Miranda swept into her office speaking orders even before she opened the door, knowing Emily would panic at that alone. Pausing she turned to glare at Bethany. “Coffee, now.”

With Bethany gone, Miranda continued into her office, Emily trailing behind her as she knew the redhead would. “Contact Cherie in HR and inform her that I'll need a replacement for Nigel as I've just fired him.” She was glad that she was facing away from her long time assistant because the sound Emily made very nearly made her laugh. She controlled the urge and turned to face the stunned woman. “Contact Jean-Paul and confirm the showing on Friday and get Patrick on the phone. Were the wedding invitations mailed?”

Emily blinked. “Uh.. wedding...”

Yes, the invitations... did you get them in the mail?”

Um, no.” Emily admitted. “I thought you would want to mail your hand addressed ones first....”

You thought?” Miranda raised her eyebrow significantly, “really...”

I...” Emily was truly flustered. She hadn't seen Miranda in this bad a mood in a long time. Her eyes widened as she turned to go and saw Andrea along with Serena dragging Nigel into the office. Bloody Hell... She focused on the usual cause of all her problems. “Andrea, what is going on?”

We're about to find out.” Andy gestured to Serena and they pushed Nigel through the door to Miranda's office. Emily followed quickly, not wanting to miss seeing Miranda in this kind of mood, plus she needed to make sure the call to HR was necessary.

Miranda whirled to face the newly arrived people. “Nigel! Did HR send you to fill the Art Director position?”

He blinked and a croaked. “Uh...” escaped his sagging jaw, opened mouth.

How wonderful... I'm sure you will do a brilliant job. Not like that last person, did you know he didn't even return a voicemail message I left him!? Can you imagine?”

Nigel just repeated the sound he'd made earlier.

Serena looked at Andy. “Is she serious?”

Andy locked eyes with Miranda for a long moment, the editor's mischievous eyes dared her to speak up. Andy knew better than to ruin Miranda's fun. “That's up to her.”

Serena, Emily and Nigel turned to look at their boss and were amazed as the woman began to smile, small at first, then wider until she was laughing as well. “Of course I'm not serious.” She waved them all to sit and spoke to Nigel matter-of-factly. “If you were truly fired you'd already be escorted out of the building.” She grinned, “I had you going there for a minute or two didn't I?”

Oh my God,” Serena slumped into her seat, almost unable to believe it. “She was kidding.”

Emily turned to Andrea, “You were in on this... You knew!”

Andy shook her head and chuckled, “Actually, I wasn't sure.” She grinned at Miranda, “We'd only discussed the voicemail thing. When you added the part about the offices being a mess....”

Miranda licked her lips, “Yes, I'd gotten the idea to let Nigel know exactly what he could have faced had I actually been upset about the voicemail incident, but when I walked in and saw the offices looking like a rubbish tip I nearly did fire, several people.” She pressed her lips together in disapproval. “Andrea reminded me that people were working long hours and did, in fact, find it necessary to eat. Therefore, this time will be overlooked. I did notice people were cleaning it up in my wake, so that at least is something. That sort of thing will not be happening again... eating at work is not against the rules, yet, but as soon as you are finished with your meal, the remains should be put away quickly, either in the break room refrigerator, or the trash.” She shook her head sadly for even having to tell grown people that basic courtesy. “I will send out a memo to that effect tomorrow.”

Now,” Miranda took her seat, as if she'd never been gone. “I have one hour before I need to be home to greet my children.” Sliding her glasses on, the editor looked over the tops of the rims and questioned her staff. “Shall we get to work?” She picked up a folder on her desk and adjusted her glasses. She heard Emily gasp, and Serena make a tiny surprised sound, but it was Nigel who broke out of his stupor and spoke.

That is a lovely ring.” He turned to grin at Andy. “You did good, Six.”

Grinning at the three of them, Andy nodded, “Take a closer look at it.”

Nigel looked at Miranda and with a raised eyebrow and his upper lip caught between his teeth he silently asked permission.

With a resigned sigh, Miranda merely put down the folder and held her hand out for them to see the ring, closely.

Emily had thought it was one of the same rings Miranda always wore, she'd gasped because of the finger it was being worn on. Upon closer inspection she saw the tiny dragon outline and glared at Andrea, How dare she!! It was like she was making fun of Miranda with the stupid, but admittedly accurate, nickname the papers gave her.

It is stunning.” Serena smiled, happy for her boss and her former co-worker. She was glad that they had found each other. It gave her hope for her own romantic pursuit.

Emily was about to rant at her tall friend when Miranda's soft voice broke through her angry thoughts.

Thank you, Serena.” Miranda smiled at the beautiful make-up artist.

It's perfect.” Nigel took a deep breath, feeling a bit more like himself. He tapped a red folder on the desk. “These are the photos you wanted.”

Nodding, Miranda picked up the folder and opened it. She was mildly surprised at the photos inside. Who knew there were so many beautiful police detectives in the city?

She chuckled at herself, as soon as the issue of Runway hit the stands, everyone would.

Glancing up from the folder contents she realized everyone was still standing around her desk. She waved Nigel and Serena away. “Go to work!”

They nodded and escaped quickly, Serena did glance in sympathy at Emily. Serena got to leave, but the redhead still had to remain in attendance to Miranda.

Emily, give Andrea the invitations to hand address.” She blinked and knowing full well the answer, asked. “Do you have Demarchelier?”

In mid nod in acknowledgment of giving Andrea the invitations, Emily gasped and nearly sprinted to her desk, dialing quickly. To her relief the ringing in her ear was answered quickly and she called to Miranda, “I have Patrick.”

Miranda winked at Andrea and reached for the phone.

Rolling her eyes, Andy laughed and went to get the invitations from Emily.


Andy stood in front of Emily's desk, waiting for the woman to retrieve the unaddressed invitations from the locked filing cabinet.

Emily waited until she sat back down before she handed the large envelope full of the invitations up to her former co-worker. “Twenty unaddressed invitations just as Miranda ordered.”

Thanks.” Andy took the envelope. She saw Emily open her mouth and close it and knew that the redhead wanted to say something. She really should give Emily the opportunity to speak her mind, whatever it was. Andy knew she owed the woman that much. “You have something to say?”

Emily responded immediately, “Yes,” There was a pause then she sighed, “No...”

Dark eyes studied the seated woman for several minutes, long enough to make Emily begin to squirm. Bethany returned and delivered Miranda's coffee. When the short woman was settled back behind her desk, Andy stuck her head back in Miranda's office for a moment. “I'm gonna grab Emily for a while...” She smiled as Miranda looked up with her eyebrows raised. “I want to talk to her about the girls' party.”

Miranda nodded, “Of course, Bethany can man the phones for a while.” She reminded her fiancee, “We need to leave in forty-five minutes in order to be home for the girls.”

Yep, we'll be back before then.” Andy blew a kiss to the editor and walked out of the office, gesturing to Emily as she went. “C'mon... I'll buy you a diet coke.”


Emily followed Andy all the way downstairs but stopped short when she realized where the brunette was leading her. “The cafeteria? Do you actually intend to eat?”

No,” Andy went directly to the beverage cooler grabbing a bottled smoothie for herself. “What do you want?”

Rolling her eyes, Emily grabbed a bottle of water. She didn't protest when Andy paid for their drinks and they found an out of the way table to sit and talk, even though it was between the mid-morning break and lunch and the cafeteria was empty. “What is all this about?”

I wanted to know how the girls' party plans are coming along.”

Bollocks...” Emily scoffed. “You could have asked me that upstairs.”

Andy nodded. “Yes, but it also looked like you had something to say.” Dark eyes glittered as she took a sip of her smoothie. “So, do you have something to say?” Andy exhaled softly at the woman's stubborn silence. “I'm sorry that you don't like me...”

It's not...” Emily shook her head, “It's not that I dislike you Andrea.”


No...” Emily admitted. “I don't like what you're doing... to her.” She shuddered as Andy's expression began to darken. “Not that! God, I don't even want to think about, that! I mean,” she sighed, “I mean, you... this...” she glanced at the ring on Andy's finger, “It's changing her...”

Put her back the way you found her...” Andy whispered, almost to herself... then shook the memory out of her head and spoke louder, “That's what you told me, 'Put her back the way you found her.'”

Only you didn't.” Emily accused. “You changed her even more.”

I didn't.” Andy tried to defend herself, tried to explain. “This is the person she always was, Em. She just couldn't show it.”

Emily glanced around the empty cafeteria, then back at Andrea. “But she shouldn't, don't you understand? She can't be all soft... joking, playing pranks at the office?... it's not right.. it's not... Miranda!”

Andy nodded, “It's not the Miranda you know.”

That's the point!” Emily squeezed the bottle in her hands, “No one should know this Miranda! No one at work anyway.” She tried to make Andy understand. “This Miranda should be reserved for her family, for home.”

You can't ask her to do that, Em.” Andy shook her head against the thought, “She spends too much time here, too much time as the Dragon Lady messes with her head. You can't ask that of her.”

So now you don't want her to be the Dragon Lady? Even though you gave her...” Emily pressed her lips together, unwilling to say any more.

Ah... so it is the ring that's bothering her. “She said it was, perfect.” Andy watched her former co-worker closely. “I have to acknowledge that part of her Em, I have to make her understand that I love her, all of her, not just the fun, loving parts but the Dragon part too.”

Emily blinked, unable to associate the words fun and loving with Miranda Priestly.

She's been hurt too many times... I have to make her understand that I'm not going to hurt her.” Andy swallowed hard, “I'm not going to leave her.”

What if you do?”

I won't!” Andy shook her head in denial and promised herself, Emily and the absent Miranda. “I won't ever leave her, again.”

I don't know how you did it.” Emily's voice was soft, almost awed. “How could you just walk away like that?”

She gave me the choice.” Andy closed her eyes remembering the events like it was yesterday, “It nearly killed me.”

In an uncharacteristic show of sympathy, Emily reached out and grasped Andrea's forearm, “Her too.”

Andy's throat closed around her words for a long moment, she nodded and patted the hand on her arm as Emily released her hold. “Thanks, Em.” She could see that all this mushy stuff was beginning to wear on the normally taciturn woman. “So, how are the party plans going?”

Accepting the change of subject, Emily answered almost too cheerfully, “Oh... I think the girls are going to like it.” Emily pulled several sheets of paper out of her ever present messenger bag. “Look at this.”

Andy took the pages, her eyes widened as she read it. “Top Chef?”

They're going to begin filming another season, the party falls at a perfect time,” Emily nodded and pointed to the page. “Keep reading.”

Oh!...” Dark eyes sparkled as she realized what the contract meant and spoke slowly, “They're gonna love this!”

I hope so.” Emily was only somewhat worried but still that was enough, “I don't want to let Miranda down.”

You won't, Em.” She smiled at the redhead, “Miranda has faith in you.”

Well that's just the problem isn't it?! Emily thought then merely nodded and wrapped her arms around herself tightly, What if I do?

To be continued