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What if this storm ends
and leaves us nothing
except a memory
a distant echo

- Snow Patrol, "The Lightning Strike"


 

Prologue

 

There is an endless stream of calls, mostly made to Miranda's lawyers. Some are about the divorce, but most are about business; the terms of Miranda's contract, her shares in Elias-Clarke. The avenues of recourse she has available to her now that - now that - now that -

Andy's mind seems to stutter, unable to process the facts in evidence. Switches tasks of its own accord and begins changing their flights, getting them back to New York and the hell out of Paris first thing in the morning.

She dials and talks, dials and talks, dials and talks. But eventually there is no one left to call, and the remainder of the evening slows down and speeds up, becoming a blurred set of images. Snapshots of the world askew, things come undone. Later she’ll remember a soft pink Dior lipstick left uncapped on a marble sink. A single Prada heel lying beside Miranda's unmade bed. The dark red Marchesa dress Miranda had yet to wear, now slipped off its hanger and lying on the floor;  a crimson stain of fabric, garish and violent against the soft cream of the suite's plush carpet.

Miranda hides behind her sunglasses, barricades herself behind closed doors. Addresses Andy with as few words as possible. Allows her continued proximity, or maybe just ignores it. Wipes her makeup off, even the concealer, and then sits in front of a room service tray she doesn't eat.

"What can I do?" Andy pleads, when there is nothing left to be done.

"Flee," Miranda tells her and looks at her as if she's obtuse. As if Andy persists in being slow and useless; a continued to disappointment, no matter how far she's come. "Find someone else to serve."

It's the last thing Miranda says to her, ignoring Andy entirely after that. Punishes her loyalty with silence and then disappears into the privacy of her car outside of JFK. Leaves Andy standing there alone, watching her pull away. The silver Mercedes merging into a long line of similar cars; an unremarkable silhouette that recedes from Andy's view.