DISCLAIMER: The Devil Wears Prada and its characters belong to Lauren Weisberger and 20th Century Fox. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story includes angst, and may be upsetting to some readers. If this is you then please to not read, thank you. Beta: shesgottaread (Thank you so much for all of your hard work on this.)
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
The Night Is Where It Belongs
I have always loved the night. There is something about the deep darkness that has always called to me. The sweet fragile night, always threatened and broken by the daylight.
Irina Priestly, formerly Goncharova was my mother.
She was an interesting woman. She was Russian. My father always called her his river.
When I was young, it puzzled me what he meant by this. Now as I stand and look upon the dark silhouette of the city that never sleeps I understand all too well what he meant.
My mother was his river; she drew him along like a boat trapped by the current. She was peaceful and calm upon the surface, but beneath her ice-blue eyes, light coating of makeup, perfect skin, auburn hair and her divine choice in clothing, she was a raging torrent of currents ripping apart whatever happened to fall into her liquid depths.
My father had fallen in to the River Irina and she had consumed him, she could be as gentle as a single rain drop or she could be as harsh as a hurricane.
My father was so different from her. He was stone, like granite, a rock, he was my hero. To me the world revolved around my father, he is the standard I have always held all my lovers to. The last memory I have of my father is of his once blonde hair streaked with grey and his green eyes sparkling at me as I sat upon his lap as he read to me in his study.
She wore him down, her constant current washing over him. Stripping and taking with it his solid resolve piece by piece. He died when I was eleven and I hated my mother for that.
My mother had friends. My father called them her friends. They weren't exclusively male, no; in fact quite a good few were female. They ranged from dancers, to actors, to artists, writers, if you can think of a creative profession then my mother was sure to have a 'friend' that was adept in that field. Her friends would call for her, sometimes they would stay with us, and sometimes she would stay with them. I remember a particular friend of my mother's, a Ms Dover-Fledging; she had been my mother's friend since she married my father.
A beautiful woman. Strange, dark and mysterious, she held the same look in her eyes that my father did for my mother. She too loved Irina Priestly, how foolish. My mother was a cruel woman. Whereas my mother had always held something in her eyes for my father, I was never sure in my youth just what that was. For the mysterious Ms Dover-Fledging, she held nothing. I know that look. I know how it feels to give that look. I have that look; I possess it like I possess most things. I wear that look every day. It's a look of tolerance and indifference; I hold it close to my heart like a shield, I hold it for my husband.
In my youth I always thought of my mother as a woman whom was devoid of love. Now I have adjusted my view of the woman whom shaped me into what I am today. Now I believe she was a woman who had too much love, but never gave it freely. She was a woman who was searching for something, something that she had in my father and never realised.
My mother outlived my father by thirty-two years. She died in my childhood home in Chelsea on a rainy day in March. I have always adored the rain, that day was no different. I spent most of that mournful day listening to the harsh downpour as it fell relentlessly. The raindrops large and heavy pelted the windowpanes. As I sat next to the elderly woman whom had once stood tall, I had a vision of my parents as the danced on the 10th wedding anniversary. The woman of my vision was of different from the one at my side. The woman in my vision was my mother in her prime; a wry smile was playing upon her lips as she danced with my father, his Savile Row suit cut perfectly for his broad, sturdy frame. My mind played out the scene perfectly, my mother rested delicately in his arms, her red open backed Dior gown flowing like rose petals in the air. I could almost smell the air of that day; my nose could detect the faint odour of lilacs and champagne.
A small dry cough interrupted my memory and blue eyes smiled at me from within deep folds of skin, my mother who had once valued her beauty had chosen not to desperately cling to her youth, and she had let her skin age and her hair turn white. Her once straight body was now bent and twisted. I leaned forward and I took hold of her hand. I had always wondered why she married my father, had she loved him.
As if she read my mind, the woman who had had every possible friend told me how she had met her best friend. My father. She told me how she had met the dashing young Andrew Priestly in war-torn Russia. She had fallen in love and she had hated him for it. He had caged her; he had made her feel something she never wished to feel, so she had taken lovers. She talked for hours, seeking absolution, setting free her sins.
That was why she had had her affairs; she had punished my father with his own love. My eyes had shut in silent agony for my father; to my surprise I had even held a share for my mother.
The rain continued to pour as my mother's life finally slipped away from her. She died whispering my father's name.
I stopped hating my mother that day, in truth I had stopped hating her when I was in my youth, when I had reached the selfish age of fifteen. I had told my mother what I wanted to do; she had laughed and in a purr told me that it would be a lonely life. Success she told me was for the strong, ruthless and the solitary.
She was right. It has been a lonely life.
I am fifty years old and I have done something that my mother would approve of, I am having an affair with a woman half my age.
An Affair, two dirty little words in polite society. Then again I have never much cared for polite society. It's all so trite.
Still I have never had an affair before in my life. Well not in the true sense of the word. I can almost hear the snickers and outright roars of deep laughter come from the fragments of memories that reside in my mind. Husbands, lovers, all would say I have had one constant love affair, with myself, with my job. Well, they may very well be right, Runway will always be my first love, I love my children and I will even admit to holding some feelings that are deep in nature for my lover, but Runway will never leave me.
Children grow, mature, they leave when they are old enough. Selfishness and the desire for independence causes them to disregard those who cared for them. Lust and youth are all that matter when you are young and I know that my children will come to disregard me; as I came to disregard my own mother. I will relish the day when my girls become women, what women they will be.
My ex-husband had once expressed his disgust that Caroline wished to be just like me. She would do well, my girls would both do well to heed their father's disgust. I am not a woman to look up to. I have my career but what else do I have? I am truly my mother's daughter, in my childhood I never dreamt I would be like this; I believed I would be a diplomat like my father. The more people would comment when I was a teenager how I was like my mother, the more I would try to rebel. What I didn't fathom at the time was that was what they saw in me, they saw the raging rebellious Irina. The youthful Irina who took her lovers and destroyed my father, the only man she ever truly loved.
My lover? Andrea, my assistant. A lackey. A minor cog in the wheel that turns my empire of fashion. I can't help the laugh that suddenly slips from my lips. She isn't what one would consider an equal, but the heart rarely lets you choose whom you are allowed to fall for.
Again the image of my mother comes to me; she is standing next to one of her nameless and faceless lovers. Her smile is solely for me, it tells me that I am just like her. I hate the fact that it is the truth. I hate the fact that I have become what I despised of her. Now more than ever. Still some remnant of my father lives in me, his quiet resolve, and his endless love. I want to give Andrea that endless love; I want to stand like the rock my father was and let Andrea engulf me with her soul.
Dawn is slowly approaching. Creeping like a thief in the night, waiting to steal away that which is precious to me.
My lover, my Andrea sleeps so peacefully. The burdens of a lifetime have not yet touched her. She has her problems, I know, I have heard her short and heated telephone calls to her boyfriend. Arguments that have ended in trips to the restroom, no doubt to vent her anger and shed tears for that which she is letting slip from her heart. I don't recall his name, he and I both know what we have and what we will lose. Andrea knows of my husband and how my relationship is doomed. We don't talk of such things here.
The night is only for our love, this fading night is the only time I am allowed to feel true peace.
The sun peeks through the curtains as I slip into my black coat. We have rules in this game and I will never be the rock. I am every bit the river my mother was.
Andrea is the closest a lover has ever come to meeting my high standards. The only one to come near to my father's memory. They are both so very alike, maybe that is why I felt myself falling so hard, like my father ensnared my mother, and she ensnared me with her persistence. As my father once did Andrea holds such warmth in her smile for me, unlike most when in the room she only ever sees me. Most cower in fear or strive to cater to my every whim, she does it all for an entirely different reason. She does it for love. She is focused and she is strong, yes she is very like my father.
As my hand runs down my front I look back at the bed, and the youthful woman it holds. She is a vision; I am not a sentimental old fool and will not pour out words of her purity, for she is anything but pure. I have all but shattered that illusion.
Again a shaft of light slices through the cheap fabric that tries desperately to pass for a form of drapes. I step closer to the bed and pick up my watch. It is 5:00 AM. If my husband cared he would wonder where I was, where I spent my nights. He doesn't care, so he doesn't ask.
I wish the night was endless, but like all things the night must die. In its bright and glorious death, with it, it takes my love for my Andrea.
I can't stay a second longer. I must leave now. I have already lingered too long. I know she is awake, but she won't cry out for me to stay, she knows the rules. Never ask me to stay, and never mention this arrangement during the day. During the day, we are editor and assistant. During the night, we are simply Miranda and Andrea. That is the way it must be, anything else would destroy everything.
I know she would like to announce her love to the world, but it will never be. There will never be an announcement about the nature of the relationship between Ms M. Priestly and Ms A. Sachs. No there will never be an announcement for the damned.
Andrea, my sweet and beautiful Andrea, she thinks that we will last forever. No, we will not last forever. Nothing lasts forever. Somehow this will end. I don't know when but I know it will end. Will it end well? I very much doubt that. What we have is constant movement, always, and forever in motion until one day something will step in the way, and it will all end. It must end; it's the way of all things.
I am not an easy woman to love, why this slip of a girl cares for me I will never know.
As I open the door that will lead me back to reality, I spare one last glance over my shoulder. Two dark brown eyes draw me in. No words need to be said. She understands, this love we share is dark, this love we share is damned, destined for tragedy and in the night is where it belongs.
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