Story: Laugh

Author: Elliewrites

Disclaimer: I did not write the Devil Wears Prada and do not make money from any of this.

a/n - This is for the July Ficathon. I am no writer, but I wanted to contribute to this fandom that I love so much. This is my way of saying thank you to all of the wonderful writers who take the time to write the stories that bring me so much joy. As my friend said I "bleed" Mirandy.

a/n2 - To RedCharcoal, the future famous novelist - thanks for helping me survive this. And for putting words in my mouth and possibly a few on the page as well :).

a/n3 - To everybody else - don't blame RedCharcoal. She hasn't seen the final draft. All mistakes are definitely mine!

Laugh

The day I made her laugh, really laugh, marked the first time I lost a piece of my heart to Miranda Priestly. From the very beginning there had been something. Some pull. Some draw. But this was different.

Those few minutes of my life are etched in my memory. When I gaze at her from a distance even now, so many months later, the scene flashes before my eyes and I cannot help but smile. From the look she returns it seems she knows exactly what I'm thinking, but that makes sense. She knows me well. She always knew me, maybe even before I knew myself.

It was after Paris. After the first Paris I should clarify. After I ran back to Miranda with my tail between my legs, prepared to kneel on the ground and beg for mercy if the woman demanded it. She did not. Instead a look and a nod from behind her hotel room door, and within moments it was business as usual. Business as usual that day entailed tears streaming down my face while we went over her schedule. Business as usual that had Miranda setting a glass of water and box of tissues next to me while I recorded every word despite my shaking hands, and pretended not to notice.

But I digress, as it was weeks after that day. It was back in New York as we were off gallivanting around the city, meeting with one designer after the next to explore in depth their collections for the new season. And just before entering the town car after finishing our last appointment my life's course shifted.

It was clumsiness, foot in mouth disease, and anger combined when I verifiably tackled and subsequently insulted Fabian DeLauter, an arrogant and sexist designer whose work was stellar and nothing like his personality. My fuse was short having endured an hour in his presence, and frankly I had little regret directly following the incident. If it wasn't for his blatant flirting and unwelcomed grabbing I would have never tripped in the first place while trying to remain out of his reach.

My temper flared and some sort of murderous rage consumed me that this imbecile thought he could paw me at his will, and embarrass me in front of the one person that mattered. I was livid. After landing on top of the misogynist who seemed to enjoy the experience, he continued to laugh. I continued to fume.

After standing up, my mouth separated itself from my brain. Every carefully guarded insult I had compiled from two years of dealing with these chauvinist bastards flowed freely, aimed at the cringing male beneath me. His colleagues and Miranda were forced to witness the scene as it happened so quickly, yet every one of them failed to intervene. And Fabian, then left to his own devices, tried to laugh it off, as I stomped away not caring to look back at our audience. It wasn't until I sat myself in the town car and was met with foreboding silence from Miranda who followed that the anger turned to fear.

I feared for my life or at least my career after having Miranda bear witness to my ineptitude to manage such a situation with tact and poise as she would have. Seconds seemed like minutes as I stole a peek at the woman beside me, only imagining the string of insults she was preparing. But as my eyes met hers and her lip twitched, a suggestion of a smile made itself known and I was relieved to realize my life was no longer in jeopardy. It was only my heart.

That was the day Miranda let her guard down. The twitch of her lip, flare of her nostrils, and softening of her eyes in the returned glance she gave me sent a wave of elation deep into my soul. I was overcome with relief. Laughter threatened to follow. Surprisingly, it was not my laughter I heard next but a real laugh from the woman to my right. And laugh she did.

Fighting at first to hold it in, tears streamed from her eyes which she covered with her hands. I could only stare and swoon while she relayed the tale to me in short bursts, noting the bastard finally got what he deserved and that she was so glad that her assistant had yet to master heels. After recovering from the shock of it all, I joined in, my hand daring a gentle push on her shoulder to punish her for making fun of me. We both paused at the contact, a simple touch so foreign between us. It was electric, as if she noticed the jolt too. Desperate to live in that moment forever, I forced myself to snap out of my silent reverie and smile, causing both of our laughter to begin again.

That day was an awakening of sorts. It was a rude awakening as I, a mere mortal, had fallen for a goddess. I hardly dared to dream that Miranda Priestly could one day see me as desirable, let alone an equal. But my heart failed to see the problem, and continued on its quest for its match. The quest ended the second time I made Miranda laugh.

Yet again my clumsiness tripped me up, literally. This day foot-in-mouth disease was absent, but foot in dry cleaning was very present. A slide of a key and step into a house later, and next thing I knew the dry cleaning and I landed Miranda's arms, literally. Once again my brain separated itself from my body and my ever defiant heart took over. That was our first kiss and when it ended and I finally fell to the ground Miranda laughed at me once again. That laugh was short lived. I summoned every bit of courage I had, and pulled her right down to the ground with me, dry cleaning and all. That halted all laughter until very much later in the evening.

That first kiss was months ago. Seven months to be exact. Seven months of discovery about who I am and who I want to be. Miranda knows me. She knows who I am and she wants to know the woman I will become. And I know her. It still amazes me that I am allowed that privilege to know her completely. I know when she's sad, and I know what makes her happy. And after a long time coming, I believe that I am part of her happiness. The joy that brings me is greater than any emotion I was capable of before Miranda came into my life.

We thrive on each other. Had someone told me a year ago that Miranda would be my best friend and confidant I would have laughed at them. But she is. I have never laughed before like we do when we're together. I have never loved before like I do with her in my life.

Miranda inspires me. She empowers me. She makes me feel as if the world is at my fingertips for the taking, and all she wants in return is to be a part of it. When the work day ends our roles reverse. While during the day Miranda is the focus, the evenings prove the opposite.

My girlfriend is more giving than I could have ever hoped. We have shared endless conversations where she imparts her guidance and advice, helping to define a career path to reach my goals. She wishes to exert her influence as well, but for now I have decided to go it alone. She respects my decision, even though she disagrees with it. But her main concern is my happiness. When I smile she smiles, and that means the world to me.

Miranda is the queen of simple loving gestures. Only a month after we got together they started. I would find myself awakened in her bed with a cup of coffee and a kiss, often accompanied by a note detailing any potential changes to her schedule for the day and possible surprises. And on days when Miranda decided to leave later for the office my alarm was magically adjusted, or turned off all together. If anyone thought before that I could read Miranda's mind, they were baffled now.

She is also the queen of grand gestures, like last Thursday, when she surprised me an airline ticket for a weekend trip home to visit for my mother's birthday. She had me take Friday off as well despite my protests. My mother has yet to discover how I suddenly appeared on her doorstep, but I hope to be able to tell her soon. Miranda is full of surprises, and I can only remind myself daily how fortunate I am to love her like I do and be loved like I am. My success is hers, my happiness is hers, and as I tell her every day I am hers. I am forever ruined for anyone else so she had better plan to keep me.

But she will because Miranda is mine as well. She is mine to protect, and she is mine to cherish. I will be her knight in shining armor, and I will be her friend and lover. Soon I will leave my job as her assistant, but there will be no moment when I fail to lead her, remain at her side, or follow one step behind if that's where she needs me.

The world can have Miranda Priestly but my Miranda is the one who packed a bag and showed up at my studio apartment late last Monday when I decided to return for a day to clean it up and check on mail and bills. At some point, one night apart became one night too many if it could be avoided. Miranda says she never slept well before we became an "us," but I would have never guessed that knowing her as I do. Often in the evening I force myself to stay awake just for enough moments to savor the feeling of my powerful tigress curled up in my arms sleeping. The very next morning I broke my lease.

As I watch her now, in her office, barking orders, feigning disinterest at her employee's recommendations, and running her magazine all while keeping up her persona, I have to laugh again. I will miss watching this show when I move on. Just last night we giggled about reality versus appearances as we shared a bottle of wine and plate of fruit while sitting at the island in her kitchen. Now that Nigel and Joss know our secret, Miranda's act is becoming more difficult for her to maintain. She tried to blame me for making her appear soft, as if suddenly soft was defined by one less death threat. Within the hour she apologized, and begged me to forgive her. The begging continued as Miranda is a sly salesperson after all, and could make me believe anything without being sincere. Soon she had me laughing. And by the time she joined in I realized one truth: I would die happy if I could hear this sound every day for the rest of my life. Because now I understand: Miranda laughs. Whole-bodied, full-throated, without pretense or artifice. She becomes who she is at her core. She lets her guard down, her eyes sparkle. I know now- Miranda laughs- for me.