Summary: Andy seeks Miranda's forgiveness.
Disclaimer: The Devil Wears Prada and its characters do not belong to me. I am making no profit from this story.
Gird your loins, Six. Andy Sachs took a deep breath, squared her shoulders, and entered the office of Miranda Priestly for the first time in half a year.
The editor in chief of Runway magazine was seated behind her glass desk, reviewing photos from a recent shoot – and looking as flawlessly fashionable and stunningly beautiful as Andy remembered. She looked up as Andy approached and, over the rim of her stylish reading glasses, pinned her erstwhile assistant with her icy blue gaze.
Andy swallowed hard. Oh God. Her former employer exuded power, charisma, intelligence, and sensuality – a potent combination (she had forgotten just how potent) that instantly rendered Andy breathless and lightheaded. For a moment, she couldn't remember her own name, much less what she had come to say.
Miranda arched an eyebrow at the tongue-tied young woman standing before her. "By all means, move at a glacial pace. You know how that thrills me," she drawled sarcastically, but Andy's trained ears detected amusement underlying the words.
Andy tried to calm her racing heart and find her voice. She had requested – and, much to her surprise, had actually been granted – this audience with the reigning Queen of Fashion. It was a big risk, she knew, drawing the attention of the woman she had abandoned so unprofessionally in the middle of Paris Fashion Week. As Emily Charlton, Miranda's long-suffering and slavishly devoted first assistant, hastened to point out when Andy called last week.
"Are you bloody insane?" the redheaded Brit had hissed into the phone. "Or suicidal? You walked away and lived to tell the tale. Why in God's name would you want to remind her of your wretched little existence?"
It was a valid question given Miranda's well-deserved reputation for being vindictive and vengeful. But Andy's conscience, her integrity, refused to grant her any peace until she made an effort to apologize for quitting without notice. It had nothing to do with the incomprehensible, totally fucked up fact that she was in love with the white-haired woman. Nope. Nothing at all.
That was her most closely guarded secret, one she had successfully hidden even from herself until recently, and it had been a wholly unwelcome realization. If only Andy had never gotten those few glimpses behind the carefully-constructed Snow Queen mask, had never seen evidence that there was another side to the feared Dragon Lady…
Bravely, she met Miranda's eyes and prayed that her own were not communicating anything other than sincerity. "This is way overdue, I know, but I'm sorry for the way I left. And thank you for the reference."
The editor slowly removed her reading glasses and set them on the desk. "You want my forgiveness." Her expression and inflection revealed no indication of what she was thinking.
It was obviously a statement, not a question, so Andy said nothing, ruthlessly suppressing the urge to fill with nervous babble the heavy silence that ensued.
"Forgiveness is not something that I grant often, if ever," Miranda finally said, leaning back in her chair and tenting her fingers. "In your case"—she tilted her head and regarded the younger woman thoughtfully for a very long, weighted moment—"I might be willing to make an exception… For a price."
Something about the slow way she drew out the pauses between her sentences, about the measured, deliberate cadence with which she spoke, made Andy shiver.
"And, I'm sure that it will not surprise you, in light of what you know of me, that it is, shall we say, rather steep. Perhaps you will find it too steep."
Was that a challenge or a warning? Probably both. Andy stood a little taller and jutted her chin out stubbornly. Steeper than the price I paid for walking in on an argument between you and your then-husband?
Miranda's smirk indicated that she knew exactly what Andy was thinking. "In exchange for my forgiveness, you will arrive at my townhouse at precisely nine p.m. this Friday. You will let yourself in with the copy of the key you no doubt still have from your days as my assistant, and make your way to my bedroom. There, you will strip down to your lingerie, kneel by the bed, and wait for my arrival." Her voice was even and practical, her tone indifferent and bored, as if she were discussing something even less consequential than the weather or the price of her Starbucks coffee. But her eyes were smoldering.
Andy's jaw dropped open in shock and she struggled to draw air into her lungs.
"You will be mine to do with as I please for the weekend." Miranda's voice had become silky and dangerous. "You will deny me nothing. Nothing will be off limits."
She can't be serious, Andy thought. But the decidedly predatory gleam in her former boss' eyes indicated that Miranda was serious, was seriously proposing a weekend of adventurous, uninhibited, no holds barred sex. Heat surged through Andy even as she wondered exactly what this meant.
"At exactly six o'clock Monday morning, you will leave my townhouse." Miranda's face was stony, her tone now as cold as Andy had ever heard it.
Oh. It meant nothing more than emotionless, meaningless fucking. And Andy wouldn't survive that. Not with Miranda Priestly.
Her chest constricted and the pain almost sent her to her knees. Steep price, indeed. How did the editor know exactly what would wound her the most? Almost anything would have been better than this. Andy would rather have been sent to fetch a hundred unpublished manuscripts, been ordered to walk blindfolded into New York City traffic…
How could she have been so stupid? She should never have approached Miranda, never let herself hope that because she had escaped punishment once she would be granted a chance at absolution. Already resigned to carrying the burden of her impossible love for the older woman, she should have found some way to live as well with her pesky conscience, her shame, her guilt.
Keenly aware that the editor was observing her closely and certain she was reveling in her utter humiliation, Andy fought valiantly not to let her devastation show. She needed to get out of there before she threw up or burst into tears or did anything else that might further reveal to Miranda how completely gutted she was. "I–"
Miranda held up an elegant hand. There was something softer in her gaze now, a warmth and affection and tenderness and hint of vulnerability that made Andy's heart stutter and ignited a faint spark of hope. "I am not finished, Andréa. You will return to your apartment, where you will await the movers I will have hired. By the time I get home Monday evening, I expect to find you completely moved in."
Andy stared in utter disbelief. Moved in? Was Miranda saying what Andy thought she was? That she wanted more than just a fling, a couple of days of debauchery? That she wanted something more, something…permanent? That would mean… Oh. Oh my God. Andy felt faint. How very like Miranda to test her, to avoid putting her heart at risk without some assurance that it would be safe. Andy's reaction had been exactly what the editor must have been hoping for, just not for the reasons Andy had thought. She opened her mouth to say something, she wasn't sure what, but again Miranda interrupted her.
"No, no. You are not to answer now. You are to think very, very carefully before you make a decision. You have until Friday night, when your answer will be made evident by your presence – or lack thereof – in my bedroom. That's all."
Andy gasped. That's all?! That couldn't possibly be all. It couldn't possibly be that simple. No. It was crazy. Insane. Impossible. Inconceivable. It was too much. Too fast.
"Andréa," Miranda snapped without any real bite. "Why are you still standing in my office?" She flicked her fingers dismissively and slid on her reading glasses. "Go use up someone else's oxygen."
But maybe, just maybe, it could be that simple, despite the craziness and the suddenness and unanswered questions and the myriad challenges they would surely face.
Andy smiled. "Yes, Miranda," she said cheekily. And she walked out the door. She had some serious packing to do.