Author's Note: Those damn spoiled brats! I was slapped with this idea a while ago, and since there is a terrible lack of odd coupling fics, I, of course, itched to write this. "An Old-Fashioned Lesbian Love Story" if you may.
Disclaimer: Gregory Maguire's. All. All characters.
Those silly girls at Shiz.
They talk, oh how they talk of jewels.
Of The Minkos Clan
We were both on the carriage leaving the Emerald City to Shiz.
Both revered for our intelligence in our own hometowns, its no surprise that Shiz University welcomed us. I have always been the prettiest girl in my town, Bright Lettins, but of course, I had never really traveled anywhere, so her beauty was quite of a shock to me. There she sat, perfectly poised in the waning sunlight of the afternoon. Her profile seemed so ethereally exquisite: a porcelain doll of moon-white skin and straight, not to mention admirable, long coffee-colored hair. I cautiously flipped my own strawberry-tinted hair, for tangled ends are the hardest to undo.
The carriage rudely shook, perhaps by some ill-timed steering maneuver. I swiveled my head to glare at the driver through that damn window when my skin prickled.
"You are Miss Pfannee of Pfann Hall." I turned around again to see her lovely almond-shaped eyes piercing me with a gaze. Ah, from prickles to needles!
"And you are?" Mimicking her flat statement, I straightened my shoulders further in an attempt to showcase my family torque. She studied me for a minute before doing the same.
"Miss Shenshen of the Minkos Clan." The glistening and assortment of rubies on her jeweled choker almost blinded me; it had been at first invisible under all that flowing hair.
Ah, the Minkos family. Now I remembered. The Minkos family of Upper Applerue. By far the most wealthy in The Glikkus, they monopolized the emerald trade, owning every single emerald mine in the county. Roughly forty-two people derived from that clan, twenty of whom live in Far Applerue, where they were said to be importing illegal diamonds from Quox. The main family, of which I perceived her to be of, basically assumed the whole of the Glikkus mountains, the Scalps.
My intermediate teachings rushed through me, both unwanted and interesting.
"Charmed." Her tongue flickered teasingly out as the pearls in her teeth flashed at me, a surprising example of poor form. Taken aback, the gawk in my face froze still. It froze, unaware of my upbringing.
Undaunted, she reached over, lifted a delicate finger, and gently pushed my bottom lip so that it touched my top.
Waterfalls trickled the wrong way up my spine.
It lingered there, in the middle of my lips, for the longest time before she smirked and pulled back.
Red, like the red red red of an apple smudged her slim finger where the rubies began.
For the rest of the trip, I could not bring my eyes to meet hers and I knew, from my prickling skin, that she was indeed bringing her eyes to me.Two
"Her name is Miss Milla, and she originates from the Gillikin area." Miss Shenshen's breathy voice slowly traveled in my ear.
Shiz University had been quite a delicious surprise, a smattering of wealthy stepping stones-excuse me, girls-that cackled interminably about clothes and boys, at least something interesting to me. At that time, that is. Oh Unnamed God! The pearls and the diamonds and the emeralds and the rubies! They all glittered in equal parts finesse and malice.
As ever, I had been told by my Grandmama and Papa to befriend what my parents couldn't; a tall, graceful Gillikinese with a prestigious bloodline and family, preferably, nestled securely as a wealthy pro-Wizard politician or a powerful official.
"Oh she won't do, her father is nothing but…" I shook myself, wondering why I was talking to her anyway. She had made me so uncomfortable in the carriage! Unremarkably, however, I couldn't catch myself so I tried my hand at my infallible wit. "I mean, sweet Shiz, those thighs! That excessive brooch! How explicitly gaudy!"
Her thin lips curled into a smirk, as if agreeing with my falsified comment.
"I hate emeralds."
Miss Milla's ugly brooch reflected furiously in the light as if overhearing.
Shenshen dropped her eyes down to my necklace, a garnet heirloom from my Great Papa's mother. She smiled, a secret smile, and I looked down to see what evil caused it. The top flap of my dress had popped open, revealing the rounded beginnings of my chest. Before I could retort, my Ama fluttered over.
"Sweetings! Your new roommate, poppet! I see you've already met!"
There was no time to register my shock, apparently. We were all bustled into the hall like cattle. Crowded though the hall was, we found our room. Standing at the doorway, I felt the most unsettling feel of soft hands on my shoulder, and spun around. Even though I already knew who it was.
I tilted sideways to let her through and she tilted sideways.
Our bosoms discreetly passed each other, a softer touch than the hands. Goose bumps slithered down my skin, and I probably moaned quietly.
And she had the damn audacity to keep smiling.Three
"So what do you think of that girl, Galinda?" She always did this. "Good enough for you?"
I stiffened, realizing it was three weeks into this excruciating roommate marriage, and still could not feel comfortable. I glanced up from my braiding and coyly smiled at her.
"Very pretty. An Arduenna of the Uplands? Perfectly legitimate bloodline, I should think."
Instantly her smug grin vanished into a frown, then a line of feigned apathy. She swirled around, whipping the covers over her head, her whole body vanishing except for her feet. There they lay, so tense and sincerely sculpted and faerie-like, and I could not help but watch them through my crimson braids.
I thought I heard "But you never think" but her voice was so muffled, I was never too sure. But I smiled secretly, braiding away.Four
It was the brightest day in Shiz that autumn when the green girl sped past us like some spastic grasshopper. Hurrying, as if she had some pressing engagement to go to.
Shenshen's face twisted mischievously and instantly my insides twisted just the same.
Her pale fingers gestured toward the fleeting thing. "Miss Galinda's roommate."
"What about her?"
The sun shadowed her face, and like the torque, she disappeared into her brown hair again. A giggle crept out from beneath her veil of hair and for some reason (even though the winds had died down) chills spiraled down my spine.
"Miss Thropp was assigned to me. She was my preference." The sequins in her blouse sparkled like an immediate fire. My fingers twitched with frozen burn. I forced a snort.
"Your parents preferred you room with green?" Preposterious, though it was. Only a desperate family of declining nobility would ask to room with that girl, Thropp or not. And Shenshen's family was indeed neither.
"Are you tainted?" I hadn't meant to say that, though it lingered often in my mind. For it was well known that rich children discovered with horrid afflictions (like that green girl) were forced to room together since everyone normal was told not to room with them.
My cheeks turned an awful shade of red, a shade close to the crimson of my precious hair.
"I mean…" I stuttered, a terrible habit.
Her whole face leaned toward me as I glanced up. Then she threw her head back and laughed, a hellish bell-sound that disconcerted me.
I regained my composure only to lose it again.
"I mean it's not like you tell me anything about yourself! What am I supposed to think? I don't even know what your favorite food is, Miss Shenshen, or your favorite jewelry no less!"
I snatched my book from beside me and started to leave. I heard no footsteps as I stalked away, realizing irritably that she at least had the good manners not to rush after me.
However that damn tinkling laughter followed after me.
"Don't be jealous, Miss Pfanee!" She was laughing again with contempt dripping from her voice.
"I told you I hated emeralds!"
My stomach lifted with a nauseous embrace, and as I rushed away, I had no idea why.Five
"You never should have wrote that letter."
Again, I rolled my eyes at my roommate. Her eyes, usually a clean slate of hazel, smoldered deeply in shades of black.
"Shenshen, it was merely a joke! Besides", I cackled, a very unbecoming sound from a very becoming woman, "It's not like you ever fancied her greatly or anything!" Of that nature, I wanted to add.
"No, no I haven't." But smart she seemed, and the words she spoke were calculated and jagged. My shoulders slumped briefly, the hilarity in the moment gone.
She shook her head, the brown strands unraveling from the bun on her head. The strap of her dress glided down her shoulder, and she, even in the virgin light, stank of innuendoes and cunning.
The feel of a burning hand sizzled as it clenched my already tight stomach.
"Perhaps Master Avaric will cure your troubles." I whispered it before I had known it coming. The texture of the sentence slithered from my painted red lips like unstoppable bile.
Her torrid reputation involving intimate encounters lingered unspoken in Briscoe Hall, yet that same reputation was relayed relentlessly-or so I've heard-from room to room in Ozma Towers.
And that damn bitch smiled. Again.
"Perhaps I will." The cruel glint of her jeweled choker flashed its hundreds of menacing lights at me, the color of fresh blood.
Slut, my mind screamed watching her saunter away.
The next time I saw her, the green girl already left Briscoe Hall.
Room twenty-two's door swung open and shut with the breeze from the window. Something bit at my stomach as I watched her. Watched her holding Miss Glinda as she sobbed on her smooth shoulder. Forcing a smile, I trudged forward, my heels like unwilling spikes on a glacial floor.
"Miss Glinda, I offer my condolences to your loss." She turned her face toward me. Her mascara was running. I continued. "The memory of Miss Elphaba Thropp will forever live in our hearts." I let out a sigh, half theatrically, I admit, and half concern. We were never that close, that green girl and I. I stared at Shenshen's turned head. And neither was she.
Glinda sniffled, and I shifted my gaze back to her. Why had it left?
Miss Elphaba or my gaze, either one attributed to this situation.
From the corner of my eye, Shenshen shifted and sat up. Glinda lifted her index finger and thumb and proceeded to wipe some of the mascara off, with no avail, since the tears kept pouring.
Two hours later, or whenever she dismissed us, we walked slowly back to our room, neither of us speaking. She took a shower first and I sat down on the bed and started to file my nails. The sun was setting, but I didn't want to see it.
She spoke first.
"Shame, isn't it?" I could hear her frowning. "Miss Glinda seems to miss her greatly."
"And who doesn't?" The words sounded shallow and mean, and I instantly felt guilty for speaking. In the silence that followed, I could hear the water shut on and off, uncertain and loud. Her footsteps indicated that she had finished. I could hear the towel wrapping around her body and I shivered.
Waltzing out of the bathroom she sunk on her bed, the wet curtain of hair shimmering in the sun's setting rays. I glared at her. She was driving me insane.
"Why on Oz, Miss Shenshen, did you flit to Miss Glinda's rescue when I know that you, out of all people, cannot stand her?"
Shenshen tossed her head, droplets of water scattering all over, including on me, and I cringed. The corners of her lip twitched into a secret smile and she stood up, walking over to the dresser where she kept her necklaces.
"Perhaps now I understand her", she said with a giggle, and I had the faintest idea of what she meant.Seven
She stood, staring at me as I braided my hair. Pellets of rain smattered in watercolors against the glass as thunder reverberated deeply in the distance.
Glinda and Miss Elphaba and Miss Milla and Master Boq were all gone from Shiz University. They, with the exclusion of Miss Elphaba, graduated two weeks before, and because of the new hectic schedule, Shenshen and I had barely enough time to speak.
But tonight it was rainy, and tonight we could not be expected to run in the rain to our night classes.
I jutted my chin to acknowledge her, casting a suspicious glance at her standing form.
"What is it now?" My braids tangled into my hands and I sighed, irritated. I peered at her from wisps of red hair, grimacing inwardly as she was only wearing a towel.
And that damned torque.
She sauntered over to me, that cocky little walk of hers and sat down on my bed (that my Ama had just freshly pressed). I turned away from her and said nothing.
We sat in silence for a couple of minutes until I couldn't take it anymore.
"Dammit, Shenshen! What is wrong with you? I'm trying to brai-" A chilled finger pressed its print on my lips. The world went cold and my lips throbbed and her eyes faintly rolled and the tickle of her hair is on my shoulder…
She whispered, the warmest and quietest sound in the room, compared to my breathing.
"Ask me what my favorite food is." I became aware that I was on my back. I could even hear the back of my silk robe wrinkling with her press. My shivers became more noticeable.
I struggled for the words, my voice trembling unnaturally (why?). "What's. Your. Favorite food?"
I felt wetness in the curve of my ear. I think I gasped as her tongue flicked.
"Guess." She shifted her weight above mine, and I think I stopped breathing in shock. What would Mother and Father think?
She smiled into my neck as I protested, struggling a bit. My silk robe!
"Ask me what my favorite jewelry is." Her thin arms pinned me down into the fresh sheets and her eyes burned with a wicked fire.Eight
"What's your favorite jewelry?"
I stared at her, and she stared at me, and we were back on the train to Shiz, and she was telling me she hated emeralds and she saw the diamond prince and Glinda's tears and didn't like diamonds and she was tainted but how?
And now I knew what she knew in that we were unimportant in the matters of the world and that history did not belong to us, ever.
But what I didn't know was what her favorite jewelry was.
She unclasped her towel with a free hand and the moonstone skin on her breasts glittered.
Her towel dropped to the floor. My silk robe crumpled.
"Rubies." She leaned in. "Rubies, Miss Pfannee of Pfann Hall."
Grabbed my red red red head and smiled secretly on my red red red lips.
Of the Minkos Clan.