It's Not THAT Complicated
Coco // madampresident
pairing Miranda Priestly/Jane Adler
disclaimers 1 I do not own anything even remotely Meryl related. Alright, that's a lie, I do own three autographed Meryl pictures and a whole lot of Meryl DVDs. I do not, however, own the rights to these movies so this is just for fun and not affiliated with anything official, nor do I pretend to be.
disclaimer 2 Meryl/Meryl ahead
spoilers? let's assume reading this COULD spoil both Devil Wears Prada and It's Complicated.
summary When it came time to decide on a university both Priestly twins wanted to move to the west coast and become sunkissed California girls. Miranda stayed behind in New York but found that she was no longer as interested in running Runway. She'd felt that her reign was over and that she wanted to move on. Without the ties of friends or family in New York -- and with some encouragement from the girls -- she packed up and moved to California. It was in California that she met Jane Adler.
The plane touched down in New York at two and when they'd collected their bags and stepped outside, Miranda found Roy waiting for them.
Emily got out of the backseat, "David called the office and told us you were coming," she explained, straightening her Armani powersuit.
Roy took their bags and placed them in the trunk. Emily eyed Jane, waiting to be introduced, still not willing to risk asking Miranda a question.
Jane was feeling a bit overwhelmed at having been met at the airport by Miranda's former entourage. She climbed into the backseat when Miranda motioned toward the open door. Miranda slid in next and Emily sat across from them.
Emily was the fashion director, she held Nigel's previous position. Emily handed Miranda a schedule, "these are the details of your meeting tomorrow." Despite having moved up in the world from Miranda's doormat, she found it easy and oddly comforting to slip back into the all-too-familiar role.
Miranda nodded curtly, looking it over.
"Roy will pick you up at eight."
When Miranda let them into the townhouse she was amazed at how foreign it felt. She'd been gone for only a few months but already it felt like a lifetime since she'd walked its halls.
Miranda wrapped an arm around Jane, "ready for bed?"
"Absolutely." Jane nodded, punctuating her point by yawning.
Miranda gave her a gentle squeeze, "I'm so glad you came with me." She kissed her softly, "I know I mentioned it before we left but I would like to reiterate that we will probably be photographed by the paparazzi during this visit. Don't let it startle you."
"Lucas should be at this meeting." Miranda said with annoyance after her lawyer, accountant and stock broker had talked themselves in circles for over an hour. "The whole case hangs on our interactions."
"The whole thing is horrible speculation." Peter O'Malley, the stock broker said, "I've known you for decades and you've won fortunes on stocks you had zero connection with. I can go back through my records and find the other examples of stocks you've done well on."
"Did you make money in 2008 when the banks failed?" David asked, looking up from his notes.
Miranda shook her head, "no, I lost money like everyone else."
"That's good. That's very good." David scribbled something in his notebook.
Miranda looked over to Helen Reid, the accountant, "you've been quiet."
Helen shrugged, "there isn't much to add. Looking over your finances the only thing I can say is that if you took payments from Lucas for dumping your stock you should've gotten more than $1,346.94 at a time. Do you have the receipts?"
Miranda nodded, "I kept copies of everything."
"Did the two of you sign a contract about splitting the twins' finances?" David looked up again.
Miranda shook her head. "No, we were attempting to be civil at the time. We thought we could make parental decisions without our lawyers."
"Big mistake." David shook his head sadly.
"However... we discussed it in his office and I believe his assistant was taking notes." Miranda wrote something on the paper in front of her. "I'll meet with him about it."
"I should come with you." David said pointedly.
Miranda sighed heavily but nodded in agreement.
Jane wandered around the townhouse, amazed by another brilliant show of Priestly extravagance. She'd gotten up at 5 and made coffee but had fallen back asleep. Miranda kissed her softly, told her that she'd be back in under two hours and in the meantime Jane was welcome to anything and everything in the townhouse.
Jane came down the back stairs into the kitchen and found a note scrawled in Miranda's impeccable cursive. When I get back I'm taking you to lunch. M.
Jane smiled. Her stomach grumbled in protest and decided she'd need a snack to hold her over until Miranda's return. She opened the refrigerator and realized that, of course, Miranda didn't have a grocery boy delivering groceries to her unoccupied townhouse. Jane moved to the cupboards and found a box of crackers and a box of Honey Bunches of Oats with strawberries. It would do nicely.
It appeared that instead of moving anything from her lavish townhouse to her grand ocean-view home she had opted to buy an entirely new set of things. Jane found a full set of china, a drawerful of silverware and all the other things you'd be likely to find.
With a bowl of dry cereal Jane gave herself the tour of Miranda's longtime home. Each room was furnished to the nines, art and photographs hung on the wall and not one was a duplicate from Santa Barbara as far as Jane could tell. The girls' rooms were full of things, though immaculately clean, which she doubted was their doing.
Miranda's closet even contained a full set of clothes and the bathroom was well stocked with shampoo, conditioner, moisturizers, toothpaste, extra toothbrushes and other sundry items.
Jane washed the bowl when she was finished and decided to step out onto the front stoop to inspect the weather. The first thing she noticed were the trees with brightly colored red, yellow and orange foliage swaying in the breeze, individual leaves falling slowly to damp pavement. Jane smiled.
The next thing that caught her eye were the people bustling down the street and not one person had even glanced in her direction. There was something wonderful about the New Yorker disinterest.
Finally, she noticed that she was freezing and that the forty degree November weather did not agree with her California skin. As she was turning to go inside she saw the copy of the New York Times and scooped it up.
As she shut the door behind her and opened the paper, Page Six fell out. Splashed across the front page was Miranda's face. The headline read Back in Black: Miranda Priestly Rides Again. Searching the inside for the rest of the article Jane found a picture of her own face in black and white.
Beastly Priestly is back and this time she's canoodling with a middle-aged blond. This tagline was accompanied by a picture of Miranda with her arm around Jane's waist as she leaned in to whisper into her ear. Jane's smile easily gave away that Miranda's whisper was intimate.
Jane hadn't even seen the paparazzi. Then again, Miranda had warned her about the paparazzi. She just expected that they would be in their faces, not that they'd be invisible.
"Hey Sachs, see this?" Jimmy dropped Page Six on Andy's desk. "Didn't you used to work for her? Isn't she famous for late nights and long hours with her pretty young assistants?"
Andy snatched the paper from him. "Shut-up." She scanned the article.
"So how 'bout it, did you melt the ice queen?" Jimmy leaned in mockingly.
Andy lashed out and smacked Jimmy. He hissed, cast her a scornful glare and skulked away to lick his wounds. Andy read over the article in shock. "No. Way."
When Miranda entered the townhouse she found Jane in the kitchen reading the paper. "Hey, you want to get lunch before I get arrested?"
"Miranda," she looked up with brow creased deeply with concern.
"Don't worry. They're probably not going to arrest me." Miranda sat down on the bench seat next to Jane, "at least not today."
"How can you joke about getting arrested? Insider trading is a federal crime."
"The only way to keep from plotting the mob hit on my ex-husband is to joke." Miranda smirked, "and I'm not really joking. They're not going to arrest me today and I'll probably get out of it."
"You're so confident."
"90% is attitude, 10% is innocence." Miranda trailed a finger down Jane's side. "What do you want today? All you have to do is name it."
Miranda nodded, "anything."
"I don't know... is it bad that I kind of just want to hide away in here?" Jane looked apologetic.
"It depends, if you want to stay hidden here because you're overcome with lust for me and want to spend the whole day making passionate love, definitely not bad. If you want to hide because of Page Six..." Miranda said as she slid the insert out from under the paper, "I'd say... a little bad."
"I've never been paparazzied before." Jane admitted sheepishly.
"Let's give them something to talk about." Miranda smirked, "we'll go out today, have a great time and we'll sell a couple of copies of the New York Times."
"It doesn't bother you at all?"
Miranda brushed Jane's blonde hair away from her face, "after everything they wrote about my divorces, it is honestly refreshing for them to take a picture of me smiling."
Jane nuzzled Miranda's neck, "you have a beautiful smile."
Miranda took Jane's hand and kissed the palm, "and I don't just smile for anyone." Miranda kissed Jane's pulse point. "You should feel special."
Jane nodded, "I do."
"I'm so glad you asked to come with me. I wanted to ask you but I was afraid to."
"I can't imagine you being afraid of anything." Jane scoffed.
"I really don't want to do anything to ruin this." Miranda admitted, "I don't do vulnerable very well. Sometimes when I feel too happy I'm destructive."
"Me too." Jane whispered, her lips brushing against Miranda's lightly. "I promise to try not to sabotage us if you don't."
Miranda took Jane's hand, "I'm going to take you out for lunch and then I'm going to take you to see a Broadway play and then we're going to go dancing."
Jane giggled, "you've sold me."
The whole day was a whirlwind. Jane's head was spinning from all the people recognizing Miranda. She was beginning to understand why Miranda found Jane's hustling, bustling Santa Barbara so peaceful.
Miranda walked right into swanky restaurants without reservations, she walked up to the ticket window of a sold out show and got them vip seating, she bought them drinks at an upscale bar in Manhattan and was told that the first round was on the house.
Jane had understood that Miranda had run an important publication in the fashion world but had doubted her reach into other areas and now realized what a mistake she'd made in underestimating her.
The room was lit by soft, blue lighting on the floor. Miranda and Jane snuggled up on a plush white chaise. Jane had had an aperitif after dinner and was already starting to feel the alcohol going to her head as she sipped her martini.
"Can I eat your olive?" Jane asked as she leaned close.
"Is that a come on?" Miranda teased.
Jane grinned, "only if the answer is yes."
Miranda answered by plucking the olive from her martini and holding it up to Jane's lips. Jane extended her tongue and caught a stray drip of the dry drink running down Miranda's thumb. Miranda let out a soft mm. Jane wrapped her lips around the olive and the fingers holding it up, reaching up she gently held Miranda's wrist as she sucked the olive into her mouth.
"I've never been a fan of olives until now." Miranda batted her eyelashes.
"Do you go dancing often?" Jane asked over her drink.
"Almost never, actually."
"I feel privileged then." Jane bit her lip coquettishly.
"Boosting the sales for my magazine, I see." The editor of New York Times stopped by the chaise, "lovely to see you again, Miranda."
"Oh yes, always a pleasure." Miranda replied curtly. "It's the least I can do to help keep the newspaper business on life support for just a little longer. It will be a shame when it finally goes by the wayside."
He pursed his lips but said, "your next round's on me."
"No thank you, when I take a beautiful woman out, I treat her right." Miranda wrapped an arm around Jane.
"I'm sorry, I didn't get your name."
"That's right. You didn't." Miranda said pointedly.
He heaved a sigh but tried to hide it. "You ladies enjoy your evening."
Jane laughed as soon as he walked away. "I love seeing you in your element."
Miranda downed the rest of her martini, "would you like to do dance while you can still walk?"
Jane glared playfully, "it's going to take at least three rounds before I'll need help walking."
"Three rounds, hm? That's useful information."
Miranda led Jane to the dance floor. The club was well attended but not overly crowded and as Miranda wrapped an arm around Jane and began to move with her to the music she didn't know she had a sense of peace. Jane was looser in her movements than Miranda but she figured with another cocktail she'd loosen up as well, the night was young.
Jane groaned as she rolled over in bed. "Every time..." she muttered, clutching her head.
"Every time, what?" Miranda murmured sleepily.
"I can't seem to not hang over."
Miranda snorted, "water, aspirin, greasy food and a small glass of wine."
"Thanks, mom." Jane rolled her eyes goodnaturedly as she pushed herself out of bed.
A few minutes later Miranda's cell phone rang. She picked it up with a yawn, "yes?"
"How are you feeling?"
"Like a million bucks, thank you." She pushed herself up into a sitting position.
"I saw Page Six this morning. You've certainly been enjoying yourself. Awfully carefree, aren't we?"
"Lucas, take a deep breath." Miranda rolled her eyes.
"Both of our asses are on the line here."
"And we shouldn't be on the phone together right now. I'll meet you in your office at eleven, with our lawyers and we'll discuss this."
"Fine. See you at at eleven." He said and abruptly hung up.
Miranda dialed Nigel. "I need you to lend me an assistant for a meeting at eleven. Someone not incompetent."
"I'll see what I can do." Nigel said, not put off by Miranda's curt demands or lack of greetings. "Someone will be waiting for you in the car when Roy picks you up."
"Thank you." She said uncharacteristically and hung up the phone leaving Nigel agape on the other end.
Miranda poked her head into the ensuite. "How are you doing?" Miranda asked sympathetically as she saw Jane hunched over the porcelain.
"I'm sick..." she pouted.
Miranda disappeared from the bathroom leaving Jane to dry heave again and wonder why she'd abandoned her. A few minutes later she returned with a bottle of Pellegrino, a sleeve of crackers and a cup of coffee. "Water first."
"If I put something in my stomach I'm just going to throw it up," Jane whined.
"Well, I don't have any intravenous fluids so you're just going to have to drink water, dear." Miranda crouched next to her, opening the bottle and holding it out to her. Jane accepted it suspiciously but took a few tentative sips. Miranda handed Jane a cracker. "Just take it slowly and you'll be fine."
Jane munched down on the cracker, crumbs falling to the floor as she bit through it. "You're awfully good at this."
"Steven had a tendency to drink a lot." Miranda admitted tightly. She rubbed Jane's back. "You're going to be fine."
At 10:30 Miranda left the townhouse with insistances from Jane that she'd be fine. Roy held the door open for her and she slid in, scrolling through her iPhone contacts. "Be prepared to take detailed notes, I want a record of this meeting for..." the smell of Starbucks hit her nostrils and she looked up for the first time.
Andy was holding the latte out to Miranda with a smile.
"Nigel called. Apparently Runway is short on non-incompetent assistants and I happened to be free today." The truth was that she'd had to rearrange her entire day and call in a few favors to be sitting in the back of that town car but she didn't have to tip her hand just yet.
"I fired you."
"I quit." Andy reminded.
Miranda pursed her lips, "so you did."
Andy's arm was still extended in offering and the latte was getting harder and harder to ignore. She plucked the steaming cup from Andy's now reddened hand and took a sip. "Detailed notes." Miranda emphasized with a growl.
David was waiting for Miranda when she stepped out of the town car, not even waiting for Roy to open the door. She started barking commands in her usual brash manner and Andy jogged behind her.
Inside the office Lucas was having a hushed discussion with his lawyer. He stood when Miranda entered. "You're a bitch, you know that."
"It's been mentioned, yes." Miranda tugged off her Hermes scarf and Prada coat and threw them at Andy. Lucas's assistant jumped up to take them from her.
"If you hadn't dumped your stocks we wouldn't be in this mess." He growled. "For all I know, you did get a tip."
Miranda barely controlled her eye roll as she sat down at the table. Miranda set her briefcase down on the table. She pulled out one large stack of papers bound with a struggling binder clip, "these are my stock activities for the last ten years." She pulled out a slightly smaller stack of papers held by a slightly less abused clip, "these are the records of Cassidy's university expenses."
Lucas looked up at his nervous secretary, "Natalia, grab my folder about my daughter's college." He rubbed his forehead resignedly. "I'm really up shit creek, Miri."
"We're going to be fine." Miranda said curtly. "There is no case."
"Yeah, if I'm not arrested, I'm bankrupt anyway. At least in prison they'd give me food and couldn't take away my living quarters."
"I wouldn't take that for granted if I were you." Miranda smirked. "Strike Lucas's comments from the records," she whispered to Andy.
Andy held back a smile at Miranda's occasional tenderness and blacked out Lucas's self-pity.
Natalia brought the folder back and he opened it. "I have copies of the receipts for your outings with Caroline as well as receipt of payments."
Miranda nodded, "I have the originals of those receipts as well as the recent activity in my bank account." The documents were handed to the lawyers who went over them and nodded for them to continue. "I also brought a copy of our original custody agreement which contains a clause about spending money on the girls." Miranda passed it to David.
"Any one item or gift not to exceed a million dollars, except with express written and notarized permission of the other parent." David read it aloud and passed it to Lucas's lawyer. "Well, Paul and I will go to the FTC for a sit down and bring these documents to them."
"As well as Lucas's financials." Paul said, "once they see how much money he lost there will be no possible way they could think he was involved in this. Without him, Miranda has no feasible link to NYC Bank & Trust."
David nodded, "I've already allowed them access to Miranda's phone records to prove that she has very limited contact with Lucas and zero contact with Arnold. With any luck this will be the last we'll have to hear about this whole ordeal."
"Alright." Miranda stood up and shook hands with both lawyers and gave Lucas a small smile. "Hang in there."
Andy was at Miranda's heels again as she exited the offices. Once in the car Miranda grabbed the notebook from Andy. She read it over and tore out the page and filed it in her briefcase.
"Anything else, Miranda?"
"That's all." Miranda was still reeling from Andy's presence and rather than give away her surprise she looked coldly out the window.
Andy tucked the notebook back into her purse.
Miranda turned to look at Andy again, "I see renouncing me has also meant renouncing good taste."
"I didn't renounce you." Andy said quietly.
The car came to a stop and Roy announced, "134 E 73rd."
Miranda gripped her briefcase and slid out of the car. She was up the stairs with her key in the lock before she chanced a glance at the car. Roy had already pulled away from the curb and Miranda furrowed her brow in thought.
Miranda and Jane sat at the table staring down a looming large order of cheese fries. "I didn't expect them to be that greasy..." Miranda blinked.
Jane didn't think they looked any more appetizing than Miranda did. "I'm willing to try it if it will make this headache go away..."
"I'll have a bottle of Tums handy." Miranda grimaced.
"They might not be that bad..."
"Jane, I am truly sorry that greasy food was my idea."
Jane laughed, "I'll probably forgive you." Jane plucked one of the gooey, greasy, cheesy fries from the nest of starch and processed dairy. She tentatively bit the end off and then took another bite. "It's... horrifyingly... delicious. God, it reminds me of smoking pot." She blushed at the admission. "Never thought I'd enjoy cheesy fries sober."
"Another vice revealed." Miranda teased, "I'm fine with the pot smoking, but I'm afraid enjoying grease fries is a deal breaker."
"Not without getting seriously stoned myself." Miranda scoffed.
"Just one? For me?" Jane looked at her, big blue eyes gleaming.
"You don't play fair." Miranda announced as she pulled a fry from the pile and put it in her mouth, going for the pulling the bandaid off quickly approach. "Hot!" She gasped, grabbing a plate and letting the fry fall out of her mouth. "Jesus..."
"Your coffee might as well be volcanic and you can't take a little melted cheese?" Jane teased, laughing as Miranda scowled and blushed.
Miranda stood up from the table and threw the plate and the fry into the trash. "Forget it."
"Oh, come on, Miranda," Jane laughed even harder at Miranda's tantrum, "be a sport."
"I don't like being laughed at."
"I'm not laughing at you." Jane insisted. Miranda watched her with a grimly serious glare, making Jane laugh harder, "I'm just laughing at your brilliant delivery of situational comedy."
Miranda huffed but sat back down at the table. "How's your head feeling?"
"Quite a bit better, actually." Jane grinned.
Miranda sighed dramatically, "then it's worth it, I suppose."
Jane kissed Miranda's cheek with a smile and ate another fry.
"You're going to have to brush your teeth -- twice -- before we kiss again."
Jane chuckled and nodded, "as soon as I'm done I'll do that."
"So, I called in a favor at Runway so that I could bring an assistant to my meeting..."
Jane nodded, "Mhm."
"Quite surprisingly they sent Andrea but Andrea doesn't work there anymore so why on earth would they have sent her?" Miranda furrowed her brow. "It very neatly threw me off my game."
Jane felt a slight pang of jealousy considering Miranda's previous admission of having been in some version of love with the girl. "That is odd." She glanced at the cheese fries. "Why don't I brush my teeth and then we can do something together. Just you and I. Maybe take a hot bath."
Miranda smiled, "that sounds wonderful."
Jane would keep Miranda's thoughts from wandering to Andy if it killed her. Though Jane knew the relative hopelessness of the task she'd set before her considering that it was a puzzle and Miranda viciously and voraciously attacked puzzles until they were solved.
"Would you like to call her and demand explanation?" Jane asked finally.
Miranda looked at her, shocked as though the thought hadn't crossed her mind. "I do not wish to be bored with details."
"It's just us here, Miranda." Jane smiled reassuringly.
Miranda sighed with frustration, "it's just strange that she would be there. She walked away from me and it's not fair for her to just waltz back whenever she feels like. I don't have to stand for that."
"Maybe it was her way of saying there are no hard feelings." Jane shrugged.
"That's not her call. I'm the one who should have hard feelings. It felt more like she was taunting me. She was the only employee who had treated me like I deserved compassion and as soon as I was vulnerable she walked away. And today I sat in the backseat of the car and she was sitting there smiling at me with, holding out a latte."
"Okay, maybe she was saying sorry?" Jane suggested. "Do you still have feelings for her?"
"No." Miranda pursed her lips, "not positive ones. Disdain, contempt, annoyance, disappointment. Those are feelings, I suppose."
"But don't those feelings come from positive ones? In order to feel disappointment don't you have to feel like you're invested in her?"
Miranda sighed, "I was once but that was eight years ago."
"But if you felt like she was taunting you by showing up that means there're still raw feelings there."
"You've been divorced from Jake for more than ten years and he still makes you mad, do you still have feelings for Jake?" Miranda crossed her arms across her chest.
"Well, yes, in some ways I'll always care about him but it's different, my children would be affected if anything happened to him. That's the extent of my investment in him."
"You're blowing this out of proportion." Miranda pursed her lips.
"You're about to be arrested for a federal crime and you're worried about why Andrea showed up at your meeting? I'm blowing things out of proportion?"
"I'm not going to get arrested." Miranda snapped, nostrils flaring, though the rest of her body stayed rigid and controlled. "The evidence will be reviewed and I won't even be charged. I have had all manner of suits, formal complaints and subpeonas over the years but I have never had an assistant so ballsy as to walk up to me after having quit. That is why I am preoccupied by that occurence."
Jane was silent.
"And it feels an awful lot like you're accusing me of wanting to explore my options."
"Do you?" Jane asked pleadingly, her eyes starting to well up, "do you want to explore your options? What kind of person would I be if I told you you couldn't?"
"You're a wonderful person for trying to give me permission to but I'm going to have to decline because I am not interested in any other 'options.' In fact, I've been weighing my options my whole life and I can't imagine a better option than you."
"You're just saying that." Jane pouted.
"Yeah." Miranda joked. Jane laughed and wiped at her eyes. "Now, I think you promised me a bath..."
"Well, you're still alive, that's a good sign." Nigel laughed as he looked up to see Andy hover in the doorway to his office. "How'd it go?"
"Fine..." Andy hesitated. "At the end right before she got out of the car she said 'I see renouncing me has also meant renouncing good taste.'"
Nigel smiled, "good for you, that's a very personal insult. She still cares."
"Is that too much to hope for?" Andy bit her lip on a grin.
"Six, you have to pursue this. Do it for all of us gays who've had a thing for a straight friend. You have a very rare opportunity and you're not just doing it for you, you're doing it for everyone."
"Only I can prevent forest fires, got it."
"Miranda?" Jane murmured peacefully as she pressed back against her lover in the whirlpool bathtub.
"Mm?" Miranda nuzzled Jane's ear, reveling in the feeling of her naked breasts sliding against the muscles of Jane's back.
"Why did you buy a new set of everything for Santa Barbara instead of moving things from the townhouse?"
Miranda smiled, "what's the point in owning two homes if one of them is empty?"
Jane thought about that and nodded, "what's the point of having two homes? You can only live in one at a time."
"New York will always be my home. I lived in this townhouse for over thirty years, I raised my little girls in this house. I couldn't bear to sell it. The girls will inherit it when I die and they can do as they like with it."
Jane nodded again. "Do you think you'll move back when the girls graduate?"
Miranda shrugged, "I don't know."
"I'd miss you if you moved." Jane admitted.
"They're not graduating for another two and a half years. You'll be sick of me by then, don't worry."
"You're probably right." Jane teased and chuckled. But honestly, she was worried. She bit her lip and looked down into the water. The lavender bath oil sat on the surface of the water in beautiful swirls of refracted light.
"How long was your longest marriage?"
"Six years. I hope that's a non-sequitur."
"And your shortest?"
Jane snorted. "Are you serious?"
"Yes, but we were living together for ten years before that." Miranda ran a hand up Jane's side. "Why do you ask?"
"Just curious." Jane drew her fingers through the oil on the water, sending it in all directions.
"If something was on your mind, you promise you'd tell me?" Miranda whispered.
Jane took Miranda's hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. "I promise."
Miranda frowned but squeezed Jane's hand back.
That night Jane snuggled over to Miranda's side of the bed and was surprised to find it empty. She rubbed her eyes and looked over at the clock on the nightstand. 3:46.
Jane yawned and padded down the hallway and looked down the stairs to see light spilling into the hallway from Miranda's office. She descended and hovered in the doorway knocking lightly on the molding.
Miranda looked up, "sorry, did I wake you?"
"Yeah, your typing is thunderous upstairs." Jane smiled. "Whatcha doing?"
"I'm looking up the legal definition of insider trading." Miranda admitted. "Looking up statutes and other cases... what the menu is like in federal prison..."
Jane pulled a chair up next to Miranda, "you'll be fine. You'll wow them with your wit and your intelligence."
"My intelligence usually comes off as arrogant."
Jane eskimo kissed Miranda, "that's because you are arrogant. But that's because you have good reason to be. Nobody does what you do."
"It's just so frustrating." Miranda scowled.
Jane wrapped her arms around Miranda, pulling the swivel chair with her and held her tightly. Miranda smiled a little and laid her head on Jane's shoulder.
Both women managed to sleep in until almost eight. Miranda was a little snappy because of the time she'd taken out in the middle to stew with worry. Jane took it in stride and handed her a cup of coffee.
After coffee and a shower the lionness was subdued again. "What would you like to do today?"
"What if we visited Runway?" Jane asked shyly.
Miranda grinned. "I'm sure that can be arranged."
The red sea parted for Miranda's return. Stunned clackers threw themselves out of the way, the security guard's eyes widened as he waved her through without a word and people jumped out of the elevators.
Miranda selected the seventeenth floor while Jane stood watching her in awe. "That was crazy."
"That was my morning routine." Miranda snickered. The doors slid open and Miranda cast a piercing glance around the office. There were several audible gasps and the sound of the news of her arrival flowing through the grapevine.
"Jocelyn," Miranda whispered.
"Oh dear God!" Jocelyn squeezed her eyes closed and clutched her clipboard to her chest.
"What are you wearing on your feet?"
"Um," Jocelyn looked down at her feet, afraid to answer, "Uggs?"
"Is that really the sort of image you want the world to see of Runway?" Miranda pursed her lips.
"They're-they're very popular." Jocelyn insisted.
"Runway decides what's popular and it is exactly that attitude that has allowed unfortunately named footwear to permeate civilized society. How does it feel to personally contribute to the breakdown of the whole fashion system?"
"That was cruel." Jane scolded while trying to hide the fact that she was smiling.
"I hate Uggs. I would like everyone who wears them to come up to me and explain themselves."
"You deplore explanation."
Miranda gave a reserved smile, "I didn't say I'd listen, I'd just delight in watching them suffer."
"I know what I'm getting you for Christmas..." Jane announced in a sing-song manner.
"You wouldn't dare." Miranda whispered.
"Do my eyes deceive me?" Nigel grinned as he stepped up to Miranda, "it's fantastic to see you."
Miranda offered her former fashion director a small but sincere smile. "Nice to be back for a visit." Miranda wrapped an arm around Jane, "I'd like to introduce Jane."
"Ah, yes, my dear, I recognize you from the gossip column. Enchantee." Nigel smiled and turned to Miranda, "where on earth did you find a real woman? I was beginning to think there weren't any left."
Miranda gave Jane a gentle squeeze. "there aren't. I've found the last one."
Jane smiled, feeling a little overwhelmed. She wasn't sure if being a 'real woman' was a good thing in this context or if he'd just called her fat. Looking around at the women who skirted by and the models trying to inch by unnoticed she felt pretty fat.
Nigel's eyes left Miranda's for a millisecond to glance at her waistline. "How's California treating you?"
Miranda smirked, "lavishly, thank you for noticing. Jane's a baker."
"You don't say." Nigel grinned. "To what do we owe your unnerving presence?"
"Let's call it a surprise inspection." Miranda smirked. "I'd like a run through in," she looked at her watch, "twenty minutes. We'll be in the conference room."
Twenty minutes later Nigel, Jocelyn, Emily and her unfortunate assistant Jason shuffled into the conference room with racks of clothing. Jocelyn had changed into a pair of kitten heel Prada pumps. Miranda gave her an approving nod as she walked by and Jocelyn was visibly relieved.
"Emily's been working on a spread incorporating bright colors into the usually muted shades for fall and winter." Nigel said as he sat down.
Emily felt like Nigel had just thrown her under a bus. "Yes, I kept the traditional blacks and browns but wanted to make sure to incorporate splashes of color." She pulled a pleated black Gucci skirt from the rack and handed it to Jocelyn and selected a bright yellow tank top with black lace. "The look would be complete with lace gloves and a Jimmy Choo cuff boot."
"And where are these fantastic accessories?"
"I sent my assistant to fetch them," Nigel cleared his throat, "nearly fifteen minutes ago..."
A skinny bleached blond boy burst into the room. "I'm sorry it took me so long Kara has the gloves for a shoot and the boots were the wrong size."
"That's fine, Dennis." Nigel assured.
Miranda stood, "Dennis, is it?"
"Yes, ma'am." He nodded.
"Come here, Dennis."
Dennis gulped and walked up to Miranda. "When you are asked to complete a task you do it. You do not return to the room without the items and if it takes you longer than fifteen minutes you don't come back." Miranda whispered menacingly.
Dennis took an unsteady step backwards. "Yes, ma'am."
"Emily?" Miranda cocked her head towards the brit, "go fetch."
Emily nodded and fled the room. "Dennis, you will sit and you will see how a real assistant does her job." Miranda sat back down next to Jane. Jane sucked in a breath as quietly as possible, afraid that Miranda would attack her Payless boots at any moment.
Within three minutes Emily reentered the room with a pair of black lace gloves and a pair of Jimmy Choo cuff boots. "Dennis, this is behavior to emulate." She accepted the items from Emily and nodded her approval. "May I see an outfit that contains brown, as well?"
Emily beamed as she continued her preview.
"You've been quiet." Miranda said, turning to look at Jane as they sat in the car on their way to lunch.
Jane shrugged, "you had everything under control."
Miranda took Jane's hand and gave it a squeeze. "Not the sort of tour you were expecting?"
"Why do you say that?" Jane looked over at Miranda.
"Thought you'd get a tour of the office but instead got a tour of my character flaws?" Miranda prodded.
"No... it's not that... I wouldn't say they were personality flaws, just... I would never treat my employees like that."
"The bakery is different than a magazine. If one cog in the machine isn't functioning the whole issue goes down with it. There just isn't room for close enough in the magazine. Not to mention that the competence level is likely higher in the bakery."
Jane shrugged. "I guess."
"I was very proud of Emily, she's really come into her own." Miranda nodded.
"So why didn't you tell her you were proud of her?"
"I did," Miranda insisted, "I smiled and nodded."
"I guess I just don't understand how the magazine business runs." Jane shrugged again.
"Besides, New York is meaner and I still have an Empire State of Mind."
Jane took Miranda's hand, "I guess... what I want to know... is what stops you from talking to me like that?"
"You don't work for me or at a fashion magazine?" Miranda gave Jane's hand a squeeze, "besides, you wear decent knock-offs. Your boots are a reimagining of Alexander McQueen buckle boots from 2008. They're classic."
Jane slid over on the leather seat and tucked herself under Miranda's arm. Miranda wrapped her arm around Jane and kissed her temple.
Miranda's phone was vibrating on the counter as Jane was attempting to teach Miranda how to make truffles. "Phone's ringing." Jane said, glancing back at it.
"My hands are sticky can you..." Miranda looked over at Jane's equally messy fingers. She picked up a butter knife from the counter and pressed the speaker button. "Hello Nigel."
"I'll have you know my assistant just quit. I have meetings galore today and now I don't have an assistant."
Miranda snorted, "all I did was give the boy some career advice. I even stayed away from the atrocious hair and the abysmal blue jeans."
"I need an assistant!"
"Then you should have two. There was a reason for the first and second assistant arrangement. Nor shall I mention that the boy bears a startling resemblance to Xavier, the one that got away."
"How generous of you not to bring it up..." Nigel rolled his eyes.
"Why don't you call Andrea, she seems to be eager to jump back into the bridle." Miranda snapped and ended the call.
"Xavier?" Jane raised an eyebrow.
"A little over twenty years ago Xavier was my second assistant. He was a beautiful boy, blonde, green-eyed, freckled nose, well-defined cheekbones. He was quite an asset, he was fastidious, quick, eager, sharp as a tack and had an amazing eye for fashion. Somehow he was as straight as an arrow but Nigel fell for him anyway. I ended up having to give Xavier a recommendation to Vogue to bring Nigel's focus back to his work."
"So you think Nigel wasn't seeing Dennis clearly?"
"Definitely not. You don't serve under me for thirty years and then say 'that's fine, Dennis.'" Miranda rolled a truffle in the cocoa powder.
Jane nodded, "fair enough."
Miranda reached the end of the chocolate truffles. "Well, that was a very long process."
"If we didn't let them sit overnight they'd be too gooey." Jane insisted. She plucked one of the freshly powdered balls from the rest and held it up, "try one."
"I'm kind of afraid to," Miranda admitted, Jane had given instruction but allowed Miranda to measure and mix everything. Gingerly, she leaned in and bit the truffle in half.
"They're bite-sized, honey-" Jane paused and blushed at the use of the term of endearment. "Do you like it?"
"Yes, it's sweet." Miranda smiled.
"Really? They shouldn't be that sweet, we got everything dark chocolate." Jane furrowed her brow.
"No, I mean 'honey.' I like it, it's sweet."
Jane blushed again, "oh." She smiled shyly, "I was afraid you wouldn't like it. It just sort of slipped out. I was just smiling and there it was."
Miranda leaned over and kissed Jane. "You taste worlds better than the truffles."
"Then you must have done something wrong." Jane teased and wrapped her arms around Miranda. "Oh no!" She exclaimed as she realized she'd just rubbed her chocolatey fingers on Miranda's cashmere.
Miranda laughed and cupped Jane's cheeks, smearing chocolate on her cheeks. "Everything comes out in the wash."
Jane turned on the shower and double checked to make sure that the door was locked and pulled out her cell phone.
"Hi Jane," Dr. Nemo greeted, "there's a lot of noise on your end. Do we have a bad connection?"
"I'm... I'm in the bathroom and I turned the water on."
"In case Miranda comes home early." Jane shrugged. She spread out the paper she had written on on the vanity. "I've made a list... it helped me with Jake and I think it... I don't know, I feel even more confused than with Jake."
"We'll just take it one step at a time. What does your list say?" Dr. Nemo asked gently, used to dealing with Jane's occasional flights of neuroses.
"One. Why am I trying to find things to worry about? Everything's going so well and I'm happy but I just... can't stop worrying."
"You're going through a lot of new things right now. It's natural to feel apprehensive but you should just make sure you're keeping your mind open, being honest with yourself as well as Miranda."
"Right. That sort of brings me to the next thing on my list. I'm like a penguin, you know?"
"Mhm, you mate for life." Dr. Nemo nodded.
"Right, and Miranda's a beautiful peacock. You know she's been married three times? Her longest marriage was six years. She gets tired of everything, she has multiple sets of everything."
"Actually, female peacocks are plain, it's only the male peacocks that have the famous feathers. Also, I'm fairly certain peacocks also mate for life."
Jane blinked for a moment, "facts aside, I think you understood my metaphor anyway." Jane sighed, "I just. I just feel like she's going to get tired of me. I don't fit in with her friends. They think I'm making Miranda fat and she's still four or five dress sizes skinnier than me!"
"It doesn't matter what Miranda's friends think. The only thing that matters is what you and Miranda think."
"Right... okay, also, there's this young woman that Miranda used to be in love with who just showed up out of the blue and that worries me. I think Miranda still has feelings for her."
"Okay, Jane." Dr. Nemo said thoughtfully, "why don't you turn off the shower, take a deep breath, relax and we'll talk about everything that's on your mind?"
"I'm just... afraid that I... love her." She admitted in a whisper as though she were ashamed to admit it. "I'm afraid that she's... that I'm... that we're..."
"You're worried she won't return your feelings." Dr. Nemo said knowingly.
"Right... but, I mean. Am I in love? Am I in love with Miranda or am I in love with the idea of Miranda? I love her but am I in love with her?"
"Are those bullet points on your list?" Dr. Nemo asked.
"Yeah, they're points eight through ten." Jane bit her lip. "I just don't want to jump head first into this if it's just going to break my heart. I feel like I want to share my forever with this woman and what if she doesn't want to share her forever with me?"
"Maybe you should talk to her about it. It seems that the only way to actually get answers to a lot of these questions is to talk to Miranda."
Jane sighed, "but what if I tell her I love her and I want to be with her forever and she says no and we break up whereas if I don't say anything and then later on down the line we break up I won't have lost that time?"
"At the risk of sounding like a broken record... you really should discuss it with Miranda." Dr. Nemo switched the phone to the other ear. "You've known her for about two months, you've been dating her for one. For argument's sake, what if you're just feeling infatuation right now? Maybe you're not in love with her yet, what if you just enjoyed her company for a while without trying to label it or put pressure on yourself? Forever is a lot of pressure to put on yourself. You have to just relax and let your relationship happen naturally."
"Yeah..." Jane said biting her lip.
"Jane, you can't live forever, you can only live a moment. In this moment are you happy with Miranda?"
"I am, yeah." Jane nodded, "god, you always know exactly the right thing to say."
"That's what you pay me for." Dr. Nemo laughed, "okay, Jane, here are my parting words: one moment at a time."
"Okay, got it." She nodded.
"They're not happy about it but they don't have any grounds to sue you and they're not going to pursue the matter." David handed Miranda a cup of coffee. "Suspicious though it may look that you dumped the stocks at the most opportune moment possible, there are no plausible connections between you and the bank and that's where the investigation ends. I wouldn't worry because as long as you are innocent, there can be no new evidence."
Miranda nodded. "Clean as a whistle."
"Good." David sat down, "now, I do have a few more things to advise. I know you're not overly prone to sentiment but should you feel the desire or sympathy to reach out to Lucas, fight it. You cannot call him and you cannot offer him any financial support."
Miranda pursed her lips to conceal a frown. "I spent six years supporting him and I certainly don't intend to do it again." She stood up and held out her hand to shake David's. "Thank you for your continued representation."
"Miranda, you're my favorite client." He shook her hand.
"Of course I am, three divorces, two pre-nups, four custody suits, two lawsuits for slander and now a near miss with the Federal Trade Commission. I paid for your house in the hamptons."
David laughed, "and I'm thinking of getting an addition. Let me know if you want to get married again."
"I don't think marriage is exactly an option open to me right now. Honestly, I would rather die than live in Vermont."
"You know, I don't know a single lawyer who's against gay marriage, it doubles the client pool."
"Gay marriage, good for the economy. Someone should tell the HRC to move in a new direction."
second part of part two...