When Andrea breaks the news about Paris to her, Emily is overcome by a wave of loathing. Her first thought, when she’d seen the taxi barrelling toward her, had been panic that Paris would be impossible to negotiate on crutches. Her second thought had been that fear that she’d be permanently disfigured or killed. Then the taxi had collided with her, and she’d been knocked over and cracked her head on the street. She wants to kill Andrea and wishes Miranda had sent her to fetch scarves and be run over by taxis.
“Wow, um, that’s not fair,” Andrea says, and Emily realizes that she’s said that out loud. Andrea sniffles a little and wipes at her eyes, and Emily is outraged that Andrea is crying, when she’s the one who bloody stole Paris from her. “I didn’t have a choice,” Andrea says, and she actually looks distraught, as if she were the one who’d been hit by a homicidal driver!
“Please, that is a pathetic excuse,” Emily snaps, and tells Andrea to leave. Broken leg or not, if she has to listen to one more snivelling, backstabbing word, she’s going to climb out of the ugly hospital bed and beat Andrea’s perfectly madeover head with her cast.
Andrea leaves, casting a woebegone look behind her, and Emily settles into her bed for a long sulk and a mass-produced chocolate pudding cup. Bad enough to break her diet for hospital food, without other people watching her while she does it. She shoves the meal tray aside and lies down, wincing at the ache in her cracked ribs.
What worries her the most is not the broken bones, not the scrapes on her face, and not necessarily that Andrea is going to Paris. It’s specifically that Miranda had asked Andrea even before she’d known that Emily had been hit by a car and wouldn’t be able to perform up to her usual standards during Runway’s most crucial week. It is unheard of for the Second Assistant to upstage the First Assistant, when the First Assistant has the advantage of experience in reading Miranda’s moods and anticipating her needs.
It’s impossible, ludicrous, and ridiculous that Andrea could be elbowing Emily aside, she tells herself. Andrea still dresses like she’s copying someone else’s idea of fashion, she has no style of her own, and the only reason Miranda’s impressed with her right now is that she remembered the ambassador’s name at the benefit. Emily had remembered the names of hundreds of guests, and she hadn’t been visibly fidgeting and she hadn’t run off early. The display of competence had caught Miranda’s attention only because it was so uncharacteristic of Andrea, Emily thinks. Miranda was overestimating Andrea, and Paris would be a nightmare without Emily there to keep things running. A week of late appointments, missing cars, forgotten details, and an assistant who only spoke English, and Miranda would come back regretting that she’d ever hired Andrea.
Yes, Emily thinks, her position is in no danger, and Miranda will appreciate her as she ought to after Paris.