Touching Up Miranda
Part of the Dragon Days Challenge 2013
By Gun Brooke
Gazing at her silently volatile boss, Andy Sachs knew for a fact the fine line between love and hate was blurred more than ever. Miranda Priestly was deeply focused on the person she was addressing, a filthy rich, Savile Row clothed man, whom she'd just given the royal treatment as she'd shown him around Runway's offices. Andy stood just out of sight of the two where they chatted amicably in Miranda's office. Grudgingly, Andy had to admit the dashing middle-age man was a perfect specimen for Miranda to latch onto now that her divorce was finally over. Was she looking at the next Mr. Priestly? Andy's stomach churned and she closed her eyes briefly. She was not going to cry. Or puke.
"Andrea." Miranda raised her voice marginally.
Oh, God. Andy took a deep, fortifying breath and donned her usual broad smile. So what if the proverbial fangs were showing. She didn't care.
"Hugo…Mr. Renstrom is leaving. Escort him down and make sure security give him a permanent pass." She smiled at the man next to her. "That way you can pop in any time."
"Very convenient, Miranda." Hugo Renstrom bent forward and they exchanged air kisses. "I can't wait to see you again."
Swallowing against a sudden eruption of bile, Andy fought to keep the smile in place. "Of course, Miranda. This way, Mr. Renstrom." Andy motioned for Renstrom to follow her down the corridor to the elevators. Her back was so rigid, it hurt, and she plastered on a smile that felt uncomfortably fake.
As they entered the elevator, Renstrom flashed one of his own broad grins at her. "So what's working for the Devil really like?" He clearly thought himself clever and witty. "You can't have much time to socialize, can you?"
True enough, Andy thought. "Oh, it's actually very rewarding," she lied blatantly. "I can tell you a million girls would kill to be where I am." She'd been Miranda's first assistant for a month and even if this meant less coffee runs and more desk work, it still gave her fewer hours to 'socialize' than ever.
"I would imagine. She's something though," he said dreamily, but the predatory gleam in his amber eyes contradicted his admiration in a weird way. "We're going to see a lot of each other, you and I," he continued.
"Excuse me?" Andy blinked.
"Miranda and I will have a lot of business together from now on." Renstrom chuckled. "No doubt you'll find me in the office more often than not. We might as well be on a first name basis. I'm Hugo."
Squirming inwardly, Andy took his proffered hand. "Andy."
He looked mildly surprised. "I thought it was Andrea."
"Most people call me Andy. I prefer Andy." Since he tried pronouncing Andrea like Miranda always did, she was nearly desperate to have him call her Andy. Ms. Sachs had been even better.
The elevator pinged as they reached the foyer. Andy assisted the guard with the permanent pass. Resisting the urge to scrunch the pass up in her hand, she gave it to Renstrom with yet another fake smile. "There you go. I better hurry back. Have a good evening."
"Thank you, Andy. Until we meet again." Renstrom ran his gaze over her a bit too slow and obvious. "Don't work yourself to a pulp now."
Hurrying back to the elevator, Andy pressed the button to Runway's floor so hard, she nearly broke a nail. Renstrom was an idiot. He was a complete and utter sleaze ball. What was Miranda doing with him? No scratch that. Andy did not want the image of Renstrom doing anything with Miranda—no matter what—on her retina.
Back at her desk, she tried to shake the funk she was in. Her chest was all in a knot and it was as if her lungs could not let enough oxygen in. How had it come to this? She had used every single moment available to observe her boss. She was certain her acquired stealth mode kept Miranda from noticing. The hunger with which she regarded Miranda had not lessened over the last few months, as Andy had expected. Instead, Miranda had invaded her dreams, either making them unbearably erotic or complete nightmares. The erotic ones left Andy a wet, breathless bundle and the nightmare ones stayed with her for hours.
"Andrea." Oh, boy. That soft voice. She'd heard it close to her ear, speaking Andy's name with such passion and abandon. Other nights it had screamed in pain, growled in anger, or eviscerated her with total indifference. The latter was the worst of all. It was pathetic, but Andy would rather have Miranda totally furious with her than indifferent. Pretty stupid as her boss's voice rarely showed much emotions unless she was annoyed.
"Yes, Miranda." Andy found herself at Miranda's desk, not remembering taking the ten-or-so steps. "
Miranda looked up, then down at her computer screen, only to snap her eyes up at Andy again. "Yes?"
What? Andy wondered what Miranda had just seen on her face—or in her eyes. "Uhm, what can I do for you?"
Leaning back in her chair and tugging on her long, black statement necklace, Miranda narrowed her eyes. "I was going to ask you the same thing."
Holy crap. "No. I mean, I'm fine. Ha-ha. Yes?" God, she sounded like an idiot. Pull it together!
"We're leaving in thirty minutes. You're coming too. We need to go to a cocktail party and there Vasco Lamiente will give me his latest drawings. If they are sufficient for our October issue, I will make him a star. If not, well, at best he'll sit out this year and get a new—and the last—chance next year."
Andy only half listened to Lamiente's dilemma. All she heard was cocktail party. She glanced down at her slacks and white shirt. "I'm not dressed for—"
"For heaven's sake, Andrea. We have the Closet. Pick something out for yourself and choose something from my personal rack for me. Something in blue, I think."
Blue? Since when did Miranda wear blue? Black, white, even deep red, but blue? "Yes, Miranda." She still didn't get why she needed to join Miranda at this cocktail party, unless she was there to carry Lamiente's drawings. That must be it.
The Closet seemed to stretch for blocks, filled with clothes, lingerie, shoes, boots, purses, totes, and enough stuff to accessorize half of Manhattan. Andy found a short dove-gray dress with a discreet black graphic pattern for herself and then grabbed some lingerie to go with it. Black Manolo Blahniks completed the outfit together with some thin silver chainmail bracelets. As she was about to walk over to Miranda's rack, she hesitated. Did Miranda want to change into something else underneath as well? Should Andy just assume and bring her a set of lingerie? The thought of touching stuff that would go against Miranda's skin made her blush profusely. Cursing at herself, she picked out a beautiful forget-me-not blue dress. It was a halter top model, which meant strapless bra. The fabric was satin-like, which meant smooth, invisible thongs. Or spanx. Andy cringed, Miranda in spanx? Never in a million years.
Hurrying back to the office, she found Miranda on the couch, coffee in hand, which must have magically appeared as the second assistant was out running a ton of last minute errands.
"Starbucks delivered," Miranda said and lifted her mug in appreciation. "And they sent a real thermo mug."
"Only since it's you, I bet," Andy said before her inner editor kicked in. "I mean, you're a good customer."
"That I am." Tilting her head, she waved her free hand at the bundle of clothes. "Show me what you picked out. Yours first."
Andy hung the clothes on a small rack just inside the door. Holding up the hanger with the grey dress, she watched Miranda lean her chin in her hand and peruse the dress. "Adequate."
Wow. High praise.
"Shoes. Ah, yes, Blahniks. Good. Accessories? Quite good. You've come a long way, Andrea. Now show me my dress."
"You did say blue." Hesitantly, Andrea held up the dress. "I can run back and—"
"Shh." Miranda raised her hand to silence Andy. "So you want to see me in this, do you, Andrea?"
What? What did she mean by that? Andy's hands shook slightly and the fabric moved. Did Miranda think Andy picked this to ogle her naked shoulders or something? Granted, Miranda had the most beautiful shoulders and perfect creamy skin, but still. Andy wanted to groan and hide under her desk. Any desk. "Uhm. Nah. I mean, I think it's beautiful and it matches your eyes. The color. I mean. Yes."
Getting up, Miranda nodded slowly. "I think you found a dress that matches them perfectly. What else?"
"Lingerie." Blushing profusely now, Andy handed over the small hanger with the strapless bra and satin thong.
Miranda's eyebrows went up. She looked honestly taken aback for a few moments and then smiled, slowly and mysteriously. "I see."
What the hell did she see? Andy didn't even know if there was anything to "see". She held up a selection of accessories and shoes, as she had been uncertain of what to pick. Miranda nodded approvingly and chose black sling back sandals and a silver bracelet watch.
"Good. Now go change. When you get back, I want you to touch up my makeup. You've spent enough time with Serena and Emily to know how you turn a daytime makeup into nighttime appropriate, don't you?"
This day was beyond surreal. Andy was pretty certain now she was asleep and soon this dream would turn erotic or into a nightmare. Right now it was still merely confusing. "S-sure. I'll be right back."
In the restroom, Andy changed rapidly and touched up her makeup. Emphasizing her dark brown eyes, she merely added more mascara and a bit of eyeliner. She used a neutral lipstick and some gloss and decided she didn't need blush. She was flustered enough as it was.
Miranda was waiting in the chair by her desk, but pivoted the chair as Andy approached. "Tie me up, will you?"
Gasping, Andy nearly swallowed her tongue at Miranda's choice of word. Then she spotted the thin strings holding the halter neck together and tied a neat bow despite trembling fingers. She had to get a grip. If she shook like this while putting makeup on her boss, she was going to be fired for sure.
Miranda pointed at a complete makeup kit from MAC sitting on the desk. "Your choice."
Clearly this was a challenge. Andy took a deep breath and then switched on the desktop lamp and directed it toward Miranda's face, careful not to blind her. Miranda's foundation only needed a very light touch up. Andy carefully dusted some blush just above the apples of Miranda's cheek and some bronzer below her cheekbones. She wondered if she Miranda thought she'd fall in the trap of choosing blue eye shadow since the dress was blue. Instead, Andrea picked a neutral, shimmery chocolate color and willed her hands to be steady as she created a discreet smoky eye effect. Miranda's light colors did not allow for very dark shadows, but the chocolate color was so becoming, Andy couldn't help but smile. She filled in Miranda's light eyebrows and then added some brown mascara to her lashes. Glad she didn't smudge anything, she refrained from using any eyeliner—no doubt her luck would've run out and she would have poked Miranda's eyes out. The finishing touch was a peachy-caramel lipstick named Peachstock.
"There we go. You look amazing, Miranda." Andy had to tell her.
"Let me see." Miranda grabbed the mirror and raised it to scrutinize her face. She checked it from all angles and then smiled. Actually smiled. "You did go a good job, Andrea." She tilted her head. "With your own makeup also. A person could drown in your eyes."
Her heart stopped. Panicked, Andy pressed a hand to her chest, so certain that he heart wasn't beating anymore that the suddenly racing pulse startled her. What the hell had Miranda put in her coffee? Was she drunk?
"You look like I suddenly sprouted another head." Miranda stood and ended up just in front of Andy. Her perfume, a signature scent by Givenchy, engulfed Andy, filled her senses and muted her effectively. "You're a beautiful woman, Andrea; surely I'm not the first to comment on that?"
"No," Andy whispered. "But you've never—I mean, you've never even mentioned—I didn't think you noticed my appearance other than my clothes." Suddenly it was important to be totally honest. "Thank you, though."
"Likewise." Miranda reached up and smoothed down Andy's bangs. "What's that scent you're wearing? Is it new?"
"Yes. My friend Lily gave me a sample bottle of Body by Burberry. I swear it's so wonderful I sometimes wear it to bed. It helps me—uhm, sleep." Flustered now, Andy noticed even Miranda's cheeks turned a little pink.
"To bed, you say?" Miranda lowered her hand, but somehow it ended up on Andy's left shoulder. "This dress fits you like it was tailored to your figure." She hand her hand down Andy's arm and let it slip to her waist. She looked up into Andy's eyes, clearly searching for something Andy couldn't figure out. Her mind had stalled again, but her body seemed to respond of its own volition.
Andy felt her hands take on a life of their own and cup Miranda's elbows, pulling her a little closer. Fear coursed through her as she was sure she had misinterpreted Miranda's moves and words, which didn't stop her own body from doing what it had been wanting to for months. Which it sometimes had indulged in during the heated, erotic dreams. Her hands moved down to Miranda's hips and pulled the other woman close. "I apologize in advance, Miranda," Andy murmured, her vocal chords functioning again. "I know Renstrom is certain he's your next guy, and that may well be, but I—I have—there's no way he's looking at you're the way I want to, the way I do."
Miranda merely stood still, her hand still cupping Andy's side, the other hanging limp at her side.
"I could tell you like him. You smiled your real smile toward him and you expect to see him a lot. I respect that. No way would I meddle with that. That's not my place. Nor is this," Andy said desperately, knowing full well she was talking her way out of a job that million girls would die for.
Miranda raised her other hand and ran a finger along Andy's warm cheek. "You're such a silly girl," she whispered. "Renstrom? He's a major advertiser. You know I cater to all of them, especially the ones who use several spreads in the first twenty pages continuously. He is a flirtatious man, which is something I find myself enjoying on occasion, but that is it. It is also quite useful. Renstrom is business. You, on the other hand, ought to be just business too, my assistant, but…you are so much more, aren't you, Andrea?" Miranda looked suddenly both younger and very uncertain. The latter only lasted a few seconds, but it had been there, clear as day.
"I—I had hoped I one day would come to mean something to your than just being your mere assistant." Andy tried to not waiver as she met Miranda's gaze again. "I knew it was futile, really, but I guess hope truly is the last thing that dies."
"At least when it comes to a person with your disposition." Miranda slid her right arm around Andy's waist. "Your heart is way too big and much too sensitive. That said, I wouldn't have you any other way." She caressed Andy's cheek again. "Do you understand me, Andrea? Do you realize how much you mean to me?"
No, she didn't. Not yet. She didn't dare to. Andy tried to convey this, but was pulled in by the heat in the piercing blue eyes before her. There was something new, something undiscovered in those magnetic eyes. Andy had to close her own eyes as the intensity of their exchange became too much. If she wasn't careful, she'd end up—
Miranda kissed her. Without hesitation, Miranda pressed her lips firmly against Andy's and moved them tenderly, blending their respective lipsticks. Andy knew this was her chance. No matter the outcome, there was no way she would let this chance escape. Parting her lips, she invited Miranda's tongue in. It only took one moment of hesitation and then, there it was. A kiss that surpassed any of the ones from Andy's dreams. Slowly, thoroughly, Miranda's tongue explored Andy's mouth, caressed her, played with her.
Andy moaned, couldn't remain quiet if her life depended on it. Her heart thundered so hard, every beat hurt the surrounding tissue and ribs. She wanted to dig her fingertips into Miranda's flesh, hold her so tight, too tight, no doubt, that she'd never slip through her fingers…never again. When they finally parted, it wasn't abrupt or startling. They ended their first kiss with a tiny set of kisses, a meeting of soft, damp lips, as if they were both reluctant to stop.
Then Miranda pulled back a few inches and regarded Andy through her eyelashes. "I had dreams, but no hope whatsoever. Not until tonight." She sucked her lower lip in for a moment. Andy watched with some jealousy how Miranda sank white teeth into it before she continued. "When you looked at Renstrom as he was the devil incarnated, I found the first glimmer of hope."
"Hope?" Andy stroked up and down Miranda's back.
"Hope that it was just me." Miranda pressed her forehead into Andy's shoulder. "That I was not a totally pathetic and lonely woman, pining for a woman half my age, but instead a fortunate woman who at least stands a chance to prove how I feel."
The room span. Andy held on to Miranda and knew such bravery deserved a reward. "I'm in love with you. I have been for months. Since Paris, I think." She smiled with trembling lips. "I think you must realize how impossible I thought my feelings were."
Miranda's eyes glistened. "You—you're in love with me? You stand there and simply tell me you love me? You've let me suffer for months, thinking it was hopeless?"
"Yes. Apparently." A careful smile lingered on Andy's lips. "I didn't dare let on in case you fired me. I had to at least see you at work every day. And I took every chance to watch."
In went Miranda's lower lip between the teeth again. "I think I noticed that. I chalked it up to a middle age woman's futile fantasies, but—you did, didn't you?"
"I walk a few steps behind you a lot." Andy grinned now, parts of her slowly relaxing and other parts becoming so high strung it hurt. "A perfect view." She winked.
Miranda laughed. It sounded like pearls dancing down marble steps and it made Andy giggle. "Andrea, you wonderful—mmmph…"
Andy kissed Miranda. How could she not when Miranda laughed and smiled and wanted her? Holding the woman she loved so close, she could feel every muscle, every bone, under the soft skin; she made it her mission to explore her mouth and then Miranda's neck.
"God, Andrea. I love you. I do. B-but we have to go. The cocktail party…" Miranda could hardly speak. The words came out like moans.
Andy whimpered. What if this was a dream after all? She bit the tip of her tongue hard. Ow. It felt real enough. And Miranda loved her. Oh-my-god-oh-my-god-oh-my-god…
"I'll call Roy in one minute."
"Okay." Miranda buried her face against Andy's neck. "That will give you another minute to touch us up again. We're now wearing the same strange shade of lipstick."
"Wonderful." Andy held on to Miranda. "Don't worry. I'll take care of you."
"You always do, Andrea." Miranda looked up, her eyes bright and making her look years younger. "You always do."
Andy moved Miranda backward and made her sit behind her desk. The makeup was amazingly intact. Then she fell to her knees and turned her face up. "Now you do me."
"Oh, I intend to," Miranda murmured and applied some lipstick to Andy's lips. "Trust me, once I have to completely to myself, I will take care of you. For hours."
Breathless, Andy rose and pulled Miranda with her. Helping her with her coat, she smoothed down Miranda's silver hair. She would never grow tired of this closeness, she thought. What bliss that Hugo Renstrom had paid Miranda a visit today. Andy knew the man probably enjoyed the idea of charming the famous editor as well as her lowly assistant, but she forgave him. Without his 'god's-gift-to-womankind' approach, who knew if things would've unfolded this way?
"You ready, Andrea?" Miranda grabbed her clutch purse and stood impatiently by the door.
"Yes, Miranda." Andy pulled on her coat. "Always."