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The day was pleasant enough; Andy just did her thing after mentioning in a moment of privacy that she was going to act like nothing had changed. “If you insist,” Miranda said, her mouth firming into that thin line that Andy had grown to dislike. She was not happy, but she’d put up with it.

So Andy assisted as usual, making calls, confirming reservations, and checking them in for their flight as soon as she was able to that evening. She still felt the little zing of adrenaline when she heard the chime of her email, but it was less pronounced.

The final dinner was Miranda’s very expensive, non-expensed meal for everyone on the US Runway team at L’Arpege. Andy enjoyed her incredibly beautiful and unique meal, recognizing Alain Passard when he emerged to converse with Miranda. She leaned over to Nigel, whispering, “He was on Iron Chef!” she said, more excited at this sighting than many of the others she’d experienced on the red carpets. She’d watched many hours of episodes with Nate, Doug, and Lily over the years. She knew her Iron Chef competitors like the back of her hand.

Nigel smothered a grin before asking, sotto voce, “Did he win?”

Andy wrinkled her nose in response.

“Got it. Won’t say a word.”

Feeling sentimental, she asked everyone if they’d pose for a photograph during this, her last official meal with the staff. There were nods all around and one of the servers kindly offered to take the picture for them all at the table. She was seated across from Miranda, who surprised her when she stood and encouraged a few others to join them on Andy’s side of the table so they’d all be in view. Emily and Serena both joined her, and they all posed for the photo as Miranda’s hand fell on Andy’s shoulder, gripping it with gentle purpose. Andy’s heart swelled as she smiled, thrilled to have marked the memory.

That night, she packed as quickly as possible. They would check out at 11 in the morning for their flight, but would still be back in New York by three the next day. It would be much easier to go home than to travel to Paris.

She didn’t want to assume anything, but she really hoped to spend one more night with Miranda in this magnificent hotel.

As she was zipping her last suitcase, she heard a scratch at the door. Her heart stuttered in hope as she rushed to answer it. Miranda was there with a demi-bottle of Agrapart & Fils Vénus champagne in one hand and a small bag in her other. Andy ushered her in, only to be pressed against the wall barely before the lock snicked shut. Andy threw her arms around Miranda’s neck and heard the contraband drop to the floor, quickly forgotten as they made their way to Andy’s king-sized bed.

They took their time this evening, Andy stripping Miranda slowly of her clothes piece by piece, then stripping herself of her own as Miranda observed with unblinking eyes from the bed. Andy knew it would be so good, wanting to show Miranda the depth of her desire by making her body the exclusive focus of her attention for as long as Miranda could take it. Every cry from Miranda’s throat felt like a gift, every moan and whine and whisper made her clench in response. It felt like a dream; she wished she could live this night forever as they coaxed pleasure from one another.

Some time later, Miranda left the bed to retrieve the champagne and what turned out to be a box of strawberries, so they each drank a warm glass and shared the fruit in the center of the mattress. Pouring the last of the bottle into Miranda’s glass, Andy noticed a little furrow between her brows. “Something on your mind?” she asked.

“It will be different, at home,” Miranda replied. “I know it’s happening later this week, right?”

Andy had not forgotten, but she wished she could, just for tonight. “Yes.”

“Mm,” Miranda hummed. “Should we stay clear of one another for a time? Just in case?”

The thought of it was agony to Andy. Now that she had a taste, how on earth would she manage without this? She knew that Elias Clarke would be affected as soon as the first article landed; the implication of the board members could not wait. There would likely be a number of emergency meetings when the investors made waves. It would not be convenient for Andy to be staying on 73rd street if that happened. Miranda would need to be one hundred percent dedicated to work when this all went down. Andy would be a distraction. A nice one, but not a good one. “Yes,” she finally said.

Her sadness was evident and Miranda put a hand on hers. “It won’t be long, now. We’re nearly there.”

Andy hoped she was right.

They shared Andy’s bed that night, Andy awakening to Miranda’s back pressed to her side again. Though it had only happened twice, Andy felt almost sick with longing and they hadn’t even spent a second apart yet. So much for living in the moment. She turned over and did her best to set her discomfort aside, instead stroking her fingers along the line of Miranda’s neck, watching the goosebumps rise as she woke so they could make love a last time before morning.

The flight home was painless, Andy spending most of the time staring out the window, lost in thought. There was a flurry of activity going on around her, but she was no longer a part of it. Runway would go on without her. Tonight she would collect all the important things from Miranda’s home and leave. Tomorrow was her unofficial last day, when she would go into the office, box up her few remaining items (including the tapes she’d locked in her desk), and say her goodbyes. She would give a positive exit interview, leave for her solitary, no doubt dusty apartment, and wait.

It was going to be a long few days.

---

On Tuesday, Andy woke for the first time in her old apartment with absolutely nothing at all to do. After a leisurely breakfast, she called Doug, who was working, and Lily, who was also working. She called her dad, who picked up and asked her all about Paris, then her mom, who asked her the exact same questions. Then she watched a marathon of Martha Stewart on PBS and laid on her futon, moping, wishing she could talk to Miranda. She went to bed at 7:30, pretending it was jetlag instead of heartache.

Her phone rang at 5:37am. The name on the display read Miranda. Her heart was pounding. “Miranda?” she said.

“I’m very proud of you, Andrea. I want you to know that, before… everything happens.”

It sank in that it was Wednesday morning and the paper had been released overnight. The article was probably live on the website already. “You are?” she asked, her voice thin and high.

“You have done absolutely incredible work and I love you. I promise we’ll talk when we can.”

Andy heard the word promise and remembered what Miranda had told her in Paris just a few days before. “I love you, too. Miranda. I wish I could be there to help you. I wish that so much.”

“Don’t worry about me, darling. I’ll be just fine.” She hung up.

Andy got out of bed right away and grabbed her laptop. The time it took for her to load the homepage of the New York Times may have been a minute or an hour; every second was endless. Then it was there, the headline: DISCLOSURE: FORMER CEO OF ELIAS CLARKE IRV RAVITZ’S HARASSMENT SETTLEMENTS EXPOSED. And then the words Andy had dreamed of all her life:

By Angela DeSantis

and Andy Sachs

Hank had kept his word. Her name hadn’t been dropped to the bottom of the page, nor replaced with “contributing reporter.” She was right there on top.

She read the article as she had a million times before. Very few changes had been made since she’d left for Paris; the first installment ran more than four thousand words. She read it twice before getting dressed and grabbing her wallet and keys. Quickly she ran down the stairs and headed for the corner newsstand, where the Times was sitting unobtrusively on the shelf right in front of her. The headline was larger than it had been on the website; the article took almost half the page above the fold and continued on an interior page within. Her name was there, too. She bought five copies and smiled when Arnold, who had been selling her newspapers for nearly two years, recognized her name and pointed to it.

“That’s you!” he said. He held out a hand to high-five her.

“Keep a few for me for the rest of the week, okay? Till Sunday.”

“You bet. Go get ‘em, kid.”

She tucked the papers under her arm and went to Starbucks to have breakfast and read everything one more time.

The next call came at 7:43, from Nigel. “Jesus, Six, you really did it,” he said as soon as she answered.

“I did my best,” she replied.

“It’s stellar. I feel glad to have been a tiny part of it,” he said softly. “Looks like there’s more to come. ‘Part one of a series,’ it says.”

“Yeah. I’m--I’m sorry if it makes things hard for a while.”

“Listen. Andy. Remember who the bad guy is, okay?”

Andy blinked. “Right. You’re right.”

“Talk soon.”

Andy watched the early local news and the story was reported everywhere; Irv was a big deal in the tri-state area and the reporters were salivating over the details. She got a few texts too, from Emily, who just sent a series of eight exclamation points, as well as Serena, who sent an xo. At 11 she caved and called Doug, who was working and hadn’t checked the paper. “So, I have sort of a story on the Times website today.”

There were a few seconds of silence. “The Times?”

“Yeah.”

“Like which Times?”

“Um, the New York one.”

Andy heard some furious clicking through the phone line. “What am I looking f-- holy shit, Andy. Holy shit, that’s your name, right there. Holy shit!” His voice grew louder with each subsequent exclamation. “Okay, reading.”

He stayed on the phone, mumbling to himself as he devoured each paragraph, whispering various expletives as he learned more information. It took him slightly over ten minutes to get through the whole article. “Andy. This was your iron in the fire,” he said.

“Yeah.”

“You know what’s really strange?” he asked, his voice pensive. “Have you ever had the experience of knowing someone you care about is really good at a specific thing, and you spend a bunch of years totally sure that this person will do something incredible one day? You, like, believe it with all your heart and you’re just waiting for it to happen?”

Andy started to cry. “Yeah,” she repeated.

“This is that something,” he said. “I knew you would do it one day. I didn’t know when, but I had so much faith that you would use your powers for good.”

She laughed as silent tears slipped down her face. “My powers?” she asked.

“You have powers, Andy Sachs, and you know it. You fucking did this. Can we have dinner tonight? I’ll cut out early. This is worth coming up with a really creative excuse for the boss.”

“Sure. I have nothing at all to do. I’m just sitting at home watching the news and looking for updates.”

“Oh shit, I forgot Monday was your last day! And I didn't even ask you about Paris! Oh my god, I’ll be there at 5 at the latest. We’ll order in. Call Lily and make sure she’s there, too.”

“I will,” Andy agreed, feeling more like herself now. She’d been on tenterhooks all morning, suspended in uncertainty, waiting to experience some sort of aftermath herself, even though she wouldn’t.

She called Lily next and left a message, receiving a reply less than an hour later that rivaled Doug’s enthusiasm. Lily agreed to meet them for dinner too. That helped distract her from her single-minded focus on the website, which despite all her staring, did not update much throughout the day.

When she finally touched base with her parents, they were both more surprised than she thought they would be.

“I knew you were working on something, honey, but I thought you were trying to get a promotion at Runway! I never suspected you were doing investigative reporting. It’s been so long!” her mom told her. At least she sounded pleased. “You seemed really wrapped up in your work at the magazine, and I suppose Miranda. She was all you ever really talked about, even before you and Nate broke up.”

Andy froze. “Um, really?”

“If I didn’t know you better, I’d have thought you were in love with her.” She sighed and continued, “We’ll, you’ve moved on, now.” When Andy didn’t assure her she was right, her mom sensed there was more to be said. “Haven’t you?”

When Andy still didn’t reply, her dad said, “Oh, no.”

“Well. It’s so funny you say that,” Andy said, wondering if now was the right time to tell her mom she’d been right all along. She didn’t need to come out; she’d dropped the B-word bomb on them sophomore year when she’d declared she was in love with her female Reporting & Writing TA (who, to her eternal disappointment, did not love her back). But she did need to come clean about Miranda. “While I was working on the story, which was like, a really long time, I couldn’t be involved with someone I worked for. But, uh, I don’t work for her anymore. And, as it turns out, I am in love with her.”

Andy’s dad repeated himself. “Oh, no. Dammit, Maureen!”

“Richard, your daughter is telling us something very important,” her mom said in her defense. “Honey, your father’s just upset that I knew something he didn’t. Why don’t you tell us what’s going on?”

Andy explained what she could, about having feelings a long time ago for Miranda, and Nate noticing, and both of them living with it till they just couldn’t anymore. She told them all the good things Miranda had done, like looking after her when she broke her arm and taking her in after the break-in (“it was totally platonic, Dad,” she made sure to insist). And then realizing that with the article coming out, she didn’t want to have work between them anymore, even though it was going to be hard because Miranda was so much older and established in her career while Andy was just getting started. Plus there were the kids to think about, and their respective work, not to mention the public vilification they might both face.

“Are you sure, honey?” her mom asked. “I don’t want to assume the worst, but I want to make sure she really cares about you.”

“She does, mom. And with all this stuff coming out about Mr. Ravitz, we’re in no hurry to tell people. It will probably be a while before you have to explain anything to your garden club. Or Aunt Janice. Or Grandma.” Andy grimaced. She hoped her mom would just spread the word through the grapevine so she wouldn’t have to.

They ended the call soon after, her mom giving her as much support as she could offer. Her dad came around by the end of the call, at least enough to tell her he loved her and was proud of her. That was good enough.

Before Doug and Lily arrived, Andy exchanged texts with Angela, who was working on another story but reminded Andy that she wanted to get together as soon as next week to talk about “next steps,” whatever those might be.

She didn’t have time to dwell for long on the subject. The intercom rang and Andy buzzed in her friends, who brought pizza and an excessive amount of wine. Once they’d gone through the first bottle, Andy confessed to them of her earlier than expected resignation and very few details about why she’d done it. But Doug drew the truth from her not very long after that.

“If you’re together, why aren’t you with her tonight?” he asked.

“I think she probably has some fallout to manage. I mean, I know she has. And don’t you think it would be weird for Miranda to hook up with an assistant right as her ex-boss goes down for harassment of women who worked for him?”

Lily shook her head. “Andy, you’ve told us it’s not the same thing.”

“I know it’s not, but the optics are pretty bad. Hopefully in a month or so, things will die down. Maybe even less.” She swallowed some wine and felt more maudlin than ever. “Don’t you think it could be less?”

Doug gave her an enthusiastic nod. “Absolutely.”

---

It was not less than a month.

The articles rolled out over the allotted five days, each delving deeper than the last, until it was clear that Irv Ravitz would not be taking over at Emarco Global or any other corporation. The story blew up, devoured by network and cable news, not to mention every other significant paper across the country. The more people knew, the more they wanted to know. The women who shared their real names and stories so privately with Andy and Angela suddenly found their faces splashed across CNN every day. Some gave interviews, while others did their best to vanish into the woodwork.

After that, Andy committed to staying in touch with Miranda daily. They would exchange texts and emails, but more often phone calls late at night. Miranda was having trouble sleeping, a reminder for Andy that her lover was as human as the next person. Andy had always seen her as a warrior who could survive any battle, a ship that could weather any storm. But Miranda had not faced this kind of broader chaos before, and each evening it took time for her mind to calm enough to rest and restore for the next challenges. Miranda did not share much of what went on at the office, preferring to talk of the twins’ latest adventures and Andy’s own projects.

Elias Clarke was, as expected, rocked to its core. The three board members who had suppressed information about the settlements were unceremoniously removed after two weeks. A few days later, a number of replacements were voted in by investors and the remaining directors. One of those replacements just happened to be Miranda Priestly.

To say Andy’s reaction was shocked at the news was putting it mildly. Miranda had spent so many years exclusively focused on Runway that the rest of the company seemed outside the realm of her interest. But once the details of Andy’s story came out, Miranda realized that she wanted more of a hand in the company’s direction, not just in the States but worldwide. She could not in good conscience let another Irv Ravitz take the reins, and to ensure that, she needed to be more involved. When nominated for a place on the board (at least partially because she had escalated the situation with Irv in the first place), she accepted.

Meanwhile, Andy had her own excitement to share. She’d gotten three interviews at different publications courtesy of a few strategic phone calls placed by Hank, who turned out to be as honorable as Angela had said. The Times staff was on an extremely lean budget, but Andy jumped at the chance to get in the door at The Atlantic, Mother Jones, and one she had coveted beyond all others, The New Yorker. All were entry level but not assistant level, which meant better money for the kind of work she’d always wanted to do.

She’d also gotten an email from Christian Thompson that made her squirm in discomfort. The tone of it had been both jealous and admiring, wrapping up with a question: was she looking for a new position now that she was away from Miranda’s all-seeing eye? “My boss read your story and he’s interested. Let me know if you want to come by for lunch.” She didn’t turn it down straight away, but put him off. If she didn’t land anything at her three other interviews, it wouldn’t make sense to say no to an opportunity. But the idea of working with him in an office environment was probably not going to fly.

On one Friday night in mid-November, Andy got home from her third New Yorker interview and made a phone call to the townhouse. Miranda answered. Andy immediately asked to speak to Caroline.

“Hello?” Caroline said. “Andy?”

“Hey, kiddo. How are you?”

“I’m good! When are you coming home?”

The stab Andy felt at those words, uttered so innocently by a twelve-year-old girl, took Andy’s breath away. She couldn’t speak for a few seconds as she tried to pull herself together. “I--I hope it’s soon. I miss you all so much.”

“We miss you, too.” And in a quieter tone, “Especially Mom.”

“Well,” Andy said, inhaling and blinking back tears, “I need you to do something for me, so I can feel more connected to you and your mom. Where’s her laptop?”

She heard Caroline and Miranda for a minute in the background talking to one another until Caroline replied, “I’ve got it.”

“Okay. Get her to put in her password--”

“Duh, I know her password,” Caroline replied. Andy’s eyebrows went up.

“Caroline!” Miranda said sharply in the background.

“What, it’s not like she keeps it a big secret. It’s Dandylion81, with a y. See, it’s like your name, plus lion because you have courage, and the year you were--”

“I got it, Caroline,” Andy said as she tried not to consider the depth of Miranda’s sentimental streak that felt like a giant rainbow reaching all the way to Andy’s lower east side apartment. “Go ahead and log in.”

Andy walked her through the steps to create a personal Skype account and in ten minutes, they were talking to each other via webcam. Andy had bought an add-on camera that plugged into her laptop, but Miranda’s Mac had one already installed and ready to go. Cassidy joined them too and Andy gave them all a tour of her apartment that took approximately three minutes.

“It’s really nice, Andy,” Cassidy said. Andy tried not to take her obvious tone of sympathy personally. “Maybe we can come see you soon.”

“That sounds great,” Andy said. “I want to visit you, too.”

Fifteen minutes later, Miranda shooed the girls away and brought the laptop to her third floor bedroom. “This was a very nice surprise, darling. I’ve missed your face. And the rest of you.” Miranda’s smile was seductive.

Andy bit her lip. She hadn’t exactly angled for private time, but she wasn’t going to say no to it either. “I’ve missed you, too, Miranda.” She swallowed. “So much.” Andy watched as Miranda set the laptop on the bed and disappeared for a moment. When she returned, she had a set of wires in hand that Andy realized were earbuds. Andy’s heart raced just a little faster.

“How much have you missed me?” Miranda asked, her voice low and dripping with sex.

Andy’s mouth dropped open. “Uh, are we doing this?”

“We are absolutely doing this. You first.”

Andy wrinkled her nose. She had no particular plan for “how to be hot on camera.” Without direction she felt rudderless.

“Why don’t you lie down on your bed, all right?” Miranda suggested.

Andy could do that. She set the computer down next to herself and flicked the light on next to the bed. She reclined and turned to Miranda, who was staring directly into the screen, unblinking. There was something about that focus that gave Andy some motivation. She turned on her side and started to unbutton her blouse.

Miranda’s expression did not change, but Andy thought her nostrils flared very slightly.

She shed her shirt, her jeans and socks, leaving her in very pretty matching La Perla. Miranda nodded, continuing to watch Andy intently, her eyes roaming the screen. “Use your hands,” she said, her voice breaking.

The suggestion made Andy tingle all over, the sensation spreading from the backs of her thighs and up her torso. She followed that path with her hands, pausing when it felt good, thinking of Miranda. Soon she took off her bra and heard Miranda gasp; Andy knew she had a thing for her breasts, so she caressed them one at a time, pinching till it almost hurt. Now Miranda was closer to the screen, mouth closed and absolutely rapt.

Andy didn’t want to draw this out with a lot of foreplay, eager for Miranda to have her turn. She asked, “Should I use my vibrator?”

Miranda did not reply in words, but nodded. Andy rolled over and grabbed a little battery operated pocket rocket from her side table, primed with new batteries. It seemed Miranda was more interested in her expression than anything else, so she simply returned to her original position and turned on the toy. She slid it between her legs and arched her back, turning toward the screen. Now Miranda appeared almost anguished, her brow furrowed as Andy panted, working the toy where she liked it, a little inside but not too much, till she moved to her clit and focused on it. When she cried out, Miranda flinched. Andy was careful to let her see her look of desperation on her face as she got closer. Her mouth opened as she felt the orgasm approach, expertly working her body until she was at the edge for a long moment, then calling out into the empty room. She came hard, wishing Miranda was there, holding her, touching her as she throbbed with pleasure.

Andy lay there for a minute, breathing fast, enjoying the rush. Eventually she smiled and turned to the camera, noticing that Miranda had her head down, hair hiding her face. “Honey?” Andy asked. “Miranda?”

Then Miranda lifted her head, throwing it back, gasping in pleasure herself. She was breathing hard through her nose but otherwise did not make a sound. Andy stared at her with wide eyes. Miranda let out a tiny cry from the back of her throat then held her breath, mouth open in a silent O, grimacing in what looked like a stellar orgasm.

And Andy hadn’t gotten to see anything at all except the end. She watched in indignant outrage as Miranda gradually relaxed. When Miranda opened her eyes again, lazily caressing Andy’s body, Andy declared, “Unfair! I didn’t even get to watch!”

“You got to see the critical moment,” Miranda said, licking her lips. She sighed rapturously. “I rather enjoyed that. It will certainly tide me over,” she added. Tilting her head, Miranda regarded her with that blissful expression that had made Andy fall in love with her all over again that first night. “I couldn’t wait. Not after watching you.”

The compliment eased Andy’s ire somewhat. “Well. Next time, give me a minute to catch up.”

“Next time will be in person, I hope,” Miranda said softly.

Andy exhaled. “Me too.” She didn’t think it would happen on anything other than video for a while, but she could live on hope for a little longer.