Andy Sachs was in the middle of her favorite dream. In it, she was sitting with her grandmother, curled up to her side, while the older woman read to her. Her voice was smooth and melodic, reciting the words of Shakespeare or the stories of the Grimm Brothers. The fingers of the hand not holding the book in front of her would comb gently through Andy's hair, helping to lull her even further into the worlds created by the words read aloud.
Her grandmother was just getting to Andy's favorite part in Snow White, when a new, decidedly male voice cut into the story. "Rise and shine, love. It's nearly 7:30."
Andy let out a moan of protest and turned, squeezing her eyes shut even tighter, desperately trying to hang on to the dream. A whimper was heard from beside her, signaling that the other occupant of her bed was also not ready to wake up just yet. Andy felt the bed shift as the person trying to rouse her sat down.
"Come on, darling. It's time to grace the world with your beautiful presence. Coffee's on the nightstand." A kiss landed on her cheek.
Andy groaned once more, but rolled over, hand reaching blindly for her coffee mug. The male hand wrapped around it, guiding it to its destination. "I'll see you for lunch. Love you."
Andy swallowed some of the hot liquid, allowing the caffeine to begin to seep into her body before she opened her eyes to find the room empty. "I love you too!" She called down the hallway with a grin. She allowed herself the luxury of two more minutes spent in bed, drinking the coffee, before she finally let her feet to touch the cold wooden floor of the bedroom.
Once again there was a whimper from beside her and she turned and grinned at the little white head sticking out of the covers. "It's okay, Coco. You can sleep a bit longer."
Andy laughed when the little white head disappeared back under the covers, then she quickly set about getting ready for the day. By the time she had showered and dressed, the little mound was gone from under the covers, allowing her to make the bed.
"Coco. Coco." Andy called as she moved through the apartment, stopping in the kitchen with a smile. "There you are! Is it breakfast time?"
The little dog yipped in agreement, and Andy grinned, grabbing the container that housed her food. "Here you go, baby." She poured the food into the dish, and then ran her hand over the dog's head before turning to look for something for herself for breakfast.
She didn't need to look far. There was a yogurt container and a banana sitting on the counter, along with a note. 'Eat Me'. Andy giggled. Sometimes, life felt like it was just about perfect.
"Girl, where have you been? It's nearly 9!" Lily exclaimed as Andy and Coco made it to the store front where she was already waiting.
"Coco was a little late getting out of bed this morning." Andy grinned, handing Lily the set of keys.
Lily looked at her best friend and rolled her eyes before releasing the lock and sliding the screen up, opening the store front. "I bet she was."
Lily opened the door to the store and headed inside, turning on lights as she went. Coco tugged at the leash, wanting to follow Lily, but Andy stood still, looking up at the sign above the window. 'Sachs of Books'. She smiled wistfully, looking up at the sky before finally heading inside the store.
"So, how long can you hang around today?" Andy asked, leaning down to unhook Coco's leash.
"At least until lunch. I need to be at the gallery by 2."
"Great." Andy watched Coco take off through the store like she owned it.
“So, what are we doing today, boss?” Lily teased.
Andy stuck her tongue out at her. “The window display needs updating. Any ideas?”
“Well… summer’s coming. Maybe a beach theme or something? Good beach reads?”
“Not a bad idea. Maybe a ‘summer reading list’? We could do beach reads but also intermingle some classics.”
“Okay. Why don’t you go dig out the beach reads, I’ll take care of the classics, and we can reconvene in a while.”
Lily headed off to the romance section of the store, while Andy moved towards the classics, which happened to be her favorite section. She ran her fingers over the titles, pulling some down, looking them over and then placing them back. Every so often she would hold up two books and look down at Coco, who was now sitting at her feet. “What do you think Coco?” The dog barked. “I agree. We definitely need Pride & Prejudice.”
Andy had just finished making her selections and was heading back toward the front of the store, when the bell chimed, signaling that someone had entered.
“Hi, welcome to ‘Sachs of Books’. Can I help you find some-“
“I need The Wizard of Oz.” A thin, red-headed woman was juggling about five designer bags, a tray of Starbucks, and a cell phone.
“Um, okay. Well, we have a few different copies, I could show you…”
“I don’t care about the cover. I just want the book.”
Andy frowned slightly. She wondered if the woman wanted just The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, or if she wanted the whole collection of Oz books. She had just shown the whole collection to –
“Okay. Sorry.” Andy moved quickly to the shelf where she picked her favorite version of the book.
“Here you go.” The woman somehow managed to free a hand and snatch the book out of Andy’s grasp. Andy shrunk back slightly. “Um, is there anything else that I can –“
Before Andy could finish her sentence, the phone in the woman’s hand began to ring. The woman’s eyes widened and she quickly answered it. “Hello Miranda. Yes, I’m here now. Yes, I will be back just as soon as this woman rings me up.” At this, a glare was thrown at Andy. “Yes, yes, I’m sure it’s the one that Cassidy wants. Yes, Miranda. Absolutely Miranda.”
At the name Cassidy, Andy looked up. Wait a minute.
The woman was hanging up the phone, looking more harried than before. “What?”
“You um, you said this was for Cassidy. Is she a younger girl, red hair?”
The woman’s eyes narrowed. “Yes.”
“Well, you see, it’s just –“
“I do not have time for this right now! Just ring up the damn book, would you?”
“I would but you see, that’s not –“
“I think I know what book my boss wants to get her daughter for her birthday. Now are you going to ring me up or am I going to have to leave this store and see to it that my boss shuts you down forever?”
Andy blinked rapidly at that. She didn’t necessarily believe that that could happen, but the woman looked on the verge of a nervous breakdown and so she rang up the book.
“That’ll be $21.25.”
“For a book? Bloody hell.” The woman thrust the money forward, grabbed the book and left without even taking her change.
“Whoa! What was up with her?” Lily asked, coming from the other side of the store holding a large pile of books.
“I don’t know. But I hate to see her when she realizes she bought the wrong book.”
Cassidy grinned widely as her mother handed her the last present. She knew what it was without even opening it, and she was incredibly excited. Not that she wasn’t thrilled with all the cool clothes, the new iPod, the necklace and everything, but all that she had really wanted for her birthday was this one thing.
“Go ahead Cass, open yours.” Caroline said, nodding to the package that she was clutching.
Cassidy bit her lip and then tore into the paper. She smiled at the sight of a book, but as she turned it over and saw the title on the front, her smile faded. This wasn’t right. She had wanted The Complete Oz, not just The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. She had told her mother at least three times. And every time, her mother had assured her that she knew exactly what it was that she wanted.
“What’s wrong, darling?” Miranda asked, noticing the faltering smiled.
“What? Oh. Nothing! Nothing. It’s great! Just what I wanted. Thanks Mom.” She forced a smile. At least she had the first story. That would hold her over until she could get back to the bookstore. “Caroline, go ahead, open yours.” She encouraged, trying to get her mother’s attention off of her.
Caroline was just about to open her last gift when the doorbell rang.
“Who could that be?” Miranda asked aloud. Both girls shrugged. Neither was expecting anyone.
A moment later, Maria, their housekeeper, entered the room, holding a package wrapped in brown paper.
“Pardon me, Miss Miranda, but this just came for Miss Cassidy.”
“For me?” Cassidy was surprised, but she jumped up and grabbed the package.
She tore it open, once again revealing a book. But this time, when she took in the title, a wide grin spread across her face. The Complete Oz was embossed on the beautiful old book with gold lettering. She opened it and scanned over the table of contents, grinning as she saw all the stories listed. She didn’t even need to look at the card that was tucked in the book to see who it was from, but she picked it out anyway. Happy Birthday Cassidy. Enjoy Oz, but remember to come back and visit me. AMS.
“What is it?” Caroline asked, leaning over to look at it.
“It’s nothing.” She said quickly, trying to hide it from her mother. “Just a book, from a friend.”
“Cassidy, give me the book.” Miranda’s voice brooked no argument and Cassidy sighed and handed the book over to her.
Miranda looked at it, then at the card and then at Cassidy. “This is the book you wanted?”
“I – yes.”
“Well, why didn’t you say so?”
Cassidy blinked. “Mom, I did. I told you three times. Didn’t Andy tell you that you were getting the wrong book when you went to buy it for me?”
“Yeah, the lady at the bookstore. I told her that you would come by to get the book. I described you to her and everything. I can’t believe she let you get the wrong book.”
"Yes, well…" Miranda didn't know how to respond.
Cassidy looked at Miranda and then realization seemed to settle over her. "Oh."
"No. No, it's okay, mom. I understand. You're really busy. It's fine." Cassidy forced a smile and held her hand out for the book. "I got what I wanted in the end. And everything else was great. Thank you."
Miranda handed the book back to her. She still didn't know what to say to her daughter.
"Go ahead Caroline, open yours." Cassidy smiled, trying to fight back tears.
Caroline pulled the paper off to reveal a paint set, exactly what she'd asked for. She smiled at her mother, but it didn't quite reach her eyes. "Thanks mom, this is great."
"You're welcome darling."
Silence stretched through the air as the three women regarded each other. Finally Miranda broke it. "What would you like to do now darlings? There's your cake or we could go to the theatre or…"
"I think I'd like to go read my book." Cassidy said softly, still holding tightly to the book.
"Yeah, and I'd like to try out the paints." Caroline nodded.
Miranda looked slightly disappointed but smiled anyway. "Alright darlings, it's your special day. Whatever you want."
Cassidy was halfway up the stairs before Miranda had even finished her sentence.
She knew it was Caroline entering her room before she ever spoke. Mainly because Caroline was the only one who could get away with entering her room without knocking. And because her mother hadn't entered her room in months, and Stephen was gone, and so that left Caroline as the only possibility.
Caroline collapsed on the bed next to her, a smudge of blue paint on her left cheek.
"How are the paints?" She asked, without looking up from her book. They have been doing this for 13 years, and sometimes when it happens, she feels like they're back to being 5 again, huddling together in the same bed while their parents fight down the hall.
"They're good. I started something but… " Caroline shrugged, without actually shrugging.
"You'll figure it out." Cassidy knew this for sure.
Caroline was silent for a few moments, relaxing further into the bed, and somehow sliding closer to her sister. "You know she didn't mean to hurt you." She said, finally.
Cassidy made a non-committal noise in the back of her throat. Of course she knew that, but she also knew that it had hurt.
"She's just really busy and…"
"She's never not busy." Cassidy finally said. "It's not even that she didn't go to get the book. It's that I told her, Caroline, I told her three separate times. And every time she told me she knew."
"Maybe Emily messed it up. You know how she is."
Cassidy had no reply to this. They continued to lay in silence, Cassidy reading the book, Caroline staring at the ceiling.
"Why didn't you tell me about it?"
Cassidy looked over at her. "About the book?"
"About the store. About this Andy person. Is that where you've been going all the time lately?"
"I don't know. I didn't think it was important." That was not true. The reason Cassidy hadn't told her sister or her mother or anyone else about the bookstore was because she didn't want to.
She had stumbled upon it quite by accident one day. Spring was just starting to really hit the city and she had decided to walk home from school. While walking, she had wondered a bit aimlessly off her normal path and had stumbled upon the store. She still wasn't sure why she had decided to enter, but she had. Coco had heralded her arrival by barking three times, and Andy had approached her, smiling, asking if she needed something. The store was cozy, warm, homey, with nice music playing and big, comfortable chairs to sit on. Often, Cassidy would find herself curled up in the chairs, reading and reading away.
She worried that Andy would be upset that she read the books, but often didn't buy them, but Andy didn't seem to mind at all. Andy was as warm and inviting as the store itself, although she also seemed rather shy and quiet. But once she stared talking about books, she came alive. She knew all about all the books that Cassidy had to read for her English classes, and soon Cassidy found herself coming to the store every evening after school to do her homework. And if Andy didn't know the book that Cassidy was reading, she would read it right along with Cassidy so that she could discuss it with her.
Since the divorce, her mother had been spending even longer hours at work than normal, and Caroline had started going over to her boyfriend James' house after school. Cassidy would much rather spend her evenings in the cozy store, talking to Andy about books and playing with Coco, than sitting home in the big house alone.
It was her own little secret, the one thing that was Cassidy's alone. She and Caroline had always shared everything, and she'd never really minded. It had always been comforting to have someone to share everything with, someone who knew all her secrets and moods. But sometimes Cassidy felt as though she wasn't an actual person, just a part of a pair. It was always 'the girls' or 'the twins' or 'Cassidy-and-Caroline'. No one could tell them apart except for their parents, and even they often referred to them as 'the girls'.
But Andy was different. Andy didn't know that Caroline even existed. To her there was just Cassidy, not 'Cassidy-and-Caroline'. Not even 'Cassidy Priestly'. Andy and the store were something that were special, just for her. And Cassidy had not yet been willing to share that with her sister, or anyone.
Caroline moved even closer to her sister, so that they were tight up against each other. "I understand."
Cassidy slid the card from Andy into the page she was reading and closed the book, flipping over so that she too was lying on her back. Their hands found each other and her head rested on her sister's shoulder. She closed her eyes. She didn't need to say thank you. It was understood. Instead she whispered, "Happy Birthday", and allowed herself to fall asleep.
That was how Miranda found them later, snuggled together, still holding hands, the book on Cassidy's stomach and the paint smudge on Caroline's cheek, sound asleep.
It had taken her exactly three minutes and 47 seconds from the time she walked off the elevator at Runway the next morning until Emily had confessed, while fighting back tears, that the woman at the bookstore had tried to tell her something, but that she had ignored her. Miranda dismissed her with instructions to bring her her Starbucks and the address of the bookstore in five minutes or to not come back. She made it with only 10 seconds to spare.
The store was decently sized and inviting enough from the outside. A large sign with the words 'Sachs of Books' was above the door. It looked worn. The display window was apparently in the midst of being redone, as it held a beach chair and randomly tossed about toys and piles of books. Miranda wondered, as she pulled open the door, how it was that Cassidy had ever found this place.
A bell jingled and a little white dog, a Maltese if Miranda was not mistaken, came running from between a set of shelves, yapping at her. The scent of coffee filled the air, and laughter could be heard coming from somewhere close by.
"Who's here, Coco? Huh, who's here?" The voice was still full of laughter as it came closer. Finally the speaker appeared.
She was a young woman, who looked to be in her mid twenties. She was wearing a pair of black slacks and a white button up shirt. Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail, but there were a few strands framing her face. She had little to no makeup on, but a sweet smile. "Hi, welcome to Sachs of Books. Is there something I can help you-"
"I'd like to speak to Andy."
The young woman blinked. "That's me."
"You are Andy?" Miranda had expected an older woman, more matronly, not this young girl.
"Yes. Andrea Sachs, but everyone calls me Andy."
"Andrea." Miranda let the name roll on her tongue. Yes, Andrea. Not the provincial Andy. "I believe you know my daughter, Cassidy."
Andy's eyes widened in recognition. "Oh yes, Cassidy! You're Cassidy's mother? It's a pleasure to meet you." Andy held out her hand.
Miranda stared at it before continuing on. "You sent my daughter a book for her birthday."
Andy's hand dropped to her side. "I – well, yes, I did. I knew how much she wanted it, and when your assistant came in, I tried to explain to her that she was buying the wrong book, but she was rather in a hurry and…"
"She purchased the wrong book. I am well aware of this. I witnessed my daughter's disappointment. However, you sent her the correct book."
"Yes?" Andy wasn't sure where this conversation was going.
Miranda pulled her Prada purse up, opening it to search for her wallet. "How much was the book?"
"The book, that you sent my daughter. How much was it?"
"I – it was a gift."
"Yes, it was to be my gift to her and my incompetent assistant obviously ruined that, so you sent it to her. I appreciate that and am here to pay you back for it." Miranda looked at her as though she was stupid.
"No. I don't think you understand. It was a gift. From me to Cassidy. You don't need to pay me back. I wanted to give it to her. I won't accept your money."
"I said," Andy took a breath," I won't accept your money. It was a gift from me to Cassidy. You, or well, your assistant, purchased her a book, albeit the wrong one. If she wants to bring that book back to me, I'd be happy to exchange it for another book she wants, but the book that I sent to her was a gift from me. Therefore, I won't accept your money for it."
Miranda felt her face flush in anger. She had never before had an offer of money denied, nor had she ever had someone tell her that she had made a mistake. Who did this woman think she was?
"Do you have any idea who I am?"
The girl looked confused. "You're Cassidy's mother."
"I am Miranda Priestly." She waited for the flash of recognition, the moment of fear, of horror when she realized exactly who she was dealing with, but it did not come.
"It's nice to meet you Ms. Priestly." Andy didn't know what else she was supposed to say at this moment. The name sounded just vaguely familiar, but she figured that was because Cassidy had probably mentioned it a time or two. And she had known Priestly was Cassidy's last name, so of course her mother's would be the same.
Miranda's eyes widened. The girl honestly didn't know who she was! This had never, ever happened to her before. She had no idea what to do in this situation. She turned and headed for the door.
"Ms. Priestly?" She turned and stared at Andrea, the woman who had no idea who she was, yet had the audacity to stop her from leaving. "Your assistant…"
"Emily." She supplied, her tone icy.
"Emily." Andrea smiled softly. "It seems to me that she's incredibly over worked. Perhaps you should give her a day off."
Miranda had to stop her mouth from dropping open at the woman's comment, and she quickly stormed out of the store and into the waiting car, demanding to go back to Elias-Clark immediately.
Andy could only stare after her, confused as to what had just happened.
"Oh my god, Andy, do you have any idea who that was?" Lily asked, coming to stand next to her.
"No. Andy! That was Miranda Priestly."
Andy turned, looking at her with a confused look on her face.
"The Miranda Priestly!" When there was still no recognition, Lily grabbed Andy's arm and pulled her to the magazine rack. She grabbed the latest issue of Runway and thrust the Editor's letter in front of Andy. "The Editor of Runway. Honey, your grandma would be so disappointed in you right now."
Andy stared at the picture, the woman with the icy eyes and shining white hair. Miranda Priestly. "Oh my god."
Andy lay, curled on her bed, running her hands over Coco's fur. She let out a sigh, which caused the little dog to move closer to her. Miranda Priestly. Miranda Priestly was Cassidy's mother. She still couldn't quite wrap her brain about what she'd learned after the woman had left the store. Nor could she deal with the fact that she'd told Miranda Priestly she didn't want her money and that she should give her assistant a day off. Miranda would probably never allow Cassidy to come back to the store again.
Although Lily had only been teasing about her grandmother being disappointed in her for not knowing who Miranda was, Andy had to admit that she was probably right. Her grandmother had loved fashion and especially loved Runway. Andy sighed once more. "I'm sorry Grandma Eve. I wish I had known it was Miranda. Now I look like a complete idiot and she'll probably never let Cassidy come back to the store. I wish you were here right now. You'd know what to do."
Andy closed her eyes and allowed sleep to overtake her.
The next thing Andy was aware of was being in Central Park, standing on the Bethesda Terrace, looking down on the fountain below her. "There's my beautiful granddaughter."
She turned at the sound of the voice and was met with the sight of her grandmother, walking toward her, smiling. "Grandma Eve!" The exclamation came out in a rush of emotion as she raced forward, practically flinging herself into the older woman's arms.
"Now, now honey, calm down. It's okay."
Andy buried her head in her grandmother's neck for long moments before she pulled back and looked at her. "What's the matter, my little Andy?"
"I did something really stupid today Grandma."
Her grandmother motioned for them to sit down and Andy did, telling her everything about what had happened in the store that afternoon. "And now she's probably never going to let Cassidy come see me again, and I feel like such an idiot."
"Oh honey, don't. Miranda Priestly is just a person, just like you and me." Nimble old fingers combed through Andy's hair. "She's just a bit more powerful and fashionable than us." She looked over at Andy, in sweatpants and a Northwestern sweater. "Especially you." The voice was teasing.
"What do I do, Grandma?"
"You know what I always say. There is a person for every book. You just need to find the book that belongs to Miranda."
Andy considered this. It was a good idea. She could send a book to Miranda, along with an apology note. But the book would have to be something special. "Yes, but, what book Grandma? I have no idea what to send her."
"Yes you do."
It was then that Andy noticed that her grandmother was holding a book in her hands. Her eyes widened as she realized what it was. "That book? Grandma, are you sure?"
"Who better for it than her, honey?" Her grandmother was smiling. Andy wanted to stay here, with her like this, forever.
Her grandmother leaned forward and kissed her forehead. "I wish you could stay too, sweetheart, but you can't. It's time to wake up."
Andy grasped her hand. "No. Please. I miss you so much."
"I miss you too, my little Andy. But I'm always here with you. I love you."
"I love you too."
And with that, Andy woke up. She always hated waking up after dreams where she got to see her grandmother again, but today at least she felt a sense of purpose. She knew what she had to do.
It had been an abysmal day. Cassidy was not speaking to her, after finding out that she had gone to see Andrea. She did not understand why her daughter was angry at her, if she should be angry at anyone, it should be Andrea, the little idiot. Add to that an incompetent second assistant who could not get proper coffee to save her life, a photo shoot set back by rain, and an utterly disappointing run through, and who could blame her for being in a bad mood. Things had only gotten worse after lunch, which had consisted of a horribly cooked steak that she had been unable to eat. The layouts for the next issue were subpar at best, one of the photographers was throwing a fit, and the latest designs from the featured designer had been horrendous.
She had finally gotten a moment to be by herself when she heard her first assistant enter the office. "What is it Emily?" Her voice was colder than ice.
"I'm sorry Miranda, I don't mean to disturb you, but… this just arrived for you."
Miranda turned and saw that Emily was holding a package, wrapped in brown paper. She blinked at it. "Put it on the desk."
Emily set the package on the desk, and then stood waiting for further instructions.
"That's all." Miranda gritted out.
Emily scurried away. Miranda waited until she was sure Emily was occupied before she turned and looked at the package. It looked just like the one Cassidy had received on her birthday. And if it was, that meant it could only be from one person.
Miranda had to admit that she was intrigued. She reached forward and undid the wrapping. It was definitely a book, and an old one at that. Miranda's brow furrowed. What book could Andrea possibly be sending her?
She noticed the card and picked it up, opening it. Small, neat handwriting met her gaze. 'Ms. Priestly, I hope you will accept this as an apology from me. I was a complete idiot yesterday, to say the least. I truly didn't know who you were, and I'm sorry. My grandmother always said that there was a person for every book. I know that you are the person for this book. Best regards, AMS.'
Miranda tapped a finger to her lip. She had known yesterday that the girl didn't know who she was. She was certainly not expecting this. An apology in the form of a book. Very, very interesting. She set the card down on the desk and opened the front cover of the book, only to have her eyes go very wide as she took in the first page. No. It couldn't be. And yet… she flipped through page after page and there was no mistaking it. She felt her heart beginning to beat faster.
She stood, grabbing the book and the card. "Coat. Bag. Have Roy waiting for me downstairs. And clear my schedule for the rest of the day." She said as she breezed out of the office. It appeared that she would be going back to 'Sachs of Books' for the second time in as many days.
The little dog once again signaled her arrival. Andrea entered from a door to what was probably a back room, hair once again pulled up. Today, she was wearing a pair of old, ratty jeans and a faded t-shirt for a band that had been popular in the eighties, both of which were splattered with various colors of paint. Again the woman was wearing little makeup, but today there was a splash of color on her face in the form of a smudge of red across her forehead.
"Welcome to – Ms. Priestly!" Andy's eyes widened as she took in Miranda standing in her store once again.
"I – what?"
"My name is Miranda. Not Ms. Priestly." Miranda hated it when people called her that.
"Oh, um, of course. I'm sorry, Ms. – Miranda. I – what can I do for you?"
"Do you always speak like this?"
Andy was thrown for a loop. "Like, like what?"
"Like a five year old child?"
"Um, I – no, I don't think I do – but you see, it's just…" Andy stopped, realizing she was only proving Miranda right. She swallowed and tried again. "Apparently only around you."
Miranda's eyebrow lifted. "And why do you think that is?"
"I'm really not sure. All I know is that it seems that whenever you are around, I turn into a babbling idiot. For which I'm extremely sorry."
"Yes, I got your apology. You must be very sorry indeed."
Andy just stared at Miranda. Miranda held up the book that was in her hand. "Is this what I think it is?"
"Um, well, if you think it's one of Coco Chanel's sketch books, then… yes."
"I am to believe that this is actually one of Chanel's original sketch books?"
"It is. If you don't believe it, you can have it looked at by any number of historians. I'm sure you know Karl Lagerfeld personally, have him look at it."
"Do you have any idea how much this book would be worth, if it were the real thing?"
Andy sighed, and sat down on a stool behind the counter. "It is the real thing. And I'm sure it's worth hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars."
"And yet you have it in your possession and are willing to give it away so easily, to someone you don't even know."
"Not just someone. Miranda Priestly. Queen of the fashion industry. If there is anyone who is supposed to have that book, it's you. And besides, I do know you. You're Cassidy's mother."
"That still doesn't answer the question of how you have the book in your possession."
"It was my grandmother's."
Andy spun on the stool and stood up, pulling a picture down off the wall behind the counter. She passed it to Miranda. In the picture stood a fashionable older woman and a teenaged girl wearing a prom gown, obviously designer made, hugging each other and smiling. "She was an incredibly wealthy woman. The only daughter of a well off family here in New York who left everything to her when they died, and the beloved wife of a man whose family had made quite a lot of money in the oil business in Texas and then in the stock market here in New York, who also left her everything when he died. She loved fashion, loved everything about it, and it was about the only real luxury she spent her money on. My grandfather bought her that book at an auction for their anniversary." Andy looked at Miranda and smiled. "She would be so thrilled to know that you were standing in her store."
"Her store? Not yours?"
"Well, mine now I guess but… this store will always be hers."
Miranda handed the picture back and regarded the young woman again. "And your grandmother would be ok with you giving me this book?"
"Oh, absolutely. It was her idea, actually." As soon as the words came out of her mouth, Andy knew how utterly ridiculous they sounded, and that her explanation would make Miranda think she was crazier than she already thought she was.
The eyebrow rose again. "Her idea? I took it, from what you've been saying, Andrea, that your grandmother is dead."
"She is." Andy nodded. The eyebrow rose even further. "Oh, god," she ran a hand over her face, "now you're going to think I'm an insane idiot."
The girl was blushing, her cheeks turning almost as red as the smudge of paint on her forehead. On most people, it would look awful, and yet, on Andrea, it was almost becoming. "Do tell, Andrea, how it is that this was your grandmother's idea."
Andy hopped down off the stool and moved around the counter. "I, um, have dreams about her. I still talk to her all the time, and sometimes, I have dreams where she comes to visit me. Talks to me. Helps me through things. After she died, I was completely miserable. I wanted… closure or something. Some way to know that she was still with me, even though she wasn't. So I started researching things, and I found the name of this pretty famous medium… Allison DuBois. I got her books and I read them and… she talks about how the dead are always with you and they're trying to get through to you, but sometimes you just can't see or hear them because you aren't ready. So I started opening myself up to Grandma Eve, telling her I was ready if she was. And I started having the dreams not long after." Andy shrugged again. "I don't know, maybe it's just my subconscious tricking me, but sometimes the dreams feel so real. I like to believe it's her, still with me, somehow."
"And she told you to give me this?"
"Yep. Last night. And maybe it was just a figment of my imagination, but I know she'd want you to have it anyway. She loved Runway, and she loved Chanel, so I think she'd want you to have it."
Miranda wanted the book. She wanted to take it and leave the store and never think about where she'd gotten it again. And yet, this girl, with the paint splatter and the belief her grandmother was still with her after death, she made her stop and think. "I can't –"
"It's a gift. It's rude to not accept a gift. Besides, what am I supposed to do with that book? It would just lay around collecting dust. But you… I don't know… but I know it'd be in better hands if it were yours. So take it."
Miranda opened her mouth to say something else, but was interrupted by the sound of the bell, signaling someone entering the door.
"Andy! Andy! I got an A on my English test on –" Cassidy, already changed out of her Dalton uniform, skidded to a stop the instant she saw her mother standing in the store. "What are you doing here?"
"Your mother just stopped by to pick up a book I thought she'd enjoy." Andy cut in.
"The better question is what you are doing here, young lady. Shouldn’t you be in school?"
Cassidy looked at her as though she'd grown another head. "School's out, mom. It's nearly 4."
Miranda was shocked. She didn't think it was that late at all.
"Cass, there are some of those muffins you like so well left over at the café corner. Why don't you go grab one and then you can tell me about your test."
Cassidy looked between her mother and Andy and then nodded. "Okay Andy."
Once she was away, Andy turned back to Miranda. "I hope it's okay that she's here."
"How often does she come here?" Miranda watched as Cassidy knelt on the ground and played with the dog, who seemed to know her quite well.
"She started coming in about two months ago. At first it was just randomly, a time here or there. For the past three weeks though, it's been basically every day after school. She comes in, stays for a few hours, and then goes home."
Miranda was surprised by this. She had not known this at all. Cassidy had been home every night when she got home, but lately that was always past 9. Her homework was always done and Miranda had thought nothing of it. "Why does –" the sound of her phone ringing cut off whatever else was going to come out of her mouth.
Of course something else had to have gone wrong, and of course she was needed back at the office because she was the only capable person there. She ended the call with a "That's all", and turned to look at her daughter, still playing with the dog, and Andrea, still standing there with a smile on her face.
"Sounds like you need to get going." She smiled disarmingly. "Please, keep the book. Consider it a gift from an insane idiot."
Miranda found that the words 'thank you' were on the tip of her tongue and quickly bit them back. Instead she nodded once and turned and walked out the door without another word.
Andy watched her go. Then she turned to Cassidy. "So… is she always like that?"
"My god, Miranda, where ever did you find this?" Karl asked, looking at the book in wonder.
"So it is the real thing then? They really are Coco's sketches?"
"I'd bet my life on it." He was practically drooling over the pages. "How did you get your hands on these?"
"They were a gift. From an… acquaintance."
Karl's eyes nearly bugged out of his head. "Must be some acquaintance."
Miranda said nothing, but an image of a paint smudged Andrea, cheeks burning red, flashed through her mind.
"How much do you want for them, Miranda?"
"How much do you want for them? I must have them."
Miranda reached over and took the book away from Karl. "I hate to disappoint you my friend, but they were a gift. It is rude to not accept a gift. And it is even more rude to sell a gift to someone else."
"Whatcha working on now?"
A container of Chinese takeout was placed in front of her face as the couch sagged from the new weight added to it. Andy let the pad fall to her lap and turned, leaning back against the masculine chest. She grabbed a pair of chopsticks and popped some snow peas into her mouth. "I don't know, actually."
He looked over her shoulder, down at the sketchbook. A pair of eyes were looking back at him. They were intense, and she had started to shade them in a shade of icy blue.
"Intense. Mysterious. Rather sexy. Anyone I know?" He asked her teasingly.
"No. No one you know. No one I know, really, either."
For the rest of the week and all of the next, Andrea didn't see Miranda Priestly again. She told herself this was a good thing, that she had already made enough of an idiot out of herself in front of the woman and that she certainly didn't need any other opportunities. Cassidy continued to show up at the store every day after school though.
Andy looked forward to their meetings, enjoying the time to talk to the young girl about books and other things. Andy understood a lot of what Cassidy was going through, and was glad to be there to listen and help when she could. Cassidy was studying pretty hard, as the last week of school was coming up and she had finals.
However, just because Miranda didn't show up in person, didn't mean that her presence wasn't still felt. Andy had always been a rather good artist, at least according to other people. They said she had real talent and that it was something she should pursue. But she had always been rather shy and self-conscious and honestly didn't think she was that good. She enjoyed it though, and so she often would sketch or paint things in her free time. Often there would be scenes from nature or around the city. Sometimes she would sketch people, children playing in the snow, that sort of thing. But lately, ever since her last encounter with Miranda, everything she sketched seemed to go back to the woman.
She was, at the present moment, working on a sketch of a desk, covered with issues of Runway, with a pair of glasses on top. In the picture of Miranda in Runway, her glasses had been lying on the desk beside her. It was, in her mind, a doodle at best.
"Andy! That's so good." Lily said, looking over her shoulder at the sketch. "Why won't you show your work? People would love it!"
Andy shook her head. "You have to say that. You're my best friend."
"I'm not just saying this. Andy, listen to me. You've got talent girl. You've got sketch books upon sketch books to prove it. Why won't you just go out on the limb and put some stuff out there?"
"I do put stuff out there. There's stuff out in the window right now." Andy motioned towards the display window. Lily just stared at her.
"I'm not an artist. I'm just… someone who likes to draw in their spare time."
"No, girl, you are good. Hell, there are artists showing at the gallery right now that aren't half as good as you."
Andy just smiled. "It's a hobby, Lil. That's all."
And the subject was dropped.
It had been just about two weeks since Miranda had last been to 'Sachs of Books'. She intended not to ever go there again, although she did find Andrea cropping up into her thoughts at the most unexpected of moments… mainly when she saw someone wearing Chanel, or when she found a paint smudged Caroline, or Cassidy reading a book, or when she looked at the sketch book. Which had been, over the course of the weeks, quite frequently. But she pretended that it didn't happen, and went about her business.
Today she was supposed to have a showing that was scheduled to last for two hours. It had lasted for fifteen minutes, fifteen long minutes, before she had left the studio. The designs had been awful and she refused to sit through any more. She had gotten into the car and told Roy to drive. She was sure her staff was frantically trying to arrange things, fix things, but at that moment, she didn't care.
They were driving rather aimlessly when she saw it. Of course they would have to drive this way. She considered just looking away, ignoring it, and allowing Roy to continue on his way. But something stopped her from doing that. "Stop the car, Roy."
Roy did as he was told, maneuvering the car into a parking spot just in front of Sachs of Books. Miranda opened the door of the car. "Wait here, Roy." She told him as she climbed out of the car.
She noticed that the display window had been finished, the piles of books now arranged by the beach chair, with the toys placed around strategically. A large canvas sat at one of end of the window, housing a rather detailed and well painted picture of a woman, reclining at the beach under a red umbrella. A red umbrella the same shade as the paint that had been smudged on Andrea's forehead. At the other end of a window, another canvas had a checklist of 'Beach Bound Books'. The display had not turned out half bad.
There were no dog barks to greet her when she entered this time, just the bell jingling. Andrea was sitting on the stool, leaning over a notebook of some kind, running her pencil over it. She looked up at the sound of the bells.
"Miranda!" She quickly stood from her stool and headed around the counter. Today she was back to wearing the black slacks and another button up shirt, but her hair was down, falling in waves.
Miranda was at a loss. She had no idea why she was there or what she was supposed to say. "No dog greeting service today?"
Andrea smiled. "Coco's actually in the back, taking her after lunch nap."
"I told you… my grandma loved Chanel."
"So Coco was her dog."
"Yes. Although… she was mine too. She was ours."
Miranda inclined her head slightly in acknowledgment of what Andrea was saying.
"Um, but, you're not here to talk about Coco, I'm guessing."
"No. No, I'm not." Miranda didn't know what she was here for.
"Well, what can I help you with?"
And suddenly, it popped into her head. "I have to go a birthday party for the chairman of Elias-Clarke. I need a present for him. I thought you would be able to help me find a suitable book. The book that is his."
Andrea's body, which had been tense since she had arrived, instantly relaxed. "Absolutely! I'd be happy to. Do you have any ideas at all?"
Andrea chewed her lip. "I take it that the two of you don't get along very well."
"Irv is… a rather disagreeable man."
"Of course." Andy grinned. "What else can you tell me about him?"
"He is frugal, annoying, and a thorn in my side. He does not understand what it takes to make a magazine great." Miranda sighed just slightly. "He is very interested in the French lately."
Andy could tell that there was more to what Miranda had said about the French. She considered for a few moments, her mind going over a few things. Finally she nodded. She headed for a book shelf towards the back. "I think this will be the perfect thing."
Miranda took the book from her. It was older, leather bound, with an embossed title. 'Les Miserables'. Miranda's eyebrow raised.
"He apparently makes you miserable." Andy started with a grin. "Plus, it's a classic novel, and it seems to me that he's a man that likes to surround himself with classic things, just to show them off. This edition is written entirely in French, which I think he will enjoy. It will make it seem as though you think more of him than you do. And if he could ever read it, which he probably won't be able to, he'd learn a thing or two from it. If not, it's still a remarkable gift because it's such a rare, collectable edition."
"Seventy five." Andy winced, but it was a rare edition.
Miranda didn't even bat an eyelash. She just pulled four twenties from her purse and handed them to Andy. "Keep the change." She said and then turned and left, just as quickly as she had come.
"Bye!" Andy called after her.
"Miranda, this is brilliant. Where did you find this edition?" Irv asked, looking at the book. People were surrounding him, and he was making a great show of how old and rare the book was, how it was all in French, how he could add it to his collection now.
Miranda smiled. "Now Irv, you should know that I can't reveal my secrets."
"Well, it's fabulous Miranda. I've always loved this novel. I can't wait to read it."
Andrea's words came back to her. 'If he could ever read it, which he probably won't be able to'. She smiled once more. 'He apparently makes you miserable'. "When I saw it, I thought of you."
"Fabulous. Just fabulous."
Caroline was waiting for Miranda when she arrived home, holding a pamphlet in her hand. Upon inspection, Miranda found that it was for a summer course in art, and that Caroline wanted to go desperately. Miranda had no real problem with this, except with the fact that it was obviously something Cassidy would not be interested in.
"I can do something else." Cassidy pointed out.
"Get a job." She replied quickly, as though this had been thought out in advance.
"You are 13 years old. Where, pray tell, do you intend to get a job?" Miranda asked, although in the back of her mind, she knew the answer before Cassidy ever spoke.
"I'm sure Andy would give me a job at the bookstore!"
Andrea was dancing with a young man when she entered the store. They were spinning around and laughing, Andrea's head thrown back, hair trailing along behind her. Miranda didn't know what exactly to do to interrupt them, but Coco solved that problem for her.
"Oh! Miranda! Hi." Andrea grinned, slipping out of the arms of the young man. He watched her as she walked over to Miranda, and then disappeared toward the other side of the store.
Andrea's cheeks were flushed once again. "So, how did he like the book?"
"Excuse me?" Miranda's attention snapped back.
"The chairman, Les Mis. How did he like it?"
"He loved it." Miranda said with a half smirk.
Andrea grinned widely. "I'm glad. So… what can I do for you today, Miranda?"
"Cassidy has announced her intentions to get a summer job. Here."
"Yes, we talked about it briefly the other night. I told her that she'd have to get your permission."
"To be quite honest, Andrea, I'm not sure if want her to work here or not."
Andrea motioned for her to follow her to a grouping of chairs in the center of the store. Andrea sat down and then gestured for Miranda to do the same. "I understand your concerns. Cassidy is young. I know there are laws and things about hours worked, all of that. I'm completely willing to comply with them. But I'm also willing to let Cassidy stay here all day with me and get paid for her 'work', if that's what both of you want."
Miranda looked at Andrea. "I can't imagine what work you would even have for her to do."
"Oh, I could definitely come up with things. I'm actually considering changing up a few things in here, moving some shelves, dividing sections. Cassidy could be a great help with that. And mainly, she'd be here just like my other friends are, to keep me company. The store isn't exactly the most happening place in New York." Andy smiled.
Miranda shook her head. "I just don't understand why she wants to work here. There are so many other options. It's her first summer staying here in New York in years. Normally the girls go with their father for the summer but,"
"He's going to be on his honeymoon this summer." Andrea supplied.
"Cassidy told you that?" Miranda was surprised. Cassidy hadn't spoken of her father's upcoming marriage to her at all.
"Yes. We discussed it." Andy looked at Miranda. "You have to understand, this really isn't about Cassidy wanting a job. It's about Cassidy wanting to get out of the house. It's why she comes here after school now."
"But why on earth would she want to get out of the house?"
"When your parents get a divorce, it's a really hard thing." Andrea started. "And it takes a long time for things to begin to feel normal again. In Cassidy's case, she's gone through two divorces, one of them very recently. Add to that the fact that her father is getting remarried… it's just a weird, difficult time in her life right now."
"Yes, but –"
"When I was ten years old, my parents got divorced. It wasn't pretty. There were a lot of fights. And my mom was the one who moved out of the house. So I stayed with my dad." Andy's eyes had glassed over slightly, reliving the past. "I would come home from school at night and it would be half an hour or so until my dad got home from work. And I would come into the house and it would be so quiet. So quiet. And my mom wasn't there. It was the strangest thing. I found myself lying in bed at night, hating the quiet, hating the house, hating everything. I lasted two days of summer vacation, staying in the house by myself before I couldn't do it any more. The next day I was on a plane to New York and I spent every summer since here in New York with my Grandma Eve and Grandpa Joe." Andy cleared her throat. "New York was a different place, a safe place. I didn't have to stay in an empty house, being constantly reminded of what wasn't there any more. I got to come here, I got to play in the shop and go to shows with my grandparents. It was the distraction I needed. And I think it's the distraction that Cassidy needs."
Miranda felt a slight lump in her throat. "She told you that?"
"We've talked about a lot of things. Right now, with you working late, her father gone, Stephen gone, and her sister spending time with her boyfriend, Cassidy just feels alone if she goes home after school. I think the same thing will be true in the summer. And I'm more than happy to have her here."
"I never meant –"
"Cassidy knows that." Andy assured, reaching out and taking hold of Miranda's hand. Just as soon as she felt the soft skin under her own though, she pulled back, realizing she was more than certainly overstepping her bounds. "She knows that you're very busy and that you love her very much. I think she's looking forward to being home this summer so that she can see you some more. But she's also aware of your job and that you'll be gone during the days. She just needs somewhere to go. And I need someone to help keep me company. So it's really a perfect arrangement for both of us." Andy smiled again, flashing her white teeth at Miranda.
"Alright." Miranda nodded.
It was the first time that Miranda had a free lunch hour in weeks. She had considered just staying at the office, eating her steak as usual, and having some time to decompress, yet still be available in case of emergency. But after hearing the way the phones were ringing off the hook in the outer office, she had been too annoyed and instead had left the building, climbing into the car and giving Roy an address that she was surprised she remembered.
It was the end of the second week that Caroline had been attending her art class and Cassidy had been working at the book store. She had made a considerable effort to get home in time for dinner for the past two weeks, and although a few nights she had not made it home, the nights that she did had done wonders for her relationship with the girls. Both had seemed astonished when she'd walked in at 5:30 the night after she'd spoken to Andrea, but had quickly recovered and been excited to be able to eat with their mother. Things were decidedly less tense, and she felt as though she now knew what was going on with her children. Caroline was quite happy to talk about her art class and Cassidy was beginning to open up about the store, telling little tidbits about her day and about the books she and Andrea were reading and discussing.
Still, Miranda was curious as to what went on at the bookstore during the day, which is why she found herself entering it now.
She was met with the sight of Andrea and Cassidy, sitting on either side of the counter, grilled chicken salads in front of them, apparently playing some sort of game.
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." Cassidy said as she finished chewing.
"Hmm… S. Oh, Slaughterhouse Five."
"E. E? Umm… oh, oh! Effi Briest."
"Cheater!" Andy laughed. "You were organizing the Es earlier." Cassidy just grinned. "Okay, T. The Taming Of The Shrew."
"W. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz."
Andy laughed at that one. "Wonder where you got that one? Hmm… Z. Zeno's Conscience."
"E again." Cassidy looked smug. "Emma."
"Nice. A. Animal Farm."
"M. Mrs. Dalloway." Miranda spoke up, causing both women to turn and look at her.
She moved closer to them. "Hello darling," she kissed Cassidy's cheek. "Andrea."
"What are you doing here, Mom?" Cassidy asked.
"I had my lunch hour free, so I thought I would stop in and see how you were doing."
"Oh, did you not have lunch yet Miranda? I can call the restaurant and see if they can deliver another salad or something. I'm sure they wouldn't mind."
"Yeah, I'm sure Nate wouldn't mind." Cassidy said in a teasing voice before bursting into giggles.
Andy just smiled but her cheeks went slightly pink. Miranda wondered who this Nate was. Was it the man she'd walked in on Andrea dancing with? "No, that's quite all right." She looked at Andrea. "Thank you though."
"Sure." Andy grinned. "Well, if you're going to be here for a few minutes, then I think I will leave you two to it while I go take Coco for her after lunch walk."
Andrea disappeared into the back room and returned a moment later with Coco on a leash that had the Chanel logo all over it. She grinned and then headed for the door. "You can handle this for a few, right Cass?"
"Yeah Andy." She smiled.
"Okay. Be back in a flash."
Cassidy grinned as she watched her go. Miranda felt a slight tug on the corners of her mouth as well.
Andy brought Cassidy home each night after work. She felt like it was a waste to have the driver run back for Cassidy when it wasn't as if they were far from the townhouse anyway. So at 5, when they had deemed Cassidy's shift up, Andy would have someone else watch the store if they were around, or would just close up for a few minutes to walk Cassidy home. Then she would go back and stay until 9, when she usually closed up.
Since the day Miranda had stopped in unexpectedly over lunch, she had also been home each night when Andy dropped Cassidy off. Cassidy explained that her mother had been coming home earlier for a while now, eating dinner with them and talking, then going to her study to do some work from home. She and Caroline both preferred this to the way things had been.
She and Miranda usually exchanged pleasantries, brief hellos and 'how was your day's before Andy would be on her way. Tonight, they were just finishing their 'how was your day's when Cassidy cut into the conversation. "Mom, can Andy stay for dinner tonight?"
Miranda blinked, and looked at Cassidy as though she had never before heard that particular question. Andy sensed the sudden weirdness in the air and smiled at Cassidy. "Actually, Cass, I've gotta get back. But thank you, really. It was nice of you to ask. I'll see you tomorrow. Goodnight, Miranda."
Once Andy had gone, Cassidy turned to look at her mother. "What is wrong with you, Mom?"
"What?" Miranda blinked again, still trying to catch up with the sudden question that had been asked of her.
"You acted like a weirdo when I asked if Andy could stay for dinner. Now she probably thinks that you hate her or something." Cassidy rolled her eyes and headed up the stairs.
"Cassidy." Miranda's voice stopped her on the first landing. "I'm sorry. I don't know what came over me. Please, ask Andrea if she would like to come over for dinner tomorrow evening."
Cassidy grinned. "Awesome."
As soon as Andy got into the door the next evening, Cassidy took off up the stairs. Miranda wondered if she should warn Andrea of the impending 'twin test', but thought against it. She was actually interested in seeing if Andrea would be able to tell the difference between her daughters or not.
"I'm sorry about yesterday." Miranda found herself apologizing to someone other than her children for the first time in a very long time. "I was just caught off guard by Cassidy's question. It was nothing against you."
Andy grinned. "Don't worry about it."
Just then, there was the sound of footsteps on the stairs. "Is dinner ready yet?"
"In just a few more minutes."
Andy turned to look at the girl who had just come down the stairs. For a second she thought it was Cassidy, but Cassidy didn't have freckles on her nose like that, and her eyes were just a shade lighter. "Hi, you must be Caroline."
Caroline's eyes widened. "How did you know it wasn't me?" Cassidy asked, coming down the stairs to stand next to her sister. Miranda looked impressed as well.
Andy smiled knowingly. "I just did." Sometimes it paid to be an artist who was interested in detail.
Dinner went well. It wasn't awkward at all, which was what Andy had feared. The girls steered most of the conversation, talking about their days.
"So you're taking art classes, Caroline?"
"Yeah. We're focusing on painting right now. I really like it a lot."
"Andy's an artist too." Cassidy added in.
"Really?" Caroline looked over at her.
"What? Oh, no. No, I'm really not." Andy shook her head. "I just like to draw in my spare time, that's all."
Cassidy rolled her eyes. "Don't listen to her. She's really good. And she doesn't just draw. She paints and stuff too. She does all the display stuff for the store."
Andy's cheeks were turning pink again. She glanced at Miranda as though looking for an escape. "So, Miranda, how was work today?"
Miranda let her have the escape. "Exhausting. You would think that planning a trip to Los Angeles was beyond all of my assistants' abilities."
"You're going to Los Angeles?"
"Yes. Just for the weekend. We're doing a shoot there that I'm going to have to oversee."
"We get to go along." Caroline said, grinning.
"Oh, that should be really fun." Andrea smiled. "Of course, that means you and I are going to have to find some reading material for the plane ride, huh?" She looked at Cassidy with a grin.
"Do you think you could find something for me too?" Caroline asked.
"Sure. I'm positive your sister and I can find you something." Andrea turned her attention to Miranda. "What about you, Miranda? Will you be needing any reading material?"
"I'm sure I'll have no time at all to read anything other than departmental memos and The Book."
Andy had heard about The Book from Cassidy. She just smiled and nodded, the wheels already turning in her head.
Miranda glanced over, taking in the sight of her children, both their heads buried in a book. Caroline was highly engrossed in 'The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World's Largest Unsolved Art Theft'. Andrea had sent the book saying that she was sure Caroline would love it, as it was a book about the actual art heist at the Gardner museum that detailed art history and the heist. She had also sent along a few other art books which Caroline had been very interested in as well. But it was The Gardner Heist that had kept her attention for the past hour and a half. Cassidy was nearly finished with 'Sarah, Plain and Tall', a book that Andrea had apparently been astounded to learn she had never read. She had sent along the rest of the series with her as well. They were for a younger reading level than her own, so she was making rather quick work of them, but did seem to be enjoying them highly.
Miranda sighed and closed The Book. She was beginning to get a headache from looking at all the layouts. Although she'd never admit it, she sort of wished that she had taken Andrea up on her offer of reading material. She opened her carry on bag to put The Book back in, when she noticed a package, wrapped in brown paper. She pulled it out, doing her best not to smile. She felt twin sets of eyes on her as she opened it.
Helen Mirren's autobiography was revealed, along with a card. She opened the card and read Andrea's handwriting. 'A little birdie told me that Dame Helen was one of your favorite actresses. Although you probably won't have any reading time, I thought I'd send this just in case. It's a fabulous read, and if you don't have time for that, at least check out the amazing photos. Have a wonderful trip. AMS'
She glanced back over at the girls, but their heads were still in their books, although they each had small smiles on their faces when she opened the book and began to read.