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April

2020 probably changes Miranda in more ways than she will ever willingly admit. Overall, it is a terrible year. It brought on loneliness and isolation, not to mention many people coming face to face with hardship and death. But it also changes her fundamentally, in ways that are both good and bad. She is privileged enough for most of her self-reflection to be positive, but ever aware of how the pandemic affects those around her.

The first thing 2020 forces Miranda to do is plan. Back in the beginning of February before this strange virus had crossed the line into a worldwide pandemic, she made plans of course, because that’s what she’s always done. Runway will always be its truest form in print, but luckily years ago they had the foresight to go digital as well. The Runway app has been in full force, and has plenty of long-time subscribers. But after a while the growth of it began to plateau, not that she minded, because it continued to sell at newsstands.

But in March, the country comes screeching to a halt. The printers begin to strictly limit volume, reserving their limited staff for printing newspapers and essential documents. The board of directors sends all employees in the Elias Clark building home to quarantine for a few months, as she expects. Daily, sometimes hourly Starbucks deliveries, lavish banquets, hundred-person photo shoots become somewhat of a distant memory.

In her personal life, her daughters are sent home from school one day with instructions to return in a month once everyone has properly quarantined. After all, the craziness of this virus is sure to be over by then and life should have returned to normal in a month or two. As the days pass, the stay-at-home orders stretch on as Caroline and Cassidy start to realize that their time in high school may have ended for good. They are as well-natured about the situation as they can be, but Miranda can tell they are pretty upset. Still, she chooses to help them look ahead and promises to throw them a huge bash right before they jet off to Yale for their freshman year of college.

The news of a cancelled in-person graduation ceremony comes in a surprisingly brief email on an April morning. The ceremony, like everything else these days is to be held virtually, each student has an allotted time slot in the school auditorium for socially-distanced diploma photos. The twins both cannot think of a more anti-climatic way to finish out their school days but just this once are choosing not to complain. Much.

It is not until then, when her daughter’s high school graduation is cancelled and headlines are filled with grim hospital horror stories that Miranda considers the fact that Runway could be undergoing some permanent changes as well. Aware of the importance of a digital presence, she seeks out the fastest growing tech companies, web and app developers, and social media content strategists to ensure that her publication is not among the list of companies that do not make it to 2021. She did not work her whole life to get where she is, only to lose it all in a year full of unforeseen circumstances.

In a bout of nostalgia, she calls on the only person and friend whose judgement she trusts in the industry. Nigel. It can’t help to have a second opinion. At this point it has been years since he’s worked at Runway and she would love to hear his voice. She bypasses his office number and assistants, selecting his personal cell number in her contacts.

The phone rings three times before Nigel’s surprised voice picks up. "Miranda! It’s lovely to hear from you."

"Is it?” She cracks, as she always does.

"Of course,” he says back easily, not taking the bait. “It’s been too long. How are things?”

“I cannot complain, all things considered," she replies.

“Well that’s good to hear. Are you losing your mind working from home?” Nigel asks. His memories of Miranda happily holding court in the Runway offices are not distant. He knows she considers the Manhattan building her second home.

“We’re all finding ways to keep busy,” Miranda sighs. “However my children have rediscovered nerf guns and I’ve learned to make Beef bourguignon. Do with that what you will."

“Wow." His eyebrows raise at the news. “So you’re bored out of your mind, is what you’re saying.”

"Indeed. How are you holding up, Nigel?"

“If I’m being honest I would kill for a little human interaction. You know I’ve always been a social butterfly."

"I remember," Miranda says fondly. "Perhaps the downtime will give you a chance to plan one of your dinner parties."

“If I send you an invite, do you promise not to leave after 15 minutes?” Nigel jokes.

Miranda can’t help but chuckle, "For you, I’ll make an exception.”

After a break in the conversation Nigel finally broaches the subject. "Not that I’m unhappy to hear from you, I’m delighted actually,” he begins, “But I can tell something’s up. How can I help?"

Miranda pauses momentarily, caught off guard that he reads her so well even in the midst of seemingly casual conversation.

"I would love your input on a few things,” she says, considering her words carefully. “Runway’s digital presence leaves a bit to be desired. We have the app as well as a strong online presence but it could always be stronger. What are your thoughts? You know I’ve always trusted your opinion.”

“I know you have files on hand. Why don’t you email them over while we chat. I can’t promise to tell you anything you don’t already know, but I’d be happy to take a look.”

Miranda clicks send on an email she’d already drafted. She decides to be grateful that Nigel knows her well. He reviews the content while she gives him a little more context. Most of his input is similar to those of her current content team. She is comforted that his own suggestions mirror her own.

“Thank you,” she says earnestly, as their hour-long conversation draws to a close.

“Of course.” Nigel says, "Don’t be a stranger.”

So Miranda hunkers down and adapts with the times. Unlike a few of her friends who refuse to get social media or keep up with the latest technology, Miranda knows that to stay afloat she must stay relevant. It helps that her daughters live with her and absolutely have to follow the latest trends.

Although, Miranda muses, she would be content with knowing less about TikTok dances and Riverdale, her daughter’s two new obsessions. She watches Caroline press record on her phone and move next to Cassidy to do a set of synchronized dance moves. The choreography is a little more suggestive than she would prefer, but long ago she learned to pick her battles. She turns back to her computer that sits on the kitchen counter as she prepares breakfast in the background.

“Girls,” she raises her voice slightly over the audio of Caroline’s phone, “Breakfast is ready.”

“In a minute!” Cassidy yells back, annoyed that they now have to film another take.

“If you’d like a cold omelette and avocado toast, that is your choice,” Miranda replies.

She sits down at the breakfast table next to her meal.




May

The second thing 2020 teaches Miranda is to slow down. Time in the age of COVID-19 becomes relative. It somehow seems to both lag and speed by as New York City shuts down then begins tentatively re-opening. Miranda is discomforted when after many weeks of quarantine, her sanctuary of a home starts to feel more like a prison. The monotony of doing the exact same thing day after day begins to wear on her spirit.

Coffee brewed at home does not have the same appeal as a fresh, scalding Starbucks latte. Her threatening glare at incompetent employees loses its edge over Zoom. Not to mention, planning her daily outfit was a ritual she enjoyed most of all, and even that (from the waist down) has become a waste of her time.

Loneliness is a foreign concept to Miranda, who just a few months ago could hardly stand to be in an elevator with another person. But before quarantine she was constantly surrounded by people- designers, staff, models, board members; she itched for a moment alone. These days her “bubble” consists of her daughters, her two assistants, and occasionally a wayward delivery person.

Miranda feels unsettled to sit in her home office day after day, wishing simply to feel someone nearby. Luckily the feeling usually passes after a while, especially with her newfound realization that there is a podcast for everything she can imagine, and a Spotify playlist for every possible mood.

Miranda has been blessed since an early age with the endless capacity to multitask. Until now she was grateful for it, but in this strange type of isolation it feels more like a curse. Keeping her body busy is far less of a problem once she discovers yoga and Pilates on Hulu. Not to mention her twice weekly video chats with her personal trainer. But keeping her mind busy has proven to be far more difficult.

In time that used to be filled with dinner meetings, late evening showings with designers, and spending time with her girls she now spends time sketching out designs that come to mind. Sometimes they land in the margins of her notebooks as she watches television with the children, and other times she keeps them in her sketchbook.

Eventually, some of her sketched designs turn into actual sewing patterns, to Miranda’s own surprise. A few days ago she went as far as to dig her sewing machine out of the attic to see if any of her ideas were worth cobbling together. The machine is a little dusty, but she remembers paying a pretty penny for it and it seems to be in working order after a little maintenance.

In search of a little mental stimulation Miranda opens up her Spotify while setting up her dressform, her eyes barely leaving the mannequin. She chooses an NPR current events podcast hoping to keep her mind engaged while deciding which piece to begin.

The first episode she listens to intends to interview two guests. The first is a woman who tells the entertaining tale of deciding to immigrate from Canada to the United States at the end of 2019. Miranda can’t help but chuckle at some of her stories and decides to keep listening as the second guest makes an appearance. The host begins his second introduction, “And next we have the amazingly talented writer Andy Sachs, here to answer a few questions about her recent project called Picture of Activism.”

The name stops Miranda short, calling to mind a young brunette who waltzed confidently into her office so many years ago. It has been ages since Miranda has thought of her. She remembers watching a fashion disaster with bushy eyebrows transform into an elegant assistant who seemed right at home in Runway’s glass walls. Surely it can’t be the same person.

It is. Andrea’s voice hasn’t changed in the many years they have been apart. “Hi Rob,” she says. Miranda can practically hear the earnest smile in her voice. “Thanks for having me.”

“Thank you for taking the time to join us. From what I see on your Instagram you’ve been pretty busy.”

“I take it you’ve seen my recent house plant collection,” Andy jokes.

“That and the virtual showcase you put together for all those high school seniors in performing arts.”

“Weren’t they amazing? I just kept thinking about how much it would suck to work so hard and not get to show it off or audition for college programs.”

“Well the event was certainly a success. The instagram live session had thousands of viewers.”

“Thank you,” she says modestly, “Those kids are the ones who are crazy talented. All I did was give them a chance. Hopefully college isn’t virtual forever, you know?”

“Aren’t you a dear.”

“You flatter me,” she replies easily.

Miranda whips her phone out of her pocket as Andrea speaks, typing “Andy Sachs” into Google and reading through a few results. Andrea mentions her newest project, a photo-illustrated series about the protests making their way across America. It was originally published in the New York Times but has since expanded into an upcoming series. The coffee table book will hold dozens of photos and articles from herself and others. Miranda is shocked to only be hearing of it now.

Andrea sounds so mature and accomplished. She can hardly compare this woman with the girl she remembers lecturing a few times in her office. To say nothing of the way she stormed out of her job in Paris. What’s more is that Miranda is actually impressed. She clicks “Buy Now” beneath the book on the Times website and selects expedited shipping.

Rob and Andrea talk, covering a few details of her recent project and future endeavors. After a few minutes the interview winds down.

“Let’s move on to something lighter to end the show,” Rob says switching gears.

“Fine by me.”

“Tell me about your first job.”

Andy laughs. “My first job ever, or in NYC?”

“Hmm, both! Why not?”

“My first job ever was selling hot dogs at my brother’s baseball games. I worked the concession stand.”

“Amazing,” he chuckles. “I would kill for one of those little boxes of caramel corn right about now.”

“Right? My first job in New York might surprise you actually,” she says coyly.

“Really? Lay it on me.”

“I actually worked at Runway for a while. When I first got into the city. I was a personal assistant to Miranda Priestly.”

Miranda nearly drops the pincushion resting in her hand. This is the last place she expected her name to pop up.

Rob gasps comically. “Oh really? Somehow I can’t picture that.”

“It’s probably for the best. I was a walking disaster there at first. For some reason I wore a lot of beige. Fun fact, it was not my color. As I was told. Repeatedly.”

Rob laughs. “And then?”

Andy smiles ruefully, “And then I got my ass handed to me.”

He laughs. “I’ve heard Miranda is quite good at that.”

“Among other things.”

“Oh yeah? Like what?”

“God, almost everything. She’s super intelligent and knows publishing and business like the back of her hand. Not to mention fashion. It’s in her blood.” Andy tries hard not to gush but the words practically fall out of her mouth. She can’t help it. Once she got to know Miranda up close it was hard not to admire her talent and drive. Even if Miranda probably has no memory at all of her tenure at Runway.

“And she can find a way to make even the strangest accessories look appealing on paper, it’s pretty wild.”

“You speak quite highly of her for someone who worked there what, ten years ago?” Rob asks.

Miranda can’t help but agree. She remembers pressing Andrea’s number on her speed dial on a Parisian street corner, only to watch her toss her work phone into a fountain as she walked away for good.

“Something like that, yeah. If not more.”

“Even more surprising!”

“Yeah well, I learned over time that she was usually right about everything. Especially about one thing in particular. She told me this ages ago and I haven’t forgotten it.”

“What’s that?”

“No one can do what she does.”

Miranda plunks down heavily on the tufted stool beside her. What an odd little moment in time. After a beat she finds herself smirking. At least Andrea had the good sense to learn something important while at Runway. Usually Miranda was indeed always right.

The next day, Miranda logs onto Zoom for her weekly department head meeting. She hopes her leadership team has brought fresh ideas this time around. Working from home hasn’t brought out the best productivity in some of her employees. Although the pandemic has put stress on everyone and she tries to keep that in mind.

Luckily, the team is on their best behavior today. Christine, the head of advertising even has samples in hand that look passable. Wonders may never cease.

Miranda moves through the topics quickly, not wanting to take up valuable work time. “The content calendar deadline is in two days. Lou, what are our features for next month?” she asks.

The features editor is one she hired away from Condé Nast a few years ago. Lou has an odd sense of style and wears more leather than Miranda would normally allow, but she does good work. Somehow Lou always seems to have access to the newest accessories and latest news, not to mention she is able to bring featured guests to the magazine that Miranda would have otherwise had to negotiate for. She must have an extensive contact list. Miranda chooses not to ask questions.

Lou clicks un-mute and begins speaking, her faint Australian accent coming clearly through the microphone. “NYT is releasing their updated best sellers in two weeks. An old buddy of mine slipped me an advanced list.”

Miranda strokes her bottom lip with her finger as she considers the information. She doesn’t stop Lou outright, so she takes this as her cue to keep talking.

“I was thinking of scheduling some interview time with a few of the big shots, if we can get ahold of them.”

She considers shooting the idea down, especially if the list turns out to be a fluke. But Lou, in her four year tenure has yet to let her down so she takes a chance.

“Fine. What are our options?”

“There’s Matt McConaughey, he’s been trending a few weeks. His autobiography isn’t half bad. Should draw in a few new female readers,” Miranda nods as she continues, “As well as ‘Picture of Activism’ by Andy Sachs. It’s got a ton of cool photos and it’s wonderfully written. A retrospective on the history of protests and such. It will probably go over well with our intellectual audience.”

For reasons she can’t explain, Miranda feels like most of the air has been sucked out of the room. How odd that after years of not once thinking about Andrea Sachs, her name has come up twice in as many days.

“Very well,” she says softly, thinking of the parallels the interview is sure to draw. After all, she has never been one to shy away from opportunities, much less events coming full circle.

“Jocelyn,” Miranda says moving on, “Have the photos for the Balenciaga spread been completed? From what I was shown they required a great deal of editing.”

Jocelyn, promoted to creative director soon after Nigel’s promotion from Elias Clark, either has a brilliant poker face or has no recollection of Andy Sachs. “Of course, Miranda,” she says, looking only slightly nervous. “Let me go ahead and share my screen.”




June

Andy is looking through an excel spreadsheet when she gets a forwarded call from her assistant that shocks the life out of her. Sometimes she finds it a little hard to believe that she is now a person who even has a need for an assistant. But most days she is too busy being grateful to have Ben, her talented PA fresh out of college, to notice. Luckily they have been able to stay connected via Slack, phone, and email throughout the pandemic.

“Hey Andy,” he says, “I know you wanted some heads-down time to look through those records but I have someone on the other line asking about an interview. You up for it?”

“Sure, send them through,” she agrees. “Thanks Ben.”

“You got it. Switching lines now.”

“Is this Andrea Sachs?” someone says into the phone, sounding somewhat frantic.

“Yes. And who am I speaking with?”

“My name is Eliza. I am assistant to Lou Miller, head of features at Runway magazine.”

“Oh. Uh, hello,” Andy can’t help but stumble, trying to figure out if someone is pranking her. “ What can I do for you?”

“Would you be interested in doing a short interview for the upcoming issue? I know it’s last minute. Usually our features are given a bit more notice.”

Andy nearly drops her glass of tea. She sets it down shakily on the desk beside her, taking a deep breath. “Runway?” she asks in disbelief. “Like the Runway? The fashion magazine?”

“The one and only,” Eliza chuckles. “Although we have definitely branched out over the years. We are far more than fashion these days. Your content would fit right in.”

“I’m sure,” Andy says, taking the bait after a quick LinkedIn search on Lou Miller. The woman in the profile photo has shaggy blonde hair and looks more like a rockstar than an editor but she has a bunch of Runway connections listed. “I could definitely be interested. What are the topics for the interview?”

“We’d love to hear more about the work involving your recent series, as well as a few semi-personal questions. Totally professional of course. We can send them over in advance.”

“Hmm,” Andy says, thinking of all the possibilities. This could turn out to be an unlikely disaster but she is far too curious to turn the offer down. “Sure. I can have my assistant send over a meeting link after he checks my schedule.”

“Great. Thanks so much!”

“No,” Andy replies, “Thank you!”

“There is one other small detail, Ms. Sachs,” Elize hedges.

“Yes?”

“The design department is requesting an updated photo. Miranda took a look at the dust jacket photo sent over by your editor and wants something more modern to fit the current spread. I just hit send on an email with a layout draft. One moment.”

“Miranda Priestly asked for me specifically?” Andy can’t help but make sure. This all feels like a fever dream.

“I believe she referred to you as ‘Andrea’ instead of Andy. But yes.”

“Wow. Give me just a second to take a look.”

“Of course. Do you have anything that would fit the theme? Something candid but professional. I’m afraid the color scheme and such is set in stone. Miranda approved it this morning.”

Andy takes a look at the clean, modern layout. None of her current photos would look seamless, as much as she hates to admit. “Unfortunately I don’t think I do. Is that a huge problem?”

“Not exactly.” Eliza states. “We have a photo shoot scheduled for next week in a renovated warehouse in Tribeca. If you don’t mind stopping by towards the end of it we can take a quick portrait of you then.”

“Sounds great,” Andy says, impressed. “Thank you.”

“Perfect. I will send over an appointment to add to your calendar.”

“Awesome. Works for me.”

“Glad to hear it. Thanks for your time, Ms. Sachs.”

Before Andy can ask this probably overworked assistant to stop calling her “Ms. Sachs,” Eliza hangs up. Apparently not much has changed since she has been gone. She doesn’t remember having the time for too many pleasantries over the phone either.

Just a few minutes later Andy receives an email with the calendar invite, location details, and time. Not to mention COVID testing requirements and preferred quarantine instructions. At least Eliza seems to have her shit together. That’s more than what Andy can say for herself for the first half of her time at Runway. Sometimes she wonders how she even got the job, considering she didn’t bother to Google Miranda Priestly before showing up in her office.

How weird that Miranda approved an interview with an assistant who left her side during the most important week of her year? To say nothing of the recommendation written for her first position at The New York Mirror. Andy did send a sheepish thank-you-slash-appology email after the fact, but of course it went unanswered. The entire incident still makes her cringe. Miranda’s not crazy enough to try and get the best of an old assistant a decade after her crimes, is she?

There’s only one way to find out.


With her negative COVID test in her pocket, Andy climbs the four flights of stairs in the building Eliza listed in her email. If the address wasn’t clear enough, the production team loading photo and makeup equipment into a van on the sidewalk would have clued her in to the correct location. The renovated warehouse has gorgeous architecture. The huge bay windows lining the walls grant tons of natural sunlight that gleams off of wood floors. It’s a photographer’s dream.

At the top of the staircase, she follows the sound of the remaining commotion, hearing a few voices talking in the last room down the hall. Turning into the room, she takes in her surroundings.

In one corner there is a makeup station, travel vanity, sanitized single-use makeup samples, and a can of disinfectant spray. On the other side of the room by the large bay windows there is a styled stool, with a backdrop of plants and knick-knacks. To the untrained and unknowing eye, it could pass for her casual apartment in a photo. She has to admit that the set up will match the layout sent over to her email perfectly.

She looks around the huge room and counts four people: the photographer snapping sample photos, the lighting assistant adjusting flash panels, the makeup artist boredly checking her phone, and Miranda Priestly herself, looking about as smug as humanly possible.

Miranda cannot hide her amusement at catching Andy unawares. Of course she looks stunning, as if the last decade hasn’t touched her at all. She is dressed in all black, as is her signature, making her silver hair stand out in a brilliant contrast. The mask covering her lips sports a pattern of subtle Versace logos. Each Medusa head mocks Andy as Miranda’s sharp blue eyes take her in from head to toe. Just as calculating as ever.

“Hello Andrea.”

Andy tries not to audibly gulp. “Hello, Miranda.” She realizes she has two options: play the cowering, apologetic past assistant, or let Miranda see how much she’s grown and evolved into the bestselling writer she set out to be from the start.

Andy takes her courage in both hands and approaches Miranda, wishing she could see her mouth behind the mask. She doubts Miranda is pursing her lips, especially after all the time that has passed, but one can never be too sure.

“It’s good to see you,” she says, a bit surprised at the calm clarity in her own voice.

“It’s good to see you haven’t gone back to wearing Costco sweaters.” Miranda replies.

Andy laughs. “That was almost a compliment.” Andy has no idea where her boldness is coming from. But then again, if this year has taught her anything it’s to take the bull by the horns while she has the chance.

“Almost.” The snarky reply has no real bite to it.

“As soon as Jenna is finished with your makeup we will be ready to begin.” Andy takes that as her queue to head over to the vanity in the corner. The woman apparently named Jenna has a stylish short cut of hair dyed a flattering purple color. She slathers on a healthy dollop of hand sanitizer all the way to her elbows and gestures to the makeup chair in front of her.

“Ready?” Jenna asks.

“You bet.” Andy removes her mask and sets her small purse on the desk preparing to be beautified. Around fifteen minutes pass while Jenna works her magic, using soft tones to accentuate Andy’s best features. Her eyes seem to sparkle under the subtle peach eyeshadow and the tinted lip gloss accentuates her full lips. Jenna takes the liberty of running a curling iron through a few strands of her hair as well, underscoring the shiny natural waves. Who knew thirty minutes of effort could make Andy Sachs look like a damn Disney princess? She makes sure to thank Jenna for her work before making her way to the portrait set up.

“Hi, I’m Andy.” She sticks out her hand in greeting.

“Jakob Isles,” the photographer responds, “Nice to meet you.”

“How do you want me?” She asks him.

“I’m thinking casual is best. Pretend you’re having a conversation and I’ll take some candids.”

It’s obvious pretty quickly that Andy is in fact, terrible at looking casual while talking to a ghost. Not to mention, she can feel her awkwardness which doesn’t make matters any better. Miranda, almost with a sixth sense steps over to the set-up.

“How are things?” She puts her hands on her hips.

“A little stiff. Do you mind having a quick conversation with Andy here while I grab some shots? I need her to loosen up just a bit.”

“Certainly.” Miranda says, as if this is something she does every day.

Andy tries not to sweat through her blouse.

“I hear you’ve done well for yourself,” Miranda begins.

“Oh really?” Andy’s brows inch up to her forehead. “And where did you hear that?”

Miranda rolls her eyes. “Fine. I read Pictures of Activism. It’s good work.”

“Wow. Thank you. It’s probably my favorite piece I’ve done so far.”

“Really? You wouldn’t say your article on the sustainability of the American lifestyle ranks above it?”

“Oh my God.” Her shock will apparently know no limits today. “You Googled me?”

“Of course I did. I need to make sure anyone featured in Runway has an acceptable background.”

“I’m honored.”

“I’m sure. Jakob, get some shots from the left as well, please.”

“Yes, Miranda.”

“I mean it. I really admire your dedication, Miranda. You’ve created an empire.” Andy continues.

It’s Miranda’s turn to look shocked.

“I used to think it was all just clothes and shoes. But it’s so much more than that.”

“It is.” she agrees.

“So thank you. For the opportunity. Well, the opportunities really. I never would be where I am now if you hadn’t taken a chance on me.”

“Oh I’m sure a humble start at Auto Universe would have been just fine.” Andy can see the smile that reaches Miranda’s eyes. Even with the mask obscuring her mouth Andy can tell that she is pleased.

“You know what I mean.”

“You’re welcome.”

The shoot runs fairly smoothly after that. With those words off her chest, Andy relaxes into the scene. Jakob is efficient and direct, guiding her through the photos with gentle instruction. The sun is just beginning to turn golden as they wrap for the day. Even though it wasn’t exactly torture, Andy is relieved to have the task completed.

Outside on the sidewalk Andy turns towards Miranda. “That was fun,” she says.

“You’d say that wouldn’t you?”

Andy knows better than to thank Miranda yet again before she departs, but she feels grateful to give her Runway experiences some closure without any bloodshed. She has a feeling that if Miranda were in a particular mood today could have ended very differently.

Instead, she goes out on a limb and asks Miranda a question she never in a million years thought she would.

“Do you have another appointment? Right now, I mean.” She checks her watch and sees the time approaching 6PM.

“I was about to head home. Usually around this time I start dinner for the girls.”

“Would you want to grab a drink with me first? No pressure. My friend Gavin is the chef at the Beekman hotel. The rooftop restaurant is pretty amazing actually. I can have him save a spot for me.”

Miranda pauses for a second, considering the option. “I haven’t actually dined out since mid-March. Is it safe?”

“Gavin was a neat-freak way before 2020. I’m sure it’s spotless. If you wanted to walk, it’s just a few blocks west.”

“Alright.” Miranda finally agrees. “Lead the way.”

Andy calls in their reservation as they walk and Miranda has a memory flash back to her of a distant time, in which Andrea made many calls just like this one on her behalf. It shouldn’t feel so nostalgic but it does. Perhaps she is getting soft in her old age. In no time at all they approach the hotel entrance, riding the elevator to the top floor. The patio is surprisingly empty, but after all it is a weeknight.

As they take their seats Miranda is hit by just how much she has missed the simple pleasure of dining and being served. She isn’t stupid - being a “high risk” person due to her age has made her cautious. However nice it feels to get out of the house for something other than work, she promises herself not to make a habit of it.

Miranda orders a vodka martini with a lemon twist and Andy takes a chance on one of the mixed drinks on the cocktail menu. She also puts in an order for a few appetizers that look tasty as well. Miranda doesn’t stop her.

As they wait for the food, conversation comes surprisingly easily. Apparently all of the water under the bridge was great for loosening the tension. The liquid courage doesn’t hurt either.

“How have things been?”Andy asks as Miranda takes a sip. “I see the Runway app is on the top 20 in the App Store. Not that I’m surprised.”

“You’ve been following along?”

“Are you serious? Of course I have. I will have you know I have varied interests.”

“As do I.” Miranda says with a smirk. “That’s one thing COVID has been good for.”

“Do share! Please don’t tell me you have a TikTok though. I don’t know if I can handle it.”

“Of course not.” Miranda waves the notion away with a flick of her wrist. “But I’m sure if you find one of my daughters’ accounts I am somewhere in the background looking exasperated.”

“Oh my god.” Andy laughs.

“Indeed.” Miranda finishes off her martini, ordering a glass of water as the food arrives. She can’t help but admire how nice Andrea’s smile is and how soft her hair looks as the sun gleams off of it. After all, it is her job to appreciate beauty in all its forms. To think this same woman used to be hidden under tragic skirts and bulky sweaters is a bit ironic to say the least.

“What about you? What does Andrea Sachs do when not topping the bestseller lists?”

“Oh gosh,” she sighs. Thinking of hobbies is sometimes difficult when they aren’t right in front of you. “Probably what anyone else does. I tried Chrissy Tiegen’s banana bread recipe when it trended on Twitter. What else? I watch a lot of Youtube. My cooking has gotten exponentially better, too.”

“Once my chef stopped making dinner, mine did too.” Miranda agrees.

“Wow. That must have been an adjustment, to say the least.” Andy remembers running into personal chefs and cleaning staff countless times delivering the book. At one point Miranda had seemed like the busiest woman on the planet, there was no way she had time to cook and clean every night.

“It was for the best, as much as I hate to admit.” Miranda sweeps one lock of hair out of her eye as the wind around them picks up. “At least my daughters have benefited. Apparently I make vegan ramen better than their favorite place down the street.”

“Vegan?” Andy looks scandalized, “Are you telling me Miranda Priestly has given up red meat?”

“Don’t be ridiculous, Andrea,” Miranda says with an eye roll. “I have changed a lot this year, but not that much.”

Andy looks ridiculously relieved. She moves on to asking about Caroline and Cassidy, one of Miranda’s favorite subjects. Andy never minds listening to Miranda speak. She’s pretty notorious for being a little tight-lipped, especially when it comes to small talk. This doesn’t feel like small talk at all actually. It feels more like catching up with an old friend. A beautiful, fascinating friend who can be very charming when she wants to be.

Once the sun begins to set, they decide to leave the patio and make their way home. Miranda has had a surprisingly good time, and tells Andy so as she waits on the sidewalk for her driver. Andy hunts in her pocket for her phone and hand sanitizer preparing to call for a Lyft.

Andy slips a card out of her wallet. “I know you have my work contacts, but these are my personal.” She scribbles a phone number and email on the back of her business card and hands it over to Miranda. “Thank you for the lovely evening.” she smiles. “Send me that ramen recipe when you get the chance. Okay?”

Miranda accepts the card, slipping it discreetly into her clutch. “Alright.”

“Have a good night, Miranda.”

“You as well,” she says, smiling softly as she steps into the back seat of a silver Mercedes.


To Andy’s surprise she receives an email just a few days later with a very involved vegan ramen recipe. Not only is the message from Miranda’s personal email address, but she even includes a phone number. And to her delight, two photos are attached as well. In one photo is a pristine, magazine worthy photo of a bowl of ramen that makes Andy’s mouth water. The second is a hilarious photo of two red headed twin girls using chopsticks as makeshift drum sticks on porcelain bowls. Andy hardly recognizes them. They look so grown up. She jots off a quick reply before she forgets.

Woah, thanks for this recpie. I may or may not be drooling. It seems a bit more involved than I may be comfortable with but perhaps I will try it one day when I am feeling ambitious.

I love seeing the girls! Are they eight or eighteen? Either way I’m digging the whole “Ramen Bowl Rock Band” vibe.

On a whim, she decides to include a tidbit of her own, should Miranda be in the mood for correspondence. She copies and pastes a link into the message.

Have you read this article? It’s about ethics in mask and gown production and how it’s trickling into the clothing/fabric industry.

Made me think of you,
x- Andy

The following Saturday morning, Miranda idly checks her email and remembers that she forgot to respond to the article Andrea sent over. It may be too late since a few days have gone by but she figured late is better than never.

I read the article you sent over. Very interesting. Am I sensing a new project in the works? If so, attached are a few resources that could be useful.

Stay safe,
M

A few minutes later Miranda’s phone chimes with a text message.

A: Hello! I just got your message and I will be sure to check out your sources. Thanks for those! Sorry for texting back instead of sending an email. I’m out on my daily quarantine walk.

M: It’s a lovely day for it. Did you try the ramen recipe?

A: Not yet! But take a look at this:

Miranda waits patiently for the photo to download into her message stream.

A: These fish tacos I made for breakfast were 10/10 amazing. Used my home-grown cilantro in the avocado crema. Am I fancy yet?

M: Very fancy. Not that to say that they don’t look delicious, but you had fish tacos for breakfast?

A: Welcome to 2020, where time is made up and the rules don’t matter! :P

TBC