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How It All Started

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It all started with Miranda. Okay, a lot of fucked up situations that usually ended up in a kind of rage, started with Miranda, but those times—believe it or not—came and went quickly. Even the Harry Potter thing. By the time that was over, all of Andy’s previous rage had turned into not only pride, but outright giddiness. The whole thing ended up making her happy beyond belief.

This was not one of those times.

All Miranda had said was, “Be sure to have a black coffee waiting when he gets off the plane. Knowing him and the length of the flight, he’ll be drunk.” That’s all Miranda had said as she sent Andy out the door to fetch Stephen from Charles de Gaulle airport. But it was an easy job, right?


The only thing right about the ordeal was Miranda’s assumption. He was drunk. Very drunk. So drunk he could barely hold the coffee, much less walk straight. How he’d made it through the process of entering another country was beyond Andy’s imaginative abilities.

But that’s not the worst. Besides being drunk, Stephen had lipstick on the collar of his wrinkled-to-hell dress shirt. Apparently, he’d gained entrance into the Mile-High Club while flying from New York to Paris. Then again, he probably gained entrance to that club a long time ago and was just enjoying the perks again…and again…and again since there were not one but three different shades present.

Just how in the fuck was his wife going to deal with that? Andy’s stomach took a turn just thinking about it. Maybe Miranda would be waiting for him at the restaurant already and he would be smart enough to change? If he didn’t pass out in their hotel room first…

If Andy had thought that was the worst, she was dead wrong because the worst wasn’t in the drinking or the three shades of lipstick on Stephen’s shirt. The worst was in the car. The worst was the unthinkable. Or maybe it shouldn’t have been? Maybe Andy was just stupid for not thinking this could happen well in advance.

There’s no way to say it other than to get right to the point: ten minutes into the drive, he put his hand on Andy’s knee, ran it up her thigh and leaned over to put his stinking mouth on her neck. It was as if time just stopped. Right there in the car, in the middle of Paris, time just stopped. In fact, it stopped so hard and fast her brain followed right along, not short circuiting, but shutting the hell off.

When he bit down, her brain woke up and she screamed, slapped him in the face and then suddenly…the car swerved and stopped. As soon as it had started, it had stopped. Literally.

Miranda’s driver throughout the entirety of fashion week was a fella by the name of Ulrich Géroux. Everything about him was exactly like Roy except his size. In that, he was twice the man. Since every other quality was the same though, meaning Ulrich wasn’t dealing with bullshit—none at all—and Stephen was out on his ass in seconds, in the rain, with a broken nose as a souvenir.

Now just how in the fuck was Miranda going to deal with that?

Problem was, Andy was too pissed to give a damn how Miranda dealt with anything ever again. He’d put his hands on her! Grosser still, he’d put his mouth on her! At this rate, she’d be in the shower for a week. 

Turns out Ulrich didn’t care how Miranda dealt with it either, making it plain during the rest of the ride to the hotel that he would quit before he’d go search for Stephen—unless Miranda wanted him to run the piece of trash over with the car.

That’s when Andy decided she’d quit too—regardless of Miranda’s reaction, this was it. She was willing to put up with anything from Miranda but not a damn thing more from Stephen. Nobody touched her like that. Nobody. Andy wouldn’t stand for it. Wouldn’t subject herself to it. Wouldn’t…

Or would she?

Time stopped again as something hit her right in the chest: she would subject herself to it, but not from the likes of Stephen.

That kind of thought was the very last thing she needed. Andy didn’t need to realize now, now of all times, that she would be more than willing to allow Miranda to…touch her. But Andy already knew that, right? She already knew and denying it was the dumbest thing ever.

Nate was correct when he’d referred to them as being in a ‘relationship’. He’d said it with complete disgust in his voice. Yet, it hadn’t hurt her like it should have. That was also pointless to deny. Hurt had not been what she’d felt at all. Just like rage really wasn’t what she felt over Stephen’s idiocy.

Well, she felt rage—rage covered in jealousy.

Neither thing had been or was true. They were not in a relationship and Miranda had not just been in the back seat trying to take advantage of her; both of which apparently had the power to make Andy ragefully jealous. And ‘ragefully’ wasn’t even a word, was it? Miss High & Mighty English Major had no clue. It’s just the best thing she could think of as the hotel elevator dinged off one number after another; bringing her closer and closer to her room. To Miranda’s room…because they all but shared one. Only a door separated the two.

But that wouldn’t be the case for much longer, making Andy’s pace more glacial by the second.

Was she really about to quit? Really?

Because then there would be a heck of a lot more than just a door separating them if she did.

They’d never see each other again and things would be a million times worse than they were. Forget about Stephen. Things had been pretty bad for a while. Especially these past few weeks. Since Nate had moved out, her mind knew of nothing else but Miranda. Sometimes it felt like Andy was just a few seconds away from throwing herself at the woman since he wasn’t in the way.

And she could have, too. She’d done it before. Well, not with Miranda, but Andy was damn sure not as innocent as people thought. First, there at been her history teacher in high school. Yes, high school. At least Andy’d waited until she graduated to pounce on Vicki Victorson. What a name, right? And she’d been Andy’s volleyball coach, too. It was all typically lesbian and definitely one of those May/December things, and when Andy went up to the school to pick up the last of her patches for her letterman jacket two weeks after graduation, she went straight to the gym without a second thought.

It was like Vicki had been waiting for her.

Needless to say, that summer Andy learned how to do things to another woman that were probably illegal in all fifty states. She couldn’t get enough and hardly a day went by when they didn’t fuck each other. All summer long, Vicki taught her the meaning of pleasure and as time wore down, Andy started to worry about leaving for college.

Then she realized it wasn’t because she would miss Vicki. She’d just miss the sex. It had never been about Vicki. It was just sex with a woman twice her age that was incredibly hot and knew exactly what she was doing. That’s what Andy had wanted. Not Vicki; but age and experience.

Andy found age and experience again during her sophomore year at Northwestern. Her algebra professor, Dianah Bradford hadn’t needed to worry about going to jail so she hadn’t wasted time. After Andy’s third or fourth pointless trip to her office, Dianah—who was even older and hotter than Vicki—took exactly what was being so obviously offered. 

Their thing lasted almost a year, ending when Dianah got a position at MIT, and just like before, Andy worried for a moment that she would miss her. But again, it was just the sex she’d miss. There had never been anything more between them. It was purely physical; something that would have ended either way. Whether it would have been a job, or finding someone else, or simply getting it out of their systems, it would have ended. There was nothing emotional about it.

Once that was over, Andy, for some stupid reason, thought it was a great idea to turn herself inside and out for Nate Cooper. He had wanted a ‘regular, ‘girl-next-door’ so that’s what she gave him. To forget about mind-blowing sex and to concentrate on her studies, she became somebody else.

All of it had been so emotionless and absolutely ridiculous. Every single bit of it had meant nothing.

But there was something deeply emotional and hardly ridiculous about Miranda Priestly. Nothing held up in comparison to the mess Miranda caused inside Andy’s head. Not that it would ever happen, but she knew if Miranda so much as kissed her on the cheek for some wildly, unexplainable reason and walked away, she’d never get over it. What Andy wanted from Miranda wasn’t just age and experience, though the thought did carry significate weight. What Andy really wanted was Miranda. She wanted Miranda be in love with her, and she wanted to give that a try, too. She wanted the emotion, the mess, the insanity, the never-ending rollercoaster. Everything that supposedly came with being in love—that’s what Andy wanted, and that’s why she never bothered throwing herself at the woman. Miranda meant too much to her.  

She’d just been putting off admitting it out loud.

They were like two satellites in the sky, passing one another all the time, but never touching because the math had been done so perfectly, neither would ever fall.  Even if they did—by some alien intervention—change course, it would only be to burn through the atmosphere; still not touching, just ending.  


It all started with Stephen. Alright, a lot of senseless situations that usually ended up in a kind of fury, started with Stephen, but those times—believe it or not—came and went quickly. Even his drunken display at the last event he’d attended with her. By the time that was over, all Miranda’s previous fury turned into relief and outright thankfulness.

This was not one of those times.

All Miranda had said was, “Be sure to have a black coffee waiting when he gets off the plane. Knowing him and the length of the flight, he’ll be drunk.” That’s all Miranda had said as she sent Andrea out the door to fetch Stephen from Charles de Gaulle airport. It was arguably one of the easier tasks of the week, right?


It wasn’t easy at all because, stupidly, she’s sent Andrea off on an errand far worse than fetching an unpublished children’s book. She’d sent Andrea off to fetch a man who was, of course, drunk; but also a man who could not keep his hands to himself.

That’s exactly why Miranda had divorce papers waiting for him in her suite. There was no telling why she’d chosen to do such a thing here, but he’d put her through so much hell. It’s not as if she thought his heart would be broken by it. In fact, he’d probably use the remainder of the time he’d set aside for this trip, to whore his way through Paris on her dime. That’s what she’d planned on him doing, anyway. She certainly had not planned on hearing her assistant packing her goddamned bags in the very next room because he couldn’t keep his hands or his mouth to himself.

Miranda was just getting out of the shower when she’d heard all the noise of drawers and closet doors being thrown open in Andrea’s room. Without a care in the world about privacy, Miranda put her bathrobe on and went straight into Andrea’s room. In that small moment, Miranda had no idea what was going on or why, but she wasn’t about to let Andrea go anywhere.

To be so stupid, Miranda was somehow smart enough to figure out immediately the bite mark on Andrea’s neck was not a welcome thing, and exactly who put it there. Perhaps the tears were a tipoff. It was heartbreaking, really. Yes, she’d seen Andrea cry before but those times were because of her. Someone else had caused these tears and not only was it heartbreaking to witness, but it made Miranda to go absolutely blind with fury.

“Where is Stephen?” Miranda asked with her hands balled up so tightly her nails were digging into her palms. “Where is that bastard?”

Andrea looked at her like she’d never seen her before. “What?”

“I. Said. Where. Is. He?”

“Miranda,” Andrea’s eyes filled with more tears and she dropped whatever she was holding. “I don’t know,” she said, after taking a few breaths. “Ulrich threw him out of the car. Well,” Andrea gave up on packing and sat down on the bed. “Actually, he punched him. And then threw him out of the car.”

Her confession made things much worse than Miranda thought possible. Somehow, knowing Ulrich thought it necessary to punch her husband and throw him out of the car, made things worse. By the time this was over with, Miranda would have to quit her job because she couldn’t very well run a fashion magazine blind, could she? And for certain, Stephen was about to end up in a pine box. If enough of him could be found later.

“What did he do to you?” Because God help this entire city if he’d… “Tell me, Andrea.”

Andrea said not a single word and Miranda understood why. Nobody could talk through that many tears and it hadn’t helped that she was towering over Andrea, practically spitting out every syllable. If she was going to get anything out of her, Miranda would have to change tactics; some of her anger would have to be put aside for a more appropriate time and place. Like when she was within striking range to her husband.

Not pressing any further for the time being, Miranda quickly figured out where Andrea’s bathroom was and refused to look in the mirror as she rounded up tissues and a glass of water. The last thing she wanted to be reminded of was the fact that she was clad in only her old robe—that she never left home without—or that not a spec of makeup graced her appearance.

“When you’re ready,” Miranda set everything down beside her and pulled a chair up close, “tell me, Andrea.”

Something changed then. Miranda didn’t know if it was simply having the tissues and water, or, if by some bizarre chance, it was her close proximity, but something brought on a change and the crying slowed; Andrea relaxed.

Something changed in Miranda, too. That ache in her chest lessened, somewhat, and she could see just a little clearer. And God, was there relief? Did she feel relief over the fact that it seemed like Andrea wasn’t bolting for the door? She’d stopped packing her bags and was sitting here, facing Miranda.

For the first time it was as if nothing separated them. They were still employed by the same monster, though, and there was this situation that brought Miranda to the very doorstep of premeditated murder, yet it felt as if nothing separated them and it felt…good. She’d been waiting for this. Hadn’t she? She’d been waiting on something to bring them closer, something that could get rid of all the distance that was slowly becoming intolerable.

But not like this. Not Stephen’s hands and mouth all over this beautiful woman because that should have never, ever happened. Miranda would never allow…

Or would she?

The simple answer: No. Miranda would never stand for Andrea being touched like that. No, no, of course she wouldn’t. Of course. But she would… Miranda would. She’d try it. God, she’d thought about it. She’d thought about it many, many times.

That kind of thought was the very last thing Miranda needed. She did not need to realize now, now of all times, that she would be more than willing to…touch Andrea. But Miranda already knew, right? She already knew and denying it was simply ridiculous. After all, Miranda, wanting someone so much younger and more beautiful than herself, was not unheard of. She’d been there before. Twice, as a matter of fact.

The first had been many, many years ago. Long before things like ‘sexual harassment’ and ‘workplace behavior’ came with consequences. Her name was Kandace…something. The first assistant Miranda had ever had. In all ways.

Neither of them was married so it wasn’t completely horrible. Not really. And Kandace was eager to please, eager to learn how to fuck and be fucked, eager to do things that were probably illegal in all fifty states. Well, maybe it was sometimes horrible.

Miranda could be cruel when she wanted to be, obviously. If Kandace had done or said something she didn’t like that day, Miranda would endlessly fuck her but never allow her to come. She’d be in tears by the end of it and sent home, only to come back the next day, eager to apologize by kneeling on the floor and sliding her tongue in and out of Miranda just like she’d been taught.  

When it was time for Kandace to move on, Miranda hadn’t wasted a moment on worry. Of course the girl cried and cried about it but Miranda shoved all that away. A million others would kill to work for Runway. A million girls would be just as eager to learn how to please. With enough instruction, anything was possible.

If Miranda had thought Kandace was a good student, then Rachel…something, should have been named valedictorian of her class. She didn’t wait for Miranda to make a move and it was clear her body had been made specifically for sex, and a lot of it. Miranda took Rachel everywhere. Literally. Anywhere she wanted; any time she wanted. The girl was exquisite. So exquisite that Miranda even allowed herself to be taught a thing or two.

Rachel loved a little pain now and then, but she was perfect at her job. Whatever painful pleasure there was, was planned. And she most certainly brought along accessories. Yes, Miranda ended up learning quite a lot from Rachel before she sent her off to some other job far away.

At least Rachel hadn’t cried. Like Miranda, she knew there were others out there willing to take her in hand, to give her what she wanted. Distance from Miranda was no problem for her because it had never been about that. It was only about sex. There was nothing emotional about it.

But after her, Miranda never found herself another girl to fuck in her bathroom or darkened office late at night. She found herself a husband and twin baby girls and a magazine to run, instead. Miranda wasn’t just the Creative Director anymore. She was the Editor and words like ‘sexual harassment’ and ‘workplace behavior’ were actually things she had to worry about, finally.

So that was that. It felt as soon as the time of Kandace and Rachel had begun, it was over just as quickly.

Until Andrea Sachs walked into her office with her cocky attitude.

She put off this persona that spoke of a higher authority, but was a lie. Miranda took one look at her and knew. Having not thought about it in years, the images of teaching and molding the ‘oh, so innocent’ looking Andrea, into something made for pure pleasure, glued her to her chair. Then again, she already knew how to be nothing but pleasure, didn’t she? Miranda could just see it. Andrea had probably been with more than a few women in her short lifespan…older women. 

Unable to stop herself, Miranda had yelled at Emily to go and fetch her back, but ironically, Miranda never made a move. In fact, she did everything but that. And why? Because, over time, Miranda realized Andrea was not another Kandace or Rachel.

There was still no doubt of Andrea’s hidden abilities. She’d probably learned a great deal Miranda would enjoy very much, but she just couldn’t do it. Miranda could not take advantage of such a prize. It would have required a kind of emotional distance Miranda knew she’d never be able to achieve. She would never be able to simply mold and teach and enjoy all of Andrea’s pleasurable talents. It would leave her empty and cold—two things Miranda never wanted to associate with Andrea Sachs.

Before Miranda realized it, she was gripping the arms of her chair too tightly to go unnoticed. She was furious again and blindly so. Stephen had touched her. He’d touched Andrea; put his hands and lips on her beautiful body. He’d tried to take what Miranda wanted and she was not only furious, but sick with jealousy. She was foolishly in love and wanted Andrea all to herself.

She’d just been putting off admitting it out loud.

Instead of opening her mouth, Miranda had been tightlipped, keeping herself as emotionally distant as possible. Or trying. She’d practically forced Andrea to come on this Paris trip, hadn’t she? So much for distance. But even if she’d not made that little move, there were still plenty of examples of failure on Miranda’s part.

Those trips in the elevator, those long looks in the morning, those extra seconds here and there it should not have taken for Miranda to give out her orders. They were all tiny failures, tiny moments of Miranda praying to God that Andrea wouldn’t notice.

“You’re going to break the chair,” Andrea said softly, looking at Miranda with caution, no doubt afraid for speaking in such a feeble yet bold way. Miranda let go of the chair and felt the blood rush back into her fingers. “I’m sorry…for everything.” Andrea ended her needless apology by looking down at the carpet.

“Andrea, I want to make it very clear to you,” Miranda said, hoping she sounded sincere, but not too harsh. “You have nothing to apologize for. I shouldn’t have sent you to pick him up. I know what kind of man he is.” Since Andrea was still looking at the carpet, Miranda reached out with the tip of her finger and lifted Andrea’s chin. Tears formed once again and she nearly forgot how to speak. “I should not have placed you in such a position and this will be made right,” Miranda managed to say. “I can promise you that.”

Andrea shook her head and pulled back from Miranda’s touch. “You don’t have to do anything. Or worry about anything…you know. Like that. I would never say…and besides, I’m qui—“

“That is out of the question.”

The words came from Miranda’s mouth before she had time to realize she knew better. There was no reason for her to say that. Granted, this was the worst week imaginable for such a thing to happen, but really, Miranda could not force someone to stay on Runway’s payroll. Miranda could not force Andrea to stick around and listen to unspoken words, either. 

Rage due to Miranda’s refusal to accept her informal resignation was the last thing she saw on Andrea’s face. In a way, it matched the feelings inside Miranda she could not show, perfectly. Andrea looked like her heart was breaking when she should have been angry at Miranda’s attempt to stop her.

Blind from a loss Miranda had not truly experienced yet, and confusion instead of fury, she missed Andrea standing and moving to the open window where rain gently fell.


Why was Miranda bothering to stop her? It would be so much better the other way around. With Andy out of picture, Miranda could just deal with Stephen and not have to worry constantly that she would fuck something up. Or that Stephen would try again. At least with Andy.

He wasn’t faithful to her. Miranda had made it clear that she was aware. Yet, she kept Stephen around so it was okay, right? And who knows, maybe Miranda was screwing around on him, too. Maybe Miranda was just as awful. There was no way in hell Andy had room to judge.

“You really don’t have a say in this, Miranda.” Andy curled her arms tight against her body. It was cold, alright, but the rain made it feel even more so. If she were smart, she’d close the window.

For a moment there was silence and when Andy finally turned around, she realized Miranda wasn’t there. She’d gone…but before Andy’s heart had time to drop to the floor, Miranda came back into the room with a file in her hand.

“We’ll need to change the seating arrangement,” Miranda said, holding out the file. “For the banquet tomorrow afternoon. You left the chart in my room when…before.”

Oh, right. The banquet. But she’d just quit, hadn’t she?

Rubbing her face with hands, Andy mumbled, “Miranda, I quit.”

“I cannot be bothered with your ill-advised choices, Andrea.” Miranda sat down on Andy’s bed and held the file out again. “There’s too much work to do. This is a very important week, and besides…Stephen was never going to this. The chart would have needed to be changed regardless. And you still have not told me what he did to you.”

It was the look on her face that made Andy give in. She’d never seen Miranda with that look before and didn’t know what to do about it. It was something between pissed off and…well, Andy had no idea but she certainly seemed frazzled.

And what was this about ‘Stephen was never going to this’? Then why in the hell did he pour himself into and out of a plane to begin with? Why not just let him stay at home in New York?

Why in the hell did Andy care?

All this left her a little unbalanced, but Andy managed to comply, kicking her shoes off as she went. She’d give Miranda enough time to feel as fantastic as possible about the stupid seating chart and then she was leaving.

“Fine. Fine, Miranda.” Andy plopped down on the side of the bed. “I’m still leaving but if it will make you happy, I’ll fix the seating chart.”

“It would very much. Thank you. But you aren’t leaving.”

From then on, Andy refused to look at her. What in the hell was she playing at? Thank you? She told Miranda her husband had a broken nose and had been left out on the wet streets of Paris, and she wanted to talk about seating charts and say weird stuff like ‘thank you’? None of this made any sense. Not to mention, she was still on this kick about making Andy stick around.

“So you’ve said,” Andy huffed and took the file, strangely feeling less and less like an employee as every second ticked by, in spite of what Miranda wanted.

It took about twenty minutes but Andy eventually got Miranda to a pretty happy place so far as the seating chart was concerned. Funny thing was, Miranda had managed to somehow get Andy into a pretty comfortable and far less frantic state of mind in those same twenty minutes. Maybe that had been her plan all along? Just like when she’d sat across from Andy with a glass of water and box of tissues; something had changed then, too.   

That comfortable place didn’t exist for long, though. Toward the end, Miranda changed her mind all over—of course—and Andy had to change everything back around so Snoop Dog could be at her table. It was irritating, yes, but Andy was used to that from Miranda. She was used to unpredictable.

Or that’s what she thought.

Just as Andy began to write in the correct name for what she hoped would be the last time, she felt Miranda’s index finger graze gently against the spot on her neck where Stephen had left his mark.

“Stop.” Andy jerked away and suddenly found herself standing in front of that open window again. Yes, in those twenty minutes she had forgotten about all the things that had happened in the car and even that she’d just quit her job; but Miranda had just touched her. It might as well have been the kiss on the cheek Andy had thought about earlier as being her undoing.

Against Andy’s silent wishes, Miranda stood and came closer. “I apologize,” she said, hands open and out to the side, like she was showing Andy she meant no harm. “I only want you to tell me, Andrea. I will not touch you again.”

In her newly frantic state, Andy went back to the thing she’d tried earlier. “I’m not going to say anything, okay? Press charges…or whatever. You don’t need to worry about—“

“I could care less about what you say or do in regards to him! But you will answer me, Andrea. And you will show me where he touched you!” Miranda shouted at her, looking furious all over again.

“Why does it matter?” Andy shouted back, full of rage all over again. But it was a good question. Why did it matter to Miranda?

At first, she got no answer at all other than Miranda’s pale blue eyes blinking back at her about three hundred times, then the predictable thing happened. She did what Andy knew she was well practiced at.

Miranda Priestly walked away.

Truly displease her or make her uncomfortable beyond a certain degree, and that’s what Miranda did—leave. Andy had seen it and heard all about it ten times more than she cared to. Miranda did not do ‘displeased’ or ‘uncomfortable’. The first, because it was just outright foolish for anybody to think Miranda accepted displeasure in any fashion. The second, because it was just outright foolish for anybody to think Miranda actually had a thick skin when in fact, she did not. 

As Andy watched Miranda close the door behind her—the only thing separating them—she had a sinking feeling she’d somehow committed both sins in her stubbornness. Considering the direct opposite of both words were all Andy really worked toward, tears of rage, due to her own screw up, spilled over.

Taking a boiling hot shower and thoughts of crawling into bed to sleep for the next decade were not what leaving entailed, but besides bursting into Miranda’s room to apologize, that’s all Andy could do. She could not actually leave. If she just took a shower and went to sleep all this might turn out to have been a nightmare. Or, if it turned out to be real, she could apologize in the morning and give Miranda all the right answers; the day would go on as usual.

She wouldn’t quit. She’d stay and Miranda would forgive her. Everything would be fine. 

In the middle of her shower a cold, hard, fact hit her. Just like Miranda didn’t do ‘displeasure’ or ‘uncomfortable’, she didn’t do apologetic either. Yeah, she’d kept Andy around through a handful of blunders and, yes, apologies, but this was different and probably the breaking point. This involved too many emotionally charged issues for such a thing as forgiveness. Andy had gone too far. For the both of them.

The prospect of not ever seeing Miranda again, simply because of all this bullshit that was actually Stephen's fucking fault, put Andy into overdrive. Whether it worked or not, she was going to apologize. Right now.

It was a wonder she was able to rinse all the shampoo out of her hair, but managed and was even able to get it decently towel dried and brushed. The rest of her was too much of a mess to think about actually putting clothes on; the white, terry-cloth, hotel robe was put into service. Knocking before entering was even put aside.

The words Andy heard once she stepped into Miranda’s room, made her wish she’d taken the time to think this through a little better.

Standing by her own open window with her phone clutched firmly in hand, Miranda said, “The only slut in this equation is you, darling. You’re like a leech. A drunken one at that!” Andy froze in the doorway as a few silent beats between words went by. “Oh, don’t give me that crap,” Miranda mindlessly waved a hand in the air. “You thought I didn’t know? Truth is, I’ve known all along and have absolutely no idea why I did this to myself. Putting up with you is a choice I never should have made, Stephen, and I refuse to do it any longer. I’ll forward the divorce papers to you in New York.” There were a few more beats of silence in which Andy spent digging her nails into the door frame to keep herself in place…and then the explanation for all this confusion came out of Miranda’s mouth with surprising ease. “Just how drunk are you? Drunk enough to hear the truth and forget about it by morning, I hope? Because I know I’ve got to. Yes, I wanted the privilege you took for yourself, and hate you for it. As such, I will probably kill you if you come into this hotel, so I wouldn’t try it if you wish to remain above ground and able to breathe! Have a pleasant trip home. God knows you will without my consent.”

Miranda slammed her cellphone down; Andy wouldn’t be surprised if it was broken in two. In fact, she really couldn’t think of much that would surprise her ever again. After this night’s revelations, her life would probably be pretty boring.

While Andy still clung to the doorframe, Miranda—in a childlike tantrum sort of way—stomped over to the couch and practically fell onto it, ruffled her half dried hair into an absolute mess, then promptly threw a legal sized envelope across the room. And yes, there were tears. Like any child throwing a fit, tears accompanied her obvious fury, soaking right into her skin as they fell. Even from far away, Andy could see the redness and irritation. Miranda had probably been crying since she’d stepped out of Andy’s room.

Not that it was really a good thing, but at least they were in the same predicament. Both jealous. Both hurt. Both tired of going in the same circle over and over again, easily within reach yet never touching, never falling.

Everything made so much sense. Miranda hadn’t even said her name, but everything made so much damn sense…

With the sudden clarity of a properly functioning Hubble telescope that hadn’t needed a handful of servicing missions after all, Andy finally let go of the stupid doorframe.

The sound of Miranda’s breath catching in her throat was unmistakable as she strolled over to the corner where the envelope had landed. Picking it up, Andy went to Miranda and dropped it onto the coffee table. Even though it was relatively thin, it landed like it weighed a ton and Andy figured it should. Pages and pages loaded down with resentment, misused time, and a hell of a lot of pain, are always a hefty burden. 

This time, Andy was the one pulling a chair closer with tissues and a glass of ice-cold Pellegrino from the minibar. Miranda hadn’t said a word since Andy made her presence known.

“I’m so sorry, Miranda.” Andy said as she pushed the box of tissues closer. And that was the truth. Even though she was elated at where this could possibly go, now that she knew Stephen was officially out of the way, Andy did hate this for Miranda. No matter the reasons, divorce sucked. Especially when you were famous. Especially when you had children. Especially when this was your second go ‘round; meaning Miranda had likely counted on this working. Then again, who didn’t count on their marriage working out?

Miranda, of course, shook her head at Andy like she was a fool, but did at least take the tissues and water without argument. After a sip of water, Miranda, with plenty of sarcasm in her voice, said, “What on earth for? Neither of us is in control of his actions. I’m unsure of why I ever thought differently. At least the girls are willing to forgive my foolishness.”

“They know? About the…”

“Yes,” Miranda nodded and got busy wiping away the last evidence of tears. “I discussed it with them before leaving. I owed them that much, I think. They will not appreciate the media attention, of course. One of these days Rupert Murdoch will have to cut me a check.”

Andy rolled her eyes and bit her tongue. If Miranda thought dear Rupert owed her money now, just wait until they were out and living together. None of that was questionable. It would happen. There was nothing to stop them anymore. Andy had never felt more settled. Before long, they’d be having breakfast and reading the paper together every day.

Actually, they’d go on ahead and start that little tradition in a few minutes. Watching Miranda read the paper every morning at her desk was one of Andy’s most favorite things in the world and it had been over a week since she’d gotten to see it.

The way Miranda tugged at her glasses occasionally or bit her lip. The way a little more of her cleavage would show if Miranda was particularly interested in an article and bent closer to the page. The way she would rub her forehead when she couldn’t figure out the answer to a crossword puzzle that nobody was supposed to know Miranda was working on…

“Your mind is very easy to read, Andrea.” Andy’s head jerked up when Miranda spoke. “Especially when you forget who you’re in front of.” Miranda continued, raising an eyebrow. “In front of the Dragon Lady, the Snow Queen…you let your guard down? That’s not very smart.”

The challenge in Miranda’s eyes might as well have been a flashing Las Vegas sign. Andy knew meeting it head-on was the only way to go but first, she’d tackle the image problem. Then she’d order breakfast…and find a newspaper.

“But that’s not who I see when I look at you, Miranda,” she said. “You’re tough to work for…but if you were a man, nobody would dare have anything but praise for what you do, and how you get it done. They’d admire you…you’re admired now. It just comes with other crappy names attached sometimes. But that’s not what I see.”

“For someone with so much supposed ability to tell the difference between reality and perception, you’ve not really clarified your own statement.”

“You don’t have the thick skin of a dragon, Miranda.” Miranda’s eyes nearly disappeared and her lips were just about gone too. Andy wasn’t about to get scared, though. “You’re vulnerable. You have feelings that can be hurt. And you’re not a Snow Queen. Your coffee is too hot for that and there’s too much warmth in your eyes when you forget to hide it. When you forget who you’re in front of, you let your guard down. Like right now.”

“Is that what you think this is?” Miranda asked, motioning to her face then the discarded tissues on the couch.

“That’s what it always is…when you’re in front of me.”

“Darling.” Miranda leaned a little closer. “When I am in front of you, I am only myself. Vulnerable to the core. It’s an ugly thing and impossible to hide from you. But at least I realize it. I suppose that’s something.”

“It’s everything,” Andy leaned a little closer. “And Miranda, you’ve never looked more beautiful to me than you do right now.”


Well, it seemed being emotionally distant had just come to an end and obviously, Miranda wasn’t as good at it as she thought. She was an unpublished but well-read manuscript. Hiding had only been wishful thinking.

But now what? The imaginary boundary between them was forever gone and Stephen was well on his way to being out of her way completely, leaving all the room in the world for Andrea…and she knew that too, looking more and more in love now that Miranda was really paying attention.

With that thought, Miranda took off her wedding ring and put it in the envelope Andrea had dropped back on the coffee table.

“Feel better?” Andrea asked with a smile.

Miranda nodded. There really wasn’t much else to say about it. As if she agreed, Andrea didn’t say a word more on the subject, either.

The future looked brighter and brighter the longer they stared at one another.

Like it was planned all along, they ordered room service. Well, Andrea ordered room service. She made all the choices; Miranda ended up with steak and eggs and a pile of toast: three things she had not had in a week. They ate silently. Miranda skimmed through a day old copy of a newspaper in between bites of food, passing the sections across the small table as she finished them. Once she reached the travel section—which she did not read, but Andrea found it enthralling—that’s when it hit her: discussing a future that seemed so bright, was probably never going to happen.

If they could be this content, so soon, then simply living the future would be enough. Why waste time discussing when you could do so many other things?

And she was right.

“You should do a shoot in Argentina soon.” Andrea practically shoved the travel section back in Miranda’s face. “Like really soon.”

One look at the picture Andrea pointed to and Miranda went over to the coffee table in search of her cellphone. She hadn’t even kissed Andrea yet, or told her how much she loved her, but if the woman wanted to go all the way to Argentina to spend half a week shopping in some old but enormous theater that had been turned into bookstore—then Miranda would burn in hell before she denied Andrea such a thing. She would make it happen.

Or Nigel would make it happen.

He owed her that much after all the trouble she was going to have to go through in finding a new Creative Director once he was gone. Damn him for wanting to ‘expand and grow’.

“I’m on a date,” Nigel said, clearly agitated. “What could you really need at this particular moment?”

On a date? Well, that made two of them. Even though they were eating breakfast for dinner and simultaneously reading a newspaper, this was a date.  It was weird—but a date nonetheless.

“Get over yourself. I want you to start thinking about Argentina.”


“For a shoot, Nigel. A photo shoot. You know…pictures. Models. Cameras. Do I need to remind you of how this works? Draw a flow chart for you? You still work for me. Remember? It’s called Runway. It’s this book with a lot of pages and pictures and too many ads.”

“Oh, whatever. I’ll thinking about it. Bye. And stop being so sarcastic and funny. It creeps me out.”

What a spoil sport. Miranda was happier than she’d been in ages and he was raining on her little moment because he was on a date? Ridiculous.

Andrea barely let the call end before she came out of nowhere to grab Miranda’s hand and pull her toward the bedroom. Yes, the bedroom. Apparently, having her wishes granted so easily was something Andrea appreciated very much. Or perhaps it was sharing a newspaper? Come to think of it, every time Miranda passed another section to her, Andrea looked hungrier with each one, yet ate less and less of her food. Yes. It must have been the newspaper.

They didn’t make it halfway there before giving up on walking. Miranda somehow got Andrea on the floor and thinking about Argentina, bookstores and figuring out who Nigel was dating on such a short notice, could wait until later. If she didn’t get busy living her future with Andrea right here on this carpet—in the next two seconds, then she’d probably die.

“I thought we’d go slow.” Andrea gasped as she rolled them over with ease, pressing Miranda’s shoulders into the carpet. “But I can’t. We’re really going to Argentina?”

“I’ll give no objection...I can’t stand anything moving along at a glacial pace. And yes. Argentina. So long as you’re happy. Whatever you want. Whatever…”

“Oh. Well that’s… You’re so… That’s good… Really.”

Andrea’s clumsiness and Miranda’s impatience resulted in a glacial pace regardless. She fumbled with the tie of Miranda’s robe for what seemed like an hour. Miranda made things worse by distracting the woman with one hard, long kiss after another, pulling Andrea against her tighter and tighter with each one. There really were things in the world that were just as easy as breathing. Kissing Andrea Sachs was one of them. They fit together perfectly, like they were made for one another.

Finally, Andrea grew as impatient as Miranda, giving up on the robe with a pout. “Help me.” she whined, sitting up between Miranda’s legs to give her room. “Please, Miranda. I need you.”

Miranda managed to get her robe untied, but just barely. Andrea was incredibly beautiful, wrestling with her own robe, revealing a body Miranda had been dreaming about for months. More impatient than ever, she tore her arms out of her robe then finished freeing Andrea from hers.

When Andrea practically fell down on top of Miranda, they both sighed.


So, Nigel was on a date with Christian Thompson. They found out before dawn had the time to make its official appearance. Honestly, it was like an episode of The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon, standing at Penny’s door at the oddest times, knocking incessantly.

Knock, knock, knock, “Penny.” Over and over and over until she’d come to the door.

Well, that’s about how this sounded. Three knocks, then, “Miranda,” over and over again until Andy was just about in tears. The last thing she wanted was to be dragged from Miranda’s arms just so she could go answer the door, but Gawd. Why couldn’t he have just called? On the phone. Miranda’s cell phone. A number he knew by heart, no matter how drunk he was!

Oh. Damn it…

Untangling themselves—to only get tangled up again in bed—was interrupted only once by Miranda’s ringing cellphone. Not about to let that get in their way, Andy grabbed it to turn it off, only to have Miranda beat her to it…in a way. Her version involved dropping it into a vase of nearby flowers as she pushed Andy toward the bed, instead of simply pressing a button.

Moments later, after Andy begged and pleaded enough, Miranda kneeled above her, straddling her face, and it was clear that phones in general were always going to be irrelevant—regardless of if they were on, off or floating in an Olympic sized swimming pool. And dear, God, Miranda seemed to really, really enjoy doing a whole lot of things Andy begged her to do.

But yeah, Nigel woke them up, yelling and banging on the door.

Miranda—after Andy finally started threatening to dress her up as Penny for Halloween next year—put on her robe and marched out of the bedroom. Andy prayed for Nigel’s soul and snuggled back under the covers, giggling about the fact that Miranda actually knew who Sheldon and Penny were.

That didn’t last long.

Like a teenager with the biggest and most unbelievable secret to tell, Miranda bounced back into the bedroom not ten minutes later, jarring Andy awake.

“You’re not going to believe this!” Miranda squealed. Yes, squealed. Andy, completely confused, sat up in the bed and tried to focus. She’d never been more tired in her life. And turned on…

“What won’t I believe?” Andy yawned and stretched. “That I wanna sleep for ten more hours? Or that I want you all over me again?”

Miranda rubbed her forehead, looking distressed, like she couldn’t quite make up her mind about anything at all. Like, ‘should I indulge, or should I deal with…whoever is in the living room?’ It was cute to watch the debate in Miranda’s eyes, but then she snapped out of it, quickly ensuring the day definitely would not be boring.

 In the middle of ruffling her hair and rubbing her forehead some more, Miranda said, “Christian Thompson. Nigel. On a date. Last night. And he’s in love…”

Disbelief. Serious, hardcore, disbelief. The kind of disbelief Andy was sure she’d never feel again.


Falling in love with Christian Thompson.

No, she wasn’t about to let him fall in love with such a brat-faced, pretty-boy. Sure she knew Christian was bisexual. Everybody knew—even though it was treated like some big secret—and everybody knew not to take Christian’s charm and attention at a face-value, either. Or they should.

“No!” Andy shoved the covers away, deciding that NO this was not going to happen on her watch. Christian Thompson couldn’t possibly fall in love with somebody in one night, much less one decade. “Over my dead body. Nigel is so not falling for that. Christian’s a total slut. I mean, come on!”

“Come on, what?” Miranda asked.

Andy froze. She’d been trying to put on another terry-clothed robe found in Miranda’s bathroom. But really, what was she supposed to say? That Christian had eaten her up with his eyes on more than one occasion? Wasn’t it bad enough that Miranda already wanted to kill Stephen?

“Answer me, Andrea.”

Andy took a deep breath, quickly deciding from the look on Miranda’s face that lying wouldn’t do anything but more harm. “He’s got eyes. I’m not bad looking. Am I?”

“That bastard.” Miranda put her hands on her hips and gave Andy a ‘once-over’ like she every day. “At least he has good taste. But with Nigel… This sounds quite—“

“Right,” Andy interrupted her. “I know. I’ll fix it.”

Andy ran her hands through her hair a couple of times then charged for the door to go and fix the situation before Miranda could even think of anything else to say. Or maybe she did say something and Andy missed it? Oh, well. Andy figured it didn’t matter and once she saw Nigel sitting on the couch in yesterday’s clothes—it was on.

“Nigel, Nigel, Nigel. My dear, sweet Nigel.” Andy went right over and stood in front of him. His eyes, of course, about fell out of his skull when he saw her. Not that she cared. “What the hell are you thinking?” She said, throwing up her hands. Miranda—Andy noted in the back of her head—stood on the opposite side of the room. “Christian Thompson? Are you crazy? How much have you had to drink?”

Covering his eyes, Nigel begged, “Please stop screaming at me. I have a headache. And not much, actually.”

Like she had all the right in the world, Andy said, “I’ll scream if I want! You’re about to pretty much ruin yourself. Christian is nothing but a sl—“

Nigel stood up and pointed a finger. “Don’t!” He yelled. “Don’t call him that. It’s just a stupid act. And you’re one to talk.”

“Okay!” Miranda came into the picture, finally. “Enough. She’s not a slut. Though I’ve had to do so twice in about a twelve hour period…or less.”

Hey, nobody asked you to defend my honor.” Andy sarcastically pointed out.

For a moment, Nigel might as well have not even been in the room. “Like I wouldn’t. Like I could help it. I’ll kill him. I’ll kill that stupid little barista that brings you coffee once a week as a ‘surprise’. Surprise my ass! That girl is a slut. And I’ll kill Kirk, in the…whatever…”

“Accounting department,” Andy reminded her, soaking up all this information. So Miranda was jealous. Of everybody. That was kinda hot, actually. And then, just to get her really going, Andy said, “He got me flowers for my birthday.” She smiled. “He’s the sweetest guy.”

Miranda growled. Yes, growled. “And he’ll be dead the moment I step back into the building. Every time someone looks at you I think about committing a crime.”

“Can you two SHUT UP for a minute. PLEASE!”

Oh… Right. Nigel. And Christian Thompson.

“I’m sorry,” Miranda said, shaking her head, taking five good steps away from them both. “I apologize. You are here in a time of…need or something. I apologize.”

Part of Andy died as she apologized too. Miranda was jealous. Of everybody. And that deserved praise. Praise that could only happen if Nigel wasn’t in the room.

“So, anyway…” Nigel tried to start again, sitting back down on the couch. “We’ve been talking. For a while. And then we went out last night…and—“

Andy interrupted him here before she could get an image in her head that would never come out. “We get it, Nigel. We get it.”

“No,” Nigel pointed at her again. “You don’t ‘get’ anything, Six.”

“Well, why don’t you enlighten us, dear.” Miranda said in a voice dripping with equal parts ‘this is gross’ and ‘this is hilarious’.

“Miranda,” Nigel sighed and…holy crap, he had tears in his eyes. “This is serious.”

Andy’s heart dropped. She’d never seen Nigel care about anything so much that a tear was worth releasing. And now this.

Miranda looked at her and Andy nodded. She wasn’t really sure what she was nodding to, but Miranda nodded her head in return then sat down beside Nigel. Andy sat down in her ‘customary’ chair and all the sudden everything was, yes, quite serious.

“We want to be together,” Nigel said slowly, looking at the coffee table.

Okay.” Miranda said just as slowly, giving Andy a look of worry. Obviously she’d never seen Nigel like this either.

“He feels the same way.”

“Well, that’s good.” Miranda again nodded at Andy for whatever reason. “But you seem upset.”

“I am. We are. This is truly awful… But I have to… Oh, God.” He stopped then and bent over, face nearly down on his knees.

“Go on, Nigel. Just say whatever it is. You know I cannot stand a gla—“

“Jacqueline went to him two days ago…”

Andy went numb inside.

Miranda went absolutely chalk white.

Jacqueline was her sworn enemy and Christian wasn’t only known for his charm. He was known for wheeling and dealing his way through his career.

“And she offered him a job. At Runway—“

Andy didn’t hear the rest of it. Well, her brain comprehended that Jacqueline had offered Christian a job running the editorial content of a cheaper version of Runway. The words faded in and out, though as one thing became clear: Miranda was about to be canned.

She was about to lose her heart and soul. The very thing that made Miranda whole. The one thing Miranda loved and cared for more than her children.  She was about to lose it.

Finally, when Andy came back around to reality, Miranda was pacing and Nigel was saying something about some grand plan involving a list.

“Wait, wait.” Andy butted in as she stood, going over to Miranda, who looked like she was about to faint. “Come sit down, Miranda.” Andy put her arms around her. “Please, sit down, honey. You have to breathe.”

Miranda never made a move to do so. Andy took her by the shoulders and piloted her toward the couch, shoeing Nigel  away to sit in her chair so she could be with Miranda.

Nigel spoke directly to Andy once they were all situated. “We have a plan,” he said, looking almost excited instead of sick with worry like he’d been a few minutes ago.  

“So you’ve said,” Andy gave him a hard look as she held Miranda’s hand, still not ready to believe in anything good coming from an involvement with Christian. No matter if this sounded like it might save Miranda, Andy would be hard-pressed to accept it.  Either way, she wasn’t going to let go of Miranda, who would probably bolt in the next five minutes. It was written all over her. Predictable wasn’t that far away.

Miranda would run.

And Andy would go after her.


So the rumors were true.

Miranda had heard, through one source she actually trusted—that Irv had met a few times with Jacqueline over the past month or so. A feeling of impending doom had been creeping up on her ever since. And here it was; her doom. Her entire life was about to crumble. Of course, Miranda would always have her girls but this… This was a life of a different sort. This was her dream. A dream she held onto with both hands so fiercely. And Irv was about to take it away from her when she was not prepared.  

He must have some assurances from the Board, otherwise such a move wouldn’t be allowed. It’s not like he could make this happen without them. They’d all betrayed her. She’d taken the magazine and raised it from a watery grave. Yet, she faced death for doing the very thing asked of her. All they’d said, so long ago, was, “Put this thing back on the map, Miranda. Make it shine.” That’s all they’d said, and she’d done so for twenty years.

For twenty solid years she’d given everything up for Runway. Well, nearly. True, she’d gained a lot in the venture but she’d lost so much, too.

And her plan… What of that? While Andrea slept in her arms, Miranda had stayed awake, staring at a dark ceiling, making a map in her head that would guide her through the next five years. In five years she’d step down. The girls would be sixteen, needing her more than ever. And they were going to travel. She was going to take Andrea any and everywhere she wanted to go. Runway would be in the past. She would bask in the warmth of watching her children become adults with the whole world in front of them. She was going to watch every single one of Andrea’s dreams come true…

But in five years.

Not today.

Not yet.

The words, “making a list”, caught up with Miranda and somehow she was able to focus on the conversation.

“We stayed up all night, practically,” Nigel pulled a paper from his pocket. “Our cellphones are nearly burnt up, but we kept at it until we got everyone we could think of, Andy. Everyone.”

Everyone? Who is everyone?

“What are you talking about,” Miranda said, reaching out to take the list, or wanting to and failing. For some reason her arms would not work.

“A list, Miranda.” Nigel handed it to her but she couldn’t hold it. Her hands wouldn’t work either. Giving it to Andrea instead, Nigel began again. “Every designer. Every photographer. Every model. Everyone, Miranda. They’re with you. And only you.”

Miranda didn’t have to say that she didn’t understand. Andrea did it for her.

“I don’t understand. How is this supposed to help her, Nigel? If Irv wants this—and obviously he does—then it’s happening.”

“No, no,” Nigel pleaded while Miranda felt herself turning inward. Even Andrea didn’t have faith. “It will work because every single one of these people will walk. They’ll walk away and follow Miranda wherever she goes. Nobody is willing to give up the reason they’ve all got jobs in the first place. Nobody is that suicidal.”

“You think this will work because…?”

“Andy, Elias-Clarke can’t afford anything without Miranda. Runway practically pays the bills for every other magazine the company has. Without her, they lose their shirts. They lose everything.”

Lose their shirts? While she lost everything else? God… Lose their shirts?

“Get out.”

The voices that had been buzzing around her went silent.

“I said get out.” Miranda looked at Nigel and felt nothing. Absolutely nothing. “Get out of my sight.” And then she looked at Andrea…and felt nothing but pain. “You as well,” Miranda said. “Both of you. Right now. Get out.”

Somehow Miranda got to her feet. Both of them tried to stop her, plead with her, reason with her…but it was too late. This was not a situation Miranda wanted or needed to experience. There was no need. Why? There were other things to do. Other places to be. Places that were not this painful. If she was about to lose everything, she’d be damned if she did it with witnesses standing around, watching her fall.

No witnesses.


She’d never allowed it before. In all the things she truly failed at. No witnesses… Miranda always left before that could happen. Why should this be any different? Why should she break apart in front of people? She never had before. Why should this be any different? Why should this…

She was better at it than her father.

Better at it than her husbands.

Better at it than her mother.

Stand up? Fight? Hang on until the bitter end? No. Miranda just walked the fuck out. Mentally. Physically. She could disappear better than anybody she knew. Nobody left Miranda. Miranda did the leaving and just made you think you’d come to the decision and done the walking. She was just that good. This was just taking a few more minutes than usual. That’s all. Any second now, Runway would be in the past. Now. Instead of in five years. Any second now, it would be fine. Absolutely fine.

Being ‘absolutely fine’, turned into Miranda being on her knees in the shower.

She locked herself in the bathroom. Vomited twice through Andrea banging on the door. Brushed her teeth, counting the seconds away. Then counted more seconds away on her knees, while waiting on ‘absolutely fine’ to arrive.

The irony of Andrea picking the lock wasn’t lost on her. Hadn’t she said this most precious and beautiful woman could do anything? Damn her for being so efficient. Damn her for sticking around when Miranda was trying her hardest to disappear. Damn her for coming into the shower. There was a witness now. A witness, holding on, fighting back against the words coming out of Miranda’s mouth. Whatever they were. Miranda didn’t know. And she was stubborn, too. No matter what Miranda said, Andrea just kept right on being a witness to what she did not need to see.

How unfair. How incredibly unfair.  Nothing had ever been so unfair. Nothing.

“You can’t run from me, Miranda,” Andrea said, pulling Miranda to her feet. “Don’t you get it? I love you. I love you… You can’t leave me.”

Well, it was too late. Even though Miranda was in bed, in Andrea’s arms, it was too late. She would not be present for this betrayal. She would not fall asleep, either, listening to the hope and certainty in Andrea’s voice.

“Everything will be alright, Miranda…”  

Irv would be brought down. A list of one hundred names—including some that had never needed her—were busy fighting the Board. Advertisers were only a breath away from pulling their money. Nigel was staying with Runway in order for a trade to be made. He was going to give up his dream so that Miranda could keep hers.

She definitely wouldn't fall asleep knowing it had all started with Christian Thompson and that the next five years would be owed to him.  

No, Miranda would not fall asleep in the arms of Andrea Sachs…

But that’s what happened anyway.