Fashion was all about visuals. Fonts, aesthetics, textures and tones. Many forms of art were that way, as Andy understood. There were art forms like paintings, sculptures, clothing, accessories, films and plays and Andy enjoyed all of them. Her relationship with Miranda was based largely on visuals, as well. Derisive scrutiny, perusing eyes and lingering gazes was the order of things from when Andy met Miranda. The looking hadn’t been nearly so enjoyable at first, but Andy could understand it was because she was metaphorically blind to the fashion industry – Miranda’s kingdom.
In that cerulean sweater, distaste and not a little disgust were evident in icy blue eyes. With those shoes—practical, Andy had argued to herself—there had been exasperation and a little desperation at the hopelessness of her fashion sense. After those weeks of disdainful and cutting comments, Andy had understood the issue and appointed Nigel as her Fairy Gay Father and decided upon a makeover. The looks after that had changed.
Chanel boots had the biggest effect, to Andy’s memory. The expression of surprise and a little spark of hope had bolstered Andy’s resolve, and the sharp barbs had changed from attacking her attire to attacking her infrequent ineptitude. Not really a win—Andy was still being attacked—but she had removed the chances of being put down for her clothing (Andy had learned at Runway that if you’re not insulted about something then you’re practically receiving a compliment).
It was the City of Love that had marked yet another evolution in types of looks. A moment of vulnerability, a grey robe and the prettiest tears Andrea had seen. It was her eyes that had changed that night. Looked upon soft skin and unfathomably blue eyes with new respect; the respect for a mother, for a lonely wife who tries her best. Andy had vowed that she would try her best too. For Miranda, she’d do anything. She thought it might be love, but decided not to think about that, it was too much for her, but perhaps soon.
First assistants don’t get paid much better than second assistants, Andy discovered, but they sure as all hell did less running around. She was good at scheduling and proved herself to be competent enough to be able to score Miranda an entire long holiday with her children. The same long weekend that the divorce would be finalised. Blue eyes met brown when the news was revealed, and a wave of understanding and something distinctly warm passed through their eye contact. Andy thought Miranda might be catching up.
The brunette, now trusted implicitly by her boss, took up the hobby of observation. She observed as Miranda drank her coffee, as she wrote her editor’s note, as she stroked her lips with the arm of her glasses. She observed her when she walked into and out of elevators, when she paced after a particularly disappointing run through, when her expression softened when she spoke to her daughters. There was nothing she didn’t like to see, except for the sadness she had witnessed in Paris. She never wanted Miranda to feel that way ever again, no matter how beautiful she looked when she cried.
Staying after she delivered the book (the second assistant could have done it but Miranda didn’t seem willing to change their routine) became more and more common. So did a glass of wine and a strictly work-related conversation. Andy watched then, too. As her boss drank her wine, as she hummed if it was an especially delicious bottle, as her eyes fluttered when she drank red wine (it made her tired, Andy figured). Weeks and weeks of cataloguing everything Miranda did when they were together was not as unnoticeable as Andy had thought.
Their first kiss was a week after Andy had been given a recommendation and left (had been forced to leave) Runway. She had spent the first-day moping (being completely miserable) in her apartment, trying to tell herself she didn’t need to look upon Miranda to be happy or find joy in life (she was wrong). She spent the next three days adjusting and sending her resume to every publishing house in New York, big or small. She had been called for an over-the-phone interview and by the end of the ten-minute conversation, Andy was an employed journalist for The NY Mirror much to her joy. She drank red wine that night and remembered half-lidded blue eyes and satisfied sighs. She tipped the rest of the bottle down the sink.
After her first day on the job was completed, Andy made her way out the doors to the street where she had planned to catch the subway back to her neighbourhood. At the curb was a silver Mercedes that could only hold one person Andy knew. Roy had exited the car and gave her his usual grin then gestured his head in askance of whether she was brave enough. Andy had decided that she was, and slid into the back seat.
Her eyes ached in their elation to be looking at their favourite thing. Miranda was lounged in the spacious back seat with an outfit completely coloured in white. She looked angelic, ethereal. Andy’s mouth was instantly dry and blue eyes told her they knew that. They didn’t speak for some almost awkward minutes during which Andy stared her fill. Finally, Miranda opened her lovely mouth.
“Why do you look at me?”
Andy had expected the question and had pondered it for many months herself during and after she worked for Miranda. Why did she? The answer was simple but would expose her, so she chose her words carefully.
“Since the dawn of time people have gazed upon sunsets and sunrises, the stars in a desert, the eclipse of the moon and sun,” she began. Miranda looked about as patient as she could get but Andy decided to be quick in her delivery.
“We look at these things because we cannot fathom their beauty, only appreciate it,” she said. Miranda raised a brow, unsure if she was finished or not.
“That’s why I look at you.”
Miranda’s face slacked, her eyes twinkled and the prettiest blush Andy had ever seen in her life bloomed on her cheeks and neck and chest.
“Oh,” she whispered, the single syllable coated in surprise.
Then she smiled. A true, honest to god smile from Miranda to Andy, teeth and upturned lips and laugh lines and all. Andy had never seen anything so radiant or received such a beautiful gift. Miranda must have noticed her awe because the smile widened further. She leaned closer to Andy, close enough that she could smell Miranda’s perfume. A smaller hand encased her own and looked down at the joined flesh to make sure she wasn’t imagining it.
“Of all the pretty things mine eyes see, Andrea, the prettiest, by far, is you.”
Andrea had considered, once soft pink lips met her own, that she could possibly enjoy touching more than looking. By the next morning, as she woke in Miranda’s arms and felt soft kisses along her shoulder and neck, she was certain.