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Take Me to the River

Chapter Text

‘Where the hell is she?’ Catlin hissed under her breath, looking around frantically.

Guests were milling around, eating hors d’oeuvres and drinking champagne that frankly, was going to push them outside of their quarterly budget.

Andy rolled her eyes. ‘She enjoys making an entrance.’

‘At this rate we’ll need to use more bottles, and trust me when I say I’m going to take the cost directly from your salary. Can’t you get her under control?

Andy looked at Catlin with brow raised. ‘You know who you’re talking about, right?’

The budget for Miranda’s launch had definitely breached its limits. The indoor-outdoor loft space in Soho didn’t come cheap, but Andy had to agree with Miranda that the small exclusive setting was perfect for keeping numbers down and made the early afternoon launch picturesque as the sun beamed down on the guests, all milling around in light, bright spring colours. 

Catlin threw up her hands. ‘Why did I agree to this?’ she demanded.

‘Because pre-sales alone have put as in good stead for the next…what was it? Two years?’ 

‘Trust me when I say I’m not sure it was worth the hassle. Our in-house designer looked ready to fling himself from the top floor of the building when she sent back the cover for the eighteenth time.’

Andy snorted. ‘It did them good to work under a little pressure.’

‘Pressure?’ Catlin said. ‘Torture would be a better word. I like my staff; I have no intention of losing them. Never again. If she decides to write another one after retirement, tell her no. She can have the big boys up stairs deal with it. Or you can publish it. I’m done.’

Andy laughed and patted Catlin on the back before leaning in and bumping her shoulder with her own. ‘We did it,’ she said with a grin as they kept their eye closely on the entrance.

Catlin looked around the room. It was filled to brim with some of the biggest names in fashion and publishing. Inception was the talk of the town, a small imprint given it’s blessing by the one and only Miranda Priestly. ‘Yeah,’ Catlin said smugly, ‘Yeah we did. Well, you did, because how the hell you managed to get this little side project of hers through the editing process I’ll never know.’

‘I have my ways,’ Andy said suggestively.

‘Ugh, thank you for that.’

‘I thought you might appreciate it,’ Andy chuckled.

‘Not particularly, no, but I do appreciate what you’ve done,’ Catlin said, seriously. ‘I couldn’t have done all this without your help. Having you here these past two years...’

Andy rolled her eyes. ‘Don’t tell me you’re getting soft on me now.’ 

Catlin sniffed. ‘Of course not. But thanks where thanks are due. I read your manuscript.’ 

Andy stalled at that. She had passed it along to Catlin to see if it was worthwhile pursuing any further. She hadn't expected her to get through it so fast. 

‘Don’t look so terrified,’ Catlin said turning her head towards her. ‘I want to take it to print.’ 

‘Really?’ Andy said, staring at her in disbelief as an excited murmur swept through the crowd.

‘Yes, really,’ Catlin whispered with a grin, grabbing Andy by the shoulders quickly before straightening her dress and brushing a hand through her hair. ‘Well, here we go,’ she said, taking a breath and standing tall. She was wearing something from the new Gucci ready-to-wear collection, a passive aggressive gift directly from the closet, courtesy of Miranda. 'We'll talk later. I have lots of ideas for it, but a fall print run would be perfect I think.'

Andy couldn't move. A fall print run was less than six months away. ‘Good luck,’ she said dumbly, still in shock as Catlin walked off, sweeping up to the microphone to begin her introduction.

As the crowd fell into silence, Andy listened as Cat heaped on the praise for Miranda. That was enough to bring her back down to Earth, and she cast a glance around in search of Miranda. She was nowhere in sight yet, but as Catlin came to a close, and invited Miranda up, the room exploded with applause. 

Miranda, as always, was impervious to it. She entered from the back of the room and moved gracefully through the crowd, giving everyone time to appreciate the one of kind pieces from Versace that had arrived in her office last week as congratulations from an old friend, and sincere thanks for the kind words for Gianni in her book. The dress, coming to stop at mid calve, employed some of the more subdued patterns pulled from the family archives printed on a silvery white satin that moved in the light in an almost ethereal manner. It was a simple design, but the black cropped jacket, clearly inspired by the Spring/Summer 2018 Tribute collection, personally customized by Donatella herself ensured Miranda stood out severely in the middle of a sea of spring colours.

As she stepped up to the microphone Andy caught her eye and gave her a subtle nod.

Miranda’s lip quirked imperceptibly in response before she broke eye contact and acknowledged the crowd with small a tilt of her head and began speaking. 

As her dulcet tones carried across the venue, Andy smiled. She would never tire of watching Miranda work a room. It was an art form in and of itself. 

‘You two are disgusting,’ a voice noted behind her, causing her to jump.

She spun around, jaw dropping in surprise. ‘Nigel?’ she whispered in astonishment. There he stood, the grin on his face identical to the one that had been thrown her way many many times in the past. His glasses were heavier in the frame, and he was sporting a salt-and-pepper goatee as opposed to a clean shave, but it was the same Nigel, mischievous glint in his eyes and all. 

‘You didn’t think I’d miss this, did you?’ he whispered back before moving to stand next to her, grin widening. 

He wasn’t referring to the book launch, that much was clear. 

Andy threw him a glare which garnered her little more than a tut and a chuckle in response. 

'Down tiger,' he mocked before turning his attention to Miranda. ‘She looks magnificent,’ he noted under his breath in admiration. 

‘Yes, she does,’ Andy agreed quietly with a smile, eyes fixed on woman in question as she entranced her audience. 

They watched quietly, standing close together as Miranda worked her way through the requisite thanks. When the crowd turned towards Andy, she smiled a practiced smile and raised her glass in acknowledgement before the attention turned back to the front of the room and towards Miranda's heartfelt acknowledgement of Caroline and Cassidy. 

As Miranda closed to rapturous applause, Andy turned to Nigel and pulled him into a hug. 'It's good to see you,' she said genuinely.

'You too, Six,' he said, gripping her firmly before standing back to take a look at her. 'Twirl,' he ordered. 

Andy rolled her eyes and turned slowly. 

'Still a four, I see. And that ass,' he noted with glee. 'No wonder Miranda is—' 

'Nigel,' Andy growled, cutting him off. 

'What?' he said in faux-innocence, amusement twinkling in his eyes. 'Well, I must say, the pixie cut was a daring, but effective choice. Look at those cheekbones,' he said, grabbing her chin and tilting her head. 'Why darling, age has been kind to you,' he said before letting her go as Catlin's voice carried out over the microphone. 

The room fell silent once more as the EIC of Inception called for a toast, raising her glass over her head. 'To Miranda,' Catlin said. 

'To our tempestuous leader, long may she reign,' Nigel echoed. 

'To Miranda,' Andy said as they raised their glasses towards Miranda herself, receiving one tilted in return, alongside a questioning and suspicious look. Fortunately for Nigel, Miranda had little time to dwell on the two of them as she thanked everyone before moving out into the gathering to receive praise from her enraptured audience. She would be occupied for a while.

'Congratulations on McQueen,' Andy said, dragging her eyes away and turning back to Nigel. 

'I told you she would pay me back,' Nigel said. 'Eventually.'

'How long?' 

'Three long, arduous years,' Nigel said, taking a sip from his glass. 'Then she set me up for life.'

'I decided to take the long way round, as you can see,' Andy said, waving her hand at the room. 

'Well, given the circumstances it may have been better for all that you didn't stay. Could you imagine the scandal! Oh, if only Emily were here,' he lamented, 'she would be having a fit of apoplexy.' 

'You're enjoying this far too much,' Andy hissed under her breath. 

'Oh darling, you have no idea,' he said in glee as he moved off to greet Raf Simons from Calvin Klein as Andy was intercepted by Greg Cowles from the Times. 

The afternoon continued on in much the same fashion. Nigel and Andy milled about the room, Andy on the receiving end of much praise and many a ‘we must chat soon’ and ‘I’ll have my office contact you.’ Miranda had ensured that everyone knew she was responsible for getting the book to print, apparently. 

'You're hot property now, Sachs,' Nigel noted as he pulled her off to the side and handed her a drink. They were lingering in front of a book stand and Andy saw Nigels eyes light up like Christmas had come early as he put down his glass and picked up a copy, flicking through the front section until he found what he was looking for. 'Oh my, she wasn't joking,' Nigel said in awe. ‘Would you mind explaining this?’ he said, his finger landing squarely in the middle of an otherwise blank page.



This book is dedicated to the two independent young women who know me best.

And to the one who demanded I write this dedication in time for publishing.



‘What about it?’ Andy said, doing her best to feign nonchalance. 

‘Oh, nothing, just that Miranda dedicated a book. To you.’

‘To her editor. And the twins,’ Andy noted, trying to hide her self-consciousness. She hadn't been privy to it before it went to print, Cat and Miranda having slipped the addition past her.

‘What have you done to La Priestly, Six? What have you done?’ Nigel demanded in faux-shock, his hand placed theatrically over his chest.

Andy was saved from answering that question by the woman in question. Miranda flowed past a group of well-wishers, her eyes locked on her old friend. ‘Nigel,’ Miranda said as she approached, moving in for an air kiss, ‘I thought you weren’t going to make it out before the shows?’ she said, voice laced with suspicion.

‘And miss this illustrious day? Why Miranda, you know I love you. And this book must be so important to you,’ he said, his eyes sliding to Andy. ‘I hear Andrea has done a wonderful job with the…’ he paused, ‘…editing,’ he finished with a smirk as he closed the book in his hand and placed it down on the table behind him as gently as possible. He was many things, but he wasn't stupid enough to mock Miranda about her acknowledgements.

Well, not yet anyway. 

Miranda's eyes were narrowing as Caroline came up to them, handing a glass of wine to Miranda before slinging to her arm around Andy's shoulders. 

‘Hey Stepmommy,’ she said with a grin, Cassidy barking out a laugh behind her as the colour rushed straight to Andy’s face. ‘She’s so easy,’ Caroline said to Nigel before letting Andy go and pulling him into a bear hug.

Nigel guffawed far too heartily at her expense, and Miranda’s eyes drifted heavenward as she sighed.

Andy moved to stand next to her, watching the twins mob Nigel. She leaned in, their elbows brushing lightly.  ‘You look amazing,’ she said under her breath.

‘As do you,’ Miranda said, eyeing her appreciatively. Another gift from Donatella, more for Miranda’s benefit than her own she was sure. 

‘Happy?’ Andy asked as she glanced around the room, another successful launch more or less complete. 

‘Very,’ Miranda said emphatically, her arm sliding around Andy’s waist. 

Andy glanced at her sharply, brow raised in question. They had always been careful in public. Not overly so, but enough to prevent confirmation, despite the rumours that had begun to surface, especially recently. Andy had a suspicion that the advanced copies of the book they had sent out to certain quarters may have had something to do with it. 

‘The launch is done. You no longer work for me,’ Miranda noted under her breath. 

‘Just like that?’ Andy said, surprised.

‘Yes Andrea, just like that,’ Miranda confirmed gently. 

Andy turned to face her fully and smiled broadly. 

‘Are they always like this?’ Nigel said to the twins, a faint look of disgust on his face. 

‘Yes,’ the twins said in unison with a groan. ‘And the walls aren’t as thick as they seem to think, either,’ Cassidy noted as an entirely unnecessary afterthought. 

Nigel grimaced at that. ‘There are some things I simply didn’t need to know,' he whined. 

The girls laughed as Andy and Miranda shook their heads in exasperation.

Andy, thankfully, was saved from anymore jests at their expense as Catlin interrupted. ‘I need you,’ she said to Andy, eyeing the arm around her waist with interest.

'Go,' Miranda said warmly, reclaiming her arm. 

Andy looked at her before leaning forward and placing a chaste kiss on her cheek. 'Be back soon,' she promised. 

Catlin was watching them both closely. 'That would be good publicity,' she muttered under her breath to Andy. 

Andy shot her a warning look before turning her attention to Nigel. 'I'll see you later?' 

Nigel laughed at that. ‘Oh, somehow I get the feeling it won’t be another twelve years before we see each other again, Six.’ He looked towards Miranda, ‘I have a few things that would be perfect for the  Runway party in two weeks.’ 

Andy groaned, knowing where this was headed.

‘Oh yes, little Andy’ Nigel said, wagging his finger. ‘You wanted this, so you get everything that goes with it.’

Andy looked at Miranda and caught the amusement in her eyes. ‘Not you too,’ she moaned.

‘I didn’t say a word,’ Miranda said, the smirk dancing around her lips saying otherwise.

Catlin rolled her eyes as she glanced between the two of them. ‘Come on,’ she said impatiently, giving her a tug.  

As she allowed herself to be pulled away, Andy couldn’t resist the urge to glance back. She met Miranda’s eyes across the room, the other woman watching her retreat even as Nigel whispered something in her ear.

Yes, she wanted this. 

And everything that went with it.

As she and Catlin stepped out onto the patio, Andy took a deep breath and stared out over the city. 

Everything fit. Her clothes, her apartment, her job and yes, even New York, this time. 

Fourteen stories up and she had never felt freer.