“Is there a reason why my coffee isn’t here? Has she died or something?” Miranda sked before returning to her office.
Emily didn’t know what to do. She was reminded of Andy’s first week, when she would always be late with coffee.
But it has now been 8 months since Andy started here. And, although she hated to admit it, she had got very good at her job, achieving the impossible and always knowing what Miranda wanted before she even expressed it, being not only on time, but usually early.
And even before her make-over and the Harry Potter task, the two very things that helped make her Miranda’s favourite assistant, she had never been late. Ever.
So that was why, at 9 a.m., exactly 2 hours after the time she should have stepped out of the elevator, Emily started to panic in font of Andy’s absence, because even though she got the coffee, and she could momentarily cover the phones for the both of them, she knew that Miranda would notice, especially if she asked her to run through New York to collect clothes and scarfs and shoes and whatever it was that she needed.
Miranda, on her hand, was getting worried. She was not used to feel this way. Miranda Priestly did not get worried. She would get angry and simply fire anybody who would even dare to make her wait.
But Andrea was not simply anybody. As much as she pretended and even tried to convince herself so, she knew that that silly girl was slowly becoming so special to her.
Even at the beginning, when she would come into work dressed in the worst clothes she could find in all New York, she was impressed with her stubbornness.
She became aware of her attachment to the girl when she made her cry, for a mistake that would have anybody else fired, and all she wanted was to just stop talking and approach the girl and hold her, whispering that she didn’t mean any of that.
The next day everything changed. She was a vision. Dressed like any other girl working on that floor, and yet Miranda felt like she just couldn’t keep her eyes away from those boots and that short skirt.
And then the Harry Potter manuscript happened. That silly girl had broken a rule and Miranda could do nothing else but give her some impossible task.
She was sure the girl would fail. Nobody would be able to achieve something like that. A part of her was scared that the girl would have to leave, and wanted nothing else but to call her and tell her that it was ok, that she could come back with her hands empty and keep working.
But she was Miranda Priestly, and she was going soft for a simple assistant. What would people think? What would people say if she suddenly let people make mistakes without consequences? She could not allow it. She would simply have to fire the girl. Maybe she would not even bother to come back, like Miranda herself had suggested. What if she never saw the girl again?
Before she could even scold herself for thinking such things, something was deposited on her desk, and when she turned, she could not believe it. Still, she tried to belittle the girl, because she could not just grasp her hands around it.
But of course she had done everything and more, achieving the absolute impossible. She could she the proud grin on the girl’s face and all she wanted to do was to close the door and take the girl right there on her desk. So she told her that was all and turned before her face could betray her thoughts more than it already had done.
She was slowly falling for the girl. At first it was just interest, then she felt attracted and now, after months of seeing her trying to do everything in her power to make Miranda’s life easier, not only at work, but even in her personal life, she could not help but feel attachment, care and something else that she could not let herself name.
She knew it was love. But she preferred to ignore it.
In the following months, Andrea not only showed her what a great assistant she was, but what a wonderful and caring person she was, especially with her girls. They had gotten close, and one night after the girl had delivered the book, she was descending the stairs ready to get it, when she heard whispers. Her girls were talking to Andrea. Her first instinct was to go there and dismiss the whole conversation, but then she noticed how happy her girls sounded. So she let it go on
Two nights ago, she had heard them again.
She hid in the dark and tried to listen to the conversation.
“And was she ok at work?” Caroline asked
“Yeah she seemed normal. Why do you ask monkey?” Andrea replied, and the pet name shocked her a little bit. They were clearly close.
“Because since Stephen left, I don’t know, I’m afraid that she feels lonely.”
So they were talking about her. Her little girls were worried about her, and did not want her to know. Her heart ached a little. If only they knew how little she cared about that excuse of a man leaving. But she guessed it was true that she felt a little bit lonely.
“Girls, your mom is doing ok, she’s her usual self at work, I promise”
“Ok but can you keep an eye on her? And can you please make her feel like she’s not lonely? You’re good at that”
Miranda started to feel uncomfortable. She hated to show her vulnerability, but for someone else to discuss it, and ask for help on her behalf? The only reason she didn’t go there and dismiss the conversation was that it was her girls, her sweet caring girls worrying about her. They cared, so much, and she loved them for it. Still, she wanted them not to worry about her, and especially not to discuss such matters with someone who probably didn’t even care that mu-
“Of course monkey, I will. But you have to know that your mom is the strongest woman I know. She can do anything and go through the hardest things ever without even batting an eye. I would love to be there for her, but I don’t think she wants me to, except as an assistant. But I swear, I will try to make everything easier for her, ok?”
Miranda felt something warm spreading inside of her, something that she should not be feeling for the words of an assistant. But still, it felt good to be cared for.
“You love mom, don’t you?” this time it was Cassidy asking.
Miranda closed her eyes, waiting for Andrea to laugh or snort or dismiss the ridiculous question. She was ready to get her heart broken.
But the girl surprised her, once again
“I- well let’s say- I mean- Yes. I do.”
Miranda ran upstairs before her emotions could betray her and make her run in the opposite direction, to the girl who had just admitted she loved her.
That silly girl loved Miranda Priestly.
She closed her bedroom door, got in the bed and started thinking about what had just happened.
Andrea. Andrea loved her. Sweet, caring, wonderful Andrea. That could not be possible.
She could not be in love with her.
She should not.
The girl was 25. 25. And a girl.
What would the papers say if they found out about them? What would they say about her? Pining after a young girl, and an employee. And what would they say about Andrea?
Sweet, innocent, naïve Andrea, who deserved so much better than her.
How could she tell the girl that she should stop, because anybody who’s ever loved her got hurt. How could she tell that anybody who’s ever loved her has been driven mad and sad and miserable by her.
She could not hurt Andrea. She would not make Andrea miserable.
The girl was an angel sent by God and deserved so much better than her.
So she decided to put some distance, she decided to try to make the girl hate her.
So that’s why the next day she tried to ignore the girl most of the time, only giving her orders and an infinite list of things to do that would keep her away from the office.
When the girl got back at 5 pm, she slowly made her way to the office.
Miranda kept her eyes on the photos on the desk “Yes?” she asked
“Sorry Miranda, I was just wondering if everything was ok?” the girl asked with the most caring voice and Miranda just wanted to kiss her but she just looked at her in the eyes with the most icy look.
“Everything is perfectly fine. That’s all”. She tried to lower her eyes again but was immediately interrupted.
“I’m sorry Miranda, it’s just that with everything you’re going through and uhm I mean, the divorce, you know I was jus-“
Miranda would not let Andrea climb the walls around her heart. She could not just show her vulnerable side. She had to keep her far for her and the girl’s own good.
“And you think I’m going to tell you about it? You think you earned the privilege?”
Andrea winced a little, and Miranda wanted to tell her that yes, she earned it and she was the only person she wanted to tell, but she had a plan, and if she cared about the girl, she had to follow it.
“No, Miranda, I just thought-“
“What, that you were so important that I would tell you about my life? That I’m going to open up to you? What do you think you are, my friend?” Miranda stopped and gathered her strength before lying again “You are a mere assistant. You mean nothing to me outside this building. So go do your job and don’t bother me again.”
Andrea had now tears down her cheeks and there was such hurt in her eyes that Miranda felt her heart clenching. All she wanted to do was to stand up and go to the girl, sit her on the couch and hold her so tight while telling her that it wasn’t true, that she cared, that she loved her too, that she was her favourite person on the whole world.
But all she said was “That’s all” Before lowering her gaze again.
She felt some steps and she looked up again just to see the girl running, probably to hide somewhere and cry.
She knew she had gone too far. She knew she could have been much much nicer and just ignore the girl, but as soon as she looked in those big brown eyes all she wanted to do was to tell the girl that she loved her. She could not do that. To her, to her girls, and to Andrea too. It was just not possible.
That night, at dinner, if the girls noticed something was wrong, they said nothing.
But as soon as the door opened, signalling Andrea’s arrival, they ran downstairs.
Miranda hid again, in the dark, not knowing what to expect.
Maybe Andrea did not care that much. Maybe all she wanted was to bed her, to brag about being in the dragon lady’s graces, to get to know secrets to tell the world.
But she was so wrong.
So wrong indeed, because as soon as her girls asked Andrea how their mother was, and if something happened to make her “sad” and if the girl had tried to be there for her, Andrea started crying.
Miranda’s heart clenched.
“Andy, what happened?” “Why are you crying?” The girls were confused.
“I’m sorry mokeys, I can’t do it, I can’t. I’m sorry, I love you” Andrea said, all while sobbing.
Before the girls could aske anything, she had ran away and had closed the door.
Miranda was ready to cry.
The girl’s voice had sounded so little, so sad, and it was all her fault.
She had wanted it right? Wasn’t that her plan? To make the girl miserable?
No, that was what she was trying to avoid. She had pushed her away, because she didn’t want her to suffer. Right?
Or was she just scared and selfish?
Suddenly the truth was right in front of her.
She was an old pathetic scared and selfish woman, who had pushed away someone who loved her because she was afraid of suffering again.
She had pushed Andrea away.
Sweet caring Andrea, who would do anything for her and her girls.
She was in love with the best person in the whole world, and she was afraid of what, the papers? Of judgement? Of suffering. As if she wasn’t suffering now. As if Andrea wasn’t suffering now. As if her girls-
She had not thought about them. Of course she wanted to avoid media attention for them too, but she had not thought about their relationship with Andrea.
What if the girl walked away, and they would never see her again? How would they feel?
The answer was given to her, just a few seconds later, when two girls appeared in front of her.
Two angry, confused, sad girls.
“What did you do?” Caroline asked, accusation clear in her voice.
Miranda got a grip of herself and put her serious face back in place. “Excuse me?”
“What did you do to Andy?” Caroline asked again, her voice much louder than before
“You do not speak to me that way” Miranda said, her voice icier than ever, and her look the scariest one, ready for her girls to immediately apologise
“What did you do to Andy?” Caroline asked again, her voice terribly loud, and her eyes suddenly glassy “I have never seen her like that. Never. So what did you do?”
“And why do you assume I’m responsible for that?”
“Because you push everybody away, and then they leave us” Now it was Cassidy to speak, cheeks already wet
“We love Andy, and she loves us and is wonderful with us and she LOVES YOU. So why would you hurt her? What did you do?”
Now the two of them were crying, and Miranda was ready to cry too.
“She said that she was gonna try to help you and be your friend. Didn’t she try?” Cassidy asked, calmer now
“Yes honey, she did, but-“
“What did you do, mom?” Caroline’s voice was now a whisper, as if she didn’t want to hear, as if she knew she would be disappointed.
“I told her that she is my assistant and she should just do her job”
“Mom Andy’s not just an assistant! She loves us, all of us, and she’s always there to listen when we have problems at school, or friends, or…other things” Cassidy said, “so of course she expected you to open up. You know she’s not just an assistant”
“Of course baby, she’s more than that and she’s good with you, but to me, she’s an assistant”
“That’s not true though!” Caroline raised her voice again “We know you care about her, we know you love her”
“Love her?” Miranda asked, incredulous.
“Yes mom, you never let anyone spend so much time with you, or with us, without complaining, and you never invite anybody for dinner or for a movie night, and you never smile on the phone with anybody else.” Caroline said excitedly, then lowered her voice, her eyes suddenly sad “and you never push people away, if you don’t care about them”.
Miranda was still shocked by the words. How could her daughter have noticed things she hadn’t known herself?
“That was bad mom. But I’ve never seen her like that. She was SO sad. What else did you say mom? Did you fire her?” Cassidy asked.
“No I did not fire her. Now stop asking questions and let’s go to b-“
“Mom” Caroline interrupted her “What else did you tell her?”
She could not tell them. She knew how disappointed they would be, and she could not disappoint them once again.
“Mom” Cassidy asked, making her look into her eyes “Tell us”.
“I simply-“ she suddenly could not find her voice, making it hard to speak “I told her that outside work, she means nothing to me” she finished, in a whisper, her own words like poison in her tongue.
“Mom” now it was Caroline whispering, her eyes again watery, tears falling down her cheeks in no time.
“Why were you so cruel? To Andy?” Cassidy asked, her voice loud, tears in her cheeks too.
“I just-“ she could not finish, before her girls were turning and going to their rooms.
She was left there, petrified, tears down her cheeks too, wondering how much one’s heart could break before it stopped working.
She then went to bed, exhausted, and tried to fall asleep, but of course she couldn’t.
Memories of Andrea’s tears in her office and chocked voice in her foyer filled her mind.
She hated herself. She hated herself so much for hurting such a sweet, kind creature.
And all of that because she loved her and cared and wanted to help her.
And she had sent her away, not only that, but made it look like she did not care about the girl, like she wasn’t good enough for Miranda to open up to her, like she was so unimportant that not only she would not confide in her, but that she felt the idea repulsing.
She had to do something. She had to make it right.
She had an idea.
Tomorrow, she would call the girl in her office, and not only would she apologise, she would tell her that she cared about her, and that she would be honoured to have a friend in her, and that she was important in her and her daughters’ life, and that she would always be, even when she will eventually get a new job. Maybe she would even tell her that she loved her. Or maybe she would tell her that later, after they had became friends, so as not to scare her.
With a plan in mind, she finally fell asleep, hoping that tomorrow everything could be solved.
Except that, the next day, things didn’t exactly go as planned. When at 9 a.m., two hours after the girl should have got into the office, the second assistant’s desk was empty, Emily was on the verge of tears on the phone, and Andrea was nowhere in sight, she started to get worried.
Something was not right. Andrea was NEVER late.
Had she quit without notice? Had she felt so hurt yesterday that she decided she couldn’t work for her anymore? Was she too late?
Suddenly Emily’s exasperated voice interrupted her thoughts.
“Oh finally you answer the phone! Where the bloody hell are you? Miranda’s already here and you’re-“
The brit stopped and Miranda moved so she could see her face. She looked confused.
“Who’s this?? This is Emily? I should be the one asking who’s there!? This is Andy’s phone!”
Emily listened to the other voice and suddenly she went very pale.
“Doctor?? Why- what- where is Andy?”
Miranda suddenly felt very light weight and her stomach was painfully clenching.
Was Andrea hurt? Had something happened to her?
She immediately approached Emily and put the phone on speaker.
“Miranda Priestly here. Where is my assistant?” she asked masking her worry with a firm tone.
“Ms Sachs was involved in an accident this morning.”
Miranda felt her whole body freeze. If she was not the ice queen before, she sure was now.
Andrea. Her Andrea. In an accident. She could be badly hurt. She could even not make it.
“Where is she now?”
“She's at the Presbyterian Hospital. She’s in surgery right now"
In surgery. Her Andrea was in surgery. It could be the simplest thing. It could also be something really serious.
Without a second thought, she called Roy, gathered her things, and ran out of the building, her heart beating faster than it ever had.
“Andrea Sachs" she said as soon as she got to the front desk of the hospital.
“I'm sorry ma’am, are you family?” a blonde assistant asked.
“No, I’m her boss and I need to see her" she said getting impatient. She needed to see her Andrea or at least have news about her as soon as possible.
“We can’t let you in if you’re not related to-"
Before she could finish, Miranda’s anger got the best of her. “I don’t care what your policies around here are. I’m Miranda Priestly. Do you know how much I’ve donated to this hospital? Every year, for the last eight years I’ve financially supported everybody that works here. That includes you. If it wasn’t for me you could possibly be jobless. So now you’re gonna tell me where the hell Andrea Sachs is if you wanna keep your position.”
The frightened woman typed in her computer with trembling hands.
“3rd plan, room 34”
She ran for the elevator as fast as she could. All the time she could only think of her Andrea.
God please let her be ok please please let her be ok
When she arrived in front of the room, a doctor was there.
“I’m here for Andrea Sachs”
The doctor immediately paled.
“Ms Priestly, we didn’t expect you-“
“I don't have time for whatever you're about to say, I’m here to see Andrea, my assistant.”
“Well, Ms Sachs just got out of surgery. Luckily she didn’t get hurt too badly. Just a fractured collarbone, and a broken arm. She’ll wake up any minute.”
Miranda sighed in relief.
Her Andrea was ok. She was going to be ok. Yes, she was physically hurt, but she was alive and nothing major happened.
“By what the driver told us, this morning around 6:45, she was in a hurry and crossed the street without looking around and the driver could not stop fast enough.”
So she was hit by a car, this morning, right before going to the office.
And she was in a hurry. So everything happened because she wanted to be there on time, probably even early, and that because she knew how strict she was about tardiness.
She felt so guilty.
She wanted to scream.
Andrea had injured herself because she wanted to please her, even after the horrible things she told her yesterday.
This girl had a golden heart.
She needed to apologize big time.
“Can I see her?”
“Yes, of course Ms. Priestly. She may be confused as soon as she wakes up due to the pain killer, just so you know”
Miranda nodded. “Thank you doctor”.
She entered the room and she immediately had to stop.
Her beautiful, kind, lovely Andrea was laying there, looking so small and so hurt.
All she wanted to do was to lie beside her and hold her. But she sat on the chair near the bad. She took her good hand, and held it tight.
“Oh Andrea” she whispered, voice thick with emotion. She started to rub her thumb against the back of her hand. “My beautiful Andrea”.
Suddenly Andrea started to stir, and her big doe eyes slowly opened.
She started to look around the room, confused. As soon as she saw Miranda, she jumped.
“Miranda” she said, her voice raw.
Miranda got some water from the bedside table. “Here, drink a little bit” she handed the bottle with a straw.
“You were hit by a car this morning. Apparently you fractured your collarbone and broke an arm.”
“Oh yeah, I remember”
Miranda had been scared, so scared on the way to the hospital, at the idea od possibly finding her Andrea badly hurt or even dead, that of course she snapped.
“How could you be so careless? Crossing the street without looking around? And running? Were you out of your mind? You could have died!”
Suddenly Andrea’s eyes became glassy, and soon tears were streaming down her face. Miranda wanted to slap herself.
Way to go Priestly. She’s hurt and scared and you’re supposed to act nicer to her and here you go snapping at her.
Before she could take it back, Andrea started to talk, with the smallest voice Miranda had ever heard coming from her.
“Miranda. I know this is an inconvenience and that the lack of use of my right hand is gonna be a problem. Well, you don’t have to worry. I quit. So you can go now.”
Miranda was shocked. First because the girl thought she was only worried about her work related capabilities. And secondly- what? She quit?
“Andrea. You of course will have four weeks of paid leave from work. You don’t have to quit. Why would you think all I care about is how you’re gonna work without use of your hand? That’s why you think I’m here?”
“Of course that’s why you’re here. Why else would you?”
Miranda was about to answer, but Andrea interrupted her again.
“Anyway, thank you for the offer but I still quit.”
Miranda was confused. Why would the girl want to leave?
“Andrea I don’t understand. I told you you don’t have to work, but I want to keep you. Why do you want to leave so bad?”
“Because then I’m gonna be a nothing to you” Andrea said, tears again streaming down her face. Then she lowered her voice “I couldn’t bear it” she whispered.
“What are you talking about?” Miranda asked genuinely confused.
“You said I’m nothing to you when I’m not working. I- I don’t wanna be that” Andrea started sobbing. “I don’t wanna be nothing to you.” She then covered her face with her good hand, trying to hide.
Miranda’s heart broke for the sobbing girl in front of her.
All this hurt, these tears, were her fault.
She had caused this.
She was the one who hurt this sweet, kind, beautiful creature.
And she had to do something about it.
“Andrea” she called, taking the girl’s hand in hers. Then with the other she wiped the tears out of her face
“Andrea, listen to me. I want to apologize. I am so so sorry about what I said yesterday. I did not mean a word of it. Of course I didn’t mean it. You are not nothing to me Andrea, and you will never be, no matter how good or bad you are at your job. You are actually very important to me, and to my girls. We care about you. A lot. I care about you. And I know how much you care about us too. About me. I know about all the things you do for me and them, all the things that a normal assistant is not required to do, and would never do. But you go on and beyond and always try the hardest to make me happy. And I’m grateful for that. I really am. I am sorry if I did not show my appreciation enough. I do appreciate you and everything you do.”
Andrea had stooped crying, and she was shocked by what Miranda was telling her.
She felt her heart beat so fast and a warm feeling settled inside of her.
“Then why did you say those things? I had never felt so heartbroken before. I felt like I was the smallest insect under your heel, like all the things that have happened, you know, my closeness with the twins and your thank you’s and the smiles, were just part of my imagination and I was just as replaceable as everybody else. As if I soon as I would make a mistake, you were gonna get rid of me and never think of me ever again”
“Is that why you were running with no carefulness this morning? Because you wanted to please me? Because you thought if you did something wrong I was going to send you away?”
Andrea lowered her face and nodded.
“Andrea, my sweet Andrea” Miranda whispered, her voice thick with emotion, while bringing the girl’s hand to her mouth and kissing it.
“You did not imagine anything. The relationship you have with my girls and with me of course is special. Everything that has been happening in the last few months is real and very dear to me. You are very dear to me. That’s why I snapped at you and said those hurtful things. I got sacred. So scared, because I care about you a little too much." She stops, takes a deep breathes, and looks at the girl straight in the eyes.
"I love you Andrea.”
Andrea gasped, her eyes open wide
“And I heard you telling the twins you loved me. I don’t know if you meant it that way, but I just started thinking of all the things that could go wrong, of all the things I could do that would hurt you, and tried to escape this situation. Except that in doing so, I hurt you even more. And I am so so sorry Andrea. I hope you will forgive me.”
Andrea was staring right into Miranda’s eyes, breathing slowly, her heart beating so fast.
“Of course I love you Miranda, I-“ she started to giggle out of joy, and her eyes became glassy again. “Oh my god I love you, I love you so much. And I never thought, ever, that I had a chance. Oh god I can’t believe you love me. Oh my god, Miranda I-“
But she was interrupted by Miranda’s lips on hers. It was the lightest of kisses, but both women could feel their hearts skipping several beats, their heads getting light.
When they parted, just a few seconds later, Miranda leaned her forehead against Andrea’s, and started to whisper.
"You're not going to leave. You're going to get your four weeks of paid leave, and then you're going to come back. In three months, when your year is up, you're going to get a job at a journal of your preference and I'm going to write you a stellar reccomendation. And then even after that, I still want you by my side, everyday. Just not as my assistant. You're not going to leave me, and I'm not going to send you away, ok?"
"Ok" Andrea replied with the biggest smile on her face.
They looked into each other’s eyes. No words were spoken.
No sound could be heard by either of them.
It was just them, looking into each other, honest smiles on both women's faces.
Eyes so tender and so happy, looking into each other.
After a few moments, whispers could be heard coming from the women’s mouths, so close they were that there was no ability to tell who was saying what.
Just whispers of love, said while looking into each other’s soul.
I love you
You are so precious to me
I never want to be apart from you again
You are everything to me