Disclaimer: I don't own anything regarding "The Devil Wears Prada" – I just borrow them to play some.
Summary: A story of Miranda's inner musings about Andrea, her assistant. Third time around, will Andrea leave Runway, i.e. leave Miranda?
A/N: I normally don't write much in the first person, but in this case, it was the right thing to do. I hope this writing exercise will get me back on track with my unfinished projects and my editing.
A MirAndy story by
Most people are intimidated by me. I've heard more than one silly girl gasp in fear when I send them my infamous glare above my reading glasses. On some days, when I'm bored, I do it for the fun of it all. It's quite disconcerting that since she started working here, and God knows why I took a chance on hiring her, I find I can't wait for the soft gush of air to pass her lips.
Yes, her lips. I've seen all kinds of lips, in real life and in photos. Full, thin, curvy, straight, pouty, smiling, smirking… Yes, I shouldn't be so enthralled by a set of lips. But when it's her mouth; how could I not? Soft-looking, full, and strangely innocent, they move as she speaks to me. They form her words, and her voice is the perfect blend of eager and shy. Still, she was nothing but shy when she went toe-to-toe with me on that first day when I interviewed her. She watched me do my usual "that's all" routine, and turned to leave, when I could feel her ire go up. I wasn't even looking at her, but I felt her annoyance. She told me off and then merely left. Of course I had to get her back.
She nearly left me again six months later. In Paris. She saw the Devil at work, watched how far I was prepared to go to save my position, to save this magazine. She saw far too much that week. If anyone had asked me, before Paris, if I ever got personal around my staff, I would have laughed scornfully and dismissed them as fools. That was before she walked in on me and witness the traces of tears on my cheeks, and, I'm sure, of reddened eyes. The fact that I was void of makeup, and naked under my robe, left me without any protection. So there she sat, so full of empathy, her beautiful mouth expressing concern, clearly being more than any generic Runway assistant. I fell into the trap of talking about my own worry, my daughters. Her eyes never left mine and she seemed ready to leap in front of me, guarding me against anything, sword in hand. I was taken aback. Only for a few seconds, but that was by far the most I've been taken aback in years.
Naturally I put her right back in her place. Told her to just do her job, nothing else. I might as well have slapped her across the face, and though I hardened my heart and let my brain rule, there was a part of my belly that ached. The same part that twitches when she smiles.
I haven't talked about her smile yet, have I? Those lips, they can stretch into a smile so brilliant, it can actually call palpitations. I know, first hand. Nigel once said we could use them when we were scanning models for a makeup spread. We used ten different models for the lipstick spread total, and she would've outshone them all, but I'm not prepared to share her that way. Besides, something tells me she'd never go for something like modeling in any shape or form.
Back to Paris. I hurt Nigel in Paris. I was careless with a friend's feelings, didn't even bother to recognize it afterward, and when she called me on it, I turned it around and accused her of being the same way. On the surface a flawless comparison, but underneath, I couldn't have been more wrong. Where I was not even bothering to justify my actions, to myself or anyone else, she was filled with anguish when I pointed out the similarities. The thought of stepping on anyone hurt her, and I made it sound like it was unavoidable, a nuisance at the most. She nearly left me then. I was on the steps, going into one of the fashion shows, and turning to issue more orders, she wasn't there. My brain couldn't fathom it, but my heart did and it damn near stopped. Maybe it did for a while, because I felt myself go pale and I swayed. Then I saw her, she stood on the other side of the car, as if rooted in the asphalt.
Her eyes—I haven't talked about her eyes yet, have I? They're brown. No, that's a lie. They are the same color as if someone poured Acacia honey into the finest brandy. They mirror most of her feelings, whether she wants them to or not, and now they looked at me with a world of hurt. She frowned and the combination of hurt eyes, displeased frown, and those gorgeous lips pressed to a fine line was enough for me to know. She was leaving me.
Then she rounded the car, pushed some paparazzi out of her way and stood next to me. It only seemed to take a few seconds and I was still swaying.
"Are you back?" I asked her, probably sounding very unlike myself as I could hear my voice was barely carrying.
"Yes, Miranda." Her voice was low, but steadier than my own, which I assume made her the winner of this particular battle. Some would say I won since she stayed, but I don't agree. She won, because she stayed for the right reasons, no matter what they were.
I knew as soon as we returned to New York and our usual routines that something had changed forever between us. She performed her job as well as usual, and when I learned that she gave away all the clothes she brought home from Paris to Emily, her co-assistant, I knew she was preparing for her true departure.
Other things changed as well. Little things, but disconcerting as I couldn't quite pinpoint them in the beginning. She brought my Starbucks coffee and instead of placing it on my desk, she'd give it to me, briefly touching my fingers as she did. She would get my coat and purse when I asked, but instead of just handing them over, she'd help me into the coat, brushing my neck with her fingertips and sometimes even adjusting the back of my hair over the collar.
I must've been so wrapped up in the mystery of her actions, I was not paying attention. Soon she rode in the elevator with me almost on a daily basis, and she would lean her hip against the wall and study me, her arms folded over her chest. Eventually one day I snapped, not used to being scrutinized so openly by any of my minions.
"What?" I hissed, rounding on her.
"You're so beautiful," she said, smiling. Oh, God, that smile.
I didn't know how to reproach a compliment uttered so honestly and with clear and fearless joy. I merely tried my best glare, which had absolutely no effect.
Another location where our close proximity gave her the upper hand was the town car. She began engaging me in small talk. I mean, small talk, the nerve. At first I ignored her, but she didn't seem to mind that I didn't answer; she just kept telling me things. After a few days of this, I realized I was listening intently. Not only that, I was learning things that mattered to me. She was now single. The young man she'd lived with, now a sous chef in Boston, was no longer part of her life. She had lost one of her closest friends over this, a misguided girl named Lily who had sided with the chef. Another friend, a young man called Douglas, remained loyal, and it was when she talked about Douglas she dropped the bomb that made me engage in the so far one-sided conversation.
"Doug really understood when I came out to him, perhaps since he's also gay."
"What?" I jumped and turned to face her.
"I talked to Doug about what I've learned about myself. You can imagine what a relief after all the rejection lately. I haven't come out to my parents yet, but I thought it was only fair to tell you."
I was dizzy now, like I was sitting in the center of a carousel. "Why?"
"Why? Because if it wasn't for you, I might've never realized the truth. Or it would've taken me so long; I'd married Nate and had children before I knew."
"Knew what?" I was impatient now, and more than a little apprehensive. I could tell my denseness regarding her topic was beginning to frustrate her.
"My feelings for you made me realize I'm a lesbian, Miranda," she enunciated.
"And what feelings would that be?" I tried to sound my usual lethally-soft way, but feared I only sounded breathless.
"At first a crush. Yeah, I know. Trite huh? Then it evolved. Eventually I knew I was in love with you. Oh, don't worry. No need to frown, Miranda. I'm not asking anything of you. I'm just so grateful that this happened."
Was this true? Was she in love with me, and able to happy-go-lucky toddle off to a bright future with someone else, now that she knew herself? That seemed—so unfair. I pursed my lips, which made her shoulder slump.
"I never should've told you, should I?" she whispered. "Now I've embarrassed you and all because I was so wrapped up in how I was feeling. I can't believe how selfish this makes me. I should've stopped to think—"
"Quiet." My mind was whirling and I needed to think. I needed her to be quiet or I wouldn't be able to figure this crazy situation out.
She didn't speak and we arrived at studio of the collective of new designers I was supposed to evaluate. I sat through a marathon showing of five different designers, where two were horrible, one less horrible, and two not entirely horrible. Back in the car, I mimicked her usual pose and scrutinized her appearance.
"I'm not exactly loveable," I blurted out, stunned at myself.
"I'm hard to deal with."
"I'm not a lesbian."
"Neither was I—I thought."
"I've never had sex with a woman in my life."
"Neither have I." She began to smile now. Her lips stretched slowly, tentatively, but the brilliance was there.
"I'm too old." That was a bitter pill to swallow. I know, I'm vain.
"You're middle age. I'm an old soul."
She was right. She was young, but her eyes spoke of something else. Lifetimes of emotions and experiences hid among the honey and the brandy.
"I'm…uncomfortable, but I'm…interested." I had no idea I was going to say this. I held my breath, praying I hadn't just placed my normally so guarded heart on a chopping block.
She seemed to be without words then. Slowly, she unbuckled her seatbelt and slid closer across the backseat. I wasn't sure why, but I pressed the button that engaged the privacy screen. I didn't dare look away from her, not even to blink. She cupped the back of my neck with a trembling hand and smiled.
"Interested, huh? Brave words." She breathed a gentle kiss to my temple. "I had hoped for 'not quite appalled' at the most."
I held her face close by caressing her satin smooth cheek with the back of my fingers. "Oh, I'm appalled. Shocked, really, at this audacity of yours." Smirking I saw her begin to panic. "I just can't imagine what you see in someone like me." I brushed my lips against her. Oh, God, those plump lips. I meant to just barely touch them with mine, but I hadn't counted on how delicious she was. I sucked her lower lip in between mine and then more or less pried my tongue into her mouth.
She was braver than I ever would've dreamed possible. Accepting my tongue between her lips, she returned the heated kiss with every ounce of her affection and desire. And desire me she did, there could be no question about that. She trembled all over. Small beads of sweat appeared on her forehead, and her nipples were hard enough for me to feel them through all her clothes. She breathed so fast, I feared she might faint.
"Shhh. We have time." I couldn't believe how soft I spoke to her. Soft in a very different way than my Runway-voice. I pressed the intercom. "Roy. Change of plans. Take me home. Text Emily I won't be in until tomorrow at 11AM."
Roy acknowledged. I'm sure he was curious, but ever the professional, he did his job and nothing else.
I, hardly being professional, returned to kissing Andrea.