Miranda meets her best creative director for dinner at Smith and Wollensky. She would much rather have told Roy to drive her home, but sits in front of Nigel instead, working as always.
Miranda is tired. Her feet hurt. And she's feeling unusually weary of things that normally soothe her. This happens occasionally; fashion is cyclical, food the same. The menu at her favorite restaurant has not changed in years. As Miranda peruses the menu, she cannot possess herself to order the steak.
A sharply dressed waiter arrives at the side of their table. "Are you ready to order?"
"I'll have the stuffed red snapper," Nigel says with finality when the waiter asks. Miranda does not roll her eyes. He always has the stuffed red snapper.
She takes in the waiter's spotless white shirt and bored expression. A playful mood strikes her.
"And for you, Ms. Priestly?" This young man could be a model himself, he certainly has the jawline for it.
Miranda raises an eyebrow. She hates being called Ms. Priestly. "Surprise me," she says, enjoying the way the waiter's eyes grow wide. He swallows an audible gulp and scurries back to the kitchen.
Nigel glances up at her from the notes he's pulled from his bag. "What are you playing at, Miranda?"
Miranda just smirks in his direction and takes out her red pen.
Of course Miranda Priestly decides to dine at Smith and Wollensky the one night the head chef has called out sick.
"Shit shit shit shit shit," Will speeds through the swinging kitchen door at breakneck speed.
Andy looks up from the mushrooms she's sautéing to see Will coming towards her and looking more panicked than she's ever seen him. Gone is his typical expression of indifference and his forehead sports a thin sheen of sweat.
"What's up?" Andy says, plating the vegetables and reaching across her workstation for the decorative sauce. She doesn't have time for more than a glance or two in his direction while she continues working.
"She's out there, Andy."
The name sounds vaguely important. "Cool," she shrugs. Celebrities dine here all the time.
Will rolls his eyes at the fact that someone who lives in New York City hasn't heard of Miranda Priestly.
"What's so special about her?" Andy asks, doing her best to appease her flustered friend and plate entrees simultaneously.
"Oh nothing, except she's the pinnacle of culture and taste," Will scoffs at her like she's an idiot. "She's the editor in chief of Runway Magazine. Don't you read?"
"Of course I do," Andy says back sharply, "I just don't always have time for things like that."
He looks down at her non-slip footwear. Crocs.
Andy rolls her eyes. "Great. What did she order?"
"That's the thing. Every time she comes she orders Le Petit Filet."
"That's not that hard to make, it's one of our specialties." Andy pauses to set out the ingredients for the stuffed red snapper. She sends them to the workstation adjacent to her for the next chef to prepare. "Even Jordan could make it."
"It's true, I could." Jordan, their faithful dishwasher says as he whisks by with the dish cart. Andy laughs.
"She didn't order Le Petit Fillet, Andy." His tone makes the sous chef in charge pause her chopping and meet his eyes. "She told us to surprise her."
Andy nervously bites her lip for a second before deciding to head face first into the challenge. This could go one of two ways: either this Miranda Priestly is impressed enough to keep dining at Smith & Wollensky, or she'll blacklist the restaurant completely. Something tells Andy there is no in-between.
"Does she have any allergies?" Andy asks, wracking her brain for recipes and cataloguing the ingredients they have at hand.
"Not according to Wikipedia," Will answers. "She's known for being ruthless, though. They call her the Ice Queen."
Andy is suddenly glad she's never heard of this Ice Queen. The last thing she needs is extra nerves clouding her abilities. She went to the finest culinary school in New York and refuses to waste it.
She looks out the small round kitchen window to see a woman at the center table who could be no one else but Miranda Priestly. Of course she's gorgeous. A stylish swoop of white hair sits elegantly atop her head and she's impeccably dressed; even a fashion disaster like Andy can tell.
She looks sharp for certain, but her cool eyes look on with amusement at her bespeckled dinner companion while he gestures wildly as he speaks. A woman like that deserves to be impressed.
She rolls up her sleeves.
Miranda is presented with a beautiful plate of food approximately eighteen minutes later. Steam rises from it, sending delicious smelling waves upwards. Even tempted by the aroma she appreciates the work of art in front of her and how the colors are just as harmonious as the flavors are sure to be.
"For you, Ms. Priestly, we have seared scallops with lemon caper sauce, accompanied by cracked pepper ahi. On the side is rosemary asparagus risotto with toasted almonds and a butternut squash coulis."
"Well damn," Nigel says from beside his stuffed red snapper. The waiter leaves in a flourish.
From the kitchen, Andy chances a peek out the small round window to see Miranda's face as she tastes. She took a chance with seafood, especially for a woman who is known to consistently order red meat, but "surprise me" is not a challenge she accepts lightly.
Miranda takes a delicate bite of her meal and her eyes widen. She is definitely impressed despite herself. Andy tries not to whoop and pump her fist in triumph. At the very least they will not end up in the tabloids with a rumored rat infestation or something. Andy counts this as a small victory returns to plating entrees.
The waiter comes along to top off their wine as Nigel and Miranda's meal is winding down. Miranda feels satisfied for the first time in recent memory. They made headway in their decisions for the impending photo shoot, and her palate has been fulfilled. Nigel notices a little brightness return to her eyes.
"This meal was quite acceptable," Miranda says in her soft voice as her glass is refilled. Halfway through the meal she has switched to water to keep her head clear, but before then the accompanied wine selection was delightful. She sighs at the memory of it. "Please give my regards to Chef Rosier."
Nigel's eyes grow wide. He could tell that Miranda enjoyed herself but never expected her praise to be so effusive. The scallops must have really been tasty.
"I would," the waiter responds, "But I'm afraid he's not in tonight."
Apparently Miranda's shock will know no end. "Who created this?" She asks, her tone not quite demanding.
"Our best sous chef. Andy Sachs."
"Well if he has a moment, I'd like to meet him."
Nigel's eyes practically bug out of his head. Miranda's friendship with Chef Rosier is common knowledge, he never expected her to expand her boundaries.
"Of course, just a moment." The waiter speeds away, presumably to grab this Andy Sachs, whoever he may be.
Miranda does not have to wait long for the chef to appear. Andy Sachs is not a "him" at all, but a woman with beautiful brown eyes and a long sleek braid fastened neatly and flowing down her back. She lifts the toque blanche from her head as she arrives closer to the table, letting her fringe fall to cover her face. Miranda stands to greet her.
Andy reaches out to shake the hand of the apparent queen of the fashion world, surprised when her hand is clasped neatly in between Miranda's warm soft palms. She doesn't seem like an Ice Queen at all. When a small smile tilts the corners of her mouth, Andy thinks about how she wouldn't mind getting to know this Miranda Priestly.
"The meal was fantastic," Miranda says, releasing the chef's hand before any sneaking paparazzi dares to think she's gone soft. She has a reputation to uphold.
"I'm glad you thought so. I'd hoped you would be pleasantly surprised."
"It's not often that I am."
"I am inclined to agree," Nigel pipes up from his place at the table. Miranda had nearly forgotten he was there.
"Andy Sachs," she reaches to shake his hand.
"Andy," Nigel repeats, "An unusual name. I like it."
"It's short for Andrea." Andy responds bashfully.
"Indeed. Andrea." Miranda tunes the syllables in her name in a way she's never appreciated before. Andy feels a spark of attraction in her gut and lets herself be charmed by the lilt in Miranda's voice.
Weeks and weeks pass before Miranda has a chance to visit Smith and Wollensky for dinner, but the last meal she enjoyed refuses to leave her mind. It's rare that other aspects of her life have the same congruence that she relishes in her line of work. Not many have the vision to appreciate the dedication it takes.
She sits around the crowded table at the center of the dining room making small talk with the editors and board members of Elias Clark. She absolutely despises this kind of event but does whatever necessary to keep Runway afloat among the budget cuts and reorganizations of the company. Her magazine is not always immune despite it being the flagship.
As that modelesque waiter passes by, Miranda discreetly catches his attention.
"Is Andy Sachs here tonight?" she asks him.
"I believe she is. Do you have a request?"
Before Miranda can speak Irv snaps his fingers to get the waiter's attention, "Hey over there. We're ready to order."
Miranda's face blanches in disgust. She turns away from the waiter.
The smarmy chairman of the board orders for the table, choosing canapés and hors d'oeuvres at random and butchering the pronunciations. Miranda does her best to look interested as the man beside her talks stock and revenue and dreams of the last meal she enjoyed here, doubtful she'll receive a similar experience this time around.
Will breezes back into the kitchen, typing the requested order onto the screen for it to be prepared. "She's here again, Andy."
"Miranda. And she's looking for you." Will says with a teasing sing-song in his voice.
Andy tries to fight a smile and a blush that refuse to be tamped down. "Does she want another custom dish?" Her mind is three steps ahead of her cataloguing recipes that might impress the most notoriously fastidious woman in the city.
"I don't think so. She's with a table of suits. The obnoxious one ordered for everyone. She didn't even get a word in."
"Yeah. See if you can still make her a little something special though," Will says offhandedly, "She looks like she needs it."
Andy tries to get a grip on her emotions, her heart feeling a pull towards Miranda Priestly. She only met this woman for a second. No need letting her body play tricks on her. The last thing she needs is a crush on a celebrity so far out of her league its ridiculous. Still, she prepares a chef's plate for the editor, her hands flying across her workstation like her life depends on it.
Food is delivered to the Elias Clarke table moments later. The table is littered with delicacies and everyone eagerly reaches to fill their plates. Before Miranda can make a halfhearted attempt for caviar, the waiter places a dish in front of her. He says softly, "A gift from Chef Sachs," and saunters quickly away.
Even shocked, she is still delighted, and the rest of the table looks suitably impressed, save Irv Ravitz, who looks as though he's swallowed something rotten. Miranda lets out a pleased huff before raising her fork and digging into the gift.
Despite the stellar meal, dinner drags on seemingly for hours. Finally, the men around the table rise to leave and Miranda joins them gratefully. Before she can reach the entrance, she feels the gentlest tap on her shoulder. The face of Andy Sachs comes into view as Miranda turns, and she should not be so elated to see the face a woman she hardly knows.
"How was your meal, Miranda?" Andy looks just a little pleased with herself.
"As if you couldn't tell from my empty plate," Miranda responds. Instantly her mood has been buoyed after being dragged steadily lower by hackneyed men for two hours. She lets a tiny bit of affection show through her eyes.
"I was hoping you wouldn't be offended that I took the liberty of choosing for you."
"I'm sure you could cook me anything, Andrea, and I would not be disappointed."
"I wouldn't mind that, you know?" Andy looks down briefly before meeting those captivating blue eyes. "Cooking for you. It would be my pleasure."
Andy is shocked when the words fall out of her own mouth. She tries to backpedal, conscious of the presumption she's just made. This woman could dine anywhere in the world with anyone she chooses. "If you're interested. No pressure."
Miranda's heart beats a little faster at the words it would be my pleasure, but waits a moment as she takes in the woman before her, always cautious to reveal her own hand.
"Of course," Miranda reaches into her handbag for a card, scribbling her cell number on the back in red pen. Andy glances at it briefly before slipping it into her pocket. Her heart might just beat right out of her chest. Miranda touches her hand briefly before leaving the restaurant. In moments she's gone in a cloud of black silk and perfume.
If Miranda is being honest with herself, she didn't expect Andy to call, but had never hoped so hard in her life that she actually would.
"Are you busy Friday night?" Andy asks over the phone, "I could cook for you at my place. Anything you want."
Miranda hangs onto her voice, especially after the hellish week she has had. Working under a slashed budget without making pay cuts has stressed her to no end.
"I would like that very much, Andrea, but I can't leave the office until late. I have a print deadline." Miranda allows a little regret seep into her voice. "Perhaps we could reschedule."
"Don't worry about being late," Andy says easily, "I'll be here whenever you're ready."
Miranda can't help but feel like she means it. She writes down Andy's address.
Friday arrives, and with it more stress and a heightened incompetency of the entire staff of Runway, not to mention the chairman of the board. Her pristine desk is littered with prints and fabric swatches, the vase of fresh flowers sat at the edge of it are beginning to wilt.
At eight thirty that evening Miranda has had enough. "Deal with this," she tells Nigel, her tone heavy with exasperation, "I have somewhere to be."
In the back of her town car, Miranda calls the number newly programed into her phone. "Am I too late?" she asks Andrea, prepared to take a left at the light to go home instead of heading straight through it towards Brooklyn.
"Not a chance," Andy reassures her. "Thanks for calling though. I wanted the meal to be fresh. See you in a bit."
Miranda tells Roy to go home when he drops her off. She will call her afterhours car service if needed, but has a feeling that Andy wouldn't send her off into the night. The eight-story apartment building is shabby from the outside but the interior has clearly been renovated. She is pleased to see an actual doorman at a desk in the building and buzzes to be let in.
Andy's home is only about the size of Miranda's kitchen but flawlessly clean. The air inside smells delicious and rich, sizzling and warm with spices, steam rising from the stove. There's hardly a distinction between the sitting room and the kitchen, except for a table and chairs set between them. Miranda notices a closed door in addition to the bedroom left open and bathroom adjacent to it, it must belong to a roommate. She hopes that she did not misread signals and there will not be a third person joining them.
As soon as her light wrap is discarded, Andy places a hand at her hip to kiss her cheek. Miranda's cheeks grow a little pink with pleasure. "I'm glad you could make it Miranda," she says as she pulls away.
"Of course, Andrea," she responds, letting the corner of her mouth turn up, "Thank you for having me. You look lovely."
"I do?" Andy asks, suddenly wary that the Queen of Fashion is in her kitchen. She glances down at her maroon dress and bare feet.
"Yes," Miranda hums with a nod. The way she peruses makes Andy's smile turn into a blush.
"Would you like some wine?" Andy asks suddenly, before she can do something stupid, like kiss Miranda Priestly within an inch of her life.
"Like you would not believe," Miranda answers with a sigh. She takes the glass of the dark red vintage offered to her.
Andy turns to the stove after a moment, "Feel free to take a seat, this will be ready in a moment."
"What are we having?" Miranda asks, seating herself at the set table.
"It's a surprise," Andy says cheekily.
Miranda sits with her chin in her hand, content to watch Andy work. She manages to juggle three stove eyes and the oven without spilling various items on her clothes and counters. Andy comes over for a second with a loaded spoon in her hand. She blows gently to cool it.
"Taste this," she offers her hand to Miranda, who does so willingly.
Flavor explodes in her mouth. "My god." Miranda says before thinking, "That's incredible."
Andy smiles, "Just you wait."
Dinner is served shortly after. The Petit Filet is seared to a perfect medium rare, just the way Miranda likes it. Instead of the standard spring mixed vegetables and potatoes that are served at the restaurant, Andy has once again surprised her and satisfied her palate all at once.
The meat is accompanied by garlic roasted rainbow carrots and turnips, the brilliant oranges and violets of the vegetables sitting in beautiful deep contrast. The parmesan thyme polenta is generously and artfully covered with the sauce that she tasted earlier. Miranda's mouth waters.
Over dinner Andy asks about her day and Miranda gives her the brief details of the upcoming issue. She doesn't know Andrea well, but she's fairly confident that she will not run off and spill details to a rival publication. "This Irv Ravits," Andy says in the middle of Miranda's tirade, "Is he not aware that you're brilliant?"
Miranda's mouth falls open for a second before Andy says, "Oh come on. I've never worn designer anything. But even I can tell there's no one on this planet that can do what you do." Miranda clears her throat and hides a smile behind her glass of wine. Andy is pleased to note that by the conclusion of dinner, the lines on Miranda's forehead have smoothed out and she looks completely at ease.
After dinner, Andy moves them to the lush looking leather couch by the window, surrounded by heaping bookshelves and the smallest television Miranda has ever seen. It looks like it has not been turned on in years.
Miranda sits her half-full glass on the coffee table and settles in closer to Andy than she would to possibly anyone else. Andy doesn't seem to mind. In fact, she brings an arm around Miranda who uncharacteristically lets her head fall onto the brunette's shoulder in repose. Andy turns the soft music up to accompany the evening as they bask.
Miranda takes a moment to contemplate her comfort with this almost stranger. She is not shocked to find herself having sexual feelings towards a woman, but she is shocked at how quickly the romantic urge has struck her. It must be her sated palate and the heady wine. She wants to dress Andy in the finest offerings available, whisk her off to Paris, make love to her in a Grecian bungalow.
When Miranda turns her head, she's distracted by the clear skin that covers Andy's cheeks and shoulders, broken only by the occasional freckle or mole.
Miranda knows that she is staring but can't quite bring herself to look away. Andrea doesn't seem phased, she just runs a few fingers gently against Miranda's arm, glancing towards her every now and then. Her interest in Miranda is evident, but she is content just to hold her for now.
The sun is long gone before Miranda sits up as if preparing to leave. Andy turns towards her, bringing her face close to Miranda's slowly, testing to see if she will back away. Miranda closes the distance, bringing a hand up to caress Andy's chin as their lips meet. The kiss is as decadent as the meal they've shared and Miranda had no idea what she was starving for until she has finally found it. She feels Andy smile into the kiss before deepening it, running her fingers through Miranda's silky hair.
Moments pass before they break away. Miranda presses her forehead against Andy's, dazed from a night of amazing kisses and wine and food. She looks so happy, Andy can't resist kissing her again.
Miranda suspects there will be many more kisses tonight before they've had their fill. Andy asks if she will stay the night.
"Of course," Miranda says willingly. She's unable to keep her gratitude to herself, "Thank you," she whispers, bringing her lips to Andrea's once more. "For feeding me."