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Stars Set Alight

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"I wonder," he said, "whether the stars are set alight in heaven so that one day each one of us may find his own again..."

Prologue

When Andrea Sachs was seven, her best friend, Bobby McLaughlin from next door had moved away. Her oma gathered her up in her arms and let her cry it out before she wiped her granddaughter’s tear stained face and told her in her accented English: “Andrea -”
“Andy, oma -”
“Andy is a name for silly boys and you are neither a boy, nor silly. You are smart and capable, and one day you will grow into a beautiful woman-”
“Like mama?”
“Yes, like your mother. And it’s time you learned a little secret about life.”
“A secret?”
“Yes liebchen. Man trifft sich zweimal im Leben. Do you know what that means? Even though your friend has moved, you’ll meet him again. Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow. But no one important ever leaves our lives forever. Do you understand?”
“Yes.” Andy nodded as she lied. Her opa was never coming back after they put him in the ground, and he was important to Andy.
“Good - now oma can’t feel her legs. So get up and play.” And with that, she handed Andy a gold wrapped caramel and sent her on her way.


The first time Andy Sachs and Miranda Priestly run into each other, years after Runway, it’s both a coincidence and a collision.

Andy, tipsy and teetering in too-high heels is arm in arm with Doug, as they help keep each other upright. They’re not drunk yet, but they will be by the time they get home. They’re laughing about something loudly as they collide into softness and cashmere coats.
“I’m so sorry!”
“Watch where you’re - Six?!”
“Nigel!”
They laugh and hug and ask questions on top of one another as they step back. For a moment, neither of them notice the chill as Miranda steps out and observes the moment. “How are you doing?” Andy asks as Nigel.
“Oh my god - I’m great - but what are you doing here?”
“We’re just drinking away Doug’s latest heartache and -”
“Excuse me, just Doug’s?” Doug teases as he extends his hand out to shake.
“Yes.” Andy replies, pointedly, “Just Doug’s.” It’s not until Doug turns to introduce himself to the person that appeared to Nigel’s side that Andy sees her. “Oh! Miranda! Hi! You um, probably don’t remember me, but I was your second assistant ages ago - “
“Don’t be ridiculous Andrea. One doesn’t forget being stranded in Paris by their second assistant. Contrary to your behavior, it’s not a common occurrence.”
“Yeah, about that -” She blushes and begins to apologize.
“It was the past.” There is a firm end to that line of conversation. “Although it is nice to see you’ve managed to retain some of Nigel’s teachings.”
“As well as yours.” Almost drunk, and certainly at a disadvantage of being caught off guard by Miranda’s presence, Andy squares her shoulders for a moment and both women regard each other. Neither of them blink or move as their eyes lock, almost daring the other to move away. She’s not the girl she was when she last saw the woman, standing outside, waving like a child. She’s 32 and a writer and somehow managed to become someone stronger, kinder, tougher - it’s due, in a not-so-small way, to the woman before her. It’s not until Miranda shifts her lip into a ghost of a smirk that Andy blinks and suddenly doesn’t feel the November chill. She doesn’t see or hear anything either. She just... can’t stop thinking how good it is to see Miranda.

A sleek car pulls up to the curb by the group and sound enters back into her world. “Your last article, the one about the challenges in transitioning technology trends from the West to the East coast... wasn’t awful. The middle lagged, but that’s as much the editor’s fault as yours and the end brought it back quite skillfully.”
“Wait...” Andy asks, as Miranda is about to step into the car, door held open by Nigel. “You read my article?”
“Yes, well... it was an exceptionally slow news day.” And with that, the door closes, separating the two women and leave Nigel and Andy to exchange hasty goodbyes. “It’s good to see you. Drinks next week.” Nigel states, “And bring Doug.” He whispers in her ear as he places quick pecks on her each cheek.

The car pulls away and Andy and Doug link arms once more and begin to walk home, but the air around them is subdue. It’s as if Doug can see Andy fall down the rabbit hole of her thoughts. He’s seen it often enough. “So that was the Dragon Lady, live and in concert?”
“No.” She corrects him, “That was Miranda.”

The friends hug goodnight at the stairs then split off to their separate apartments. Andy feels cold. She’s been cold since Miranda complemented her. Well... her writing. She changes quickly and climbs into bed and from her bedside drawer pulls out a gold foil wrapped caramel and pops it into her mouth in hopes that she can get warm again. As she drifts off to sleep, half-mesmerized by the patterns of shadow and light coming from the traffic lights shining through her blinds, she thinks of her oma, and of how her first college boyfriend turned out to be Bobby from next door and that Miranda read her article.


Andy arrives to work the next morning with a splitting headache and a cup of scalding coffee which she almost spills all over herself when she sees the bottle of San Pellegrino and a fresh box of tylenol.


Crosstown, Miranda quickly scrawls the “Editor’s Note”, pen to paper, a comment about running into an old acquaintance and the passing of time, the maturing of self and other. Very little thought goes into it, she rather let her work speak to her audience indirectly through every other page of the magazine. She leaves it on the desk for the Assistants to deal with.