Chapter Nine: Bad Idea

Clacking down Park Avenue in an aimless sort of way, cold too, with the icy November wind lifting her short black Givenchy dress and making men stop and stare in the street, Andy Sachs had the feeling she had just blown it. All of it.

It wasn't just that the job interview had been a total disaster. That she could live with. It was the way she had actually stood up for Miranda when the nice lady at the left-wing magazine made some remark about Runway "tricking" young women into wanting things they couldn't afford.

"So if it's a waste of time to read Runway, unless you actually have the money to buy the clothes, then is it a waste of time to read Jane Austen unless you're actually an English aristocrat? That's different? Oh, because that's art. Right. And you can only learn about art at expensive schools like Barnard and Wellesley. Gee, and to think I wasted those four wonderful years at Northwestern! Well, Mrs. Klumperman, you can take Jane Austen, and your smug, self-promoting, class-bound definition of art and just . . ."

Andy was pretty sure she didn't get the job.

"Hey lady! Fer crissakes, get out of the street!"

The sudden blast of a honking horn nearly scared her right out of her Jimmy Choos. Andy had been walking along mumbling to herself just like a bag lady! When she looked over, she saw that she had almost walked right in front of a great big stretch limousine. For a moment she just stood there, like a deer caught in the headlights, staring at the driver's face in a sort of trance.

And then something clicked for both of them.

"Andrea, is that you? Jesus, I almost killed you!" The driver pulled over and stuck his head out the window. He looked genuinely concerned. In fact he looked worried sick.

"Roy?" Without thinking, Andrea tottered three or four steps closer to the huge luxury car, half longing to see Miranda again. Then she drew up short, skittish and ready to bolt.

"Don't worry, kid, she's not here." Roy's hard face took on a shrewd expression as he read the girl's thoughts with ease. "We were just taking Patricia out for some exercise, and she got away. I don't know what I'm going to do!"

"Patricia got away?" Andy's dark brows narrowed as she remembered Miranda's lovable St. Bernard. A sick feeling hit her stomach. In this town, a dog in traffic was a dead dog.

"Not here on the street, thank God. We were in Central Park, and this kid Miranda hired to walk Patricia lost control of her. Then the kid panicked and ran off. Now the dog is gone and the kid is gone and I'm next on the chopping block!"

"Haven't you tried park security? The police?" Andy asked.

"Are you kidding?" The limo driver threw her an impatient look. "The tabloids would pick it up in no time. Miranda Priestley, abusive pet owner, letting her dog crap all over the Upper West Side. My head is on the block here!"

"To hell with that part of it," Andy said roughly, falling into Roy's way of speaking almost without noticing it. "Central Park is huge and poor Patricia is probably scared to death!"

"Will you help me look for her, Andrea?" For a moment Roy's tough, seen-it-all expression actually turned rather shy.

"Oh, no," Andrea gulped. "No, no, no! Bad idea!"

But she knew she couldn't leave Patricia out in the cold. And she was already climbing into the long, luxurious limousine.

"Don't worry, kid," Roy was saying. "We'll find her."

"Sure, Roy. We'll find her." Andy closed her eyes, trying not to remember anything while breathing in Miranda's perfume.