|Lines and Times
you looked my way and said "you frustrate me"
Miranda fights dirty.
Their arguments don't descend to hair-pulling and rolling about in the mud and fingernail gouging ("But don't all the boys wish they did," Mir once said dryly, and Dom, Billy and Orlando all looked very busy doing other things immediately after she said it), but Miranda knows the weight of words and she is well-versed in how to use them for maximum effect. Mir has a penchant for tossing tableware when she's upset, but beyond that she doesn't shout, doesn't stomp, doesn't slam doors. She just says the most devastating thing possible in any given situation and then she waits.
Cate isn't stupid. She has, in fact, always considered herself to be quite bright, rather quick with wit or in an argument. It isn't that Cate can't keep up with Mirry in a discussion, an argument, or a full-out plate-throwing fight; it's just that Mir knows how to hit much harder.
Mir comes home from filming that day and she's in a wretched mood, tired and cranky and the boys have been playing tricks on her on set again. Cate says she'll talk to them about the pranks, and Miranda snaps, "You're not my mother, quit fucking acting like you are."
Things just escalate from there.
Cate says, "But they'll listen to me and if you hate it so much …"
Miranda says, "I don't hate it, it's just tiresome and I'm trying to do my job and they won't let me, and it's not so easy for all of us as it is for you."
Cate says, "It isn't easy for me, Mir. Why do you think it's easy for me?"
Miranda says, "When you're so pretty that people crash cars because they're staring at you, it is, by definition, easy for you. And by ‘it', I mean everything. And by easy, I mean if you want anything in the world, you could have it. Just because you don't take it doesn't mean you can't have it."
Cate says, "Mir ..."
Miranda says, "You have what I want, which is respect from the people I work with, and I don't, and that fucking sucks, Cate."
Then she throws her cup of tea through the glass panes in Cate's back door and leaves through the front door.
Every argument, every fight, every plate that Miranda flings or door Cate slams in anger, they all lead back to one place: their bed.
Well, Cate's bed, really. It's Cate's place, this place where they fight and fuck and live, but no one calls it Cate's place. Their cast mates call it Cate and Miranda's place, two toothbrushes in a glass above the sink, two women worth of shoes abandoned across the living room floor. Cohabitation without ever discussing it. It works, mostly, but Cate's got to buy more teacups this week. Miranda keeps throwing them at the walls.
Cate's bed, their bed, is enormous. When they share it, they'll end up on far sides in the morning and have to stretch their fingers out to touch each other. After they fight, when Miranda's swept up pieces of shattered china and Cate's apologized for slamming doors and Mir has used her devastating words to piece things back together best she can, Mir backs Cate up against the bed and tumbles her across it.
Miranda's apologies are as clever as her arguments but not as devastating, and her words are never as clever as her fingers are on Cate's breasts, as Miranda's mouth on her cunt.
Whenever they fight, they end up in bed when everything is said and done.
It could be worse.
Miranda says, "You don't have all the answers. Stop acting like you do."
Cate says, "But Mir ...."
Miranda says, "You've got a husband, don't you? Why don't you stop trying to run my life and take care of your own, instead?"
When Miranda slams through the front door, Cate doesn't see her for three days – different shooting schedules, and Mir doesn't answer her phone. Hugo says that he thinks she's at Karl's, or maybe Dominic's.
When Miranda comes back, she skips the words entirely and scandalizes Bean, who turns up unexpectedly and gets quite a show on the living room floor.
Cate is fond of Mirry. Miranda is clever and pretty and knows more dirty jokes than most of the men in the cast, and she looks wonderful naked, spread out across Cate's enormous bed and begging for Cate to please do something. Miranda is a breath of fresh air on a set dominated by men, and she's a good cook, and she's very, very lovely in bed.
Cate might even love her. Miranda is lovable. But Mirry's temper is awful, just wretched, and Cate hasn't found a pattern to her outbursts, and it's a bit wearing, after all, never being sure when someone is going to fling a soup bowl at your head when you're standing in your own kitchen.
She shouldn't put up with any of it, the way Miranda can be heartless and cruel with just a few well-chosen words, the way she's lost all of her favorite coffee mugs, the way she herself knocked a doorknob clear off the door by slamming it a few weeks ago. She shouldn't, but she does, because it isn't as though they fight constantly.
Weeks pass. Everything is lovely, no fits of temper from either side, and Cate knows it isn't all Miranda's fault when they do fight.
The only place they don't fight is the bed, because Cate is too caught up in Miranda's fingers stroking her clit, and Miranda is too caught up in Cate's mouth on her breast, and that's just the way it is.
It's not that they just fuck and fight, really, because it really isn't all they do – it's just that it seems that way sometimes.
The whole thing doesn't fall apart; it ends because it was, for both of them, really more a matter of convenience. Cate loves Miranda, and she's fairly certain it goes both ways, but Cate's family wasn't in New Zealand for all of filming, and people on a set get lonely. It's a fact of the business: lonely people in strange places fall into bed together, and if they're lucky, they emerge from the whole thing better people.
Mirry comes to visit her, stays with her family, meets her husband, drinks tea without throwing the mug across the room.
Miranda thinks that Cate looks thinner, less luminous.
Cate thinks Mir looked better angry, exhausted, passionate.
Miranda drops her hand on top of Cate's as they sit on the sofa, catching up after tea. Cate links her fingers through Miranda's. No one throws plates, and now that it has dimmed down distant memories, Cate thinks that perhaps it was actually better before.
Cate kisses Miranda when Mir leaves several days later – kisses her with great intent. When Miranda pulls away, she smiles at Cate, a little lopsided but pleased, and there's a familiar flash of something burning behind her eyes.
Miranda calls to say she made it home safely.
That night in bed, Cate tells her husband about the time Miranda threw Billy's glass of scotch through Elijah's kitchen window.
"You're awfully fond of her," he says, his voice sleepy.
You don't know the half of it, Cate thinks. Anger and passion and lust all tied up together with a heavy helping of love.
"I am," Cate says. "She's lovely."