On good days, Miranda is mean in sharp ways, planned ways. Even if she plans what she’s going to say less than one second before she says it, she’s in control.
On bad days, it just happens. She might not believe in what she’s saying, but she doesn’t care enough to stop it.
It is terrifying—terrifying—that Andrea can tell the difference.
“Try to write legibly for once,” Miranda says. She and Andy sit on the sofa in her home office, too close together. They’re in trouble, working late because it’s easier than figuring out how to part ways.
Andy has lovely handwriting. She’s very proud of it. Even the most hurried notes are captured with a steady hand. “You don’t mean that,” she says. “You can read everything I write.”
“You don’t let me,” Miranda says, petulant, and continues before Andy can express her confusion. “You’re a writer. I’m a...reader. That’s what an editor is, more or less. But the last piece I read of yours was about the janitors’ union at Northwestern. You wrote that at least three years ago, maybe more. It was surprisingly good, but it could have been written by a different person. How long have you worked for me?”
“Nearly four years,” Andy admits. She works in contracts now, handling all the rights agreements with Runway’s writers. She isn’t officially Miranda’s assistant anymore, isn’t her direct report, although they end up working one-on-one relatively frequently.
“I don’t write as much as I’d like. And I don’t send out for publication as much as I should. But I’m sitting on a few profiles, essays really, with two more in progress, and I might—” Andy leaves her high heels on the floor, tucks her legs beneath her and turns toward Miranda. Miranda stays face-forward. Andy takes in her profile, harsh in some places, sloped in others. Her makeup has faded, and Andy wants to run a finger against the finely-etched rivers of wrinkles at the corner of her mouth. At work she has perfect posture, but here she seems bent under the day. “—I am going to start sending them out as individual pieces.”
“I want to read them,” Miranda says. “Just to read.” Just to know you, says the expression on her tired face. Andy wonders if it’s possible for Miranda to read something without editing it, but decides she’ll welcome the edits if they come.
“Sure,” Andy says, more casual than she feels. She makes a mental note to send Miranda some PDFs tomorrow.
“Okay,” Miranda sighs. She reaches for a printed page that sits in a stack on the coffee table. “Christiane Amanpour. She’s slated for December, so we’ll need—”
“Are we here so we’ll work so late we fall asleep together?” It’s happened twice before. They’ve let deadweight limbs and eyelids make the decision for them, have spent two uncomfortable early mornings disentangling from each other on this very couch. She chooses her next words carefully. “I’ll stay even if we stop working.”
Miranda turns to look at Andy, moving her head so quickly the air seems to snap. “I don’t know what I am,” she says, and Andy’s heart beats like this is a big reveal. “I’m an editor, so.” It’s inarticulate, her voice pained as if by an inevitable hurt.
Miranda had changed clothes when she got home, replaced her fierce clothes with slacks and a rust-colored sweater, plush and nearly off-the-shoulder. She’d worn it years ago, on the night she told Andy she wanted her to replace Emily on the Paris trip. To have held onto it for so long—to ignore its season—meant it was a favorite. “Can I lift the hem of your sweater? Rub your back a little?” Miranda nods, and Andy brushes her fingers against the inch or so of skin just above the waistband of the trousers, establishes her touch there before moving higher. “Does that feel good?”
“Of course it does.” She sounds annoyed that there’s pleasure.
“You had such a hard day,” says Andy. “Such a long day. Let’s close our eyes.”