A/N: (and sorry if this is long, I just feel that I need to address a recent comment…it's not like me, but i am having strong feelings about voices being silenced at the moment and truly believe that no one should stop you from writing what you want.)
I sincerely apologize if any of you who voluntarily choose to read these stories are frustrated or disappointed in the choice of topics and themes. For this particular thread ("Shorts"), I am most often writing in response to prompts that I receive via PM on FF or Ask on Tumblr. So it's most often you, the readers, who are directing the topics and situations we find our ladies in.
Most of these are not too far out-of-canon. Most—if not all, actually, now that I think about it—are on the premise that Andy worked as Miranda's assistant and that's how they met. I personally do not write AU. I've read some brilliant AU Mirandy fics, but I don't write them. It's a choice, and honestly, it's ten times easier to write a story when you don't really have to create the setting or characters.
I have read a bit in other fandoms (in fact, it was X-Files fanfiction way back in the day that introduced me to this brilliant world), and I would agree that there are some common themes in Mirandy—pregnancy, illness, impressionable young woman and hot older boss, etc. Personally, this is what I love about the Mirandy fandom, because no two stories are identical. I have probably read close to 100 stories where Miranda is pregnant (I've written at least 5 myself), and the beauty of it is in the diverse approaches and voices of each writer, of each story. I am constantly amazed at all the different ways to tell a story.
I am partial to Hurt/Comfort type stories, thus most of what I write is in that category. IRL, I am the caretaker type. I love helping others and taking care of others. I need to be needed. It gives me purpose. I often write to escape my own reality, when my efforts fail or go unnoticed or are unwanted. And when I write these two, it makes me feel better. It keeps the nightmares away for a little while. I write for me, not for you; for those of you who read and follow my work, I am humbled and amazed that you do and that you (usually) seem to enjoy it.
Call me "lazy" because I don't want to do all the work of creating an AU. Say that I "lack creativity" because I cannot create a world for these two characters outside of Runway. I don't care. I love these two ladies as they are. I have always seen so much of myself in Andrea (not her depiction in the film, but in the canon, where she has a bit more of a backbone to stand up to Miranda), and as I've gotten older and progressed in my career, I also see much of myself in Miranda. I've had relationships with people who were my superior, and some of them were one-sided. I like writing about that.
The point is: I write these characters in the way I do because I choose to. I want to. I like their dynamic. I like writing about publishing and fashion—and pregnancy and illness. I like to challenge the implied characterization of Miranda as a mother to Andy and actually flip the tables. I like it when Andy "mothers" Miranda because it's not only unexpected for two in that relationship, but also something that happens in real life and is every bit as odd and confusing and comfortable as I try to write it in my stories.
I apologize for the diatribe. But I suggest that if you don't want to read mostly-canonical hurt/comfort Mirandy, you use the filter settings in FF and read the story summaries and prompts before delving in.
All my best, xo
Prompt from PM: Andy asks Miranda for some advice, and it catches Miranda off guard.
It was late in the afternoon on a Friday, and most of my staff had left for the day. Usually, I would be annoyed that they felt it was acceptable to leave when there was so much work to be done, but today, my pounding headache told me otherwise. There was a certain stillness around the office when the masses left for the weekend, and it was just what I needed to focus and finish the final edits to the February edition.
I was so immersed in the photo on the inside of the back cover that I didn't notice the cup of tea appear on my desk. I looked up and saw the dim light of the lamp on Andrea's desk and realized she must have just delivered it, as the liquid was still hot. Taking a sip, I set my glasses down on the desk and relaxed back into my chair.
The headache was not gone completely, but after taking those ten minutes, I was able to re-focus my energy on the final edits to the piece.
"Andrea," I called quietly, taking off my glasses once again.
"Yes, Miranda?" she replied, quickly appearing in front of my desk.
I held out the February first print and waited for her to take it from my hand. "Take this to the production team—there are only two or three minor changes," I said.
"Of course," she said, quickly hurrying upstairs to where the production team was no doubt anxiously awaiting my notes.
While she was gone, I took my cup and saucer to the kitchen and placed them in the dishwasher. I returned to my office, cleared a few papers from my desk, and finally turned out my desk lamp. I was finished for the night, and assuming all goes well with the printing tomorrow morning, I would be finished until Monday morning.
I went into the closet for my coat and bag, and I was in the elevator on my way down to the car before Andrea even returned.
It was better that way.
I want to say I don't know when it started being like that, but that's not true. I know exactly when it started: the last day in Paris. For the first time since her interview, her attitude towards me changed. She was no longer afraid, and that terrified me.
I wouldn't call myself Machiavellian, but I certainly led under the premise that it was better to be feared than to be loved. Even for the Emilys—of which there were dozens—their worship was second only to their fear. Fear kept me safe from my competitors, and from my staff. The fear of punishment, of failure and subsequent blacklisting motivated them all to do exactly what I wanted.
But after Paris, Andrea no longer feared me. She looked at me as if she felt an obligation to me, which is far worse than any type of fear, because it is beyond my control. At any moment, she could abandon her obligation because she felt no fear of the consequences. She didn't seem to me the type of person to do so, but the thought that she held that power over me, over my life and the success of this magazine, was difficult to shake.
Thus, I did my best to avoid one-on-one situations with her. When she was part of the group, she subscribed to the fear-based mentality. It's when she was alone with me that she seemed to think she had my permission to act otherwise.
And yet I couldn't stop her. I needed her to maintain that sense of duty to me. I needed her to feel that her obligation to me was met with an appreciation, if not a reciprocal obligation to her. I was walking a tightrope over uncharted territory. One breath or look threatened to bring my world to a screeching halt.
I walked in the door and was greeted by an empty house. It was Friday, so it shouldn't have surprised me. I knew the girls were with their father, but still, the solitude only gave rise to my thoughts of the young woman, my assistant, who wielded a power over me I doubt she even realized.
Soon, Monday came, my girls were back home, and I was back where I started, wondering what to do about Andrea. For several days, I managed to ignore her at work, yet I couldn't ignore the things she would do. A cup of tea in the evening. A perfectly arranged schedule that allowed me to be home at 4:00pm with my daughters. An email every night with my agenda for the coming day. A weather report in the morning before I left the house that always helped me to select the right footwear for the salty sidewalks.
Maybe this could work. Maybe I could use this as reason to promote her to another department. This could be my way out.
"Miranda, it's 3:30," Andrea said, standing in the doorway to my office. "Roy is ready downstairs."
"The girls are going to a sleepover tonight straight from school," I replied, not lifting my eyes from my computer. "I have some things to catch up on," I added, hoping she would see herself out.
When she did, I took a deep breath and relaxed back into my chair. It was inconceivable that this twenty-four-year-old assistant made me so nervous. Turning back to my computer, I quickly went through a week's worth of emails before powering down my computer for the night.
I looked up, and Andrea was standing in my doorway. "Yes?"
"I was wondering if I could ask your advice on something," she said, looking down at the carpet. "And since you don't have to rush home to the girls, I thought maybe you'd have a few minutes?" she said.
I looked over at the clock. It was already 7:15 pm, and I couldn't think of an excuse. She knew my schedule better than anyone, so I was at a loss. "Sure, have a seat," I said, pointing at the chair across from my desk. I cleared a few folders and notes from my desk, then looked up, giving her my attention.
"I, uh…this is awkward," she mumbled. "I, uh, need advice for how to talk to my mom."
"Your mother?" I repeated.
"Yes. She, uh, is very traditional and conservative. There's a lot she doesn't know about me and my life—like that I lived with my boyfriend for the past year—but, um, he cheated on me and so we're not together and, anyway," she sighed. "I, um, I'm still on my parents' insurance policy and after I found out about Nate and—well, that he cheated, I went to the doctor for an STD test and they sent the results to my parents' house," she said. "My mom called the doctor's office and insisted that it was a mistake, but they kind of told her everything."
"Oh," I said. I was at a loss for words—this was not at all what I had been expecting. "Are you alright?"
"Oh, yeah, it's nothing serious. They gave me some antibiotics and I'm fine. But my mom is besides herself," she said. "Like, what would you do if that happened with Caroline or Cassidy."
"First, that would never—" I started, but quickly caught myself. "Well, I'd like to leave them out of this. It seems that your mother had an image of who she thought her daughter was and that image has since been changed."
"Yeah. I mean…" she hesitated. "I didn't exactly help things. I told my mom why Nate and I broke up."
"So she knows how you contracted the infection? Why would that make it worse?"
"Well, that's not really why we broke up. I—I'm…wow," she said, taking a deep breath and gripping the arm rests of the chair.
I was certain she was going to tell me that she was pregnant.
"I'm gay. And I told my mom, and that didn't go well," she said.
"Oh," I said in surprise. "I see. Well, that can come as a surprise to a parent."
Andrea sighed and put her head in her hands. "She won't talk to me anymore—not unless I come home to Ohio, she said. She won't answer my calls or emails. I don't know what else to say to her."
I decided against my better judgment that the young woman needed some sympathy, so I stood and walked around to the chair next to her. I took her hands and squeezed them gently. "Andrea, I think you just need to give it some time. If she loves you, and I believe she does, she probably just needs some time to come to terms with it all. You are probably her world and you just made her question everything she thought she knew," I said. I couldn't help but reach up and tuck the errant strand of hair behind her ear. "She will come around."
The young woman started to cry, and before I knew what was happening, she was crying into my shoulder. I gently patted her back and tried to wiggle out of her grasp. If she wanted to hurt me, this would be the perfect opportunity. Strike when I'm vulnerable. I had to keep my guard up.
When I pulled away, Andrea sat back and wiped her eyes. I held out the box of tissues for her, and she dabbed at the smudged eyeliner on her cheek. "I just don't know what to say to her," she said.
"I am sorry, but I don't know what to tell you, Andrea," I said. "It's late, I should be going—and you should, too. Can I drop you off at home?" I heard myself asking.
"Thanks, that would be great," she said, sniffling. "I'll just be a minute," she said, running to her desk and packing up her things.
I chastised myself for being so nice to the young girl, but couldn't help but think that if Cassidy or Caroline were in her shoes, I would hope that someone would show them some kindness and assistance.
In the car, I scrolled through my phone to avoid speaking to her. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that we were driving through a neighborhood in Queens. When we arrived at her apartment, she cleared her throat before opening the door. I looked up and could see that she had tears in her eyes once again. "Thank you for the ride," she muttered under her breath.
Before I could respond, the car door slammed shut behind her and she disappeared up the steps to her building.
By the time I got home, I was too tired to make dinner, so I went straight up to my bedroom. After showering and changing into my pajamas, I tried to fall asleep, but I could not get the young woman out of my mind. It wasn't too late, so I reached over and pulled my phone from the nightstand, sending the young woman a message: Andrea, I am sorry that I did not have better advice for you concerning your situation. I am touched that you felt you could trust me enough to open up. If you need to talk, I am here…
I reread the message twice before sending. I don't know what I expected that to do, but I knew that I wouldn't be able to sleep without doing something—anything.
What I did not expect was her response: Thank you, but it was inappropriate of me to ask you for advice in the first place. This is my problem, not yours.
From anyone else, I wouldn't think twice about that response, but Andrea was different. Yes, it was her problem, but she didn't have to bear it alone.
I typed out a response: Please don't hesitate to find someone to talk to if that's what you need.
But before I hit send, I deleted it and typed a new one: Please don't feel you have to bear this alone. I can understand you not wanting to talk more with me, but I hope you have someone else you can talk to.
She quickly replied: I'm fine. I'll figure something out.
This worried me more than anything. I sat up and turned the light on, sending one more message: May I call you?
One word response: sure
I took a deep breath and dialed her number. "Hello? Andrea?"
"Hi," I replied, relaxing just a little bit after hearing her voice.
"Why are you doing this?" she asked.
I paused for a moment. "Why not? I have nothing else to do," I said with a smirk that she undoubtedly could not see.
"Oh gee, thanks," she huffed. "I should go."
"No, wait! I was trying to make a joke," I admitted. "I clearly failed at that, too."
She didn't respond, but she hadn't hung up the call. That was a good sign.
"Andrea, I am sorry that I am not able to tell you what to do. I have been thinking about what you said, and were it Cassidy or Caroline—well, I wouldn't be in this situation because it would not change a thing if either of them came to me with that information—but if anyone encouraged my daughters to ignore me or to stay away from me, I can promise you I would wreak havoc on their lives," I said. "Do you see my dilemma? I am so sorry that your mother is unwilling to accept you for who you are right now, but I cannot in good conscience encourage you to abandon your parents."
After a few sniffles, she spoke up, so quietly that I was nearly unable to hear her. "Are you willing to accept me?" she whispered.
"Oh darling, of course," I said. "Of course. You can't help who you are, and for what it's worth I think you are a smart, talented, beautiful young woman," I said.
"You can't mean that," she said.
"When have I said something that I did not mean?" I said. After a few moments, I added, "Will you be okay tonight? Can we pickup this conversation, perhaps tomorrow or Monday?"
"You mean that?"
At this point, I rolled my eyes. "I would not have said it if I didn't mean it. Now, will you be okay?"
"Yes, thank you," she said.
"And the conversation?"
"I'll be okay this weekend," she said. "I promise."
"Okay. And you know I am just a phone call away, right? I don't want to see you so upset," I said.
"Okay, thank you, Miranda."
"Of course. Now, get some sleep. Goodnight."
I stared up at the ceiling and took a deep breath. How I wished I could wrap my arms around her and hold her and hug her to take away her problems. Just then, my phone buzzed with an incoming message: One more question— can I get a hug on Monday morning?
I laughed out loud, as she was clearly thinking the same thing that I was. Of course. As many hugs as you want. Sleep well. x