duwinter


DuWinter's Muse

'Life IS Risk!'


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Fallen Angel (Chapter 4 of ?)
duwinter

Title: Fallen Angel

Author: duwinter

Fandom: DWP

Pairing: Eventually Miranda/Andy

Rating: Hard “M”

Setting: The world of the movie, save for a very different Andy.

Summary: The twins runaway from home. Miranda is worried. An AU Andy, who's formative years were quite different than what is normally written in the fandom, returns them home.

Disclaimer: The Devil Wears Prada and it's characters do not belong to me. No profit being made here. I'm just playing with them for a short while and I promise to put them away neatly when I'm through.

Dedication: This story is dedicated to the two members of our fanfic community that made the July Fic-A-Thon a reality. Thank you punky_96 & xenavirgin! Congrats Ladies! Your organizational skills have garnered us a plethora of new fics for the second year in a row!

Author's Note: This piece is far darker and gritter that anything I have attempted to write in the past. It is not a happy piece, but it is an idea that wouldn't leave me alone. In it I use language that I am not comfortable with in my normal work-a-day world. I use it because it is how I hear the characters speak in my head. In this reality Miranda is forty-seven, the twins sixteen and Andy twenty-four.

Comment: Comments feed the muse and the Muse is always hungry. Remember, a fat muse is a happy and productive muse. Comments and constructive criticism eagerly encouraged.

Credit Where Credit Is Due: The powerful and all-knowing punky_96, beta reader extraordinaire. You make everything you touch SO much better! Your contributions to my poor efforts to entertain are greatly appreciated. The reading public have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA how much they appreciate your efforts! This story has been tweaked since the last beta read-through so any and all mistakes are mine and mine alone.

Vocabulary Note: In the lexicon of slang used in the hard-core pornographic film industry a Loop is a short film, usually containing scenes of hard core sexual acts with virtually no set up or plot. Loops usually run fifteen to thirty minutes in length. They are very inexpensive to make, and several loops are strung together, often without rhyme or reason, on a DVD for sale to the buying public. Actresses who work the loop trade often have a short career of perhaps one to five years in the 'business'. In that time an actress might very well do hundreds of loops. For the purposes of this story, the use of the word Film or Movie, in regard to the pornographic film industry, denote a bigger budget, more prestigious, more mainstream affair.



Part 4

Miranda sat in her study nursing a tumbler of eighteen-year-old year old single malt Scotch on the rocks. It seemed to her that the doctor had been upstairs for a very long time.

She knew that she did not do waiting well, but she supposed, in her impatience, that such was necessary. After all, the doctor was examining not only their new house-guest, but both the twins as well. She glanced at the mantel clock, it had been an hour and a half since Dr. Bhatnagar's arrival.

Hearing someone on the stairs, she braced herself. She was fearful of what the doctor might say about the health of her daughters after their nightmare adventure in a section of society she would have hoped they'd never encountered.

Her doctor, a petite, Indian woman close to Miranda's age, gave a brief knock at the door, before bustling into the room.

"So Doctor," Miranda demanded, rising from her chair, "what have you learned?"

Dr. Bhatnagar moved over to the side table that held the crystal decanter. Picking up one of the highball glasses that sat there, she poured herself a tot of the golden liquid. Turning back to Miranda, she took a sip and then addressed the question. "I've examined both Caroline and Cassidy. After some initial reluctance, they were surprisingly candid with me considering what they've been through. To achieve that honest conversation, however, took the intervention of your house-guest and her insisting that they tell me everything." She took another sip of scotch and motioned towards the chairs in the room. "Perhaps we better sit down."

With a rigid spine Miranda returned to her seat. She was terrified of what she was about to hear and she had never handled being afraid very well.

The doctor looked at her compassionately. "The twins appear to be in good shape physically. There was some low-level experimentation with alcohol and drugs while they were away from home. Both used marijuana and Cassidy tried ecstasy once. There was also some minor experimentation with sex. They did not engage in intercourse. With what I've been told, and I want to stress that I do not believe that there is any reason for concern, but they're going to come into the office in the next few days and I'll do a blood test so I can screen for STDs, just to be on the safe side.”

Miranda pursed her lips and glared at the woman that had been her doctor longer than the twins had been alive. “What else,” she growled.

“There are going to be repercussions from what they've been through. They've suffered significant psychological trauma and emotional impact. I'm no child psychiatrist, but if they were my children, I would get them to a good counselor,” Dr. Bhatnaar advised.

In full dragon mode, Miranda nodded. "I've already been in touch with someone very highly rated in the field. I've arranged for Cassidy and Caroline to see him. I've also arranged for family joint counseling sessions so that the girls and I can begin to try and address what's been going wrong in our relationship.”

The doctor looked at Miranda thoughtfully and carefully took another sip from a glass. "It sounds like a good start," the woman offered.

The dragon nodded absently, "now, what can you tell me about my house-guest?" She asked with scorn in her tone.

Dr. Bhatnagar looked uncomfortable and hedged, "Miranda, the twins are minor children and you are their mother. I can talk to you about their cases,” she explained. “Discussion of Andy's case puts me in an ethical bind, because she is an adult, and I must keep her confidentiality," she continued succinctly.

"How long have we known each other, Nirmala?" Miranda asked in a low voice, using the Doctor's first name as they did when at social events together. "This… this street person has come out of nowhere and enthralled my children. Cassidy has made it quite clear that if this Andy person leaves, she will go with her!” Miranda paled as pieces fell together. Then she felt her blood boil. “You said that my daughters' had engaged in some sexual experimentation,” she spoke quietly, but her usual calm, even cold delivery was absent. Her tone became increasingly intense as she continued. “Is that the hold that Andrea has over her!? Is that woman sleeping with my daughter?! ”

The Doctor shook her head. “Slow down Miranda!” she exclaimed. “From what each of the twins told me independently of one another, Andy hasn't had sex with either of your children. What Cassidy and Caroline also told me was that, Andy is the only reason they got home safely. From my interaction with the woman herself, she quite honestly seems more concerned with your daughters' welfare than her own well-being.”

“I need to have information to be able to deal with this situation, Nirmala,” Miranda insisted. “What would you want to know if it was your boy?! What would you need to know?!”

The Doctor gazed into the dregs of her Scotch and weighed professional ethics against a mother's instincts and her long standing friendship with her companion. She sighed softly and then complied. “The young woman is suffering from acute cocaine withdrawal. From what I can see she has a sizable habit and has had one for some time. From what she told me, she has no family, no friends, no support network of any kind, presently no way of supporting herself. Under these circumstances prognosis for her kicking her habit is poor at best, but it really depends on how much desire she has to get off the drug and what kind of internal reserves of resolve she has."

Miranda rose from her chair suddenly and, grabbing the decanter of Scotch, splashed more into her glass. Moving to where the doctor sat she did the same to Nirmala's glass. “My daughters want to be part of the process of her getting off drugs,” she grated. “They want her to live here with us while they help her get her train-wreck of life in some kind of order.” Miranda shook her head. “I have serious misgivings about this situation, but my daughters are tying my hands. I can't have them running off again and I have little doubt that Cassidy would make good on the threat,” Miranda concluded.

“Don't doubt it for a minute, mother,” Caroline said from the study's doorway.

“Caroline, you shouldn't be eaves-dropping!” Miranda, surprised, replied waspishly.

“Please, Mother,” Caroline responded, her tone and delivery illustrating clearly that she was her mother's daughter and that the apple hadn't fallen far from the tree. “If Cassidy and I didn't eaves-drop on the adults in our lives, everything we were ever told would have been sanitized and spun to the point of it not being reality.” She glanced at the Doctor. “I'm sorry you have to be here for this Dr. Bhatnagar,” she offered in a conciliatory tone, “but my mother needs a bucket of cold reality dumped on her head and I'm precious short on time.” She turned hard eyes back to where her mother sat. “If Andy leaves, Cassidy will go too. You need to accept that. You need to find a way to deal with it. If Cassidy leaves, I'll go in order to try and keep Cass out of trouble. The way to keep Cass here at home and safe is to help Andy. You need to hear me and to listen to what I'm saying. We're on the razor's edge here. You can't afford to manipulate this situation. You can't fuck this up, Mother. If you do it will cost you Cassidy and I'm simply not going to allow that to happen. I'm going to do whatever it takes to save my family and I expect you to do the same!” She exclaimed passionately.

Miranda was stunned. Caroline, her usually diplomatic child, had just told her “what-for” for the second time in a single evening. Caroline turned to where the Doctor sat. “I looked at the medications you gave Andy. I see that you've prescribed Amantadine and Propanolol, I've been on the internet upstairs researching cocaine withdrawal treatments. The Amantadine is to help her with the physical effects of withdrawal and the Propanolol to bring her blood pressure down?” She continued in the same no-nonsense tone.

The Doctor nodded, impressed. “You will make a hell of a doctor one day, Caroline Priestly,” she said.

Caroline shook her head and, looking worried, continued, “The site I was on also says that by this point the worst of the physical manifestations of her withdrawal should be about over. But that's not the end of it by a long shot. The sites say that the psychological need for the drug can take years to get over!”

The doctor nodded and turning to Miranda, spoke. “It's likely not my place to say, Miranda, but I'm going to put my two cents in as your friend,” she offered. “Perhaps you should listen to your daughter. While there are risks involved with having the young woman stay here, the alternative is that if she leaves, your relationship with Cassidy might never recover.”

Miranda nodded and turned her thoughts to the future.

Later in the evening, after Dr. Bhatnagar had taken her leave, Miranda spent several hours contemplating the situation she found herself in. After the house had been quiet for some time, she had gone to check on her daughters. She found Caroline asleep in her bed with her laptop still open to a web page on cocaine addition and its treatment. She found Cassidy dozing in a chair at their apparently sleeping house-guest's bedside. Waking her daughter gently, she sent her to her room. Then she returned to her study and sat alone in the dark, her mind again turning over all that had happened and all that had been said.

She knew that the path to repair her relationship with her children would be difficult. To keep the tenuous peace, for the moment, she had to do as her daughters had insisted and accept this drug addict street person into her home. She and her children would endeavor to find a middle ground where they might come together to aid this wild card that had entered their lives.

Miranda considered it a dangerous proposition, but a necessary one. In business dealings she had always found it best to know as much as she possibly could about any obstacle before trying to deal with it. While what her physician had told her was helpful, it wasn't nearly enough to aid in filling in the pros and cons columns of the risk/benefit exercise she was trying to engage in. It seemed a prudent course of action at the very least, to find out as much she could about the woman, Andy. In order to do that, she needed help.

In Miranda's social interactions, she had contacts in a huge number of spheres. Some of those individuals had reputations far less than what was considered reputable. One such contact was Aimee Van-Morton. Born of a wealthy Manhattan family, Aimee had been considered scandalous among polite society since she had been a young teen, some twenty-five years ago. Had Miranda's circle of acquaintances been born in an earlier age, it is likely that the woman would have been called a libertine or a courtesan. It was widely bandied about that Ms. Van-Morton maintained her fortune through involvement in running a high-end escort agency, drug dealing, blackmail, and a string of rich, often married, lovers of both sexes. It was also well known in Miranda's social circle that the most stuck-up, self-righteous and priggish individuals in polite society shunned Ms. Van Morton socially, until, that is, they needed something on the dark side. Then, they discreetly went to her, hat in hand. Miranda had met Aimee early in her career at Runway and had long admired the unusual social niche that the woman had carved out for herself. Although Aimee went to great lengths to intentionally make most of the people in her social circle uncomfortable in the extreme, she was invited to every social event and party. Miranda, herself, saw to it that Aimee received VIP invitations to every Runway related fashion event. This, however, was not out of fear of drawing Aimee's ire, as was so often the reason people made sure of her invitations, but because of Miranda's genuine regard and admiration for the outlaw woman.

She used a well manicured fingernail to tap changes into the appointment calendar application in her cell phone. The app was synced with the computer on Emily's desk at Runway and would automatically update the first assistant's to-do list for the coming morning. She ordered her assistant to arrange a lunch date with Aimee Van-Morton as soon as was convenient to both their schedules. I'll ask Aimee to use her contacts in Los Angeles to find out all I can about this Andy and the other people my girls encountered while they were out there, she thought to herself.

*****

The house had been silent for hours. Being quiet as a mouse, Andy carefully negotiated her way down the dark corridor to the top of the broad staircase. A small nightlight mercifully illuminated the top edge of the drop at the first step. With her hand securely on the rail and her duffel bag over her shoulder she made her way slowly down the stairs. Once at the bottom, she moved, purposefully, through the foyer towards the front door of the townhouse.

“May I ask where you think you're going?” A velvet voice quietly inquired from the darkness in one of the rooms adjoining the vestibule.

Andy nearly jumped out of her skin and it was all she could do to not cry out in surprise. She turned towards the voice and suddenly a small table lamp was turned on, revealing the twin's mother sitting in an upholstered wing-back chair. Intelligent blue eyes focused on Andy. The woman from Los Angeles felt rooted to the spot. She licked her lips and tried to calm her breathing. “I'm just going to go,” she replied softly. “It will be better for everybody really. The girls are home and you'll make sure they're alright.”

Miranda regarded the woman. It would be easy to let her go. Tomorrow morning she could tell her children that she hadn't seen Andy leave. She could lie and say she had no idea when the woman left or where she had gone. She was immediately aware that her daughters wouldn't believe her. That she would be condemned as responsible for the woman's departure. Caroline's dire warning of Cassidy's intentions should that occur rang in her ears and she knew it was necessary to head off this eventuality. “They want to help you,” she said softly, gentling her usual cold presentation. “They want to be part of you finding a way to redirect your life.”

Andy bristled a bit. “Who says my life needs redirecting?” She demanded. “What business is it of theirs, or yours, for that matter, how I choose to live my life?”

Miranda smiled a vulpine smile. “But that's exactly the point, isn't it?” She asked. “Can you honestly say you're directing your life? Other than making the decision to rescue my daughters, can you tell me the last time you made a choice that was just what you wanted to do?”

Andy opened her mouth to answer and then faltered. She thought about the question and truly couldn't come up with an answer. Thinking back, it had been before her association with Nate, but, if she were being honest with herself, it was long before that, because so many of the decisions she'd made since her momma had put her ass out on the street had been matters of simple survival. Bad choices lined up one after another and she had only been picking the least disagreeable of them. She looked at Miranda. “If I stay,” she almost whispered, “I'll just mess it up. I'll disappoint them like I have everybody else,” she uttered plaintively.

Miranda nodded, “but if you leave, you will not be the one held responsible,” she answered softly, a touch of sadness in her tone. “You will find that I rarely explain myself. It is one of the perks of the position I have achieved. But, in this, I believe it necessary that we clearly understand each other. I'm struggling to keep my children. I will do whatever is necessary to accomplish that end. They have, perhaps unfortunately, chosen to pull you into this struggle. I find that I need you as an ally. After a good deal of consideration, I believe we might be in a position to support one-another.”

Andy looked at the regal woman, ensconced in a throne-like chair. “How do you figure?” she asked warily.

“My daughters' plan, although rather raw, is not without merit. The doctor indicated that any attempt to get off drugs would be much harder without a support network. That is what my daughters' want to offer you. I have the resources to provide the type of care necessary for you to maybe deal with the difficult aspects of your recovery. I am also in a position where my influence could help you obtain gainful employment,” Miranda said as she rose from where she sat. She reached out and splashed another couple of fingers of Scotch from the nearly empty crystal decanter that held it, into her glass. “What I would require from you is a commitment to try. If you decide that you can't handle it at some point in the future, then that is your choice. However, If you will try, I will do all I can to make the way easier. It will serve my interests in trying to repair my relationship with my daughters. What I will insist on is that if you decide you can not handle recovery, that you face my daughters and explain that it is your choice to give up and not my doing.”

Andy shivered before the image of power standing before her. “I want your girls to be okay,” she almost whispered. “I need that. I need that for them and for me too. I need to know that they've got a chance. One that I never got. ”

“Nonsense,” Miranda retorted coldly. “Your chance is before you now, All you need do is have the fortitude to reach out, grab it, hang on and fight for what you want. Anything less is lazy cowardice.”

Andy licked her lips and stared at the vision of assertive confidence before her. Even feeling as ill as she did, the woman's power and authority was a terrific turn-on. “You'll help me?” she asked, her voice small.

“I will do all I can to aid you, as it is my daughters' wish I do so, but you are the one that is going to have to do the work. Dr. Bhatnagar indicated that this will not be an easy task. She explained that addiction is difficult to overcome unless the individual involved truly wishes to leave it behind. It will mean not only overcoming the physical and psychological aspects, but likely dealing with the root causes that motivated you to be susceptible to the lure of self-medicating in the first place. You will need therapy to address issues in your past that have encouraged your dependence on drugs as an escape mechanism. This process will likely take quite some time, so a commitment from both of us is necessary. In for a penny, in for a pound, as it were.”

Andy looked scared. “What would I be doing all of that time?” She asked quietly, her words trembling. “I mean, I have to earn my keep. I don't have anything in the way of savings or anything. Nothing I own is worth anything.”

Miranda nodded. “For a time I would see to your care and feeding. I would have you stay here with us at least until the immediate physical aspects of your addiction are conquered. According to Dr. Bhatnagar, that will not be very long. After that, I would expect you to find some kind of gainful employment. My daughters also told me that you never graduated high school, so I would expect you to work towards becoming educated. I would suggest an equivalency course of study or perhaps the GED. Once you have successfully completed that we can see about college of some kind.”

Andy nodded. “I can make enough to get by dancing or working a peep,” she said, her mind turning on the idea of finally working toward getting an education. Nate had simply kept her too busy to have the time to pursue anything to better herself. Any time she tried to to do something for herself he'd suddenly have shoots for her to do.

“No.” Miranda said firmly. “Nothing in that...world.” The last word dripped with disdain. “I won't have my daughters exposed to that kind of lifestyle. I will help you get something that will allow you to support a modest living. It should not be difficult as for the foreseeable future you will be living here with us and concentrating on your recovery.”

Andy nodded. “I'd like to try Miranda,” she said softly. “I'd like to try to get clean and to straighten out my life. I wasn't really happy doing loops, but I didn't see any way out.”

“I would imagine that your 'manager' certainly wasn't offering you opportunities to improve your situation,” Miranda responded.

Andy found it amazing the way the woman could make icicles hang from particular words when she spoke. Volumes of meaning in the inflection imparted to a few interconnected syllables. Amused, she snorted. “Nate never did anything that didn't benefit him directly. He didn't even want me to get acting lessons when I was working in the movies.”

Miranda nodded knowingly. “He is a parasite, Andrea. Like those disgusting little creatures, he lives off of others. He understood that if you advanced your education in any way that you might find a sliver of self-worth. He couldn't afford to have that happen, because if it did, you might realize that you didn't need him anymore. And he needed you far more than you needed him."

Andrea nodded her understanding as she basked in the quiet certainty and strength of her companion. I can learn from you, she thought to herself as she lost herself in the older woman's beautiful blue eyes.

*****

Nate Silver had been in Manhattan for less than forty-eight hours. He'd managed to meet with the handful of contacts he had in the city and after consultations with them, he knew where Miranda Priestly worked and where she and her daughters lived. He had, much to his amusement, been warned off by several of the people he spoke to. The Priestly woman was, apparently, a powerful bitch. They cautioned that she was some kind of high muckety-muck in society with some kind of powerhouse job in publishing. A woman said to be a mover and shaker in The City that Never Sleeps, one with a reputation for being both ruthless and vindictive when she felt she had been wronged. She was rumored to get the best of anyone that pissed her off.

He thought back on the events that had lead to his present situation. New York was expensive and Nate's contacts weren't close enough to him that they would let him crash with them. The flop motel he'd found was a hot-sheet joint that mostly serviced the local street-walking trade. As cheap as it was, it was still eating into the cash he had on hand. Last night he'd stopped into a liquor store just down the street from the hotel. He'd been in such places a thousand times before. The clerk was behind the protective glass set up around the front counter. Security surveillance was handled by a couple of video cameras monitored from inside the cashier's area. One quick glance around showed him the weaknesses in where the cameras could and could not see. It just so happened that the aisle that the vodka was stocked in was one of those weak spots in the store's defenses. The place wasn't busy, only a few people in the store and only one other guy in the vodka aisle. A big and black dude, in jeans that had seen better days and a New York Nicks sweatshirt. Nate didn't think he'd be any problem.

Why waste money paying for something when I can just pluck it off the tree, he thought happily to himself as he decided on two of the more expensive bottles. This being big bad New York City, the chances are good that nobody is going to get involved even if they do see me. He had just slipped the second bottle off the shelf and into his coat when he felt a hand come down on his shoulder.

“Guddammit!” came the deep basso-profundo voice from directly behind him as the hand clamped, vise like, on his shoulder. “I just got off duty! N.Y.P.D. scumbag! You're under arrest!”

Booking had been the usual cluster-fuck as a number of cops treated him like a piece of shit. Cops had no respect for people that had to hustle a living on the streets. He had managed to get the booking officers to accept one of his phony I.D.'s. This made him confident that the warrants out on him in other cities around the country weren't likely to jam him up, as long as he didn't give the authorities any reason to dig into his identity. He knew that they weren't going to go to the trouble and expense of running his prints on a minor shoplifting beef.

One interesting thing had occurred while he was standing in line with six other people arrested for minor crimes, waiting to get a mugshot taken. He managed to get a look at a newspaper that sat on the desk of one of the cops working the mugshot camera. It was a big picture of the Priestly woman. He'd seen a small picture of her in that tabloid rag that Lily had shown him. That picture hadn't done her justice. This picture was a quarter page, on some gossip thing called Page Six. It showed an elegantly dressed, knock-out hot looking, older woman. Nate wondered passingly if she might be a Dom. That would be something he could sell. The old woman, whip in hand, Andy's ass up in the air, a beautiful burnished cherry red. The younger woman, whimpering, tears in her eyes, begging to be allowed to pleasure her mistress with lips and tongue. It would make a hell of a loop. He sighed. He was going to have plenty of time to think about such things as it was going to be a while before he was going anywhere.

Before his Arraignment later that evening, Nate met with his idiot, constitutionally provided, public defense lawyer. He told the man that it would be better for him if the cops didn't dig into him too deeply. The best way to make sure of that, the lawyer had advised him, was to plead guilty before the judge at arraignment. The harried public defender assured him that as busy as the courts were and as crowded as the jail on Riker's Island was, the judge would demand restitution to the store for the two bottles of vodka, and sentence Nate to time-served plus a period of community service. The judge, however, was apparently not in on the plan and Nate got restitution and forty-five days in jail on the shoplifting bust when he plead guilty. He had made a phone call from the jail to let Lily know he was going to be gone a while and that she was in charge. He knew that the deal had gone through and that Dougie was starting to do films for that sugar-daddy producer that was so taken with him. She was to keep Dougie working and make some money herself. He told her that he wanted to see at least fifteen grand when he got back.

Nate looked out through the bars of his cell and narrowed his eyes. This is all Andy's fault, he thought to himself. And when I get out I'm going to make the bitch pay. I have plenty of time to come up with something really nasty to do to the bitch's sorry ass.

*****

Lunch with Aimee Van-Morton hadn't been difficult for Miranda's assistants to arrange. The woman had been both surprised and delighted by the invitation and cleared her schedule to meet at the Icon's earliest convenience. The two women met for lunch at the Sea Fire Grill two days after Miranda told her first assistant to arrange the meeting.

Miranda smiled as she approached the table where Aimee sat with a drink already in front of her. The woman was a vision, dressed in the newest black Falguni Shane Peacock mini-dress shot through with metallic accents and adorned with faux gemstones. Miranda always appreciated the woman's sense of style. As Miranda arrived at the table Aimee stood and the two women shared the air kisses that were traditional among their social milieu.

“Aimee, my dear,” Miranda said, taking her seat, “thank you for taking the time to meet with me.”

The silver haired woman's companion took her own seat. “It was my pleasure, dear. I always enjoy our encounters.” She said, signaling for a waiter, who quickly brought the two women menus and left just as quickly. “Although I must admit that I suspect that your purpose for this meeting isn't strictly social,” the outlaw woman smirked.

Miranda nodded. “You would be correct in that assumption. I find that I am in need of your services,” she said quietly, opening her menu.

Aimee smiled, “You surprise me, Miranda,” she replied. “I never thought it likely that you would need to come to me for anything.”

Miranda gave a half shrug. “I have need of information in areas beyond my reach. If things I've heard are half truth, you are likely to have the contacts I lack,” she offered, perusing her menu.

Aimee opened her own menu, “What information are you looking for?” She asked quietly.

“There is a young woman of my acquaintance. Until recently she was working in the adult film industry, in Los Angeles, under the name of Angel Noire. I want to know everything you can find out about her and, more importantly, about the people that she was living with.”

Aimee nodded. “I know some people that likely know some people in that industry. It will take some time to make the necessary calls. You do realize that this sort of thing is really quite a bit like the children's game Whisper Down the Lane. I can't promise that what I hear back will be vetted or of any value.”

Miranda nodded and offered the woman a tight smile, “Any assistance you can offer will be appreciated, Aimee,” she replied, and then turned the conversation to more mundane matters.

*****

So a week passed with Andy living in the Priestly home. Although winding down rapidly, the twins were still on summer break from their high school. This meant that they were home during the day and spent the time helping Andy cope with the last vestiges of the physical aspect of her addiction.

In the evenings Miranda observed the three and could clearly see that her daughters were genuinely committed to the young stranger that had entered their lives. She was surprised that the twins eschewed the normal social whirl of their circle of friends in favor of staying close to home with Andy. She watched as her daughters took on adult responsibility in regard to making sure that Andy didn't relapse. They helped her find a narcotics anonymous group and one or the other of them would accompany her to meetings, to be there to provide encouragement to attend, to open up and speak of her addiction, and to be with Andy on the way to and from the meetings to help her not be lured into allowing the psychological needs of her addiction misdirect her into going in search of someone to sell her cocaine.

Miranda could also admit that she could see that Andy was trying. She was witness to the woman's struggle with her need for her drug of choice in the early days. She also perceived Andy's excitement at the prospect of being allowed to continue her education. Andy and the twins had already gotten GED preparatory books which Andy, with the twins' help, spent some time working in each day.

On the last night of the first week with Andrea as a resident in her home, Miranda came home from work in the early evening and found Andrea sitting at the kitchen table deeply engaged in some task on one of her daughters' laptop computers. Concerned about her daughter's welfare and what the young woman might be doing, she quietly moved up behind Andy to check on what the young woman was up to. Miranda was relieved to discover that Andy was on a local help-wanted site and was apparently looking for a job. Miranda took this for a very good sign. “I'm pleased you are being so proactive in your recovery, Andrea” she offered softly to the woman seated at the table.

Andy's demeanor lit up under the praise and Miranda was witness to a smile that she felt lit up the room. Again she was struck with just how attractive she found the young woman who was staying in her house.

“I hope you don't mind me using Caroline's computer. She said it was okay,” the young brunette offered her hostess.

Miranda dipped her head in a brusk nod. “I will admit to concern when I entered the room,” she allowed. “I'm pleased to see that you are using it to seek gainful employment.”

Andy smiled again and turned back to the screen, quietly resuming her job search. “There are a bunch of jobs I ought to be able to do,” she offered, excitedly. “There is a Barista opening at a coffee place just a few bus stops from here and there's a cashier opening at a local flower shop nearby. I think that I could handle either of those jobs even without my high-school diploma.”

Miranda smiled and nodded encouragingly, although internally, she had her doubts of management at either job even being willing to talk with Andrea once they discovered she hadn't finished high-school. In these days and times even the simplest jobs seemed to want a two-year college degree at the very least.

“I'll go to both places tomorrow morning and get applications, Andrea continued enthusiastically, evidently already planning her job search. “If I go to the flower shop first, I could get a cup of coffee at the coffee place and fill out both applications right there while I drink it! I can have both applications in before lunchtime!” she continued excitedly.

Miranda again nodded, wanting to be supportive and to encourage Andrea's desire to move forward into her new life. In her own thoughts, however, she was deeply concerned for the young woman. She feared that if Andrea was honest on her job applications, she was unlikely to be hired anywhere of any worth. Still, Miranda kept her own counsel for the moment, not wanting to discourage what she recognized as a very positive trait in the young woman's character.

*****

The next morning Emily buzzed into Miranda's office on the intercom. “Miranda, I have Aimee Van-Morton for you on line one. She says you're expecting her call.”

“Yes, Emily,” Miranda answered. “Put her through.”

In a moment she heard Aimee's voice on the other end of the line. “Good morning, Miranda, I have that information you wanted.”

“Excellent,” Miranda replied. “What do you have for me?”

“Well, what I have is spotty at best. The people you're asking about are fringe players, so there's not a lot of information to be had. It seems your acquaintance, Angel Noire, although well thought of by those she's worked with in the industry, has worked only in its lowest echelons. Strictly low budget loop work, even though a few directors and producers known to my contacts say that with the proper management and guidance, she could be a great deal more. From what I hear, her screen persona is pure sex. It's her present manager, apparently, that's the problem. Nobody wants to work with him. The clown's name is Nate Silver and he's strictly low rent. I'm told he's virtually impossible to work with and willing to do anything to make a buck. The people my people talked to say that his stable of actors have to go to their shoots without him because no one running the shoots wants him on the set. He's disruptive and thinks he knows everything about everything. He's gotten in the way of Angel Noire making anything of herself in the industry.”

Miranda made a sound deep in her throat that acknowledged she was listening.

“The rest of his stable consists of a Lily Freedman and a Doug Chapman who also both work loops. Word is that Chapman may be breaking out in gay porn. He's the poster boy for a new, well-financed, high end studio. There's also word that he's banging the owner of said studio. Not an unusual state of affairs in that industry.”

“There's one more thing that you should be aware of if you're involved with these people, Miranda,” Aimee continued, her tone offering both concern and warning. “There are some very nasty whispers about another girl that was in Silver's stable a few years ago. Her stage name was Sienna Star and she disappeared without a trace. Silver has bragged that he took her to Mexico and sold her to a seriously bad player down there. My contacts have reason to believe that what he's said is true. If this Silver is involved with the man I'm told he sold this woman to, you don't want anything to do with him, because he's connected to a seriously dangerous individual.”

“I am not involved with any of the people there other than the woman you know as Angel Noire, Aimee, and she's left that life behind.” Miranda declared. “I thank you for your efforts on my behalf. Our talk has been most informative. I owe you.”

“Any time, Miranda. Always happy to do a favor for a friend,” the woman on the other end of the telephone call replied.

*****

Miranda rode in the back of her town-car on the way home from another long day at her office. The moments of quiet allowed her to consider the recent past and think on what her next actions should be toward aiding the young woman that was living in her home. It came as a surprise that she now realized that she fiercely desired to see the young woman succeed.

Another week and a half had passed and in that time Andrea had earned Miranda's admiration. She, the twins and Andrea had come to certain understandings. Andrea was to have what amounted to a small allowance so she could ride public transportation, purchase necessities for herself and be able to get something to eat when out hunting for a job.

Each morning, Andrea, dressed in a fairly conservative manner in clothing that Miranda had provided, left the townhouse either at the same time as Miranda did or even earlier. Each day she had a carefully organized handful of leads to available job openings.

Each evening, Miranda would return home to find Andrea either organizing her job search for the next day or working in her high-school equivalency workbooks. It was evident to the older woman, however, that each night would find Andrea with a little less enthusiasm, a little less of the vivacious spark that usually characterized the young woman's personality. Andrea had quietly expressed her frustration and her concern that she was “not pulling her weight.” Miranda had tried to be supportive by telling the young woman that finding employment in a city like New York took time, explaining that there was simply so much competition for a limited number of openings.

Miranda knew that the girl was painfully discovering the truth that Miranda had feared. Without a high-school diploma and with no work experience in the straight world, Andrea wasn't even getting a chance to interview for any of the jobs she was seeking. She was simply being told repeatedly that she was unqualified, even to do something as simple as stocking shelves or running a cash register. On Tuesday of the coming week, school would once again be in session and Caroline and Cassidy would return to classes at Dalton. Miranda had reservations about Andrea being allowed the type of unstructured time that the twins being at school all day was going to create. The let down of not finding a job, coupled with the frustration that it had to be causing the young woman was strong incentive for her to give up and return to the self-destructive lifestyle she had lived before coming into Miranda and her daughters' lives. That simply would not do. As the car pulled up in front of the townhouse, she came to a decision. Tonight, after she had gone over the book, she would make the time to consider who among her acquaintances might have a position that Andrea could successfully fill. Tomorrow she could make the necessary phone calls.

Entering her home she found music playing and heard laughter from the kitchen. Moving resolutely, she went to determine the cause of the merriment. She found her daughters and Andrea eating a truly sinful looking pizza and drinking soda-pop. There was an air of excitement and joy that Miranda had not felt in her home for many years.

Caroline was the first to see her mother standing in the doorway and her eyes lit up. She pointed at her mouth to indicate that she had a mouth full of food and she reached out and slapped her sister on the shoulder. Cassidy turned and seeing her mother, smiled. “Mom!” she exclaimed, “Andy got a job!”

“That is exciting news, indeed,” the older woman offered cautiously. Immediate concern took hold in Miranda's center. Had the girl broken their agreement and allowed her fear of not providing for herself lead her into a mistake? Had she succumbed to the lure of going back to stripping or working in one of those miserable peep shows that dotted the City that Never Sleeps? It took only a moment for Miranda to get the story and to have her fears alleviated.

“I'm going to be a clerk in a video rental place!” Andrea gushed excitedly, her smile lighting up the room. “I took my application in and the owner was there. He interviewed me on the spot and gave me the job. I start training tomorrow afternoon!”

“Video rental,” Miranda replied softly, trying to remember when the last time she was in such a place was. With the shift in technology, such establishments were going the way of the dinosaurs. “This wouldn't be one of those adult only establishments, would it?” She asked. Technically such a place wouldn't breach the agreement she had with Andrea about what kind of work was suitable, but it would still be a place where Andrea would be working with a clientele that Miranda would rather have her avoid.

Andy looked down at the counter top, obviously sensing Miranda's disapproval. “Well,” she said softly, “They do have a porn section in a room in the back, but the front is all main stream and family movies!”

Internally, Miranda was relieved. She had never been naïve and knew full well that distribution of pornography was a multi-billion dollar a year industry that even mega-corporations had dipped their toes into the profit pool of. It would be ridiculous to think that a local retail store would not take advantage of that revenue stream. Andrea had found a job in a place like every other main-stream video store in the city. Family friendly and “R” rated entertainment in the front and triple “X” rated material in the back, for those patrons so inclined. Andrea had landed herself a straight job, by her own dogged determination and tenacity. Miranda felt proud of the young woman. She reached out and took a piece of the greasy, loaded with toppings pizza and raised it as if in toast. “Congratulations, Andrea,” she offered, and then took a bite. The family celebration continued long into the night.

*****

It had been an incredibly long and frustrating day for Miranda. It seemed to her that nothing had gone easily since the moment she had gotten up before dawn this morning. The next issue of Runway due to go to print was plagued with problems and what had been accomplished so far on the following issue was, in Miranda's opinion, both lacking and uninspired. She was surrounded by incompetence at work. The art department didn't seem to know which color was which, the layout department kept mismatching captions and pictures, accounting was having problems providing a report Miranda had demanded on advertising revenues and the newest second assistant, although stylish, beautiful and of good family, was, quite simply, a moron that couldn't handle even the simplest of tasks without messing it up. The only reason that Miranda had not fired the useless girl yet was that the human resources department was as incompetent as the rest of her employees and she knew that if she fired the girl it would likely take a week or more to replace her.

Now, close to midnight, she sat in her dimly illuminated study with a generous glass of her favored Glenmorangie single malt scotch on the rocks. The high heeled Manolo Blahnik's she had worn all day lay discarded on the carpet beside her chair. She loathed procrastination in all its forms and had no respect for those that practiced that wasteful habit. She knew in this instance, however, that she, herself, was guilty of the sin. She was putting-off her nightly ritual of going through the Book to make corrections. She knew in her bones that the mock-up of the next Runway to go to print, which sat on her desk awaiting her attention, was going to still be the disaster it was earlier today. Truth be told, she just wasn't sure she was up for the headache she knew it was going to cause her.

She heard the front door to the house open and the familiar beeps of the person who opened it resetting the security system. She knew it was Andrea, returning home from work. The girl had been excited this morning when she and Miranda had enjoyed each other's company at breakfast. She had told Miranda that she was to report to her fourth day of work at the video store late in the afternoon and then stay after closing so that the owner could teach her to count out the cash register and prepare the bank deposit for the next morning. It seemed to Miranda that Andrea felt that the trust involved in handling the task of reconciling the store's daily accounts meant a great deal to the young woman.

She watched Andrea hurry quietly past the open door to the room she was in, dashing away, what Miranda could only assume to be tears, from her eyes. The jolt of concern that shot thorough the older woman's emotional landscape both surprised and frightened her. Miranda abruptly realized that she cared deeply about this young woman. A woman half her age, who in reality she barely knew anything about, had somehow managed to sweep past the carefully erected defenses that Miranda used to keep almost everyone out. Miranda was forced to admit that her interest was not completely innocent, Andrea stirred desires in Miranda that the older woman had thought herself long past for many years. Uncomfortable with strong emotions on the best of days and not understanding her sudden need to shelter and comfort her house-guest, she did the only thing she could think of: she fell back on the persona she had created to survive the high power, male dominated corporate world. The one the press had dubbed the Ice Queen. She quickly rose and stepped through the doorway of her office only in time to see Andrea make the turn at the top of the stairs, obviously headed for the guest room she was residing in. She followed on silent stocking feet. Stopping before the door to Andrea's room, the older woman took a moment to listen. She could hear Andrea sniffle and mutter unintelligibly to herself. Miranda gathered herself and gently knocked. “Andrea?” she asked softly. The sounds of distress from inside the room stopped.

“Just a minute,” Andrea replied, Miranda was painfully aware that her house-guest's voice was flat, her normally exuberant tone absent. A moment later the door opened and Andrea stood before Miranda, her eyes dried of tears, but red from crying. Seeing Andrea in distress raised Miranda's hackles. The potent desire to protect the young woman surged though her. Someone had made her cry. That someone was going to pay dearly for their folly. Miranda would see to that personally. She stood there for a seemingly endless moment, unsure of how to bridge the awkward silence between them. Her mind was awash with feelings that she hadn't had time to completely identify, much less process. She cautioned herself to be gentle. Not to add to the young woman's level of distress. Figuratively, she reached out, trying to communicate with Andrea in the same way she was struggling to learn to communicate with her daughters. She wanted the woman to understand that she desired to help. Still years of habit were difficult to set aside. Her cold facade was what she presented to the outside world. “I noted that you were agitated when you came in. What has occurred? Who has upset you?” she demanded tersely.

Already on edge, Andrea stilled as she was suddenly confronted with Miranda’s cold, disciplined façade. She hung her head, ashamed. “I fucked up,” she whispered. “I got fired.”

Miranda was taken aback. Fired? She thought. The question sprang to her lips unbidden and unfiltered. “Why, Andrea? Why were you fired?”

Andrea shifted, obviously uncomfortable, “The owner of the store knew who I was,” she offered softly to the floor in front of her feet. “He knew I was Angel Noire when he hired me. Bastard had put together a DVD of cuts from my films. He played it for me after closing. He wanted me to be Angel Noire for the store. Do publicity and shit. He wanted more than that too. Like I'd do anything for the pittance he was paying. When he groped me I punched the shit out of him. Then he told me I was fired.” A tear leaked out of the corner of Andrea's eye and the young woman angrily dashed it away. “I told you I'd just mess it up,” she voiced her pain. “Just like I've done with every other God-damned thing in my miserable life.”

Miranda was suddenly touching Andrea. Her hand had moved without conscious thought. She had her fingers under the young brunette's chin and gently lifted Andrea's face so that their eyes met. “He touched you?” the Ice Queen demanded, her voice both terribly quiet and precise.

Andrea nodded, “He copped a feel,” she answered. “I told him that I wasn't doing that any more. I said I wanted to get my life on track in the straight world. When he reached for me again I let him have it.” She shook her head. “I imagine the cops will be knocking on the door soon. He said he was going to call them and have me charged with assault and battery.”

“If he tries,” Miranda countered, “I'll see to it he regrets the day he was born.” She made a mental note to call her lawyer in the morning and to make sure that the owner of the video store was informed of just what the ramifications of pursuing any action against Andrea would be. Miranda's revenge would be both swift and terrible.

The girl turned her head and looked at deeply Miranda. “Why?” she asked, perplexed. “Why would you stand up for me? Nobody has ever stood up for me.”

Miranda cocked her head and met the questioning, uncertain gaze. “You did nothing deserving of being terminated from that job,” she said decisively. “In fact, the owner of that establishment is guilty of sexually harassing an employee. He has done something that he could be sued for. You were also hired under spurious pretenses, which is another thing he could find himself in deep trouble for doing. You didn't do anything wrong in this, Andrea. You must not doubt yourself. He is the one that has stepped over the line. All you did is reject his unwanted advances and then defend yourself when he physically placed hands on you. He had no right to do what he did. He had no right to make you feel the way you are feeling.”

Andy looked up at the older woman and nodded. “Thank you, Miranda,” she answered softly. “Your believing in me means a lot.”

Miranda drew her hand away from Andrea's face. “I'm only speaking the truth, Andrea.” She said. “You should try and get some sleep. If the police should come, which I seriously doubt they will, you are not to come downstairs. I will answer the door and I will tell them that you will surrender yourself tomorrow in the company of competent legal council.”

Andrea nodded. “Alright. Good night, Miranda. Sweet dreams,” she said, closing her bedroom door.

“Good night, Andrea,” Miranda smiled as she walked back down the stairs to make sure the house was secure before finding her own bed.

*****

Miranda Priestly, every inch the icon, strode angrily into her office twenty minutes earlier than her usual time. She did not slow as she passed the second assistant's desk, dropping her handbag and coat. “Coffee, now,” she hissed at the woman seated there. Turning toward her office she glanced at her first assistant. “Emily,” she continued, “Get my lawyer on the telephone.”

Emily scrambled to comply as the second assistant fled the office in a rush to the local Starbucks for Miranda's morning fix of caffeine.

“I have your lawyer on the line for you, Miranda,” Emily called out from where she sat at her desk.”

Thinking of Ms. Hewes, a slow wicked smile lifted the corners of her lips. Miranda reached out and hit the button engaging the speaker phone as she sat down at her desk. “Patricia,” she said curtly, “I need you to do something for me...”

*****

At eleven A.M. Just after he had opened the store, video store owner, Clinton Murdoch was approached by a good looking middle aged woman in a power suit. “You are Mr. Murdoch?” the woman asked courteously. “The owner of this establishment?”

“That would be me,” the man behind the counter smiled to a potential paying customer.

The woman presented her business card. “My name is Patty Hewes of Hewes and Associates. I am here at the behest of my client Ms. Miranda Priestly, representing the interests of Ms. Andrea Sachs. I am here to inform you that any action you might be considering against Ms. Sachs would be ill advised. You, sir, abused her trust and physically assaulted her. As Ms. Sachs was employed by you for such a short time, we will not be seeking a severance package. We do, however, expect you to provide all salary due for hours worked, a good reference if such is requested from potential employers in future and an apology for the heinous way you both mislead and treated the young woman.”

Clint Murdoch looked first incredulous and then angry as the woman across from him spoke. “Now wait just one damn minute,” he said. “That bitch punched me. I'm gonna call the cops and have her arrested for assault and battery, and some friend of hers pretending to be some high-class shyster isn't going to scare me off. She's just another whore. One who I offered a good deal to. She could have worked here, I would have paid her good. All I wanted her to do was to be her porn star self when she was working, advertise for the store as Angel Noire and maybe give her benefactor a little piece on the side once in a while!”

“And was any of this discussed with her when you hired her?” Patty asked pointedly.

“Of course it wasn't discussed, what do you think I am, an idiot?” Clint grated, “She's a porn star. I recognized her from a bunch of the porn DVDs we have in the back. She was hot to get the job. It was a no-brainer. Let her have a taste and then let her know what was expected!” the store owner said arrogantly.

“And when she said 'no', you fired her,” the woman pressed.

“No, I fired the bitch when she hit me!” Clint said, having the gall to sound affronted.

Patty smiled a shark's smile. “In a word, Mr. Murdoch, yes, I do think you're an idiot. You've just admitted that you hired Ms. Sachs under false pretenses. You admit that you expected sexual favors in order for her to keep her job and that she was terminated because she refused. Her striking you was strictly self defense. And you did all of that after I clearly identified myself as an attorney working in her interests. This entire conversation has been recorded by me. In a little while you're going to become curious. You're going to wonder if I might just be as I have represented myself. When the doubts get too much to bare you're going to look me and my firm up on the internet, just to make sure we're not real. Then you're going to discover that everything I said when I entered this rat-hole of an establishment is the truth. After you discover that, you'll probably call your lawyer. I'm well known among the legal community in this city, as is my record of success in civil litigation in the courtroom. I imagine that he'll have some choice words for you about the way you've handled this situation. Know, Mr. Murdoch, that I'm in this now and I'm your worst fucking nightmare,” Patty continued tightly. “Until this moment I was doing another client a favor dealing with this situation. As of this moment, I'm working for Ms. Sachs, pro-bono. Suing you until you don't have anything left won't even pay what I bill hourly, but I'm going to do it anyway, just because I don't like you.”

Patty Hewes left the man gaping as she swept from the video store. On her cell phone before she ever got to her waiting car, she dialed her assistant. Getting the woman on the line, she spoke rapidly. “Call the D.A.'s office. Tell them that if an arrest warrant is issued for a Ms. Andrea Sachs, we are representing her and I would consider it a personal courtesy that we be informed. The charge against Ms. Sachs is likely to be assault and battery. Ask that Ms. Sachs be permitted to surrender herself rather than be arrested publicly. Tell who ever you speak to that if a warrant for Ms. Sachs arrest is issued, that there will be counter charges of sexual battery and attempted rape against her accuser. Tell them that there is a security camera pointed at the location where this whole incident occurred and they're going to want to secure the tape because I will be subpoenaing it, should this ever go to trial.”

*****

Miranda sipped at her appallingly cold coffee. She sighed softly. So far today had been even more frustrating than the previous day and it seemed to her that the second assistant had to be consciously trying to fail in the position she was presently employed in. First the coffee wasn't hot when it finally arrived at her desk and then the stupid girl couldn't locate a folder full of photographs that Nigel had handed to her just before the end of business yesterday. The Second Assistant's job is not rocket science, she thought irritably to herself. Get hot coffee to my desk in a timely fashion. Pick up and deliver the correct lunch order, run errands for the office and assist Emily in the operation of the office. A trained monkey could do the job! If one where halfway intelligent and the slightest bit motivated, they could parley a year or so of such a job into a learning experience that would take them far in the working world. Then an idea struck her like a thunderbolt. It is not rocket science. And with Emily to train her and a little patience on my part, there should be no reason in the world Andrea couldn't learn the job. A year working for me and she can have a job anywhere in publishing. Miranda smiled to herself. The way today was going there would be ample legitimate reason to fire the present second assistant before the end of business. She could discuss the available position with Andrea tonight and the girl could start work the next day. No one in the corporation would dare question the qualifications or the competence of someone that I, personally, brought in as an employee. Especially one that I have reasons to want to keep employed here. Suddenly the day somehow seemed a little brighter and more hopeful to the Ice Queen.

*****

TBC


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I'm so happy to see a new update to this story. I have a feeling that Nate is going to be very bad news for Miranda. Em's not going to know what hit her when Andy arrives. Love the involvement of Patty

Thank you so much for your kind comments. If Nate doesn't end up being bad news for the protagonists of the story then I'm not doing my job. This story has to have a villain if it's going to work. I'm looking forward to seeing where the Andy/Emily relationship takes me. I need to let Emily speak to me about how she feels about a second assistant that Miranda won't fire at the drop of a hat. And in many ways this Andy is worse off as far as Runway is concerned then the canon character, As for Patty? Who better for Miranda's lawyer? Thanks for reading and letting me know what you think!

Another wonderful installment of an agian, original work of art. *bows humbly*
Love the future "adventures" that Nate is now going to enjoy with Patty at Miranda/Andrea's side. Kinda saw it coming with Andy working for Miranda, but that's how the story goes and you wrote a great way to get there honestly. Just a Super chapter!

You give me high praise indeed. Thank you. I know that Andy working for Miranda was sort of telegraphed from the git-go. It was so obvious that I don't think anyone will be surprised by that detail. It would have been nice if I could have obfuscated it in such a way that it had been a surprise. C'est la vie. At the moment I really don't know how much of Patty we will see in future installments. Her part is a rather recent addition to the tale. Thank you for reading me and taking the time to comment.

YES! Thank you for posting an update. This was well worth the wait. I was hoping that Miranda would hire her. This solves both of their employment problems, and allows Miranda to keep Andy close, which will, no doubt, help in further developing her feelings for Andy. Yay!

I'm curious to see how Emily and Nigel will respond to this version of Andy. Can't wait to read more.

Thank you for reading this update and taking the time to let me know your thoughts. I'm pleased you feel it worth the wait, especially because writing it was like pulling teeth. Miranda hiring Andy was sort of a given. I'm working now on how Emily feels about that. This Andy may scare the stuffing out of Emily when Emily gets to know more about her. Their life experiences are very different from one another. I know where their relationship is supposed to end up, charting the course to get them there should prove interesting. As for Nigel, well, considering what this Andy would consider normal work attire, I think he's likely to have his hand full. *grin* Thank you for the lovely comment!

Great chapter. I loved that Miranda set Patty on Murdoch. I'm glad that Miranda recognized that Andy is trying.
Thanks for the read.

Thank you for commenting! I too liked setting Patty on the video store owner. That was sort of an unexpected evolutionary turn in the story. My versions of Andy always try. It's part and parcel of how I see the character. It's interesting that we. as writers tend to develop personalities for the characters we write and that aspects of those personalities (at least in my case) follow the characters from story to story. Thank you for commenting and letting me know your thoughts!

I really love what you are doing here. It's not just Andy who you have altered hugely from the canon, but Miranda is much more open to trust....that's shocking! So much drama is waiting for them to deal with. I am hooked and I'm sorry for that pun.

Thank you for your lovely comment. I sent you a PM, hoping you will expand on your observations on Miranda's Character. As far as the drama? Drama and angst is sort of what I seem to do. I'm glad you are with me for the ride. I will see it to its completion. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Always good to see more from you, whether it's here in polished form or in my email with ideas. I hope your muse keeps moving and grooving and just this side of the light :)

ps. I'll try to email later tonight

Wow! Love the world you have created using the DWP characters. Thank you for painting such lush word pictures, looking forward to the next chapter!

Also, isn't it fun when a character or plot thread takes an unexpected turn, almost if it had taken on a life of its own? As a person who's penned a story or two, moments like that is what makes writing fun :-)

Thanks again!

Fallen Angel. Andrei

Thank you so much for the last several updates. You have been a wonderful bright spot enabling me to get through this last week. Thank you so very much !!

My enjoyment of your wonderfully crafted story is well worth the wait that you need to bring it to life! Please know that I have been looking forward to seeing how this particular "Mirandy" version unfolds. I have always been impressed with all the care and effort you use in presenting a well told story. This one seems to be on its way to being another pleasant reading experience. Thank You.

I loved it !! This is one of the best mirandy fanfics ive read . I cant wait for the next chapter .

I'm making my way thru your work! Really into this one also so thank you for sharing something that is again, very original! I'm not the best at detailed comments but I can say that each of your stories I've picked up, I've read in one sitting! I also tend to stay away from AUs but get sucked into these! Thanks again!

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