Emily didn't notice it at first. Between picking up the pieces from Andrea's departure, dealing with her own broken leg, and trying to handle Miranda's various – yet equally frightening – moods caused by the divorce, she probably wouldn't have noticed it even if someone put a billboard directly in front of her face.
But, as things settled down with the new girl and her cast came off and the divorce proceedings got underway, everything slowly went back to normal. Except – Emily began to notice – the thing that didn't.
The subscription to The Mirror could easily be explained away as Miranda wanting to see how epically Andrea would fail at her new job. The fact that, sometimes, when they were working late, Miranda slipped and called her Andrea instead of Emily could be explained by lack of sleep and habit – although it was far more of a habit to call an assistant Emily than Andrea. Even the fact that Miranda would sometimes have Roy drive by The Mirror offices for seemingly no reason and demanded to be kept up to date on Andrea's address – the only other time Emily had been that thankful that she and the journalist were still on speaking terms was the day Andrea dropped off the clothes from Paris – could be explained away, Emily was sure.
But when you added them all together with the picture Miranda kept in one of the locked drawers of her desk – the one of her and Andrea at a fashion show in Paris, smiling together before the whole thing blew up – well, there was only one explanation.
She had thought – hoped and prayed actually, but who was counting – that perhaps it was just a passing fancy. That with the stress of the divorce and Irv's attempted coup, Miranda had just clung to 'the one that got away' as a distraction.
But the months went on, the divorce proceedings went on, other assistants came and went, and still, the Andy Problem, as Emily had taken to calling it in her head, continued on. And so, like any good assistant, Emily decided to do a little leg work for her boss.
She and Andy had been in touch and had drinks a few times, so the brunette didn't sound at all surprised when she called. In fact, Emily thought with some satisfaction, she sounded glad to hear from her and readily agreed to meet with her for drinks.
Emily sat through the basic life updates – talk about the bigger, juicier assignments they were finally giving her at The Mirror, information about the new apartment she was looking into (Emily typed everything into her phone so she'd have it on hand), tales – slim as they were – about her dating life – before she brought up the real reason she was there.
"Yes, well, be glad that you're at The Mirror. Miranda's been an absolute beast lately." She said nonchalantly, watching Andy carefully as she sipped her drink.
Andy bristled just a bit. "Oh, Em, that's not really fair. She's going through a lot, you know, with the divorce."
"Yes, quite, but must she take it out on all of us? You know how it was Andy, you bore the brunt of it for a while. I have to say, I can sort of see Stephen's side." And god, she was going to have to come up with some kind of penance for that one.
"What? Would you like to be married to her?"
Andy's eyes went wide and her mouth dropped down. It looked like she was trying to form words, but failing miserably. A tint of red was coming into her cheeks. Bingo!
Emily bit the inside of her cheek to keep from smiling.
"I – I thought you worshipped the ground she walked on, Em." Andy finally managed to choke out.
"You know I do. I'd go to the bloody ends of the earth for her," and wasn't that what she was doing right now, in a way, "but that doesn't mean that I'd want to be in a relationship with her. You on the other hand…"
Andy shook her head, but her face flushed even darker. "Em, knock it off."
"Are you honestly sitting there and telling me that if Miranda were to pursue you, you would rebuff her advances?" Emily prodded.
"Emily!" Andy shook her head. "You're insane."
"Andrea." She fixed her with a look that she had learned from Miranda.
"If – and god, that's a huge if – if Miranda were ever to 'pursue me' – which she never would – she'd have to work for it a bit. I mean, I'm not going to just fall at her feet because she's Miranda Priestly. But I don't know why we're having this conversation in the first place, because it's never gonna happen."
"Fair enough," Emily nodded, tucking the information away and deftly changing the subject back to Andrea's hunt for a new apartment.
Emily finally screwed up the courage and walked into Miranda's office, two weeks after the divorce was finalized. Andrea had been seen at a party looking chummy with not only Stella McCartney, but one of her male models, the night before, and although the paper hadn't even known who she was, Miranda had known. Emily knew that Andy was only friends with Stella after doing an interview with her for an upcoming piece in The Mirror's fashion column and the pictures of her with the model were completely benign, but Miranda did not, and the picture had sent her into a mood the likes of which hadn't been seen at Runway since right after Paris. Emily knew she had to act now.
Miranda's eyebrow lifted at seeing her first assistant entering her office when she hadn't summoned her. "What possible reason could you have for coming into my office when I specifically told you I wished to be left alone today?"
Emily shuddered just slightly at the icy tone before straightening her back. It wasn't like she wanted to do this – by any means – but she needed to do it, not only for Miranda, but for her own sanity as well. "Well, Miranda – you see – I just –"
"Spit it out, Emily." Miranda's voice was deadly.
"Well, I noticed that perhaps – and I could be wrong – but it just seems like – and it's really none of my business, of course, but… well, Andrea and I are sort of friends now, you know."
Miranda's eyes widened just the slightest fraction at the mention of Andrea's name.
"So if you were ever to… need some… guidance – not that you couldn't figure it out on your own, of course, but… I could help. Maybe."
And, before Miranda could work up any kind of reply, Emily turned on her Prada heels and marched back out of the office.
Miranda didn't speak to Emily or anyone else for the rest of the day. The next morning, she came in firing off a list of things to do that had Emily scribbling faster than she ever had before and following Miranda into her office just to hear it all.
When she finally stopped speaking, Miranda looked up at Emily. "And Emily? The matter we discussed yesterday?"
Emily's eyes widened at the mention of it, but she inclined her head so Miranda would know that she understood.
"That would be… acceptable. That's all."
Emily retreated quickly from the office and sank down in her chair, feeling ready to weep with relief.
Emily didn't mention anything about Operation Andy again until two days later. She took those two days to figure out a course of action. With what Andrea had already told her, she knew that she would have to have Miranda approach this carefully and that their work – specially her work in dealing with both of the women – would be cut out for them.
Finally she broached the subject on the way back from a showing at a designer's studio. The privacy window was up and Miranda was looking out the back window, as though searching for someone.
"You know," Emily spoke quietly, but confidently, "I heard that there's supposed to be an excellent article in The Mirror tomorrow. The journalist has been working on it for a few weeks now, it's the beginning of a series of articles. I'm sure that the journalist would be interested to know what people think of it."
Miranda said nothing, merely hummed out her acknowledgement, but Emily knew she'd be checking the paper tomorrow.
She made a note to write down Andrea's email address to leave on Miranda's desk with the paper the next morning.
The following evening, just after she dropped The Book off, Emily's phone rang.
"Why is Miranda emailing me?" Andy asked immediately, not willing to deal with pleasantries.
"I beg your pardon?" Emily smirked as she hailed a cab.
"Do not play stupid with me, Emily. I know that you were the one who gave her my email address. So why is she emailing me?" Andy sounded almost menacing. Almost.
"I may have been asked to give her your email address," and she had been, in Miranda's wordless way, "but as to the purpose for it, I couldn't say. Why, is she emailing you death threats or something?"
"No," Andy sighed, "but I'd almost prefer that. At least then it would make sense for her to be emailing me. Em, she told me she liked my article. Why is she doing this? What kind of game is she playing?"
Emily sighed as she climbed out of the cab. Of course Andrea would be suspicious. Emily couldn't exactly blame her. "Maybe she's not playing a game, Andrea. Maybe she genuinely liked the article and wanted to tell you. But I don't know, because it's not like Miranda shares her innermost thoughts and feelings with me."
Except maybe it was like that. Just a bit.
"I know. I know. I just – what am I supposed to do with this, Em?"
Emily rolled her eyes. "Email her back. Or don't. It's your choice. But I can tell you that Miranda Priestly does not offer olive branches to many people. And if that's what this is, then you've got a limited time to accept it."
Andy sighed over the line, sounding utterly conflicted. "Thanks, Em."
"Andy?" Emily called before she hung up, not willing to let her ruin this before it was even started. "You were always different. Don't screw it up this time."
Then she quickly ended the call before Andy could respond.
Emily waited for a few weeks before she put the next phase of her plan into action. She kept tabs on things from both ends as surreptitiously as she could, and was pleased to see that Miranda and Andy were still emailing and apparently being civil with each other.
Finally, she decided it was time for her to give Miranda some more information that she had gathered on Andrea. So, when she dropped off the book on Friday evening, she left a post-it on the inside cover where Miranda would be sure to see it.
A loves peach roses and turtles.
Miranda could do with that information what she wanted.
On Sunday morning, Emily's phone rang.
"Can you explain to me," Andrea again skipped the pleasantries and Emily thought that Miranda had certainly rubbed off on her, "why a man knocked on my door this morning and delivered to me a dozen peach roses and a turtle?"
"Well, surely you've gotten flowers bef –" Andrea's last words sank in suddenly, "did you say a turtle? As in - ?"
"As in a reptile that some people keep as pets? Yep, that'd be it."
"A turtle." Emily repeated, unbelieving. "She sent you a turtle."
"So it was from Miranda! I knew it!"
"Are you sure it's a turtle and not a box of chocolate turtles?" Emily asked, still holding out hope.
"I'm pretty sure I know the difference, Em." Andy rolled her eyes. "And this little guy that's looking at me right now is definitely a turtle and definitely not edible."
"So, I'll ask again. Em, why did Miranda send me flowers and a turtle?"
"Well, the flowers should be self-explanatory, yes?"
"Yes. Although I'm still not sure why she's sending them to me, but I get the general idea of sending someone flowers. That I understand. But a turtle? I really don't get her sending me a turtle."
"It was supposed to be chocolate turtles." Emily admitted. "Not a turtle."
For a long moment, there was silence on the other end of the line. And then it was broken by laughter.
"Turtles! Like my favorite candy. Only – only she sent – she sent – turtles! I love turtles!"
"Andrea, stop it! Oh god, please don't laugh like this to Miranda." Suddenly Emily could see her whole plan, as well as her whole life, going up in smoke. "Damn it, Andrea, get yourself together!"
"I'm sorry, Em. I'm sorry. It's just – it's just funny."
Andy looked at the turtle, still in the little cardboard carrying box he'd come in from the pet store, peeking out at her. "But it's also kind of sweet. Sorry, Em, I've gotta go."
"Go? Where do you have to go? Andrea, what are you going to do?"
Andy laughed again. "Well, I've gotta go to the pet shop to get this little guy a home. He can't just live in this cardboard box forever. And then, I've gotta call Miranda and thank her for the beautiful flowers and the lovely turtle."
And with that, Andy hung up on Emily before she could say anything else.
On Monday morning, Emily waited for the explosion that was sure to come if Andrea had indeed contacted Miranda the day before. But it never came. Miranda strolled in with her usual mile long list of demands and then settled in her office without another look at Emily.
She was just relaxing when Miranda called her into the office right before lunch.
"The matter that we've been discussing – I'd like to continue on with it." Emily felt her body relax a little at those words. "Your information to this point has been… acceptable. I'd like more."
"Yes, Miranda. I'll get it together for you as soon as possible."
Miranda waved her away. "That's all."
Emily sent Andy a text demanding a meeting for drinks ASAP before she even got back to her desk.
Wednesday night found Emily sitting on Andrea's new couch, drinking wine and studying the turtle that was swimming happily in his new aquarium.
"I can't believe she bloody well sent you a turtle." Emily sighed, reminding herself once again that she apparently needed to be as specific as possible with Miranda.
"Well, you know, it's an honest mistake… I guess." Andy peeked in at the turtle and smiled. "He's cute enough that he makes up for it."
"That creature may be many things, but cute is not one of them, Andrea. I'm getting concerned about you."
"Oh, Alexander, don't listen to her." Andy cooed at the turtle.
"Alexander?" Emily rolled her eyes.
"Yes, after Alexander McQueen, thank you." Andy huffed. "I figured he should have a fashionable name."
"Well," Emily had to be thankful that Andy had taken a shine to the turtle and that the whole thing hadn't completely blown up, so she raised her glass towards the tank, "I'll drink to that."
"So," Andy ventured as she sank down on the couch next to Emily, "why was it that we needed to have drinks ASAP?"
"Oh, well, you know, work is stressful and it's not like you have many friends, so I figured I'd be doing you a favor."
"You sure know how to sweet talk a girl, Em." Andy laughed. "But seriously, why are you really here?"
"Work really has been stressful, Andrea." Emily tried to cover. "And… perhaps you aren't the only one who has a small number of friends."
"Aww, Em," Andy bumped shoulders with her.
"Oh, knock it off, would you, or we're never doing this again."
Andy just laughed.
Emily started to look around the apartment, trying to find out any information that she could relay back to Miranda besides the fact that the turtle had taken over the living room and the roses were in a vase on her bedside table. Her eyes scanned over bookshelves filled with various books (a book signing perhaps, but most of the authors on Andrea's shelves were dead, so that wouldn't really work) and the few prints on the wall (her friend Lily had an art gallery, didn't she?).
She glanced back through the open bedroom door, taking in that room as well, when something caught her eye. She stood up and moved into the bedroom.
"What are you doing, Em?" Andy called after her.
"Just admiring your flowers." Emily replied, but she was far more interested in the small black frame behind the flowers. "What is this, Andrea?"
Andy appeared in the doorway to look at what Emily was holding up. A slight blush came across her cheeks, and Emily instantly knew that she'd hit the jackpot.
"Oh, um, it's just – just a Playbill from a show I went to see a while back." Andy tried to make it sound like it was nothing, but Emily knew better.
"It's signed. And you have it framed." She pushed.
"Oh, get off it, Em. I liked the show, I liked the performer, I waited at stage door to meet her, she signed my Playbill, I put it in a frame so it wouldn't get messed up. End of story."
Emily held up her hands in a placating manner. "Oh, Andrea, don't get your panties in a twist. It's fine. I was just curious." She rolled her eyes as she placed the frame back down. "The Pirate Queen? Really?"
"Shut up, Emily." Andy hissed, but there was a playful quality to it.
"Singing pirates. I'm sure it's fabulous. Is the show still open? Perhaps I'll check it out."
Andy sat back down on the couch when Emily came out of the room. "Oh, um, no. It closed kind of quickly."
Emily raised an eyebrow.
"It was a good show! The lead was amazing. It just – people didn't get it, okay?" Andy was on the defensive and Emily was surprised by it. There were very few frivolous things like this that Andrea got excited over.
"I'm sure that it was a very good show, if you enjoyed it. So this lead – what makes her so amazing?" She pressed a bit more.
"Stephanie J. Block. She's fantastic. Her voice is to die for, Em, honestly. She just blows me away." Andy glanced back towards the Playbill, then refocused on Emily. "She's actually playing Elphaba in Wicked right now. I'd give my right arm to go see it, but of course tickets are nearly impossible to get and even if I could… they're so expensive."
"Oh, that's too bad." Emily murmured, already committing the information to memory.
"Ah, well, in my next life, when I'm a millionaire." Andy laughed and drank her wine. "So, are you done snooping around my apartment now?"
Emily rolled her eyes, but laughed too. "Yes, I've gotten all the information I need."
On Thursday morning, after taking down all the notes Miranda rattled off and delegating some of them to the new girl, she entered Miranda's office. Miranda said nothing, just looked at her, waiting.
"I've heard," Emily started slowly to be sure Miranda would process everything correctly this time, "that the new lead playing Elphaba in the musical Wicked is fabulous."
"Oh?" Miranda asked, her hand going to her pen and a pad of paper.
"Yes. Her name is Stephanie J. Block, and she apparently has lots of fans." Miranda began to write, her eyes still on Emily. "But it's been hard for some of those fans to get tickets, what with it being such a big show and all."
"I see." Miranda murmured. "Thank you, Emily. That's all."
Half an hour later, Miranda's voice floated out from her office. "Emily, get the number for the Gershwin Theatre!"
Lucky for her, she already had it waiting.
Andy nearly let the call go to voicemail when Miranda called on Thursday night. She'd had a long day at the paper and wasn't in the mood to talk to anyone. But something told her she needed to answer the call, and boy was she glad she did.
Up until then, Andy had been the only one to initiate contact over the phone. She had called Miranda to thank her for the roses and turtle and they'd had a good, if short, conversation. But Andy found that Miranda didn't like to make idle chatter on the phone any more than she did in person, and so they typically stuck to email.
So she was actually slightly worried when she saw Miranda's name on the caller ID.
"Good evening, Andrea."
"Hi." She knew she still sounded nervous, but she couldn't help it. "What's up?"
"I was wondering," Miranda paused, as though trying to work up courage, but that couldn't possibly be right because Miranda Priestly certainly didn't need courage to talk to anyone, let alone Andy Sachs, "if you were free on Monday evening?"
"Um," Andy quickly flipped through her calendar in her head, "yes, I should be. Why?"
"I thought perhaps you would like to accompany me to the theatre. I've gotten tickets to see Wicked. Would you be interested?"
"Wi – Wicked?" Andy's eyes nearly bugged out of her head. Miranda had tickets to Wicked and wanted her to come along? "And you want me to come?"
"Would I have called you and asked if I did not?" Miranda huffed, before she realized that that was probably not the way to get Andrea to agree. "Yes, Andrea, I would like very much if you would come."
"Of course, Miranda. I'd love it. Absolutely." Andrea knew she sounded like a gushing fangirl, but she couldn't help it. She wanted so badly to see this show and now here was an opportunity not only to see it, but to see it with Miranda. "I'll pay you for the ticket on Monday unless you need it sooner."
She wasn't sure where she was going to scrape together the money for the ticket, but if she had to hock some of her Runway clothes, so be it.
"Don't be ridiculous, Andrea." Miranda rolled her eyes, Andy could tell even over the phone. "Roy will be at your apartment to pick you up by 6:00."
And before she could say anything, let alone ask how it was that Miranda knew her address, the older woman hung up the phone.
Andy looked at the phone for long seconds after the dial tone sounded in her ear. Then she grabbed a throw pillow off the couch and screamed into it.
"I'm going to see Wicked, Alexander!" She exclaimed, giggling. And she swore the little turtle smiled back at her.
If she had been thinking about it, Andy would've realized that it was strange to be going to the theatre on a Monday night, as Monday was the nearly universal 'dark night' of Broadway, when no shows went up. But she hadn't been thinking about it at all. Instead, she'd been alternating between total joy and excitement for the evening and absolute worry over what she would wear.
In the end, Emily had come to her rescue with a beautiful black dress and matching Christian Lous that Andy knew had to have cost a fortune.
"We can't have you going to the theatre looking like a hick, Andrea. Especially not with Miranda." Emily had chided. "Besides, you're only borrowing the clothes. So don't you dare scuff up the shoes!"
Andy had laughed and hugged Emily, ignoring the Brit's protests.
At exactly 6:00, Roy pulled up out front of her building. She had to laugh at the punctuality as he climbed out of the driver's seat and smiled at her. "Evening, Andy."
"Good evening, Roy." Andy smiled right back.
When the door opened, it revealed Miranda already inside, which sent a few butterflies through Andrea's stomach. The fashion maven looked fantastic in her own black dress. Andy couldn't believe she was actually getting in the car to go to the theatre with Miranda. A part of her still worried this was all a ploy to get her alone and murder her. If it was, Andy hoped Miranda would at least let her see Wicked first.
The ride to the Gershwin Theatre didn't take long, and Andy knew she was smiling like a kid in a candy store as she took it in, but she couldn't help it. Miranda watched her, and couldn't stop a smile from spreading across her own lips. She was glad that the younger woman was so pleased.
"Yes." Andy grinned, climbing out with the help of Roy.
She was so excited and in such a daze, that it didn't connect right away that there wasn't anyone waiting out front of the theatre or even in the lobby. She was too busy taking in the giant map of Oz on the wall and looking at the merchandise stands to see that no one else was around to block her view of it all.
It was only when she was riding the escalator up to get into the theatre that she glanced back at Miranda with puzzled eyes. "Miranda, where is everyone?"
Miranda merely waved her hand. "Do not worry yourself with such questions, Andrea."
But when they were lead to their seats, center in the orchestra about five rows back, Andy did let it worry her.
"Miranda, we're the only ones here." She said as she looked around the vast, empty theatre. There were a few ushers standing at the doors on either side of the theatre, but that was all. No one occupied any of the other seats.
"Mmm." Miranda nodded, looking at her Playbill and not paying Andy's reaction any attention.
"But Miranda –" Andy started to protest when suddenly the lights dimmed and the sounds of the overture sprang up from the orchestra pit. And then Andy was too swept up to protest.
Throughout the whole first song, Andy sat mesmerized, just taking everything in. Miranda watched her from the corner of her eye and was pleased to see how enchanted Andrea seemed. But when the song ended, and only their applause rang out, she noticed Andrea frown.
It was the same way throughout the play. When the woman that Emily told her Andrea enjoyed so much – Stephanie J. Block – appeared on the stage covered in green makeup, Andy burst out in applause, only to stop suddenly and chew her lip. When she would laugh, it was always cut short and fell flat. She would applaud joyfully after the songs, but only for a few moments.
At the end of Act 1, when Stephanie belted out Defying Gravity and actually flew, Miranda heard Andrea's gasp and looked over to see tears shining in her eyes. It was moving, an incredibly powerful story and an incredibly powerful performance. When the curtain fell, Andy did applaud for a long time, until the lights came up and she fell silent.
"Well, I can see why everyone raves about this show." Miranda spoke after a few minutes, when Andy just continued to stare quietly at the stage. "And the young woman playing Elphaba is a revelation."
"She's really good, isn't she?" Andy asked, but her voice was quivering just the slightest bit and she sounded almost disappointed.
"Andrea? What's the matter?"
Andy turned and looked at Miranda. "Nothing, Miranda. Nothing."
But Miranda knew when she was being lied to. "Andrea," she said more forcefully, "what is the matter?"
"It's – it's just that –" Andy wasn't sure how to put it into words.
"Miranda, you bought out the theatre!" She exclaimed.
"Well, if you want to get technical, I simply had them add another performance to their schedule just for us." Miranda said breezily, as though it was as easy as having someone set an extra place at dinner.
"You – you – what?" Andy was flabbergasted as it suddenly flew into her mind what night it was. "It's Monday. Broadway is dark on Monday. Miranda!"
"Why is this a problem, Andrea? I thought you would be pleased." Miranda didn't understand what the big deal was. Andrea wanted to see the show and they were seeing it in the best possible way. Why was the young woman making such a fuss?
"I am. But Miranda –" But again, before she could finish her comment, the lights came up and the entr'acte began to play.
The second act went much like the first. Andy would react, only to quickly swallow or stop her reaction. Miranda was annoyed. What was wrong with the girl? Why wasn't she enjoying herself?
When it came time for For Good, Andrea couldn't mask her reaction. She wept openly as the two women sang to each other before one of them went to her 'death'. Miranda found herself getting choked up as well. It truly was a beautiful show and the actors and actresses, Andrea's favorite especially, had done a marvelous job.
During the curtain call, Andrea finally let herself go, clapping heartily and openly hooting and hollering her appreciation at the cast. They all bowed gracefully and then the curtain fell on the stage. When it did, Miranda turned to Andrea. She wanted very much to continue their conversation from intermission, but there was something else she had to do first.
"Come along, Andrea." She commanded as she swept out of the row and over to an usher who started to lead them through the theatre and to the backstage area.
"Miranda, where are we going?" Andy asked as she followed obediently.
"Why to congratulate the cast on a job well done, of course." Miranda told her as they stopped just outside the dressing rooms.
"Wait, what?" Andy gasped as one of the doors opened and a tiny blonde stepped out.
"Hi." Annaleigh Ashford, who had played Galinda, smiled at them. "It's so wonderful to meet you."
"You – you too." Andy managed, holding out her hand to the actress to shake it. "You were wonderful. And thank you so much for tonight. I – I can't even imagine –"
Annaleigh laughed. "Oh, it was fun! And all for such a great cause." Andy was slightly puzzled by that. "So, would you like a picture or anything?"
Suddenly, Andy was kicking herself for not bringing her camera, but before she could voice her regret, Miranda pulled a top of the line digital camera from her bag and held it up. "Well, smile Andrea." She deadpanned and Andy quickly did as she was told. Annaleigh also signed her Playbill before she disappeared back into her dressing room to get "de-glittered".
They made the rounds, talking briefly and posing for pictures and getting her Playbill signed by most of the rest of the company, until there was only one person left to see.
"She should be almost done." Sebastian, who played Fiyero and was also Stephanie's husband, assured them. "Steph, are you de-greenified yet?" He called into her dressing room.
"Coming, Seb." She called back, and appeared a minute later, void of the green makeup and with her hair in two braids.
"Hi!" She grinned happily upon seeing them, and Andy felt like her face would explode from the smile she was trying to hide.
"Hi." She managed to get out.
"It is so lovely to meet you. I hear you're a big fan."
"Oh, yes." Andy blushed. "You're just wonderful."
"Well, thank you." Then she looked up at Miranda. "And thank you, Miranda, so much for the amazing contribution to Broadway Cares. It was above and beyond."
"Nonsense," Miranda shook her head. "You all went out of your way to make this happen."
"We were so happy to do it." Stephanie smiled and then turned back to Andy. "Do you want me to sign your Playbill or –"
"Yes, please!" Andy cut in, quickly handing it over and Stephanie just laughed as she signed. Then she leaned over and they posed for a picture together.
"Thank you so, so much." Andy gushed.
"You are very welcome. Please, come back and see us again." Stephanie told her sincerely before she slipped back into her dressing room and came back out a moment later with a small dog cradled in her arms. Sebastian put his arm around her shoulder and they headed out of the theatre.
Andy watched them go in awe. She couldn't believe what had just happened. She didn't speak again until they were back in the towncar. "You donated money to Broadway Cares?" She finally asked Miranda.
"I called the theatre to find out what it would take to set this up. That was their suggestion." Miranda shrugged, as though it was no big deal at all that she had spent thousands of dollars (maybe more) to have the company do the show on a Monday night just for Andy. "But you weren't pleased."
"Miranda," Andy sighed, "of course I was. The show was amazing and afterwards, that was a dream come true. It's just –"
"Just what?" Miranda pressed, determined to find out what it was that she had done wrong in Andrea's eyes.
"It's just – you couldn't have just bought box seats to a normal performance instead?" Andy asked, biting her lip because she knew it sounded ungrateful.
Miranda scoffed at the idea. "It wouldn't be nearly the same."
"No." Andy agreed softly. "It would've been better."
"Better? How on earth could it possibly be better than what I provided you with tonight?" Miranda was getting ticked off, Andy could tell.
She swallowed hard, trying to come up with the right words to express her feelings. "Miranda, the thing that makes theatre so great and so unique is that every performance is different and special in its own way. And I'm not saying that tonight wasn't special. But – theatre is meant to be a communal experience. It's about a room full of people, all experiencing the same thing at the same time, and about how that will never, ever happen again. Because even if you got the exact same crowd together to see the exact same show the next night, the reactions would be different. That's the beauty of theatre. Sharing something that will never happen again with hundreds or thousands of strangers and knowing that you're all experiencing it together. And that was what was missing tonight."
She studied Miranda's face, trying to see if the woman was understanding anything she was saying. "I felt… awkward, being the only one to clap or laugh or cry. I wanted to share that with other people. It's like – it's like a fashion show." She grasped at the straws she knew Miranda would understand. "You experience that with everyone else there, and even though you have your own opinions and thoughts and reactions, you're still also sharing them with everyone else. Like, when Valentino sends that one, beyond amazing dress down the catwalk, and the whole room just gasps...do you understand?"
Miranda studied Andrea's face for a long time before she finally nodded. "I believe so."
The towncar pulled to a stop in front of Andy's building. She reached over and grabbed Miranda's hands, squeezing them. "Please don't think that I'm ungrateful or that I didn't have the most amazing time tonight. Just – for next time – if there is a next time –" And here a small blush crept up Andy's cheeks, "know that the theatre is so much better with a full audience."
Miranda inclined her head just slightly and squeezed Andrea's hands back before releasing them. "Goodnight, Andrea."
"Goodnight, Miranda." Andy whispered, leaning over to brush her lips against the older woman's cheek before she climbed out of the car and disappeared into her building.
Miranda watched her go with conflicted feelings.