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: A huge big thanks to sporkmetender for stepping up to the plate and bringing all kinds of awesome with her beta’ring! Any remaining mistakes are all mine…
AN2: Reviewed and edited (03 Jan 2011).
All traces of the day had been wiped away and her exquisite skin was now exposed. Miranda stared at her reflection in the mirror. The reflection stared back.
She had walked a certain path all her life. She thought she knew that path like the back of her hand. In fear of getting hurt again, she had long ago built up a truly impenetrable set of walls. She looked deep into her own eyes, pleading with herself. ‘For every piece of me that wants you, another piece backs away. It’s my nature, I want to run and hide.’
Every decision and action in her life was thought through, all risks and consequences were considered, everything was done for a reason—until now. From the moment she had walked into that hospital room, she hadn’t allowed herself to think. She hadn’t actually considered what it would mean for them to be together. It was a momentary loss of control. She had been taken over by an exhilarating feeling, a feeling that rushed through her body every time she was near Andrea.
She had spent all this time longing, full of loneliness and regret; now more than ever she was sure that this was what she wanted. So what was the problem? Well, for one thing, she was no longer young and free; those days were long gone. She had a busy, demanding life, an empire to run, the brand and reputation to maintain and two headstrong teenage daughters to raise.
Loosening his collar and leaning back on his chair Moore, balled his hand into a fist and slammed it with force on to the desk. The noise startled his interview partner, but the suspect stayed steely-eyed. Moore, knew it was only a matter of time before he broke the man, the cracks were slowly beginning to show.
“I will ask you one more time, Officer Baum. Where did it come from?” Captain Moore snarled at the man. “Steady deposits each month. Did you think we wouldn’t find it in her account? Either you tell me, or we’ll bring her in.”
He leafed pointedly through a thick pile of papers. With one sudden movement, he lifted several sheets, crumpled them into a ball, and threw them at the officer. “Aiding and abetting? Obstruction of justice? That’s at least five years’ hard time. I’m sure if I thought about it, I could come up with plenty of other charges to add on to this.” He snorted in disgust. “Boy! That will be tough on the kids.”
“Enough!” Baum spat, his indignation clear in his tone. “You son of a bitch! Leave Jennifer out of this. She knows nothing…”
“Yeah? How about you tell me what I want to hear. We have some careless clerks in admin, who knows; maybe these papers could go missing.”
Andy’d had another restless night. The drugs helped with the pain, but the uncomfortable ache was constant. It had been over a week and—unsurprisingly—not being able to sleep on her stomach was a hard habit to break.
The plaguing images of the cop on the night, the night that everything in her life changed, interwove with thoughts of Miranda. Her conscious mind was like spaghetti junction.
Laying on the heavenly mattress and the ridiculously soft sheets, she thought again about her life before that night. How lonely she had been, how she had tried a thousand times a day to call Miranda and beg for forgiveness. On several occasions the overwhelming sadness had actually led her to dial the number she had committed to memory. But every time she even heard the ring tone she would be gripped by fear, and she would lose her nerve. On these occasions she was thankful that the calling line ID was blocked from The Post’s phone system.
The fact was that Andy Sachs was in love with Miranda Priestly; she always had been. She had been given a second chance to show her how much and as she laid there alone in the dark, she promised herself that would not fail this time.
With London fashion week approaching at lighting speed, Emily was clocking some serious hours at the office. This was her year. This was the year Miranda would finally see her potential and reward it accordingly.
Harold watched the under-nourished redhead as she exited a cab on Madison Avenue. She teetered across the pavement towards his newspaper stand, wary of the ice in the sub zero temperatures.
Lifting the pre-bundled stack of papers and glossy magazines, he greeted his frosty morning regular. “Good morning to ya, Miss. Emily! Early start today?”
Emily raised the eyebrow of contempt and released a deep sigh. Tossing twenty dollars at the grubby vendor, she readjusted the oversized Radley bag, which balanced precariously on her shoulder and gripped the huge bundle to her chest. With that, she turned on her heel and headed to the Elias Clarke entrance.
The corridor lights buzzed into life as she exited the elevator. It was rare to see the Runway halls so desolate, but it was now becoming the daily routine for Emily. She looked at her watch again. The small hand and the big hand were both on the number five, reaffirming that yes; she truly had lost her mind.
Despite the tiredness, the usual daily routine instinctively kicked in as she entered the inner sanctum of the Runway office. Cutting the binding that held the bundle so neatly together, she fanned them out at the corner of Miranda’s desk. She was just about to walk away when something caught her eye. It was a small paragraph in the corner of a newspaper sheet jumped out at her. A double-take was all she needed to confirm that her day was just about to get a lot worse.
Moore skulked through the investigation room, a brief escape from the tiny room that had become his very own cell over the last week. The morning light streamed through the blinds, forcing him to shield his eyes. Opening the door without knocking, he entered District Attorney Sharpe’s office, all etiquette forgotten at this stage in the case.
“Another beautiful day on the ‘thunder run.’” His tone was dripping with pessimism. Sharpe looked up from a forest of paperwork as he placed a fresh cup of coffee on her desk and smiled warmly at his dog-tired face.
“Morning, Bobby. Have you been here all night?”
“Did you expect anything less?”
“Never.” She smiled again.
“Not enough hours in the day! How are the witness testimonies going?”
“We are swimming in evidence here, which is a bonus. But, I’m appalled we didn’t act sooner. You know, sometimes I lie awake at night questioning why I do this, why do I put myself through it.” She sighed, raking a hand through her short black hair. “I spent last night talking to Maria Rodriguez; she identified Riley, O’Hanlon, Corelli and Baum in a line up.”
“The Diablo gang informant? Is she credible?” Moore pulled out the chair closest to him and took a seat.
“Her record is littered with narc and vice priors, but I can spin that.”
“What’s the allegation?”
“Just over a week ago, she claims that she was detained without cause in the street. We have two further witnesses who confirmed that Riley jammed a gun in her face and then his partner, Corelli, handcuffed her and threw her against a wall. When the other two officers arrived, she was taken back to her apartment, where the officers insisted that she and her boyfriend, the recently deceased Carlos Mendez, hand over drugs and provide the names of their dealers. Mendez told the officers where to find $3000 in cash hidden behind a heater which, mysteriously, is not in the crime scene evidence. Rodriguez claims that Riley then shot and killed an unarmed Mendez as he tried to flee the scene. The ballistics and blood-splatter evidence support the claim. However, the report has massive holes. It’s complete fabrication in part. What were these guys playing at?”
“I wish my birds were singing as loud as yours.” Moore shook his head in disbelief.
“No matter how strong the evidence is a confession will make things much worse for them. Get me a confession and the chances of an acquittal are virtually nil.” She pushed.
“Easier said than done! These guys know every trick in the book.”
“They’ll break; it’s what you’re good at Bobby.” Sharpe reached out, placing her hand over his, gently reaffirming her confidence in him. She took another deep breath, a method she used to slow the thoughts in her head. “I think I’m going to need to speak with Sachs again. I really wanted to avoid this but I don’t feel like I have all the pieces of the jigsaw yet.”
“What do you mean?” He quizzed.
“I just don’t feel we have the full story. You know I don’t like leaving stones unturned.” She looked into his eyes. “How well do you know Miranda Priestly?”
“Until our meeting at the hospital, it was by reputation only, but now know she is every bit the bitch that she is painted as in the press”
Something inside Sharpe urged her to defend the fashion mogul, to explain to him what it took for a woman to climb
that high in a man’s world and maintain it. She might not have always agreed with her tactics and execution, but she knew that whatever Miranda did, she did for a reason. Today, though, right now in this moment, she was so tired she really didn’t have the energy for a debate. Choosing her words carefully, she continued.
“I contacted the Editor of The Post. His assistant informed me that Ms. Priestly had requested that all of Sachs’ files from the case be sent to her office. Also, how she had also strongly suggested that they refrain from running anything further on the story. Indefinitely.” Sharpe shrugged in bewilderment. “I Googled Sachs. As it turns out, she used to work for Runway as Miranda’s assistant a couple of years ago. There isn’t much detail, but from what I can piece together, there appears to have been some incident, possibly some dissension in the ranks, which forced her to leave rather suddenly. Two years on, Sachs is a cubby reporter barely making enough money to cover her rent…I don’t get it. Why is Miranda involved with this?” She paused to take a large gulp of her coffee and caught the smirk that had appeared on Moore’s face, the jaded lines creasing his eyes. “What?”
“You haven’t seen today’s paper, have you?” She looked at him blankly as he pulled the rolled out tabloid from his back pocket. He opened to page six and laid it down on the table.
Scanning the page, Sharpe gasped. “Jesus Christ! Do you think this is true?”
“Reynolds’ field report states that she arrived at the hospital on the night of the shooting, a couple of hours after the surgery and stayed with her until just before she was discharged. She even brought her assistant to the hospital so she could carry on working. Policy dictates that I can’t leave a key witness unprotected during an active case, so we’ve got a team watching her…at the Priestly townhouse. ”
“Oh, for God’s sake!” Sharpe cursed. “That doesn’t mean it’s true! You can’t just go making assumptions and wild accusations without proof; you know that as well as I do.” Sharpe chuckled lightly, waving the paper. “She is going to eat them for breakfast for this!”
“So why don’t you bring her in for questioning with Sachs?” Moore quizzed returning to her original point.
“Have you lost your mind? Would you want to be alone with her in an interview room?” She smirked. “Besides, she wouldn’t budge without a court order, and I don’t think I could push the judge that far.” She looked at her watch and stood up. “Come on. We’ll be late for the morning update.” With that, they both headed to the conference room.
Emily knew she had run out of time. The PR Company had been put on red alert; Carrie had been threatened with painful death if she didn’t get her bony little ass into the office as soon as possible. All she had to do now was call Miranda. She held her breath as she dialled the number and waited for Miranda to pick up.
The statuesque pose of the fashion goddess seated at the breakfast bar hit Andy as she entered the kitchen. The sun beamed in through the tall windows, outlining Miranda’s body with a halo effect that took Andy’s breath away.
The cell phone was pressed to Miranda’s ear and with the genuine sweetness in her tone Andy knew instantly who she was talking to. “Of course you can, Boopsie. I’m looking forward to seeing you. Mommy misses you both terribly…” Miranda heard Andrea’s bare feet on the tiled floor, as she entered the kitchen and smiled as she felt the warm hand on the small of her back.
Publicly labelled the Ice Queen by rivals and ex-husbands, Miranda had long since resigned herself to a life without affection and human contact. But the more she got from Andrea, the more she craved it. Andy leaned in and placed a gentle kiss to Miranda’s temple, whispering “Good morning” in her phone free ear. Miranda continued to watch Andrea as she moved around the kitchen, feeling pleased at how she had made herself at home.
Wrapping up the call with her ebullient offspring, she was finally able to greet Andrea properly. “Good morning.” She said sweetly. “What are you doing up so early?”
“It’s after seven, and besides I wanted to make sure I saw you before you left.” Andy flashed a radiant smile that tugged at Miranda’s heart strings.
Tearing her eyes away from Andrea’s intense gaze, she looked down to the vibrating item in her hand, alerting her to eleven missed calls from her assistant. Miranda groaned, knowing that a frantic Emily was waiting only a speed dial away.
“Is something wrong? Andy quizzed.
“I think Emily has finally had that breakdown.” Miranda groaned and placed the handset to her ear.
Miranda knew from the heavy breathing that filled her ear that her prediction hadn’t been far from the truth. “Emily, spare me the sound effects from a cheap adult chat line and spit it out.”