Disclaimer: See Part 1
“William on line one.”
Miranda picked up the phone and eyeing her audience to be silent, put a fake smile on her face. “William! So glad you are in. I've noticed something in the new issue that is quite disturbing.” She listened to his greetings and platitudes. “Yes, of course times are difficult. I'm sure you would much rather rely on word of mouth for your advertising. I'm told teens, speak among themselves quite often, and they will most likely take the earnings from their minimum wage jobs, minus their car payments and gasoline, not to mention insurance if their parents require them to pay, and take it directly to your mall shops to buy a shirt or a pair of pants…”
Miranda didn't give the man a chance to speak as her smile turned predatory. “But I would certainly hate for you to miss the opportunity to renew your contract. For just a small percentage of your advertising budget you would obviously want to reach the million and a half people, with disposable income, who read our magazine. Unless, that is, you have a problem with a million and a half people who are actually interested in fashion seeing your ad.” Miranda nodded. “Yes, I'll have sales send the contract over this afternoon.” Her lips twitched as the man said something into her ear. “You are quite welcome, William.” She ended the call then pushed the button to connect her with the Sales department. She didn't even bother to say hello when the Manager picked up his phone. “Find whoever was responsible for the Banana Republic account and fire them. Reassign the account and send the standard contracts to their office this afternoon. That's all.” Turning her attention back to the people in front of her, she took a deep breath and addressed them rather gruffly. “Now, where were we?”
Both people had the exact same thought at that moment. In deep shit, that's where we were. Sadly, they both knew it was going to get deeper before they would be allowed to leave.
Andy debated with herself about the incident in Beauty. She wasn't sure if she should tell Miranda about it or not. As she raised her hand to knock lightly on the Editor's office door, she decided she should relay the incident to the older woman. Miranda deserved to know the general atmosphere here, at Runway.
It wasn't usually done, but knowing Miranda was waiting on the folder, she didn't wait for acknowledgement to her light knock before pushing the door open. Three sets of eyes turned to her as she entered the room. Two were surprised, since Miranda hadn't given permission for the person to enter the room. There was only one set of eyes that mattered though and Andy smiled as the blue eyes she loved locked on her. She handed over the requested folder. “May I speak with you for a moment?”
Miranda hesitated then gestured for Andrea to walk around the desk.
Pressing her lips together, Andy leaned down and whispered the incident into her fiancée's ear.
Nigel and Serena were fascinated by the play of emotions across Miranda's face as Andy spoke quietly to her and they both jumped as Miranda neatly snapped the pencil she held in two. Andy stopped speaking and reached down to examine their boss' hand.
“I'm fine, Andrea.” She pulled her hand away from the young woman's scrutiny. “What was your response?”
Andy grinned and leaned back to Miranda's ear, finishing the story. Much to Serena and Nigel's surprise Miranda began to chuckle, and suddenly burst out laughing. Reaching up she cupped Andy's cheek gently and kissed her on the other. “You will have no problem with the press, Darling.”
Andy blushed lightly. “Thanks.” Her eyes narrowed at her fiancée. “You're in a good mood,” she accused and jokingly asked, “Who'd you fire?” At the shocked look on Miranda's face, Andy looked horrified and glanced at the two other occupants of the office. “Oh God, who did you fire?!”
Miranda chuckled and waved Andrea's concern away. “Some incompetent from Sales.”
Relaxing slightly because it hadn't been a friend that was fired, she was still a little dismayed for the person who had just lost their job. She glanced at their audience and asked Miranda. “Should I go back out?”
“If you would,” Miranda smiled as the young woman turned to leave then her expression blanked as she refocused on the two seated in front of her. “It shouldn't take too much longer.” Her amusement returned at seeing Serena and Nigel's obvious relief that their ordeal would soon be over, but no trace of it appeared on her face.
“Now, back to page thirty-seven.” She opened the file in her hand and sighed. Perhaps I spoke too soon.
“Miranda Priestly's office.” Emily was the consummate professional and her English accent often became more prominent when speaking over the phone. “Yes, escort her up and you can meet with Miranda while you're here.” She turned to the brunette conversing with Beverly. “Jeff says there is a person here with summons for you and Miranda. He's escorting her up now.”
Andy nodded. “Yeah, the District Attorney said that would be coming. We'll have to testify at Judy's trial.” She cleared her throat. “It should be an open and shut case, but, um… they may want you to testify as well.”
“To what?!” Emily ground her teeth. “That I'm a stupid git who let that bitch poison Miranda right under my nose?”
Shaking her head, Andy tried to calm her former co-worker. “No, you aren't stupid. She fooled everyone. It's just that you were here, kinda involved, so they may want your version of how she acted here in the office.”
‘Uh… poison?” Bethany hadn't heard that story.
“A former second assistant tried to kill Miranda. She drugged her coffee, for a long time, and finally used drugs and dosages that would kill her.” Andy shuddered at the vision of Miranda lifting the poisoned coffee to her lips.
Bethany was riveted by the story. “How did they catch her?”
Emily took up the telling. “Andy figured it out, called the police, and stood between a gun and Miranda until they got here to arrest the bitch.”
“A gun?” Bethany shook her head. “I thought you said poison.”
Andy nodded. “She poisoned the coffee, but she threatened to shoot me if Miranda didn't drink it.” Grinding her teeth at the memory, Andy nearly growled. “I wasn't going to let Miranda drink it.”
“What happened?” Now Bethany was breathless to hear more.
Exhaling slowly, Andy ran her fingers through her hair and sighed. “Miranda said she wouldn't let me be shot. So she drank the coffee.”
Bethany's eyes bugged out. “What?”
Frowning, Andy nodded. “Yep, she took a drink… and held it in her mouth, staring at Judy, until the police came and arrested her. When they asked for the coffee as evidence, Miranda took off the lid and spit the drink back into the cup before she handed it to the arresting officer.”
“Wow.” Bethany blinked at the romance of it. “You were going to die for each other.”
“I suppose so.” Andy grinned at the dramatic woman. “I wasn't thinking about that though, I only wanted Miranda to be okay.”
Rolling her eyes, Bethany laughed. “I'll bet all Miranda was thinking about was making sure you were okay…” Andy shrugged at that, knowing it was probably an accurate statement, and the assistant continued in her breathless voice. “I think that's one of the most romantic things I've ever heard!”
Andy lightly knocked on Miranda's office door, again. She opened the door and peeked in. “Excuse me, Miranda…” Waiting for Miranda's eyes to meet hers, Andy informed her. “There is an officer of the court here with some papers for you, from the D.A.” She waved the papers in her hand. “I've already got mine.” She hesitated, but remembered Miranda asking Jeff to speak with her at some point. “Jeff escorted her up.”
With a short nod, Miranda stood. “Let's take a break shall we?” The Editor walked out of her office and accepted the papers summoning her to court and the woman left. “Come into my office for a moment, would you Jeff?” She commanded the two she'd been meeting with all morning to stay there until she was finished with the security man. It shouldn't take long she thought, I just have to tell him thank you for the escort in this morning. She knew that in the privacy of her office she could say what she had been unable to verbalize in public.
They all watched as the doors closed once again.
Nigel turned to Andy. “Did she stay up all night going over the Book?”
Pressing her lips together for a moment, Andy shrugged. “I got her to take a short break around midnight, but I'm not sure what time she came to bed.” She saw their eyes widen and confirmed what they were thinking. “I was already asleep.” Their expressions made her chuckle. “Get used to it guys…”
“Give us a break, Six.” Nigel complained. “You know it's not that easy to adjust to.”
Rolling her eyes, Andy relented. “Yeah, I know, but it's not going to be changing anytime soon, so you need to get over it.”
“We'll try, Andy.” Serena put her hand on the young woman's shoulder and slid it on around to pull the brunette into a hug. “I'm happy for you, and her.”
Andy felt her arms wrapping around the tall beautiful Brazilian almost on their own. “Thanks.” She glanced at Emily's expression and just stopped herself from jokingly asking if the woman wanted to ‘trade', but then decided against it. For all she knew her assumptions about Emily and Serena's relationship could be totally wrong. There was also the chance it might be taken seriously and she wouldn't possibly trade Miranda for anything.
Miranda's door opened and Jeff exited quickly, with a very odd look on his face. With a glance at each other, Nigel and Serena moved to resume their inquisition. Miranda stopped them. “I think we've gone over enough for today. You two should go help Jocelyn get ready for the run-through this afternoon.” She watched as the duo left her office area then turned back toward her desk. “Andrea?”
Andy followed the woman back into the workspace. The doors weren't closed this time. Andy moved back to the couch and her computer, pulling up some of the articles she wanted to work on. “Are you okay, Miranda?”
“As well as can be expected.” She ran her tongue over her teeth and glared at the coffee cup on her desk. “Emily…” She allowed time for the real Emily to let the new Emily know it was actually her that was being summoned. Miranda blinked as the petite woman arrived in front of her desk. “Coffee.” She was surprised at the speed the woman moved when she issued her one word order. Miranda glanced at Andy with wide eyes.
Chuckling, Andy shook her head and sighed. “She's enthusiastic for sure. I think you've acquired another Disciple.”
“So long as she does her job with a measure of competence.” Miranda resumed perusing the photos on the sheet in front of her, Andy nodded and began working on her stories and a companionable silence fell over the office. It was nice, and both women tried to relax as the time ticked away.
There was no relaxation for Andy though, she tried to trust in Miranda's confidence that Irv's statement to the press was going to be fine, but couldn't help thinking the tick of the clock was very much like a bomb ticking away the time until it went boom.
Andy looked out at the sea of faces and exhaled slowly. She ruffled her bangs self-consciously and wondered if Miranda's heart was pounding as hard as hers was. She'd be able to tell if she had the courage to reach out and hold Miranda's hand right now, but in front of all these people with their cameras, she just couldn't bring herself to do it. Plus, she knew that anyone with access to a television inside the building, was watching. There were several Runway employees already gathering in the big conference rooms when she and Miranda had taken the elevator down to the lobby. A glance at Miranda rewarded her with a barely perceptible nod, and a quick wink. Settling her nerves, Andy began to repeat the older woman's words as a mantra in her head. It will be fine, it will be fine… it will be fine…
Irv Ravitz walked out onto the hastily set up platform and stood behind the podium. He reviewed the small cards he carried for a moment then looked out at the crowd. “Ladies and Gentlemen of the press. I'm not exactly sure why you are here. If you are looking for information regarding Runway's Editor-In-Chief, and a former Runway employee, look no further than the excellent article appearing in The Mirror this morning. It was written by none other than Ms. Sachs, the former employee in question, and has all the information you need. You should actually thank Ms. Sachs for saving you the trouble of ferreting out the details.”
One reporter shouted, interrupting Irv's speech. “Is Ms. Priestly going to be fired for the inappropriate relationship?”
Raising an eyebrow, Irv pinned the questioner with concerned eyes. “Inappropriate? I don't see how that word is relevant. Both women are of legal age and Ms. Sachs had not worked at Runway for over a year when the relationship began, what exactly is inappropriate about it?” He waited for the reporter to respond but all the man could do was open and close his mouth like a fish out of water.
“Bottom line, Miranda Priestly is the best editor Runway has ever had and is most likely the best editor there is, period. She is a complete professional and would never allow her personal life to interfere with the smooth running of the magazine. The relationship she is in has nothing to do with her professional life and in fact, while she and Ms. Sachs have been together, the magazine has been doing better than ever. So long as the magazine doesn't suffer, Miranda Priestly's personal life is none of my business.” He eyed them and continued. “And quite frankly, it's none of anyone else's either.” He gathered his little reminder cards and informed the crowd. “That is all I have to say.” Irv stepped away from the podium.
The reporters all began shouting all at once and cameras began to flash incessantly. Miranda and Andy began to follow Irv back into the building when one clear question rang out above the cacophony.
“Miranda, how are your children dealing with all this?”
Miranda stopped in her tracks, a dangerous look crossing her face.
Andy urgently whispered. “Miranda… don't…” do anything rash. The woman ignored the plea and moved to the podium.
The anger Miranda felt at the thought of the reporters trying to talk to the twins took her past the point of thinking. “I am only going to say this once.” She swept her stormy blue eyes across the now subdued crowd. “My daughters are absolutely off-limits to you, the press. If, I see any mention of them, pictures of them, quotes from them, speculation about them, you will regret it and your publication will regret it for a long, long time. Andrea and I are both adults and can deal with whatever truths or untruths you feel the need to print, but my daughters are entirely off limits, this is my only request to you. If it is not honored…” Again Miranda swept her eyes through the blinking reporters. “…there will be no mercy.” Turning to leave the stage, Miranda's parting comment was barely caught by the microphone. “That's all.”
It was very difficult, but Andy managed to stay half a step away from Miranda all the way into the building and across the lobby. Only when the elevator doors closed, separating them from the rest of the world did she give in to the almost magnetic attraction and wrap her arms firmly around the older woman. The tension in Miranda's frame was worse than Andy had ever felt. “Miranda?”
“Not now.” Miranda twisted slightly, escaping Andrea's arms just as the elevator opened on Runway's floor. She stalked through the corridors, gratified that the employees were terrified again. But at what price? When they reached her office, the door was left open, but Miranda sat in her desk chair and turned around to face the window. The older woman stared into space for a long moment before she closed her eyes and tipped her head to rest on the back of the chair. She spoke, quieter than usual. “I should not have done that.” She'd known it was a mistake as soon as the words had left her lips, losing control like that… she growled at herself. Stupid old woman .
Andy pressed her lips together; she wanted to help but she had no clue exactly what was wrong, so she didn't know what to do. She thought about what Miranda had told the press and pride swelled in her chest, defending the girls like that was so awesome. Andy wished she could do that. She wanted so badly to be able to protect her family. But what could I do? It was a bit surprising as she actually thought of a few things. She sighed and another thought crossed her mind. What would Miranda do? Then another thought, the most blasphemous one she'd ever had regarding Miranda, popped into her head. What if she really couldn't do anything to them? She wondered if any of the reporters were asking themselves that as well… Oh my God. Andy gasped at the realization.
“Yes.” Miranda's tired voice barely carried across the room. “Suddenly you see.” Swiveling the chair slightly, Miranda turned her head to gaze at Andrea. “I made a statement that may be impossible follow through on.” She felt sick. By warning the press away from the girls, Miranda had, for all intents and purposes, painted huge targets on their backs. Someone was sure to take her up on the challenge.
Setting her laptop aside, Andy moved to Miranda's chair and knelt in front of her. Taking both of the Editor's shaking hands in her own, Andy kissed the knuckles gently. “If any of them are idiotic enough to write anything about the girls and their editor is foolish enough to print it…” Andy smiled gently at her fiancée. “We will most certainly make them regret it.” Andy rested her arms on immaculately dressed knees. “I swear to you, Miranda, I'll make them regret it.” Serious brown eyes gazed up at the love of her life then she laid her head on Miranda's knees closed her eyes and mumbled, “Nobody messes with my girls.”
Miranda knew she was included in that statement and her fingers threaded through the young woman's dark brown hair. She took a deep breath, not really believing she could be lucky enough to have this loving woman in her life. I wonder if this is even real. Miranda mused. She thought back over the months that she and Andrea had been together and although there had been some misunderstandings and the odd argument, their relationship in general had been wonderful, everything seeming to fall into place. What if Judy had succeeded? Miranda couldn't help wondering. What if I'm just in a coma in a hospital bed somewhere and this has all been a wonderful dream my drugged up brain has created? She chided herself. Of course it's real you stupid old woman, you'd never imagine Andrea being so wonderful. If it were up to you, Andrea would have left you long ago. She looked down at the woman kneeling in front of her, resting her head on her lap, and a small smile touched her lips. I'm going to marry her. Miranda took a deep breath and whispered quietly, almost to herself. “My Andrea.”
Andy opened her eyes and raised her head to gaze up at Miranda's face. “You bet I am.”
Miranda continued stroking the dark brown hair, content to share a moment of silence with the young woman.
Andrea grinned at the small rumble so near her head. “You're hungry.”
“Mmmm…” Miranda simply continued the motion of her hand in Andy's hair and let a small white-lie fall from her lips. “I don't remember if I ate this morning.” In fact, she distinctly remembered picking at her breakfast without a bit of it even touching her lips.
“Miranda…” Andy chided.
Blue eyes looked down and Miranda smirked. “Did you?”
Andy opened her mouth to respond and then closed it. She hadn't, and Miranda knew it.
“Uh huh.” The older woman stood, urging Andy to her feet as well. “You know we might kill two birds with one stone if we were to dine out for lunch today.”
Andy chuckled and kissed the tip of Miranda's nose. “Get fed and distract the press from the girls?” She wrapped her arms around the slowly relaxing woman. “We could get a window table somewhere and start making out… that'd distract them.”
Miranda actually laughed at that. “Darling,” she patted the devious young woman's cheek, “That would kill them.” She thought about that option. “Hmmm…”
“Oh no… I was kidding!” Andy's voice was tinged with amusement. “We have fairly strict instructions from Cassidy to behave ourselves in public.”
“True.” Miranda sighed. “I suppose just eating will have to do.” They began to walk, arm in arm out of the office. “Emily, we are going to lunch, push the run-through back half an hour.”
“Of course.” Emily watched as the couple walked down the hall. She didn't like it, not at all, there were too many reporters waiting to pounce outside, but it wasn't up to her now was it… She put in a call to Nigel and Jocelyn informing them about the schedule change. The first assistant smiled when Serena showed up a few minutes later. She informed her new co-worker, “We're going to lunch.” Emily locked arms with the tall Brazilian. “You can go when we return.”
Bethany nodded. Emily and Serena had gone to lunch together nearly every day last week. It struck her as they walked away how similar they looked to the couple that had gone a few moments before. She chuckled at the large amount of beautiful women she worked with and sighed, half jokingly hoping her boyfriend never came to see her at work. She loved him, she had to since she'd put up with him for the last six years, but she certainly didn't want him to be here all the time and once he got a look at the people she worked with, she chuckled to herself, she'd never get him to leave. The phone ringing made her jump and she shook her amused thoughts away before answering.
“Miranda Priestly's office.”She widened her eyes for a moment as the caller identified themselves then she nodded and carried out Emily's instructions. “Yes Ma'am, I will forward the offer to Ms. Sachs, but if she does agree, Miranda Priestly will not attend the taping.”
Return to the Annex