A/N: Note to self, no more cliffhangers. Hopefully this will tidy things up, enjoy!
Knotted, part II
Andrea walked home in a daze after dropping the necklaces off at Miranda's home. It had been hours, but she was still in shock. In her mind, she kept hearing "Leave. You are no longer employed by me," over and over. She knew Miranda Priestly was unpredictable and cold, but Andrea refused to believe that Miranda would ever act irrationally. There had to be a reason she was fired this morning—and so benevolently, too—and Andrea set her mind to figure it out…if for nothing more than the fact that she would at least be able to explain why she was no longer at Runway, should that come up during any interviews.
Interviews! Andrea sighed as she slumped onto her couch, turning on the television, but keeping the volume muted. She needed to begin looking for another job. No, first things first, she thought. Figure out what Miranda was thinking. "Oh great," Andrea said aloud, "I'm so screwed."
Two days later, Emily walked into Miranda's office and handed her a stack of resumes. She was truly shocked to find that Andrea was no longer in Miranda's employ. Even she had noticed how Miranda had taken to her recently, how Andrea had been doing more important tasks and having more conversations with the woman. But, Emily laughed, Miranda has a reputation for a reason.
Miranda sifted through the resumes Emily brought her. Noelle, Destiny, Cici, Tae, none of these young women would be suitable, she thought. She hadn't even returned to sit at her desk when she said, "Emily, please ask Susan in HR if she understands what the requirements of the job are. If she is so utterly incapable of selecting candidates that meet the most basic requirements of this position, tell her that perhaps I will have to do something about her position. That's all."
Emily nodded and quickly composed an email to Susan. Miranda closed the door to her office and walked back to her chair. Sitting down and closing her eyes as she leaned back, she remembered Andrea sitting here, stroking the necklaces, reaching her arm around Miranda's neck. "It's been two days, why hasn't she called me?" Miranda thought aloud.
To Miranda, everything was clear. She had feelings for Andrea—she wasn't ready to describe them yet, but whatever they were, they went beyond the lack of feeling she felt towards her employees, particularly her assistants. The only solution as Miranda saw it was for Andrea to no longer be employed by Runway. She would ensure that Andrea found a job more suited to her career goals, and they would remain…friends.
Miranda was deep in thought when Nigel walked in. He had never seen Miranda looking so peaceful, lying back in her chair, one hand resting on her collarbone, the other lazily draped over the arm rest.
"Ahhem," Nigel coughed, fearing direct speech to Miranda when she was so unpredictable lately.
Miranda opened her eyes and slowly straightened, meeting Nigel's eyes. "Nigel."
"Miranda, this month's feature on John Rockefeller is not going to work out. I've been—"
Miranda cut him short, waving her hand in front of him. "Nigel, I trust you will take care of that. Now, Nigel, do you consider me a friend?"
Nigel suddenly began to sweat. Why in the name of Prada would Miranda ask a question to which there was no answer, unless she wanted to see him squirm. Taking a deep breath he began, "Yes, Miranda. Sometimes. Not all the time, but that's because we work together—I specifically work for you."
Miranda nodded curiously, urging him to continue. "If you were to need something—you, personally, I would be more than happy to help you out, because, well, that's what friends do. But, I don't think I could ever sit and talk about my family, love, death, puppies, the whole deal with you. It would just be inappropriate somehow." Nigel cringed at the thought of Miranda's views on death.
"Is that what friends do, too?" Miranda asked, "Talk about everything and anything?"
"Yes, unfortunately." He gathered his courage as he continued, "Why are you asking me this—is everything okay?"
Miranda glared at him, and without blinking an eye, she said, "No. Have Roy downstairs for me immediately."
Nigel nodded and left the room to text Roy personally. He hoped that he didn't say anything to upset Miranda, but at this point, he had no idea what was going on, so he went back to his office to deal with the feature fiasco.
"Roy, the townhouse." Miranda said quietly from the backseat.
During the entire ride to her home, Miranda tried to think of anyone in her life she could consider a friend by Nigel's definition. Even her cheating soon-to-be-ex husband was never a friend. Her daughters are not her friends, either. The closest thing to a friend—Miranda closed her eyes—was Andrea.
Once in her townhouse, Miranda paced back and forth, from room to room. Why had Andrea not called or emailed her? Why wasn't she looking for a job? Where was she?
Miranda retreated to her home office, making personal calls to all the major publications Andrea would likely be looking for work. None of the editors received a resume from Andrea—or Andy—Sachs. Miranda had seen Andrea's portfolio, despite how she dismissed it when Andrea showed up to interview. She was a talented writer, and Miranda wouldn't allow her to go without employ.
"Richard, do you have any open positions? Yes, staff writer, editor, whatever. Trust me, this one is the best you have seen. Wonderful. I'll have her contact you immediately. Thank you, Richard. Of course. Give her my best."
Miranda hung up the phone. Richard Woodford, editor-in-chief of the New York Times would be expecting Andrea's call. Now, Miranda had to find a way to tell this girl she no longer saw regularly.
She realized that in the two days since Andrea left, she did not accomplish one bit of work. "I'm going crazy," she said aloud, "I'm standing here, on my own two feet, going absolutely crazy."
"What is wrong with me?!" Andrea screamed in her empty apartment. She spent days reliving her last twelve hours at Runway, and she was nowhere closer to figuring out Miranda's reasons. Was it because she placed the necklace on Miranda? Was Miranda offended that she suggested stepping outside for fresh air? Was it because she had said she was "exceptionally good" at something?
Andrea knew that on a given day, any one of those reasons could have potentially gotten someone fired. But she was different. She had somewhat of a rapport with Miranda, and Miranda seemed to enjoy watching Andrea try and fail. Maybe that's it, she thought, that Miranda couldn't stand to see her be good at anything, even if it was something as simple as unknotting necklaces.
As good as that sounded, Andrea was still unsure. The only way she would know for good would be to ask Miranda herself. It was only 4pm, and Miranda wouldn't be due back home for at least an hour. Andrea decided to go to her home and wait for her. If anyone asked, she was returning some Runway property (Miranda's house key, Andrea's cell phone, some clothing).
Andrea gathered her things and was about to leave when she realized she had been wearing the same clothes for the past three days. Looking at her watch, she knew she did not have time to shower and change if she expected to arrive before Miranda, so she pulled her hair up into a messy bun and headed out the door.
As she stood on the steps to the townhouse, she thought she could smell Miranda's perfume wafting through the air. Ohh, how I've missed that, Andrea thought to herself, quickly clearing her mind and inserting the key into the lock.
Miranda heard her front door open. Looking at the clock, she knew it was far too early for the team to be finished with the Book, even on their best day, so she crept to the top of the stairs, her cell phone in hand in case she would need to dial 9-1-1.
Andrea closed and locked the door behind her, and stepped over to the table with the flowers, carefully placing her phone, Miranda's key, and two shopping bags of couture on the floor beneath.
Miranda gasped when she realized who was in her home, freezing in place, grabbing the banister with one hand, the other, the one still clutching her phone, moved to silence her own mouth.
The sound startled Andrea and she immediately turned to the top of the stairs. Without looking, she knew it was Miranda. "I—I'm—I'm so sorry, Miranda. I didn't think you'd be home." Andrea watched Miranda carefully, looking for any reaction. "There were a few items I needed to return, and since you didn't want to see me again, I thought it would—"
"You thought? Whatever you thought, Andrea, you thought incorrectly." Miranda managed to say. "But I do not recall ever saying I did not want to see you again."
"Wha—? You said to leave, that you wanted me out, that I was no longer employed," Andrea frantically said, realizing this was not how she intended the conversation to go.
"Yes. I am quite aware of what I said, Andrea. Please, come upstairs. Sit."
Andrea blindly climbed the stairs—the same stairs she climbed not too long ago when the twins had tricked her.
Miranda seated herself on the sofa in the den, and motioned for Andrea to join her. Back issues of Runway were piled on an ottoman, and two bright pink backpacks sat on the matching chair. Andrea had nowhere to sit but next to the dragon herself.
Carefully seating herself, she sat with her hands in her lap, looking down.
"So, Andrea," Miranda began. Trying to be casual, talking about—how did Nigel put it—family, love, death, and puppies? "Tell me about your family."
"What?" Andrea said, looking at Miranda, startled at the question. "Why do you want to know about my family? Why now, Miranda?"
"I'm sorry to upset you, Andrea. It was meant to be a simple question. I'd—I'd just like to know a little more about you." Miranda said softly. She felt her heart racing the minute Andrea stepped into her foyer, but now, sitting here, less than one meter away from her, she did all she could to keep from reaching out to touch what wasn't rightfully hers.
"Miranda," Andrea said, tears streaming down her face, unwilling to endure this torture. "What did I do to you? What caused you to fire me?"
Miranda stared at her for a moment, contemplating her response, knowing her reasons were entirely selfish. Somehow, in her plan, she did not take into account the fact that Andrea might resist. Taking a deep breath, she put her best lying face on and said, "I thought you would never take the opportunity to leave, and you obviously wanted to be doing something else."
"No, Miranda. You're lying." Andrea said slowly. "Something that day—that morning when I was in your office, working on the necklaces. Something set you off. What was it?"
"Andrea, please, that's water under the bridge Now you no longer work for me, you are free to pursue your career in journalism, which is what you really wanted, is it not?"
She couldn't deny that. "Yes, Miranda, it is. But, pardon me, you are not known for your general benevolence. Firing me for my own good, promising a glowing reference? Cut the bullshit, Miranda."
Miranda's eyes widened. No, she had not planned for this at all. She reached over to place her hands on Andrea's, but the young woman quickly pulled them away.
Apparently Miranda fired her out of the kindness of her heart. But, Andrea thought, she had actually grown to like working for Miranda. She looked forward to seeing Miranda each day, playing mind games, trying to figure out what she was thinking. She didn't even think about journalism anymore, for all she could think of was her boss and being near her.
Andrea stood and walked towards the window, hoping Miranda didn't see her face. Andrea was always terrible at hiding her emotions, and had Miranda been watching her, she would have seen Andrea realize that she was upset because she missed Miranda.
But Miranda did see it. She misses nothing. She stood to meet Andrea at the window, walking up behind her and resting her hands on Andrea's shoulders. "Andrea?" Miranda purred into her ear, "Why did you say this was torture?Was I not friendly?"
"Seriously?" Andrea said, turning around. "You were seriously trying to be friendly?" Miranda nodded, confused. "You can't fire someone one minute, and try to be their friend the next. Don't you have any other friends you can bother?"
"No," Miranda said, stepping back, "No, I don't." Her own honesty surprised her, especially given the tone in which Andrea was speaking to her.
The look on Miranda's face melted Andrea's heart. Even if she was just playing her. "Oh, Miranda. I'm—I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that."
"It's okay. I've known for a while that others don't find me companionable. As Cassidy put it, I'm 'not friendship material.'" Miranda leaned against the windowframe, staring out at the skyline.
"That's not true, Miranda," Andrea said, reaching her hand out to Miranda's arm. "I find you quite companionable, in fact, I think I was so upset these past few days because…because I thought I would never be near you again."
Miranda choked back tears, "It was so tangled—you being my assistant and everything."
"Yes, well now I do not have a job at all."
"Oh," Miranda remembered, "I did speak with Richard at NYT, he has an open position for you if you're interested. He's expecting your call."
"Really? You're not kidding?"
"No, I'm quite serious," Miranda said, laughing at Andrea's giddiness.
"Oh my gosh, thank you!" Andrea said, reaching over and giving Miranda a giant hug. "Thank you, thank you."
As Andrea felt Miranda stiffen, and then relax, she realized her arms were wrapped tightly around Miranda Priestly—a woman she has never so much as shaken hands with. Her face was buried in Miranda's neck, inhaling her scent. Their chests were pressed so tightly, Andrea could feel Miranda's heartbeat.
Miranda kept her arms locked tightly around Andrea's waist, making a low, sweet hum. Andrea felt it throughout her body. Miranda leaned back just a bit so she could look Andrea in the eye, "No, thank you, Andrea." she whispered, her smile shining brightly.
Andrea closed her eyes and tried to memorize that smile. Just then, she felt Miranda's lips softly grazing her own as she lifted Andrea's chin and kissed her passionately.
Miranda sucked gently on Andrea's lip, causing her to open her mouth just enough for Miranda's tongue to dart inside. As Miranda deepened the kiss, exploring the delicious taste of Andrea's mouth, she shrugged Andrea's arms off her shoulders and cupped each of her own breasts with Andrea's hands.
She could tell Andrea was nervous, but wanted nothing more than to feel the young woman against her body, giving her enough pleasure to dull the ache within. Andrea began massaging Miranda's breasts through her shirt. She began very gently, but Miranda was so aroused, she couldn't stifle her moans, which only gave Andrea more confidence to squeeze harder.
When they parted for air, Miranda gasped, arching her back, pressing her hips into Andrea. She was standing directly in front of her second floor window, and for once, Miranda Priestly did not care what she looked like.
"No, no, no, Miranda," Andrea said, moving her hands down to steady Miranda's hips. "This is— this is way too fast—too much. I can't—" Andrea could feel the wetness pooling between her own legs and it was too much for her to process. Just a few days ago she was cursing this woman for firing her. Andrea started to push Miranda back against the window when Miranda looked directly at her, her bright blue eyes dark and hooded.
"Andrea," she said, her voice low and sultry, "I am so close." Miranda closed her eyes and pulled Andrea closer, kissing and nuzzling her exposed neck. Sensing Andrea was about to pull away for good, Miranda continued talking. "I'm selfish, Andrea. I want you—all for myself. I was so aroused after you put that necklace on me, I couldn't see straight. All I wanted was you. But you worked for me. Oohhhoho yess, harder," Miranda moaned as Andrea began kneading her breasts once again.
"Do you always get what you want, Miranda?" Andrea hissed as she pinched Miranda's nipples hard through her shirt. "What if," she said, reaching down to cup Miranda's sex, "it's really what I want, too?"
Andrea pushed the palm of her hand hard against Miranda's center, pushing her over the edge. As her orgasm rippled through her body, Andrea looked on in awe. Miranda never looked more beautiful. Her face was flushed and beads of sweat were forming on her forehead. Her blouse was wrinkled and askew, and her pants were wet—she even smelled of sex.
As Miranda was returning, Andrea maneuvered her to the sofa, letting Miranda collapse on Andrea's body. They snuggled for a while like that on the couch, Miranda's head resting on Andrea's chest, their arms and legs tangled.
"I think the day I got fired may have been the best day of my life," Andrea said.
"Hmm, maybe. I don't think I've ever seen anything so arousing as you handling and untying those necklaces."
"Yes. I can actually think of a few other things that you're exceptionally good at, Andrea."
"Looks like we will need to explore this later tonight."
"Indeed," Miranda said, smiling and wrapping her arms tightly around the younger woman before drifting off to sleep.