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?
WARNING: There are some scenes of violence and heavy language. If you are easily offended or squeamish I DO NOT suggest that you read this!
A/N - They say you should never open with an apology but I feel like it's the least I could do considering how long it has taken me to finish this chapter. Hopefully all will be forgiven and it will have been worth waiting for. I have left you with a delicious cliff-hanger, because, quite frankly my darlings... I can... *insert evil laugh* - Oh BTW comments feed the beast and she works faster when she's full of yummy goodness!
A/N2 - I need to say a gargantuous thank you to my good buddy and beta supreme punky_96 , I really don't know what I would do with you! Have I told you that you're ACES lately? P.S Any remaining errors are all mine!
“They’re coming home tomorrow?” Andy beseeched, with a hint of horror in her tone. Circling Miranda’s desk, she blew out a breath of air in an attempt not to hyperventilate. “What about the case? Are you sure that this is a good idea? Oh god… What if they hate me?”
Miranda rolled her eyes. She had decided to wait until after dinner that evening before she broached the homecoming with Andrea. The evening had been relaxing a full of idol small talk—something that she found easy to do around the younger woman—she was confident that she had chosen the right time. But, now as watched the panic-stricken woman in front of her she wished that she hadn’t brought it up at all.
As Andrea moved back around the desk, Miranda reached out and pulled the pacing Andrea gently towards her and down on to her lap. “Are you trying to make me dizzy?” She sighed, running her fingers through Andrea’s hair. “Don’t be so over-dramatic!”
Andy sighed at Miranda’s snark, before leaning into kiss her. “Did you just accuse me of being over-dramatic?” She asked incredulously.
“Really Andrea! You know how I loathe repeating myself.” Miranda spoke against Andrea’s lips, responding with a playful smile as she enjoyed their closeness and the banter.
Andy pulled back and cupped Miranda’s face gently between her hands, feeling a little bit calmer. “What did you tell them? You know… about me?” She asked, trying her best to be breezy. When all she was really thinking was: ‘Don’t freak out. Don’t freak out!’
Miranda watched Andrea’s eyes; filled with the same scared look that she had seen daily when she had been in the hospital. She could read her emotions like a book.
A lot had happened over the past couple of weeks, although it had become blatantly apparent to both of them that they had each spent the past two years yearning for the same thing—in reality they both knew that having what they wanted could never be easy.
As Miranda stared into Andrea’s beautiful brown eyes, she knew that whatever they had to deal with, it would be worth it in the end.
Wrapping her arms around Andrea’s back, Miranda moved her fingers in gentle, rhythmic movements along her spine. “Well, between the press announcements and my ex-husband, it seems that I didn’t need to tell my children anything that they didn’t already know.”
“Yikes. How were they with it?” Andy winced, preparing to hear about the start of world war three.
“Surprisingly, they were very mature about the whole situation. I was honestly expecting some fireworks.”
Andy ran her hands down Miranda’s arms breaking the embrace and lifted off her lap. “I’m still not convinced.” Andy said, shaking her head.
“Why?” Miranda questioned as she watched Andrea walk across the room and sit down on the sofa.
From her first night in the townhouse, Andy had found the study the most blissfully, relaxing room the house. Every item in the room complemented the next, creating a beautiful and peaceful atmosphere from the dark leather sofa to the wall coverings. Tonight like every night, the large open fireplace, held burning logs, which cracked and creaked in the hearth giving the room heavenly warmth. It was no mystery to Andy, why Miranda chose to spend hours at a time in this room.
“They didn’t exactly make my life easy.” Andy grimaced, feeling uncomfortable about the conversation; they were in undiscovered territory here.
Feeling the loss the contact between their bodies, Miranda stood from her chair and joined Andrea on the sofa. “I am not oblivious to the fact that my daughters can be difficult.”
“I didn’t mean to speak out of turn.” Andy interrupted, concerned that she had offended Miranda.
“If you let me finish?” Miranda spoke gently, placing her hand under Andrea’s chin forcing her to look her in the eyes. “I am not oblivious to the fact that my daughters can be difficult. But which teenager isn’t?” She shrugged. “I admit they lead an over-privileged life, but it is a life I have worked hard for. I want to be able to protect them and most importantly ensure that they are never exposed to the type of childhood I had. Believe me when I say, that there is nothing that I wouldn’t do for them.” Miranda brushed a strand of hair from Andrea’s face and tucked it tenderly behind her ear before continuing. “But! The fact is, if they expect me to treat them as young adults then I expect them to behave as such. Ultimately that means respecting my life choices.”
An uncontrollable smile spread across Andy’s face as the words landed. “Have I told you how amazing you are?” She beamed.
Miranda leaned forward to place her lips softly against Andrea’s. “I don’t believe you have.” Miranda flirted. “Please continue.”
Andy had never been with anybody who could turn her on with just their voice, but it seemed to be something that Miranda achieved without effort. Closing the gap between their bodies Andy deepened the kiss. She ran her tongue along Miranda’s bottom lip, waiting for her to part them before slipping her tongue inside her mouth.
“You are incredible.” Andy breathed her worshiping words between kisses. “Sensational.” She added, as her lips teased against Miranda’s lips, jaw line and neck. “Breathtaking… Mind-blowingly-sexy.” She husked.
Miranda moaned as Andrea ran her tongue along her neck and sucked on her pulse point. Miranda ran her fingernails down Andrea’s back and felt her body arch up from her touch.
“I want you so much.” Andy whispered as she felt Miranda shiver.
Miranda knew that she didn’t just mean those words in the moment. She knew that Andrea meant forever. “I love you.” Miranda whispered, her words were barely audible but she knew that they had been heard as Andrea moved back to her lips, sealing the declaration with a kiss.
In the past, those three little words had driven fear into Miranda’s soul, now she felt them flow from her mouth like the rivers to the sea.
The next few hours were spent lost in love and lust. The outside world disappeared and nothing else mattered as long as they had each other.
Slowly the exhaustion began to take control and Miranda relaxed into Andrea’s loving embrace. The sweat glistened on their entangled limbs reflecting the light from the dancing flames in the hearth and they slowly drifted off to sleep in front of the fire.
Moore beamed brightly at his colleague who held out a steaming hot cup of coffee. “Hey Bea, to what do we owe this honor?” He signed a sheet of paper in his hand and handed the clipboard back to an immaculately dressed police officer at his side.
The tall dark officer thanked the Captain and nodded to greet the District Attorney before excusing himself.
“Bobby, I have something I’d like to discuss with you.” She urged.
He took the cup from her extended arm and gestured towards his office. “Sure thing! Let’s go.”
As the door closed behind her, Sharpe was suddenly reminded why she didn’t come down to Bobby’s shared office very often. The unpleasant odour was a testament to the last time the inside of the office had seen a Janitor. Pizza boxes and polystyrene cartons overflowed from the trash can and used coffee cups filled the two desks.
“You guys live like pigs!” She exclaimed in disgust, waving her hand at the state of the room.
“I know it’s a fucking hole! Why do you think I always come to you?” Moore grinned as he sat behind his desk and Sharpe lowered herself tentatively into the chair opposite.
“What’s on your mind?” Moore asked before taking a gulp of his coffee. He winced in pleasurable-pain as the hot liquid hit the back of his throat and move through his body.
“Guess who I spoke to today—and escaped with all my limbs intact?” Sharpe simpered.
“Priestly?” Moore didn’t need any clues. Miranda Priestly had been the fly in the D.A’s ointment of late and he knew that she wouldn’t have rested until she got the bottom it all. “How did you get the court order?” Moore responded eagerly, leaning forward on his chair.
“No need, I just made an appointment.” She shrugged nonchalantly.
He could see that she was quite proud of herself and he smiled warmly at her attempt to be blasé. “You are one tough broad” Moore laughed, taking another gulp of his coffee. “Did you get what you needed?”
“For now.” She nodded. “Let’s just say it was surreal.” She had made a promise to Miranda, what was said in that room would stay in that room, all Moore needed to know was that she was innocent.
“How so?” Moore gripped the arms on his chair and leaned forward in his seat with the most ridiculous grin on his face, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively.
Sharpe rolled her eyes in exasperation, as she looked for something remotely sanitary on his desk that she could throw at him. “Seriously, Bobby? Don’t be an ass.”
“Oh come on, you know I’m just playing.” He teased, whilst trying desperately not to smirk.
“Yeah right!” Sharpe rolled her eyes again but this time with a smile. “What I do know is that she really has nothing to do with this. I can’t begin to explain how relieved I feel about that.”
“How do you know she is telling you the truth?” Moore quizzed. Deep down he knew he didn’t need to ask, it was just habit.
“I trust her.” She answered, looking down at the floor, avoiding his eyes.
In the interest of protecting themselves and each other, their professional relationship meant that there was always a need to keep certain details close to the chest. Over the years they had developed an unspoken understanding, thus was the strength and the trust of their working relationship.
“I got a statement from Andrea Sachs too.” Sharpe explained, grinning very much like the cat that got the cream.
“Do I want to know how you got the Wicked Witch to lower the drawer bridge?” He pushed. However, when saw the look on Sharpe’s face and he guessed that maybe he had gone too far with his boorish comment. “I’m sorry that was uncalled for.” He apologised.
“Just ease up on Miranda, alright?” Moore nodded “I had quite an illuminating conversation with Miss Sachs. Here…” Beatrice threw a file towards Moore, carefully avoiding the minefield of old coffee cups strewn about his desk.
Moore took a couple of minutes to scan the scribed interview. “Eddie Curran, the Editor of The Post?”
“Oh yes.” Sharpe folded her arms and shifted in her seat. “Turns out Mr. Curran has quite a colourful history. I ran him through the C.H.R.S database. He should have been hitting our radar for sometime but mysteriously, he has never set-off any alarms downtown. I think we both know why.”
Closing the file Moore placed it on the desk in front of him and locked eyes with Sharpe. “This is one hell of a can of worms you are about to open here Bea! We’ve almost put the case to bed. Are you sure you want to pursue this?” Moore steepled his fingers and pressed his hands to his mouth, awaiting her response.
Sharpe sat stock-still and fixed her glare on Moore, looking for the words, which had momentarily escaped her. “For Christ’s sake, Bobby! Sometimes I don’t think you even know me at all?” The anger flashed in her eyes as she lifted from her seat losing her usual stonewall façade.
“Hey...” Moore called to her gently as he stood from his chair and moved around to where she was. “Hey?” He called again, pleading with her. He placed a hand on her shoulder and one under her chin, tenderly holding her in his eye line. “I’m sorry. It was a foolish thing to say. I do know you, I know you better than anyone and I know that if you need to take this all the way then I’m here.”
She nodded and in moment of weakness she allowed him to pull her into his body, wrapping his strong arms around her.
It had been just over seven years since their first case together and as Sharpe recalled they had instantly disliked each other. The problem was that they were too alike, both stubborn and opinionated. Ultimately, with their passion and integrity for the job, it didn’t take long for the animosity to turn into respect.
Over the years, their respect had turned into a working friendship, which had slowly developed into a silent dependency. One acting as the rock for the other midst the rubble of mistrust, in a job layered with deception and paranoia.
Despite the rumors of the romantic extent of their relationship across the department, they had never crossed that line. The bond had formed over the myriad of intense cases and beyond. The moved to acting as the constant strong shoulder to lean on as their respective personal lives had fallen apart and spilled into their work.
On several occasions over the years, the line between them had blurred and tonight, again, they were both having problems keeping focus on the mark.
Moore pressed a gentle kiss to Sharpe’s temple and she felt him breathe in her scent. It felt good, both safe and right as she relaxed in his arms. Basking in the safety of his embrace, her decision to be alone for so long weighed heavily on her heart. She didn’t want to feel empty anymore but she was afraid of being hurt.
Sharpe lifted her head and looked up into his stormy grey eyes. She held his stare as he slowly dipped his head and placed his lips gently against hers. The kiss was warm and tender and everything she needed right there and then. But, as he pulled her body tighter into his and moved to deepen the kiss, she felt the reality and consequence of the situation hit her suddenly and she found herself pulling back from his arms.
“Bea?” He pleaded as he reached for her. “I’m sor...”
Torn between the tides of fear pulling her away and the desire to protect the lost little boy she saw before her, Sharpe stopped his apology and whispered to him. “Bobby.” She said as she stepped forward to place her hand on his face. “I love you, I will always love you. But this can never happen, do you understand?”
Moore closed his eyes and sighed deeply. “That’s just it. I don’t.” He kept his eyes closed and furrowed his brow in confusion as he tried desperately to understand.
“I can’t deal with this now, Bobby. Please?” She pleaded with him, begging him to let it go.
As they locked eyes once more, they each knew what they were sweeping under the carpet, they starred at each other with the mutual understanding to move again, perhaps not forward, but at least together.
The kaleidoscope had changed in the moment and they now had to fortify themselves for the storm ahead. The picture before them needed focus and a crime needed to be solved.
“Tell me what you need me to do with Curran.” Moore urged resolutely.
Andy woke with a start, after escaping the jaws of another monstrous dream. She was surprised and a little disappointed to find herself alone on the soft rug, covered with a blanket. The dying embers glowed in the hearth and she felt the gentle heat as she lifted her body awkwardly to look around the room.
She found Miranda sitting in her silk robe at her desk across from Andy. Her silhouette was framed in the soft light of the lamp and Andy took a moment to watch her.
Seemingly lost in the pages of The Book, Miranda jumped slightly as she heard Andrea’s voice.
“Couldn’t sleep?” Andy husked as she stood stiffly from the floor and wrapped the blanket around her body.
Miranda looked up sharply in the direction of Andrea’s voice before she took off her reading glasses and rubbed the back of her neck. “No. Did I wake you?”
“No you didn’t.” Andy said as she walked around to lean on the side of the desk. “But I wish you had.”
“Are you ok?” Miranda asked with concern as she turned to face her.
“Just dreams. They can’t hurt me, right?” Andy shrugged.
She pulled the blanket around herself tightly, partly to take off the chill in the room but mostly in search of the security that she needed to rid the thoughts from her mind. She moved over to the couch and eased herself gently into the soft seat before forcing out the bad air still left over from her dream. “You know, I’ve been thinking.”
“That is a dangerous pastime where you are concerned.” Miranda jibbed, noting Andrea’s not-so subtle change of subject, away from the dreams.
“I’ve been thinking.” Andy repeated, leaning forward, allowing the blanket to fall from her shoulder. “That I have been hidden away in here for two weeks and whilst I am certainly grateful for the respite. I think I need to face up to the fact that I can’t hide forever. Plus,” she joked, “I really don’t want to become some crazy recluse who has twenty cats and gets paranoid about the squirrels in central park that make eye contact.”
Miranda held back the eye-roll that would normally have followed such a flippant comment. She paused for a moment and looked over at Andrea on the couch; she seemed so small against its huge frame. The earthy brown colors of the blanket; were such a contrast to the pale white skin that seemed to dance in the flickering light of the dying fire.
“I thought we agreed that this was the best place for you to be until we could have some assurances that you would be at least safe to cross the street?” She reasoned.
“I know, I know and still agree with that.” Andy spoke as she moved her hands in time with the voicing of her concerns. “It’s just I haven’t checked on my apartment and my mail. I haven’t even replaced my cell phone and we still haven’t been able to reach my parents. What if they have been calling me, leaving messages?”
Miranda stood from her desk, and wrapped her robe tightly around her body. The couch dipped gently as she sat beside Andrea and took her worrying hands into her own. “I really don’t understand why you insist on keeping these little things inside your head, worrying about them until they manifest into huge problems. Really, Andrea. You are going to give yourself an ulcer. Next time, just talk to me. Ok?”
Andy shrugged again and smirked. “I guess I just need to get used to having someone around to take care of me.”
“Isn’t that the truth?” Miranda quipped, raising an eyebrow to point to Andrea’s bandaged shoulder.
Andy crinkled her nose at the incredulous accusation and watched as Miranda got up from the sofa to retrieve her cell phone.
“Who are you calling? It’s two in the morning.” Andy asked, shocked by Miranda’s sudden action.
“Emily!” Miranda announced into the receiver. “Get me a replacement for Andrea’s cell phone by courier for the morning. Have all of her mail redirected to the townhouse until further notice and have the telephone company set up a pin number so that she can retrieve the messages from her apartment. That’s all.”
Andy was mortified as she listened to Miranda reel off the instructions, to the woman on the other end of the phone. There were no barriers in Miranda’s world; there was nothing that she couldn’t achieve with a simple phone call, it was surreal. However it wasn’t Miranda’s efficiency that had horrified Andy, it was the fact that she knew first hand exactly what it took to break through those barriers, the sacrifices that had to be made and many bodies you had step over to achieve the tasks.
“You didn’t need to do that.” Andy shook her head.
Her tone was hostile and Miranda felt the momentary sense of achievement drain away as she saw the abhorrent look on the younger woman’s face. “Nonsense.” She dismissed.
“No, it’s not nonsense. This is important to me.” Andy seethed. “You tell me, not five minutes ago, to talk to you but you didn’t even give me the same courtesy before you picked up that phone. You didn’t need to call Emily it could have waited until the morning.”
“No, what you told me Andrea was that you were worried about something and that something was completely in my control to fix. Which is what I did? I pay my staff to be at my beck and call and if I need something that is exactly what I do, I call them. You proclaim to know me. What is problem here?”
Miranda’s tone was eerily calm yet deadly. Andy was not as practised in holding her composure as Miranda. She felt belittled, she was angry and she knew that whatever came out of her mouth now was going to be venomous. Nevertheless, she had started this and she was determined to get her point across.
“Don’t patronize me, Miranda. I meant what I said, if anything I’m proving that right now. Don’t you see that? You pay your staff to run after you and meet your every whim. That’s you, you have earned everything you have, and I am not denying you any of it. But, I haven’t earned any of that, it’s not mine to take. I knew this, our relationship was never going to be a walk in the park and that we would have many differences to overcome but I don’t think I realised just how many there were. You just made me feel like a fraud Miranda.”
Andrea’s heart sank as she watched Miranda’s face grow colder and more distant through her speech. ‘Maybe I overreacted?’ She thought. ‘Or, maybe she needs to know what my boundaries are?’
Miranda was no stranger to this; she’d had this conversation many times before, in one form or another. The difference was, in those previous conversations with husbands, lovers and so-called friends; she would have gone in for the kill and shown no mercy, without a second thought. Andrea was different though, she didn’t want to hurt her. But, she just was not ready to admit that she was wrong or to back down—as this was fundamentally against her nature. But she had never been here before, this was new to her and she just didn’t know to do. In her mind, the safest thing to do at that moment was to walk away.
“I think it’s time I went to bed. Good night Andrea.” Miranda stated coldly.
“God, damn it, Miranda, don’t walk away from me.” Andy warned.
“I said Goodnight.” Miranda affirmed.
Andy watched as Miranda left the room. She considered following her but common sense prevailed. Something inside had pushed Andy to test the water, but instead of dipping her toe into the shallow end she had stupidly jumped right into the deep. She realised now that Miranda had thrown her a life raft by leaving, if she had pushed it any farther she could have drowned in her own self-righteousness.
District Attorney Sharpe and Captain Moore watched their suspect from behind the one-way glass as they sipped their umpteenth coffee of the morning.
“He looks twitchy; I love it when they’re twitchy.” He scowled.
Sharpe studied her wristwatch. ‘Christ, it feels later than six-thirty.’ She thought. “Where did you pick him up?”
“The Post. He was sleeping in his office.” He confirmed as he handed her an inch thick file. “We’ve got call records, bank statements, off shore accounts and some very dodgy tax slips.”
Sharpe flicked through the folder. “What did you get from Vice?”
“It’s all there: who he drinks with, his contacts, and his informants. This guy’s well connected.” Moore closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He tilted his head from left to right, hearing and feeling the bones grind and the tendons click in his neck. He had been here before, countless cases that had drained his body and soul, to the point of emptiness. This case was no different. He looked across at District Attorney Sharpe as she fastidiously thumbed through the pages of the file and he couldn’t help himself from smiling. She was his reserve tank and even in this tough morning he could take comfort in the strength of their teamwork.
She looked up briefly and caught his gaze. “What?” She smiled back at his infectious affectionate stare.
He shook his in response. “Nothing.”
She closed the file and placed her hand on his shoulder. “How you find the energy to front that goofy smile at this time in the morning is beyond me. I can only assume that you have finally lost your marbles.” She teased and bumped his arm with her shoulder.
She had thought long and hard about their ‘discussion’ the night before, she had been dreading the fact that she would need to see him again so soon. It wasn’t because she didn’t want to see him; instead she knew deep down inside that it was the fear of what she had lost. She had all but convinced herself that she had ruined their friendship and thrown away any chance they might have had of more. She was thankful however as she looked into his eyes and saw as clear as day that everything was fine.
She gave his arm a second bump and looked down at her watch again. “Ok, we’ve got forty-seven hours to break this. I think we’ve got more than enough here to charge to him with tax evasion but I want more.”
Moore nodded and straightened his tie. He gulped down the last of his coffee and took the file from her hands. “Time for me to go and do what I do best then, isn’t it?”
Roy waited patiently on the curb holding the car door open for Miranda as she strolled down the steps from the townhouse. Her BlackBerry® was pressed firmly to her ear, the latest Marc Jacob’s bag was thrown over her shoulder and Spencer the Bodyguard followed a close step behind.
The bitter air was enough to take her breath away and she hoped—for Carrie’s sake—that her coffee would be waiting for her when she got in the office. “I want to be there to meet them from the airport.” She demanded into her cell phone. “If you can’t rearrange the meetings Emily, then I would suggest you clear your desk and make your way down to the HR department. That’s all.” She shook her head and puffed out a frustrated breath. ‘Why am I surrounded by incompetence?’
Settling in her seat, she took a deep breath and released it slowly, allowing her to regain her composure. She had not slept one wink and she had not spoken to Andrea that morning before leaving the house. Their ‘discussion’ from the previous night was still fresh in her mind and needless to say, she was not in the best of moods. Deep down she knew that she could have done things differently; she could have handled the situation better. But quite frankly, she was unwilling to admit that she was one hundred percent in the wrong. Miranda hated leaving anything unresolved but as always, her stubbornness had won out and she had simply walked away from the situation, convinced that a little time and space would give them both time to reflect and a remedy would present itself.
It was a morning like any other, the early upper-east side traffic was slow and steady, the route the same as every morning, where the detail got lost in familiarity and routine. They had been on their journey for just under ten minutes when the routine was interrupted quite suddenly.
A jerk to the steering of the car startled Miranda. She felt the pull of the acceleration and heard the growl of the engine as the car suddenly picked up pace.
The privacy screen that had divided the car was rolled down to reveal the two men in the front of the vehicle. “Roy? What’s happening up there?” Miranda called out.
Spencer turned to face Miranda. “Ms. Priestly I suggest you put your seat belt on.”