When she tilted her head and didn’t see her assistant behind her, she was for a second confused, but did her best to appear unfazed in front of dozen cameras being shoved to her face.
She continued up the stairs and inside she saw her team waiting. She gave a simple, but menacing command to them, “Find her.”
Nigel Kipling, her art director of ten years, looked perplexed, but luckily, before she had to explain herself, seemed to realize to whom she was referring, and asked, “She came in the car with you?”
“Obviously,” she scoffed and clenched her teeth together.
“Find her,” she repeated, her whisper turning thunderous. She saw Karl Lagerfeld approaching and forced herself to smile. “Now,” she added, and with that her team stormed off.
“Miranda, darling,” Karl said giving her an air kiss, “Now, how did you really like the show yesterday?”
An hour later, which was an inexcusable amount of time, Nigel had sent her a message that they had located her runaway assistant.
Miranda arrived at the hotel and found Nigel sitting with Andréa in the corner of the dimly lit hotel bar. She was laughing and clearly seemed relaxed which did not help Miranda’s ire. She stalked towards them, without taking her eyes of Andréa.
All the while asking herself; How she dares to walk out on me? Who does she think she is?
Nigel seemed to sense Miranda’s menacing aura approaching and got up as soon as he had glanced behind his back to confirm. He mumbled something on the lines of “Good luck” to Andréa and left, nodding to Miranda as he passed her by.
“What,” Miranda scoffed as she was at Andréa’s table and slammed her Prada handbag on the table, “do you think you are doing?”
She met Andrea’s eyes and for a brief moment the woman looked worried, but then just breathed out and relaxed again and moved her eyes back to the glass of wine in front of her, “I’m having a drink.”
Miranda’s eyes narrowed, and she could feel her ire morph into something much, much more palpable.
“I just unexpectedly quit my job. It felt like a good time to have one,” Andréa stated like it was self-evident.
Miranda’s lip pursed, “Ah. And would you care to explain the brilliant reasoning behind the decision to quit?”
“Do you want a drink?” Came a question Miranda ignored by crossing her arms.
“Would you at least sit down?” Andréa then asked, but Miranda just clenched her jaw.
“Suit yourself,” the woman sitting in front of her then sighed and lifted the glass to her lips.
“The reason, Andréa?” Miranda practically hissed.
“Uh…” Andréa started and placed the glass back on the table, fiddling with the stem of the glass, “I guess I sort of realized something when you said that you saw yourself in me.”
If she hadn’t still been fuming with rage, she might have winced at Andréa’s words. Hint of whatever she felt flashing inside seemed almost like hurt. “And?”
“I admire you, Miranda. I really do. During these months I’ve come to understand a world I never knew existed,” Andréa smiled and the huffed at herself, “Or maybe thought didn’t need to exist.”
“I understand your trail of thought even less than I thought.”
“What I mean is; you are ruthless. And I get that. Your world needs ruthlessness. But I’m not. I won’t be. And this isn’t my world and I think we’ve all known that from the beginning,” Andréa said her eyes sparkling with that same determination Miranda had witnessed a few times during her employment.
“Naïve,” Miranda huffed.
“I suppose,” the other woman said softly and smiled.
Miranda finally pulled out a chair and sat down. Crossing her legs and arms leaned back in the chair and narrowed her eyes at Andréa. “I’m quite disappointed.”
“I don’t think that is the first time you’ve told me that.”
“How inebriated are you exactly? You are being rather… straightforward.” Miranda realized that to her astonishment she found Andréa’s sudden audacity almost refreshing.
“I’m sober. This is my first glass.”
“Could have fooled me.”
Andréa smirked, “I think I’ve just had more time to think what I did and as you’ve probably already decided you’re going to blacklist me, me getting on my knees to beg for forgiveness isn’t going to change that.”
“Are you going to blacklist me?”
Instead of answering, Miranda asked, “Aren’t you being rather immature by leaving now? I do believe I’ve said far worse things to you than… pointed out our similarities.”
“If I were to beg my job back, would you take me back?”
Miranda pursed her lips, “No.”
“Yeah, so whether it was immature or not, it’s done. But it felt like a now-or-never sort of a moment.”
“Either escape my clutches now or you’re stuck with me forever?”
Andréa arched an eyebrow, “Your clutches?”
Miranda rolled her eyes and waved her hand dismissively, “Me. Runway.”
As Andréa smiled at her again Miranda wondered why she was bothering to explain herself to her and just why had she sat down in the first place? Why was she still sitting with the woman that she really should be furious with?
“I don’t imagine you know what this job has cost me?” Andréa asked and then retracted her words. “That’s probably a wrong word though. Shaken off, maybe.”
“My boyfriend… He seemed to think my most important relationship was with you. Which, to be fair, probably was true. There never was a call I didn’t take when you called.”
“Until today,” Miranda pointed out.
“Oh,” Andréa said cringing slightly, “That reminds me. I may have thrown my phone into a fountain.”
“Yeah,” the woman sighed, “That was definitely childish. I can go and try to find it tomorrow before my flight.”
“I assume the water has corrupted all the information it held.”
“So, you’re not making me dive into the fountain?”
“As much delight as I might find seeing you do that… No, I don’t think I will,” Miranda said and to her own surprise continued with, “And you’re not leaving tomorrow.”
“I… I’m not?” Andréa stuttered, looking as lost as she had during the first weeks, she had worked for Miranda.
“No. I will take this conversation as your official resignation – you have two weeks to prove I shouldn’t blacklist you.”
“So, you were going to blacklist me?”
“I don’t think I said that.”
“You weren’t going to?” Andréa asked her brow furrowing gratifyingly in confusion.
Miranda gave her the faintest of smirks as a response and got up to leave, “Do not disappoint me again, Andréa.”