Title: Coconut M&M's – Part One
Fandom: Devil Wears Prada (What the hell else would I be doing?)
Pairing: Miranda / Andy (What other ship do I ever sail?)
Rating: I Have No Fucking Clue Yet (How's that sound for a rating? BOOM!)
Disclaimer: I don't own them. You know this.
Summary: So the other night I was watching a movie and eating some candy that I really shouldn't eat. And then later I was trying to get my calendars all merged together. And then one thing led to another. So whatever. This is better than crying, not eating and not sleeping. Right? (How's that suck for a summary? BOOM!) No really – Miranda learns to share the hard way.
Coconut M&M's – Part One
Tonight of all nights, Miranda wasn't sure why she wanted Emily here this late. Considering the volume of annoying sniffling she'd had to suffer through from the redhead this week, Emily should have been long gone. Four days of that in Miami were enough. Far more than enough.
But, having her in the office tonight did, in fact, serve a purpose. It provided Miranda with one last chance to figure this out. This puzzle. This puzzle that when solved, could mean the end of everything.
She had to be wrong. What happened on Wednesday night could not be what Miranda thought it was. Could it? It didn't appear to be true. Not when you compared it to this morning. This morning, walking into her office for the first time all week, Miranda was met with a smile that took her breath away. A smile that was all-knowing, yet so innocent. A smile that made her want to rush forward like a complete fool. A very willing fool.
Of course, that smile had been there to greet her for almost two years but only six months of those years counted—which was hard to believe. It seemed longer than six months so just to keep it all straight in her head, Miranda made sure that specific dates of importance were marked in code on about six different calendars—including the one on the refrigerator at home. Essentially, stars, drawn with a blue felt tipped pen, were everywhere; one for each month that passed and even more for all the smallest, simplest things that never would have mattered to Miranda before.
But would there be another six months to follow? Or even one?
Miranda shook her head and turned toward the window, wondering if there was some way to make sense of all this. Truthfully, she was hardly ever sensible and every single relationship Miranda had ever been in—including this one—was evidence to that fact. There was no way to deny that Miranda was prone to infatuation. When your life's work is based around the finding of that 'next big thing', infatuation is just one of the many hazards she faced. Yet, none of the rest of those hazards affected Miranda's life in quite this way. This infatuation problem had, over the years, nearly ruined her time and time again; bringing her back around to the simple reality that she was still a woman. A woman who's head could be turned. A woman who could get caught up in the moment. Many moments.
When the divorces and breakups from those moments came along, infatuation turned out to be a bitter pill to swallow, and there was never anyone else to blame but herself. Her first marriage ended in Miranda's own inability to keep her hands to herself. When she fell into bed with Keith—a man she met at a party only two days before—Miranda couldn't even bother to take her wedding ring off. Afterwards, there was a nasty divorce, nasty reporters, and her infatuated heart was left broken not once for the loss of her husband, but twice because as things unfolded, Keith hadn't wanted to stick around. Late one night he very quietly left her bed and moved on, far away from her and her troubles.
A handful of short infatuations later—several of which could only be described as a 'one night stand'—she found Stephen. Subsequently, Miranda managed to get herself so caught up in the moment, she married him two months later thinking that he not only looked good beside her, but that he looked good with her children as well.
For God's sake, if Miranda thought about it long enough, it was like she'd been collecting charms for her favorite bracelet from Tiffany's for no less than thirty years.
At least she could say she hadn't cheated on him. This time, with Stephen, Miranda kept her infatuations in check, but only because she was forced to focus on keeping her head off Irv's chopping block instead. Even Miranda knew when you're trying to save your career, there's hardly any time to just be a woman.
But even though she hadn't cheated on him, Miranda certainly couldn't claim much else. While busy saving her neck, Stephen slowly became the least interesting thing in Miranda's life. In turn, Stephen began to care less and less for a woman that didn't pay him any attention and soon found someone who would. And to be honest, no matter how good he looked in all the family photographs artfully displayed for all the world to see, the very last thing Stephen had ever wanted to be was a father.
Once he was gone, Miranda, who was anything but sensible, still had the nerve to cry when it came to the Press and her children. To date—that was one of her most inexcusable displays of weakness. She didn't cry for long though. Divorcing Stephen was far easier, considering the circumstances, and by then the children were surprisingly good at ignoring the Press. Too good.
Once all that was over with, Miranda's little infatuation problem popped back up again, of course. And this time…a woman half her age would be standing right in front of her: her assistant, Andrea Sachs.
Well, Miranda, as always, got what she wanted and ironically, for six whole months her wandering eyes had not wandered anywhere else. She'd remained fixated on Andrea this entire time; which was basically a miracle considering Miranda's past. Two solid months went by before Miranda realized just how fixated she truly was. It bothered her. But not much.
Andrea was just too beautiful and looking elsewhere seemed rather pointless. That's all.
So with Miranda as unbothered as possible, she and Andrea had been busy getting caught up in all sorts of little moments. In fact, one of those little moments was supposed to be happening right now; but Miranda was too busy being bothered by what had or had not happened on Wednesday night.
Miami had taken up her whole week, obviously, and Irv tagging along certainly hadn't helped anything. But in spite of her Valium prescription running low, Miranda dealt with it all far better than she thought she might. Speaking with her newest and longest running infatuation on the phone every night—sometimes in the afternoons too if she could get free from Emily long enough—seemed to go a long way in calming her nerves. And Andrea emailed her time and time again. Most of it was just her rambling on, but Miranda ate up every word of it and whenever she was just about to break Irv's neck, she'd pull out her phone and re-read one of those emails for the hundredth time instead. In short, those phone calls and emails were what kept Miranda sane and in a moderately good mood…until Wednesday night.
Having successfully escaped a dinner rather early, Miranda jumped at the chance to return to her hotel room. Anticipation flooded her system; all she'd wanted was to make a phone call that could last more than a few minutes. It seemed to take forever for Andrea to answer the phone but just before Miranda lost her patience the girl finally answered. Miranda could hardly hear her say, "hello". Loud music filled the air on the other end of the phone; the sound of people's voices came through loud and clear. A lot of people…which could only mean Andrea was at a party.
Miranda barely let her speak at all before abruptly saying her "goodbye" and shutting the phone off.
For a moment Miranda had no idea what came over her or why her chest suddenly felt as if an elephant had taken up permanent residence there. But, after laying in bed, wide awake for about an hour, Miranda finally figured it out.
Her infatuation was out. With someone else. Having an awfully good time by the sounds of it. And Miranda was jealous. Worried. But most of all, suspicious because she had no prior knowledge of this party. It wasn't on the schedule. Granted, it might have been a last minute addition to Andrea's week but surely she would have said something in one of her many rambling emails. And besides, they rather pathetically shared a Google calendar where work hours were blocked off in a pale shade of green and possible free time they could share together was colored in a light shade of blue. Last but not least, free weekends—without the twins—were colored in dark purple. Everything outside of work—social events that had nothing to do with work or other things of importance—were also on that shared calendar in orange so they would both be "in the loop". It was all strangely domestic. And it had been Andrea's idea…but admittedly, Miranda, with hidden enthusiasm, had chosen the colors.
As if pouring salt into a wound, tonight was the start of one of those free weekends; the twins having opted to spend some extra time with their father for once. Or it would be a free weekend if Miranda ever let Emily leave the office. But Emily couldn't go yet because Miranda still wasn't done trying to work this out in her mind.
What if Andrea's head was the one now turned? What if Andrea had been caught up in some moment that had no room for Miranda in it? Yet, she'd sounded happy to hear from Miranda that night and not the least bit nervous or guilty. And let's face it, Miranda could sense nervousness and guilt from miles away. Even in her sleep.
One thing kept eating at her though: what if Andrea assumed that seeing someone else wouldn't be a problem? That was certainly something for Miranda to chew on while she sat there looking out her office window at a darkened skyline; because when had she ever spoken on the topic of exclusivity? Never. She'd never had the need to with those brief infatuations… Because they were either brief or she married them.
Honestly, there weren't many times when she looked upon Andrea as a mere infatuation anymore. That's not to say that she still wasn't infatuated with the girl, but that one word didn't do her feelings justice any longer. The fact that they had lasted longer than any of Miranda's many infatuations ever had—spoke volumes. Too many volumes to ignore. And now Miranda was sitting here jealous, worried and most of all—suspicious that Andrea just might be doing the very same thing Miranda had done time and time again to the many men that had caught her eye over the years.
Miranda's next thought was the very meaning of that old saying 'the pot calling the kettle black', but the thought crossed her mind nonetheless and had several times since Wednesday evening. The hard fact was: Andrea herself was no saint. Like Miranda, she had delved into Infatuation Land far more than once, finding someone new that held her fancy at the most random of times. In fact, Nate had been her longest relationship. And look how that turned out. Their little 'break' resulted in Andrea falling into bed with Christian Thompson less than two weeks later. All that was needed from him was a romantic evening in Paris—dinner included—and one kiss…and then she was in bed with him.
Their own beginning was no better. Maybe even worse. One kiss. One touch. A gentle caress of Andrea's flushed skin with the tip of Miranda's finger…and Andrea gave her everything. Yes, in one evening Andrea gave Miranda her mouth, her clothes and every single square inch of her body. No romantic stroll through Paris or dinner was required.
And perhaps that in itself played a part in this. It wasn't as if they could go out in public. Maybe Andrea found someone that would pay her that kind attention. The outside, in the open, sort of attention. Which begs the question: why had Miranda let this go on so long? She should have known that eventually, that would become an issue, wouldn't it?
Well, there was only one way to find the ultimate answer to this puzzle: Miranda would have to kick Emily out of the office and allow their free weekend to finally begin. And the beginnings of those weekends were almost always the same. Just like that carefully colored and shared Google calendar, it was all strangely domestic: sitting pressed together on the couch, watching a movie.
And this time, the very thought of the word 'domestic' didn't make Miranda pull back in fear of some sort of permanence she wasn't ready to feel. This time, the thought of it made her fearful of losing something that was far more precious than any new charm for an imaginary bracelet. But fear was never something Miranda handled well.
In fact, fear usually made Miranda do really, really stupid things.
When the sound of Miranda's voice calling Emily's name reached Andy's ears, she accidently broke her pencil in half. Opps… Emily sighed, glared then rolled her tired eyes as she rounded her desk to answer Miranda's call.
Ignoring her, Andy scrunched her forehead and stared at the two halves of her pencil. Just another good pencil sacrificed in the name of 'Free Weekend'. Great. It was always like this on those Fridays though, just sitting here waiting for Emily to leave. It drove Andy nuts, but this was the worst kind of beginning to a free weekend ever. E-V-E-R. Seriously. Miranda had been gone all week and when she's swept through the door mid-morning, Andy pretty much had to pretend like her feet were stapled to the goddamn floor to keep from running and throwing her arms around Miranda's neck like a desperate idiot. A very willing idiot.
And Emily was still here. Yes, worst beginning ever.
"I love my job. I love my job. I. Love. My. Job." Emily chanted quietly as she exited Miranda's office, brushing her fingertips underneath her eyelids, then pressed a pale hand to her forehead. Coming to a stop in front of Andy's desk, she stood there as if Andy was supposed to guess the 'whats' and 'whys' of her presence. Even though Andy had recently been told she was a Goddess, she was not, however, a Goddess with mindreading abilities.
In light of this, Andy just kept looking at her latest broken pencil, silently mourning its death, knowing that eventually, with a tone of completely unneeded hysteria, Emily would finally get on with it.
"She is out of her mind, Andrea," Emily finally began, as she rubbed her temples and squeezed her eyes tight. "Monday's schedule has just been completely and utterly decimated!" She hissed, then moaned. Her imitation of a martyr was, at the very least, an epic fail tonight. When was Miranda not out of her mind? When was the schedule not in some form of an "utterly decimated" state? And after the week she'd had, frankly, Miranda deserved to be out of her mind.
Travel under any circumstance was difficult when it came to Miranda and the many minions that followed her; but this kind of trip was of the worst sort. Advertisers. Miranda hated advertisers and all the hand-holding and general kissing of asses that went along with them. They were a necessary evil to have around though—if there was to ever be a Runway at all—and Miranda knew this deep down. So, she was stuck dealing with it, whether she wanted to or not.
But there was something else, something far worse than kissing the many asses of the many advertisers she loathed. There was Irv Ravitz.
As Chairman, he was needed, regrettably, to help in all the coddling and kissing and other distasteful things needed to secure the deals and contracts Runway required. Since Miranda considered half her existence on Earth dedicated to the specific purpose of avoiding Irv at all cost, this trip was obviously one of the "most horrible" things she had "ever had to endure" in all her life. Or so she had said. Many times.
Andy had strongly advocated for strong doses of valium throughout the day. Miranda, however, objected, saying something to the effect of, "Andrea, I save the valium for missed deadlines and suggestions of florals for spring…again." Since Andy was overwhelmingly appreciative for the invention of valium during those times, and considering that Miranda was down to zero refills, it was hardly possible to argue. Hence: a crankier than usual Miranda upon her return. Big deal. Hadn't they all experienced this before?
Only now Andy experienced that crankiness on a whole other level. Well, not necessarily the crankiness. That was pretty much the same torture no matter who you were. But now there was the anticipation and excitement of seeing Miranda again, even if she was being a complete bitch. Now that they were together…yeah, no matter what kind of mood she was it, it was worth putting up with. And it never lasted long anyway. And especially not on these kinds of Friday's.
"She's just tired, Emily," Andy said, still mourning the loss of her pencil. "Besides, aren't you tired too?" After all, Emily had been blessed with the misfortune of going on this trip through hell and honestly looked like shit. And her thick, black-purple-green-blue-ugly eyeliner wasn't Emily helping much.
"Yes, well," Emily snapped back at her as she turned toward her desk. "You wouldn't know anything about being tired. I have been up for I don't even know how long, and I'm more than sure you didn't get in here until much later. You are chronically tardy."
Well, okay. A long time ago Andy might have been late a time or two but for like the past year she hadn't been. And hell, for the past six months Andy had really been toeing the line, so to speak, going to great lengths to keep Emily happy. Of course, in order to do that, Andy had to intentionally screw up every now and then so Miranda would have no choice but to show displeasure toward her. Otherwise, Emily would probably start to become far wiser than need be. And so would everybody else.
Thank God, after a rough start, Miranda recognized Andy's gig for what it was and all was forgiven and forgotten later on. Needless to say, the next time Andy double booked the schedule, Miranda made sure there was double hell to pay to make up for her obvious lack in discipline the first few times.
"On the contrary, I got here at five." Andy smiled sweetly, wanting to add a very gracious, "Shut the fuck up, Emily," the entire time, but kept that little addition to herself.
"Fine, fine. Whatever." Emily waved a hand in the air, clearly defeated. Andy smiled again. "Since you're so chipper and perfect," Emily continued, "why don't you do me a favor for once? I want to go home and collapse. Do you think you can handle the schedule changes?"
At this, Andy blew her bangs out of her eyes, frustrated and incredibly happy all at the same time. "Go. Just go," Andy said, finally putting her broken pencil down. "There's nothing left to do but wait for the Book anyway. I don't even know why you're still here." Again, Andy wanted to add "Yes, please. Please go. Please just fucking go already so I can get my hug and my kiss and be totally pathetic!" but obviously kept that to herself too. "I don't know why you're still standing here." Andy repeated flatly, fully prepared to ignore Emily until she walked out. And, finally, after one more very short go-round with Miranda—where Emily received a list of calls she was supposed to make at home over the weekend—Emily left.
Calls from home? Yikes, that was going to be fun. So much for any extra sleep Emily might have had planned on getting. Usually, Miranda waited until you had been passed out asleep for at least a little while before calling and waking you up, only to tell you to wake someone else up. Brilliance at its finest. But, Andy guessed that tonight of all nights, Miranda didn't want to have to do that—hence, the list.
Once she figured that out, Andy grinned and didn't have much sympathy left for Emily anymore. At least not tonight, especially since the hysteria-inducing schedule changes only took about ten damn minutes to complete. And besides, this was the start of a free weekend, which, coincidently, was Miranda's sole reason for such an early departure from Miami this morning. So screw Emily. Free weekends were rare. The girls, agreeing to spend time with their father, were even more so and all week long, every time Andy looked at their shared Google calendar and those blocks colored in purple, she had to take a deep breath while her heart beat faster and faster.
Yet, for all the anticipation, excitement and all the pathetic sighing Andy caught herself doing every time she looked at their shared Google calendar, nervousness surprisingly snuck up on Andy as she dug through the refrigerator in the executive kitchen a few seconds later.
Monday and Tuesday, at least in Andy's opinion, had gone well. Miranda called when she could and Andy emailed her every morning, having a sneaking suspicion that Miranda actually looked forward to her rambling emails, though she would probably never admit to it. So, the calls and emails on Monday and Tuesday were as pleasant as ever and Miranda barely went on about Irv unless she just could not help herself. Which was often.
But then on Wednesday evening, after an early morning email and Miranda's rushed afternoon call, things went downhill very quickly and Andy couldn't quite put her finger on what had been the cause of this sudden change. Miranda barely stayed on the phone for two minutes Wednesday night and had technically hung up on Andy. Which wasn't like her. Even if Miranda wasn't able to stay on the phone for long, she never hung up on Andy. Never. And that was pretty fucking awesome in Andy's book since Miranda used to be notorious for hanging up on Stephen. And she damn sure hung up on the girl's father at every opportunity.
At the time though, there had been so much going on around her that night; it was hard to dwell on so Andy pushed it to the back of mind for the rest of the evening and most of Thursday and Friday as well. But that wasn't an easy task.
Miranda called not at all on Thursday and only emailed her once right before their flight took off this morning…which was odd. Thoughts of either emailing Miranda about her concern or calling her had crossed Andy's mind a thousand times but she remained indecisive. Either that or she was just a straight-up coward. But honestly, there was no way anything could be wrong, right? Just no way. Miranda had probably just been really, really, really busy. And Andy could deal with that. Andy could deal with busy.
This morning when Andy saw Miranda's face, she forgot about her worry and indecisiveness and smiled like the idiot she was. While she didn't get much of the smile she expected when Miranda walked through the door, Andy at least got a small one once Emily turned her back to put away Miranda's coat. That made Andy feel better. But only a little. And now she was about to find out what was really going on, determined to not let this carry over late into the night, to say nothing of the entire weekend. So, yeah, she was nervous. Nervous but determined.
By the time Andy found Miranda's bag of coconut M&M's and her own bag of Whoppers out of the freezer, most of the hallway lights were off. Knowing they were in the clear—having called Thomas earlier to inform him that she would personally go pick up the Book later this evening—Andy grabbed her laptop, dug a random movie out of her bag and headed into Miranda office.
Taking in a big gulp of air, she crossed the threshold.
The Friday preceding those rare free weekends always—at least for the past four months—began with a movie; in the office of all places. Basically, in an effort to leave Runway as far behind them as possible once they left the building, they somehow managed to find themselves belonging to some sort of clandestine movie club. Candy included. The movie had been Andy's idea because she knew Miranda had a hard time letting everything go sometimes. The candy, however, had surprisingly been Miranda's because she had quickly found out that chocolate was one way to make Andy really, really happy—not to mention shut up for a while.
When Andy tried to imagine them getting caught watching a movie on her laptop while eating what was probably ten thousand grams of sugar, it sounded almost worse than them getting caught having sex. A bag of M&M's in her hand would probably get Miranda fired much quicker than anything else. Irv and Page Six would have a field day, while Jacqueline, in all her monstrous glory, would probably get to sit in here and eat a pound of the damn things every day and no one would care.
"Hey," Andy said hesitantly, refusing to bite her lip like she wanted to. Miranda was bent over her desk, pen in hand, studying some paperwork.
"Hello," she replied a few seconds later and looked up, smiling that same small smile from this morning which didn't help Andy's nervousness. And there was something in her eyes…this was out of the norm. By the time they were alone at the end of the day, Miranda was usually a little less reserved with her greetings, smiles, not to mention affection. This wasn't to say that Miranda was all about hugs and kisses and mushiness, but she could certainly be affectionate in the best ways she knew how.
Fortunately for them both, Andy was more than willing to take Miranda as the woman she was and had never really thought of Miranda as some hugely romantic person anyway. No matter what Andy knew about Miranda's past, somehow, her showing up at Andy's door with roses and a box of chocolates, or whisking Andy away for some carriage ride through Central Park just didn't fit. By in large, Miranda was a woman of few words or actions when it came to just them, which ended up making those times when Miranda did reach over and take Andy's hand, or lean in close at some random moment or just any small gesture in word or deed, all that more special.
Although, their beginning had been a little different. Way different. But Andy didn't have any regrets that things were less intense now. In fact, she marveled at the idea of Miranda caring enough about spending time with Andy to willing share a calendar with her, that there was frozen candy and time on the couch, and movies and just…them. It made Andy feel like this could somehow, hopefully, last. And she didn't want to lose it. She didn't want Miranda to pull away. And if that's what this was, Andy wasn't sure what she would do. Probably go nuts. Probably go crazy. Probably flip the fuck out. Which would probably be awful. Because when had Andy flipping out ever not been awful?
Snapping out of her thoughts and worries, Andy nodded down toward the laptop, movie and candy in her hands. "Movie?"
At this Miranda simply got up and carried with her a few files and her pen. "Yes," she said, making her way to the couch on the far wall. "I was waiting for you, darling."
Andy smiled brightly and for the briefest moment once again forgot about her worries. The simple knowledge that Miranda had been waiting for her was enough to erase all that. At least for a moment.
"Cool," Andy walked over and quickly got everything set up. Moments later they were on the couch watching Madagascar for the tenth time, while Miranda pretended to work a little by the soft light of the single lamp they'd left on. Her coconut M&M's were securely held well away from Andy, as she was prone to theft when it came to any kind of sweets. Andy for her part was more than willing to share her frozen Whoopers, but Miranda would have none of it. Those were decidedly not a vice she cared to enjoy; but anything with coconut was definitely on any menu and, unfortunately, un-sharable.
As the movie started, Andy curled up a bit and threaded her left arm loosely through Miranda's right. This is how it always was, how it always had been and Andy prayed to God that it stayed this way. And got even better. If she was lucky. So every night and several times during the day too, Andy prayed for strength, stability and, of course, a heck of a lot of luck.
Miranda put down her work fairly quickly once King Julian—Miranda's self-proclaimed spirit animal—made his grand entrance. That was another thing that could probably get Miranda fired: King Julian. Or animated films in general. Irv and Page Six, yet again would have a field day and Jacqueline would probably get away with plastering Winnie the Pooh all over the office walls. What a bitch.
As usual, from this point on Miranda couldn't help but laugh a little every now and then through the rest of the movie. Yet…she didn't laugh nearly as much or as loudly; not even when King Julian went on about, "They are…aliens! Savage aliens! From a savage future!" Usually that alone was enough to dissolve all of Miranda's self-control, causing her to end up crying from laughing so hard because ironically enough, that's how Miranda felt about every fashion show she ever attended. And, if that didn't work then his, "Let's go meet the pansies!" line totally did because that's how she felt about every board meeting she ever attended. Aliens and Pansies—all of them.
But that didn't work tonight either. And Miranda had yet to lean in closer. Or kiss her.
Knowing already, just how to fix this one thing at least, Andy sighed a long and tired sigh and Miranda automatically leaned in and surprisingly kissed the side of her head, then her cheek like she'd just remembered that Andy was there. "Are you alright?" Miranda asked quietly, while Alex began to systematically see each and every one of his friends as steak.
"Yeah, I'm okay," Andy said, squeezing Miranda's arm a little. "I just missed you."
Miranda reached over with her free hand and put it on top of Andy's. "I assure you, the feeling was quite mutual."
Hm. The feeling was quite mutual? Well that was nice, Andy guessed. But not really. Considering this, Andy leaned in a bit more and kissed the corner of Miranda's mouth, then turned her head with the tip of a finger. For a couple of minutes everything was like it used to be: before Wednesday night. The kiss was deep, passionate, leaving Andy breathless and ready to give everything of herself to Miranda. Like she did every time they were together.
But eventually it ended. Miranda pulled back and there was that strange, thoughtful, confusing look in her eye again too. Andy had no idea how to interpret it. Obviously, Miranda wasn't an easy person to read but by now Andy was far better at it than most. But not tonight.
"What's wrong?" Andy asked as she brushed Miranda's hair back a little.
Miranda blinked a few times and even shook her head like Andy's words weren't clearly heard. "Nothing," she said, faintly. "Nothing at all. Why would you say such a thing?"
"Because I can just tell…something isn't right. Did something happen on your trip? I mean if you'd rather just go home we can—"
"No," Miranda interrupted her, pulling back further, even turning back toward the movie. "Everything is fine."
Well Andy didn't know what to say after that. If everything was 'fine'—which it really didn't feel like that at all—then, okay. Maybe it was all in Andy's head. Maybe Miranda was just having an off night. Maybe she was just tired. Maybe she was just tired of…Andy. Oh, God.
Andy swallowed hard and turned back to the movie too, allowing that thought to really sink in. It'd been threatening to overtake her for the past few days but she'd managed to keep it at bay, somehow. But now… What if that was it? Maybe it was finally time. Finally time for Miranda to move on, like she always had. Because for some wild reason, she'd told Andy a lot about her past. Some of which Andy already knew but Miranda had freely volunteered a lot about all those 'relationships' that sounded more like a collection of trinkets for her to display on a bookcase or something. Maybe that had been Miranda's way of warning Andy? Of telling Andy that she was just another trinket too and would one day be put on the shelf next to all the others.
But really, it hadn't felt that way. Until today. For some wild reason, especially over the last few months, it felt like some sort of permanent thing was building between them. Something lasting. This was what Andy had wanted from day one, but still hadn't had the courage to tell Miranda so. Or what if she'd just screwed up in some stupid and totally unknown way and it was something easy…something easy that could be fixed and forgotten about? She hoped like hell that the latter was true.
Andy, determined but scared out of her mind, put her Whoppers down and pressed 'pause' on the movie. Miranda raised an eyebrow but said nothing. "Something is wrong. I can tell," Andy said, trying to sound confident.
"Beyond being completely exhausted, I can't imagine what it would be." Miranda's voice was eerily calm.
She stared at Andy with that look in her eye again and it confirmed what Andy had already, truly known since Wednesday night: this wasn't some stupid screw-up that could easily be fixed.
"But there is," Andy insisted, even bouncing a little on the couch in her frustration. "Something is wrong and I just wish you'd say it, Miranda. Please."
Miranda stared at her again and it took everything in Andy to not snap, or scream or jump and down and throw some kind of fit; because for a woman like Miranda—who usually had no trouble speaking her mind when she felt like it—this was ridiculous. So…Andy tried again.
"Miranda, I'm not kidding. Since Wednesday night, something's been wrong and I really wish you would tell me. Did I do something? Say something?"
Now Miranda tilted her head and Andy knew the answer wasn't long in coming. That was Miranda's classic give-away. Whenever she tilted her head, it pretty much meant that all hell was about to break loose.
"Since Wednesday night?" she said, her eyes narrowing. Andy fought not to wince.
"Yeah, since Wednesday." Andy said. "You called me and then just hung up or whatever…and never called back."
At this Miranda frowned at first then glared. "I don't recall you making any calls these last few days either."
"Well, no." Andy swallowed hard and looked away for a second, trying hard to figure out where this was about to go. "You always call, and I always e-mail. That's just what we always do…" Her voice trailed off.
"Yes," Miranda tilted her head again. "That is what we always do. On that point you are correct." There was a pause then and for the life of her Andy couldn't say anything to fill the silence. But that pause didn't last very long. "There is something else we always do," Miranda said.
"Huh?" There were a lot of things they always did so more clarification was definitely necessary.
"Mainly, the calendar."
As the words left Miranda's mouth, she stood up and walked over to her desk. While Andy tried to figure out what in the hell the calendar had to do with anything, she watched as Miranda made a game of straightening her desk. The calendar? Huh?
"Yeah…the calendar? Uh, Miranda? I don't understand."
"Don't you? I'm must say…I'm rather surprised at that." Miranda's little game of straightening her desk turned into an earnest ordeal; every pile of papers or photos, all nice and neat now, landed back onto the desk with a dull but forceful thud.
Andy swallowed and stood. "I still don't understand," she said, feeling smaller and smaller by the second.
"Andrea," Miranda gestured toward her computer. "If memory serves me correctly, are you not the one that suggested we begin dumping our lives into a calendar?"
Dumping our lives into a calendar? Well…okay. Honestly, Andy had always thought it was kinda sweet but…okay. "Yeah. Yes. I did. It helps, you know."
"Oh, yes I know. I know how much it helps." This time Miranda looked directly at her and Andy shuddered. There was fire in her eyes. Anger. More anger than when good ol' Idiot Andy had come up the stairs that night. And she still didn't understand what was wrong. What did the calendar have to do with anything?
"I still don't unders—"
"Yes, I can tell." Miranda interrupted sharply. "You don't understand, but do you take me for an idiot, Andrea? I heard you…on the phone. Wednesday night." Miranda put both hands on her hips, her nostrils flared and eyes narrowed. "I am not deaf. I know you were out."
Andy froze. Out? Out? Wait…
"Oh, this is wonderful," Miranda said with a sneer. "Typical," she began again. "You have nothing to say? Nothing to contribute? Nothing?"
While Miranda continued to stare and look absolutely evil, Andy thought about the events of Wednesday night and tried to figure out where she'd gone wrong. She'd told Miranda she was going to take… Oh, no. Hadn't she? Well, she damn sure thought she'd said something but…wait. Oh, no. Andy never got the chance to finish their talk. Miranda could be quite persuasive when she wanted to be, obviously, and she'd had other ideas that night so no, they'd never finished that talk. And then Miranda called her a Goddess…and now this. Now this…
"Hello?" Miranda actually yelled, which shook Andy to the core.
"Miranda, I can explain!" Andy yelled back, taking a step closer, only to be stopped by Miranda.
"Never mind," Miranda put a hand out then pinched the bridge of her nose. "Don't. I'm not even sure I want to hear it. I should have known. I should have known…" At the end her voice trailed off and Andy's heart started to beat faster.
"You should have known what?" Andy said, desperate to get to the part where she could explain, be forgiven and they could just get on with the night. Get on with their movie, and candy, and just being them.
"That you would do this!" Miranda said, sounding just about as desperate as Andy. Which was wild. Miranda was never desperate unless Andy was doing something brilliant and torturous. But whatever was going on right now was not brilliant. That's for sure. It was torture; but it sure as fuck was not brilliant. Not by a long shot.
"I haven't done anything, Miranda. If you would just let me—"
"No. I don't want to hear it," Miranda's voice was now dangerously low and calm. "The least you could have done though, was tell me you were actually seeing other people. At least now I know!"
Well. Andy's head just about turned inside out then. Seeing other people?! Seeing other people? "Seeing other people?" She finally said out loud. "You think I'm seeing someone else?" How in the hell could Miranda think Andy would be seeing someone else? Or would even want to? Apparently she'd misjudged something…somewhere…somehow.
"I heard you on the phone."
"Yeah, you keep saying that. But what did you hear?" Andy questioned her, losing the fear from early, feeling anger creep in. She hadn't done anything wrong. She hadn't.
"Ha!" Miranda scoffed. "What did I hear? Enough. That's what I heard. Enough to know that you were at a party. And I know you don't go to parties alone. Who does? Not you. And here I was thinking…" Miranda paused and looked down at her desk. Andy waited. Nothing else came.
"You thought what, Miranda? What?"
When Miranda looked back up, Andy lost her breath for a second. There were tears in Miranda's eyes. Tears. Oh, my God.
"Miranda, please let me explain." Andy tried again at a whisper. If Miranda was—willingly or not—crying, then that meant one thing: Andy had been right all along. From day one she'd known, hadn't she? And she was right. Andy wasn't just another trinket that Miranda would put on a shelf one day. No, Andy wasn't a trinket to Miranda at all. She was something lasting. Something permanent. And now Miranda was afraid. And if there was anything in the world that Miranda didn't handle well—besides Irv—it was being afraid.
But, if Miranda wouldn't listen to her, then it was all for nothing. Wasn't it?
"I don't want to hear it." Miranda said, still looking down.
"But you should. I think you do want to—"
"I said NO! I don't." Again, Miranda yelled. That in it's self was scary. Then again this could be the end of everything, couldn't it? So it didn't matter if Miranda was screaming, yelling, whispering, typing this out on a computer screen; no matter what way this was expressed, it was scary.
And then, it got worse. Way worse.
"I don't want to hear about you going out with someone else, Andrea." Miranda's voice cracked and Andy was pretty sure she felt part of herself crack too. Mainly, her heart. "You could have told me," Miranda continued. "I had no idea you would…I thought… God, I'm not sure what I thought but this wasn't… I'm such a fool."
"You're not a fool, Miranda." Andy pleaded, her heart sinking a little more with each word. "You just won't listen to me. Why won't you listen to me?"
"Why should I?" She said, finally looking at Andy again but it was almost like Miranda wasn't seeing her at all. Her eyes were blank. "You're just doing what you do. What I do…or used to. That's all. Finding something else. Someone else. That's all."
If Miranda's eyes were blank then Andy's entire body was now. From head to toe there was nothing. No feeling. Doing what you do? Doing what you do…
"You're throwing the past in my face?" Andy managed to say through the lump in her throat, forgetting all about the calendar, and explaining, and being forgiven. No, she wasn't in the mood to be forgiven. Now she was just pissed off because there'd never been any judging each other for their past. They'd both done their fair share—and then some, in Miranda's case—of playing the field, so to speak. But never had they judged each other for it. Never. And now this. Now she was being judged. By Miranda. Who had no room to judge anybody for anything and was only doing this shit because she was afraid of losing something. How fucking great.
"Stating facts is more like it," Miranda answered her finally. "It's just the truth."
"Oh, the facts. You're stating facts?" Miranda didn't know a goddamned thing about 'facts'. "And what about you, Miranda?" Andy asked. "What about you?"
"What about me?" Miranda glared.
"Are you seeing someone? How was Miami?" Andy knew that was way below the belt but didn't care. This entire conversation was below the belt. Wasn't it?
As if there was an actual switch in Miranda's head, her eyes lit with fire instantly. "How was Miami? It was just fine, Andrea. As always."
As always? Oh, okay. "As always?" Andy took two steps forward. "So, you are seeing someone else. Have a lot of fun while you were away? I'm surprised you had time to call me at all."
Miranda faltered for a moment, her eyes closed for a split second and she swallowed hard. And yes, Andy knew that was waaaaaay below the belt too, but still didn't give a damn. She would make her point.
A moment later, Miranda spoke. If anyone else had been watching, they'd have never noticed the delay. But it was there.
"No, Andrea." Miranda came out from behind her desk and took a step forward, barely breathing. "I'm not seeing anyone else. It seems I've left that all to you this time around."
"Apparently, you have." Andy nodded and swallowed, refusing to cry…because Miranda was. Again. She had tears in her eyes again.
"Yes, well…" Miranda blinked and set her mouth in a thin, hard line. Andy looked down at the floor.
She knew Miranda, knew Miranda would never hear her. Not really. Not right now. Miranda, at this point, would think Andy was lying. No matter how wonderful the truth was, Miranda would think she was lying. So right now, there was no use to continue because if Miranda's temper was terrible, then Andy's was damn near explosive and she was far less practiced at keeping it cool, especially when it came to just them. Because this was a first. They'd never fought before. In fact, Andy was pretty sure that once she was no less than two feet away from the building, she was probably going to do just that—explode. Because guess what? Wednesday night was on the calendar. Even though they'd never finished that conversation—the events of Wednesday night were, in fact, on the goddamned calendar.
That block of time was just colored in the wrong shade.
It was colored wrong because they'd never talked about what color it should be to begin with: the day when Andy would finally get a little closer with the twins. While they obviously knew something was going on between her and Miranda, Miranda kept Cassidy and Caroline at somewhat of a distance. Probably because she expected her and Andy to end up like all the rest of Miranda's relationships and marriages had. But they hadn't shown any signs of slowing down one single time in six months. Not one time.
But in any case, they'd never discussed what color that block of time would be in or if that time would ever come. Yet, Miranda had breezed by the topic a time or two in passing. Like saying something as easy as, "I'm sure the girls would have loved for you to be there." Wherever there happened to be at the time. Then Miranda would just as easily pretend like she'd never said such a thing at all.
Subsequently, the birthday party Andy took them to at an arcade—instead of Cara—was colored in orange when really, it should have been colored in something like neon pink or maybe neon green. Something bright and bold. Something that could never be mistaken for anything else. Something that wouldn't fade. Something lasting.
"You should go," Miranda said, looking at the floor now too. She looked defeated, destroyed really; but Andy knew in her heart that Miranda wouldn't listen to her yet. Not yet… She would have to figure this out on her own first. Which meant Andy at least had one more thing to say.
"Fine," Andy said, forcing herself to stand straight and level. Without looking at Miranda, Andy turned and headed for the door. "I'm going home. But before I do," Andy stopped at her desk and was surprised to see Miranda was standing in the doorway of her office instead of inside it like she had been few seconds ago. "Before I do," Andy continued while she gathered her bag. She'd worry about her laptop later. Fuck the laptop. "I just want to clarify one thing."
"Which is?" Miranda replied quickly. Much too quickly for someone who wasn't willing to listen.
Andy took a deep breath after slipping into her coat. This was going to hurt Miranda for a good twenty seconds, maybe more depending on how slow her brain connected the dots but – oh, well. This is just what you get when you fuck around with Andy Sachs and her "Free Weekend", and her frozen Whoppers, and coconut M&M's that she never got a chance to steal anyway. Yeah, she was about to teach Miranda one hell of a lesson.
"Well, Miranda. I just wanted to clarify that I wasn't out with someone else." Yeah, this was gonna hurt. "I was out with two people." Andy paused for just a second. Long enough to see Miranda's face go abso-fucking-lutely white, then she finished. "Yeah, we had a great time." Andy forced herself to grin while Miranda held onto the door frame with a white-knuckled grip. "And as far as the calendar goes…that you say we dump our lives into? Well, it's on there. My date is on there." While Miranda went a little paler, Andy shouldered her bag and prepared to make her escape. "But I guess this is what I should have expected. You. To not trust me. And yeah, okay, I guess I fucked up because I never asked you what color I should use when I see other people. So, for that, I'm sorry. I'm going home. Enjoy the rest of the movie."
There at the end her voice wobbled a little, but whatever. She wasn't backing down. Just saying all that made her completely furious all over again so what-ev-er. Miranda should have let her explain fifteen minutes ago. Better yet—Miranda should have trusted her. Better still—Miranda should have figured this out way before now: She hadn't so much as glanced at another person—unless it was to tell them they looked completely horrendous—in six long months and neither had Andy. She didn't want to because she was in love! And Miranda was in love with her too… A crying and far less than sensible Miranda was in love with her too.
That being said – They were both done playing and even if Andy had to staple Miranda's ass to the couch every other Friday night, they'd be plastered together watching some stupid movie for the next millennium. And damn-it, Miranda was going to learn to share her M&M's too because that was just wrong. Just wrong. To withhold chocolate? Any kind of chocolate? Who does that? No one. Or at least no one that Andy knew and lived for long.
By the time Andy stepped into the always waiting town-car she'd really worked herself up into a downright explosive mood. And Roy could tell. She knew that for sure.
"Uh, Miranda on her way down?" He actually grimaced when he looked at Andy in the rearview mirror because he wasn't stupid. Roy knew about them. He knew the routine on Friday's like these. Work late, then a movie, then home. He knew the routine.
"No," Andy said, raising an eyebrow that could beat Miranda's any day of the week.
Roy winced again. "So your apartment?"
"No. Take me home, Roy." Andy said, because why in the hell would she be going to her apartment? She was going home because as of twenty minutes ago, there was a heck of a bunch of shit she needed to get a handle on. And M&M sharing was just one of those many things.
TO BE CONTINUED