What the Camera Sees
Miranda Priestly editor of Runway Magazine was meeting with her dear friend Mitchell Mason. His stay at the Ritz Carlton was due to a serious illness that he required be hidden from the public. He came to NY for treatment and he needed Miranda’s connections to keep his new business initiatives on track and his stock holders from getting twitchy. When she left his room her focus was solely on his situation and she therefore didn't notice the photographer surreptitiously taking her picture or the former assistant who appeared to be staying on the same floor going into another room.
Andy Sachs, intrepid reporter for the Mirror, a small city newspaper, was angry that she’d spent the night at the Ritz Carlton waiting for an informant who didn't show. She did not get conformation for her story but she did manage to make a large hole in her bank account. Her ire was such that she did not notice her former boss, Miranda Priestly entering a room down the hall or the photographer quietly taking pictures of the other woman.
Today was going to be a glorious day for Miranda Priestly, in just a few moments she will be holding a press conference to respond to the professional demise of her nemesis Anna Wintour. Vogue, a magazine the other woman had headed for years was printing its last issue. It seems that Conde Nast the parent company of Vogue was going under in spite of the magazine’s huge popularity. The general population wanted to hear from Miranda and who was she to deny them? A press conference was set up in the Elias Clarke auditorium.
Nigel, Miranda’s coworker and close friend, walked into her office with a long face. She looked up and studied him carefully. “Why the frown today of all days?” She asked quietly. “For myself I can’t seem to stop smiling!”
Nigel took a deep breath, “I know,” he responded shaking his head. “I can't tell you how much I hate to be the person that’s going to put a damper on such a triumphant moment for you.” Without another word he handed Miranda the newspaper he had in his hand.
“Fuck,” She said sharply. Nigel jumped having never heard such a word from the rather proper woman. She read the headline from Page Six, the gossip page of the New York Post newspaper.
Miranda Priestly seen exiting billionaire Mitchell Mason’s hotel room!
The well known fashionista and editor of Runway was seen visiting Mitchell Mason’s hotel room at the Ritz Carlton. One must wonder what Mrs. Mason thinks of such an occurrence.
The article continued outlining the dates and times of Miranda’s comings and goings at the Ritz. Miranda studied the photos showing her and the room number of a door that she was seen entering. After a glance her eyes widened and she took a closer look. Miranda’s heart skipped beat as she noticed a familiar young woman in the background. “Of course she would be there,” Miranda said bitterly. Nigel looked over her shoulder and saw what she was pointing at, Andrea Sachs, Miranda’s previous second assistant.
“ I am sure it is just a coincidence,” he said cautiously. The young woman had walked away from Miranda in the middle of Paris fashion week which was also the beginning of a very contentious divorce. He looked relieved when she nodded her agreement.
Miranda was glad that he couldn't read her mind, she was remembering her feelings for the young woman, feelings she hadn't had for a woman in a very long time. She gave her self a mental shake and came back to the present.
“Well, today just got a lot more interesting,” she said and she headed out the door.
Andy Sachs was surprised that even though she was not the style section writer she was told to attend today’s press conference given by her former boss. Because Miranda Priestly was the subject the editor at the Mirror felt that Andy would have the best insights and therefore gave her the asignment. In an attempt to be invisible she was one of the last reporters in the door and she stayed in the back. It was only a moment before she felt Miranda’s eyes on her. So much for that, she thought to herself.
Miranda stepped up to the podium and Andy pulled out her note pad. Having worked with her for almost a year Andy could easily make out the well hidden, to others at least, glee in Miranda’s eyes. Her speech had the right note of regret for Anna’s situation, but to those that really knew her Miranda’s eyes told a different story.
After a few questions about Vogue the reporters from gossip columns, both local and national, took over and the questions became rather nasty about a supposed affair. Not having read the social news Andy was shocked by both the topic and by the vitriol thrown in Miranda’s direction. After a moment she was completely blindsided by Miranda speaking directly to her. Holding her hand out in what could be considered an affectionate manner Miranda said, “Andrea, Darling please join me.” Andy’s eyes widened and her feet seemed to move on their own taking her to the front of the auditorium. Darling what the heck is up with that? Her heart began to beat double time as she experienced a flash of what being Miranda’s darling would be like. Wishing for that very thing had chased Andy out of Miranda’s world. Seeing what she could never have was too painful for Andy to bare. Even after a year apart Andy’s devotion to the other woman moved her forward.
Miranda was not surprised to see Andrea slip into the back of the auditorium. Due to their past history it only made sense that her editor would send her former assistant to report on the press conference. Once she had read her prepared statement Miranda believed she might get off easy. The questions were fluff about the past Runway vs Vogue rivalry. After a few minutes her hopes were dashed as questions about Mitchell Mason’s hotel room came at her fast and furious.
“How long have you been seeing Mr. Mason?”
“Is Mrs. Mason aware of your relationship?”
“There’s nothing of which to be aware.”
“You have been seen visiting with Mr. Mason privately in his room at the Ritz. Do you really expect us to believe those visits were just friendly?”
Miranda rolled her eyes at another variation on the same question that she had just answered. “I want to make this very clear. Mabel and Mitchell Mason are dear friends of mine, nothing more.”
She glared at the crowd and her brain began working over time to find a way to stop this ridiculous rumor and get Mitchell out of the news. Casting through her mind for a believable reason to have been in the Ritz Miranda’s eyes alighted on Andrea. It was as if her mouth and body were two steps ahead of her mind, before she realized it her hand was reaching out to the younger woman and she said, “Andrea, Darling please join me.”
Miranda’s heart was racing as she watched the younger woman’s approach. Andrea had the classic deer in the head lights look.
When she arrived up front Miranda took her hands, leaned in and kissed her cheek. “Relax she whispered huskily in her ear, relax and follow along.”
Andy was trying very hard not to freak out as Miranda pulled away from her and yet kept one hand in hers. The words she was saying seemed so outrageous Andy could barely breath.
“I’m sorry Darling,” Miranda said sweetly. “I know we weren't planning on a big reveal but it would just be a matter of time before they sussed it out.” She nodded towards the reporters as she continued, “I am sure their editors are wondering why they were so focused on the closed door in front of me and not the beautiful woman behind me!” Miranda put a strand of Andy’s hair behind her ear.
The auditorium was unusually quiet while the various reporters began to comprehend what they were seeing. Andy could barely keep herself from giggling at their shocked faces. And then suddenly there was pandemonium.
“Miranda are you implying that you are in a relationship with Andy Sachs?” Was the first question hollered out. Clearly many of the reporters in the room knew Andy.
“No,” she said scathingly, “I am not implying anything. I am telling you that I was meeting with Andrea because we are in a relationship.”
“Miranda how long have you been dating?”
“A good bit.”
“Are you in love?”
“Wasn’t she your assistant?”
“That ended long before we began dating.”
“Andy,” a man who Andy recognized from The Post called for her attention. “Don’t you think she’s a bit old for you?”
“Nope,” Andy said instinctively responding how she believed Miranda would want. Trying to keep her voice level while reeling from this bizarre scene. “She’s just right.”
“Come on, you’re so young and she’s so…”
Andy looked at Miranda’s face and saw a flash of pain that was quickly covered by her editor’s mask. Hell no! Andy thought as she felt what she called the beast awaken in her chest, the beast that belonged to Miranda, the beast that roared to life whenever the woman she cared for was in danger of being hurt or embarrassed. Even after the shit storm that was Paris Andy would always be Miranda’s girl.
Miranda’s face was awash with embarrassment, she tried to pull her hand away. Andy gripped it tightly and brought it to her lips. She gave it a gentle kiss while saying, “Relax, relax and follow along.”
Andy stepped up in front of Miranda and spoke loudly. “Are you blind or just stupid?” She glared at the man who had spoken and then at the crowd. “Look at her, my God just look at her!”
“Yea, The Ice Queen!” he hollered back
Andy actually growled, “Men using names like that are typically covering up their own impotence! I’ll be sure to send your wife a sympathy card!” The assembled reporters chuckled. “If she doesn't make you weak at the knees you folks just aren't looking.”
Miranda cleared her throat and stepped up to the microphone. “In closing Andrea,” she smiled at the younger woman, “and I would like to offer Ms. Wintour our best as she moves on to the next phase of her life. It is no fault of hers that the people at Conde Nast didn’t find a way to grow their business. It’s common knowledge that it was Anna’s genius and artistry that kept the company going but one woman could not make up for the incompetence of an entire conglomerate. The fashion world is poorer today.” She turned to leave keeping a tight hold on Andy’s hand.
Miranda kept Andrea’s hand in hers as she strode to the elevator and then up to her office. I don't think anyone will be checking on Mitchell for the moment. She enjoyed manipulating the press and was quite proud of her accomplishment. The whole lesbian angle might work in my favor as well, a whole new demographic for Runway. As for the press it truly can’t get any worse than my last divorce. She pretended to ignore the stares of everyone that they passed while walking hand in hand with Andrea. As soon as she closed her office door Miranda dropped her hand and motioned towards the couch. They sat down in an awkward silence. After a few moments Andrea spoke in a false cheery voice making Miranda jump.
“So you wanna make out?”
“What?” Miranda squeaked. And then continued more calmly, “What did you say?”
Andy moved in a little closer and grinned, “Do you want to make out?”
Miranda moved back, “Why in the world would you ask such a thing?” She replied with a hard cold voice.
“Gee, I don’t know Miranda maybe because you just announced to the entire universe that I am your lesbian girl toy.” She shook her head still smiling, “Then you dragged me into your office, closed the door and sat down with me on this lovely couch.” Her eyes bored into Miranda’s looking hard in spite of her smile, “What else would I expect on the agenda but some good old fashioned office sex?”
Miranda sputtered, “Andrea I am not in the habit of indulging in office sex especially not with a woman young enough to-”
She was interrupted by the buzzing of Andrea’s phone and she waited while Andrea read the incoming text. “Oh honey,” She looked up and batted her eyes at Miranda “Mom says she forgives me for not telling her I am gay. She’s inviting us for dinner next week!”
“Andrea I-” The buzzing of the phone interrupted her again.
“Oh my it’s my best friend Doug who can’t believe I didn't trust him enough to tell him about us! I guess that’s former best friend now.”
“But-” Miranda tried again. Andrea didn't even look up from her phone before she read the next text.
“Hey, this one’s from my ex, Nate!” Andrea’s continued her voice filled with false cheerfulness. “He sends his congratulations and if we ever want a third he'd be up for it.”
The magnitude of today’s events came down on Miranda’s head. Oh lord what have I done to the girl? She put her hand over her eyes and moaned in embarrassment and shame.
“Do that again, but louder, it’ll help keep up the image!” Andrea’s smile had gone. She looked back down at her phone, “Daddy says he’ll come and help me. His church has a special program for people like me!” Miranda put her hand over her mouth. “Don’t worry it won’t wreck dinner with mom, they've been divorced for years.”
Miranda reached out and gently removed the phone from Andrea’s hand. “You have made your point Andrea, I have really made a mess for you.”
Andreas voice was angry and she was almost shouting. “You knew I wouldn't embarrass you in public, you knew I wouldn't hurt you. You just needed a way to cover up your dirty little affair and you used me to do it.”
“Andrea I am not having an affair!”
“That’s right you aren’t, not with Mason, not with anyone. For the foreseeable future you are with me and I will not be made a fool of!”
“Excuse me,” Miranda said in full dragon mode.
Andrea stopped her and said, “Don’t take that tone with me. I am totally fucked and I didn't even get to take off my clothes!” She took a deep breath. “If we say it was a joke no one will believe it and I look like a promiscuous fool. If we break up right away I look like a toy you got tired of. Unless we handle this perfectly I’ll become a joke, a gold digger and my career will be ruined!”
“Andrea,” she reached her hand out placatingly. “We can fix this I’ll call my publicist, Leslie, and we will work it out. We can tell your family and friends the truth and she will do the rest.”
Andrea shook her head emphatically. “No, we tell no one the truth! Call Leslie so she can help us navigate our relationship in the press and call your lawyer for a dating prenup so that I can’t be called a gold digger.”
“What exactly are you saying?”
“I am saying that for at least the next six months we tell the public that we are dating. We do dinners, dancing, galas, the whole works. And when it comes time for you to break up with me we do it with class.”
Miranda looked at her calculatingly, “And if I refuse? What are you going to hold over my head? Hmm?”
Both women had stood up while they were talking. Andrea moved into Miranda’s space and said very slowly and harshly, “If you do not do this I will be ruined. If you do not do what I am asking you to do my career is over. I have lost a friend and a father today but even so I would never take anything from you.” After spending a moment with their eyes locked Andrea shook her head and turned away.
“You will need a new wardrobe.” Miranda said to her back.
“What?” Andrea turned around.
“If we are going to do this you need to dress the part. It seems as though I need to fall in with your plans but I will choose the clothes.”
“Yes, Miranda” Andrea said in a relieved voice. “You can choose the clothes, any thing else?”
“We tell my girls the truth, I won’t lie to them.” Miranda had put her twins through two divorces, she wasn't going to set them up to like Andrea and then lose her.
“You are going to tell the girls that you told the world we were dating to cover up an affair?”
“No, Andrea I am going to tell the girls the truth. The press noticed me visiting a man who is like an uncle to them. In order to keep his reason for being in town a secret I panicked and started this charade.” Andrea waited for more. “He’s ill Andrea, it needs to be kept quiet that he is in town for an experimental treatment. I assure you that Mitch and I are not and have never had an affair.”
“Will they be able to keep our secret?”
“I think so,” she nodded thoughtfully. “They will understand what’s at stake.”
“Will they want to play along?”
Miranda grinned, “I know so.”
“Great, I’ll tell Mom four for dinner then.”
Andrea took a piece of paper from Miranda’s desk and wrote her phone number and address. “Call me to arrange appointments with Leslie et al. and here’s an address for the clothes. Don't believe Nigel, I’m a four.” With that she opened the door and once she was in full view of the outer office said, “Good bye Honey see you tonight.”