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ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
ABCs of DWP (P to T) II
She had known how it would be construed by the outside world (the gossipmongers, really) robbing the cradle by taking up with a girl half her age (gasp!). So she'd made the conscious decision to let her go, knowing that New York's publishing world would never be big enough for their circles not to meet again.
Rather than waste time denying her unspoken influence on Andrea's career -- that honest reference was no black-balling effort she'd let stand the fact that Andrea's articles at the Mirror, and then the freelance work, were all in publications not associated with Elias-Clark. What was a scandal five years ago (twice her age!) was now a December-May romance. It was a bit more palatable, certainly to the pundits obsessed with the age difference, but Miranda ignored their howls of consternation and decided that she had waited long enough and didn't care enough about what others would say, to lose her third chance at happiness.
What Miranda really prized in her assistants was their mental agility -- to think quickly and to be able to react and adapt to changing conditions. More than their memories of name and faces, she wanted them to be able to see the underlying connections between seemingly disparate concepts. It was the weaving together of ten thousand pieces into one larger fabric that let Miranda see both the individual and the whole picture.
They might have called her the Devil behind her back, but she would have respected them more if they said so to her face. There were those that were always surprised by her (seemingly preternatural) knowledge of secret things (Who knew that the ventilation system echoed so much at Elias-Clark). They declared her beyond the pale by her willingness to sacrifice bodies in her war waged to protect Runway (Did no one pay realize how far her 'sacrifices' eventually rose in the world of Fashion?)
Much like a sip of fine champagne, it lent an unbearable lightness of being that made the evening tolerable. Even with the slight fragrance that seemed to hover in the air every time Andrea leaned forward with another name, Miranda could not find it in herself to wonder why Emily had suddenly gone mute. Time seemed to have suddenly slowed and then sped up again as that honeyed voice kept whispering in her ear. It wasn't until much later that Miranda realized there was an equally sharp mind underneath the quiet words.
She had never thought that the next time she'd be in love, it would be a slow evolution as opposed to some furiously hot affair that would burn itself out into ashes. Not that she'd ever been involved in anything that wasn't searing to the touch and nigh destructive in its whirlwind nature.
This was unexpected, and more importantly, a surprise not only to herself, but to those closest to her. Apparently it had been obvious to those that had paid attention, but they'd never mentioned it to (or asked) Miranda. Who knew? Certainly it cast everything into a new light -- the underlying tension might have been more attraction than mere loggerheads.
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