DISCLAIMER: The Devil Wears Prada and its characters belong to Lauren Weisberger and 20th Century Fox. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Written for lj community The Devil wears Prada Halloween celebration.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Phone, Book and Post-it notes
Nothing was as it should be.
Curiously, Miranda was perfectly all right with that.
Without a doubt, she knew the place to be her study, except this dark room furnished in suffocating colonial style didn't look like her study at all. She was sitting serenely on an atrocious, moss green leather sofa that, under normal circumstances, would never set a foot in her apartment. The book she was scribbling in - The Book, naturally - was absurdly huge, almost poster sized.
Little yellow and purple post-it notes fluttered around her head like paper butterflies. Without looking, she would grab one from the air, stick it still wriggling on a page, write a comment, turn the page, and meticulously repeat the process.
After some time, the door opened softly, but she didn't look up. Whoever it was would have to wait: the Book always came first. The steps approached silently, hushed by thick carpet. This was not a heavy male gait, nor children's tiny feet. Miranda's heartbeat quickened. Just like the study, she simply knew who she'd see if she were to raise her eyes. Still, she kept on working, delicious anticipation curling in her stomach.
Then, shockingly, the Book was being pulled out of her hands. She looked up, startled by the intruder's insolence. Andrea stood in front of her, in a champagne colored bathrobe, enormous Book held close to her body with both hands. Coldly, letting her displeasure be seen, Miranda stared at her face. To her surprise, there was no fear there, but a tiny smirk instead, one eyebrow daringly raised.
Miranda appraised her for a moment longer, and then lifted her hand. "Give it back, Andrea."
Andrea narrowed her eyes at her but reluctantly obeyed. Behind the Book, Andrea's robe was untied. Eyes glued to the view, Miranda tossed the Book over to her side. Andrea's midnight blue bathrobe (Wasn't it champagne a second ago?), parted enticingly, dramatically framing a line of pale flesh from the soft curve of her breasts down to the tiny black curls.
She uncrossed her legs. "Come here, Andrea."
Andrea stepped forward, and at Miranda's impatient glance, even closer, her shins touching the seat. "I said," Miranda said levelly. "come here. Is 'here' such a novel concept?"
Andrea's eyes flashed defiantly. She leaned over Miranda and, holding to the backrest, stepped over her. Slowly, she lowered herself on Miranda's lap and chased the butterflies away.
"Is that close enough?" Andrea's voice, smooth, self confident, sounded so unlike her, Miranda felt compelled to answer. She crushed the impulse and instead, reached with her fingertips and moved the burgundy robe slightly away. Not too much, just enough to unveil one plump, rosy nipple. She didn't touch; she merely watched it stiffen in front of her eyes. She could hear Andrea's breath quickening. When Miranda remained non-responsive, her back arched a little, in offering. Finally, looking at Andrea's half lidded eyes, Miranda touched the nipple with her forefinger. Andrea gasped. She circled it lightly, and then rubbed, hard. Andrea whimpered.
"Miranda, please " Miranda leaned closer, licking her lips in anticipation.
Andrea's perfume permeated the air. The familiar scent tickled her nose: cheerful, springy smell of freesias.
No, damn it! Not freesias!
Miranda woke with a start, her heart thundering. Good lord, what was that? She stared ahead, unblinking. The darkness was slowly receding, reveling familiar contours of her bedroom. Just a dream, silly dream. It felt so real, though. Her breasts were aching, she was wet between her legs, and she could still smell the damned flowers. She had had sex dreams in her life, and even the ones starring Andrea were not that rare of late, but never this detailed. She swallowed, and rubbed at her eyes, then froze. Her fingers brushed at an unfamiliar shape on her forehead. She touched gingerly.
A piece of paper. Stuck to her forehead.
She sprang up, turned the bedside light on. There was a yellow Post-it note in her hand.
It read: I COME IN PIECE. DON'T FAINT.
The editorial part of her brain shrieked in horror. Then the rest of it joined in. She looked wildly around. She was alone. Oh, god, the twins! Immediately, she was out of the bed, running as her feet hit the floor.
"There simply isn't less dramatic way of doing this." A soft voice said behind her back. Miranda turned so quickly, she almost tripped. Blindly, she tapped for the light switch behind her back.
There was a girl in her bed. She was hugging her legs with both hands, her chin resting on her knees. Her face was pale, framed by very straight, very long blond hair. Huge blue eyes looked at Miranda warily. She looked strangely familiar.
All right. It's all right. It was just a girl, and not particularly violent looking one. Miranda felt the panic receding. It was difficult to stay terrified with a teenager, one that spelled badly at that, however atrociously she was dressed. Were those flared pants? Good Lord, platform shoes? And that horrible, thick, plastic bracelet with psychedelic red and green pattern that , God help her, the bracelet that she once, long time ago bought for
"Jen?" she whispered, freesias suddenly making sense. She recognized now those eyes, the two tiny moles on her cheek. On her pallid cheek, that actually seemed more on the transparent side. Miranda leaned heavily on the door, feeling her knees weaken.
"Don't faint! I asked you not to!" The girl blurted. Miranda took a deep breath, then another one. She'd never fainted in her life. She wouldn't start now, however translucent the girl in her bed was.
"Aren't you ?" Atypically, Miranda hesitated. How do you ask a person if they were deceased?
"Of course I am. As you very well know." The girl, the ghost, Jen, rolled her eyes. "Remember the train? Choo-choo?"
"It is not funny." Miranda bristled at her callousness.
"Yes, well, forgive me; I've had 30 years to think about it. Believe me, after a while it does become kind of ridiculous." Jen shrugged. "Anyway, you know what they say, it's better to laugh about it then to haunt the British Railways."
Miranda stared at the girl, the apparition, disbelievingly. She was having a conversation with a ghost of a girl she once - what - hated, envied, loved? All of the above?
Was she still dreaming? The wooden floor under her feet felt cold, the doorknob reassuringly solid under her palm. Was it an early menopause syndrome? Some hormonal imbalance making her hallucinate?
Miranda fingered the sticky yellow paper in her hand and decided to reserve the judgment for a moment.
"Why did you do it?" Miranda said finally. "I begged you to stop."
"Eh, I was high as a kite at the time. Walking on the rails seemed like a thing to do." Jen said. Then she grimaced. "And you've always been a worrywart."
"A worrywart? A worrywart? You died, you idiot." Miranda brushed shaking fingers through her hair. It turned white that night. "I watched you die."
"I'm sorry about your hair." Jen said, reading her mind. She suddenly perked up. "Hey, I could change it back, if you want?"
"Don't you dare." Miranda narrowed her eyes in warning.
"Ah, yes, it's a signature, right?" Jen said mockingly. "Who would have thought? Little Miriam Princek, the ice queen of the fashion world." She visibly enjoyed Miranda's wince at the name. She stretched her long legs on the bed, leaning on her hands. "It's funny, really. I've always had more style than you. I was the risk taker."
"'Was' being the key word here." Miranda said dryly.
"Whatever." Jen tilted her head. "But it kind of brings us to why I'm here."
"Yes, do tell." Miranda was trying hard to regain her balance. "Why are you here?"
"You need cheering up, luv. And I'm just the ghost to do it."
"What?" Miranda said, her eyes widening.
"I've had more fun being a ghost than you being alive. It says something, don't you think?"
"That is absolute nonsense." Miranda straightened up. Of all things
"Oh, bollocks. When was the last time you laughed?" Miranda opened her mouth. What a ridiculous notion. Of course she laughed. "I mean an honest to god laugh. Not that shit you do at your fancy events." Jen interrupted quickly.
Miranda sniffed dismayingly but kept her silence. Finally, she said. "I am not that kind of person."
"You used to be." Jen shot back.
"Why are we even talking about this?" Why did she let that that apparition interrogate her? For God's sake, she was not seventeen anymore. She was an accomplished, respected, even feared, mature woman. Miranda Priestly dredged up her coldest expression, looked down her nose and said arrogantly. "Go haunt someone else with your questions."
"Sorry, luv. You're my haunt for the day. Or as long as it takes." Jen said unperturbed. Miranda muttered a curse.
"So, here's what is going to happen." Jen rubbed her hands. "Today I'll give you a slight taste of what I can do. Nothing drastic. Just to make you more susceptible to my conditions."
"What conditions? What are you blabbering about?"
"We'll talk in the evening. You should try and sleep a bit more. Who knows, maybe you'll tune back in." Jen wiggled her eyebrows suggestively, and shimmered away, leaving seething Miranda alone in her bedroom, with a fully developed blush.
Day 1: Monday
By the time Miranda stepped out of the elevator, she had firmly convinced herself that the events of the last night were merely a vivid dream. She had also decided to cut out red meat after 5 pm.
The whole thing seemed doubly ridiculous now, in the light of the day, in reassuringly high tech Elias Clark building. She swished through the busy Runway hallways, Emily inefficiently hobbling behind. Really, how difficult can it be to handle a phone, a pen, a pad and pair of crutches?
She was stepping in the front office, carefully ignoring Andrea behind her desk and wrestling with her coat, when the music started.
"What on Earth " Miranda turned around, eyeing the assistants sharply. They were both shaking their heads hurriedly. Not me.
"What is that sound?" Miranda asked, exasperated.
"Oh, I know! I know!" Ever-helpful Emily said excitedly. "Mungo Jerry, Summertime!"
Andrea, on the other hand, was staring, horrified, at Miranda's hand. A hand that was holding a blaring phone.
Miranda felt the blood draining from her face. A long forgotten memory surged back a warm summer day, the sparkling new Marlboro red Beetle "borrowed" from Jen's dad, Jen's hand on her thigh, Miranda's old tape recorder sputtering that song. Not a dream, then.
"The twins played with it yesterday." She muttered in explanation to her wide-eyed assistants, the assistants' eyes becoming even wider with Miranda explaining anything at all.
"Fix it." Miranda dropped the phone in Andrea's hands and marched into her office. "And get me some not-yellow Post-it notes."
Thankfully, there were no more strange occurrences during the morning. Actually, for a Monday, the day went unexpectedly smoothly, that is, until her lawyer called. As she was picking up the receiver, she noticed Nigel approaching and signaled him to wait. She had a feeling it would be better to answer this one in private.
Soon, it did not matter though, because after her furious "What?" a fly could be heard in the front office.
"Stephan did what? My car? By what right? I do not care about the law; it is mine. Deal with it, that's what I'm paying you to do." Miranda was livid. This was the final straw. When she gets her hands on him, she'll she'll
"Her ex stole her car? Is that man suicidal?" She heard Andrea whisper urgently to Nigel. "When she's done with him, he'll live in it."
Well, yes. And she couldn't even blame this one on otherworldly interventions. Her talent for picking losers was her own damn fault.
Some time later, while she was discussing the new spread with Patrick over the phone, Andrea brought in a fresh delivery of Starbucks. Miranda distractedly "mhm"-ed to Patrick and took her time watching Andrea sway away. She brought the cup to her lips, her eyes already closing in caffeine bliss.
She almost choked.
"Patrick, I'll call you back. Andrea."
"Yes, Miranda?" Andrea turned, looking mildly apprehensive. Miranda simply raised the foam cup and said very, very sweetly. "Taste that, would you?"
"Um What? But " Andrea's expression was changing quickly from confounded to wary.
"No, no. Go ahead. I insist." The girl was hesitating; her survival instinct was obviously telling her to run the other way. Miranda narrowed her eyes.
"Oh my god!" Andrea gasped, her eyes bulging at the first sip of Earl Grey. "Oh, my god! Miranda, I swear " Her chest was rising and falling agitatedly. "The barista must've mixed "
Miranda stiffened. Barista, right. In all probability, it was not Andrea's fault. She did look bewildered, even flabbergasted, at least judging by the quivering chest act. The images of bathrobes and rosy nipples flashed through Miranda's brain. She forced her eyes to the computer screen.
Oh, well. It would look suspicious if she let it go now, wouldn't it?
"I do not understand why it is you getting my coffee in the first place. I thought it was to make sure the coffee was delivered the same day I ordered it. Something that Emily is, for some reason, incapable of doing these days." She said the last part louder and heard Emily gasp from the outer office. "But obviously, the undemanding task of getting me a simple tall latte is beyond either of you." Miranda delivered her speech with well-practiced sarcasm, all the while enjoying the sight of the straining silk blouse from the corner of her eye. Someone should tell the girl those fine Klein blouses were not stress resistant.
Pop! One of Andrea's shirt buttons suddenly lost the battle, zapped past Miranda's head and ricocheted from the window with a sharp ping. Andrea gave a horrified little squeak.
"Are you trying to commit murder? " Wide-eyed Miranda stared at Andrea's breasts.
"Um." Andrea was clutching at the blouse. She was blushing furiously, the crimson rising to the top of her forehead. Miranda rubbed the bridge of her nose, hiding her own imminent blush.
"Just get me another coffee." She gestured at Andy's torso. "And do try to contain those."
Loudness of one's tone, Miranda thought idly, watching the pronounced vein on Irv's forehead, is directly proportional to one's helplessness. Not that she particularly cared. She did hope his buttons wouldn't start popping, though.
As usual, she focused on the point over his shoulder and "mhm"-ed at correct intervals, thinking of the December spread. She would have to talk to Patrick again, and Jocelyn needed to choose something more provocative than those skirts, perhaps those
"Damn it! Are you even listening to me, Miranda?"
She "mhm"-ed distractedly once again and took a sip of blessedly hot, and thankfully proper coffee. The annoying little man was finally ending the sermon by pointing a shaking finger at her. "Go once again over the budget and you'll force my hand!"
He turned on his heel to leave. Miranda was about to deliver another noncommittal sound and sputtered. There was a yellow Post-it stuck on Irv's back. She squinted.
MY WEENIE MAY BE TINY,
BUT I'M A BIG DICK.
Oh, for God's sake! "IRV!"
"What?" He snarled.
Ah, what the hell.
"Have a nice day." She settled calmly in her chair, and watched him go. A moment later, Miranda delighted in hearing two muffled guffaws from the outer office.
Life's simple pleasures.
"You are a disgrace to the British Empire, Miriam."
Only years of practicing stringent control stopped Miranda from jumping two feet in the air. She had just settled in her bed when she the voice startled her. Jen was lying on her side, head propped on her hand.
"Don't call me that." She said automatically. For a second, she was puzzled by Jen's comment, and then she remembered the coffee incident. "And you know perfectly well I detest tea."
"But it did get your pressure up. Or was it dear Andy's boobs that did the trick?"
"You are crass. Today was highly annoying." Miranda sniffed. "I have no time for these childish games. Go away."
Jen shook her head. "No wonder you have a stick up your arse. You work with some seriously disturbed people."
"What do you mean, disturbed?" Disturbed as in chatting with the ghosts or just ordinarily crazy?
"Well, Irv the Irked, for one." Jen started counting them off on the fingers of her free hand. "Then that bald eagle who gossips like a girl "
"Nigel needs to get a life." Miranda said tiredly. If she had to be cursed with a ghost, why did it have to be a chatty one? Why couldn't she get some nice broody entity? Like Jack the Ripper, for instance.
"Hmm. Perhaps." Jen shrugged then continued. "Not to mention that Twiggy wannabe. Emily." She opened her eyes widely. "I think she can see me."
"What?" Miranda asked, alarmed.
"I swear she'd look right at me and start twitching." Jen shuddered exaggeratedly. "She was acting bizarrely."
Relieved, Miranda waved her hand dismissively. "Emily is always acting bizarrely."
"Anyway. That cutie of yours is the only normal human being in the whole building." Jen said conversationally. "Kind, polite, awkward, self centered, occasionally spiteful, you know normal."
"She is not my cutie." Can a Jew apply for an exorcist? She would have Andrea check it up for her tomorrow.
"Well, she'd better be." Jen sat up, suddenly serious, and looked at Miranda levelly.
"I've had educational morning before I dropped by your office. I've watched your kids' cartoon collection." Jen said in apparent non sequitur. "And I've decided what I want you to do."
Miranda absolutely refused to be baited. She would not participate in this conversation any longer. And tomorrow, she would call the Vatican personally.
"So," Jen dragged a very suspenseful "o." "If you want to get rid of me, you have to kiss that girl."
"What?" The word slipped out before she could check herself.
"You know," Jen puckered her lips and wriggled her eyebrows. "Kiss. The girl."
At Miranda's horrified look, Jen rolled her eyes.
"The little mermaid? Rings a bell?" Jen assessed her doubtfully. "Except, you're more of an octopus than royalty. Eh, no matter. The bloke's bland anyway."
"WHAT?" Absentmindedly, Miranda realized she was almost yelling. So much about the loudness of one's tone.
Jen nodded thoughtfully. "And the cook simply has to go."
What the hell was that supposed to mean?
Day 2: Tuesday
David Bowie's "Life on Mars" started the day quite fittingly. Without slowing down, Miranda dropped her coat on Emily and her phone in Andrea's waiting hand. When a few minutes later Andrea brought back the cell, together with the coffee she was somewhat obsessively sniffing at, Stephan was already on the other side of the line. The moment he heard her voice, he started screaming quite incomprehensibly. She did manage to discern the words car and locked in before she hung up.
She was finally settling to work, when Nigel came in looking bewildered and uncommonly messed up. He handed her the bundle of photos.
"What happened to you?" Miranda said, scandalized. The world was truly coming to an end if Nigel's tie was awry.
"Would you believe, Giselle landed one on me."
"What? A brick?"
"A kiss. Tongue included." Nigel made a face. "And the other models were acting peculiarly as well."
"Like what?" Miranda asked crinkling her nose. He smelled funny.
"Predatory." He shuddered.
"It is a dangerous world out there." Miranda said, agreeing wholeheartedly.
Much later, when Andrea came in with the lunch tray, Miranda was studiously checking Nigel's set of photos. Almost unconsciously, she compared Andrea with the images of understated, distant elegance spread all over her table.
While she had acquired a certain level of elegance during the past year, there was nothing distant about Andrea. There was nothing understated about her either. She was all about stark contrasts: thick dark mane and pale, beautiful face; that luscious, sinful bottom lip she was nibbling at endearingly, while concentrating on dispersing parsley on the steak; the midnight blue blouse, which oh, so innocently hinted at her lacy bra, when she leaned in like that.
Innocence and sin in one perfect package.
She'd use it for the Christmas issue theme, if only there were one single model that could pull it off.
Andrea's hand trembled, her breath quickened and Miranda glanced up. The young woman was throwing quick glances her way, obviously aware of Miranda's perusal. A blush was forming on her cheeks, spreading down her neck. Miranda zoomed on the elegant line of her throat. Andrea swallowed, hard. It was fascinating, how parts of Andrea responded to her look. Experimentally, Miranda slid her eyes lower, to where the black lace was peaking out, and blinked. The tiny pearly buttons on Andrea's blouse were all of a sudden parting before her eyes like the Red Sea.
Then Andrea looked down, squeaked and ran.
To her utter revulsion, Miranda was turning into an eavesdropper. Well, how else was she supposed to find out what was going on in her own office. Andrea was studiously avoiding her ever since the lunch incident, Emily was emitting little terrified whines every other minute and Nigel, her calm confidante, was running around like a headless chicken, a throng of women hot on his heels.
Thus, the eavesdropping.
For example, there was the conversation that unfortunately confirmed Jen's suspicions.
"Emily, are you alright?" She heard Andrea ask worriedly after another moan from the other side of the room.
Miranda heard Emily gulp and whisper. "Andy. I see dead people."
"O-kay." Andrea said cautiously. Then, bless the levelheaded girl, she asked. "Are they dead or just really, really thin? Because there are a couple of girls around, who "
"Oh, forget it." Emily sniffed and walked out.
Also, a moment later, the one that finally explained the mystifying comment from the previous night
"Website on food induced psychological disorders?" Nigel was saying in the outer office. "Why are you reading that? Emily is beyond help."
"Nate is acting strangely." Andrea said, sounding perplexed.
"Nate the naked chef?" Of course, a cook. That insignificant other in Andrea's life.
"He thinks peas are communing with him. Apparently, yesterday they spelled out 'go away' on the plate he was arranging." Miranda barely managed to choke a snort. She didn't want to encourage Jen, though. At least, she smiled evilly, not too much.
There was a silence, and then Nigel casually said. "I know a good shrink."
"Nigel! I'm supposed to be supportive." There was a thud, almost as if Andrea was hitting her head on the desk. "After the whole Paris deal, we are kind of on thin ice. You know, trying very hard to be understanding and, well, supportive."
"Is it working?"
"Honestly? I feel like we're supporting each other to the slow death by boredom." Andrea's sigh sounded frustrated. Good. The little twat should not even be in the picture.
"Imagine that. And you used to be such an intriguing couple." Nigel said in a bored tone.
After a moment of silence, during which she was probably making a face at Nigel, Andrea asked. "Is that new cologne? You smell funny."
"Are you unexplainably attracted to me?"
"Nothing, it's just women are behaving oddly lately So, you haven't noticed anything strange around the office?"
"Six? Are you blushing?"
Blushing herself, Miranda thought she heard Andrea mumbling something about strange dreams and loose buttons. She shook herself. This had to stop. "Andrea." She called. "Confirm my dinner with Martin Bartolow."
It was all Jen's fault, putting these ideas into her head. She was not interested in Andrea. Andrea was not interested in her. Even if Andrea's voice did sound a bit petulant, confirming her date.
Miranda was going to a perfectly acceptable, heterosexual date with a perfectly acceptable, gorgeous man. And she was going to enjoy herself. That was all.
Martin was an ex-ballet dancer turned executive. He was the perfect bland of both words distinguished air of power and success contained in well-shaped body that held itself with ingrained elegance. The man was a pleasure to look at, poetry in motion.
He appealed to Miranda's esthetic senses.
Therefore, it was truly painful to, all of a sudden, watch him spill his wine, drop the fork, pull the tablecloth while straightening up, and flip a plate of cream zucchini soup in his lap. When he finally cleaned himself up and ordered a supposedly safe Caesar salad, he ended up with a green leaf between his teeth and croutons tangled in his goatee.
And the only thought rushing thorough Miranda's mind was how fun it would have been to remove the crumbles from Andrea's cleavage.
Damn the poltergeist.
Day 3: Wednesday
She had despised the song when it first appeared on that ghastly song freak contest. And no, the passage of time did not improve on it. The blasted tune did serve, though, as a perfect introduction into what came a minute later.
A bloodcurdling scream from the Closet.
Miranda rushed in, Andy hot on her heels. There was a pale Nigel holding faint Serena in his arms. Jocelyn and Emily dithered between throwing envious looks at Serena and horrified looks at the clothes.
"Can anyone intelligibly explain what is going on?" Miranda asked frostily.
"The clothes." Gasped Nigel, trying to lower clingy Serena to the floor. "Turned size 6. All of them."
Suddenly all the eyes were on Andrea.
"Oh, come on!" Andrea said incredulously. "You can't possibly think "
"Really, Andrea." Miranda said, trying to sound suitably scandalized.
"It wasn't me!" Andrea was again breathing agitatedly. Miranda checked her outfit with interest and some caution, too. If Andrea was becoming nervous, she'd better be prepared to duck. Luckily, there were no buttons involved this time. Only a tiny zipper that, unfortunately, was not budging. Miranda narrowed her eyes.
"Oh? Do tell. Who else would want the XL sized clothes in this office?"
Zipper, suddenly, gave in and slid lower. Then lower still. Miranda's eyes stayed glued to its path.
In no time at all, Miranda was presented by black silk and satin Gianfranco Ferre bra. She licked her lips and thought she heard Andrea whimper.
"Fix it." she ordered Andrea's breasts and marched out.
She needed to talk to Jen. This could not continue. The work was starting to suffer. Moreover, you do not touch the Closet. That was way below the belt.
Her pet ghost, unfortunately, seemed to avoid her purposely at work. Obviously, she was too busy scheming all over New York to hang around Miranda's office. She was pacing behind her table, wondering how to get rid of the pest, when she heard Andrea speak.
"Nigel? The shrink you mentioned yesterday. Can I have the number?" Nigel seemed to spend more and more time in the front office. He probably concluded it was a safe area.
"For you or the pea boy?" Nigel asked snidely.
"For the last time, I did not touch the Closet!"
"Of course not. However, I would be grateful if you could turn that Valentino dress back to its original size. It looks like a tent on Giselle."
There was a pronounced silence for a while, punctuated by two different magazines being leafed through almost violently. Miranda could sympathize. You do not fuck with the Closet.
Finally, Nigel seemed to capitulate. He sighed heavily.
"So, how is your Burger King?"
"It's getting worse. He swears he wrote Happy birthday, Gerard on a cake. Somehow it transformed into Bye bye, Nate."
"Perhaps he should listen to that fine advice and spare us all the drama." Nigel said already moving to the hallway. Miranda raised an imaginary glass to him. He hesitated at the glass door and looked back. "It is believed in some cultures that women posses certain powers at that time of the month. Is your period due?"
"Is yours?" Andrea called after him.
Jen did not put up an appearance that evening either, however much Miranda wished to scream at her, or bargain, or even beg. After a moment of talking reasonably to an empty room and feeling totally ludicrous, Miranda went to bed.
Day 4: Thursday
Stevie Wonder. "Superstition."
The atmosphere at the office was tense. The song certainly didn't help. Frenzied whispers of ghosts and cursed Closets were spreading uncontrollably through Elias Clark. Miranda wasn't that surprised. It was to be expected, after all. Andrea was popping buttons all over the place, Emily was unobtrusively sprinkling holy water around, and her steady and calm right hand man was turning into a sex magnet. Miranda did what she could to contain the panic, sending evil glances and scathing comments all over Runway but, for once, she was not the scariest thing around.
Now, that was intolerable.
Nigel rushed in her office and dropped the pile of photos on Miranda's desk. He threw a nervous look over his shoulder. "Emily is acting bizarrely, have you noticed? She's giving me these looks."
"Yes, well, wait until she sprinkles you." Miranda answered distantly. She was staring at the photos, entranced. Finally, a ray of light.
"Good god, Nigel, these are amazing." she said, awed. "This is the first time in my entire career, I'm seeing some honest to god emotion on models' faces."
She gestured expensively at the photos. "Look at that! There is passion, wanton desire, desperation! What on earth were they looking at?"
Nigel just swallowed, hard.
Interesting, Miranda thought. Perhaps a metamorphosis of Nigel into a sex god was not such a bad thing. Sacrifice of one for many and all that. In any case, she needed those photos in Art department immediately.
"Andrea." She called, and started when the girl came in. Andrea wore a lovely ensemble of charcoal Ralph Lauren skirt and white Ruffian turtleneck. Chicken. The disappointed sneer must have been clearly visible on her face, because Andrea actually raised her eyebrows at Miranda.
At that point, Emily hobbled in, one hand on a crutch, the other around a vase with huge bouquet of flowers. "Miranda. These just came in from Mr Bartolow."
"Put them somewhere." Miranda was still staring Andrea down. "Anywhere. Not here."
"Of cour Aaaah!"
It happened in a second.
Emily widened her eyes at something behind Miranda's back, screamed in terror, stumbled away, lost her balance and catapulted the vase in the air.
However unwillingly, Miranda had to admire Jen's ability to improvise. For, here Andrea was, her dark hair a rain of red roses, and her annoyingly accident-proof white turtleneck all of a sudden very, very transparent.
That was certainly the highlight of Miranda's day.
Although, Stephan yelling something about the car called Christina and overhearing the conversation about certain chef's problem with asparagus came a close second.
Miranda was staring intently at the mirror, carefully applying her eye cream, when Jen appeared next to her. She looked at the mirror equally intently. "I wish I could see myself sometimes."
Miranda said coolly. "I wish you'd leave me alone."
Jen chuckled. "Oh? Am I getting to you? You know what you have to do." She made a kissing sound and dipped a finger in the jar of cream Miranda was holding.
Miranda jerked it away. "I am not going to do anything of the sort. Good lord, you are as annoying as you used to be!"
"And you're still as much of a chicken as you used to be." Jen quickly placed the dollop of cream on top of Miranda's nose. "If I hadn't jumped you that night in my room, I would have died a virgin. How long are you going to play peek-a-boo with that girl's girls?"
"What are you talking about?" She said as aloofly as she could. Truthfully, she'd never felt so helpless in her life. The blasted apparition was driving her mad and there were no signs of Jen getting bored. If anything, she was getting more persistent. And there was nothing she could do about it.
"Don't even try to deny it. You are undressing her with your eyes. Literally."
"Oh? I'm the one undressing her?" Miranda bristled.
"I'm just making your looks more effective. You like effective, don't you?"
Miranda narrowed her eyes at her. "Go. Away." How do you even threaten the ghost? You'll never haunt in this city again?
She marched out of the bathroom, slamming the door in Jen's face. Jen calmly walked through it.
"Well, at least someone's happy for my timely intervention." At Miranda's questioning eyebrow, Jen continued. "Your bald friend is finally getting some attention."
"Nigel is gay, for God's sake!" Miranda said, exasperated, and slid into bed. "Good night!"
"Oh." Jen scratched her nose. "That's why he's playing hard to get."
Miranda huffed, turned off the light and turned her back to Jen. There was a moment of blessed silence.
"Miriam, you want her. Moreover, you even like her. A lot." Jen was almost pleading. "Are you really not going to do anything?"
"Most certainly not." Miranda said. "She could sue for harassment." She could leave.
"Only if she didn't like it. So, you'd better do it properly." Jen continued in a seductive whisper, "You know you want to."
"No. Absolutely not."
"Fine. You asked for it." Jen said and delivered a parting shot. "Oh, and by the way, that dream you had the other night? It was Andrea's. I just let you peek in."
Well. That at least explained the horrid sofa.
Day 5: Friday
Rod Stewart. "Maggie May"
On Friday, Miranda marched in the office, her face as white as a Hermes turban on her head. She croaked "Andrea, coffee." and rushed by, leaving the singing cell on Andrea's desk.
Curiously, the moment Rod Stewart started rasping about his older lover, Andrea blushed crimson and almost dropped the phone.
Any other day, Miranda would have stayed and tortured the girl, perhaps dug a bit deeper until she figured the reason for the embarrassment. Not today. Today, she immediately proceeded to her executive bathroom and locked the door. She stared at the mirror for a second. With shaking hands, she reached for her makeshift turban and unwrapped it. Yes, it was still true.
She was a brunette again.
"God damn you, Jennifer Livingstone."
What would Thom say if he saw her new oh, so natural shade of reddish brown? She'd have to change a hair stylist. And God knew if it would even work. She could very well wake up tomorrow, her hair neon pink.
God damn you, Jennifer Livingstone.
Nigel looked at the turban oddly, but smartly refrained from commenting. Meanwhile, the rest of Runway employees were already scrounging the Closet for scarves, any scarves. Most likely, in a week, turbans would be hotter than the newest Manolos.
Jen prudently stayed away this morning, but was evidently busy again in other parts of town, if Andrea's conversation with Nigel was anything to judge by.
"Any news on the haunted chef?" Miranda heard Nigel ask on his way to her office.
"I found a note this morning. Here." Behind her desk, Miranda perked up. Read it aloud, read it aloud!
"'I have to leave, the cabbage said so. Don't try to find me. N'. Damn, and just when he was becoming interesting. Are you heartbroken?"
"Relieved, I think. Does it make me a bad person?" Andrea said, sounding contrite. No, it doesn't.
"Yes, it does."
"It was just becoming so difficult to enjoy a meal with him around."
Why did the words enjoy and meal sound so sinful from Andrea's mouth? Immediately, Miranda thought of the dream Andrea's dream? and her mouth watered. She took a sip of Perrier and forced her eyes back to the papers on the desk.
Andrea was out of the office for the rest of the morning, picking up the garments for the next shoot. She finally stumbled back in Miranda's office close to noon, her hands overflowing with the clothes.
"Um where do you want those?"
"Put them there, in the corner." Miranda said, watching Andrea like a hawk. Under the disappearing bundles of clothes, Miranda could finally discern Andrea's attire for the day. The Channel boots, a lovely black mini skirt and black Dolce&Gabbana blouse with tiny rivets instead of buttons. Noticing Miranda's gaze, Andrea approached the desk for further instructions.
Miranda took her glasses away, and gave Andrea a once over. Then, she zoomed in on her blouse. Miranda nibbled on the frame. She wondered if her newly acquired superpowers were still intact.
Oh, yes. One by one, the little rivets spread open as commanded. Andrea gasped and crossed her hands before her chest. They stared at each other for a long moment.
Then, deliberately, Andrea dropped her hands and let the blouse part. The moment eerily reminded Miranda of the dream, Andrea's dark blouse framing the pale expense of skin. Except, the real Andrea's breasts were partially hidden from view by the lovely, lacy bra. Miranda caught herself guessing the exact shade of Andrea's nipples and felt blood rushing to her face. She blurted a quick "That's all." and dropped her gaze to the desk.
Andrea darted from the office, holding tightly the edges of the blouse.
Miranda angrily threw the pen down on the desk. She'd been sitting in the study for ages, thinking, plotting, and envisioning the possibilities. The harsh truth was there was simply no way out of it.
Fine, she tightened her lips, a kiss then. Judging on today, the girl would probably not sue. Her hair would turn white. Jen would go away. Everything would be back to normal.
Just a tiny kiss. To make things normal.
And then, later perhaps, in a year or so, when Miranda felt more in control, when Andrea moved forward in her career, maybe she would ask Andrea on a date. Or for a dinner. Or a lunch. Or a drink.
Decision made, Miranda paced impatiently in her study, until, around 11 pm, she finally heard the door of the town house opening.
"Andrea. In here." She called, quickly checking the turban in the mirror. Andrea came in hesitantly, looking around the room with open curiosity.
"Something interesting?" Miranda asked, leaning on the desk.
"No, it's just I've imagined it differently." She smiled awkwardly and handed Miranda The Book.
"Have you now?" Miranda raised an eyebrow. She laid the book down, took a deep breath and turned back towards Andrea with determination. No use prolonging the torture. She pushed away from the desk and came closer to Andrea, stepping deep in her personal space. Just a kiss. Just a tiny kiss.
"Miranda? What ?" Andrea looked at her, alarmed, and took a step back. A tiny kiss. She stepped closer. Andrea stepped back again. Why is the girl fidgeting so much?
"Oh, hold still, for God's sake." Miranda grabbed Andrea's head with both hands and lurched. She pressed their lips quickly together in a perfunctory kiss, forbidding herself to feel. There, she thought. That should do it. She let go of Andrea and quickly stepped back, trying to look as if nothing was out of the ordinary. Jen got her kiss, her hair was presumably white again and everything was back to normal. Any second now, the girl would blush furiously, squeak and run. And tomorrow, they'd both pretend nothing ever happened, as they always did.
Except, Andrea seemed frozen to the spot, swaying slightly, her eyes were wide open, her lips moving in shock.
Well, what was she waiting for? She should be at the front door by now. Suddenly unsure, Miranda licked her lips; Andrea zoomed in on them. Miranda pursed her lips; Andrea's eyes narrowed.
"Very well." Miranda said stiffly. "That's a...ah!"
Swiftly, Andrea grabbed her by the lapels of her blouse and yanked her closer, their noses almost colliding. When Andrea pressed her lips to Miranda's, there was nothing perfunctory about it.
The kiss was hard, punishing. After initial shock, Miranda tried to pull away, but Andrea snaked one hand behind her neck, while the other grasped her shoulder.
"Oh, no, you don't." She muttered ferociously in Miranda's mouth. She bit on Miranda's lower lip. Miranda gasped. "I've had enough of you." Miranda opened her mouth to protest, moan, something and Andrea forced her tongue in. She swiped over Miranda's clenched teeth, then retreated, licked the lip she had bitten. "Let me in." She ordered hoarsely. She pressed closer, crushing their breasts together. She sucked hard on that abused lip.
"Oh." Miranda couldn't stop the moan. There was a warm, thick flood in her stomach, spreading upwards to her breasts. Her nipples were throbbing with every pull on her lip. Andrea's hand slid down her back, lower and lower, until she grabbed Miranda's ass and pressed her hard against her thigh. "Oh, god!" She felt her knees buckling. She surged into Andrea, her hands grasping at her shoulders, her mouth finally opening.
Then, their lips were crushing, their teeth clashing, tongues battling. Danger bells were ringing in Miranda's head. This was not safe, controlled affection Miranda felt for Stephan or Greg before him. It was wet, and primal and hungry. Miranda heard Andrea whimpering and couldn't help but to whimper back. Oh, god, she thought dizzily, it's been so long. She sucked on Andrea's tongue, lost in sensation. Andrea was pushing her forward, towards the desk, and she went willingly.
Through the haze, she heard Andrea gasp in her neck. "Take that ridiculous thing off." Her hands were suddenly moving up, along Miranda's neck, pulling at her turban.
Before Miranda had a chance to protest, the fabric was off, floating somewhere behind Andrea's back.
Andrea drew back a bit, and stared at her, perplexed. "I'll never understand fashion." She blurted. Miranda sneaked a quick, panicked look at the glazed bookcase on the right. Her hair was completely messed up, sticking at awkward angles, but reassuringly white.
"Why you would," Andrea was nibbling at her neck. "cover that gorgeous hair is completely beyond me." She licked at particularly tender spot behind Miranda's ear. Miranda gasped. "Andrea." She needed to take the control back. Andrea licked again.
Miranda pushed her slightly away. Andrea was flushed with excitement, breathing heavily. Out of some Pavlovian reflex, Miranda's eyes dropped to her chest. Oh, yes. She wouldn't wait for a miracle this time. She reached for Andrea's shirt with both hands. Shockingly, her fingers were swatted away. "Oh, no. My turn." Andrea said determinedly and savagely pulled Miranda's blouse apart. Little buttons zipped and zapped everywhere, revealing the silk bra underneath. Andrea reached with one hand and flicked her thumb over the covered nipple. Miranda whimpered, and held tightly to the edge of the desk. "You like that, don't you?" Miranda was incapable of speech. She stared at Andrea's face. Her lids were half closed, her nostrils flared.
She rubbed harder. "And this? Do you like this?" Miranda swallowed. "God, yes. Please."
She pinched at the nipple and Miranda jerked. "I've been dreaming about you, Miranda. Do you want to know what I've been dreaming about?" Miranda moaned, remembering exactly how one of Andrea's dreams developed.
Suddenly, Andrea pushed the bra up and latched her lips around one nipple. Miranda keened. Andrea sucked, hard, and then, cruelly, she stopped. "Say you want it."
Miranda stared down, gulping the air. "Yes, yes, damn it, just
" She grabbed Andrea's head with both hands and pulled her back to her breast. Andrea teased her for a moment, lips pressed together, refusing the entrance. Miranda almost forced the nipple back in her warm mouth. "Please. Andrea."
Miranda stared down, gulping the air. "Yes, yes, damn it, just " She grabbed Andrea's head with both hands and pulled her back to her breast. Andrea teased her for a moment, lips pressed together, refusing the entrance. Miranda almost forced the nipple back in her warm mouth. "Please. Andrea."
Andrea relented and bit lightly, sensation going directly to Miranda's clit.
She was kneading Andrea's head in the rhythm of her suckling. Suddenly, Andrea stopped and she gulped "What
Andrea licked the other breast. "Tell me, Miranda, how did you do it? Stripping me with just a look."
Andrea licked the other breast. "Tell me, Miranda, how did you do it? Stripping me with just a look."
How could she talk now? Miranda could barely think. "Stop talking." She gasped and pulled at her ears in punishment.
"Are you wet, Miranda?" Andrea pulled away a bit and looked at her handy work. Miranda's nipple already felt painfully tight, but stiffened a bit more at Andrea's words. Andrea looked up; her lips so close that Miranda felt hot air on her breast. She licked the tip. "Are you wet?"
"God, yes." A hand was snaking up her skirt, inching over Miranda's thighs. Andrea whimpered when she encountered the lacy edge of the thigh highs.
Whimper helped. It gave Miranda at least a modicum of control. For a while she'd felt at the mercy of Andrea's vengeful, almost calculated attack. However, it seemed she wasn't the only one affected with madness.
She tangled her fingers in Andrea's hair and pulled her up for a savage kiss. Andrea lost her balance for a second and clutched with the other hand at Miranda's shoulder. Miranda saw her chance. She grabbed her ass with both hands and pulled her flush to her hip. Andrea wrenched her lips away from Miranda's, gasping for air. "Oh, god!" Oh, yes. It was Andrea's turn to moan. Miranda pressed her closer; kneading at her plush ass cheeks, until Andrea practically straddled her thigh.
"And you, Andrea?" She purred seductively in Andrea's ear. "Are you wet?" Andrea produced an inarticulate sound, rubbing against Miranda's leg. The edge of the desk was biting into Miranda's behind, but she wouldn't move for anything in the world. She was becoming addicted to the small whimpers Andrea was gasping in her shoulder. She sucked at Andrea's earlobe, coaxing one more.
"Admit it." She breathed victoriously in Andrea's ear. "You enjoyed it. Showing yourself to me. Didn't you?"
All of a sudden, Andrea's hand that was unconsciously tracing the lace on Miranda's thigh highs dived straight between Miranda's legs. They both groaned at the same time at the feel of Andrea's fingers on soaked silk.
"Oh, god, please." She pressed her face to Andrea's shoulder. She couldn't remember ever begging so much. She hoped to God Andrea would not tease anymore, she wouldn't be able to take it.
Apparently, though, the time for teasing was long gone. Andrea was rubbing herself hard on her thigh, the evidence of Miranda's excitement clearly driving her wild.
"God, Miranda." She fumbled for a moment, pushed the silk to the side and without warning, plunged two fingers deep inside. Miranda bit Andrea's shoulder and impaled herself harder on Andrea's hand.
They moved together frantically, kissing occasionally, sloppily, until they would lose their breaths. Andrea's palm pressed against Miranda's clit and she shuddered.
"I can't last Andrea " She gasped.
"Come with me." Andrea ordered, her breath hitching. "Come with me."
She tried to hold on, just for a little while longer, just to spite this woman who was commanding her so easily. She struggled against the onslaught, but then Andrea pushed her fingers just a little bit deeper, pressed on her clit just a little bit harder and she was gone.
She swore she could see stars before her eyes and somewhere, far away she felt Andrea arch and heard her wail.
She slumped against Andrea and held tight.
"The twins?" Andrea mumbled in her shoulder, some time later.
"Oh, now you ask?" Miranda tried valiantly for sarcasm and failed, gasping when Andrea bit her in retaliation. "They're with Greg this weekend."
There was silence for a moment, then
Much later, Miranda, forced by nature, reluctantly left the warm bed and even warmer Andrea and stumbled into the bathroom. On the way out, still blinking in the harsh light, she noticed a yellow Post-it stuck on the mirror.
SCREW IT UP, LUV,
AND I'M COMING BACK.
She laughed at that, gently, careful not to wake up Andrea, and crumpled the little yellow paper in her palm.
"Hopefully, you won't have to." She whispered to the empty bathroom and went back to bed.
*Disclaimer: Author agrees with Miranda only to a certain extent. While Eurovision is a freak show, Waterloo's a great song.
Return to The Devil Wears Prada Fiction
Return to Main Page
Return to The Devil Wears Prada Fiction
Return to Main Page