In Between

by Susan L. Carr

Copyright © October 2008

Rating: NC-17
Fandom: The Devil Wears Prada
Disclaimer: Normally, I would claim these characters as my own, but this time I'm sharing them with Tel, or rather she's sharing them with me.
Distribution: The Mystic Muse:
LiveJournal, Passion and Perfection, Cryptic Rain
Feedback: Always welcome.
Author's Notes: It seems that the gang from Telanu's story The X Ingredient just can't settle down. First it was Sightings and now this, where we catch little snippets of what happens to the characters in between the newspaper clippings. For those folks who wanted more, this is for you. A big Thank You to Mercury who is, as always, the ultimate beta.
Pairing: Miranda/Andrea

Summary: Life in between the news.

Part 1   Part 2    Part 3   Part 4    Part 5   Part 6   

Part 1
In Between Sightings 1 and 2

Andy enjoyed these peaceful moments after hours when it was just her alone in the office. Waiting for the book was the easiest part of her job. Once everyone had cleared out, especially Miranda, Andy was finally able to relax and finish up the tasks she had to do before the book arrived.

Tonight, though, she was distracted. After spending part of the afternoon in delightful frolic with Miranda, she couldn't concentrate on anything else. Finally she turned off the computer and wandered out of the office. She poked her head into the art department and saw John working his team as fast as they could. John noticed her and paused. "Hey Andy…I'd say another hour tops."

"Cool," she replied. "I'm gonna grab some coffee, you guys want any?"

"Nah, we're good," he replied already continuing on.

Leaving the building, she walked to the coffee shop across the street. She smiled at the sandy-haired barista who took her order. As Andy handed her the card the girl asked, "So…how's that boss of yours? Still demanding?"

Andy chuckled as she remembered how she'd gone off on the poor girl for not making the coffee hot enough. "Yeah, as ever," she answered. "She certainly keeps me on my toes." And on her knees and not to mention other fun positions. She felt a blush start to creep up her neck.

The girl must have noticed because her smile turned into something else as she handed Andy back her card. "Well, it's good to see you relaxed," she said. "You were pretty stressed-out."

"Yeah," Andy said, tucking the card and receipt back into her wallet. She was surprised that the girl had remembered her and glad she didn't think badly of Andy for the way she'd acted that day. "Thanks."

"No problem," the girl said. "So, um…you should come by more often, you know. Maybe even hang out. I always see you around late at night. You work at Elias-Clarke, right?"

Andy looked at her in surprise and her blush deepened as she realized the girl's intent. Oh wow. That was kind of…well, that was really kind of cool. She looked at the girl more closely and Andy smiled at what she saw. "Um…yeah, well I have to wait around for the guys to finish something so I can bring it to my boss, along with her dry cleaning. She, uh she' boss is…" She trailed off, not knowing if she was horrified or elated at the thought of what her boss now was.

"Demanding, yeah," the girl said with a charming shrug. "But whatever…you know where to find me."

Andy shook off her reverie and returned the grin and said, "Okay…see you later."

"Bye," the girl waved as Andy walked out.

Andy sipped her coffee as she slowly walked back to the office. The girl's attentions were flattering. It wasn't the first time a woman had flirted with her, but it was the first time that she had considered flirting back. The girl was cute…in a kind of familiar way. Not like Miranda, of course. Andy chuckled. Miranda wouldn't care to be thought of as 'cute.' Sophisticated, yes…glamorous, certainly…elegant, definitely – but cute? Andy laughed.

No, Miranda was the most beautiful woman Andy had ever known. A few months ago Andy was happily living with her boyfriend and enjoying the challenges of her job, until one of those challenges forced a reexamination of her own fundamental being. Sure, she could have walked away when she'd learned of Miranda's ridiculous demands. No matter what Emily had said, she was sure she could have successfully said no and gotten away with it. She was certain that none of Miranda's assistants had ever challenged Miranda on anything. But Andy now realized that the bigger challenge had been turning the tables on Miranda.

Andy could also admit that even though she was horrified at the thought of having to perform sexual favors for Miranda Priestly as part of her job, in the back of her mind she was intrigued. What would it be like to have one of the most powerful women in the publishing world? And she knew – she knew – from the first time she knelt before the great editor and realized from Miranda's total loss of control, that no one had ever had Miranda the way that Andy had her. None of her assistants, certainly, and as Andy had previously suspected and now knew for sure, none of her husbands, either.

Up until a week ago, Andy relished in the power she had over her boss. She loved that Miranda would do anything she wanted, anything she suggested no matter what. For Andy, just the thought of Miranda's reaction to what she did was enough to turn her on more than Nate ever had. Things were good…her job was more fun than she'd ever imagined it could be and while her relationship with Nate was strained, at least that was not affecting them in the bedroom. In fact, things were hotter than ever and so what if they barely could say two civil words to each other? Andy wasn't interested in conversation anyway…they had taken care of that while still in college.

Then Miranda had to go and ruin it by being human after all. Andy could no longer ignore the want and desire in Miranda's eyes when Andy did things to her. And she could no longer ignore the fact that when she did allow Miranda to touch her, Miranda did more for her than anything Nate ever had. So when Andy learned that Nate was thinking of moving to Boston without bothering to discuss it with her and that Miranda's marriage with Stephen was failing just as hard, it didn't take much to decide to jump into an affair with both feet. To hell with all this one-sided bullshit, it was Miranda's turn to get on her knees for Andy.

As Andy walked through the doors to the quiet offices of Runway magazine, a satisfied smile spread across her face. Wow, wasn't the fact that Miranda was actually so very good at it the most wonderful surprise of all?

Before Andy reached the art department to check on the status of the book, her arm was viciously yanked and she was pulled in another direction.

"Nigel!" she protested. "What are you doing?"

"What am I doing?" he said. "What am I doing? What the hell are you doing?"

He dragged her through the glass doors to his office and angrily pointed at his computer monitor. "What is that?"

Andy looked. After nearly a year at Runway she was quite familiar with the online gossip rags and immediately recognized the Post's logo. Under a photo of Lindsay Lohan was a short blurb of only four sightings. Andy's heart skipped a beat as she saw Miranda's name in capital letters. She read the rest and took a deep breath as she collapsed into a chair. Oh shit.

"Uh…" she mumbled, her mind whirling along in a desperate attempt at damage control. "It's nothing. The uh… the car wasn't ready after the meeting so Miranda wanted to stretch her legs for a bit."

Nigel stared at her for a long moment and Andy tried not to writhe under the scrutiny. She wasn't counting much on her success. "The meeting at Christian Lou's was cancelled, Andy," he said. "Emily was up in arms about how to tell Miranda. Imagine her surprise when Miranda brushed it off with a simple 'fine'."

"Well, yeah…what I meant was that Miranda wanted to grab something to eat and –"

"Quit it, Andy," he said. "Stop right this second. You and Miranda were seen coming out of a hotel and I know for a fact that particular hotel does not have a restaurant."

"How do you know?" she goggled.

"I've worked in fashion for twenty years, my dear, and I know every hotel in the garment district quite well," he said.

"Oh," Andy whispered and her gaze wandered back the screen. Busted.

Nigel sighed as if he sensed her surrender. He slumped into a chair and also stared at the screen.

"I should have seen this coming," Nigel said. "But I didn't realize what was happening. Miranda never let an assistant get so close this fast and for god's sake, she never took one to a hotel!" This time his glare was blazing.

"What?" she cried, her eyes widening. "You know about…? I mean, what?"

"Of course I know about Miranda's little games with her assistants," he said waving a hand. "I know everything that goes on in these offices."

"Then why didn't you tell me?" Andy shot back. "Jesus Nigel, do you think it was fun having Emily tell me cunnilingus was the next job skill I had to learn? Christ! I thought we were friends."

"We are friends," Nigel said. "But I also have a responsibility to this magazine and the woman who runs it. And like I said, she has never, ever trusted an assistant with that particular task this quickly. I thought I had more time before I had to speak with you and frankly I thought that maybe she would not even want you."

"Why not?" Andy glared.

"Oh for…" he closed his eyes and leaned back his head. "There is nothing wrong with you, Andy. I didn't mean it that way…just the opposite, in fact. The assistants Miranda picks for her little relief sessions are all the same type – pretty, fashionable and not very bright. Like Emily."

"Oh," Andy said. "Then why did she…?" She tried to think, but it was getting really difficult.

"I don't know why," Nigel admitted. "And that's why it caught me unawares. You're the only one of her assistants smart enough to bring everything she's built collapsing into ruin." He gestured toward the screen with Page Six still displayed. "And I guess you have."

"Me!" Andy scowled. "I'm not the one who asked if I could perform sexual favors for my boss, Nigel. And I'm not the one who took it out of the office. That was her."

"Yes, but you could have stopped it before it even started," Nigel said and looked at her pointedly. "Why didn't you just say no?"

Andy looked back and since she had been thinking that same thing less than an hour before, she didn't want to answer.

"That's what I thought," he said and sighed. "Well, it's out of our hands now. Miranda's made her bed and she and the rest of us are going to have to lie in it."

"What will happen?" Andy said. "I mean, it's just a silly sighting. They post hundreds of those every month."

He shrugged. "Hopefully nothing will happen and it'll get lost in the next outrage by the Olsen twins, but if it doesn't…well, it could get bad, Andy. Really bad. Expect the worst."

Andy sighed. "Well, at least it was fun while it lasted," she muttered.

John turned the corner carrying the book to Miranda's office, but did a double take and opened Nigel's door. Andy quickly hit the clear button erasing the damning Page Six evidence from the screen, but John didn't even bat an eye in his rush to finish work and get home. Nigel rolled his eyes as John quickly left.

"This stops right now, Andy," he said and picked up the book. "I'll deliver the book tonight and from now on Emily will take over that chore. Your job is to do your job – your legitimate job – and nothing else. You are to minimize any contact with Miranda, keep it to business only. You do not speak to her unless she is giving you instructions and then you only say 'yes Miranda' and leave. Do not call her on the phone unless it is work related and only work related. Do not go to her house. Do not meet her anywhere. Do you understand?"

Andy felt the rebellion building inside and opened her mouth to lash out when he interrupted her again. "I'm serious about this Andy," he growled. "I don't think you've quite realized what's at stake here. So you go home to that pretty boy of yours and think about all that you have to lose." He stood up and tucked the book under his arm. "I'll see you bright and early in the morning. Good night."

Andy watched him leave and for the first time since this whole thing with Miranda had started, she felt a tingle of fear in her gut.

Part 2
In Between Sightings 2 and 4

Andy slunk into the office early the next morning. When she checked the schedule she was relieved to see Nigel had an early meeting at D&G. She knew he was right, of course. She could lose her job. She could lose Nate. She could lose her career before it even really began. And that was just a start. The list of things she could lose seemed endless. So she vowed to do her job, be the professional she wanted to be and not think about Miranda in an inappropriate way.

By the time everyone else arrived, Andy had the office so organized Miranda had no reason to talk to her. Andy was grateful that Miranda had a morning conference with the features department and would be gone for a couple of hours, but she still worried Miranda would come up with some excuse to get Andy alone. So she finally was able to breathe a sigh of relief when Miranda headed off for her meeting. Then she tried not to stare at Miranda's ass as the proud woman passed by her desk. Miranda was dressed in a new charcoal gray Armani suit that hugged the curves of her body and showed it off to perfection. Andy wondered if Miranda was trying to drive her insane and hoped Emily didn't hear her whimper.

Unfortunately with both Nigel and Miranda out of the office this left her with a lot of time to think and she felt particularly guilty that she wasn't thinking about Nigel's very good advice from the night before. All she could really think about was Miranda. Specifically Miranda's mouth and all the wickedly wet and wonderful things it did to her the day before. By mid- morning Andy was ready to pull out her hair from all the devilish deeds she was imagining. She tried to do as Nigel had firmly ordered the night before; that is ignore Miranda after she returned to the office and so far Miranda hadn't seemed to notice the cold shoulder. However, every now and then Andy would glance into the inner room and catch a tantalizing glimpse of the editor which only served to heighten her desire.

To try to turn her mind away from sex, she wondered if Miranda had seen the Post sighting online last night. Probably not, she reasoned. Miranda spent her evenings either out socializing or at home with her family. Editing the book then kept her occupied until the early morning hours. Andy couldn't imagine her trolling the gossip sites so unless someone showed it to her, like Nigel had shown Andy, Miranda probably hadn't seen it. And last night she had a late engagement which meant that she probably wasn't home when Nigel dropped off the book. Judging from her actions this morning, she guessed that Miranda didn't know. Well, Andy certainly wasn't going to be the one to tell her.

When Emily returned from an errand, she dropped off a stack of newspapers on the credenza and then unceremoniously dumped a load of folders on Andy's desk. Glad for the distraction, Andy spent the next ten minutes filing them away. When she returned, Emily was working on updating the schedule and the morning run-through crew was finally leaving Miranda's office. Andy checked the clock and noticed it was almost time to run to Smith & Wollensky for Miranda's steak and she thought she might as well get an early start on it. She was just about to go when she again glanced into Miranda's office and this time she caught the editor staring at her.

Andy felt the desire she had been trying to suppress all morning come rushing to the fore under the heat of Miranda's gaze. All rational thought left her mind as she stood up. With Miranda watching over her reading glasses, she grabbed the top newspaper from the stack Emily had left and strolled into Miranda's office. As she walked past the desk, Miranda narrowed her eyes. Andy ignored the warning glance and strode into the inner room.

"Miranda," she ordered softly so her voice wouldn't carry to Emily's desk. Without waiting for a response she reached under her skirt and slid off her panties. She dropped them on the desk and sat in the office chair, opening the newspaper to a random page. Andy looked at the print without seeing a thing and grinned when she heard the door close a moment later. Miranda's heavy breathing caused a sharp throb in her body and she tried to control her own breathing. She felt like she would scream if Miranda didn't touch her soon.

She closed her eyes and heard the rustle of Miranda's suit as she kneeled on the floor. When Miranda's hands spread her legs, she felt a rush of wetness flow from herself. Oh god. She tried not to make a sound, but instead she gripped the pages of the newspaper until they began to crumple. She heard Miranda chuckle as she touched Andy's thighs and spread her wide. At the first touch of Miranda's tongue against her clit Andy gave up all pretense of disinterest. The newspaper fell to the floor and as she looked down into Miranda's mischievous eyes, she groaned loudly.

"Oh god, Miranda!" she moaned and rested against the back of the chair, spreading her legs even wider. The silver head pressed in closer and Andy bit back a squeal when she felt Miranda's lips capture her clit. Miranda sucked on it and Andy thought she would howl. She dug her fingers into the arms of the chair until she was certain her nails would pierce the expensive leather. For a moment her mind boggled at the idea that up until yesterday, Miranda had never done this before, but then she felt Miranda's tongue slide into her and she lost all control as the tiny office seemed to implode inward. A few seconds later she came again as Miranda once more latched on to her clit and sucked at it as if she never wanted to stop. Andy felt her entire body convulsing in the chair until she collapsed back into it. Her muscles felt like they had turned to jelly.

With a long pull of air into her lungs she finally focused on Miranda who was looking at her with the most satisfied grin Andy had ever seen on her face. She leaned forward and pulled Miranda up until the editor was cradled between her legs and their lips were level. She leaned in for a kiss and even though she just came, she felt a renewed throb of arousal at the taste of herself on Miranda's mouth. She pulled Miranda closer and ran her hand down her back until she reached the top of the zipper on the suit's skirt. Miranda breathed hotly against her as Andy quickly unzipped the skirt and then pushed it off so she could reach between Miranda's legs. She ripped aside the thin strip of silk and plunged her fingers into Miranda's wetness.

"Oh there it is," Andy whispered hotly as Miranda mouthed over her jaw, clutching at Andy's back. Her whole body shuddered as Andy began plunging into Miranda's body. "That's what I've been waiting for all day – the feel of your hot cunt gripping my fingers." She stopped her movement until Miranda thrust her hips forward and then she plunged in again, tearing a moan out of the editor's throat.

"Did you ever picture yourself like this, Miranda?" she asked. Miranda didn't answer; she only clutched harder to Andy and continued to ride her fingers. "On your knees in this little sex closet you have tucked away in your office? Did you ever imagine yourself servicing someone else?"

Miranda whimpered out a single word. "No."

"No, I'll bet you didn't," Andy said and nuzzled around the earring until she could whisper directly into Miranda's ear. "How many times did you sit in this chair while your assistants ate your pussy, Miranda? How many times did I make you come while kneeling on the floor just like you're kneeling now? What do you think those other girls would say if they could see you on your knees in front of me with your face still wet from my come?"

At that Miranda's nails dug painfully into Andy's back as she came, releasing a flood of moisture that Andy was very familiar with by now. She held Miranda until her body relaxed and then allowed her to rest back against the floor.

Miranda recovered enough to look up and Andy was delighted at the contented grin Miranda gave her. "That was…wow," Andy said with a laugh.

"Wow indeed," Miranda agreed and gave a happy sigh. "I'll admit that quickies in the office are fun, but I look forward to getting you in a bed again."

"Oh yeah? Why?" Andy asked with a smile. "So you can make love to me again or just save some wear on your knees?"

Miranda looked at her and Andy felt a small twinge that the other woman still seemed a little uncertain about their relationship. While Andy was also unsure of where they were going, she knew she did not want to end things with Miranda any time soon.

"I think a little of both," Miranda said, but then she grimaced. "Especially the knees part. Please, help me up."

Andy stood and got Miranda to her feet. She helped Miranda get her clothing back in order and then her own. She couldn't help but smirk as she handed Miranda the make-up kit she had stowed in here not long after the first time.

"Something amusing?" Miranda asked, noticing her face.

"About time it's your turn to fix your make-up instead of mine," Andy said.

Miranda put down the case and pressed in close to Andy. "I don't think I'm the only one who's getting sassy," she whispered and Andy wondered if they had time for a second round. "Does that mean you're pleased with yourself?"

Andy nodded and squeezed Miranda's ass as she said, "I'm more pleased with you. You're really getting the hang of this."

Miranda grinned. "I do try to excel at everything I do," she said and grabbed a quick kiss before turning back to attend to her make-up.

Andy finished making herself presentable and then began to straighten out the room. "I need to get your lunch," she said. "Is there anything…" She stopped and stared in horror at the newspaper she had just picked up.

"What?" Miranda asked, looking over.

Andy's mouth moved, but no words came out. Before she could even think about hiding the paper, Miranda had grabbed it from her hand. Andy glanced back and forth from Miranda's face to a grainy photograph of them from yesterday. The short paragraph under the photo barely registered, but Andy caught enough to realize they were screwed.

Miranda's lips pursed as she read the blurb. Then she looked at Andy slowly from head to toe, who tried not to squirm under the scrutiny. "Well," she said with a sigh. "You certainly are glowing. I suppose I should feel somewhat smug that the whole world knows what I can do for you."

"Oh my god," Andy whispered. "What…what…?"

Miranda said, "I have to call Leslie." She opened the door and walked into her office.

Andy followed, but almost collided with her when Miranda paused in mid- step. To Andy's horror, Nigel was sitting at the table in Miranda's office with a copy of the New York Post in his hands. She noticed the door to the outer office was closed and beyond the glass she could see Emily cringing at her desk. The redhead had moved the monitor to the other side of her desk so she could hide behind it and pretend nothing was going on.

"Congratulations," Nigel said dryly to Miranda. "You've made Perez's year. His entire existence has been justified."

Miranda sniffed and gracefully sat down at her desk. "That loathsome little queen?" she asked. "Isn't he the one who tries to out every celebrity in existence with that horribly color coordinated blog of his?"

"Indeed. To be sure he's having fun with your outing. There's a very nice photo of you filed under Gay Gay Gay," Nigel said. "By the way…welcome to the family."

Miranda's glare could have killed and Andy was impressed that Nigel didn't burst into flames. Miranda pressed the rarely used intercom button on her phone and said softly, "Emily."

Andy could hear the tremor in her colleague's voice as she stammered, "Yes, Miranda."

"Get me Leslie on the phone," Miranda said. "Then get my steak. Clear the afternoon schedule and finally remind everyone that if I hear a single whisper of gossip in the halls, heads will roll. I expect a full day's work out of everyone. Is that clear?"

"Yes, Miranda," Emily squeaked.

"And Emily," Miranda continued.


"That's all," Miranda clicked off the intercom and Andy could see Emily frantically dialing Miranda's publicist.

"Andrea, please sit down," Miranda said. Andy sat in one of the other chairs near Nigel and tried to look as small as possible.

Nigel and Miranda simply looked at one another and Andy could guess that Miranda was running over possible scenarios of what to do in her head. She was almost sure one of them involved dumping Nigel's remains in the East River. She really hoped Miranda discarded that idea because even though Nigel was almost as scary as Miranda and understandably kind of pissed at them both right now, she really liked him and wanted him around during this mess.

Finally Miranda said, "It could just blow over."

"Not in this ballgame. Three strikes and you're out, Miranda," Nigel said shaking his head. "You know how rumors work. After three innuendoes, they turn into facts."

"Three?" Miranda asked.

Nigel turned a raised eyebrow at Andy. "Too busy to tell her?"

Andy blushed and looked away. She caught a glimpse of Miranda's eye and almost cringed at the look. "You knew?" Miranda asked.

"Oh, don't blame her," Nigel said, waving a hand. "I told her to stay away from you as much as possible."

The intercom clicked again. "I have Leslie," Emily said.

Miranda sighed and picked up the phone. "And what are you doing about this?" she barked into the phone.

Andy tried to ignore Nigel, but eventually she started to squirm under his gaze. "What?" she finally cried when it became too much. Nigel sighed and rubbed his forehead with his hand, so Andy dared to ask. "How bad is it?"

"Pretty bad," Nigel said. "Right now Leslie is telling Miranda her options. Number one; ignore it, which is what she usually does when she hits the gossip rags. Two, make a statement and deny everything, or three, make a statement and admit everything."

"Which will she choose?" Andy asked.

"Probably the first," Nigel said and then amended, "for now. I'm sure the paparazzi are already camped on her doorstep." Nigel turned to her. "They'll be camping at yours too before long. Are you ready for that?"

"No!" she said. "God, Nigel. What's Nate gonna do?"

"You know him better than I do," he said. "What will he do?"

"I don't know," she said. After a moment of thought she continued, "leave me, I guess. I mean…he and I weren't going to last anyway, you know? It was all over except for the shouting."

"Really?" he asked.

"Yeah, he…I found out he was looking for a job in Boston," she said, looking down at her hands. "He's a…he's a chef, you know? And chefs, they move around a lot…wander from restaurant to restaurant learning as much as they can. When we were at Northwestern, I told him I wanted New York. He said great, there are so many restaurants in New York, that he can work them all, but now…"

"Now he's looking elsewhere?" Nigel said. "To get away from you, I suppose."

"Yeah, he…he doesn't like my job," Andy said. "He thinks it's changing me."

"Hasn't it?" Nigel said.

"Yes," Andy admitted as she looked at Miranda, who was still talking on the phone. "It certainly has."

"Your first?" Nigel asked after a thoughtful moment.

Andy turned to him and asked, "First what?"

"Affair with a woman?"

Andy nodded. "Yes."

"How did it happen, Andy?" he asked. "I mean granted I haven't known you all that long, but I never had a clue you swung that way. What changed? And don't tell me it was giving Miranda head. I saw your face when you came out of that closet just now; this is not just about sex for you."

Andy sighed. "You were right last night when you said that I could have said no. I'm not stupid – Miranda wouldn't risk the scandal even just a hint of sexual harassment would bring her, so I could have just said forget about it and found a new job if Miranda fired me over it. Isn't that right?" she gave him a pointed look.

"Yes," Nigel said. "None of the other girls had the guts to try it, but I know Miranda…she'd be pissed, but she wouldn't put up a fuss. After all…"

"A million girls would kill for this job," Andy finished. She looked over at Miranda, who was still chattering away at the unfortunate Leslie. Andy felt her heart thump in her chest. God, when the fuck did she start having feelings for this woman?

"It was a game at first," she said to Nigel, still looking at Miranda. "I set out to break every single rule Emily drilled into me about my new job duties. That drove Miranda crazy and the more it made her crazy, the more fun it was to see how much further I could go."

Nigel let out such a guffaw of laughter that even Miranda looked at him. After giving him a scowl she returned to Leslie. "Oh boy," Nigel said wiping his eyes with a handkerchief after he finished laughing. "I knew I liked you for some reason, Six. Now I know why. No one else has ever dared take on Miranda Priestly and lived to tell about it. My hat's off to you."

Andy sulked for a moment until he continued. "Oh lighten up, Andy. However it started, you obviously care for her now and I'm pretty certain she cares for you as well. We've got a huge mess on our hands, but as your friend – and hers – I'll do everything I can to help."

Andy smiled at him, "Thank you, Nigel. That means a lot."

Miranda finally hung up the phone.

"Well?" Nigel asked.

"She'll try her best," Miranda said as she leaned her head back and rubbed her temples. "I'm sure I'll be disappointed with her efforts – as always. Am I expecting too much? Do I not pay her enough to handle these things? Really!"

Andy bit her lip and hoped she was not expected to answer. Miranda finally looked up and as well as she had gotten to know Miranda over these past few months, she had no idea what the other woman was thinking.

"Nigel," Miranda said, still looking at Andy. "Please escort Andrea home."

Andy sat up. "Miranda, it's barely past noon, there's so much work…" she stopped when Miranda held up a hand.

"I'm well aware of what work has to be done in this office, thank you," Miranda sniped. "However, the longer you wait, the more vultures will be downstairs waiting to accost you. You have no experience in dealing with the press and while I regret your having to learn, I'm afraid you have no choice. None of us do, that's just the way the world we choose to live in works. For now, let Nigel take you home and we'll be better prepared to deal with this later. It's the weekend, so we'll figure something out before Monday."

"She's right, Andy," Nigel said. "Let's go." He stood up and opened the door for her. Andy glanced out through the glass wall and saw that Emily was just returning with Miranda's lunch.

"Go, Andrea," Miranda said and Andy looked at her. For the first time, she saw real regret on Miranda's face.

"All right," she said with a sigh. She wished she could just have a few moments alone with Miranda, but she knew that would not be possible. So she simply followed Nigel out of the office.

Emily busied herself with preparing Miranda's plate and ignored them both as Andy gathered up her belongings.

As they headed down the elevator, Nigel said, "If there are any paparazzi waiting outside, just ignore them. Hold your head high and for god's sake don't show any fear. Those jackals can smell it on you."

"Oh boy," Andy whispered.

"Until we get more information about what's going on, I suggest you stick to your apartment," he continued. "If you need anything, give Roy a call. I'll give him a heads up so he'll be at your disposal for now. He likes you, so he'll run any errands you might have this weekend. If you call out for food, tell him and he'll pay for it and bring it up to your apartment. The press is notorious for bribing their way in that way. They have other tricks, too."

"I am a journalist," Andy said feeling like a child with the way he was speaking to her.

"A journalist maybe," Nigel agreed. They reached the lobby and Nigel paused at the open windows to check the plaza outside. "These are paparazzi – a whole different animal. And make no mistake, Andy; they are animals."

Andy saw that there were a few of the Elias-Clarke security guards cordoning off a group of photographers. "Oh boy," Andy whispered again.

"Come on," Nigel said and put her hand on his arm as if he were escorting her up the red carpet instead of past her first hoard of paparazzi that were after her and not simply Miranda. She thought about how Miranda handled herself in these situations and straightened her back and held her head high. Nigel glanced at her in approval.

Miranda had been right. There weren't too many gathered yet and they reached the black town car without incident. Still she had never felt more like a bug under a microscope in her entire life.

"Andy's place, Roy," Nigel said.

"You got it." Roy quickly pulled away from the curb and headed toward her apartment.

Andy glanced at her watch and knew it was too early to hope that Nate had left for work. So by the time Roy pulled up in front of her building, she was a nervous wreck. Nigel glanced at the street and said, "Looks clear, thank goodness," he said. "When the paparazzi show up – and they will – keep your cool, don't say a word, and don't let them provoke you no matter what they may say about you or Miranda. Act like the lady you are and not Sean Penn."

Andy sighed. "Nigel…"

He held up a hand. "I'll call you before I leave work tonight, okay?" he said. "Like I said, just keep your head down."

"Okay," she replied. "Thanks Nigel."

Before she could open the door, he stopped her. "And Andy," he said looking at her kindly. "Good luck with Nate."

She swallowed past the lump in her throat. "Thanks, Nige."

The moment she walked through the door of her apartment, she spotted Nate sitting on the couch, his hands covering his face. He knew.

Part 3
In Between Sightings 3 & 4

Andy stood in the small entrance to her apartment and stared at Nate. He looked up at her and their eyes met. Andy's phone rang and she nearly wept at the expression on his face.

She glanced at the display and didn't recognize the number. "Hello?"

"Ms. Sachs?" the voice said and then continued before Andy could respond. "Steve Reichs, New York Post, is it true you're having an affair with Miranda Priestly?"

Oh my god. How did they get her Runway number? She barked out a 'no comment' and turned the phone off.

"Well?" Nate asked. "Is it true?"

"How…?" Andy's jaw dropped.

Nate pointed to their landline phone and Andy saw the cord was unplugged. "Oh god. Nate…I'm so sorry."

He took a deep breath and repeated slowly, "Is it true?"

Andy looked at his face and knew she couldn't lie. "Yes," she whispered.

Nate sighed and put his face in his hands again. At a loss, Andy didn't know what to do or say. Finally she sat down next to him. He finally leaned back on the couch and stared at the opposite wall.

"Were…" Andy started and then had to clear the lump in her throat before she could continue. "Were you going to tell me about Boston?"

"Yes," he said. "When I knew for sure I got the job."

Andy nodded silently. It was what she would have done in his place.

"Were you going to tell me about Miranda?" he asked. "How long…how long has it been going on, Andy?"

"Not long," Andy said deciding in that instant she would lie about that. Nate didn't need to know she had gone along with Miranda's sexual harassment or that they had been fooling around for months. Besides, in her mind, the thing at the hotel was their first time. At least it was the first time they made love and not just fooled around. Andy realized that was probably a bullshit rationalization, but Nate didn't need to be hurt any more. Neither of them did. "I would have told you, Nate. Just not…not like this. God, this is fucked up."

"That it is," Nate said and then the apartment's buzzer sounded.

Andy looked at Nate. "Can you…?"

He nodded and went to the window and looked out. Andy tried to read his face, but it remained inscrutable as he turned to look at her. "It's for you," he said.

"Reporter?" Andy asked.

Nate nodded and returned to the couch. The buzzing continued until Andy couldn't stand it any longer. She stomped to the tiny kitchen and grabbed a screwdriver from the junk drawer. With a few efficient moves, she pried the faceplate off of the intercom and then yanked the wires until the annoying noise stopped.

"There goes the security deposit," Nate commented with a wry grin.

"Fuck it," Andy said. "I'll fix it when they back off."

"Will they, Andy?" Nate asked. "Back off?"

"I don't know," she admitted with a sigh. "I…I hope so." She pressed the heels of her hands over her eyes, trying to keep back the headache. It wasn't working.

"I didn't know you were into women," he asked looking at her.

Andy shrugged. "Me neither," she admitted softly.

"Do you…" he paused and Andy looked at him as his voice broke. "Do you love her?" he finally asked.

She felt tears running down her cheeks as she looked at his familiar face. She'd never forget the first time she'd seen him. Lily had a new crush and she dragged Andy to a party he'd be at. Andy had not been at all interested in socializing. She would much rather have been back in her dorm working on a paper that was due the next week and not helping Lily stalk her latest conquest. However, when Andy wandered into the kitchen in search of something to drink, she was knocked flat by the sight of the shaggy-haired guy turning the austere contents of the typical college student's cupboards into works of art. It was the first time he'd made her grilled cheese and by the time she'd finished eating it, she was in love.

They had been inseparable since then and Andy had thought they would be together forever, but somewhere along the line something had changed. She had changed – or maybe she had just realized something about herself that she never had before.

"I don't know," Andy finally answered. "I think…I think I could fall in love with her. I think maybe I am."

Nate nodded and they sat in silence for a bit. Andy could hear someone banging on the door downstairs. Finally Nate stood up and headed for the bedroom. Andy simply sat there and watched as he threw clothes into a duffel bag. When he emerged, he paused and looked at her.

"I'm sorry, Andy," he finally said.

"You're sorry?" she asked her eyes widening. "I'm the one who cheated and you're sorry?"

He shrugged. "Maybe if I hadn't given you such a hard time about your job, this might not have happened," he said. Andy opened her mouth, but he stopped her. "No, don't. Okay? I don't think I can stand you saying anything else right now. I'll be at Lily's and then I'm going to Boston on Monday for my interview. I'll arrange to have the rest of my stuff moved."

He moved to the door and opened it. He paused a moment and took a final look at her. "Goodbye, Andy," he said and then walked out the door.

Andy simply sat there for a very long time.

Sometime after the sun went down, someone knocked on the door. Andy immediately thought a reporter had gotten past the front door.

"Miss Sachs?" she recognized the voice and jumped up to answer.

"Mr. Crowley?" she said, opening the door. It was the building's superintendent.

"I'm sorry, Miss Sachs, but this has got to stop," he pointed toward the window. "The other tenants are starting to complain."

"I'm sorry, Mr. Crowley," she said, blushing. "I'll see what I can do."

"Please do," he said and then looked at her until Andy started to feel like she had ants crawling on her skin. "Where's Nate?" he asked.

"Not home," Andy said simply, firming her jaw.

"When I saw him leaving, he didn't look like he was coming back," he said.

Andy felt like hitting something, specifically Mr. Crowley, but that would just get her kicked out. "Goodnight, Mr. Crowley," she said, pushing the door closed.

He stopped her by placing a hand on the door. "Rent's still due on the first, Miss Sachs," he said as if she really needed reminding. "But then again, I guess you don't have to worry about that now, your new girlfriend being rich and all."

Andy's eyes narrowed and she pushed harder on the door. "Goodnight, Mr. Crowley," she repeated and closed the door. She set the deadbolt and the chain for good measure.

She grabbed some aspirin and swallowed them down with a beer as she turned her cellphone back on to call Nigel.

"Hang on," he said when she explained the problem. "I'll be there in a few minutes and I've got a bodyguard with me to keep those reporters away from your door."

"A bodyguard?" she asked, appalled. "I don't need a bodyguard."

"Yes, you do," Nigel said. "Besides, Miranda insists on it."

"Does she have one?" Andy asked.

"During times like this, always," he said. "As do the girls."

Andy moved to the window and peeked out, trying not to show her face for a photographer to catch. She saw one of the Elias-Clarke cars pull up to the curb in front of her building and a moment later Nigel and a bulky man dressed in a suit got out. The strange man flashed a badge and started moving the reporters away from the front door. Andy dashed out of the apartment and down the stairs to let Nigel in since she had destroyed the buzzer. Nigel and the man slipped in and she realized how surreal everything felt as she let them into her apartment.

"I thought you said Roy would be enough to keep the press at bay," Andy said without preamble. "Why a cop?"

"Mr. Squash here is a private detective, Andy, not a policeman," Nigel said. "Miranda keeps the firm he's employed with on retainer."

"Squash?" she asked looking sideways at Nigel, but keeping an eye on the other man as he began to prowl around the apartment, poking his head into the bathroom and paying extra attention to the windows and fire escape.

"Code name or something," Nigel shrugged. "You know how these cloak and dagger types are." Andy made a rude noise in the back of her throat and rolled her eyes. Nigel gave her an amused smile.

Finally, Squash returned to them and held out a hand to Andy. "Keys," he said.

"Pardon?" Andy asked, feeling stupid.

"May I have a set of keys, please, Miss Sachs?" he elaborated. "I need to check the rest of the building."

"Oh!" Andy said and grabbed the spare set hanging on a hook near the coat rack. "Here, and if you see Mr. Crowley, the super, feel free to get medieval or whatever it is that you do."

Squash barely cracked a smile at that as he left the apartment.

"Are you all right?" Nigel asked when they were alone.

"No," she mumbled and burst into tears.

"Oh dear," he said, pulling on her elbow and leading her to the small dinette table. "Well, it's a good thing I come bearing comfort and joy."

She tried to pull herself together as he removed a container from a bag she finally noticed he was carrying. As he pulled the top off, Andy's nose twitched at the aroma. "Is that…?"

"Corn chowder," he said and grabbed a spoon from the dish rack. "Dig in and enjoy. It's only during times of intense stress you're allowed to enjoy carbs."

Andy did and it tasted wonderful. After a few delicious spoonfuls, she felt better enough to ask. "Okay, now tell me. What happened? Why the bodyguard?"

He sighed as he took the other chair. "Miranda received a few death threats this afternoon from some religious fanatics not too pleased with your relationship."

"What?" Andy pushed the soup away, her appetite having fled. "Is she okay?"

"Of course," he said waving his hand in dismissal. "She's used to threats. Usually when those crazy PETA people decide to launch a campaign against her, some of the more radical ones take the message too seriously. Miranda keeps the bodyguards around to keep them from flinging paint on her coats."

"Oh boy," Andy murmured, rolling her eyes. "I heard she had a pie thrown at her one time."

"Indeed," Nigel said. "You can imagine her mood, I'm sure. She fired one of the copy editors for accidently leaving a magazine opened to a Sara Lee advertisement on her desk. It didn't let up until she had Glorious Foods deliver two tons of steaming, succulent roast beef to thousands of protestors outside the building. There were vegans fainting in the street."

Andy smiled for a moment picturing the scene and then scowled; a year ago she would probably have been one of those protestors. Now she was firmly planted on the 'other side.' She kept asking herself how these things happened, but her mind refused to answer. Only an image of Miranda would come to the fore.

"Is she okay?" Andy asked.

Nigel nodded. "She went home early, too."

Andy bit her lip in worry. She imagined Miranda would be having her own discussion with Stephen tonight and hoped the girls would not hear it. She played with the spoon in her rapidly cooling soup as he watched her.

"Wow," she said with a sarcastic chuckle. "I guess I can add 'home wrecker' to my résumé, now."

"Well, I'm sure it would have happened anyway," Nigel said. "Miranda is nothing if not consistent in every aspect of her professional life. Why should her private relationships be any different?"

Andy glanced at him. "That a warning?" she asked.

"Just an observation," he answered. He stood up and pulled two beers from the refrigerator, handing her one and opening the other. Andy watched with amusement as he pulled a long chug from the bottle. She would not have imagined him a drink from the bottle type of guy, but he did meet her expectations by discreetly belching. Andy wanted to laugh, but just wasn't in the mood at the moment.

Nigel reached into his coat pocket and pushed a new Blackberry across the table toward her. "Here," he said. "Emily already got you a new one and programmed it for you. Return the other when you go back to work on Monday."

"Thanks," she said. "How did they get my number?"

"From any one of the hundreds of people you speak with every day," he answered. "This number is blocked, so be careful who you give it to."

"Okay," she answered, thinking about the people she'd have to call. The thought of her parents made her stomach want to hurl the soup she now wished she hadn't eaten.

They finished their beers in silence. After a few drawn out minutes, Nigel finally spoke. "Nate's gone, I take it?"

"Yeah," she answered. "It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. No shouting, thank god, but still…"

"Yes, it's always hard," he commented.

The phone on the table between them suddenly rang and Andy noted it was Miranda. Her heart jumped in her chest.

"And on that note, I'll be going," Nigel said, standing up. "Mr. Squash won't bother you. Just let him know if you need anything."

"Thanks again, Nige," she said picking up the new phone and pressing connect. She barely noticed him leaving as she said, "Hello."

"Well," Miranda answered and then sighed. "Are you all right?"

"Yeah," she answered. "Nigel just left. He brought me soup…and the new phone. How are you?"

"Stephen was gone by the time I got home," Miranda answered. "He left a note with the girls' nanny saying his lawyers will be in touch with me in the morning and to expect to be taken for everything I own. The girls are not speaking to me. I heard second hand from the nanny that Stephen simply told them he could no longer be their father because of what I've done and to have a nice life."

"That bastard!" Andy growled. "How dare he involve the children like that? That's child abuse! Why, I should…"

"My hero," Miranda drawled and Andy could hear the amusement in her voice. She realized how ridiculous she sounded and let out some tension with her next breath. "Don't worry Andrea," Miranda continued. "I assure you that Stephen will regret his words today." She paused for a moment. "Did you speak with…Nate?" Andy noted that Miranda could barely keep from choking out Nate's name.

"He's gone, too," she said.

"Well," Miranda said again. Andy imagined that Miranda was just as at a loss as she was.

"Yeah," Andy said. "I…uh…"


"I miss you," Andy finally said, heart heavy in her chest.

"Me too," Miranda said softly. "I have an engagement tomorrow, but I'll try to make some time for us on Sunday. All right?"

"Okay," Andy said, feeling the ever present tears burning the back of her eyes.

"Is there anything you need?" Miranda asked.

This time the tears did spill over at the sound of Miranda's concerned voice and she choked out a gulping sob. "I've got my brand new Blackberry and my brand new bodyguard. So no, I don't need anything," she answered and then paused for a moment. "Just…just you."

"I regret that this has happened, Andrea," Miranda said. "I mean this mess with the press and our lives now under public scrutiny. However, that doesn't mean I regret what has happened between us."

"Oh," Andy said. "Really?" After all, Miranda was the one with the high profile career and family and she had a hell of a lot more to lose than Andy herself did.

"Really," Miranda said. "I care for you very much, Andrea. And despite how this started, I think you have come to care for me as well."

Andy nodded even though Miranda couldn't see her. "Yeah, I…I guess I have."

"Then we'll make this work," Miranda said. "All right?"

"Okay," Andy answered. "I'll…call me tomorrow if you have time."

"I will," Miranda promised. "Good night, Andrea."

"Good…good night," Andy replied and clicked off the phone. She looked around the empty apartment again. It was all so unreal. Feeling a little creeped out at the thought that there was a big hulking bruiser patrolling outside her apartment, she got ready for bed.

Sleep was a long time coming.

Part 4
In Between Sightings 3 & 4

Squash delivered a stack of newspapers with her coffee and bagel the next morning. He reported no trouble during the night. Andy thanked him and he left her alone to enjoy her morning in peace.

Andy forced herself to read as she picked at her breakfast. The New York Times reporter commented that lesbian definitely must be chic if even Miranda Priestly was embracing the lifestyle. Andy bristled at the idea that Miranda was just being trendy. Miranda made the fads, she didn't follow them.

The Daily News had a picture of Andy which must have been taken yesterday as she and Nigel left Elias-Clarke. The New York Mirror had done a little digging on her as their article stated she was from Ohio and had gone to Northwestern. Andy was happy they at least got the facts right, even if it was none of their business what her GPA was.

By the time she reached The New York Post, Andy felt she was braced for the worst and the Post didn't disappoint. Her 'home wrecker' comment the night before was prophetic; they quoted Stephen as saying he would be filing for divorce on the grounds of adultery and that he wouldn't be surprised if Miranda lost her precious girls over this because really, what judge would condemn two innocent darlings to live in an atmosphere of perversion. Andy saw red and she vowed if she ever came across Stephen on the street, she'd give him a good kick in the shins.

After an hour of self-abuse with the papers, Andy finally dumped the lot of them in the trash and checked her voice mailbox on her old phone. It was full with messages from Nate (before she had gotten home), Doug, Lily and, worst of all, her parents. Her dad's message sounded calm, but he requested a call from her to let them know she was all right and what was going on.

She decided to tackle her mother first, knowing that her dad played golf on Saturday mornings. Her mom answered after the first ring and Andy felt guilty for waiting so long to call.

"Andy! Are you all right?" Andy felt the lump in her throat grow bigger just from the sound of her mother's voice.

"I'm okay, Mom," she answered.

"Andy, what's going on?" her mother asked. "The online news sites have been full of the strangest rumors about you and Miranda Priestly." She closed her eyes at the tone in her mother's voice. It was a mixture of incredulity and astonishment.

Andy sighed. "Yeah, I know."

"Andy, talk to me honey. Are you involved with your boss?"

Andy swallowed past the lump. "Yeah, Mom," she answered. "I am."

"Oh Andy," her mother sighed and Andy started weeping again.

After Andy hung up with her mother, she sat for a bit just staring at the wall. Andy appreciated the relationship she had with her mother and that they could discuss important matters frankly, but without it even being said, Andy knew her mother was disappointed with her for getting involved with Miranda. Not because Miranda was a woman, but that she was a married woman with a family. And Andy's boss, no less.

Finally, thinking that she hadn't tortured herself enough, she decided to check the gossip blogs. They were even more brutal than the papers had been. Except for Perez Hilton, she noted, who was still squealing about another celebrity coming out. Not that Miranda had officially come out, but he seemed to think it was a given.

For the first time, she wondered about that. When Emily had first told her about Miranda's demands, she'd insisted that Miranda wasn't gay. Andy had every reason to believe otherwise, but she suspected that Miranda had only recently realized it and was shocked by it. It seemed incredible to her that a fifty-year-old woman could last three marriages and two children and still be surprised.

Andy remembered that night in Miranda's home as Miranda stood in the hallway, freshly fucked and still reeking of sex. But the expression on her face told Andy that Miranda was horrified and disgusted by what Stephen had done to her. It was only after Andy erased Stephen's touch from Miranda's body with her own that Miranda finally seemed to calm down. So Andy felt it was a given that even if things didn't work out between them, she suspected that Miranda would never again turn to men.

Andy's thoughts turned to herself. Was it just Miranda she was attracted to? She remembered the cute barista flirting with her the other night and how for a moment she wanted to flirt back. Maybe in a world where Miranda didn't fill up every inch of Andy's life, she might have considered getting to know that girl better. Did that make her gay? Or bisexual? What did those words mean, anyway? Were they just labels? Why did people feel the need to label other people, anyway?

By afternoon, Andy still didn't have any answers. Then her new phone rang.

"Miss Sachs?" Squash said when she answered. "There's a Mr. Crane here to see you."

"Doug!" she cried excitedly. "Yes, let him in."

Doug entered the apartment with a bag of Chinese take-out, a case of beer and a huge smile. He kissed her cheek. "Hey sweetheart, how's it hanging?"

Andy felt her face break out in what felt like the first genuine smile since yesterday in Miranda's closet. "Hey, Doug," she said.

Doug served up lunch while Andy broke open the beer. His eyes glimmered as he clinked his bottle against hers. "Well, I was right. Miranda Priestly certainly is unpredictable."

"You can say that again," she laughed. Out of all of her friends, Andy knew that Doug would be the most supportive. They had been friends since they first met during freshman orientation at Northwestern. They had immediately hit it off and tried to schedule all of their required courses together until their majors took them in different directions. Even though Andy hadn't known Doug as long as she had Lily, she felt just as close to him; the three of them had even shared a small off-campus house their senior year.

"You're unpredictable too, sweetheart," he said. "So come on…dish. What was it about her that made you jump the fence?"

"What wasn't it?" she said. "God, she's amazing – beautiful, sexy, sensual and she's so into me."

"Yeah?" he chuckled. "Well, why wouldn't she be? If I wasn't gay sweetheart, I'd have been all over you years ago."

"Thanks Dougie," she said, feeling glad that he had brought it up. Maybe he could help her answer some of her questions. "So…uh…how did you know you were gay?"

Doug threw his head back and laughed. "Didn't we already have this conversation?"

Andy smiled as she remembered standing in line with him for a movie. "I like boys…always have, always will," Doug had said casually as they looked at the marquee trying to decide what to see. "Cool," Andy replied. "I like 'em, too." And that had been it.

"Yeah, but…" she said now, wishing she could articulate what she wanted to ask.

"But now you're wondering if you're gay, right?" Doug completed for her and Andy nodded, relieved. "Everyone goes through it, sweetheart. The first time you're attracted to someone of your own sex, you go through several stages, like grieving. It's all a part of coming out."

"Stages?" Andy said, blankly. "So coming out is cause for grief?"

"No," he replied, rolling his eyes. "But it's a process of acceptance, like dealing with death. First you freak, then you get sad, then you deny it, especially to yourself and then you think you're just bisexual and then finally you accept who you are and live your life in whatever way makes you happy."

"And that's it?" Andy asked.

"Yep," Doug said. "I know Nate hasn't made you happy for months. Does Miranda make you happy?"

"I think so…it's just so new, you know?" she said. "But I'm sure I make her happy, too."

"Then I wish you both the best of happiness," Doug said and clinked their bottles together again in a toast.

By Sunday evening, Andy was beginning to rebel at the enforced seclusion. She wanted to do some grocery shopping, but the paparazzi hanging outside her apartment building were increasing in numbers by the hour and Squash advised against it. He had the grocer deliver what she needed for the apartment and Andy bristled at the extra cost. She had no idea how she'd manage the living expenses by herself. She and Nate had barely scraped by with both of their salaries and it was only recently that they were able to stop accepting the checks from her dad. Now that she had tasted independence, she didn't want to go back to that habit again.

Money was another bone of contention her and Nate had constantly fought about. As far as Andy was concerned, her parents' obligation to her ended the day she received her diploma. Nate had worked all through culinary school and it wasn't until they moved to New York that he lived away from home, although he had spent most of his time at Andy's as she finished her degree. He didn't see anything wrong with her parents supplementing their income, but once Andy started earning her own money, she wanted to end that dependence as quickly as possible. And that was why she refused to listen to his demands that she quit her job.

After Andy put the groceries away, she started to prowl around the apartment, so full of nervous energy that she couldn't sit still. She told Squash she wanted to go for a walk and invited him along, but he told her that with the horde of reporters that would follow them, he couldn't guarantee her safety. Andy was on the verge of telling him to go to hell along with the reporters and going out for her walk anyway, when the phone rang. It was Miranda.

"Oh, thank god you called!" she said, without even greeting her lover. "I was going stir crazy."

Miranda chuckled. "I'm sorry, darling," Miranda said and Andy's heart thumped pleasantly, not only at the endearment, but also at Miranda's tone of voice. It was something rarely heard in the offices of Runway. "I just left my meeting with Nico. May I come by?"

"Uh…there's a ton of paparazzi outside," Andy said, biting her lip and hating that the press could keep them from seeing each other.

"I know," Miranda said and Andy guessed the P.I. firm Miranda had hired kept her informed of Andy's status. Andy wasn't sure how she felt about that yet. "I won't get out of the car. I'll come pick you up and we'll figure something out."

"Okay, I'll be ready," she said and rushed to the bathroom as soon as they hung up.

Twenty minutes later, Squash was escorting her past the photographers, flashbulbs lighting the street and their yelled questions drowning out the regular city noise. Andy felt embarrassed that her neighbors were watching. She also felt totally ridiculous wearing sunglasses at night, even if they were a lovely pair of Chanel.

Miranda greeted her with a smile and Andy noted that she looked lovely, as usual. She glanced at the front seat. There was a new driver behind the wheel and she wondered if they could risk a kiss. Miranda seemed to read her mind and leaned forward, meeting Andy's lips in a gentle yet thorough kiss. Andy decided she loved Miranda's kisses and wondered again why she had waited so long before letting the other woman kiss her.

"Um, that's nice," Andy murmured as she pulled away and sat back, enjoying the simple luxury of looking at Miranda. "So…now what?"

"Well," Miranda said with a sigh. "The townhouse has just as many visitors as your apartment." She grimaced and gave Andy a rueful look. "And the girls are home."

"Yeah," Andy said and bit her lip again. "I don't suppose we could…um, like the other day?"

"I'd rather not risk it," Miranda said, shaking her head. "We're too exposed now."

Andy met Miranda's eyes and knew that the other woman wanted her as much as she did, especially after such a rough weekend. Then Andy had an idea and pulled out her cell phone. Miranda watched with interest as Andy dialed.

"Hey Doug," Andy greeting when her friend picked up. "Whatcha up to?"

"Hey Andy," he replied. "Just getting ready to go out. What's up?"

"Um, I was wondering if we could come by?" she said, watching Miranda as Miranda watched her. "There's um…somebody I'd like you to meet." Miranda's eyebrow raised in question and Andy gave her a wink.

"Oh, my god!" Doug squealed. "You're kidding, right?"

"Nope," she said. "We'll be there in about ten minutes. Okay?"

"Oh, my god!" he repeated and hung up the phone without even saying goodbye. Andy chuckled as she put her phone away.

"You really are good at this," Miranda said, amused. She tilted her head toward the driver. "Give Roy the address, please," she said and Andy did.

"Wait a second," Andy said after a few minutes of silence. "Roy?"

"Yes, why?" Miranda asked.

"But…" Andy shook her head, confused. "Are all your drivers named Roy?"

"Of course they are," Miranda said with a sniff. "Just like all of my assistants are named 'Emily'."

"Oh god!" Andy said and convulsed in laughter. Miranda's lip curled up in amusement.

Andy was happy to see Doug was dressed in his most expensive suit that he had invested in for work and even Miranda seemed to approve as she gave him the once over. For his part, Doug just stared in awe at the fashion icon while Andy smirked, delighted by his reaction. Doug had been dying to meet Miranda ever since Andy got the job as her assistant, but Andy hadn't been able to arrange even a chance encounter until now.

"Miranda, I'd like you to meet my very good friend, Douglas Crane," Andy said.

Doug shot her a confused glance at her use of his name, but then held his breath as Miranda leaned in for an air kiss. "A pleasure, Mr. Crane," she murmured.

"Oh, please," he said, flustered. "Call me Doug, Ms. Priestly."

"Then do call me Miranda, Douglas," she replied and Andy had to bite down on her cheek to keep from laughing at Doug's expression. He gave her a panicked look and she finally gave him some slack, taking the lead and guiding Miranda into the apartment.

"Do you read Men's Runway, Douglas?" Miranda asked as she settled herself on the couch like a queen taking her throne. Andy moved to make them drinks. "I believe your suit, along with that tie and shirt, was featured in a spread last month."

"I do," he answered and Andy could tell he was even more impressed and star struck. He perched on the arm of a leather chair. Andy knew he was too nervous to relax completely. "Runway, as well. I've been trying for years to get Andy interested, but she avoided it until she met you."

Andy snorted as she handed Miranda a scotch on the rocks, her usual drink. "What I knew about fashion the day you hired me would have fit in a thimble," Andy admitted. "For weeks after I got the job, I was constantly on the phone asking Doug for advice."

Doug blushed when Miranda inspected him again and then took a longer look around the apartment. Andy could see Doug was holding his breath waiting for Miranda's judgment; he knew enough about Miranda to know she judged everything. Fortunately, Doug was making more money than the rest of them were and he came from an affluent family, so his apartment was better decorated than hers and Nate's…well, hers now. Mostly Pier One and Ikea and while it was not what Miranda was used to, it was exactly what you'd expect from a young businessman just starting out.

Andy handed him his drink and then settled on the couch next to Miranda with her own. She thrilled that she was able to sit with Miranda in someone else's company and not have to hide their relationship. It was a luxury she never thought she'd be able to indulge in.

"Well, you certainly have taste, Douglas," Miranda finally proclaimed, taking a sip of her drink. "Andrea, please give Douglas Michael's information. I'm sure he will be more than happy to be of assistance."

"All right," Andy agreed, making a mental note to do it later. She felt like she was out on a date with Miranda and didn't want to have to think about work until tomorrow. She was also very pleased by Miranda's behavior and started thinking about ways she could reward it.

"Michael?" Doug asked, confused.

"Michael Breckenridge, general manager of Alfred Dunhill, New York," Andy explained.

Doug's eyes widened. "Oh, but I couldn't…" he blushed.

Miranda waved a hand. "No no," she said. "Just mention my name and he'll take care of you. Maybe not this season's finest, but I assure you that you'll do well."

"Wow, thank you, Miranda," he said.

Andy grinned, knowing that Doug's wardrobe and accessories would soon be the envy of his coworkers and even his boss. She winked at Doug and then gave him a pointed look. He looked blankly at her and then at Miranda, who was calmly sipping her drink. Andy tilted her head toward Miranda and then at the apartment's front door, finally rolling her eyes in frustration. He seemed confused for a moment more, but then realized her message.

"Oh gosh, look at the time," he said pointedly glancing at his watch. Even Miranda looked amused at his performance. "Wow, I've got to run, but why don't you two stay…you know, enjoy your drinks. This is practically a second home for Andy, anyway," he said to Miranda. "You should…please, make yourself at home."

She raised an eyebrow. "Indeed," she drawled and then rose gracefully from the couch. "It has been a pleasure to meet you, Douglas," she said, leaning in again for a social kiss. "Do enjoy your engagement and thank you so much for your hospitality."

"Miranda, the pleasure has been mine," Doug returned. "Andy is very special to me and I hope to get to know you better."

"I'm sure," Miranda said and Andy was surprised to see a genuine smile grace the haughty woman's lips.

Doug grabbed his coat and then gave Andy a look as he left his apartment. She rolled her eyes at him as he wagged his eyebrows in exaggeration.

"What a charming young man," Miranda noted and Andy looked at her. She guessed that Miranda was also happy they were finally alone. "Gay, I presume?" Andy nodded and Miranda continued. "Perhaps we should introduce him to Nigel. After all, if Nigel is going to take an interest in our affairs, we should return the favor."

Andy's mouth turned down into a frown. "Isn't Nigel a bit old for Doug?" she asked.

Miranda's glare was blistering. "Nigel is younger than I am, Andrea."

Andy blushed. "Oh…yeah, right," she said and decided to think about that later since she could see she only had seconds to distract Miranda from her little faux pas. She took the other woman into her arms and pressed their bodies together, leaning her face closer until it was barely millimeters from Miranda's.

"I know what you're doing," Miranda said, her voice husky.

"Yeah?" Andy asked. "Is it working?"

"Kiss me and I'll let you know," Miranda demanded and Andy did because that's what she wanted, too. After gently exploring Miranda's mouth, Andy wanted more. With a loving smile on her face, Andy led them to the bedroom.

Words were discarded as quickly as their clothing and they fell on the bed eagerly. Andy delighted in the feel of soft skin and feminine curves pressed against her own. Miranda's body had fascinated her from the very beginning and she loved that it responded so well to her every touch. From the first time she pressed her lips to Miranda, she knew she wielded a weapon more powerful than any forged.

Tonight, she wanted to use that power to make love to Miranda; to show Miranda how much she had come to mean to her. True, the woman was demanding and capricious, ferocious and at times even cruel and sadistic, but Andy had seen a side of Miranda she felt no one else had ever seen. With Andy, Miranda had opened up not only her body to her, but her soul as well and Andy wanted to plunge into those depths and explore more fully the wonderful gift she had been given.

"Oh Miranda," she whispered as they broke a long, deep kiss. "I want…I want…" Andrea couldn't articulate the thought, but Miranda seemed to understand.

Andy was surprised at Miranda's strength as the older woman rolled them both over until she was lying on top of Andy. "Shh," Miranda whispered. "Please…let me."


"No, darling," Miranda said, nipping gently at Andy's long neck. "Please. You've given me so much, I need…" Miranda's words tapered off as she put her mouth to other use. Andy arched into her touch as Miranda's hot tongue caressed its way down her body. Andy ran her fingers through Miranda's silky hair and guided her to her breast. Miranda eagerly engulfed as much of Andy's breast as she could, while at the same time squeezing the other with her hand. When her fingers closed around Andy's nipple and squeeze in sync with a firm bite to the other, Andy yowled with ecstasy and she clutched Miranda closer, wanting to feel even more of Miranda's body against hers. She wrapped her leg around Miranda's and pressed herself against Miranda's hip, causing the other woman to groan.

"Oh god, Miranda!" she cried, her eyes squeezed tightly shut in pleasure. Miranda thrust sharply against Andy, once more eliciting a cry.

Andy felt her breathing start to heave with effort, but then she gasped sharply in anticipation as Miranda began to move her way down Andy's body. The feel of Miranda's hair brushing lightly against her abdomen tore another quavering moan from her lips. For just a moment, Andy was astonished at the thought that Miranda had gained the same level of mastery over Andy's body that Andy had over hers. She nearly laughed in happiness, but then Miranda settled between her legs and that wicked mouth closed over her and Andy lost all capacity for coherent thought.

Andy kept one hand holding Miranda's head, but the other she clenched into the soft bedding. Miranda continued to lick her and suck her and stroke her with an abandon that Andy found so erotic; it was as if Miranda wanted to devour her whole. Never had Andy experienced anything so intimate nor had she felt so utterly joined to another human being.

Andy's heel dug into the mattress as Miranda lovingly caressed her, Miranda's lips and tongue moving together in perfect harmony. Andy stroked her other leg against her lover's back. "Oh yes!" she cried as Miranda began to move two fingers in and out. "More," she whispered between gasps.

As Miranda complied, Andy felt wonderfully stretched and full and she felt herself rushing toward her orgasm; her mouth opened and her ears rang with her scream echoing off the walls.

"Miranda, Miranda," she panted. "Oh god, Miranda!" she moaned as the other woman drew another orgasm out of her.

Miranda made her way back up Andy's body until she was once again lying fully on top of her. Andy wrapped her arms around Miranda's back and drew her in for a passionate kiss. "Oh Miranda, that was…you're so…mmm," she signed.

"Mmm," Miranda agreed. "I guess I don't need that book after all, do I?" she whispered playfully.

"No," Andy said, with a happy cackle of laughter. "Oh god, no you don't."

Miranda purred with pleasure as Andy held her tight, not wanting to let go. She could feel Miranda's wetness and she squirmed until her thigh was pressing fully against it. The heat coming from Miranda made Andy wonder if the other woman was on fire. She raised her leg until Miranda was positioned over her.

"Look at me," Andy croaked and she felt another jolt go through her body when those piercing blue eyes met hers. She tensed the muscle in her thigh, feeling as if the point of contact between them encompassed them in a universe all their own. Miranda's gaze wavered as she began to move, coating Andy's leg with her essence; sharing herself with Andy.

"Oh…my –" Miranda puffed laboriously, her eyes lidded, but never once breaking away from Andy's. "Oh Andrea!" she cried.

"That's it, Miranda," Andy hissed commandingly, refusing to blink so as not to miss a moment of Miranda's beauty. "Give it to me."

"Yes," Miranda breathed. "Yes…yours…all yours." She began to move faster against Andy's leg, riding her faster and faster until suddenly her entire body stiffened and it seemed it would stretch beyond its limits. Miranda finally broke eye contact with Andy as she threw her head back and howled out her pleasure. An endless moment later, she collapsed back against Andy, totally spent.

Andy held Miranda tenderly as the other woman's breathing returned to normal. "Oh Andrea," she murmured softly, her breath tickling the fine hairs along Andy's neck. "Oh, my darling."

"Wonderful," Andy said. "You're so beautiful."

"Mmm," Miranda said and nuzzled closer.

"I never want to let you go," Andy whispered.

"Then don't," Miranda chuckled back.

"Gotta," Andy said. "Haven't tasted you yet."

Miranda let out a very un-Miranda-like squeak as Andy suddenly flipped her over and dove in.

Andy couldn't tell how much time had elapsed, she only knew that it was late and they were both exhausted and wonderfully covered in the remnants of their lovemaking. She glanced over at Miranda and smiled at the contented look on the lightly dozing woman. Easing her way off the bed, she made her way to use the bathroom, afterward washing her hands and face and feeling immediately refreshed. She found one of Doug's shirts hanging on a hook and she smiled as she donned it. Doug had always complained about Andy stealing his shirts when they lived together and it brought back a wave of nostalgia.

She walked into the kitchen, expecting to find a pint of ice cream in the freezer and wasn't disappointed. It was good to know that Doug hadn't changed much in the time since they graduated. She grabbed the pint and a spoon and padded back to the bedroom.

Miranda was finally rousing and Andy enjoyed watching her stretch. The expression on Miranda's face made Andy's lip curl in amusement. Miranda noticed her looking and asked, "What?"

Andy laughed. "You look like you've been completely and thoroughly fucked."

"Look in the mirror, darling," Miranda said, sitting up and raising an eyebrow. "I'm sure you'll see the same expression."

Andy chuckled again and hopped on the bed, folding her legs under her. She scooped up some ice cream and held it out to Miranda.

Miranda moved her head back and eyed the spoon as if it contained poison. "Come on," she urged Miranda. "Ice cream after sex. What could be more decadent?"

With a glance at the carton, Miranda said drolly, "Ice cream yes, but Ben & Jerry's? I may have to reevaluate my assessment of your friend's taste."

Andy tilted to read the label and then shrugged. "Any ice cream is still gooey goodness as long as it's cold and wet against the tongue." Andy playfully stuck her tongue out and wagged it at Miranda.

Miranda rolled her eyes and leaned back against the headboard. "I see you become completely uncouth when satiated, don't you?"

"Uh huh," Andy said happily and shoved another spoonful into her mouth. After a few more, she put the carton on the nightstand. "I hate for our evening to end, but we do have to work tomorrow," she finally said, with a sigh.

"Mmm," Miranda agreed. "I will at least. You may sleep in if you like."

"What?" Andy asked. "Thanks, but no thanks, Miranda. I went crazy this weekend. Another day off and I'll really go nuts."

Miranda sighed. "I'm afraid it's not as simple as a day off, Andrea," she said and Andy looked hard at Miranda. "It would be best if you didn't return to Runway."

Andy felt her stomach drop. "You're firing me?" she whispered.

"I have to," Miranda said. "Believe me, I don't want to. You're the best assistant I've had in years…maybe ever, but you simply cannot work for me any longer. And with your name all over the news, you'd be a liability if you remained at Elias-Clarke in any capacity."

Andy jumped off the bed and walked around to the end of the bed, looking at Miranda who was sitting calmly against the headboard, her body discreetly covered by the white cotton sheet.

"I don't believe this," Andy said, running her hands through her hair. "Miranda…Nate left me; he's off to Boston tomorrow for his interview at the Oak Room. I need my job. With this mess, what are my chances of finding a decent job just so I can pay my bills?"

"Well, your chances are not really good at all…at least, not until this starts to blow over," Miranda admitted. "But Andrea, that doesn't matter. You don't have to worry about your bills…I'll take care of that for you."

"What?" Andy breathed, feeling as if an iceberg settled in her stomach. "Oh no…no fucking way!" she cried.

"Andrea, don't be absurd," Miranda said. "I'm responsible for this, why shouldn't I support you?"

Andy could tell Miranda didn't get it. "Miranda, I will not let you support me," she said through her teeth as she tried to maintain her temper.

"You just said that without your…roommate…you can't afford to live on your own, correct?" Miranda said. Andy nodded and Miranda continued, "Then I'll take care of it."

"No," Andy said.

"No?" Miranda looked confused. "Why not?"

"You don't get it, do you?" Andy asked, watching Miranda's face carefully. "You just don't understand why the fuck not."

"Then why don't you explain it to me," Miranda hissed, finally showing anger.

Andy stalked over to the bed and leaned down until her face was inches away from Miranda's. "Because I'm not your whore, Miranda," she seethed out in her vilest tone. "Not anymore."

Miranda sat there stunned as Andy gathered up her clothing and locked herself in the bathroom.

By the time Andy emerged, Miranda was dressed and drinking from a fresh glass of scotch and looking as perfect as ever. She turned to Andy. "Andrea, please…let's be reasonable about this. I would have helped you with your career after you served your time as my assistant. I see no reason why this should be any different. You need help; I have the means to help. It's really rather simple."

"No thanks, Miranda," she said. "You fired me, remember? I did not complete my term as your assistant; therefore you are under no obligation for anything."

"Andrea, I don't think you have any choice," Miranda said. "With no job and Nate gone, what will you do?"

"I don't know, Miranda," she shrugged as she gathered up her purse. "Go back to Ohio if I have to, but I'll be damned if I'll take one cent from you. So keep your job and your money and your stupid magazine. I don't need them and I don't need you." She grabbed the door handle and looked over her shoulder. "That's all."

"Andrea, wait!" Miranda cried pleadingly. Andy ignored her and stormed out of the apartment.

On the street, she turned in the direction of her apartment, ignoring the silver car parked across the street. So lost in her anger, she didn't realize that Squash had joined her until she had walked several blocks. Without a pause, she continued walking, but soon felt the tears falling down her cheeks. Even though she had just walked away from the woman, Andy now knew she was totally and completely in love with Miranda Priestly.

Part 5
In Between Sightings 3 and 6

Emily scurried into the outer office a few minutes before eight only to find it empty. She glanced into Miranda's office and scowled when she saw there was no coffee and no papers waiting for Miranda and worst of all, the phone was ringing.

"Miranda Priestly's office," she muttered and after a short conversation, she jotted down the information and hung up. As she was dialing Andy's new phone number, Nigel walked in.

"Where is everyone?" he asked.

She shrugged and waited while the line rang. And rang. And rang. Finally the voice mail came on and she noted that Andy hadn't had time to record a new welcome message. It was probably just as well, she thought, in case someone got a hold of the number; the last thing they needed was for it to end up online.

"Andrea, where are you?" she barked into the phone. Nigel's eyes widened and Emily felt a sinking sensation in the pit of her stomach. "Please Andy, just call me. I mean it," she frowned at the soft sound of her voice.

"Oh god," she said after she hung up. She put her hands against her face, and wished with everything she was that she didn't have to be here today. "I don't think I can do this."

"We have to," Nigel said and she glanced up at his face.

"We?" Emily raised an eyebrow at him. "What do you mean 'we'?"

"Things are about to get very, very bad around here, Emily," Nigel said. Emily noted he had lowered his voice and moved around the desk to stand closer to her even though the outer office was empty and the doors were closed. Clackers and other flunkies were to-ing and fro-ing past the glass doors, but Emily noticed that nearly all of them tried to surreptitiously peer into the office. "Right now Miranda needs us."

She snorted. "She may need you," she said. "But I know how Miranda feels about me. She's been treating me like shit from the minute I walked through that door. Why should I help her now?"

"You don't have to," he admitted with a shrug and Emily immediately sensed a trap. "You can simply do your job, wait until the axe falls and then Miranda will be gone and Runway with her."


"Or you can prove to Miranda that you're more than just a dumb assistant," Nigel replied and to her consternation, he leaned even closer. "Emily, I know you have every reason to despise Miranda. After all, you've been subject to her abuse more than the rest of us, even Andy. So the choice is yours – you can continue to be Miranda's victim or you can be her friend."

"Her friend?" Emily asked, shocked. "I doubt very much Miranda would want me as a friend."

"Perhaps," he said with another shrug. "Like I said, the choice is yours."

Emily felt the intensity of his gaze. She knew he was probably being a bit premature. As bad as the news and speculation had been over the weekend, with a bit of spin control, it could be handled. On the other hand, if it got out of control, anyone on Miranda's side could go down in flames with her. Apparently Nigel was asking her to join him on that side. She sighed and picked up the phone.

"Serena?" she said. "Run and get Miranda's coffee…now!"

Nigel silently watched as she hung up and then redialed Andy. After a minute, the line picked up and her sleepy co-worker growled out, "What?" in a gravelly voice.

"Are you planning on sleeping all morning or will you grace us with your presence today?" she asked, already guessing that Andy Sachs would never darken Runway's corridors again.

"Miranda has informed me that my presence is no longer required there, Emily," Andy replied. Emily glanced at Nigel's questioning look and shook her head. His sigh echoed hers.

"She sacked you," she said wearily. "I'm sorry."

"Are you?" Andy asked.

"Yes, Andrea!" Emily snapped. "You made my life infinitely easier even if you were totally insufferable with that superior attitude of yours."

"Well, you don't have to deal with it any longer," Andy snapped. "Listen Emily…" Emily waited as Andy seemed to gather her thoughts. Finally with a heavy sigh, Andy simply said, "Goodbye Em." She hung up before Emily could stop her.

"How does she sound?" Nigel asked.

"Awful…depressed…heartbroken," Emily said.

"Well, what can you expect?" Nigel said. "Her boyfriend left her and now she's out of a job."

Emily looked at him and said, "It sounds like she needs a friend, too."

Nigel nodded and gave her a pointed look. He opened his mouth to say something, but then her phone beeped.

"She's here," Emily said.

Nigel took a deep breath and patted her shoulder. "Good luck," he muttered and took the opportunity to slink off toward his office. Emily briefly wished she could join him.

Serena hurried in and Emily jumped up to grab the scalding coffee. "Thank you!" she muttered and then she dashed around the office getting things ready.

Finally she grabbed her notebook and ran for the elevator, proud she reached it just as the doors slid open. Miranda barely glanced at her as she started barking orders.

Emily scribbled in her notebook everything she needed to do ten minutes ago. For the thousandth time she wished she was born with precognition just so she could anticipate Miranda's needs. She wondered if Andy had it, which would explain how she was able to get along so well with the demanding editor. Apparently, Andy was good at a lot of things.

While she was just as surprised as everyone else when the news of their affair had broken in the tabloids, she had immediately known the allegations were true. Ever since the Harry Potter incident when Andy had pulled off the impossible, she had watched Miranda look at Andy in a different way. When Miranda had told her to prepare Andy to perform in the inner office, she knew that either Andy would do it at her usual level of excellence, or she would balk and forever be out of her hair.

At first she thought Andy couldn't handle it, but Emily had come to realize that Miranda was not going to call on her again and Emily was immensely relieved. She respected Miranda as the most influential voice in fashion and she would do anything to help Miranda, but she had no desire to keep servicing her. For that reason alone, she was grateful that Andy had distracted Miranda.

They finally reached the office and Miranda threw her purse on Emily's desk and shrugged out of her coat. Emily juggled her notebook and pencil to catch the coat before it fell to the floor.

"Contact human resources and have them send you a list of suitable candidates for the second assistant position," Miranda ordered as she continued to her desk. "I expect you to handle it yourself this time, Emily. I don't need to be bothered with any tiresome details. Understand?"

"Yes, Miranda," Emily said and vowed to herself she would not disappoint Miranda this time. She reached for the book, but before handing it over Miranda slid something from between the pages. She held up a sealed envelope before Emily's face and Emily recognized it as being from Miranda's personal supply instead of Runway's. Emily had a very bad feeling as Miranda gave her a very direct look.

"Deliver this to Andrea's apartment along with two dozen red roses," Miranda said.

Emily realized her mouth was hanging open in shock as she looked into Miranda's eyes. She closed it with a jaw-jarring snap and held her breath. Insanely, she wondered if somehow Miranda had changed the laws of physics and caused the entire universe to come to a crashing halt. In that endless moment she saw something in Miranda's eyes she never would have believed existed – vulnerability and fear. Miranda Priestly was not merely having an affair with Andy Sachs; Miranda Priestly was in love with Andy Sachs and she was terrified of losing her. Emily nearly staggered with the realization, but instead she reached out to take the envelope from Miranda's hand.

"Of course, Miranda," she said and was surprised to hear how normal her voice sounded. "I'll have Roy purchase the flowers and make the delivery personally so there's no paper trail."

"Excellent," Miranda said. "I'm pleased to see you understand these things, Emily."

At this point, Emily would normally have scurried off to carry out Miranda's bidding, but now she paused and thought about what Nigel had said earlier. "I do understand, Miranda," she said slowly and felt herself giving Miranda a look she had given to many people during her tenure at Runway, but never to Miranda herself, one of confidence and strength. "Don't hesitate to count on me for anything you need." Emily paused and raised her eyebrow. "That goes for Andy as well. I'll do whatever I can for the two of you. Understand?"

Miranda tilted her head thoughtfully as she glanced at Emily with a slight look of surprise. Finally she nodded slowly and said, "I believe I do, Emily." A small smile graced her lips. "That's all."

Emily turned away with a small smile of her own. She realized that for the first time she had spoken to Miranda not as a cowering subordinate, but as an equal. "I love my job," she muttered under her breath.

For once the Elias-Clarke's human resources department had mercy on her and by noon she had a replacement sitting in Andy's desk. Miranda returned from her lunch meeting and with barely a pause, dumped her coat and bag on the new girl's desk.

Unfortunately, Emily's sense of triumph didn't last when Roy called to inform her that Andy refused to accept the delivery. In fact, Andy had given him a message to give to Miranda and he really couldn't repeat it over the phone. She told the new girl to answer the phones while she dashed downstairs. Roy was standing outside the car and she noted dismally that the backseat was full of roses. He handed her the torn-open envelope.

"What's the message?" she asked and rolled her eyes when he told her. She sighed and jerked her head at the car. "Get rid of those and make sure the smell is gone, too," she said.

"Right," he said and quickly drove off while she dashed back inside.

In the elevator, she glanced into the envelope and saw it littered with tiny torn up bits of paper. She examined one and saw it was from one of Miranda's personal checks. Well, that explained the message then. She didn't look at the accompanying letter written in Miranda's hand.

She ignored the new girl as she strode purposefully into Miranda's office. Miranda leaned back in her chair and watched as Emily dropped the envelope on the desk. Miranda picked it up and glanced inside. Her lips pursed in displeasure.

"Is that all?" Miranda asked.

"There's a message, too," Emily said.


"I don't think you really want to hear it," Emily said, feeling a bit of her new found confidence beginning to fade.

"What is it, Emily?" Miranda hissed through her teeth.

"Andy said," she started and then took a deep breath. Fine, if Miranda wanted it, Miranda was going to get it. "Andy said that you're welcome to fuck the thorny ends of the roses since you'll no longer be fucking her. She said you should save your money for your next whore."

Emily watched as first the color drained from Miranda's face and then returned, leaving her cheeks flushed red. "That's all," she whispered and turned back to her computer.

Fifteen minutes later, Miranda softly called her name. Emily was standing in front of the desk again before she had time to blink.

"Emily," she said quietly, not looking at her. "Get me the name and number of the manager of the Oak Room in Boston. And then call for my car."

"Your appointments for this afternoon…"

"Are cancelled," Miranda said. "I'll trust you to reschedule."

"All right," Emily said and jumped for the computer and jotted down the information Miranda wanted. By the time she hung up with Roy, Miranda had emerged and Emily helped Miranda into her coat.

"Take care when bringing the book tonight. I'll have my bodyguard keep an eye out for you," Miranda said.

"I will," she replied.

Miranda paused as she finally looked over the new girl, who just sat there and shivered under the scrutiny. Emily simply waited.

Miranda pressed her lips together. "Not totally appalling," she finally said and took the information Emily had written down for her. "Thank you."

Emily blinked at her in astonishment as Miranda turned and walked away.

"Appalling?" the new girl said.

Emily turned to the new girl and gave her a withering glare until the girl started to cringe. "That was a compliment, you stupid slag," she said. "After the day she's having, be grateful she didn't bite your head off."

"Why," the girl asked as she looked across at Emily. "What's going on?"

"Don't you read the papers?" Emily asked.

"I read Runway!" the girl chirped.

"Oh my god," Emily said and turned to the schedule to start rearranging it. She never would have thought it possible, but she desperately missed Andy Sachs in that moment; at least Andy had a brain. "I love my job, I love my job," she muttered under her breath. "I love my job."

Over the next week, Emily's life felt like a chapter out of The Inferno. Every day Miranda gave her a new envelope to deliver to Andy and every day Andy returned it, along with a new message more vitriolic than the last. Emily hoped that Miranda would soon give up, because all those wasted lovely roses were starting to get very expensive.

Finally Miranda did, on the day after notice was printed in the Journal that Stephen had filed for divorce on the grounds of adultery. God, how she despised Stephen. From the moment she first met him, Emily thought him weak and incompetent. He obviously couldn't satisfy Miranda. If he'd only done his job right, Emily wouldn't have had to endure kneeling before Miranda on nearly a daily basis. Emily had often been tempted to slip him a double dose of Cialis, just so she could get a little rest.

Maybe if she had, they wouldn't be in this mess now. Emily was constantly rescheduling and rearranging Miranda's appointments as the editor couldn't seem to decide on exactly what she wanted, or needed, to do. Nigel was already making more decisions as Miranda seemed to get more and more distracted. And finally, Emily nearly had a panic attack after Miranda arrived at work and dumped on her desk the book without a single correction in it. Before Taylor, the new girl, could even finish hanging up Miranda's coat, Emily was dashing off to Nigel's office with the unedited book in hand.

"Look at this!" she cried, throwing the book on his desk.

Nigel flipped through it for a few moments and then said, "Didn't she get it last night?"

"Of course she got it!" Emily cried. "I ran the gauntlet of vultures swarming her home to make sure she had it."

"All right," he said, quietly. "I'll take care of it. Try to rearrange my schedule for this morning so I can get this to production quickly."

Emily nodded and rushed back to her desk. Taylor was receiving some kind of dressing down by Miranda, and Emily was so busy she couldn't be bothered to take a moment to pity the girl.

By that evening, she was exhausted. After Miranda left, she and Nigel did what they could to clean up the mess while Taylor did her best to confirm Miranda's appointments for the following day. Around ten o'clock, Nigel finally pushed a layout aside and glanced at his watch.

"Come, Emily," he said and stood up from the work table. "Let's go."

"Where? And what about the book?" Emily asked.

"We're meeting someone," he said and then told Taylor, "Give us a ring if there's a miracle and the book arrives before midnight."

The girl nodded and went back to juggling the schedule.

Emily was too tired for questions during the walk to a café not far from Elias-Clarke. Inside the atmosphere was quiet and relaxed. Sitting alone at a booth in a corner was Andy Sachs.

"Hello, gorgeous," Nigel said, leaning down for a kiss.

Emily slid into the booth opposite Andy and took a careful look at her former co-worker. Andy had the same look in her eyes that she had been seeing in Miranda's all week. She sighed. Why did these two stubborn women have to make her life so difficult?

"Hi Nigel," Andy said. "Hey Em."

Nigel ordered drinks for them and then turned to Andy. "So, what's new?" he asked.

Andy shrugged. "Oh the usual," she answered. "I had a job interview today at the Mirror, but they were more interested in hearing about Miranda instead of my qualifications as a journalist. Three agents called offering to represent me if I was interested in writing a tell-all book about Miranda. An email from Juggs magazine asking for me to pose and…"

"You?" Emily cried.

"Yeah," Andy said, insulted. She glanced down at herself. "Why not?"

Before Emily could answer, Nigel broke in, "You turned them down, I hope."

"Of course I did," Andy said and for the first time Emily saw her smile. "Tempting though. I really need the money."

"What else?" Nigel asked.

Andy sighed, her good mood moment quickly passing. "Got an eviction notice. I have to be out of the apartment by the end of the month. They're claiming my presence is causing a nuisance for the other tenants."

"Where will you go?" Emily asked.

Andy shrugged. "My parents want me to go back to Ohio," she said.

"Do you?" Nigel asked.

"No," Andy said emphatically. "I came to New York for a reason. I don't want to give up so easily."

"Well, then come stay with me," Nigel said. "I have a spare room you're welcome to as long as you want."

"Nigel that's…" Andy stumbled. "No, I can't."

"Yes, you can," he said, sipping his drink. "I like you too much to consign you back to the wilds of Ohio, for god's sake."

"I don't know," Andy said, seemingly lost.

"Do it, Andy," Emily urged. She thought that if Andy was in New York, there was at least a chance Miranda would get back to her normal, terrifying self instead of the shell of a woman they were stuck with at the moment. "In New York you'll have a better chance of finding employment. I'll keep my ear out for opportunities for you."

Andy looked at her through the dim light. "Why would you do that, Em?" she asked. "You never seemed to care before. Why now?"

Emily shrugged. "You're not that horrible," she said with a sniff.

Emily hoped Andy wouldn't pursue it since she really wasn't sure why she cared about Andy Sachs. To her relief, Andy seemed to drop it.

"I heard from Nate today," she said, changing the subject.

"And?" Nigel queried.

"He didn't get that job in Boston and for some reason he can't find a job anywhere else," she said and her face turned sour. "I think I know why."

"Boston?" Emily asked, a memory tickling at the back of her mind.

"Yeah," Andy said. "He was pretty sure he had a chef's job in the bag at the Oak Room, but they slammed the door in his face. When he got back from his interview, his boss here told him to take a walk and now he can't even get a reservation at any restaurant in town."

"Oh bloody hell," Emily whispered, finally remembering the information Miranda had wanted and realizing her purpose with it.

"Yeah, that's what I thought," Andy's lips thinned and gave a bitter laugh. "Boy, I sure can pick 'em, huh?"

"She's hurting just as much as you are, Andy," Nigel said. "Probably even more. Have you spoken with her?"

"No!" Andy said. "Did Roy give her my messages?" she asked Emily.

"I did, thank you very much," Emily answered with a glare. "Roy values his neck and won't risk it like I do. Really Andrea, I never knew you were such a vulgarian."

"Yeah well, it's amazing what the imagination can come up with when you've got a lot of time on your hands."

"Do you miss her?" Emily asked, suddenly curious. She noted that Nigel also looked interested in Andy's answer.

Andy shrugged and Emily could see that she was fighting back tears. "No," she finally answered and Emily rolled her eyes at the obvious lie.

Emily was about to call Andy on it when her cell phone beeped. "The book's ready," she told Nigel.

He sighed and signaled to their server for the check.

Outside, the three of them paused on the sidewalk and Emily noted that Andy totally ignored the bodyguard that drew close.

"Get your things together and we'll have some young men with firm abdominal muscles move you," Nigel told Andy.

"Nigel, I don't know…" she tried again.

"Nonsense," he said. "I have plenty of room and I'm barely home, so as long as you don't leave your Manolo Blahnik's lying all over the floor, we'll get along fine."

Andy looked at him and then threw her arms around his neck. "Thank you," she whispered and Emily felt a lump in her throat. She realized that Andy's circumstances could as easily have been hers.

"Don't mention it," he said patting on her back.

When Andy pulled away, Emily asked her, "Can I call the car to run you home?"

"Nah, I've got my shadow and I enjoy the exercise," Andy paused and seemed to glance away for a moment. "Besides, I think I might stop for some coffee before heading home."

"This time of night?" Emily said. "You'll be up all night."

"Yeah," Andy replied with a wry smile. "That's kind of the idea. See you guys and thanks for everything."

With that she turned and walked away. Emily watched as she headed toward Miranda's regular coffee shop with the bruiser trailing behind her a few feet away.

"Talk about a cock up," Emily said.

"Indeed," he answered. "Well, back to work, my dear."

Emily quietly followed him back to the office. As they stepped into the deserted lobby, she wondered if any of them would manage to survive this mess.

Part 6
In Between Sightings 6 and 8

"Something's up," Emily announced without preamble as she strode into Nigel's office.

Nigel sat up from the layout he was bent over. It was very late at night and Emily had just returned from delivering the Book to Miranda's townhouse. The two of them practically lived at the Runway offices these days, barely handling the necessary decisions that Miranda was either incapable – or unwilling – to make. Not for the first time, or the hundredth time, Nigel wondered how Miranda had managed it all these years without having a nervous breakdown. Oh wait, she was having a nervous breakdown so he supposed it was long overdue.

"What now?" he asked wearily as he pulled off his glasses and rubbed his tired eyes.

"I just saw Irv Ravitz leaving the building," Emily said and Nigel could tell from her panting that she must have run from the elevator.

"Sit and catch your breath, dear," he said and pulled out a chair for her. She dropped heavily into in and took three deep breaths. "All right," he continued. "Now, tell me about Irv. Other than the fact he's working late, what's so memorable about him leaving?"

"He wasn't alone," Emily said, handing him her Blackberry. On it was a fuzzy photograph of Irv holding a car door open for a familiar blonde woman. He closed his eyes in frustration. "Do you know her?" Emily asked.

"Oh yes," he said. "One of Miranda's ex-assistants…I'd say about three before you came."

"What's she doing with Irv?" she asked.

"What indeed?" he retorted.

Emily's face blanched. "Was she one of…?"

"Miranda's specials?" he asked. "Yes."

"Oh god," Emily said. "Was she fired?"

"No," Nigel answered. "In fact, Miranda treated her very well. Helped her get a job as a stylist at WNBC where she's doing good work, I've heard."

"So she'd have no reason to stab Miranda in the back," Emily concluded.

"No," Nigel said. "No, Miranda made sure all of them were treated fairly. It's how she's managed to keep it a secret this long. All of those girls are rabidly loyal to her."

"So there's nothing to worry about, then," she said. "Perhaps it's just a regular business meeting." Nigel stared at her until finally she rolled her eyes and threw up her hands. "Okay! Fine. We are so totally screwed."

Nigel sighed. "Well, there's not much we can do except keep our eyes open and hope for the best," he said. "Anything new in the gossip rags?"

"Not since that horrid photo of Andy's boyfriend showed up," Emily said. "Did she see that one?"

"Oh yes," he answered. "Not one of my most pleasant days, I admit. I had to get her friend Doug to talk her down. She was ready to come to Elias-Clarke and go postal on Miranda."

"No luck on the job situation?" Emily asked.

He shook his head. "Nothing," he said. "She's managed to get a few freelancing jobs online through an anonymous account and that's how she's surviving. Her parents cut her off in an attempt to get her home. They think they're giving her 'tough love,' but I don't think they quite realize how much their daughter has changed. Andy is the second most stubborn woman I've ever met."

"Some new samples came in today from Chanel in her size," Emily said. "I sent a package over to your apartment with Roy. That'll help with any interviews."

"It would if she got any callbacks," he said. He looked down at the layout and then the clock. "Go home, Emily," he said.

"We’re not done yet," she protested.

"You are," he said. "I'm going to finish this layout and head home. I'd rather you get some rest before you collapse."

"You need it more than I do, Nigel," Emily pointed out.

"If that's a crack about my age, it's not appreciated, my dear," he said. "Now go."

To his surprise, she moved around the table and leaned down to kiss him on the cheek. "Please, don't stay too late," she said with a small smile.

"I won't," he said, but the clock had moved well into the next day before he managed to drag himself home. Entering the apartment, he noticed the light on under Andy's door. He dropped his keys on the small glass table near the door and walked into the kitchen to get a bottle of water. As he was drinking, he heard a small sound of a door opening and closing.

"Oh, hey Nige," Andy said. She walked around him and pulled the carton of milk out of the refrigerator. "Didn't hear you come in."

"Burning the midnight oil, my dear?" he asked, eyeing the tatty robe she was wearing.

She just shrugged and poured a glass of milk. He looked at her strangely. "Andy," he said. "What's going on?"

She shrugged again and then to his surprise her bedroom door opened again and a slender blonde with a pretty freckled face walked out. He glanced at Andy and noticed a fierce blush creeping up her neck.

The girl stopped when she saw him standing there and Nigel managed to close his mouth. "Oh," she said shyly. "Hi."

"Hello," he croaked and they both turned to look at Andy.

"Um, Nigel, this is Natalie. Natalie, Nigel…my, er, roommate," Andy finally said and Nigel narrowed his eyes at her before turning back to the girl.

"Pleased to meet you, Natalie," he said, offering her a limp hand and a small smile. She moved to take his hand and then dropped it a second later.

Turning back to Andy, she said, "So, I'll see you later?"

Nigel wished he had given in to his original impulse and spent the night at the office. He could have borrowed something from the Closet and showered there. Why did he have to come home to this?

Andy put down her glass of milk and led the girl to the door. "Absolutely," she said. "Are you working tomorrow?" At Natalie's nod, Andy added, "I'll probably drop by the shop before you get off. Grab some coffee or something, if that's okay?"

"Sounds great," Natalie said and Nigel watched from his spot in the kitchen as the girl leaned in to give Andy a thorough kiss. "Night."

"G'night," Andy said and locked the door behind the girl. After a pause she turned back to the kitchen to retrieve her milk.

He stared at her. She refused to meet his eye as she swallowed her milk. He continued to stare. She finally slammed her glass on the counter and yelled, "What, damn it?"

"Why?" Nigel asked.

"Why what?" Andy said. "Why not, okay? It's my life, I'll do whatever I damn well please."

"Andy…" he began.

"No, not…not tonight, okay?" she said and dumped the rest of her milk down the sink.

He watched her practically run into her bedroom and close the door. After a sigh, he rinsed out the glass and put it in the dishwasher before taking his water bottle to his room.

Nigel dragged his tired body out of bed before the sun was even up. There was no sign of Andy, so he simply left her a note telling her to meet him at Alfredo's for dinner that evening. In big letters he scrawled "Be There!" and underlined it three times.

At the office, Emily was already there and he pulled her away from the assistant's area to get an update without Taylor's prying ears. Irv Ravitz obviously smelled blood and Nigel wanted to make sure he didn't get any ammunition out of them.

"Roy's taking her to her massage therapist this morning so she won't be in until 9:30," Emily said as she did the run through. "Nothing new on Irv. I called over to WNBC and talked with one of the assistants there. They say that Daphne has been doing quite well there, like you said. I gossiped for a while and my source told me that she thinks Daphne is seeing someone. Lately she's been sporting some very expensive gifts, but nothing has been said out in the open."

"In other words, she's having an affair with a high-profile, wealthy, married man," Nigel surmised.

"Did you mention any of this to Andy?" Emily asked.

Nigel rolled his eyes. "I don't want to talk about her, right now," he said. "I'm meeting her for dinner tonight and I'll deal with her then. If she calls, do not let her try to cancel."

"What's going on?" Emily asked again. At his look she held up her hands and waved him off. "All right, all right."

For the rest of that day Nigel held off disaster after disaster. The worst was when Miranda insisted on overseeing the on-location photo shoot. After getting a frantic call from Patrick himself, he was forced to drop everything and rush to Brooklyn Heights.

Inside Jack's Tavern, the scene was chaos. Jack was screaming at Patrick. Patrick was screaming at the models and the models were screaming at each other. Only Miranda sat at the bar and observed the scene with a bland look.

"What's going on?" he asked her, ignoring the confusion for the moment.

"Patrick insists on staging this with realism and he wants the models to actually consume the food," Miranda said and to Nigel's horror he watched as she took a sip of a drink. "Chanterelle refused, saying that she would never lower herself to consuming 'pub grub' and Jack took exception to that. I thought it would be amusing to watch, but I'm glad you're finally here."

"Are you drinking?" he asked.

"Go sort this mess out, Nigel," she answered, ignoring his question. "I expect this shoot done today. I will stand for no delays. Understand?"

"Right," he answered and headed into the fray.

In the car on the way back to the office, Nigel turned to Miranda and said, "You've got to snap out of this, Miranda."

"I'm sure I don't know to what you're referring," she said and kept her gaze out the window.

"You're already three sheets to the wind and it's barely past noon," he said and almost cringed at the glare she turned in his direction.

"That is none of your concern," she whispered.

"Oh yes it is," he said. "Besides the fact that your behavior is hurting Runway, it's also hurting yourself. And I care for you, Miranda."

"Oh please," she said and waved a hand dismissively. "People only care about themselves. I've lived far too long to expect any kind of altruistic motives in people. Especially from people in fashion."

"That's not true, and you know it," Nigel said.

"Oh?" she said and turned back. "I've got news for you, my friend. The minute you start to trust people – that's when they stab you in the back."

"You're talking about Andy, aren't you?" he said.

Miranda paused to take two deep breaths. "And how is your little roommate?" Miranda said. Even after all these years, he had never heard such scorn in her voice.

"She's as miserable as you are. What did you expect, Miranda?" he asked. "You treated her like she was a possession and when you didn't get your way, you hurt one of her friends."

"You can't really expect me to explain my actions to you," she said.

"No, you don't have to," Nigel said. "I understand you more than you think I do."

"In all our years together, Nigel, I have never heard such impertinence from you," she said. "I ought to fire you this instant and be done with that attitude."

"You can't do that, Miranda," he said with certainty in his voice and for the first time he saw doubt in Miranda's eyes. "You need me and Runway needs me. I don't know what’s going on yet, but Irv is up to something."

Miranda waved a hand idly. "Irv is always 'up to something'," she snorted. "Haven't you ever noticed that short men must always be up to something? It's just another pitiful attempt to give themselves the stature nature denied them."

"Regardless," he said. "I have a bad feeling about this."

"Nonsense," Miranda said just as they pulled onto the Avenue of the Americas. "I'm fine, the magazine is fine and soon Andrea will come to her senses and realize how childish and immature she's acting."

"Miranda…" he started and then paused. He knew there was no way he would be able to tell her what he had seen last night. As much as he wished Miranda would rejoin reality, he could not bring himself to hurt her.

"I expect the proofs on my desk by four, Nigel," she said and waited while Roy opened the door for her. "That's all."

Nigel rubbed his face with both hands and then got out of the car.

Andy was only twenty minutes late, he'd at least give her that much.

"Thanks for showing up," he said. "But you look like shit."

"Nice to see you, too, Nigel," she said. "The bags under your eyes must mean you had a bad day."

"Yes," he acknowledged. He proceeded to tell her about the tavern fiasco while they ate dinner.

"And Miranda just sat there and watched while sipping a double scotch on the rocks," he concluded. He watched as Andy's jaw tightened until he could see the ripples of the muscles clenching. Pain briefly flared in her eyes before they hardened.

"So how did the proofs come out?" Andy asked.

"Fine," he said curtly. "Andy, what do you think you're doing with that girl?"

"That girl?" she said. "Her name is Natalie and she's very nice."

"I never doubted that she wasn't nice for a second," he said. "I'm sure she's terrific. It's your niceness I'm questioning."


"You're using her, Andy," he accused.

"You don't know that," she shot back. "You don't know anything."

"I know plenty," he said. "I know that you and Miranda are determined to hurt each other as some sort of sick punishment for falling in love with each other. I also know that other than exploring your newfound homosexuality, you have no interest in that girl other than the fact that she bears a striking resemblance to Miranda."

Andy looked confused for a moment and then her brow cleared. "I'd never thought about that, but I guess she does…" she trailed off and Nigel snorted.

"It's called transference, dear, and it's not very attractive," he said and then took a sip of his wine. "You need to break it off with Natalie before you end up hurting her even more."

"Why?" Andy said. "It's over with Miranda. I might as well move on."

"You know damn well that it's not over with Miranda," Nigel said. "I have never before seen two people more obsessed with one another. You'll either get back together or you'll end up killing each other. Either way, it's not over."

"You know what?" Andy said and drained her wine glass. "I don't care. I don't care about Miranda and I don't care about Runway. I'm just trying to deal with the absolute mess my life is in because of her. Okay? Is that too much to ask?"

"Oh Andy," he said as she broke down in tears. He handed her a handkerchief. "Look…I don't know what's going to happen. I care about you and Miranda both and I just can't stand to see either of you so unhappy."

"Yeah, well, that's the way the world works, right?" Andy said. "People only care about number one and that's who I'm trying to look out for."

Nigel chuckled bitterly, remembering Miranda telling him nearly the same exact thing earlier in the day. "Just…please, if you really feel something for that girl then, who knows? Maybe there could be a future in it. But I know you, and I know that if you were thinking straight the last thing you would want to do is deliberately hurt her."

Andy was silent for a while as she pushed her pasta around on the plate. "I won't make any promises, okay?" she finally said. "But I'll try not to hurt her."

Nigel gave her a small smile. "That's the best I can ask for, then."

To his relief the conversation turned to the more mundane topic of her job search, but then their after-dinner aperitif was rudely interrupted by a tipster for Page Six. Andy totally ignored it until the head waiter had a chance to shoo him out of the restaurant.

"Story of my life," Andy said bitterly as Nigel signaled for the check.

"You'll get used to it, my dear," he said. "I wouldn't be surprised if you hadn't ended up an object of their attention even without Miranda's interference."

"You think?"

Nigel nodded. "Maybe as the next Barbara Walters instead of Monica Lewinsky, but yes, eventually. One of the reasons you and Miranda are drawn to each other: You're both destined for greatness."

Andy rolled her eyes at the comparison, but his heart lifted to see her mood somewhat improved. He didn't want to end their evening on an unpleasant note.

"So, I'm meeting Mr. Crane at Club Therapy if you'd care to join us?" he asked as they waited for a cab to pass by.

"No thanks," she said. "But feel free to enjoy a delusion in my honor."

He laughed. "No thank you. I deal with enough trends during the day; I'll stick with the old classics for my alcohol consumption. Share a cab?" He held open the door of one that finally stopped.

"I'm going to walk a bit," she said. She leaned in and kissed him on the cheek. "I'll catch you later. Give Doug a kiss for me."

"It'll be my pleasure," he said and gave her a glance. "Be good," he added. With a laugh she walked off.

As the cab drove off down the street, he wondered if any of them would ever be good again.

To be continued…

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