Fandom: Devil Wears Prada
Pairing: Miranda Priestly/Jacqueline Follet
Rating: PG-13, at least
Word count: ~1,200
Summary: Who the hell knows? It's fucking hour nineteen, man.
Notes: Once more, unedited; once more, embarrassing. This time, surprisingly grotesque at times. I think my brain is really really pissed at me for keeping it awake from 3:30 am until now and is demonstrating it in rather creepy ways. For the record, I'd have changed the ending if I could, but on an hour's worth of writing time there's no way to wrestle my Muse from the driver's seat, no matter how wackass she gets.
When first they'd met, Jacqueline was twenty-two, Miranda was thirty-nine, and Miranda generously decided to help Jacqueline get a leg up in the business. So to speak.
Forever after, Miranda regarded Jacqueline as the first and last time she'd ever been played for a fool. It was an accurate enough assessment. Jacqueline presented such a convincing facade of vapidity, all fluttering lowered lashes and hair swished demurely over her chin, and that voice with the soft helpless note of a dove's coo. Miranda had met plenty of ambitious, fierce, gorgeous, and profoundly stupid models in her day -- all of them looking to get ahead, all of them believing that Miranda could be seduced and bent to their will. As if Miranda had never seen a pretty face before; as if Miranda could ever be the seduced and not the seducer. As if any of them could be said to have a will at all, stacked up next to her.
Jacqueline was different.
And the hell of it was that somehow, Miranda didn't see it. Of course Jacqueline had fingers like a concert pianist and a tongue that could uncork a wine bottle, but what did that have to do with anything? It certainly never had before. Playtime was playtime; business was business. How many girls had believed they could conflate the two, and how many of them had wound up in blurry thumbnails of smiling all-American families in the back page of the Family Dollar coupon circulars?
Miranda was as vindictive as she was smart.
And yet. Rung by rung, Jacqueline had climbed the ladder -- never seeming to reach out for so much as a steadying hand, and yet how many industry connections had she made throughout the years via casual introductions courtesy of Miranda? How many tiny trade secrets, collected and compiled into a growing body of knowledge that proved in the end to be far more than the sum of its parts? And later, if she'd rifled file drawers, pawed through briefcases, how would Miranda ever have known? Miranda was so unfamiliar with the concept of trust that she failed entirely to realize the degree to which she'd bestowed it on Jacqueline.
And to top it all off, the goddamn fucking bitch broke three of Miranda's bedframes in seven months, before poaching off the biggest concept of the year and disappearing with the publisher of French Runway. Millions of dollars in advertising revenue she'd grabbed, not to mention an entirely undeserved reputation as one of the brightest new creative minds in the industry, and she'd broken the fucking bed. Three times. And the last time was the night before she took off.
Miranda hacked up the cracked headboard and set it aflame in the fireplace herself.
Over the next decade Miranda watched Jacqueline with narrowed, furious eyes like smoked glass, tracking her as she wended her way through the labyrinth of the fashion industry across the Atlantic. There had to be a way to cut her down. Miranda was it in the fashion world. Forget sabotage, with its secretive, backstabbing connotations; Miranda should have been able to end this bitch's career with one word. One. Word. Who in the fuck was she sleeping with? How in the fuck was she managing this?
Well, how in the fuck had she played Miranda? They were not unrelated questions.
The day Jacqueline had showed up at that charity benefit, slinking up to Miranda like a purring ingenue fifteen years over the hill, Miranda could have shoved a hairpin through her neck. And yet she'd been thrown off balance -- Miranda Priestly! off balance! -- caught far enough off guard that she'd found herself being reflexively polite to the bitch. Jacqueline proffering that delicate hand of hers with the ivory-satin skin, and Miranda found herself touching it gently even as she imagined every inch of Jacqueline's skin doused in battery acid, bubbling and searing like an extra-rare steak. She was still spraying perfume in her hair these days -- Miranda could tell from the way she waved it deliberately over her shoulder to waft the scent in Miranda's direction. As though Miranda were some sort of Pavlovian dog, programmed to salivate at the first whiff of designer fragrance.
The thought gave Miranda a small, wicked inspiration.
The only real trick to it was first finding a secluded corner where they could be unobserved, and then finding a way to separate from the crowd -- as neither of them were low-profile figures, the latter extrication turned out to be the most difficult part of the exercise. Once they'd seated themselves on the divan, however, things moved so quickly and easily that it felt, even to Miranda, like falling down a rabbit hole. The tinkle of Jacqueline's laugh as she inclined her head towards Miranda; the low, caressing tones of Miranda's own voice as she explained how much she regretted their long rift, and how much she wished she could repair it; the rustle of silk fabric as Jacqueline pressed up closer to Miranda. When Jacqueline's breath blew lightly into Miranda's face, Miranda could detect the scent of far too many glasses of red wine; good. In retrospect, Miranda had come to understand that the only times Jacqueline acted as stupid as she looked were the times when she was drunk.
So she bought it when Miranda leaned in close to whisper a suggestion in her ear, and she bought it when Miranda tipped her chin up slowly, their gazes meeting for the first time in a decade plus. For a second Miranda shivered -- a draft, perhaps? But there was a flicker of something in Jacqueline's dark eyes, something lost and now dancing away just shy of remembrance. Something -- maybe --
Coolly, Miranda closed her eyes and brought her lips to Jacqueline's.
And they'd met for one white-hot sparking second before Miranda pulled Jacqueline's lower lip between her teeth -- gently! oh, very gently -- and then bit down savagely. The iron taste of blood flooded her mouth. Jacqueline shrieked and leaped back, blood trickling down her chin. Sputtering and gasping, she swabbed at her face, but the damage was done. The cut on her lip couldn't be camouflaged with lipstick, and it would take at least a week to heal. And Jacqueline had to get through the rest of the party, in this world where she'd staked all her worth on her charm, and all her charm on her smile.
Miranda raised an eyebrow at her slowly, watching the confusion and disbelief in Jacqueline's eyes dissolving into wage. "Well. Don't we feel stupid, darling?" she purred.
It wasn't going to recoup the losses she'd suffered in the industry at Jacqueline's hands, but as she walked away with a slight coppery tang still teasing at her tongue, she thought the ending of this particular night just might do a world of good for her own self-respect.
This is the hour nineteen post of my blogathon for my aunt Tricia, who is dying of end-stage ovarian cancer and whose family is being hit with a whole lot of bills that they can't afford alone as a result. Donations can be made at the link given above. A number of topics are still unclaimed and can be bought for $5 or more.