Title: Corruption, Purity and Desire
Disclaimer: The Devil Wears Prada does not belong to me. No infringement intended to Lauren Weisberger and 20th Century Fox. All characters are purely fictional. Thanks to various crime fiction for the inspiration behind the dialogue.
Summary: Two and a half years after leaving Runway, Andy Sachs is now working as an investigative journalist for a New York newspaper. Miranda Priestly continues her reign as The New York Fashion Queen, but under the surface, the cracks are beginning to form. The unfortunate events of one cold winter’s evening force them to face the unrelenting demon that hides in the shadows. When do you run and when do you stand your ground?
A/N: It has taken nearly two years to complete this story. There have been several edits made along the way but I am pleased to say that we are finally there. I’d like to say a huge thanks to all those who have stayed with me and commented throughout. The biggest thank you goes to punky_96 , my amazing Beta and friend. Without her help and support this would still be sat festering on my hard drive.
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Miranda woke sudden, unsure how long she had been unconscious. She groaned loudly as the sharp sensations stabbed through her body. She felt woozy and her lungs burned as she took short shallow breaths. A myriad of sounds clamoured around her, with the car horns blowing their annoyance in the mid town traffic, the screaming sirens in the distance and closer by the incoherent voices mixing into a low hum.
As her mind began to refocus, she realised that one of the voices was calling out to her. “Ma’am? Can you hear me?”
It was a woman’s voice, soft yet firm and she spoke with a sense of urgency that helped Miranda focus. Searching around to pin point the sound, it took Miranda a few moments to realise that she still had her eyes squeezed shut. She opened her eyes and turned her head awkwardly to the left, only to be met with a face full of the limp, rear side-airbag of the Mercedes. Twisting her head to the other side with a pained groan, she let her eyes focus on the young woman, who was reaching into the car. It was at that moment that she realised she was upside down. She was suspended tightly by her seatbelt, the squeezing straps made it feel almost impossible to breathe and gravity was forcing her body awkwardly against the roof of the car.
“Can you move?” The woman asked as the blue lights flashed round her.
Before she could answer, Miranda’s attention was drawn by another groan from the front of the car.
“Miranda?” A familiar voice called from the passenger seat. “Are you ok?”
“I think so.” Miranda affirmed breathlessly to Spencer, who was also still in the vehicle. “What about Roy?” She wheezed concerned about how her long-term driver had fared in the crash.
“He’s unconscious.” Spencer confirmed, as she heard him struggle to pull himself from the wreckage. “Don’t move Miranda, I’m coming to get you.”
“No!” Miranda ordered, finding her voice again. “I’m fine, help Roy.” She felt a wave of panic wash over her, as soon as she had spoken. The small space began to close in, and she suddenly felt what she imagined claustrophobia to feel like. She reached to her side and shakily unclipped the seatbelt, which was holding her in place. A tearing pain ripped through her side as her body landed heavily and rather ungracefully on the up turned roof.
The woman at her window reached in and gripped her tailored Armani jacket. Miranda felt the strong hands help her to move quickly out of the upturned vehicle. As she crawled forward, the broken glass of the windows nipped at her legs like tiny fire ants and she felt involuntary tears roll down her cheeks in response to the pain running throughout.
The icy morning wind swirled around her as she landed on the cold, wet concrete road. The previously muffled sounds were suddenly magnified in the open air but the volume was barely noticeable above the sound of her own heartbeat. Taking a simple breath seemed like an impossible task as her lungs burned. Anxiety gripped every muscle in her body, leaving her pinned to the floor and no matter how much she told her body to move it would not co-operate. She looked around and surveyed the chaotic scene, searching for the reassurance she craved. The Mercedes was a mess; torn metal was strewn in all directions. The blue and red lights of the emergency teams filled the street like a cosmic light show and a thick crowd of onlookers had gathered to lap up the carnage.
‘What had happened?’
The enormity of the situation seemed too much to take in.
Before Miranda could regain the control she needed to get to her feet, two pairs of strong hands lifted her effortlessly from the ground. Her natural instinct was to show her indignation of the heroic act, but the sharp stab of pain she felt as she waved her arm soon took away that thought. The signature Medusa glare was all that remained as she was placed gently on to a stretcher and into the back of an open ambulance. The young female medical technician, who had pulled her from the car, began checking her vitals. Miranda let the woman work as she scanned the scene, taking in the damage they had caused.
There were three other vehicles, in various states of disarray on the street. Miranda was thankful to see their suspected occupants standing by their respective cars with what appeared to be only minor cuts and bruises. The feeling of relief quickly dissipated as her eyes reached the fire crew at the front of the Mercedes, she felt her heart drop as she realised that they still hadn’t freed Roy from the driver’s seat.
The paramedic cupped Miranda’s face gently with her gloved hand, so that she could shine a light in her eyes. The unexpected action snapped Miranda out of her reverie; the tenderness of the touch washed over her and allowed her to latch back on to reality.
“I need my cellphone.” Miranda stated, with urgency.
“And, I need you to look straight ahead for me, Ma’am.” The paramedic instructed, ignoring Miranda’s request as she shone a small flashlight into Miranda’s eyes and checked each one in turn for any sign of head trauma. Once satisfied, the young woman continued her examination by gently running her fingers over Miranda’s limbs, to ensure that there were no hidden injuries.
Miranda reflexively recoiled from the contact, only to be struck by another flash of searing pain. “Ahhh.” She winced.
“Stay still, for goodness sake.” The Paramedic chastised. She placed her stethoscope into her ears and slid the cold metal disc inside Miranda’s shirt to rest against the top of her breast. “Can you take a deep breath for me?”
As she sucked in the air, Miranda felt the pain tear down her side again. “Ohhhh.” She moaned as she released the breath.
The paramedic pulled back and winced in sympathy. “Ouch, huh? Ok, Ma’am. Let’s take off this jacket and take a closer look."
“Please call me, Miranda.” She instructed breathlessly. “I’d prefer to be on first name terms if you are going to continue to roam around my body like that.”
The paramedic smirked. “My name is Angie. I’ll try not to roam around for too much longer.” She responded as she carefully unbuttoned Miranda’s jacket and pushed it gently off her shoulders.
“I think you just went to second base, Angela, which officially takes us out of Ma’am territory.” Angie chuckled and Miranda winced again as the paramedic moved her hands around her fragile rib cage. “And I won’t ask again. I want my cell phone.”
“I didn’t doubt your sincerity for a second.” Angie answered as she looked up to meet her patient’s cold blue eyes, and then continued her examination. “I’m sorry to say that I think you have broken a few ribs, but I just want to make sure there isn’t anything more serious, before we get your cell phone, ok?
Miranda nodded silently, as she watched Spencer approach the back of the ambulance with one of his security team.
“Are you ok, Miranda?” He asked with a pained breath.
“I’m…” She hesitated. She was in pain and in that moment she couldn’t be sure where exactly it hurt, she just knew it hurt. “I’ll be fine.” She assured him for the second time that morning. He had blood trickling down the side of his face from a garish cut on his forehead, and he was holding his right arm protectively at the elbow. She pursed her lips at the bloodied security guard. “Sit down before you fall down, Spencer.”
The battered and bruised man sat on the edge of the ambulance entrance, whilst his colleague remained standing.
“What happened?” Miranda asked.
“We don’t know for sure, but we know that this was no accident.”
“I’m not stupid, Spencer. I know this was not accident. I was there remember? Do we know what he wanted?” Miranda paused for his response.
Spencer shook his head and took a deep pained breath. “I think he wanted to kill you.”
Miranda’s breath caught in her throat, she’d had a pretty clear idea that their attacker had intended to hurt her, but she was left shocked by the bluntness of his words. She took a moment to compose herself and then met his eyes firmly. “I need to speak to Andrea and Emily. I want my cell phone, now.” She demanded.
Spencer asked his colleague to check the wreckage for Miranda’s BlackBerry and then turned back to Miranda.
“Is Roy ok?” Miranda questioned.
“They haven’t got him out yet. His legs are trapped in the foot-well of the vehicle and the EMTs suspect that he has broken his pelvis. He’s awake though and responsive, so I guess that is a good sign.”
Two uniformed police officers and another member of the Proteggere Security team approached the ambulance and Spencer stood to meet them. “Miranda, wait here.” Spencer instructed before he walked over to the group.
Miranda watched as the four men stood in a circle conversing almost conspiratorially. “That doesn’t look good.” Miranda murmured to herself as she observed their conversation.
Angie looked over at the group. “No, it does not.” She agreed. “But hopefully this will make you feel a little more comfortable.” Angie stated as she finished injecting a Fentanyl shot into Miranda’s arm. “It should be just enough to take the edge off.”
“Miranda.” Spencer addressed her softly as he approached again, leaving the group.
She knew from the look on his face and the tone of his voice that something was wrong.
“I need you to stay calm.” He paused and Miranda raised her eyebrow silently protesting his delay. He cleared his throat and continued. “The NPYD have confirmed that a call was placed to 911 from the townhouse approximately ten minutes ago.”
The blaring sirens merged into one synchronous sound as the convoy streamed across the early morning traffic.
In the passenger seat of the squad car, Captain Bobby Moore flipped open his cell phone to take the incoming call. “We’re just a couple of minutes out, Bea.” He shouted to his caller, over the noise of the siren.
District Attorney Sharpe moved the receiver away from her ear as her call was answered. She was not a stranger to the chase and the drama that accompanied an urgent call. But, she had to admit it had been a long time since they had both been this close to the frontline. Their suspect, Curran had been placed in a cell. He had sealed his fate by flashing his hand of cards. Although Moore and Sharpe didn’t have everything they needed to lock down the prosecution, they certainly had enough to hold him, which meant they could focus on the issue in hand…the key witnesses.
“There’s been a further development, Bobby.” Sharpe shouted over the noise of her own unmarked transportation, making sure she was loud enough to be heard.
“What do you mean further development?” He quizzed, with a sinking feeling that his day had just gone from horrible to the third dimension of hell. Listening to the background noise on the line, the round robin screech of the siren, playing just a second behind his own made his stomach lurch from its position to his throat. “Where are you?”
“Miranda Priestly’s town car has been involved in an RTA. Early reports indicate that they were attacked, which resulted in the crash. The second party fled the scene. I’m headed down there now with Detective Monaghan.”
“Ok, don’t let Priestly out of your sight, you hear me?” He affirmed.
“I had no intention of doing so.” She stated as a matter of fact. “What do we know from the 911 call?”
“The housekeeper is assumed dead, the lone security detail has been shot and Sachs was unharmed at the time of the call. We lost the call, but we are to assume that the intruder is still in the house.”
“Be careful in there, Bobby.” Sharpe didn’t wait for his response before ending the call. Taking a deep breath, she tried to steady her nerves and focused on the road ahead.
Andy pressed the dial button for the third time but it was useless, the phone battery was dead. “Shit!” She cursed. The operator had insisted that she stay on the line but it was out of her hands now.
She looked across at the injured bodyguard and tried to remind herself that help was on the way. Jake’s breathing was slow and raspy. She could tell that he was having problems drawing a full breath and she could appreciate just how much pain he would be feeling.
Above the sound of his breathing, Andy scanned for any other sounds of movement. During the long days and restless nights, she had grown used to the old house with its creaking bones protesting as the temperature moved up and down, or the sounds of Juliana working in the kitchen and laundry room. Andy felt a lump form in her throat and a single tear ran down her cheek as she pictured the innocent woman lying on the kitchen floor. This was all her fault. ‘Did she have children?’ She wondered. Andy felt ashamed that she had never taken the time to ask her. She knew that the twins adored the woman. She had been with Miranda since before the twins were born and they were all going to be crushed.
A noise from the room above snapped Andy from her thoughts, it sounded like a thud on the floor of Cassidy’s room. Andy instinctively gripped Jake’s 9mm a little tighter in her hands.
“Jake?” Andy whispered.
“Mmm?” He murmured, half in and out of consciousness.
“Did you hear that?” Andy shook him gently. “Jake? Please don’t go to sleep. Stay with me.” She pleaded, feeling the panic rise again from the pit of her stomach as he murmured incoherently and slipped closer to death’s grip.
There were two doors into the room, the one from which she had entered, leading to the hallway and stairs. The other door led back to the kitchen and through to the library, the den and the veranda. She had not been out there, due to the cold weather and Miranda had been worried about her catching a chill during her rehabilitation, the latter now seemed a moot point with her current situation, she reasoned. She considered her options, all of which appeared pointless.
‘What if the doors are locked? Where are the keys? If the doors are unlocked, then I would need to jump at least fifteen feet to the ground. This bum shoulder won’t be strong enough to support a hang and drop and for Christ’s sake, I don’t even have any shoes on!’
Moreover, there was Jake. She knew couldn’t leave him. She was on her own; she had no option but to wait for the intruder to come to her.
Listening hard she could tell that the unwelcome visitor was getting closer. The old house acted as her ally, hindering any hope the criminal had of a stealthy approach.
Kneeling at Jake’s side, half hidden by the couch, Andy watched as the door opened slowly. A victim of her own imagination, she had been expecting a masked hitman, armed to the teeth. The harsh reality was that she was faced with a man who did not need to hide his face, as his targets never survived to tell.
The world seemed to move in slow motion as his piercing eyes scanned the room. Andy held her breath in anticipation. She raised her shaking arm and aimed the firearm, the movement caught the man’s attention and he rushed forward like lightning. Given no other option, Andy squeezed the trigger and fired the weapon, missing the man by inches. She didn’t expect the force of the shot to be so strong as it threw her wrist back and knocked her off balance.
The man took advantage of the situation and lunged forward tackling Andy.
As she hit the ground, the gun fell from her grip and she felt something hard slam into her face. It took her a second to realise that it was his fist. “No!” Andy screamed, as the man climbed on top of her body, straddling her hips and pinning her to the carpeted floor. She felt a strong hand clamp around her neck as she fought against him, scratching at his face and kicking wildly as she tried to throw him off her body. She watched with terror as he reached for his belt and pulled out a hunting knife from its casing. He smiled sadistically as he teasingly ran the cold blade along her collarbone and down her sternum, blowing his vile hot breath in her face.
He bent forward and pushed his face into her hair inhaling deeply. “You won’t get away from me this time, Andrea.” He whispered gruffly into her ear.
In the distance, Andy heard the sirens approaching, they were coming to save her, she just hoped they would make it in time.
Try as she might, Andrea couldn’t move from under the weight of her attacker. As he teased the steely knife down over the cloth covering her rib cage, she could see that he was relishing in the power and control that he had over her, it was as if he was feeding off her fear. Out of the corner of her eye she could see Jake’s gun on the carpet, she reached out her arm and stretched towards the weapon. Andy screamed in agony as she felt the blunt force of a fist strike her injured shoulder. The tears ran down her face as she sobbed out the pain.
Now that he had her full attention, the man continued his torturous movements, relishing in the power that he yielded over her. He slowly pushed the blade into her side, feeling the futile resistance of the cotton shirt and skin and flesh as the blade slid through each layer like butter.
Andy heard his breath hitch and watched as his pupils dilated like the opening gates of hell. Her scream of agony was fractured by short sobs as she tried to breathe. It felt like there was no space in her lungs, as if she was suffocating from the inside out. As he removed the blade, Andy felt the rush of heat, which she knew was her blood slipping from the wound. His sadistic smiling face filled her eyes and she felt his rough hand run over her tear stained face.
“I always finish what I start, Princess.” He whispered gruffly.
Andy stared into the face of death as he leaned back to lift the blade again. She could hear the sirens growing louder in their approach, but she knew that it was too late; the inevitable had come… this was the end.
Three rapid gunshots caught her by surprise. Hot wet blood splashed across her face and the explosion continued to echo in her ears as the man’s dead weight slumped on top of her.
As the madness outside the doors of the ambulance raged on, Miranda took a deep breath and prepared herself for what she knew would be an awkward—for both parties—conversation. She pressed the speed dial key on her BlackBerry, the single button that would take her to her loyal and faithful, long suffering assistant in less than three rings. As predicted, her call was answered instantly and strangely she found herself feeling comforted by Emily’s voice.
“Yes, Miranda?” Emily greeted, lifting her hand to her ear to block out the noise of the boarding calls.
“Where are you?” Miranda snipped, raising her voice a fraction above her usual whisper, over the din of the sirens.
Emily began pacing the floor. “I’m in the departure lounge at La Guardia Airport. We are about to…”
“Yes, yes.” Miranda cut in. “Spare me the details. Emily…” Miranda paused, as she felt the weight of her impending announcement threaten to take control of her usual reserve. “I need you to go and fetch my girls.”
“But…” The word had already left Emily’s mouth before her brain had a chance to stop it. She had been simply minutes away from the first day of the rest of her life. London Fashion week was supposed to be her big break, the one she had been dreaming of for the past three years. In just one phone call, the dream had just been ripped away. It took a moment to overcome the gravitational pull of her deep disappointment, but when she did, she realised that Miranda wasn’t just playing some cruel joke, something was very wrong. She slowed her pacing between rows of empty seats and leaned against the glass that looked out over gate three. She could hear the sirens and the commotion on the line. She could hear the quiver in Miranda’s voice. She closed her eyes and sighed gently. “Of course, Miranda. Whatever you need.”
“For the Second time in as many weeks I feel I owe you an explanation.” Miranda sighed.
“You don’t need to explain anything Miranda. I have their schedule with me. I will leave immediately.”
“Thank you. A security team is on the way to pick you up now. Once you have retrieved the girls, they will take you to a secure location.”
Emily pondered Miranda’s instructions. “Ok… maybe you do need to explain.” She added.
Miranda braced herself for the high possibility of an over dramatic reaction from her assistant. “We were attacked on route to the office…” Miranda heard Emily’s breath hitch in response. “I’m ok.” She added quickly. “And so is Spencer, but Roy has not been so fortunate they are still trying to cut him from the wreckage. More importantly, the Security team have just informed me that there has been a 911 call made from the town house. I don’t have much more information at the moment.”
“Holy shit.” Emily cursed, forgetting to use her inside voice and feeling a sea of eyes upon her. Emily scowled in return and they quickly looked away.
“Yes, quite.” Miranda responded. “Emily, I need you to know, that I trust you beyond anyone else under my employ. You have proved yourself and your loyalty time and time again. Nigel can handle London. Your time is now, please go and get my babies and keep them safe.”
Emily felt an equal measure of pride and dread as Miranda ended the call.
This was the first day of the rest of her life, just not the life she had been expecting.
Miranda stared at her BlackBerry, begging it to give her the answers she desperately needed. There had been no answer when she had tried calling the townhouse. She felt helpless. She closed her eyes to think of her next move but all she could see was Andrea, the hurt and disappointment written all over her face after they had fought that previous night. The last words they had said to one another had been in anger. Miranda looked out into chaos on the street, searching for some sign of hope. Then she saw what she was looking for, the answers to all her questions was walking towards her.
The squad cars screeched to a halt outside of the Priestly townhouse. The Captain and his three uniformed officers spilled from their respective vehicles, just as the distinctive sound of gunfire exploded from within the house.
Moore charged up the front steps, throwing his weight at the door in a hopeless attempt to gain access. He scanned the front of the building and considered his options. As his eyes processed the scene, he spotted a small window into the basement. The glass had been smashed, it was just big enough to fit a man and he surmised that this was the likely entry point. However, he knew that it was not a viable entry point for them to follow, not without knowing anything about the intruder; he was not willing to risk the safety of his officers. There was a time when he would have climbed through himself, but he was not the young slender man he used to be, one too many rescheduled trips to the gym and a fondness for pastry meant that his chances of squeezing through the window were slim to none.
He indicated for a uniformed officer to bring the battering ram from the trunk of the squad car whilst another officer headed down the side alley with clear instructions to secure the rear. “Charlie-Victor-two-four-six, Priestly Residence, shots fired. I repeat shots fired. Four officers on the scene, requesting back up and Ambulance immediately.”
Officer Tony Johnson stood poised at the top of the steps with the heavy metal cylinder at the ready. After receiving the signal from his superior officer, he made three effective strikes to the door, allowing the piston to make light work of the first lock. “Give me a hand with this top one, Jimmy.” Johnson called out and his partner moved in without question. The two men lifted the ram up and down successively in several smooth motions to strike the top and bottom security locks, making light work of breaking through the heavy oak door.
Taking a deep breath Moore ascended the steps and as lead officer made his way into the eerily quiet townhouse. After clearing the foyer, Moore motioned the first officer to move up the stairs. A jerk of the head to the second officer had him following to clear the rest of the ground floor.
The kitchen door did not open at first and looking down Moore saw the bloody smears on the wooden floor and door. He motioned the uniform to look at the evidence and be ready. Weapons drawn the two men pushed into the kitchen. Moore quickly swept the room clearing each corner and checking the windows and doors for damage. Turning to check with his rookie officer, Moore was disappointed to see the man frozen like a deer in headlights. Fighting a growl and the urge to slap the man, he rounded the kitchen island to see what had flummoxed the junior officer. Dropping to a knee, he took the pulse of the woman lying before him. He knew that his action was futile. He was simply following procedure; at first glance, there was no doubt in his mind that she was dead. The bile in his stomach began to feel heavier; something told him that this discovery was just the tip of the iceberg and it was moments like this that he realized just how much he lived on hope. Shaking his head at the lack of pulse, he swiftly rose to his feet.
Signalling for the rookie to follow him Moore moved through the kitchen and gingerly pushed open the adjacent door, this time it was his turn to freeze. “On my ten-twenty.” Moore shouted, snapping out of his initial shock and calling for assistance from his uniformed team.
He rushed forward with his weapon drawn. Taking in the bloody scene, he took a mental snapshot of the three bodies; his mind immediately began to process the crime scene. Caucasian male, mid-twenties, unconscious, lying on the floor with 9mm pistol in right hand. Second Caucasian male, mid to late-thirties, lying face down on the floor on top of a third body, witness Andrea Sachs.
Moore moved forward again and kicked the pistol from the first man’s hand. He took a knee and reached to take the man’s pulse. He was suited and wearing a standard issue vest, from the pooled blood around his body it was clear that he was seriously injured. The good news was he was still breathing. Officer Johnson knelt at the side of the second man and saw the hunting knife in his closed hand. He kept his gun trained on the man and kicked the weapon from his hand. With the same degree of caution, he then bent down to take his pulse. He looked over at the Captain and shook his head. “He’s dead sir.”
The two other officers entered the room. “Rear is secure and the house is clear, Captain.” Officer Jimmy Semple advised and awaited his instructions.
“Good, get over here. I think this guy is from the security team.” Moore stepped aside and let Semple attend to the man, while he moved to the next gruesome scene. “Where the hell are those Ambulances? Petterson, get the trauma kit out of the trunk and get on the damn radio.” He instructed the third officer.
The stained carpet around the two bodies was almost black, Moore and Johnson moved quickly to lift the body of the second man off their witness. With the dead weight now off her body, Moore could see that Andrea was still breathing. He knelt at her side and began assessing her injuries, as she moaned and began to regain a loose form of consciousness. “Where are you hurt, Andrea?” He asked, fearful of the amount of blood covering the floor and her white shirt, hopeful that it was not all hers. Before she could strain an answer, he saw the tear in her shirt from the blade. On further inspection, he found the gurgling wound in her side. Petterson re-entered room with the rudimentary first aid kit, leaving Moore to search haphazardly in the bag until he found what he was looking for. “Get over here and help me.” He commanded, instructing Petterson to open up the young woman’s shirt and to gently lift her on to her side so that he could access the wound. She groaned loudly in pain as the officer moved her body. Moore could hear the ambulance and police sirens approaching rapidly, but there was no time to wait. He tore open a bandage packet and placed the inside of the sterile plastic packet against the wound to form a seal. “Pass me the gauze.” He instructed securing his work as she continued to move in and out of consciousness.
“Semple, how is your guy doing?” Moore enquired.
“He’s got two bullet wounds one penetrating the shoulder and another in the side, which was stopped by the vest, but he’s having some trouble breathing Captain.”
“Try and make him comfortable until the EMTs get here. What have you found on our John Doe, Johnson?” Moore asked, continuing to work the crime scene as he held pressure on Andrea’s wound.
Processing the evidence, the Officers had already bagged the hunting knife and several other weapons from the man’s clothes. Johnson held up a square leather wallet for his superior to see. “This ain’t no John Doe, Captain. He’s carrying a freaking badge.”
During her time with the District Attorney’s office, Sharpe had seen her fair share of trials and tribulations. It was a boys club and even though this was supposed to be the twenty first century, women in her line of work were still seen as a novelty. Having to fight and prove herself over and over in the worst situations had hardened her for the worst of the worst. That just about summarized the category of what she was entering now.
The visage of Miranda Priestly, pale with pain and shock was worrisome enough, but the steely resolve in her eyes indicated to Sharpe that the dragon was just getting ready to roar. Taking a deep breath, she continued her approach remembering her mother’s wise words about being wary of tigers that are caught by their tails.
“Where is Andrea?” Miranda asked without a greeting, her quiet voice barely audible over the din of the busy scene around them.
“Moore’s team has gone to get her.” Sharpe advised. That was the truth Sharpe reasoned and it spared all of the very messy details. However, from the look on Miranda’s face, Sharpe could see she wasn’t buying it.
Miranda narrowed her eyes at the D.A knowing that there was definitely more to the story. She was about to release her acid tongue when the chatter from the Detective’s radio caught their attention. The voice was familiar and the words were hurried and erratic. Nevertheless, Miranda heard it; there were six words that came through crystal clear. “Priestly residence, two D.O.A and two critical.” The fear soaked adrenalin masked her pain as she moved quickly off the stretcher and out of the ambulance.
“Miranda, where are you going?” Sharpe called after her and moved forward hurriedly to grip her arm.
Miranda looked at Sharpe as if she had asked the most stupid question on the planet. “Home!” Miranda answered in disbelief.
“Don’t be ridiculous. You are in not in any fit state. Besides…” Sharpe sighed and shook her head. “…you wouldn’t even get close to the scene.”
“Then you will take me.” Miranda stated.
“Miranda please, you need to go to the hospital.” Sharpe could see the desperate look in the woman’s eyes. Less than a week ago, she had looked into those same eyes and listened as she had poured her heart out about love and second chances. Now the same woman was faced with the possibility of losing it all…again. “Let me make a call. Wait here. I’ll see what I can find out.”
Resigned to the fact that this was her only real option, Miranda nodded and watched with begrudging patience as Sharpe moved out of earshot to make her phone call.
The line rang several times before it was answered. It didn’t take a genius to work out that Moore was currently in the middle of an almighty shit-storm and his tone made no attempt to hide it. “Bobby, are you ok?”
“I’m fine, Bea.” He clipped.
She knew that he was far from it but now was not the time to challenge his stiff upper lip. “I’m with Miranda downtown. We just heard the ten-thirteen on the radio. I’m trying to run interference but I’ll only be able to hold her off for so long. What can you tell me?” Sharpe listened with baited breath as Moore ran through the details at the scene. “You did everything you could, Bobby.” She reassured.
“It wasn’t enough though was it?” He said distractedly.
The night was always at its darkest just before dawn and she knew he needed time to process, hell they both did. Sharpe looked over to Miranda and saw that she was watching her. “I’ll see you at Mount Sinai.” She finalized before hanging up the call.
The blue and red lights flashed and the siren wailed on the unmarked police car as the four passengers sped their way to the hospital. Even in his fragile state Spencer had refused to leave Miranda’s side. He sat up front, with Detective Monaghan behind the wheel, allowing Sharpe to update Miranda, as promised in the rear of the vehicle.
District Attorney Sharpe just didn’t feel comfortable as she faced the dishevelled and unkempt state of Miranda Priestly. She knew that any attempt to mollycoddle Miranda would be shot down in flames. Nevertheless, the sight of her fragile and battered frame was somewhat disconcerting and she had to stifle the urge to wrap her arms around her and tell her everything was going to be fine.
“So?” Miranda asked impatiently.
There was an attack on your home.” Sharpe explained. “The intruder was shot and killed. Both Andrea and a member of the security team have been severely injured and another woman…”
“Juliana.” Miranda said quietly looking down at her lap.
“Yes. I’m sorry but she did not make it.” Sharpe waited for a reaction from Miranda but she continued to stare into her lap, clearly fighting her emotions. “This was the work of a professional.” She continued. “He knew exactly what he was doing. First impressions tell us that they never stood a chance.”
Miranda continued to stare into her lap for a moment longer before looking up and addressing Spencer. “How did this happen?” She asked coldly, narrowing her gaze on him. “Your team were supposed to be protecting us.”
“I’m sorry Miranda. I don’t know what else to say but sorry…” The silence after his words was as cold as her glare.
“What do you mean by severe?” Miranda enquired, turning her eyes back to Sharpe.
“Andy has been stabbed.” She answered.
Miranda’s breath caught in her throat. “Oh!” She exclaimed. “She is still so fragile. How bad is it?”
“All I know is that she was conscious when they moved her to the ambulance.” Miranda seemed to heave a sigh of relief at her words. “She fought with everything she had. She didn’t give up.”
“Who shot him?” Miranda asked, fearful of the answer. She knew that Andrea’s soul was already fighting the ghosts of her recent ordeal, her dreams were haunted and she didn’t need another notch to be scratched into her conscience.
“Jake.” Spencer answered coldly from the front of the car. “He killed him.” There was no victory in death, but he felt proud of the young man in his charge, who had fought with his life to protect his client. He knew it wouldn’t be today, but someday Miranda would appreciate this too.
The car screeched to a halt in the ambulance bay and Detective Monaghan sped round to the passenger doors to release the District Attorney and Miranda.
Despite her injures Miranda set the pace, the staccato sound of her heels clacking in double time reverberated in the lobby and on the marble floor as she raced forward. Sharpe and Spencer were at her side as she reached the front desk and breathlessly gave Andrea’s name to the nurse behind the glass. There was a sudden sense of Déjà vu as the nurse, checked her computer screen and then asked if she was a member of family. Miranda’s nostrils flared in anger as she prepared to unleash the fires of hell on the young woman in the peach scrubs.
Sharpe flashed her D.A badge at the woman behind the desk and advised her that they were there to meet Captain Moore. The young nurse nodded and opened the security doors just as Moore appeared with a uniformed officer.
“This way, Bea.” He signalled with his head and the group followed him.
The corridors were busy with white coats and scrubs moving from room to room. It was noisy and chaotic, with multiple trauma cases being worked on that morning. Moore brought them to a stop outside a closed room, where another uniformed officer waited. The man stood in front of the door partially blocking the glass view into the room. Miranda observed the scene, taking in every inch of detail as Moore spoke.
“The security guy is down the hall. He has been shot twice. He has a flesh wound to the shoulder and severe internal bleeding. Andrea is in this room.” He pointed to the door behind the uniformed officer. Hearing the words Miranda moved forward to push the uniformed officer out of the way. “You can’t go in there.” Moore stated grabbing her shoulder.
“The hell I can’t.” Miranda barked. Sharpe took her other arm and both of them held her in place as she fought to enter the room. Through the glass window in the door, Miranda could see the medical team at work as they hurried around the lifeless body on the bed. She could hear the noises and frantic shouts from the team as they communicated with each other.
“I just need to see her.” Miranda pleaded, but the grip stayed tight.
“Let them work, Miranda.” Sharpe begged. “Let them do what they do best.”
Moore and Sharpe watched as Miranda’s concrete walls began to crumble in their arms and the meltdown of the formidable ice queen began.
Released from her restraints Miranda backed away from the door and leaned against the corridor wall, fearing that her legs would buckle from under her. She buried her head in her hands, afraid that if she cried the first tear, the tears would not stop. The dark thoughts filled her mind and threatened to break her.
‘You’re going to lose everything. You’re going to lose everything.’
Moore looked at Sharpe in complete bewilderment.
She shrugged her shoulders in a silent response and then indicated for him to follow her. They moved along the corridor, away from prying and sensitive ears to conspire.
“What if she doesn’t make it?” Sharpe fretted. “Do we have enough?”
Moore reached into his jacket and took out his cell phone. “Here.” He instructed as he handed her the device with a picture on the screen.
Sharpe studied the image of the NY police badge, wrapped in an evidence bag on the screen of the phone. Moore watched with a small sense of satisfaction it’s relevance slowly dawned on her.
“Did this come from the Priestly house?” Sharpe whispered.
“Jorge Corelli was I.D’d on scene. It looks like he went into the finish the job.” He gripped her by the shoulders so that they were facing each other. “She gave us, Curran and now she has given us the final piece of the puzzle. We got the bastards now!” He declared, clenching his jaw.
Sharpe down at the ground and heaved a sigh. She was angry and relieved at the same time. She blamed herself for the fact that they hadn’t been able to hold the officers after their original questioning. It had taken them so long to gather the evidence, to put together all the pieces and as such, she was as much to blame for this as the murders themselves.
“Hey, what’s this?” Moore asked with concern. “She didn’t let them beat her.” He added, trying to console his long-term colleague. “She fought with everything she had she beat the murdering son of a bitch!”
Sharpe looked up from the ground and over towards a broken Miranda.
Moore saw the tears brimming in her eyes and felt his heart sink in empathy.
“All this bloodshed, and for what?” She said, breathing the pained words.
She had seen some horrors over the years, things that could destroy a soul. But, it was rare that she would let herself become so emotionally invested in a case. But this had been different from the start, it had made her question her ethics, her loyalties and most importantly, it had made her realize that she didn’t want to be alone anymore. Miranda had opened her eyes. She knew that she needed to take a break from it. After all was said and done, she needed some time to put her life back in order and to regain perspective.
After a few moments of silence, lost in her thoughts, she lifted her arms to break free of Moore’s grasp and wiped her eyes. “You get going, I’ll stay with her.” She assured.
Moore cleared his throat and stepped out of her space. “Ok. Despatch have sent out two cars to pick up Riley and Baum, I’m going to go back through their statements. I’m also going to finish questioning Curran, believe me when I say that I will make him talk.” Moore waved his fist to affirm his words. “You gonna be ok?” He asked, softening his tone.
“Sure.” Sharpe assured. “I’m fine. Now go.” She patted his arm and smiled.
Moore felt his heart sink again as he saw the smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes. She was hurting. They all were. He needed to step up and put this nightmare to bed.
Andy couldn’t be sure whether she was awake or still trapped in her nightmare. This wasn’t the same as the nightmares she had been having for the last fortnight. Those always ended as the black figure took her life. She had never made it past there; she had never made it to the hospital. ‘Was this real?’ She questioned.
She closed her eyes and squeezed them tight before opening them again. There were people rushing around her, the noise was loud and it hurt her ears, the pain was almost unbearable… yes the pain, she had never felt pain in her dreams.
“Andrea?” A voice called her name but she couldn’t focus on the source. “Andrea?” The voice called again. “Can you hear me?” Andy saw an unfamiliar face above her. “Hello Andrea, do you know where you are?” The man asked as he lifted Andy’s oxygen mask slightly.
“In the hospital?” Andy whispered breathlessly. She blinked again and he came into focus. She looked into his grey-blue eyes.
“Yes, that’s right. You were stabbed. We’ve managed to stop the bleeding for the moment but we are going to need to take you to surgery. Ok, Andrea?”
“Andy.” She wheezed. “My name is Andy.” The man nodded. “Where is Miranda?” She managed to mumble before she a flash of seething pain rip through her insides. She cried out for help as the machinery in the room emitted a chorus of high-pitched tones.
“Pressures dropping, let’s get her to the O.R. now!” The Doctor gave his order and the team moved with him.
The loud clatter as the gurney burst through the doors drew Miranda’s attention.
Andy’s breath hitched as she saw Miranda. Her face and hands were covered in cuts and bruises. Her clothes were torn and dirty and her hair tousled beyond help.
The medical team did not stop, despite Miranda’s protests for information and so she moved with them, taking Andrea’s hand.
Andrea’s eyebrows knotted in a mixture of pain and worry. “Oh my god, what happened to you?” She whimpered as she removed her mask.
“It’s not important.” Miranda dismissed squeezing Andrea’s hand.
“I’m sorry.” Andrea wheezed fighting for breath. She studied Miranda’s face, seeing the fresh tracks of tears.
“Why are you sorry? You silly girl.” Miranda scolded, beside herself with worry.
They paused at the end of the corridor waiting for the elevator to arrive. Miranda leaned in and swept back the matted hair from Andrea’s face. “Everything is going to be ok.” She assured, trying to convince herself as much as Andrea.
“Miranda, I…” Andy wheezed, pain knotting her face.
“You don’t need to say it.” Miranda shook her head and squeezed Andy’s hand again.
“I love you.” Andy whispered.
Miranda could feel her heart breaking as she heard Andrea’s words. The whole situation was out of her control and she felt completely powerless. She looked deeply into Andrea’s eyes and placed her dirtied palm on her cheek just as the elevator doors pinged open. “I will never forgive you if you leave me again. Do you hear me?”
Andy cried out in pain again as their hands were torn apart. Miranda watched helplessly as the elevator door closed behind them.
I was once asked if I believed in fate…
Do things happen for a reason? Do the Gods play a part in the hand that we are dealt?
If it is meant to be then all roads will lead back to them.
I believe that she was my destiny and I was hers.
A/N2: I know that this ending will receive some mixed reactions. I write angsty stories, that's what I do. The way I see it, the world is filled with two types of people: Glass half empty and glass half full. I agonised over giving them the white picket fence and the happy ever after, I really did... but in the end I decided to make this a series and break here.
There is more coming soon...