Disclaimer: You know the drill. Own nothing regarding DWP. Zip.
Summary: Two and a half years after Paris when a Andy left, Miranda is making changes. One of her decisions take her right in Andy's path. Will they let their guards down or resort to old ways of secret passion?
The Manhattan View
A MirAndy fanfiction short story
By Gun Brooke
There was something eerie about the empty rooms. Miranda gazed one last time at the beautiful stairwell and the long, narrow hallway. So many times she'd paced it, waiting for the Book, and, who was she trying to kid, waiting for her. She could easily distinguish between the nameless clackers and her footsteps, no matter which designer clad their feet. She had walked with a slight hesitation when she put her heel down; something any clacker with the least bit pride would work out of their system. Such things meant nothing to her. She'd worn Prada, Louboutin, Blahnik and Jimmy Choo, because it was required at work. Now…Miranda wondered what Andrea wore now.
"Mom? Our driver's here. Roy's waiting for you." Caroline stood in the doorway, holding her collar up against the cold January wind.
"I'm coming, Bobbsey." Miranda spoke absentmindedly, but wrapped her arm tenderly around her girl. "Just a last look."
"I'll miss this place. We were happy here, weren't we?" Caroline squeezed her mother back.
"Yes." This was partially true. Miranda remembered the two divorces, of course, but then there was her secret. The pain and the joy she'd gone through after the last divorce had had very little to do with Stephen Tomlinson, and all to do with a young woman half her age. She could conjure up the memory of dark amber eyes and chocolate brown hair with straight bangs, anytime. In the beginning, the images had haunted her day and night when she last expected it. When she'd mentioned this to her therapist—sort of in passing—Dr. Levander had actually suggested Miranda's experiences sounded a lot like PTSD. This was of course ridiculous, and made Andrea out to be much more important than Miranda was ready to give her credit for. At least then. Now, two years later, Miranda knew Dr. Levander hadn't been completely wrong.
"Are you going to be all right in the penthouse when Cassie and I are in Europe with Dad?" Caroline frowned and sucked her lower lip in between her teeth. Cassidy called this 'Caro's worry-tell'.
"I'm going to be fine. I'll have a great time scaring the decorators and designers so they make the place into something beautiful for you girls to return to. Just think, you'll be a lot closer to Dalton when you start your last year in middle school."
"Yes, that'll be awesome, especially for Cassie."
Miranda chuckled. "She does like to sleep in these days." Unlike her and Caroline who were always up at 7.30 am even on weekends.
"And you? What will you do?" Caroline asked her questions lightly, but with obvious caution. So far, only her children were allowed to address this issue.
"As I said, I'm going to be busy with the penthouse. I'm also in contact with a major publisher."
"You're going to write your memoirs?" Caroline gaped. "Mom?"
"Perhaps, one day. No, right now, they've made me an offer to work as an editor for their fashion and beauty book section."
Caroline brightened. "That sounds perfect for you."
It did. On paper it sounded brilliant. A step down in a way, which Miranda knew was negotiable, but also a less stressful job. Could an adrenaline junkie like her be satisfied reading and editing books? The pace might actually drive her insane.
"Oh boy, mom. I think Roy's double parked. Time to go."
Miranda cast one last glance at the townhouse which had been her home the last sixteen years. Yes, it was time to go.
The foyer was quite luxurious with marble, white leather furniture, and glass tables. Fluffy, white area rugs made the first impression less clinical and cozier, Miranda had to concede.
"Ms. Priestly. I'm Harold Spencer. Welcome." A tall, skinny man in his late fifties approached her with his hand extended.
"Miranda, please." She turned on her high wattage smile and saw it had the desired effect. "I was under the impression that I would be meeting Ms. Davis."
"Oh, she'll be there as well. As the president of Spencer Publishing, I thought it prudent to greet you myself."
If this was meant to flatter her, it was half working. For the president to greet her was his way of showing he regarded her as his peers, at least unofficially. She did have a lot of power to wield and a multitude of favors to call in. Spencer was a fool if he didn't recognize this. Miranda on the other hand found it rather amusing to be interviewed rather than headhunted.
The conference room was equally stylish, which was reassuring. Despite being chaotic at times, Runway had been aesthetically pleasing most of the time. She missed the layout of her office as much as she missed her townhouse. Perhaps she could recreate her office in this building?
"Miranda, I think you know everyone?" Spencer pulled out a chair for her, but she merely took it out of his hands and sat down. This wasn't a restaurant.
Spencer seemed to recognize his faux pas and adjusted his tie before he sat down.
"I do. Nice to meet you again, Corrine."
"Corrie, please." Corrine Davis, short, stocky and with intelligent blue eyes, smiled at her. "We're actually waiting for another of our editors. I thought she could help answer any of your questions as she's a junior editor and would be working closely with you. Andy has quickly become one of my most cherished editors and it has a lot to do with the fact that the writers adore her.
'Andy'? Miranda's hands twitched and she hid them under the table, clasping them. How ridiculous of her. More than a million people worked in Manhattan. How many Andys were among them? "And this Andy is normally tardy?" Miranda let her fangs show.
"No, hardly ever," Corrine gushed. "Andy's very dependable."
"I think Miranda knows my work ethic better than anyone." A tall brunette with short, pixie cut hair rounded the table and extended her hand. "And unless I'm mistaken, she prefers to call me Andrea."
"Hello, Andrea. You're quite right about the name. Regarding your work ethics, the jury's still out on that one." Miranda had to order every single cell in her body to battle stations to not let her inner reaction show as she shook Andrea's hand.
"Aw, it's been two years. And you did give me that brilliant letter of recommendation."
"You didn't last long at The Mirror?"
Andrea took off her jacket and hung it on a chair before she sat down. She was thinner than Miranda remembered. "It wasn't…what I'd hoped it would be." A dark shadow ghosted over her face. "I fit better here. In fact, I love it."
So, Andrea had run into something which disillusioned her at the Mirror? Miranda made a mental note about finding out exactly what.
Spencer seemed to catch on to some underlying currents because he went off on a long tangent about the work, the goals for the fashion and beauty section. Miranda listened, but she didn't take her eyes off Andrea, who in turn met Miranda's gaze head on. Somehow this reminded Miranda of their very first meeting when Andrea had not known who Miranda was, and had talked back to her quite fearlessly. Now, the young woman even had the audacity to raise an inquisitive eyebrow at Miranda as if saying 'your move, Miranda Priestly.'
"I would imagine you'd like Corrie and Andy to take you on a tour around the offices—"
"No." Miranda interrupted Spencer without raising her voice. She waved her hand dismissively. "I have all the information I need. I want the job, but I have some stipulations that I want to go over with you alone, Spencer. If you can't meet these conditions…" She shrugged. "Well."
Spencer looked intrigued and intimidated at the same time, which was what Miranda was used to. And how she preferred to affect people. She stood and placed her purse over her shoulder. "Your office, Harold?"
"After you." Spencer gestured toward the glass doors. "I'm sure we'll work things out."
Miranda glanced one last time at Andrea who now looked slightly bemused.
"I hope so."
Andy knew Miranda would get her way. After having worked for her for almost a year, she had never seen the woman back down even once. The only damn triumph Andy had scored was getting her hands on the unpublished Harry Potter manuscript. That was still a sweet moment in her mind. Now, more than two years later, here she was working for Miranda again, albeit not as her assistant. She saw the poor soul Miranda had hired to run her office scurry for Starbucks every day five days in a row. It was time to act.
On the Monday after a weekend of doing research which machine was the best, Andy carried a large box containing a state of the art espresso machine with milk frothing capabilities. She had ten packages of Starbucks coffee, both espresso and regular.
"Tiffany?" Andy stuck her head into the outer office. "Got a moment?"
"Not really, Andy. Miranda is going to be here in less than ten minutes and I have to run. My stockings broke and—"
"I got you covered." Andy pulled the young woman up from her chair. "You do know we have a small kitchen up here, right?"
"Not really," Tiffany said weakly as she stumbled next to Andy. She was even worse than her walking in heels.
"Well, we do. And now we have this. Ta-da!" Andy pulled a towel from the espresso machine like a magician on stage. "Now we can all have good coffee and you don't have to waste more time by doing coffee runs."
"Oh, wow. My aunt has one of those." Tiffany's eyes were wide with joy. "She's showed me how to do, you know, regular stuff like café latte, cappuccino, that sort of thing."
"Then hop to it. I think you'll have it nice and hot in a few minutes and impress Miranda to no end."
"Me? But it's your espresso maker, right?"
"Yeah, yeah, but she doesn't have to know that, does she?" Andy winked. "Better hurry, Tiffany."
Tiffany glanced at the large clock on the wall and actually squeaked. Her hands flew as she prepared the espresso beans, made the coffee shots, double, and steamed the skimmed milk. "No foam," Tiffany muttered as she poured the hot milk over the double espresso. "What do you think?"
"Looks very professional."
The elevator pinged down the hall and Tiffany grabbed the mug and hurried down the corridor.
"What is this?" Andy heard Miranda ask with disdainful voice. "Home brew?"
"It's Starbucks, Miranda. Just like you want it." Tiffany sounded pleading, which made Andy cringe where she hid in the kitchen.
"I don't have to tell you the consequences if I don't like it, do I?"
Oh, hell. What if she had just gotten Tiffany fired? Andy closed her eyes hard.
"It's not atrocious." Miranda spoke quietly. "And since when do we have an espresso machine?"
"Since this morning."
"Hm. Well. Bring me the three manuscripts Andrea have been working on."
Andy made a twirl in the kitchen and then tackled the machine. The café latte turned out pretty good and she hummed in pure delight as she hurried into her office. She didn't know which part was best—making Miranda happy with great coffee or helping a nice woman like Tiffany not buckle under too much pressure. Either way, it was a good idea.
"Andrea. I need to discuss that woman's manuscript with you. If we publish this, Spencer Publishing might as well go belly up and admit defeat."
Andy glanced up from her computer. Since when did Miranda do her own errands? Sure, Miranda's corner office was only four doors down the hall, but the old Miranda would've sent Andy to get something that was just across the desk, let alone across the corridor.
"Come in and have a seat," Andy said and waved her hand at her visitor's chair. "I'm almost done with this email."
"Fine." Miranda sauntered, there simply were no better word for how she moved, in to Andy's room and sat down. Crossing her legs, she straightened the hem of her black pinstripe skirt and then she adjusted her bracelets.
Andy crossed her legs as well, simply out of habit she told herself, because there had been a lot of leg-crossing on her part when she worked at Runway. She had never been interested in her own gender that way before she met Miranda and it was her opinion that since her dormant lesbianism had been stirred by the most beautiful, gorgeous, desirable woman on the planet, she was doomed to always compare other women to her. Not to the other women's advantage, to put it mildly.
"There." Andy hit 'send' and then focused on Miranda. "So you also think Antoinette Armante's photos and captions are a bit over the top?"
Miranda looked surprised for a tenth of a second and then smiled. "Exactly. How this woman reasons is beyond me. The lack of insight is one thing, but to bring forward three new designers whose only merit is to have been on Project Runway two seasons ago…it's preposterous. If they don't deliver, this Antoinette person is going to look like the idiot she is and drag this whole department with her. As the very first book that will go out with my name as chief editor…I'm prepared to put it to pasture for years rather than publish a book that makes it look like I slept all those years at Runway." Something in Miranda's voice made Andy sit up straighter.
"Do you miss it a lot?" Andy asked softly. She knew she was skating on thin ice.
"Miss it?" Her voice sharp, Miranda looked steadily at Andy for a few moments. Then she stood and walked over to the window. "Every day."
"None. It was time."
Andy stood and closed the door. "I heard you moved."
"You heard correctly. Why did you close the door? Am I to be interrogated for an extended period of time?" Despite the sarcastic words, Miranda's voice was soft, even curious.
"I set the Do Not Disturb light to red." Andy rather liked the system of red-yellow-and-green lights outside the office doors. When she was reading a manuscript, she hated to have people just poke their heads in about pretty much nothing in particular. Now, she didn't want anyone to poke their head in unless their hair was on fire.
"You moved too. I heard." Miranda's cheeks turned pink.
"I did. I found a smaller, but nicer, studio. Actually cheaper, which was good as my then boyfriend left for Boston before we got back from Paris."
"I see." Miranda's eyes had become softer and she slowly sat down again. "So, a single woman in Manhattan. The world should be your oyster."
Smiling, Andy shook her head. "I don't know about that, exactly. I work hard, go home, hit the gym or run in the park, and then work some more on my couch before I go to bed. Probably sounds totally boring, but I like my life." Especially now when she had Miranda's full attention and she wasn't getting her head bit off.
"So you bought an espresso maker." Miranda chuckled. "You meant for me to think it was Tiffany's idea."
"How on earth did you figure that out?" Andy gaped.
"You sound surprised. I must really seem like I'm losing my edge." Miranda shrugged, but her glittering eyes were locked on Andy. "You forget I came to know you pretty well from a certain point of view. You have changed in many ways, personally and professionally, but that kind heart of yours is still hard at work."
Kind heart? Now this was surreal. "It was a win-win situation with the espresso maker."
"I've made sure you're reimbursed. Those things aren't cheap. There will be a bonus for you this month."
Shocked and a bit appalled, Andy stood. "No, Miranda, that's not why I—it was a gift, sort of and—"
"Don't be ridiculous. We all use it. We all benefit and save time. You do not need to pay out of your own pocket." Miranda's voice was now a low murmur and for some reason, this made Andy's eyes burn.
"Did I truly upset you now?" Miranda raised her eyebrows.
"No. No, of course not. I—To be honest, you've never spoken with me like this before and there were times when that would have made my whole day, no, week…" Andy shrugged. "I don't mean to make you uncomfortable, but that's the truth."
"You were always so honest, if you disregard the times you wanted to call me a bitch and didn't. " Miranda placed both elbows on the desk and leaned closer.
"I never referred to you as a bitch—not to anyone!"
"Really? You must've been on of very few." Miranda began to play with a row of connected paperclips.
"Maybe." Andy sat down again. "Anyway, I can't say I've missed Runway." She crossed her legs again. Hard. "I have missed you though."
"I find that hard to believe."
"We were hardly on the best of terms when you left. And I'm not easy to work with. I know the effect I can have on people."
"Then you must've forgotten the times when we worked really well together." Or the times when their hands have accidentally met, or their eyes had gotten stuck when looking at each other.
"No." Miranda spoke slowly. "I haven't forgotten, and I do miss it, the cautious flirtation and the way we responded to whisper - light touching in passing."
A big hole ought to swallow Andy up right this minute. Not in a million years had she expected Miranda to admit to the attention they'd given each other. Never. Andy was at a loss for words.
"Oh, my. I seem to have stolen your breath." Miranda smiled. A real smile.
"Pretty much." Andy gasped, which made Miranda chuckle, she too sounding out of breath.
"So did you?" Andy dared to ask.
"Did I what?" Miranda raised a teasing eyebrow.
"Did you miss me?"
Miranda hesitated and for a brief moment Andy wondered if she would answer at all. Then Miranda simply nodded. "Every day."
Andy's heart picked up speed. "Is it nice, your new place?"
"What?" A new frown showed Miranda was confused.
"Bear with me. I'm trying to work up enough courage to invite myself there. You know, to see the Manhattan view."
This made Miranda smile broadly. "The nerve." She stood and rounded the desk. "You don't have to work up any courage or invent any reasons. You're welcome to my penthouse anytime."
Andy stood quickly, and not entirely steady, to be on the same level as Miranda whose perfume engulfed her completely by now. "God, you smell so good." Did she really say that out loud? Could such things still get her fired? She was dizzy now, for real.
"As do you." Miranda took Andy by the shoulders and merely held her hands there. "You're beautiful. The pant-suit style suits you. I can see that outfit with a leather jacket as well."
"I take your word for it." Swaying a little, Andy felt Miranda steady her. "You really missed me? Not just assistant-me, but me-me?"
"I've really missed you-you." Miranda slipped her arms around Andy's waist. "So much, I'm prepared to risk being accused of fraternization." She held Andy close and kissed her cheek. Her lips, so soft and gentle, were too close now for Andy not to leap. She turned her head as Miranda was about to kiss her cheek again and captured her mouth. Gently, tenderly, she kissed Miranda who, miracles of miracles, kissed her back.
As it turns out, Andrea doesn't use heels anymore. Miranda has tried to make Andy branch out, but she claims her ankle boots are as stylish as Miranda's pumps. They are made by the same designer, so she can have a point. att least they're better than those godawful Uggs.
Another thing that changed radically is the way Andrea speaks to her. Fearless, yes, she was always fearless, but now she talks to Miranda like an equal, unapologetic and strong. Andrea is also the kindest person on the planet, of this Miranda is certain.
Miranda can add many adjectives regarding Andrea. Sweet, sexy, fun, clever, smart, sexy, ambitious, fair, sexy…Miranda chuckles to herself where she sits by the fireplace in her penthouse and watches Andrea put more logs on. She is dressed in only her dress shirt and her pale skin looks golden in the flickering light from the fire.
"You have that look again," Andrea said and crawls closer on all four. Miranda is also on the floor, her back against the seat of the couch. "What I wouldn't give to be able to read your mind when you look at me like that."
"And how, pray tell, do I look at you, darling?" Miranda ran her fingers through Andrea's short hair, loving the silky texture.
"Like you want to devour me."
"Then you do know how to read my mind," Miranda says, laughing softly. "That wasn't so hard, was it?"
"Hm. I think there's more to it, but for now, I'll settle for devouring." Andrea pulls off her shirt and her entire, naked glory is bathed in the golden light.
Miranda knows what Andrea means and soon she will tell this wondrous young woman just how much she loves her.
For now, devouring her yet again will be enough.