Title: New Territory

Author: EllieWrites

Disclaimer: I do not own the Devil Wears Prada or the characters but I have taken the liberty of borrowing them for this story. Please forgive any injustice I do to them as I have tried my best to stay true to them.

It never fails to amaze how one can literally feel a glare being aimed at them. The sneer on Emily's face was almost comparable to that of her oh so imperious boss, who sat in her office less then fifteen feet away. Andrea could only hope that the gifts she brought back from Paris would soon ease the pain that Emily felt from being left behind. Truth be told though there was only so much Andy could give a damn about. Miranda Priestly, Editor in Chief, Queen of Fashion, and Devil in Prada herself had just passed a sideways glance with the hint of a smile through the reflection in the glass of her office, and Andy could barely remain seated without fidgeting. The adrenaline was still coursing through her veins. Emily would have to just deal with it.

After two weeks back in the office things were almost back to normal, at least appearance wise anyhow. When Miranda breezed into the office on this very afternoon throwing bag and coat towards Andrea, she barely even acknowledged her presence aside from shouting out a list of demands. Emily took a deep breath, stood a little straighter, and her eyes brightened. While she liked Andrea, the competition was a bit too much. Andrea was simply too efficient, clairvoyant almost when it came to reading Miranda and answering her whims. This was supposed to have been her time to shine, proving herself the asset she knew she would be to Runway. While she couldn't entirely blame Andy as nobody could say no to Miranda, especially not Emily herself, it was still challenging to accept defeat.

Miranda and Andy had discussed this, among many many other things in Paris after the phone incident with the fountain, hence the bag and coat flying once again in Andy's direction. In the effort to compromise from both sides, Emily would get her shot, fair and square. Andrea felt guilt about her choice to go to Paris, and Miranda while failing to admit she had made an error in judgment, at least recognized the problem.

Over breakfast this morning that consisted of little more than an hour of each other at the townhouse, this argument was finally decided. Andy had been invited to arrive early the next morning after delivering the book, only her second time since Paris as the girls had been there and thus she could not be. With reporters and Paparazzi still lingering outside the door they were forced to have stolen moments. A breakfast meeting with her assistant seemed to be a reasonable appointment for the Editor and her assistant.

During their short pillow talk, Andy convinced Miranda to at least acknowledge that in fact her motivation to bring Andy to Paris over Emily was not entirely based on merit alone. Moving forward more of an effort would be made to remain entirely professional and impartial at Runway, as for the time being Andrea would be staying put in her position as second assistant. Andrea seemed to understand better than Miranda at this point the need for secrecy as Miranda was so thrown by this emotional epiphany that she was having difficult managing the façade. Given Miranda's impending divorce, and their professional relationship, they would take things slowly. Having Andrea take a perceived step back at work and having Emily remain first assistant would allow Emily the chance of advancing sooner. Andy could then run the show, and train the new Emily who could eventually take over as first assistant. The new development otherwise known as their budding romance would survive despite Andrea being Miranda's assistant, as Andy was good for Runway, and what's good for Runway is also good for Miranda. They were planning the future together and in recognizing this Andy didn't mind staying at all.

Andy was never an actress, but she was a quick study. Keeping up appearances was going to be difficult but the benefits were substantial. Earlier this morning Miranda had left Andy with a lingering kiss goodbye just before Roy dropped her off at a corner three blocks from Runway. Stepping out of the car her head was in the clouds wondering how she would survive the day without more of those. Who knew Miranda Priestly would be so affectionate? The two women could barely keep their hands off of each other in the car, and since returning from Paris any time they were in each other's presence outside of Runway with nobody else around it was as if they were magnets, always joined somewhere even if it was just fingertips touching. Electricity flowed back and forth from one to the other separation was almost painful. That made the hours spent ignoring each other at Runway quite difficult.

Miranda had had to continue on to a breakfast meeting with advertisers, but all she could think about was the women who so recently had altered her reality. When Andrea had delivered her Harry Potter, she was shocked at the feelings emerging in her. This girl, women at that point was sexy and Miranda was unwittingly responding to it. Andrea's ability to deliver was unprecedented. She could accomplish things that others could not even conceive of. Her world clicked like clockwork, because that's how she wanted it. It was a turn on like none other.

The more recent emotions were new though. Miranda had never considered that this attraction to a personality, all be it one packaged in a body that most women could only dream about, would develop into more that only that, an attraction. But it did and when Andrea walked away from her leaving her alone on the stairs in Paris it was a rude awakening. She was it. This girl had captured the mind, heart, and soul of Miranda Priestly and that was a first. The ink on her divorce papers was still wet and three failed marriages later Miranda now realized that she had never loved anyone like she loved this girl who was walking away. She called and called and nothing, and even now just thinking about it she was overwhelmed.

When Miranda spotted Andy outside her hotel room four hours later, she could barely remember how to breathe. She had somehow survived the evening attempting to conduct herself with some bit of composure, but it was challenging. Her focus was elsewhere. And then there was Andrea, the Angel herself coming to haunt her once again. She looked terrible though, her eyes bloodshot from what appeared to be combination of tears and alcohol. Miranda's emotions built while walking from the Elevator to her hotel room door. Rage, at the audacity of this woman to leave her mid Fashion week was first, with fear of the unknown heightening its presence, while she attempted to suppress the strong desire to reach out and hug this poor girl. Thus from learned behavior the walls so carefully designed for protection emerged once again and the Editor in Chief appeared.

Andrea recognized that speech would be impossible, despite the few memorized apologies she had prepared during the past two hours. Miranda's intense glare when she first came off of the elevators shook Andrea's core, and panic set in when it was quickly replaced with a look of boredom. While Andrea made an attempt to rise Miranda spoke to her. "Andrea tales of your inadequacy do not interest me. Is there a reason you are showing your face again after today's fiasco? Was the plane to New York overbooked? Move aside as it has been a long day and some of us have work to do." Miranda paused long enough, as she would practically have to step over the girl to enter her room. "Miranda" Andrea finally made it up with help of her hand on the wall, deeply regretting the fourth vodka, soda on an empty stomach. She went to speak again but quickly found herself seeing black for a second and next thing she knew Miranda had grabbed both of her arms, holding her up against the door. Regaining focus, and noticing a look of concern in Miranda's eye or shock as it may have been, Andy's doe eyes filled with tears threatening to spill over with the next blink. She couldn't speak so with her best effort she made a silent plea to Miranda. Analyzing the emotion she saw, Miranda let down her guard despite her best efforts against it. "Come in Andrea, and we will settle this once and for all" and Miranda opened the door that Andrea leaned against, leading her into the room.

Andy attempted to gather herself together, and allowing only one tear to escape she took a deep breath and slowly regained her composure. Miranda recognized the need for this and after depositing Andy in a side chair, made her way to the small bar to pour a scotch for herself, and water for Andrea. Depositing Andy's drink in front of her, Miranda took a long slow sip from her own glass, closing her eyes for a moment after swallowing. She sat in silence savoring the last moment of peace before facing a conversation she was reluctant to have. This was where the women she loved would explain why she could no longer stand by the side of someone she could not stand to look at. Miranda put her glass down on the table and cast her eyes in Andy's direction. After giving the girl a once over and lingering on her face knowing this may be one of the last times she would get to see it, only one word left her mouth. "Explain."

Andy sat in silence not knowing how to start. Her head was running in circles, and she had no idea how to comprehend the emotions running wild inside her. "I'm sorry. The last thing I have ever wanted was to abandon you Miranda. My goal, my everything has been about making your life easier and meeting any and all of your expectations, exceeding them even. I'm sorry." Miranda was unsatisfied and the frustration was building. "I didn't ask for an apology Andrea, I asked for an explanation. Is it too much to grant me this one request after today's failings?" Miranda could see the confusion in the women in front of her. Andy realized she had only prepared apologies but could not in fact determine why she had left. She had been truly upset about Nigel. He didn't deserve to be treated so badly but Miranda did what she had to do to save her career and she saw that now. Nigel was still employed, but of course Miranda could have forewarned him of her change in plans. It was the delivery that was heartless.

Andy wanted to matter to this woman. That was what it came down to. Would Miranda disregard her just as easily? All she had wanted was to be important to Miranda. She wanted to know that she was needed, and if not indispensable then at least difficult to replace. But after Miranda had sent her away last night and told her to "do her job" clearly she was just another employee. But she was just another employee. Why did she expect more from Miranda? Why did she need more from Miranda? Why couldn't she walk away after believing that this was the case? She was here to get her job back and convince her boss that this was a one-time occurrence, an act of temporary insanity. But why? Andy felt sick to her stomach at the thought of waking up tomorrow and no longer seeing Miranda. No longer being the one to recognize when she was frustrated, or upset, or happy with her latest achievement while trying to mask all of it in her carefully built fortress. Andy finally had to admit it. She had felt the tension during the elevator rides, and car rides, and close quarters. She had denied the longing to reach out and pull the older women towards her when she saw she saw sadness. It was powerful the feeling or need to take the editor into her arms and offer comfort but she passed it off as normal empathy. Now she realized she could no longer fool herself. She was in love. The constant feeling of excitement at close proximity was proof of it.

Several minutes had gone by when Andy finally realized she had yet to answer the question, and refocused while realizing that Miranda had watched this mental journey as Andy was lost in thought. Andy experienced a moment of shock once again as she stared at Miranda with new eyes. Her gaze worked its way down to her lips and back up to her eyes. She was gone. Gone on Miranda. And this was it. Miranda would throw her out the door, and subsequently her life any second now.

Miranda did not know how to respond. She had first expected judgment, and then apologies coming from the girl who always wanted to do right, but never this. It appeared the doe eyed beauty was experiencing a moment of confusion, but then she saw it. There was lust and maybe even love that was staring her in the face, and the lips, and the eyes. Maybe the attraction was not so one sided after-all. "Andrea I'm still waiting, and you know how that thrills me" Miranda managed to verbalize despite her desire to reach out and stroke the brown locks in front of her.

Andy was coming to her senses. The alcohol in her system was fueling the physical attraction that she had just owned up to, and recognizing her short lived career was likely over now anyway she decided to be bold. She slowly stood from her chair, not taking her eyes off of Miranda and moved closer to her. She sat on the corner of the couch that Miranda was currently seated in the middle of, and proceeded to do what she does best, blabber honestly. Miranda hands were shaking slightly at the close proximity of the girl. "Miranda, now I know why. You will think I'm crazy but this is how it has to be. After tomorrow I may never see you again so tonight I will be brave." Miranda took in a short breath at the word brave, and a glimmer of hope slipped in under the façade. "I walked away because I felt I would explode today if I hadn't. I didn't understand why until now. Now I feel like a weight has been lifted off of my chest because I can finally admit to myself the truth. I think you're the one for me." Miranda's glare emerged in force at this admission. "Andrea I will consider this a momentary lapse of sanity given your level of sobriety. You have no idea what you're talking about." Her speech was halted when the girl reached out putting her elegant hands on top of the editors. They had never really touched before and both felt a jolt of adrenaline as the touch registered. "This has been coming for quite some time but I didn't understand it. Last night I literally felt like I was going to die of heartache when I saw you crying and I wasn't able to hold you and make it better. You sent me away and I was devastated. Then with what happened today with Nigel and realizing you may toss away my feelings just as quickly I felt I could not continue. I've seen the other side of you Miranda and I can't go back." While Miranda sat stunned Andy took what she believed would be her last chance to touch her love. She reached out and ever so lightly redirected a strand of hair that had fallen out of place, while searching for any acknowledgment of understanding in the eyes opposite her. When she saw a glimmer of hope almost masked with confusion and anger she took a chance, leaned in, and slowly pressed her lips to the stunned editor. After what seemed like an eternity that was one or two heartbeats those lips proceeded to kiss back.

Miranda's thoughts during this morning's car ride lingered on the three wonderful days in Paris that followed that tumultuous evening. Business continued as usual, Andrea followed closely one step behind but mentally at her side, and the last three almost sleepless nights were wonderful. Andrea never returned to her own bed following their first kiss. The two women could hardly keep their hands off of each other and the memories were still ripe in Miranda's mind. She leaned her head back against the seat with her eyes closed and smiled at the images before her. The passion between the two of them was indescribable.

Neither Miranda nor Andrea had ever been with another woman before, but an uninhibited and slightly inebriated Andrea led the way the first time, and after a few fumbles getting started the sex was incredible. Andrea's hands were everywhere and next thing Miranda knew Andrea's mouth had done things to her that elicited uncontrollable screaming muffled only by a pillow as French hotel walls could only mask so much noise. It had never been like this for Miranda, Andrea either she had said. Sex was performed, and enjoyed occasionally, but this was a whole new level. The need she developed for the girl's touch was overwhelming, and the desire she felt to give was even more than that to receive. Watching the sight of Andrea reaching her peak and feeling pulsating contractions on her mouth and fingers was euphoric.

When Andrea had first kissed her she knew. She had thought to fight it initially but after one second of indecisiveness she gave in. Her life had been ruled by logic. Logic led her to make decisions over the last 52 years that made her an Icon in the fashion world. The logic had allowed her to become the most powerful women in publishing, Queen of Fashion, and an Editor in Chief of a publication that paid her millions every year to produce a book of the highest caliber that stood above the rest. All of that logic was tossed aside two seconds into a kiss and the Editor was lost. She was lost in a feeling that she had never known before and could not describe with words that would even begin to elicit understanding of the emotions that enveloped her. She was lost in Andrea, and despite her better judgment she allowed herself to get lost in this girl for what she hoped was forever. It was her turn to find happiness and Andrea would be it. She radiated happiness and Miranda would be a part of it. She deserved it.

As crazy as it seemed, even to her, they had to make it work. She quickly decided to attack this relationship with the same mentality she had used to achieve her many other accomplishments. She reminded herself "you can accomplish anything with the right effort and vision." With a content sigh she opened her eyes again and as the vehicle slowed prepared to meet her first appointment of the day.

Andrea had taken the time to gather her mental checklist while walking to Starbucks for her own coffee before getting into the office. She had a job she loved, apparently the women she loved as well, and a fresh start. Nate was out of the apartment, and after the last two phone calls he seemed to hold surprisingly less anger than she had expected. Lily was remained at arms-length with excuses of work, but Doug was loyal as ever. Doug had wanted every detail of Paris once she got back, but Andy had yet to divulge every detail. Nobody, not even Nigel who was the unexpected catalyst to this life changing path would ever know all of the details.

Nigel had saved Andy on that afternoon in Paris. They had talked about what happened, and several adult beverages later Andy took a step back and realized that in fact Miranda had been backed into a corner. They came to a mutual decision to trust in their Mentor. They had to. There was no other choice for either.

Nigel had been around Miranda forever, and was likely her only true friend. He knew in his heart that she did in fact have his best interests in mind, and would make it up to him. After years of working with her he knew her heart was big, but her demand for excellence did not allow for most to see that. "Open your eyes Six. She's a survivor, and that's why she is who she is. Try not to choose today to be a slow learner. March yourself back up there and beg for mercy, which will likely not be granted." Andy listened intently while failing in an attempt to hold back tears. "Miranda can and will open doors for you Andy. You are different and she responds to you like nobody else. If you can win her back somehow after today you will go places. Don't waste this opportunity over an overly emotional response to a business decision. That's all it was Six."

Andy took to heart what Nigel had said and she was right. While she had grown and matured over the past eight months, she was still naïve, and a virgin to the world known as reality. Her work ethic had blossomed, her self-righteousness which stemmed from basic insecurity had all but vanished, and she had recognized what it took to succeed in a cutthroat environment. But she had not witnessed the adversity that Miranda had over the years, and there was still much to learn. Just seeing a taste of it was disheartening, but business was business and this was another turning point.

While Andrea lusted to be a journalist, she was smart enough to realize that she would encounter many of the same hurdles in any industry and that was simply the way of the world. If you wanted to succeed you had to do what it takes, and endure through all of the rough decisions, and of course then live with them. Andy was no longer a child. With a supportive middle class family, and Midwest upbringing she had led a somewhat sheltered life. She had never known struggle. She had never known desperation. Only now could Andy understand that in business, any business, survival and success required sacrifice.

Miranda did what she had to and Andy could respect that. She had done it wrong, but her decision was reasonable. It was survival and in order to be in a position to help those around her, she had to help herself first. With Nigel's encouragement, and a bit of liquid courage she marched herself up to Miranda's floor and made herself comfortable as she was not leaving before at least trying to re-secure her place in Miranda's world.

But as Andy walked into Elias Clarke she sighed at the fact that Nigel could not be privy to the truth because it was just too risky. Part of Andy's daily checklist was to remind her self that she could trust no one. It was sad but true, and at this point while she would love to share with their mutual friend what had actually transpired, he could only know the fabricated story they had agreed upon. Andy had begged forgiveness, it had been granted, and Miranda went back to business as usual but would no longer be Miranda's perceived favorite. For all who had heard the story of Andy walking out and returning they had to believe that Miranda held a grudge. Her reputation could not be tarnished, and allowing Andrea back at all had already put a small ding in the armor.

Hours later as Andy responded physically to Miranda's reflected smile, and Emily's piercing glare remained, both assistants heard the signaling of "Andrea" floating through the open door. Andy hopped up from her desk, pen and paper in hand and marched to the doorway with a "yes Miranda?" With the most distant tone she could manage while devouring the well-dressed young women with her eyes and then turning her chair around to face her windows she stated "come in and close the door behind you." And with that Andy took an exaggerated breath and glanced back at Emily displaying as much fear as she could and stepped slowly into the office.

Emily knew that when Miranda's door was closed they were not to be disturbed, and if the door was closed hopefully Andrea would finally experience more backlash from her unimaginable actions of leaving Miranda during the most important week of the year. While having Andy around made her life significantly easier as the office ran smoothly, she still questioned her dedication to fashion and to Miranda herself. Emily would never have done anything to ruin the chance of being center stage for Paris. It was an honor representing Runway at the events and abandoning Miranda was proof that Andrea had no understanding of the importance of this world. Looking at Andrea's physical transformation one would suspect that the girl had learned, but she still didn't get it. Fashion was Emily's life and she would make the most of any chance to prove it.

Andy sat down in the chair facing Miranda's desk, and waited for what came next. Miranda at work was still the editor, and her boss, and Miranda hadn't looked thrilled upon entering the office an hour earlier. Her lunch meeting with accounting was trying as usual, and she had appeared somewhat drained already. Andy held her breathe just a bit as with Miranda you just never knew.

"Do you realize how difficult this is darling, to play this game" Miranda asked as she turned to face Andy. Andy relaxed at the question and flashed one of her best smiles, immediately brightening Miranda's day. "This morning wasn't nearly enough time alone, and I have spent the last hour trying to figure out how to lure you into a bathroom on an empty floor to have my way with you once again. It seems my little taste earlier only increased my desperation." And with that Andy laughed. "Miranda, Emily has been glaring at me for the last half hour, because I haven't stopped fidgeting since you passed me that smile. Trust me you're not the only one pining away here." Just taking the time to stare at each other was enough for both to relax just a bit. "When you deliver the book tonight you're mine Andrea. The girls are gone to their father's for the evening. I arranged it this morning after they left for school." Andy laughed inwardly "on that note I'm leaving. Any more talk and I'm going to have to go steal some undergarments from the closet. Miranda you're killing me" and Andy headed towards the door. Miranda stopped her with an "Andrea, one thing darling, will you please bring me a coffee?" Looking back she winked at Miranda who had already begun to compose her look that she would flash Emily as the door opened. Andy responded in kind, and with her eyes down on the floor practically ran out of the office heading to the elevator. "Coffee" she mumbled towards Emily as she passed her by. Boy had things changed.