Author's Note: Before I even name a chapter, I want to acknowledge Shaggelmalove. The majority of the premise for this story was her idea, because I told her I felt stuck. I think it's brilliant and I am honored that I am able to use it. *Takes a deep breath* Here goes nothing!
Chapter 1: Stuck
"Seriously, it's just obnoxious!" Elphaba insisted, her green face flush with both exhaustion and irritation.
"I'm trying to help and I'm obnoxious? Rich," Boq grumbled his way up the stairs.
"First of all, I have one bag. I can take myself to my new dorm all by myself, thank you very much."
"I just want to see where you're living."
"Seriously, you seem to think you have to do everything with me just because our idiot parents are forcing us to get married come graduation. I don't even care, Boq. No offense, but you know I'm not interested. It doesn't freaking matter. It's the arrangement, so be it, but you don't have to aggravate it by hanging around all the damn time!"
"I'm just trying to be nice, Elphie."
"I swear to Oz if you call me that again… ugh!" They were on the fourth set of stairs and Elphaba's room was to be on the eighth floor.
"I've called you that since we were kids."
"We aren't kids anymore! And that was long before our parents informed us were had to get married. Now it's just annoying and wrong, okay?"
"Fine. Look, Elphaba, I'm just trying to get along with you. We got along okay before our parents told us all this; why can't we get along now?"
"Because when you were my friend by choice I didn't see you as someone I was forced to spend time around. Now it's just different, okay?"
"Can't we just act normal, please? I like you well enough, even if I don't love you, and we really should try to be peaceful about all of this."
"I'm not going to refuse, if that's what you're saying. I follow the rules. I do what my father tells me. But that doesn't mean I have to like it." Elphaba swung open the door to room 842 then and both of them fell silent.
A curly haired blonde blue-eyed girl stood at the door to greet them, looking excited until she saw Elphaba. Then she looked confused for a brief moment. The girl seemed to realize she was staring and lowered her eyes for a moment before she looked back up at them. "Hi! You must be my new roommate, Elphaba," she said, clearly a little less enthusiastic than she had been before she had seen them. "I'm Galinda! I mean, in case you didn't get all the roommate information in your move-in letter…" She acted as though she wanted to give Elphaba a hug.
Elphaba stuck out her hand for Galinda to shake, instead. "Hello. I guess I don't need to introduce myself. This is Boq, my - "
"friend," Boq finished quickly, shooting Elphaba a look.
Elphaba was a little curious, since "friend" was exactly what she was going to say. She didn't really feel like getting into a deep discussion of her life with this girl. Why would she tell her about the whole thing? "Yes. We came together from Munchkinland since we live so close to each other and were both headed out here, we figured we'd share a ride." She looked over at Boq.
Boq was staring at Galinda, his cheeks even redder than his usual ruddy complexion. He had a lopsided smile on his face.
Elphaba sighed. Typical. He was stunned by the pale, beautiful girl in front of him. She didn't much care, though. She didn't have any feelings for him so jealousy wasn't even an idea. He could stare at whoever he wanted to. It didn't matter; in the end, they'd be stuck with each other.
Galinda flashed another perfect smile and said, "I'd love to talk to you and learn all about you! But I was just about to go to the bookstore. I can sit and wait while you unpack," she glanced at Elphaba's meager bag as though she was expecting something else, "and we can go together, if you want."
"Oh, no," Elphaba forced a smile, "that's okay. We picked up our books before we got here. But thank you."
"Okay, well… I'll just be going for a bit. Then we absolutely have to talk!" Galinda hurried daintily out the door and closed it gently behind her.
Boq blinked. "She seems nice!"
Elphaba rolled her eyes and shrugged. "I guess. I don't really intend on spending a lot of time with her, anyway."
"Why not? She seems really friendly! We could all hang out."
Elphaba was not clueless, but she didn't feel like mentioning to Boq that she knew that he thought Galinda was cute. Why bother? "Whatever."
"You know," he started almost shyly, "I've been thinking about something."
"Let me just express my shock that you've been thinking," Elphaba quipped and made a surprised face.
"Well, I know that you're really not happy about this whole thing and you're my friend and whatever, but maybe we just shouldn't tell anyone about…" He trailed off, trying to think of the right words.
"About the fact that we're being forced into getting married once we graduate?"
"Yeah, that," he shrugged.
"I really wasn't planning on talking much about it in the first place."
"Good, then. So we're agreed?"
"If that's what you want," Elphaba placed her bag on her empty bed (the other one was pink and white with ruffles) and began to open it. She knew what he was doing, although she didn't understand why. In the long term, it wouldn't change a thing. It might actually make things worse. But that was his problem, not hers.
"Cool. Do you want help unpacking?"
"Does it look like I need help?"
"I'll take that as a 'no.'"
"I could just sit and keep you company," he offered desperately.
Elphaba shook her head. Sweet Oz, he was pathetic. He only wanted to hang around to see Galinda again. "I don't need company. In fact, I don't much like company. But if you want to stay here and learn more about my new roommate, that's fine."
Boq looked at her, alarmed. "What do you mean?"
"Nothing. I just thought that since you think she's so friendly, you might want to talk to her, too. I'm not the friendliest person in the world."
He looked relieved. "Well, I would like to make some friends, and it seems like an easy way to make a friend if she's so willing to talk to you."
"I'm not as excited to make friends as you are, Boq. I'm sure she's… nice, but does she look like the type of person I'd hang out with?"
Boq almost laughed at this. "I guess not."
"So if you want to stay here and talk to her and get me out of talking to her, that would be perfectly fine by me." Elphaba figured that maybe if he was distracted by Galinda, he wouldn't follow her around all the time and she wouldn't have to be reminded of that dreadful thing her parents – well, parent now that Melena was dead – were forcing on her after graduation. Or maybe, if she got especially lucky, Boq would do something stupid and it wouldn't be her fault if the whole thing fell apart. She wasn't going to back out of it. She knew Frex would never forgive her, and despite the fact that he had not been the best father, part of her still wanted his approval. But she wouldn't be upset, per se, if Boq decided to run off and she didn't end up having to get married to him – to anyone, really.
Elphaba sighed as she started arranging her clothes and Boq sat down in her desk chair. Both she and Boq and been all excited about going off to Shiz and then just before they left, his parents and her father had sat them down and given them a little talk. When they were young, seeing how well they got along and how Boq didn't seem absolutely horrified by Elphaba's skin, their parents had gotten the idea that they should marry. It was beneficial to Frex because he thought Elphaba wouldn't get married otherwise (he didn't say that to her in so many words, but she knew) and it was beneficial to Boq's parents because they would be marrying their son to the Third Thropp Descending, soon to be Eminent Thropp. Elphaba was the only one to look truly upset; Boq had just looked resigned. She knew she had to, but it didn't mean she had to like it. And she wasn't going to like it. Not at all.