to intervene.
Miranda spared her a gentle glance. "Darling, I adore you, but do be quiet." She turned back to Elizabeth, and her eyes held all the warmth of liquid nitrogen. "Elizabeth, once before you crossed me. I would think you'd have learned your lesson from that occasion. Believe me when I say my disappointment in you then pales in comparison to what it will be now if you do not remove your hand immediately." Miranda took a nonchalant sip of her drink and set it on the bar beside her. She extended her hand, palm upward. "Andréa. Come to me, Darling."
Without hesitation, Andréa took the hand offered to her and stepped to Miranda's side. She gave Elizabeth a weak smile.
"Dammit, Andy, this is nothing but a power play for her," Elizabeth snapped.
"Maybe," Andréa admitted. "But you always knew my heart lay elsewhere. Now you know where."
"I'm offering you a real relationship, a lifetime commitment," Elizabeth insisted. "The most you're going to get from Miranda is being her dirty little secret. You'll be nothing more than a mistress in the shadows."
Miranda tensed. She'd clearly underestimated Elizabeth's feelings for Andréa, but the fact remained that Andréa belonged with her, had always belonged with her. Before Miranda could let fly with a scathing response, Andréa spoke.
"I don't care," she stated levelly. "I'd rather be Miranda's mistress than anyone else's wife. What I feel for her has only grown over time. I expect it to continue to do so. I'm willing to take what I can get."
"She'll make a fool of you," Elizabeth snapped.
"It won't be the first time," Andréa admitted with a rueful grin. "But she's still my choice."
Miranda wrapped her arm around Andréa's waist and pulled her gently to her side. "Do enjoy your dinner, Elizabeth," she said dismissively. She allowed her eyes to make a lazy perusal of Andréa's body. "I know I'll be enjoying mine." She gave Elizabeth a meaningful glance.
Furious, the woman spun on her heel and stalked out of the restaurant. No sooner was she out of sight, than Andréa spun out of Miranda's grasp.
"Okay, someone needs to explain this to me," she said. "And I'm guessing it'll have to be you, Miranda." Andréa nodded to where Nigel had moved down the bar and struck up a conversation with an attractive man of about his age.
"I believe I made myself quite clear," Miranda answered. "Would you like a drink, Darling? Our table is ready if you prefer."
"Oh, I have a feeling I'm gonna need a lot of drinks and pretty damned fast to make sense of this. Now, what was that whole 'mine is bigger than yours' display with Elizabeth really about?"
"It's quite simple, Andréa. She's not at all right for you. You can do a great deal better." Miranda shrugged. She really didn't understand what Andréa's issue was. She'd been quite clear in staking her claim.
"So you decided to just show up on my date and pee on my leg?" Andréa asked in surprise.
"If by that vulgarity you mean that I staked my claim quite publicly, then yes. You are mine, and I was not about to let her have you."
"I'mMiranda, what are you saying?" Andréa shook her head as if she couldn't have heard right.
"If I must spell it out, I love you. I want you with me," Miranda stated emphatically.
"As your mistress?" Andréa asked suspiciously.
"In whatever role you so choose. I was thinking more along the lines of something much more permanent and open, but if mistress is the title you prefer, so be it." A tense silence enveloped them for a moment, and then Miranda found her arms full of voluptuous female quite suddenly. "I assume by this that you accept."
"Yes, Miranda, yes, yes, yes," Andréa exclaimed, each word punctuated by a short kiss. She finished with a long, slow, thorough meshing of mouths and tongues. "Let's get out of here. What I want for dinner isn't on their menu."
For the first time in over a year, Miranda laughed freely and fully. "Then by all means, let's leave. Though you should be aware that whatever it is you wish for dinner, it's nothing to what I desire for dessert."
Andy laughed joyfully as she took Miranda's hand and lead her out of the restaurant. It was going to be a long, glorious night with many more to follow.
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