Disclaimer: See Part 1
There was chaos in front of the courthouse when they arrived and both women rethought the wisdom of them being there as they walked the gauntlet of reporters. Still, they wanted to see the closing arguments and hoped the jury wouldn't take too long to decide, giving them the opportunity to see the verdict as well.
Ignoring the off the wall questions many of the reporters seemed to be throwing at them was rather difficult. The weird theories the questions tried to confirm were laughable, if this was a laughing matter. They made it, at last, to the courtroom and took their seats in the back row, behind the defendant's table; that way Judy would have to turn all the way around to see them and they didn't think her attorney would allow her to do that.
“You okay?” Miranda tangled her fingers with Andrea's. She noticed immediately that the young woman only returned the pressure lightly.
“Yeah, I'm fine.” Andy tried to smile and took a deep breath, removing her hand from Miranda's. “I shouldn't even be worried, it's such a cut and dry case… she did it.”
Nodding, Miranda looked down at her empty hand. “Yes, the District Attorney will surely win.”
Miranda nodded to the newcomer. “Hello, Detective.”
“Jo!” Andy smiled and gave the woman a hug. “I'm so glad you're here, where's Blair?”
“Working. She's confident Judy's gonna be found guilty. She said she didn't need to see it.”
When Judy was led into the courtroom by the guard, Andy found each of her hands held; one by her fiancée, and one by her friend. Swallowing hard, she gently untangled her fingers from Miranda's, but squeezed Jo's hand tightly as the wild blue eyes peered out from under the blonde bangs, searching, searching for her.
Miranda's forehead wrinkled for a moment as she saw the white knuckle grip Andy had on Jo's hand, then the light dawned. She's afraid she's going to hurt me again. She patted a spot on Andrea's thigh and left her hand there, needing the contact, the support. She smiled as the young woman's large hand covered hers, not pushing on it, just one hand on top of the other.
They were correct in assuming the defendant would be required to face forward, and were grateful they had sat nearly directly behind her. There had been no further eye contact since she had been escorted to her seat.
The District Attorney's summary was merely a point by point timeline of the basic facts of the case, it really was crystal clear that Judy was guilty, Jo and her partner had put together all the facts perfectly. The surveillance equipment, the drugs in the storage facility, the acquiring a job at Runway, the coffee… all of it. Miranda was thinking almost the same thing everyone else in the room was thinking. Judy was so obviously guilty it felt a little like a waste of the taxpayers' money to have a trial at all.
When the defense lawyer began to speak was when things got confusing. The picture he painted was seriously skewed, much like his client. He told the tale of two women, one the assistant to a high powered publishing titan, and one who had quit pharmaceutical school just before graduation. He told of a friendship forged in chance meetings and passing each other in the stairwell, the laundry room, at the mail boxes… because no one could possibly live in the same building and not ever see each other. He told of growing attraction, and when the assistant lost her boyfriend and lost her job, the two friends hatched a plan to get back at the publishing titan, to humiliate her, take everything from her just like she had done to her assistant. Then the plan turned out to be a double cross, as the former assistant decided she wanted the rich publishing titan for herself and focused the police on her accomplice to take suspicion from herself. By sending her accomplice to jail, she was free to take her former boss for all she was worth.
Andy had been so stunned on Friday when she'd realized the direction the man had taken in his approach, she couldn't do anything but sit there and think how insane someone would have to be to believe that load of crap. Now to have him repeating it, repeating it calmly, coolly, almost as fact…it was hard not to consider it, even for her and she knew that it was all complete fiction. Then she felt Miranda's hand, sliding away . Oh God, she can't possibly believe that… can she?
A tear slipped down her face and she was glad that she hadn't used any mascara today. Andy knew that this played on every insecurity Miranda had. For most mere mortals it would be considered blasphemy to even suggest that The Miranda Priestly had anything resembling insecurities, or faults, but Andy knew because Andy knew Miranda better than anyone, even Miranda sometimes. She watched as Miranda sat, stone expression not giving away anything, except her eyes, Dear God, her eyes showed such pain. There's more than one way to hurt someone. Andy thought. But I'm not doing it this time… I didn't do it… it's not true.
The defense attorney sat and smiled to himself. Proud that he'd accomplished even this much. Before he'd been sure he was going to lose, but now, he thought he at least had a chance. By putting doubt in the jury's minds, he hoped they would see how it may not have just been his client's idea, but that she could have been coerced into her actions by a beautiful, clever woman with her own agenda. It wasn't true, of course, Judy was guilty as sin, but he had to do something to at least try . He hated unwinnable cases.
The jury was dismissed to deliberate and the courtroom filled with murmurs until most of the spectators had filed out of the room.
“That is such a load of crap.” Jo was shaking with rage.
Miranda spoke quietly. “Is it?”
Jo blinked and glanced at Andy then returned her gaze to Miranda. “Of course it is.”
“It sounded quite convincing.” She stared off into space. “Entirely plausible.”
“It's the ravings of an idiot!” Jo couldn't believe Miranda was even taking one word the man had said seriously.
Miranda ignored Jo and turned to look at Andrea. “Is it?”
Reaching up, Andy gently touched Miranda's cheek with her fingertips. “I did nothing.”
Turning her head, Miranda seemed to shake off her doubts and placed a kiss in the palm of Andrea's hand. “Of course you didn't.”
Andy frowned and slid her hand up to Miranda's forehead. “Miranda, your temperature's back up.” They didn't have a thermometer, but it didn't matter. Pulling out her phone, Andy quickly dialed. “Dr. Dawson please.” She paused as the receptionist asked the obvious question. “Andy Sachs, regarding Miranda Priestly.”
“Oh!” The receptionist jumped a little in her seat. She had very strict orders that calls from this woman about this subject were to be put through immediately. “Just a moment.”
“Andrea, there's no need to bother…”
“No Miranda, we need to tell the Doc what's going on,” Her eyes landed on the exact spot she knew was a bruise the shape of her own hand. “It could be serious.” Fever, easy bruising… her mind flashed back to a medical article she had once written, and the words liver failure flashed through her mind. Andy glanced at the chair Judy had been sitting in just moments before and couldn't help wondering if the drugs Miranda had been given might be the cause of this new problem.
“She's going to want me to come in right away and give her blood, all doctors want that… and I want to hear the verdict, plus we have lunch reservations…”
Andy shook her head and waved for silence. “Yes. It's Andy… You know the fever Miranda had yesterday, aspirin took care of it, but now it's back.” Andy nodded. “It was a hundred and three yesterday, we haven't taken it today.” Listening carefully, Andy automatically reached out to hold Miranda's hand. “Yes, we'll see you then.” Shoving the phone in her pocket, Andy turned to face the older woman. Before she could open her mouth, Miranda spoke.
“You see? Doctors… always wanting you to come to their office…” Blue eyes narrowed at the young woman next to her. “She wants more blood, doesn't she? Vampires, every one of them.” She crossed her arms. “It's just a fever, Andrea, people get them. I'm not going to the doctor.”
Andy turned to Jo. “You might want to take off, this isn't gonna to be pretty.”
Jo nodded and with a look akin to horror on her face, Jo stood and slowly backed away. She was very glad the rest of the courtroom was empty as she made her escape.
“Miranda.” Andy rounded on the white haired woman. “You are going to the doctor,” she held up her hand to stop any response Miranda might have made, “You are going to the doctor even if I have to pick you up, kicking and screaming, and carry you there right in front of every reporter and photographer in the city of New York!” She took a deep breath and reached up to caress the unnaturally warm cheek. “It's important Miranda, this could be serious.”
“No, you're going.” Andy was prepared to out-stubborn Miranda if she had to but she tried pleading with the woman first. “Miranda, listen to me, if I were to lose you over something like that bastard's story,” she indicated the defense attorney's empty spot, “It would break me.” Gentle fingers again stopped Miranda's response. “But, if something were to happen to you… if you are ever,” Andy swallowed hard, “…gone, and I could have done something to stop it… That would kill me, Miranda. Do you understand? You mean everything to me.”
“No Miranda… I mean it!” Andy had tears filling her eyes now. “We have to know what's wrong!”
“Andrea!” Miranda grabbed Andy's hand before she could be silenced again. “Andrea… shhhh…” She made sure those brown doe eyes were focused on her. “…I'll go.”
Andy took a breath to continue the argument then deflated when she realized what Miranda had said. “You will? Really?”
“Yes.” The Editor stood and offered her hand. “Shall we?”
“We can leave here if you want, but Doc didn't have an opening until three.” Andy stood and linked her elbow with Miranda's, being as gentle as possible with the woman, trying not to squeeze the arm in hers too tightly. “I do want to go find you some aspirin though.”
“Yes, Dear.” Miranda hugged the arm around hers tightly. “Lead on.”
“Is it safe?” Jo stood next to the small outdoor café table, wringing her hands together nervously. “May I join you?”
“Detective,” Miranda almost laughed. “You can face down a gunman with infinite calm, yet you stand here a seeming nervous wreck.” She motioned for the woman to sit. “Is there a reason for that?”
“Gunmen are easy, arguing lovers… yikes.” She smiled as she sat. “So you two have everything settled now?”
“We worked it out.” Andy smiled at Miranda.
“She threatened to physically carry me there if I didn't go willingly… would that be considered kidnapping, Detective?” Miranda's eyes twinkled at the police officer.
Jo suppressed a grin and turned to evaluate Andy. “Oh I think we could make something stick…”
Andy snorted. “C'mon.” She lightly punched Jo on the shoulder. “Don't tell me you wouldn't do everything you could to make sure Blair was okay.”
A light blush spread across Jo's cheeks. “I would do anything for Blair.”
The waitress had noticed a new person at the table and quickly checked in. “Can I get you something, ma'am?” When Jo waved her off she turned to Miranda, with a small smile and twinkling eyes. “Refill on your coffee?”
Miranda waved her off. “Unnecessary.”
Nodding, the waitress began to walk away, but kept her eyes on Miranda. “Well, if you need… anything, just let me know.”
Andy called after her. “I don't want a refill either by the way.” She turned her attention to Miranda. “What is it with you and waitresses?”
Shifting her shoulders suspiciously like a shrug, Miranda took a sip of her coffee. “Honestly, to use one of your own phrases, I don't have a clue, this sort of thing never happened before I met you.”
Jo laughed at that and was about to say something when her phone rang. “Polniaczek, go.” Her eyes widened. “Okay, we'll be right there.” She snapped the phone closed and informed her table-mates. “Jury's coming back.”
“It's barely been an hour.” Andy was shocked. “Is that good?”
Jo opened her mouth to answer, but found she had no idea in this instance if a quick verdict was good or bad and simply shrugged.
Miranda motioned for the waitress, who was at the table instantly.
“Can I get you anything else?”
“We must be going.” Miranda handed the woman a bill, “This should cover the check and whatever extra is yours.”
The waitress' eyes widened. “Yes ma'am… thank you!”
Andy linked arms with Miranda and almost dragged her away. “This flirting thing is getting out of hand… Miranda, that was a twenty!”
“Mmm… yes it was.”
Rolling her eyes, Andy reminded the woman. “All we had were coffees! She never even refilled them!”
Leaning into her fiancée, Miranda chuckled. “It's the fever, it's making me do strange things.”
Andy snorted at that, knowing Miranda was fully cognizant of everything she did at all times, fever or not. Even when she was being given the drugs, she knew what she was doing, she just couldn't stop herself.
“I love you, Andrea.”
The woman's sing-song voice made her sigh, and chuckle. Looking down into twinkling blue eyes, Andy couldn't help but smile. “I love you too.”
Jo laughed at Andy and patted her on the shoulder that didn't have Miranda's head on it. “You have it bad, my friend.”
Andy kissed the top of the warm head leaning on her shoulder and smiled. “Yep, and I wouldn't have it any other way.” She only just barely realized that they were walking like this, on a public street and Cassidy was going to kill them when the pictures showed up in the papers. Then Miranda made a sound, a sort of contented sigh, and Andy didn't care where they were, or who happened to be watching, with Miranda in her arms, everything was fine.
Many other people, it seemed, had not gone far from the courtroom and when the trio arrived they were unable to resume their previous seats. So they now sat on the other side of the room, near the aisle. It wasn't a bad seat really, they had a perfect view of the judge, but it was very easy for Judy to turn her head just slightly and see them. It was making Andy uncomfortable, and Miranda quite upset, mostly because it made Andy uncomfortable. “We don't have to stay, Andrea.”
“No, I want to know what they decided.” Andy took a deep breath. “I don't want to run away from things, I need to face them.”
“Very well.” Lacing her fingers with Andrea's, Miranda pulled the young woman's hand up to her mouth, kissing it lightly. “Whatever you wish.” She found herself able to do gestures like that, kissing Andy's hand, even in this room full of people, because for one, she just didn't care what they thought, and for another, there were no cameras allowed in the courtroom.
“Oh,” Andy used her other hand to press lightly against Miranda's forehead. “You're fever's down, the aspirins worked I guess.”
Nodding, Miranda just smiled and turned her attention to the jury, now filing in and thought, The extra two I snuck when we were in the restroom didn't hurt either. She barely heard the order for Judy to stand, and almost missed the judge speaking formally to the jury foreman.
“Have you reached a verdict?”
The spokesman was already standing. “We have your honor.” He took a deep breath and read from the piece of paper in his hand. “In the case of the People versus Judy Genero on the charge of stalking, we the jury find the defendant, guilty. In the case of the People versus Judy Genero on the first charge of attempted murder, we the jury find the defendant, guilty. In the case of the People versus Judy Genero on the second charge of attempted murder, we the jury find the defendant, guilty.” He handed the paper to the bailiff who turned it over to the judge.
“I would like to thank the jury for their diligence in this case.” The judge turned to look at Judy. “You have been found guilty on all charges and will reappear before this court in three weeks for sentencing.” She banged the gavel on her desk and adjourned.
“So what does that mean?” Andy couldn't remember what the sentence would be for attempted murder. “How long will she get?”
Jo reassured her. “We'll have to wait and see what the judge decides, but for both charges, she's looking at a minimum of forty years, could be up to eighty. Plus the stalking charge, added to the time she's going to serve for the Federal charges she's been slapped with, she's going to be nearly eighty before she even comes up for parole.” The detective held her friend's shoulder and shook it gently. “No worries, she won't bother you anymore. She's going to spend the rest of her life in prison.”
Smiling from ear to ear, Andy threw her arms around Jo and quickly kissed her smack on the lips. When she realized what she'd done, she laughed. “Sorry, I'm just so happy!”
Jo laughed, she knew the kiss didn't mean anything other than Andy was indeed happy about the outcome of the trial, and tried to lighten the moment even more as she looked at Miranda's darkening expression. “Don't kick my ass, okay Granny?”
With a bark of laughter, Miranda grabbed the front of Jo's shirt and also quickly pressed her lips against the detective's. “I'll think about it.”
Now with Jo wide eyed and spluttering sounds such as ... buh… and guh… Miranda turned to Andrea. “So, do you still want to marry me?”
“Are you kidding?” Andy pretended to be annoyed. “With you going around flirting with every waitress in town,” she gestured to Jo. “ Kissing detectives, and whoever else just walks up off the street!?”
“Hey!” Jo chuckled at the street walking reference.
Resting her forehead lightly against Miranda's, Andy smiled.
“You bet I do.”
And yes there will be a fourth story, they are getting married after all ;)
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