If our two loves be one, or, thou and I
Love so alike, that none do slacken, none can die.
- John Donne, "The Good-Morrow"
“You thought I didn’t know.”
Inside, Andy felt queasy. It was all very overpowering. The smell of sandalwood. The dread in her stomach. The leaden weight of her heart. The cold… cold voice.
“I’ve known what was happening for quite some time. It just took me a little while to find a suitable alternative for Jacqueline… The James Holt job was so absurdly overpaid – of course, she jumped at it… So, I just had to tell Irv that Jacqueline was unavailable…”
She stared then, watching the pink lips triumphantly smirk. No remorse as she laid bare the scheming. ‘The List,’ Andy repeated incredulously in her head. Of course. The sympathy she had felt for this woman now felt foreign in her chest. Of course, one did not get into a position of power as Miranda had without a shroud of cunning.
Even as she thought this, Andy hated that she felt guilty. Guilty because this woman did need her sympathy last night. Her consideration was given even at the very start… when she had stepped in to direct attention away from the inebriated ex-husband. Her compassion gained… when she happened upon them fighting.
But did Miranda deserve it?
“I was… very, very impressed by how intently you have tried to warn me. I’d never thought I’d say this Andrea…” she caught Andy’s eyes then, “But I really… I see a great deal of myself in you.” The young woman felt her heart crack open, her principles warring with the modicum of approval finally won.
She wanted to protest. She wanted to cling to the idea that she had not been seduced into this world. But before she could, there was a jolt.
Neither of them saw the flash of light approaching from behind as another sedan hit their brakes too late and rammed on the town car’s tailgate.
Andy reaches for Miranda on instinct as she is thrown forward. Her head smacked the headrest… and then, watching blue eyes widen with panic… she blacks out.
She was jerked awake as the carriage bounced sharply. Brown eyes blinked blearily, taking in the darkened surroundings. As if on instinct, her arm reached out to steady her companion, only for her to sway into thin air, falling on her elbow to the empty seat beside her.
“Mirand-” she gasped confusedly, wondering why she was alone. What--? Looking around the empty coach, she suddenly felt an air of dread.