DISCLAIMER: The Devil Wears Prada belongs to Lauren Weisberger and 20th Century Fox. "Unexpected Request" is a nonprofit work.
My texts CANNOT BE modified and/or translated, as well as published in whole or shared (including download, PDF, DOC etc.) without my prior permission.
THIS IS A TRANSLATION: I ask that you take into consideration that MY FIRST LANGUAGE IS NOT ENGLISH, but Portuguese from Brazil. In some cases, I count on the help of an American/British friend or someone more proficient in English than me. However, with the rush of everyday life, typos and spelling mistakes can happen. Yet, I think you will not have problems understanding the text.
BETA: Thanks to Mxrolkr and Greeneyemons for reviewing my translation on this chapter. Any remaining mistakes are mine.
"Oh, wait! Wait a minute!" Andrea Sachs shouted over the loud music. It was Sunday, cleaning day. Madonna resounded through the small apartment while Andy tried to make the place look like a habitable location again.
She came breathlessly to the door and peered through the peephole. Andy could not believe her eyes.
Even a visit from Jesus Christ would not be as shocking!
She stood staring at the entry for endless seconds, until a new line of abrupt knocks moved her to action.
Andy flung open the door for Miranda Priestly.
They looked at each other. Andy with her mouth open like a fish, and Miranda, with her patented raised eyebrow, evident even under her sunglasses. Andy was sure that the woman rolled her eyes behind them.
"May I come in?" Miranda asked in her low and sharp tone—the one that always caused a shiver to run down Andy's spine—already invading the personal space of the younger woman, forcing her to take two steps back, and giving way.
Andy closed the door and leaned against it for a moment. Her body trembled.
Miranda pulled her expensive Christian Dior sunglasses off and took a quick look around. Her disappointment was plainly visible.
Andy was extremely uncomfortable. She hugged herself instinctively trying to create a barrier against Miranda Priestlys' dominant aura. "I… I was cleaning up… hence the mess, I…"
Miranda interrupted her with a wave of her hand. Then she gave a resigned sigh and stared at Andy.
Although Miranda's makeup was immaculate, the younger woman could see how tired she was. Andy frowned, worried, only then remembering that Miranda should be in Europe with her daughters…
In the eight months that she left Runway, they had only exchanged minimal words during their few tense meetings. Not that it mattered. It seemed that Miranda Priestly still had the power to make everything in the past seem insignificant.
Andy quickly replaced the cushions from the only couch in the apartment. "Sit down, please," she said gently. To her surprise, Miranda nodded without any resistance. In fact, the older woman let her body fall onto the couch, relieved. "Would you like something to drink?"
Andy ran and brought a kitchen chair, putting it in front of Miranda. She sat on it in a relaxed way. Her legs were slightly open, and her arms, resting on her thighs, exposed by a little navy blue Lycra shorts.
It seemed to draw Miranda's attention. She inspected her posture and clothes Andy wore, as raised her eyebrows.
Obviously the shorts and her spaghetti-strap white shirt, ragged and dirty, did not make a favorable impression, but Andy refused to be intimidated anymore. For God's sake, it was her home! She no longer worked for Miranda Priestly, no longer had to worry about what the woman thought of her manners or her clothes.
In a surge of courage, Andy lifted her head in defiance. "What do you want?" She tried to keep her voice steady, but when heard a strange sigh and saw Miranda looking away, an idea occurred to her. "Di… did something happen to the girls?"
Miranda just nodded her head weakly.
Andy froze. "Bu… but what… I…," she stuttered, and was stopped by the older woman raising her hand.
"Andrea, do not interrupt me. Let me tell you everything you need to know," Miranda ordered in her usual tone of command.
Andy widened her eyes and quickly nodded her head in trained agreement. She knew better than to argue when the woman used that expression.
Miranda sighed again. "When my girls came to ask whether they could contact you, I confess I was surprised. Sounds like you made a good impression on them," she said with a derision smile.
"Harry Potter," Andy grumbled quietly.
Miranda shrugged. "Not only that, they were bragging about how you always manage to distinguish who was who between the two of them, and that, within your provincial way, you were 'cool'."
Andy's lips formed a small half-smile. Should she get it as a compliment or an insult? The girls sometimes had certain characteristics of their mother that annoyed her.
"If it was something you were willing to do, and would make my children happy, why not?" Miranda pointed casually.
And so you wouldn't have to offer so many excuses for not being with them, Andy thought bitterly.
It was she who listened to the complaints. Andy admitted that Miranda had improved considerably since the divorce. She was more careful with her daughters, but her work always demanded too much time.
"There was an 'understanding' between you three. Of course, I kept an eye on this 'friendship'. The girls gave me reports of all you did together, that was our agreement."
Andy had already suspected.
"I am aware of my limitations… as a parent," Miranda continued in a heavy tone. "My daughters must have mentioned that I am trying to be more present. At least we had more time together…"
Andy stared at her dumbstruck. Miranda was in a conversation…a real conversation with her.
Just like in Paris…
It was unnerving her tremendously!
Miranda took a deep breath and looked even more tired. "I would do anything for my children…" she said with a voice full of confidence in her intimidating tone. "Without beating about the bush, I came here asking for your help."
Now Andy was sure. When cleaning the bathroom she must have inhaled too many bleach fumes, because she was hallucinating! Miranda Priestly did not ask; she ordered!
Before Andy could say anything, Miranda went on talking. "My daughters were diagnosed with leukemia, Andrea."
If she had not been sitting, Andy would certainly have fallen to the ground like a rotten fruit. She was pale, felt her head spinning. "Wha… what?" Andy managed to ask in a faint voice.
She loved the girls.
Two months after Paris when she received the first call from the twins, Andy had been surprised. Without preamble, they invited her to go to the theater with them to attend the Lion King. Even without understanding why, Andy was touched. She was also worried about what Miranda would think, but the girls guaranteed that their mother knew and allowed Roy, the driver, to take them.
Andy's common sense told she should keep her safe distance from that family, but her heart countered with something different.
When she left Runway, Andy thought she was doing the right thing, but it hurt so much or more than the conflicting feelings that made her realize the decision.
She was going the reverse path.
Andy took a risk. She accepted the invitation.
When she first met the girls, they were spoiled brats. Andy had a hard time answering their whims. The science project was agony, and she would have an enormous debt of gratitude to Christian Thompson, for his help with the manuscript of Harry Potter.
However, after she started to spend time with the twins, Andy discovered that most of their arrogance was a barrier against disappointment. The girls were afraid to be left behind again. Their father, who gave over so obviously their custody to Miranda, never had enough time for them, and their stepfather, left them without looking back.
They felt abandoned. Perhaps that is why the sisters tried to bring her back to their lives. Andy came back, but not before she dictated some rules.
She no longer worked for Miranda and made sure that she genuinely wanted to be with them. Therefore, they needed to understand certain limits.
It was with immense surprise that Andy noticed that Cassidy and Caroline Priestly could be sweet and thoughtful girls. They looked like normal children, and no celebrities. Even the condescending way inherited from their mother seemed to soften since they started spending time with Andy.
That was worrying her.
Miranda could accuse Andy of polluting the minds of their daughters.
Then, Miranda was there, not to criticize or prevent Andy from seeing the girls. She wanted her help.
"A… are you sure?" Andy had to ask.
Miranda gave her a glare that said 'are you stupid or what?'
Andy shuddered. Her tongue slipped out to moisten her suddenly dry lips. She swallowed hard past the lump of fear that settled in her throat. "I mean… when did you find out?"
With her left hand, Miranda rubbed the back of her neck in a nervous gesture. "As you know, I went to Europe to meet my daughters while they were on vacation," she said in an overwrought voice.
Then she pursed her lips.
"Although I had taken a bit of work with me, I managed to reserve a good part of days for us."
A 'bit of work', of course, it was Andy's negative thought. But that was something. On another occasion, Miranda would have said she was too busy. That she would compensate them next time.
"On my fourth day with the girls, we were in Brussels. Since my arrival, I thought Cassidy had been a little disheartened, but she had no fever, nothing. The next day my girls wanted to go to the Grand Place. In the middle of the ride, Cassidy's nose started bleeding uncontrollably. I took her to a hospital. The doctor examined her. He said she seemed a little anemic. That scared me. I can be accused of a lot of things, but neglecting the health of my children is not one of them," Miranda said seriously.
Andy nodded in agreement. In truth, most of the time, it were employees who took the girls to their medical appointments. Even so, their health was closely monitored.
"I told to the doctor that they had regular checkups. The last one, two months ago, had come back normal," Miranda added. "Yet, he still carried out a blood test. It was when the leukemia was discovered… it all happened very fast."
"But… you said the two of them…"
Miranda shook her head and took a deep breath. "They did the tests on Caroline, as well. While the disease has not manifested itself yet, it is in her system…"
"My God, Miranda… I… I'm very sorry… I…"
"I need your help, Andrea," the other woman repeated, looking steadily into her eyes.
"Wha… what can I do?"
"Have my child."
Miranda rolled her eyes. "I had a bone marrow test, mine is not compatible. There were complications when my daughters were born, and I cannot have more children. You know that, in such cases, brothers and sisters of the same parents have a better chance of compatibility. Jeremy is also not suitable for transplant, but he volunteered to donate his sperm. We will continue looking for someone… but I want to have an alternative…"
This time Andy could not resist. She pinched herself. It hurt. She was not dreaming. It was a real nightmare!
Although madness, the way indicated by Miranda was plausible, perhaps the wisest thing, under the circumstances…
"Why… why me?"
Miranda looked at her as she was really stupid. "Because you are the most clueless, naive and maddening person I have ever met…"
Andy was about to protest.
"Also, the most honest, loyal and hardworking… There are very few people who can surprise me, Andrea. And you never cease to amaze me…"
Andy's words died in her throat.
Miranda sighed again. "You left… at the time I needed you most…"
"I did not think you had courage… it was… a shock…"
"I know you could not take the thing with Nigel. However, I do not miss opportunities, Andrea… It is probably hard for you to believe, but I also did not like how things ended. Did you need to be so extreme?"
Only Andy knew how much…
"Apart from that lapse, you have always been loyal. During that circus, in Paris, you could have allied yourself with the enemy, but you tried to warn me, you wanted to help me…" Miranda paused for a moment, as if the whole talk was extremely difficult.
Andy thought it was, in many ways.
She wondered if Miranda has been so honest and open with someone before. Andy doubted it.
This consciousness filled her with a new sense of confidence, but also a small disquieting feeling.
She was back in the fire of the dragon!
"I thought of you because I know you will not use our family names to promote yourself or extort money. If you accept, it is because you really want to help my girls. I know I am asking a lot…" Miranda breathed heavily. "Think about it, Andrea… please. If you accept, then we will make it under the right conditions. I only ask that you keep it a secret. I want avoid as much as I can expose my daughters to the vultures of the tabloids."
Andy just nodded. She was numb with disbelief. The Ice Queen 'opening up'. 'Asking', using 'please'… The situation of the twins… It was too much to handle.
"So, could you think about my request?" Miranda asked with an expression that Andy had not seen before: fearful urgency.
Miranda nodded in appreciation and gave a tight smile. She rose up gracefully off the couch and put her sunglasses back on. Her face was an unreadable mask, the Miranda Priestly that everyone knew and feared.
Miranda turned and walked to the door. Andy did not follow her. She did not trust her legs. She stood there, watching her go.
At the door, however, Miranda stopped. Without turning around to the younger woman, she said, "Just do not take too long… we do not have much time…"
"I… I know…"
"Thank you, Andrea…" Miranda spoke in a whisper, then she opened the door and left.
Andy did not know what to think or what to do with that bunch of feelings that burned in her chest. Then, her heart decided for her. She would do what it asked.
Andy hugged her legs, rested her chin on her knees and cried.