It was no secret that Andy Sachs liked to help people. Everybody who knew her was aware of this. Since she was a kid she always tried to give advice and help pretty much everybody around her. She'd even spent her summer volunteering at a nursing home, just for the joy of offering elderly people company and help in anything they needed. So it came as no surprise that as an adult she'd looked for a job where she could help others.
Not many people knew what her job was: most of her family and friends believed she was a common therapist. After all, she only provided services to people of high society. Those who could afford her help were usually famous and important, so it was always crucial to be very discreet. It's why her office was set up in a studio apartment in Manhattan, and not in a big facility of a public health care station.
In a few words, Andy was a sex therapist. No, she did not actually have sex with her clients. She simply offered guidance, advice, and psychological and even physical exercises for a healthy sex life. Clients (often couples) came to her for advice on how to improve their sex life and how to achieve or restore intimacy in a relationship. She was a good listener, always gentle and considerate, and never judged any of her patients, which is probably why she was so successful. Andy had a way of smiling with kindness and understanding, so that her patients were all at ease with her, and they trusted her. And, of course, she was great at her job because she had a great deal of knowledge about the complex subject that was sex - mostly because of her Honours Degree in Sexology, partly because she understood that there was no real 'correct' sex life.
And, yes, her job also included selling of sex toys, but only because she often knew exactly what her clients needed to be satisfied in the bedroom, and since they were high profile people who couldn't just go to any sex shop, she offered to provide them instead in a discreet way.
The front part of her studio was a sort of reception area, with cream walls, two comfortable sofas, a front desk, and a shelf full of books and magazines about sexuality and ways to find one's pleasure when being intimate alone or with someone. The room past the reception area was a large room filled with light and plants and warm colours where her patients could relax and feel safe when they had a session with her. With tasteful art hanging on the walls, a long comfortable sofa, a plush armchair (Andy's usual place), a coffee table usually adorned with warm herbal tea, a dark oak desk, and shelves filled to the top with books, it was not surprising that her clients instantly forgot they were at a 'clinic' of any sort, and simply felt like they were at someone's home. This was good for Andy: the more relaxed the patient was, the more they would open up and the better Andy could help them. Overall, it was not a very common clinic, but it was stylish enough and her patients were comfortable. That's all that mattered, really.
It was usually rather quiet in the studio past 7 pm, since Andy never had any therapy sessions past that time. She preferred to end the evenings doing research or brainstorming ways in which she could aid her patients, or simply doing some leisure reading before going home.
Which is why she was surprised to hear a loud, insistent knocking on the front door. Andy frowned and quickly moved to open the door, only for a silver-haired woman to breeze past her before she had the chance to look at her properly, let alone manage a greeting.
Startled but determined to put on a kind face, Andy shut the door and turned to the woman. She was like no one Andy had ever seen: stylish and poised and regal, but when blue eyes met Andy's, she could see her guest was unsettled.
"I've been told that you can help me," the woman said in a cool voice.
Andy tried not to let her smile fade. Brilliant blue eyes looked at her unflinchingly, but the woman's back was ramrod straight and her shoulders tense. Her pursed lips did nothing to convince Andy that the woman was in any way calm or relaxed.
"Well, why don't you tell me your problem, and I'll see if I can help?" Andy said warmly. She waved with her hand to the door leading to the other room, and the woman through the doorway stalked out of the reception area. Andy took a deep breath before following her. She had a feeling this case would be interesting.
"Please, make yourself comfortable," Andy said.
Once the elegant woman was sitting on the couch and Andy on the armchair, Andy took her notebook and pencil before clearing her throat, noting how her new patient seemed anything but comfortable.
"Okay, let's start with the basics shall we? My name is Andy Sachs."
"I highly doubt that."
Andy blinked. "Excuse me?"
"Surely your mother had better taste than to name you Andy."
"Oh. Uh, well, everyone calls me that, but my given name is Andrea."
The woman hummed and looked around the room as if bored, but Andy caught the way her fingers played with her necklace. A nervous habit, perhaps? The silence that fell over them lasted only a few seconds before Andy realised the woman would not introduce herself.
"Sorry, but, um, who are you?"
That caught the woman's attention as she looked at Andy with an unreadable look, but the raised eyebrow told Andy it was something like disdain.
"You don't know who I am?"
Andy silently shook her head, and the other woman looked her up and down as if examining her before rolling her eyes.
"I should have guessed. My name is Miranda Priestly."
Andy nodded and took a quick note of the name, and then looked up to see Miranda staring at her in expectation. Clearly, Andy had meant to react to that name in some way. Eventually, the other woman rolled her eyes again - Andy was starting to get the feeling this was a very common expression for the other woman - and let out a sharp breath.
"Never mind, I can see that fashion is not your area of expertise," she drawled.
Andy frowned and looked down at her outfit. She was wearing a classy black suit with a white shirt underneath and a pair of black Doc Martins shoes. What was wrong with that? Andy mentally shook her head and looked back up at the other woman - Miranda - with a winning smile on her face.
"So, Miranda, what can I do to help?"
Miranda played with her necklace some more before she seemed to realise what she was doing and placed her hands rigidly on her lap. Clearing her throat, she said, "I need help with my marriage."
"All right, what's wrong with your marriage?"
Miranda snorted. "What isn't?"
Andy smiled, amused by the dry humour. "Well, let's narrow it down then. What is the main problem I can help you with?"
"You're a sex therapist," Miranda started, sounding annoyed, before pausing to take a breath and calm herself. "So I have obviously come here because there are problems with that."
"Okay," Andy said, trying not to be put off by the woman's brusque demeanour. She understood that opening up about one's marital sex life was difficult for some people. "Is it okay if I ask you a few general questions?"
"I..." It seemed for a moment as if Miranda was going to argue or refuse, but she took a deep breath and her shoulders hunched forward slightly. "Yes."
"Alright. Let's start with the basics. How would you describe your sex life?"
Miranda tensed in her seat, and her jaw tightened. Andy sighed internally. Clearly Miranda felt incredibly uncomfortable here, which Andy didn't like, since she aimed for all her patients to be relaxed around her. She also seemed to be struggling to keep it together, like she was at the end of her rope, as if her marriage had been failing for some time now and this was her last desperate attempt. Andy watched as Miranda closed her eyes briefly and seemed to be forcing herself to open up.
"It's... uninspired. My husband is rather tired of me. I've been informed that I'm disappointing him with the way I act in bed," Miranda said in a flat voice, and all in one breath, as if she needed all her strength to get through saying just those short sentences.
Andy frowned at this.
"How do you act in bed?"
"I-" Miranda swallowed thickly and lowered her gaze. "I don't seem to be able to..." She waved her hand vaguely.
Andy felt compassion fill up in her chest at the crestfallen look on the woman's face. She had heard this story many times from other female patients.
"You don't have orgasms?"
Miranda's eyes snapped up.
"Obviously not," Miranda snapped, then took a deep breath, clenched her hands into fists and then released them again. "I tried faking them, for his benefit, but it appears he's not as unintelligent as I thought he was." At this last bit, she shrugged slightly and gave a small grin. Andy grinned back, glad that the woman had a sense of humour even when she was clearly going through a bad situation.
"And how would you describe your husband in bed?"
At this, Miranda frowned.
"Well, he always does the same thing, really."
"Okay, tell me what he does. Do you try different positions?"
Miranda's jaw tensed, but Andy could see her posture was slightly less rigid than before. She shook her head. "No, it's - it's always him on top."
Andy tried not to cringe.
"Is there oral sex involved?"
Miranda visibly swallowed, her shoulders tensing again and her eyes lowering to the floor. "No. I... I don't like to do it. I never did. I have tried but I never seem to be able to do it properly. And he never wants to do that to me. He says he doesn't like the... taste."
"Oh. Okay." Andy blinked, trying not to wonder what on earth was wrong with this guy. "What about foreplay?"
"There usually isn't much of that. He... likes to get straight to the point."
Andy tried, but couldn't keep the disbelief from showing on her face.
"So you don't do foreplay before penetration?"
Miranda glared at the carpet, clearly catching the bewildered tone in Andy's voice.
"No," she gritted out through clenched teeth. "As I said, we just do it."
Andy let out a long, silent breath. Miranda was so tense she seemed just about ready to bolt. Time to move on if she wanted to keep this session going.
"All right. What about touching you? Does he kiss your neck, touch your breasts or stimulate your clitoris?"
Miranda exhaled forcefully and looked up at brown eyes. Andy caught the vulnerability in Miranda's gaze before the blue orbs went cold and lowered once more.
"No. He says my breasts are too - " Miranda cleared her throat, and fidgeted with her bracelet. "they're too small to be enjoyable."
Andy read over her notes and wanted to cry in despair. She shook her head, really trying to hide her exasperation, since she was sure that she'd need patience and tact when dealing with this impromptu new client. She put her notebook aside and leaned forward in her seat so she could look at Miranda closely. When she finally caught the woman's eye, she spoke.
"Let me get this straight, Miranda. You husband doesn't touch you in any erogenous zones, doesn't use his hands or mouth to pleasure you directly on your clitoris, doesn't take part in any foreplay, and yet he expects you to be able to achieve orgasm simply from him penetrating you?"
Miranda blinked at her.
"Well, I - yes. It's why I'm here, so you can help me fix it. I - I want to be able to please him."
Andy gritted her teeth before taking a calming breath.
"Miranda, first of all, sex is not just about pleasing your husband. Sex should be a two-way exchange, and you have the right to enjoy it just as much as he does. He should be trying to please you as well. Secondly, you don't need fixing. I doubt many women would be able to climax with that lack of preparation, arousal, or stimuli. It's completely normal that you can't finish, he's not taking care of your needs."
Miranda leaned back, seeming surprised at this information. Andy sighed.
"You thought it was your fault?" She asked, wanting to cry. How could this woman think it could be her fault? How on earth does somebody have the fortune of marrying someone as beautiful as this woman - because, Andy had to admit, Miranda was uniquely beautiful - and not even put in the effort to please her? And on top of that make her feel bad about it?
"Well, I-" Miranda fumbled with her bracelet. "My ex husband wasn't satisfied with me either. The common denominator in both cases is me." Suddenly, her shoulders slumped, and Andy could clearly see that Miranda looked broken and defeated. Then, in a quiet, small voice, she said, "I could understand that."
Andy felt her heart squeeze painfully. What had these two animals done to this woman? Andy often avoided touching her patients or invading their personal space. She was a professional, after all. But in this case, she decided to forget about professionalism. She stood up and walked a few paces until she sat on the sofa besides Miranda, at a safe distance from touching her, but close enough that she could finally take a closer look at the woman.
"No, Miranda. I'm sorry to be so forward, I understand I am basically a stranger to you, but I'm afraid you married a sex idiot. He sees to his own needs instead of yours, and that is the most selfish thing a partner can do. Miranda, you are not the problem here, believe me."
Miranda blinked slowly at her, then let out a breath that seemed of relief. Her shoulders finally relaxed, and she leaned back a little on the couch.
"So what do you suggest I do? I've tried to tell him what to do before - I've tried to make it better, but he thinks that I'm too... controlling, and he likes to do things his way." She said, shaking her head helplessly. "I don't know what to do."
Andy stayed quiet for a moment, before finally making her decision.
"I'm going to recommend something. You don't have to use it if you don't want to, but it might help your situation."
Miranda looked uncertain, but then nodded, the dubious look remaining in her blue eyes.
Andy stood and went to her desk, taking a plastic package containing a small device from her drawer and returning to her seat beside Miranda. She gave the package to Miranda who looked at it for several moments, clearly trying to figure out what the little blue device was. When she looked at Andy with a puzzled expression and a questioning eyebrow raised, Andy explained.
"It's a finger vibrator. You put it on your finger and then rub it on your clit." Andy tried to ignore the rosy blush that bloomed on Miranda's cheeks. "I suggest you use it while you're with your husband. Since he doesn't seem to want to change his ways, you can use that on yourself so you don't disturb him, but at least you'll be able to feel pleasure by your own hand."
Miranda fidgeted before inspecting the small toy again, her blush still covering her cheeks and cleavage. She finally gave a resigned sigh before nodding.
"I suppose I don't have anything to lose. I - I'll take it."
Andy smiled. "Great. How about we set an appointment for next week? Is Friday good for you?"
Miranda nodded, putting her purchase safely away in her Prada purse.
"Yes, I believe I'll be free at around 6 pm."
Andy took out her phone and checked her calendar. "6 pm next Friday is perfect. My sessions are usually an hour long and I close up at 7, so it works for me."
"Good." Miranda said, standing up and donning her fur coat.
They made their way past the reception area and to the front door, which Andy held open for the silver-haired woman.
"Could I pay you next week?"
"Sure," Andy said, smiling at her.
Miranda gave a curt nod and turned to leave, but just as she passed the threshold she turned and gazed at Andy contemplatively for a moment.
"You don't know who I am, do you? When I came in you didn't recognise me. Not even when I told you my name."
"No, sorry, I-I can't say that I know who you are."
Miranda nodded, and then gave Andy a little smile, as if pleased that Andy hadn't recognised her. Andy was entranced by the twinkle that lit up bright blue eyes.
"Until Friday, Andréa."
Then, before Andy could answer her, she swept away down the hall.
Which was just as well, because Andy was left rather speechless after the way that smooth voice had said her name.
Andy blinked, trying hard to get her breath back.