TITLE: Nec Temere, Nec Timide (Neither Rashly, Nor Timidly)
RATING: Starts as G/PG (Chapter 1), progresses to MA (for Chapter 6)
WORDS: 29,297 (approx.) (total)
SUMMARY: LiveJournal Christmas Challenge/Gift request for Liz_Tempest's request --"Andy breaks up with Nate after she leaves Runway and becomes a lawyer, a VERY successful lawyer, and is asked by Irv to be the lawyer for Runway and she accepts. Her and Miranda meet again, of course, and realize they are in love. And a VERY happy ending Please! Im all about smut so thats a plus. :)"
DISCLAIMER: The story idea – not mine; Main characters from the book and film versions of DWP – not mine; Real people, places, companies, products – not mine; some of the Elias-Clarke changes/downsizing – ripped right from Conde Nast changes in 2009 – again, not mine; Miranda's references to Hillary Clinton interview – ripped from the December 2009 issue of Vogue – as in, not mine; Story title is the motto of University of Edinburgh – (all together now) not mine. All that is honestly mine is the manner in which I combine these ingredients to create a unique reading experience. Bon appétit!
A/N: I found a song to be a great tie-in while editing Chapter 1, which prompted finding similar country music songs to tie-in as a theme for each subsequent chapter.
Chapter 1: "Anywhere But Here" (k.d. lang)
Andy tipped the driver and stepped away as the taxi pulled out into traffic. With a weary sigh, she extended the handle on her rolling suitcase, lifted her carry-on and purse onto one shoulder, and crept up the front walkway to her building.
It took every last bit of energy to make it up the stairs and to the apartment door. While digging out her key, half the contents of her purse spilled out.
She cursed. It felt good. It felt really good.
The apartment was dark when she entered, so she initially chalked up the chill in the air to that. However, when she flicked on the light switch, she let her purse and carry-on bag fall to the floor with a thud.
The apartment had been ransacked. Most of the furniture was gone. There was a stack of books, magazines, and DVDs next to the sofa, the only piece of furniture in eyesight. With a gulp, she felt her eyes tear up. As she stood there, taking it all in, she realized the door hadn't been ajar. The latch was unharmed. None of the windows were broken.
And that stack by the sofa.
Nate had moved out.
Andy stood there, contemplating this possible reality. After several minutes ticked by, she turned, pulled her suitcase inside, gathered up the spilt contents of her purse, and shut the door.
The sound echoed through the nearly empty apartment.
"Honey, I'm home," she intoned, before collapsing on the sofa in a heap.
The flight had been long and she had done some thinking while trying to get as comfortable as possible in a tiny, cramped seat. Perhaps, since Nate was working, she could go ahead and find some small, temp job while applying to a New York-based law school. If she had gotten into Stanford, surely she could get into Columbia or even Cornell.
Now, as she sat, slumped, clothes wrinkled, stomach growling, internal clock completely haywire, no job and, it appeared, no boyfriend, Andy felt lost.
Several hours (or so she assumed) later, Andy woke, a crick in her neck and her stomach literally cramped with hunger pains. She wrestled herself up off the sofa and stumbled through the kitchen area, the bedroom (sans bed, she noticed), and into the bathroom. After she had completed a half-hearted freshening up, she grabbed her wallet and cell phone, threw them into her purse, and went to go find food.
Several blocks later, she found her feet carrying her into a small deli where she plopped down resolutely in a booth and perused the menu with vacant eyes.
"I recommend the chicken noodle soup, coffee, and a sundae." Andy lowered her menu to see an elderly gentleman standing in front of her in a worn white oxford and thread-bare black slacks, a stained half-apron around his mid-section.
"Chicken soup is a warm hug, coffee brightens your mind, and a sundae – well, it looks like you need a little splurge."
"Sure. Whatever." Andy drops the menu back between the napkin dispenser and the ketchup bottle sitting on the laminated tabletop. Food was food. What did she care about the calories in the sundae now. Neither Miranda nor Nate were in her life anymore to care.
Right as rain, the chicken noodle soup was like a warm hug on a winter's day and Andy realized that maybe, just maybe, she might get through this. As she dug into the hot fudge sundae and sipped the best coffee to ever pass her lips, she contemplated her options.
She had come to New York with Nate, thinking that being a writer was her ticket. But, difficulty in finding a job and her subsequent work at Runway had given her reasons to rethink her ideas on writing. But what else was there? She wasn't sure she could get any sort of job within the New York area after walking out on Miranda. She had little hope of that stunt going unpunished.
She had turned down her spot at Stanford Law School and likely couldn't get in for the next term, starting in a few months. Still, law school remained a possibility – she had been thinking about it on the flight back from Paris, so why should she completely let that go? Andy had wanted to be a lawyer since childhood, and it did require an ability to communicate effectively, both in written word and orally. It would be tricky, but…maybe could find a way.
After finishing her meal, Andy paid the bill, left a small tip (she hadn't stopped at the ATM beforehand, so didn't have a lot of change in her wallet), and slowly wandered home.
Once inside, she unpacked her laptop, logged on, and reviewed the electronic acceptance forms from Stanford she had saved. After careful review, she wrote a succinct note and sent it off. Perhaps, if she was lucky, she might just get in this Fall. If not, at least she tried. She spent the next couple of hours checking out New York-based law schools.
With weary eyes, she changed into her pajamas, cocooned into a blanket, and fell asleep on the sofa. She would contemplate getting a new bed tomorrow. For now, she had too much else on her mind.
The next morning, Andy unpacked her bags, showered, and took a large load of laundry down to the Laundromat down the street. While she waited, she completed the online applications for a couple of the schools that had them set up electronically and updated her résumé.
When she returned to the near empty apartment with clean laundry, Andy marveled at how much she really wasn't upset by Nate's leaving – just inconvenienced by it. Miranda had been right – there WAS a little bit of her in Andy. She shivered at the thought the older woman had seen right into her soul. After a moment's contemplation, Andy decided that Miranda didn't care much about Andy, let alone enough to look into her heart and make such thoughtful proclamations – likely, she was momentarily curious by Andy's actions and threw out whatever came to mind at the moment. Surely the Editor-in-Chief could give a rat's ass about her assistant.
Within a week of her return to New York, everything started coming together well. Nate stopped by to drop off a check to help pay for one last month's worth of rent, likely out of guilt. They had a small fight, but Andy felt smug satisfaction when she was able to tell him how she had left Runway, had appealed her application to Stanford, and was accepted. The look on his face was worth it. The wussy way in which he had moved out while she was gone had sealed his fate – there was no way she could imagine resurrecting their relationship after he had been so spineless.
That September, Andy walked along the campus of Stanford Law School, enthused about her decision. Despite the pain of leaving Miranda and Runway, finding she had lost her boyfriend, and having felt completely lost, it had all worked out for the best. California was sunny and warm, her classmates an eclectic mix, and the course work was challenging. As an added bonus, being on the West Coast put her well out of Miranda's reach, in the event the woman had determined to make her life miserable if she had stayed in New York.
During her first year, Andy walked repeatedly by a statue that caught her eye in the quad. It depicted two young females making out on a bench. Each time, the sculpture gave her pause for thought.
By her second year, she didn't much notice it. She was, after all, in Northern California, a bastion for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender activism; a touchy-feely, culturally sensitive, politically-correct-on-steroids world. She wasn't, therefore, surprised, when she fell for a slightly older woman in a public policy Master's program at UC Berkeley. They were both working at the same law firm during the summer before her 3rd year.
Sherry was tall, thin, had pale blue eyes and a patrician nose. Despite the fact that the woman was only 32, she was already sprouting grey-white streaks at her temples. Andy reveled in Sherry's dynamic personality and eclectic sense of style. The woman had been an assistant for a Washington state Senator, specializing in environmental policy work. Sherry had an astute grasp of the law, considering she wasn't a lawyer. She and Andy worked well together that summer and, Andy had to admit, they worked well together in bed as well. To be honest, Andy couldn't believe how marvelous sex could be. Nonetheless, both of them put career before relationships, so when the Fall term started, they went their separate ways amicably. Despite the fact that Stanford was rather close to Berkeley, they didn't keep in regular contact.
After having the long-term relationship with Nate go horribly awry, and seeing how even a successful businesswoman like Miranda Priestly couldn't seem to maintain a happy, healthy, lengthy marriage, Andy had given up any desire to attempt anything other than short-term relationship joy.
Andy had an aptitude and a passion for the law, and during a great course Stanford had on 'Entertainment and the Law,' she made an impression on Carolyn Kepcher, from Trump Enterprises. The woman came to give a guest lecture and Andy's questions earned her a request to stay after the presentation. They spoke for a few minutes and the woman extended an invitation to interview with Ivanka for an internship following graduation.
Andy bit at the offer, and found that discussing her experience working for Miranda at Runway made as favorable impression on Ivanka as her summer law internship and coursework did.
Andy graduated Magna Cum Laude, as she had hoped, and she secured an enviable position at Trump Industries' Los Angeles office. She stayed on for three years, which the corporation required for giving her the time and assistance in preparing for the California bar exam when she first started.
Those three years were miserable, as Andy felt the Southern California climate was unbearable and the entertainment industry types there were woefully out of touch with reality. At least up near Stanford, the local entertainment companies were techie-based LucasFilms® and Pixar® Studios. Their staff at least had a skill-set that made any attitude they had bearable. SoCal, as it was called, seemed to be full of false bravado. The dating scene was tiring, too. West Coasters, both male and female, tended to have some fairy-tale illusion that long-term relationships were truly possible and an ideal that should be pursued.
Andy, despite living along the West Coast for over half-a-decade, simply could not buy into that particular hallucination. Upon completing her required term of service, Andy interviewed for a variety of positions in New York, making the bicoastal flight frequently enough that she began to know the regulars among the flight attendants. Monday mornings, when she returned to work at Trump Industries' L.A. office, she was reminded why she wanted to leave.