Over a year had passed since her hour-long escape from Miranda's side in Paris, and somehow she was more in love with the editor than ever before. Her feelings were driving her insane because she knew Miranda felt something for her too, she just wasn't quite sure what it was.
Her feelings for the editor had stopped her leaving Runway, and now she was just three months shy of the two-year mark. She could have moved on, but then there would be a distinct lack of Miranda in her life and that would be intolerable.
Scrolling through her Facebook feed that morning, an article one of her high school friend shared caught her attention. It described sologamy, the new trend of marrying yourself.
She thought the idea was absurd really, and she knew it would cause ridicule and mockery, but she could see why some would see the good in marrying themselves as a way of embracing single life, unapologetically.
She had been telling herself she didn't need another person to complete her. She could love herself and be committed to her own happiness, but it didn't take away the fact she wanted to share her life with someone, and that someone just so happened to be her boss, and sometime mentor, Miranda Priestly.
One passage of the article captured her full attention and her breath caught at the words.
"Self-Marriage is a profound rite of passage into wholeness, trust, self-responsibility, self-liberation, and love sourced from within. It is a ritual of transformation, of proclaiming what is true in your heart and being celebrated as you make it known that you are ready to live your full potential."
Maybe there was something in this, after all.
Andy spent the day, in between Miranda's demands for coffee, skirts from Calvin Klein and scarves from Hermés, researching things further and making a list of the pros and cons. She finally came to a decision and started planning.
She announced it after Miranda's meeting with Nigel and Emily ended and they were preparing to leave Miranda's office. It was the end of Miranda's work day and she handed her a final coffee. "Hey, just as a heads up, you're all invited to my wedding. It will be held in ten weeks."
Miranda was taking a sip of coffee as the announcement broke and choked as it seared its way down the wrong hole. Tears sprang into her eyes as she covered her mouth and coughed, ignoring the cacophony of noise that broke from Nigel and Emily at the news.
Getting herself under control she looked around the room until her eyes landed on the brunette, giving her an unusually icy glare. "Oh really? To cook boy, I assume?" Miranda hissed. The jealousy she felt was almost overwhelming.
"No, he's long gone. To myself actually." She stated. Miranda caught the muttering. "Since you won't ever marry me."
"Pardon me?" The words stunned Miranda and she took a step backwards.
"Huh? What?" Andy pretended she had no idea what she'd said.
"Andy Sachs, what did you just say?" Emily screeched.
"Em, just chill! Eat a cheese cube or something." Andy shook her head, expecting Emily's contempt. "All I said is I'm marrying myself."
"Oh, is that all?" Nigel mocked. "God grant me strength. You do realise that is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard?"
"Well, I'm single, I've learned to love myself, so why not?" Andy defended hotly. "What gives you the right to sit in judgement? Why can't you be supportive?"
"Everyone out." Miranda almost shouted. Nigel and Emily grabbed Andy's hands and dragged her towards the door. "Except for you, Andrea. You will stay."
Andy stalled and sighed as Nigel and Emily let go of her and left the office at an almost run, closing the door in their wake. "Way to go, Sachs. You just couldn't keep that thought to yourself." She slapped a hand against her forehead repeatedly. "You stupid, stupid woman."
Miranda moved quickly and her hand reached out to grab Andy's, to stop her from continuing to smack her forehead with the heel of her hand. "Stop that, come and sit." Miranda tugged the hand and led Andy towards her desk but quickly changed course and drew her towards the large white sofa. It was perfectly positioned to be outside the usual line of sight of the two desks in the outer office. "I demand answers, Andrea." Miranda perched on the edge of the coffee table in front of her. "What did you mean?"
Andy bowed her head and spoke quietly. "When we returned from Paris that first year, I went home to an empty apartment. I had split up with my boyfriend the night before we left. He had taken everything except the clothes in my closet, the old shitty sofa and the fridge." Andy continued to keep her eyes averted. "I also lost my friends when he left. They took his side even though they had been my friends before he came on the scene. My absence from their lives hurt them all and I was left thinking there was something wrong with me. I was not blind to their feelings, but I struggled to maintain a good balance between my work and home life. I grew to hate myself for the pain I had inflicted on those who I was meant to care for." Andy explained. "Where do people get their self-worth from? Some people, you are one of these, seem to be born with a tremendous ability to hold themselves in high esteem. But I never have."
"Did your friends offer support that year, when you started on a professional path, working hard to succeed and taking pride in the work and your achievements?" Miranda asked softly.
"No, there was no support as I navigated everything. They belittled me and my job and told me I had changed beyond all recognition. Now, after a year of self-reflection, I truly feel happy with who I am. I finally feel like I love myself." Andy told her.
"And your pride in yourself now means you want to declare that you will love and cherish yourself, in front of all the people you care for." Miranda stood up and paced when Andy nodded. "That doesn't explain the other comment."
"What comment?" Andy set her jaw as Miranda spun on her heel and glared.
"Do not treat me like a fool, Andrea." Miranda seethed. "I heard you." She ran a hand through her hair in frustration. "Since you won't ever marry me." Miranda mimicked.
"Why should I explain a damn thing?" Andy stood up, pushing herself into Miranda's personal space. "What is it to you, the one person who never explains herself? I do not have to answer to you about my deepest feelings."
Miranda was furious. "Do you think, if I had one inkling you felt anything more than, whatever the hell this is between us, I wouldn't have acted on it?" Miranda hissed. "You infuriating woman. If I knew I had a single chance on Earth to have you in my life as more than my damn assistant I would have pounced on it."
"But you...nooo...you never showed any...I knew you liked me, find me tolerable, but there's been no indication." Andy stuttered.
"Hasn't there." Miranda shook her head sadly. "I thought you could read me? Just think about it, Andrea. You travel with me in elevators, you help me with my coat, and you spend time in my home with my children. Do you think anyone else has that privilege? Did Emily before her promotion? Does Jessica?"
"No, but you just don't trust Jessica with the book yet," Andy stated, trying to fight the overwhelming feelings the editor's words were coaxing within her.
"Yes, I do. But why would I have her replace you and miss out on the little moments we share? Why would I deny myself the sound of your laughter and the immense happiness that travels through my home as you speak to my daughter's lovingly each evening? Why would I take from them the one person, other than myself, who sees their individuality and quirks?" Miranda pushed herself closer. "Yes, I have not acted upon my feelings, in the fear they would push you away. I am a coward because I would rather have you in my life in a small way, than not at all, which incidentally is why I have been selfish and have not pushed you out of Runway."
"I told you I wanted to stay, that I felt I had more to learn from you," Andy whispered, marvelling at the warmth of the older woman.
"You will be moving on, Andrea," Miranda stated. "Just give me some time and I will find you something suitable."
"You're pushing me out. That's not fair, Miranda." Tears stung Andy's eyes and she stepped back quickly.
"How can I not, knowing what I do now?" Miranda was gentle, stepping closer again and stroking a hand up Andy's jaw.
"I don't want to leave you." Andy cried, unable to comprehend anything as the sense of loss overwhelmed her.
Miranda continued to speak softly. "You will be missed here at Runway, Andréa. I thought I could mentor you to become my successor, believing it was what you wanted, but I was also wary. You have given up so many of your dreams to remain here with us." Miranda pulled Andy into her arms in an attempt to console the young woman whose tears had flowed as she spoke. "I must be blunt with you." She whispered softly in Andy's ear. "I wish to have more than a professional relationship with you allows, and you must realise I cannot do that with you as my assistant, not without questions being raised about inappropriate workplace behaviour. So, you must see that leaving Runway is for the best, for us both."
"But...but..." Andy stalled as Miranda placed a finger over her lips.
"I want you to promise that we will still see each other, you will come for dinner and spend time with me and the girls." Miranda bit her lip. "Starting tonight. I cannot let you leave me entirely."
"Yes," Andy whispered. "Dinner sounds good."
Miranda sighed, swallowing the rest of her fears. "A small part of me hopes you will reconsider the self-marriage ceremony, not because I believe it is a worthless endeavour." Miranda looked up into expressive dark eyes. "I am a firm believer you should always make yourself a priority, Andréa and your idea to marry yourself shows you are committed to that. It is okay to chose yourself, my darling, I applaud it, but when you marry, I hope to be the one by your side."
"You...you..." Andy breathed. She pulled back searching Miranda's eyes for the truth. "Wow!"
Miranda's eyes held unshed tears, which made the blue orbs sparkle like crystal. Andy was stunned when Miranda pulled her close, tucking her head into the crook of her neck and inhaling deeply. "I care very much, my darling."
"Really?" Andy breathed.
"I do. I guess I like you more than the rest of the insufferable shits on the planet." Miranda smiled as Andy chuckled. "I would like to show you, if you are amenable." She pulled back and her face had turned into its usual mask of icy indifference. "I will give you thirty minutes. Advise Emily on how to bring the book and give her your key. Have Roy pick the twins up before coming back for us. We shall be eating out tonight."
"Yes, Miranda." Andy swiped at the tears under her eyes.
"Andréa?" Miranda softened. "You have panda eyes, perhaps use my bathroom to clean up before facing your peers."
"Of course, thank you, Miranda." Andy let out a sigh of relief as Miranda stepped behind her desk and grabbed her cold coffee, grimacing as she sipped the barely lukewarm drink.
Moving quickly Andy glanced in the large mirror above the vanity and winced. Miranda had not been wrong about the panda eyes, her face was a mess and yet Miranda had been sweet about it. Letting herself grin a little, she marvelled over the turn of events that afternoon.
Fixing her face, Andy held off on the lipstick and moved back into the office. All Andy wanted was to kiss the woman and she couldn't wait. She saw Miranda was staring into space, clearly deep in thought. Striding forward Andy spun Miranda's chair and straddled her.
"Andréa, what are you doing?" Miranda asked, stunned by the heat of the beautiful woman hovering over her.
"This," Andy whispered. Their lips met, and she lightly brushed Miranda's with her own.
The unexpected gentleness of the touch amazed Miranda, and the tears she had been keeping at bay slid down her face.
"It's okay, Miranda. I promise it will be okay," Andy whispered, unable to ignore Miranda's vulnerability. Andy brushed aside Miranda's forelock and kissed her cheek over the stream of tears. It was a tender movement that had Miranda closing her eyes. "It's alright, sweetheart," Andy reassured before kissing Miranda's other cheek over the pearl of a teardrop. She leaned her head forward and kissed her Miranda square on her lips. Brushing her lips gently over Miranda's, she was amazed when the older woman's tongue darted past her lips and entwined with her own
Miranda's hands moved all over Andy's back until they came to rest on her ass, using it to pull her closer. As their hunger for each other increased with each touch, Miranda squeezed Andy's body even closer against hers. "We need to stop." She husked, but her demanding hands and mouth said otherwise. Their mouths began to open more and their breathing became ragged as they touched each other's soft skin beneath their clothing. "Oh God, why can't I stop?" Miranda moaned breathlessly.
Andy decided to do the right thing. Breaking the kiss, she heard Miranda whimper and tried to soothe the flames of passion firing the older woman by gentling her touches, and offering chaste kisses over Miranda's cheeks. "I hate to be the party-pooper, but I should go arrange the stuff you requested." Andy teased.
Miranda's eyes blazed open. "Really Andréa, I do not request stuff. I demand it." She grinned up at the brunette.
Andy's breath caught at the sight of the older woman. Miranda's cheeks were flushed, her lipstick was smeared and her lips swollen from their kisses. She looked breath-taking. "You...are...beautiful." Andy breathed, punctuating her words with kisses on Miranda's lips.
Sliding off Miranda's lap, she tucked her blouse into her trousers where Miranda had pulled it free to run her hands along her bare skin. Winking at the older woman, she reapplied her lipstick before placing it onto Miranda's desk and blew her a kiss before flinging the door open and sauntering from the office to see the shocked faces of Nigel, Emily and Jessica. She spun around on her heel, looking at the older woman. "Oh and Miranda?" She sing-songed. "I quit." She stated emphatically.
"That's all." Miranda flicked her wrist, a small smile still lighting her face.
Andy smiled widely. "Yes, Miranda."