I know by now you will know I am not coming back to Runway. In a moment of pure madness I launched my mobile into the fountain at the Place de la Concorde. There was no saving it after that split-second decision.
I am still in Paris, the City of Light. I have walked many miles today to try to come to terms with my choices. Not such a great move when wearing Jimmy Choo's.
I know I have done irreparable damage, you may choose to black-list me across the Tri-State area but that is, at this time, the least of my worries.
My biggest concern is that I didn't recognise what caused my anger and disappointment. And then there was a tidal wave of loss I felt when I finally realised I will no longer see you every day, when I realised, by leaving you at the steps of the hotel, that I will never feel your magnetic blue eyes upon me, which in the last nine months have conveyed your distaste, apathy and more recently your approbation.
Miranda relaxed feeling victorious after having pulled one over her nemesis Irv Ravitz and Jacqueline Follet in regards to her position as Editor and Chief of Runway Magazine. She may have decimated someone else's dream, the one person who she could call a friend, but she will not allow herself feel bad about it. She knows Nigel will remain loyal to her and to Runway.
As the car moved away from the James Holt luncheon she turned to speak to her assistant. 'You thought I didn't know?" Miranda asked.
"I've known what was happening for quite some time. It just took me a little while to find a suitable alternative for Jacqueline, and that James Holt job..." Miranda sighed. "...it was so absurdly overpaid; of course she jumped at it." Miranda laughed. "And so I just had to tell Irv that Jacqueline was unavailable. Truth is there is no-one who can do what I do, including her. Any of the other choices would have found the job impossible and the magazine would have suffered."
Miranda looked towards the brunette sat beside her. "I was very, very impressed though, with how intently you tried to warn me." Miranda studied Andy. "I never thought I would say this, but I really do see a great deal of myself in you. You can see beyond what people want and what they need and you can choose for yourself"
Andy looked at Miranda in disbelief. "I don't think I'm like that. I...I couldn't do what you did to Nigel Miranda, I couldn't do something like that.'
"Mm you already did..." Miranda stated "...to Emily."
"That's not what I..." Andy stuttered. "No no...That was...that was different. I didn't have a choice." Andy declared.
"Oh no, you chose, you chose to get ahead. You want this life, those choices are necessary." Miranda told her softly.
"But what if this isn't what I want? I mean, what if I don't want to live the way you live?" Andy asked.
Miranda snorted with derision. "Don't be ridiculous Andréa, everybody wants this, everyone wants to be us"
With that Miranda placed her Sunglasses on and as the car stopped she exited the car and entered the milling press. Andréa stepped out the car, looked towards Miranda and turned away walking into the opposite direction.
Looking back Miranda scanned the crowd for her assistant, a frown marring her forehead. A wave of panic engulfed her until she was able to spot Andréa across the street near the fountain at the Place de la Concorde. Pulling her cell out she pressed the speed dial, turned her back on the press once again and entered the Hotel.
Upon reading the caller ID and seeing Miranda's name Andy did the unthinkable. She declined the call, sending it to Voicemail, and launched the cell into the nearby fountain. She felt a momentary sense of freedom and then the tears started.
Earlier today I was walking along Rue Lamarck towards the Sacré-Cœur when I spotted a vacant table at a cafe and sat down to coffee. For a change I decided against my usual Hazelnut Macchiato for something totally different. To feel closer to you I chose a hot, skim, no foam latte. The request was made to the waiter for coffee. "Chaud comme le centre du soleil."
Upon the first sip of the Centre of the Sun hot coffee I stopped myself from crying out at the blistering heat against my lips and tongue and I wondered to myself how can the Ice Queen herself drink something so hot? Surely coffee at this heat should melt some of the iciness?
I hope you know that that was a joke right? You are distinctly nothing like the names provided by Page Six and the other gutter press. People would see that if they looked close enough. Your barriers are high but they aren't impenetrable.
Allowing the coffee to cool slightly she reflected on her initial thought about the coffee and laughed at her errant thoughts about Miranda. The laughter was short as tears started to form again.
Andy remembered the last conversation she had with her now ex-boyfriend Nate.
New York - 1 Week Earlier:
"You hate Runway Miranda and you think fashion is stupid. You've made that clear..." Andy stated angrily.
"Andy...I make port wine reductions all day, I'm not exactly in the Peace Corps. You know I wouldn't care if you were out there pole dancing all night as long as you did it with a little integrity. You use to say this was just a job; you used to make fun of the Runway girls. What happened? Now you've become one of them"
"That's absurd..." Andy declared.
"That's OK, that's fine, just own up to it. Then we can stop pretending like we have anything in common anymore."
"Wait...you don't mean that..." Andy stammered.
"No, I do." Nate stated.
After a brief pause Andy said; "Look maybe this trip is coming at a good time, maybe we should take a break?"
Nate attempted to walk away as Andy called to him, "Nate..." The Phone rang with Miranda's distinctive tone "I'm sorry...just one second..."
Nate turned back and stated "You know, in case you were wondering, the person whose calls you always take, that's the relationship you are in. I hope you two are very happy together."
Andy took Miranda's call.
To get to the reason I am leaving Runway. The last nine months have been the hardest I have encountered, I have tried to meet each challenge head on, and while my professional life has been so vastly rewarding my personal life has gone to Hell.
Those closest to me think I have changed beyond all recognition, into someone they do not like or will ever understand.
I moved to New York with my closest childhood friends and my boyfriend of five years. Nate left me before we came to Paris and my friends no longer want anything to do with me.
My parents have washed their hands of me until I see sense and move back to Ohio, in the hopes they can push me back into Stanford and the family law business.
Nate's final words to me before he left me were; "The person whose calls you always take, that's the relationship you are in." I have only ever missed one call from you. The one today when I threw a tantrum worthy of the most spoilt toddler and ensured I lost my way back to you.
You claimed today that I can see beyond what people want and what they need and that I can choose for myself.
But surely by my actions today you've also seen what happens when I have feel I have no choice, when what I feel is so far beyond my control that I cannot see a future, when I realise my dreams and reality have no way of matching?
What happens if in my evolution from Andy into your Andréa I have lost some of my unique identity? The good that people used to see in me is no longer good enough.
Did it disappear when I chose to give up that Cerulean sweater and become a Runway Clacker? When I chose to take Paris from Emily? When I chose to walk away?
Have the choices I have made in the last nine months done irrevocable damage? I hope not!
Mentioning her hope she reflected on the conversation with Nigel as the announcement about James Holt International was made.
"She's given me everything I have Andy. When the time is right she will pay me back." Nigel told her. Upon asking if he was sure he responded. "No, but I hope for the best, I have to."
What was it about the fashion industry and hope?
Thinking of Nigel's words brought up a memory of Miranda.
Office - A Few Months Earlier:
"Do you know why I hired you? I always hire the same girl- stylish, slender, of course... worships the magazine. But so often, they turn out to be- I don't know- disappointing and, um... stupid. So you, with that impressive résumé and the big speech about your so-called work ethic- I, um- I thought you would be different. I said to myself, go ahead. Take a chance. Hire the smart, fat girl. I had hope. My God. I live on it. Anyway, you ended up disappointing me more than, um- more than any of the other silly girls."
You once told me that you lived on hope. Do you remember that Miranda? I had disappointed you then too. The smart, fat girl couldn't do the impossible by flying you out of a hurricane (the one that was really just a drizzle) in Miami to attend a recital for the twins. Your demands were ridiculous really.
At the time I didn't realise you were showing me your human side. You showed me that your girls came first, always. You are a mother before you are Editor in Chief.
I thought you hated me, but I have come to see that you were pushing me to become the best I can be. I ended up asking Nigel to do that makeover on me. That was a defining moment for me.
You looked me up and down as you entered the office the next day and I saw a brief look of approval. I wanted more of them.
I watched you closely after that. I was able to read you, meet your unspoken requirements. I actually began to care, not just about the job, but about you. I wanted to make your life easier. I wanted to catch more glimpses of the woman behind the editor.
Andy looked up from her letter and remembered every glance that Miranda had provided the small smirks of approval, the occasional licking of lips. Those lips, which when pursed, could cause even the most highly sought after fashion designer to break down and change a season's worth of designs in an instant.
Miranda's approval in the Fashion world was everything and what Andy now knew that Miranda's approval was everything in her life too. Those looks, the smirks of approval, the occasional licking of those lips, when combined with the burning fire held within those steel blue eyes had become Andy's whole world.
I started to live on hope.
I hoped I wouldn't disappoint you again, but alas after today's debacle I believe I have failed in that.
I live with the hope that when the time is right you will show Nigel that you see his worth. He knows he has you to thank for his career, and that one day you may provide him with the opportunity to shine in his own uniquely brilliant way.
While you may have his loyalty to Runway I do not believe his loyalty to you personally is untarnished. He has been in your inner circle for over 20 years. He believed, although your walls are high, that he was your friend, someone you trusted. And today he was hurt beyond measure.
Nigel was the one who showed me that in my initial arrogance and continued ignorance I wasn't trying. He helped me to see that I was screwing up by not seeing just how phenomenal you are at what you do.
I am not going to berate you for the distinct lack of trust in him, although I do feel that you could have told him about Irv's plan to oust you from Runway and replace you with Jacqueline. I know he would have stood by you with the unfailing loyalty he has shown you since day one. As would I, Emily and anyone else who has worked in close proximity to you.
You are Runway. You make it what it is. Because of you Runway is in fact greater than art.
I am sorrier than you will ever realise about how I walked away. It was unprofessional of me to walk away the way I did. And it is possibly the most reprehensible way to behave. I may have left Runway but I will never leave you.
I hold the hope that I can find my way back to you. I live in the hope that I can meet you one day in the future as you're equal, not as a lowly ex-assistant. But that also depends on your next steps towards me.
Know this Miranda; you hold the key to my future. Will it be a recommendation or the black-listing? Whatever you decide I will continue to respect you for the person you are...the Woman, the Mother and the Editor in Chief.
As Andy popped the letter in an envelope and looked around the hotel room ready to start packing she heard a quiet knock on the door. Walking up to the door she held her breath and opened it hesitantly.
Nigel bounded into the room and asked, "So Six, you are alive. When do you plan on leaving?"
Andy shrugged and replied, "My flight's tomorrow at 6:45am"
"And were you by any chance going to say goodbye?" He asked.
"I didn't see the point Nige. I know I really fucked up today." Andy told him softly.
Nigel looked at her sadly and asked, "So what now?"
Andy shook her head. "I have no fucking idea. I have this letter for Miranda, trying to explain...I dunno..."
"Don't you think you'd be best doing that in person?" He asked.
"Oh God, no! Why the fuck would I submit myself to that?" She asked.
Nigel shook his head in disbelief. "Are you going to let me take a look at that missive?" Nigel asked holding his hand out. Shocked Andy passed it along and held her breath as Nigel read. "You're brave I'll give you that, but why not just come out and tell her you love her?" He asked.
"I told you it's not like that. I care about her but I'm not in love with her..." Andy fired back.
"The lady doth protest too much." Nigel stated. "Why won't you just tell her?"
"Cause she'll say it back and we'll start to date, after a time we'll move in together, eventually get married and live happily ever after with the Spawn of the Devil right?" Andy says derisively.
"There's no need to be so sarcastic Six. You do realise she cares too? You have been so wrapped up in yourself that you have failed to realise you get away with far more than any of her other assistants. The twins actually like you, they haven't pranked you since you did the impossible with that Harry Potter manuscript. And I know you certainly missed the look of panic that crossed her face as she saw you walk away."
"She panicked?" Andy queried.
"Oh yes, and she's been a royal nightmare all afternoon. Even Valentino noticed how out of sorts she is and she mentioned to me how calm Miranda had been since Miranda's Andréa came along."
"She's calm 'cause I get shit done rather than run around like a hyper headless chicken called Emily. It isn't a calm brought on by my presence alone..." Andy trailed off as Nigel interrupted her.
"Do you really know that? You missed it this afternoon when Christian made a scathing comment to her about you and she had to be restrained from hitting a certain part of his anatomy with a very well placed Prada heel, this was before he was not so politely escorted from the premises by Valentino's security." Nigel grinned at the woman.
Once again hope flared in the young woman.