A/N: I am terribly sorry for taking so long at this latest chapter. I promise I have not abandoned this story. I had a major case of writer's block (unable to write absolutely anything of worth) and a slew of responsibilities that just seemed to pile up during a new job and the start of my final semester of college. I will be updating more regularly from now on. My muse came back and it brought back some wondrous new ideas. Now, on with the show!
Disclaimer: See Chapter 1. We all know how I absolutely love repeating myself.
Three quarters of an hour later Andy made her way down the stairs to the kitchen of the townhouse, where she found Miranda enjoying a steaming cup of coffee. The older woman was leaning against the counter and the sight was just so homey that Andy found her heart aching for that domestic bliss that she had always wanted. She found herself having to resist going over to the other woman and wrapping her arms around her as she lay her head against that strong yet feminine shoulder. Instead she entered the room tentatively and approached the editor, who surprisingly handed her a mug from the counter full of hot tea.
Miranda gazed at Andrea's outfit, doing her once over like she did every morning in the office, but this time she allowed her gaze to linger on where she knew Andy's carefully concealed baby bump resided under a Dolce and Gabbana chiffon leopard print shirt and a size too big Bill Blass pencil skirt. She couldn't understand why the younger woman wanted to hide the new life growing in her. Mentally shaking her head she finished off her coffee. "Are you ready to go, Andrea," she asked.
"Yes, Miranda. Shall I call Roy to come pick you up?" Andy set her half-finished mug on the island and fished into her purse for her notebook and pen. She looked up as Miranda laid her hand on her arm. "Yes, Miranda? Is there something I can get for you?"
The editor shook her head at the girl's immediate switch into assistant mode. Usually it would have entertained her to see minions scrabbling to do her bidding, but after everything that had happened last night all Miranda wanted Andrea to do was relax. Too much stress was not conducive to a healthy pregnancy and she wanted the younger woman to learn the love and devotion a mother could give. "Let Emily do the errands today. I want you to stay close and off your feet." Leading the confused girl to the door she said, "Now come. It's time to go to breakfast."
Andy followed Miranda to the car and quickly rounded the back to let herself in the back seat as Roy held the door for the editor. As they headed for where ever Roy was bringing them she couldn't help but wonder why Miranda was going out for breakfast, especially with her assistant in tow. Maybe she had an early morning meeting that Andy had forgotten about? Internally starting to panic she pulled out her phone and began to search for the elusive meeting that she must have forgotten about.
The brunette looked up in a bout of attentiveness. "Yes, Miranda?" She gazed at the editor's hand as it reached over and plucked the phone from her hands tossing it back into her bag.
"You need to relax," Miranda said taking Andy's hand in her own. "Stress is conducive in adequate doses and under the correct circumstances, however you are overdosed and these are not the right circumstances. So we are going to have a relaxing breakfast since I know you haven't been eating correctly and then you are going to man the office while Emily does the errands."
Blinking rapidly Andrea looked down from their joined hands to her boss and then back at their hands. Who was this woman and what had she done with Miranda Priestly? Last night she had understood the helpfulness because she had just had a painful encounter with Nate, but to have it continue this morning was just confusing. Had she done something wrong and Miranda was trying to soften the blow of her firing? No, Miranda didn't do soft when it came to someone else's head on the chopping block. The blow always came swift and blunt. Andy had seen it enough to realize that.
"Just trust me," came the soft voice to her left. "That's all I'm asking."
"I do." 'More than you'll ever know,' Andy thought.
Not releasing the brunette's hand Miranda simply nodded and sat back in her seat staring out the window of the car. Her mind was reeling from the fact she was holding Andrea's hand in her own.
It took fifteen minutes to arrive at their destination. It was a more upscale eatery with breakfast hours that suited Miranda's schedule very well. Miranda slid out of the car, sliding her sunglasses into place, face schooled into her usual neutral expression. Andy checked for traffic before opening her door and letting herself out in order to slip around the back of the car to her regular place one step back and one step to the side of Miranda. They made their way into the building where the hostess on duty immediately recognized the fashion maven and led the duo to a semi-private booth in the back where she proceeded to take their orders, dictated to her by Miranda.
The two women sat in silence, both wrapped in their thoughts until the waitress arrived with two plates of scrambled eggs and whole wheat toast, coffee for Miranda and orange juice for Andrea. "Eat, Andrea," the editor said, while picking daintily at her own meal.
Pushing her food around on her plate for a moment Andy thought of any way she could get out of eating, since it was certain to come right back up after the car ride to Elias-Clarke. She hadn't been experiencing too much morning sickness but it had a tendency to hit at the worst possible moment and did not restrict itself to the morning. Looking up the young woman cringed at the glare Miranda was giving her. Not wanting to upset her boss she tentatively forked some of the fluffy eggs into her mouth. Her eyes widened slightly, they were actually quite good. Ten times better than anything Nate could have made her. Feeling hungrier than she had in a while she began to eat with relish. Perhaps she had been sick so often because her unborn child wanted something of a better quality then what she could provide.
Miranda hid a small smile as she watched the woman across from her practically inhale the eggs on her plate. She recalled that scrambled eggs made by her friend had been one of the few things she could reliably keep down while she had been pregnant with the twins. Luckily the man had stayed in New York and made quite a name for himself, opening the very eatery they were seated in and maintaining the head chef position.
The two women ate in a comfortable silence until they were interrupted by Andrea's ringtone erupting from her purse. A look of horror passed over the brunette's face her fork halfway to her mouth, frozen until Miranda nodded her head towards the offending noise.
Dropping her fork as if it had burned her Andy immediately dug into her purse to grab her phone. As soon as the greeting of hello had passed her lips Emily's voice spilled out from the earpiece. "OH MY GOD! Where are you? If Miranda gets here before you do it's going to be both of our heads on the chopping block. I mean I've already fielded six calls from that idiot Nate for you. My god, why you ever stayed with an ass like him is beyond me."
"Em," Andy said cutting the Brit off. "Would you relax and eat a cheese cube! I'm with Miranda now and we'll be…" The phone being gently tugged out of her hand cut her off and she looked up at the editor in surprise as the woman began to speak calmly to the frantic redhead on the other end of the line.
"Emily, Andrea and I will be at the office shortly. Ensure there is a pair of flats or a shoe with a low heel at her desk and ensure my coffee is ready by the time I get there. Move the run through up to ten and ensure Jocelyn knows that if she attempts to show me the same boring samples again it will be her last run through. That's all." Hanging up the cellphone she handed it back to the shocked brunette across from her. "Come along, Andrea."
They stood from the table, Miranda leaving a small pile of bills next to her plate, and walked out to the black town car, Miranda's hand set lightly in the small of Andrea's back guiding the girl through the rapidly filling eatery.
Andy looked for traffic as she always did before she rounded the back of the car to enter on the opposite side but before she could take the step off the curb a hand arrested her movement. She dropped her gaze to the slim hand that had captured her own before looking up at the editor. Watching the silver haired woman use her free hand to slip her signature sunglasses back into place Andy was confused at the momentary glimpse of emotion she had caught before the blue eyes were concealed. Care or perhaps concern. She wasn't sure what to make of it. At Miranda's slight nod towards the open backseat door Andrea finally got the hint and allowed the older woman to help her into the car, scooting across the seat to give Miranda room.
"Roy, Runway," the editor ordered settling back into her seat.
The trip passed quickly which was impressive in the heavy New York traffic. Miranda slipped from the car as it slowed to a stop in front of the Elias-Clarke building and waited until Roy had helped Andrea from the car. She couldn't explain why she was actually allowing herself to show a small sliver of how much she cared for the brunette following her through the door and across the lobby towards the elevator. It was as if one of her defenses had been torn down after learning about her assistant's pregnancy and the Ice Queen couldn't be bothered to rebuild it. A tilt of her head had Andrea joining her in the elevator and they rode up to Runway's floor together.
As they strode into the area outside Miranda's office they found Emily and Nigel whispering with their heads bent over a sheet of paper, the former writing and then scratching out words.
Miranda cleared her throat and they leapt apart and straightened as Emily shoved the paper into one of her books. "The shoes for Andrea," the query came in an icy whisper.
"Here." Nigel produced a pair of black Chanel flats. "But I'm not sure why…"
"Andrea, put them on." Miranda tossed her jacket and purse towards Emily's general direction. "You will wear flats or a very low heel for the rest of your pregnancy. Hopefully Nigel will deem it prudent to look where his is going from now on and we won't have any more collisions outside my office door."
"Yes, Miranda." Accepting the shoes from Nigel she used his shoulder for balance as she slipped out of her heels and into the flats.
Meanwhile the editor had entered what everyone referred to as the Dragon's Lair and shut the door behind her. The two assistants and the art director looked at each other with expressions of shock and almost fear. Miranda never closed her door unless something was dreadfully wrong or someone's head was going to roll. Since she had just arrived with Andrea in tow they were pretty sure it wasn't the former. "I do not pity whoever has gotten the Dragon Lady this riled up," Nigel intoned gravely. "Ciao, dears." He gave a little wave as he left to go back to the Art Department.
Inside the closed office Miranda was on the phone with her friend that owned the eatery. "Yes, Richard, the boy's name is Nathaniel. Goes by…ugh… Nate. What a plebeian name. Especially for a person that supposedly wants to be a chef. He's nothing more than a fry cook. Yes, my assistant, Andrea, you remember her. Yes, yes, the breath taking brunette. Really Richard, if you weren't married you'd be as bad as Hugh Hefner." A chuckle escaped the editor's lips as she turned to face the glass windows of her office. "Yes, as it turns out he followed her to my house last night and proceeded to abuse her in my front hallway. No, no. Don't worry about the girls. Luckily they weren't at home during the incident, you know how highly they speak of her. I know you know most of the chefs or owners of the higher scale restaurants both here and in Boston. You see, you are starting to see how I'm thinking. She's pregnant, Richard, and I know how you feel about abuse especially against those who cannot defend themselves. Yes, make it a dead end. I do realize it could spread all over the country, Richard, with your contacts I am not doubting that. Thank you. I do appreciate it. Yes, I'll be sure to bring her in and introduce you properly sometime. Your eggs were much appreciated this morning and have not yet made reappearance. Perhaps we might. Do not push your luck, Richard, by insinuating such a thing. Yes, take care."
Spinning around in her chair to face her desk the fashion maven sat back in her chair, finger sliding across her lip in thought. Was it really so blatantly obvious that she had feelings for the girl that even Richard could tell over the phone? No, he was one of her closest friends and knew her quite well. No one else would be able to tell. However she would have to keep her guard up. It wouldn't due to have someone like Irving find out and use it to smear both their names. No, she would just have to wait, bide her time, and make her move when the time was right. After all, Miranda Priestly always gets what she wants.
Yes, I know that was a terrible place to end it. It just seemed to naturally stop there in my mind. I promise Lily's evisceration next chapter and Doug should show up and we'll get him and Nigel heading to cloud nine eventually. Hopefully sooner rather than later.
Also, many of you may have noticed I changed my user name. I felt like I had outgrown the other name, my friends told me it didn't exactly fit me any more with the way I have grown up. They told me I modelled myself more after an aristocratic Pureblood from Harry Potter and Viper is what my RPG friends know me by. So I combined the two and feel like it fits me better.
Hopefully you're all still following this story and will continue to peruse and enjoy.
Until we meet again,