With or Without You
Miranda Priestly descended the stairs leading to the event of the night; a charity dinner hosted by the New York Times. As always, she looked divine. Her smile was enough to make people weak to the knees and everyone’s eyes were drawn to her within seconds, just like moths were drawn to flames. Her beauty was deadly, but her sharp tongue was what was truly lethal about her; Andrea Sachs knew that better than anyone and still she was not immune to the older lady’s charm. Even now, more than a year after she’d closed the door on their relationship, the sight of Miranda made her stomach flip.
The expression on Miranda’s face after finding her in the crowd of people, however was not charming and though it made Andrea’s stomach flip again, this time it wasn’t in a good way. Over a year, it had been more than a goddamn year and still Miranda’s eyes narrowed and her lips pursed in her typical expression of anger whenever Andy was around.
Andy too hated being at the same events as the editor because her heart betrayed her each time again. She still cared for the editor of Runway and being around her made that abundantly clear. She’d catch herself staring at the other woman each time, noticing all the things that were so Miranda like the way she’d purse her lips or the way she’d tilt her head slightly to the side or the perfect curl that hung over her right eye. Each time she’d also wish that the editor would forgive her for their stranded relationship and that she would at least be able to have a civil conversation with her again and maybe ask her how her daughters were.
But for Miranda a year was not enough to get over her anger towards Andrea; how could a year ever be enough to forgive her former girlfriend of six years, the woman she’d called her fiancée for three years and who had one day just walked out on her like they had meant nothing at all. She would never forget having to tell her daughters that another person had left her and the fact that they’d been fond of Andrea hadn’t exactly made it easier. Cassidy had cried and Caroline, well Caroline had ignored her for days but not after getting angry with her.
“Seriously mom, Andrea left… Can’t you just maintain a relationship for once without driving your partner away?” Caroline yelled and narrowed her eyes in a way that so resembled Miranda herself that it was scary. “Caroline…” Cassidy tried calming her sister down while trying to keep her own tears at bay. Caroline simply rolled her eyes at her sister before continuing “No seriously, what did you do this time?!”.
“Caroline please I know that you’re upset but...” Miranda tried, but within seconds Caroline interrupted her again. “You know what, I don’t care” she said, grabbing her purse and stuffing her phone and keys in it. “I really don’t care” she repeated and stormed towards the door. Miranda refrained from commenting on the way she was stomping down the stairs and called after her instead, asking where she was going. “Dad’s” was all Caroline said and “don’t wait up for me” and then the door fell shut and Caroline was gone. She didn’t return to Miranda’s townhouse for a week.
It had taken Miranda weeks to find a sense of normality again, for the pain of the breakup to become bearable, and then she’d turned to anger. Because how had Andrea dared to walk away from them and had she even loved her as much as she’d proclaimed time and time again while lounging on the sofa or while catching their breath after making love or during all those other moments where she’d promised Miranda that she loved her?! How had she dared to promise to marry her, promised that she wouldn’t be like any of the “Mr Priestlys” only to leave her engagement ring on the table beside the door as she left just like all the other disappointing partners that Miranda had been with?! How had she dared to hurt her daughters like that?! The most important reason why Miranda had turned to anger however was entirely different. Feeling anger was easier than feeling pain, it was easier than letting go and Miranda was used to being angry; she’d made an art of turning anger into armour long before she had even met Andrea.
And so, as she stood on the stairs leading to an event that wasn’t any different from any of the countless events that she’d attended in her decades long career, she narrowed her eyes and pursed her lips upon seeing Andrea, lifted her chin arrogantly and disappeared into the crowd.
The most part of the evening, Andrea was alright with Miranda Priestly avoiding her. She kept to the opposite corner of the event as the side that Miranda was dwelling and she socialised with whoever came her way. However once the many glasses of champagne that she’d drunk were starting to make her feel tipsy, Andrea was starting to feel outraged. She was tired of being ignored and shunned and quite obviously, Miranda was putting all the blame for their failed relationship on her while she’d done her fair share of ruining it too. If Miranda had not shut her out as much as she had, if she would have talked to her about what she was feeling or maybe even yelled at Andy a little more instead of the many silent treatments she’d given her, they might have made it. But as it was now, they were over and both of them had to accept their part of the blame if you asked Andrea. She just wanted to be able to be near the editor without feeling her blood chill from her gaze and if Miranda was going to keep avoiding her she would just have to take matters into her own hands. With this in mind, Andy walked to the bar where Miranda was ordering a drink.
As soon as Miranda saw Andrea approaching, she rolled her eyes and sighed in a way that was so Miranda that it would’ve made Andy chuckle if she and Miranda were in a better place. As it was now, she straightened her shoulders in determination before standing beside Miranda at the bar and ordering another glass of champagne for herself. Miranda was obviously ignoring her existence, standing with her back to Andrea and looking over the crowd in front of her.
“How are the girls?”, Andrea asked.
“Fine”, Miranda snapped without even turning towards Andrea.
“Always so kind”, Andrea’s tone was sarcastic and at that, Miranda turned towards her.
“I don’t owe you kindness”
Miranda’s voice was not much more than a low hiss and back in the day that she was her assistant, Andrea would have sunk through the floor and perhaps bawl her eyes out too upon hearing that tone. Present Andrea however, knew that Miranda was all bark and no bite, well towards her at least.
“I do think you owe it to me actually” she sipped her flute of champagne nonchalantly, “we were together for six years, the least you could do was learn to stand my presence and treat me with some basic politeness”.
Miranda raised her brows and pursed her lips, not even bothering to reply to that. She took her purse and her glass of martini and turned her back on Andrea again.
“Oh so we’re back to silent treatments again huh?” Andrea said.
Miranda still refused to reply and ordered another martini once she’d drank her previous one. She threw back her new martini in one gulp and ordered another one and that was enough for Andrea to know she was getting under Miranda’s nails.
“You know this is what you always did, our whole relationship long you just ignored me whenever you saw fit”, Andrea scoffed “it used to frustrate me, but now I just don’t care.”
Andrea ordered another glass of champagne and pushed past Miranda, intending to walk away, talking to Miranda was of no use anyway.
“Oh yes Andrea, walk away that’s what you do best”, Miranda’s voice seemed neutral, but Andrea could feel the venom and blame it contained. She turned back to Miranda and laughed humourlessly.
“Seriously Miranda, it’s been over a year, get over it.” She snapped and then turned her back on the editor once again, walking away briskly and leaving behind a slightly stunned Miranda Priestly.
The end of their relationship had begun with the umpteenth disagreement about something insignificant like who was going to take Caroline to soccer practice or pick up Cassidy from ballet. By the end of these disagreements Andy and Miranda could often not even remember what they’d been fighting about. Sometimes they’d simply yell at each other immediately, but more often Miranda would simply stop saying anything after some minutes of arguing in that unnerving calm but venomous tone of hers and then she’d ignore Andrea for hours or sometimes even days, apart from the occasional glances with narrowed sky blue eyes, the typical purse of her lips that showed she was displeased and the mean remarks to emphasize her annoyance at her fiancée. She’d only stop ignoring Andy after the latter had gotten on her nerves enough to make her snap and then they’d fight. Sometimes they even threw things at each other’s head. Practically every fight would then end with them undressing each other angrily and fucking until they basically passed out from the amount of orgasms they’d given each other. Sometimes they’d apologise to each other afterwards, but mostly they’d just kiss more tenderly than they’d had during the makeup sex and call it a day.
By the end of their relationship, fights like these were countless. To the outside world, their relationship seemed as perfect as they’d always made it seem, but it was becoming more and more toxic with every passing day and they both knew it. Perhaps that was why Miranda retreated behind her inner walls more often than she had in the beginning, perhaps it was for another reason. Andrea would never know.
That last disagreement had begun not unlike the others; an unsignificant thing had led to an argument and then Miranda had ignored Andrea. This time however, Andrea did not try as much as she usually did to draw Miranda out and so Miranda ignored her for a full week before deciding herself that she’d had enough of it and lashed out. Then they fought, harder than they ever had before. Andrea even threw a vase towards Miranda at one point and Miranda retaliated by backing her up against the wall. They were so close, Andrea felt Miranda’s chest rising as she was breathing heavily and before they knew it, they were locking lips with so much fervour that Andrea’s head was knocked into the wall. And then a voice in Andrea’s head told her to stop and she pushed Miranda away with a force that surprised even herself. Miranda didn’t know what to say, she just stood there and stared at Andrea until she spoke, “I can’t do this anymore.”
“You can’t do what anymore?” Miranda asked, but the slight tremble in her voice betrayed that she knew.
“This”, Andrea gestured between herself and Miranda “us… the constant fighting, the makeup sex and afterwards the pretending that nothing is wrong, that we’re alright because we’re not”. Then she gestured towards the giant diamond ring that she wore on her finger “I can’t pretend any longer that our engagement was a good idea, as if a marriage is all we need to save our relationship because it isn’t Miranda…”
“Are you saying that you don’t want to marry me?” Miranda’s voice rose an octave and Andrea pinched the bridge of her nose.
“Not like this” she said “I’m tired Miranda, I want to come home and feel at peace not feel like I have to work incessantly to keep our relationship afloat… We can’t keep doing this, I can’t keep doing this”.
“You’re breaking up with me” Miranda remarked dryly “so much for you being different than any of my previous partners”. Miranda had narrowed her eyes coldly at her while saying that and Andrea felt like she couldn’t have that conversation there and then. She was too mad still, too tired from the fight they’d had before and from being ignored for a week. She couldn’t take any of the biting remarks that would surely follow if they’d have this conversation now and so she just grabbed her coat.
“You know what, I can’t do this now” she said and practically ran down the stairs. Behind her she heard Miranda’s heels and the editor repeatedly called out her name.
“Where are you going?” Miranda asked as Andrea opened the door. The brunette didn’t respond, she just shrugged.
“Don’t go” Miranda’s voice nearly sounded like she was begging and when she realised that she rephrased what she’d said earlier “don’t you dare go now.”
Andrea had scoffed and raised her eyebrows, the unspoken clearly hanging in between them: ‘or what?’.
“If you go now, you don’t ever have to return” Miranda said then and Andrea straightened her back, bit back the tears, pulled her engagement ring off her finger and put it on the table beside the door. Then she left, pulling the door of the townhouse closed behind her and walking into the night.
She never returned.
The rest of the event was uneventful; both Andrea and Miranda spoke to the people they usually spoke to at events like this and occasionally Andrea exchanged cards with people that could help her career ahead. Both of them were drinking a bit more than usual though and neither of them could stop thinking about their conversation at the bar or reminiscing on their stranded relationship and why it had gone wrong. Miranda was still determined to put the full blame for their breakup on Andrea and to continue to be mad at her for it and thinking about their brief exchange was making her reel. The nerve Andrea had to walk up to her after more than a year of not speaking to her, ask how her daughters were and pretend she owed her anything at all.
Andrea too was angry, she hated how Miranda was still angry at her, how she still ignored her when she was mad and how she obviously still refused to see her own faults in their breakup. Above all she was mad because she’d hoped to resolve this once and for all because above all she longed for a friendly conversation with Miranda or maybe even to dig up old memories and smile about it together. She knew that that was probably too much to ask for, that she couldn’t expect friendship from Miranda after having broken up, but she still wanted it.
Part of her even wanted to find a way to reconcile with Miranda because if she were honest to herself, sometimes being without Miranda had felt unbearable. However, Andy also thought that getting back together with Miranda would be a mistake; they’d make all the same mistakes again and fuck it up in every single way they had fucked it up during their first relationship and above all, their relationship would be so disastrous all over again that they would once again have a hard time remembering the good times they’d shared. So she had accepted that a reconciliation wouldn’t work, but that didn’t mean she had to accept that Miranda would be completely out of her life apart from some hostile interactions on crowded events.
Yet she felt utterly defeated now, she had figured out a long time ago that changing Miranda’s mind and making her do anything you wanted her to do was near damn impossible and she didn’t want to make a scene in public since that would only worsen everything. Maybe she’d have to accept that Miranda would hate her forever or at least until she herself decided that it had been enough. The thought of Miranda hating her even longer made Andrea feel more sad than it should and that made her even more angry, at Miranda but also at herself.
By the time the event was coming to an end, it was around two am. Both Andrea and Miranda were pretty riled up by then and, both having drank a little too much, couldn’t really think straight anymore either. Andrea was walking down the stairs outside the venue when she heard Miranda’s voice coming from behind her.
“How dare you approach me with such an attitude” Miranda hissed at her.
Andrea didn’t reply, she just continued looking for a cab, her back turned to Miranda.
“You walked away on us and now you expect me to what? Forgive you and pretend that we’re what? friends?” Miranda hissed and spat out the last word as if it was the most ridiculous thing in the world.
Still Andrea did not reply but instead started walking away. Miranda tightened her jaw in anger and followed the brunette down the stairs of the venue, towards the busy New York street. “I see you are running away again, that is truly the only way you cope with hardships isn’t it? You just run” Miranda’s voice was filled with mockery and disgust and the next thing she said only emphasised that “like a coward”.
Andrea signalled a cab while trying to ignore Miranda, but she could feel anger taking over and she knew that if Miranda didn’t stop talking she would snap.
“If you can’t handle this then you shouldn’t have started it in the first place Andrea” Miranda said, “you walked out on our engagement, then you have the nerve to tell me to get over it and then you run away because you can’t handle being confronted, because you can’t own up to the fact that you are the reason I don’t talk to you anymore.”. The editor paused for a second and then she spat “You never even fought for us and now you think I have to be kind to you. You weren’t kind back then, now were you Andrea? But as always you believe that you are perfect, blameless Andrea Sachs. You don’t do bad things because you’re a good girl right?”
Andrea turned around faster than Miranda even thought possible and she gripped Miranda’s arms. “I did fight for us” she hissed, “I fought almost nonstop during most of our relationship, I tried tearing down your walls time and time again, I tried talking when you ignored me because you were mad but you shut me out every single time.”. The brunette shook her head with a scoff and continued: “You are just as much to blame for our breakup because what was I supposed to do? Was I supposed to be your nice little arm decoration in public and stay with you and fight for you forever?”.
Both Miranda and Andrea’s eyes were blazing fire and there seemed to be electricity in the air. They both felt it and they both knew that the smart thing to do was to step away from each other, but instead Miranda signalled for her driver without breaking eye contact with Andrea. Only when the car arrived, Andrea let Miranda go and followed her into the car after Miranda shot her a glance that Andrea knew was an invitation – or rather a demand that she was happy to obey.
In the privacy of the limousine Miranda had hired for the occasion, their lips crashed together. There was no tenderness in the way their hands entangled in each other’s hair or in the way their tongues battled for dominance, only passion and anger and maybe a tinge of hurt. Andrea didn’t mind and neither did Miranda, they knew it wasn’t a good idea and still they wanted it all the same. Regrets were for tomorrow, now there was only the other’s lips and the desire bolting through their bodies. Before they knew it, hands and lips started wandering and what had started as a passionate kiss was quickly heading in a more heated direction.
A low moan escaped from Miranda’s parted lips, her head falling back against the side of the limousine as Andrea sucked and bit her neck, surely leaving love bites, while her hands were kneading Miranda’s breasts. The silver-haired editor pulled her younger lover closer so that she could feel her every curve against her own body. Her free hand roamed greedily over Andrea’s body, stopping only at the bend of her ass, giving it a firm squeeze.
Just as Andrea was pushing up Miranda’s dress, trying to get between her thighs, they were startled by the voice of the driver sounding through the microphone, announcing they had arrived at Miranda’s townhouse. Both of them scrambled up, trying to fix their appearance at least a little before they got out of the car. Miranda preceded Andrea, opening the door to the house she gave Andrea an impatient look that said ‘really Andrea, can you move at a more glacial pace? You know how I love waiting’. Andrea rolled her eyes at that look, followed her ex fiancée in and slammed the door shut behind her.
For a brief moment, they just stared at each other, but then Miranda pushed Andrea up against the door and kissed her passionately. They battled for dominance, Andrea managing to pin Miranda against the wall instead of Miranda pushing her against the door and as their kiss started to get more and more heated, they began making their way upstairs. Clothes were discarded on the stairs and on the landing, leaving both of them in only their lingerie and jewellery. They barely made it to Miranda’s bedroom, having to stop several times to undress and very nearly fucking each other on the floor or against a wall.
Miranda pushed Andrea on the bed and kissed her again, shoving her tongue through the brunette’s slightly parted lips. Wanting to feel more of Miranda’s skin against her own, Andrea struggled to discard the editor’s bra and then her own without breaking their kiss. Their legs intertwined, causing their vaginas to rub against the other’s thigh; That feeling together with the friction their panties gave them, elicited a moan from both their throats. Desperate for more, Miranda dragged Andrea’s panties down her legs and once again rubbed her leg against Andrea’s core. Andrea bucked her hips into the contact, coating Miranda’s leg with her vaginal fluids. The brunette whimpered, her clit was throbbing, begging to be touched and the contact of Miranda’s leg was not nearly enough to satisfy it. She grabbed Miranda’s wrist with one hand and her chin with the other, forcing the other woman to look at her. “Fuck me, now”, she grumbled, before kissing Miranda again.
The editor was happy to comply; she rubbed her fingers against Andrea’s clitoris in a way she knew would leave Andrea gasping for air. Andrea’s lips parted, moans spilling from them and her back arched off the mattress. Miranda’s skilled fingers on her clit were enough to make Andrea see stars and when the other woman simultaneously plunged three fingers knuckle-deep into her, she knew she wouldn’t last long tonight. Meanwhile Miranda’s lips, tongue and teeth seemed to be everywhere: on her neck leaving hickeys or on her breast, teasing her nipples. Andrea dug her nails in Miranda’s back, deep enough to leave marks and Miranda moaned loudly against Andrea’s skin.
Andrea’s first climax was relentless; she was trembling from head to toe, screaming Miranda’s name while pleasure jolted through her. Her second was longer, but less intense, coaxed out of her by Miranda licking and sucking her clit and plunging her tongue into her before she’d had the chance to even come back down from the first one.
Then Andrea pulled Miranda up, kissing her while roaming her hand down her side. She paused at Miranda’s breasts, squeezing and massaging them roughly, her thumb flicking over her nipples. Miranda groaned and judging by the effects of her ministrations, her breasts were obviously still as sensitive as they used to be. Andrea remembered the many times she had made Miranda come just from touching her breasts back when they were still together. After getting rid of Miranda’s panties, Andrea intertwined their legs again and Miranda bucked her hips against Andrea’s thigh, trying to get some friction. Her eyes fluttered shut at the pleasure it caused her and her chest arched into Andrea’s touch on her breasts. It didn’t take long before she came, her legs clenching around Andrea’s, her back arching and her fists grabbing the silk sheets of her duvet. Andrea bit her lower lip and kissed her again before making her way down Miranda’s body. She put Miranda’s legs on either side of her head and parted her labia, teasingly blowing on her clit before dipping her tongue into her. Miranda arched in her touch, moaning her name as Andrea licked and sucked her, circling her clit slowly, then going down to plunge into her and then back up towards her clit. The editor was starting to see stars, her legs were trembling and she felt the sensation of another climax building. All it took, was Andrea’s teeth gently nipping her to send her over the edge into an earth shattering climax.
Afterwards, Andrea laid back down beside her and they kissed lazily, nails scraping over each other’s skin, their breaths quickening again. Miranda rolled on top of Andrea and bit her lower lip before kissing down her jaw. Andrea’s hand squirmed in between them, pulling Miranda’s down with it and placing it at her entrance before putting her own between Miranda’s legs. They both entered each other simultaneously, fucking each other senselessly until they both climaxed again, their moans and screams filling the empty townhouse.
Both panting, they laid down beside each other, staring up at the ceiling trying to catch their breath. They knew it would probably be better for Andrea to leave, but neither of them wanted to leave the other just yet and so Andrea watched Miranda as she turned on her side and fell asleep. Staring at her ex fiancée’s back, Andrea couldn’t help but to wonder at how they seemed to be made for each other still, but how weird it felt at the same time. Miranda still felt like home in a way, but it also felt alien to be with her like this again. She averted her eyes from Miranda with a sigh and fell asleep with those thoughts on her mind.
Miranda was the first to wake up in the morning; awoken by the sunlight streaming in through the still opened curtains and the tell-tale tingle you got when someone had been laying on your arm all night. It took her a moment to remember what had transpired the day before, but as soon as she did remember Andrea’s presence made sense. She gazed at the younger woman sleeping peacefully in her arms, her head buried in the crook of Miranda’s neck and her arm slung over her body. It reminded her of many mornings they’d spent like this when they were still together; one memory in particular stood out to her.
The sunlight hit Andrea’s brown hair in the most marvellous way possible, nearly leaving Miranda gasping for air as she realised once again how lucky she was to be holding this gorgeous woman. Miranda had never loved any of her partners as much as she loved Andrea and on that peaceful morning she felt all her love for Andrea more intensely than she could on busy work days. Sometimes it felt like her heart would burst from the loved she carried in it for her girlfriend. Despite the disagreements they had, more often lately than in the first years of their relationship, Miranda was still as happy as she had been every day for the past four years.
She glanced over at her nightstand, reaching out to the drawer, careful not to wake Andrea she opened it and took out a small box. She knew what it was; a ring with a perfect diamond that she had bought to propose to her Andrea. She had her proposal all planned out; she’d pick Andrea up in a limousine under the pretences of it being for their anniversary, then she’d take her to a rooftop terrace in Manhattan and they’d have a candle lit dinner and then she’d ask her. But as she was laying in bed with Andrea that morning, she figured that no moment, no matter how well-planned could ever be as perfect to ask her girlfriend to marry her.
Her thoughts were interrupted by Andrea who was stretching out lazily and said with a smile: “good morning”. Andrea’s eyes were still closed and Miranda took that opportunity to quickly hide the box she was holding.
“Good morning”, she smiled and placed a lingering kiss on Andrea’s lips, upon which the brunettes smile widened, her brown eyes slowly fluttering open. They gazed adoringly at each other, basking in the peaceful moment for once uninterrupted by phone calls or obligations. Miranda kissed Andrea’s neck again and again, the latter erupting in giggles at the ticklish sensation of Miranda’s lips. The sound of Andrea’s giggles filled Miranda with happiness and she kissed Andrea tenderly on the lips before reaching out to the box she’d hidden.
“I must tell you that I had actually planned a perfect way to ask you this” Miranda said and paused for a second to take the box and open it. Then she continued: “but now that I’m here with you this morning, that whole plan doesn’t feel important anymore. In fact I think this is the perfect moment to ask you”.
Andrea’s eyes widened. “Miranda are you-“ she gasped.
“Forgive me for not going down on one knee for this but…” Miranda chuckled, pausing for the dramatic effect before continuing, “Will you marry me Andr-“.
Before Miranda could finish, Andrea’s lips were on her and sitting on top of her. As they broke the kiss, Andrea leaned over her, her long brown hair framing her face, and she nudged Miranda’s nose with her own. “I’ll take that as a yes?” Miranda asked dryly to which Andrea responded with a chuckle, a nod and a “yes”. Miranda slipped the ring on Andrea’s finger and the brunette held her hand in front of her to admire the beautiful piece of jewellery. And then they were kissing again.
Miranda’s eyes filled with tears as the memory played out in her head. Their relationship had already started going south before that day, before she had decided to propose to Andrea even, but they’d been so happy in that moment. If Miranda could go back in time, pinpoint the point of no return for her relationship with Andy and somehow save it, she would, but there was no point in thinking about how and when they could still have saved it now. It was all in the past and she had no use for might-have-beens.
Miranda got up from her bed. She needed to create some distance between her and Andrea so that she could pull herself together because she didn’t want to cry in front of her. She carefully untangled herself from Andrea, slipped on a robe and walked to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee. As she was sipping her coffee, Miranda couldn’t help but to think about what had transpired between her and Andrea the night before and about their relationship.
Andrea was right, she had to move on and let go of her resentment towards her. To do that however, Miranda needed a proper ending. She needed a chance to talk about their relationship, a chance to ask why they couldn’t make things work and why Andrea had simply left without trying to contact her or making up with her or even giving her a chance to close this six year-long chapter of her life in a proper way instead of with a closed door and many questions. And above all, she needed to know if Andrea had ever truly been happy with her and if she still remembered being happy with her. She made up her mind to ask Andrea to talk when she woke up; After all Andrea owed her an explanation and a chance to move on so she could hardly deny her the request.
It was near noon when Andrea woke up, she was confused when she opened her eyes and found herself alone in Miranda’s room. The room, like the rest of the house felt familiar yet unfamiliar and after slipping in one of Miranda’s robes, Andrea found herself taking advantage of the fact that Miranda was nowhere to be found to look around a little. All of the things that she’d left behind were gone and so were the pictures that she’d been on. She had expected that and it was normal, but she still felt something gnawing at her heart, making her feel sad. There was one photo left with her: in Cassidy and Caroline’s old playroom stood a framed picture with her, the twins and Miranda. Andrea took the photo, smiling at how happy they all looked, recollecting the day it had been taken.
Andrea had only been to Europe once before and that had been for Paris Fashion Week so she hadn’t seen much. She’d always dreamt of doing a cruise that took her to the dreamy European cities she saw on her tv, but before she met Miranda she had never had the time nor money to actually travel to any of those destinations. But then Miranda had invited her to go to Italy with her and of course she had agreed. Who would ever say no to a dream holiday with their dream woman???
She and Miranda had been in Italy for over a month and three weeks now; The twins had joined them a month after they’d arrived, coming straight from Greece where they’d been with their father. Everything about the time they had spent in Italy was heavenly: from the food to the cities and landscapes, Andrea had enjoyed every minute of it. Now, a day before they’d fly back to New York, they were strolling along the Arno enjoying the time they had left. They were all relaxed and happy; they’d seen everything they’d wanted to see and Andrea had just bought Miranda a beautiful necklace on the Ponte Vecchio which had earned her a radiant smile from Miranda. When they were standing on the bridge opposite Ponte Vecchio, facing the picturesque bridge and taking pictures of one another, another tourist approached them.
“You guys make such a beautiful family!, the woman had said in an elegant British accent that would’ve made Andrea swoon if her heart didn’t belong to the most beautiful woman in the world whose heart also happened to be hers.
“Thanks”, Andrea replied with a smile and she was about to turn back to Miranda when the woman spoke again.
“Do you guys mind if I take some photos of you? I’m a photographer and I like taking pictures of strangers” the British woman asked with a small chuckle and Andrea shrugged and nodded. ‘Why not?’, she thought.
They spent most of that evening posing for the unknown photographer who promised to email the photos to them once she was finished with them.
A few weeks later, when they were back in New York, Andrea received an email with the photos attached.
“That was a happy day wasn’t it?”, Miranda’s voice startled Andrea who had been lost in her own thoughts.
“It really was…” Andrea smiled a little melancholically and then put the photo back down. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have wandered into this room…”
Miranda shrugged, “It’s fine. I mean this used to be your house too after all”.
A comfortable silence settled between them then and Andrea wondered when the last time was that they’d been so comfortable in each other’s presence and why Miranda suddenly didn’t seem to hate her anymore.
Miranda was the first to break the silence, “do you want coffee? I made some”. Andrea nodded, she decided that she would enjoy Miranda being nice to her while it lasted and she’d genuinely missed spending time with the other woman.
“Yes please” she smiled at Miranda who felt weak to the knees at that smile. Damn you Andrea for still having that effect on me, she thought before nodding and walking off towards the kitchen, Andrea following her closely.
“A little milk, one sugar cube right?” Miranda asked to which Andrea nodded. In all fairness Miranda didn’t even have to ask her to know, it was one of the million things about Andrea that she’d never forget just like what her favourite cookies were – those were still neatly stacked in Miranda’s cupboard – or what shampoo she liked to use – sometimes Miranda still found herself checking that one out in the supermarket – or what her signature drink was. She wondered if Andrea still knew these kind of things about her and if she too found it so hard to get over her partly because of that. ‘Probably not’, she thought, ‘she’s the one that left after all’.
“Here you go” Miranda said, placing the mug in front of Andrea on the table and sitting down on her usual spot at the head of the table.
“Thanks” Andrea said and took a sip of her coffee before settling back in her chair.
“Can I ask you something?” Miranda said after a moment of silence.
Andrea nodded, “Sure. What?”
“Why did you go like that? Why did you not try to talk to me, to give me another chance, to give us another chance?” Miranda asked and then added “Why did you not fight for us?”.
Andrea sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose, trying to think of the best way to answer Miranda.
Eventually she spoke, “I do think I fought for us…” and when Miranda huffed and rolled her eyes she added, “I did! I mean maybe not that night… but Miranda I’d been fighting for us for a long time already… it was starting to feel like a constant fight”. The table suddenly looked very interesting to Andrea who kept her eyes cast down as she continued “You know in the end I felt like all we did in the little time we had for each other was fight. You were so busy working and I never had a problem with that, you know that I always understood how important Runway is for you…”. Andrea paused, taking a sip of her coffee “but you have to admit that when you actually were there, we often fought or when we weren’t it was often simply because you were ignoring me… and I always had to try and break down your walls, get into your harness and by the end of our relationship I was just so tired”.
Miranda swallowed, hearing Andrea say what she had deep down always known was harder than she had anticipated. “I was afraid to lose you so I shut you out… I thought it would hurt less that way”, she said softly and her voice was barely audible anymore as she continued speaking “I was wrong…”. So wrong, she had been so wrong; losing Andrea had still hurt like hell and maybe if she hadn’t shut her out they would still have been together.
Andrea smiled sadly, “I know…” she took Miranda’s hand and squeezed it affectionately “and I wish I could’ve shown you that you didn’t have to be afraid to lose me, but we both know our relationship just didn’t work the way we wanted it to…”
Miranda nodded and averted her eyes from Andrea’s, she felt the tell-tale prickle behind her eyes that announced she was close to crying. “I was so hurt when you left...”, her voice broke “I thought… I thought you’d at least call and then when you never did…”. Miranda didn’t have to finish her sentence for Andrea to know how she’d felt, her ocean blue eyes brimming with tears were enough for her to know she had truly shattered the editor’s heart, Miranda rarely cried.
“I should’ve called I know, I should’ve given us both a chance to get closure… I don’t know why I didn’t do that”, Andrea shrugged. Then, after a second of silence, she admitted “Maybe I was just too stubborn. Maybe I just wanted you to call first because I felt like I had to do all the fighting…”
Miranda let out a short, humourless chuckle, averting her eyes towards the window, “Yeah… we really messed up didn’t we?”.
“It wasn’t all bad you know… I have many happy memories about our time together” Andrea said, staring intently at Miranda’s side profile. “And I loved you more than I’ll ever love anyone… you truly are the love of my life”. I still love you, Andrea thought and I’ll never stop loving you. But she said neither of those things out loud because it would complicate everything so much for both of them. “That’s part of why I left”, Andrea said.
“How so?”, Miranda quirked her eyebrow and turned her head so she could look at Andrea again.
“If I had stayed that night, if I had stayed in our relationship at all, I would eventually have start resenting what being with you was, I would’ve started resenting you and I would’ve forgotten all our happy memories..” Andrea sighed and smiled lightly before adding “and I loved you too much to let any of that happen”.
“If you loved me that much we could’ve made us work”
“Sometimes love and passion just aren’t enough Miranda…” Andrea shrugged.
Miranda sniffed, “yeah well I don’t know if that’s what I want to believe… but maybe you’re right”, she shrugged.
“I’m certain you’ll find someone who will be with you until death do you apart who you’ll love just as much as we loved each other” Andrea smiled lightly. Miranda huffed, if she and Andrea hadn’t been able to make it work, how would she be able to make it work with anyone else.
“Maybe”, she simply said, pulling her hand away from Andrea’s. “Now that you’re here, I found some things you might want the other day”, she got up from her chair and said “come along Andrea” and Andy smiled because that was so her. She even considered walking slowly to hear one of Miranda’s typical remarks about moving at a glacial pace and how it thrilled her. She and Caroline used to do that, intentionally do things in a slow pace to tease Miranda. The memory made Andy happy, she missed Caroline and Cassidy.
“How are Care and Cass?” she asked Miranda while following her up to the attic, hoping she wouldn’t cross a line by asking a question about the twins.
“They’re good. They’re graduating high school this year” Miranda said and added proudly “they both got into some amazing universities… Caroline is still thinking about taking a gap year first though”. Andrea smiled, “that’s great!”. She thought Miranda looked so beautiful in that moment, beaming with pride about her daughters, it made her heart skip a beat for a second.
“right… here we are”, Miranda pushed some boxes towards Andy and when Andy opened one she saw it contained some of the things she’d left in Miranda’s house when she’d left along with some other things that had belonged to the both of them. Andrea sorted through them, choosing what she wanted to keep and what she wanted to throw out and Miranda just sat opposite her, sometimes making remarks about the things Andrea wanted to keep. They’d been doing that for a while when Andrea unknowingly opened a box that hadn’t been meant for her. Inside she found all the photos she and Miranda had ever taken with each other and a dozen other keepsakes of their relationship like a flower that she’d given Miranda neatly dried and put into a glass frame.
“Oh wow…” Andrea said, “you kept everything…”
“I did…” Miranda admitted and added “and this isn’t even all of it…”
“Did you keep all the gifts I’ve ever given you too?” Andrea asked.
“Yes.” Miranda replied, she had never been able to part with anything that had reminded her of her and Andrea. “Do you want them back?”
“No! Of course not. They’re yours”, Andrea smiled at Miranda then looked back at the box, taking out picture after picture and smiling at the memories.
“Do you remember this?” she asked Miranda, holding up a photo of them both. Miranda moved closer to her and made herself comfortable on the floor beside her.
“Of course I do! How could I forget Emily and Serena’s wedding” Miranda chuckled, “you got so drunk that day”.
“I did not! You take that back Miranda Priestly! I was just a little tipsy” Andrea laughed.
“You were more than tipsy Andrea” Miranda said dryly and added, “you could hardly stand by the end of the day. Nigel had to carry you up the stairs for me”.
Andrea joked: “and here I always thought it was you that had carried me up to the bedroom.”
When their laughter died down, they smiled tenderly at the memory and ocean blue eyes locked with chocolate ones, gazing into each other until there seemed to be electricity in the air. Minutes passed before Miranda broke the stare, averting her eyes from Andrea’s and turning them back to the box in front of them.
“Oh look at this photo of you and Patricia” she said to avoid the silence getting uncomfortable and handed the photo to Andrea. They spent the next hours looking at photos and laughing at the memories they raked up together, only stopping when they noticed the sun was starting to set outside the window.
“I should go”, Andrea said and Miranda nodded.
“Alright” Miranda smiled and got up, hesitating a while before she said “thank you for today Andrea”.
Andy grinned “No biggie” and then “I enjoyed spending time with you”.
“Me too” Miranda took Andy’s hand and squeezed it gently before turning back to Andrea’s boxes “Alright I’ll put the things you want to keep in a box while you collect all of your things around the house”. Andy nodded and made her way down to look for all her clothes and her purse while Miranda put everything Andrea had chosen to keep in a box. She was carrying that box down the ladder that led to the attic when her eyes fell on a piece of jewellery. Andrea’s engagement ring had been tossed carelessly in a random jar that was filled with old jewellery and shells that the twins had found on the beach. Miranda decided then that she wanted Andrea to have it, so she slipped it in her pocket and made her way into her office were she wrote a note to go with it;
Even though we didn’t work out, this ring belongs to you and always will belong to you which is why I want you to have this.
I hope you know I never meant to hurt you, I wanted more than anything to make you happy. You deserve the world Andrea, you truly do and I wish I’d have told you that years ago. Find yourself someone who makes you smile – you have the most beautiful smile did I ever tell you that? – and who you’re happy to go home to. I hope the person who will have the privilege to call you theirs will realise how precious you are and that they will give you their heart without fear as I wish I could’ve done for you.
I know I should’ve said this a long time ago, but I’m truly sorry for what I’ve put you through during our relationship. You didn’t deserve any of that.
Thank you for loving me and for spending six years with me, despite everything they were some of the most beautiful years of my life.
I hope you know you are the love of my life too.
When she was done, Miranda folded the paper and made her way downstairs to wait until Andrea was done; she put the ring and the letter in the pocket of Andrea’s coat in the hopes that she’d find it there. Andrea didn’t take long anymore and they said an awkward goodbye by the door.
“Bye…” Andrea smiled lightly.
“Goodbye” Miranda said and both of them just stared at each other until Andrea pulled Miranda into a hug. At first, the older woman didn’t return the hug; she hadn’t expected it so for a second she just stood there, not knowing what to do. Soon however, she melted into Andrea’s embrace, burying her nose in Andrea’s long hair and putting her arms around her. Andrea kissed her cheek and then pulled away, holding Miranda at arm’s length as she smiled and said “Don’t be a stranger again okay? We should at least try to be friends…”. Miranda simply nodded because she didn’t know what to say, she guessed that trying to be friends didn’t sound so bad.
Andrea let go of her and put her coat on before lifting the box Miranda had put aside for her. “My cab should be here soon”, she slipped her phone in the pocket of her coat. Miranda nodded once again and opened the door for Andrea. “Goodbye” she said as Andrea stepped through the door, leaving her once again. “Bye” Andrea replied and then got into the taxi waiting for her, waving as it drove away.
Miranda stared at it for a while before going back inside. This time it was her pulling the door closed, not Andrea, and this time they’d said their mutual goodbyes. For Miranda it felt as though now she too could close a chapter of her life, not just Andrea. The editor took a deep breath as she felt tears welling up in her eyes again. The pain she felt had obviously not gone away and neither had her love for Andrea, but at least there weren’t any unanswered questions anymore and she had finally found it in her to give up on being mad at Andrea and that felt freeing.
Meanwhile, Andrea was sitting in a taxi on her way home and she too was thinking about her stranded relationship with Miranda. She was so happy Miranda no longer seemed to hate her and she had hope that the editor would somehow still be a part of her life again and that made her happy. She’d been so lost in thought that she hadn’t heard her phone ring until her taxi driver spoke “Hey lady, don’t you need to answer your phone?”. Andrea blinked confusedly, but then she too heard her ringtone and she smiled sheepishly “I’m sorry…”. She pulled her phone out of her pocket, not noticing the letter and ring that slipped out along with it, and accepted the call; It was Nigel.
“I’ve called you like a thousand times today Six” he whined after Andrea said hi.
“I’m sorry Nigel…” Andrea bit her lip.
“What was keeping you so busy that you couldn’t answer any of my calls?” he asked.
“Well that’s a funny story actually” Andrea chuckled nervously and then something that was laying at her feet on the floor of the taxi caught her eye. A ring, not just any ring but her engagement ring, lay on the floor of the cab beside a neatly folded paper. Andrea picked both up from the floor and, forgetting about Nigel who was waiting for an answer, Andrea read the letter – oblivious of Nigel calling her name from the other side of the line.
You are the love of my life too, she read that line over and over again and suddenly she realised how ridiculous she and Miranda were being and she was the biggest idiot of them two because she was the one that had thought they could ever get over each other. People only had one soulmate, one chance at finding the love of their life and she and Miranda had been fortunate enough to find theirs in each other yet they were just throwing their chance away. She had been a fool to think she could ever live without Miranda’s love, she realised that now; Miranda was still everything to her.
“Six? Are you still there” she could hear Nigel say over the phone.
“I- I’ve been so incredibly stupid Nigel… Could I call you back later?” Andy replied.
“Six, why? What’s going o-“ before Nigel could continue bombarding her with questions Andrea ended the call and turned to the driver “Could you turn back please? I need to go back to the place where you picked me up”. The taxi driver shrugged but nodded. He turned around as soon as he could and drove back to Miranda’s house with an impatient Andrea on the backseat. Once they arrived she hurriedly paid the man and jumped out of the taxi, running up the stairs to Miranda’s front door. She felt like she’d rang the bell a thousand times and waited for hours before Miranda opened the door.
“Andrea?!” she frowned, “what are you doing he-“, Miranda didn’t even get to finish her sentence before Andy interrupted her.
“I think we should give us another chance… I mean I don’t think we’re done fighting for us Miranda” She said.
“What happened to ‘sometimes love isn’t enough’?” Miranda asked.
“Forget about that, forget about all of that” Andrea replied, “I found your letter and it made me realise something Miranda… what we had, no what we have, is a once-in-a-lifetime thing and we can’t give up on that. I mean you really meant what you wrote right? That I’m the love of your life? And you still have feelings for me right?”
“Ye-“ Miranda tried but Andrea once again interrupted her.
“I still love you… I mean I will always love you because you’re the love of my life too… and it’s obvious that neither of us are over each other, nor I think, will ever get over each other” Andy rambled. Miranda looked at her expectantly to see whether or not she would continue but just when she opened her mouth to say something herself, Andrea began talking again “Maybe it was simply not the right time for us and maybe now it is… I mean we’ve been apart for over a year and we’ve probably both changed, we’ve both learned what it feels like to not have the other one and honestly, not being with you sucked… I think we should give us another chance”.
“But what if it’s still not our time?” Miranda asked and admitted with a small voice “because I don’t think I could take losing you again, losing you once was hard enough.”
Andrea shrugged, “I guess we just have to take a leap of faith and believe that we can do it this time… and I guess you’ll just have to trust that this time I won’t leave you.”. She paused, trying to figure out what to say, and then continued: “We’ll start anew… It won’t be a walk in the park of course, we’re going to have to work on our relationship, maybe even go to a relationship counsellor, but we can do this.”.
“So are you in?”, she asked Miranda.
Miranda nodded with a smile, “Yes… yes of course”.
Andy grinned and extended her hand towards Miranda: “I’m Andrea Sachs, nice to meet you”.
Miranda quirked her eyebrow “what are you doing Andrea?”
“A new beginning” Andrea said and when Miranda pursed her lips and rolled her eyes, she chuckled: Miranda’s eyes and the slight tug at the corner of her lips betrayed her amusement to Andy. “just play along”, she said.
“Idiot” Miranda said, nevertheless she took Andrea’s hand and shook it. “Miranda Priestly… or the Dragon Lady, whichever you prefer” she said and then she pulled Andrea towards her by the hand she was still holding.
“Now let’s go straight to the part where we kiss”, she said before capturing Andrea’s lips with her own.