So I've had a lot of comments filter through over the past FOREVER that I've been gone asking if I'm ever going to finish the story...and here's your answer. OF COURSE! Guys, I'm never ever going to leave this story open. I will finish it in due time. All I needed was a mojo and to revisit the wonderful world of Wicked to get the creative juices flowing once more. Yep, I went and saw it again after five years of desert. It was wonderful.
Also (sidenote) Sammichbatch proposed! We're engaged! HAD to share the love. Thanks so much to my wonderful BETA Ashes Fade to Dust. Pulled through for me again.
Love you guys!
"Elphaba?" The voice was loud, commanding and Elphaba had an instinctive feeling with this man to cower. Frowning against her natural instinct she straightened even more and glared at the figure. "My name is Frex."
All the training she'd undergone at the Academy of Powerful Youth had focused and honed itself squarely on the tall, imposing man standing dangerously close to her personal bubble. Without her empathic control, feelings began to pour from the man in front of her and Elphaba struggled to find a single good emotion in them all. Finally, she found a small tendril of relief that he seemed to try to bury and with endless amounts of determination she clung to that emotion.
"Hello Mr. Thropp. I would say it's a pleasure to meet you but we both know I would be lying and my mother always taught me to never lie."
The flash of anger in his eyes made her feel satisfaction and it was only the fact that Taylor gave her hand a soft squeeze that she didn't push him further.
"You'd not remember your mother, you were only young when she died." Frex remarked in a cold tone that Elphaba was beginning to realise was normal for him. She laughed a soft, spiteful laugh.
"Oh you think I meant the woman who married you? No, sir, I meant the woman who has cared for me for most of my life. Mother Upland." A soft tick had made itself home in Frex's left eyelid. Taylor watched it in amusement as he stepped forward slightly, interrupting what he knew would be a continuous, and destructive, emotional barb from Elphaba.
"Mr. Thropp my name is Taylor Wordoff and I am Elphaba's…uh…chaperone…if you will. It's a pleasure to meet you sir." Taylor held out his hand in an attempt at some show of civil maturity but Frex merely shifted his gaze quickly from Elphaba to his hand then back again. Taylor, thoroughly put in his place, retracted his hand and shuffled inconspicuously closer to Elphaba. Elphaba didn't appreciate this one bit.
"You listen here, Frex", Elphaba spat, "I am here to get this family out of the mess you've put it in. Therefore, the way I see it, you're relying on me. You treat both my friend and I with some respect or I walk away. I don't need to be here, you made that perfectly clear when you threw me away. I have no qualms walking away on my own this time." Frex stood rigid as Elphaba felt the rage flowing through him. His hands shook with barely contained anger and Taylor moved slightly in front of Elphaba in the fear Frex was about to strike her but he merely sniffed and spun around on his heel and walked away.
'"You shouldn't have done that, green girl." Taylor said with poorly restrained admiration in his tone.
"I know, but it was worth it." Elphaba grinned and Taylor couldn't help but smirk back.
"Ma'am, sir, follow me please.". Unbeknownst to Elphaba and Taylor during the rather unpleasant exchange earlier, servants had spilt out from the large double doors of the manor and began unloading the carriage. A small, stout man with balding hair stood in front of them, waiting for acknowledgment before turning on his heel in a lifetime of practice and swiftly leading them to their respective rooms.
As they were ushered through the large double doors, Elphaba felt her attempt at emotional control wane as her fear finally began to settle in. The adrenaline from meeting Frex had all but vanished and the large building she now was to reside in for the next three weeks was imposing and seemed to swallow her whole. Taylor whistled impressively beside her, feeling Elphaba's dread himself and attempting to amplify it into nervous humour.
"Hey Green…" His words were effectively silenced as another servant suddenly merged into their line and ushered Taylor away into another wing of the large building. She had hoped Taylor would be stationed closer to her but clearly Frex had other plans. She'd pushed him too far, it seemed. Don't worry green girl, you forget I have ways of staying close. Just make sure you get some prime room service sent to me at this luxury resort you're running and you and I won't have a problem. She could almost hear the wink in the sentence as Taylor's voice flitted softly into her ear. No one else seemed to have heard him.
As if you need room service, Taylor. You need to watch your waist line; she mentally shot back, loving how Taylor could calm her in a split second. She was glad Galinda had sent him to watch over her.
I find that comment completely offensive! His voice took on a diva sound in her ear. You calling me fat girlfriend? Elphaba could hear the three finger clicks accompanying his sass. She bit back a grin.
"Here's your room Miss." The balding man interrupted her inner discussion. "If there's anything else you need, please don't hesitate to ask. Welcome back, your Eminence." And with a quick bow, he walked swiftly from the room.
HOLY SHIT GREEN GIRL THIS ROOM IS HUGE! Taylors voice boomed in her head and Elphaba winced, speaking aloud for the first time since she'd entered the mansion. "Taylor I needed that hearing! Care to not yell in my head please?" A soft pop behind her alerted Taylor's presence.
"Sorry kiddo, got a bit excited. Oh damn it! Your room's better! How is that fair?"
"I'm the Eminence, Taylor. Sort of royal here."
"Yeah but I'm the royal ass kisser. I should get a better deal for such a shitty job don't ya think?" He winked as Elphaba chuckled.
"Thanks Taylor, you've managed to make a shocking day a little less awful." Taylor took Elphaba's hand and squeezed gently.
"Let's get you unpacked."
"… so these frogs jumped into a vat of cream and tried to swim out but then…then one of them was so tired he couldn't take anymore and he croaked…he croaked to his friend that he was finished and sank to the bottom of the vat and died. He…he really croaked. Get it…he…he croaked." Taylor wiped at his eyes as he laughed hard. Elphaba had been studiously unpacking whilst Taylor had sat on the edge of her bed telling anecdotes and laughing. Taylor was still laughing ridiculously hard at his last joke, whilst Elphaba rolled her eyes.
"Taylor…that wasn't funny the last ten times you told me that story." But the edges of her mouth curled up as she spoke and Taylor merely burst out into another round of raucous laughter.
"But he croaked. He's a frog…and…and…and he croaked."
"Yes…I get it." Elphaba chuckled despite her best efforts. "Where'd you get that joke anyway?"
"As in a priest?"
"Yes? No? Don't quite know what the difference is there. Ozma's minion anyway."
"You go to church?"
"Used to…when I was as big as a munchkin. Oooh I shouldn't make that kind of joke in Munchkin land, might be a bit big for them. Damn there I go again, can't control my short attention span. Sorry!" Elphaba chuckled and shook her head. "Anyway, I was at a sermon and this old priest/pastor dude was talking about perseverance and the rest of the story is about the other frog surviving somehow but after the frog croaked I tuned the rest out. My parents were just thrilled I'd retained any sermon from the good 'ole church days."
"I just can't get the image of a young you attending church." Elphaba chuckled. "You must have caused some grief?" Taylor looked mock offended.
"I'll have you know that no one has ever been able to pin the wine fiasco on me!"
"I shouldn't ask, but…"
"Ah the wine fiasco, one of my many proud moments. Let's just say…the pastor looked like he'd rolled around in the wine vat. His white ceremony robes were a beautiful pink for the rest of my time there. I'm glad I don't believe in hell because I'd be a celebrity there. Oooh….a celebrity."
"Oh gosh…" Elphaba muttered under her breath as Taylor began to go on about how he might benefit from being famous even if it was in hell and…
She had just begun to tune him out again when a knock at her door sounded. "Come in."
The balding, stout man who led her to her room entered with a bit of a panicked expression. "Ma'am…I can't find your friend. He was in his room when we left him but he…he's…here?"
Taylor waved at the man cheekily behind Elphaba's back. "How is he here? There were two guards stationed outside his room. They swear he never left."
"Oh I just popped…wait…why were there TWO guards outside my room?!" Taylor asked in shock. "I'm not some hostage!"
"N-no sir, not a hostage. Just precaution."
"From what? There's nothing here! I'm not even important enough to have a hit list out on me! No one here even knows me! Elphaba barely knows me. Right?!"
"Sorry who are you?" Elphaba mocked, going along with Taylor's rant, enjoying the way the little man's eyes bulged in panic.
"T.A.Y.L.O.R." he sounded out slowly. "Remember Elphaba? I'm…your…friend." He grasped Elphaba's hand and held her palm to his face to let her feel him nodding. "Friend." Elphaba could barely contain her laughter. It took the small munchkin another couple of seconds to realise that they were both mucking around and he relaxed.
"Mr…" Elphaba began.
"Mr. Caraway, forgive us for our fun. Taylor here is my professor and confidant from the Academy of Powerful Youth and has many skills including teleporting abilities and he merely teleported from his room to mine when left alone. He meant no disrespect or confusion, he just likes to play. I promise to keep an eye on him whilst here, he really doesn't need two guards stationed outside his room…he clearly has no need for them."
The small man smirked. "Noted, ma'am." Turning to Taylor his smile diminished a little but he still nodded with a soft 'sir' before bowing and removing himself from the room.
"Wow green girl, you know how to talk important like. I'm impressed. I don't think he was impressed with me though. Huh…wonder why?"
Elphaba stood up straighter and pointed her chin upwards giving the impression of looking down on Taylor. "It's your complete disregard for the way things were run and if it weren't so bloody funny I'd be shocked." Elphaba then dropped her chin and snooty accent and chortled. "Besides I am exactly like you."
With a chuckle Taylor jumped off the bed. "Are you almost done here?"
"Yes I'm practically finished. Why?"
"Let's go explore out and about. We're going to be here for a couple of weeks…might as well learn where the indoor pool, tennis courts and five star restaurant are."
"Taylor, it's not a hotel! Oz why am I even trying to stop you? You're going to find a way to have all three of those things aren't you?"
"Yep!" he said with a wink. "Let's go!"
"Sir…" Caraway stood meekly in the entrance to the large study where a brooding Frex stood hunched in the corner, staring angrily out the window into the gardens. Snapping to attention at the unexpected and unwanted interruption, Frex glared at the man.
"What is it!"
"The man accompanying her royal highness…"
"DON'T call her that." Frex snapped, hand curling into a fist in a vain attempt to school his anger.
"Elphaba's escort, Mr. Taylor Wordoff, is magical in being. He can transport as well as other things. What do you suggest?"
Frex paced for a second before a sinister smile spread across his features.