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06 May 2009 @ 01:15 am
life's not a paragraph  
Rating: PG
Fandom: The Devil Wears Prada
Pairing: Emily/Serena
Summary: Emily Charlton has never prided herself on being a sentimental person.
Disclaimer: I own none of these characters, nor I do make any profit.
Author’s Notes: This is my first time writing fic. Ever. This was something I had never even considered doing before, but a resurgence of Devil Wears Prada/Emily Blunt love somehow managed to inspire me enough to write fic. Emily was always my favorite character in DWP, but she doesn’t necessarily get as much love as Miranda/Andy. So, I’ve decided on Emily centered fic with Emily/Serena to spread the love around. Title is from the e.e. cummings poem, “since feeling is first.”




Emily Charlton has never prided herself on being a sentimental person. She leaves home as soon as she finishes her A-levels and saves up enough money for a plane to New York and a month’s rent for a flat. Mrs. Charlton had always hoped her daughter would go to university, but cognizant of, and almost resigned to, the singleness of her daughter’s purpose, she lets her go.

“You know I’m leaving.”

“I know. But a mother can hope, can’t she?”

So, Emily leaves behind family and friends, letting her memories of them recede as she watches the rooftops of London shrink through her plane window.

She attributes the lurch in her stomach to the plane’s abrupt take off.


---


A month after moving to New York, she sends her mother a postcard. She tells her that she’s found a (miniscule) flat, a (measly) paying job, and not to worry. She drops it at the nearest blue mail box, the Statue of Liberty’s stoic expression gazing at her as it passes through the slot.


---


Eight months after moving to New York, she dyes her hair red and finds that she quite likes it.


---


A year after that, Emily is living in a box of a flat that’s an hour’s commute from work. She works in the deep recesses of Calvin Klein, and her only job seems to be moving and cataloging racks of clothing and getting coffee for people whose names she doesn’t even know. She’s in a lowly position with no title to speak of, but she runs her hands over the new fall skirts and savors the sightings of designers she sees on her runs.

On her commute, she catches a glimpse of the Elias-Clarke building and her resolve strengthens.


---


Two years later, Emily finally manages to scheme her way into Runway. She bides her time, waiting for the position for Miranda Priestly’s second assistant to open up. And it does.

She’s a girl with flaming hair and an authoritative (others say snooty) tone, but she’s efficient and she’s unquestionably hardworking. She’s up and running at 5 am, a nervous energy running through her veins that spikes each time she hears the phone ring. She sees the fresh faces of her co-workers belying the tiredness they feel inside. Emily scoffs at their weakness. She hears her own heels click on the pristine surface of Runway and feels vindicated.


---


It’s on one of Miranda’s last minute run-throughs that she meets Serena. Emily mistakes her for a model, but she actually works in the beauty department.

They end up having lunch afterwards and bond over the strangeness of American customs. Serena admits to her past aspirations of modeling, but she also admits to holding no illusions about the fleeting nature of such a career. When she speaks, Emily notes the lilt in her accent, the natural color in her cheeks.

Emily offers Serena her bread (Diet. No carbs.), and their knees graze under the table. They have lunch together every day after that.


---


Miranda’s first assistant is promoted and Emily finds herself simultaneously elated and anxious. She has no time to digest this, as she spends her first day (and all the days afterward) as Miranda’s first assistant attached to the desk, phone at her ear, keyboard at her fingertips, or pen scribbling across a notebook.

She and Serena commiserate about their jobs, but Emily’s tone turns reverent when she speaks of Miranda’s accomplishments and Paris. Paris.

“Keep talking like that, I might start thinking you’re in love with her.”

“She’s a goddess. One must show proper respect.”

“Hmm, more like a goddess of fear.”

At that, Emily silences Serena with a kiss. She sees Paris on the inside of her eyelids and wonders if it really sparkles like that in the night.


---


When Emily meets Andrea Sachs, she can’t believe her eyes.

She laughs with Serena about the new train wreck of an assistant over lunch and thinks, Well, I suppose she’s at least a new source of amusement.


---


Though she usually ignores Andrea’s babblings about Ohio and Northwestern, her stories do manage to filter in, and every now and then, Emily imagines what it would have been like if she stayed in London or went to university instead, as her mother wished.


---


Like any other day at Runway, Emily witnesses the office in chaos. The shoot for Lagerfield’s new collection ends in disaster when some stupid bloody intern in the wardrobe department spills coffee on a very expensive rack of clothing.

After working in a frenzy to reschedule the photographer and models, all the while begging for both Lagerfield and Miranda’s forgiveness, Emily considers quitting her job for the millionth time. Instead, she checks her eye make-up and calls Andrea for more Starbucks.


---


Emily Charlton has never prided herself on being a sentimental person. Especially when it comes to people who were never really in her life for that long in the first place. But when Andrea calls her a few weeks after Paris offering up all her clothes, she can’t help but smile.

Later, in bed, while tracing circles on Emily’s back, Serena muses about going to Paris for a vacation. Emily could never fathom a vacation in her life now, and taking a break would likely mean losing her job. Serena’s never been as fiercely dedicated to Runway as Emily has, and it is a point of contention they never speak of. Every now and then, the question of choosing Runway or Serena hangs unspoken in the air. But Serena doesn’t ask, and Emily doesn’t tell.

She hopes she never has to choose. She closes her eyes and watches the Eiffel Tower light up with Serena standing beside her.



 
 
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glacial_paceglacial_pace on May 6th, 2009 02:11 pm (UTC)
Very nice. I agree with you - Emily is very interesting character, a little more edgy than Andy; definitely a girl to be delved into.
glass, concrete, & stonelikebanshees on May 7th, 2009 07:08 am (UTC)
Thank you! I definitely wanted to explore more of Emily than what was in the movie.
(Anonymous) on May 6th, 2009 04:00 pm (UTC)
Really liked this. Hope to see more stories from you.
glass, concrete, & stonelikebanshees on May 7th, 2009 07:09 am (UTC)
Thanks, I was definitely nervous about this story, being my first fic and all.
fewthistlefewthistle on May 6th, 2009 09:11 pm (UTC)
This was quite lovely. Emily is such a confusing blend of vulnerability and arrogance and just about everything in between, that one can't help but be a little fascinated by her. You've most definitely done her justice. This is textured and nuanced and just a little sad.

Wonderful!!
glass, concrete, & stonelikebanshees on May 7th, 2009 07:18 am (UTC)
Aw, thank you!

I definitely saw potential for an interesting backstory for Emily and wanted to delve a bit into the character's motivations instead of relegating her to spouting just a few snippy one-liners. She's definitely a fascinating character.
punky_96: dragon_heart_tatpunky_96 on May 7th, 2009 04:24 am (UTC)
I love these vignettes of Emily. Thank you so much for sharing these with us.
glass, concrete, & stonelikebanshees on May 7th, 2009 07:19 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm happy to share. :)
perks123perks123 on May 8th, 2009 01:20 am (UTC)
Hey, this was wonderful. I really like Emily...and you did a lovely job giving us insight into her character. There's a lot to the woman that is yet to be revealed. Thank you for writing and posting.
glass, concrete, & stonelikebanshees on May 10th, 2009 08:26 am (UTC)
Thank you! I agree that there's a lot about Emily to explore.