Andy slipped into the first semi-quiet cafe she came by. It had only taken her forty-five minutes to find it. So many of the others were too crowded and loud. She needed the space and silence to think, to work past the myriad of emotions still swimming throughout her body and mind. She had made a decision, but that didn’t mean it was the right one.
Andy had just quit her job, by walking away in the middle of her boss’s busiest work week, and now she needed to decide if she was going to return to the states or return to her duties. Walking away from Miranda Priestly, Queen of Fashion, before she was done with you was one thing. Not answering your phone when the woman called was just adding salt to the wound. And when Miranda was upset, she lashed out (this situation could go terribly wrong before it started to resemble something good).
During her quest for a quiet place with coffee, Andy compiled a mental list of pros and cons, trying to keep everything organized and finding the perfect place allowed her a small respite. She was grateful for the prospect of coffee. There was also the pain shooting through her calves that reminded her that five inch heels were not her friend. Andy hoped the quiet would allow her to get her thoughts down and take a real look at the pros and cons she had started to map out.
After paying for her drink she made her way to the smallest table, hidden away in a corner of the shop. She took a sip of her espresso and pulled out her notebook and pen. She ripped out a page and folded it in half. On the top of one side she wrote ‘PROS’ and the other ‘CONS’ and under that, centered on the page, she wrote ‘To Quitting My Job.’
Twenty minutes later Andy leaned back in her chair and sipped the cooled espresso. Her eyes trailed over the sheet of paper, she couldn’t shake the fact she was missing something, something important. To the left of the fold were the reasons why quitting her job as Miranda Priestly’s Second Assistant was a good idea.
Shows Nigel her support
No more coffee runs
No more rude, hurtful, or spiteful comments
No more impossible or ridiculous tasks
To the right of the fold were a list of cons, reasons why returning and apologizing might just be worth a try.
She took another sip of her drink and wished she could call Nigel and get his opinion. She sighed again and added Company phone to the list for pros. Plus, she reasoned, what kind of help would Nigel be? After everything that’s happened today his loyalty to Miranda remained intact. Andy groaned as she added Loyalty to the cons.
(up next: emeraldorchids)
But it was the first item on each list that she couldn’t shake from her mind: Miranda. Last night, seeing her in that robe with no makeup, her guard down, that was the Miranda on the cons list. That was the Miranda worth returning for.
She carefully folded her list and slipped it into her purse. The brief rest, it seemed, only gave her achy feet a chance to swell. As she walked back to the hotel, she tried to plan out what she would say to Miranda. If there were no last-minute changes to her schedule—which, there shouldn’t have been in the last two hours—Miranda would be returning from the final show between 17:00 and 18:00. Right now, it was just past 15:00, so she would almost certainly return to the hotel before the editor.
Now, the question was, should she slip into her room and leave a note, or should she wait until she knew the woman had returned, and then knock on her door? Either way, there was potential for the situation to go horribly wrong. Plus, what would she write in the note? What if Miranda didn’t read it? She sighed and took a seat on a bench just around the corner from the hotel. Pulling out her notebook, she wrote:
I need to apologize for my behavior this afternoon, and I would prefer to do so in person. Please let me know when you’re back from Jil Sander. I’m in room 2016.
She tore the page from her notebook, then proceeded around the corner and into the hotel. Her keycard still worked in the elevator, so that was a good sign. Hopefully her belongings were still in her room when she returned. She paused outside Miranda’s door. It wasn’t too late to turn around and walk away, escaping the stress and impossible demands.
“No,” she said quietly to herself. “I’m staying, for Miranda, for the woman I saw in the grey robe last night.” She took a deep breath and slipped her keycard in the door. “Miranda is worth it,” she whispered.
(up next: organicallyadventurous)
The light turned green and the handle gave way. She opened the door slowly out of habit. In truth, she had no desire to have a confrontation. Not just yet. Before the end of the night, she would likely be exposed to a brutal dressing down. There was no reason to rush into such things.
Miranda’s sitting room was dark save a single lamp. Even that was enough to reveal that the room was a disaster zone. It looked as though each time the editor changed outfits today, she simply threw discarded items on the closest surface. That particular behavior came out only in the moments when Miranda was stressed or distracted. The magnitude of the mess hit Andrea in the gut. This was because of her. Looking around at the clothing, makeup and print outs of the daily schedule, it occurred to her that there was something more going on than met the eye. Miranda Priestly ate assistants for breakfast. She fired them for her own amusement. Why would she have a tantrum over one? Andrea was certain she knew the answer, but she couldn’t quite force herself to face it
Instead she put the note on the side table and put down her purse. Regardless of how Miranda might react to her note, which could very well go badly, Andrea could not in good conscious leave the room in such a state. The aching familiarity of following and cleaning up after the editor was striking. In the last few months Miranda had become as close as any friend or lover she ever had without once crossing the line of professionalism. She knew everything about the the woman. What she would order from almost any restaurant. She knew when she would want a coffee, water or glass of wine. Andrea knew which colors Miranda thought she looked best in. The assistant knew that she had watched more than was strictly professional, but the pull towards her boss was undeniable.
Andrea worked her way thoroughly around the room. She placed the 3 sets of discarded heels by the door to the bedroom in advance of returning them to the closet. There was a growing pile of clothes that really ought to be hung up so that they did not become even more wrinkled. Once she straightened and sorted the papers, they were placed in the center of the table in case they were needed again. Deciding that room was neat enough, Andrea gathered up the clothes draping them over her arm. With a deep breath she opened the door to Miranda’s bedroom.
(up next: xvnot15)
Andrea stumbled slightly as she entered, the natural light from the sitting room behind her barely penetrating the inky blackness that enveloped the bedroom. Sighing, she fumbled blindly on the wall searching for a light switch all the while grumbling about excessively effective black-out curtains. Finally locating the switch to her right she flicked it on and the soft glow of two table lamps finally illuminated another scene of chaos. More clothes were strewn on every surface, papers and other personal items were likewise scattered everywhere, squaring her shoulders Andrea continued her cleaning and tidying.
As Andrea moved about the room she considered taking her shoes off and giving her aching feet a rest but the follow up thought of Miranda catching her traipsing barefoot around her hotel room quickly put the brakes on that idea. A few moments later the young brunette had cause to be grateful for that decision as she felt the crunch of broken glass beneath her foot. Turning on a few more lights in the room she saw a dark stain on the wall above and an impressive spray of shattered glass reflected off the surface of the dressing table and the floor around it. She reached out for the only complete piece, the teardrop shape of the stopper for a crystal decanter. Looking at the object in her hand, her heart fluttered at the obvious rage implied by this act of destruction.
It took Andrea several minutes to get herself under control, and to realise she couldn’t possibly call housekeeping to clean this up. It was far too obvious that the decanter had been deliberately smashed, not just carelessly dropped. Deciding swiftly, she popped out into the hallway and around the corner where she’d seen a maid’s trolley earlier. Luckily the cart was still there and unattended, she gathered what she needed and scurried back to Miranda’s suite where she cleaned up the mess, very grateful for the small handheld vacuum she’d found which got rid of even the smallest of the shards. This major mess dealt with she returned her scrutiny to the rest of the room, deciding to concentrate on the area around the bed.
Having hung up and tidied away all the clothing Andrea bent and gathered a pile of papers by the bed which she neatened into a pile and set on the nightstand almost moving away before one more sheet caught her eye where it was tucked under the bed’s dust-ruffle. Picking the paper up she noted it was written in Miranda’s handwriting, but it wasn’t that which froze the young woman in place a look of utter disbelief etched on her beautiful face it was what was actually written on the sheet. There in two neat columns was:
I’m free to pursue what I want
But Andrea is gone
I’m free to pursue what I want
But Andrea is gone
(up next @kitteninthesky12 )
For a moment Andy just stared blankly at the piece of paper in her hands. ‘I’m free to pursue what I want? What could that mean? And what does it have to do with my leaving? Why are the two things both pros and cons? The list couldn’t possibly mean—’ Andy was pulled from her reverie by a low voice uttering her name in a tone Andy recognized immediately; her heart began to race as she whirled around. Andy had apparently been too busy contemplating her discovery to hear the door being unlocked or footsteps outside of the bedroom.
“Leave my hotel room. This instant.” There stood Miranda clutching two pieces of paper. Andy recognized her own handwriting on them. One of the pieces of paper Miranda was holding was the note Andy had intended for her to find, the other was… No, no, it couldn’t be the pros and cons list she had written. Andy blanched. That had been in her purse which she’d put… Damn, on the same side table as the note. Had the list fallen out of her purse?
“Miranda, please I—” Andy attempted.
“That was not a suggestion, Andréa. Unless, of course, you were hit by a car as you so hastily fled from my employ?” Miranda said. Her voice low and dangerous as she stood in the doorway with her unoccupied hand on her hip, glaring daggers at Andy.
“What? No I—”
“Are you by any chance concussed for some other reason? Perhaps you’re experiencing some rare form of amnesia? I cannot imagine any other circumstance under which you would deem it acceptable to walk out on me and then simply show up back at the hotel. In my bedroom no less.”
“Miranda, please, we need to talk.” Andy tried again.
“And what, pray tell, could I possibly have to say to an ex-assistant, Andréa, hmm?” She asked with a condescending tilt of her head. “Do you care to discuss how you’ve disappointed me time after time? How, for reasons I cannot even fathom, I have given you opportunities that I never would have given any other girl? Do you wish to talk about the mess you found when you barged in here? Would you like to discuss the fact that one day you’ll leave the way everyone always leaves.” Miranda’s voice cracked then and she stopped speaking, glaring at a point just past Andy’s head so as to not make eye contact, but continue to appear intimidating. However, Andy could see the fear and pain in those ice blue eyes.
Andy decided to do the unthinkable. She stepped forward in Miranda’s personal space, her eyes wide and imploring, and gave her answer, “Yes, Miranda, I want to talk about all of that. But we should also talk about how I want to leave this job.” Andy watched as Miranda lifted her eyes to the ceiling. If it had been anyone other than Miranda, Andy would have suspected they were trying not to cry. “I want to leave this job, but I don’t want to leave you, Miranda. I can’t stand the thought of leaving you.”
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Miranda stared hard the papers in her hands, then crumpled them in her fists. “And yet that’s exactly what you did.”
Andy gritted her teeth at the truth, but took a deep breath and stood her ground. This was why she was here, to apologise and say her piece. “I realise that, and I’m more sorry than I have words for. It was inconsiderate, unprofessional. There were better ways to quit. I got too caught up in the moment, I wanted – I mean, I felt like – like –” Andy stuttered, then flinched in expectation of – what? For Miranda to mock her stutter? For Miranda to physically drag her out the door?
Miranda stared hard at the floor, held the crumpled papers to her chest and waited.
" – like I wasn’t the same person I was when I joined Runway. I’d changed so much that it felt like if I kept going for one more second, there wouldn’t be anything left of the old me. I’m not trying to excuse my actions, just explain them to make you understand.” The more words that came out, the more it felt like a toxin being expelled from her body. The fears that had been haunting Andy’s conscience for months were finally uttered aloud, and to Miranda of all people. Whatever happened next, whatever Miranda spat at her, it would be worth this release.
Andy squared her shoulders. “Yes. I am.”
"You want to leave the job, but you don’t want to leave me." Miranda’s mocking lilt stung like a slap. Andy’s face reddened as Miranda tilted her head. "My God, you truly mean it, don’t you? Just when I thought the fat girl finally had it all figured out."
The only times Andy had been this close to another person, breathing the same air, it had been with a lover. Now all Andy could feel was fire and anger as Miranda swayed and glared from the floor, to Andy’s eyes and nose and lips, to the wall.
Andy’s hand shot to her mouth. The disaster she’d discovered in the hotel room clicked in her head. “You’re drunk.”
Miranda’s shoulders sagged. At once the merciless Miranda of Andy’s pro list faded away and the ragged woman that Andy had remembered when she’d re-written Miranda on the con list re-appeared. “You’re a good person,” Miranda said, shaking her head like that was so very, very sad. She stumbled across the room and slumped into an armchair like the words had taken the life out of her. She buried her head in her hands.
Andy stood stock still, staring, like a deer caught in the headlights. “Is there something I can do for you?”
"Leave," Miranda said into her hands.
Every instinct Andy had screamed at her not to, but being in the same room as an intoxicated, seething Miranda Priestly for any extended length of time could only lead to trouble. She was still out a job, but she’d said what she’d needed to say and hadn’t got her head bitten off for it. Mostly.
That’s what she told herself when she collected her handbag behind Miranda’s armchair and left the woman behind.
The paper was still in her hand – Miranda hadn’t noticed. She’d been too drunk. Why was she in her hotel room when she should have been at a show with Jil Sander? Andrea unfolded the paper in the hallway. I’m free to pursue what I want. But Andrea is gone.
"What have you done, Miranda?"
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Back in her own room unable to settle and despite the pain in her feet Andrea found herself pacing; Miranda’s list still clutched in her fist.
I’m free to peruse what I want
But Andrea is gone.
How could each phrase be both a pro and a con and why was Miranda back at the hotel, when Andrea had most definitely confirmed her whole day that morning, drunk of all things? She’d seen Miranda have a drink of course, but she’d only ever seen the editor sip at a glass, never finishing her first before she demanded the car be outside to pick her up. For her to be three sheets to the wind, in the middle of the day, in the middle of fashion week, when she most definitely had Runway responsibilities to attend to set alarm bells off in Andrea’s head.
Thinking back to the state of the hotel room she realised that there was something wrong there too. Yes Miranda typically changed several times through the course of the day during fashion week and yes Andrea was used to having to pick up after the other woman who always had a million other things to do rather than do it herself, but, even ignoring the shattered decanter, the mess she had found was way above the norm. She’s only been in the suite that morning and there hadn’t been a thing out of place. If she didn’t know that Miranda had her outfits for each day selected in advance she’d have thought the other woman had simply been trying to find something to wear but each outfit had been put together before they had even left New York so what on earth had been going on?
She spent an hour pacing until her worry overpowered everything else. If finding Miranda unkempt and weepy the previous night had taught her anything it was that the older woman was human and hurt just like everyone else. No matter what her plans had been when she had thrown her phone in that fountain what seemed like days ago she couldn’t in good conscience leave Miranda alone when she was obviously hurting. All worries about her job, Miranda’s wrath and Miranda’s intoxication flew out of the window replaced with her simple need to See if there was anything she could do.
Deciding it would be too painful to slip back into her shoes she padded across the hall in her bare feet figuring that if she was already fired then further crimes of fashion would not be held against her. She dallied a moment over whether or not to knock before using her card to let herself in. The living area of the suite was deserted, Miranda’s clutch was discarded on the floor beside the table where Andrea had left her note, it’s meagre content spilling out into the floor. It was as she bent down to scoop it up, ever the helpful assistant, that she heard the distinct sound of vomiting coming from the ensuite and hesitated.
dcprepster1 your turn (:
(up next: mirandaapriestly)
If she were to go to Miranda, to see if she was okay would she be scolded like a child or welcomed? A drunk Editor-in-Chief was as unpredictable as a sober one and it was a tough decision, especially under the circumstances but Andrea’s heart told her to go to Miranda, she needed to help her. She walked through into the bedroom where the clothes Miranda was wearing earlier were strewn across the floor. She heard a groan from in the bathroom.
"Miranda are you okay?" She didn’t want to scare the editor whilst she was in the bathroom , she didn’t want to enter the en suite without being asked to come in. Miranda had always been a private person, she wondered how many people had actually seen her in this state before. Alcohol often meant the loss of control and Miranda Priestly was infamous for being controlling - both at work and personally. She heard Miranda move around the bathroom, the tap turned on and off and there was a sigh with the addition on another wretch and a sniffle.
"Andrea, I thought I had asked you to leave? Yet you’ve made a reappearance, the ever persistent assistant." Miranda didn’t want Andrea to see her like this, she shouldn’t have had the last few glasses of Scotch. It was a mistake, one of the few times her emotions ran wild and look where it had led. She should have proceeded on to the Jil Sander show, not the hotel bar. Andrea came into the bathroom and Miranda looked up at her, embarrassment colouring her flushed cheeks. She expected her to burst out laughing or to shout and scream at her, but instead, she ran the cold tap and grabbed a flannel to dampen it. She then put it gently on the back of Miranda’s neck as she again vomited into the toilet.
"Miranda, at least let me look after you now. Until the morning - when you’ll feel better. Then I’ll go, I’ll do whatever you want me to."
Andrea looked at Miranda and the state she was in, her heart ached. “Come on, let’s get you to bed,” and Miranda nodded subtly. The younger woman helped Miranda to her feet and guided her to the bed, where she pulled back the covers and Miranda proceeded to climb in with care - it would not help to be sick in this bed. Andrea brought the covers to Miranda’s chest and allowed her to adjust them to what is comfortable.
Andrea sat beside the older woman on the bed and looked into her eyes. Miranda looked intently at the brunette’s face and grasped her hand lightly. It’s the first time they had ever held hands, Miranda’s skin was soft and she never wanted to let go. She couldn’t remember holding anyone’s hand like this. Looking into each other’s eyes they seemed to gravitate towards each other, until they were mere inches apart. Miranda opened her mouth,
"Andrea…" She hesitated.
(UP NEXT crazybecat)
Andy flickered her gaze from Miranda’s eyes to her lips, and then back again, to notice that the slight hesitation had been hidden away with a steely gaze. She swallowed softly, “Yes, Miranda?”
Miranda ran the tip of her tongue over her top lip, and turned away, breaking contact, her hand slipping from Andy’s soft hold, “Would you bring me a water, bile is not a taste I wish to keep in my mouth.”
Her heart deflated, and she nodded her head, despite Miranda no longer looking at her, “Of course. Would you like a few aspirin as well, Miranda?”
The editor nodded, but didn’t speak, so Andy stood from the bed and made her way to the suite refrigerator. What the hell was she thinking? Miranda was drunk. No matter what her feelings for the other woman were… taking advantage like that would not be smart.
She swallowed and took a deep breath. Miranda was drunk. Trying to force the pain out of her heart over the possible missed opportunity, with the words of truth, she grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge, and then moved back into the bedroom.
“Miranda, here’s the water. I’ll grab the aspirin.” Andy spoke softly, pressing the cool bottle into Miranda’s outstretched hand.
When Miranda took a slow swallow, Andy excused herself and hurried to the bathroom, where she was happy to find a bottle of aspirin in the stocked cabinet. She shook two pills out and returned to Miranda’s side, dropping the pills into a smooth hand, “Is there anything else?”
The editor didn’t respond. Instead, she took another drink from the bottle, twisted the cap back on, and then… once again… turned away. A painful moment of silence passed before either of them said anything, “Good night, Andrea.”
“Good night, Miranda.” Andy whispered shortly thereafter. She moved to the corner of the room, and sat down in a large, comfortable, overstuffed armchair. She watched with a calm façade as Miranda’s body slowly relaxed, and her breathing seemed to even out.
Seconds turned into minutes, and then ticked into one hour… two hours… three… a sob ripped through Andy’s chest so quickly she barely was able to stifle it.
What the hell had she done?
Tears streamed down her cheeks, and she pressed her fist to her mouth to hide the cries.
What in the hell was she going to do?
UP NEXT hearrtonmysleeve
I have decided not to play this round, but hey, that means that isdangmaharot is up next!
(up next emeraldorchids)
Andrea woke to the sound of her cell phone ringing. Jumping from the chair, she stumbled out of the bedroom and into the sitting area to take the call. “H-hello?”
“Six! Have you seen Miranda? She was supposed to meet Karl and Carine at La Coupole over an hour ago! They’re both quite busy, and—”
“Nigel, she can’t make it,” Andrea said.
“She’s, uh, not feeling well. I think it may have been food poisoning or something—she didn’t really tell me the details.”
“Six, I know Miranda. Food poisoning would never keep her away from a meeting with Karl.”
“Nigel, I’m sorry. She was in bed, sleeping when I last left her, and I’m not waking her up for this. You need to deal with Karl,” she said. “I gotta go.”
She hung up the phone and plopped down on the sofa, resting her head in her hands.
Andrea looked up and saw Miranda leaning against the bedroom doorframe, wrapped in her grey robe. She opened her mouth, but quickly closed it when she couldn’t decide whether to apologize or inquire how she was feeling.
“I apologize that you witnessed my unprofessional inebriation earlier this afternoon. I, um, I trust we discussed your behavior?” she asked, holding up the crumpled note Andrea had written earlier that morning.
“We tried to, but you—oh!” Andrea clasped her hand over her mouth. Miranda didn’t remember their conversation. She took a deep breath and stood, walking over towards Miranda with an adrenaline-fueled bravery. She most definitely was going to take advantage of the situation now, seeing as it would likely be her last chance to speak with the woman if she told her the truth.
“We did,” Andrea said, smiling. She reached out an took Miranda’s hands. “I am glad we are in agreement about this,” she said, squeezing her hands softly. “And I’m very much looking forward to a further explanation once you’re feeling better,” she added with a wink.
Miranda blinked several times as she tried to process the information. “We didn’t—did we—?” she stammered.
Andrea smiled and looked down at their hands. “No, we didn’t. You weren’t feeling well, so…we didn’t do that.” She grinned and felt her cheeks turn pink.
“It’s alright. Let’s go back to bed—it’s been a long day.”
Miranda nodded and walked back into her bedroom, tugging Andrea along behind her. When she reached the side of the bed, she turned around nervously and brought her hand up, cupping Andrea’s cheek. Her fingers were trembling. She leaned in and softly whispered in her ear, “Thank you for coming back to me.” Then, she closed her eyes and kissed her.