Authors: Lauren Weisberger
“If you're picturing me nursing, you can stop right now,” Emily said, although she knew that Karolina was imagining herself nursing and didn't care one whit how Emily planned to feed her daughter.
“The nursery is beautiful,” Karolina whispered.
“You're going to have one just like it one day soon,” Emily said, grabbing Karolina's arm. “I know it.”
Karolina shook her head. “I hope you're right. I've never stopped wanting it, not for a single second.”
“I'm always right. Now come with me. Miranda Priestly is asking for you.”
“Miranda's asking for me?”
“I have no idea why, if that's what you're wondering. But hurry, Miranda doesn't wait.”
Probably only ninety seconds had elapsed since Emily had left Miranda standing in the foyerâonly three total minutes since Miranda had followed Miles through the doorâbut Miranda shot Emily one of her classic how-dare-you-make-me-wait glares.
“Karolina,” Miranda acknowledged, not bothering to hide her obvious once-over of Karolina's figure and outfit. Then, as though relieved
that yet another person wasn't pregnant, she said, “You can take over for Emily during her maternity leave.”
“What?” Emily asked at the same time that Karolina said, “Pardon?”
“It's not really a difficult concept, girls,” Miranda said. “Emily, I can no longer have you in the office looking likeÂ .Â .Â . that. Karolina can fill in for you in your absence. The Met Ball is once again five months away, do you think it's going to plan itself?”
“Of course,” Emily said, because it was the only thing she could think to say. If she'd had to guess, she would have said Karolina would be horrified at the suggestion. After all, she certainly didn't need to work. And why would she want to work for Miranda, of all people? But there was no denying her expression of pure joy.
“I would love to,” Karolina said, clasping her elegant hands together.
“Excellent,” Miranda said crisply. “Then you will be an ideal replacement.”
“Excuse me? Miranda, that's not at all whatâ”
This time Miranda's left hand went up. “Please stop. You aren't planning to come back. Don't insult me by denying it.”
Emily closed her mouth and nodded.
Miranda cinched the fox coat tighter and turned to the door. “I'll have Juliana send you whatever you like for your baby gift, so be specific with her. Karolina, be in my office Monday morning by nine and ready to work, yes?”
“Yes.” Karolina beamed, her cheeks flushed with excitement, looking at least ten years younger.
And with that, less than five minutes after she'd arrived, Miranda was gone.
“Where is she?” Miriam asked as she joined Emily and Karolina in the foyer. “I'm dying to meet her.”
“I got a job!” Karolina practically squealed. “Working at
. On the editorial side.”
“Let's not get carried away here,” Emily said. “It's not like you're
going to be writing cover stories. The Met Ball is important, don't get me wrong, but I can't have you thinkingâ”
“Oh, shut up, Emily.” Miriam and Karolina said it right at the same time and dissolved into laughter.
Miles peeked his head in. “Can I get some help out here, please? There's an entire roomful of women in high heels stomping around every inch of our apartment, and they all look very hungry.”
“We'll be right there, sweetie,” Emily said. “Miriam will dazzle everyone with her size-four waist and the fact that she's having sex with her husband again, and Karolina here can tell us all how to live our best life in the suburbs. If anyone needs me, I'll be in my usual spot on the couch, trying not to break it.”
Miriam laughed out loud and Karolina turned to Emily. “Can I get you something to eat before we head back in? Another burger, maybe?”
Emily considered this before reaching out to take both Miriam's and Karolina's hands, leading them down the hallway and back toward the party. “Yes, please,” she said, squeezing them both. “I thought you'd never ask.”
feel lucky to have spent the last decade looked after by the finest in the business: Sloan Harris. Words cannot express my gratitude to you for always being my champion, my adviser, my friend. At times, my shrink. I couldn't do it without you. Thank you also to Jenny Harris, my behind-the-scenes reader and cheerleader. I adore you both. To everyone at ICM, who works tirelessly to support authors and artists each and every day, but especially: Alexa Brahme, Diana Glazer, Josie Freedman, Patrick Herold, Jenn Joel, Heather Karpas, Kristyn Keene, and Maarten Kooij.
I'm so grateful to have an amazing publishing team behind me. At Simon & Schuster in the U.S.: Kelley Buck, Elizabeth Breeden, Cary Goldstein, Jon Karp, Zack Knoll, Carolyn Reidy, Sarah Reidy, Katie Rizzo, Richard Rohrer, Jackie Seow, and Beth Thomas, thanks to each of you for working your magic to help bring this book to fruition. But most of all, Marysue Rucci, editor extraordinaire, who can skillfully offer a line edit, a major plot overhaul, and everything in betweenâoften on
the same page. At HarperCollins in the UK, the book may have a different name, but it also has a crack team to skillfully and lovingly shepherd it to the shelves. First and foremost, an enormous thank-you to editor Lynne Drew, who makes each and every word of my manuscript better. My tour visits to London are always the highlights of my publications, due entirely to seeing and reconnecting with all of you: Charlotte Brabbin, Isabel Coburn, Elizabeth Dawson, Anna Derkacz, Kate Elton, Jaime Frost, Damon Greeney, Hannah O'Brien, Emma Pickard, Charlie Redmayne, and Claire Ward. At Curtis Brown, I send both hugs and thank-yous to Sophie Baker and Felicity Blunt for everything you do.
Oddette Staple, Ludmilla Suvarova, Kyle White, thank you for helping me keep it all togetherâand making me smile along the way.
To the kick-ass strong and whip-smart women who, whether near or far, IRL or on FB, offer constant support (“This is going to be your best one yet!”), unwavering patience (even when I vanish into a manuscript for weeks or months on end), and the perfect mix of cocktails, sarcasm, and laughs (always perfect so long as there's all three): Heather Bauer, Jamie Bernard, Alisyn Camerota, Helen Coster, Lisa Cummings, Anne Epstein, Jenn Falik, Vicky Feltman, Jane Green, Anne Greenberg, Julie Hootkin, Audrey Kent, Micky Lawler, Mandy Lewitton, Leigh Marchant, Pilar Queen, Arian Rothman, Jena Wider, and Lauren Taylor Wolfe.
Most of all, thank you to my family, without whom none of this would be possible. To my mom, Cheryl, and my dad, Steve, you have been my biggest cheerleaders from day one, and you have taught by example what it's like to love reading and writing; and to Bernie and Judy, my supportive stepparents. To Jackie and Mel, my parents-in-law who are more like a second set of parents, you inspire me every single day with your commitment to family and your love of adventure. Dana, you render most everyone else irrelevant with your sense of humor, loyalty, and our shared sister thing of being able to complete each other's sentences. Seth, Dave, Allison: there are not three other people on earth with whom I'd rather raise our families and share our lives.
To my sweet and dazzling R and S, you are my everything. Watching you grow each day, in every way, is the greatest joy in my life.
And finally, to Mike. You of all people know I'm not the type to write a love letter for the world to see, but this one time I can't resist. Thank you. For your constant love, patient support, and killer editing skills (are you sure I can't slide a “just” in there just one more time?); for being the kind of dad every child should be lucky enough to have as his or her own; for being the husband who's even more loving than the perfect guy I'd always imagined. There is nowhere I'd rather be than by your side.
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When Life Gives You Lululemons
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