It was summer, at last. The harsh winter had hung on for an extra two months, before the gray skies faded into brilliant sunshine, and the students - no longer cooped up indoors - grew cheerful once more. It was not uncommon for couples to spend hours searching for an unoccupied clearing or tree to nestle under, and even more frequent that pairs were caught in the middle of some act or other, providing much embarrassment for all parties involved.
There was one tree, though, that was never approached; the gnarled elm on the left bank of the canal, just up from the bridge. Even those who didn't know the girl knew that it was Glinda's tree.
Glinda, for her part, didn't realize that the others had respectfully set up an invisible barricade around her, she merely thought her hiding place was a good and secluded one. Day after day over the vacation she made her way to the glen, shoes in one hand, the grass cool beneath her feet. It was just as soothing against her cheek when she lay down in the shade, a hollow sigh slicing her in two before tears began to spill down her cheeks.
How had it taken her so long to realise? She loved Elphaba. Had loved her. Did love her, wherever she was. She'd tried to deny the stirrings of feelings that had begun pushing their way to the surface last year, convincing herself that she was just being young and foolish, and reminding herself that this wasn't some dashing young man, this was Elphaba. All of that seemed idiotic now, and she closed her eyes tightly, moaning.
All the lost chances. All those nights on the road when they had shared a bed, eventually moving closer and closer together until finally Glinda was falling asleep in Elphaba's arms, heart churning when Elphaba, thinking she was asleep, kissed her forehead gently and whispered her apologies for the awful conditions, and her thanks that Glinda was there with her. All those nights when she could have pretended to awaken mid-kiss, instead of falling into a cosy dream about what things would be like back at Shiz; when, on the return journey, after they had done whatever it was they were supposed to be doing, she could surprise Elphaba with a few kisses of her own, just to see what it was like.
It almost made Glinda laugh. She, the spoiled brat, who had demanded everything now when growing up, had for once been prepared to wait. And look where it had gotten her.
All those nights after Dr. Dillamond's murder, when Elphaba had been unable to sleep, lying wide-eyed and shaking until long after Glinda had drifted off, in the same state when she awoke. All those times that Glinda could have offered her some comfort, and friendship, instead of asking blithely if she needed some sleeping pills. Could have crept over to her bed, turned down the sheets, and put her arms around her. Her heart had gone out to Elphaba then, she had wanted to calm her, or help her to grow calm - why hadn't she?
Glinda curled herself up with a sob. Elphaba had nodded off against her one lunchtime, head on her shoulder. All too quickly she had jolted awake, looking embarrassed as she became aware of what it was she had done. And what had Glinda done herself? Smiled, shrugged, said "it's alright, you're tired". Hadn't reached out to her, hadn't pulled her close again, hadn't done anything to show that she cared at all, apart from silently pleading for her to come back. Elphaba, cheeks flushed and eyes down, hadn't.
Now it was Glinda who was having trouble sleeping, lying awake night after endless night, so filled with regret that sometimes she vomited into their - her - basin, though she had barely been able to eat all day. Her dresses hung off her, she was constantly exhausted, and those girls she had once called friends had all but stopped talking to her, giving her up for lost. She thought about them achingly as she clutched at the grass. Friends, none of them. 'Friends' she would be able to cry on, to cling onto to. To do all the things she had been too afraid to do for Elphaba.
No wonder she had left Glinda so easily.