Disclaimer: I do not own a single thing regarding The Devil Wears Prada. I do take ownership of the plotline.
Rating: NC-17 – I kid you not
Summary: Andy's mother corners her over the phone. Miranda overhears the mentioning of her name during the heated argument and demands an explanation. Andy knows she can't tell Miranda the truth about her feelings—or can she?
A/N: The story is finished (promised myself I would not put up anything that wasn't written in its entirety.) and just need editing before the rest of it goes up tomorrow (Nov 12.)
A MirAndy short story
By Gun Brooke
"But mom..." Andy hissed into her personal cell phone, hoping nobody would overhear.
"Your father and I have decided to finally stop enabling your unhealthy lifestyle."
Unhealthy lifestyle? Andy stared at the small fridge opposite of her, not aware of what she was looking at. She was busy hiding in the small kitchenette in Runway's office, trying to appease her mother. On her lunch break, she was still completely stressed out that her mother would call her at work. Andy supposed after avoiding her parents for more than two weeks, she owed them to pick up the phone. She'd thought the conversation would be quick and had forfeited eating to just be done with their usual tirade. "I'm not sure what you think I do that's unhealthy, mom."
"Working as a—a—a second rate gopher when you could've gone to Stanford!" Her mother spat the words, her frustration obvious. "And fetching coffee and scarves. Doing a job a trained monkey could do when you were supposed to write. What were you thinking Andy? The least you could've done was to get a job at a magazine that doesn't demean women? That woman does nothing but induce bulimia and anorexia. She promotes shallowness and young girls grow up thinking as long as they resemble their favorite Barbie-doll—"
"Stop it." Furious now and her eyes brimming with tears, Andy raised her voice. "You clearly haven't read one single article that Runway publishes. Not to mention I do a hell of a lot more than fetch coffee. You never want to know what I really do here. Whenever Runway is the topic of discussion, you start yelling at me and you never listen."
"Listen? Well, listen to yourself speaking like that to me. She's brainwashed you." Her mother laughed joylessly. "I'd put your father on the phone, but he's so upset and worried, he can't talk."
"He's a freaking lawyer and he can't talk to his own daughter? And tell me again, please, how you are enabling me in my unhealthy lifestyle. I'd like to know this."
"You know very well we've put money in your account every month since Nate left you."
Left her? Oh, great. In her parents' mind she was clearly not only the one to blame, but damaged goods since Nate left her. "You make it sound like there's something wrong with me. Actually, we broke up. He moved to Boston. He's very happy there, dating some chef and last I heard they were going to move in together." Andy drew a deep breath. "Besides, if you'd checked your account, you'd see that I keep refunding the money you send. I'm making do here." Manhattan was hideously expensive and Runway didn't exactly pay well, but she wasn't going to let her mother know one of the reasons she came to be almost a size two was surviving on noodle soup, yoghurt and hard bread.
"There's nothing wrong with you. Not really. Nothing that can't be fixed." Her mother sounded calmer, but Andy bit her lip so hard, she could taste the blood. The hurtful words pierced the armor around her heart she erected every time she spoke to her parents these days. "Even the situation with Nate can be rectified if you explain to him you're quitting that god awful job—"
"Again, you're not listening." Her voice barely audible now, as it was hard to swallow past whatever lump obstructed her airways. He's with someone else. We broke up. I'm not quitting. And you haven't answered all of my question."
"What do you mean?"
"My unhealthy lifestyle. It can't be about my job. A job is a job. You said lifestyle."
Her mother cleared her throat. "This is embarrassing and I shouldn't have to point it out, Andy. You know what I mean. Your infatuation with your boss. Your female, twice-your-age, boss. She obviously isn't above taking advantage of a young girl's hero worship and use her any way she sees fit."
Andy gaped. She couldn't speak for a few moments; merely blink at the persistent tears. "I can't believe you said that," she finally managed. "Why would you say that? About Miranda of all people! You make her sound predatory and…and…"
"As I said. It's unhealthy. We've seen this develop, your father and I, and it worried us so much. Still, we hoped you'd get over it. We were sure it was a phase. That you'd see sense."
Andy jerked and stared in horror at Miranda Priestly, her boss, the woman her mother thought she had an unhealthy attachment to. "M-Miranda?"
"She's there?" Andy's mother hissed.
"What's going on? We can hear you all the way to the elevators." Miranda looked back and forth between Andy's tearstained face and the trembling hand clutching the phone.
"I'm sorry, Miranda. It's a private call. I'll end it—"
"She can't decide if you can speak to your parents or not," her mother yelled. "Don't listen to her. Just—walk—away."
"Why are you crying?" Miranda said, her voice low and impossibly soft.
"I'm not—I'm not—" Andy wiped quickly at the telltale signs on her cheeks. She wished she could just disappear. Sink through the floor down to Auto Universe's offices, or something.
"She made you cry?" her mother asked.
"No," Andy said, pressing the cell closer to her ear. "You did, Mom." At least her mother couldn't blame these tears on Miranda. Granted, Andy had shed tears over the unrequited, hopeless love she felt for the woman standing before her, but that was different. Those tears were from a foolish, ever-hopeful heart. These tears were those of a betrayed child knowing she may never be able to trust in unconditional love from her parents ever again.
"It's your inner voice telling you I'm right," Andy's mother insisted. "You know I'm right when I tell her you need to leave Runway, New York, and most of all, forget all about that woman!"
"I have to go, Mom. We need to let some time pass before we talk again, all right? I have a lot to think about. Really. You've made your point and now I have a lot to…to consider."
"Oh, thank God," her mother gushed, suddenly sounding cheerful and relieved. Clearly she thought she was winning Andy over. "You'll see things, and her, for what they are. That's my girl. Now, take care of yourself, honey." A click proved the call had ended. Andy tucked her phone into the pocket of her slacks.
"I'm sorry," she murmured. "I'm on my break, but I didn't mean for any of that to be loud." She moved as if to pass Miranda when her boss shocked her by stepping into her path.
"Not so fast," Miranda said. "From what I heard, what we all heard, your mother thinks this environment is unhealthy for you?" She tapped her lower lip with her index finger.
Andy wanted to howl. How much had Miranda overheard? She couldn't care less about the rest of her co-workers, only what Miranda thought. "She's, uhm, she worries for me. Big city and all." She hoped Miranda would accept that half assed explanation.
"Unhealthy." Miranda seemed as hung up on the word as Andy had been. "And predatory? Disturbing words and both of them in the same sentence as my name." The low growl in her voice was barely there, but evident to Andy who knew all the nuances of the woman before her.
"My mother has many things wrong. Particularly…mainly, about you. I'm sorry." Oh, God, she was going to be fired. Andy just knew it. She had repeated what her mother said, stupidly unaware of how far her voice carried. Had she said 'predatory' out loud? Really?
"I would agree, but I also need to know what prompted her to use those particular words when she talked to you, about me."
Damn. Oh, fuck. Andy knew she was finished. Done. Runway would soon be a memory and the memory of Miranda a never-healing scar. Talk about unhealthy. "Can't we just forget about my mother calling me at work and chalk it up to her being a bit…exaggerating?" Andy looked imploringly at Miranda who in turn tilted her head just so.
"No. This is a discussion that must take place. That said, Runway's kitchenette is not the right locale for it even if I'm sure the rest of the office staff is dying to learn more. Deliver the book tonight. The twins are at a slumber party. The townhouse will protect our privacy."
And that way she can throttle me and dispose of my body without anyone knowing... Andy wanted to object. She wanted to tell Miranda it was Emily's week to deliver the book. She should lie and say she had plans as today was Friday, but no—of course she didn't. Andy knew what she had to say. Facing the regal woman before her and refusing to look away, she said: "Yes, Miranda."
Miranda looked down at her restless hands in dismay. She never fidgeted. In fact, she had very few ticks or tells, having perfected her poker face after so many years at her level in the publishing industry. Sure, she used her voice, her over-the-glasses glances, and the way she rubbed the frames of those glasses, or her index finger, across her lower lip. Such habits had proved useful to instill fear in people. Or at least uncertainty or an onset of nerves.
Thinking of Andrea, she started pulling at her fingers again. This was really one of Andrea's ticks. Whenever she was ill at ease, or nervous, Andrea tugged at her fingers and shook them. Had she carried this young woman in her mind and heart for so long now, she'd taken over her habits as well? Miranda huffed at herself. That was beyond ridiculous.
Glancing at the clock on the wall, she realized Andrea would arrive with the Book and the dry cleaning, at any moment. Was she ready to interrogate Andrea further? Surely, no matter what the young woman said, it would be some sort of excuse, or explanation, which would only bring Miranda heartache.
For the eighteen months Andrea had worked for her, Miranda had struggled with puzzling emotions that just wouldn't be eradicated no matter how she tried. She deemed them ridiculous, pathetic, and certainly ill advised, but that didn't matter to her irrational heart. Not to mention her treacherous body. Eventually, all it took was for Andrea to enter a room for Miranda's arousal to kick in. She even had to stop wearing the web thin La Perla thongs as she kept ruining them beyond measure.
Miranda grabbed her glass of Merlot, sipping it. She thought of the first time she'd had to actually masturbate at the office to make it through an afternoon of important meetings. Andrea had spent a good ten minutes hovering over Miranda's shoulder, pointing things out on the computer and in the folder before them. Her scent, something plebeian like vanilla and citrus, permeated the air and when Andrea's long hair caressed Miranda's cheek and shoulder for the umpteenth time, Miranda stood so fast, she nearly clocked her assistant on the chin. Murmuring a half-hearted apology, she hurried to her personal restroom, locking the door behind her with trembling hands.
She had tried cold water first. Dabbing it on her neck and her wrists, her pulse points, she stared at her glowing face in the mirror. It was as if she saw another Miranda. An alternate universe version of herself; someone with burning eyes, half open mouth, and heaving breasts.
In her mind, when imagining how Andrea brushed against her at her desk, she easily pictured herself turning her head and pressing her greedy lips against Andrea's neck. Undecided if she then would nibble her way up to that delicate earlobe, or suck hard enough at the skin to leave her mark, Miranda struggled to maintain her self-control. It quickly eluded her as her one-track-brain saw only Andrea.
The way she'd brushed against Miranda's shoulder, chuckling nervously at a silly typo someone else had made. How her breath caressed Miranda's cheek like a foreshadowing of what Andrea's lips could feel like.
Miranda gripped the sink before her and pressed against it. The edge hit against her pubic bone, stoking the fire inside her belly. Appalled at herself, Miranda rubbed against the sink, desperate for relief. Her thighs trembled and when the blunt pressure wasn't enough, she pulled her skirt up, knowing she had to supply a more direct touch.
Her La Perla panties were indeed soaked. They might as well not have been there, judging from how intensely her own touch felt. How would it feel if it was Andrea who stood behind her, hiking Miranda's skirt up and pushing her fingers in where they belonged, perhaps even from behind…?
Miranda stared at herself in the mirror as the orgasm she needed so desperately began to build. The idea of Andrea having her way with her in the Runway executive restroom was all it took. Rocking against her fingers, Miranda pressed hard against her clitoris, coaxing it to surrender. And surrender it did. Miranda almost fell to the floor as the lightning bolts shot through her. She had to bite the knuckles of her free hand not to scream.
Out of breath, and annoyed at how vivid this particular memory was, Miranda forced her mind back to the present. She sipped more of her wine and glanced at the clock. Any moment now.
Andy hung the dry cleaning and as much as she'd rather place the book on the usual table, she knew it wouldn't fly. Grabbing the large binder, she glanced into the house, trying to judge where Miranda was.
"I'm upstairs, Andrea," Miranda's cool voice stated.
Ah, she was in her study. Andy walked up the stairs. She'd only gone up once before, which nearly got her fired. The rascal twins had tricked her into delivering the Book directly to Miranda and Andy had ended up witnessing her boss arguing with her then husband. Or, as it were, the husband hissing at his wife, as Miranda tried to explain and appease him. Andy always believed Miranda's idea to send her on an impossible mission to obtain the unpublished Harry Potter manuscript stemmed from fury and humiliation. For her second assistant to see this side of the dragon lady sure had set Miranda off. And still, was this what Miranda wanted Andy to do now? Explain and appease? Crawl in the dust and beg not to be fired? Part of Andy feared there wasn't very much she wouldn't do to remain in Miranda's presence. She didn't like that about herself a whole lot, but it was the truth.
The corridor was fairly dark; the only light came from the room to the far left. Andy wasn't sure about the layout, but she had a general idea. The study was right by the stairs and the room at the far end had to be one of the bedrooms.
"Shit," Andy whispered to herself. "Shit, shit, shit."
"Such language," Miranda said calmly, from the doorway, illuminated from behind. This meant her face was in the shadows, unreadable. "Come on. In here."
Miranda's bedroom. Miranda's fucking bedroom. Andy stopped on the threshold, but knew this would irritate Miranda. If they were going to talk civilly with each other, Andy wouldn't get anywhere with an annoyed boss.
"Sit. You like red wine, I believe?" Miranda held up an empty glass toward Andy.
"Oh. Ehm. Yes, thank you." Huh. This was weird. Miranda had set up a tray of cheeses and grapes to compliment the wine. They were having food together in Miranda's bedroom? How was that even possible? Or was it really for someone else, a strapping young lover perhaps, and Miranda just offered Andy the wine to soften her up so she could interrogate her and kick her out before the toy-boy arrived? She harnessed her insane brain before it conjured up even crazier scenarios.
"Sit down. Please." Her voice even softer now, Miranda motioned for Andy to take a seat and followed suit.
Sinking down into the embrace of the soft blue chenille armchair, Andy knew her thoughts were paranoid and ridiculous, but for heaven's sake, she was close to panicking. She desperately wanted to drink a large gulp of the ruby red wine before here, but was certain she would spill it all over the cream colored carpet the way her hands trembled.
"I'm sorry your job and your relationship with me cause friction between you and your mother." Miranda leaned back into the chair and twirled the wine in her glass. Her eyes held a guarded expression, but there was also something else, something that made Andy think Miranda was a bit nervous. And what was that? She was sorry? And what relationship was she talking about? This was nuts. Andy realized she needed to say something.
"Not your fault," she managed huskily. "I have very involved, hands-on parents. A little too hands-on." She laughed unhappily. "Take note, Miranda. Hovering parents aren't that great once the child is an adult. They really aren't."
"Am I wrong when I surmise your mother blames me for any perceived wrongdoing on your part? You can tell me the truth. I honestly couldn't care less what they think of me." Miranda lingeringly crossed her legs and sipped her wine. Her eyes never shifted from Andy's and she, in turn, couldn't have looked away even if she'd wanted to.
"In a sense. My parents have become more and more opposed to my life in New York. Dad to the point where he goes into a rage if we talk about it for more than ten minutes." She blinked against the threatening tears. "It's kind of funny how they used to be against Nate and I living together. When we broke up, they suddenly loved everything about him. They think he left me, when, actually, it was a mutual decision." Grimacing, Andy shrugged. "Sorry. I'm sure this bores you to tears."
"It doesn't." Miranda placed her glass on the small table between them. "What would you say is the major reason why they involve me in your family dispute? And just to be clear, even if I don't care how they regard me, I would never wish to be a wedge between you and your parents." She spoke carefully, enunciating every word with precision.
"I used to complain about the hours and some of the tasks," Andy confessed. "I'd call home and I'd tell them about six am coffee runs and of course, Dad was with me when you tried to get home from Florida during a hurricane. These things have gotten stuck in their memory. They don't want to hear about all the other things I do, how much I've learned because of you and Runway." So Miranda cared about her enough to want her to have a good relationship with her parents? Andy's heart picked up speed and she drew a deep trembling breath.
"I don't think I've had an assistant who hasn't balked at the demands in the beginning. Admittedly, you have exceeded every single one of them in how you anticipate my needs and make my days infinitely easier. That's why I've given you more complex assignments. I hate wasting talent, no matter what my minions at the office think." She smiled wryly. "That said, I don't think that's the only reason your mother criticized your lifestyle. What do you think she meant?"
Andy was still trying to wrap her mind around the "exceeded every single one of them" part and now she wanted to just disappear. Her parents would be thrilled when Miranda fired her for being totally inappropriate. That would solve their problem as she couldn't stay more than a month or so in New York without an income.
"She thinks I'm infatuated with you," Andy murmured, pushing her shoulders up around her ears. "I'm sorry." Oh, God, this was it. Now the dragon would show up, flare her nostrils and breathe her fire until Andy was turned into one of her medium rare steaks. She straightened her back and refused to cower anymore. Go out with a bang, Sachs.
Miranda sat perfectly still, as if she wasn't breathing. A marble statue of perfection, Andy thought, but when she looked closer, she saw fine tremors in Miranda's hands.
"You're sorry. Are you regretful she thinks this or that it's true?" Miranda whispered, her eyes narrowing.
Swallowing against the dryness in her throat, Andy dared to sip from her wine. A stalling tactic of course, but eventually she would have to answer. Should she lie? Try to laugh it off? She berated herself for even thinking about such idiotic options. Miranda would see right through her and this…this moment of shared understanding would be lost and never come back. The idea of never being allowed into this room again, of never sitting down with Miranda like this, began to shatter hear heart. This was one of those moments when she had to go all-in.
"I'm not sorry it's true," Andy said, setting down her glass with remarkably steady hands. "I am sorry it crosses the boundaries of what's appropriate in a workplace. I never meant for you, or anyone else, to know. I can't help how I feel, but it's also up to me to…contain my emotions. You see what I mean? I shouldn't blame mom, but if she hadn't ambushed me like she did, when I was so vulnerable—" Biting down on the last words before she said too much, Andy shrunk back into the chair. She'd already been truthful enough.
"Don't berate yourself. You haven't been inappropriate. In fact, you tried to pull back and it was I who asked you here tonight. What does that tell you?" Miranda shifted in her chair, gripping the armrests harder. Could she really be nervous?
Andy thought fast. Only moments ago, her gut reaction would've suggested Miranda didn't want any witnesses when she chewed her out and then fired her. Not now. Not when Andy could see her red tinted cheeks, the still visible tremors in her hands, and how she virtually squirmed as Andy scrutinized her. "You really wanted to know." Andy tilted her head. "You're…you're not indifferent. To me." Now there was a bold move if there ever was one. If Miranda gave one of her alligator smiles followed by one of her rather nasty snickers, Andy would die. There'd be no need for any fire spewing dragon tricks…she would just shrivel up into a dry husk all by herself and blow away in the wind.
"No. I'm not indifferent." Miranda's voice was husky now, and it was her turn to swallow hard. "This has been going on for a long time. Too long."
"What? What has?" Afraid she had totally missed the point of what Miranda was saying; Andy clasped her hands on her lap.
"This unresolved thing between us. For heaven's sake, if we don't find a solution, I can't even be in the same room with you anymore." Miranda sounded angry, but her eyes shone bright blue. She sucked her lower lip in between her teeth, extending a hand toward Andy. "Come."
Andy blinked. Not quite knowing how, she stood and took three steps over to Miranda's chair. She came close to laugh nervously at how conditioned she was to obeying and accommodating this woman. "Yes, Miranda?" she said, out of breath.
Looking up at her, her head tilted back as she scanned Andy from head to toe, Miranda wetted her lips with the tip of her tongue. She took Andy's left hand in hers, tugging gently at it. "Come."
Was there ever a time when Andy would've questioned such a request? She honestly didn't know. Andy kicked off her three inch pumps and knelt before Miranda.
To be concluded in part 2