Fandom: The Devil Wears Prada
Characters/Pairing: Andy, Miranda, Nigel, Nate; Andy/Miranda, unrequited… or not?
Summary: Andy would never dare to think about Miranda in that way. After all, she has a boyfriend – and her beautiful boss is married! But then Nigel starts talking about ‘dating’ at work, and about his ‘gaydar’, and… and Andy doesn’t know what to think…
Word count: 5 484
Prompt: 049. Dance, at 100_women
Notes: I hinted to some people a while ago that I’m going to write a sort of angsty fic… This is not that fic! This is just some good old Mirandy that surprisingly came out of nothing and demanded to be written… No sequel planned. The end is the end. You know, sometimes a story just ends where it ends.
When I came back from my lunch break – too short as usual, but I was getting used to it – I waved to Nigel as I passed him by.
“Good, you’re back”, he said. “Go see Miranda; she’s been asking for you. She’s bringing you as her date to that party she’s going to tonight.”
I stopped and couldn’t believe what he said.
“What? Did she say that? Her date?!”
Had the sky fallen down on me I couldn’t have been more surprised.
Nigel just stared at me and shook his head.
“Can’t you take a joke, Six? Of course she didn’t say that, why would she! It’s a work-related party; don’t tell me you’ve forgotten? At least, don’t tell Miranda. Emily’s got a bad flu, you know, so she needs you…”
“Oh”, I replied and tried to compose myself.
Yes, of course I remembered the party, it was tonight at… at what time exactly? And where? And how was it work-related?
On the other hand, what was not work-related in Miranda Priestly’s life? The twins, of course, so I could be sure this was not a birthday party…
“Andy!” Nigel said sharply. “Why am I even telling you this? And why are you still standing there – do you expect Miranda to come out here to talk to you?”
No. No, of course not. And Miranda didn’t want me to be her date, because I was her assistant, that’s all. That’s all, that’s all, I thought to myself with every step, putting emphasis on all when I put my foot down.
“I didn’t realize your lunch break is this long now”, Miranda said as I entered her office.
I, on the other hand, had not realized that I had been thinking not her date, just her assistant, that’s ALL for so long that I was actually late. I opened my mouth to say that Nigel had held me up, but I knew that Miranda didn’t care for stupid excuses.
“I’m sorry, Miranda.”
“Yes. Andrea, I need you with me to take notes tonight. Roy will pick you up at…”
Andrea, would you like to have dinner with me tonight?...
No, that was something Miranda would never say. And I needed to focus on her instructions. That was hard. In fact, focusing on what Miranda was saying rather than the mere sound of her voice proved to be more difficult with every day.
Because her voice was so wonderful. And because she was so beautiful. No, more than that; exquisite, amazing… She was more than I had words for – and I called myself a writer! She defied all descriptions – and my feelings for her defied all explanations. I didn’t care what other people thought, what they said about her; I didn’t care that she was difficult to work for and almost impossible to please; I didn’t care about her husband or even my own boyfriend.
This was something greater than that. An undeniable force had swept me off my feet little by little ever since I first saw her, and I was beyond fighting it now.
It was greater than respect, admiration and idolisation. I didn’t know if it was love. I knew that it was lust. I wanted to – I wanted to –
“Andrea – are you listening to me?”
Yes, always; your voice is better than music.
But the question of what to wear! I had learned – painfully – that my own sense of style was not to be trusted around fashionable people, so I asked Nigel to help me.
Nigel chose a red dress. The hem ended just above the knees and the dress flattered my body shamelessly, just like I had learned that a carefully chosen designer outfit should do. But it was red. And dazzling.
“Is this really appropriate?”
I looked at myself in the mirror and wasn’t quite sure about what to think about my own reflection.
“Of course”, Nigel assured me, “you are gorgeous in this dress. You’re thinking that as an assistant, you should wear something more discrete? No, I don’t think so. Not this time. You’re going to catch the eye of anyone you want to in this dress.”
“Yes, anyone”, Nigel reassured me. “Even Miranda will find you breathtaking.”
“Oh, I doubt that! She wouldn’t even if she were gay. Which she isn’t…”
Nigel dismissed my words with a snort and a wave of his hand.
“If Miranda is not gay, then there’s something seriously wrong with my gaydar and I’ll need to have it repaired.”
“You mean her marriage is fake?”
All of a sudden, thoughts that I had never dared to articulate before attacked me from everywhere, and I had to grab hold of Nigel’s arm to prevent myself from falling because my brain was spinning so fast.
“No, I mean that her closet is so big and she’s so deeply buried inside of it that she doesn’t even realize that she’s in there.”
I tried to calm down. So Miranda hadn’t actually said that she was a lesbian. On the other hand… neither had I. But I was, wasn’t I? I must be, because I had all these thought of Miranda all the time; her voice, her body, her exquisite skin – her legs…
“But you know all about it, do you?” I asked him and tried to keep my voice steady. “Then what does your gaydar say about me?”
“It says that you’re on your way to find your way out.”
Nigel winked at me.
“But that’s our secret, of course.”
“But I…”, I stuttered, “I, um…”
“You don’t have to say anything, Andy. Don’t worry; everything will be just fine.”
He smiled at me, and I wondered if I was really that transparent, or if Nigel was just very observant? But I had never heard anyone suggest that Miranda was gay before. I didn’t know what to think.
“If you don’t need me anymore, I have work to do. See you, Six – and have fun at your date tonight.”
I blurted out:
“But it’s not a date! You said so!”
He looked at me as if he had no idea what I was talking about.
“I did? Sorry, can’t remember… Bye!”
Date or not; that evening, I was more nervous than I had ever been before any date in my entire life. I don’t think I was that nervous even before my very first date in high school. I was sure that I hadn’t been nervous at all before my first date with Nate.
“What’s the matter with you?” Nate said. “This is just another night at work, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, you could say that…”
It would be, if I hadn’t been wearing a dress that Nigel said Miranda was going to find me breathtaking in; if Nigel hadn’t said that Miranda was gay and that everything was going to be ‘fine’. What did he mean by that?!
Nate looked at me with confusion written all over his face.
“Is there any reason why you’re fidgeting like this? Are you going to meet some potential future new employers at that party, or what?”
New employers? No, that would mean leaving Miranda, and I didn’t want to do that. Was becoming a journalist suddenly out of the scheme? I was going to stay as Miranda’s assistant; I was going to be so good that she would never want anyone else – hey, I could even talk J.K. Rowlings into writing a whole new Harry Potter- series! – but on the other hand; I couldn’t go on working for her if I became her lover, could I? No, because…
No, stop! I had to sit down to brace myself… had I not spoken aloud already? I looked at Nate; he didn’t say anything.
I was not Miranda’s lover. Until Nigel opened his mouth, I had never even dared to hope for it to happen. How could anyone hope to win the heart of Miranda Priestly? But Nigel had given me hope; the hope that Miranda in fact looked at me as someone more than her second assistant, as someone dateable, desirable…
If only she left her husband. How could I even think that – in front of my boyfriend who was worried about me!
“Nate”, I said, “when I get back… we need to talk.”
My boyfriend fixed me with his dark eyes.
“Why do I not like the sound of that…”
“Nate, I’m sorry; the car is here…”
I hurried out. Maybe it hadn’t been a wise decision to say that to Nate. But on the other hand; I had to say or do something sooner or later; I had to figure this out.
Miranda was already in the car. Her dress was long, silver colored, but I couldn’t get a good look at what it looked like because she was wearing a fur coat.
I said “Hello, Miranda”, and she looked at me and nodded, but didn’t say anything. Neither did I. I kept my mouth shut, and there was nothing unusual about that. It was not the first time I was with Miranda in her car, but something felt different.
We arrived to a very big house where cars not unlike ours were coming and leaving through the gates. We got out of the car. The silence had lasted a long time and seemed impossible to break.
Not until we were in the house and our coats were taken by some person I failed to notice did our eyes meet.
Miranda gave me a not unfriendly nod and told me to follow her.
I followed her. I couldn’t help looking at her; staring at her body as she walked in front of me in that dress, so tight around her body which swayed just a little, and her shoulders were bare, and she…
And she talked to someone and she talked to me; she introduced me to this person as her assistant, and I smiled at this person who had a blurry face and hoped that I said the right things, because I was not quite sure about what I said. Somehow I managed to scribble some notes in my notepad; mostly numbers, I think.
And then Miranda moved on to another person, and I followed her like the dutiful assistant that I was, and this was an important person – but, naturally, not more important than Miranda – and she talked to this person, but she didn’t seem to need me for anything anymore. And not with the third person either.
The strange numbness that had held me in a tight grip ever since I stepped into the car began to fade away and I was slowly feeling almost normal again. This was just a party after all, and Miranda only needed me to be there just in case.
After a while, she even told me to stop being so close on her heels. I tried to relax and to take a look at the people around me. There were a few people I had seen before.
And Christian was there – did that guy really have to show up just everywhere? It wasn’t that I didn’t like him; I did. Who wouldn’t, charming as he was? But he was just a little too aware of his own charm, a bit too sure of himself. Too persistent; undoubtedly a little too successful in his womanizing for his own good. The kind of guy who wouldn’t take no for an answer until it was rubbed in his face twice – perhaps not even from a lesbian.
No, I was unfair there, was I not? I had no reason to believe that Christian was the ‘awesome, do you like threesomes?’ kind of guy. Besides, I couldn’t really tell a guy that I was a lesbian when I was only in the beginning of figuring this stuff out for myself, when I was still living with my boyfriend… And he hadn’t really tried to hit on me, had he? But as I had a feeling that it was only a matter of time, I decided that I didn’t feel like talking to him there and then.
As Miranda didn’t seem to need me at the moment, I decided to sneak into another room where there were less people. Music was heard everywhere – not too loud, of course – and waiters, neat and almost decorative, moved around silently. The place was pretty nice, actually. From where I was standing, I could see an opening down the hallway, an arch, into another room and it looked like bookshelves in there.
I know; it doesn’t sound like much to get excited over, but we have all our quirks, right? I, for one thing, find it hard to resist a bookshelf. There might be nothing there that interests me, but I just have to take a look. I’ve always been like that. When other girls were irresistibly drawn to glossy magazines and/or lipgloss and such things, I was drawn to books. Nothing strange, really. Anyway; I walked in there to take a look.
The room was empty, except for all the bookshelves and lamps and two armchairs. It was soon clear to me that I had very little in common with the owner of the house, because almost all of the books were about crime history, old cars, gardening and World War II. I was looking at the small section of novels and plays when I heard that familiar voice say:
“Andrea? What are you doing in here?”
I turned around, and as if I had forgotten how she looked like during the maybe twenty minutes that had passed since I last saw her, I had to brace myself and tell myself sharply not to gasp.
It must be criminal for a woman to look this good, I thought, and I half expected to see a book titled 101 ways Miranda Priestly is way too perfect among all the crime books.
“Oh, books”, Miranda said, “I see.”
“Um… Yeah, I, I like books, you know, I’m that kind of girl…”
And at the same time I heard an inner vice that said: no, don’t talk, don’t talk!
“I know”, Miranda said, her voice cool and calm and not even half as full of commands as it used to be at work. “But this is a party, after all. Wouldn’t you rather like to dance?”
I shook my head. Dance with whom? Christian?
“Oh”, Miranda said, “I came here to ask you if you wanted to dance.”
She was joking, right? The woman must totally be making fun of me, laughing like crazy inside her head right now…
“What, you mean, like you and me? In here… dance?”
“Yes”, Miranda said, and then she just walked into the room and moved towards me, and when she came closer I reacted instinctively and gave her my hand, which she took – without a word – and pulled me closer and put her arm around my waist. I had no choice but to put my other hand on her shoulder – not that I objected to being close to her, it was just a bit scary – and that meant we were in the dancing position. So obviously she either wasn’t joking, or she wasn’t done joking yet. But why would Miranda be joking?
We heard the music well enough in there. Miranda took the lead and I followed. I tried to sort out my feelings. It was surreal. I felt awkward and clumsy – me, dancing with the elegant Miranda! – and I felt hot. Not because of the temperature in the room, but because Miranda’s body were close to mine, I felt her skin – yes, her soft skin! – under my hand; my other hand was in her hand, her face was very close to mine…
Yes, it was strange, but it was also very beautiful. I didn’t care why she did this. I just knew that this was a dance; we danced together, and I enjoyed it more than I had enjoyed anything before… So I started to relax a little while I followed her every move.
And then the music stopped. She let go of my hand, of my body.
“Hm”, she said, “you dance better than what one might think, Andrea.”
I didn’t answer; I discovered that my brain had disappeared somewhere and I couldn’t remember how to speak, or any words that would be appropriate.
“Come back out there and join the party when you’re ready”, she said, turned away, and left me there.
Ready? When was I ever going to be ready to face other people again? My thoughts must be written all over my face; my thoughts of Miranda’s shoulder, her scent, the sound of her breathing, her breasts, her hips, the touch of her hand and the gentle pressure of her body against mine…
I took a deep, shaky breath and sat down in one of the deep chairs.
Oh, what was this turmoil in my body? It burned, ached, and I wanted to –
No. I couldn’t do that. Not when I was sitting in that house where there was a party going on, and Miranda so close – sure, it was Miranda who inspired these, um, urges, but it would definitely be inappropriate to try to do something about the heat that was rushing through my body.
I placed both my hands on the armrests and I just sat there. I don’t know for how long. I just know that I needed some time before I was ready to face the world again. I focused on the things. There were the lamps, there was the window, the shelf with paper back books, there was the sound of music and the carpet under my feet… I looked at my shoes with high heels and I remembered that I was wearing a gorgeous dress. Was that the reason why Miranda had danced with me; did it have magical powers? I tried to understand what the purpose of all this was, but it just didn’t make sense to me.
Miranda was very often irrational, but in that, she was also predictable. Once you learned what she wanted and how she wanted it, once you learned to expect the unexpected and be ready to change your direction in the middle of a step, it wasn’t really that hard to be her assistant.
But this was a little too strange even for her. She was not a person who did such things like dancing with her assistant.
On the other hand, Miranda Priestly could do anything she pleased, and who dared to ask her why she did it?
I was confused, but after a while I got up and found my way back where people seemed to be having fun, or whatever. I noticed that Miranda noticed me, but that was all. Until maybe ten minutes later when she announced that it was time for us to leave.
Had she only been waiting for me to return?
Roy was there, ready as usual. As we sat in the car, none of us spoke. When I looked out of the window, I thought that I saw in the corner of my eye that she was watching me, but when I turned my head, she appeared not to be.
I realized that what ever she had meant by dancing with me like that – it could very well be completely insignificant for her – she had pushed me over the edge and I was hopelessly lost in my feelings for her. Should I kiss her? I actually considered it. What was a kiss, when she had already held me in her arms like that? She might even want it. Even if she didn’t want it, I figured that she really owed me a kiss after treating my body like that; after touching it, making it hungry for more.
But I did not kiss her, and I did not speak to her, until she got out of the car.
“Good night”, I said, and she replied, and was gone.
Nate was awake when I got home – I realized that it wasn’t that late. I had kind of hoped that he would be asleep, but I wasn’t that lucky.
My boyfriend looked at me with his big, dark eyes and asked me about the evening.
I tried my best to describe the house and everything in it and all the people, but I ran out of words very soon, because after all, the only interesting thing that had happened was the one thing I couldn’t tell him. Or maybe that was the one thing I should tell him?
‘I’m exhausted’, I said, ‘it feels like it has been a long night. I’m going to get ready for bed…’
With that, I escaped to the bathroom and washed my makeup off. I took off the gorgeous red dress and slipped into my old pyjamas and a nightgown. I looked like the old Andy again; the one who would never dream of going to big parties lusting over her married female boss.
No, I told myself, there is only one thing I can do now.
I went back to Nate, and he had made us tea.
‘So’, he said cautiously, ‘what did you say about wanting to talk to me about something?’
Nate looked at me across the table with his hands around the big cup of tea, his eyes attentive and anxious. I think he already guessed, at least partially.
“There’s no easy way to say this”, I started, “so I’m just going to say it: Nate, I know we agreed to try to work on our relationship and make it better, but we can’t. We can’t be together anymore.”
Nate looked down on the table, on the tea cup; took up a spoon and stirred in the amber colored liquid.
He raised his head and looked at me.
“Are you telling me that you’re seeing someone else?”
“I’m not seeing anyone. Not really. But I’m in love with someone else. I’m in love with Miranda.”
Nate’s eyes expressed shock at first, then disbelief, then insecurity.
“Not… not Runway Miranda, right?”
I nodded firmly, not unaware of how strange this must sound to him – I could barley understand it myself – but there was no way I could go on not telling him about my feelings.
“What, so you’re in love with your boss, the woman who tosses you around like some cat playing with a bird and makes you neglect your friends and your life and keeps you busy even in your sleep and in the weekends and never says ‘thank you’, the woman with the spoiled kids you do homework for and who never gives you anything in return?”
Nate clearly expected that that tirade would make me see things differently, but that was not going to happen. To me, his objections were as insignificant as the distant sounds of the cars out in the street. I felt that Miranda gave me many things in return. She gave me dreams and butterflies in my stomach and she made my world exciting and beautiful…
“She’s not a bad person”, I tried to explain, “I know that it looks that way to you because of things I’ve said and done, but I was wrong. And she’s the reason why I’m feeling like… like I’m capable of doing all sorts of things I didn’t know I could do, and…”
“And what?!” Nate exclaimed. “Andy, this doesn’t make sense.”
“Yes it does”, I persisted, “It’s true that I didn’t like her at first, because I didn’t understand her or her world, and she scared me… but I was too quick to judge her, and your judgement too was based on my shallow first impressions. I can see why that happened, she didn’t exactly make it easy for me, she’s a very proud woman, and I had my prejudices…”
“Come on!” Nate interrupted me. “Andy, don’t turn this into a Jane Austen novel. There’s no way you can be in love with that woman, you can’t be serious.”
“I love novels”, I said, “but life is much more serious than that. Let me tell you, Nate; I’ve never been more serious in my life.”
“But why”, he said almost with desperation as he fixed me with his eyes, “I don’t understand. And since when are you gay anyway?”
“Since I fell in love with her, I suppose.”
“But Andy, she’s Miranda Priestly, what do you think can happen? Can you honestly see a future with her; is this going to be good for you?”
I sighed and shook my head.
“Maybe not, but even if she has never felt and never will feel anything for me, I’m still in love with her. And you’ve got your career to think about… Without me, you can do anything, you don’t have to stay here… And you don’t really want a girlfriend who has feelings for another woman, do you? I’ve got to figure this out.”
“Yeah, I would prefer a girlfriend who has feelings for me, if that’s an option.” He paused. “But if you can’t be that girlfriend, then I guess I’m glad you told me…”
But telling Nate and breaking up with him was not the end of it. Oh, no. it was only the beginning.
Monday morning. I was at work early, and so was Nigel.
“So tell me”, he begged, “was it an interesting party?”
“I barley noticed”, I confessed, “I had other things on my mind…”
I looked up at him, I looked around; we were the only ones in the office. I had left my apartment early to get away before Nate woke up – the weekend had been filled with uncomfortable silences, and I had insisted on being the one to sleep on the couch. I hadn’t slept very well, and when I did, I dreamed of Miranda. I didn’t remember any details from the dreams but what ever they were like, they definitely made me wet.
I didn’t feel too good about it, with Nate in the other room, and that’s why I had to get away. And because I wanted to be where Miranda was going to be. Those were my reasons. And now I wondered what Nigel was doing there so early. Had he been hoping to catch me alone? I never knew Nigel was so curious.
“Oh, I don’t know if anything ‘happened’ exactly, but…”
I blushed, and Nigel immediately jumped to conclusions.
“No, you didn’t..?!”
“No!” I blushed even more. “She just… asked me to dance.”
Nigel laughed out loud.
“That’s so Miranda. I can imagine the scene – she doesn’t say anything, you don’t say anything, and she pretends not to notice that you’re wax in her hands…”
“You think so, huh?”
“Yeah”, he smiled teasingly, “hot, melting wax…”
“Nigel, stop it! Are you saying that she’s just playing with me?”
“Oh, no, not at all!” He smiled again. “Well, maybe just a little. Because she can, you know.”
And suddenly I wasn’t amused anymore.
“When did you become the expert on Miranda’s way of flirting or whatever you think she’s doing?”
I saw Nigel’s face go from smiling to serious, and he looked me in the eyes.
“I’m not an expert”, he said, “because honestly, Andy; I’ve never actually seen her flirt with anyone. I have never seen her look at anyone the way she looks at you. I’ve known Miranda for a long time now, so trust me; I’m a pretty good judge of her character. I’ve seen her with so many assistants, with husbands, with designers, with all kinds of VIPs and with journalists and with… I’ve seen her pleased, I’ve seen her angry; I’ve seen her look at people with contempt, with lust, with complete lack of interest… But I’ve never seen her look at anyone the way she looks at you.”
I stared at Nigel.
“How…” I gulped and my voice was weak. “How is she looking at me?”
“With joy. You know, like she’s happy to see you.”
“Really?” I found it hard to believe, but he nodded.
Then Emily walked it, and the day begun. I knew that Miranda was going to come in soon.
“Andy”, Emily said with suspicion in her voice, “you look weird, I mean; like there’s something wrong with you.”
I looked questioningly at her.
“Yeah, you’re smiling, but at the same time you look sick – you’re not going to throw up, are you?”
No, I wasn’t. But maybe I was sick. Lovesick.
At first I didn’t know what to think about Nigel’s little speech about Miranda’s way of looking at people, or about any of the other things he said. What did it all mean?
Could he be imagining things?
On the other hand; such things would be hard to imagine. So maybe he was right. Maybe Miranda did like me. And that was something I hadn’t dared to think before. Sure, I hoped that Miranda would like the work I did, that she would like having me as her assistant, but to like me?
I couldn’t see it in the way she behaved towards me. Even after our night at the party – and I still wasn’t sure why she had wanted me to be there, because I hadn’t really done anything useful – nothing seemed to change. She was still Miranda, the boss. She talked to me and then she dismissed me with the usual phrase.
But maybe… just maybe, I began to think, there was a change. If I dared to see it. If I dared to believe.
She seemed to call for me more often than she called for Emily. And she called me Andrea, not Emily with that tone of voice that said ‘your name is not important to remember’… And didn’t she look me in the eyes more, and wasn’t there a spark of something… warm there, in her eyes, when she held my gaze maybe a moment too long?
I wasn’t sure. I definitely wasn’t sure.
I had trouble understanding her instructions to me because at the most inappropriate moments I remembered what her body had felt like pressed to mine in that little library, but for once she didn’t seem to notice – or at least it didn’t make her irritated – that she sometimes had to say the same thing twice. Once, after a long list of instructions that ended with ‘that’s all’, I turned around quickly at the door to her room, and I looked at her.
Yes, she was definitely smiling. I caught her smiling.
I remembered what Nigel had said about being wax in her hands. I didn’t mind being that, really, not if it meant that she liked me. And if he was right, then she must know that I was melting hot, and the only reason for her to smile was if she knew what she did to me and that she liked it.
And it didn’t make me feel weaker; it made me feel stronger. Yes, Miranda was beautiful and powerful, and I wanted her to be – but I realized that if she really liked me and was interested in me, then I must be allowed to tell her, to show her, what I felt.
It was time, I decided, to let the game end. Or reach a new level.
My legs were trembling when I delivered the book that night. It felt so heavy in my hands. But when Miranda called me, I didn’t hesitate.
“Andrea? Bring the book in here.”
I took the book to her, and I put it down on a table and looked at her.
She was breathtakingly beautiful. Yes, of course she always was, but now… she looked softer somehow. It was something about her hair. Or the brown sweater that left half her shoulder bare. Or maybe it was the look in her eyes.
Anyway, I said:
“Miranda. I liked dancing with you the other night. We should do that again sometime, don’t you think?”
Her eyes went a little wider.
“You want to dance with me, Andrea?”
I smiled inwardly; I had managed to surprise her. But just like Nigel, I had learned to read her face; I knew when she was displeased. And she wasn’t now.
“Yes”, I said.
Miranda smiled – a real, warm smile – and got up to her feet. She gave me her hand and I took it.
Her eyes were beaming and I trembled.
“Now I suppose you want to lead, too?”
“No”, I replied, “that is, not unless you want me to…”
“But then I would still be the one to lead after all, wouldn’t I? If I told you to?”
I shrugged my shoulders.
“Does it matter?”
“No”, she smiled, and then, if not before, I forgot that I had ever been afraid of her, and I kissed her.