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29 April 2009 @ 09:38 pm
The path not taken  
Author: ragelikeafire
Rating: pg-13
Pairing: Jacqueline / Miranda
Status: Complete

Disclaimer: I do not own nothing, not even my sanity.
Summary: A glimpse into Miranda’s past. Why do Miranda and Jacqueline supposedly hate each other? When did it all start?
A/N: This is for my gorgeous acceb23, happy birthday! You know how I feel about MP&JF so this is to show you just how special you are! I hope you like it!
A/N2: Thanks to sporkmetender for her skills in the beta department, you really go above and beyond. Love you bb!

Now - 2006

Andy and Emily kept their place behind Miranda as she continued to work the room of the annual Runway, Age of Fashion benefit. Both assistants had been requested, as Miranda had made it quite clear that she did not trust Emily, the incubus of viral plague, to make it through the evening.

Andy had been informed by a bitter and quite sadistic Emily, just a few short hours ago, that their job was to assist Miranda into giving the impression that she knew each guest personally and that she actually cared that they had attended.

“Emily, come here.” Andy whispered. “Isn’t that Jacqueline Follet from French Runway?”

“Oh my god! Miranda hates her. She was supposed to arrive after Miranda left.”

“Oh!”

“Yeah.”

Andy and Emily watched as Miranda adopted an extra sickly sweet smile for the approaching Irv Ravitz and Jacqueline Follet.

“Miranda, fabulous event.” Irv praised as he took Miranda’s offered hand.

“You brought Jacqueline?” Miranda voice was with dripping with saccharine. Andy had never seen her look this physically uncomfortable before.

“Surprise!” Jacqueline offered.

“Quelle belle surprise!” Miranda took both Jacqueline’s hands fondly and leaning in for an air kiss. “Oh wonderful.” She continued as she looked between Irv and the French woman. “We’re so happy that you were able to come to our little gathering.”

“Of course-I planned my whole year around this.” Jacqueline beamed at Miranda. Andy watched the scene unfold; it was disturbing to see Miranda so unsettled.

“Well, we are so grateful that…you do.” Miranda turned her attention to Irv. It still fascinated Andy how casually Miranda dismissed people-like they suddenly didn’t exist. Jacqueline was clearly familiar with this technique and took this as her cue to bid them farewell.

Andy continued to observe Jacqueline as she made her way around the benefit guests, intrigued at the continual subtle glances directed their way. Andy couldn’t figure it out. What had happened between these two women to create this kind of tension?
.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Then 1989

Paris fashion week was the highlight of Miranda’s year. The parties and the free clothes—it was truly fantastic. Her recent (well-deserved) promotion to senior assistant editor meant that she could really get to enjoy it this year.

Out of the trenches and into the fold; Miranda Priestly was a force to be reckoned with. She was really making a name for herself in the fashion world.

Yves Saint Laurent was by far the best show of the year, and the after-party was in full swing. Miranda had spent the evening networking, wrapped in shoulder-less vintage Dior, dripping in (borrowed) Cartier and sipping from a glass of Dom Pérignon. She headed over to the bar to take refuge; this season’s five-inch Manolos were to die for, but right now they were killing her. She was just deliberating how to mount the tall stool gracefully when she was greeted by a familiar, heavily accented voice at her shoulder.

“Bonsoir, ma chérie.”

Miranda felt a shiver run down her spine as the hot breath licked her ear. She turned to face the owner and leaned in immediately for an air kiss. “Darling!” Miranda exclaimed with glee; a smile played on her lips.

“You look beautiful tonight.”

Merci, Jacqueline.” Miranda ran one hand through her white-blonde hair in her usual fashion.

Observing Miranda, Jacqueline watched each strand of hair as it fell meticulously back into place-apart from one unruly strand that chose to hang rebelliously over Miranda’s forehead.

Without a further word, Miranda turned to face the bar, away from Jacqueline’s examining gaze, and hailed a steward. She scribbled something on a paper napkin and turned back to face the woman. “It was wonderful to see you again,” Miranda enthused as she leaned in for a farewell air kiss, slipping the napkin into Jacqueline’s open hand.

“Au revoir, Miranda,” Jacqueline called gently as Miranda left the room. A devilish smile spread across her face as she un-folded the paper napkin to decipher the almost-illegible hand writing: InterContinental Paris Le Grand, suite 659. MP.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The door had barely closed on Jacqueline when Miranda slammed her hard against the wall and pulled her into a deep kiss. This was how it was…always, fast and frenzied. No small talk, no pleasantries.

Jacqueline slowed the pace and stared intensely into Miranda’s eyes. Against Miranda’s lips, she whispered. “I missed you.”

Jacqueline had questioned herself many times in the car ride to the hotel. Was she willing to do this again? Even though she knew that every time she let it happen, she fell more and more in love with her. Could Miranda ever give her what she wanted? Deep down she knew the answer, but she didn’t have the strength to walk away.

Miranda had promised herself that she would not do this again. She had told herself that she would not call Jacqueline when she got to Paris. If she saw her, she would smile politely, maybe indulge in some small talk, but she would not go back to Jacqueline’s apartment, and she would not bring her back to her hotel room.

That had been the plan. That was always the plan, but the moment she saw her, she knew she didn’t have the strength to walk away.

Miranda adored Jacqueline’s unique style. It was never forced; this pleased her. She unlaced the drawstring that cinched the waistband of Jacqueline’s extravagant, Vivienne Westwood dress and pushed it from her shoulders. The layers of netting, lace and silk floated to the ground.

Miranda ran her hand seductively down the French woman’s body. Jacqueline moaned softly as Miranda’s mouth and hands teased her.

Jacqueline’s, exploring fingers found the zipper on the side of Miranda’s dress and drew it down slowly until the dress fell heavily into a pool around her stilettos.

Placing her hands firmly on Miranda hips, she pushed them away from the wall, keeping their lips and bodies joined together until their entangled limbs reached bed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Miranda enjoyed the feeling of Jacqueline’s body wrapped around her, as she had many times before. It felt right. With Jacqueline it was different; from the moment they had met, there had been sparks. They had been doing this dance for four years now-since their first meeting in Paris, during fashion week. Jacqueline had not only charmed her way into Miranda’s affections, but also into her bed.

Miranda released herself gently from Jacqueline’s arms and moved to the edge of the bed.

“Where are you going?” Jacqueline queried, watching her naked lover walk across the room.

Miranda didn’t respond. Instead, she lifted a corked bottle of Châteauneuf du Papé from its place in the cooler and poured two glasses of wine.

Jacqueline hated that Miranda was so difficult to read. She could never tell what she was thinking and tonight, it was like she was in another world.

“Do you have any cigarettes? I’ve tried to quit…”

“Again?” Jacqueline chuckled and Miranda simply gave her a raised eyebrow. Miranda had been trying to stop smoking for as long as she had known her. “They are in my purse, by the door. Help yourself.”

Miranda found the carton and lighter, lit two cigarettes, and handed one to Jacqueline. She picked up her silk robe and wrapped it around herself then curled her small feet under her body as she sat on the adjoining sofa.

“Come back to bed, Chérie.”

Miranda took a long drag on the cigarette and smiled at the French woman. She patted the seat beside her, silently beckoning Jacqueline. “Tell me, what has been your favourite show this year?”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Several hours and another bottle of wine later, the two women were still deep in conversation. The topic never became old; they both lived and breathed the world of fashion. Hours of joyous, playful and heated debates. For Miranda being alone with Jacqueline was just easy.

So yet again, Miranda found herself questioning her decision. As the morning light approached, she wished she could turn the clock back. There were things that needed to be said. Her heart was aching when she thought about how she would say them. She knew that no matter what, she would always end up hurting Jacqueline. This is why she had always kept her at arms length, why she had never called afterwards and why she promised herself every time that it would never happen again.

It’s now or never.

“Jacqueline, we need to talk about something. I wanted you to hear it from me, before the announcement is made.”

“Oui, what is it?”

“John has proposed; we are to be married in the fall.” Miranda paused, waiting for Jacqueline’s reaction. Miranda felt a rush of anger at Jacqueline’s incredulous laughter.

“That is preposterous…John, the imbecile that you have been splashed around the tabloids with?”

“I do not appreciate your petulance!” Miranda warned, moving to get up off the sofa.

Jacqueline stopped her and took her hand in hers. “Miranda, please you don’t need to do this. Marriage is so final.” She looked at Miranda imploringly. “You don’t love him, I know that. I know you are just using him.”

“That’s not true. Please don’t make this any more difficult than it has to be.” Miranda freed her hand from Jacqueline’s grip and left the sofa to pace the room.

“Miranda, I love you. In your head, I know that you are thinking the same. In your heart, I know you are feeling the same.”

“Stop!” Miranda didn’t want to listen. She had already had these arguments a million times in her own head.

But Jacqueline continued. “I know you keep it all locked inside, I know it’s hard to stand your ground when you're so afraid. But Miranda, please don't go forsaking yourself!”

“I said stop!” Miranda was indignant, but she couldn’t look Jacqueline in the eye. She feared that if she did it would expose the truth behind her decision. Jacqueline was right-she didn’t love John, but this wasn’t about love. Her career came first, her image in the eyes of the Elias-Clarke family. John was a convenience; he had simply come along at the right time, the final piece in the jigsaw for completing the icon. “I’ve made my decision, Jacqueline.”

“I won’t let you. I won’t let you do this to yourself, to us.” Miranda could feel the heavily accented tone turn from beseeching to enraged.

“Don’t be ridiculous, there is no us.” Miranda watched the hurt spread across her lover’s face, a result of her acid tongue. Any chance of salvaging a friendship had clearly been destroyed by her choice of words.

“Perhaps, my mistake was to love you too much?”

Miranda’s tone remained deadly calm, almost a whisper. “It was never my intention to hurt you. Please believe me. But, I’m warning you Jacqueline-walk away…”

“Or what?” Jacqueline interrupted. She managed to control the volume, but her tone was anything but calm. “What are you going to do, Miranda?”

“I think you should leave. We’re done here. That’s all.” Miranda turned away from Jacqueline to face the wall and waved her hand dismissively in the air. She had done enough damage; threats seemed futile at this stage.

Miranda heard the suite door slam shut behind her. She kept her steely resolve, but underneath the surface, her heart was breaking.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now 2006

Jacqueline entered the hotel suite, finally able to relax after what felt like an impossible day. She poured herself a measure of brandy from a crystal decanter and took a deep breath. The gravity of her plans with Irv Ravitz was weighing on her mind. There was no going back now; she would be the new Editor in Chief of Runway New York. They say revenge is sweet, but at what cost?

A knock on the door snapped Jacqueline out of her pensive haze. She opened the door to an immaculately dressed young man from the hotel concierge. “Good evening, ma’am. This just arrived for you.” He handed Jacqueline an envelope.

“Merci,” Jacqueline said absently, intrigued by the delivery, as the door closed behind her. She picked up a letter opener from the mahogany desk and slid it under the fold. She scanned the page quickly; the sight of the almost-illegible handwriting had not lost its effect…even after all these years:

No-one ever bothers to explain the heartache life can bring and what it means.

We always hurt the ones we love, the ones we shouldn’t hurt at all. We always pluck the sweetest rose and crush it until the petal falls.

I’m sorry.

MP.


Jacqueline crumpled the paper into a ball and threw it into the trash basket, tainted by almost twenty years of resentment; the words were bittersweet on her tongue. “Damn you, Miranda! You made your decision-now I’m making mine.”


The End.
 
 
Current Mood: relievedrelieved
Current Music: Academia - Sia
 
 
 
jintymacjintymac on April 29th, 2009 08:51 pm (UTC)
This was great and certainly puts a delicious angle onto their antagonistic relationship in the film ;-)

Oh and happy birthday to acceb23 too!
ragelikeafire: Pimp my rideragelikeafire on April 29th, 2009 09:00 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading, Im glad you liked it :)



The top of the utensil pyramidsporkmetender on April 30th, 2009 02:14 am (UTC)
Aww. You picked my title! *is touched*

I love that you wrote this, dear. And I'm still waiting for that follow-up fic :D

Also, happy belated birthday, acceb23!
punky_96punky_96 on April 30th, 2009 04:14 am (UTC)
I'd like so angst with my order of dysfunction, please.

That was crazy to read. I could see them having an affair and Miranda playing the career and hurting Jacqueline. And it would give much more reason for Jacqueline to go after American Runway.

Great writing BB!

(and a not so subtle reminder that there's another chapter of CDP somewhere, right?)
ragelikeafire: Run for your liferagelikeafire on April 30th, 2009 05:25 pm (UTC)
I know, I know, I know...C,P&D has been a long time coming! *blows dust off scribble pad*

I promise I will work at a furious pace this week, just for you my main crack dealer!

Thanks for the comment :)
perks123perks123 on April 30th, 2009 11:46 am (UTC)
Nicely done...puts a whole new perspective on why things happened as they did...thank you for posting
ragelikeafire: Run for your liferagelikeafire on April 30th, 2009 05:26 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading and as always taking the time to comment :)

Rage x
The Raven: Bad Eggsunfortunateggs on April 30th, 2009 05:49 pm (UTC)
Very nice, my dear... :):)

You should write more, and write more often.
easily impressed: i likes itacceb23 on April 30th, 2009 07:44 pm (UTC)
*falls off chair*

I'm not sure whether I like them more when they're dysfunction queens or when they're picking out curtains together, but I'm pretty sure I like them best when you write them =)

I do think it needs another chapter though. Miranda should confront her about why she tried to steal her job. and then they should have hate sex =)=)

thank you sooo much bb!!! and scurry/ihearrobots/girl who should stop changing her name is helping with the picturrr??? happy times :):)

i'm not sure how to thank you, but all this hotel sex gives me an idea ;) lol

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxLYxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
easily impressedacceb23 on May 1st, 2009 09:55 am (UTC)
I fogot to mention...you wrote Miranda/Jacqueline for me?!?!?! *tackles you to floor in an over enthusiastic hug* THANK YOU. i know how much you hate them, so it means a lot =)=)
ragelikeafire: eyerollragelikeafire on May 1st, 2009 11:32 am (UTC)
Im so pleased you like it!

Hate sex sounds delicious *ponders*

I hope you had a great day and gots lots and lots of pressies :)

H x
i am more than memory, i am what might be: [DWP; Andrea] // i told my therapist abobytheguillotine on April 30th, 2009 10:16 pm (UTC)
Ahh, that roses line still gets to me. Who would have thought that MP's also a closet poet? Lol, I totally agree with acceb23 about a follow up with hate!sex. And then Andy finds out and Miranda and Andy should have fabulous hate!sex themselves. So. Perfect. Rawr. XD
ragelikeafire: Run for your liferagelikeafire on May 1st, 2009 11:34 am (UTC)
Now that would be one f'd up triangle! But the thought really does funny things to my girl parts!

Thanks for reading again bb x
black_inkfinity: readingblack_inkfinity on May 2nd, 2009 09:10 am (UTC)
I liked it. :) It's interesting that Miranda seems a little bit "softer"/"more approachable" in her younger days, although the tendencies towards her "current" ways of behavior are already visible. I'm always interested in how a person's experiences in life make her or him who she or he is.

And nice use of Connie Francis' (?) lyrics...:)

Also, it's interesting that Miranda apologized...
ragelikeafire: Ms Mragelikeafire on May 3rd, 2009 10:31 am (UTC)
Good spot on the Connie! :)

You picked up on some of the most important parts in the story for me. I wanted to give the reader into a younger Miranda, to show a more open side. How time and stature has caused her-already wary and guarded side to grow, almost to a point where she is unable to let anyone in, a fear of the consequences.

My intention was for the reader to interpret the apology one of two ways:

In the film Miranda admits that she knew what Irv was up to all along. Is Miranda playing a vicious game with Jacqueline when she sends the note? Or after twenty years of regrets and lies is she genuinely remorseful over how she treated her?

Thanks for reading bb!



glacial_paceglacial_pace on May 5th, 2009 05:30 pm (UTC)
I absolutely loved this! I was sceptical about the pairing - but wow, it was great - a very hot couple I think, a wall I would very much like to be a fly on!
ragelikeafire: shoesragelikeafire on May 5th, 2009 05:49 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the comment :)

Not my first choice pairing but because it was a gift I was willing to step outside of my comfort zone for my darling acceb23 :)

nice to see a new face too!