Always

She sat in the waiting room, staring at the ground. The door opened.

"Kristin?" she looked up, "Mr. Mantello will see you now." The man led her through the door and into the office. Joe Mantello was not as intimidating as she'd thought he'd be. He had graying hair and a goofy smile that he used as soon as she walked in. Of course, everyone smiled when she walked in the room, that was a given. She relaxed.

"Please, sit down," he gestured at the chair. She sat, adjusting her dress so that it covered her legs. "I think you will be pleased to hear that you got the job."

Her hands flew to her face to cover the oncoming smile and maybe tears of joy that were approaching. She never could get the hang of staying calm in this situation.

"Thank you, thank you so much. You have no idea how much I wanted- " The door flew open. A woman rushed in, quickly flattening out her shirt and fixing the loose pony-tail that she wore. Choosing the seat next to Kristin, she apologized, "Oh, I'm sorry. Am I interrupting something?"

"Yes, you are-" Kristin started. Joe cut her off. "No, Idina, I was just going to tell you both that you got the job."

"Really? That's fantastic! I can't wait to start!" said the new woman. Idina. Well, thought Kristin. She's certainly rude enough to play Elphaba. I'll make it work.

"Why don't you introduce yourselves," ventured Joe.

"Oh, yeah, right, sorry, I'm just really excited." She turned to Kristin, "You know, this is only my second role on Broadway."

"Really." She said, not interested at all. "This will be my fourth."

She looked surprised. "I'm Idina Menzel, nice to meet you."

"I'm Kristin Chenoweth, pleased to meet you, too." She held out her hand and was immediately embraced in a hug. Whoa! This one's a hugger. A few seconds later Idina released her and sat back down.

"I always like to hug my co-workers. It makes me feel like we're closer," she explained. Maybe she isn't so bad, Kristin thought.

Joe stood up and placed his hands on the desk. He rooted around in the pile of papers sitting there while he talked. "Well, okay, I'm just going to give you your scripts and then we can be done!" He handed them a thick binder entitled Wicked. "If you could come in Wednesday at 8 to start developing the songs, that would be great." He said that as if you had a choice.

Kristin rose from her chair and thanked them. At the door she turned and smiled at Idina. There. Now we're even.

Idina threw her coat on the rack and plopped down on the couch.

"How was it, sweetie?" She heard Taye ask from the kitchen. That was sweet, he decided to cook me dinner.

"It was great. I got the job!" She called back. She didn't feel like going to the kitchen to talk to him directly. In fact, she didn't feel like moving at all.

"That's great!" he exclaimed. The sound of his voice echoed through their apartment. A few moments passed in silence. "What's wrong?"

Idina groaned. "Oh, nothing. It's just, I feel like the woman who's going to be playing Glinda doesn't like me very much."

The metallic clanging of pots falling and crashing to the ground made her look up. Taye walked into the living room where Idina was sitting, wiping his hands on a dish towel. He sat down next to her and pulled her head to his chest. "Now why would anyone ever dislike you." She curled into his arms and laid there for a few minutes, not crying, just resting.

"I don't know what I'd ever do without you," she mumbled into his shirt. It smelled like burnt chicken and rosemary, but she didn't care.

"And I don't know what I would do without you," he said. "I guess…the ground would thaw, the rain would fall- "

She lifted her head of his chest and glared at him playfully, pushing him onto his side and off the couch entirely. "Stop it. That's not funny," she said, laughing. He pretended to collapse on the floor, feigning ill.

He put his hand to his forehead. "With that glare, I lost my heart, and with that push, I lost my will to live."

"Drama queen." She stated.

"How do you think I got here?"

Kristin entered the rehearsal area and set her bag down by the door. She noticed that Idina was already here. Gliding across the beige tile floor, she made her way over to the piano, where Stephan Schwartz was already pumping out chords. She placed her hands on top of the piano and taped her fingers to the beat, staring off into space. She felt a tingle on the back of her neck. Someone was staring at her. Her head spun around to look at Idina, the culprit.

"Hi," Kristin said.

Idina shook herself out of her daze. "Hi," she replied back, "I was just admiring your earrings. Where did you get them?"

"Uh- I don't remember. Some little boutique on Sixth Avenue…" Or at Marc Jacobs… She thought. She didn't want this new woman to know where she bought all of her clothes. She didn't know why.

"Oh, that's interesting. I'll have to go there sometime. Maybe you could show me where it is!" Idina smiled at her. Kristin smiled back.

"Sure, maybe."

Stephan interjected, "Okay, so today we're going to try to finish the song where the two witches meet. Can both of you sing me some scales so I can get a feel for you vocal ranges?" They nodded.

Kristin started singing in an extremely high octave. Stephan raised his eyebrows and Idina put one hand over her ear. She finished singing, ending on a note so high that it could break glass. Kristin beamed. This is what she loved most about Broadway. Getting to share her talent with everyone brought her indescribable bliss.

Stephan blinked. He turned to Idina. "Okay, now it's your turn," he said.

She started singing in a voice that sounded as sweet as honey. Kristin stared at her. Something caught in her throat. What is this feeling?

The dulcet voice disappeared and the two listeners composed themselves again. Stephan cleared his throat. "I think I can guess now what range the song needs to be in. Does anybody have any suggestions for the title? Remember: it's about when the two witches first meet. They hate each other. I was thinking something like Loathing or The first encounter or something like that…"

Silence. "Anyone?" he inquired again.

"How about What is this feeling?"