Disclaimer: I own nothing remotely related to The Devil Wears Prada. Also, I have no idea of the geography of The City or if a riding school like this could exist but it worked for me so I made it up. Absolutely no research of any kind went into this story. It was just a fun little romp that got stuck in my noggin.
She couldn't help it. She looked every day…often more than once. She looked for her former boss everywhere but always when she passed the Elias-Clarke building. She had gotten glimpses before, had seen a flash of silvery white hair or the scurrying of a frightened assistant but they had never connected. Until that moment, Andy had never stopped and watched. As if sensing the voyeur, Miranda looked across the street, immediately zeroing in on Andrea's still figure.
The women stood staring for a moment until Andy nodded, smiled, and waved.
Miranda didn't react until she was ensconced in the safety of her car. Then, despite herself, she smiled at just how little Andrea had changed. She was still optimistic obviously – smiling and waving at the woman she had abandoned. The moment that thought crossed Miranda's mind, the smile was gone, replaced by pursed lips and a determination not to cry.
“Go,” she said impatiently.
Just as quickly as the car had pulled out into traffic, it pulled back to the curb.
“Was I perhaps unclear? ‘Go' means proceed directly to my next destination,” Miranda told her driver, Roy.
Before he could respond, Miranda heard someone tapping at her window. Despite herself, she put the window down, curious as to what Andrea Sachs could want from the Dragon Lady herself.
In a belated effort to save face, Miranda said acidly, “Are we now stopping for all reporters, Roy or only those who walk away from Runway ?”
“Um, hi, Miranda,” Andy said with that awkward little half-smile on her face.
“Andréa,” the only greeting from the older woman.
“I just, um, I really wanted to talk to you but I couldn't just walk back into Elias-Clarke.”
“And stalking my vehicle seemed a better option? Very paparazzi of you. I expected better,” Miranda got another dig in. She realized she was trying to hurt the younger woman, trying to give a little back.
“I am not stalking you, I just wanted to talk,” Andy demanded.
Miranda realized she was about to become fodder for actual paparazzi with this little sidewalk scene and – almost with thinking – pushed the car door open and slid over on the seat. “Talk,” she commanded.
Andy climbed in and shut the door, immediately putting up the window. Without hesitation, Roy merged back into traffic.
“So, you're leaving early today,” Andy attempted small talk.
“Oh, inane conversation, wonderful. Andréa, please say what you wish to say,” Miranda asked. However much it will hurt all over again.
When the other woman tensed her shoulders and looked out the opposite window, Andy let her gaze linger on Miranda's face. She's lost weight and she's a little pale. No one told me she was ill. Why is she so tense? What does she think I'm going to say?
“Miranda?” Andy said quietly.
“Hmm,” was the response.
“Miranda, please look at me so I can properly apologize.”
That did get Miranda's attention. She looked questioningly at her former assistant. Andy reached up and slid the ever-present sunglasses off of Miranda's face.
“Miranda,” Andy took a deep breath and looked into the blue eyes next to her, “Miranda, I am so, truly sorry for what happened in Paris. It was the worst decision I have ever made and even though I'm working for a newspaper now, I will always, always regret leaving you.” After watching Miranda blink the sudden moisture from her eyes, Andy said one more thing, “I miss you.”
For once in her adult life, Miranda was speechless.
“Well, that was dramatic, Andréa,” Miranda needed to get some perspective and distance
I can't let her blow me off. I have to make her see. See how sorry I am and how much I miss her.
“Miranda, I'm not being dramatic. I've been trying to find a way to apologize to you since Paris,” Andy explained.
“And watching me leave work every day helped you find it?”
“You saw me?” Andy squeaked.
“Nearly every day, Andréa. You're hard to miss,” Miranda said dryly, looking out the window again. She was nearing her destination and, oddly, sad to arrive. What is this? She was my assistant, only my assistant, and she abandoned me. Whatever else I imagined was there was not.
“I deserved that. Miranda, I just wanted to offer my apology. I didn't expect you to accept it, you are Miranda Priestly, after all,” Andy said quietly.
“For what?” Miranda asked as the car stopped.
Distracted and confused, Andy didn't respond. Roy opened the door and the younger woman stepped out first, turning and putting her hand out for Miranda. The editor didn't even hesitate, she took the offered hand and stepped out next to Andréa . The brunette looked around as Miranda started walking away only following when the blue eyes pierced her own again.
“Um, where are we Miranda?”
“The girls have a short demonstration at the end of their riding lessons today. I promised them I would attend.”
She's so good to her girls. Wait…she explained something…to me!
“Now, Andréa, you know how much I loathe repeating myself so I shall do so only once. For what?”
“And just like the first time, I don't understand,” Andy said quietly. She looked at Miranda and met those intense eyes once more. “I missed your eyes,” Andy whispered, shocking them both.
Not knowing how to respond to that, Miranda remained silent, but continued to sneak glances at Andy.
Well, that IS interesting. She misses my eyes? Does she realize I miss hers? And her smile?
Hearing the other woman sigh, Miranda could not for some reason allow her to languish any longer. She stopped walking and turned to face the journalist, “I missed your eyes, too, Andréa.”
Nearly laughing at the shocked, happy expression on the other woman's face, Miranda started walking again.
“Wait, please, Miranda, I just want-“
“Andréa, I cannot wait any longer. I promised Cassidy and Caroline I would watch them. Come along,” Miranda kept walking through the park.
Though it was a bright day and Miranda was likely to end up with a headache from the sun she wouldn't ask for her glasses back. She herself wasn't sure if it was pride or if she just liked knowing Andréa had something of hers. When did I get so sentimental? Likely the first time Andréa anticipated my needs. She always seemed to know what I wanted before I did. Until Paris.
As they crested the small hill, Andy saw the equestrian center they were headed to. Caroline, as if sensing her mother's presence, turned immediately and saw them. Smiling, she motioned to her twin and they both waved. Looking around, Miranda realized she had arrived just in time for it to begin and would never find a suitable place to watch near the fence.
“There's a bench here, Miranda. We could see the whole field from the top of the hill,” Andy said, unsure of herself.
Smirking at Andy's ability to anticipate her needs, Miranda nodded and sat in the center of the bench. She raised her eyebrows and looked pointedly at the spot next to her. Andy smiled and took the seat.
She knew she should be talking but, instead, Andy just took the time to observe the woman she had missed so much. No one would believe just how badly she had missed her former employer. Her friends and family all thought of Miranda as the Dragon Lady, the Ice Queen, but Andy didn't. Oh, she had at some point. But as she worked for Miranda and saw deeper and deeper into her life, that thought had passed. Then, The Night happened.
That was how Andy thought of it. The Night Miranda had cried – not for herself, for her daughters. The Night Andy found herself crying for Miranda. The Night Andy realized she had fallen…hard.
Andy had taken that realization and run away – right into the arms of Christian.
When it came down to it, though, Andy couldn't go through with anything with him. He was everything she didn't want. Everything she hated about the world of fashion. She couldn't sleep with one man when she was supposed to be in love with another man but knew she was actually in love with someone else entirely.
Andy was immediately petrified of her feelings and used Miranda's behavior as an excuse to run away. She didn't think the other woman would miss her for a moment. After all, plenty of people would kill to work for Miranda Priestly. So, she had left. She knew she had a weakness for Miranda, an innate desire to help and care for the other woman so she tossed her phone into a fountain in Paris and walked away.
She thought distance would help get rid of the feelings for Miranda but when she got back to New York, Nate left for Boston, Lily and Doug didn't like her anymore and The Mirror wanted her to write a celebrity gossip column. All disappointments. All her fault.
They say ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder' and that proved to be true. They also say ‘out of sight, out of mind' and that also proved true. Unexpectedly, she grew fonder of Miranda and forgot about Nate.
“Do stop that infernal sighing, Andréa and answer my earlier question. For what are you apologizing?” Miranda turned toward Andy.
“Oh, Miranda, for so many things,” Andy's eyes welled up with tears, “I'm sorry for leaving you alone that night. I wanted to stay very badly. I wanted to hug you and just let you feel safe but you told me to just do my job so I left. I'm sorry for not understanding what you were doing the next day with the mess with Irv, Nigel and that bitch, Jacqueline. I should have trusted you more to do the right thing. I'm most sorry for walking away that day. I wanted so badly to pull you back into the car and talk to you so I deserted you. I just kept abandoning you over and over and I've been hating myself for it ever since,” Andy spoke so quickly she was barely understandable through her tears.
Miranda was struck dumb yet again. Andréa felt that much? For her? She couldn't wrap her head around it. Almost without thinking, Miranda slowly reached out and brushed the tears off of Andy's cheeks. “Don't cry, Andréa. I assure you, I'm not worth your tears.”
Andy rested her cheek on Miranda's palm and spoke, “Miranda Priestly, you are worth so much more than that.”
As if suddenly realizing where they were, Miranda pulled her hand back, then looked down at her damp fingertips as if she wasn't sure if they were hers.
“Why, Andréa? Why are you doing this? I'm the Dragon Lady, remember? I chase off husbands and eat assistants for lunch. I'm demanding and have a tendency for cruelty. What are you thinking?”
“You're not the Dragon Lady – I hate that. You're a strong, brilliant, beautiful woman who has to fight to do her job. You're demanding because that's what it takes to stay on top in the world of fashion. You don't chase husbands off, either, Miranda. Stephen was a jerk who just wanted to control you. He didn't know how lucky he was to have you and he absolutely didn't deserve you or your girls. You're all better off without that fool.” Andrea's cheeks turned an alluring shade of pink when she got angry, “I'm here because I miss you. I miss making you smile that secret little half-smile when I meet your expectations. I miss the look of surprise and pride in your eyes when I exceed them. I miss the way you drink your coffee when it's hot enough and the way you wrinkle your nose when it's not. I miss the way you say my name. I wish I had never disappointed you,” Andrea finished with a whisper.
“I…Andy…I wish I had never disappointed you, either.”
The women sat quietly looking at one another and absorbing what had just passed between them. Miranda was neither ready to confess more nor to let Andy leave. For her part, Andy was content to simply be in Miranda's presence again. Though working for the other woman had been a challenge and a constant marathon, when she was with Miranda she always had a sense of calm. It may have been the calm before the storm or the eye of a hurricane but it was calm nonetheless and she was feeling it again.
The teacher from the riding school announced that the riding demonstration was about to begin and Miranda and Andy looked down into the ring that was filled with horses and riders. They let themselves relax and enjoy the spectacle for a few moments before Andy caught Miranda off guard once more by handing her the sunglasses she had taken.
“I can see the headache starting in your jaw,” she whispered, “I'm sorry. I never meant for the sun to bother you.”
“It's alright,” Miranda answered, not putting the glasses on. She looked into Andy's eyes, “I didn't want another barrier between us for that conversation. I didn't mind you holding them.”
Andy swallowed and threaded her fingers through Miranda's as the older woman turned back to watch her daughters. Andy heard Miranda's breath catch before she felt the tightening grip on her hand. I'm breaking another rule. Never touch Miranda Priestly.
Without knowing quite how it had happened, Andrea found her left side pressed against Miranda's right with their joined hands resting in Miranda's lap. Miranda's left hand was idly tracing patterns on Andy's; she didn't even realize she was doing it. Maybe she really did miss me. Maybe I'm not as crazy as I thought. This could work. This could be amazing. Andy smiled so widely, she was surprised she didn't break something.
Leaning against the other woman, Andy smirked and said, “I heard you, you know.”
“You heard me what, Andréa?” Miranda drawled.
“You called me Andy.”
“You've been working for The Mirror too long, Andréa, if that's all you recall from our conversation today,” Miranda chuckled, enjoying the easy banter between them lightening the situation.
They watched the end of the demonstration together and quietly applauded with the rest of the crowd.
“Will the girls come up now? Should I go? I should go. You don't need me here,” Andy babbled as she stood up. A nervous habit she could not seem to get rid of.
“Andréa, please stop that incessant chatter,” Miranda laughed. She reached out and grabbed Andy's hand while she asked, “What are you panicking about? Do you know me at all?”
“I think so,” Andy said unsurely.
“Would I sit here with you, holding your hand, not wearing sunglasses so I could look directly into your eyes if I didn't want you here?”
“No,” Andy smiled.
Miranda stood up so she was right in front of Andy, “So, don't go, then. I know the girls would love to see you.”
“Really?” There goes that rule again. Never question Miranda Priestly…oh, well.
“Really. Apparently you made quite an impression on all the Priestly women,” Miranda smirked.
“Good to know,” Andrea flirted back.
“They thought I was unaware that they waited for you each night but I knew. At first, it bothered me, especially after they admitted to sending you up when I was fighting with Stephen. For a while, I listened in but after a bit I felt guilty for eavesdropping and I left them to their nightly fix of you. When you stopped coming, they waited every night for a month. They were desperate to ask me where you were but they were afraid to upset me more than I already was. When they finally came into my study one night after another new assistant showed up, Caroline had tears in her eyes asking what had happened. They thought it was their fault, that I had fired you for talking to them.” Miranda's voice had grown huskier with emotion. “Even my girls think I'm the Dragon Lady.”
“No, they don't, Miranda. Your girls adore you. I'm so sorry,” Andrea said yet again. “I wanted to talk to you to clear the air and now I feel even worse. Did you tell them it was because I was a big disappointing loser who abandoned you in a foreign country?”
“No,” Miranda whispered, her fingers brushing down Andy's soft cheek, “I told them it was because your dream finally came true and you were going to be a journalist. I told them that you missed them but you were working for a newspaper so you couldn't come by as often.”
“God, how do you always seem to say the right thing to me?” Andy was breathless.
“I haven't always said the right thing, Andréa. I remember a few times in particular when I said exactly the wrong thing,” Miranda remembered the moment in the car in Paris, just before Andréa left her. Clearly the comparison between the two of them had been the wrong thing to say. After all, who wants to become the Dragon Lady? Who wants to be the evil, traitorous Miranda Priestly? Of course, she ran away. You compared her to the devil herself.
Miranda gracefully extracted her hand from Andy's and slid her Louis Vuitton sunglasses back out of her Prada bag. Sliding them on her face she looked for her girls. They were still brushing down their horses.
“Don't, Miranda,” Andy quietly implored. “Don't shut down. Let's get this all out. Tell me. Tell me when you said exactly the wrong thing.”
“Oh, don't be so melodramatic. We both know I've said the wrong thing to you more often than not. Continuing this will only prove to be more frustrating.” You'll only leave me again, Andy.
“Miranda, I know you would not begin to listen to me beg or plead with you to hear me out so I am just going to give you some information that might sway you to keep this connection.”
Miranda, sitting back on the bench, nodded her agreement.
“I think you have been under the misconception that you scared me off by comparing us in Paris months ago. You didn't. I scared myself off because I had realized other things. Things about me that had everything to do with you but not in a bad way. I realized that somewhere between extra hot lattes and Hermes scarves, between run throughs and runways, between the closet and the elevator and the car and a thousand other random moments between us that I cannot forget that I simply wanted to be near you. All the time. Not to bask in the fashion glory or hope your power benefited me somehow, but because I found you witty and refreshing and honest. I realized that I was willing to give up my dream of being a journalist to stay at Runway as your assistant just to be near you,” Andy sounded so passionate that Miranda was shocked.
“I have no idea what to say to that, Andréa,” Miranda whispered, looking back toward the field where her girls were finishing up.
“Don't say anything. I'm not ready to be rejected yet. Just sit with me a while longer and when the girls come up I'll go. Please,” Andy begged.
Miranda reached up and removed her famous sunglasses so her Andréa could see her. “Andréa, would you like to come over for dinner tonight?”
Smiling shakily, Andy nodded. She didn't trust her voice to be steady.
“I must alert you to the dangers,” Miranda said gravely. At Andy's questioning look, the older woman continued, “I've begun to prepare dinner myself a few nights a week and this is one of those nights. I'm no chef.” I will undoubtedly not cook as well as your shaggy little ex.
“If you serve it to your children, I'm sure it'll be fine,” Andy smiled again.
As if they had been summoned, the girls in question ran up the hill just at that moment.
“Hi, Mom! Hi, Andy!” They spoke in unison.
“Hello, Bobbsies. You were wonderful! Caroline, you've really perfected the levade with Marco but Cassidy, why weren't you riding Alfie?”
The girls spoke over one another to respond to their mother and neither of their comments were understandable.
“Ladies, ladies, not at the same time,” Miranda reminded.
“Sorry, Mom. Andy, did Mom tell you when this was so you could come see us?”
“Yeah, Mom says you're super busy right now working at the newspaper so it's so awesome that you could come see us here.”
“I love riding lessons!”
“Obviously, Caro, Andy can tell you love riding way better than soccer. Remember how you stood in the corner of the field when Andy came to that game?”
“Well, there's no one trying to kick anything at me when I ride Marco unlike those vile sports you like to play,” Caroline defended herself, sounding remarkably like her mother.
“Okay, enough!” Miranda spoke up.
“Sorry, Mom,” the twins said together.
“Let's go home for showers and dinner and perhaps you will both calm down enough that Andréa can actually answer your questions instead of getting whiplash trying to keep up with you,” their mother smiled and ruffled their hair as she spoke, letting her beloved daughters know she wasn't really mad.
“Yay! Andy's coming for dinner!” Cassidy was always so exuberant.
The girls shared a look that clearly communicated an entire conversation's worth of dialogue.
“Oops, Mom, we left our backpacks in the trunk of Ted's car today when he drove us. We weren't sure if you were going to go back to Runway , so we'll just text him to pick us up and meet you at home,” Caroline said quickly as she and her sister jogged toward the edge of the park.
“Okay, but come right home, you two!” Miranda said after them, managing not to shout but still be loud enough to be heard.
Miranda and Andy made their way quietly back to the car where Roy opened the door for them. Miranda gestured for the other woman to enter first and then she followed. Back in their quiet sanctuary, Miranda relaxed into the leather seat.
“Are you okay?” The younger woman asked quietly.
“Mm-hmm,” Miranda answered, looking at her intently.
Having spent so much time in close quarters with Miranda, Andy knew the other woman's head ached from the way she was leaning it on the head rest. Silently, Andy rummaged in her purse and pulled out the brand of pain killers that she knew Miranda used. She opened the bottle and dropped two pills into Miranda's hand.
“Thank you.” Miranda dry-swallowed the pills and then dropped her hand to the seat, resting it next to Andy's. She turned her hand over and slid it into the younger woman's, not saying anything. Andy, suddenly much more comfortable with the other woman, slid closer so they were again sitting tightly side by side.
The drive was quiet but not awkward and the arrival at the townhouse was calm. It seemed to both women that Andy's earlier confession and Miranda's subsequent invitation had settled something between them. The house was quiet, the only sign of the twins was the pair of backpacks on the floor by the stairs.
“They leave those there so I know whether they've completed their homework or not. Once done, they put them away for the night,” Miranda seemed embarrassed to have things out of place.
“That's a good system. I wasn't judging, though,” Andy answered.
With a sideways glance, Miranda nodded, “I should know that about you.”
Andy followed Miranda into the kitchen where the older woman began removing pots and pans from their cabinets and looking in drawers for spices.
“Can I help you?”
The quiet question stopped Miranda in her tracks. “I, well, I guess so,” she answered, brow furrowed.
“What are we making?” Andy washed her hands.
“Shepherd's Pie. The girls always like comfort food after they ride. Could you get the potatoes out of the refrigerator? They're in a silver bowl covered in saran wrap.”
Andrea retrieved the potatoes and set them on the counter near Miranda who smiled at her.
“Have you ever made homemade mashed potatoes, Andrea?”
Andrea shook her head. Being in the kitchen with Miranda, cooking dinner for her kids seemed so domestically blissful Andy couldn't think straight. This is what I want. I just didn't think I'd get it. Certainly not immediately, probably never. At the look on Andy's face, Miranda felt her nervousness flair up again.
“I've never cooked for anyone other than my girls.”
Miranda shrugged uncharacteristically. After a few moments of silence, Andrea took a deep breath and decided to pretend they had cooked dinner together a thousand times before. She wanted to cook dinner with Miranda a thousand times so she just let go of the awkward nervousness, put her arm around Miranda's waist, kissed the shorter woman's temple and said, “Walk me through it. This will be fun. I'll learn how to make mashed potatoes and you'll have a kitchen slave.”
Miranda, cheeks tinged pink, nodded and started rattling off potato directions to the other woman. Twenty minutes later, the sound of elephants charging interrupted Miranda's directions. The twins rushed into the kitchen, tripping over each other's bodies and words
“I thought Andy was coming-“
“-oh, she's here-“
“-well, we thought you wouldn't want to, you know-“
“- we didn't think you'd, like, cook, if she was-“
“-but you are so we're just-“
“-we're gonna go do our homework-“
“-we'll be in the study-“
“-with the door shut.”
And with that, the twin tornadoes vanished back from whence they came and Andy burst out laughing.
“They have not changed one bit in the months I've missed,” Andy smiled broadly, “I love that they're still just as vibrant and goofy as ever.”
“They are quite the pair, my girls. I don't know how they think that way, though. Neither of them ever seems to finish her own sentence. I couldn't do that, it would drive me crazy!”
“I don't know, I think when you're so comfortable with someone else you don't even notice. Haven't you had relationships like that?” Andy tilted her head, curious.
“No, Andréa, I have never been romantically involved with someone whose sentences I knew before they spoke them.”
Andy just sat quietly, remembering how many times she had known what Miranda was thinking before she said it. Remembering how many times Miranda had known what she was thinking, too. They didn't finish each other's sentences because they hadn't even had to speak them out loud.
“Yes, you have.”
“It may not have been a romantic relationship at the time but you have definitely had a relationship where you and another person could have finished each other's sentences.”
The older woman looked at Andy then. Really looked at her and stepped closer. “You're right, Andréa. I could always read your mind. Can you read mine?”
Andy stood and moved in front of the shorter woman, placing her hands gently on either side of Miranda's face before gently sliding them back to cup her head.
She didn't answer out loud. They didn't need words.
Their lips touched sweetly, sharing the first of many kisses that night.
Miranda sighed, resting her forehead on Andy's collarbone.
“I know, Miranda,” Andrea said, “I feel it, too.”
If you wouldn't mind, reviews would be lovely AlexToYourOlivia@gmail.com Thanks!
Also…I'm working on the sequel J
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