“So Miranda, you’re freshly divorced. Tell us: is there a new man on the horizon? That was number three, was it not?”
Andy scoffs. Miranda was doing her annual appearance on national TV, and as usual, the reporters only cared about the juicy details of her personal life. It was no wonder she’d asked her assistance to create an “emergency” if the interview went on longer than the allotted 25 minutes.
She watches on the tiny screen in the green room as the silver haired woman rolled her eyes.
“No. I’m not looking to jump into a new relationship.”
The reporter didn’t look pleased with the response. He smirks and elbows her in what was probably meant to be in a playful manner. “Oh don’t hold back! There’s got to be someone. You’re Miranda Priestly, after all.”
Andy winces. No one touches Miranda. No one. It was rule number one, and this buffoon had just done it on national television!
Lucky for him, Miranda is in a placating mood. Or she didn’t want to make more of a spectacle for the media to tear apart. She stiffens, but doesn’t otherwise show her discomfort. She even manages a smile as she replies, “There’s no one right now. Just my two darling girls.”
There is a glint in the reporter’s eyes, one that could be seen even through the tiny screen. “So the great Dragon Queen is single. Tell us, what does it take to win the hand of Runway’s Editor in Chief?”
Miranda’s calm demeanor vanishes. There’s steel in her eyes now, making her blue eyes seem more breathtaking than usual. Andy groans. That expression usually means that there’s about to be a fire for her to put out.
“Well, it’s simple really,” Miranda says nonchalantly.
The reporter leans in, giddy with excitement.
“Just remove the key from my cat’s collar and open my front door,” Miranda says smugly, clearly delighting in the shocked gasps from the live audience. “I’d marry the person who can manage that.”
And yup, Andy called it. Huge fire.
It’s nearly 3am the next day by the time Andy finishes up with Miranda’s publicist, her security detail, and her social media team.
Miranda, it seems, while generally being the object of mocking or flat out bad press, is actually quite the desirable bachelorette. Not that Andy ever doubted it; the woman is filthy rich, has a body sculpted from the gods, and is incredibly intelligent. Who wouldn’t want Miranda Priestly?
But really? It’s not exactly out of character for Miranda to say something outrageous to get a rise out of the press. She knows how much the older woman hates gossip, so she frequently gives them outright lies so she can laugh at how worked up the media gets. This however, is a bit much, even for Miranda.
Andy sighs. She hopes against hope that this will be just like the other times, and that in a few weeks, no one will even remember Miranda’s promise.
For now, it’s life as usual for her. It’s Monday now, and she needs to sleep. There’s nothing more she can do, other than be the best assistant she can be. Still, she falls asleep thinking about the white haired woman, hoping her security team is keeping her safe from the mob.
When Andy gets to work the next day, Miranda isn’t there. This is the first time since she started that Miranda has not beaten her into the office. She shoots Emily a questioning glance.
Emily just shrugs. “There’s been a lot of new coverage. People have been camped out in front of her apartment since the broadcast. I’m assuming she got held up trying to fight her way out.”
Andy nods. It isn’t the first time a crowd of people have been waiting outside Miranda’s penthouse. She knows Miranda finds it a huge inconvenience, so she’ll be in a horrendous mood when she arrives. She sends off an online order of the Editor’s favourite coffee, knowing it’ll be especially appreciated.
By the time Miranda does make it in, she’s irritated. Andy is glad that she had the foresight to place the coffee on the editor’s desk before she arrived, because not even Andy’s crush on the woman could make her face the dragon today.
To her absolute surprise, Miranda operates as usual. She’s demanding, but no more so than usual. She takes her meetings, and while it’s apparent that she’s irritated, she doesn’t take her rage out on her employees. No one walks out of her office crying, at least.
So, when it’s time to wait for The Book, Andy’s feeling pretty good. It was somewhat of a tradition for the two to have a chat, and a frustrated Miranda usually means a more lively conversation.
But when she steps into the foyer, there’s a white cat waiting for her. A white cat she’s never seen before, not that that’s saying much. Cats are elusive creatures.
It has a little silver key tied on the top of her red Prada collar.
Now, Andy likes cats. If she sees one on the street, she’ll stop and pet it. She nearly adopted a kitten when her best friend Lily’s cat had a litter.
However, Andy’s fondness of cats does not trump her self preservation. This is Miranda Priestly’s cat. If it’s anything like Patricia, the family dog, the cat is pampered as hell, and fiercely protected by all members of the Priestly family.
Book forgotten, Andy ponders her next move. The cat stares at her, a little challengingly, looking so much like Miranda, with her icy blue eyes and shocking white hair that Andy has to chuckle. Only Miranda would have a cat that looks just like her.
Maybe it’s best to ignore the cat, and just go about doing her job. Andy delicately steps past the cat, calling out for its owner as she goes.
The cat follows her into the living room, and up the stairs, winding in between her legs. It’s quite distracting, and by the time she makes it to Miranda’s home office, all resolve to leave the cat alone vanishes.
She reaches down to pet the beautiful cat, who seems to be uncharacteristically friendly. It nuzzles her hand, pushing its head up and purring. Andy’s hand brushes against the little key, making it twinkle in the light.
The cat freezes. In that moment, Andy remembers Miranda’s promise and wonders if the cat somehow knows how important the key is. Or if it even knows there’s even a key on its collar.
Andy laughs to herself, shaking her head. Of course it doesn't know. It’s a cat. A beautiful cat, but a cat nonetheless.
Taking a closer look at the tag on the collar, she snorts when all it says is ‘Miranda Priestly’. Leave it to Miranda to put her own name instead of the cat’s actual name. Her possessiveness apparently extended to her pets.
Remembering The Book, Andy reaches into her bag and places it on the edge of Miranda’s desk. She’ll have to talk to the editor later.
The next few days pass without too much extra drama. Three weeks after Miranda’s fateful promise to marry the person who opens her front door with the key from her cat’s collar, things had essentially gone back to normal.
That isn’t to say that there weren't a few minor bumps, mainly a few bachelor’s breaking into the Priestly household, but those were easily nipped at the bud. Threatening lawsuits is a quick way to get rid of the more unsavory people.
The people camping outside of Miranda’s house were harder to sway. Since the first time Andy had seen the beautiful white cat, it had appeared about half the time in the evenings, when Andy came to drop off The Book. The cat also had a habit of sitting by the windows, in plain sight, so a couple pictures circulated the tabloids for a few days.
It’s a beautiful thing, really, the cat. Andy hasn’t gotten the courage to ask Miranda anything other than how old it is and what it’s name is. To which the older woman only smirked and said ‘old enough’ and ‘Miranda’. Because apparently, Miranda really is that self absorbed that she would name her pet after herself.
Other than that, Andy can’t get a read on how Miranda feels about her cat. It’s certainly not as dear to her as Patricia, their dog. She’s never actually seen the two of them interact, but cats are elusive creatures that do what they want.
She’s also never seen a litter box, but then again, that isn’t nearly refined enough for Miranda’s household. The cat must spend a lot of time outside.
Then, Andy pushes thoughts of the cat out of her mind. It’s Paris Fashion Week and Miranda’s staging a coup. She’s ruthless. It’s all too much and Andy can’t take it. She can’t take standing by this woman only to watch her cut down everyone in her path.
She leaves. She leaves Miranda in Paris, throws away her work phone, and hops on a plane back to America. She prepares to be blacklisted, applies to as many jobs as she can the day she gets back so that she can secure one before Miranda has time to take her down. She lives on hope.
Instead of blacklisting her, Miranda writes her a letter of recommendation. She’ll never know what was said, but she gets her dream job at The Mirror and a generous pay raise along with it.
Life is finally starting to look up, and as the months pass, she forgets all about what it’s like to be in Miranda’s electric presence. She forgets all about Miranda’s outlandish demands, her fierce love for her girls, and her fiery passion for what she does.
But the one thing she can’t seem to forget is Miranda’s cat.
By the time Andy has been at The Mirror for six months, she’s seen Miranda’s white cat a total of six times. Once every month.
At first, it’s not so strange. She’s still living in the same apartment, and the cat probably remembers her scent. Or the treats she occasionally brought, not that the cat ever did anything other than look at them disdainfully.
When she moves, she’s sure that the cat won’t come around anymore.
It does. It does, and it stays longer now. Instead of just a flash of white weaving around her legs when she gets home, it starts meowing at her.
“What do you want? Miranda’s gonna kill me when she finds out that you’ve been sneaking out to some shitty apartment to hang out with her old assistant,” Andy mutters, but relents to giving the animal a pat on the head.
The cat eyes her disdainfully. Andy sighs. The cat has as much attitude as its owner.
After giving her another dirty look, the cat jumps up and swipes at the mail Andy just picked up. It scatters everywhere. Typical Priestly.
Andy sighs again, stooping to pick up the fallen mail. She’s just about collected it all, mostly junk, when her hand brushes against a handwritten letter. The cat yowls at her before scurrying away.
The letter is written in familiar cursive. So familiar, in fact, that it makes no sense. This is Miranda Priestly’s script and since when does Miranda write letters? She’s been gone for about 7 months, and not once has she gotten anything from the editor herself. It’s strange. Odd.
She opens it. Inside is a single piece of paper with a time, date, and address accompanied with a simple ‘your presence would be appreciated.’ Signed by Miranda.
The date is Friday night. There’s no way Andy will miss whatever mysterious event Miranda has invited her to, and she wonders what she’s gotten herself into.
Come Friday, with about 27 rejected outfits laying haphazardly on her bed, Andy is picked up from her apartment 15 minutes from the time on the letter. The driver is not Roy, and the partition is up, so there’s no way for Andy to inquire about the night. Instead, she sits, baffled, as she watches buildings go by.
There many places Andy would have expected the car to stop. A small Italian restaurant is not one of them.
Even more baffling is that, upon arrival, the door opens, and the driver helps her out. As if she’s one of the fancy ladies that dress in thousand dollar dresses, not one who wears an off the rack on the bargain section.
But in the end, it’s no matter, because apparently she is a fancy guest of honor today. She’s immediately ushered into a small, intimate private room with just one table set for two. It’s cutesy, but lacks fanfare that Andy would usually associate with Miranda.
The table tips her off now that this arrangement is somehow a date. There’s a few candles on the table, wine glasses already filled with some extremely expensive wine, no double, and a single red rose sits in a vase in the middle. One of the chairs is pulled out for her, and her coat is placed on the rack in the corner. The remaining chair is empty.
It’s strange. It’s beyond strange to be in a restaurant after receiving a handwritten letter from a former boss. It’s also everything that Andy’s ever wanted. Well, it would be if Miranda was actually there.
And just a few seconds after the thought leaves her head, the woman herself appears. She’s dressed impeccably in a deep blue dress, so dark it’s nearly black. It hugs her figure in a way that even the gowns she wears to meetings don’t.
She’s smirking. “Andrea. It’s certainly been a while.”
“Why am I here?” Andy demands, too shaken by this new, almost flirty version of the editor.
Miranda’s smirk fades to something a little more guarded. Andy kicks herself for it, but Miranda is barreling through this conversation and says boldly, “I’m taking you out on a date. I thought that would be fairly obvious, what with the candle and the rose.”
Andy shuts up.
Dating Miranda is unlike dating anyone Andy has ever dated. It’s really unlike dating anyone else one the planet, she would assume.
Dating Miranda is like dating a force of nature. That isn’t the shocking part. She’s always known that Miranda was the sort of lover, of person, really, that says exactly what she wants and isn’t afraid to voice her complaints.
What really surprises Andy though, is how considerate and gentle Miranda can be. Where she can be a hurricane, a thunderstorm when she’s upset, she can be soft, melting like ice when she so chooses.
And so dating Miranda is nice. It’s getting picked up by a chauffeur on more days than not. It’s eating extremely expensive food and still being hungry afterwards. It’s persuading the elegant woman to just stay in and have pizza with a movie.
It’s everything Andy has dreamed of. Their schedules work well together; they both work long hours, oftentimes sitting side by side in bed or on the couch on a laptop or reading The Book. Miranda actually helps Andy with her articles if she asks, and in turn, Andy will occasionally voice her opinions on colors and layouts.
It’s simple and complicated. Simple in the lovely evenings at home, listening to rambling twins and the TV droning in the background. It’s complicated on Page 6 and the various gossip media channels.
Time flies. Nearly three years to the day after the mysterious letter, and their subsequent first date, Andy is all but moved in. The girls are off at boarding school, and the house is quiet.
Andy is lounging on the couch, waiting for Miranda to arrive. She’s been thinking about marriage, thinking of asking Miranda. Miranda, in turn, has been not so subtly making comments about rings and vows and quiet ceremonies in the summer. Maybe she hasn’t planned out the whole thing, but it will be soon. She has a ring already.
She’s thinking about this, when Miranda’s cat stalks in. They’ve been together for years and Andy still cannot get the editor to tell her the cat’s real name. It’s a little ridiculously actually, because Andy refuses to believe that the woman would name her cat after herself. But in between the dates and learning to be an almost step-parent and falling in love, Andy has nearly forgotten about the cat and its significance.
But now that Andy is thinking about marriage, of course the cat comes poking around. Andy remembers the promise Miranda made on live TV all those years ago. About marrying the person who could remove the key from the cat’s collar.
She leans forward, squinting at the collar, looking for the key. It’s a little bit silly, as it has been years since the statement went live. There hasn’t been anything in the papers or online about the cat in many months. But then she sees a flash of silver, and realizes that there is something there.
Even after all these years, Miranda still keeps a key there. Andy grins. It’s just like Miranda to stick to some crazy statement she’s made.
As she smiles, the cat eyes her solemnly. It’s as if it's sizing her up for something.
The moment feels heavy. Important. Andy still can’t figure out, even after all this time, how her cat manages to look at her as if it can see right through her.
Then, it does something unusual. It swipes a paw at the collar around its neck, the tag it wears jingling with the motion. The collar comes undone, and without breaking eye contact, the cat picks up the key with its teeth.
Andy holds her breath. She’s not freaking out, yet, even though this is definitely not normal behavior for a housecat.
The cat, blue eyes still boring into her soul, walks up to her, and places the key on her knee.
Andy already has a key, of course. Miranda gave one to her about six months into their relationship, but this key has a meaning.
Andy wonders how the hell Miranda trained her cat to do this.
“So, I guess this is Miranda’s way of asking me to marry her, huh?” she asks the cat, who is still looking at her.
She imagines the lifted eyebrow as the cat tilts its head. It’s still giving her an intense look, but as it jumps on the couch, its body blurs.
Andy blinks, and suddenly it’s Miranda sitting next to her, looking at her with those piercing blue eyes.
“Andrea,” Human Miranda breathes, eyes shining, “Will you marry me?”
Andy, shell shocked by this revelation that her girlfriend, her future fiancée, is also the white cat she sometimes tries to give fish treats to.
“You’re a cat?” she squeaks out.
Miranda rolls her eyes. “Genetic on my mother’s side. Now, I believe I asked you a question? You know how much I dislike being ignored, darling.”
And Andy manages to say a watery ‘yes’ before Miranda is kissing her while slipping a beautiful, elegant, small band on her finger. It’s exactly the opposite of anything Miranda would wear, but it fits Andy perfectly.
There will be a lifetime’s worth of time to ask questions later.