Andy raced through the streets, pushing people out of the way as she did. A part of her wanted to scream at them to get out of the city; that they had to get away from the East Coast. She didn't have time for that now though, so pushed those thoughts aside and rushed across the road stopping in front of the Elias-Clarke building, contemplating perhaps the stupidest idea she'd ever had.
"Andy! How are you?" Jerry asked with a wide smile as Andy sped toward him. She might not have entered the building in the last two years, but people had liked her here; it probably had something to do with how friendly she was.
"I'm great, Jerry. Can you let me up? I won't be long. I just need to see Nigel about something."
Jerry fidgeted for a moment, no doubt wondering what the penalty would be if she was seen, but then he smiled and opened the gates. "Just stay out of her way, Andy!" he chuckled as she raced through. Andy just waved and pumped the elevator button, desperately wishing it would arrive faster.
Once the doors opened, Andy didn't stop to even consider a moment of nostalgia as she walked quickly through the white corridors, ignoring the whispers and confused stares. She pushed open the outer doors to Miranda's offices and was greeted by two incredulous stares. Both of Miranda's new assistants watched, mouths agape, as Andy took a deep breath and, ignoring their protests, barged straight into Miranda's office. Andy pushed the doors open so forcefully that they crashed against the wall, the noise causing nearly all the people inside to jump and Jocelyn to squeak. And yet there was one in the room who didn't jump, didn't squeak, didn't even breathe as she stared up at Andy, who stood in the doorway.
"Emily," Miranda muttered quietly, refusing to meet Andy's eyes. "Find out why Andréa is here, then get rid of her. And be sure to make a phone call to that rag she works for and have her fired for interrupting the run-through."
Andy opened her mouth to protest when Miranda finally met her eyes, those bottomless blue orbs piercing her very soul, and for a moment she completely forgot why she was there.
"M-Miranda, I need to talk to you," Andy demanded somewhat hesitantly, jutting out her chin even as she stumbled over the editor's name.
"That's all," Miranda ordered her team, staying exactly where she was until everyone had exited her office. Andy watched as she got up and walked to the door, glaring at her two hapless-looking assistants before slamming the door behind her and rounding on Andy without warning.
"How dare you!" she hissed vehemently. Andy almost spoke as Miranda leant against her desk and stared out of her window for a moment. She seemed off balance somehow and Andy realised that she didn't have time to let Miranda be 'Miranda'.
"I don't have time for this," Andy said suddenly, moving fast and pinning Miranda against the desk, her hands firm on Miranda's shoulders. The Ice Queen looked incensed at the action, but Andy carried on quickly. "Miranda listen to me, and listen carefully, because of all the people in the world, I'm here telling you." She tried desperately to show Miranda how much she needed her to comprehend her next words, looking straight into her eyes and willing her to listen. "We need to leave New York -"
Miranda scoffed and rolled her eyes, pushing Andy away from her and walking back behind her desk. Andy had no idea what was wrong with Miranda, she seemed so unlike the Miranda that Andy remembered. She was all over the place but she knew she had to get the editor to concentrate for more than thirty seconds.
"MIRANDA!" Andy called out loudly. "Please! Listen to me."
"Do not raise your voice at me," Miranda hissed, recoiling from Andy's words.
Andy knew every one of Miranda's moods, had learned them so efficiently during her tenure at Runway that quite often she could predict what Miranda wanted before Miranda herself knew. She saw the fear residing in those beautiful blue eyes and took a step back, allowing Miranda to take her seat and collect her thoughts. She kept quiet and took in the iconic scene before her, revelling in it for a moment. After this day it may never happen again.
"Miranda, please just listen to me," Andy repeated softly, walking carefully around the desk and crouching in front of the editor. "Have you been reading my articles?" she asked, only so she could gauge how much she would need to explain. Miranda seemed to struggle with herself for a moment before she rolled her eyes and nodded reluctantly. "It's happening, Miranda. It's happening right now, and we have to get out of here. They're coming, and there's not a damn thing our government is going to do about it. They won't listen, and they won't be fighting back." Andy said, unashamedly letting a tear run down her face. "Of all the people in the world, Miranda, I'm here, telling you. We need to go."
Miranda's eyes opened wider than Andy had ever seen before as she just stared at her. Clearly she'd followed her articles a lot closer than Andy thought she had. Emily had told her that Miranda had taken out a subscription to The Mirror after Andy had departed Paris so perhaps it wasn't so surprising. The fear radiating from Miranda's eyes wasn't all that surprising either - Andy felt it too. Her colleagues had been warned, some of whom had decided to stay in New York to get the story of a lifetime. She thought they were idiots and had known as soon as she'd found out that she needed to get Miranda, her daughters and her friends away from the East Coast as soon as possible.
She could hear Miranda breathing hard, as if she was trying to stave off a panic attack and she reached forward, cautiously taking Miranda's hand in her own and waiting. If Miranda was anything like she had been when Andy had worked for her, she'd be running through all the whys and why nots that she could think of. Why hadn't the country rallied the troops? Why weren't there any contingency plans? Andy just waited for her, smiling as she eventually looked over, meeting her gaze as she swallowed thickly.
"It's impossible. Somebody would have told me. We would already be rousing the troops and working on contingency plans," Miranda said, confirming Andy's thoughts. She could tell from Miranda's tone that she needed to explain why she was here as soon as possible.
"Miranda, there won't be a fight, and there won't be a contingency plan. Where are they supposed to put us? There are too many people to move, and they are using that to their advantage," Andréa whispered, taking Miranda's hand and tugging a little bit as she stood. "I've called my parents and my friends, but you're the one I'm here to get, Miranda. We need to go somewhere, anywhere, as long as it's out of the city."
"And where would you have me go, Andréa? What about my girls? Runway?"
In a fit of rage Andy knocked the laptop off the desk, sending it into the wall where it split in half with a few sparks and a little smoke while Miranda stared, perplexed.
"What-" Miranda began, only to be interrupted.
"I don't give a DAMN about Runway. We need to leave now, because they are coming, and they are not pleasant people. If we get stuck here Miranda, there is absolutely no way I can protect you. So pull your head out of your ass and let's go."
Miranda sat still, her mouth ajar as she looked up at Andy. She was clearly astonished by Andy's behaviour, but Andy had changed, and she wasn't ashamed of that fact anymore. She was a hardened reporter who'd been on assignment for the last year and half in a country that lived and breathed hostile. She was making waves in the journalism industry by reporting on things that people in power didn't want to take responsibility for and now this was happening.
"Please," Andy whispered changing tact and locking her eyes with Miranda's, taking her hand once more.
Miranda nodded a fraction after staring into Andy's eyes for a while and leaned forward to push the intercom button on her phone.
"Emily?" Miranda arched an eyebrow in response to Andréa's eye roll. "Get Nigel, Serena, and Emily back in here, then inform the entire staff I will speak to them in Conference Room 2 in five minutes. That's all."
Miranda didn't wait for the inevitable answer before she hung up on the girl. Andy couldn't help but smile at the memories. It had been possibly the hardest eight months of her life but she'd learnt so much working for Miranda.
"You don't call any of them Andréa I suppose?" Andy said grinning cheekily.
Miranda pursed her lips, but appeared to appreciate the humour as it eased the tension in the room.
"Why would I do that? There was only one of you yet there are a million Emilys, and before you say anything else, her name is in fact Emily," Miranda said, patting Andy's hand but not looking at her as she picked up her phone and punched a number into the keypad.
"Pick up my girls and take them to the townhouse immediately," she snapped into the phone, throwing it down when her order had been acknowledged.
Andy turned her hand in Miranda's, squeezing the editor's fingers gently before they were interrupted by a boisterous call from the door.
"Six!" Nigel cried, pulling the woman forward into a hug, and severing the women's tentative connection. Andy knew he would have seen it, but understanding him like she did, she also knew he would never say anything, at least not in front of Miranda.
Andy greeted her former colleagues, happy that the honest affection they all held for each other had remained, despite her desertion. She'd almost forgotten why she was there when Emily smiled shyly at her, letting her pull her in for a hug.
There was a little catching up before Miranda's voice broke through their chatter, rendering them silent.
"You are all here for one reason- Andréa's articles. No doubt you have all been following," at this Nigel and Serena nodded happily while Emily only sniffed again, making Andy smirk. "It seems that our administration is no better than my ex-husbands, choosing simply to roll over and take what's coming. As such, we are all leaving. Today," she said definitively, startling them all into silence.
"What?" Andy said, confused.
"I do not enjoy repeating myself, Andréa, but I believe I said we are all leaving, now, together."
"Miranda, I don't understand," Nigel admitted, taking off his glasses and cleaning them on a handkerchief.
"There is nothing to understand. We will be leaving from the townhouse in four hours. I suggest you use the time to tell whomever you like and pack lightly but efficiently for a long trip, one that you may not come back from, at least for the foreseeable future," she said unashamedly, standing and leaving the room to address her lesser-liked minions.
"Andy, what the hell is going on?" Nigel asked, choosing to ask her rather than brave asking Miranda anything when she returned.
"I came to tell Miranda that we needed to get out of the city. I was going to drop into you guys on the way out, but I figured she would take the longest to persuade," Andy said while running her hands through her hair. "However, it seems as though you lot are officially in the loop."
"What are you all still doing here?" Miranda spat when she came back into the room. "Andréa, how much time do we have?"
Andy looked at her watch and shrugged.
"It should start sometime tomorrow," she said, "but I couldn't guarantee it."
Miranda nodded and glared at her three staff members.
"I would suggest you go and pack," she said, her tone not cold, but not pleasant either. "Leave anything you can replace."
The three staff members seemed to shake themselves out of their shock and nodded, leaving together quickly. Miranda turned to Andy, who smiled awkwardly.
"Andréa?" Miranda said softly. "Help me?" she asked, pointing to her desk.
Andy nodded and moved to help Miranda bundle up all the important papers and put them in the safe. No matter what might happen in the near future, it wouldn't do to have people rummaging through her confidential papers. Should it all turn out for the best, it would all still be here, hopefully, when they got back.
"Shall we?" Andy asked once Miranda had locked and secured the safe.
Miranda nodded and allowed Andy to help her into her coat, making her suddenly feel like she was back at Runway for just a moment - especially when Miranda stalked off to the elevator without waiting for her. The editor nodded her head once to allow Andy entry before they sped down to the ground floor.
"Do you need to pack up your things?" Miranda said quietly as they sat in the back of the limo. Roy wasn't driving, and Andy was a little upset at not being able to warn the man. She had liked him a lot.
"Um, yeah, but it will only take me maybe half an hour," Andy said with a shrug. "When I went away, I sent a lot of stuff home to my parents. They're not really close to anything, so they should be alright for now. I think they're getting everything sorted and then going up to my grandparent's lodge north of the border," she explained. It was surreal talking about normal things with Miranda. Actually it was surreal talking to Miranda at any time, but the situation they were facing blew Andy's mind just a little more.
"We will drop you at your apartment," Miranda said, nodding to her driver. "Pack the rest of your things and come straight to the townhouse. We will be leaving as soon as the jet is fuelled and we are all ready."
"Since when do you have a jet?" Andy asked, looking sideways at her former boss. She watched as Miranda smirked a little before schooling her features and nodding to the door as the car stopped.
"Poker," Miranda said, making Andy stop and gawk at her.
"Are you serious?"
Miranda simply smirked again and motioned for the girl to exit the vehicle. A thought crossed Andy's mind and she faltered, bending down before she closed the door and regarding Miranda for a moment.
"Do, will there be an extra two seats, do you think?" she asked awkwardly. "My, well they're my best friends," she whispered with a frown, remembering that there were other people in this city who were not as fortunate in their friends as she was.
"Andréa, two people only; that is all. If they are not at the townhouse by the time I am ready to leave, they will be left behind." Andy watched as Miranda nodded to the driver, who flicked on his turn signal. "I-" Miranda took a breath. "Hurry, Andréa," she urged, closing the door.
Andy watched the limo pull away, feeling those familiar feelings deep within her chest flutter back to life. She'd taken the assignment overseas to get away from her feelings, the ones she refused to acknowledge and yet here she was, in a situation only a sci-fi writer could have dreamt up, being ferried away from the danger zone by the very woman she had run away from. She hoped to God this would end up alright.
She flipped open her phone and placed two calls, the first to Doug and a second to Lily who didn't answer. She threw the remainder of her clothes into a bag, along with a few books, a pack of cards and other sundry items.
"Poker indeed," she whispered as she tried Lily again.
"Lils, where are you?"
"Andy, oh my God, are you alright? Where are you?" Andy rolled her eyes and waited for Lily to answer her question. "Oh right, I'm at the airport and I have about three minutes until I board my flight. I'm on a one way trip to Paris!" Lily gushed, causing Andy to shake her head
"You can get one too, can't you? Isn't that what you're doing? Can you imagine Andy? Paris!"
"No, yeah, that's great Lils, yeah I have my own way out. Take care of yourself, Lily."
"You too, girlfriend," Lily replied. Andy smiled, hearing the excitement in her voice; at least someone was enjoying themselves.
Finally hanging up the phone, Andy threw it on the bed and rolled her eyes. She loved Lily, but really that girl was ridiculous. Clearly as soon as she'd heard what was happening, Lily had booked a one way ticket to Europe and only seemed to be concerned with saving herself. Doug had panicked for a while when Andy had told him and that meant he couldn't have heard from Lily, either. She shook her head again and placed the few photos she had of her parents in her backpack. It wasn't anything close to Vuitton, but it had served her well when she had been on assignment. It was comfortable and durable and she could fit a lot of "stuff" in it after a year and a half of practice.
Her phone rang and she spent the next ten minutes reassuring her parents that she was fine and had a way out of the big, bad city. Andy instructed them what to do with her things before telling them she loved them and hanging up. They were definitely going to Gram'ma and Grandpa's cabin and Andy was glad of it. She lodged the information in the back of her mind and took one more look around her apartment before closing the door behind her, a tear rolling down her cheek. She couldn't lose it now, though. After taking a deep breath, Andy raced to the subway, her sole focus on reaching Miranda's home.
Miranda answered the doorbell, her hair slightly askew as a door above them was slammed shut.
"Hey," Andy greeted her quietly. Miranda sagged a little when she saw her, but only those closest to her would have noticed.
"It is not going well," Miranda said with a sigh as another door banged. Andy nodded sympathetically.
"Are you packed?" Andy asked, looking around for bags of some description, hoping that at least some of Miranda's packing had been done. The woman pinched the bridge of her nose, making Andy frown.
"Hey," she said, touching Miranda's arm gently in an almost fleeting show of comfort. "How about you get ready, and I'll talk to the girls? We got on alright when I was your assistant; maybe I can just get them to go along with this for now," Andy said, nudging the door closed with her foot, after belatedly realising that it was still open behind them. "I wasn't sure what your luggage was like, so I stopped and got you all one of these," she said, pulling out three sturdy hiking bags. "If we have to carry them any distance, they'll be easier."
She watched as Miranda bristled for a moment, but Andy simply waited as the fashionable part of Miranda warred with the practical.
"I cannot be seen carrying something so pedestrian," she said finally, making Andy shake her head.
"Miranda, they are practical, far more practical than a suitcase, and the rest of us will all have one, I know that for a fact. Now I bought these especially for you and the girls and you're going to use them."
Those two sides continued to war internally until Miranda held out her hand and accepted one of the bags.
"Fine, but you can explain to the twins about them," she said derisively. "I imagine they'll be even more horrified than I will." She turned around and made her way up the stairs in silence.
"Miranda?" Andy waited until the editor turned around before saying what she knew she needed to say. "I know you are who you are, but the more practical your clothing is the better. Like you told the others, if it can be replaced, then leave it behind."
"I am Miranda Priestly, I have standards Andréa," she replied haughtily.
"I get that Miranda, I really do, but what if we get to Canada and we have to stay there for a while, what if we have to travel somewhere not on a plane? I know what you want to pack, the first time I went away I was the same; things you think you'll need, but Miranda, listen to me," Andy moved forward and in a fit of bravery, placed her hand on the smaller woman's shoulder. "I pack with the thought that if we got stuck somewhere for one day longer than you could stand, what would you need."
Miranda didn't turn but nodded once, finally getting the message and continued up the stairs, disappearing without another word.
Andy swallowed nervously as she looked up at the stairs. Those famous stairs. She snorted her amusement at the predicament she was now facing walking up them confidently but at the same time she realised how silly she was being. She followed the muffled noises behind the doors at the end of the corridor, one marked Caroline and the other Cassidy.
She knocked on the one that seemed to have the most noise coming from it and got a rather rude dismissal for her trouble. Andy's eyes shot open at the language one of the twins used towards what she thought was her mother, and found herself opening the door, despite her reservations.
"Hi, girls. I'm not sure if you remember me, but—"
"Andy?" the girl she recognised as Cassidy questioned. It was the earrings that gave her away. Cassidy wore fairies with diamond-studded wings; Caroline, a pair of shoes also littered with diamonds. Both sets of earrings reflected the twins' personalities perfectly; Caroline taking after their mother, while Cassidy was a little more fanciful believing in fairies and dragons, and princes and princesses.
"Hey, munchkins," Andy said, smiling as she knelt in front of the two girls. Caroline had yet to acknowledge her, but that didn't matter for now. Cassidy flung herself forward and wrapped her arms around Andy, crying into her shoulder. Andy wrapped her lanky arms around the girl, muttering gentle reassurances as she rubbed the girl's back.
"Is it true?" Cassidy asked once she stopped sobbing. Andy noticed Caroline had also stopped her apparent tantrum and was standing remarkably still as she listened to Andy confirm their worst fears.
"'fraid so, little one." Andy gently took Caroline's hand when she saw her bottom lip wobble. "But we're going to be fine. You know your mother would move heaven and earth for you two, and that's just what she's going to do."
"She said we have to go, that we have to leave here," Caroline whispered, looking teary-eyed at Andy, nearly breaking the woman's heart.
"Yeah, we have to," Andy said just as quietly, "but you, your sister and your mum will be together, so it won't be so bad."
"And you?" Cassidy asked, pulling her head up quickly, making Andy grin.
"Yeah and me, Nigel, Serena and Emily. We're all going."
"We can't leave Patricia," Caroline said while hugging her pillow. It seemed that both girls had lost the fight from their arguments, and now they were just heartbroken at the thought of leaving.
"You'll have to ask your mother about that," Andy said carefully, not wanting to project any false hope onto the twins, but when she saw Cassidy's face, she wondered if she'd said the wrong thing.
"Patricia died last year. She's buried in the yard," the young girl whispered. Andy frowned. She had liked the big fur ball, even though she had made Andy's life hell, and she knew that the girls had loved her, no matter how little time they'd spent actually taking care of her.
"Oh, I'm sorry, girls," Andy said, "but Patricia wouldn't want you to stay here and maybe get hurt just so she could be near you." Andy cringed internally at how stupid she sounded. Caroline rolled her eyes, but didn't comment. "More than that, I don't want to see you get hurt either. So go and grab your stuff and make sure you put them in these," she said pulling out the remaining bags she'd bought. "They're far more practical than a suitcase, and your mother has already agreed to use one." Cassidy nodded dejectedly and leaned in for another cuddle before she went to her own room, leaving Caroline and Andy alone.
"Why did you tell Mom and not your parents or someone else?" Caroline asked looking awfully like her mother as she studied Andy and the nondescript bag, her upset forgotten for now. Andy sighed and leant back on the dresser, glancing at her watch.
"Because I care about your mother," Andy said, knowing that Caroline was far too like Miranda to attempt a lie.
"Thought so," Caroline said with a decisive nod before getting up and opening her arms. Andy smiled as she moved forward and gave Caroline a quicker hug than she had given her sister. "She was really sad when you left," Caroline whispered before going to her closet and pulling out her clothes.
Andy was left reeling, but it seemed as though Caroline was done with her, ignoring her as she piled her outfits, laptop, and Game Boy on her bed.
"Caroline?" Andy said gently, waiting for the girl to turn around. "I was sad, too," she admitted almost hesitantly before glancing at the items Caroline had in her hand. "Try to only pack things you can't replace, sweetie, things you would need if you were going camping," she said, patting Caroline on the shoulder on her way out of the room. She smiled grimly as she noticed Caroline looking down at all six of her make-up cases, no doubt wondering which ones she could do without. As Andy exited the room, she heard the doorbell ring. Andy turned to see a rather harried Miranda storming out of her room.
"Andréa?" she asked, motioning to the door. Andy nodded and smiled as she opened the door to allow Emily and Serena into the hallway, complete with two sensible bags a piece.
"I can't believe you brought those things into Miranda's house," Emily grumbled, looking condescendingly at the backpacks Serena had lugged through the door.
"Believe it or not, they're more practical than Louis Vuitton," Serena bit back sharply, smiling slightly as she saw Andy's bashed up backpack by the door in the sitting room. "See, Andy has one, too."
Andy bit her lip as Emily spun around and glared at Serena.
"How is that better?! She's going to kill us when she sees these."
Serena pouted at Emily and moved forward, tucking a piece of hair behind the Brit's ear.
"Baby, it's going to be alright," she whispered tenderly, leaning her forehead against the other woman's. Andy smiled and left the room quietly, only to bump into Miranda as she did, who was staring thoughtfully at the two woman having a quiet moment in each other's arms.
"Well," she said quietly, motioning for Andy to follow her into the kitchen.
"They've been together a while," Andy said gently, shocking Miranda a little. "They got together just after I left." Miranda bristled a little.
"And how are you so up to date?" Miranda demanded, pouring herself a scotch. It was as if the world had suddenly gone quiet; everything was still as they waited for the inevitable— the calm before the storm.
"We, we kept in touch," she admitted, making Miranda frown.
"Fine," Miranda said darkly, leaving Andy alone and confused in the kitchen. One day perhaps she would understand Miranda, even if only a little better.
"Ha, or hell will freeze over," she muttered as she poured herself a mouthful of vodka.
"Probably," Nigel said from the doorway, interrupting her thoughts. "I found this. Does it belong to you?" he pulled the body behind him forward, and Andy smiled as she ran to Doug.
"Hey you," he said, hugging her tightly.
"We all here?" Nigel asked. It seemed in the absence of Miranda they deferred to Andy as leader, but before she could reply, Miranda appeared in the hallway.
"We are waiting on two more people who will be here momentarily." She motioned them all into the sitting room. "The plane will be ready in twenty minutes, and we are just waiting on Roy and his wife to arrive before we can leave." Andy noticed how Miranda ignored their stares, for providing an explanation to them regarding the wait. Sighing, Miranda pinched the bridge of her nose again as she closed her eyes. "Roy has been my driver ever since I became the editor of Runway, and as it happens, he is a former Marine," she continued. "His presence will be extremely welcome." Miranda shrugged, looking suspiciously relieved when her daughters entered the room, preventing anyone from asking questions.
"Ready," they said in stereo as they looked around before walking over to Doug.
"Who are you?" one of them asked, making him smile. Andy had told him plenty about them over the years. She stood up quickly.
"Oh, sorry, um, everyone this is Doug. Um, Dougie, this is Em, Serena, Nigel, and Miranda Priestly," she introduced awkwardly. Doug got up, nodded to everyone, and offered his hand to Miranda.
"It's an honour to meet you, Ms Priestly," he said genuinely. Miranda took his hand and nodded back.
"Please call me Miranda, Douglas," she replied, making him smile.
"Yes, Ma'am." He turned back to the twins and crouched down in front of them with a quizzical look on his face.
"Now, you must be Cassidy," he said pointing at the correct twin, "and you," he said politely, "must be Caroline. Pleasure to meet you both." He crossed his arms, one over the other, and offered his hands to the twins for handshakes. Cassidy seemed to take a liking to him immediately and gripped his hand, shaking it with gusto. Andy was relieved to see that even Caroline shook it with a barely concealed grin.
A car horn sounded from the front of the house, and Miranda crossed to the window and nodded.
"Roy is here. Please collect your baggage and take it to the vehicle."
She did not move from her spot as the rest of them piled out of the house. Even the twins were caught up with the excitement of the moment and only paused to look back at the house once before Doug took on the role of distracting them, helped along by Andy's nod as she greeted Roy and met his wife. Just as she was about to board the bus, Andy realised that they were without Miranda.
"I'll get her luggage," Roy said quietly, leaving Doug and the twins to load the baggage into the minibus Roy must have rented to take them to the airport. Andy nodded and poked her head into every room until she found Miranda standing at a window in what looked like her office, looking out over the back yard.
"Hey," Andy whispered, standing next to her. "I know it's hard Miranda, but we need to go." As they stood together, the back of Miranda's hand brushed Andy's in a way that made Andy believe it was accidental until the hand found its way back to that particular position and her little finger curled around Andy's.
"I have lived in this house since I earned my first pay check as editor," Miranda whispered, standing tensely, her finger still loosely gripping Andréa's. "I raised my children here; I buried my dog here."
"Maybe one day we'll come back, but it's just a house, Miranda," Andy began carefully. "The most important things are already on the bus, probably being taught how to spit paper gobs and sing bawdy songs by my oldest friend," she said with a smile as Miranda turned to her, dropping her hand as if she hadn't noticed how their pinkies had intertwined.
"Well then," she said, bringing herself up to her full height and gazing into Andréa's eyes, hopefully finding some sort of strength in them. "I will have to go and supervise."
She waved Andréa on, taking a final look around before she locked the door with a definitive click. Andy took solace in the fact that wherever they ended up would be better than the alternative there in New York in twelve hours.
"Miranda," Roy nodded to her as she left the house. She nodded back and gave him the barest hint of a smile as she climbed into the minibus. "My wife, Claire," Roy introduced the rather pretty, older woman sitting behind the driver's seat.
"Ms Priestly," she nodded as Miranda nodded back, extending her hand.
"Miranda will be fine, Claire," Miranda said absently as she moved to sit next to a window while Andréa helped Roy load the rest of the bags. Andy vaulted into the bus as Roy followed quickly. Andy had already noticed that the traffic had become heavy as she had walked the short distance from the subway to Miranda's home, but it was steadily getting worse. They needed to hurry.
"Andréa," Miranda whispered as Andy began walking past her to find a seat.
Andy stopped to check if Miranda had actually spoken. Miranda, however, was looking out of the window. Something about the way she was sitting alerted Andy to the very real danger that Miranda Priestly was extremely close to losing it. She sat down gently next to the editor, earning a respectful nod from Nigel, who seemed to be of the same opinion as she was. The bus started moving, and suddenly everyone was silent, realising that what they were doing was real. Andy could see that Miranda was seriously struggling to keep it together; her breathing was quick and shallow as she tried to stop herself from falling apart.The twins were being brave, talking with Doug in the back, while Emily and Serena, sitting two rows behind her, were conversing quietly. Andy reached out hesitantly, fairly sure that she was about to be verbally eviscerated, but willing to be the sacrificial lamb if it would give Miranda something else to focus on. Andy held her breath as she made contact, watching carefully as Miranda turned sharply in her direction. Andy could see the shock in Miranda's eyes as her fingers gently and very slowly stroked Miranda's with barely a whisper of a touch. She turned around in her seat and began talking to Doug and the girls, feeling Miranda's stare burn her. Andy gave a soft sigh of relief when she felt Miranda lean back in the uncomfortable bus seat. Andy continued to stroke Miranda's hand gently without calling attention to what was occurring. As she turned back around, Andy caught Miranda's reflection in the window and nearly gasped. Miranda Priestly was smiling. Andy knew in that moment that her decision to find Miranda and make her leave the city had been worth the risk. She had no doubt whatsoever that as long as Miranda was by her side, they would be alright.