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Zac Posen’s prints, Michael Kors’s solids, Vera Wang’s layers, the possibility that Vlada Roslyakova might be walking for Christian Audigier. She knows the industry inside and out, every page in Miranda’s date book just as inexorably inked into her head.

Emily had been sure she was going to be a model someday. Walking in a few local shows growing up, coming to New York for college, planning on getting snapped up by an agency and demurring an education in favor of stomping the runway for a few years; she’d worn her ambitions as easily as a Vivienne Tam blouse.

That had never happened. There had been no contract, no jet-setting, no spreads in Vogue. The clock for that era in her life stopped ticking years ago. In an age where thirteen-year-old girls are being scouted in no-name Eastern European villages and catapulted into stardom on nothing more than sheer luck, she knows now that her chances were over before they’d begun. But she’d been the best at her game, cutthroat and book-smart and always dressed to the nines, knowing every season’s lineup, every emerging designer’s name, the quickest route from Starbucks to the cleaners to the florist’s with a BlackBerry in one hand and a bagful of shoeboxes in the other and her feet screaming bloody murder in a pair of seriously kicky pumps. Always, always poised and precise.

Even now, slipping her fingers up under that nice skirt, too tight on Andrea’s size-six frame for her to wear anything but a thong, which Emily circumvents easily. The “oh!” on Andy’s face isn’t audible, but it’s gratifyingly visible. Emily’s nails are short these days, dark-polished and gleaming, and she deliberately grazes the edge of one against Andy’s clit, making her jerk in her chair like an idiot.

Andy. Tottering in like a Clydesdale with her split ends and clodhopper shoes, not every sure she wanted to position but being willing to try, seeing the industry as frivolous and inconsequential; how could Emily look on her with anything other than disdain? Andy, eagerly sucking in information and cafeteria slop while Emily’s so hungry most days it makes her want to scream. Hungry for food, for recognition, for more out of life than being the best lackey in the city.

Teasing her finger against the cleft, and Andy scoots forward in her chair, almost imperceptibly lifting her hips. Emily’s hand is deftly moving beneath the garment bag she’s draped across both their laps when Isa from advertising stops by to ask Andy something. Perfect. She can practically hear the terror in Andy’s eyes.

Undeterred, she works in the very tip of her finger, feeling Andy clench and squirm, and she smiles fleetingly at Isa, pretending to stare raptly at something on Andy’s computer screen. Pushing that first finger in deeply, then, as Isa moves on and Andy hides a whimper in a cough.

A shared look between them, and Andy is practically leaning forward over her desk, trying to keep her weight on her feet instead of her seat in order to let Emily slip a second finger inside (she does), trying to spread her legs as far as dignity and her pencil skirt will allow. Emily can tell her thighs are trembling.

“Multi-tasking is one of the most vital things you must learn.” Her lips brush the flushed, soft sweep of Andy’s ear as her thumb presses slickly against her clit and her fingers curve in an obscene come-hither. Andy does. Emily smiles.

She’s quick on her feet as ever, click-clicking off towards the bathroom before Andy has time to utter a word.