Galinda rolled over in her bed with a moan, clutching her pillow to her belly. She whimpered pitifully as her stomach gave another growl of protest. The lacy lining of the pillow, invisible in the dark of the dorm room, scratched Galinda's chin as she curled herself around it, hoping that somehow the pressure of it against her growling belly would calm, or at least muffle, the sound. The small stomach only protested louder.
Galinda groaned again and tossed herself forcefully onto her other side to check the time. 11:48. Unnamed God, why was she so hungry? She had had a reasonable dinner, hadn't she? Carrot sticks and garden salad with light dressing. Well, reasonable for her new diet, anyway. How else was she to get into that beautiful new dress ShenShen had offered to let her wear next week? ShenShen was so tiny, after all (well, not as thin as Miss Elphaba, perhaps, but much smaller than Galinda in any case) and when ShenShen offered to lend you a dress, you did not refuse. Such generosity came with an act as that. It simply was not done!
So she would just ignore her body's boisterous protests to her new diet and go to sleep. Oh, but how to sleep in such a condition, with her stomach contracting oddly and making those horrible gurgling noises. Surely she could not be as hungry as that. Restlessly, Galinda tossed her pillow behind her where it missed the edge of her bed and toppled to the floor. She then kicked her comforter and blanket to the foot of her bed and snuggled up with the thin sheet that was left tucked around her body. After a few more minutes of tossing and turning, Galinda decided that her current state did not allow for sleep, or indeed rest of any kind. Irritably, she got out of the bed, tossing the sheet to meet the rest of her covers, which were threatening to fall to the floor beside her bed, and walked over to her vanity. Galinda banged open the middle drawer on the left, not minding her roommate in the least (Miss Elphaba, always one for extremes, could sleep through a train wreck, or else was never asleep at all.) Galinda groped around in the drawer noisily until she found a small tape measure and a match. Thumping back to her bed, Galinda lit the candle on her nightstand and thrust the tape measure around her waist. Twenty nine and a half inches.
"Damn." Galinda muttered, throwing the tape measure to meet her pillow on the floor. She still needed to lose another three and a half inches if she wanted to wear that dress. She'd been eating like a rabbit for four days now, why wasn't she losing the weight quicker? Galinda threw herself full length onto her bed once more and tugged the covers around her body again, ruing the loss of her pillow. She soon began to toss again, harrumphing softly. Her eyes roamed the room, scanning the candle, which she had not bothered blowing out, the bedposts, her vanity, the outfit she had laid out for tomorrow (would it suddenly look frumpy from her weight loss?) and finally, ruefully, her roommate. Her slumbering obnoxiously thin roommate. What did dear Miss Elphaba eat that kept her so thin? Surely it was not those apples she always seemed to be gnawing on. An apple a day might keep a doctor away, but it could not give you a twenty two inch waist. Of course, Miss Elphaba's slim waist was lost by her slim hips and chest as well. Galinda suspected that she was the same width where ever you measured her, except at those bony shoulders. She would be twenty five inches there. As Galinda scrutinized and cursed her roommate, the green girl in question turned over slowly and eyed Galinda back.
"Oh, so you haven't fallen asleep then? Pity, I was beginning to think the herd of horses on your bed had passed and would leave the room quiet enough for me to sleep as well."
Galinda harrumphed again in reply.
"You sound like me." Elphaba remarked, "What's the matter? Can't the princess get her beauty sleep tonight? Or has she discovered that she's not a mouse and therefore cannot eat as one?"
Galinda started, "Why have you been inspecting my eating habits, Miss Elphaba?" she growled. Elphaba cackled back softly.
"There are no sugary confections lying around for me to pinch, Miss Galinda. I have not been spying on you, but rather my own eating habits have suffered a bit. I think I'm losing weight." The last part was drowning in the dull sarcasm Miss Elphaba seemed to love so dearly. Miss Galinda sniffed furiously and tossed away from Miss Elphaba's smirking face with another "Hmph."
For a moment, all was quiet, and Galinda suspected that her roommate had let the matter go. She was settling back into her previous restlessness, when a voice whispered in her ear.
"I can get you into the kitchens, you know, if you're truly hungry."
Galinda yelped and jumped away from Miss Elphaba, who had apparently slipped out of her own bed and come to stand inches away from Galinda's face. Now that Galinda was sitting bolt upright on the other side of her bed, Miss Elphaba took a seat calmly and spoke again.
"I work in the kitchens some days, and I know the place by heart. People go down there for midnight snacks all the time. A bit of bread at least won't hurt your precious figure and might allow us both to get some sleep tonight."
"I will not have you force feeding me carbohydrates, Miss Elphaba. I am simply restless and anxious about tomorrow. I am not hungry." Galinda's stomach chose that moment to gurgle deafeningly and clench in on itself, making Galinda double over for a moment. When she looked back up, Miss Elphaba wore a look of pure scrutiny, with one brow cocked and a smirk wide enough to challenge the Unpassable Desserts. One thin green hand slowly extended to Galinda, who shrank back from it.
"One roll and an apple won't ruin your figure."
Sighing and futilely trying to muffle her stomach with one hand, Galinda looked her roommate over, roaming her face, her waist, and eventually, the extended hand. Pouting and cursing her stomach, Galinda accepted the offer.
"Are you sure there's not an easier--"
"Shh! Do you want to get caught?"
No. Galinda definitely did not want to get caught out in the freezing night in only her robe, silken gown, and tiny slippers. Not that Miss Elphaba was any better covered in only her night frock, as plain and shapeless as any worn in the day. And even, no especially, dressed as she was, Miss Galinda would rather die than be caught with her roommate. Out of the dorm. In the middle of the night. Wearing only her night things. This did not cross the line of propriety, it shattered it. Galinda pulled her robe tightly around her slender frame and wondered for the thousandth time why she had agreed to this. Her stomach was quick to remind her.
"Miss Elphaba, how much longer will this take?" Galinda stammered out. Miss Elphaba spared a glance at Galinda, who was trailing about five feet behind her roommate. Two slender green fingers waved in a "hurry-up" motion, but no vocal response was made. Galinda did not bother stifling her frustration.
"Hmph! Miss Elphaba if you do not acknowledge me right this instant I shall--"
"What? Turn around? Get lost on your way back? Turn me in for being out of the dorm past curfew, and in the process accidentally admit you yourself were with me? Please Miss Galinda, you've come with me, now you will not go back. You don't know the way and you'd get caught besides. Now stay quiet, will you?"
"I shall not stay quiet, Miss Elphaba, no, I shall speak when I desire and right now I desire—Augh!" A crunch ensued from beneath Galinda's feet and part of the ground seemed to give way beneath her. Miss Elphaba, insensitive as ever, did not ask for her well being.
"Watch the lettuces, will you? And for the last time, hush! In case you hadn't noticed, we're nearly there now." Miss Elphaba's smirk was nearly audible. Galinda sniffed ruefully and followed her roommate at an even greater distance than before. Miss Elphaba understandably reached the kitchen building first and Galinda had to walk twenty feet around the building before finding the green girl at one of the back windows. Just as Galinda rounded the corner, Elphaba managed to unhitch the latch on the window. She lifted the glass pane with only a slight squeak, muttering incoherently as she did so, and slipped inside. Galinda was surprised to see that Elphaba held the glass up for her, but disgruntled to see how small and dirty the area was.
"Come on, I can't hold this all night and your stomach will bring about the whole campus." Elphaba said caustically. Galinda put on a face of utter disgust.
"If you think I'm crawling through those cobwebs and squirming through that dust, you can go teach a monkey to fly while you're at it!" Galinda replied sharply, recoiling from the window and clutching her robe all the more tightly as though to protect it from the grime. Elphaba rolled her eyes.
"Come on, Galinda! It's not as though your slippers aren't dirty from the vegetables already. A little more dust won't hurt you. You can wash off when we get back, now get in here before you're sighted!" Reaching out with one hand, Elphaba grabbed Galinda around the ankle and gave a sharp tug. Galinda squealed as she nearly lost her balance, and Elphaba recoiled from the noise, releasing Galinda at once.
"Will you shut up, you brat?!" Elphaba hissed. Galinda, feeling slightly queasy, obliged. "Now, come on!" Elphaba waved her on once again, her green digits swiping furiously at the air between the two girls. Trying to focus on anything but the filth, Galinda lowered herself to the ground and, assisted by Elphaba's steady grip, slid feet first through the window and landed on the kitchen tiles with a slight thud. Elphaba huffed and spun around on her heel, headed for the far wall. Galinda took a minute to peruse her surroundings. It was dark and difficult to see, but she could make out several old cabinets and a dusty wooden table, desperate in its nearly rotten state, surrounded by sturdy chairs that surely were not part of the original decorum.
"Aha!" came Elphaba's voice through the darkness, no more than a whisper, and all at once the room was filled with light. Galinda saw tile counters, recently cleaned and shining drawers of cutlery, all of which made her feel greatly relieved for the campus food produced here. She heaved a sigh of relief seeing open pantry doors with Elphaba's green feet poking out oddly.
"Do you know where all the food is kept, Miss Elphaba?" Galinda asked with as much politeness as she could muster. Her response came in the form on an apple, which she managed to catch inches from her face.
"Damn, I was aiming for your mouth. I thought I'd close it for you, since you seemingly haven't gotten the message about staying quiet." For once, Elphaba's voice was not unkind, however, and Galinda merely took a large satisfied bite out of the fruit. She could hear her roommate's soft cackle from the pantry. Galinda took her treat and went over to the chairs (they didn't match the table at all) and dragged it over to the counters, where Elphaba joined her moments later, carting another apple for herself and two dinner rolls.
"If you weren't so obviously watching your waistline, I'd offer you a dose of cream to help you sleep." Elphaba muttered, "I think I'd like to treat myself, however, if you don't mind."
"Why should you care what I mind?" Galinda replied airily, her mouth stuffed with apple and the juice pouring down her chin, "you've certainly never bothered caring before."
"You've never given me reason nor asked me to care before," Elphaba retorted without missing a beat, "Or perhaps I'm turning over a new leaf, a brown one so my skin will change as well." She tossed a dish towel in Galinda's lap, "Clean yourself off, my pretty. The apple juice, tasty though it may be, does little for your complexion." Galinda chuckled and accepted the offer, dabbing daintily at her chin while her cheeks bulged with the fruit.
They sat in silence for a bit after that and it was not until Galinda had finished her apple and roll that she spoke again, "That was marvelous, but I feel large as a cow at the moment. I do hope it goes down."
"No fears, my pretty," Elphaba replied, swallowing a bite of her own roll, "If it doesn't I'll lace your corset so any dress will fit you, even one of my own." Galinda, picturing this and imagining it to be rather painful, winced and chuckled simultaneously.
"My dear Miss Elphaba, should I ever wear one of your dresses, I believe I should have little problem fitting in them, as they are made to be worn by bales of hay, not women." To her surprise, Elphaba laughed, her usual eerie cackle, yes, but it was a laugh.
"Oh, dear Miss Galinda, what makes you think I could support your finery? I haven't the figure nor the tones. I haven't the features nor the curves. There is no reason for me to dress for show as I have nothing to show."
"They make dresses for your type as well," Galinda insisted, pouting.
"Would that be the tall twig type or the string bean type?"
"Why you are impossible!" Galinda hissed playfully, "The tall thin type, I mean, and I believe you could look quite pretty in them, too. Oh, don't give me that look – yes, that look – you never do anything with your hair and we both know that it is worthy of being shown. If you hair is so pretty, but you refuse to show it, why should I believe you when you say you have nothing else to show?"
Elphaba considered this for a moment, her skeptical stare lost in a furrow of her brow, before answering.
"We room together, Miss Galinda, surely you know what I look like. My garments, however unflattering they may be, hide very little. You cannot pretend that is not true."
"Perhaps," Galinda was not going to give this up now, "but they do manage to hide your wonderfully slender waist. Perhaps a simple sash tied around your frock--"
"A pink sash, I presume? With frills and lace and bows and the like?"
"Not necessarily," Galinda replied evasively. She had been picturing that, "but a contrasting color for sure." Elphaba sniffed and rolled her eyes, finishing off the last of her roll.
"Would you like anything else while we're here, pretty? A cup of warm milk to soothe your thoughts, perhaps?"
"That sounds lovely," Galinda called through a rather ungraceful yawn, "Wait – what did you just call me?"
"I've been calling you "my pretty" all evening, sweet." Elphaba's voice rose from the depths of the pantry again, where there must have been a chilled area for the milk.
"I hadn't noticed," Galinda muttered. She then realized she had just been called "sweet" as well, "Should I take these new terms as insults coming from you? 'Pretty' and 'sweet'?" Elphaba's cackle preceded her out of the pantry.
"Take them as you will, my pretty, but I mean no harm." She emerged with a cracked mug, yellowed with stains, but clean to the touch, and a chipped bowl with a small helping of cream. Setting her burdens on the counter, Elphaba walked over to the cutlery drawers and, after a minute of fidgeting with what appeared to be a broken lock, opened it.
"Should I pull out one spoon or two?"
"One, I believe I've had enough damage done to my figure for one night," Galinda sighed. Elphaba returned without a word and began to elegantly lift airy puffs of cream to her mouth. Galinda merely sipped at the milk. Oh, but that small bit of sweet would taste so good. For a moment, Galinda's eyes followed the green fingers as they flew lightly back and forth, carrying the sweet reward of their labors up to open lips, and Galinda found herself focused on those lips, as they parted delicately for the gift the fingers brought. She hadn't even noticed when Elphaba suddenly stopped with the spoon halfway to her mouth and only snapped out of her study of those soft green lips when the body they belonged to cleared her throat.
"Oh!" Galinda furiously turned back to her cup and took a long sip of milk, hoping to cool her flaming cheeks. Elphaba sighed.
"Good thing I didn't listen to you, you silly thing," she said.
"Whatever are you talking about?" Galinda whispered forcefully, not taking her eyes from her milk.
"I grabbed two spoons." And sure enough a clean spoon was dunked softly in Galinda's milk and left there.
"Oh, fine!" Galinda huffed, but took the spoon from her milk, licked it clean once more and drove it into the cream, lifting a large lump out and stuffing it into her mouth. Some was left on her lips and a tiny speck of white stained her nose. Elphaba laughed and grabbed another dish towel. But she didn't toss this one to Galinda, instead, she wiped off the rosy face herself, rubbing firmly at the lips and dabbing gently at the nose. Galinda couldn't help but giggle at the sensation. Together, they finished off the cream, and Galinda offered Elphaba a sip of her milk, which, surprisingly, was accepted.
"I think we'd best be off, now, my pretty," Elphaba whispered as she grabbed the dishes and wrapped them in the soiled towels. She laid them gently in a sink installed within the counter top and ran a small bit of water over them. She then dashed back to the far wall, and the light dimmed out once again. Galinda made her way over to the windows and met her roommate at the same one they entered through. While Elphaba worked with the latch, Galinda busied herself trying to dust off the window ledge with a paper napkin she had found on the countertop.
"You know," Galinda remarked lightly as Elphaba sprung the latch and lifted the window pane, without any squeak this time, "You'll have to go first and lift me up, as I'm sure I've gained ten pounds thanks to you." Elphaba snorted a most ungainly snort and easily lifted herself through the open window. Once more, she held it open while Galinda squirmed through and offered the assistance of her free hand.
Silently, they trekked back to the dorm area, much more quickly than they had come and toed their way softly through the halls until they reached the safety of their own room. Galinda immediately flounced onto her bed and Elphaba turned back her own covers. It was only when Galinda was shucking her robe that she realized –
"Miss Elphaba! You weren't wearing any slippers!" Elphaba seemed nonplussed.
"I haven't any slippers to wear, my pretty, and I hardly felt it was worth the effort to fasten those boots."
"But that filthy floor! And all the dirt outside!"
"Don't you worry about it, my sweet. I'll wash my feet in the morning and you won't have to see them until then." As though to prove her point, Elphaba clambered into her bed and shoved her feet firmly below the sheets.
"But now you'll be sleeping in that dirt!"
"The sheets will be washed as well. Now get your beauty sleep, pretty. That was the goal, remember?" Elphaba smirked as she laid back down on her bed and turned over so her back was facing Galinda once more. Sighing, but relieved that her restlessness had all but disappeared, Galinda retrieved her pillow and scuttled into her bed as well, pulling the covers firmly up to her chin.
"Fresh dreams, Miss Elphaba."
"Fresh dreams, my sweet."