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


Pairings: Andy/Miranda


The Year

By Gun Brooke

1. Andrea – Oh, the pressure…


Oh, God, that slits should be illegal. Andy Sachs stared at her boss as she moved through the crowd. Walking behind Miranda Priestly, ready to step in if anyone became too eager, or if Miranda needed anything, Andy was subjected to the vision of that long, lean leg whenever Miranda turned to greet someone. There wasn't a person on the ballroom floor that didn't devour the fashion queen with their eyes, but Andy knew this did not impress Miranda. She wanted to dazzle the crowd as an entity, preferably a Runway-subscribing, charity-donating crowd. Any individual showing too much interest was immediately deterred by Andy or her co-assistant, Emily.

Miranda now looked over her shoulder, a slight frown between her eyebrows. Unable to read the expression in her eyes, Andy hurried up to her. "Yes, Miranda," she murmured.

"Walk with me to the ladies room."

Andy was seasoned enough as Miranda's assistant to not show her surprise, but this was a first. What was up? They walked through the crowd and whenever someone looked like they intended to talk to Miranda, Andy put herself between them and her boss. Eventually they reached the hallway leading to the VIP ladies room.

Andy produced a card and opened the door. She stepped back to let Miranda go inside and have some privacy.

"No. I need you." Miranda strode inside.

Andy blinked and stumbled in after Miranda, making sure to put the privacy lock on the door. More people had the VIP cards, but there was a way to block them while you used the room.

"I made a mistake just earlier. I re-dislocated one of my ribs."

Concerned, Andy stepped closer, her eyes darting over Miranda's face and torso. Small beads of perspiration were visible on Miranda's forehead and she was paler than usual.

"What do you need me to do?"

"Normally I'd go to my chiropractor and he would help me, but he's not here is he? He's shown me how I can deal with it myself if I need to. I require someone to assist me." Miranda raised her hands to the zipper under her arm, but clearly that made the pain worse. She pressed her lips to a fine line. "Unzip me."

Her hands not quite steady, Andy moved in even closer. Miranda's scent engulfed her, made her dizzy. She pulled the zipper down, fully aware that Miranda wasn't wearing a bra under this dress, it had a built in bustier.

Holding on to the dress to keep it from falling off all the way, Miranda turned her back to Andy who made a point not to ogle Miranda in the large mirror. "Locate the fifth rib from below, to the left."

Andy stared at the flawless skin on Miranda's back, uncovered from just above her bottom and up. Blushing, Andy realized she'd have to feel her way to locate the first one. She tried to remember her biology classes in high school as she gently touched Miranda's skin. I'm touching Miranda Priestly's naked skin. Gorgeous, beautiful skin.

She found the first rib and gently counted to five. Pressing lightly where it attached along the spine, Miranda's hiss proved she'd found the right one. "And now?" Andy asked.

"I will brace myself against the counter and you have to press with the heel of your hand, a quick, decisive push."

"Quick and decisive. It will hurt, won't it?"

"It will, but I can hardly breathe the way it is now. I have no choice."

Andy swallowed against sudden bile. What if she injured Miranda? Broke her rib right off and perforated… Andy stopped the non-productive train of thought. Gently, she put the palm of her right hand against the sore area on Miranda's back. "Ready?"

"Just do it," Miranda growled through clenched teeth.

Andy didn't hesitate. With a sudden push, she could actually feel the end of the rib slip back into place.

Miranda gave a muted cry and then her knees buckled. She fumbled for the grip she'd had on the counter, but only Andy's quick reaching kept her from going down.

Suddenly Andy had her arms full of a half-naked Miranda. Moaning from the pain, Miranda pressed her forehead into Andy's bare shoulder. Like her boss, she wore a strapless evening-gown. Andy wrapped her arms firmly around Miranda, wanting to give the woman a moment. Miranda trembled and clung to Andy.

"God," Miranda said, breathing deeply. "Better now. Better."

"Here. Let me help you." Andy knew that her boss would hate the vulnerability of the situation as soon as she was back to her old self. Might as well zip all this beauty up. Now standing in front of Miranda, it was impossible not to glance at the full, pale breasts of her boss. Miranda's nipples were dark pink and seemed rock hard. Andy subdued a whimper and pulled Miranda's zipper up and made sure the dress were impeccable.

Miranda took a napkin and blotted her forehead free of sweat. Andy thought she could do better and pulled out a small travel size kit containing samples of Miranda's favorite makeup. "Allow me?"

Miranda nodded and Andy gently dusted over some high-definition powder and reapplied some lipstick. A small makeup sponge removed a tiny mascara stain. "There. Perfection." Andy smiled encouragingly.

Miranda examined her appearance in the mirror and nodded. "Yes. Well." She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. On her way to the door, she stopped and slowly turned to gaze at Andy. "Thank you."

Andy blushed, fiddling with her purse. "You're welcome."

Miranda nodded and left the restroom. Andy hastily joined her, but she knew this evening had forever shifted her world off its axis.

2. Miranda – The surprises…


Miranda looked up from her computer, sighing as she saw Andrea fidgeting, holding a small box. "Do tell me what's so important that you find it necessary to interrupt the only time I have to myself today."

"Sorry, Miranda. I thought I'd ask you if you wanted to give a little something to Delores."

"Oh, God." Emily's voice filtered through from the outer office.

"And who, might I ask, is Delores?" Removing her reading glasses, Miranda pushed them against her lower lip.

"Delores has worked her longer than anyone. She cleans the offices after we go home." Andrea's brilliant smile hit Miranda right between her breasts, sending her heart into a thundering frenzy.

"How is it you know of Delores and I don't?" Miranda tilted her head.

"Uhm. Because I'm the one waiting for the 'Book'."

Ah. That made sense. "What are 'we' getting Delores?" Miranda asked and reached for the checkbook she kept locked in her desk.

"Oh, I thought I'd go shopping this weekend," Andrea said. "Delores and Frank are retiring to Miami where her daughter and grandchildren lives. I figured she could use some beachwear and things like that."

Miranda could see the exact moment Andrea realized that she was rambling. A deep blush spread from her neckline, along her throat, and up to her hairline. Finding this fascinating, Miranda wrote a check for Delores, in Andrea's name. "Any reason we can't add something for Delores from the Closet?" Miranda asked, holding up the check.

"Oh. Uhm. Perhaps that Delores is somewhere around size 18?"

Miranda smiled, she simply couldn't help it. Andrea looked so charming when she wrinkled her nose after all. And as a response to her own smile, Miranda thought the girl would fall over backward. Good. She liked to get verification that she hadn't lost her touch.

"I put the check in your name since you're handling Delores's gift. When do we surprise her?"

"We?" Emily squeaked from the outer office.

"Yes, you too, Emily. I expect the entire floor to be there when we show Delores's our appreciation. Spread the word, Emily."

"Yes, Miranda."

"Well?" Miranda looked expectantly at Andrea.

"I thought we'd surprise her on Monday when she comes to hand in her security badge and keys. We could ask the front desk to send her up for some reason. Oh, and I could call Frank and have him come here as well. Wouldn't that be great?"

Miranda wondered how this young woman could survive in the cut-throat place as New York, and remain this sweet and caring. Almost two years at Runway, and apart from the every jealous Emily, nobody ever said anything untoward about Andrea. People loved her. Miranda could understand. She had found herself studying Andrea when she wasn't paying attention, and the glow, and warmth that radiated off her, was enticing.

"It sounds doable. Tell the front desk I approve."

Andrea smiled and looked like she was about to burst before she leaped out the door to her desk.

"See?" Miranda heard Andrea said, her voice low, but happy. "I told you she'd understand."

"She did not. You ambushed her."

"That wasn't an ambush. Miranda appreciates a job well done." Andrea sounded affronted on Miranda's behalf.

"Right. She didn't even know Daphne's name."

"Neither do you. It's Delores."

"So now you have her wrapped around your little finger, don't you?"

"Nobody wraps Miranda around anything. You're being silly, Emily. Why does this upset you at all?"

"You just don't bother your boss with such menial matters."

"So, just because Miranda's our boss, you assume she doesn't want to be included? Just look at this. She wrote a check and—oh my God. Shit. Oh, damn."

Miranda grinned. Andrea had finally read the amount. Delores would get the nicest sendoff in the history or Runway.


Delores turned out to be a lovely individual as was her husband, Frank. Miranda had enough after fifteen minutes. After all, a person could only take so much teary-eyed thanks.

"Coat. Bag." Miranda spoke quietly behind Andrea who clearly hadn't heard her approaching judging from how high she jumped.

"Oh, no, are you leaving?" Andrea looked disappointed. "We haven't even gotten to the cake yet."

Miranda sighed inwardly. "And when, pray tell, is this cake due?"

"Right about now. Nigel is getting it." Andrea beamed. "Just look at Delores. She has no idea."

"I'm looking." And Miranda was. She couldn't take her eyes off Andrea who, dressed in a long white shirt that clung to all the right places and grey leggings, were beaming with excitement. She wore her long, brown hair in a ponytail, and it kept bouncing against Miranda's shoulder as Andrea looked for Nigel.

A loud whistle was clearly the signal and Andrea switched off the light. A glowing light crept closer from the corridor and a multitude of voices began singing "For she's a jolly good fellow". Andrea's voice carried well over the others and it wasn't a huge surprise that she could sing. Miranda remained where she was, standing close to Andrea, and that's when she saw the teardrop running down her assistant's cheek.

Was Andrea just moved by the turn up of colleagues for Delores, or was there something else? Miranda couldn't shake the feeling that there was something more sinister behind the tears. Not sure why, or what made her react the way she did, Miranda grasped Andrea's lower arm loosely, rubbing it up and down a few times before letting go.

Andrea didn't turn her head, only smiled as she finished singing. She quickly brushed the tears away and applauded with everybody else.

The cake wasn't too horrible, and it was rather humorous that it was covered by an edible picture of a Runway cover. The fact that the model on the cover wore a pink cleaning uniform and held a broom, made Miranda snort before she stopped herself. Only Andrea.

Miranda ended up staying longer than she planned. She couldn't even remember when she'd stayed two hours at a function, if ever. Nigel had begun to look increasingly curious, and Emily, of course, was sulking. When Andrea held up the coat for Miranda to push her arms into the sleeves, she couldn't resist inhaling the scent that she associated with her. Vanilla based, something Miranda normally would've deemed pedestrian, and something fruity, perhaps raspberries, or black currants?

"Thank you, Miranda," Andrea said, her voice trembling. "If you have any idea how much this means to Dolores and Frank…and to me. This was the best of sendoffs."

"Delores owes this to you. Not me." Miranda pulled the belt tight. "You have a kind heart."

Andrea looked completely shocked. Her full lips parted and she blinked repeatedly. Before she had time to gather herself, Miranda leaned in and air-kissed her left cheek. "See you tomorrow. You have tonight off. The 'Book's ready to go."

If Miranda hadn't known better, she would've interpreted the look in Andrea's eyes as disappointment. Ridiculous, of course.

3. Andrea – Room for confusion…


Andrea gazed around the hotel room, her eyes burning. Yes, the hotel room was lovely, and yes, the beach below her balcony was stunningly beautiful. This Caribbean island was truly paradise and all Andrea could think about was how not to cry. She wasn't being ungrateful, she defended herself. Or was she? Going on a weeklong photo-shoot with the Runway crew, led by their intrepid boss, Miranda, how could she not love every second?

Chastising herself for being so weepy, Andrea unpacked her bags and checked to make sure the hotel's promise of having free wireless Internet wasn't exaggerated. Everything worked according to plan. Just as she closed her laptop, Andrea's phone pinged, alerting her to a text message.

I hope you have not unpacked yet.


Andrea's breath hitched. Now what? And why wasn't Miranda calling her instead? Then she remembered that Miranda had headed directly for a meeting with the two photographers.

Yes. I can easily pack again. What's wrong?


Not that Miranda couldn't be unpredictable in her decision making, but why had she flown Andy all the way to paradise, only to send her right back?

There has been a mistake. You were not supposed to be there.


A mistake? That's one hell of a mistake. Unable to stop the tears, Andy blinked at them to be able to punch in her reply.

All right. I will change my return ticket.


It took a little longer, but then came a longer response.

You are not making any sense. Pack your things and bring it to my suite. I will be done here in half an hour. That or kill someone.


Andy stared at the phone. Her tears dried up, but this still didn't make sense. She still had to follow orders though, so she obediently packed her bag again and hauled it to the top floor.

The penthouse suite had a fantastic view. Andy let her bag sit just inside the door and stepped out onto the balcony. Leaning against the railing, she inhaled the sweet scent of the flowers, mixed with the salty ocean. It was really paradise. She leaned her forehead against her hands, breathing deeply. She felt like she was losing it, and no matter how she tried, Andy just couldn't get a grip. When Miranda came back from Paris, only a few weeks ago, everything had been semi-normal. Really thrilled for Emily, who finally got to go to Paris and frolic with the movers and shakers in the fashion world, Andy had thought she'd have her act together when Miranda came back to New York.

Instead everything got worse. Miranda's scent was suddenly everywhere. She waited for Andy when she delivered the 'Book' every night, wanting to discuss the day. She even started offering Andy a glass of wine, or tea, and talking about the twins. Apparently Andy was the twin's 'favorite assistant of all time', and this even after Andy stopped doing their homework.

"Oh, God, what am I going to do?" Andy moaned.


Andy pivoted so fast, she nearly slipped on the balcony's marble floor. "Miranda. Oh. Hi." She patted down her hair and straightened up. "I brought my bag. Like you said."

"I know. I nearly fell over it when I came in." Miranda pursed her lips. Not a good sign. "Why haven't you unpacked?"

"B-but you told me to pack?" Andrea rubbed her temple.

"Yes, so you could unpack. Here." Miranda flung her hands in the air. "What is the matter with you?"

"Nothing. Everything. I…I don't get it. You want me to unpack my bag here when you're sending me back to New York?" The stupid, damn tears began again, burning her eyelids and running down her cheeks.

"What on earth are you talking about? You're not going anywhere other than into your room, yes, here, and unpacking. We are all taking this first evening off. The models will look much better if they actually get some sleep—" Miranda stopped ranting and stepped closer. "Why are you crying?"

"I—I thought…" Andy swallowed. "I think I'm just tired."

"No. No, I think it's about more than that." Miranda approached Andy with apparent caution; perhaps she thought Andy was about to throw herself over the railing, or something. Miranda placed a hand on the small of Andy's back and ushered her inside. "Go unpack. In there." She pointed at an open door to the right of the living room area. "I want you to stay here with me. It will be more practical."

Andy gaped. Practical? For whom? Was Miranda so blind that she couldn't see that Andy would be a babbling idiot long before they returned to New York? A sudden back flash of Miranda in Paris a year ago, in her grey robe with eyes red from crying. Looking so soft. So real and human. Any more of that and Andy would self-combust.

"Sure. All right. I misunderstood. I'll go unpack. Thank you." Knowing she sounded like some mindless automaton, Andy grabbed her suitcase and walked into the beautiful room. Closing the door behind her, she sat down on the bed and began laughing. Soon the giggles turned back to tears, and when they dried, she knew no matter what, a part of her was grateful that she was still here. Sooner or later her tenure at Runway would be over, and she would never see Miranda again.

For now, as hard as it was to be so close, and still not close enough, at least she could add more memories.

4. Miranda – Not enough…

Still October

Three nights after they arrived had gone by and Andrea was still not herself. Miranda had observed her when she thought she could get away with it and the young woman was as efficient as ever, but oddly withdrawn. When the rest of the crew went for the beach or the bar, Andrea went for walks or up to her room. Miranda thought she heard her cry on a few occasions, but if she did, there were no traces of it afterward.

Miranda finished the meal she shared with Nigel and was about to bid him goodnight, when he motioned for her to sit down again. Slightly annoyed, Miranda relented.

"Yes, Nigel? It's been a long day."

"Yes, it has. This will only take a few minutes."

"Very well."

"I'm worried about Six."

Miranda flinched. Familiar with Nigel's pet name for Andrea, she also knew that he hardly ever used it around Miranda since she loathed nicknames of any kind. For him to use it now, he must be truly concerned."

"Go on," Miranda said.

"She hasn't eaten properly since we got here. I know Andy. She loves food, normally. When we were in Paris last year, she ate like a horse even if she was heartbroken and upset."

"I haven't really noticed, but I take your word for it." It was true. Miranda didn't eat with the rest of the crew, but Nigel sometimes did. "What do you want me to do? I mean, since you're telling me?"

"You're roommates here. You see her when she's away from the rest of these yo-yos." Nigel motioned to the already partying models and photographers. "If anybody, she'll listen to you. If you approach her, she'll talk to you."

"What makes you think that? She's hardly said two words to me other than work related matters."

"And shouldn't that tell you something? When has Andy not taken any chance to communicate? With you especially? She…and I know I should mind my own business, Miranda, but the girl loves you."

Miranda gasped. "What on earth are you talking about? What do you mean?" She really was shocked to the core. Why would Nigel say something like that? What was his motive? Was he still angry for the way she dealt with the matters at hand a year ago? She had compensated him already and he knew what she had planned for him. Runway for Men was being planned, and he was the board's choice as editor-in-chief. So that couldn't be it, could it?

"No. I'm not lying. I have no agenda other than my concern for that young girl. I like her. She's like a kid sister."

"What do you mean, 'love'?" Miranda sat so ramrod straight in her chair, her back ached.

"The romantic, all-overshadowing kind, Miranda."

"Oh, God. No."

"Even if you can't see yourself reciprocate—"

"Reciprocate? Have you gone mad?" Miranda stood. "You must be joking."

Nigel stood and guided his furious boss out of the restaurant toward the elevators. "I'm not. Go up and talk to her. I can't tell you how to feel or how to act, but she's risking her health and I worry about her."

"Very well. If you insist."

Nigel regarded her closely. "I've known you for many years, Miranda," he said softly. "You can fool most people, and sometimes me as well, but right now, you're not. You care about her, more than you've cared about anyone, not counting your girls. Go talk to her."

Miranda rode the elevator up alone as Nigel was going for a walk to 'clear his head' before bedtime. As she approached the penthouse suite, she pulled out her keycard and tapped it gently against her lips. What if Nigel was right? What if this uncharacteristic behavior on Andrea's part was because—no. Preposterous.

Miranda entered the suite and the first thing she noticed was the almost complete darkness. She turned the lamp on the dresser. No sign of Andrea. Her door was open, so perhaps she was still awake. Switching on more table lamps, Miranda peered into Andrea's room. It was empty. The door to her ensuite bathroom was open and it was dark in there.

Frowning, Miranda looked around the living room area. No Andrea asleep on any of the plush couches. A faint gush of wind across Miranda's bare legs made her turn toward the balcony. The sliding door to the balcony was almost closed. Almost. Miranda opened it and stepped outside. Her relief when she saw the curled up young woman on one of the deck chairs, nearly made her stagger.

"There you are."

"Hello, Miranda."

Miranda walked back to the couches and retrieved two cashmere throws and then returned to Andrea. "Here. It gets chilly at night."

"Thank you."

Miranda pushed the other deck chair all the way over to Andrea. She sat down and wrapped the throw around her shoulders. "Why don't you level with me, Andrea? I can see you're not acting like your normal self. Nigel says you're not eating properly. You'll make yourself sick."

Andrea sat up, her eyes huge. "That would be inconvenient. I understand that. I'll make an effort to eat more. I really haven't had much of an appetite."

"You usually like food."

"Yeah. Yes. There's a lot I used to do that I don't anymore."

"Are you angry with me?" Miranda asked. She found the thought disturbing. And that in turn was also unsettling, since she normally didn't worry about anybody else's opinion of her.

"No. No, of course not. You…it's not your fault. None of what I'm going through is your fault."

"So it has nothing to do with me?"

"No, I'm not saying that. I'm saying…I'm saying it's not your fault. Not the same thing." Andy sighed, sounding exasperated.

"So, it has to do with me, but it's not my fault."

"Something like that."

"Since you're not too keen on leveling with me, Andrea, do you mind if I'm blunt with you?"

"You usually are. Why stop now?" Andrea closed her eyes briefly. "Sorry. Do go on."

"Someone pointed out to me that I obviously care about you more than I ever cared about any other assistant. I wasn't very surprised that they'd noticed, since I know it's true. That said, this individual also suggested that I more care about you than anyone else, except of course my girls."

"What?" Andrea gripped the throw with white-knuckled hands.

"That's exactly what I said." Miranda waved her free hand in the air. "So, I'm not sure how that fits into my self-image."

"Have you established the level of your, uhm, caring?" Andrea plucked at her blanket, following the pattern with trembling fingers.

"I have."

"And your conclusion?"

"Andrea. Would I be sitting here with you, under a new moon and a starlit sky, trying to pry words out of you, if I didn't care?" Miranda's pulse increased as she waited for Andrea's response.

"I guess not." Andrea shifted, now facing Miranda head on.

Miranda knew she had little choice but to keep going. "I talked to Nigel," she began, carefully studying Andrea's expression. She thought she saw alarm in her eyes and took Andrea's hand in hers. Dismayed at how cold it was, she held it between her own, warming it. "Nigel seems to be under the impression that you…care for me also. More than you'd normally do for your boss."

"Oh, God." Andrea swallowed audibly.

"No. Don't panic. Just tell me, please."

"I want to. I—I really do. But then again, there's a lot that I want and there's a lot I can lose. You wield such power, Miranda," Andrea whispered, "and you're used to being in charge, it's second nature to you. I, on the other hand, have too much to lose."

"I don't understand." It was true. What was Andrea talking about? "What power are we talking about?"

"If I let you, if I give in the slightest to—to this…" Andrea motioned with her free hand between them. "I'll lose everything. My job, my future…my heart."

"You assume I'll set out to destroy you somehow?" Miranda frowned, trying to figure out Andrea's way of reasoning. "Is that what I am to you? The perpetually evil Dragon Lady?" A sharp pain erupted in Miranda's stomach at the thought, should this be the case.

Andrea looked down at their joined hands and then up at Miranda. Something changed in her eyes, a warmth reappeared, and suddenly she looked more like her true self. "I don't see you that way. You're not evil. I couldn't love you if you were."

Miranda's jaw dropped. She inhaled sharply as her mind replayed the words.

"My concerns are totally egotistical. I'm pretty sure if I let you in, if I began believing you'd care…then when you stopped, it would kill me."

"Why would I stop caring?"

"You're way out of my league, aren't you, Miranda? Sooner or later, I'd screw up, or you'd grow tired of me, or I'd disappoint you—"

Miranda knew now what the problem was. It wasn't lack of love from Andrea's side, it was fear. Fear of failure, fear of making herself vulnerable. "I'm not sure how to put your mind at ease, Andrea," Miranda sighed. "Trust is such a basic thing, and I can't make you trust me if you don't."

"See? I'm doing it to you already? Disappointing you by being a coward." Andrea hiccupped. "You shouldn't have to feel like you have to prove yourself to me. You don't owe me anything at all."

"Fine." Miranda let go of Andrea's hand and rose from the deck chair. A sharp pain in from her back, piercing through to her chest, made her groan and stagger to the railing to keep upright.

5. Andrea – Show no fear…

And yes, still October

Andy flew off her deck chair and caught Miranda before she slid down onto the marble floor. "What's wrong?"

"My fucking rib again." Miranda groaned.

"Oh, damn. I'm sorry. Let me help you."

"No." Miranda pushed at Andy. "I…I'll be fine. I'll…"

"Miranda, please. Let me help you inside. I remember how we did it last time." Aching for the pain Andy saw in Miranda's eyes, she felt all the old protectiveness and affection flood her. Miranda was in agony. Nothing else mattered right now. "Come on. Lean on me."

"Why should I?" Miranda asked angrily. "You won't lean on me!"

Andy felt Miranda's words like a stab wound to her heart. The truth behind them didn't ease the pain either.

"I'm an idiot. I know I am, Miranda. Just ignore that for now and let me help you." Andy held her arms around Miranda, not about to let go, even if this meant the end. "I can't bear to see you in pain."

"It didn't bother you two minutes ago."

Andy wanted to kick herself. Her own fear had hurt Miranda? Of course it had. Miranda Priestly never explained herself to anyone. She never exercised patience with anyone but her girls. She certainly never tried to pry information out of anyone just for being worried. Andy had disregarded all that because of her own fear.

"You can yell at me later," Andy said now. "I'll let you flog me if that helps. Just come inside and let me pop that sucker back into place before you pass out."

"Well. All right." Miranda pushed Andy's hands away and walked slowly and with difficulty into her ensuite bathroom. She unbuttoned her shirt and let it fall onto the floor. Standing there only dressed in her bra and slacks, she looked so vulnerable, Andy lost her breath.

"The fifth from the bottom on the left side." Andy murmured to herself and ran her fingertips across the pale skin. She glanced up at Miranda's reflection and saw the steely glance and the sweaty forehead. "Here goes." She pressed hard and fast with the heel of her palm. Feeling the rib snap into place, Andy heard Miranda give a muted cry. Andy remembered how Miranda had nearly gone down last time they did this, and wrapped her arms around her, keeping her upright. "I'm sorry, Miranda. I don't know why I've been acting so weird. I think I talked myself into a full panic. I never do that, and I'm usually not a wimp. It's just…I've felt this way about you for so long, and it started to hurt more and more and—"

"Believe me, I want to hear this," Miranda said, "but can we move to the couch in my bedroom?"

"Whoops. Sorry. Sure thing." Andy guided Miranda to the loveseat, Andy still holding onto Miranda. "Better?"

"A little. Still sore. Let me lean more against you."

"No problem." Andy's heart skipped several beats as Miranda moved until she was comfortably draped across her lap. Fortunately, there was a similar throw hanging over the armrest as they'd used on the balcony. Andy covered them both with it. "Better?" she asked again.

"Let's say it's slowly looking up. Now, you were saying?"

"What?" Andy blinked.

"I was allowed to flog you or something to that effect." Miranda smirked.

"Oh. That. Haha. Uhm." Andy blushed, knowing full well that Miranda was teasing her. And if that was the case, she knew for a fact that Miranda only teased people that mattered to her. "Can you forgive me for acting so weird? For panicking?"

"Yes, I can, if you can tell my why and be honest. Don't try to please me, just tell me the truth." Despite her brave words, Miranda tensed up against Andy.

"I thought I was getting over how I felt. When you left for Paris with Emily and the crew, I honestly thought I could manage. Then you came back, and when I saw you in the office the first workday after your return, it washed over me. Love, panic, fear, over and over. I thought my only way to protect myself was to withdraw."

"And you sure did. From everybody, including me. From eating, even." Miranda turned her head, pressing her face against Andy's neck. "I noticed it, so did Nigel. I was prepared to procrastinate, but he wasn't."

"Nigel's a good friend. To both of us."




"Is it…too late?"

"Is what too late?" Miranda looked up.

"To fix things?" Andy began stroking Miranda's back under the blanket. "Please tell me it isn't."

"Silly girl, it's not too late. You may be of the impression that I discourage or scare easily. I can assure you it's not the case." Miranda shocked Andy by pressing her lips against her neck.

"I want to start over," Andy murmured. "From when you told me to stay here at your suite. Can I do that?"

"You can do anything, right?" Miranda smiled against her skin.

"Thank you for inviting me to this most gorgeous suite, Miranda. I appreciate the chance of spending extra time with you between assignments."

"Now, that's more like it." Miranda sighed, actually sounding relieved. "By all means, Andrea, I look forward to it also…I missed you when I was in Paris."

"Really? I would've thought you'd be too busy."

"I was insanely busy. Still, during the night, when I was trying to tune out all the partying and dinner speeches, I thought of you."

Andy's heart thundered so loud, she was sure Miranda heard it. "You've haunted me during many nights as well. Embarrassingly so."

"Embarrassing?" Miranda looked up, a slight frown marring her forehead.

"Well. Yeah, kind of. I mean, in retrospect, it seems a little embarrassing just how hot I became from just thinking about you…what you wore that particular day, and how you sounded when you issued your orders."

"Do tell." Miranda purred, and there was a night light in her eyes, something close to happiness.

Andy wanted to object, since it really was a little humiliating to talk about it. Then it dawned on her; if she showed Miranda she trusted her enough to share something awkward like nightly fantasies, wouldn't that be proof of trust? She swallowed hard and tucked Miranda into her shoulder. No way she could look Miranda in the eyes while she talked.

"Especially on Fridays, when I had delivered the 'Book' and knew I wouldn't see you until Monday, that's when my mind went berserk." Andy spoke in a low voice, which only made Miranda move in closer. "I don't know how many times I went home and tried cold showers and God knows what to cool off. Ha. As soon as I climbed into bed, you were there. Your eyes observed me, your hair…I felt how soft it was, and it was pure hell to actually know what your skin feels like against my hands. My mind took it from there, and I got really hot. Horny." Andy cleared her throat. "I know every curve of your body, outside your clothes. I would sort of fill in the blanks and imagine your naked."

It was Miranda's turn to clear her throat and still she made several choked sounds.

"The more my imagination made up, the more restless I'd get. I tried touching myself, you know, to cool off, but every time I made myself come—" Andy stopped talking when she realized that Miranda was trembling in her arms. Was she all right? Yes. Perhaps this affected her as well? "Anyway, when I had come, it was as if I saw you more clearly. I could smell you, your perfume, the part of your scent that's just you. I thought I was really going nuts. Sometimes I thought I heard your voice. Damn, I sound like a clear cut stalker case, don't I?"

"You sound fabulously sexy and that's what's insane." Miranda wrapper her arm around Andy's neck and pulled her down. "You better kiss me now after that description of your nights home alone. If you can get me this hot and bothered just by telling me a story, no doubt you'll be the death of me when we make love."

Make love. Andy thought the top of her head would explode. She allowed Miranda to pull her closer, inhaling the intoxicating scent, this time real, wonderfully real.

Miranda pressed her lips against Andy's, kissing her with the passion Andy had dreamed of and then some. Andy parted her lips, eager to taste Miranda. Miranda had perhaps not expected Andy to deepen the kiss right away. She moaned and sighed into Andy's mouth, the sexiest sound Andy had ever heard. The fact that Miranda sounded like that because she was kissing Andy, was unfathomable.

Eventually they needed oxygen. Andy pulled back, staring down at Miranda. The blanket had slipped off her shoulders, and the bra straps had slid down her arms. If Miranda took another deep breath, her breasts would pop out of their cups, from what Andy saw.

"I love you, Miranda." Andy licked her lips. "If you give me a chance to show you, I will do my best to not let my insecurities send me into a panic again."

"And you will eat?"


"And you won't stop talking to me?"


"And you'll allow me to apologize when I slip into my old, dragon self?"

"As long as you give me the benefit of the doubt when potential insecurities might hit."

"I can do that."

Andy smiled. "Then we have a deal."

"Looks like we do." Miranda kissed Andy again. "I love you too, Andrea."

Dizzy, which was hardly surprising since she'd been tossed from despair and euphoria within minutes of each other, Andy held on to Miranda. As hot as this woman made her, she was content in the miracle of holding her.

6. Miranda – Lace and La Perla…


Miranda sat on the floor by the fireplace, feeling hypnotized by looking into the fire. She missed everyone. Cassidy and Caroline had gone to spend Christmas with their father, Andrea had gone home to Cincinnati and of course her house staff had the time off as well.

How she missed her girls—and by girls, she also included Andrea. They had taken things very slow, sometimes too slow, Miranda thought, and the two months after they came home from the Caribbean had still gone fast. Twice a week, at least, they had spent time together, preferably at the townhouse with the girls, but sometimes at a restaurant or attending Runway functions. Miranda would've given her soul to have Andrea to herself, in her bed, but if it ever started leaning toward something intimate, Andrea pulled back. If Andrea hadn't told her how hot Miranda made her for such a long time, Miranda would've suspected Andrea didn't feel like she did. Knowing that Andrea had gone home to touch herself, envisioning it being Miranda's hands and lips, Miranda did her best to be patient when Andrea seemed to need more time.

Her cell phone rang and Miranda grabbed it impatiently. Who called on Christmas Eve? Glancing at the display, it was spelled out. Andrea Sachs.

"Hello, Andrea. Aren't you supposed to be in the air?"

"You would think so, but no. If you look outside, you can tell that we've had more than two feet of snow in the last hour. And it's not going to get any better, so my flight is cancelled until Boxing Day. Apparently Cincinnati is not a prioritized city."

"I'm sorry you didn't get to go home for Christmas," Miranda said. She sat up straight now, her heart pounding.

"Well, I figured since you don't have the girls, I'd stop by on my way back from the airport. I mean, if you're not going to some shindig or something?" Andrea sounded adoringly shy.

"Get over here instantly. Do not dawdle, Andrea." Miranda rose and walked toward the staircase. "See you soon."

"Sooner than you think. The cab's pulling up at the townhouse as we speak."

"Good." Miranda disconnected and hurried down the stairs. She opened the door and tapped her foot impatiently while she watched Andrea pay the cab.

When Andrea finally stood in the hallway, snow melting in her hair and on her shoulders, Miranda launched at her with a low growl. Seizing Andrea's lips, Miranda kissed her with all the love and pent up passion. "I can't believe you're here. I can't believe it." She pushed her fingers into Andrea's long hair, holding her in place as she devoured her mouth.

"Hey, lady, mind if I take of my coat…oh, okay, there it goes. I don't mind…and there goes my cardigan too." Andrea smiled "Do I take it you missed me. We said goodbye only hours ago."

"Too long." Miranda was shivering. "Too long without you."

"Shh." Andrea cupped Miranda's cheeks and kissed her with just as much passion. "Why don't you just take me to some slightly more romantic and comfortable place in this lovely home of yours?"

"Come here." Grabbing Andrea's hand she pulled her with her up to the den where the fire was roaring. Snatching a wineglass as they passed the small bar area, Miranda poured them more of the dark red wine. She handed it to Andrea and then merely sat there on the large pillow on the floor, watching her flushed cheeks and how carefully she sipped the wine. "Exquisite."

"Yes, the wine's really good." Andrea took another sip.

"Yes, but that's not what I meant." Miranda placed another log on the fire to keep the room warm enough. "Take off your shirt?"

"Hm? Wha—oh, sure." Andrea blushed, but unbuttoned the white shirt she wore to her jeans.

And there she was, in nothing more than a thin lace bra. Andrea's full breasts, with the nipples clearly visible through the lace, were the most feminine and beautiful Miranda had ever seen. "I confess, my intention is to have you naked here in front of the fire." Miranda unbuttoned her own shirt, well aware that she wasn't wearing anything underneath.

"Oh, God." Andrea's eyes grew huge at the sight of Miranda's state of undress. "You're stunning. So fu—so damn sexy."

"You don't have to edit yourself around me when it's just the two of us." Miranda crawled over to Andy on all four. "You can say fuck if you like. I don't mind."

"Y-you don't?"

"No." Sucking Andrea's lower lip in between her teeth, Miranda ran her tongue over it, repeatedly. "You can say it, do it, say it again, do it some more."

"You're killing me here." Pulling Miranda tight and returning the kiss, Andrea showed without hesitation how she affected her.

Miranda wrapped her arms around Andrea, unhooked her bra and enjoyed the gasp her actions tore from Andrea's lips. "Better." Miranda pushed back and looked at the stunning breasts. Cupping them, she weighed them, flicked her thumbs over the nipples over and over.

"Miranda…" Andrea tipped her head back as she arched into the touch. "Yes. Oh please…"

Miranda reluctantly let go of one of the breasts, unbuttoned Andrea's jeans and pulled the zipper down. She realized that she needed both hands to push the jeans down Andrea's hips, but figured the reward would make it worth the sacrifice. "Turn around," Miranda said, her voice rough with desire. She couldn't believe how fast her heart beat against her rips. "Hold on to the chair." Miranda pulled the small armchair closer to them. "There." Pulling the jeans and socks off, Miranda gazed at the curvaceous bottom covered in similar lace as the discarded bra. "I approve of your choice of lingerie, but they need to go soon." Miranda quickly pushed her own clothes off, leaving only her La Perla briefs on. Aligning her body flush with Andrea's, she moaned and dug her teeth into her shoulder.

"M-Miranda…" Andrea clung to the chair, pressing her bottom against Miranda. "Touch me."

"Oh, I'm going to touch you, don't you worry." Miranda slipped her hand down Andrea's panties from behind. Her fingertips reached the moisture that was quickly ruining the lace. "Listen, Andrea. Use your hand. Do what you did to yourself when you came home and thought of me in bed. Show me what you did."

"Oh fuck…" Andrea spread her legs further and slipped her hand down the front of her panties. "Just this…mostly. Rubbing myself."

"No words whispered in the dark room? No name?"

"Oh. Yeah. Your name. Over and over." Andrea moved her hips, rubbing against her hand, then against Miranda's. Miranda in turn moved against the left of Andrea's round buttocks, so turned on now, moisture coated her thighs.

"Calling my name as you came, perhaps?"

"Yes. Yes!" Andrea started to move erratically, pushing up.

Miranda knew what she needed. She held Andrea against her chest, massaging her breasts, alternating between them. She licked the teeth marks she just made on Andrea's shoulder, grateful she hadn't broken the skin. "Hold on around my neck with both hands."

Andrea complied and whimpered as Miranda shifted her grip from Andrea's breast to pushing into the front of her panties. Now caressing Andrea from two directions, Miranda knew she had never been this turned on before.

"Kiss me…" Andrea turned her head and searched blindly for Miranda's lips.

Miranda returned the passionate kiss, wrestling Andrea's tongue. She entered her with two fingers, pinched her clit with the corresponding fingers on the other hand, and then Andrea went rigid, convulsed and nearly toppled both of them over.

"Here. Lie down. Let me hold you." Miranda lowered the trembling young woman to the pillows and threw another log in. Her own arousal was still rampaging, but she could wait, would wait, until Andrea caught her breath. "Beautiful…absolutely beautiful when you come." She held Andrea, leaning over her to brush her bangs from her sweaty forehead. "I have been patient until now, haven't I? Waiting until you felt ready?"

"Yes. And boy…was I ever ready," Andrea murmured huskily. "You sent me into orbit."

"Would never let you that far from my sight. I want you right here." Miranda kissed a path from Andrea's temple, down her cheek, along her jawline and over to her lips. "I need you, darling. So very, very much."

"Fortunately for you, I recover quickly," Andrea said, her brilliant smile back in place. "And unlike you, I want my woman totally naked." She sat up and tugged at the La Perla briefs. "As lovely as these are, they are in my way."

"Are they now?" Miranda watched as the now-confident lover of hers pulled the briefs off. Andrea then proceeded to spread Miranda's legs and settled between them.

"I've dreamed of doing this." She pushed Miranda's legs outward and up, rubbing their drenched folds together. "I've wanted to feel you like this, your heat, your wetness, your…oh…feel that, Miranda? Can you feel how good it is?"

She could. Miranda met every one of Andrea's thrusts with her own. Hot, wet, they slid against each other with almost no friction and eventually Miranda needed more. "I need you inside. Please, Andrea, you have…to take me…God…"

Andrea supported herself on one elbow as she unceremoniously pushed inside Miranda. It was all it took. After waiting for Andrea for months and loving her even longer, Miranda screamed her name, and for the first time ever, her voice wasn't quiet at all.

7. Andrea – Moving on…

Christmas Day

Andy looked at Miranda, her jaw just about to hit the floor. "M-move in? Here?"

"Unless you suggest we live at your place?"

"Oh, God, that's not even funny. You've seen my place. I remember the look on your face when you saw it." Andy clung to her coffee mug where they sat at the breakfast table. "But move in here? What about the twins?"

"They adore you."

"As your assistant."

"You're not my assistant anymore. They know you're moving on to the New York Mirror after the holidays. They are already unhappy because they think you won't be around."

"Yes, but—"

"I don't want us to be apart anymore." Miranda started to look unhappy, and this would soon turn into anger.

Damage control. "Listen. I want to. I want to be with you always, but we have to think of the girls, the press, your position—we have to. I would super-glue myself to you if I could, but that won't work either."

"Silly girl." Miranda sighed and then shook her head slowly. "All right. I will give us eight weeks to prepare the girls, come up with a strategy together with Leslie who will handle the press, and you will come and stay every time you have days off. I'm not saying you shouldn't be with your friends and go barhopping or whatever," Miranda waved her hand dismissively, "but I need to see you. Often. Every week." She seemed to hold her breath while waiting for Andy's reply.

"I think that's a workable idea." Andy took Miranda's hand and kissed her knuckles. "I think it's a wonderful idea."

"Thank God. I never knew you were such a shrewd negotiator."

"Live and learn." Andy smiled, then tipped her head back as she couldn't stop laughing. "Merry Christmas, Miranda."

Sliding off her bar stool, Miranda came over to kiss her. "Merry Christmas, darling."