Making Dreams Come True
"Andy" the editor extended his hand
"Hello" she shook it
"Greg Hill, come on" She followed him to his desk where she took a seat across from him. He lifted her artilces, "this thing on the janitors union, that's exactly what we do"
Andy smiled hopefully
Greg leaned back in his chair. "My only question is RUNWAY? You were there for less than a year, what the hell kinda blip is that?" He steepled his fingers and leaned on the right arm of his chair.
Andy froze a moment. Best to be honest from the start, well mostly honest. "Learned a lot," she looked off to the side then back, "in the end though, I kinda screwed it up." Andy looked down at the floor.
"I called over there for a reference. Left word with some snooty girl, the next thing I know I got a fax from Miranda Priestly herself."
Andrea slid down in the chair, waiting for the axe to fall.
Greg continued, "saying of all the assistants she's ever had, you were by far her biggest dissapointment."
Andy blinked, knowing her carreer as a journalist was over before it even began.
"And," Greg went on, pulling her attention back with thte next sentence "if I don't hire you, I'm an idiot."
She looked at him surprised.
"You must of done something right."
Andy walked out of the doors of the New York Mirror onto the sidewalk of the city as it's newest reporter, smiling. "You must of done something right" repeated in her head. She may have been Miranda's biggest disapointment, but obviously it was because she was the best at her job. Miranda was giving her credit in her own way.
She continued down the sidewalk of the city she had come to love smiling happily and looking at a tall building, realizing it was the Elias-Clark tower that had her attention. The idea hit her. She pulled out her phone and hit the buttons.
"Miranda Priestly's office"
"Hey, Emily, it's Andy. Don't hang up. I have a favor to ask you."
"You have a favor to ask of me?" came the snotty brits response.
"Yeah, thing is, I have all these clothes from Paris and I don't have anyplace to wear them, so, I was wondering if you could take them off my hands." Andy smiled up at the windows of her former office.
Emily is speechless and smiles but does not want to give Andy the satisfaction of knowing her thrill. "Well I don't know. It's a huge imposition and I'll have to have them taken in, I mean they'll drown me. But I 'spose I could help you out. I'll have Roy pick them up this afternoon."
"Ah thanks Em, I appreciate it. Good luck."
Emily hung up the phone and grinned but regained her composure as she turned to the new second assistant before hobbling off on her crutches. "You have some very large shoes to fill. I hope you know that."
Andy continued on her way happy with her action, smiling, when she looked up and a crown of white hair caught her attention across the street. She stopped and starred.
Miranda was exiting Elias-Clark with the phone to her ear, "I don't understand why it is so challenging to have my car here when I ask for it." She snapped her phone closed walking to the street just as her silver Mercedes pulled up. Roy got out and opened the door for her. As she was getting ready to enter the car she caught sight of the beautiful brunette across the street starring at her. They held each other's gaze for a moment then she saw Andrea mouth the words "thank you". She waited only a second before nodding her head once at her former assistant then got into the car.
Miranda removed her glasses and watched as 'her' Andrea made her way down the sidewalk. She let go of a light chuckle and smiled to herself then turned to Roy "GO" and replaced her Dragon Lady mask and sunglasses all in one motion.
Andy continued on her way again. She only glanced at the passing silver car holding probably the most influential person in her life, knowing one day she would be the woman's equal and make her proud.
Miranda watched Andrea as she passed her. Yes, she had done the right thing in not blackballing the young woman. Not that her heart would have allowed it anyway. Her former second assistant was special, she was going to do big things, make a difference, be someone. Because whether or not the journalist wanted to admit it to herself, she did have a lot in common with her. One day, One day when she was her equal, she would tell Andrea how proud she had been when she walkwd away from her in Paris. She was like her. She could see what Miranda wanted and needed and choose for herself. 'Her' Andrea chose to stay true to herself and her beliefs and that would take her far.
Miranda would watch her, help her whenever possible. She would wait for Andrea patiently, knowing it wouldn't take long.
Andy spent the first several months as the Mirror's newest cub reporter. Taking on small uninspiring pieces that the tenured reporters thought held no merit or chance to be a good subject of interest. After the first few articles Andy was being published in the paper on a regular basis. She was always able to find the twist or unexpected fact that would turn an unwanted topic or story into articles that grabbed the reader's attention. Her talent for telling an honest, compassionate yet intriguing story was a gift her editor knew only came around once in a blue moon.
Not long after Andy wrote a series of articles on the dangers of working in the cities underground sewer and water way system, entitled 'The Labyrinth Below', she began receiving calls and emails from people wanting her to tell their stories. Many of the calls would turn out to be nothing more that someone wanting to use her to vent their anger at the world. However, it was getting to be more than Andy could handle and stay on top of her regular articles and deadlines.
Granted, Andy had only been on staff for a short time but Greg knew her popularity was only going to grow. If he wanted to keep his new star writer from being scooped up by another publication, he needed to take actions to keep her, soon.
Miranda added the New York Mirror to her morning additions to read the same day she sent the fax to its' editor for Andrea's reference. Every morning she would read the Times, the Post then the Mirror.
At first she had to look for Andrea's filler pieces amongst the obituaries and classifieds. Soon though, she began to see her on pages four through eight. Her investigative human-interest articles were becoming very popular. When her series 'The Labyrinth Below' began to show up on page two, Miranda knew the young journalist was truly starting to tap her talent.
She had wanted to give the younger woman at least a year to develop her writing skills and self confidence without interfering. As it turned out, she may have misjudged Andrea's capabilities. Miranda had only done that one other time, and she had the manuscript of 'Harry Potter' tucked in her file cabinet to remind her.
Andrea was quickly becoming a master if expository writing. True, having such a talent didn't really surprise Miranda, but not seeing it sooner did. Had she known, would she have let her walk away, let her go? No one would ever know now. Now it was just a matter of pointing her in the right direction. Her writing skills were growing rapidly with every new article she wrote. Challenging her self-confidence would be Miranda's first opportunity to help guide 'her' Andrea to bigger and better things.
Andy's frustration level was reaching an all time high, surpassing even her 'Miranda time' (as she referred to her days at RUNWAY). She was beginning to worry that her articles would start to suffer from the lack of time she was now able to spend on them. Andy had an innate ability for time management and organization but becoming popular so quickly was pushing those abilities to their extreme limits. She truly loved what she was doing, it was a dream come true. Not the popularity so much as the doors that it was opening for her and the opportunities her growing reputation was granting her.
It sounded cliché, and silly even, but her mind would go to WWMD (what would Miranda do)? The woman had been in her position once upon a time. Surely, when she was just starting out as the editor of RUNWAY she too must have been overwhelmed at a point or two.
Anyone that had not glimpsed the side of the Dragon Lady that Andy had been privy to would never believe it of the fashion diva. She knew though, that under all her icy bravado she did have fears and insecurities, just like any other human being. Miranda had however, over the years learned to hide them. She was a master at subterfuge.
Andy knew she needed to master hiding her feelings of inadequacy from the outside world, if only to protect herself. But she refused to personify the cold, heartless uncaring character of her mentor.
"Sachs" Greg called from his desk
Andy hit the save button on her laptop and closed the file. She stood and walked over to her editor's desk.
"Yeah boss." She replied with a tired smile.
"You got time for lunch?" Greg asked her standing from his chair. Andy had come to admire her new boss's laid back demeanor. They had a mutual respect for each other. Both put in the long hours and energy it took to be the best at what they did. He appreciated her talent and desire. He encouraged her ideas, wanting her to be proud of her work.
Andy looked at her watch, "Sure boss. I've got an interview at 12:45, but I'm good for a few."
"Good, Let's go get a dog." He rounded his desk and led her out to the street vendor cart on the next corner. Andy got a Coney with the works and he got one covered in mustard.
"So" she said before her first bite, "What's up?"
Getting right to the point was becoming a prominent personality trait the young journalist had been acquiring in recent months and Greg found it refreshing. Her open honesty was what made her a great writer.
"I've noticed you've seemed a little stressed out and overwhelmed lately with the growing popularity of your articles." He said taking a bite.
Andy took a drink of her soda to wash down her food before she spoke. "Yeah, I've been meaning to talk to you about that, but as usual, time got away from me." She chuckled.
She knew she needed to ask for help from her editor, but didn't want it to seem as if she couldn't handle the work. She just needed, something.
Out of the corner of her eye Andy saw a familiar silver Mercedes drive by and stop at the light next to where they stood. Even through the tinted windows she thought she saw the shadowed outline of her former boss. It might have only been in her head, but it was enough to give her that extra courage she needed to express her feelings to Greg.
"I need help Greg. I can't do all this alone. I've made exceptions and sacrificed my articles. I'm not putting out the best work that I can. There just aren't enough hours in the day." Andy took a breath. "I don't want to stop writing the pieces that can make a difference. But trying to write and follow up on every lead I get is getting ridiculous. I'm getting twenty phone calls and just as many emails every other day." She took another drink and turned to watch the silver car turn the corner. The rear window rose to hide the soft white hair behind it. Andy turned back to her editor who was looking at her.
"I agree" he said
She stopped mid bite, "You do?"
"Yes' he said taking in her surprised reaction. "That's why I'm promoting you to junior features editor with an intern to assist you." He smiled at her shocked expression as he took a bite of his hot dog. Her big brown eyes were the size of saucers. He had to laugh.
"Andy, I am well aware of your talent and growing popularity. Your articles are one of the main reasons for our increased sales."
"What?" She tried again. "But, but, Greg I've only been here seven months."
"And you have accomplished more in that time with your skills and readership than most of the writers that have been here for years.
"Andy as much as I love the idea of you never leaving, the Mirror is just the beginning for you. You have the talent and ability to go places. Trust me, within the next year, you are going to be the writer the Post and New Yorker are going to be looking to cover their big stories."
Andy had to back up and sit down on the step behind her. Her eyes were glazed over taking in his words when she looked at him. "Wow" she blinked. "You really have faith in me."
"Why shouldn't I? You get results that others don't even see. You work harder than I do, expect only the best from yourself and strive to even outdo that." He patted her on the shoulder. "You're every editors dream" he smiled
"Thank you Greg, really, thank you." She stood and shook his hand, "I won't let you down."
"The thought never crossed my mind. Now, how 'bout we head back and get you set up with your new assistant."
"Sounds great." Just as they were turning to head back to the office, Andy saw the Mercedes make another pass around the corner. It may have only been Roy in the car but she nodded to the back window all the same.
'It's good to be the Queen'. When Miranda told Roy to go around the block again, not a word was spoken, he just did as he was told. She was sure Andrea couldn't see into the car, but she knew for certain the girl had sensed her presence when on the second pass the journalist nodded to her with a confident smile. They were headed back to the Mirror and Miranda noticed the self assured posture the girl was now carrying herself with.
Miranda hoped that the intern that would be assigned to assist her would not be incompetent. She remembered what it was like to be overwhelmed with the desire to accomplish everything set before her. As someone who also was thrust into a big career change with little to no help. Striving to continue to still do your absolute best work without and outlet for assistance, could end you faster than you were created.
Miranda had noticed slight changes in Andrea's last two articles. To anyone else there would not be any differences in her writings. Miranda however, could read into the subtle changes to the style that defined Andrea's writing. She knew the younger woman well enough to tell she was under too much pressure. Oh, she would, without a doubt handle the pressure with extreme professionalism, but it would cause her to burn out. Andrea would be a formidable writer, of this Miranda was sure. It was not acceptable to do anything less than encourage her to succeed. All she had to do was make one phone call, so she did.
Now 'her' Andrea was back on her path to becoming the older woman's equal.
It only took a couple of weeks for Andy and Tim, her new assistant, to settle into a routine. Tim would handle a short follow up on leads from phone calls and emails. He then filtered out those that were serious stories. Of those, he would do a second information gathering and Andy would then go through to check what could possibly be real leads to actual articles.
After the first month, Andy was finally able to re-focus her attention on writing and putting out the kind of work she knew she was truly capable of. Her time was split between writing her articles and editing the ones Greg felt needed her attention. Life was good.
Andy was up, dressed, out the door and on her way to the subway by 6:30 every morning. She stopped for coffee and a bagel at the little bakery around the corner from the subway and arrived at her desk by 7:00 ready to start her day.
She set down her coffee and bagel. Pulled out her laptop, ready to dig in and start working on her new article. It wasn't until she set her laptop down on the desk and it refused to sit flat that she noticed the small narrow black box sitting under it.
Andy moved her computer aside. She sat down and picked up the box, sliding the blue ribbon around it off. When she lifted the lid a small card tumbled out to reveal a beautiful silver Monte Blanc ink pen. She gasped and gently removed it from it's velvet bed. It felt wonderful in her fingers, so sleek and thin. When she looked closer she saw her name engraved in lovely script along the shaft of the pen. "Wow" she whispered. Andy picked up the small card. Her breath caught when she immediately recognized the elegant penmanship as she opened it. She was still holding her breath as she read the single line. 'Every editor needs a good pen.'
The journalist released the air in her lungs. "Holy Shit" she breathed. Miranda was following her career, watching her, keeping track of her. She knew this 'small token' was the older editors' way of saying that she approved.
"Oh my God" she whispered to herself. The pen in one hand and the precious card in the other, she looked back and forth between the two. Andy didn't know if she should be nervous, grateful, scared, angry or just plain elated. The pounding of her heart knew the answer though.
Miranda returned from her lunch meeting with Irv the same afternoon, in a foul mood, what else was new. The editor dropped her Prada bag on the New Emily's desk, turned toward Emily who stood waiting for her instructions, pen and pad in hand.
"Call James Holt and move up the pre-view to three. Tell Jocelyn I want the accessories samples for the run through ready for me by ten tomorrow. Move the run through to eleven. I want to see the proofs from this mornings shoot in my hands within the hour. That's all."
She sat down at her desk and picked up her Starbucks. When she sat it back down she noticed the white envelope with her name typed on the front sitting atop her papers.
Miranda slid a pen along the seam to open it and pulled out a plain white piece of paper. She unfolded it and read the two beautifully scripted words. 'Thank You!'
A smile tipped the corners of her mouth. 'Well, I guess the cat's out of the bag' she thought. She refolded the note and tapped it on her lips. She pulled it away to look at the simple white piece of paper in her fingers. Not as simple as it looked. Miranda understood the symbolism of the note. It was completely 'her' Andrea. It was the words that meant so much. Whether they were written on a napkin or the finest stationary, their meaning was all that was important.
Miranda chuckled softly to herself. Things are about to get very interesting.
On the following Thursday Tim rounded the corner in the office headed to Andy's desk as if the devil were on his heels.
"Andy" he shouted waving a piece of paper in his hands.
Andy looked up suddenly from her laptop, concerned at the commotion he was causing. All eyes were on him as he approached her desk, still waving the paper.
"Tim" the journalist spoke, icier than she had intended. He froze. "Tim" she said softer, "there's no reason to raise your voice."
"Sorry. But Andy, you have to read this." He handed her the white sheet.
She looked at him and pointed for him to sit down as she looked at it. It was an email. Andy's eyes went to the address immediately. It was from Emily. Emily? She began to read the content.
I recently became aware that Vanity Fair is looking for submissions for an article they wish to run on romance in the workplace.
Andy leaned back in her chair and re-read the email again.
Tim watched as several expressions moved across her face.
"Hmm" she finally laid the paper down and looked at him. She smiled. "Contact Vanity Fair's features editor and get the detail for me." Andy looked up at him. He had a big smile on his face as well. Tim stood up.
"I'll get right on it." He turned and left.
"Thanks" Andy was already looking back at the screen in front of her opening the window for her email. She clicked on Emily's email and hit reply then typed in;
She clicked send then leaned back smiling broadly. Her smile drooped a little to a frown. Had Miranda asked her to send the email or was this Emily's way of thanking her for the clothes from Paris? The journalist closed her eyes and sighed. Did it really matter? She knew Miranda. Her delegating the task to Emily was not likely. So, the better answer was that Emily had taken it upon herself to send Andy the information. Right!
Tim returned an hour later with the information Andy had requested. They were looking for a piece on the pro's and con's of romance in the workplace with an emphasis on superior/subordinate interactions and their outcomes. The submission deadline was two weeks from today.
"So?" he waited patiently
"So" she said looking at him
"Are you going to do it?"
"I don't know."
"Why? Andy, this is what you've been working for. You're a great journalist and editor but everybody knows you were meant to be a writer."
She looked at him blankly. Was this a piece she could do? It would mean digging up those buried feelings and they might be visible in her writing. Maybe it was time. There was no guarantee it would be selected to be published. She could finally vent on paper with writing it, which was the best thing for her sense of control anyway.
Andy blinked. "It means more work for you for the next two weeks."
"No problem" He grinned
"You may have to write an article or two." She grinned
"Absolutely no problem!" He beamed
"Alright." She smiled at him, "Let's get to work then."
Two weeks later Andy found herself clicking the send button and submitting her article to Vanity Fair. Now, she waited. She knew it was a good solid piece of work, but even with her growing popularity at the Mirror, she was still relatively unknown.
Andy found herself thinking about the "what if's"; what if they wanted to use her article? What if this was her big break? What if Miranda read it? The thought of that both terrified and thrilled her. One of her goals was to have the older woman respect her as an equal, however, if she read this piece and read between the lines… Well, she knew Miranda was watching her career so maybe her learning what Andy kept lock inside wouldn't be as damning as she feared. Maybe.
Andy continued to write her articles for the Mirror, each one better than the last. Her popularity had grown not only with her readers but also with her fellow journalists. She was often asked to review and edit an article by a colleague before it was submitted to their boss.
Tim was handling the overflow of emails which had only increased. In addition, Andy, with Greg's okay, had begun giving him filler pieces to work on. Turned out he too was a very capable writer. His journalistic instincts were very good. The paper offered him a position as Andy's permanent assistant and cub reporter as soon as his internship was up. Tim thanked Andy. He knew she was the reason for his opportunity and she knew she now had someone grateful enough for her help in starting their career that he would stay loyal to her.
Tim was the first name on her list.
A month later Andy's phone rang. She answered while typing up her latest article.
"Hello, Ms Sachs. This is Ryan Olsen, the features editor for Vanity Fair."
She stopped typing
"Andy, please. Yes sir what can I do for you?"
"Well Andy, it seems you already have done something for me."
Andy gulped, he continued.
"My editor was extremely impressed with your submission and would like to run it in next months issue."
"Thank you Mr Olsen." She was working very hard to contain her excitement.
'And? There was an and?' she was about to explode already.
"We would like you to consider doing a series for us on the working woman."
"Oh, wow, okay, but that's not really an original concept, if you don't mind me saying so."
He laughed. "No, I don't mind, in fact it's refreshing. My editor, however, seems to be one of your biggest fans and assures me that if anyone can put a new twist on this old topic, you can."
"Wow. I mean, I'm honored." But she was thinking holy shit. Suddenly, WWMD enters her mind and her professionalism takes over. "What length of a series do you need?" Andy shifts to her always ready pad and pen on her desk. "What size articles are you looking to have?"
"A four to six piece series. We trust you to be the best judge of that, roughly 3000 words each." He waited a moment before he continued. "I can send you the contract to take a look at and you can get back to me in a couple of days."
"That would be great Mr Olsen. I appreciate your call." She replied professionally but not cold and not over enthusiastic. "Please tell your editor I appreciate his consideration."
"I will. I'll send those contracts right over." Before he hung up he said with sincerity Andy recognized. "Congratulations Andy."
"Thank you Sir. You'll hear from me soon." She ended the call. Andy took a deep breath and closed her eyes as she leaned back in her chair, then whispered "Oh. My. God."
Her heart was racing, pulse pounding in her ears. Andy opened her eyes wide seeing nothing. She had no idea what to expect from the contract, what she should or should not agree to. Her heart sunk as she realized there was only one person she wanted to share this moment with, and she couldn't.
Andy stood, logged off, grabbed her phone and sent a quick text to Tim telling him she was going out for few minutes and would be back soon. Then she exited the front doors of the Mirror and dialed the only other person she truly trusted.
"Nigel" she was breathless
"Six?" Nigel could hear the strain in his young friends' voice. "What's wrong?"
"Can you meet me out front of Elias-Clark in five minutes?" she was starting to run in that direction.
"Sure Six. Everything okay?"
"Great!" she smiled
"Okay. See you in a minute."
Emily was standing by her desk talking to him when his phone rang.
"I'll be back in a few minutes." He looked at the worry in her eyes. "It's okay. She's okay."
Emily let out a sigh. None of them wanted anything but the best for the young woman. They knew, for some odd reason, she held a special spot in their strong willed boss's heart, as well as their own.
Miranda heard Nigel's phone ring outside her office door. When she heard the flash of fear in his voice as he asked 'her' Andrea if she was okay, a panic raced through her. But then saw him relax when he told Emily she was alright. The editor stood and walked to her window. He had said he be back in a few minutes, they were meeting in front of the building.
She watched as Nigel exited the building below. Within moments the brunette ran up to him and stopped. He put his hands on her shoulders as she bent at the waist. 'Catching her breath' Miranda thought. When she straightened up again, Nigel pulled her into a hug.
The smile on the older woman's face lit her eyes.
Andrea was going to be published, she just knew it. And this time she had done it all on her own. No help was needed. 'Her' Andrea was on her way, one step closer, to her.
Nigel returned to Emily's desk a few minutes later. Out of the corner of his eye he could see Miranda sitting at her desk, pretending to be absorbed in something on her MAC.
He smiled at the Brit, knowing their aloof boss was listening to every word spoken between them when he told her, "She's being published. They accepted her article and asked her to do a four to six part series."
"Well it's about bloody time." Emily responded in her snotty tone but a smile cracked her lips. "How soon?"
"Next months issue for the article." He dared a look. Miranda was still acting oblivious, then turned back to his colleague. "She wants the three of us to meet her tonight to celebrate," he winked at Emily, "and she asked if I would look at the contract with her. Says I'm the only one she can turn to that she trusts." With his peripheral he sees the editors shoulders droop just enough to know she was feeling regret.
Emily saw the reaction as well in her iconic boss. She looked at Nigel and raised her voice just enough to make her point. "Of course. Who else could she ask."
When Emily arranged Miranda's morning magazines and papers, she made sure the issue of Vanity Fair with Andy's article was on top. Obviously, out of place in the stack.
Miranda snorted. Could her first assistant be any more evident? She was admitting to herself, looking forward to reading the article. Both from a professional and personal point of view.
The older editor picked up the magazine and turn her chair with her back to her doors. Her normal procedure of combing the pages for editorial faux pas was forgotten as she thumbed to the index to find what she wanted.
'Company Ink' by Andréa Sachs page 110. Well, at least they had placed it on the right side of the magazine, it wouldn't be missed easily. She turned to the page, actually holding her breath in anticipation and closing her eyes. When they reopened she was looking at the article. The heading was in bold red ink,
Love in the Workplace
By: Andréa Sachs
Miranda took in every detail. What caught her attention first was Andrea's byline. She had used é, forcing her name to be pronounced like she spoke it. Then the sub-title caught her eye. 'Love in the workplace' not romance, not sex.
She sat back ready to greedily devour every word when the first sentence caused a lump to form in her throat.
'When is it time to stay and when is it time to walk away?'
Miranda blinked as a tear reached the corner of her eye. Had this article been written for her?
The editor sat reading, absorbing every word, every sentence, each phrase. Reading between the lines of the text.
It was an exceptional piece of writing. A piece, in fact, she would allow to grace the pages of her beloved Runway. Even if Miranda had not had as underlined interest in the article, it was still an emotional look into a topic that was usually cold, factual and uninspiring.
Andrea's writing evoked a need for any person to reflect upon themselves to find what kind of love they actually felt. Helping to guide them outside the circumstances that, for most, overshadow their situation.
The young writer had put into perspective the need for one to recognize what the relationship did to and for them in regards to their career and emotions. Causing a person to take a look at their own self worth and how it would benefit or hinder a true loving relationship.
Reading the final words of the article Miranda was convinced 'her' Andréa was indeed hers. The woman had laid bare for all the world the total respect, admiration, affection, trust and love she felt for her. Without ever letting anyone know the depth of her own true feelings for her former boos, she confessed all.
Andrea's final thought told Miranda she too knew what was needed to be equals in each other's hearts and minds.
'At the point in any relationship that you discover that it is not yet apparent that a mutual respect of each other's strengths and weaknesses, drive, desires, dreams, actions and reactions, ideals, self-worth, beliefs and accomplishments is what needs to be the foundation in your relationship to reflect truth of your love, then it is time to walk away. If after time and effort on both parties part that respect can be attained, then you have reached an equality that could never be defined as superior/subordinate in either of your minds. At that point the role of boss and employee no longer exists and never will again.
Nigel stood at Emily's desk, both of them watching the back of Miranda's chair.
"How long has she been reading it?" he whispered, very aware of the editor's sensitive hearing.
"Almost forty-five minutes." The Brit snorted. "She spends less time on a page of the BOOK."
"Hmm. I believe our Six has thawed our beloved Snow Queen and she is trying very hard to swim out of her own freezing pool." He smiled at his old friends back. Nigel turned to Emily. "Did you read it?"
"Yes." She too turned her gaze from her boss's back to look at him. "It was one of the best pieces of writing I have ever read."
"Indeed. It seems our little Andy will from this day forward never again be referred to as Miranda Priestly's ex-assistant."
"Hmpf" the Brit glared, "Now it's Andréa 'Bloody' Sachs."
"It was bad enough to hear it pronounced that way every day, now I'll have to read it as well."
Miranda sat staring out at the New York skyline. Her fingers were gently brushing back and forth across the print without even knowing it. She wanted, no needed to do something to let Andrea know that she had not only read the article but understood it. Most importantly, that she agreed.
Up until the moment she finished reading Andrea's writing, only her babies could bring her emotions so close to the surface. Granted, it was not yet time for a verbal acknowledgement between them but her desire to extend a nonverbal admission was overwhelming.
Miranda turned to face her desk and outer office. Nigel smiled at her and Emily dropped her eyes, making herself look busy. She gave a slight nod to her old friend and he responded in kind.
She hurried in "Yes Miranda"
"Call my car. I'll be out of the office until noon. Adjust my schedule. I want two more copies before I leave. That's all"
The assistant scurried out. "Go. Get three copies of Vanity Fair, NOW. I needed them five minutes ago."
The second assistant jumped and ran.
Andy had been running around all morning doing interviews. She hadn't reached the office until after lunch. When she finally entered she was taken aback by the sight of her peers standing, clapping and whistling for her. Andy curtsied, then flipped her wrist in the air to motion them to stop. With a smile that lit up the room and her fellows journalists as well, she moved toward her desk. Sitting atop it was a beautiful bouquet of daisies. Mom and Dad she thought. Next to it stood her boss and Tim, both still clapping.
"Congratulations" her editor said shaking her hand.
"Thanks boss." She turned to Tim who engulfed her in a bear hug, she clapped his back.
"I just knew it would be awesome!"
"Thanks Tim" she patted his shoulders as he set her down.
Greg looked around the room, "alright, everyone back to work" then he walked to his desk. He sat down and began running through a list in his head of journalists that could fill Andy's position. She wasn't going to be staying much longer. He was well aware that her talent would take her away from the little paper. Unfortunately, it was going to be sooner than he hoped.
Andy rounded her desk only to have her progress impeded by a large package leaning against it. She set down her bag and coffee and lifted the package. It had a bit of weight to it so she sat down before removing the brown paper it was wrapped in. There was no return address on the item. Her name was printed in the top right corner. Andy tore off the paper to reveal what she could now tell was a large 17x20 frame. She pulled it out of the blue velvet bag it was protected by.
Tears immediately began to stream down her face.
"Andy," Tim was concerned at the sudden crying, "what's wrong?"
Andy didn't hear him. Her eyes and fingers were running over the gift. The frame was brushed silver, simple, elegant, sleek. Under the glass were two copies of the issue of Vanity Fair containing her article. They were mounted on a piece of blue, no she realized, cerulean blue silk. One issue was open to her article and the other closed to show the cover, laying atop the left side of the open magazine.
"Oh Miranda" she whispered through her tears. She knew who it came from, she had no doubt.
There was a card tucked into the bottom left corner of the frame. Andy pulled it out and opened it gingerly. Through her still falling tears she read the words written in the familiar hand.
'Firsts, of any kind, should always be cherished.'
"Oh. My." She moved her fingers to her lips as she gasped at the words she read.
Tim had become to concerned to Andy's reaction to the package to remain silent any longer. He walked around her desk to look at the item.
"Oh wow. Andy, that's so cool!"
She finally snapped out of her daze when he spoke from behind her.
"Yeah. Beautiful isn't it." She ran her fingers lovingly over the edge of the frame.
"Who sent it? Your parents?"
She smiled, "No, a friend. A very good friend."
"I guess so" he returned to his chair. "Wish I had friends like that."
Andy tore her eyes away from the gift, she looked at him and smiled, "You have no idea"
She looked back down at the gift, it was a gift, in the truest sense of the word. An acknowledgement from Miranda that she read her article, understood it and most importantly…she felt the same way. 'Miranda loves me' she thought, 'she. Loves. ME!' Her stomach fluttered.
Andy took a deep breath. Okay. Mutual admittance. However, it was obvious, she wasn't ready to take the relationship further just yet. The non verbal was loud and clear. Miranda was agreeing they still had a way to go, but both were on the same page and moving in the right direction.
Andy's phone rang, "Andy Sachs"
"Six! This is one of the best examples of the written word I have ever had the pleasure to read."
"Oh, thanks Nigel. That means a lot coming from you."
"You made quite a splash sweetheart."
"I know." He grinned. "Your well on your way to getting that gold star."
"What?" Nigel knew? Wait, of course he knew.
"Oh please Six, give me some credit."
Andy blushed and smiled at the gift still resting on her lap. "I'm working on it"
Nigel chuckled, "and you're doing a wonderful job. Congratulations my friend. We'll go celebrate soon, yes?"
"Absolutely. Thank you Nigel."
"You're welcome. Bye doll."
The next two months moved by in a blur for Andy. Her article in Vanity Fair and first piece in her five part series the following month were received with accolades from her peers and the publishing world of New York City. Her popularity had grown beyond even her wildest dreams. Her phone rang with offers to write for Harpers Bazzar, Time and People, among others. Tim was inundated with emails requiring a response. Added to that were her responsibilities to the paper. Her articles had been pushed aside to accommodate the requests to edit for those around her, including her boss.
She got less and less sleep. Concealer was no longer hiding the suitcases under her eyes. Her work was again in danger of suffering and that was not something she was willing to allow. It was time to make a decision regarding her career and her life.
Andy had outgrown the Mirror. Tim was right, she was a writer. Staying at the paper, as much as she loved it, would do nothing but keep her from being what she truly wanted to be and doing what she loved the most. The changes in her career had happened so fast, she couldn't find any joy in it while trying to juggle all of the demands at once.
Her dream had always been to work at the New Yorker. So when she received the call from the editor, it only compounded the stress of making her decision to move to free-lance work.
It was time to ask for help. There was only one person's opinion of the situation she wanted. Trusting them to be honest and sincere. This was also a step towards the future, their future.
Andy pulled out her phone and looked at it. Was it appropriate to call her or should she start with an email? She really wanted to discuss it. Debate the advantages and disadvantages with someone whose experience would benefit her, help guide her to make her own ultimate decision. If she was crossing their unspoken line, Miranda would surely let her know. Possibly she wouldn't even answer the call. That was actually okay with Andy. She knew they had not totally reached the goals they had nonverbally set for the progression of their relationship. They knew each other better than anyone else in their separate lives. That was why she felt compelled to reach out and ask. If she couldn't ask for simple advice and an opinion on changes that would in fact affect their future, well, maybe that was a sign that they would have no future. Maybe that was something she needed to know.
Something Nate said the night he walked away from her replayed in her mind. 'The person whose calls you always take, that's the relationship you're in…'
She dialed Miranda's number and waited. One ring…two rings… three…
Andy swallowed, "Hello, Miranda"
There was silence on the other end, then
Now she didn't know what to say. They hadn't actually spoken since Paris.
"Is there a particular reason you've called me or are you just so lacking in amusement you felt compelled to do so by wasting my time?" Her tone was brisk but held none of the iciness it should have.
"I'm sorry to bother you." Andy regained her confidence. This was after all the woman that she loved and who loved her. "I was hoping to get your advice and opinion on something." She waited for a response
Miranda thought quickly and made her decision to move forward. "Well?" She sat back in her chair with a grin touching the corners of her lips.
"I'm finding it's time to make a change in the direction of my career."
The older woman waited
"I've been considering leaving the Mirror and working as a free-lance writer. The opportunities to write have grown leaps and bounds over the last several weeks and staying at the paper has hindered my ability to accept the jobs that are being offered to me."
"But?" Miranda asked
"But, just as I made the decision to make the change, the editor of the New Yorker called to offer me a job as the features editor."
"I see" Miranda was bursting with pride for her love. "Why do you think that is something that should change your mind?"
"Honestly'" she sighed, "prestige, opportunities, experience, connections and from a sentimental perspective, it's always been my dream to work there."
There was the truth, the main reason she had fallen for the silly younger woman, her heart.
"Are you not gaining those things you see as advantages of working at the New Yorker now as a writer?"
"Yes, most of them."
"Do you see your talent diminishing in the near future which may result in not attaining the others?"
"Quite the opposite. I think with out the added distraction my writing will improve."
"Which in turn will open more doors for your future, correct."
"Do you enjoy editing?"
"Yes, but I love writing. I love to make words come alive and fill an emptiness in someone with them."
"Which is your unique gift." Miranda smiled.
"You are welcome. As far as working at the New Yorker being a dream," she paused, "dreams change Andréa."
Andy closed her eyes absorbing the gentleness in Miranda's voice. "Yes they do. And if we're lucky, which I am, they grow into something better and more beautiful."
"I agree" the older woman replied softly.
They sat in silence together for a few moments.
Andy was the first to break it.
"Yes darling" how had that slipped out. Damn
Andy swallowed and smiled at the endearment. "Thank you for talking to me and helping me work this out in my head," she chuckled, "it's hard to have an unbiased debate with yourself."
"Anytime." She too smiled. "Should I cancel my subscription to the New York Mirror effective two weeks from now?"
"I guess that would depend on how much you enjoy reading it."
"I feel confident the pleasure I receive from reading it will cease in two weeks time."
Andy laughed into the phone. "Please don't ever change Miranda."
Miranda was caught off guard by the statement but held the sentiment to her heart. "Nor you my Andréa."
"Good night Miranda, thank you."
"Good night Andréa."
Both women disconnected and sat very still in their prospective chairs. Both reveling in the wonderful happiness of their new relationship and knowing they had taken the next step, together.
When Greg arrived at his desk the next morning the first thing he noticed was a white envelope laying in the center of his desk. He sighed as he recognized the familiar handwriting of his name. The editor slid his letter opener along the seam and pulled out the contents. He unfolded it to find a typed resignation letter with a hand written note attached.
I want to thank you for the opportunities you have given me. Your confidence and support have been unwavering, for that I will be eternally grateful. My success is a direct result of you being a wonderful mentor. I am looking forward to an incredible adventure that will no doubt require the skills I have been honored to learn from you.
I hope my future endeavors will reflect positively on the guidance and teaching you so willingly entrusted me with.
Thank you Boss!
Greg was full of pride. Andy Sachs was one in a million and he was grateful to have had a chance to have her in his life, for even a short time. She was going to be bigger than he had ever dreamed for himself. In two weeks time, the most talented writer he had ever had the privilege to work with would no longer be in his employ. The remorse he felt for losing such talent didn't compare to the joy he felt for Andy and her future.
Andy spent the next two weeks filling all of her free time with preparations for her free-lance career. She sweet talked Doug into designing her website and setting up her new email. Once he finished working his magic she was able to send emails to all of the publishers addresses she had been acquiring to let them know how to now contact her.
Andy smiled as she sent her first signally, not as a bulk send to the Editor-and-Chief of RUNWAY Magazine.
The young writer was finishing up responding to previous emails when she received a response from Miranda. She quickly opened it grinning broadly.
Thank you for the information regarding your change of information. Should RUNWAY require your services in the future we will contact you.
P.S. The website is very acceptable.'
Andy chuckled, "That's my girl."
Miranda smiled as she typed the post script in Andrea's email. She was on her way. The editor knew the younger woman's professionalism and drive, along with her natural talent and personality would project her new career in ways even Andrea herself could not yet imagine.
Andy's first month as a free-lance writer was filled with writing articles for Time, a piece on the changing atmosphere of the Health Care System, her third installment for Vanity Fair on the working woman and one for GQ on the slow recovery of the Real Estate market nationwide.
She also received her first check for the original article in Vanity Fair. Andy pulled out her phone and dialed.
"Nigel. You, Emily, Serena and me. Bar of your choice. Tonight. We are celebrating. On me!"
"Six! Got your first check, didn't you." He chuckled moving from his office to Emily's desk.
"I did. Who better to celebrate with than the friends who helped me get it!"
"Hold on Six" he approached Emily's desk to talk to her, "Six wants to meet us for drinks, on her, tonight to celebrate her first pay check as a free-lancer. You and Serena free?"
Miranda's ears perked up at the nickname Nigel had for 'her' Andrea. But why was he asking Emily about Serena's availability?
"I think we're free. We were just going to stay in and watch a movie."
He pulled the phone back to his ear. "The girl's are in doll. When and where?"
"How 'bout the new Martini Bar, eight?" Andy asked excitedly
He repeated it to Emily, "Martini Bar, eight?" She nodded her head at him.
"We'll be there Six." He glanced quickly at Miranda and caught her listening. "Anyone else you'd like me to extend the invitation to?"
Andy took a deep breath. "Only if you think it would be a good idea Nigel."
"From the look I just got," he turned his back to Miranda as he spoke softly, "I don't think it would hurt. But it's completely up to you."
Miranda watched as Nigel turned his back to her and lowered his voice.
"I don't know Nigel. It would be the first time we've seen each other since Paris. As much as I would love to see her, I don't want it to be uncomfortable for her and it could possibly out Emily and Serena."
"Six." He looked at Emily, "Ask her? Yes or no?" his voice was stern but hushed.
Andy bit her bottom lip.
"Chances are she won't show, but at least she'll know you wanted her there to help celebrate your accomplishments." He soothed
"Alright. But only if it's okay with Em. She the one who stands to lose anything."
"Okay. We'll see you tonight."
"Bye Nigel. See you soon!" the excitement back in her voice.
"Bye doll." He hit end on the phone.
Nigel looked at Emily and gave her a direction with his eyes to follow him.
She nodded. "Don't move from that chair!" she ordered the new second assistant as she tagged behind Nigel to his office.
Once behind his closed glass doors he spoke. "She said it's up to you if we invite Miranda for her."
"She doesn't want you and Serena to be uncomfortable."
"Please," she snorted, "We've kept our relationship from her for almost two years. A few hours is nothing."
"You think she'll really show up?"
"I don't know. I don't think I'd be surprised if she did." He grinned
"Me either. They'll have to meet eventually. Maybe with the rest of us around it would ease the stress of it for them."
"I think you're right"
Emily went back to her desk and caught an unusual look in Miranda's eyes, confusion.
Nigel waited a while before he went to Miranda.
"Here's the proofs you wanted for the Calvin Klein shoot."
"Mm" she took them out of his hands and placed her glasses on her face to begin scrutinizing them.
While she looked Nigel spoke casually. "Six called and wants to get together tonight to celebrate her first pay check as a free-lance writer." He waited, no response.
"She'd like for you to come as well."
The editor raised her brow and looked at him over the top of her glasses.
"Me? What on earth for?" She deigned boredom about the request turning her eyes back to the proofs.
"Why indeed?" he grinned at her.
She looked at him. This time he could see the insecurity in her eyes.
"She really wants me to come? She said that?"
"Only if you want to. She doesn't want you to feel uncomfortable. It will be the first time you've seen each other since Paris."
Nigel saw a smile tip the corners of her lips as she whispered to herself, "still looking out for me."
"And it's not even her job anymore." He smiled at her. "Go figure." He laid a piece of paper on her desk with the information. "Even if it's just to say congratulations. It would mean the world to her." He turned and walked out of her office.
Miranda leaned back in her chair resting her elbows on the sides. She steepled her fingers to her lips as her eyes followed Nigel's retreating back.
The four friends sat at a table at the back of the bar. The crowd was thick but back in the corner it was quiet enough to chat and laugh. The quartet was on their third round of drinks when Andy suddenly went stiff in her seat and gasped. The other three looked at her confused and worried. Then, as sudden as she froze, she relaxed and a giant smile lit her face. She looked at Nigel, "She's here"
The other three looked over Andy's shoulder to see the crowd beginning to part as the fashionista made her way to the table.
"How do you do that?" Emily asked Andy
"I don't know" she beamed, "I just feel her. The air in the room changes, the atmosphere shifts, I ..just know."
Serena squeezed Emily's knee under the table. A non verbal they mastered in Miranda's presence long ago. She stood. "Miranda, how nice to see you." The Brazilian beauty offered her seat to their boss.
Andy took a deep breath before looking at the beautiful woman who had stolen her heart.
Miranda nodded to each of her employees, Serena, Emily, Nigel, then looked at Andy just as the younger woman raised her eyes. They locked in a gaze strong enough to bend steel. Finally, after moments, "Andréa"
Andy stood. "Miranda. Thank you for coming." She motioned for her to sit. "What can I get you to drink?"
"What ever you are having is fine." They still had not looked away from each other.
"I'll get it." Nigel slid out of the banquette and moved to the bar.
Emily looked at Serena, now sitting on the other side of Miranda and grinned.
It wasn't until Nigel returned with Miranda's martini that they broke eye contact. "Thank you Nigel" she waited for him to take his seat then lifted her glass towards Andy, "To Andréa. May your talent continue to enlighten us with the knowledge and beauty we have neglected to see."
Andy blushed at Miranda's soft gentle words "Thank you" They all drank from their glasses. Neither Andy nor Miranda saw the smiles on their fellow table mates faces. They only saw each others.
"So, Six" Nigel broke the spell and she looked at him. "What's next on your agenda?"
"Hm" she took a drink, "I just finished a piece for Time and one for GQ." She set her glass down.
Miranda couldn't miss the glow of pride in the beautiful woman across from her.
"I have two more articles for my series for Vanity Fair, then Harpers Bazzar and Woman's Day are wanting something by the end of the month."
"That's wonderful" Serena piped in. "How many offers are you receiving?"
"Too many to keep track of," she chuckled, "A few not even worth looking at. Some not even for writing."
"What do you mean?" Emily asked. "Well" her face went crimson, "I did get an interesting call from Playboy."
"WHAT?" Miranda almost choked on her Vodka.
"Bloody hell Sachs" Emily squealed
Nigel just laughed, "See what a size 4 ass will get you."
Andy playfully sneered at him
Miranda was still dumbstruck, she was waiting, holding her breath to hear what the woman she wanted to be the only one to look at in that way's response was.
"Well?" the Brazilian asked
She looked at Miranda, her eyes smiling, "I told them no thank you." Miranda released her breath and took a long drink to calm her now jittery nerves. "I informed them that I would be honored to submit an article, but that was the only way I would consider being published in their magazine."
"Pity" Serena whispered, which earned a glare from Emily, that their editor did not miss, and the tall beauty slid down a little in her seat, taking a long drink of her martini, finishing it.
Nigel glanced at Emily and Serena, "I'm ready for another. Anyone else?" he nodded with his eyes to his comrades.
Emily caught on "Yes please. I need to stop at the loo. Serena?"
"Yes, Yes, right behind you."
The three left, leaving Andy and Miranda alone. Andy spoke first.
"Thank you for coming tonight."
"You are welcome"
They sat in silence again until Miranda spoke, "I've missed you Andréa." She rubbed her fingers on the foot of her glass.
"I've missed you too Miranda. Very much." At those words the older woman looked up into the big brown eyes gazing at her and smiled the most amazing smile Andy had ever seen.
"You have the most gorgeous smile." The younger woman told her and watched as Miranda Priestly blushed.
"Thank you Andréa"
Their moment was broken by the return of the trio, drinks in hand. The three took their seats grinning. Nigel lifted his glass, "To friends and future"
They all lifted and drank.
Nigel spoke, "Hey Six, if you were to write a piece for RUNWAY" he looked at his boss then back to Andy, "What would you write about?"
"Hmm, that's easy. A day in the life of a RUNWAY employee." She took a sip of her Vodka, feeling a bit braver with the alcohol she had consumed in the past few hours with her friends. "I'd love to show the world how much work, devotion, love and talent goes into each and every issue. Show the side of the magazine its' readers take for granted. The hours spent creating the perfection they've come to expect each month."
"Wow" Serena said, "you've really thought about this."
"Yup. To tell you the truth, I've already written it in my head. I think I started it on my first day. Everything was completely different than I had expected it to be. The people, the attitudes and of course," she smirked at Miranda," the devotion that filters down from the top."
Miranda snorted, "I think you have devotion confused with fear Andréa."
Andy looked at each of her friends then back to her love, "I don't believe so." Emily gasped at Andy's reply to Miranda's statement, "but you might." She smiled at Miranda's raised eyebrow.
"Mmhmm" she took a drink calmly
"Well then, maybe we should see a draft of this article of yours'. Perhaps our readers aren't the only ones taking things for granted."
Emily choked on her drink, Nigel patted her back chuckling.
Miranda mentally checked off a list in her mind; strengths and weaknesses, check, drive, check, desires, check, dreams, check, actions and reactions, check, ideals, check, self worth, check, beliefs, check, accomplishments, check.
Andrea being her equal, making her a better person and looking at herself in a new light, check!
She winked at Andréa who grinned back.
Got the girl. Next step, keep the girl.
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