The Phone, Book and Post-It Notes
Nothing was as it should be.
Curiously, Miranda was perfectly all right with that.
Without a doubt, she knew the place to be her study, except this dark room furnished in suffocating colonial style didn't look like her study at all. She was sitting serenely on an atrocious, moss green leather sofa that, under normal circumstances, would never set a foot in her house. The book she was scribbling in - The Book, naturally - was absurdly huge, almost poster sized.
Little yellow and purple post-it notes fluttered around her head like paper butterflies. Without looking, she would grab one from the air, stick it still wriggling on a page, write a comment, turn the page, and meticulously repeat the process.
Sometime later, the door opened softly, but she didn't look up. Whoever it was would have to wait: the Book always came first. The steps approached silently, hushed by thick carpet. This was not a heavy male gait, nor children's tiny feet. Miranda's heartbeat quickened. Just like she recognized the study, she simply knew who she'd see if she were to raise her eyes. Still, she kept on working, delicious anticipation curling in her stomach.
Then, shockingly, the Book was being pulled out of her hands. She looked up, startled by intruder's insolence. Andrea stood in front of her, in a champagne colored bathrobe, the enormous Book held close to her body with both hands. Coldly, letting her displeasure be seen, Miranda stared at her face. To her surprise, there was no fear there, but a tiny smirk instead, one eyebrow daringly raised.
Miranda appraised her for a moment longer, and then lifted her hand. "Give it back, Andrea."
Andrea narrowed her eyes at her but reluctantly obeyed. Behind the Book, Andrea's robe was untied. Eyes glued to the view, Miranda tossed the Book over to her side. Andrea's midnight blue bathrobe (Wasn't it champagne a second ago?), parted enticingly, dramatically framing a line of pale flesh from the soft curve of her breasts down to the tiny black curls.
She uncrossed her legs. "Come here, Andrea."
Andrea stepped forward, and at Miranda's impatient glance, even closer, her shins touching the seat. "I said," Miranda said levelly. "come here. Is 'here' such a novel concept?"
Andrea's eyes flashed defiantly. She leaned over Miranda and, holding to the backrest, stepped over her. Slowly, she lowered herself on Miranda's lap and chased the butterflies away.
"Is that close enough?" Andrea's voice, smooth, self confident, sounded so unlike her, Miranda felt compelled to answer. She crushed the impulse and instead, reached with her fingertips and moved the burgundy robe slightly away. Not too much, just enough to unveil one plump, rosy nipple. She didn't touch; she merely watched it stiffen in front of her eyes. She could hear Andrea's breath quickening. When Miranda remained non-responsive, her back arched a little, in offering. Finally, looking at Andrea's half lidded eyes, Miranda touched the nipple with her forefinger. Andrea gasped. She circled it lightly, and then rubbed, hard. Andrea whimpered.
"Miranda, please…" Miranda leaned closer, licking her lips in anticipation.
Andrea's perfume permeated the air. The familiar scent tickled her nose: cheerful, springy smell of freesias.
No, damn it! Not freesias!
Miranda woke with a start, her heart thundering. Good Lord, what was that? She stared ahead, unblinking. The darkness was slowly receding, reveling familiar contours of her bedroom. Just a dream, a silly dream. It felt so real, though. Her breasts were aching, she was wet between her legs, and she could still smell the damned flowers. She had had sex dreams in her life, and even the ones starring Andrea were not that rare of late, but never this… detailed. She swallowed, and rubbed at her eyes, then froze. Her fingers brushed at unfamiliar shape on her forehead. She touched gingerly.
A piece of paper. Stuck to her forehead.
She sprang up, turned the bedside light on. There was a yellow Post-it note in her hand.
It read: I COME IN PIECE. DON'T FAINT.
The editorial part of her brain shrieked in horror. Then the rest of it joined in. She looked wildly around. She was alone. Oh, god, the twins! Immediately, she was out of the bed, running as her feet hit the floor.
"There simply isn't less dramatic way of doing this." A soft voice said behind her back. Miranda turned so quickly, she almost tripped. Blindly, she tapped for the light switch behind her back.
There was a girl in her bed. She was hugging her legs with both hands, her chin resting on her knees. Her face was pale, framed by very straight, very long blond hair. Huge blue eyes looked at Miranda warily. She looked strangely familiar.
All right .It's all right. It was just a girl, and not particularly violent looking one. Miranda felt the panic receding. It was difficult to stay terrified with a teenager, one that spelled badly at that, however atrociously she was dressed. Were those flared pants? Good Lord, platform shoes? And that horrible, thick, plastic bracelet with psychedelic red and green pattern that- God help her, the bracelet that she once, long time ago bought for-
"Jen?" she whispered, freesias suddenly making sense. She recognized now those eyes, the two tiny moles on her cheek. On her pallid cheek, that actually seemed more on a transparent side. Miranda leaned heavily on the door, feeling her knees weaken.
"Don't faint! I told you not to!" the girl blurted. Miranda took a deep breath, then another one. She'd never fainted in her life. She wouldn't start now, however translucent the girl in her bed was.
"Aren't you…?" Atypically, Miranda hesitated. How do you ask a person if they were deceased?
"Of course I am. As you very well know." The girl, the ghost, Jen, rolled her eyes. "Remember the train? Choo-choo?"
"It is not funny." Miranda bristled at her callousness.
"Yes, well, forgive me; I've had 30 years to think about it. Believe me, after a while it does become kind of ridiculous." Jen shrugged. "Anyway, you know what they say, it's better to laugh about it then to haunt the British Railways."
Miranda stared at the girl, the apparition, disbelievingly. She was having a conversation with a ghost of a girl she once - what - hated, envied, loved? All of the above?
Was she still dreaming? The wooden floor under her feet felt cold, the doorknob reassuringly solid under her palm. Was it an early menopause syndrome? Some hormonal imbalance making her hallucinate?
Miranda fingered the sticky yellow paper in her hand and decided to reserve the judgment for a moment.
"Why did you do it?" Miranda said finally. "I begged you to stop."
"Eh, I was high as a kite at the time. Walking on the rails seemed like a thing to do," Jen said. Then she grimaced. "And you've always been a worrywart."
"A worrywart? A worrywart? You died, you idiot." Miranda brushed shaking fingers through her hair. It turned white that night. "I watched you die."
"I'm sorry about your hair," Jen said, reading her mind. She suddenly perked up. "Hey, I could change it back, if you want?"
"Don't you dare." Miranda narrowed her eyes in warning.
"Ah, yes, it's a signature, right?" Jen said mockingly. "Who would have thought? Little Miriam Princhek, the ice queen of the fashion world." She visibly enjoyed Miranda's wince at the name. She stretched her long legs on the bed, leaning on her hands. "It's funny, really. I've always had more style than you. I was the risk taker."
"'Was' being the key word here," Miranda said dryly.
"Whatever." Jen tilted her head. "But it kind of brings us to why I'm here."
"Yes, do tell." Miranda was trying hard to regain her balance. "Why are you here?"
"You need cheering up, luv. And I'm just the ghost to do it."
"What?" Miranda said, her eyes widening.
"I've had more fun being a ghost than you being alive. It says something, don't you think?"
"That is absolute nonsense." Miranda straightened up. Of all things…
"Oh, bollocks. When was the last time you laughed?" Miranda opened her mouth. What a ridiculous notion. Of course she laughed. "I mean an honest to God laugh. Not that shit you do at your fancy events." Jen interrupted quickly.
Miranda sniffed dismayingly but kept her silence. Finally, she said, "I am not that kind of person."
"You used to be," Jen shot back.
"Why are we even talking about this?" Why did she let that…that apparition interrogate her? For God's sake, she was not seventeen anymore. She was accomplished, respected, even feared, mature woman. Miranda Priestly dredged up her coldest expression, looked down her nose and said arrogantly. "Go haunt someone else with your questions."
"Sorry, luv. You're my haunt of the day. Or as long as it takes," Jen said unperturbed. Miranda muttered a curse.
"So, here's what is going to happen." Jen rubbed her hands. "Today I'll give you a slight taste of what I can do. Nothing drastic. Just to make you more susceptible to my conditions."
"What conditions? What are you blabbering about?"
"We'll talk in the evening. You should try and sleep a bit more. Who knows, maybe you'll tune back in." Jen wiggled her eyebrows suggestively, and shimmered away, leaving seething Miranda alone in her bedroom, with a fully developed blush.