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The next three days were as exciting as the first. They required an enormous amount of concentration and effort, but she kept Miranda on schedule (for the most part) and herself from losing her own mind.

Each night, she fell into bed exhausted. But she couldn’t sleep till she caressed herself into oblivion, thinking of Miranda’s eyes as they watched her, of her hands as they might feel on her own skin.

On Friday, she finally made good use of the butler service, which delivered an ensemble pressed sharply into submission. But before she put it on, she texted Serena and scurried up to visit her on the fourth floor. She, too, was in a suite, but it did not compare to Andy’s. It was elegant and modern with a gorgeous fireplace and straight backed chairs, plus a pretty cream sofa in the sitting area. There, under a professional light rig illuminating them both, Serena leaned down to apply such a complex series of liquids and powders to Andy’s face she could barely keep track of it all. Serena topped it off with a silvery, smoky color on her lids, followed by the perfect wing of thick, dark liner. Mascara was last, and she held out the wand of Diorshow and instructed Andy to “blink, blink, blink” before declaring her work of art complete.

“C’est magnifique, querida. Whomever you are planning to impress today, you shall succeed. What are you wearing?”

Andy felt the blush come on strong, pleased that it was probably only visible on her neck and chest beneath her zipped sweatshirt. “Just a suit.”

Serena broke out into an approving grin. “I cannot wait to see it. Will you be downstairs shortly?”

Andy nodded. “I owe you so much, Serena. Thank you!”

“Anytime, beautiful darling.” Serena winked. “And if things don’t work out with your sweetheart, you may always give me a call.”

Now Andy really blushed. “Oh, stop it,” Andy said, waving a hand in embarrassment. “You tease!” she said as she headed out the door.

“I do not tease!” Serena declared confidently. “I always follow through!” she added as the door closed behind Andy, who laughed as she descended the curved staircase back to her floor.

Quickly she shed her hoodie, jeans and underwear in favor of the black lace bra and matching panties that had been packed in her suitcase for this very day. The white tuxedo shirt was next, followed by slim black trousers that landed near her ankle. Butter soft ebony oxfords completed the look. The black of her bra was not visible through the shirt exactly, but there was just the suggestion of it, which she quite liked. She pulled her hair back in a loose chignon once, twice, then got it as close to right as possible on the third try. Her black cross-body bag was small enough to work with the ensemble, so she piled all her necessary supplies for later touch ups, along with her notebook, wallet and phone. With a glance at the oversized men’s watch on her wrist, she grimaced, noticing she only had a few minutes to spare. She finally added the single-breasted suit jacket, buttoned it, and departed to meet the Runway crew in the lobby.

Nigel saw her first and put a hand to his forehead. “You’ve given me the vapors, Six. Well played.” Serena was practically gleeful when she saw the finished product, and Emily granted her an irritated, frowning nod of appreciation. She got a few glances too from both men and women she didn’t know as they walked by. The suit worked. That was a confidence booster as she anticipated Miranda’s arrival with an eagerness that felt more like anxiety in her belly.

She did not have to wait long; Miranda descended the stairs to the lobby wearing a drop-dead gorgeous, bateau neck red dress--Valentino, if she was not mistaken--that fell below her knees, and sleek Louboutins. She wore no jewelry except long, pendant earrings, as per usual when she was showing off a fair amount of skin. She carried a black cape over one arm and a cup of coffee in the other. Her hair was fantastic, styled more casually than usual in elegant waves over her brow.

Andy sighed, lovesick.

“Honey, you might want to put your eyes back in your head before someone notices,” Nigel murmured, and Andy stood straighter, remembering where she was and who she was with. “I could see the little hearts fluttering around there for a minute.”

They were both watching Miranda when she caught sight of Andy, who couldn’t have planned the timing better. She got the exact response she wanted--first look, no reaction, followed by a deliberate second look. She slowed to a stop, examining Andy’s ensemble starting from the shoes more gradually than her customary appraisal. When she reached Andy’s face, Miranda Priestly, queen of the blank expression, dragon of disapproval, smiled. In a moment of pure electricity, their eyes met. If they hadn’t been surrounded by a hundred people in the lobby, Andy would have thrown caution to the wind and kissed her.

Then it was over; Miranda moved on, sipping her coffee nonchalantly, as though she hadn’t turned Andy’s dial all the way up in the span of five short seconds. Nigel, still standing next to her, muttered, “Hmph.”

After swallowing against a dry throat, Andy croaked out, “What?”

“I think I just saw little hearts fluttering around Miranda’s head, too.”

Andy almost bit her lip before remembering her lipstick.

Throughout the day, it was near impossible for Andy to do her job with any level of effectiveness. Miranda made sure they sat next to one another wherever they went. With every passing hour, Andy drifted in and out of infatuated daydreams, each more elaborate than the last. She continued to marvel that she had worked at Miranda’s side for so long, lived in her home, sat next to her on a thousand car rides, and never once allowed herself the freedom to really go to the edge in her fantasies. It was as if she’d entirely compartmentalized the physicality of her desire, but this week, the box had opened and it was all around her. She had fallen in love with Miranda a long time ago, had thought about kissing her and making love to her, but never to the point of utter distraction. She glanced at her book near the end of the day and decided she probably shouldn’t show her notes to anyone; some were illegible, punctuated by doodles of flowers, while others started out fine but trailed off before she’d completed the thought.

But it was Friday. Her last Friday of work for Miranda, ever. She would be done in a few short days, and really Saturday didn’t count even though there were shows and she would be working. Weekends weren’t the same, were they? Sunday they would fly home, Monday was the end of it. She’d targeted this date for so long, and now the thought of leaving the day in and day out of Miranda’s presence gave her an almost physical pain.

There was raucous applause as Andy woke from her near stupor. Everyone stood, including Miranda. The Runway team was immediately swarmed with attention, surrounded by photographers and sycophants, some hovering close while others stood back to silently observe and judge. Andy felt a bit light-headed as she got to her feet but shook it off.

Miranda touched her elbow and leaned close. “Are you all right?”

Andy nodded back, replying as softly as she could. “Sorry. I’m okay. Just a little tired. Or hungry. I’m not sure.”

They headed out of the show then. Miranda kept her gaze even, glancing around distantly as flashbulbs went off and paparazzi followed them on the way back to the car from the Palais du Tokyo. To Andy’s surprise, Miranda did not step away, instead leading her down the walkway with their arms linked. Although it was growing dark, Miranda slipped her sunglasses on. This was a clear sign to any outsider that screamed “Do not approach.”

At the sedan, Miranda put Andy in the car first and slid in after her. Andy was relieved to have a moment of quiet as they returned to the hotel to dress for yet another large affair, this time with the global Runway group. Andy would be disappointed to say goodbye to her tuxedo shirt and flat shoes. They made for a far more comfortable day than any of her earlier outfits.

To Andy’s surprise, Miranda raised the privacy screen; she had not done so once since they had been in Paris. Then Miranda turned to her, eyes softening. “Are you really okay?”

Andy nodded. She nearly played it off, acting like it was nothing. But she believed Miranda wanted the truth. She rarely asked anyone anything twice. Then again, she rarely needed to. “I got a little overwhelmed, I think.” To her horror, she felt tears in her eyes. “I forgot it was ending, you know? It’s my last Friday. With you.”

Then another first happened. Miranda reached out and took her hand, lacing their fingers together. Every hair on the back of Andy’s neck stood at attention as she caught her breath. The feeling--just that small hand in hers--was the most incredible thing in the universe. “You know that’s not true.”

Andy exhaled in relief, squeezing Miranda’s fingers. “I know. But it still struck me. I won’t be with you every day, all day. I’ll miss it.” She met Miranda’s eyes and let her feelings show. “I’ll miss you so much.”

“You won’t have to miss me, Andrea. I promise.” Then, Andy held her breath as Miranda brought both their clasped hands to her mouth. Lightly, so lightly, Miranda pressed her lips to one of Andy’s fingers, then another. “I keep my promises,” she whispered.

They stared at one another as Andy felt liquid heat pulse in her blood. She flushed, mouth opening, heart pounding. Miranda noticed right away, her eyes following the telltale red streaks as they crept across her neck. Andy might have been embarrassed if she hadn’t been so turned on, especially when Miranda gripped her hand more tightly.

“I promise, too,” Andy said, not even sure that made sense, but it felt right. Miranda’s breath was so hot on her hand that Andy wanted to moan. She bit the inside of her lip and breathed deeply, desperate to get herself under control.

“Tonight after the dinner I’d like you to come to my suite,” Miranda murmured. “I want to give you something.”

Barely able to comprehend the words, Andy nodded in agreement.

“It’s not a gift. Not exactly, anyway. But I’ve been waiting a long time for it to arrive.”

“Sure,” Andy said, almost robotically. She’d do just about anything Miranda asked of her right now. “I’ll be there.”

As Miranda lowered their hands back to the seat, Andy was able to take a proper breath. “I’m sorry you won’t be wearing that suit,” Miranda said with a half grin. “Don’t bring that back to the office, by the way. Keep it.”

Andy was relieved to hear that; it was Armani, tailored to her exact measurements. No one else would have fit into it anyway. “Okay.”

When they got back to the hotel, it was like nothing at all had happened. They exited the car and went their separate ways. But Andy hung on to every minute, hoping the more she relived it, the more it would carve itself into her memory for all time. That first touch of Miranda’s mouth had been thrilling beyond imagination.

She attended the dinner, she spoke to people, she ate, she drank. Later, she would barely recall anything other than observing Miranda from afar that night. She wasn’t up for socializing and left the event almost as soon as she could without drawing attention to herself. She went to her room and washed her face, combed her hair, brushed her teeth. She dressed in her most elegant sleepwear and a hotel robe, uncertain when Miranda might want to see her. To calm her nerves, she made herself a cup of tea with honey at the little coffee bar. Switching on the fireplace, she reclined on the beautiful sofa and tried to stay in the moment.

It couldn’t have been more than twenty minutes before her phone pinged with a text message. Are you available?

She shut down the fireplace and turned off all the lights before typing back, I’ll be right over.

Andy felt strange leaving her room in a robe, but she did it anyway. Phone and key card in her pocket, she departed her room and made her way to Miranda’s. The door opened when she arrived, which meant Miranda had been waiting for her. Andy slipped in, taking the time to admire Miranda’s evening dress close up. Like so many of Andy’s favorites, this one had been made for her by Valentino, off one shoulder with black, hand-beaded layers giving the illusion of a sheer sky full of stars. She watched the dress and the woman in it move from the foyer into the living area, unable to take her eyes off the way the light reflected on the fabric.

Miranda went to the long table near the fireplace and retrieved a shallow white box tied with a lavender ribbon. She handed it over to Andy, whose eyebrows went up in surprise when she saw the “LA PERLA” logo printed across it.

“Don’t worry, it’s not lingerie,” Miranda quipped, apparently enjoying Andy’s reaction.

“Too bad,” Andy mumbled, heading for the sofa in front of the lit fireplace that generated a bit of heat in the otherwise cool room. Miranda joined her, not too close, but the sofa was on the small side compared to the others in the room. Andy pulled the ribbon and let it fall away before lifting the lid. She opened the tissue and uncovered… a pile of paper. Frowning, Andy lifted the pile out and set the box aside, flipping through some of the pages before she realized what she was looking at. In that moment, her heart could have leapt from her chest; she could hear her pulse thundering in her ears. She looked up at Miranda.

“Check the last page,” Miranda said, lifting one arm to rest along the wood of the sofa’s intricately carved back.

Andy did. There, at the bottom of the page, was Miranda’s signature and today’s date, next to Stephen Tomlinson’s, dated yesterday. Andy’s hands were sweating. “Your divorce decree,” Andy said, her voice faint.

“It’s finally official. Signed, notarized, and mailed, a copy of which was returned this morning via fax,” Miranda said. “I thought you would appreciate the timing more than anyone else.”

Andy knew there was a message in here. A big one. “You’re divorced. A free woman.”

“Mm,” Miranda said, pausing in thought for a few seconds. “Always an interesting expression, that. A free woman. As though a relationship, a marriage, is a trap, assuming one has willingly entered into the partnership. Of course in this day and age, marriage doesn’t have the same connotation of ownership as it once did, but the phrase lives on.” Miranda tilted her head, her eyes moving lazily across Andy’s form. “I have always been and will always be a free woman, Andrea, no matter whom I happen to love or marry. I know the same could be said of you.”

Andy set the papers down on her lap, waiting. “Go on,” she said.

“Should you choose to enter into any relationship, you must do so on even terms. You must never convince yourself that you owe your partner your continued presence. Say, for example,” Miranda turned toward the fireplace, as though afraid to witness Andy’s reaction to her words. “Were you to choose to be with someone like me, it would be because you cared for me and wanted to be with me. Not because you owe me anything at all. Because you don’t.”

Andy had never felt so grateful in her life. Miranda was giving her an out; she was handing Andy the responsibility of the decision so it would be clear how they would move forward, or not.

“Thank you, Miranda,” Andy sighed, letting the papers fall to the floor, scattering. She could hardly move. Her emotions were so high, filling her body with such an intense joy it was difficult to process. “I feel the same way.”

Miranda nodded. She made no move toward Andy, continuing to watch the fire in silence.

Andy swallowed, trying to find her voice. “I need a piece of paper,” she said, practically out of breath. “I need to write something down.”

That confused Miranda. “Pardon?”

Andy got up from the sofa, barely noticing that she was stepping on the divorce papers. She was frantic now, searching around the room for a blank sheet. There were boxes of clothes all over the room, some stacked four feet high; there was Miranda’s computer and phone in one corner; there was a hotel notepad on the antique writing desk. Would that suit her needs? Would it be official enough? She shrugged. At least it marked their location.

Miranda stood and followed Andy across the room. “What are you doing?”

“I’m resigning. Effective immediately.”

“What?”

Andy started writing as Miranda looked over her shoulder.

I, Andy Sachs, assistant to Miranda Priestly, of sound mind -

“For god’s sake, Andrea, it’s a resignation letter, not your last will and testament,” Miranda said. Andy felt like an idiot and crossed out the words of sound mind. “Hurry up,” Miranda said breathlessly. She had caught on to Andy’s urgency, recognizing what it would mean, even if it was unsanctioned and certainly not HR appropriate.

--do hereby resign from my position, effective immediately. Thank you for the opportunity.

Kind Regards,

Andy Sachs

Andy dated the signature before stepping aside and handing over the pen. “Now you.”

Miranda leaned over and wrote,

I accept your resignation. Miranda Priestly.

Her signature was barely legible next to the date she had scrawled next to it. “No regards? Not even a thank you?” Andy said, examining their extremely unofficial-looking resignation letter.

“I’d rather not put my feelings in writing, if you must know.” Andy turned to her, lighter than she had been in ages. “I have waited to say many things to you, Andrea Sachs.” Miranda cupped her cheek. “A year is a long time to wait for love,” she said softly.

Andy’s heart soared. She trembled as Miranda stepped closer, close enough for Andy to pull her into an embrace. She was awed that Miranda had spoken of love first, before they’d even kissed. “I hope it will be worth the wait,” Andy whispered back, those traitorous tears again clouding her vision. “Because I do love you. So much.”

Only then did Miranda’s expression truly relax; Andy hadn’t realized that she’d been nervous or at all uncertain. Miranda leaned in, and finally, finally, they kissed. Andy’s whole body was alive with excitement and want, chills racing through her as their mouths met again and again. Andy slid her hands into Miranda’s hair, thrilling to the sensation of Miranda’s body as they pressed tightly together.

When their mouths parted, Andy said, “No more line between us, right?”

“No line,” Miranda answered, looking down at Andy’s mouth. “I do want to mention that it’s rather irresponsible of you to quit during my busiest week in Paris,” she said, kissing Andy’s jaw, moving to her throat as Andy threw her head back and groaned. “Can’t imagine what I’ll do without you,” she murmured, nibbling at Andy’s ear.

Andy was ready to explode; as much as she had worried that perhaps she’d overestimated their sexual chemistry, those worries receded like a wave on the ocean. She was already alight with pleasure after only a few kisses. “You’ll get by,” she gasped. “You’re a smart lady.”

Miranda chuckled and bit down on Andy’s neck as she yelped in response. “Cheeky,” she murmured, pulling the robe open to reveal Andy’s silk sleeping attire. “Very nice,” she said. “Not from Old Navy.”

Andy truly laughed then. “I brought the good stuff for Paris. You’ll have to deal with Halloween PJs as soon as we get home,” she said, kissing Miranda’s cheek before returning to her mouth. It felt so right to hold her after so many months of anticipation. “That dress is beautiful but I’d really like you to take it off.”

They stayed molded together, inching across the room as Andy found the hidden zip at the side of the dress, sliding it down carefully. Miranda paused in the doorway to the bedroom, dark but with ambient light from the Place Vendôme streaming in. She leaned over behind Andy and pressed a button on a side table until Andy heard the whir of mechanical privacy screens descending. “Convenient,” she said. Then Miranda hit another button and the room lit up until gradually the bulbs dimmed to a soft glow. She abandoned Andy for the second fireplace (she supposed if a room cost what this one did, two fireplaces were acceptable) and flipped a switch to light it. Then when Miranda turned around, Andy saw the flush on her chest, the darkness of her eyes as she opened the dress to reveal her lingerie, a black corset of Italian lace. She peeled the dress down and off, lifting it from the floor to drape it along the back of a chair. Andy felt her knees weaken as Miranda stalked forward, heels still on.

“You’re overdressed,” Miranda said, pulling her toward the bed by the waistline of her pants.

But Andy wasn’t ready to focus on herself, preferring to touch that lace and everything beneath it. She smoothed her hands along the wires of the corset that didn’t seem to be holding anything in, instead accentuating Miranda’s assets. Particularly the underwear, with its scalloped edges that revealed more than it covered in the back. Andy slipped her hands beneath that lace and Miranda’s head tipped backward as she inhaled sharply. “I’ve been thinking about this all week,” Andy said, mouth making its way to Miranda’s breast, biting at her nipple gently through the corset. “And longer. But this week was… a lot.” As she worked at the long set of eye hooks in the back, she felt cooler as Miranda pushed her pajama shirt open to the shoulders.

Things seemed to speed up; Andy lost her shirt, her pants, her underwear and the bra she hadn’t been sure she should wear under her nightclothes, and Miranda left her lingerie on the floor as they pulled the bedclothes down and fell against the soft, soft sheets. Andy started out on top, because she wanted to cover Miranda, to press their bodies together from head to toe, but Miranda was not having it. She rolled them over and straddled both of Andy’s thighs, her hair a silver halo about her head as she sat up.

“My god, you’re perfect,” Miranda said, her mouth moving along Andy’s collarbones, hands skimming her sides. She held Andy’s breasts as though she’d never felt anything so lovely, tongue flicking as Andy writhed, till she used her teeth, and in less than a minute Andy had to beg her to slow down.

“I’ll come,” she panted, clawing the sheets as she felt Miranda’s slickness against her skin. “Fuck, I’m already close. I was going to make you come first,” she hissed.

Miranda’s breath was short and sharp in her face and she was thrusting against nothing. “Together, then,” she said, taking Andy’s hand and pressing it between her legs. She was so wet. Andy arched, feeling a throb deep inside herself. Then Miranda cried out, moving above her, back and forth till she leaned over and nipped Andy’s breast again, pulling it between her teeth while Andy keened.

Miranda reached down, searching out Andy’s clit and finding it. “Yes,” she moaned, “yes, yes,” and then Miranda was coming. Andy could feel the pulse of it and she followed her right over, because she couldn’t possibly stop herself when she knew that Miranda was feeling the same delirious, unimaginable pleasure.

As Andy lay there in the afterglow, her whole body still twitching with energy, she eventually noticed Miranda’s lips gently moving across her shoulder. She pressed her mouth to Andy’s skin, whispering along a few more inches till she came to rest at her sternum. “I can feel your heart beating,” Miranda said.

All for you, Andy thought. She reached down and pulled Miranda up, kissing her languidly, enjoying the sensation without the desperate need behind it. Andy rolled her over so they both lay on their sides, legs twining. She was already in love with the feeling of Miranda’s smooth shins sliding along her own, the way their thighs met and rested against each other.

Miranda had spent the better part of a year and a half communicating with Andy via glances of varying temperatures, everything from scorn to fury to concern to hesitant affection. But she’d never looked at her this way before, as though she’d discovered something wondrous and beautiful right here in her arms.

Andy couldn’t hold back her question any longer. “What are you thinking?” she asked.

Miranda swallowed and kissed her again. “I’m happy,” she said. “Extraordinarily happy.”

Andy smiled. “I’m happy, too.”

---

They spent the next hours getting used to one another, taking things more slowly than the first time. While Andy thought she might instinctively know every secret about Miranda by virtue of spending more than eighteen months satisfying her every professional whim, she appreciated these small discoveries. Miranda liked when Andy kissed her lower back, caressed her ankles, lightly stroked the inside of her elbows. She did not like her belly button touched (a very definite no), and while the ankles were a hit, her feet were off limits.

Andy, in turn, got to experience what it was like to be the focus of Miranda’s complete and undivided attention. She had no specific requirements for what Miranda could do to her. She only wanted more and more and more of everything.

Eventually, Andy left the bed to use the bathroom and wash her face. Her legs were sore and weak as she crossed the room, but it was a good kind of pain. When she flipped on the lights to wash her hands, she caught a glimpse of herself. Her lips were swollen and deep red, and there were small marks all across her shoulders and breasts, even a few on her upper arms. They weren’t bruises, but they were certainly a visual representation of Miranda’s particular interest in her body. She wouldn’t be wearing anything open at the neck for the next few days, that was for sure.

She hunted down the dimmer to the lights that Miranda had used when they’d first entered the room and turned them off completely. The fire could stay on, though; it was pleasantly chilly even with the heat of it.

She hopped back onto the high mattress, where Miranda lay prone, one wrist at her forehead. “I’m going to pay for this tomorrow,” Miranda said.

By the light of the fire, Andy eyed her neck, noticing a few marks she’d left of her own. She didn’t mention them, though. Better to leave that till Miranda discovered them herself. “Should I sleep here?” Andy asked. “I don’t want us to get busted after all this waiting.”

Miranda stared at the ceiling, her eyes narrowing. “Hmm. I’d prefer if you did, but it might not be the best idea.” She sighed sleepily. “At least we don’t have to be up so early. Perhaps we can meet here in the morning for breakfast? That won’t seem suspicious.”

“I would love that.” Andy reached for the watch she’d thrown on the side table sometime earlier. “Oh my god, it’s almost two.”

Miranda smirked. “Time flies,” she said, turning on her side to throw a leg across Andy’s. “Stay a few more minutes,” she said.

Andy liked this touchy-feely side of Miranda. After nothing for so many months, it felt like she’d been starving for ages and had finally found sustenance. “Sure.”

When she next opened her eyes, it was still blessedly dark except for the silent fireplace. Miranda had turned over, her back pressed against Andy’s side, feet touching her shin. She would never describe Miranda as “cute” in a million years, but still, this seemed awfully cute. She reached again for her watch and held it up to her face, lighting it with the little button on one side.

She sat straight up in bed. “What the fuck?” She looked again at the windows and realized that it wasn’t dark out at all; the privacy screens were just really, really good at blocking out light.

“Hmm?” Miranda said, turning over in the darkness. “What is it?”

“It’s five after nine,” Andy said. “We have a show at ten.”

Miranda had no visible reaction. “No wonder I feel so rested,” she said, stretching leisurely. “I always sleep well after… Well, you know. Good sex.”

It made Andy laugh to have heard her pause, almost as if she were shy. She had definitely not been shy the night before. “You don’t seem worried. Won’t people notice you’re not downstairs yet? We’re going to be late.”

“I‘m not sure what you’re so concerned about. You no longer work for me. You’re practically on vacation for the next 24 hours.”

“Shouldn’t we, I don’t know, get up?”

Miranda sighed again and sat up, groaning with the effort. “Oh my god,” she said, massaging her side. “I knew I’d be sore.” She leaned over and kissed Andy once, morning breath and all. “I’m going to shower and dress. I’ll be ready in thirty minutes. Would you mind calling for room service for both of us?” She stopped for a minute. “That’s a question, not a demand, by the way.”

“Okay?”

“You go shower and just come back here when you’re done. We’ll go downstairs together.”

Andy couldn't understand how relaxed Miranda was about all this. They might get discovered. Hell, they might get outed. Andy hadn’t thought too much about that when she’d closed her eyes last night, enjoying Miranda’s weight across her legs. She didn’t have time to dwell on it though, leaping from the bed and putting on her nightclothes and robe. Miranda was in the shower when she departed, and she did two quick glances down the hallway, blessedly empty, before racing back to her room.

She had already laid out a simple skirt and blouse the previous night, having made her big fashion splash the day before. She was out of the shower and dressed in fifteen, hair smoothed down and straightened as well as she could in twenty. Luckily the blouse did the hardest work of covering the remnants of the night’s debauchery and a bit of concealer did the rest. By 9:37 she was back at Miranda’s, bag and phone in hand, just as the room service staff arrived with a cart stacked with silver trays. She followed the attendant in and signed for everything, leaving a generous tip before he left. To her immense relief, Miranda strode out of the bedroom looking like her usual self, albeit with a scarf around her throat.

Andy bit her lip and did her best to not smile. Miranda saw through it, though. “Mind your teeth next time, won’t you?” she said.

“You should see what you did to me. We’ll both have to be a little more careful,” Andy replied. “Within reason.”

Andy lifted the tray covers, pleased that everything looked perfect. They sat and ate breakfast and chatted as they often had, sharing the occasional grin or knowing look. To Andy’s pleasure, there was no awkwardness at all. Their big declarations of love had happened, but they were still just Miranda and Andy. Just with some really good benefits. Just together.

There was a knock at the door. Andy was startled and immediately felt guilty, sure that someone was about to come in and accuse her of… something. Miranda simply stood and opened the door to Nigel, who she had apparently called in Andy’s absence and invited to share breakfast, too. He pulled up a chair and they went over the schedule for the day, their last in Paris, with only two shows and an early dinner on the roster.

As they talked of their respective thoughts on the previous day’s Schiapparelli event, Andy wondered if maybe she should just play the assistant part for the rest of the trip. It made the most sense and there wouldn’t be any reason to change how things were, externally at least. She pulled out her phone and checked her email, realizing how many things she’d ignored since showing up at Miranda’s the previous night. She sent some quick replies to Letty, who had emailed a few questions about preparations for Miranda’s return.

As they were finishing up, Nigel noticed something unusual in the room. “What’s over there?” he asked, wiping his mouth with his napkin and pointing to the papers spread all over the floor in front of the fireplace.

“Oh,” Miranda said absently, touching her neck. “My divorce was finalized yesterday. I must have dropped them.”

“Huh,” Nigel said, blinking slowly. “Congratulations. What’s it like being a free woman again?”

Andy shouldn’t have taken a sip of her coffee at that moment; she choked a bit, and Nigel pounded her back a few times as she tried to catch her breath. “Sorry,” she said, trying not to laugh through her coughing fit.

Miranda, on the other hand, ignored Andy altogether. “It’s excellent,” she answered him, not bothering to expound on her notion of what it meant to be free. “I can’t tell you how long I’ve been waiting for that long and sordid chapter to come to a close.”

“I can imagine,” Nigel replied.

No, you can’t, Andy thought as she looked out the window with a smile.