Disclaimer: I solemnly swear I own nothing. Nothing at all. Maybe eighty-three cents and a stick of gum, but that's it, honest!
Author's Note: Yes, the update is horrendously late. But that's what I get for being an animator-in-training. Thanks for sticking with me all this time, I truly appreciate it!
Chapter 7: The Jig Is Up
Frex fought to suppress his grimace as he plodded up the road to the mansion with a rather introspective Elphaba in tow. A sparkling, green carriage sat parked neatly by the side of the street near the Thropp residence. The governor took one glimpse of the glistening vehicle and his mind instantly began to race in terror. The jig was up, it seemed. He instinctively seized the girl by the arm and darted behind a nearby bush, yanking the preteen into the shrubbery with him.
"Elphaba, when we get back inside, I don't want to hear a peep out of you, got it?" He hissed in her ear, as he glanced up and down the road for any signs of the Wizard's officials. "I mean it--any more funny business and the pitiful amount of toys you've got in your possession are going to belong to your sister!"
Elphaba absently nodded as she strained to see the carriage through the bushes. She racked her mind for a last-minute means of getting her father to inadvertently expose his true nature. The officials had, without question, made it into the mansion before them. Ergo, there was also a good chance that they'd already interrogated the nurse and Nessarose on the matter. Considering the fact that the nurse's job and Nessa's toy income directly depended on Frex's presence, the odds were probably stacked in the governor's favor.
Especially now, considering the fact that her father seemed so intent on perpetuating his pathetic act despite the incident at the pencil factory. Elphaba wondered to herself if the officials had even taken note of Frex's unholy outburst.
Frex let the psychotically phony grin creep its way back onto his face as he slowly stood up and ruffled his daughter's hair. However, this time there was an extra inkling of desperation in that blatant lie of a smile, which sent a cold shiver up his daughter's spine. He pulled her out of the shrubbery and held her a little too close for her liking as the two of them made their way back to the mansion. Nothing would be able to prepare the governor for the turn of events that would await him on the other side of the mansion's entrance.
As he slowly turned the knob, the door swung open with a foreboding creak. The interior of the mansion was eerily dark. "Do you think the nurse took Nessa somewhere?" Elphaba whispered out loud. A knot settled in the pit of Frex's stomach as he instinctively gripped his oldest child's hand in trepidation. The two of them started to hear voices coming from the den as they gradually drew closer to the room.
Inside the den, two men clad in an impossibly bright shade of green were tending to Nessarose. Elphaba's younger sister looked as though she'd ingested an entire bottle of dish detergent. She was about two shades paler than usual. She was also clutching her stomach, with an agonized grimace plastered on her tragically adorable visage.
"Frexspar Thropp, I presume?" The shorter of the two gentlemen barked as he adjusted his sparkling green top hat and sauntered up to Elphaba and her father. It was painfully obvious that he had munchkin blood in him, seeing as he was merely a few inches taller than Elphaba was. Despite his stature, he struck Frex with a piercing glare that sent chills down the governor's spine. Frex forced a stiff nod as the official flashed an emerald badge at him. "I'm with the Emerald City Department of Child Welfare, and I am hereby placing you under arrest for the mistreatment and neglect of one Elphaba Thropp."
Frex broke into a cold sweat. He opened his mouth in protest, but no sound came out. Elphaba fought to suppress a grin as the squat, portly little man continued. "Honestly, are you trying to kill the child?"
The governor sputtered, "Of course not! I spent the entire goddamn day with the whiny brat! Not only that, the ungrateful little whelp kept complaining that she was bored the whole time!" His face started to turn purple, and the remaining bits of hair he had left after that nightmare of a day began to stand on end. "If that's your idea of neglect, I suggest you consult a dictionary, Mr. Department of Child Whatever it is!" He finished, with flecks of spittle flying through the air and deftly whacking the smaller man in the face.
However, the portly official remained unfazed by Frex's tantrum. "If that's the case, then why did we find Miss Elphaba sprawled out over the floor, clutching her stomach and moaning for her father to get home?" The official quipped, jerking a thumb back at Nessarose, who looked like she was about ready to hurl. "What kind of sick, twisted parent leaves a handicapped child home alone for hours on end?"
Frex began to sweat all over again. Meanwhile, Elphaba just stood rooted firmly in the doorframe, her eyes wide. Why did the officials mix her up with Nessarose? And why hadn't Nessa bothered to correct them, either?
The girls' father was not amused. "That isn't Elphaba at all!" He roared, pointing at Nessarose as his left eye began to twitch incessantly and a vein popped out on his forehead. "The nurse was supposed to be here watching her! It isn't my fault that my employees are completely incompetent!" He fumed and turned towards Elphaba, seizing her by the forearm and yanking her into the conversation. "This is Elphaba, and I just spent our entire day having some quality father-daughter bonding time!"
The head official stifled a laugh and pulled out a copy of the letter the department had sent Frex. "Is that so? Read this a little more carefully, Governor Thropp." He taunted, handing Frex the copy of the letter. "According to the phone call we received prior to our investigation, Elphaba has suffered from a rare and unusual physical condition since birth, and the child you claim is Elphaba appears to be perfectly healthy."
Frex's jaw nearly hit the ground. "She's GREEN, for Oz's sake!" The governor bellowed loud enough to make the entire room tremor. "How many green children do you see wandering around on a daily basis? Really, sir, what sort of rubbish do they TEACH you people when you apply to be a child welfare representative?"
"Wasn't there a big Quoxball scrimmage between the Wizards and the Blue Diamonds this afternoon?" The man tending to Nessarose's stomachache pointed out. "He probably just painted his other daughter green because he's a Wizards fan!"
"I am NOT a Wizards fan!" Sputtered Frex. The official frowned and stared at the myriad assortment of Wizards paraphernalia on Frex's person.
"Daddy, I don't think lying is a very good idea…" Elphaba started, but her father ignored her warning and continued his explosive tirade against the portly government official.
"QUIET, YOU SNIVELING INGRATE!" Frex snapped as the shorter man shook his head in an expression that was somewhere in between disgust and amusement. The governor turned to his younger daughter. "Nessie, honey. You don't want the mean old men to take your favoritest daddy in the whole, wide world away, do you? Tell them the truth! Tell them that you're not Elphaba, and that this whole incident has just been a big misunderstanding! If you do, they won't lock me up, and I'll buy you that Wizards hat you've always wanted!"
Nessa glanced up at the spectacle before her. Her father was looking down at her, his future as well as her own hinging on her response. Both officials were awaiting the young girl's reply, and Elphaba had shrunk back into the outer fringes of the den in hopes that this would all end soon. The youngest of the Thropp sisters took a deep breath, put on her best gangster pout despite her current state of gastrointestinal dysfunction, and flatly stated, "Daddy, go screw yourself!"
Frex fainted before the Child Welfare representatives could even make a move to slap the handcuffs on him.
Before the men carried their father away to the city for his trial, Elphaba reassured them that the nurse would arrive to take care of the sisters in due time, and told them not to worry. Although the officials remained a bit skeptical, they eventually conceded to leaving the two girls home alone.
That evening, it had started to rain all over again. Elphaba lay in her bed, unable to fall asleep. Even though her plan had worked perfectly, she still found herself lost in her own thoughts. As she stared at the ceiling, Nessa's night light casting a subtle glow across the mountains of toys and piles of books on her side of the room, Elphaba sat up in bed. The clock hadn't even struck ten yet. "Hey Nessa?" She asked.
Nessarose rolled over from beneath the pile of blankets, knocking about a dozen stuffed animals onto the floor in the process. "Is it breakfast time yet?" She groggily mumbled as she strained to focus in the darkness.
"Do you even know what 'go screw yourself' means?" Elphaba interrogated as she raised an eyebrow in skepticism.
"I heard it on the Gratuitous Violence Channel and it sounded like it was a mean thing to say." Nessarose shrugged, blinking a few times as she pulled an armful of toys closer to her to keep them from falling off the bed.
"We get the Gratuitous Violence Channel?" Elphaba wondered out loud.
"We have a lot of channels Daddy never told us about. He left the password taped to the remote. How dumb does he think I look?"
"So you really wanted him gone too?" Asked Elphaba. Nessarose nodded. "You were always his favorite though! He spoiled you rotten!"
The smaller child looked over at her sister with those enormous green eyes of hers and shook her head. "Every time he ever takes me out to do stuff with him he always makes me do boring things like watch Quoxball with him and go on his stupid boat!" She whined. "And then the boat always falls over and he has to carry me home like I'm some kind of little kid cause my wheelchair sinks every time!"
"He took me to a pencil factory too." Elphaba added as she leaned back on her mattress, cringing as a rogue spring jabbed her in the spine. "Really though, Daddy always seemed to think you actually liked sailing and Quoxball."
"I guess he thinks all kids like sailing and Quoxball." Nessarose deduced after a few moments of silence. "I think I like drawing better."
"And watching the Gratuitous Violence Channel, apparently." Elphaba smirked. "Anyway, thanks." She added as Nessa snuggled the stuffed lion she'd thrown across the room earlier that day.
"Hey Elphaba?" The younger girl suddenly asked after the wind howled through a tree outside their window and the rain began to pick up. "D'you think you could sleep in my bed tonight?"
Elphaba rolled over and blinked a few times. "Is there even any room in your bed for me with all those toys?" She retorted.
Her younger sister shoved almost all of her stuffed animals off the bed in reply. "There." She declared with a hint of a pout. "Now get over here or I'll bash your face in."
Elphaba recoiled at the child's uncharacteristically violent threat. What did her sister watch on the GVC that afternoon anyway? In any event, she obliged and climbed into the larger bed next to Nessarose. "You know, I'm glad you're my sister…even if you can be a spoiled brat sometimes."
"Good." Nessarose smiled. "Because tomorrow we are having pancakes again, and you're making them. So don't mess it up!"
The older sister fought back a laugh as Nessa snuggled up to her and drifted off to sleep. As the falling rain echoed off the windowpanes and the wind lulled her into the best night's sleep she'd had in ages, Elphaba hoped to the Unnamed God that the nurse would arrive in time to make breakfast before her little sister woke up. For all the chores she'd been forced into doing, she still had no idea how to make a decent pancake.
The next morning, the green girl awoke to a jabbing sensation between her shoulder blades. She scrambled out of bed with a yelp and inspected the spot where she'd been resting. Sometime in the middle of the night, she had accidentally rolled on top of Malibu Barbie.