Andy Sachs and the Cleverly Worded Plot Device
by: Hayseed (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Chapter Eight: ...and the Capital-D Decision
“So... how was your date last night?”
Andy rolled her eyes. “For fuck’s sake, Lily, would you quit it?”
“Look, sweetie, you’re the one who called me up last night in a dead panic because you needed help picking an outfit to wear for dinner at La Priestly’s. If that’s not a date, I don’t know what is,” Lily replied in a saccharine voice.
She threw a pencil at Lily’s head, scowling when Lily managed to dodge it completely. “It was an invite to Miranda-effing-Priestly’s dinner table, Lils! Not an event you just wear any old thing to. We’re talking about a woman who owns shoes that probably cost more than your rent for a whole year.”
“Have intimate knowledge of her wardrobe, do you?” Lily smirked.
Flipping her laptop open, Andy began typing fiercely. “Okay, let me know when you’re done being six and can hold a rational conversation again.”
A long pause. Andy did not look up.
“Well, you have to admit, it’s all kind of strange,” Lily said slowly.
No reply. She had a deadline, Lily was in her way, and she didn’t need anyone confusing her any more than she was already.
“I mean, you freak out over all that Muggle shit, and you run screaming. But she all but comes after you, and you start trailing her around like a damn puppy. There’s no part of this that isn’t weird beyond all reason.”
“Are you done now?” Andy asked tightly, jabbing at keys so blindly she was sure she was mostly typing gibberish.
“Um... you’re going to break your keyboard if you don’t quit treating it like a punching bag?” But she sounded sheepish, and she was probably even smiling.
Andy finally looked up. Lily was smiling, and it was a sheepish, apologetic one. “Got any suggestions for alternate punching bags?” she asked, deadpan.
She grinned. “Luke’s not too busy this afternoon; you like kicking him around, don’t you?”
Raising her eyebrows, Andy closed her laptop. “I thought he was off-limits these days.”
“Hey...” Lily drawled with a shrug, “what’s the point of having a doting boyfriend if I can’t throw him under the bus every now and again?”
“And you think I’m weird?” she asked, eyebrows going higher.
“I didn’t say exactly that,” Lily hedged, holding up her hands in a defensive gesture, “just that the situation is weird. And it is. And that makes me worry about you, Andy.”
Lily was good at guilt trips. Although, she ought to be; she learned at the knee of a master. “Yeah, I know,” Andy admitted. “Believe me, I’m not sure what the hell is going on, either. I just...”
“Just what?” Lily asked gently.
“I can’t stand the thought of Miranda getting hurt,” she said, feeling her face redden.
“Well, they say acceptance is the first step,” Lily replied in a cheerful voice, putting a hand on her shoulder. “Now come on, let’s split before your security guy notices that I snuck in here.”
“I was kind of wondering how the hell you got in,” Andy said.
Lily’s answering grin was wolfish. Andy was well-acquainted with that grin; she usually saw it right before they got in hideous trouble for something. “Disillusionment Charms are wonderful, wonderful things,” she said. “I wanted to surprise you with lunch.”
“And yet, as surprised as I have been, I seem to see no lunch...”
“Funny thing about Disillusionment Charms,” Lily said. “Did you know they don’t really do anything to hide smell?”
Yes. Of course. Any idiot should remember that. Instead, Andy permitted herself a small smirk. “Continue...”
“So I had to ditch all that awesome Mexican takeout before I could get in your office,” she said with an airy wave. “You might want to avoid the elevator for a few days. Or alternately--“
“Since my office is on the fifth floor,” Andy interrupted good-naturedly.
“You could place a concerned citizen call to maintenance suggesting they check out the panel behind the emergency phone,” Lily continued without missing a beat.
She put her hands on her hips. “It totally wasn’t my fault! There was this guy, and he wouldn’t leave it alone. Every time I tried to get in the door, he was all, ‘I smell tacos. Who’s got tacos? If you don’t have tacos, then I’m under a spell.’ And I couldn’t put it in the trash, because the asshole actually searched the trash. I didn’t have a choice!”
“All you have to do to get in the building is call me,” she couldn’t help pointing out. “I let the security guard know you’re coming, and he lets you in. It’s a pretty simple process. I bet they’d even let you in with food.”
“You have no sense of adventure,” Lily complained. “Now, grab your coat. The hot dog cart awaits.”
“What happened to Mexican?” she asked, shooting for plaintive and winding up much closer to smug.
“I don’t get paid for three days, and I owe you an apology for backing you into a corner about your Miranda.”
Gracefully, she let the ‘your Miranda’ slide. “How about you let me apologize and treat you?”
“To my knowledge, you haven’t done anything wrong,” Lily said. “Lately.”
She grinned. “I’m sure that’ll change soon enough.”
“I wanted to check in and see if you’d heard anything,” Andy said as the door opened.
Miranda sighed. “Good evening, Andrea. Would you like to come in?”
She did and she didn’t. But, of course, once Miranda moved away from the door in obvious invitation, she was decided. “I really did just want to make sure everything was okay,” she said once the door was closed and she was standing in the foyer.
“As you see,” Miranda said with a quirked eyebrow.
Her nerve was faltering. “Yeah... uh, well... I don’t want to... that is, if you’re not...”
“The girls are at a concert. One of those boy groups everyone is so eager about.” Andy didn’t have to ask Miranda’s opinion; her tone said it all. “They are allowed to stay out until midnight as long as Roy and Cara accompany them for the duration.”
Andy tried for a smile. “I bet they were thrilled about that deal.”
“It was preferable to the alternative.” Suddenly, Miranda smirked. “I threatened to send Emily.”
Her lips formed a silent ‘o,’ unsure as to how to respond.
“I had to use her computer to send an email, and I happened to notice that she had a music program open. Let’s just say sending her to one of those concerts wouldn’t be the punishment it would be for... the rest of us.”
She couldn’t help it; she snorted. Emily, a closet Jonas Brothers (or whoever) fan? Yeah, she could see that. “So you’re telling me that they have no idea how easily they got off?”
Miranda chuckled and made her way through the house. Andy knew she was expected (invited?) to follow.
“I have lemonade,” Miranda told her as waved a hand toward a frosty silver pitcher sitting on a tray in the middle of the coffee table. “If you would care for some.”
Andy automatically moved toward the pitcher and began filling a glass.
“You might want to try it first, Andrea,” she said, eyeing the lemonade level with a raised eyebrow. “Nigel once drank an entire tumbler full at a soiree and ended up in my coat closet with one of the catering staff.”
After her glass was about half-full, Andy put the pitcher down and took a cautious sip. The whiskey burned all the way down to her stomach. “I can see why,” she said, trying really hard not to wheeze.
“To be fair, he was one of the more attractive waiters,” Miranda told her dryly. “But that’s no excuse for such poor discretion.”
Andy took another sip and remained silent, totally stumped as to what she could say in response to that kind of veiled insult that wouldn’t offend Miranda. She was pretty sure a little voice in her head muttered ‘Ugh,’ but that wasn’t too hard to ignore.
“Now, Andrea, that pleasantries are out of the way...”
Pleasantries? Like what? Well, maybe the ‘good evening’ counted.
“I must come straight to the point: why are you here?”
She almost choked on her lemonade. “Like I said,” she tried to say through a virtual cavalcade of coughs, “I wanted to make sure everything was okay.”
“I would assume you would know if it wasn’t,” Miranda said, putting a finger under her chin. “Unless, of course, the magical community reacts to breaches of security by only punishing one of two offenders?”
“Even in that highly unusual event, there is the not-insignificant matter of my children and their care if I should happen to disappear suddenly. It is entirely likely that such an issue would show up in one of the many fine New York newspapers.” She smiled, and it was that old unpleasant smile that always made a frisson of fear run up Andy’s spine. “I believe you are employed at such an organization?”
There was no point in trying to reply. Andy nodded miserably.
“It is, therefore, rather difficult to believe that you felt the need to physically check on my well-being, what with the various other resources at your disposal.”
“Ugh,” that little voice said again.
Except that it totally wasn’t in her head.
“I guess maybe it’s hard to believe unless I can actually see that everything’s fine,” Andy said slowly, turning her head as much as she dared in an effort to find the source of the little voice.
“Crivens!” it said in obvious disgust.
“Oh, no,” Andy sighed, realizing exactly what was going on.
Miranda blinked. “Andrea? Is there a problem?”
“Hang on a sec,” she said, continuing to scan the room, looking for suspiciously dark corners in particular.
A sudden, slight motion caught her eye, and she lunged, turning over the lemonade pitcher in the process.
“Gotcha, you sneaky little bastard!” Andy cried, holding the wriggling intruder up in the air, pinched firmly in between two fingers.
It (he?) squirmed frantically. “Ach, ye wicked hag, pickin’ on a wee beastie such like meself.”
“What the hell are you doing in here?” Andy asked, giving it a shake.
Kicking its legs in a defensive gesture, all that managed to happen was that it started spinning in the air slightly. “Waily, waily, waily,” it moaned. “M’innards all weakenin’ like. Do a bunty lad a favor, hag lass?”
“You totally didn’t answer my question,” she said. “Tell me what you’re doing here and maybe I can see my way to letting you go.”
He sighed. “Ships.”
She blinked. “What?”
“Ah’s figurin’ a grand hoose such as this-like would’ve ships bigger than those fasty-chines you bigjobs ride in. What with the grass in the back ‘n all. Nowhere else to feed ships on Big Island but like places.”
“You’re off a couple hundred miles, at least,” she said wryly once it’d clicked. “Most New Yorkers probably have never seen a real, live sheep before.”
“Pfteh,” he spat, giving Andy a pretty good idea of what he thought about sheep-ignorant New Yorkers. “Any chance o’ me’n offski, hag lass?”
“...Andrea?” came a very faint voice from all the way across the room.
Andy looked away from the creature; in her irritation, she’d forgotten all about the fact that she was standing in Miranda’s den, having a conversation with what Miranda probably thought was thin air. “Um, yes?” she asked hesitantly.
Miranda’s eyes were as round and huge as dinner plates, and she had a big splotch of lemonade on her blouse, soaking right through to the skin. She didn’t seem to care, though, because every ounce of attention she had was focused on the little blue man dangling in Andy’s hand. “Andrea... what... what is that?” she whispered, raising a trembling finger to point at the thing.
He grinned, revealing a mouthful of yellowing teeth. “Heya, bigjob!” he told Miranda, throwing in a cheery wave for good measure.
Miranda gasped and clapped a hand over her mouth.
Andy just rolled her eyes at the creature and shook him again. “Behave,” she said sharply. And then, shifting to a gentler tone of voice, she looked back up at Miranda. “This is one of the Nac Mac Feegle, or... I guess we might say Wee Free Men.”
“Name o’ No-So-Wee-As-He-Was-On-Account-O-Growin Billy,” he said with a solemn hand over his chest. “Me kelda is auld Molly-May, down on t’other part o’ Big Island.”
“Feegle are, um...” She gave No-So-Wee-As-He-Was-On-Account-O-Growin Billy a thoughtful look. “They’re renowned fighters.”
He puffed out his little chest. “Ah bin throwed out o’ all sorts o’ important places for usin’ ma heid. Pubs, mostly.”
“And drinkers,” Andy added with a grin. “And thieves. Mostly, they like stealing big things, but they also like--“
“Ship liniment,” No-So-Wee-As-He-Was-On-Account-O-Growin Billy said hopefully. “Mebbe a wunnerful hag lass such o’ yourself can see her way to sharin’ a wee tipple?”
“If you’re really good, I’ve got some lemonade,” she said, giving his belly a small poke.
“Ach, rubbish-y bunty drink,” he said in a dismissive tone.
Andy frowned. “You be careful, No-So-Wee-As-He-Was-On-Account-O-Growin Billy. My friend here knows lawyers, and she’s not afraid to write your name down.”
His eyes widened comically. “Waily, no! Ah dinnae mean it, hag lass. Ah’ll loove yer le-mon-aid. No lawyers!”
“What a strange... little person,” Miranda said. She hadn’t moved from her position on the sofa, but she wasn’t looking terrified any more, which was something, at least.
“Yeah, they’re a type of pixie.”
“Am not!” he interrupted indignantly. “We’s pictsies! Naught o’ that fairyin’ about wit’ wings for us.”
“All right,” Andy conceded. “Pictsies, then. Honestly, I didn’t think you’d seen him at first.”
Miranda blinked, taking in the wild red hair, bright blue skin, and rumpled tartan kilt. “He’s hard to miss, Andrea. Even at five inches tall.”
She smiled widely. “Yeah, but do you realize what that means?”
“Obviously not,” Miranda said, sounding vaguely offended.
“Magic isn’t like an on/off switch,” Andy explained. “That means you have enough magic to see magical creatures like Nac Mac Feegle.”
“Two hags?” No-So-Wee-As-He-Was-On-Account-O-Growin Billy exclaimed in disgust. “Crivens!”
“You want to spend the rest of your death as a beetle?” Andy asked him in her most menacing voice.
He looked as thoughtful as a Nac Mac Feegle could. “Might be nice,” he eventually said. “Could get back that auld scunner Daft Wullie for teachin’ our gonnagle that one about knobs and staffs.”
Miranda chuckled at Andy’s look of dismay. “I’m not entirely certain what he just said, but I doubt it was what you wanted,” she said.
“I forget how pragmatic pictsies and things can get about magic,” Andy said. “Maybe I’ve spent too much time around Muggles lately.”
“Really.” Miranda’s voice was sharp and flat, and even No-So-Wee-As-He-Was-On-Account-O-Growin Billy looked startled.
Andy almost took Miranda’s cold response as a sign that she and her weirdness were no longer welcome, but a good look at her expression instead told her that Miranda was actually hurt, not angry. “Of course,” she said quickly, “if I really meant that, I wouldn’t be annoying you by constantly hanging around on your doorstep, right?”
“Right.” Her reply was still flat, but her whole body relaxed.
“Disgustin!” No-So-Wee-As-He-Was-On-Account-O-Growin Billy broke in, shaking his head.
“What?” Andy asked, offended.
“Shameful display,” he replied. “Ah ain’t never seen such a great pile o’ mushy stuff since that kelda from the Tall Island came over and all me brothers went stupid over her. Yeh shouldnae get so tiptoesies around each other. Ain’t nothin’ wrong aboot bigjob hags courtin’. ‘Cept mebbe the length o’ it, yeh ken.”
Andy’s mouth fell open, and a glance over at the sofa let her know that Miranda’s cheeks were flaming red.
“Enny-ways, even with yer kindness, Ah’ll be needin’ sommat else off ye,” No-So-Wee-As-He-Was-On-Account-O-Growin Billy continued apologetically. “Auld Molly-May’ll give me a kickin’ if Ah only brung le-mon-aid. So if mebbe Ah could borrow, say, one o’ them electricky picture-thingsies, Ah’ll be on my way, and you hags can get down to the lovin’ business.”
He wriggled easily out of Andy’s grip, which made sense, given that her hands had pretty much stopped working by this point. As he scrabbled across the floor, Andy’s knees also decided to give out on her, and she went from standing to sitting without so much as a blink.
Wordlessly, she and Miranda watched the television lift itself off its cabinet. “Best o’ luck to yeh, bigjobs!” No-So-Wee-As-He-Was-On-Account-O-Growin Billy said gleefully, picking up Andy’s partially full lemonade glass in one hand and supporting the whole flatscreen with the other.
With an equally cheerful ‘poof,’ he, the le-mon-aid, and the television were gone.
“I wonder if his clan gets cable,” Andy eventually said into the silence. “I just... what if they discover Braveheart?”
Miranda smiled thinly. “The world may never recover.”
They kept staring at each other, nervous smiles widening and turning into equally nervous laughter.
“I hope they don’t live anywhere near here,” Andy gasped between giggles. “Not a bar on the Upper East Side will be safe!”
“I just hope they really do prefer... what did he say? Sheep liniment to lemonade,” Miranda replied. “They can destroy bars all they like, as long as they stay away from my house.”
“Your grand hoose,” Andy reminded her, setting them both off again. “Full of ships.”
Before long, Andy was stretched out on the floor, holding her aching stomach in an effort to stop laughing, and Miranda was wiping tears out of her eyes.
“I must say, Andrea,” Miranda said, standing up and moving over toward her, “over the last two weeks, I’ve had nightmares, been given a potential death sentence, had a blouse ruined, and I’ve just now had a television stolen.” She stretched a hand down in clear invitation.
When Andy took it and let herself be pulled to her feet, she couldn’t help feeling a little shiver of pleasure. “Miranda, I’m--“
“If you apologize to me one more time, I’ll scream,” Miranda interrupted, not letting her hand go. “You silly girl, don’t you realize I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve spent with you more than anyone I’ve ever known?”
“I... that’s good,” she finally said, trying to lighten the mood, “because there’s no way I can afford to replace your TV. Or probably even your shirt, for that matter.”
She smiled and took Miranda’s free hand in her own. “I know,” she said. “Believe me, I’ve spent the last two weeks wondering if I’m insane or if I’m finally not insane. I know.”
With a hesitant, almost child-like expression of wonder on her face, Miranda reached out to touch Andy’s cheek. “We’re both crazy, you know.”
“Absolutely barking mad,” Andy agreed, leaning into the touch with a grateful sigh.
“Oh, my God, girl, you did what?” Lily cried.
Andy shrugged and pulled a blue shirt off a hanger, contemplating its potential merits. “I went to Miranda’s, I said something brainless, she called me brainless, I caught a pixie, and then we made out for an hour.”
All but ripping the shirt out of her hands, Lily grabbed her shoulders and spun her around. “You’re going to explain. Now. In enough detail that I understand, but not so much that I need therapy. Got it?”
With a grin that she knew was stupidly happy, Andy dove back into her closet, searching for something that would match her skirt. “You might have been right about the date thing,” she conceded. “But to be fair, if you were, you were the only one who knew anything about it. Miranda and I were clueless until No-So-Wee-As-He-Was-On-Account-O-Growin Billy all but shouted at us.”
Lily blinked. “Come again?”
“The Nac Mac Feegle. He was looking in Miranda’s house for sheep, of all fucking things. But you know what was weird, Lily?”
“I would say that I could take my freaking pick, but you go right ahead, dearest,” Lily said sarcastically.
“Miranda could see him!” Andy was so excited that Lily’s decided lack of enthusiasm barely registered. “Isn’t that amazing? I mean, they told us in school about the magical spectrum, but I’ve never actually seen evidence of it before. It’s fascinating.”
“Yep, fascinating,” Lily echoed. “But how about we fast-forward to the making out thing.”
Another stupid, soppy smile. “It just... happened.”
“And it’s... you’re okay?” she asked in a careful voice.
Andy looked up from her sweater perusal in confusion. “What? Of course I’m okay. More than okay. When we’re together, all of the stupid, messed-up stuff about my life doesn’t feel nearly as stupid and messed up. She just... she’s okay with me, Lily, and I didn’t think I’d ever meet anyone who was.”
“It’s not that I’m not thrilled for you, Andy, baby, because I totally am,” Lily said. “But as your lifelong bestest friend, I’m contractually obligated to point out that less than twenty-four hours ago, Miranda Priestly was one of the biggest factors making your life feel stupid and messed up.”
She held her hands out in a helpless gesture. “I can’t explain it, Lily. I just... okay, in the wizarding world, it’s all about who’s more magical than who, and you and I both know what a stupid game that is.”
Lily’s mouth opened, but Andy knew exactly what she was going to say and cut her off.
“I know Luke’s not like that, dumbass, but that’s my point! I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t like that with me, and I damn near drove myself into exhaustion hiding everything from Nate, and you saw how well that ended.”
“Plus, Nate was a doorknob,” Lily said helpfully.
She sighed. “Yes, Nate was a doorknob. Moving on. She just... do you know what she did when I told her about being a wizard? She listened. Nothing like what they tell you to expect with Muggles. I never for a second thought she would tell anyone.”
“I haven’t felt so sure about anything in my entire life,” she said firmly. “The reason I’ve been freaking out lately is because I thought she hated me for getting her in trouble.”
“So you don’t think that any more?”
She grinned. “I thought you said you didn’t want to end up in therapy.”
“Uh-huh.” Lily was quiet for a few beats, clearly processing.
Abruptly, out of nowhere, she started to laugh.
In the middle of pulling a scooped sweater over her button-down, Andy scowled. “What?” she asked, trying to untangle one of the sleeves.
Still laughing, Lily reached over to help. “You have no idea what’s been going on, do you?”
She started straightening the collar of her shirt and making sure everything was aesthetically untucked and sloppy. “What the hell are you talking about, Lils?”
“The Obs... the reason they never showed up... you... she...” Lily broke into uncontrollable giggles.
“You’ve got two seconds before I either smack you or hex you,” Andy warned.
Clearing her throat a few times, Lily collected herself. “The magic that the Obs and MBI use to detect potential breaches is only effective when there’s no attraction. It wouldn’t make sense if you couldn’t ever tell your significant other about your magic. There’s an inquiry and everything, but it takes less than an hour.”
Andy mulled it over a few times before it actually hit home. “You mean... all that bullshit about the MBI was...” Her mouth fell open, remembering Luke’s amusement when he found out the one she’d told was Miranda. “I’m going to fucking kill your boyfriend, Lily. You mean he knew what was going on?”
Biting her lip, Lily nodded, eyes dancing with mirth.
She sighed. “Miranda can never know. Deal?”
“No problem,” Lily replied. “Although since I have no plans of meeting up with her any time soon, I don’t see how it’ll be an issue.”
Andy glanced at her watch. “You’d better Disapparate, then.”
Lily winced. “She’s coming here, isn’t she?”
“In about five minutes. And the woman is never less than five minutes early.”
As if on cue, there was a brisk knock at the door.
“So, Lils, are you in or out?” Andy asked, putting her hands on her hips.
With a scowl, Lily gave her a pat on the cheek. “You think you’re just the cutest thing in the world, don’t you?”
“Absolutely adorable,” she agreed, as she flounced toward the front door. “Everyone thinks so.”
Practically flinging the door open, she offered Miranda a wide, happy smile. “Hello.”
“Andrea,” Miranda all but purred.
With a deep blush, she stepped back from the door, allowing Miranda inside.
Almost immediately, Bucky came trailing into the room, wrapping herself around Miranda’s legs and meowing pathetically.
Andy scooped her up. “Bucks, we’ve had the no cat hair on designer clothes talk before. Chill out.”
“I don’t mind,” Miranda said mildly.
Bucky practically leapt out of Andy’s arms and resumed her weaving pattern. Miranda leaned down to pat her back, and Bucky’s purr doubled in volume.
“Hey, Andy, where’s... oh, hello,” Lily said, choosing her moment to leave the bedroom.
With an eyeroll at Lily’s absolute lack of decorum, Andy moved toward the couch. As Miranda followed her, she dropped her coat on the kitchen table as if an assistant was about to scurry out and hang it up.
“Miranda Priestly, meet Lily Cunningham. Lily, this is Miranda,” she said dryly.
Miranda just stared. “We’ve met.”
She gave Miranda a curious look.
“In my office,” Miranda clarified. “I don’t know why you were there, but you were. I remember you, and then a red light.”
“Oh...” Lily said awkwardly. “Huh. I’d forgotten all about that.”
“Shut up, Sachs,” Lily shot back. “It was your fault, anyway.”
As she settled herself on the couch, Miranda looked up at Andy with raised eyebrows.
“I’ll tell you later,” she promised hastily. It would be easier to soothe Miranda’s potential ire at being hexed if they were alone.
In a rare display of charity, Bucky further distracted Miranda by jumping into her lap and loudly demanding her attention. With a smirk, Miranda threaded her fingers through Bucky’s fur.
“Bucky always knows whose good side she needs to be on,” Lily said with obvious affection.
“Despite the fact that I’m the one who feeds her,” Andy pointed out in bemused frustration.
“Oh, please,” Lily said, rolling her eyes. “You two have been inseparable since she was a kitten. Don’t think I didn’t notice the ‘school is for humans, not cats,’ conversations you used to have with her when she tried to follow you onto the bus. And that was before I knew about magic.”
“Really?” Miranda asked, looking up from Bucky’s ears.
Lily grinned. “You wouldn’t believe what a little scamp Andy was. And Bucky always followed her everywhere, no matter what kind of trouble she got into. I have all kinds of embarrassing stories.”
“And I don’t?” Andy asked indignantly. “Fair’s fair, Lils.”
“Like Luke doesn’t already know what an awful kid I was,” Lily said with a dismissive wave. “I superglued half the boys in our graduating class to toilet seats in our first year at BHH. Including him.”
Andy let out a loud laugh. “I’d forgotten that. Most of them thought they’d been hexed because they didn’t know what superglue even was.”
“Although it never would have worked if you hadn’t cast that handy little spell to keep the glue fresh,” she continued thoughtlessly. “So, really, I guess I don’t deserve sole credit for that one.”
“Andrea?” Miranda asked, clearly amused.
“Well, I guess you had to hear it some time,” Andy said with a faux-sigh. “The illusion of perfection that I had worked so hard to build is broken, isn’t it?”
Miranda’s lips twitched. “Oh, yes. I’m afraid I see you in an entirely new light, Andrea.”
They held eye contact long enough that Lily had to eventually cough to get their attention. “I’m... um, I’m going to go somewhere else now,” she said with a smile. “Miranda, it was very nice to meet you. Bucky has an excellent sense of character.”
“Likewise, Lily,” Miranda said demurely. “I am sure we will have ample opportunities to get acquainted later.”
Lily’s smile widened. “I certainly hope so. Andy? I’ll catch you later, baby.”
“Later, Lily,” Andy said brightly.
As the door opened and closed, Miranda turned to Andy with an expectant air. “I believe you promised to explain why your best friend cast a spell on me several months ago?”