A/N: I'm so sorry for this having taken so long again, guys. In the last couple of weeks, I've felt super guilt each time at not having updated each time this story has received a new follower or favourite. But life's been getting in the way as usual- so this time I'm not going to give any false promises about when the next chapter will be up. Just rest assured that this story WILL get finished... eventually! Try and stick with me and I won't let you down! :)
Oh, and on a different note, a few of you appear to have added me on facebook. While I'm 100% cool with that- I love chatting with you guys outside the site- please, please send me a message with your request letting me know who you are. I get a lot of randoms who I've met once or twice in passing attempting to add me, and it's very difficult for me to figure out whether I know you when we've got no friends in common!
Anyway, enough of me, here's the next chapter :)
Making love with Elphaba had not, by any means, been perfect. Neither one of them had been able to entirely dismiss the fear that what they were doing might just have an inherent wrongness to it, and both had been far too nervous and unsure about the encounter to render it smooth and faultless. The experience had been flawed, significantly so, but this only seemed to make Glinda all the more determined to repeat it. She found herself longing for the touch of Elphaba's long, pianist's fingers, thirsting for them to play her body as she played her beloved instrument.
It was not difficult for them to find excuses to spend the night together. Fiyero would be away for weeks at a time, only to return with a bunch of exotic flowers as way of apology for his absence and as confirmation that he had, in fact, been honest about where he had travelled to. Avaric, too, would often spend the night away from home; although taking advantage of this was more risky, as he would frequently return in the early hours of the morning, often with a scantily dressed girl or two draped shamelessly around him.
It seemed horrendous to Glinda that Avaric should display his infidelity so brazenly: to her, adultery was something shameful, something which should be conducted in secret. And it seemed incredible to her too that Elphaba seemed unperturbed by her husband's behaviour. Further than shaking her head distastefully at him on occasion, she would simply ignore both her husband and his lovers, and neither would she discuss it when Glinda pestered her about whether she felt upset by Avaric's conduct.
Glinda herself could only imagine how she might feel if Fiyero were to bring another woman home; and the thoughts of grief, betrayal and anger which came to mind only made her feel all the more guilt-ridden regarding the affair she was partaking in with Elphaba. Still, even after several weeks, she seemed unable to complete a visitation from Elphaba without breaking down in tears at some point or another. It was embarrassing, and she hated the fact that it hurt Elphaba to see her crying, but Glinda was unable to prevent it. It wasn't that she was not happy when she was with Elphaba: in fact, she felt more relaxed and content when with her lover than she did at any other time. It was simply the impossibility of the situation: the fact that she wanted to be with Elphaba truly and completely, but the way in which she knew that this day, if it came at all, was an awfully long way away from where they were at present. And when Elphaba responded to her sobs by gently suggesting that, for Glinda's own sake, they call off their affair; this only caused Glinda to cry harder, to cling to Elphaba and beg her not to leave. And so Elphaba didn't, and their affair continued.
Glinda twirled one blonde curl mindlessly around her finger and reread the same sentence for the third time. It was still no clearer than when she had first looked upon it, however, and so she skipped ahead to the next paragraph, hoping that the first wouldn't be too essential to her understanding of the text as a whole. She wasn't the best reader, it was fair to say. She had learned the basics when she had been young, of course- all the most well-to-do families employed teachers for their children, regardless of their gender- but she had never developed any deeper understanding as to how she should go about immersing herself in a text the way in which she watched Elphaba do. Still, Elphaba had become so passionate lately about this issue regarding the wellbeing of Animals that Glinda had become increasingly curious as to what it was all about. Hence, instead of sleeping or trying to sneak round to Elphaba's- although it would be mindless tonight, as Fiyero had been hovering around her like an irritating, flying insect all day and would become suspicious if she left the house- Glinda was sitting up in bed, trying to wrap her mind around a book full of words and concepts of which she possessed little to no understanding.
In time, Glinda heard the bedroom door creak open, but did not remove her eyes from the page she was frowning down upon. Interruptions were not welcome to her at present: not when she was finally beginning to grasp the nature of the author's perspective. She felt the mattress beneath her move slightly from the change in weight as Fiyero climbed under the sheets beside her and she shifted in annoyance, trying to keep her focus.
"What are you reading, Glinda?" her husband asked curiously, snaking an arm across her shoulders and trying to pull her into him.
"A book discussing the nature of experience," Glinda mumbled, barely looking up, "This chapter is questioning whether or not we can come to know a soul through our experience with a body. Consequently, can we know that the soul of an Animal is the same as that of a human, simply by being with and talking to them?"
"And can we?" Fiyero asked, not sounding in the least bit curious as he brushed her hair from her neck and moved his lips to it.
Glinda frowned, tilting her head subconsciously away from him. "I don't know that the author reaches any definite conclusions," she said after a pause, "The book is designed more to make the reader think than to provide him or her with any direct answers. It discusses whether or not Animals possess human-like intuition, which is an ambiguous term in itself."
"Surely it isn't so difficult to understand intuition?" Fiyero mumbled. His lips had progressed to her collarbone now, and Glinda wished he'd desist.
"Apparently there are a lot of ways to define intuition," she told him tiredly, "But Elphie looked up the official definition out of curiosity." She indicated the little note at the side of the page which had been added in Elphaba's untidy scrawl. "A direct perception of truth or fact, independent of any reasoning process. However, she's also written in an alternative meaning for the word when used in a philosophical context: an immediate cognition of an object not inferred or determined by a previous cognition of the same object, or any object or truth so discerned. Or conversely: pure, untaught, non-inferential knowledge."
"Glinda, I haven't the vaguest idea what you're talking about," Fiyero laughed and, to Glinda's irritation, he extracted the book clean out of her hands and tossed it carelessly onto the floor.
"Fiyero!" Glinda complained, as he laid her head gently back onto her pillow, "Be careful! That book isn't mine: it's Elphie's."
Fiyero was now engrossed in his exploration of her body, however, and didn't seem to hear her. His hands- tanned, masculine hands, so unlike the spidery green hands she so craved- pawed clumsily at her torso, at her breasts. It made Glinda's skin crawl. Why must he touch her so incessantly?
"Fiyero," she murmured, squirming out of his grasp, "I'm not really in the mood tonight, dearest."
Fiyero moved away from her, and Glinda caught the look of hurt which had appeared on his face. She felt a twinge of guilt.
"I don't understand what's happened to you lately, Glinda," Fiyero said softly, as he returned to his own side of the bed. "You've become so serious since you started spending time with Elphaba. I miss the bubbly, fun-loving woman I married."
Glinda felt a ripple of panic spread through her. Had she really changed so much? Was she causing Fiyero to become suspicious? "She's still here," she told him firmly, turning to her husband and pressing her lips briefly to his cheek. Then, as an afterthought: "She's just perhaps grown up a little and has lost some of the false illusions about life she once possessed."
"I have no idea what you're talking about once again, Glinda," Fiyero told her quietly, "I don't know this cryptic, philosophical woman in bed beside me."
"I'm still me," Glinda insisted, putting her hand to Fiyero's cheek and forcing him to look at her. And although it pained her to say it, she added: "I'm still your wife."
Slowly, Fiyero took Glinda's face in both hands and pushed back her hair before bringing his lips to hers. Glinda kissed him back with as much passion as she could muster, and when his hands strayed down to her nightdress, she did not object. She was not unaccustomed, after all, to switching off during lovemaking- it was something she found herself doing each time she felt guilty enough to allow her husband's advances to progress, maybe once every two weeks or so.
"You still love me, Glinda?" Fiyero murmured.
"You're my husband," Glinda replied; and this seemed like a satisfactory enough answer, as Fiyero pressed his lips to hers again- more forcefully this time- and carefully began to remove their clothes.
When she awoke the next morning, Fiyero was absent. This came as no surprise to Glinda- she was no stranger to falling asleep beside her husband and waking up in an empty bed- but as she turned over in an attempt to find a more comfortable position, she felt something crackle beneath her head. Frowning, Glinda lifted the pillow and unearthed from beneath it a note.
My darling wife-
You're a beautiful person inside and out. Have a wonderful day, Glinda- you deserve to smile.
All my love,
No description of where he'd gone, no indication of when he'd return. Just simple, heartfelt words. They were only words, Glinda knew, and yet, as she read them, she felt tears collect in her eyes. You're a beautiful person inside and out. At one time, Glinda knew, she would have agreed. Nobody could deny that she was an attractive woman- she had been told that this was the case by everyone around her for years and years, and had subsequently come to believe it herself. But she had been a good person too: she helped others when she could, remained close to her family, donated money to charities. All in all, Glinda had felt that she had been rather a good candidate for being wife to a man such as Fiyero- even perfect, perhaps.
And yet, now… Glinda knew that she was nothing close to perfect. She wasn't a good person: she was as flawed as anybody else. And she hated Fiyero for leaving her the note, for reminding her of her personal shortcomings.
Glinda crumpled the note into one hand as she let her head drop back onto her pillow, tears flowing freely now. She wouldn't see Elphaba today- she would feign illness if necessary. Who in Oz did she think she was anyway, running straight to somebody else's bed each time her husband was away? What had happened to her morals, her shame, her dignity?
Elphaba pursed her lips as she tossed aside another useless reference. It had been over a month now since she'd begun her involvement in the Animal cause. She'd written numerous letters to influential figures she'd found within her reading: most of these had been ignored, but she'd managed to strike up a long-standing communication with one Doctor Dillamond: a Goat trained in the field of natural science who had been partaking in research hoping to undermine the new Animal Banns which were being imposed.
Until she'd begun her research, Elphaba had not been aware than any such Banns had been set in motion. She supposed she'd been living in something of a bubble up until recently- but she thought it was more than this. The amount to which Animals were being persecuted, according to Dillamond, when set against the amount of this which was being reported on, was shocking. Who was behind these Banns and why were they so against making it public knowledge? Elphaba was not sure and neither, it seemed, was Dillamond. But the green woman was determined to find out. She may be a woman, but that did not render her entirely useless: she had expressed her desire to help with the cause in any way she could in her letters to Dillamond, and he had responded by requesting a meeting with her which she was due to attend in just under a week.
She had written to Glinda, sharing her elation over this news, but the blonde had not responded. Nor had she replied to Elphaba's other notes enquiring as to her wellbeing and offering suggestions as to when they should next meet together. It had been several weeks since they had last seen one another, which was highly unusual- they rarely spent more than a few days void of one another's presence. Elphaba supposed that the blonde's interest had waned: both in the Cause and in herself. She was disappointed and rather hurt by this, of course, but not entirely surprised. It was only natural that Glinda should become bored of her company eventually, and Elphaba supposed she should count it as a blessing that the other woman had remained around for even as long as she had.
She was used to being alone, Elphaba reminded herself fervently. She had always been content with her own company. And with this thought in mind, she pushed the hurt from her mind in favour of immersing herself in her work.
Consumed by this driven mentality, Elphaba spent the next two weeks working solidly. Sleep and food came to be considered an unnecessary waste of time and an obstacle against further progress, and so she dispensed with them when she was able. Time lost all meaning to Elphaba, and she often found herself unable to suppress her need for sleep at irregular times.
It was during one of these times that she found herself being gently awoken by a maid.
"Ma'am?" Groggily, Elphaba lifted her cheek from her desk, impatiently pulling away the sheet of paper that had become stuck there.
"Mmmph?" she mumbled, casting her eyes to the window and finding herself surprised that the light stinging her eyes was daylight. What time was it?- she found herself wondering for the first time in days.
"You have a visitor," the maid was eyeing her unsurely, "Her coat has been taken and she has been seen through to the sitting room, but if ma'am would rather not-"
"No," Elphaba interrupted, more loudly than she'd intended. She climbed clumsily to her feet, unsurprised when the room around her seemed to spin slightly: she couldn't remember the last time she'd eaten. On the way to the door she remembered something, however; and turned. "My husband," she demanded, "He isn't home."
It was a question, and the maid lowered her head and shook it slightly. "No, ma'am."
"Good." She made her way to the sitting room, knowing who she would find there- or was that mere hope that it would be the person she most wanted to see? Whichever way, she was distinctly unsurprised to find Glinda seated daintily on the pink pouffe she'd long ago claimed as her own. The blonde woman's head was down and she was nervously twisting her wedding ring around on her finger. When Elphaba entered the room, however, she desisted in this practice and hastily rose.
"Hello," Glinda said, nervously shifting her weight, "How- how have you been?"
Elphaba merely shrugged in response, disinclined to engage in this silly small-talk. Her guard, she realised, was well and truly up once more. She had thought that Glinda had left her for good, and was unable to think of a sensible reason as to why she might now return.
Glinda cleared her throat as though in preparation to speak, though no words followed. Elphaba looked at her automatically, however, noticing, as she did so, the way in which blue eyes were shooting back and forth towards the room's door.
"Avaric isn't home," she said, in answer to the unspoken question, "Now what can I do for you, Mrs Tiggular?"
Glinda's eyes flitted to hers and shot wide open. "Mrs Tiggular?" she repeated, her voice incredulous, "Have we really returned to that?"
Elphaba eyed her sternly. "You tell me," she said simply.
Glinda gazed at her shoes for several moments, her expression troubled- and then something seemed to snap within her as her posture visibly straightened and she looked steadily back at Elphaba.
"Why are you doing this to me?" she asked, an angry edge to her tone that Elphaba did not like.
"Me?" she repeated sharply, "Glinda, you're the one who's been ignoring me for the past few weeks only to show up at my door seemingly disinclined to utter a word of explanation."
A brief silence ensued as Elphaba took a sharp intake of breath following her words. She had not intended to sound so urgent to receive an answer, so… needy. Elphaba was not a creature of need; she was as self-sufficient as a person could be. And yet those desperate, accusing words had spewed out from somewhere.
"Well, I've been busy," Glinda finally retorted rather weakly, and Elphaba watched as the other woman seemed to be attempting to summon the words to aptly defend herself, "I'm a married woman, Elph- Mrs Moncrieff, and as I am not married to you, I see no reason as to why I should keep you informed of my constant whereabouts."
Elphaba merely looked at her, her eyes narrowing. No, it was true that they were not married and she, therefore, did not possess claim over Glinda in the way that Fiyero did. But she had assumed that they shared something: something strong enough that she might receive warning when Glinda was to disappear for weeks at a time.
She did not voice any of this, however. It would make her seem too weak, too attached, and neither of those traits were desirable to her at that present moment. Instead, she simply raised an eyebrow at Glinda. "Yes, you are married," she said, as calmly as she was able, "And yet, if you hold your marriage in such high regard, it begs the question of just what you are doing here. Exactly where does your husband believe you to be at present?"
If the trapped look which appeared on Glinda's face was anything to go by, Elphaba knew she had caught the other woman.
"That is none of your concern. The larger issue is that if I am not wanted here, I had better be leaving," she huffed finally, "I do apologise for taking up your time."
She turned and flounced into the hallway following these words, and Elphaba followed behind her. After reaching for her coat from a hook beside the door, Glinda turned and viewed Elphaba disdainfully.
"You may do well to consider how those other than yourself might be affected next time you aim to entrap somebody in romantic liaisons, Mrs Moncrieff," she said, head raised and chin poking outwards.
Elphaba opened her mouth in order to utter an angry retort to this hurtful and entirely unjustified statement, but this aim was quickly prohibited by pink lips which were suddenly and unexpectedly pressed against her own in spontaneous fervour.
"Glinda-" Elphaba gasped, struggling against the other woman's grip as she pulled back, "What are you-"
But once again, her speech was cut off by heated lips, this time accompanied by an invasive, pointy tongue. Then the tongue was drawn back and sharp teeth nibbled at her bottom lip, rather harder than was wholly necessary. Despite herself, Elphaba let out a grunt of pleasure, her arms swooping around the other woman and drawing her closer as the need for the nearness of the other's body intensified. Glinda reciprocated the movement, though with rather more force, her nails scraping fiercely at the fabric of Elphaba's dress as though hoping to slice right through it to the skin which lay beneath. She leaned in closer, closer, her kisses increasingly urgent; until finally Elphaba's knees became too weak to support the combined weight of the two of them. They collapsed beneath her, and the two women were brought to the floor.
This seemed not to hinder Glinda's passion, however; she scrambled atop Elphaba, desperate to find a position which brought them both the optimal level of satisfaction. One hand clawed at the hem of Elphaba's dress, anxiously bringing it upwards to uncover her flesh, and Glinda's mouth had moved to Elphaba's neck. Her tongue roamed the skin there and Elphaba shuddered as it hit a particular pleasure point she had never known existed. Then, suddenly, Glinda bit; her teeth coming down hard into sensitive, green skin.
"Glinda," Elphaba gasped, raising a trembling hand to sit at the small of Glinda's back, surprised and intrigued about this new side of the blonde she appeared to have unearthed. Glinda paused then, briefly, and raised her head so that her face was level with Elphaba's, her body still flush against the other woman's.
"I need you, Elphie," she whispered voice husky with lust, "You're a constant in my life I can't do without."
And before she had had time to process this revelation, Glinda's roaming hand had come to press hard against the precise spot she needed it. No hesitation, no teasing of any kind; simply pure, confident pressure. This aroused Elphaba more than she was able to rationalise, and she quickly found herself responding with a similar level of frenzied passion to that which Glinda had been demonstrating to her.
The floor was hard, uncarpeted, cold, and a chilly breeze penetrated through the slight gap under the door, washing over them uncomfortably. None of this mattered however, and neither did the simple fact that the front door was mere feet away from them seem to present any reason as to why they should discontinue their antics. Indeed, at one point, a maid did arrive in the entrance hall in order to continue her cleaning work; but neither woman noticed, too driven they were by their single-minded, animalistic entanglement. The maid froze for a few moments, her mouth agape in shock, but quickly retreated, remembering that her mistress' affairs were none of her concern.
For Glinda and Elphaba, time and space had ceased to exist until further notice. Blithely unaware of anything but one another, the two women grasped, scratched and bit at one another. Clothes were ripped and blood was drawn on both sides, but when, sometime much later, Glinda finally collapsed against Elphaba's body- each of them gasping for breath and thoroughly worn out- the green woman had to conclude that whatever sort of fight for dominance they'd just engaged in, the result was that of an undeniable draw.