Saturday night in New York City, if you're part of the hospitality industry, is both a blessing and a curse. Godsend for the business, less so for the workers' mental health and patience.
Which is, down to the core, the main reason that drew Andrea Sachs off the family business.
The Sachs have been owning and running a small, quite charming, Italian restaurant, located in a very enviable spot not far from Central Park, for decades. 'Sachs' is not exactly what people would call renowned -although, it has earned a few public mentions here and there, throughout the years, and the online reviews are nothing less of positive and promising- but it does have its stream of loyal customers and many newcomers, daily.
It had been Andy's great-grandpa Tom (formerly Tommaso) to first open a little restaurant which served delicious homemade -by his beloved wife, Maria- traditional Italian dishes. As time passed, Sachs' popularity grew -and so did the family tree. Passed down from generation to the next, the place is now run by Andrea's sister Jill, and their cousin Simon.
Andy could have been part-owner and joined the team, as Jill did, however her heart, and mind, have never been keen on following in her mom's steps.
So, a degree in Creative Writing from Northwestern and a couple of published short stories later, here Andrea Sachs is.
In the kitchen of Sachs. Donning tight black jeans, a light blue tee and a baseball cap showing off the restaurant's logo.
"Hey Andy," Simon calls, stepping into the busy room. "You up for a delivery? Daniel isn't back yet and this is a.. Let's say special customer."
Offering a thumb up in confirmation, Andrea quickly finishes up with her task before grabbing the awaiting take out paper bags.
"Drive carefully, Andy," Simon says, "but try to get there as fast as possible."
Giving him a look, she chuckles, "isn't that kinda the golden rule of food deliveries?"
"Platinum rule, in Miranda's case."
Shrugging her shoulders, Andrea takes the carkeys and change wallet on the way out.
Who exactly is this Miranda?
Miranda Priestly has worked hard her entire existence to be able to afford a comfortable lifestyle. Her childhood and early teen years had been spent in a unkept and poor neighborhood in the London's outskirts, with a much too strict orthodox father, a depressed mother and a throng of younger siblings.
Miriam had big dreams and very little resources. Miriam had taught herself how to sew in order to fix the children's worn-out clothes, and update her own limited wardrobe. Miriam had found a job, at the age of fourteen, as an all-around slash apprentice at Madame Colette's tailor's shop. Granted, the wage was meager and the hours tiring but Miranda would never ever regret that first experience in the real world.
Miriam had big dreams, Miranda turned them all into reality.
Working her way up the ladder, Miranda has, somehow, become the one most influential person in the fashion world.
She lives in New York City, now; she runs her very own empire, which comes with much satisfaction, and impressive paychecks. The Editor also has two daughters who are the light of her life that make all of the sacrifices and efforts worth it, and then some.
So, yes, Miranda Priestly has the money, and the status.
And two children who will one day drive her crazy with their demands for take out food when they could easily afford any Michelin starred dish in the city. Not counting the several delicious meals neatly stacked in the freezer that Laura, the family's cook, always makes sure there's no lack of.
"Cassidy," the woman says, exasperated, "we certainly are not gonna order from Shake Shack. That thing will clog your blood vessels before you even turn twenty."
"But Mom-" Caroline tries.
Raising a hand to demand silence, Miranda continues, "I am willing to order out -even though we have perfectly good food right here in the fridge- but none of that fast food." She grimaces with that last word. "Go get the iPad and we'll order from Sachs. Italian food would be quite acceptable, tonight, and their bruschetta is particularly delightful, I must say."
Standing just outside the door, Andrea can hear a faint "Mom, food's here!" from inside.
Admittedly, she's grown curious to see this Miranda person in the flesh and understand what the deal is.
What Andy is not expecting, however, is a lanky redhead, probably no older than ten, excitedly looking at her. "Uh, hello."
"Hi!" The young girl replies.
Showing the paper bags, Andrea says, "delivery for Ms Priestly?"
She should have known this very specific moment in her life would have been the turning point of, well, everything.
"Miranda," a voice corrects, soon followed by the appearance of the most beautiful woman Andy has ever seen.
Listen, Andy is as gay as they come but this lady would be the inspiration for many dreams even if she weren't.
"Miranda," she acknowledges as she hands the bags over, with a smile. "Girls night?" Andrea asks then, directing her attention back towards the child.
The reply comes with an eager nod of her head and, "Mom said that if Cassie and I behave, we can have ice cream and a movie."
"Is Cassie your friend? Sleepover night then?"
"Cassidy is Caroline's twin sister," Miranda supplies, patting the kid's head. "The Girls have been doing particularly well in school, this past week, therefore we've all agreed it warranted a treat."
Genuinely amused by the antics, Andrea cannot restrain a grin. "Well, great job to you both!"
"How much do I owe you?"
Back to business, it seems.
"Right," the young woman replies, offering the POS to complete the transaction. "Ninety-three and sixty cents."
While Miranda's attention is elsewhere, Andrea takes the time to properly assess the entrancing woman in front of her. She's gorgeous, yes, but there's also a softness to her gaze whenever she looks at her daughter, and this elegance in her moves and voice, and overall presence, that Andy is absolutely sure is intrinsic, not constructed.
"Have a lovely night, ladies!" The brunette says, making her way down the steps. "Bye, Caroline," she adds, earning a huge smile and wave in return. "Goodbye, Miranda."
The bruschetta and steak are particularly delectable, this time.
Miranda makes a mental note to order from Sachs on a more regular basis, from now on.
The following Saturday night finds all three Priestly women at home, either busy with homework at the kitchen island or, well- "Mom? What is going on?"
In a flurry of silk, Miranda joins her daughters at the table, tablet in hand. "We're ordering in. What would you Girls like?"
Mouth agape, Caroline lets out a "we are?"
"Last week we had a pleasant night, hadn't we?" The woman asks. "I thought the two of you would be more excited."
Exchanging a meaningful look, the kids resolve to just go with it because, duh, they're getting unprompted take out out of it!
As soon as Andrea had heard Simon call an order for Priestly she had jumped in action and, much too willingly, gotten ready for the delivery.
Which is how she has ended up, once again, waiting on the steps just outside of number 2511. "Food's here!" She hears, loud and clear, and smiles, without even noticing.
As the previous week, a young redhead is the one to greet her. However- "Hi! You must be Cassidy. I'm here for a delivery?"
Possibly-Cassidy seems taken aback, for some reason, and for a second Andrea worries that she may have scared the child. "How?"
"How what, exactly, darling?"
A cheerful voice -Caroline's? Andrea is positive she's correctly told them apart- approaches from inside, "oh, dinner has come!"
"A Sachs in the flesh, indeed," the woman reveals. "Andy Sachs at your service."
Chuckling, the sisters introduce themselves as well. Ten points to Slytherin! Andrea mentally congratulates herself.
"Alright Girls, here's the goodies," she hands over the paper bags. "Is your mother around?"
Speaking of the devil. "Good evening, Ms Sachs."
"Oh, gosh, none of that," the young woman grimaces. "Andy, please."
"Andy. It must stand for something else, I assume?"
"Andrea. Andrea Sachs."
Okay, well, Andy is growing gayer with every second she spends in the presence of this enchanting lady.
Shaking herself out of the reverie, she quickly falls back into her role. "Your total would be a hundred and five dollars even."
Miranda swiftly taps her card and signs, eyes barely glancing down at the screen.
Much more fascinating things are right in front of her, after all.
"Sweet," Andy smiles. "Have a fun evening, Girls," she adds, turning to the two redheads.
"Bye Andy!" They reply in unison, before retreating back into the house.
Blushing up to her ears at being left along with the older woman, Andrea manages to offer a simple, "enjoy your dinner, Miranda. I am a bit biased but that pesto is to die for; great-grandma Maria's recipe."
Charmed by the other's bashfulness, Miranda takes pity on the brunette. "I'll make sure to try some and I will get back to you, next time." The implication isn't lost on either of them.
"Can't wait," Andrea grins, fully and bright. "I'll see you."
"Be safe out there. Goodbye, Andrea."
Miranda's voice saying her name, in that unique way of hers, is not gonna haunt Andy's dreams for days to come. Most certainly not.
Weekly orders under the name Priestly have become a thing, since that first weekend about a month prior. Simon is over the moon because, apparently, Miranda is indeed somebody of actual relevance and her appreciation is a real achievement.
Andrea, on her part, ends up a bit more enamored with each new delivery to the little family's townhouse.
"Andy!" Cassidy is the one to open the door when she rings the bell. The kid is wearing a 'Hufflepuff Pride' tank top which brings a small smile to Andy's lips.
"Good evening, Cassie," she replies. "Love that top."
"Mom got them for us when we went to Orlando over spring break," the girl tells, beaming. "Caroline has a matching Gryffindor one."
Of course Caroline is a Gryffindor; she could have told from miles away, even with only the little interaction they've had.
Leaning closer to half-whisper in Cassidy's ear, "between you and me, Huffepuff and Slytherin for the win."
Light footsteps announce the arrival of Miranda herself, wearing an amused expression. It looks extremely pretty on her. "What is going on over here?"
Sharing a conspiratorial look, Andy winks at the redhead before shrugging. "Nothing at all, Miranda."
Cassidy's small smile turns into a full, wide grin.
Caroline, then, joins the group at the entrance, wearing the aforementioned tank top. "Brave of you wearing those colors," Andrea teases the girl.
"Oh yeah?" Caroline smirks, challengingly.
"Silver and green has no competition, my dear," the brunette replies. "I bet your Mom would agree."
"Duh," the Twins reply at once. "Have you met her?"
Finally interrupting the easy banter, Miranda's voice asks, "what is this nonsense?"
"Oh, sorry Miranda," Andy says, sheepishly, "we're just talking about Harry Potter because I've noticed the Girls' tops."
"Ah," she says, simply, nodding once.
"Totally a Slytherin," Andy stage whispers to the children who burst into laughter.
Sighing, Miranda warns, "Andrea."
It's so quick that Andy almost misses the fond look crossing those mesmerizing blue eyes, for a brief second. Almost.
"Eighty-four and twelve cents," she reads out loud. "And I made sure to add a little something for your girls night."
"Oh, Andrea! You shouldn't have."
"Here's the secret, Miranda," the brunette replies, honestly, "I wanted to."
So, as it turns out, Andrea has developed a ginormous crush on this lady so out of her league and her uber cool daughters.
"How come we've never seen you before that one first delivery?" Caroline asks Andrea, out of nowhere, as Miranda is busy with the payment process.
Sometimes she really loves her daughters' inquisitive minds.
"Well," the young woman starts, "my family has owned the restaurant for decades and my sister and cousin currently run it. I had no desire in entering the business but there's a standing offer to give a hand on the weekends, if needed, when I'm available."
"But you've been delivering to us for weeks, now," Cassidy points out.
Stretching a hand to ruffle the kid's hair, Andy gives the only possible honest answer. "That's because the place has been a little short staffed, recently. Besides, why would i give up visiting my absolute favorite customers?"
Indeed, why would she?
Miranda has never interacted all that much with Andrea, just the two of them. She's learned bits and pieces, thanks to the Twins, but it's certainly not enough. "What is your day job, then?" She cannot restrain from asking.
"Oh, I am an author."
That seems to have the kids perk up. "So you like- you write books?" Cassidy asks.
Slightly embarrassed, Andy nods. "I'm still working on getting an actual novel published but, well, I've had a few pieces included in collections of short stories and I have a couple of projects in the works."
"That is impressive," Miranda replies, with an odd sense of pride filling her heart. "Tell me, what do you favor writing about?"
"Broadly speaking," the brunette says, "pretty much anything. I majored in Creative Writing with a minor in Journalism so, as you can imagine, I'm fairly adaptable and open-minded."
"Have you ever written any article for a newspaper or magazine?"
The kids, who had quieted down to listen, interject, "Mom is the editor at Runway!" Caroline reveals.
"She's the Editor-in-Chief," her sister clarifies.
Well, Miranda might not just be out of her league but on a whole completely different planet, Andrea dejectedly realizes.
Noticing the brunette's discomfort, Miranda decides to steer the conversation away from the topic. "Now, now, Girls," she says, "I'm sure Andrea is not keen on hearing about my job."
"Actually," the young girl replies, bashful -and adorable-, "I would not mind learning more about you, at all." Blushing wildly, she quickly adds, "all three of you."
When Caroline and Cassidy wholeheartedly agree, Andrea's heart flutters.
Miranda's burst with joy.
It doesn't even matter that their fridge is, by now, constantly overflowing with leftovers and that they all have eaten enough Italian food to last them for a lifetime.
Italian isn't even among the family's favorites, to be completely honest. Although, Sachs does possess a lot of valid t reasons for which that might be changing -food included.
The workweek had been a taxing one, in the world of Miranda Priestly. Every day a new crisis that had required the Editor's full attention and one too many late nights at the office.
Luckily Cara, the long-time nanny, was always available to spend the extra hours with the twins which had made life so much easier, throughout the years.
"Caro, Cassie," the nanny calls from the kitchen, "what do you Girls would like to eat, tonight?"
From the family room upstairs, Caroline's voice asks back, "can we please order in?"
"Let me check with your mother."
After a brief exchange with Miranda, and the consequent consent, the three girls sit together at the counter to place the online order. "Any idea where do would you like to order from?"
With no hesitation, both redheads loudly states, "Sachs!"
Another Friday, another delivery for the Priestlys.
Most times, the family ordered from the restaurant on Saturdays; seldom on Fridays, and never on weekdays. No matter, though, Andy was always ready for some very precious time in the company of the trio.
And then, an incredibly beautiful woman, all blond hair and legs for days, opens the door to number 2511. Caroline and Cassidy hot on her heels, big grins while happily greeting Andrea.
"Andy!" One girl says. "You're finally here. It took forever!"
"Dramatic much, Caro? You doing okay, kid?" The brunette chuckles, patting the kid's head as she hands over the bags. "Cassidy, how did your French test go?"
Apparently, hot-stuff over there isn't expecting the delivery person to be so privy to the children's lives. Children she seems to be extremely close to, if their demeanor is anything to go by.
Is she Miranda's partner? The children's other parent?
Much to the Twins disappointment -and hers own, too- Andrea cuts the moment short, just giving the stranger the time to pay and sign the receipt. She has to get out of there.Her heart hurts, her mind is spinning and there's now a lump in her throat that just won't go away.
"Who are you?" Miranda asks, straightforward and aloof as ever.
"Uh," the young man fumbles for words, "delivery for Priestly?"
On either side of her, Cassidy is glowering at the boy while Caroline looks both on the verge of crying and kicking him all the way down the few steps.
It takes all of two minutes and thirty-nine seconds for Miranda to pay. One extra minute for her to tear the poor guy apart over his crumpled uniform, the "are you fifteen? Go purchase professional footwear, for gods sake" sneakers and, above all, his whole not-being-Andrea-thing.
It takes a whole fifteen hours for the disappointment and hurt to lessen.
Yet, it doesn't go away.
The past few weeks had been a whirlwind for Andrea. The writer had, somehow, finally landed an incredible deal with with Random House which had completely taken over her life. Day in day out, she's only typed and typed, and typed some more; if everything went according to plan, Andrea Sachs' very first novel would hit the shelves later in the Fall.
Unfortunately, this development had also brought along a lack of free time to devote to anything but work. Which, admittedly, would have not bothered Andy all that much, a few months ago.
She damn misses Miranda, now. And her cheeky daughters. Which is ludicrous, all things considered, isn't it?
Sadly, she truly has no spare moment to work at the restaurant, for the time being. Besides, the Priestlys had probably already forgotten about that one girl who sometimes brought them food. Miranda was a busy woman with far too much going on, every single day, and the Twins' lives weren't any less demanding.
And, come on, they had that pretty lady around.
"Maybe, someday, I'll get the chance to see the three of them again," she often told herself, to make the ache lessen.
The Priestly household, for its part, had been just as miserable and upset.
At first, they all had tried not to dwell too much on Andrea's sudden disappearance because, well, they were not that close and the young woman had a whole other life outside the restaurant.
When Saturday came around again, however, and the chestnut haired boy was the one to deliver their order, for the third time in a row, none of them could stop the unpleasant feelings from taking over.
Caroline and Cassidy Priestly have always been behaved children, for the most part. Extremely gifted students, polite and cheerful girls.
Miranda has been wondering how on earth had she gotten so lucky ever since they were newborns and managed to almost sleep through the night, despite everything.
They are also far too perceptive and sensitive girls, however.
And that's where it all started.
"Cassie," Caroline hisses, standing nearby the family room's entrance. "Hurry!"
"Alright, alright," her sister whispers back, closing the tab. "Done."
Sighing partly in relief, mostly in apprehension, both redheads exchange a look that needs no extra words.
This particular Saturday evening had been oddly quiet, for Sachs' standards; only about half the tables taken, and take out orders have been totally manageable -which is as a rare occurrence as it sounds.
"Hey Simon," Jill calls for his attention, from the reception desk. "Come here; hurry. You gotta see this!"
Intrigued, the man quickly joins his cousin in front of the laptop used to manage the online orders.
"Well, shit," he whispers, wide-eyed.
Shaking her head in amusement, Jill simply says, "go call her in! Right now."
Miranda is in her office, sat at the large mahogany desk in front of the computer. The current in-the-making issue of Runway has been a challenge after the other and the Editor-in-Chief had to push herself too hard, even for her standards.
Was that the ringbell?
She waits for a minute, expecting either of her daughters to go check from the peephole and report to her. When it rings again, she removes the reading glasses and sighs before standing.
"A- Andrea?" She whispers, stunned.
Miranda has gotten impossibly more beautiful, since she's seen her last, several weeks ago. Her eyes are as breathtaking as she remembers them, but guarded, and the older woman isn't wearing the charming smile Andy had grown to adore.
The Writer's heart skips a beat, when Miranda opens the door wider.
"Wh-" Miranda croaks, before clearing her throat. "What are you doing here?"
How has she gone weeks without seeing this divine set of lips, and the smile hiding there. Without Andrea's hand gestures; Andrea's soft-looking hair; Andrea's enchanting neck.
Holding up one paper bag, showcasing Sachs' logo, the brunette hesitantly replies, "delivery for Priestly?"
"Oh, well," the other woman starts, "I am afraid there might be a mistake. I have not placed any food order, recently."
Slowly realizing what -or rather, who- must have caused the mishap, Andrea offers a small, sheepish smile. "I may have a hunch."
Miranda stares at her, confused yet intrigued.
"Are Cassie and Caro around, by any chance?"
"Honestly, I've been locked into my office for the better part of the day," Miranda sighs, defeated. "Work has been.." She trails off, with a significant little shake of her head.
Deciding that small talk cannot hurt, all things considered, Andy tell the woman about her publishing deal -a part of her so eager to share the news with the Editor and to see pride shining in her eyes.
Well. Wish granted.
"Miranda," Andrea says, much more quietly.
"I'm truly, incredibly sorry I've disappeared without words," she says. "The whole thing has happened and developed quickly, and I had no time to help out at the restaurant for weeks."
Muttering, Miranda says something akin "we have noticed."
"How about-" Andrea starts saying, when they both hear faint footsteps from around the corner, where the staircase is. "Come here, you two," she orders.
"Hi, Andy!" The Twins greets her, happily, with wide grins and sparkling eyes.
And a far too casual demeanor.
"Miranda," the brunette claims the woman's attention back, "I think I found the culprits."
"Girls? What is Andrea implying?"
Sharing a look, which conveys so much more than words could, the children appear to be reaching an agreement.
"Mom, please do not be mad," Cassidy begins.
Miranda sighs. That has never made for a promising start of a conversation.
"We have placed the order," Caroline reveals, nervously fidgeting with her necklace. "Your card is still linked to the website."
"And we were craving Italian food," her sister adds. "We haven't had any in a long time."
Deeply displeased, Miranda replies, in a serious tone, "I don't even know where to begin, here."
"We also missed Andy, Mom."
"We really did."
Dumbfounded, the brunette cannot contain the stuttered whisper of, "you- You did?"
Miranda herself is the one to shot back, with no hesitation whatsoever, "of course we did."
The charged moment is interrupted by the Twins' voices. "And, we thought that if Andy came to see us, she would want to visit again."
"So we requested that she deliver, tonight."
"Oh, Girls," Andrea says, glassy eyes and pounding heart. "It's never ever been about that. I need this to be extremely clear, Darlings."
"But you suddenly stopped coming!" Caroline quips, confused. "Mr Floppy hair had taken your place."
Gently caressing the kid's head, Andy replies, as truthfully and kindly as possible. "Cassidy, Sweetie, I've really just been swamped with work. I have a book coming out in the Fall and it's something that has required my whole attention and time. I am incredibly sorry if I gave you the wrong idea."
"You could have warned us," Cassidy murmurs, eyes cast downwards.
"I should have," Andrea acknowledges. "I just wasn't sure whether it was my place."
"Enlighten me," Miranda interrupts, "why wouldn't it be?"
"I- I just deliver your food. I remember too vividly how that woman stared at me that one night," the brunette sighs. "Like I was some nosy rando."
Miranda is truly not following any longer, it appears. "Woman?"
"You mean Cara?" A twin inquires.
"Is that her name? Tall, blonde, California accent?"
"Definitely Cara," both redheads confirms. "She's our nanny," Caroline explains.
And thanks the heveans.
"Andrea," the older woman gently calls, "is that the reason you haven't reached out to us?"
"I am an utter idi- fool," she chuckles, embarassed, "am I not?"
"Yes. Yes, you are."
Miranda slowly stretches an arm, reaching for Andrea's hand. Their fingers fit exactly as perfectly as they both had imagined, if not better.
"The whole time I wasn't completely fried-brained from writing, you had complete free rein over my head, and heart, Miranda Priestly."
Offering the time to pull away, Miranda tugs on the hand to pull the girl closer. "That sounds quite acceptable."
Andrea responds in the only feasible way that her pounding heart sees fit.
Miranda's lips taste like promises, desire, and coffee.
"Mama," Cassidy shouts from the ground floor, "can we have risotto, tonight?"
Promptly, Miranda's reprimanding voice can be heard from the open door to her study, "no yelling in the house."
Slowly padding into the room, Andrea approaches the kid at the kitchen counter. "You heard your Mom, Cassie; just come up to me, next time, Darling."
Rolling her eyes in the perfect personification of the tween she is, the girl repeats her question.
"Oh, yes please," her sister eagerly backs her up. "Grandma's risotto is the most delicious thing ever. Can we please make some, Mama?"
Miranda choses that moment to join the trio, briefly stopping to steal a chaste kiss on the way to the fridge.
"We could always order in," Andrea suggests, cheekily.
"Not on family nights!" The three Priestlys replies, at once, with various degrees of outrage.