Galinda sat on her bed, twirling the mirror in her hands. Elphaba had run from their room a few minutes ago and Galinda was waiting for her to return. They had barely begun to cover the basics… lipstick and hair tossing. There was still the proper walk, vocabulary, and of course how not to flaunt how much you study. Not that Galinda had to do that, but Elphaba would have to curtail her impulse to always answer first in class. She had a lot of work to do! But they would do it, Elphaba had a lot of personality and character, the foundations of popularity. It would take time, but it would work. Galinda was sure of it.
But what was taking Elphaba so long? And where had she run off to? Galinda sighed as she slid off of her bed, carefully placing the mirror on the side table. There was no real reason why the 'lessons' had to continue that very night, but… well, she was enjoying herself, and really, there was no real reason why the lessons shouldn't continue right then. So, she was going to find Elphaba, but where? This might take all night.
Half an hour later, after searching the library, the grounds, Nessarose's room… no sign of Elphaba. Galinda sighed in frustration. A whole night, wasted. Oh well. Things would just have to wait. She gathered her night dress and headed into the private bathroom that came with their private suite. She opened the door and froze in shock. Elphaba was standing there, in the middle of the room, staring at herself in the mirror. In all the months they had shared this room, Elphaba had never once entered their private bathroom, an odd sort of protest at being forced to room with her. Of course, Galinda had been fine with this arrangement… Elphaba using the public bathrooms meant that she had this entire space to herself, to fill with all her toiletries. And she had taken full advantage of it. But here was Elphaba, standing in among all of her lotions and creams, and staring at herself in the full length mirror Galinda had bought and placed in the corner of the room. Elphaba turned, and Galinda jumped, for some reason afraid to be discovered. But Elphaba had just been turning to look at herself from another angle. She reached and pulled some of her hair over her shoulders. "Toss, toss…", she whispered as she practiced what Galinda had taught her earlier that night, throwing her hair back over her shoulders. Galinda smiled to herself, and slowly started to back out of the room. There was no need for Elphaba to know she had witnessed this moment. As she moved, Elphaba turned again, and struck a pose, looking at herself in the mirror, over her shoulder and Galinda froze again. It's not that she had been lying earlier when she had told Elphie she was beautiful, she had meant that with all sincerity. But... the way Elphaba was standing, the way she was looking at herself over her shoulder, she was more than beautiful. She was… Galinda gulped… desirable. She allowed herself to look Elphaba slowly up and down before closing her eyes. This was not going to happen again. She was not going to fall for a girl again. She had found the perfect boy. Fiyero was perfect. Fiyero. Not Elphaba. Fiyero. She steeled herself as she opened her eyes again, and her breath caught. Elphaba was no longer looking at herself in the mirror, she was looking directly at Galinda, eyes wide with embarrassment.
"Galinda! I'm so sorry. I know this is your bathroom, I just… um… I'm so sorry…" Elphaba stuttered as she spun around, wrapping her arms around herself in a sort of defensive posture.
"Oh Elphie, it's your bathroom too, you know. You should use it. We'll make some room for all of your… um… well, you'll need to get some things, for styling your hair and the like. Actually," Galinda couldn't help but get excited again. "You could use some of my products! I've got some lovely conditioner here, which will keep your hair soft and shiny. And that lipstick I put on you earlier looks good, but perhaps a different shade…" she reached out and grabbed a tube of lipstick. Removing the lid, she reached for Elphaba's face without thinking and saw Elphaba recoil slightly from her hand. She froze, as she saw Elphaba inhale to steady herself. Galinda's heart broke a little as two thoughts raced through her head. The first being how much she wanted to touch Elphaba, beyond the excitement of making someone over, she wanted to feel Elphaba's skin on her fingertips. The second thought was much more involved, but took only a flash to go through her mind. Elphaba recoiled from her touch. She didn't think it was because Elphaba didn't like her, or even that she didn't want Galinda to touch her. It was most likely a result of not being touched very much. Galinda had observed how people reacted to Elphaba at Shiz, and she couldn't imagine that it was much different from anywhere else, people avoided making contact with her, as if her greenness was some how contagious. And if what Elphaba had said about her father was true (and there was no reason to doubt her), she had probably been only rarely touched at home. No hugs, no tickling, no goodnight kisses… no tangible, physical expressions of love. It was horrible, almost impossible for Galinda, who had been kissed and tickled and loved on so much, who had been told she was beautiful too many times and by too many people to keep track of, it was impossible for her to conceive of not knowing that she was loved. Yet here she was, standing a foot away from someone who had grown up in that void. She wanted to pull Elphaba into a tight embrace and tell her she was beautiful over and over again until it sunk in. But she knew she couldn't do that, because she couldn't take the chance that she would give in to her other desires. So she just waited for Elphaba to be ready, and let her hand rest on her chin as she traced her lips with the tube of lipstick. They stood staring at each other for a few moments before Galinda was able to gather herself… that momentary contact had indeed thrown her for a loop. She realized, in fact, that she was still touching Elphaba's face and pulled her hand back before resting it on Elphie's shoulder and turning her gently to look into the mirror. "You see," she said, clearing her throat, "This shade is a little darker, and um… as you can see, it um… well, you have excellent bone structure, and this shade helps accentuate that. Of course, you could also use some rouge… oh", she paused for a minute as she realized that putting rouge on Elphaba's cheeks would probably be the worst thing she could do. "Well, maybe not rouge, but I've got some eye shadow somewhere that could work as rouge for you…" she looked around the room, trying to remember exactly where that particular shade of eye shadow would be.
"Really, Galinda, this isn't necessary."
Galinda turned too look at Elphaba again. She was staring at the floor. Galinda's heart broke a little bit more. "No, you're right. It really isn't. Elphaba, I meant what I said. You are beautiful. None of this is necessary. It's just… fun. At least, I think it's fun. And it can help other people to see how beautiful you are."
She once again turned Elphaba to face the mirror, and stood beside her. Elphaba continued to look at the floor. Galinda tried to figure out what had made the difference, why was Elphaba folding in on herself all of a sudden. She cast back in her mind and suddenly realized. She had, without thinking, pointed out another way in which Elphaba's skin set her apart… suggesting eye shadow as rouge. How awful it must be, to have something that embarrassed you so much be the first thing, often the only thing, anyone ever saw in you. But it couldn't be ignored, Elphaba was going to have to learn to accept herself, to see the beauty she had. Galinda took a deep breath. Her own issues were going to have to take a back seat, Elphaba needed her. And she would do what she could. She reached up and brushed her hand across Elphaba's cheek, pressing on even when Elphaba pulled back for an instant. "Really, you skin tone is so beautifully even. I do a lot to keep my skin looking so healthy, but yours just does that naturally. You are very lucky."
Elphaba barked a bitter laugh. "Are you seriously trying to suggest that my skin makes me lucky?"
Galinda gulped. "Well… yes. I mean, so what, it's green. Who doesn't like green? The Wizard himself loves the color green! Look at the Emerald City. Once you get over the shock of the difference, and really, that's all it is… just different, which can be exotic if you think about it. Once you get past it, it's quite a nice color. And, I meant what I said, you have excellent skin tone. It could be like Pfannee's… all blotchy. She has horrid skin tone." She turned away from the mirror to look directly at Elphaba, and to her shock she realized that her roommate was on the verge of tears. She knew enough of her to realize that at this stage in their friendship, were Elphaba to break down to that degree, she would probably never get over the shame of it, she would pull away entirely and Galinda would never get to help her, to touch her, again. She would have to distract her, or somehow convince Elphaba that she hadn't noticed. She would just keep talking. She moved behind Elphaba. "Now, this frock. It is pretty, but perhaps it could be tweaked a bit. It hangs kind of loose, which is silly. You have an excellent figure. It should be tighter to emphasize that." She reached out and grabbed at Elphaba's waist, meaning to pull the fabric tight so that Elphaba could see the difference. But the second her hands made contact with her waist, Elphaba squealed and jumped about a foot in the air, spinning and landing facing Galinda, eyes wide.
"What was that?" she demanded.
Galinda was wide eyed herself. "I don't know! Did I hurt you?"
Elphaba was rubbing her sides. "No… not exactly. It felt… I'm not sure. Funny?"
Galinda stared in shock. She had thought it, but here it was, facing her. Elphaba had never once been tickled… what a strange thought. Right on the heels of that thought came another one that she tried to ignore. She was happy Elphaba was ticklish, because the thought of tickling her made her feel… feel something she tried hard not to feel. Fiyero was perfect. She had to remember that. "I think you're ticklish, Elphaba. Did no one ever tickle you when you were a child?" she asked, knowing what the answer would be.
Elphaba continued to rub her sides, her face a mask of confusion and wonder. "No. They tickled Nessa. For goodness sake, I tickled Nessa. But I figured that you grew out of that feeling, I thought I must have been too young to remember feeling… well, whatever it was that Nessarose felt that made her laugh when we tickled her. But, come to think of it, I don't know who would have tickled me." She paused, and quickly glanced at Galinda before continuing. "No one really touches me. They never have."
The fact that Galinda had had that very thought herself a few minutes ago didn't stop it from hurting when Elphaba said it out loud. She reached out and ran her hand down Elphaba's arm, grabbing her hand at the end. "Well, that's just silly. It doesn't come off or anything." She grabbed Elphaba's other hand and held her arms out on either side. "Now, as I was saying, you have a beautiful figure…" she trailed as the sight of Elphaba standing there, with her arms held out to the side sunk in… the temptation was too great, the secret fantasy too powerful. She let go of Elphaba's arms and quickly reached down and grabbed at her waist, digging her fingers in and tickling her with all of her might. Elphaba screamed again, but Galinda was ready this time, she used one arm to hold Elphaba tight, while the other one danced up and down her side. Elphaba was strong. Surprisingly strong, but she was also unprepared… and confused. She didn't fight back, she just flailed. Galinda couldn't take her eyes off of Elphaba's face, her mouth wide in an ecstatic grin, her hair flying behind her… beautiful. So very beautiful. Elphaba's screams quickly gave way to laughter as Galinda's hand danced its way up under Elphaba's arm. Elphaba seemed to gather herself, even as her laughter grew more intense, more throaty. She seemed to realize that she could actually resist, and she began to tug at Galinda's hands, but she obviously had no understanding of what was happening. As she pulled one of Galinda's hands out from her armpit, Galinda's other hand reached out and tickled her neck, making Elphaba's eyes go wide with shock as a new peal of laughter escaped her and she collapsed onto the floor. Galinda fell on top of her, her fingers searching out new spots to make Elphaba squirm. In the back of her mind was the thought that the way Elphaba was squirming underneath her was driving her crazy. This wasn't the first time a girl had awakened these feelings in her, but it was stacking up to be the most intense. But she pushed those thoughts even further back in her mind, convincing herself she was just enjoying the look of pure joy that was on Elphaba's face.
Suddenly, without any warning, Elphaba twisted and grabbed at Galinda's wrists, heaving her body up and spinning them, so that their positions were reversed, with Elphaba on top, pinning Galinda's arms over her head. Galinda stared at Elphaba, breath heaving in her chest. Elphaba's hair was falling over her shoulders, her chest was heaving, Galinda could feel her breath on her cheek… and the look on Elphaba's face. Such intensity, such purpose… if Galinda had been excited by the feeling of Elphaba squirming underneath her, this was way beyond excitement. There was no denying the heat between her legs. She swallowed. What was she going to do? Elphaba let out a throaty laugh that sent shivers through her. "So, you think you can pin me down? You can reduce me to nothing but giggles? I'll get you, my pretty!"
Galinda stared up at Elphaba for what seemed like hours, lost in the moment – the sensations she was feeling – until she remembered she should be struggling. She began to try and pull her hands from Elphaba's grip, but at that moment she saw Elphaba's expression change from pure glee to confusion, then to horror as she let go of Galinda's wrists and jumped up.
"Galinda, I'm so sorry! I hope I didn't hurt you… I sometimes forget that I'm stronger than other people… I didn't mean to…", she trailed off.
Galinda got to her feet. "No, no Elphie, I'm fine. You didn't hurt me at all. Really." She had a moment of terror, as she suddenly considered the possibility that Elphaba might never touch her again. She realized that as much as she might not want to feel what she felt, it could not be denied. And she realized that she didn't care anymore. She wasn't going to fight it this time. "Elphie, it's okay. We were playing around, and no one was hurt. Quite the contrary. We were both having fun. Weren't we?"
"…yes. I think so. I just… sorry. This is all new to me. I, um… I think I'm going to go to bed now."
"Me too. Oh Elphie, I'm so excited that we're friends! I think we're going to be very close."
Elphaba stared at Galinda; confusion, fear and excitement warring on her face. "Yes, maybe…" she said. "I'm going to get ready for bed now. I don't take as long as you, so I'll probably be asleep by the time you come into the room. Dream well."
"You too, Elphie." She watched as Elphaba left, and stood there in the middle of the bathroom for several minutes, thinking about what had just happened. Elphaba. She wanted Elphaba. Some people said that Galinda was spoiled, and maybe they were right. She did always get what she wanted. And she knew what she wanted now.