Emily never expected that a four-inch Jimmy Choo would save her life. She took them off to run up the stairs but hadn't the heart to throw them away (they are fabulous, after all), and so when she bursts through the fire escape door onto the Sports Illustrated floor and runs face-first into a zombie that used to be the photo editor, she reacted instinctively and smashes him in the head. That the heel of her shoe sinks through his dead eye and pierces his frontal lobe is just dumb luck.
It started this morning as she was coming to work. She didn't notice at first, since her mind was on how well the new Andy has worked out after the disaster that was the old Andy, how a position just opened up in the art department, how Miranda looked at her like she was almost a person yesterday. Clearly, Emily realized, her time has come at Runway, as long as Miranda doesn't find out her secret. It's a lot to be thinking about at five in the morning, uncaffinated and possibly still a little horny from unfinished morning business. So Em can't be blamed, she decides, if she didn't notice that there appeared to be an outbreak of zombieism.
Her first clue that something was awry should have been the shambling ghouls congregating in Washington Square park, or perhaps the smear of blood and offal on the security desk at Ellias-Clarke, never mind the total absence of security guards. But she didn't notice any of those things. Because, really, no coffee yet this morning.
The first indication that something is amiss is when one of the interns - Emily doesn't know her name, doesn't particularly care either - tries to rip her throat out when she demands coffee.
“Excuse me? Intern? Have you made coffee yet? Because it's time to make coffee, I mean really, it's well past five, half the staff will be here soon.” The girl moans and sort of shuffles towards her and honestly, is it too much to ask that these college girls at least attempt to act like real people for five minutes and make the bloody coffee?
Emily is about to reprimand her again when the girl suddenly lunges forward and, fuck, what the hell is the matter with her face? is the first thought that enters Emily's mind right before, Jesus, she's trying to bite me! Emily takes two steps back and slams the break room door just in the nick of time, panting and furious. Who tries to bite their superior? The girl is still banging on the door and moaning, which Em decides is a pretty good clue that she's not of right mind and perhaps Em ought to be getting out of there.
She runs down the hallway to her own desk, briefly slowing near every open door to see if there's someone, anyone, who can explain why the intern just tried to fucking eat her. There isn't. As usual, she's the first real person to arrive at work. Although the runway offices occupy an entire floor, the distance between the coffee room and Miranda's area is not great, so she arrives in short order, locking the exterior door behind her. Emily picks up the phone and dials the extension for the security office, but there is no answer. Hanging up, she tries to decide what to do next. If she calls the police and it turns out to be nothing, a practical joke, Em will look foolish, something she cannot abide. Still, there was something unnatural about the way the girl moved. Emily pretty much watches people for a living, and since Andrea Sachs, she's watched them even harder. She knows when something is amiss. She decides to call the police.
“Yes, my intern, um, my intern just tried to--”
“Currently all our operators are busy. Please hold and the next available person will take your call.”
“Are you kidding me? She just--” Emily stops, realizing shouting at the recording will accomplish nothing. She punches the speaker button and places the handset in its cradle. At least there isn't some simpering pop music playing while she waits. A weapon, she decides, she needs a weapon in case that awful girl gets out. There are scissors in her desk, and a letter opener. Neither will be any good. The new girl has nothing on her desk. She peeks into Miranda's office. There's even less there; she doubts an orchid vase will do much to slow anyone down.
Except...Miranda was given an award recently, Fashion Cares or something. It's a great lead crystal monstrosity and Emily is surprised to see it sitting in the middle of Miranda's coffee table, but there it is. Emily walks over and picks it up. It's got weight to it - at least five pounds, she guesses - and a number of sharp corners. It's not perfect, but it's better than a letter opener. She takes another look around the room, but finds nothing else useful. Suddenly she realizes where she's standing, uninvited and handling Miranda's things, and she almost wets herself in terror. She turns quickly and scurries back out.
There's still hasn't been an answer from 911 and Emily stares at the phone pondering her next move. There are other calls she should be making. Tom Ford wanted Miranda to come over for a preview of his spring line next week and James Holt invited her months ago to come by today. Both of those arrangements need to be finalized, and there are hundreds of other things. It's already past ten in London, later in Paris, and there are calls that have to be made there as well. It's not like the world is going to end because an intern attacked her. As she continues to debate hanging up the phone (and really, whoever heard of keeping a person waiting for five bloody minutes for emergency services, this wasn't Harlem) the line clicks over.
“Hello? Hello? I've been attacked by a crazed intern.”
“This is Manhattan Emergency Services. We are currently experiencing a larger than usual volume of calls. If you have been attacked by a rabid person please do not go to emergency. Leave your name, address and telephone number. An operator will contact you promptly.”
Emily punches the button to end the call. She may work in fashion but she's not stupid; she went to Warwick, for god's sake. There's no such thing as sudden rabies outbreaks. This is like something out of those idiotic movies Andy is forever making her watch. Night of the Living Dead, Return of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead. But surely that's impossible? Zombies are about as likely as Karl Lagerfield doing a line for plus sized women.
There are two phone calls she has to make, people she has to warn.
Emily was a tomboy growing up. She insisted on wearing trousers on any and all occasions, on going with her father to his barber rather than to her mother's hair dresser, played footie with the boys in the field rather than house with the girls. Then one day when she was about eleven , an issue of Runway appeared in her house and changed Emily's life forever.
Everything she has accomplished since that day, when she discovered that being interested in women's things meant more than babies and afternoon bloody teas, she owes to Miranda Priestly, including her position, her magnificent wardrobe, and the job offer from Vivenne Westwood currently sitting in her . By rights, if she is going to warn anyone that it appears zombies are taking over the city, it should be Miranda. And she has those wretched girls to round up too, if she were so inclined.
But precious moments spent trying to convince Miranda that she was not insane and that these zombies, despite having nothing to do with Runway , a re important enough to merit her notice would be time she can't spend warning Andy, currently still tucked into their bed at home, warm and dead to the world, that the fucking apocalypse has shown up and oh, could she bring Emily's gun round the office please?
The clothes were a nice gesture on Andy's part and Emily didn't have to have any of them adjusted too much, which indicated to her that maybe Andy wasn't the horrible little tart out to screw her Emily had always thought she was. She'd sent a thank you card - she wasn't an animal after all - and assumed that would be that.
But then Andrea showed up at these magazine awards Miranda insisted Emily attend for her. She talked about her new job, real journalism she called it, told her what had happened in Paris (Emily gasped at appropriate intervals and tamped down a completely irrational surge of jealousy when Andrea mentioned Christian and their night together), asked about Runway and her job there but nothing about Miranda.
Andrea was smart and could be funny and terribly cutting in her assessments of people and before she knew it they had spent almost the entire evening together. Again, Emily assumed that would be the end of it. But it hadn't been. Suddenly she was everywhere. It felt like every time she was at a party that wasn't about fashion (which were few) or a bar, or even a Starbucks, Andrea was there.
That was two years ago, and now Emily can't imagine her life without Andrea in it. Andrea keeps Emily grounded in a world that really, truly doesn't give a shit what James Holt is doing with tailored menswear this fall, even if it will eventually trickle down to their local Gap. Emily makes sure that Andrea doesn't embarrass herself wandering around New York dressed like somone, well, from Ohio. It's a good thing they have going.
So here she stands at the end of everything, reaching for the phone.