It was no secret to any female that attended Shiz University that every year, the school hosted an annual beauty pageant. And it was also no secret that this year, there was no doubt Galinda Upland was going to win.
"It's not fair! She's a first year student, and even all the third year girls are agreeing that she's going to win! And without even trying too!"
"Stop whining. We're first years too, you know," Pfannee said. Milla crossed her arms huffily.
"Galinda's our friend. Shouldn't we want her to win?" Shenshen asked.
"Well of course we don't bear her any ill will, but that doesn't mean we want her to win without any competition."
"Well, what do we do then? The judge is going to chosen tonight, and any man chosen will pick Galinda for sure!" Milla said.
The three pondered this dilemma for a few minutes before Pfannee's eyes lit up.
"Perhaps we convince the others that a male judge isn't the best choice," she said.
"What do you mean? We can't choose a woman, they're all in the pageant!"
"Not one woman."
The two other girls still looked confused, and Pfannee let out a sigh.
"The green bean. She's not entered."
"Ooooh, right." A pause. "So?"
"Are you really so thick? She hates Galinda. If we vote her for judge, she'll have to choose whoever she hates the least."
"Ooooh." Now the other two got it. "But how do we convince the others girls to vote for her?"
"Well, Galinda is everyone's enemy. The vegetable is Galinda's enemy. So, therefore, the enemy of our enemy… is our friend."
"Everyone settle down!"
It was one of the few times the boys from Briscoe and the girls from Crage were all in the same dining hall, so it took some time for them to heed Madame Morrible's call and quiet down.
"Now as you all know, we're going to announce who the judge of this year's beauty pageant is going to be. The ladies of Crage Hall have all voted, so we'll see which young man is chosen." The headmistress unfolded the paper in her hands, and her expression immediately changed. "W-well, this is… a surprise."
Galinda shifted nervously in her seat. She hoped Fiyero was chosen, or even Boq. She'd win for sure, seeing as they were always admiring her, and by the look on Morrible's face, it was most likely the scandalascious prince.
"This year's judge is… Miss Elphaba Thropp."
A hush fell over the room, and all eyes turned on the green woman, who currently had her nose buried in a book. She wasn't aware of the fact that her name had just been called.
"Miss Elphaba? Where are you?"
Elphaba was pulled from her literature by the feeling of Boq tugging in her arm. "What?" she snapped, unaware the room was silent. Elphaba soon realized that everyone was staring at her. "Um…"
"Miss Elphaba, come up here please."
The green woman stood, making her way up to the headmistress, feeling unnerved at having the entire Shiz population staring at her. So unnerved, in fact, that she missed Morrible's question.
"What?" she said, causing a ripple of laughter to pass through the room. "I-I didn't do… whatever you think I did."
"No, Miss Elphaba. I said, how do you feel about being chosen to judge this year's beauty pageant?"
"UH… b-beauty pageant judge?"
"Yes. You've been voted judge. Congratulotions."
Galinda sat there, bristling with anger. She was sure her "friends" had planned this; there was no chance of her winning now!
Beauty pageant judge? Me? But… why? Why would the women vote for me?
Elphaba's gaze was down as she made her way back to Crage Hall. It didn't make any sense—
The green woman jumped. "O-oh… hello."
Pfannee smiled at her. "Congratulotions on being nominated judge."
"Yes, well… it's not something I have… very much experience with."
"I'm sure you'll do fine…" When she took a step closer, Elphaba took a step back. "Have you any idea who you're going to choose?"
"Um… not at… the moment…." Elphaba gave her a nervous smile. "Uh… I… have to go now…" The green woman moved around her and practically ran back to her room.
Elphaba froze at the voice and turned, her eyes falling on her roommate, who was sitting on her pink bed, glaring at her.
"H-hello Miss Galinda…"
"How interesting that you were chosen judge."
"I agree. I don't know what was going through their minds when they chose me—"
"Oh, don't you get it?" Galinda was on her feet now. "They chose you because they know you hate me!"
A grin crossed Elphaba's face. "Oh, Galinda… they may think that." She approached the blonde, gently wrapping her arms around her and leaning down to kiss her neck. "But our definition of 'hate' is very different than what they think."
Galinda shivered slightly. "Elphaba… stop it. This is serious."
"I know…" Elphaba had moved to kiss the blonde's ear. "And I am seriously attracted to you."
"Elphaba." The blonde pushed away slightly. "Listen to me. If you choose me, people will know something is up."
"What? Am I going to get in trouble for choosing the most beautiful woman in Oz?"
"You will if that woman happens to be the one you hate!" Galinda moved around her, crossing her arms. "I mean, at least with a man, there would have been a reason for me to win without a second thought!"
"Oh, my sweet, does this really mean so much to you?" Elphaba asked, coming up behind her and unzipping her dress, her hands sliding against bare skin.
"Yes… it does," Galinda managed to get out, her eyes closing at the feel of being touched. "No first year has ever won before. I would have been the first."
"Don't fret, my sweet," Elphaba said, sliding the dress down Galinda's body. "We'll find a way." She kissed the back of her neck.
"You're infuriating, you know that?" Galinda said, turning around and wrapping her arms around Elphaba.
"I know it… now allow me to 'infuriate' you further..."
Elphaba let out a sigh as she rolled to the side, brushing hair from her face. "I don't see how I can't pick you now."
Galinda rolled on top of Elphaba, kissing her. "I'm going to make it easy for you: I'm not entering."
"What? Why not?"
"Because I don't want you to be tempted. If I enter, you'll pick me for sure, and then people will know you don't hate me. They'll tease you even more… and I can't let that happen." The blonde played with a tendril of the raven hair she loved so much.
The green woman sighed again. "You're really not going to enter?"
Galinda shook her head. "No. I'm not entering. And that's that." She kissed Elphaba again. "You'll have to choose someone else."
"All right, but I'll be thinking of you the whole time." With a grin, Elphaba switched their positions, and the blonde couldn't help but giggle as she pulled the green woman down yet again.
The number of entrants had been narrowed down through the screening process, and when the time for the pageant came around, there were about two dozen girls, all giving Elphaba "the look" as they performed and strutted about the stage.
From where Galinda sat in the audience, she bristled every time one of the girls showed off for Elphaba. Even though it was secret, Elphaba was still hers! No other woman (or person for that matter) should be looking at her that way.
"Thank you ladies. Your displays were all quite wonderful," Morrible said after the final girl finished. "Now, our judge will declare the winner. Miss Thropp?"
Elphaba stood a little late, having almost fallen asleep at the show. She took her place center stage, seeing the hopeful looks of the girls behind her as she did so.
"Uh… well, as Madame Morrible said, those were all quite… nice. And after watching all of you, I have to say that I… well, I'm a little impressed."
The girls let out hopeful noises.
"I'm impressed that the one person who should be up isn't… I'm impressed that she removed herself from this pageant to give you all a fair shot at winning, especially when this was something she wanted." Elphaba looked down at the tiara in her hands, the one she was to give to the queen. "By doing that, she has, in my opinion, shown a higher moral character than any of you up here, and I believe that's what really matters… and of course, it doesn't hurt that she's beautiful."
There were a few laughs from the audience, but Elphaba could tell that everyone was confused.
"As judge, I have decided that the winner of this year's contest is… Galinda Upland."
The blonde froze, her heart racing. She became aware of everyone staring at her. Why was Elphaba doing this?
"I don't care what any of you think; I'm green, so trust me, I don't care, but you all know Galinda deserves to win…"
The room was silent, and then the lone sound of someone clapping. Others followed, and soon the room was filled with the sound of applause and cheering. Galinda stood, slowly making her way up to where Elphaba stood. The green woman offered her a smile as she placed the tiara on her head.
"Why did you do this?"
"Because you deserve it… and how could I choose anyone over you? That would be lying." Elphaba kissed the blonde's forehead before taking her hand. "They all love you."
Galinda looked out at the cheering mass, and then at her hand joined with Elphaba's. She gave the green woman a smile.
"It doesn't matter… because I have you."