Andy opened the door, magazine in hand. "Lily! Oh my fucking God! I can't, I can't even believe this!" Andy said brokenly as she began pacing. Lily closed the door and approached cautiously. Seeing this, Andy stopped and pointed at her. "This is all your fault! Of all the hair-brained, stupid suggestions—"
Lily held her hands in front of her in a placating gesture. "Now, Andy, slow down. It's okay. Everything's going to be okay."
"Nothing's going to be okay!" Andy wailed. "Have you looked at this?" Andy shook the New Yorker in front of Lily's face. "Look at this!" Andy demanded. Lily took the magazine and sank onto the couch.
A month ago Lily had suggested Andy write about the song that reminded her of Miranda. She had suggested it would be a way for Andy to work through her unresolved emotions regarding her former employer, the silver-haired devil who still invaded her thoughts regularly. Although writing about the song, its meaning, and even her resulting conversation with Lily had felt cathartic, all those feelings were now overshadowed by sheer terror.
"I don't understand," Lily muttered. "How did it get published without your permission?" Lily looked up.
"Well, that's the thing. I was so consumed with writing the article that I forgot who my professor was. Is. He's an editor at the New Yorker. He had us sign waivers during our first class stating that any of our assignments could be published at his discretion. How could I be so stupid!" Andy dropped her face in her hands. "She's going to read this, and she's going to kill me. Eviscerate me. Humiliate me."
Lily sat beside Andy, rubbing her back soothingly. "That's better than nothing, though, isn't it?"
Andy looked at her with an incredulous expression. "Are you crazy?"
"No. Look, Andy. You haven't moved on. Maybe this will give you some closure. Either she will respond or ignore it. Either way, you've stepped forward and admitted that you're hung up on her. That you have been for years. If she doesn't respond, then you'll know that nothing will ever happen with her. Ever. If she does respond, well—you'll know where you stand, I'm sure."
Andy snorted. That was an understatement if she'd ever heard one. "I wasn't ready for this. I'm not ready to know one way or the other. I'm not ready to move on, to know I mean absolutely nothing to her. I, it's hard to let a dream go, Lily." She felt tears building and fought them angrily. She didn't want to cry. This was ridiculous. Her feelings were her own creation, her own stupidity. But now everyone knew. Worse, Miranda knew.
"Look on the bright side, Andy. You got published in the New Yorker," Lily chirped brightly. Andy gave her the dark, I-want-to-kill-you look she deserved.
"Don't. Don't tell me that one day we will look back on this and laugh, that it will be funny and interesting—"
"But, Andy, you don't know—" Lily tried to argue.
"Do you really think I'm going to send this, my first freelance article, to my parents? My friends? How do you think my former Runway colleagues are going to react? How do you think my current coworkers are going to react? Do you have any idea just how fucked I am? I mean, I didn't even have time to bend over and get comfortable. I'm just—fucked."
Lily nodded, obviously defeated by Andy's superior interpretation of events and recognizing the truth in Andy's words.
"Fucked." Andy repeated grimly.
The last week had become so horrible, so indescribably tortuous that Andy could do nothing but keep her head down and pretend not to hear the comments. At work everyone looked at her as if she were a fascinating though odd-looking creature. Andy knew what they were thinking, what they didn't dare ask although they desperately wanted to know: how could she fall for Miranda Priestly? The editor's reputation for ruthlessly chewing up assistants and discarding them like tasteless gum after she'd sucked them dry was well-known. They couldn't figure out what a sweet, intelligent woman could have seen in such a beast.
They didn't know Miranda, though. They hadn't seen those moments of quiet strength when the press had tried to rip her apart or when Irv Ravitz had attempted to remove her from her position or when the person she was supposed to be able to trust had delivered divorce papers during the most important week of the year. Andy still felt bad that she had added to Miranda's burdens that week by quitting her job without notice. Yet, Miranda had soldiered on that week and the next and the next. She had held on to her position, kept the press at bay, and lived life under constant scrutiny, all while seeming to not care about the misfortunes, challenges, and changes that had swirled around her.
That strength of character, that ability to continue while confronted with adversity—those were merely a couple of the reasons why Andy had admired and continued to be enthralled by Miranda.
Andy had no intention of explaining herself to anyone, though. Certainly not to her colleagues. Nor to Emily or Nigel or Serena, all who had contacted her to berate her and congratulate her on her ballsy-ness, as well as warn her that Miranda had seen the article. Well, of course she had seen the article. It was in the fucking New Yorker. Everyone had seen it, read it, shaken their heads in wonder and bewilderment. Even her parents had seen it, and boy, had they been surprised. Andy wouldn't discuss it with anyone, however, not even her Mom and Dad. They had realized, after seeing Andy's face splashed all across various gossip rags, that Andy did not need to be badgered by people who loved her. They had relented. Her friends had relented. Life continued.
Finishing her last article for the day, Andy uploaded it to the Mirror's server, releasing it to the copywriting and fact checking department. Soon she would push through the photographers, hop on the subway, and return to her apartment for some well-earned peace and quiet. Lily had invited her to some art gallery extravaganza across town, but Andy's nerves were a bit too exposed, her shield a bit too battered for her to want to appear in public.
Checking her email one more time before she logged out, Andy gasped, looking around furtively to make sure no one was paying attention to her. She did not want an audience as her world changed, yet again. Andy stared at the email addressee's name for a long time. A long time. She did not want to open it. She had to open it. She owed it to herself to open it. She didn't want to open it.
With a huff, Andy opened it.
Subject: New Yorker article
Date: October 28, 2008
For some reason, thoughts of you bring the song Witchy Woman to mind. Your article has shed light on your feelings and forced me to confront mine. Even those few words you had managed to throw my way while under my employ were enough to bind me.
Do you believe you can string together enough words, now, Andrea?
Andy read it. Then she read it again. As Miranda's meaning thawed Andy's frozen mind, she began to tremble. This was not a negative response. At all. This was, holy shit, this was positive. This was Miranda accepting Andy's feelings. This was acknowledging she had feelings for Andy. How should she reply?
Subject: Stringing words together
Date: October 28, 2008
Although I have no doubt you will continue to leave me speechless, scrambling to give voice to feelings I have guarded closely for years, I promise to communicate in other ways to reinforce those bindings. Are you willing to help me with this problem of becoming tongue-tied while in your presence, perhaps by indulging in some lingual exercises?
Not quite believing she was trading emails with Miranda or that she was not-so-subtly propositioning her, Andy hit send and sat back to wait. She thought of the lyrics of Witchy Woman. Andy desperately wanted to sleep in the devil's bed, she wanted to cast a spell on Miranda, she wanted to rock Miranda in the nighttime. Oh, yeah.
It seemed incredible that Miranda has thought of her at all, never mind that she had harbored feelings about Andy that needed to be confronted. Andy had bound Miranda? How was that possible? And how was she supposed to be coherent while in Miranda's presence now?
Andy would just have to figure out a way. She'd find a way.
Subject: Lingual exercises
Date: October 28, 2008
Interesting. Is that what they call it nowadays? I'd rather just kiss you until you pass out. Come over tonight at eight. No witch doctors. Just your bewitching presence. And a change of clothes.
Laughing with joy not to mention a healthy dose of incredulity, Andy sent a quick email agreeing and scampered out of the building. The paparazzi no longer bothered her. She smiled brightly as she strode toward the subway. She couldn't wait to call Lily with the news. Her friend was going to flip.
Miranda wanted to kiss her. No, Miranda wanted to kiss her until she passed out. Andy had some desires of her own she was determined to explore with the silver-haired devil. Eloquent or not, Andy would communicate her feelings. She'd make sure of it.
At ten before eight, Andy ascended the townhouse steps. She grasped the straps of her James Holt bag tightly. Soft ebony leather, the oversized bag held a change of clothes and her make-up. Andy had every intention of staying the night.
Two red-haired teenagers greeted her at the door. They wore woolen jackets over designer jeans and cashmere sweaters. "Hi," said the one on the left. "I'm Cassidy. That's Caroline. Mom will be down in a sec."
"Hi," Andy answered, pulling off her jacket. Caroline took it, hanging it in the closet. "It's nice to see you. Um, how are you?" Andy knew it was lame, but what did you ask middle school kids?
"Good," Caroline answered. "This way." Caroline led Andy to the den while Cassidy followed behind them. "Mom told us you used to work for her."
"You got us the Harry Potter book," Cassidy added. As if Andy had forgotten. "She said you're a reporter at the Mirror." Andy nodded.
"That's cool. Not that I would do that. But someone has to," Caroline pronounced. Cassidy nodded her agreement.
"How's school?" Andy asked as she gingerly sat on a leather wingback chair. The girls remained standing.
"Good," Cassidy answered. "I'm playing soccer and the clarinet."
"I'm playing the piano and taking gymnastics," Caroline chimed in.
"Oh. That's great. I, I thought you both played the piano," Andy ventured.
"We did, but I wanted to switch. She plays it better than me, anyway," Cassidy said.
They heard the staccato rhythm of heels on hardwood floors. Miranda was approaching. Caroline leaned forward. "She said we'll be seeing a lot more of you, so maybe you can get her to come to some of my meets."
"Or to some of my games," Cassidy added. They both looked at Andy imploringly. Andy nodded.
"I'll try," she promised. They seemed content with her answer.
"Girls, Roy is waiting outside. Be good for your father. I'll talk to you tomorrow." Miranda kissed each girl on the cheek, smiling slightly at the tight hugs she received from each.
"Love you, Mom."
Andy and Miranda stared at each other as they listened to the teens run across the hall and slam the front door. The house echoed with their exiting noises as Miranda stepped closer. Then all Andy could hear was white noise. Andy stood up quickly, blinking rapidly as she watched Miranda's lips move. She couldn't hear a thing. Andy placed a hand on her forehead, convinced she was experiencing a sudden, life-ending fever. It was so hot, she was so hot. Jesus. She was melting and her ears no longer worked and she was having trouble focusing.
A cool hand on the nape of her neck brought her back. "Andrea," Miranda whispered. Those eyes, bright, sparkling, dark-blue eyes, told her it was all right, told her she understood, told her she cared, too. Andy took a deep breath. Then another one. She began to feel extremely foolish. How absurd she was to react this way. Miranda was just a person, someone who wanted to spend time with her. And she was mucking it up, acting like a schoolgirl. Andy looked away. Why in the world would Miranda want anything to do with her?
"I'm, I'm sorry, Miranda." Andy shook her head. "Here I am acting like a witless wonder." Andy sighed in defeat. "I just can't seem to function around you."
Miranda's chuckle pulled Andy's gaze upward to meet amused eyes. "Apparently not. However, I have a solution for that." Before Andy could ask for clarification, she found her lips otherwise occupied.
Andy breathed in deeply, her entire focus on the soft lips brushing slowly against hers. Andy tasted mint and coffee. Better yet, she tasted Miranda. So addictive. Andy thought of caramel and roses and puffy clouds. Sweet and pure and fluffy. Andy yielded willingly, joyfully, instructing herself to remember every texture, every small movement, every blessed second because she was heating up again, and she knew what that meant: she was, indeed, going to die of that life-ending fever.
But now she didn't mind because she would be experiencing her last moments in Miranda's surprisingly strong arms, feeling those elegant hands weaving through her hair as those lips, lips that normally released such lethal verbal barbs, gently persuaded Andy to give in, give up. Andy moaned her consent.
Andy whimpered when Miranda pulled back slightly to gaze into Andy's eyes. "Please don't stop, Miranda," Andy pleaded softly. "I'm not quite unconscious yet, but I assure you I am well on my way." Miranda's husky laugh took Andy by surprise. Sexy and low, it resonated deep in Andy's belly, making her shiver with anticipation.
"You see, Andrea, already you are communicating much more clearly." Miranda smiled fully before swooping in for another kiss.
These kisses were much different. Whereas the last set of kisses served as an introduction, a mellow meshing of lips, these kisses were firmer, more passionate, much more intense. Andy thought of toffee and calla lilies and feather pillows. Textured and complex and layered. Andy parted her lips, wanting to taste each moment, wanting to swallow Miranda's sweet breath in to her lungs, to fill up every part of her body with that precious air.
How extraordinary, how delicious. Miranda seemed to understand what Andy wanted, what she needed. And now Andy realized that she wasn't dying, she was living. She finally felt alive after two years of suspended animation. Miranda was breathing life into her.
Andy pulled Miranda closer, pressed their lips together more firmly, and poured all her words into that kiss, that unimaginable, all-consuming kiss. God, how she needed her. This just couldn't be the only time she'd get to feel Miranda in her arms, it just couldn't be a momentary lapse in Miranda's judgment, a wild what-the-hell decision.
That would be absolutely heartbreaking.
Andy nearly climbed inside Miranda's body—she would have if it were possible. She groaned long and loud when Miranda's began sucking on her lower lip. She might have felt embarrassed if not for the way Miranda growled and sucked more forcefully. Those lovely hands, those gorgeous capable hands, held her head captive, but oh so tenderly. Andy felt Miranda's thumbs stroking her cheekbones, slowly, hypnotically. But Andy couldn't concentrate on those fingers. She couldn't process anything other than her lips and her breath and her, oh, oh, my God! Andy shuddered at the first meeting of their tongues. A bolt of arousal chased through her body, and Andy panicked as her knees buckled. Miranda held on tightly, though, so tightly as she guided Andy to the lounge.
They broke apart for just a moment, just long enough for Andy to lie down and for Miranda to cover her. Lips found lips once more, and Andy felt as if they had been parted for millennia, eons—she had missed this feeling so much. So much. Andy could do nothing but groan and pull Miranda closer. Closer, she had to get closer. Andy felt nearly frantic with her need. But it was okay because Miranda understood. She must understand. How could she not understand?
The thought of never feeling Miranda lying on top of her, of never feeling those lips kissing her, loving her, branding her—Andy tried to shove away those thoughts. She didn't want to succumb to her fears. She didn't want to miss a moment of this by wondering about the future. Caroline and Cassidy had indicated that Andy would be coming around, right? Surely that meant Miranda would invite her back.
All Andy's thoughts disintegrated when Miranda stopped, gently wiping away Andy's tears. "Andrea?" she whispered, concern shining through those storm-tossed eyes.
"I, please, Miranda. Please." Andy closed her eyes as she pulled Miranda toward her. Andy took control of the kiss, exploring the roof of Miranda's mouth and memorizing the texture of her gums. She allowed her tongue to rest on Miranda's tongue for a moment before sliding against it. She felt Miranda tremble and reveled in her power. Andy's hands threaded through the silver hair, so well-known and to Andy so sensual.
Andy was ready now. She understood now. She hadn't allowed herself to hope, to dream, to fantasize. Not really. Erotic dreams didn't count—it's not like she consciously created them. No, all her dreams had been ephemeral and diaphanous. Nothing could have come close to this. But now she knew.
Andy moved her hands to massage Miranda's neck and shoulders. God, she felt wonderful. Her body, Andy needed this body to move against hers. Miranda ended the kiss and rested her forehead against Andy's collarbone. "Andrea," she murmured. She took deep breaths as her body sank into Andy's. It felt heavenly. Andy continued to rub her shoulders. Miranda let out a soft moan.
Miranda looked up, focusing on Andy as she braced her arms on Andy's chest. "You are positively addictive." She moved a hand to touch Andy's swollen lower lip, smiling when Andy kissed it. "We have quite a bit of catching up to do." Miranda leaned forward to kiss Andy gently. "Stay with me tonight?"
Sunshine and fireworks, waterfalls and crackling firewood filled Andy's senses. Stay? Miranda wanted her to stay? "Yes! Of course!" Andy hugged Miranda fiercely, overcome with relief. Miranda chuckled into her chest, kissing the skin revealed by the v-neck sweater. Andy loosened her grip, running her fingers down Miranda's sides to rest on shapely hips.
"Good. I realize it's not quite the witching hour, but I find myself under your spell. Whatever will you do with me?" Miranda asked as her lips grazed the sensitive skin behind Andy's ear. Shuddering, Andy stretched her neck back, inviting Miranda to continue exploring.
"I, oh God, Miranda. I can hardly think around you as it is. Do you really expect me to talk now?" Andy rolled her hips, gasping when a thigh fell between her legs, pressing against her center. Miranda lifted herself over Andy, tilting her lower body so they fit together perfectly.
Seductive lips barely touched Andy's ear. "You'll just have to make your meaning clear in other ways. So far you've conveyed your feelings quite acceptably." Andy would have replied, but that magnificent tongue filled her ear, throwing her senses into chaos. Andy could not think.
"Holy shit!" Andy said, placing her hands on Miranda's ass and pulling forward as she arched upward. "I need, I need. Oh, fuck."
"Such language, Andrea. Do you always speak this way in bed?" Miranda murmured. She sucked on an earlobe as her hands began exploring Andy's chest.
"No. I, Jesus, Miranda! You're driving me crazy. And I want…I want you so much." Andy groaned her frustration as she tried to capture Miranda's wicked hands. Miranda eluded her, resuming her tortuous actions of cupping Andy's breasts and pulling on her nipples. "Aah! Just like that," Andy surrendered. "That feels so good."
Kneading Miranda's firm ass, Andy began thrusting her hips as she pulled Miranda nearer, setting a steady rhythm. Miranda abandoned her handwork, preferring to place her hands underneath Andy's sweater and slide them up her ribcage. Andy panted and slammed her eyes shut. Miranda tore Andy's sweater over her head, quickly followed by her bra. Not wanting to miss a moment, Andy forced her eyes open and adjusted her head so she could watch. Miranda shot her tongue out to trace a path up Andy's sternum, her eyes filled with desire. "I've wanted you for so long. Andrea, my sweet seductress. You have no idea how completely you have bewitched me. How much I have wanted to be close to you." Andy shouted out as Miranda's lips covered her breast.
"Miranda! Oh, Miranda," Andy sobbed. She was going to pass out. No, she was going to explode into a million pieces. And then pass out. Or maybe she was going to implode. Feeling Miranda's lips cover her other breast, Andy gave up trying to figure it out.
Swiftly, Andy pulled Miranda's blouse from her waistband and slid her hands up her back. So silky. More muscular than she had imagined. Sexy. Everything about Miranda was sexy. Seductive. Erotic. "I need to feel your skin against mine," Andy said throatily. Feeling Miranda lift up, Andy watched as she removed her blouse and bra expediently. Andy felt the wind knocked out of her. Breathtaking. Gorgeous. "You are magnificent," Andy sighed reverently. She reached up hesitantly to cup Miranda's breasts. Her eyes filled with tears. "Miranda," she whispered.
"Mmm, Andrea. You feel divine." Miranda rolled her hips as she leaned into Andy's hands. Andy leaned up to catch a breast with her mouth. Miranda panted as she thrust against Andy forcefully.
Andy sucked on the luscious breast while pulling on the other nipple. She moaned loudly as she met Miranda's body thrust for thrust. Calling out, Andy pulled Miranda's lips to hers. They shared a steamy kiss before Miranda pulled away with a gasp. "An-dray-ya!" she cried ardently. Andy watched bright eyes widen then close as ecstasy overtook Miranda. That sight coupled with how wonderful Miranda felt moving against her was enough to push Andy over the edge.
Soon supple lips covered hers tenderly, soothingly, full of promises and declarations neither knew how to voice just yet. Andy basked in Miranda's affection. They slowed their undulations as they continued to kiss. Miranda is a superb kisser. Andy felt spent, but she didn't want to stop, didn't want to miss one moment. Miranda moved her lips over Andy's jaw line, sucking lightly before lowering them to Andy's jumping pulse. Licking Andy's throat, Miranda nibbled as she hummed her pleasure. Andy held Miranda to her like the most delicate, precious being. Because she was. And always would be.
"I won't hold it against you if you pass out now," Miranda murmured as she snuggled into Andy's body. "As a matter of fact, I don't believe I'll be able to remain cognizant for much longer."
"Oh, thank God! I just need a moment. Or two." Andy felt Miranda's chuckle more than heard it. She smiled into silver hair resting just beneath her chin. "I still expect to sleep in the devil's bed," Andy whispered.
Miranda lifted her head up to gaze at Andy. "As you should, Andrea. I expect this spell you have placed on me will not fade any time soon. Hopefully, you are similarly bewitched." For the first time Miranda seemed uncertain.
"Are you kidding? I've been under your spell since the day we met." Andy ran her fingers lightly down Miranda's swan-neck. With a pleased sigh, Miranda lowered her head back to Andy's chest, delivering an open-mouthed kiss as she closed her eyes.
"Well, you can prove just how enchanted you are soon enough." Andy tightened her arms in a secure embrace before closing her eyes. They popped open when Miranda spoke again. "After all, I believe you have a goal in mind." Her eyes gleamed. "I am fully expecting that you will deliver on…oh, what were the charming words you used? Something about fucking me until I pass out in a frothing heap of sweaty, satiated bliss."
"Wha? How do you? I never said!" Andy sputtered.
Miranda closed her eyes once more, a small smirk gracing her face. "Magic," she whispered. "That's—" Andy quickly leaned down to capture those wicked words.
Witchy Woman by Don Henley and sung by the Eagles
Raven hair and ruby lips
Sparks fly from her finger tips
Echoed voices in the night
She's a restless spirit on an endless flight
Wooo hooo witchy woman, see how
High she flies
Woo hoo witchy woman she got
The moon in her eye
She held me spellbound in the night
Dancing shadows and firelight
Crazy laughter in another room
and she drove herself to madness
With a silver spoon
Woo hoo witchy woman see how high she flies
Woo hoo witchy woman she got the moon in her eye
I know you wanna love her,
Let me tell you brother, she's been sleeping
In the devil's bed.
And there's some rumors going round
She can rock you in the nighttime
'til your skin turns red
Woo hoo witchy woman
See how high she flies
Woo hoo witchy woman
She got the moon in her eye