Disclaimer: Fox and Paramount own the rights to the movie and tv-show respectively. I only play with them for fun, and no copyright infringement is ever intended.
Fandoms: The Devil Wears Prada
Summary: Miranda returns unexpectedly to the office late one Friday, only to find a desolate Andy sleeping on her couch.
A MirAndy DWP fan fiction short story by
Part 1(of 2)
"G-good evening, ma'am. Ms. Priestly." The night guard at Elias-Clarke all but saluted as Miranda Priestly strode by him. She knew she looked good, dressed in a black, strapless Valentino dress, but she was quite annoyed, which no doubt was one reason for the burly man's stuttering. She'd left her briefcase in her office, only realizing it when the Mercedes was almost back at the townhouse. Miranda had opted to bite the bullet and go collect it rather than wasting time by getting Emily or Andrea to deal with it.
The elevator ascended through the dormant structure, normally bustling with activity, but now, on a Friday evening, it was almost void of people. Arriving at the floor hosting the offices of Runway, her beloved fashion magazine, Miranda strode along the corridor and only when she was nearly at the glass door leading into her domains, did she slow her steps. A muted light shone from her office, the very inner room from where she reigned supreme. Who dared to venture in there when she was not there? Her ire up, and also with an unfamiliar sliver of fear, Miranda opened the door soundlessly and walked inside. Her heels still made the infamous clacking sound, but she didn't slow down or hesitate. She passed the assistants' desks and stepped into the inner part that was hers.
On the floor sat an open American Tourister bag with clothes and what looked like toiletries, picture frames, and some shoes. Leaning against it was a laptop bag. Miranda blinked and then her eyes shifted to the couch. Curled up, asleep under Miranda's chenille throw, cheeks tears stained and mascara smudged, lay Andrea. Something was undeniably very, very wrong.
"Andrea?" Miranda spoke firmly. There was no reaction in the pale features. Miranda crossed the room and leaned over the still form. A fruity, vanilla type of scent that Miranda had come to associate with Andrea filled her senses as she gently shook Andrea's shoulder. "Andrea."
"Uhm. What?" Andrea's swollen eyelids opened a fraction. "Who? Mir—Mir…oh God." Her face filled with fear. "Please. Oh. Miranda. I'm so sorry. I—I…"
"Calm down, Andrea, and just tell me what's going on? Why are you in the office, in my office this late on a Friday—" Miranda glanced at the clock on the wall. "I stand corrected, this early on a Saturday morning. It's quarter to one in the middle of the night."
Andrea's lips trembled as she struggled to reply. "I had nowhere else to go," she whispered, her voice broken.
"Why? You have an apartment, don't you?"
"Not my contract. My former boyfriend's."
"Former." It wasn't a question, and something clenched at Miranda's chest at the sight of the distraught young woman. "What happened`"
"I lost everything." Andrea sat up, wiping at new tears. She looked at dismay at the mascara staining her fingertips.
"You have to offer more of an explanation than that," Miranda said and simply sat down next to Andrea. If the situation hadn't seemed so serious, it would have been amusing to see the girl's shock at sitting on the same couch as her boss.
"You hate long explanations." Andrea bit into her lower lip, trembling so much, Miranda could feel it through the couch.
"I do. Still, I'm prepared to disregard that and have you tell me exactly what's happened since I saw you last."
"Nate and I had a fight. Again. He wanted us to go out with friends. In fact, he'd already invited them over when I came home. I wasn't in the mood since we've done nothing but argue with each other, and our friends usually take his side. I stepped into the bathroom and called my parents, I needed to talk to them." Andrea sobbed. "Nate started banging on the door before I was done, and I just—just had enough. You know?"
Miranda did know, but only nodded, not wanting Andrea to lose momentum.
"When I came into the living room, all three of them sat there, putting my job down, putting you down, and blaming me for Nate being unhappy. So, I figured, now was as good a time as any, so…I came out."
Miranda flinched. "What?"
"I came out to them," Andrea whispered.
"Came out." Miranda was still trying to grasp Andrea's words. Impossible words. "As in…?"
"Told them what I'd known for a while. Told them in no uncertain terms that the reason it can never be me and Nate, ever, is because I'm attracted to a woman—eh, women." Andrea hid her face in her hand. "Nate told me to take my stuff and get the hell out. Lilly said 'don't even look at me after all you've done to Nate,' and Doug, he might have relented if he'd been sober, but he wasn't by then." Andrea lowered her hands and now her eyes were so lifeless and desolate, it frightened Miranda. "That wasn't the worst part."
"What happened then? Did he hurt you?" Miranda was aghast.
"Physically? No. That wasn't it. I wish it was." Andrea's tears had dried up and now she looked like she would never be warm again. "My cell phone wasn't turned off. My parents overheard everything. I meant it when I said I have nowhere to go. They told me to stay away until I've come to my senses. They hate who I am, Miranda. I'm so very sorry that you had to listen to this, but—you did ask." Slumping sideways, Andrea held onto the armrest. "Please, please. Don't fire me. I couldn't bear it."
"Don't be ridiculous, Andrea. Why would I fire you?" Miranda stood and motioned toward Andrea's bag. "Use my bathroom and wash your face. Get your things together. We're leaving."
"Wait—what? We are? I thought you realized, I have nowhere—"
"Don't waste my time." Miranda spoke curtly, but it was mainly because she was more furious than she'd been in a very long time.
"All right." Looking utterly defeated, Andrea walked into Miranda's bathroom.
Andy looked at her reflection, the smeared mascara, her pale lips, and the mussed hair. Hardly any trace of the fashionable young woman who usually spent her workday at Runway, doing Miranda Priestly's bidding. Instead she looked…ill. Andy washed her face, but didn't bother to add any makeup. She merely brushed her hair and freshened up. If she was to find any type of decent hotel room this late in the night, she would have to look okay at least. Taking a deep breath she re-entered her boss' office.
Miranda stood impatiently waiting, holding on to a briefcase. To Andy's surprise, her suitcase was closed and neatly zipped up. "Ah, there you are. Ready to go?"
"Yes." Andy tried to wrap her mind around what Miranda was thinking. She had said she wouldn't fire Andy, hadn't she? And yet she was not going to let Andy crash at the office over the weekend, this much was clear. It was puzzling, but Andy was too tired, too upset, to even try to solve the mystery.
Andy pulled on her coat in the elevator, still shivering inside. She wondered if she'd ever be warm again. Whenever she allowed it, her father's thunderous voice, and her mother's tearful, shocked sobbing echoed in her mind. How could a person ever trust a parent who called you 'unnatural, abomination, depraved, and—which was implied—unwanted'?
The air was chilly and Andy wished she had thought to bring some gloves. She turned to say goodnight to Miranda, it wouldn't hurt to be polite to her last lifeline, after all.
"Roy's waiting for us. Get in the car, Andrea." Miranda motioned for Roy to take Andy's bag. "To the townhouse, Roy."
"Yes, Ms. Priestly." Roy held the door opened for them and Miranda motioned for Andy to enter ahead of her. Andy, now completely lost, complied and scooted over to the far corner. She put on the seatbelt and clasped her hands on her lap.
Miranda joined her and placed the briefcase on the floor. Traffic was not too bad, and they reached the townhouse in twenty minutes. Miranda stepped outside and walked up to the door. Roy brought Andy's suitcase from the trunk, and she stood on the sidewalk, holding onto the handle, not sure what to do.
"Let me carry that up for you, Andy," Roy murmured kindly. "You look tired. Long week, huh?"
"Very." Andy wasn't sure she was supposed to, but she walked up to the front door on unstable legs. Inside the hallway, Roy placed the suitcase to the side and nodded, wishing them a great weekend before leaving.
"Thank you, Roy." Miranda's words should have floored Andy on any other day. Now she merely stood, holding her computer bag tightly.
"Have you eating anything?" Miranda asked.
"Some yoghurt and fruit, I think. Since it's late."
Did Miranda expect Andy to wield her wand and magically produce the food items? Andy looked hesitatingly toward the kitchen. Miranda hung her coat and reached for Andy's. Fumbling, Andy removed it and handed it over. The fact that Miranda was hanging her coat instead of the other way around was another thing that should've been mind-boggling. On any other day.
"Come here." Miranda took Andy by the elbow, touching her for the very first time, deliberately. This did filter through the strange armor around Andy. Miranda's touch was scorching, penetrating any state of shock, or defense. "Sit at the counter while I get us something. I'm rather hungry as well. The catering tonight was appalling."
"Oh. I'm sorry."
"You're hardly to blame." Miranda's eyes glimmered with some strange, soft-looking amusement. "If anyone, we should blame Irv's wife. It was her show. Then again, she's punished every day for being married to that despicable little man."
Andy sat down as ordered. "Small men, huge ego." Slamming her hand over her mouth, Andy looked at Miranda in horror. "Did I really say that out loud?" she moaned.
"Yes. Very astute."
"Can't take credit. Someone else said that once."
"No doubt Nigel," Miranda said and brought out yoghurt, a fruit platter, and spoons and forks. "Now. Eat." Miranda stabbed a grape with a fork and bit into it. Chewing it, she closed her eyes and tipped her head back, smiling faintly. "Much better. Nothing like fresh fruit after a long evening of persistent men and women in poorly chosen dresses."
Andy had stopped with her hand halfway to one of the yoghurt containers. Seeing Miranda lean back and practically moan was sending tingles down her thighs. Her head spun as she tried to grasp what was going on. Her live had changed into something unrecognizable and if it wasn't for the fact that she was staring at Miranda, the only constant so far, Andy would've begun to question her sanity. "What's going to happen now?" Andy knew she broke one of the cardinal rules at Runway—don't ask Miranda anything, but they weren't at work now.
"We're going to finish this nightly meal and then go to bed." Miranda tilted her head thoughtfully. "You did say you had nowhere to go, right?"
"Yes, that's true." As soon as she confirmed the heartbreaking facts, Andy felt her body betray her again. Silent tears streamed down her cheeks, and she could only wipe at them with her napkin in complete humiliation. It wasn't the first time she'd cried in front of Miranda, but this time it wasn't her boss' fault.
"Andrea." Miranda sighed, but it wasn't her usual annoyed huff. "I can't say how sorry I am that you have to experience this from your family, and your friends. It's no consolation that you're not alone in being ostracized." Miranda stepped closer and pushed her hand in under Andy's hair and gently rubbed her neck. "When did you know?"
Andy could hardly breathe. What did Miranda mean? And Miranda was touching her! How much had she guessed? Andy could hardly remember how much of the truth she had told Miranda at the office. "About being attracted to women?" she croaked and found it irresistible to lean into Miranda's touch.
"Uhm. About a year ago." Andy swallowed hard.
"And yet you stayed with your boyfriend?"
"Only way to stay in New York. He hasn't been my boyfriend since b-before P-Paris. He's been working a lot in Boston, but he moved back a month ago, and it's been harder and harder to…to…pretend." Andy wiped her cheeks again, but the napkin was all wet and didn't do much good.
"Here." Miranda reached for a new napkin with her free hand. Gently, she dabbed at Andy's cheeks. "So you tried to accommodate him, to stay in New York."
"No. No! I mean, I didn't sleep with him. He thought we'd pick up where we left off, but I told him no, not yet, I had to make sure. That was a lie. I did lie to him. I couldn't imagine us being together like that. Ever." Andy drew a trembling breath. "Guess he got really upset. Frustrated." She fully expected to see the same contempt on Miranda's face as she'd seen on Nate's. When this didn't happen, Andy covered her face with her hands. "I don't know what to do."
"Look at me, Andrea." Miranda spoke firmly, but without her usual sternness. "I can tell you're panicking, but I expect you to handle the situation."
Handle it? Andy lowered her hands. Was Miranda really that obtuse? If Andy didn't have anywhere to stay in New York, she would have to find a job somewhere else. Somewhere she could afford to live and support herself. Going back to Cincinnati was obviously not an option. Andy wanted to curl up in a tight ball and just hide from everything. The fact that the reason for her discovering the truth about herself was in such close proximity didn't help. "Any suggestions on how to handle it, Miranda?" Andy asked hollowly.
"Yes. You'll stay here, for now."
"What?" Andy looked up, blinking repeatedly as if that would help clear her mind. And her hearing. "Stay here? At your home?"
"God, Andrea. Why you constantly have me repeat myself, I can't even begin to imagine."
"What do you expect when what you say don't make sense?" Andy was stunned enough to not edit her words.
Miranda's eyes widened. "I beg your pardon?"
"Why would you suddenly open your home to me?"
"You can't very well stay at the office in the evenings, can you?" Miranda sighed and practically shook Andrea with the hand that was still cupping her neck. "Until you find suitable accommodation, you will stay here. I have two guestrooms. I think prefer you use the one on the same level as my bedroom in case I need you."
Andrea's mouth fell open at the last words, and clearly Miranda realized what she just said because her cheeks went a deep shade of pink. "Don't look at me like that. I'm of course referring to your job as my assistant." Miranda's eyes turned ice-grey.
"Of course," Andrea whispered. Despite Miranda's unexpected act of kindness, she wasn't kidding herself. She may be hopelessly in love with her boss, and it was never going to be anything else than hopeless. Still, a part of her stomach burned with a sense of disappointment, perhaps that was the location of the small, almost invisible shred of undying hope that kept the emotions simmering in her. These emotions tormented her in the night when the darkness sometimes fooled her into thinking Miranda returning her feelings was possible. Andy swayed as she fought to suppress the unwelcome thoughts.
"Oh, please tell me you're not going to pass out on me?" Miranda sighed, now wrapping a steadying arm around her. "Let's get you upstairs. You can bring your suitcase up tomorrow. Everything you need is in the guestroom. Ready?"
"S-sure. I'm fine." This turned out to be wrong, as her knees nearly buckled when Miranda moved her arm to around Andy's waist.
"Maybe not quite yet." Miranda led Andy upstairs and motioned at an open door while passing it. "I'll be in there. This is your room." She opened the door across the hallway from the master suite. "Get some sleep, and don't bother setting the alarm. I will not expect you to do any work until Monday."
"Thank you." Andy nearly moaned when Miranda pulled her arm free. "You're being very kind to me. I know how much your privacy means to you here at home."
"Yes. Well. It's not like you're a stranger, Andrea." Miranda hesitated. "I do not mind you staying here." She turned and walked into her room, closing the door behind her.
Miranda stood in her bathroom, cleaning her face of all makeup Runway's best makeup artist applied so meticulously when she was getting ready for the tonight's function. She looked absentmindedly at her reflection, seeing the real face of Miranda Priestly, paler, softer, and, yes, older. She knew the makeup added that extra oomph, that part of her that was flawlessly beautiful, despite what the press called 'her patrician nose'. Her children always maintained they liked this vision of their mother better, but her husbands had not appreciated her 'older look'."
She thought back to that afternoon in Paris when Andrea had been subjected to this face. The young woman had looked surprised, but it didn't take Miranda long to realize it was her sadness, and no doubt the first trace of her being a person with red blood in her veins, that had startled Andrea. Nobody could have been more considerate and caring than Andrea when Miranda broke one of her rules and actually explained herself. Miranda had tried for months now, but she knew for a fact she would never forget the look in Andrea's warm, brown eyes.
So, Andrea was a lesbian. Or bisexual, perhaps. Either way, her parents had not taken it well, and the jerk of an ex-boyfriend and her so-called friends could use a lesson in loyalty. Miranda brushed her teeth and had just rinsed her electric toothbrush when she thought of something. In the office earlier, Andrea had said "because I'm attracted to a woman—eh, women." A woman. A particular woman. If Andrea's explanation was anything to go by, the only friends she had in New York were the ones that just turned their backs on her, apart from the ones she worked with at Runway. So who had her doe eyed assistant fallen for? Emily? Hardly. Miranda's first assistant was very attractive, but Miranda couldn't see Andrea falling for the slightly neurotic Emily. Serena? Jocelyn? If it was any of them, Miranda had totally missed the signals, not that she normally couldn't care less who her staff found attractive or not, as long as they did their job to her satisfaction.
Stepping into the shower, Miranda let the hot water sooth her. She was still tense from the anger, no, fury, over how those idiots had hurt Andrea. Didn't they realize what a precious, impressive young woman she was? Miranda was ready to bet her sizable wealth on the fact that Andrea was ready to drop everything to help a friend, and the girl was without a mean bone in her body. Her body… Miranda gasped and turned off the water. She wrapped herself in a large bath towel. She had promised herself to not go there. She found it irresistible to scrutinize Andrea's outfits, and thus, Andrea's body, at work, but to think about her assistant's curves while in the shower was completely out of the question. And still, once she had, the thoughts of how it had felt to hold her securely while walking her upstairs, refuse to go away. Not to mention the sensation of rubbing the back of Andrea's neck under the thick masses of rich, brown hair.
Miranda groaned and pressed an unsteady hand against her forehead. Time for bed before she drove herself crazy with these unproductive, foolish thoughts. She donned her favorite gray, silk robe and walked into the bedroom. She pulled a nightgown from her dresser and just as she began to untie the belt of the robe, she stopped, resting her hands as she listened. At first she heard nothing and was about to take off her robe when she heard the unfamiliar sound again. She strode over to the door and opened it. There it was again, a muffled, but unmistakable sound of someone crying. Andrea.
Miranda padded over to the guestroom door and knocked. "Andrea?" Nothing. No reply, only the soft, heartbreaking sobbing. She tried knocking again. "Andrea? May I come in?" Still nothing. Miranda inhaled deeply and opened the door. The room was almost completely dark, only a crack in the curtains let some faint streetlight in. Miranda walked over to the bed where she barely made out the figure of Andrea, curled up in a fetal position. "Andrea," Miranda said quietly, not wanting to startle her.
"Oh!" Andrea gasped. "M-Miranda? I'm so sorry..."
"Shhh." Miranda couldn't see Andrea's expression, but she heard the panic in her voice. The girl had suffered enough, she didn't need the pain of thinking she displeased her perpetually disgruntled dragon of a boss. "I heard you crying. What can I do to help you relax?"
"Help me?" Clearly this was a foreign concept to Andrea, the idea of Miranda helping her—or anybody.
"Would it help if I held you?" Fully prepared to be rejected, even expecting it, Miranda's sore muscles tensed again.
"Yes?" Andrea whispered, miraculously enough.
"Move over then." Miranda lifted the duvet and slipped into bed, next to Andrea. Feeling Andrea hesitate, Miranda slipped her arm around her and pulled her onto her shoulder. "There. Better?"
"Yes." Andrea exhaled deeply. "Thank you."
"You silly girl. We all need comfort once in a while. Against popular belief at Runway, my heart really isn't made of stone."
"I never thought that. Ever." Andrea sounded adamant, despite her tear-husky voice.
"Really? Not even when I demanded you airlift me out of Miami during a hurricane? Or that you'd get the unpublished Harry Potter manuscript for the twins?"
"No. Those things just proved you had a warm heart." Andrea spoke with certainty.
"That makes absolutely no sense."
"It does too. You wanted to go home to be at your girls' recital. Exhibit A. A heart. Then you wanted to test me, yes, but it was to make your girls' happy. Exhibit B. A heart."
Miranda blinked at Andrea's explanation. "That would suggest I have two hearts."
"In a way you do. One private heart that belongs to the girls. One public heart that is all to do with Runway." Andrea had stopped crying, but her husky voice still held unshed tears.
Miranda acted on impulse, not even stopping to think what her actions could lead to, and kissed the top of Andrea's head. "Thank you."
Andrea stopped breathing. "Oh, God," she whimpered and began trembling. "Oh, Jesus."
"What? What's wrong?" Miranda slid her hand up until she found Andrea's cheek. "Andrea?"
"You—you—I wish you hadn't done that," Andrea whimpered. "Oh, no." Waves of heat radiated from Andrea.
Was this a reaction to Miranda kissing her hair? Or had she embarrassed her assistant so much? That didn't make sense. Unless… Unless… Miranda's eyes widened in the darkness. What if… No. That certainly didn't make sense. Even less sense than the thought Andrea falling for Emily, Serena, or Jocelyn. Miranda felt Andrea try to shift away from her, slowly as if trying to not attract attention. This was getting ridiculous. There was only one way to find out.
"Andrea?" Miranda asked quietly. "The woman you told your friends you were attracted to. Is it me?"
Concluded in pt 2...