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  1.   When she is just trying to buy a cup of coffee… 

 

It’s unfortunate that her new job is so close to the Runway building. More unfortunate, still, that despite having worked there for over a month, she has yet to find a coffee shop that makes better coffee than the one she frequented when she was Miranda’s assistant.

 

It’s ok, though. She can relearn how to buy her morning cup of coffee. Learn how to order just for herself and not the entire office and to wait her turn in line because it is not the end of the world if she is a few minutes late. She can even learn to sit down with her coffee every once in a while, if her schedule allows it.

 

What she could never have been prepared for, however, is seeing Miranda Priestly in the coffee shop, buying her own coffee. The idea is unfathomable, and she cannot help but wonder how many changes must have been implemented at Runway since her departure to allow such a thing to happen.

 

It happens one Tuesday morning, just as she reaches the front of the line. The door to the shop opens and Andy swears she can feel the temperature in the store drop by five degrees when Miranda sweeps in. She stalks directly to the counter and Andy has to smother a grin at the sight of the people grumbling when Miranda ignores the line.

 

For all the changes that have clearly been put into place at Runway, apparently no one has taught Miranda how lines work.

 

She steps back automatically to allow the older woman to reach the front of the line, noting the way Miranda’s eyes widen slightly at the sight of her. To her shock, Miranda takes a step back as well, allowing her to keep her place. The barista turns to them as they each try to motion the other to the front of the line, somehow ending up side by side in the process.

 

“Can I take your order?”

 

It is unclear which one of them they are talking to, and after a moment of awkward silence, Andy orders her double-shot, no foam mocha. The barista nods as she punches the buttons on her register.

 

 “And for your girlfriend?”

 

Heat floods Andy’s cheeks, and she tries to stammer out an answer. After several false starts, Miranda sighs heavily. 

 

“We’re not together. And I will thank you not to make assumptions about my personal life.”

 

The barista’s eyes widen, and Andy can pinpoint the exact moment she recognizes Miranda. She tries to stutter an apology and it would almost be funny under nearly any other circumstance. Miranda ignores them both, staring straight ahead, as Andy pays for her coffee and sits down to drink it.

 

When Miranda leaves several moments later, she sweeps out the door without making eye contact with anyone, but Andy has spent too much time learning this woman’s reactions. She notes the slight blush on Miranda’s throat and chuckles as she takes a sip of her coffee.

 

  1.   When she wants to work but no one at her job will let it go…

 

“Your girlfriend is in the tabloids again.”

 

“She’s not my girlfriend,” Andy replies automatically. She has no idea where this particular rumor got started, but no one in the office seems to be willing to drop it. Probably because she had blushed incredibly hard the first time someone mentioned Miranda’s name in her office, and everyone thought it was hilarious. At this point, it is easier to just ignore it. 

 

“Right,” her co-worker says disbelievingly. “She is in the tabloids again, though. Check it out.”

 

She remembers very well the way the tabloids used to hound Miranda and the way she used to have to pull her boss into a waiting car as flashbulbs went off in their faces. Miranda had taken it in stride, but she had always thought it was heartbreaking. She glances over at the headline. 

 

It is actually Caroline and Cassidy on the cover of Star! Magazine, with a smaller picture of Miranda in a circle above the main photo. Rage seizes her at the sight. Hounding Miranda is one thing, but her children should remain off limits.

 

“How can you support this trash?” she mutters, turning back to her computer. Her colleague shrugs. 

 

“It’s harmless,” she replies.

 

It isn’t harmless, though. She tries to concentrate on her work, but can’t help but remember their final night in Paris and the way Miranda had looked so tired and defeated by it all. Sure, she had left Runway the very next day, but it had taken a long time to stop thinking about Miranda sitting alone in that limousine. She actually still thinks about it sometimes. 

 

“No, it’s not,” she mumbles before she can stop herself. Her colleague looks at her quizzically.

 

“Huh?”

 

“It’s cruel and hurtful. And now they are involving children. It’s disgusting.” Her voice rises and she cannot help but be aware of the angry flush on her face. Her colleague stares at her. 

 

“Not your girlfriend. Right.”

 

  1.   When she goes to watch Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix at the movies… 

 

The previews play, and Andy tunes them out as she pulls out her phone and checks her messages. She is doing better at not constantly checking to see if Miranda needs something, but some habits are hard to break. It is especially prevalent when she finds herself with a quiet moment and she has nothing that holds her attention.

 

Her phone screen is blissfully blank, and she is certain that it is relief that has her breath coming out in a heavy sigh. It lights up just as she gets ready to put it back in her pocket, a twinge of something that is decidedly not excitement fluttering in her stomach.

 

The books are better.

 

She reads the text several times, trying to place the 202 number that sent it. The lights dim and she replaces her phone with a shrug, deciding to figure it out later.

 

Midway through the movie, she is distracted by someone sneaking out of the theater and her heart drops when she thinks she recognizes them. When they return a few minutes later, she is certain. 

 

It is Caroline.

 

Caroline sees her staring and shoots her a wink, tapping the phone in her hand. The pieces fall into place and she waves at her, craning her neck to see where she is sitting. Predictably, the seat she takes is one of the best in the house, and the entire row the family is seated in is empty. 

 

She sits back in her seat with a chuckle, remembering when Miranda had ordered her to obtain an advance copy of the final Harry Potter manuscript for the girls to read. The sheer hopelessness at the impossibility of the task, the raging frustration when she realized just how futile it was, and finally, the triumph of her success. 

 

The grudging respect in Miranda’s eyes as she pretended not to be impressed by the feat that had fueled her fantasies for weeks.

 

The lights turn back on, and she reaches for her phone once again. Another text has come through.

 

You’re better for Mom than any of her husbands were.

 

She freezes in her seat when she reads it. Baristas and annoying colleagues are one thing, but if even Miranda’s children have latched on to the idea that there is something between them, perhaps it is not as easy to brush off as she once thought. 

 

She returns to the lobby, only to find herself surrounded by Caroline and Cassidy who eagerly chatter in her ear as she tries to pay attention to what they are saying. It is no use, though. She cannot help but be distracted by Miranda’s presence as her former boss stands  patiently waiting for her daughters to finish speaking.

 

“Good evening, Andrea.”

 

The words are accompanied by a nod of acknowledgement which she returns without thinking. It is the first time in months Miranda has addressed her directly and the words wash over her skin like a cool summer rain, simple as they are. 

 

She had allowed herself to forget what it felt like to have Miranda’s attention solely on her, even if it was only for a moment and even if the attention had felt suffocating at times. 

 

She hears herself return the greeting and Miranda’s icy demeanor softens for just a moment as she turns to her children and tells them it is time to go.

 

  1.   When she attends the 2007 Met Gala… 

 

She has no idea who sent the invitation to her home, but it is far beyond the point where ignoring it is an option. The gala is tonight and if she is going to attend she needs to find the perfect outfit immediately.

 

She toys with the idea that it might have been Christian that sent it to her, but she dismisses that immediately. Christian was a one off mistake; one that would have no interest in rekindling their brief interlude.

 

It could have easily been Nigel, but in her heart, she knows who actually sent it. She would be wise to throw it away, but she knows as well as she knows her own name that the decision to attend had been made the moment it had arrived. She has earned the right to attend one of these events as a guest. Besides, loathe as she is to it, she misses getting dressed up and going out.

 

She can easily afford to shop in one of the stores that would have Miranda nodding in approval, but stubbornly sticks with the vintage thrift shops she normally frequents. She finds the perfect dress at the fourth store she enters. It is black and fits her like a glove, and the thought of what Miranda will say about it enters her mind before she can banish it.

 

When she arrives, her eyes take note of Miranda immediately. She is standing next to Stan Oppenheimer and though she appears to be in her element, Andy’s trained eye picks up on her misery immediately. 

 

“Go rescue her,” a voice says next to her. She turns and hugs Nigel, who returns the embrace gladly, before nodding towards Miranda once more.

 

“Go and rescue her. You know you want to.”

 

She does want to, and she sees no reason she shouldn’t. Squaring her shoulders, she takes a deep breath and steps up. 

 

“Dance?”

 

She can see the annoyance in Stan’s eyes and the surprise in Miranda’s before she takes Andy’s outstretched hand and follows her to the dance floor.

 

The dance is stiff at first, but Miranda loosens up soon enough. It almost feels as though Andy is dreaming when Miranda lets her take the lead. 

 

How many times had she allowed herself to picture this moment? How many times had she dreamed of exactly this? 

 

Miranda in her arms.

The soft skin of Miranda’s cheek against her own.

 

The heady combination of Chanel No. 5 and the scent that is uniquely and solely Miranda.

 

She closes her eyes and forces herself to live in the moment. Miranda is allowing her to rescue her from an uncomfortable social situation. That is all. Nothing more, nothing less.

 

The music ends, and Andy blinks herself back into the moment when Miranda steps back. A flash goes off in their faces as a photographer snaps a picture. 

 

“Come on, Miranda! How about one more with your girlfriend?”

 

And the one time they finally get it together.

 

  1.   When Andy gives in and goes to Miranda’s home… 

 

It has been three weeks since the Met Gala. Three weeks of sleepless nights and loss of appetite and endless fantasies. 

 

Three weeks of replaying the dance over and over in her mind until she can no longer take it.

 

She chooses a night when she is certain that the girls will be with their father and knocks on Miranda’s door. 

 

She can hear the annoyance in Miranda’s tone at the intrusion. “For God’s sake Emily, how many replacement keys do I need to give you?” 

 

She laughs to herself at the familiar irritation, wondering if it is in fact Emily that is supposed to bring the Book tonight or if Miranda is still calling her second assistant by Emily’s name. The door opens and she allows herself a moment of pleasure at the sight of Miranda Priestly genuinely caught off guard.

 

“Andrea.”  

 

She doesn’t answer; just takes in the sight of her. It is rare to see Miranda out of the designer suits she wears with such ease; even rarer without the full face of makeup she uses as armor. It is a side of the woman she had often wondered about, but had never before seen.

 

 “What are you doing here?”

 

Oddly, there is no irritation in Miranda’s voice. She simply sounds surprised and if Andy hears a touch of happiness in her tone, she is certain it isn’t entirely imagined. 

 

Again, she does not answer the question. She probably should, but there is no holding back from doing exactly what she came here to do. She steps forward and takes Miranda in her arms, kissing her softly on the lips. 

 

It takes a moment for Miranda to respond, but when she does, it is with no resistance at all. The kiss lasts longer than Andy had dared to dream, and she can hardly believe it is not ending with Miranda throwing her out of the penthouse with threats of calling the police.

 

Miranda pulls back, her cheeks delightfully flushed and her top of robe slightly askew from the contact with Andy’s skin. She looks better than Andy had ever seen her look before. She stares at Andy for a moment before clearing her throat and speaking.

 

 “I’ve missed you.”

 

There is a soft gasp following her words, as though she can hardly believe she has allowed them out of her mouth, and Andy wonders if admitting that had been even more difficult for Miranda than kissing her. 

 

The blush deepens on Miranda’s skin. It is the first time Andy has ever seen her look shy and she has to take a moment to thank her lucky stars for this moment. 

 

She steps forwards again and takes Miranda softly in her arms. Pushing silver hair behind a delicate earlobe, she bends to whisper softly into her ear, delighting in the way Miranda shudders when Andy’s breath hits her skin.  

 

“I’ve missed you, too.”