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Dancing On My Own

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Somebody said you got a new friend
Does he love you better than I can?
There's a big black sky over my town
I know where you're at, I bet he's around.

 

Andy stared at the ceiling, restless and unable to sleep. It was already three in the morning and she'd been tossing and turning all night. The reason for this sudden bout of insomnia?

Miranda Priestly.

Of course it would be her. Andy can't stop thinking about her boss, her straight boss, who is so out of her league Andy might as well wish for a pet unicorn because the likelihood of Miranda Priestly seeing Andy as anything more than an assistant was just as ludicrous. Scoffing, Andy rolled over onto her side and punched her pillow in frustration. Thank God Nate was gone. It was embarrassing how much La Priestly affected her.

In Andy's defence, today has been utter hell at Runway. At least for her. Everyone else was practically vibrating with the urge to celebrate: now that the feared Dragon Lady had found a new love interest, she would surely be in a much better mood than the past year.

Yes. Apparently Miranda Priestly, only 6 months after her divorce from Stephen Tomlinson, has found a new gentleman lover.

And it was tearing Andy up inside.

Nothing was confirmed yet, but apparently Nigel told Emily who told Serena who told Andy that he had seen Miranda talking to someone on the phone. And she had been smiling. Apparently Nigel knew the signs pretty well - having been Miranda's colleague and friend for the past 20 years - and he had come to the conclusion that the only possible explanation for such out of character behaviour was that Miranda had a new man in her life.

So now Andy couldn't sleep, because all she could think about was who this mystery man could be, and visions of Miranda in the arms of a faceless man were keeping Andy up despite her attempts to shut her brain up. She wouldn't be surprised if the rumours were true. After all, Miranda was a force of nature and any man would be more than lucky to gain her affections. But thinking about some unknown man touching Miranda - kissing her - having sex with her -

Andy shut her eyes tightly and tried not to feel nauseous at the thought of Miranda letting a man do that to her. God, she needed to pull herself together. In only a few hours she would have to be up and running around like a headless chicken to fulfil the whims of the silver haired goddess.

Was she with him now? Were they in bed together, sleeping in each others' arms like lovesick teenagers? Or were they not sleeping at all? Maybe they were doing other things couples do in bed. Maybe right now Miranda was throwing her head back and moaning his name -

Andy's body shivered in disgust, feeling like an iron fist was squeezing her heart painfully. Maybe the rumours weren't true. Maybe what Nigel had seen was just Miranda talking to her daughters on the phone. She always left the Ice Queen persona behind and became sweet and motherly whenever she was talking to her daughters. Or maybe Miranda had just been talking to a friend. Or a family member.

Andy groaned and rolled over again, shutting her eyes and trying to relax into the mattress.

She barely got an hour of sleep that night.

 

And yeah, I know it's stupid,
But I just gotta see it for myself.

 

Andy was trying really, really hard not to shatter the champagne glass she held in her hand. She could barely keep her composure, her anger and jealousy becoming increasingly difficult to hide with every passing moment.

She was at a benefit assisting the Queen of Fashion herself, and it was that point in the evening when enough alcohol had been consumed that people were dancing and actually enjoying themselves instead of being at each other's throats. Usually, Andy took the chance to relax and have fun herself, since Miranda rarely stayed this long at events like this.

Except for tonight, it seemed.

Miranda was currently on the dance floor in the arms of a very elegant gentleman with dark greying hair. They twirled around and held each other close, and they would often lean close to murmur intimately, or even share a brief kiss on the cheek. It was very clear that this was the man Nigel had suspected.

So the rumours were true. Which meant that every Runway employee was celebrating the hope of better, more tolerable treatment at work. Except Andy, of course. Andy was sulking in the corner of the room, her eyes fixed on the couple on the dance floor, trying very hard not to scream or cry or march over there and punch the sleaze ball right in the throat. Who was he anyway? What on earth did he have that was so worthy of Miranda's affections? What the fuck did he think he was doing, putting such a blatant display of PDA? Miranda rarely danced at these events, so what made him so special?

Andy had never felt such jealousy in her entire life. She felt a painful pressing on her chest, and she felt like she would start screaming soon. She was horrified to feel her eyes begin to sting. How had she gotten here? A year ago she had been madly in love with Nate and she hadn't really given a damn who Miranda chose to take to her bed. She had been happy. Or, well, as happy as a second assistant working for Miranda fucking Priestly could be.

At that moment, the new Mr Priestly leaned down to capture Miranda's lips in a brief kiss. Andy's blood froze and her heart constricted painfully, and she was vaguely aware that breathing had become rather difficult. She watched as Miranda smiled up at the man, and that was Andy's complete and utter undoing. She placed her champagne glass on a near by table and began striding towards the exit, trying her best not to look in the direction of the dance floor. She was almost out of the room when Nigel stepped in her way, and it was only then that she realized her eyes were filled with unshed tears.

"Six?"

"I have to go," Andy said, her voice unsteady.

"Andy, what's wrong? What happened?" She vaguely registered the concern in his eyes as he placed a calming hand on her elbow.

"Nothing," Andy lied, and felt even more mortified when two fat tears finally fell over her eyelids and down her cheeks. "Tell Miranda I had to leave."

She tried to ignore how her voice broke saying the woman's name. She tried to ignore Nigel's voice calling after her as she strode past him and almost ran out into the street. She tried to ignore the flood of images in her mind, replaying the way Miranda danced with him, the way they had kissed, the way Miranda had smiled up at him. But most of all she tried to ignore how much her heart was breaking, the agony she felt in her chest unmistakeable. She rushed to the nearest metro station, unable to suppress her sobs any longer.

 

I'm in the corner, watching you kiss him.
I'm right over here, why can't you see me?
And I'm giving it my all, but I'm not the girl you're taking home.
So I keep dancing on my own.

 

Andy stumbled into her apartment, slamming the door closed and throwing her purse across the room. She watched as it slammed against the opposite wall and fell onto the floor, feeling the hurt, the rage, the jealousy as it consumed her whole. She immediately searched her cupboard for a bottle of vodka and lemonade, and proceeded to get incredibly drunk on her sofa, hoping to numb her emotions, searching for some relief from the pain.

Only it didn't help. The more she drank, the more her mind reeled over everything she had seen at the benefit. Miranda in his arms. Miranda pressing herself against his torso. Miranda murmuring secret words to him. Miranda kissing him. Miranda smiling at him.

She deserves better than him, she thought, and in a fit of rage knocked the small coffee table over, sending the glass and the bottles crashing to the floor.

I do everything for her. I take care of her every day. And yet I mean nothing to her. Andy let out a strangled sob, jumping to her feet and lunging towards the kitchen. Tearing her cupboard open, she began throwing anything she could reach to the floor.

The more things she smashed, the more things she wanted to break. As she threw a flower vase at the nearest wall, she didn't bother muffling the scream that had been haunting her all night.

She will never see me. She will never fucking see me! As tears ran down her face, she let out another strangled scream as she began smashing everything on her drying rack. She kept destroying everything in her small kitchen, her drunken mind not caring about the damage caused by her breakdown.

Eventually, Andy collapsed onto the floor, wrapping her arms around her knees as she cried her heart out. She didn't know how long she spent on the floor, and she somehow managed to drag herself into bed after barely managing to take her dress off. Surprisingly, the alcohol helped her sleep as she passed out almost the second her head hit the pillow.

She would deal with everything tomorrow.

 

I just wanna dance all night,
And I'm all messed up, I'm so out of line.
Stilettos and broken bottles
I'm spinning around in circles.

 

The next day, Andy woke up with a pounding headache and she almost didn't make it to the bathroom before vomiting all the alcohol she had consumed the previous night. Disgusted with herself and her pathetic behaviour, she decided to take a shower, as if washing her body would wash away the memories from last night.

Had she really destroyed her entire kitchen?

As Andy found out when she went to make some much-needed coffee, yes, she had. Trying to ignore thoughts of the woman who had led her to this state, she called Emily and told her she would not be coming into work today. The brit was practically yelling at her over the phone, but Andy was too tired, too hung-over, and too heartbroken to really care. Insisting that she was extremely ill, Andy hung up before more enraged protests could escape the angry redhead.

She spent the day cleaning her apartment, trying her best to avoid cutting herself with the broken glass scattered across her living room and kitchen. It took her many hours to finally get everything into a decent state, and she reluctantly gathered enough strength to leave the safety of her apartment in order to go to the shop just down the street. Not only did she need food, apparently she also needed to buy an entire new set of kitchenware.

Later that evening, Andy collapsed on her couch with a tub of Ben and Jerry's and an entire season of Friends. She wished she could call Doug and have him come over, but he had moved to New Jersey with his boyfriend, and part of her didn't really feel like talking to anyone. She had succeeded in numbing her emotions today and hadn't really let her mind drift to Miranda, so Andy planned on keeping it that way. Besides, somewhere between choosing new mugs and putting her new purchases away in their respective cupboards, Andy had decided to quit Runway.

She couldn't see another solution. It was clear that this - this infatuation with her boss had gone to an extreme that Andy felt deeply ashamed of. She could have injured herself last night during her drunken tirade, or the landlord could have kicked her out if the neighbours had complained, and of course there was the obvious reason: she couldn't even do her job well anymore because her feelings were getting in the way. So what was the point in staying? Miranda would find a new assistant in the blink of an eye, she would not even remember Andy in a few months' time, and perhaps Andy could actually stand a chance at moving on and finding happiness.

When she finally crawled into bed that night, her insomnia was back with a vengeance. Nerves about seeing Miranda tomorrow and dread about how the editor would react to her quitting her job plagued her mind, and no matter how hard she tried she simply could not keep the images of Miranda at the benefit away. She had done so well today, but it seems that now that she was in bed with nothing to do but fall asleep, her mind was rebelling against her, torturing her with more thoughts of Miranda and her new lover.

It would be another restless night, all because of Miranda.

 

So far away but still so near
The lights come on, the music dies
But you don't see me standing here
I just came to say goodbye.

 

Andy took a steadying breath, checking her make up one more time in the small compact mirror. No matter how much effort she had put in applying it this morning, it still did not hide the dark circles under her eyes or how pale she looked. Thank God Emily was coming in late today because Miranda had sent her on a bunch of errands before the day had even begun. Andy could bet her right arm that the redhead would no doubt say something horrible about Andy's appearance, and she felt fragile enough without the added humiliation.

Nigel strode through the glass doors and his expression filled with concern the moment he laid eyes on Andy.

"Morning Six," he said, tentatively. "Just came to warn you, Miranda's on her way up."

Andy gave a vague nod in response and started printing off today's schedule when Nigel moved closer to her desk, looking more worried than Andy had ever seen him. The way his eyes inspected her and his brow furrowed somehow made Andy feel both bitter and relieved at the same time. At least somebody seems to care about me.

"What's going on, Andy? You've been - " Before he could finish his sentence, Miranda strode through the glass doors and flung her bag and coat onto Emily's desk, barely even glancing at her two employees.

"Nigel, don't you have work to do? I believe we need to prepare for the Valentino shoot next week, do we not?" Nigel immediately scurried away, sending a last worried glance at Andy. "Andrea, my office. Now."

Andy's heart had already sped up at the sight of the older woman, but now it went into panicked overdrive. She scrambled out of her seat and grabbed her notepad as she hurried into the Dragon's lair.

Miranda looked intimidating today. Beautiful, but intimidating. She was wearing a black suit jacket with sharp, severe angles and a skirt that hugged her form perfectly, but everything about her outfit screamed "ready for battle" and it was difficult for Andrea not to follow her instincts to turn around and run as far away as possible.

"You did not come into work yesterday. I want to know why," Miranda said coolly as she lowered herself gracefully into her office chair and looked over the magazines laid out on her desk. Before Andy could scramble to say a coherent sentence, Miranda continued, "And I want the real reason, not the pitiful excuse Emily gave me."

Blue eyes finally focused on Andy, and they were expressionless and severe, and Andy had a very difficult time not trembling in fear.

"I was sick," Andy said lamely, her voice weak even to her own ears.

"You were sick," Miranda said in a tone that clearly said she did not believe it. When Andy did not respond for several seconds, an imperial eyebrow rose as if to challenge Andy to tell another lie.

Andy didn't know what to do. What was she supposed to say? "Well, Miranda, I saw you with your new love interest at the benefit and I completely lost it because I'm fucking in love with you and proceeded to spend the night tearing apart my apartment in a fit of drunken jealousy." Andy mentally shook her head and took a deep breath. This was it. This was her chance.

"I quit."

Miranda stared at her with something akin to surprise on her face before she composed herself and returned to the emotionless facade. "Excuse me?"

"I said I'm quitting, Miranda." Andy said, her voice surprisingly steady given how she was on the verge of breaking down. "Effective immediately," she added for good measure.

The silence between them felt endless until Miranda stood from her chair and pressed her palms against the surface of he desk.

"You can't just quit, Andrea," she spat, her expression becoming angrier with every word she said. "You must have a reason."

"I do. But it's private." Andy was startled by her bravado. Suddenly she felt calm, her panic seeping away. This was the right decision. She wouldn't be manipulated by Miranda any longer. She was on her way to making things right in her life and nothing the editor did would stop her now.

"It's private?" Miranda snarled. "Listen here you silly girl, you signed a contract. You can't quit on a whim without giving valid reason."

"Actually, the contract says that I don't need to give a reason if it's deeply personal. Which it is. So..." Andy drifted off, not really sure how to take Miranda's reaction. She seemed angry, as if Andy quitting actually mattered - no. No, she doesn't care. It's just an inconvenience for her, that's all. "I'll go clear my desk now."

With that, Andy turned and left Miranda's office, quickly collecting her coat and bag and looking around one last time, realising with a pang of sadness that she didn't actually have anything else to take with her. She walked to the glass doors and looked back at Miranda one last time. The editor still stood, looking at Andy in speechless disbelief, and her hands had turned to fists as she watched Andy's every move. After taking a moment to engrave this image in her mind, the last time she would ever see Miranda Priestly in person, Andy swung the door open and left.

 

I'm in the corner, watching you kiss him.
I'm right over here, why can't you see me?
And I'm giving it my all, but I'm not the girl you're taking home.
I keep dancing on my own.

 

Andy spent some time cleaning her apartment, trying to get Miranda off her mind, but when that failed she spent the rest of her day in bed, not really able to find the energy to do anything else. She barely even managed to eat anything, only having some toast for dinner. Somewhere between listening to Joni Mitchell and The Cinematic Orchestra, the magnitude of what she'd done finally dawned on Andy, and she couldn't hold back tears at the thought of never seeing Miranda again. She would never hear her say Andy's name again, that way she said it like it was something sophisticated, something beautiful. She couldn't wrap her head around the fact that she would never again see the editor's secret smirks, as if she was sharing a joke with Andy, as if Andy was somehow special. The agony in her chest only became stronger and stronger the more she thought about Miranda Priestly, and she was so wrapped up in her pain that she almost didn't hear the sharp knock on her door.

Startled, Andy dragged herself out of bed and quickly glanced at her mirror to see if she was decent enough to see anyone, but she didn't really care so she continued to walk toward her living room and opened the door.

Andy couldn't help gaping in astonishment when she saw the protagonist of her thoughts standing in the dark, dirty hallway of her apartment building, looking Andy up and down as if trying to wrap her head around what she was seeing. Andy wished she had actually bothered to cover up a bit, since she was only wearing a white tank top and a pair of burgundy boy shorts.

Feeling tremendously insecure and extremely confused, Andy stuttered, "M-Miranda? What, um, what are you doing here?"

Finally, Miranda's eyes left their perusal of Andy's appearance and finally settled on Andy's face, which was no doubt puffy and teary from crying.

"May I come in?"

Andy tried her best not to gape again at Miranda's politeness. Miranda Priestly didn't ask, she demanded. And what on earth was she doing here in the first place?

"Um, yeah, of course."

Andy opened the door wider and let the older woman into her apartment, glad that she had cleaned it earlier that afternoon and it actually looked rather decent. She still fidgeted while Miranda looked around the place, but the older woman didn't say anything about it, so Andy guessed it didn't look too shabby.

Quickly remembering her manners, Andy offered, "Please, take a seat. Would you like anything to drink?"

"No, thank you," Miranda said as she discarded her coat. Andy's breath hitched just seeing more of Miranda's outfit, but since they were in Andy's own apartment, it seemed less intimidating than that morning, and Andy was blown away (as usual) by how beautiful and elegant the woman before her was. She watched as Miranda sat on the couch, her posture rigid with tension and her gaze fixed on the low coffee table before her.

"Oh, um, okay," Andy said nervously, moving to sit on the old armchair by the side of the couch, watching Miranda. She waited patiently for the older woman to say something, to reveal the reason why she had come knocking on Andy's door, but nothing came forth. "Uh, Miranda? Is there anything you need?"

Finally Miranda lifted her gaze and looked at Andy.

"Nigel told me what happened at the benefit."

Andy swallowed and looked away in embarrassment. Damn Nigel and his big mouth. Then immediately felt bad for thinking like that, seeing as he's the only person that showed any form of concern for her.

"And - And what did he tell you?" Andy said, pulling nervously at her fingers.

"He told me that he saw you crying and that you left as if you couldn't get away fast enough. Do you have an explanation for that?"

Andy stayed silent, not knowing what to say or how she could even begin to explain her little breakdown. And lying to Miranda was out of the question, since it seemed she had some form of sixth sense when it came to people trying to bullshit her. So she didn't say anything, looking down at her hands resting on her lap, trying very hard to stop fidgeting.

"Alright. Then perhaps you might enlighten me as to the real reason you called in sick to work yesterday, coincidently the day after the benefit?"

Again, Andy stayed silent, and she could feel Miranda' patience running thin as the older woman sighed in frustration.

"Andrea, will you cease this childish behaviour? You're acting like a petulant child, tell me what - "

"Tell you what you want to know?" Andy snapped, completely losing her composure. She was way too emotional and the last thing she needed was for Miranda to come to her home and insult her. "Do you really want to know why I quit? Fine. The reason I left the benefit early was because you and that - that man were acting like lovesick teenagers and it made me completely lose it. The reason I didn't come to work yesterday was because after the damn benefit I got so drunk that I destroyed my entire kitchen in a fit of jealous rage and I spent the day cleaning up the mess with the biggest hangover I've ever had. And the reason I quit is because I can't stand the thought of you with someone else because my feelings for you are so ridiculously deep that I can't even control my own fucking emotions!" By the end of her tirade Andy was shouting and almost hyperventilating, and all she wanted was for Miranda to leave so that she could dig a whole somewhere far away, crawl into it and never leave. Her heart was aching and her face flushed in embarrassment as she realised how much she had revealed in her angry rant.

Miranda stared at her, eyes wide in shock and lips gaping in disbelief. They stared at each other for long moments before Andy managed to take a deep breath. She leaned her elbows on her knees and hid her face in her hands, hoping the humiliation and pain would simply go away.

"Please, Miranda. Just leave. It took all my courage to quit, and I just want to move on with my life."

Long moments passed in complete silence as Andy refused to move from her position, and she couldn't hear Miranda moving so she assumed that she had shocked the woman so much she had caused her some sort of brain damage. Andy focused on her breathing, making sure to take deep breaths so she could calm herself. She'd been sure that after her little confession, Miranda would have either run out the door screaming bloody murder, laughed at her for being such a pathetic fool, or blacklisted her from working in any publication on the east coast. And probably the west, too.

But no. Miranda was just sitting there in silence, not speaking, not doing anything. Andy couldn't see her, thank god, because she refused to move her face from the safety cocoon of her hands, but she really hoped that Miranda wasn't looking at her, since Andy felt half naked and rather vulnerable in this state of undress.

"Andrea," Miranda spoke so softly, so quietly that Andy almost missed it. "Look at me." When Andy didn't move, Miranda's voice became impossibly gentle, and said something that Andy had never heard her say before. "Please."

At that, Andy looked up, shocked at Miranda's pleading tone. Miranda was indeed looking at her, a strange expression in her eyes that looked a lot like sadness, but that couldn't possibly be right.

"Andrea, please come and sit with me," Miranda asked in that same tone of voice that Andy was unable to refuse. Tentatively, Andy stood from her armchair and approached the couch, sitting close to Miranda where the older woman had gestured. "I had no idea you felt that way, Andrea."

Andy couldn't look into Miranda's eyes, because being so close to her was making it hard to breathe, and Miranda's voice was gentle and soothing and everything Andy hadn't expected it to be.

"Tomas is not my lover, Andrea."

Andy's head shop up, staring at Miranda in confusion and disbelief. "What?"

"Tomas is not my lover. He is a very close friend of mine who needed me to pretend to be his lover." At Andy's bewildered expression, Miranda's lips quirked slightly. "Tomas is gay. He is very deep in the closet and the press has begun to question why he is still unattached, so he called me recently to ask me to be his beard and, seeing as he is my closest friend, I agreed. We decided to use the benefit as a way to 'come out' about our relationship, but I assure you, we are not actually romantically involved."

Andy was pretty sure she looked like a fish out of water. She sat there, jaw slack, looking at Miranda as if she'd suddenly been plunged into the Twilight Zone. All her mind could process was that Miranda didn't have a new Mr Priestly. He's gay. He's gay! Miranda looked amused at Andy's reaction, and her lips turned up into a small smirk when all Andy could say was, "Oh."

"So, um, he - he isn't the next Mr Priestly?" Andy's voice shook slightly. It was like her entire world had been tilted upside down, and her mind was struggling a lot to catch up.

Her heart fluttered at the sound of Miranda's chuckle, and blue eyes shone with amusement as she said, "No, Andrea. There will be no next 'Mr Priestly'."

As Miranda's words started to sink in, Andy beamed, unable to contain her glee. Miranda didn't have a love interest and she said that there would be no -

"Wait," Andy said, her brow furrowing. "When you say there'll be no next Mr Priestly, surely you don't mean that literally, I mean, you'll probably find someone eventually and - "

Before Andy could finish her sentence, something soft touched her lips, and her mind came to a screeching halt when she realised that the softness belonged to Miranda's lips. He heart immediately started racing as Miranda's perfume flooded her senses, and her lips began to gently caress Andy's. The young woman was in such a state of shock that she couldn't move, she was frozen in place as her whole body went into overdrive. When Miranda didn't feel any retaliation, she pulled back, brow furrowed, looking at Andy with blue eyes filled with hurt and confusion. Seeing this, Andy immediately moved to rectify the situation and her hand sought Miranda's soft cheek, pulling her in for another kiss.

This time it was completely different. This time, Andy was ready, and she immediately began to flutter her lips over Miranda's incredibly soft ones. When she ran her fingers through silky silver hair, Miranda shuddered and melted against her, and Andy could feel her heart soar. She had gone from 0 to 100 in a matter of less than an hour. Only 30 minutes ago she had been crying over this woman, this goddess, and now she was kissing her and holding her and making her melt.

When Andy felt Miranda's tongue timidly seek hers out, Andy couldn't hold back a moan, and she opened up to Miranda in a way that soon had both women holding onto each other, caressing one another in the gentlest way, as if they were both trying their best to savor this moment.

They finally pulled apart when the need for air could no longer be ignored, and they gazed deeply into each others' eyes, searching for a clue that this was real. When Miranda slowly began to smile, Andy couldn't help her own goofy, happy grin, and when Miranda's smile turned into a beaming expression of radiant happiness, Andy felt like she could weep.

"Andrea?" Miranda murmured, the corners of her eyes crinkling with joy, a happy gleam in the blue depths telling Andy all she needed to know about Miranda's feelings for her.

"Yes?"

"Will you please give me the chance to prove to you that I have no intention of having a new Mr Priestly by doing me the honour of having dinner with me?"

"Yes, Miranda," Andy said teasingly, unable to suppress a giggle when Miranda rolled her eyes good-naturedly at Andy's signature assistant phrase.

"Silly girl," Miranda murmured, chuckling slightly.

Before Andy could give a witty response, Miranda wrapped her arms around her neck and brought their lips together once more.

Oh yes, Andy was very glad she'd quit indeed.