The second assistant flinched when Miranda dropped her coat—a structural, black trench from the Dolce & Gabbana winter preview—and bag—just a clutch, as her day was short—on her desk. Emily rolled her eyes as she noted that big shoulders were obviously back. Of course, this assistant probably would not last long enough for knockoffs of the coat to hit retail stores.
Typical. Emily was focusing on her nails when she saw something slip and flutter from the pile. The second assistant scrambled to slip back into her shoes at the same time she knelt to pick up whatever she fell. And of course, Miranda chose that moment.
“Emily.” Her voice was softer than usual, and Emily’s eyes widened. She rounded her desk quickly, eyes trained on the second assistant.
“Go,” she hissed as she gathered up the heap, which happened to be some sort of manuscript. She put it on the small desk and absently smoothed the pages as she attempted not to look like she was listening to the list Miranda was rattling off. The new girl would, as usual, forget half of it. She was entirely capable, but Miranda had been irritable on top of demanding for months, not only because Andrea had left but also because of complications with the divorce.
In a moment where Miranda looked up, Emily quickly glanced down at the manuscript. The type was plain and wholly uninteresting, but she focused on the word “Chanel”.
“Satan Wears Chanel,” Emily murmured, “by Andrea Sa—oh...oh, shit...”
When Emily looked up, she was locking eyes with Miranda, and Miranda...Miranda was pursing her lips.
“Right.” She gathered the manuscript, holding it to her chest and hoping against hope that Miranda simply...hadn’t looked at it yet. That was, of course, absolutely absurd. She had seen it, read it faux cover to faux cover, and now she was pursing her lips.
“Miranda, I had no idea...I mean, I knew Andrea was writing something, but really, I had no idea that something was this...or that she would...well, clearly, you are not...not wearing...Chanel today,” she said, finishing by clearly her throat and contemplating hiding behind the manuscript.
Miranda focused on the manuscript and pursed her lips again. Twice. That was twice she had pursed her lips in the span of ten minutes. Emily swallowed, telling herself that the magazine was not going to fold, the world was not going to end, and the worst Miranda could do besides sending her for coffee was fire her for continuing to be friends—or something like talking once in a while—with Andy...if she even knew.
“Go through that. Make sure there’s nothing I’ve missed.”
Emily caught herself before she gaped for too long. “Of course.”
“Thank you; that’s all.”
Emily shifted her bag on her shoulder as she walked into the restaurant, eyes scanning the room for Andy. She had the book under arm and a mild headache from spending the entire afternoon reading both it and Miranda’s scrawl. It could have been worse, she supposed. It could have been some sort of scathing tell-all.
But that was exactly Miranda’s problem with it. Because it was smart, funny, and insightful, she couldn’t write it off. And Emily was not sure what she was supposed to do about that. She almost wished she’d been sent to get the twins into a Harry Potter movie or something.
“Emily, hey!” Andy was standing and waving her over to a table.
Emily met her grin with a small, reserved smile. “I can’t believe you wanted to meet here. The smell alone is giving me cellulite.”
“Want one?” And pushed a plate of cheese fries Emily’s way, and Emily scowled. They did, however, smell distractingly good, and she was rather on edge.
“Well...maybe just...yes, I suppose I can make up for it tomorrow. Yes.” She chose the smallest but cheesiest fry and ate it quickly while trying not to think about how absolutely, disgustingly delicious it tasted. “Right. Distracting me with food, as you know, will not work.” She put the manuscript on the table, pushing the fries aside.
“Well,” Andy began, pushing a piece of hair behind her ear, “what did you think?”
“What do you mean what did I think? How could you? What in God’s name were you thinking?”
Andy shrugged. “I don’t know. I guess I was thinking that I could turn my experience at Runway into something more than a recommendation from Miranda.”
Emily found herself reaching for the fries. “Well...” she said, continuing between showing them frantically into her mouth, “you’re...bloody lucky...you know...to have...even gotten that. She could...have been nasty, you know. You know how nasty she can...get. I think she...bloody well liked you...you know. But you’ve gone and ruined that!” she finished, throwing up her hands.
She pushed the plate away again and grimaced as she wiped her fingers with a paper napkin. Andy was biting the inside of her lip and looking infuriatingly adorable while doing so. It had been a few months since Emily had last seen her. She didn’t like to admit that she often thought about Andy, that she wished she might have made more of an effort when she could have. Keeping a casual distance was simpler, and working for Miranda made it easy.
Andy picked up the manuscript and thumbed through it, chuckling as she skimmed some of Miranda’s notes. “I wasn’t expecting her to edit this... I just thought it would be, well, nice to send an early copy.”
“Well, Andrea, I just don’t know what to say,” Emily replied, straightening and smoothing her hair. “She is an editor. She edits, and she was very generous with you. Satan Wears Chanel...Satan! I simply cannot believe you would even...” a small smile was forming on Emily face, and she found that she just could not help it. “I can’t believe you even sent her a copy. I would have killed to see the look on her face when she first saw it.”
Andy crossed her arms and put the plate of fries on top of the manuscript. She looked incredibly satisfied as she picked one out of a cheesy stack. “I guess nothing has changed.”
Emily cocked her head at the incongruity between Andy’s looks and her voice. She sounded almost sad. “Well, I just don’t know what you expect,” she said softly. “And I highly doubt you’ll be getting a review from us when this comes out, you know.”
“You know...” Andy paused, chuckling as she leaned back in her seat. “We should do this more often.”
“What? No. I mean...if Miranda found out...and especially after you publish this monstrosity...”
Andy rolled her eyes. “She’s your boss, Emily, not your mother. And,” she said, grinning, “I think you kinda liked it.”
“Well.” Emily blushed. “It was rather amusing. But totally, totally inappropriate.”
She half smiled. Seeing Andy more often wouldn’t be too much of a chore. And it might just give her the chance to ask if she was still seeing that ridiculous boyfriend.