“I simply don’t understand how difficult it is to track down a simple scarf!” Miranda hissed on the phone before slamming it -with class nonetheless, into the receiver.
There was nothing simple about the scarf Miranda wanted and this spread was proving to be a nightmare. One that Runway had not experienced in a while.
That Miranda liked to lead a tight boat was no news, her reputation was renowned and if you asked any of her staff they would always tell you the same; the magazine only works because of her.
So every now and then, when Miranda gets particular about pieces she wants on the pages of the fashion bible, nobody dares to question it. Not even Irv. Not anymore, anyway, it has proven to be pointless.
At this point, everybody knew every demand proved to be essential at the end, that’s why every single person involved on this spread had been plucking their hair out of their heads with each passing day the said scarf was not found.
The thing is, this time everybody wondered if the dragon lady finally went too far.
A silk scarf from Hermés, from the late 30’s. Only 8 pieces. Demanded two weeks ago.
Two weeks of pure agony.
Nigel regretted choosing that moment to enter Miranda’s office. “Nothing yet?”
“I don’t understand. We know every single person in publishing. Every single designer. It shouldn’t prove difficult to track down a piece.” She sighed while removing her glasses to pinch in between her eyes. “It’s almost like we ran out of capable people.”
“Ah! Yes… About that. Maybe we should-”
“Maybe we should work harder. And find it!” She said with a wave of her hands.
Nigel knew better than to press any matters after the famous gesture. “Right. Maybe we could call for help outside these walls?”
Miranda then looked at him for the first time.
“You know she could find it. You said it yourself we ran out of capable people. And if there’s something that that woman is, is capable.”
“I said no.”
Andrea had left Runway months ago and whilst Nigel could almost pinpoint the day Miranda’s mood started to go downhill, he couldn’t really understand. That is if he refused to put the pieces together...
Andrea, not like the others, had managed to survive working for Miranda for a whole year. In fact, a total of one year and three months was how long Andrea Sachs managed to do a perfect job, until apparently she decided she had enough. Nigel still thinks it's odd to make the connection because Miranda had given her recommendation letter after all. So why the attitude? Even with his best efforts to try and make Andrea talk, it seemed like the woman could read his every mood. So perhaps this topic was going to be something Nigel would literally die thinking about it ...
“You’re right. She’s probably too busy anyway. Haven’t heard from her in ages. Have you?”
“Why would I hear from an ex assistant? Did you by any chance hit your head on the way to my office, Nigel?”
“No, my dear. Just wondering. She was your favorite after all.”
Ah, yes, you have no idea.
“Hello, Bobsey!” She hugged one of the redheads that came running down the stairs as soon as she walked inside. “Where’s your sister?”
“Upstairs. I was just waiting for you to come in to show you the new things I got-”
“Uhm, later, Bobsey… later. Mommy is very tired and still has a lot of things to do…” Miranda dismissed her daughter walking towards the kitchen. She didn’t look back to see the disappointment and hurt on Cassidy’s face, but she knew it was there.
On Cassidy’s behalf, disappointment yes, but no surprise.
Miranda heard as the little woman stomped her way upstairs and with a heavy heart, searched for the phone in her pocket.
The number you tried to reach is not available at the moment please-
With a sigh the woman pinched the bridge of her nose. This week was already proving harder than she had anticipated, and everything she didn’t need right now was to go to bed without hearing Andrea’s voice.
Much like Cassidy, the only alternative Miranda had for the end of her day was to stomp her way to bed as well. Not that she would ever admit doing so.
“Ugh!” Was the only noise Caroline heard followed by the slam of her door.
“Mom could not care less for what I had to say… It’s so annoying. I hate when she does this.”
Caroline offered nothing.
Although being twins, they had very different personalities. Cassidy was always all about emotions, she made sure everyone knew what she was thinking and feeling. Caroline on the other hand could never really care for sentiments and the dramas of the modern world. Which seemed to annoy Cassidy even further.
“How can you not care at all?”
“It’s not that I don’t care, stupid. Can’t you see?”
Cassidy shook her head.
“She’s been like that ever since Andrea went away.”
“But I thought they both agreed on this…”
“They did. But apparently mom underestimated being away from her too long.”
“Ohh…” the coin dropped. Caroline rolled her eyes.
“So what do we do?”
“I dunno.” Caroline shrugged before grabbing her towel from the bed and locking herself in the bathroom, leaving it up to Cassidy to figure out a plan on how to bring Andrea back.
Caroline was right, they had agreed on this.
After all that happened in the last year, Andrea once again found herself having to reevaluate her whole life. Suddenly, she didn’t have all the time in the world. Suddenly, she could afford to think the age she looked and act the age she looked. And suddenly, the roles seemed to be reversed.
Ever since she met Miranda, her fears revolved around not hurting the other woman with all the baggage she always carried with her. Knowing the time to leave would always come, how could she settle and give the other woman everything she needed?
Between that New Years Eve night and the night she took Miranda to that theater, along the way their dynamic seemed to change. As Miranda advised her, she finally learned to let go. And for Miranda, maybe it was the start of another era…
Not much time after that night Miranda decided Andrea could no longer work for her.
“It’s ridiculous. You have to go live your life!” Miranda said with a stern face. “You have to go do something, you’re what? 30?”
“I’m 97, Miranda!”
“No! Not anymore.” Her voice might have gone up a few octaves which made Andrea frown for the first time in their conversation.
“Mir- Wh- What are you saying?” Andrea was afraid to ask, but since Miranda started this, they needed to finish.
“I- Andrea.” Miranda couldn’t look at her. “Have you stopped to think this is the only chance you’ve got?”
“What do you mean?”
“You’ll age now. Which means I’m finally ahead of you.”
“Yes, I already figured that out. Thank you. I mean, what’s your point?” Andrea seemed agitated now.
Miranda took the time to breath deep a few times, rethinking all she had been brewing in her head the last few days.
“You told me once you wanted to be a writer. A journalist. Did you not?”
“You didn’t think much of it because you could always go for it another time. Another life as you put it.” This time it wasn’t a question but they both found Andrea nodding again. “So what now? You’ve only got this life!” Miranda pointed firmly to the ground between them.
Andrea’s eyes welled up unexpectedly making Miranda regret even brushing the topic. It was proving to be torture for both of them.
“I can’t have you not living for the first time in your life because of me. You finally have the opportunity to live for yourself. To find out who you truly are.”
“What if that’s not what I want?” Andrea whispered looking to the ground. She could not believe this was happening.
Her whole life Andrea only wished to be happy, as a little girl she remembers wishing to marry and have kids, and be happy. After the accident though, her only choice was to simply keep living. Not to be happy, not to fulfil her dreams, just to be. The innocence that once ruled her mind had to be replaced with the stoicism that proved to be the only thing reliable enough.
For years, she lived out of patterns, setting goals to reach and then be done with, on to the next one because what else could she do when her future always seemed to be guaranteed? Both a blessing and a curse. The first couple of years she wished every day that her life would go back to normal. Getting to know people and knowing she was going to outlive them was always the most hurting thing she could think to happen to a person. Her thoughts would always drift to Francine. Then she met Miranda, and things could not be different.
As much as it pained both of them, Miranda was right. What now? Andrea could not believe that after getting her biggest wish granted, she would be met with such a difficult decision. Miranda was basically giving her permission to leave her now, and her heart could not take it.
“We both know that’s not the truth.” Miranda whispered back but with fondness in her voice. “I can’t have you resenting me for not giving you a choice. Trust me, I know what comes after that.”
Despiste it all, Andrea had to learn to be an adventurer. Learning to be excited for the next chapter was the only thing that had kept her going and damned Miranda for being all too aware of that.
“I love you, you know that?”
Miranda sealed the conversation with a kiss that led both of them to her bed. That night they clinged to each other like they never did before. And perhaps like they never would again.
“What scarf?” Caroline heard from the bathroom as soon as she exited the shower stall.
“I don’t know. I heard her yelling-”
“ Your mom doesn’t yell. ” Caroline smiled. Andy knew her all too well.
“Ok, fine. I heard her sneering at someone on the phone about their incompetence on finding what she’s asked for. Andy! Please come back to us. Mom is a nightmare without you around.”
“Oh honey…” She sighed on the other end. Hearing this was heartbreaking and not really what she needed after such a long day.
“We don’t know what happened but could you please sort it out?”
“I promise to try and talk to her, ok?”
“Fine.” Cassidy huffed, shutting her laptop.
“Do you think she’s coming back?” Caroline asked, leaning at the threshold.
“God, I hope so!” Cassidy replied, bringing the covers up to cover her face.
In her defence, Andrea had tried talking to Miranda, several times, but somehow it was like the universe was conspiring against them.
The talk they had that night was the harder Andrea’s ever had with anyone. Despite her best efforts to deny it, Miranda had been right. Suddenly their roles were reversed, Miranda was the one who had accomplished everything she wanted and Andrea was the one left with dreams and wishes.
They were both old enough to understand this would be their downfall.
As relationships go, they never really broke up. Miranda refused to discuss things any further, almost as if shielding herself from it, refusing to acknowledge it in an effort to not make it real. Andrea was glad because she as well didn’t want to be the one speaking the words out loud. Francine made a point of saying how much they were acting like teenagers. Andrea pretended not to hear the remark.
Instead they agreed to keep caring for each other, the girls and everything they had so far. But as long distance relationships go, they never really succeeded at that.
The day after their decision came with a resignation letter from Andrea and followed with a recommendation one from Miranda. And that was as far as the staff knew. Immediately after, Andrea was off to Chicago on a spot that opened just for her and Miranda was left in New York, on a spot that could never do without her.
“Shit!” Andrea managed after getting out of her shower to see a missed call from Miranda. Great, everything she needed was the other woman thinking she didn’t want to speak to her. But upon trying to call back, this time she was the one met by the voicemail. “Ugh! It’s like the cosmos hates me.”
This wouldn’t do.
Another week, another disappointment.
The words rang on Miranda’s mind as she rode home on the back of the Mercedes on a friday night. Two weeks of non stopping work at the magazine and if in one more week they couldn't find the scarf she asked for, they would have to change the entire spread.
Miranda was not happy, and if Miranda was not happy it meant the entire staff was completely miserable.
Upon entering the townhouse Miranda allowed herself to rest her back at the door a little bit. It was a little after midnight, which meant the girls were already in bed. Her cook had gone home. She was all by herself.
Miranda took a deep breath to try and shake the stress out of her. No success since she was met by an all too familiar smell, one she had been trying to forget for her own sake. Eyes closed, she started to think she was losing her mind, the smell would not go away. In fact it only got stronger the more she breathed in and out.
“About time you got home.” A soft voice came from the den. “I was getting sleepy.”
This either meant she wasn’t losing her mind after all or that she finally began to hallucinate. “Andrea! What are you doing here?”
“I asked Daniel for a few days off.”
Miranda was dumbstruck. “You ask- You barely started at the job.”
“It’s been six months already.”
Miranda could only nod and all they both did was stand there, taking in the familiar presence of each other at the same time feeling like strangers. Painful reality kicking in.
“You haven’t told me what you are doing here.” Miranda said hesitantly. She desperately wanted to know the reason the other woman had been standing in her house until this hour, waiting for her to come from work.
“Well, the girls said you seemed to be having a bad week, so…”
“Andrea!” Stop beating around the bush is what Miranda wanted to say.
“And I realized I can’t seem to be without you.” This took her breath away. Fair enough, you get what you ask for.
Without thinking any further, Miranda made her way straight for Andrea grabbing her face with both hands and locking their lips together. Both so lost on each other they didn’t notice two redheads peaking at them through the banister.
Making their way to Miranda’s bedroom was inevitable. If they had felt like strangers earlier they had definitely remade their acquaintances by now. Andrea made a mental note of how much she loved the feeling of Miranda’s sheets on her skin, especially when the said woman was on top of her.
To them it was like time had simply stopped when they were together but by looking at the clock they realised they had been in bed for an hour already.
“God, I missed you!” Andrea whispered on Miranda’s ear, inhaling deeply on her hair.
Miranda smiled. “I missed you!”
Even though she didn’t want to, Andrea extricated herself from the other woman, earning a look of disapproval.
“Where are you going?” Miranda hated the desperation in her voice but at this point she figured there was no point in denying any of her feelings.
“I’ve got something for you.” Andrea simply said before disappearing downstairs.
Miranda would be very annoyed that the woman chose this moment to flee out of bed if she wasn’t melting at the thought of Andrea not only coming back to surprise her simply because she missed her but also having the time to bring her a gift?!
Upon reentering the bedroom Miranda noticed Andrea had a small box in her hands. The brunette didn’t offer any explanation, simply put the box on Miranda’s lap and waited.
Miranda felt her heart suddenly skipping a beat. A million things going through her mind.
Opening the box, she couldn’t contain the tears spilling furiously from her eyes and down her cheeks. No sound came out of her mouth though and Andrea simply regarded her with a peaceful look, giving her the time to figure things out.
“Where did you find this?” Miranda managed.
“It’s a long story.” She said in a bit of awkwardness. Even years later from this night Miranda would look back and remember Andrea never really explained it to her but this was one of the many things she would simply ignore for both of their sakes. “It was a gift. And now I want you to have it.”
“I- How did you know?”
“A little bird told me.” Andrea winked which Miranda didn’t see because since opening the box, she could not tear her eyes away from the insides.
After speaking to the girls Andrea had called Nigel, who in between many questions had managed to explain to her what all the fuss was about.
The box seemed to vibrate in her hands, it was either that or Miranda was actually shaking with emotions. The long searched and famous scarf Miranda demanded from her staff two weeks ago made its way to her hands like magic. Not only that, but by Andrea’s hands out of everybody.
She couldn’t stop admiring it, and now she couldn’t stop admiring the woman across her. She didn’t think it was possible to love Andrea more, but she was wrong.
“What’s so special about this one?” Andrea asked.
Miranda smiled fondly while cupping the other woman’s cheek. “I’m always amazed by how deeply naive you can be sometimes.”
“The design of this scarf was based on a woodcut by Robert Dumas himself.” Andrea still couldn’t understand why it was so important for the woman. “It’s basically a relic.”
Upon noticing a single tear on the corner of Miranda’s eye, Andrea got closer trying to comfort the woman giving her enough space at the same time.
“It was also a beacon of hope for a little girl who always dreamed of working with fashion in a world where nobody understood how much it meant to her.” The tear finally fell but her voice remained calm and stoic.
“I come from a poor family, Andrea. So poor we weren’t allowed to have dreams. The only ‘dream’ was to finish school, get a job and maybe if I was lucky enough, find a husband who could provide to me. That’s what I always heard from my mom. Surely you understand.”
Andrea nodded. She had been through that, and if she was honest to herself, at the time she had enjoyed it. There wasn’t much to life than to settle down and have your family. Until things changed and she realised the world was much bigger than that small town point of view showed.
“I always wanted more from life. And I refused to apologise for wanting something, for wanting more.” The white haired woman said firmly. “I kept a magazine on my bedside table, it had a lovely spread with pictures of Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth II and Grace Kelly all wearing one of these.” Her fingers danced through the fabric. “It was hand painted and made with imported Chinese silk. It was twice as sturdy as the competing models available at the time.”
Andrea reached for one of her hands, squeezing it but still paying full attention to the story she knew Miranda was brewing.
“One day I came home from school and found my sister going through my things, the magazine in her hands. I screamed at her, she screamed at me and in an attempt to make me wake up , as she would put it she ripped it to pieces. I told her I would never forgive her.”
“Mira, I’m so sorry-”
“I also promised myself I would never feel like that again, powerless and being laughed at. Being mocked for having a dream.”
“You were right. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming and having ambitions.”
“So when I saw the opportunity to do a spread on the subject I couldn’t contain myself. It was almost like teenage Miranda jumped at the opportunity. I wanted things to come full circle. It seems silly now that I have it in my hands. I spent so much more than two weeks looking for this.”
She raised the fabric between them still not believing the token of her confirmed success in the business came to her through the hands of the love of her life. Everybody always knew Miranda wasn’t someone for sentimentalities but this was a moment she would take with her for the rest of her life, kept deep inside her heart.
“It seems surreal now because I look at it, and I look at you…”
When Miranda shifted her gaze from the scarf to Andrea she was met with feelings she’s never really seen in any of her lovers' faces during her life. Suddenly it all made sense. How silly they have been to think they would do fine apart. How naive they have been to think they could just walk different paths after all they’ve been through.
The dynamics on their relationship might have changed but what they didn’t realise was that the love had grown bigger than it all.