If and When
A Devil Wears Prada Story
All mail is answered at
Disclaimers in Part One
Note: My thanks for being allowed to play in your sandbox, I will always remember your graciousness. But this is The End. There are no epilogues, no sequels, this is how I planned it all out. I simply hope you enjoy the ride, right to the very last paragraph.
His hands trembled just a little as they reached out to grip the latch as firmly as possible. On the other side of the door, Emily steeled herself, her jaw firm, eyes closed. She heard the slight intake of air as the lid was raised and then the shock as Nigel burst out cursing. "Jesus Christ!" Then the whomp! Of the dropping the lid as if it were burning his hands. Emily's eyes which had already filled with traitorous tears, poured with abandon down her cheeks. She heard herself sobbing, and Nigel calling to her, but she couldn't, wouldn't turn to him.
Until she heard his laughter.
Her head snapped out of the palms of her hands and turned to see his red and embarrassed face, shocked as he continued to chuckle.
"They're fine," he told her. But she assumed that he meant that they were peaceful in death and couldn't understand why the laughter had only calmed to a shame-faced grin. Nigel realised that she was still confused and reached over to lift the corner of the box and called into it, "S'alright?"
And the box, for what else could be speaking, replied with a guttural "S'alright" which set Nigel off again as he dropped the lid once more.
Emily had endured many, almost always imbecilic, American cultural references, and Nigel was her usual go to guy for explanations. "What does…" The voice, so deep, was it not them at all? Had it been a hoax? But who…?
Nigel shook his head, reading her confusion. "It's them alright. It's just, they're in a box!" He shrugged his shoulders. "And I knew Andy would get it, it's an old television reference, a ventriloquist, always on the Ed Sullivan show, how Andy knows all this stuff, I have no idea…"
He was cut off, literally, by very small but very strong hands around his throat and the demand, "What the bloody hell is in that box! Are they alive?"
"Oh yeah. They're alive and, well… kicking."
"Thank God!" She slid down the doorway to squat on the floor in relief. Then her eyes darted back to Nigel's. "They said they were injured, why aren't we getting them out, to a hospital?"
"Because they needed a minute, to ah…they were celebrating bring alive…"
"Now? In that BOX? Miranda? And that…."
There was a scream of massive proportions about to emerge Nigel knew, so he pulled her through the peanuts, placing a finger against her lips. It might have temporarily dammed the emotional outburst, but Emily's face became an unhealthy red. In fear, he stuttered the worst possible explanation. "No no, they were just kissing, I mean, they're completely wrapped… in bubble wrap, though I could see Andy was on top…"
As her brain imagined the mental picture, Emily snapped. She jumped into the shaft, causing an explosion of packing peanuts, and was further enraged to hear whispers and perhaps giggles. She began to hammer on the lid screaming, "Stop that! Stop that! STOP!"
Nigel grabbed her under her armpits and began to pull her away, shouting over the yelling, "They're injured, remember?"
Emily's eyes glowed with righteous fury. "Clearly not nearly enough!"
Her diatribe was silenced, when the lid flipped open with a crash and, like some of the fantasies Emily had occasionally entertained late at night, the head and shoulders of Miranda Priestly arose, vampire-like, from the box.
"Emily," she said simply, and the assistant ceased struggling, swallowed and managed a prim, "Yes, Miranda?"
"Am I right in assuming that you have been looking after my children?"
Her head bobbing, she squeezed out, "Yes, Miranda."
"And how are they?"
It was almost a foolish question, but Emily was the last person in the world to point this out to Miranda, and she said diplomatically, "They will be much better when they see you."
Miranda considered that, and said quietly, "Thank you. You did well."
Emily was about to mutter a pleased thank you when Miranda moved on to the next item on the agenda.
"I believe that this building could still collapse?"
Nigel nodded. An imperious gaze dropped on Lawrence.
"And this is the emergency medical personal you brought?"
"And the press?"
"Outside in force."
"Well then, I hope we have time to change, because they are not getting a photo of Miranda Priestly as a victim." She turned to look beside her, "Or any sort of Bee costume, is that understood?"
A voice from beneath her crooned. "Only that you are quite mad. But in a very wonderful way."
Lawrence, finally spoke. "You're all mad. Look, lady…"
Ignoring the extraneous voice entirely, Miranda continued to organise. "Is Roy here? I do not plan to go to a hospital in some sort of public ambulance. And Andréa has a serious head wound."
"And you have a broken ankle," came the voice from within the box
Miranda pursed her lips, "And I possibly have some sort of injury to my ankle, so we must be out of this packing material, changed and into my car as quickly as is possible."
"Blaah!" Andréa emerged, spitting Styrofoam. Her eyes focused on the redhead as she attempted to extricate herself from the crate. "Emily? She is a bit mad. Do we really have time to change?"
Emily, caught once more between the facts and Miranda's demands, looked desperately to Miranda, who thankfully continued to manage. "Nigel, to begin with, help Andréa, any extra exertion and her head might explode." Andrea snickered at the way concern had been expressed, but help was appreciated. Nigel gallantly offered an arm and lifted the woman out of their crate, and held her steady as the blood rushed to her head on the unstable flooring.
Shaking it off, Andy said to her former crate mate, "Maybe you should wait in there. I find it comforting to think of you in bubble wrap for a while." But Nigel had already moved through the remaining Styrofoam to assist his boss, and even in bubblewrap, she made the exit elegantly.
"Don't forget the girls!" Andréa pointed to the corner where the garment bags could be seen poking through the peanuts.
Lawrence tried to be the voice of reason. "People? Remember? Collapsing building, on fire? We need to exit this place now! Immediately!"
Each of the others in the room was, to their personal pain, aware that people telling Miranda what to do was not a recommended activity. She did not disappoint. "Little Man. Whatever your name is. I am not going out in front of national television cameras covered in another person's blood."
Andy realised that Miranda was about to unleash an entire giant sized can of Dragon whoop ass on a possibly innocent bystander, so even as she accepted help in unwrapping herself, she attempted a diversion. "Miranda, you can dis my grandmother's cerulean sweater. I'm almost okay with that… and THAT took two years. But now, my BLOOD isn't even fit to wear? I bet if it was Dolce and Gabanna blood… which I can spell now, by the way, or Valentino blood, you'd have no problem."
An eyebrow was raised loftily. "Two years to learn to spell blood? After spell check, how many editors do they employ at your little paper?"
The now freed hands flew into the air. "The paper, right! Nigel a phone, please!"
"While you do that, I'll call the girls." Emily was already busy on her own phone so Miranda glared at Lawrence. "You, give me your phone."
Lawrence had his phone half way out before he remembered his vocation. "Sorry M'am, you need to go to a hospital, right now. In an ambulance and my phone must, at all times, in fact, I am required by LAW..."
"Ma'am?" Miranda's voice had dropped and even Andy retreated knowing this would not be nice. "My name is Miranda. Do you understand? I do not MUST anything. I do not must go to a hospital. I can have a shed in my backyard ready for open-heart surgery if that's what I wish. And you are denying me the opportunity to speak to my children?" Miranda summoned up her best glare, following it with an icy, "If I do not have a working communication device in my hands when I am finished EXPLAINING the facts to you, I will ensure that not only will you not be able to find employment anywhere in the western world, I am vindictive enough to select random friends and family of yours for the same fate. And, if you call me m'am once more, it will not matter if you do not give me your phone because I will have taken it from your cold dead hands." In counterpoint to her speech, a large section of the building shifted and several ceiling tiles fell amongst them.
Lawrence, looked to the damage, and then to the rest of the group, assuming he'd see sympathy, and support, but there was absolutely none. Shaking his head and sighing, he pulled his phone from his pocket. Miranda purred at the sight of it. "Good boy. Now see to Andréa, She also lost an inordinate and unhealthy amount of blood."
Andy, was already with the newsroom, and attempting to be subtle. "Yes, I thought Greg might be in. Greg really would like to talk to me. Right away. I see. Tell him… tell him that the symphony piece may have to wait because the other story became a bit more important. Yes, it's very urgent. The symphony piece, yes…" There was a long pause as Miranda was unwrapped and began to dial her own number, but in the relative quiet they all heard booming from Andy's phone, "Is this a joke? Sachs?!"
As each spoke into their phones, Lawrence seized on their preoccupation to lead them out of the elevator shaft into the lobby, which they did without interrupting any of their conversations. As they continued their phone calls, he prodded the two survivors through the rubble over to a reception table and was pleased to see the relief in their faces they sat with the weight off their legs, both leaning into the other.
Emily was busy trying to convince Leslie that she needed to put her entire agency on alert and travel to midtown before the sun rose. "No, now. I am not drunk or crazed. We are about to become the biggest story in the country, and she needs her media consultant here. NOW!"
"NO? Are you joking? You want four thousand words, daily, AND the symphony piece? I don't care if you never reassigned it!"
"No darling, of course we're all right. A few bumps and bruises, and we'll be home and we'll have breakfast together."
"Yes, Roy. I have no idea how you are expected to get the car through the police, fire and protestors, just gird your loins."
Miranda pulled the phone away from her mouth. "Emily, call the school. Notify them the girls will not be in tomorrow, today."
"I don't want an extra day! Four thousand words a day, I could manage. Oh, a book? A screenplay? Really? You think?"
"When is Leslie arriving? WE are managing this story, not that braying mob outside."
"Leslie is on her way."
"Roy is on his way."
Lawrence continued to work quietly. The building continued to quake. Sirens and helicopters moaned and thudded outside. He sponged the blood away from Andy's wound, wincing as he examined the cut and bandaged it, all the while muttering, "Mad. They're all mad and I'm going to die with them. Why?"
Miranda ignored the muttering while examining the EMT's work, and satisfied, moved to other business. "Emily. Contact my first assistant. The girls tell me there are cards and flowers appearing everywhere. I want each and every note or message that can be replied to, given a reply and a thank you. That is including those for Andréa as well. Any flowers and gifts are to be donated to children's hospitals and care homes at your discretion. Nigel, we'll need some assistance with the dresses."
Andy continued to negotiate. "Control the story? I'm smack dab in the story, Greg."
Miranda had the girls get Cara, but while still on the phone, and with a strange intensity in her eyes, she began removing the torn sections of bee costume that remained.
Andy obligingly raised her arms, and relayed her discussion with her editor. "Greg says I have to lock up everyone's statements, so ours is the only authentic version. Not only can we control this story, but he says I can make ludicrous demands for a book and… writing a screenplay?" She looked to her partner for an opinion. "What do you think? And, oh yes. He especially wants the redhead who punched the cop."
Andy watched the brilliant mind clicking away, and then the CEO nodded. "Emily, tell Leslie I will have exclusives over all statements, including yours and Nigel's. She can conference me tonight, to discuss with Andréa what will be released."
"Emily, Nigel?" She sought confirmation from both minions, but it was clear Emily was struggling. "What is it?"
"I assaulted a policeman, I have to tell them why!"
Andy held up a finger while listening. "Greg says…. if I have control, when they make the film I can demand casting. He says Emily Blunt might be a good fit."
Emily squealed, "I love her!"
"Thanks, Greg. That worked. Yes, she's all starry eyed."
The stars were partially cleared. "Until they lock me in a filthy New York Police cell, thank you very much."
"I'll send in one thousand words, NO! That's all, then four thousand tomorrow after I call you. Remember, hospital bed, surviving? Thank you, Greg."
Lawrence once again attempted to be a voice of rationality as he examined Miranda's ankle. "You people are aware, at least, that this building is collapsing and on fire, right?"
He was unsurprised to be entirely ignored.
"Yes, soonest, loves. Yes, Andréa as well. Of course, Bobbsey. Unless there is something important in school? Good. Put Cara back on the line and we'll arrange for your schoolwork to be brought home for today. Oh, yes. Andréa will be staying at the Townhouse."
Andy knocked away Nigel's hands as they dressed her. "Excuse me? Was I consulted?"
Miranda did not retreat, but unusually for her, she did not advance. "I am not manhandling you. The twins are demanding to see you. Apparently I have little choice in that. There will be press all over your building, my home has the security to keep them at bay. If we need medical attention, we can share nursing care." Having marshalled the rational arguments, she knew the sentimental, and true reasons would have more effect. "I… would feel extremely bereft if you were not nearby for the next few hours, and I believe you might feel the same."
That brought a soft smile to Andy's face. "Of course, if you have a good argument, but the tone was a trifle, demanding."
"Then I will ask, will your parents be staying at the Townhouse?"
"I think they can do with a decent hotel," Nigel interrupted carrying shoes, and grimaced slightly before speaking apologetically to Andy. "They turned down the offer of the private jet to bring them here this evening, because they had things to organise but will be arriving commercial this morning. Late this morning."
Miranda's eyes conveyed her shock. Andy remembered the fit she'd thrown to get to the twins' recital. She could only imagine what she would have moved in heaven and earth had their lives been endangered.
"Does it truly have to be a nice hotel?"
Lawrence found his voice. "There's too much swelling to say if it's broken, but you can't put any weight on it until we get it x-rayed."
Andy looked down at the mentioned limb with concern. "We do have to get out of here. And we should at least move further away from the shaft. I can see flames up there and we don't want that forklift falling down on us, or anything else. Had enough of things falling on me already."
"Forklift?" at least one voice asked.
"Yes," said Andy, enraptured. "You should have seen Miranda driving it about, completely professional."
"Of course," Nigel chuckled.
Lawrence raised his head. "Forklift? For what?"
"We needed to move all the packing stuff and to fall in the centre of the shaft."
He moved to the side and looked towards the still open elevator doors. "How far did you fall from?"
"Shipping department on the Tenth Floor."
His jaw dropped. "You fell. In that box? Ten stories? Onto a layer of peanuts?"
Miranda corrected him. "That layer, as you call it, is one of several dozen we laid going down thirty feet into the subbasement."
"You threw all this stuff down, thirty feet of packing and then jumped," he stated disbelievingly.
"No, we sort of leaned back." Andy unsuccessfully repressed the shudder.
"Leaned back?" Nigel closed his eyes. Miranda nodded, her stoicism firm.
"That's impossible," the EMT asserted.
"We know!" Andy enthused, blithely ignoring anyone's doubt. "Absolutely impossible! Though a pretty kinky first date. How are we going to top it?"
Nigel dramatically gasped. "What do you mean, first date? You've been dating for weeks. You two are the only ones who weren't aware of it."
There was a sputtered, yet British, "They've been dating?"
"Okay, only you two and Emily," he corrected himself.
Miranda demurred. "Second or third date, I thought we agreed."
At Nigel's over the glasses stare, Andy explained. "Classic third date. Sleepover. Drinks, bit of making out, fireworks."
"The earth certainly moved."
What they thought was another sliding of concrete was actually the grinding of Emily's teeth. While Lawrence simply had his head in his hands.
"Though the girls have been encouraging us, I think proof of consummation would be TMI."
Andy sagged back against her. "Yes, well, I know I feel consummated."
Lawrence groaned, but moved to finish wrapping Miranda's ankle. He muttered to Nigel, "She's dating her? What do she use, a chair and whip?"
"Perhaps on the fourth date?" Nigel responded, before he could stop himself.
His comeback earned a rejoinder, as he had feared.
"Nigel, though I am so very grateful for the manner in which you are now whiling away your evening, can I assume you have spent some of the last many hours arranging for use of printing presses and office space for most of the employees of Elias Clarke? So that the majority of those people waiting outside will still have jobs?"
Thanking his God that he had an answer, Nigel replied, "Emily has it all in hand. I just stood aside and watched."
Miranda made a cursory examination of her ankle's wrapping, and slid to the ground, weight on her good leg. Over Lawrence's protest, she limped over to her former assistant.
"Emily. Having, unfortunately, been the ones that stayed in the building with the bombs, your… upset… now seems quite reasonable. And the fact that you went to comfort my children, that you protected them, looked after my business concerns, I have no words to describe my debt."
Andy looked on, amazed. "If she had sword she'd be knighting her."
"She did good. You would have been proud of her outside. She's probably going to jail for assaulting an officer."
"Or get a medal. This IS New York."
Having made the rare effort, Miranda returned to business. "If Andréa is ready, do her makeup in a way that I'd approve."
Blinking back tears once more, Emily nodded and murmured, "Yes, Miranda."
Andy, still clearly on an adrenaline rush, moved to hug the woman as she approached, something Emily nimbly managed to avoid. She looked about for a light source as she pulled out her make-up kit, but found Andy already had a phone light on.
"Be careful. According to Nurse Priestly, my head might blow up," Andy confided.
Emily chose appropriate colours and grumbled, "Please. Your head?"
Andy's smile almost lit up the room by itself. "Emily. You care! At least enough to explode your head in sympathy."
Rolling her eyes, Emily tried to deny any such thing. "Sympathy is not why..."
"Aw. Emily. We were having a lovely moment. Don't ruin it."
Time was passing far too slowly for Lawrence. The building continued to groan and shudder, but within ten long torturous minutes both women were dressed and made-up. The Chanel making the most of Andrea's attributes, though Miranda appreciated the bare shoulders, she clucked and put her hand out towards Nigel, and dropped her frown only when appropriate jewellery was dropped into her hand. Her own frock was full length, disguising any bandaging, and the neck collar did not require any bling.
Lawrence begged, "You look positively lovely, can we leave now?"
Nigel confided, "It is only for long distance lenses."
There was very slight nod, and reading the others responses, Lawrence sighed heavily. Nigel's phone trilled, announcing that Roy had managed to arrive near the entrance. But just when the EMT had his hopes raised that the madness was over, he made the mistake of announcing he would run out to get the stretchers.
And The Dragon returned.
"What is going on in that tiny little mind of yours? We are walking out. Did you not think there was a reason we went to all this trouble? Did you think it was to be photographed on… stretchers?"
Lawrence was perfectly certain there had been no reason involved in anything that had happened over the last portion of his life. He was about to explain that though he had taped up her ankle as best as possible, it could not handle walking about. He was almost about to get those words out, when Andy interrupted.
"Is this because you gave your word?"
Miranda's silence was a sufficient answer.
"I refuse to accept your word if it means you might injure yourself."
"I promised you, we would walk out of here."
Andy thought. "Okay, out of here, that doesn't have to mean all the way, just out of here"
"Yes, we just want the shots as we go out the door."
"Nigel, there must be some unbroken chairs on wheels in this rubble. Find two for us and you and Emily can push us to the doors."
"And you will wipe them!"
Two office chairs of reasonable impressiveness were found and cleaned. Seeing his avenue of escape being delayed again, Lawrence whispered to Nigel, "It's like being in a cult, isn't it?"
Nigel ignored him and with a finger under his nose, mused, "We can use the chairs up to the door. Then you stand, walk through the door, pose for the shots. Then we bring the chairs through, you gracefully sit down. We make sure all the shots of you standing are in the clear for the photogs, then we block everything after that. Okay?"
Lawrence sank to the floor. "Why does this have to be like the Academy Awards and not an escape from a burning building?"
Andrea patted him sympathetically on the head and offered, "That's a decent compromise, Miranda."
There was a grumbled word of some type, which all took as assent. Andy picked her way to the proffered chair. "That's the spirit. We're heading home, Glinda!"
Miranda glanced over to her companion as she also slid into the office chair. "Glinda?"
Andy just grinned as Nigel cleared debris out of their path and then took his place behind Andy's chair. "We're going to live. Clearly everyone was wrong. You're the good witch."
Miranda smirked. "One of our upcoming dates… is definitely going to go see Wicked."
With Emily pushing her boss, they wheeled both casualties to the once clear glass doors. Outside, the helicopters and sirens blared, emergency lights streaked across the doors. "Ready?" Nigel asked, getting a glare that said 'obviously' thrown at him.
It was possibly more difficult to stand while holding hands, but both women managed it, looked to the other, and the doors were opened. There was a crash of noise from the square and as they strode through, with nary a hint of limping, the space exploded in light, as flashes lit the night.
Amidst the shouted questions and flashes, Lawrence attempted to make a dash for safety. Unfortunately a small but powerful hand gripped his before he managed his escape. Somehow, while preening to the crowds, and looking far more assured and gorgeous than any survivor of bombs and a ten-story fall should look, Miranda held him tight. Lawrence only saw the space in front of him as life, liberty and happiness being denied by the person holding him back and didn't care that he was whimpering. "Please? I probably have lost my job, but I'm still alive. Please let me go?"
Without moving her lips, he heard, "You did a reasonable job under very difficult circumstances. Your job will be secured." A small piece of cardboard was forced into his hand, even though Miranda was looking away from him. "This is my personal card. It will guarantee that." And with that, Lawrence gratefully, if stunned, raced away.
Serena's protesters were being roped off to the sides, and as she returned to her seat, Miranda grasped Andy's hand and pulled her towards them, calling to Nigel, "We are going to speak to those people."
Emily protested, worried how the media might react. "Lesley isn't here yet?"
Miranda stared at her former assistant for a moment and then stated, "Emily? Did you say something?"
Emily shook her head.
" Yes, I thought so."
The chairs were brought up to the cordon to cheers and shrieks of the crowd. The cameras, film and digital, covered every second. Serena handed Miranda her bullhorn, which raised another cheer, and laughter as she glared at it before accepting.
"Good to see all of you again." The dry opening may have shocked the outsiders, but the staff only burst into laughter.
"As I'm sure most of you have guessed, I am not the hero." Andy realised what was coming and reached over to clasp Miranda's hand to halt her, but instead found her hand held in a firm grip as the fashion mogul continued. "Andréa Sachs deduced the threat, and when no one believed her, came on her own to this site, knowing what might happen, and went on to prove that threat. The only contribution I made, was that I knew Andréa Sachs. And I trusted her. Any of us that know Andy would have done the same."
More tumultuous cheers, while Andy attempted a seated bow before Miranda, still fearing a blood clot, stopped her.
Andy shouted over the crowd, "Ladies and gentlemen, this is the woman who organised the saving of all our lives, who would rather pull her tongue than accept your thanks. And for me and on her behalf, thank you. Your delays saved both our lives."
"Ignore her, she's writes for a living," Miranda countered, but there was a rare smile on her face.
The smile dropped and the crowd was instantly silenced. "But now… we survived."
Miranda paused, and the crowds waited.
"We survived. All of us. Not them," she pointed to the gathered media. "Not the politicians, or the pundits who will pontificate for the next many days on what they think happened or what it means. WE survived. WE were there. We own this event. No one, not the bombers or the media or our leaders will tell us what to think about this. Or lecture us about the threat from people across the desk, across the street… or across the world."
Andrea watched in amazement. Miranda had remembered. "I don't want one single more Muslim kid to be harassed at school because of this. Not one more kid having to see his parents cursed in the streets… because I died." And Miranda hated lecturers. Hated stating her politics publicly, but for her, Ms Nobody, Andrea Sachs, there she was, with a bullhorn, for God's sake, lecturing the whole of the media and the politicians. If she had ever been unsure of Miranda's commitment to her, she couldn't be now.
"Why was this done?" Miranda continued. "Because there are people who want to drive a wedge between us. They want us to hate, they want us to goad our government into an act of revenge. They want us to look at each other with suspicion on the bus and subway. Here's my response…"
"Screw you." The near obscenity shocked all and rolled across the square. Miranda waited for its impact to settle. "Screw every one of you. At Elias Clarke, we are the melting pot. I can't put out any of these magazines without every single individual here. I need all the things that influenced you, from the travels, the religion, the books you read and the parents that raised you. The people you love. To do otherwise, to ignore talent because of any of that individuality would be irrational, and these magazines would be poorer and ignorant. Every time we exclude a group that can help us solve problems, we make those solutions harder to find. Every time we exclude a group, we make enemies. Our world needs more than just the white males to solve our problems and the central beliefs of all religions are not about us being less, but being more, being better. Anyone who argues differently, you tell them, SCREW YOU!"
"You weren't there, I was. I could have died, so I get to decide who is blamed. And I chose love over hate. Inclusion over suspicion. So…" she paused to look about the crowd. "So… One moment, of silence, prayers and thanks for what did not happen… and could have." Many joined Miranda and bowed their heads, even the reporters doing standups paused. The cameras focussed on Miranda and Andy, the winds swept across the square, and then Miranda raised her face. "And now, back to work." Many in the crowd laughed, but the eyebrow was raised and they silenced.
"Obviously, some of you will have the morning, and possibly the day off. Nigel and Emily will be asking Facilities and IT to work through this afternoon to get us relocated. I understand arrangements have been made with Vogue to print several issues." Miranda allowed her distaste to show, before continuing and stating firmly, "this will be our best issue."
"Anna will no doubt make much about her generosity and we will be grateful. But when our issues are running through their presses, I want every employee in their building to be jealous of you, wishing they worked with us. Can you do that?" The shouted yes in response was like that of an army before a charge into battle. Miranda ostentatiously looked at her watch. "I see that it is almost six AM, you may all take the rest of the night off."
Andy knew she was exhausted, the adrenaline was finally wearing off, but that was not why she was breathless. Miranda had kept her all promises and more. Worried that a PDA might upset her partner, she only lightly touched her hand, hiding it behind their chairs. "I could be in love with you, Ms Priestly. I think, for the rest of my life."
Miranda grasped the hand and placed it firmly in her lap. "That was my plan." The words sounded egotistical, but were belied by the warmth in her eyes. Something the crowd could even see.
A chant began from the front and spread quickly. "Kiss!Kiss!Kiss!"
The bullhorn was raised one last time. With an enigmatic smile, Miranda Priestly stated, "I do not kiss in public…" She returned the bullhorn to Serena, and continued for Andy alone, "…so hurry up and get in the car. You know how much I love to wait."
As Nigel swivelled her towards the Town car, while the crowds continued to chant, while the world's media watched, Andy glanced back at the building that had once been their tomb. She asked, "The fire engines are blasting the fires. The building will probably collapse. The Elias Clarke, where we met. A piece of New York lost forever. Shouldn't we stay and watch?"
Miranda shook her head. "You want us to wait here? As though this is a fireworks exposition? We have more important things to do." She grasped Andy's hand again, tugging her into the car. "It's called a future."
They were just settling into their seats, surrounded by police holding back reporters and well-wishers, when the phone in Andy's pocket chirped. She couldn't even remember which phone it was, or what random person might have owned it before she had liberated it from the building, so she only glanced at it, planning to toss it away. Until she read the caller ID.
It was Homeland Security.
She showed the screen to Miranda, and with a grim expression hit accept. "How did you get this number?"
Immediately a familiar monotone flowed out. "Ms Sachs. So glad to hear that you are all right. I want you to know that if there is ever anything that Homeland Security can do for you…"
Both ladies began to smile a very similar, and almost evil, smile. Andy raised the phone to her mouth. "Your concern touches me. Almost as much as the concrete block that struck my head earlier this evening did. You know, from the building with all the bombs we were speaking about only yesterday?"
The bureaucrat was prepared for attitude it seemed, and the voice did not even hesitate. "As I'm sure you know, Ms Sachs, confidence in our department is crucial for the security of the nation and our people. Any discussions or reports that implied any shortcomings in our response could be considered a threat to national security."
"Any discussions we had were done with full understanding that you were speaking to a reporter, and have been taped and relayed to multiple locations." Andy countered. Miranda gave an admiring smirk and held her hand tighter. Before the voice could sputter any threats she said, "However, it seems that our little adventure is likely to be made into a movie, books, and certainly many, many major news stories. Though with your help, we might be able to control how some of that information is relayed. I've been told that if I can secure statements surrounding the events, such as the exclusive access to any back stories of the boys with the bombs that might have been uncovered by our security agencies, exclusive, mind you, then I might be given carte blanche on how this story is told. IF any other writers or studios were to be shut out or even denied access as a matter of national security. And if I was given that exclusive information, I could be focussing on that. Not spending as much time focussing on events such as, exactly how many times I called your office, or word for word what was said, and specifically who it was I spoke too."
A throat was cleared. "Of course, I would have to consult…"
Andy cut in, "This is very much a time limited offer."
"I would definitely consider that offer and again would be happy to help you in any other ways possible if it meant you would see our department in a positive light."
"That might be asking quite a lot, but if the information we were referring to appeared at Ms Priestly's home in the next twelve hours, my reports could reflect a compromise."
"We are always willing to cooperate with the heroes of this great nation, Ms Sachs. In fact, we could help with your Bee costume. You've missed a few calls from the costume shop and they are demanding their deposit back."
Miranda interrupted. "Until rather large new contracts more properly reflecting Andréa's talents can be drawn up, Andréa's expenses will all be handled by my accountants." Miranda glared at the smirk on Andy's face.
"Ah Ms. Priestly. Perhaps we should discuss…" Miranda, with a glance to Andy to request permission, took the phone from Andréa's hand and stated firmly, "That's All."
The phone was tossed away, and Andréa leaned back into Miranda's embrace. "We're really doing this."
"Andréa, as far as the public is now concerned, we are a couple. I never allowed that to be known publicly until after I married Steven."
"Then I can look forward to many things you never did with Steven?"
Miranda pulled her even closer. "We will both look forward to that."
Andy sighed happily. Her headache was not gone, but almost forgotten. "I was still worried, that maybe it was just all that we've been through. But you're paying for my bee costume!"
"You should be asking yourself if you are sure, not me. Have you even known me to be unsure of a decision once it was made?"
"I know. I can't help think, Love, that… I'm just me, and you're you. How did this happen?"
The Town car continued to move forward, the question almost forgotten in the intensity of its occupants' musings. Miranda finally decided there were far more important things to do, and kissed her soon to be lover gently, before whispering, "I might go on for some time about how I could be asking that same question of myself. What could you possibly see in me? But for efficiencies sake, can we postpone that discussion for… at least twenty years? Twenty years from now, this date, preferably in bed, ask again. But for now, the only tongue I want waggling about in your mouth… is mine."