Chapter 8

A/n: It's a long one, I know. Galinda will be back next chapter! *cheers* Thank you so much to the people who reviewed last chapter :)

If you review this chapter....you get cookies....

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I am in a field, lying in the cool, still-damp grass. The sky is grey; fitting my mood perfectly. Grey, rainy days are always beautiful, in a way, I think. Perfect for curling up with a novel, or engaging in idle conversation with one's roommate. Grey days suit me, so it's not surprise that the sky has chosen this color for today. Or perhaps this evening? It's hard to tell exactly what time of day it is.

Suddenly, a presence. A figure, blonde and pink and beautiful. She stretches out beside me, smiling that dazzling smile of hers. The sky immediately clears for her; the clouds turning harmless and white. Sunlight pours onto my face like rain. Galinda giggles. "Your skin is beautiful, Elphie," she says, and I feel a rush of euphoria at the compliment. "Thank you," I reply, though I disagree with her. I roll over slightly, looking at her. "Your skin is much more lovely. So tan, and smooth, and..." I trail off.

She blushes. "Feel it for yourself, Elphie," she says, taking my arm and guiding my hand toward my bare arm. I can hear her sigh deliciously as I stroke my fingers up and down her arm, unable to resist, though the gesture is probably inappropriate. Suddenly, and without warning, she pulls my arm harder, yanking my toward her. I fall on top of her by default. She smiles. "Much better."

I do not answer, for I am too busy noticing how close we really are. Closer than I'd ever dreamed of getting to Galinda! Though it all feels so wonderfully right. She giggles again, and I feel the sound more than I hear it. "I love you, Elphaba," she says casually, as if she says it all the time. My breathing hitches. "You do?" I ask with disbelief, though somehow, part of me accepts it automatically as truth. Galinda nods. "Very much. You're beautiful."

I blush. "You're blind, if that is what you think."

Galinda smiles sagely at me. "Sometimes, you can't look just with your eyes. You have to look with your soul."

I am openmouthed, surprised to hear such words come from her. I begin to ask her where she'd come up with them, but she rolls me over in the grass, below her. She slowly, carefully lowers herself onto

me, and I feel the bare skin of my leg come into contact with the scratchy, crinkly fabric of her dress. All of my senses become heightened. I feel her loud breath my my upper lip; see her trying to balance herself on top of me, so not to rest too much of her weight onto me. I finally pull her down, and she collapses onto me with a squeak.

Before I can speak at all, she presses her lips to mine, though my mind doesn't register it right away; it is too busy noticing the burning hand on my hip, and the tickle of her hair on my shoulders. She makes little, almost inaudible sighing noises into the kiss, and I pull her ever closer.

I can hear my own heart pounding in my ears as I feel her warm tongue at my lips. I feel a cool breeze, and suddenly realize that I am naked. How did that happen? I think to myself with confusion, knowing that I'd had clothes on just seconds before. Galinda doesn't seem to mind my distraction, though, as she kisses my neck with fervor. "I love you, Galinda," I whisper out of passion, my heart soaring at all of this.

Almost as soon as I finish uttering the last word, the scratchiness of the dress disappears. Instead, I feel a whole new type of body on top of me-- it is large, brute-like and is almost crushing my own body below it. The mouth is kissing my neck roughly, and I feel a dull pain as the mouth kisses with too much pressure. I try frantically to move away, but find myself frozen in place, my limbs unable to move. I try to scream; there is no voice inside of me. I panic, looking up at the sky. It has turned dark; and thunder sounds in the distance. I try to scream again, but am quieted when I hear the figure speak.

"I love you, too, Elphaba," Fiyero's deep voice says, and--

I jolt out of bed with a strangled scream, gasping for breath. My vision clears, showing all of the familiar things in the room-- the clock on the wall. It reads 12:48 A.M. The bed on the other side of the room. I picture the cool, unoccupied feel of those satin sheets on Galinda's bed, very much unlike the hot, sweaty and sticky sheets tangled and twisted in my own bed. I look at a teddy bear in the corner--a gift from Fiyero to Galinda last month.

Fiyero.

I throw the covers off of my sweat-covered body, massaging my temples, trying to think. "I've just had a dream about Fiyero," I say aloud, cringing at the statement. The part with Galinda, well...I'd had many of those dreams in the past. But there was a twist, in this one...something that turned into a nightmare, something that makes me feel a lingering odd and almost queasy sensation inside.

I sigh deeply, trying to think rationally. Fiyero is a good, perfectly harmless guy. I know this to be true. The dream, though deeply disturbing, was just my subconscious's way of cleaning out all of the conflict from today.

And this week, I think to myself. Though it's seemed perfectly natural, my friendship with Fiyero has grown at an alarming rate-- probably because of Galinda's absence.

Besides, it would be silly to be afraid of Fiyero making advances toward me, I think with a wry chuckle. He would never, ever like someone like me, so I can rest assured (no pun intended) that he might develop some sort of feelings.

My room is stifling; the air filled with tension and heat and the smell of sweat. I stand up, braiding my hair loosely so that the back of my neck isn't so hot. Though it's technically against the rules, I decide for once to break them (after all, it's for a good cause): I venture out into the cool night, covering my semi-revealing pajamas with a satin robe I find in Galinda's closet.

Slipping on my rain boots, I walk down the dark, empty, cobblestone path; the faint glow of the emergency phone-booths lighting my way. I stop at the quad, which is usually an isolated spot. Most of the University kids gather around the Student Union and Cafe, but the quad has a nice tree for reading and relaxing, and even a small pond nearby-- Paradise Pond.

I sigh as I sit down on the cold, still-damp grass (very close, in fact, to the grass from my dream), hugging my knees to my chest and rocking back and forth slightly. I stare at the pond, watching as a few dragonflies skate across its surface.

The only sounds of the night are from distant crickets, and I look up at the glittering night sky, hoping to find the answers to my burning questions in it.

Galinda could never, ever love me, I think, utterly hopeless. She doesn't love girls. Especially green ones. Especially this green girl.

But she dumped Fiyero, the other side of me argues. Not the reasonable side, but the side that wants me to have just a little bit of hope. Now is your chance! Show her what she really wants!

I laugh at my unrealistic conscience. We both know that Galinda would never even think or consider being with another woman. It wouldn't even cross her mind.

But I love her so. Why must I love her so, and why must it hurt so much?

In these dark times, when I find myself utterly hopeless, I often think about what my mother would say. Would she comfort me, or look at me harshly and tell me I'm sick?

Somehow, even though I hardly knew her--save three years of my childhood--I like to think she'd support me. After all, she was the supportive type. She was dreamy, imaginative, and artistic. Usually drunk, too, but that is irrelevant to me. She would have hugged me, or would have written words of encouragement and sent them to Shiz.

She would have told me to follow my heart, I think. So I decide to. For my mother's sake. Maybe I won't tell Galinda-- her friendship is worth too much to me-- but the emotional burden will have to be dealt with sooner or later.

With that decision made, I stand up, brushing stray pieces of grass from my (Galinda's) robe.

I return to my room, lock the door behind me, and collapse into bed, sleeping more soundly than I have in weeks.

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The sleep is short-lived, however, when I wake up two hours later to a soft, almost inaudible sound at my window. I open one eye, listening for the sound again. It grows quiet, and I lower my head back onto my pillow, figuring that it was just a bug outside, or something.

Ding! Again.

Ding! Once more.

I sigh, getting up and opening the curtains to see what's happening outside. There stands Fiyero, his hair ruffled, and his clothing a bit askew-- almost as if he's just rolled out of bed. I open the window, pushing up on the glass so I can hear him. The rock-throwing immediately stops.

"Hi," he says, standing there with a slightly embarrassed look on his face.

"Fiyero. What could you want at--" I glance at the clock--"Three in the morning?"

Even from way up here, I can see his eyes glowing with excitement. "There's a meteor shower, right now. Elphaba, you have to see it!"

"How would you know there's a meteor shower?" I ask suspiciously, though I'm very interested in seeing it for myself.

He shrugs. "It's on the same night, every year," is all he offers, and gestures for me to come down.

I shake my head. "Fiyero...I'd love to see it, but I'm almost positive I'm not decent; nor is it a decent time of the day."

He chuckles. "You sound like Galinda, do you know that?"

Within five minutes, I have successfully re-braided my hair, thrown on the robe and boots, and tiptoed past the other dormitory rooms, down the stairs, and through the front door.

"Happy?" I ask sarcastically, and he nods with a grin. "Very. Now, from what I've read, it's supposed to occur in fifteen minutes, down by Paradise Pond."

I stiffen. I really don't want to go back there; it houses the memories of my disturbing dream. "Is there anywhere else we can see it from?"

He shrugs. "Well, it has to be a wide open space. And since the rest of Shiz is mainly forest, well...our best bet is the pond."

I sigh, shuffling toward a large rock at the pond. I sink down onto it, thankful for its smooth, cold, flat surface.

Fiyero sits in the grass nearby. It's silent, and I presume we're waiting. "Galinda's coming back tomorrow," I remind him, and he looks at me warily. "I know."

"But aren't you excited?" I ask. "Your girlfriend is finally returning; probably with a well-rested mind and a bag full of cashmere sweaters, or something. Aren't you looking forward to getting her back?" I ask the last part with a hint of cynicism, marveling (for the umpteenth time this week) at our fast friendship.

He looks at the grass. "You sound about as happy about that as I am."

I bristle. "What are you talking about?"

"Oh, nothing, really," Fiyero says lightly, rubbing a piece of grass between his fingers.

"You're lying." I look at him doubtfully. "Are you really going to take Galinda for granted like that?"

He shakes his head quickly, startled. "No! No. I am anticipating her return...that much is for certain." He looks back at the grass again.

I nod with satisfaction, though I still hope, selfishly, that my new friend will not get back together with Galinda.

We sit there in silence for several more minutes, before the sky lights up; speckled with bits of dusty-looking stars, which fall down toward us, but never actually touch us-- they disintegrate before they can.