Miranda Priestly was wondering how it was that she was once again sitting on the floor playing with blocks. After sixty she really expected to be done with childrearing and yet here she was on the floor with her youngest daughter. At fourteen-months Clair was an engaging little girl who, like her three older sisters, had Miranda wrapped around her little finger.
“Nap time for you my Angel Girl.” Miranda said as she swung the toddler up into her arms. Clair giggled and patted her mother’s cheeks.
“Randa, after you put her down could you meet me outside?”
Miranda looked at her other daughter, Miranda, with concern. “Is something wrong Dear Heart?”
“No, I just want to talk about some things.”
Miranda never knew what to expect from the younger Miranda, who most people called Mandy. Andrea once told her that the child was scary smart past conversations had proved that time and again. Miranda wondered if she was going to be talking about a later bed time, more environmentally friendly heating for the house or a new logo for Runway.
Joining her daughter at the picnic table Miranda read what she was scratching in the dirt with a stick, It read ‘My Randa’ . The two Miranda’s had a very close relationship. Miranda was surprised that the arrival of Clair had not caused any discord. Of course she was scrupulously careful to avoid doing anything that would make Mandy feel replaced. It seemed maybe she wasn't as good at it as she thought. Miranda sat down on the bench and waited. The young girl looked up at her seriously.
“Do you remember the first time we met?”
“Of course I do Dear Heart. How could I forget, you taught me to play Editor.”
“Do you remember what I said when I saw you?”
Miranda grinned at what was truly one of her favorite memories.
“You looked at me and said, ‘You’re my Momma’s Randa!’”
“Do you remember when you wore the purple dress I drew?”
“Of course Dear Heart. I love that dress.”
“I wanted to run over and hug you but Cassidy stopped me. She told me not to rumple Runway Randa.” The two shared a grin at the memory.
“You love Clair, just like me and Cassidy and Caroline.”
“I do,” responded Miranda solemnly.
“You’re Momma’s Randa and my Randa and Runway’s Randa.”
“You can be Clair’s Randa too.” She took a deep breath. “Clair calls Momma, Momma and she should call you Randa like I do.”
“Dear Heart that’s our special name. I don't want you to feel like Clair is taking your place with me.”
“I figured you were worried about something silly like that.” She shook her head and rolled her eyes. “Miranda is really too hard for a little kid to say.”
She leaned in and gave her mother a kiss.
“I love you way too much to let her keep calling you Maw-an-a-dar”
Miranda put her head in her hand and a heartfelt thank you burst from her lips.
“One more thing,” Mandy locked eyes with her mother. “If you ever call her Dear Heart out she goes!”
Miranda nodded, “Deal.”
“Are you and Momma going to adopt Clair?” Mandy asked.
“Yes, once we get her grandparents out of the way.” Miranda sighed. “I think their custody suit is on its last legs. Tammy’s will was very specific not only about our guardianship but her reasons for it. Let’s just say her parents don't come off looking so good.”
“If something happened to Momma do you think my grandparents would be bad like them?”
“Have you been worried about that?”
Mandy looked at her hands and nodded.
“When I adopted you, you became truly mine. They wouldn't have a leg to stand on.”
Mandy’s smile was filled with relief. “Ok, see you later. I gotta go exercise Versace!”
Miranda shook her head and smiled as her daughter ran off.
Andy was just out of the shower when she heard her phone ring. She was away from home doing research for a free-lance story that she was working on.
“I hate you!” was the greeting.
“Good morning Emily,” she replied to her one time co-worker and the current accessories editor at Runway. “Sorry to hear that. I hear Vogue is hiring.” She heard a loud harrumph from her friend. “Ok I’ll bite. Why do you hate me?”
“Martha, you know your nannie Martha, is ill!”
“And?” Andy asked smiling. She already knew what would be coming next.
“Miranda is meeting with the board so I am on baby duty. Me! You know the lady with a four page spread due at five!”
“Send a car to meet Mandy after school, I am sure she can help and it’s early out so only another hour to go.”
“You don't think Miranda will mind me disturbing her mini-me to look after her darling Angel Girl?”
“Oh,” said Andy blandly. “You meant help with the baby. Nope Mandy wouldn't touch a diaper for money. I thought she could work on the spread.”
“Har-Har, you are ever so helpful.”
“Yup that’s me, the girl with all the good ideas! You just remember how it is that you have a spread to work on!”
“Oh lord, how long are you going to hold that over my head?”
“I repeat Vogue is hiring.”
Emily hung up the phone and dialed for a car. The kid did have a pretty good eye after all.
Miranda was smiling as she stood, unnoticed, in the doorway of the accessories department. She loved watching her girls. That thought caused her to snort as she wondered when exactly Emily had become one of her girls. At the sound Clair looked up and squealed.
Emily grimaced and pulled at her ear as she handed the baby to her mother. Mandy looked up and smiled, “Hi Randa!”
“What brings you to Runway, Dear Heart?”
“Emily needed an assistant I have been getting stuff for her.”
Miranda rolled her eyes, “I know that there is no stuff at Runway. Not even a smidgin of stuff.”
Little Miranda grinned cheekily. She had heard the story of her other mother’s first day at Runway many times.
Miranda wandered to the production table and leaned over to examine the day’s work.
“What do you think Angel Girl,” she asked.
Clair reached out and grabbed a pendant, she looked at it for a moment and tossed it across the room. Miranda kissed her on the top of the head and said, “Clair has spoken, Emily. Remove that from the layout.”
Emily chuckled and retrieved the necklace. She put it back on the table and then turned to see Miranda glaring at her.
“Emily,” she said glaring at the necklace, “was I not clear.”
The two women locked eyes and then Emily shocked the room by saying, “No.”
“No, I wasn't clear?” Miranda asked icily.
“No, it’s not happening.” came the reply.
Mandy stepped away from the adults and made herself look busy moving things around on the production table.
“And why exactly do you think you have the authority to make that decision?”
“Why? Why?” Emily’s voice was high and loud. “Because I just got back from my first vacation in five years to find I have no assistants. No one can tell me why. All I know is they were alone with you for ten minutes and then ran screaming into the night never to be heard from again!”
Emily took a deep breath and continued. “I have to complete all of the work I had left for them, replace them, baby sit, and meet a layout deadline that you just pushed up!”
Apparently the adrenalin running through her system made Emily brave. She took a step closer to Miranda and continued.
“So, just no! I like that necklace, it’s the center of the spread and no toddler is going to change that.”
Emily took a step back as Miranda stared at her stoney faced. She looked Miranda dead in the eye and said, “I hear Vogue is hiring.”
“Oh my yes,” Miranda said in a low voice. “Wouldn’t Anna just love to get her hands on you?” She looked the younger woman up and down and said, “Pack your things Emily.”
“Oh,” Emily said quietly her voiced laced with shock. Her eyes welled up with tears. “I’m fired?” She whispered.
“Please,” Miranda scoffed at her and rolled her eyes. “Don’t be silly. I didn't invest all the time and energy I have done with you to get rid of you when you finally grew up.”
She smiled at the still shocked looking Emily.
“You need to move your things to the empty office near mine.”
She shook her head.
“Honestly do you think Runway’s managing editor should work out of the Accessories Department?”
“I…I..” Emily stuttered. “Why?” She asked.
Miranda’s smile was genuine as she kissed Clair and set her down to wander.
“Emily, how old am I?”
Miranda laughed, “God I love Wikipedia. I am sixty-one years old. I have come to realize that even though I can still run around like I did when I was in my thirties,” she glared at Emily daring her to contradict her, “I neither want to nor need to. Now that you have pulled up your big girl pants I finally have someone capable and trust-worthy enough to put in that position.”
The two women stood quietly as Miranda’s words sunk in. Then the silence was disrupted by the sound of Clair flinging the same necklace across the room. Miranda went to retrieve it and Emily went to her sample case. Miranda handed the necklace back to Emily who promptly tossed it in the trash can and showed Clair another. Miranda stared at the trashcan slack jawed. She turned to Emily for an explanation and heard her ask Clair, “What do you think of this one?”
The baby reached for the new necklace giggling and tried to put it in her mouth.
“Ok this one it is then.”
She placed the replacement necklace on the table and she retrieved the other out of the trash and placed it in her sample case. Emily looked over at Miranda and smiled.
“I was kind of on the fence about that one. The kid’s got a good eye.”
The two women burst out laughing.
Clair reached out to Miranda to be picked up. She put her hands on either side of her mother’s face and said, “Hungry Randa.”
“It is getting close to dinner time darling. Would you like me to send Emily for some yogurt?”
Clair bounced on Miranda’s hip nodding her head.
Emily headed for the door.
“There is yoghurt in the vending machine. It’ll just be a minute.”
“Emily,” Miranda said sharply stopping her with a hand on her shoulder.
“You are the managing editor of the world’s premier fashion magazine.”
She turned to her daughter.
“Miranda, please ask Emily, my assistant Emily, to help you get yogurt for you and Clair.”
“Ok, Randa, I’ll be right back.”
Clair reached out to Emily and switched in to her arms.
“So it is settled then, the custody issue?” Emily asked.
“Yes, thank God.”
“So the grandparents are out of the picture?”
“No, we have come to an agreement. We did win full custody but have agreed to visitation.”
“Andy agreed? She was pretty adamantly against that.”
Miranda nodded, “She came to believe that their regrets were genuine. They can’t go back and treat their daughter differently but they want another chance with their granddaughter. They say that they will treat us with respect.”
“Do you really think they will? Will they accept your family?”
“I hope so. We’ll find out soon, they’re coming to the party Friday.”
She took Clair back.
“Let’s go see if your sister got you a snack.” She glanced back at Emily as she was preparing to go. “You will be attending?” It was more a statement then a question.
Emily laughed, “Are you kidding? When I thought you were firing me my first thought was that you were rescinding my invitation.”
“Emily, how old am I?”
“Fifty-Eight,” she replied without hesitation.
Miranda patted her on the cheek. “Good girl, you’re still invited.”
Once she was alone in her office Emily plopped down in her chair stunned. She thought back over the last ten years at Runway. Miranda had been adamant that no one but Emily could deliver the book. Even after she was promoted to accessories director she was required to be the book courier. Nigel had suggested that Emily use the time waiting for the book taking online classes. The BA in fashion merchandising that she came to Runway with was augmented with a Masters in business administration and many writing classes.
It was shortly after she got her degree that Miranda finally found herself an assistant trustworthy enough to take over the book. Suddenly that didn't look much like a coincidence. Emily pulled out her computer and pulled up Wikipedia.
“I guess I should find out what exactly a managing editor does.”
Andy watched all four of her daughters bursting with excitement as they arrived at the courthouse. They were all wearing corsages with the same sparkly purple ribbons from their last appearance here.
The judge smiled as Miranda and her family entered the courtroom. She laughed internally that for the third time the queen of fashion was forced to accessorize her outfit with garish ribbons.
“Well, Miranda, this day has been a long time coming! It’s one I have been waiting for hopefully! ”
“So have I Your Honor, so have I!”
Miranda gave Clair over to Cassidy and stepped up in front of the judge and next to Andrea. The entire room was practically glowing with from the amazing smiles on everyone’s face.
The judge cleared her throat and was actually teary eyed as she began.
“Miranda Ruth Priestly do you take Andrea Sachs as your lawful wedded wife?”
Miranda mouthed “Ruth?” and then answered, “I do.”
The judge continued to Andrea. When done with the legalities the judge said, “You may kiss your bride.”
Before Miranda could lean in for a kiss Andrea stepped back and took both of Miranda’s hands in hers.
She locked eyes with her wife and used the words of a woman long revered for her faithfulness to pledge her life to their family.
“Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee. For whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge. Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried. If ought but death does part us may the Lord do so to me, and more.”
“Ah Ruth,” Miranda said. And Andrea leaned in for their first kiss as a married couple.
From Behind them Miranda heard a heart felt, “It’s about time,” from the 10 year old Miranda. After a moment of kissing she then heard an “Ok you can stop now,” from the same source.
As they prepared to enter the ball room Andrea began to chuckle.
“What’s funny darling?” Miranda asked.
“I bet you five dollars the page six headline tomorrow is, ‘Miranda Priestly faces financial ruin. The fashion maven is forced to wear a repeat ball gown to her wedding reception.”
“That’s Priestly-Sachs,” Miranda said laughing.
“How could I wear anything but purple sparkles tonight? It’s my lucky gown!” She reached for her love and they descended, hand in hand, to the ball room, a room loud with applause and smelling decidedly like freesia.