A/N: This is it, the last installment of Life and Times at Shiz University. Thanks everyone for following this story, and I hope it is everything you wanted. :)
Shiz University - Part 2
"Don't pretend to care about me," Elphaba told her cruelly, turning back around and quickly donning a nightshirt. "You've made it clear which side you're on."
"Side?!" Galinda shrieked, forgoing pretenses and dorm rules completely in her anger. "I'm not on anybody's side, you idiot!"
"You could have fooled me." Elphaba brushed past her, intent on going to bed, but Galinda grabbed her arm, holding her in place with a surprisingly vice-like grip.
"Now you listen to me, Elphaba Thropp!" she exclaimed. "Just because I got mad at you and said something mean doesn't mean I'm not still your friend! How could I, I love you too much for that!"
Silence reigned between them, and Galinda realized exactly what she said. Mortified, she released her roommate's arm and took a step back.
"Galinda—" Elphaba started slowly, but Galinda shook her head.
"I—I've gotta go, Elphie." She ran towards the door and wrenched it open, barreling past a startled looking RA and leaving an even more startled (and confused) Elphaba in her wake.
Galinda avoided her dorm room, the coffee shop, and Elphaba as much as possible for the rest of midterms week. She only went into the room to grab clothes once, and she spent three days of the week before Spring Break camped out on an air mattress on the floor of Pfanne and ShenShen's dorm room. She had not told her two groupies of her crush on Elphaba, or even her recently self-identification of bisexuality. She just made up a story of how sick she was of Elphaba and the two allowed her into their room without any questions.
Sometimes it was nice to have friends who really hated your roommate slash love interest.
Avoiding Elphaba was, thankfully, not as hard as she thought. She knew Elphaba's schedule well enough to know where and when she would be in class, and which cut-throughs to avoid at what times. Galinda attended the classes she shared with Elphaba and as soon as she could she vacated the premises. The bonde was small and quick and sat near the door—she bolted from class as soon as it ended. Elphaba, who always sat near the front, was blocked time after time by a crowd of students rushing to leave the door, giving Galinda enough time to get away.
Consequently, spending time away from Elphaba meant that Galinda spent more time with Pfanee and ShenShen. Their gossip-laden conversations held no interest to her any longer, and she longed for Elphaba's impromptu lectures and the feeling of her silky black hair when the green girl let her play with her hair every night.
Ozdammit! Why was it so hard to get Elphaba out of her head?!
And what was worse, it was only halfway through the semester. She would have to see Elphaba on the other side of Spring Break. She probably could move out, considering the fact that the RAs had not let Galinda move out at the beginning of the Fall semester, she highly doubted that 'I accidently confessed to my roommate that I have a super huge lesbian crush on her and now have to avoid her forever' would get her out of the contract.
"Miss Galinda? Are you listening to us?"
"Hm?" The blonde was brought out of her stupor by Pfanee's annoyed words. "What?"
"I said," Pfanee replied exasperatedly, "We've going down to the Rose and the Crown tonight to celebrate the end of midterms. You coming with us?"
Oh. That was right. Midterms were over. In three days, Galinda would be going home for Spring Break! The idea, which would previously have excited her, only made her slightly queasy now. "I don't know. I don't have anything to wear…"
Pfanee waved the excuse aside airily. "Just go back to your room and grab something! The artichoke is probably still holed up in the Library reading something stupid. You can change in our room! Just grab it and get outta there, and we'll go and have Avarice buy us drinks and we'll celebrate!"
The idea of getting wasted on alcohol and forgetting Elphaba completely for several hours did sound promising. Galinda found herself agreeing to the party, and at seven o'clock she found herself sneaking back into her own dorm room to get something to wear. Elphaba was, thankfully, nowhere to be seen, so she went through her tiny closet, intent on finding something. She was so intent, in fact, that she did not hear the beep from the electronic lock as a key was swiped, nor did she hear the sound of the door opening until it was too late.
Elphaba and Galinda both stared at each other, the blonde looking very much like a deer in the headlights. Then Elphaba gently closed the door behind it and flipped the lock. "Fancy seeing you here, Galinda, considering you live here. Although with the state of your vacation the past three days, it was starting to seem not the case."
The blonde bit her lip, not trusting herself to say anything. Elphaba dropped her bag and firmly planted herself in the doorway, her arms over her chest. She was wearing the long, navy skirt and white jacket Galinda so liked. It was Thursday, so she would not be working. She probably had just come from dinner. Her hair was back in her customary braid, and with the way she was standing she probably was not going to be letting Galinda go anytime soon.
"We need to talk, Galinda. Now."
There were the dreaded words.
"I—There's nothing to talk about."
"Nothing to talk about? Galinda, in case you've forgotten, you shouted your affections at me and then before I could respond you fled and have been avoiding me ever since!" Elphaba advanced on her, and Galinda was suddenly aware of how tall Elphaba was. She was at least a head taller than her, maybe more. And when she was angry like she was now, she was downright terrifying. Galinda shrunk back, until she was trapped back against the cinderblock wall, her wall of shoes, and her closet blocking her exits. Elphaba herself was blocking her only other option.
"Will you please tell me what is going on?" Elphaba was still going strong. "Contrary to popular belief, even I can't read minds! Is this what all those questions about homosexuality and bisexuality were about? So you could pull some stupid prank-"
"It's not a prank," Galinda said quietly, sincerely, the words slipping out before she could stop them.
"What was that?" Elphaba asked disbelievingly.
"It's not a prank!" Galinda repeated louder, sudden courage filling her. She stepped forward, and this time it was Elphaba who stepped back. "Yes, fine, okay, I like you! Or something! I don't even know, okay? And yes, I'm avoiding you! Okay? I'm sorry, but I have no idea what is going on and I didn't want to upset you and mess with your midterms because if you fail that means you probably can't come back to Shiz next semester and—" She trailed off, the sudden outrush of words ending as abruptly as it began.
"I'm sorry….I messed everything up." She sniffed, rubbing at the tears pricking at her eyes. Elphaba's feature's softened and she moved in to wipe the tears away. "D-Don't, you'll burn!"
Elphaba did it anyway, and Galinda felt her smooth fingers press against her cheek.
"Am I doing the human contact thing correctly?" the green girl asked in deadpan, attempting to make a joke to lighten the mood. Galinda let out a watery giggle and nodded. Elphaba let out a little smile, the crooked flash of teeth strange, but not unwelcome, in the long green face. Then she sobered up, the smile disappearing. "Galinda I…don't really know how to respond. I wish I could tell you I feel the same way but…"
The blonde's heart sank. Just what she had been afraid of. "But you don't."
"I don't know," Elphaba said honestly. "I've never felt love before….or infatuation or….anything of the sort. I'm not sure how it feels, besides what I've learned in books. And I have it on reliable account that what you read in books about love is not actually what love really feels like."
Galinda frowned. "Where'd you hear that?"
"A little novel called Madame Bovary."
"Never heard of it."
"You wouldn't have," Elphaba said, not unkindly. Her hand came away from Galinda's cheek and she sighed. "Look, Galinda, I'm flattered but….I really just don't know. I'm sorry. I'll have to—"
"Think about it," the blonde finished for her. Elphaba nodded. They knew each other too well. Galinda felt like crying again. "Fine…fine that's okay, that's fine…"
Elphaba swallowed and took another step back so that Galinda could get out if she needed to. "Why did you come back, anyway?" she asked when Galinda did not move. "I thought you were determined to quit me and this room for the rest of the semester."
"I was getting a dress," Galinda said, looking back into her closet half-heartedly. "Pfanne, ShenShen, and the boys are going down to The Rose and Crown to celebrate the end of midterms…and they asked me to come with them."
Elphaba sat down in her desk chair to unlace her boots. "Are you going to go?"
"I was going to…but….now I think I'm just going to go to bed." Galinda sighed and closed the door to her closet. The green girl nodded and watched her roommate change into her pajamas. Galinda then climbed up into her bed. Elphaba rose from her desk chair and pulled her work uniform out of her closet.
"What are you doing?" Galinda asked, curious. "It's Thursday, you don't work tonight."
"Fiyero called me in. Something about Crope doing something stupid and having to go to the infirmary."
Once Elphaba dressed, she picked up her bag and headed for the door. "Do you want the light off?" she asked as she paused by the light switch. At Galinda's approval, she flipped the switch and plunged the room into darkness. She looked up at the gloom and said softly, "Galinda….I really am sorry."
Then she left, closing the door firmly behind her, leaving her roommate alone in the dark.
The end of the midterms came with a flurry of activity. A majority of the campus was quitting to spend a week at home, or in some cases, the Emerald City. Galinda, for once, was not torn on whether or not she needed to leave campus. She needed to be away from Elphaba, and Elphaba, it seemed, needed to be away from her. It tormented her to be away from Elphaba and her beautiful green skin, but she supposed it was for the best.
….Beautiful green skin. That was the crush talking, she suspected.
The last two and a half days Galinda spent in her dorm room were awkward, but thankfully Elphaba was in and out too much for them to really talk. The green girl had taken recently to attending Dr. Dillamond's non-class lectures on something-or-the-other science, and seemed to be reveling in the fact that she did not have any class work to do by seemingly attempting to make up for all the books she did not have time to read over the rest of the semester semester. Plus, she worked. Between the three, Galinda only saw her roommate at meals and bedtime, and meals were not often a concrete bet. They never were with Elphaba.
So on Monday Galinda packed up her few very personal affects into a small rolling suitcase and, after handing it to her driver, scribbled a note to Elphaba on a pink post it note which she stuck to Elphaba's computer screen.
See you in a week! Don't work too hard!
Nothing about her crush, nothing about the awkwardness between them, nothing about asking her to think about it. Just a note like the ones Galinda had left before her accidental confession. The blonde wished the situation could be whisked away that simply.
Spring Break was, for the most part, going quite well for Elphaba Thropp. The campus was mostly quiet, and she got to spend a lot of time in the Library. She finished her work in a day and a half, and was determined to spend the rest of the break in the library reading to her heart's content. That is, when she was not working. She had taken the night shift every night that break, and was even working the morning the Sunday everyone returned. Fiyero had begged her to take that shift, and she had finally agreed.
There were only two things Elphaba did not like about Spring Break, and both of them had to deal with her roommate. The first was the fact that, for the first time since Winter Term, she had the dorm room to herself. Which mean she had a quiet sanctuary to return to after work, and there was none of the awkwardness that had prevailed between them after Galinda's confession. But as the week drug on, she begaan to feel…dare she say it, lonely.
During midterms, Elphaba had been too angry and had felt too betrayed to realize, but now that the air had been cleared, Elphaba had come to realize how integral Galinda had become in her life. She missed coming home from work to Galinda's silliness and excitement over the small things in life (like shoes and make up) had been. She missed the blonde asking her if her outfit looked alright, or the cute way Galinda would chew on her bottom lip as she tried to word a sentence or work a math problem . And maybe, just maybe, she missed Galinda's hugs and her fingers combing through her hair. There were no texts, either, or Galinda's daily reminders to eat. One day, Elphaba did actually forget to eat, and she only became consciously aware of her lack of food consumption upon the onset of a splitting migraine that even painkillers could not tame. Galinda's absence was very prevalent in the tiny dorm room, and this bothered the green woman.
It was something that was bothering her, indeed. This physical missing of Galinda, especially in the light of her roommate's recent confession, was not something Elphaba had ever really experienced before, and she did not like things she did not understand. She had done a lot of research since the incident in their dorm room and she had found out that love was generally thought to come about because of similarity, proximity, reciprocity, and physical attractiveness.
There was no doubt that Galinda was attractive; even Elphaba, who knew little of such things, could see that. The two girls were even somewhat similar, if one could look behind the initial exteriors—both girls wanted big things, and were determined to get there, even if it was through different means. And then there was the proximity…they were close friends, and now Elphaba was missing Galinda's company…
Could she really be in love with Galinda? Or at least at the beginnings of a crush?
Love had always been something far away. A game for foolish little girls to play. Nobody would ever love Elphaba back, anyway. Who would love a girl with green skin with a personality of rough sandpaper?
But now it seemed that, despite that, someone did. Elphaba was still grappling with the concept that someone like Galinda could actually like someone like her. She'd never been loved before, not even by her own mother, really. Could it really be that for the first time, someone actually accepted her so wholly and completely?
The thought made Elphaba uncomfortable. So she did what she best. She hid the thoughts and feelings in books tried not to remind herself of them.
Galinda Upland was miserable. She had returned home for break and had spent most of the break alone in her room watching movies. And when she had exhausted the meager supply of action movies she had, she tried watching her supply of romance movies and ended up crying, because all it reminded her of was Elphaba. She could not even go riding because the only horse that seemed constantly available was Charcoal, the stallion she had fostered a bond with through food…just like her roommate.
She hated this. She hated this feeling inside her chest—the dull ache of unrequited love and the pain of rejection…even though she had not, officially, been rejected yet. But she could tell it was coming. She just knew.
She was not sure how she was going to survive the rest of the Spring Semester. Thankfully, with work and school, Elphaba was almost never actually in their room. But she would miss their late night talks and playing with Elphaba's hair and meeting up with the green girl for dinner or for lunch. And she would miss Elphaba, with her stupid witty comments and the way she smirked when she was right and—
Galinda let out a choked sob and buried her head in her pillows.
She hated this.
When Galinda returned to campus the next Sunday, she was determined to find Elphaba. She sent her driver home and began her mission. The campus was still quiet, as it was rather early on Sunday morning. She suspected the rest of the campus would arrive around lunchtime.
She checked their dorm and the Library, and not finding Elphaba at either, she headed to the coffee shop. And it was there she found her—her black braid pulled back into a bun with bobby pins, the rest stuffed under a stupid little visor, her lean body clothed in black shirt and pants of her uniform with the apron tied neatly around her waist. It made Galinda pause in the doorway and she became painfully aware of how much she had missed her green roommate over the break.
Elphaba looked up from the book she was reading behind the counter. "Welcome to—G'linda?" In her shock, she mispronounced her name. The look of surprise on her long face was priceless.
"It's Galinda, with a guh," the blonde teased, stepping in and letting the door close. "Really, you're as bad as Dr. Dillamond."
"What are you doing here?" Elphaba asked, looking slightly flabbergasted. Elphaba was never flabbergasted. That was new. But then again, Galinda almost never came to the Ozbucks when she was on duty.
"I was… looking for you, actually… but now that I'm here I guess I'll get a coffee." Galinda looked up at the menu board. "Um…I'll have a single decaf expresso con panna, extra cream and a little bit of caramel….Please."
Elphaba nodded dumbly and rung her up. She took Galinda's credit card and swiped it, then went to make her drink. Galinda watched her with interest, having never seen her actually do anything besides work the register before. She was actually rather good at her job, as she was with everything, Galinda supposed. When she was done, Elphaba handed her the drink and Galinda dropped three dollars in the otherwise barren tip fishbowl.
"Are you here alone?" Elphaba asked as Galinda took a sip. It was good. Elphaba did not just look good at her job.
Galinda swallowed her sip and nodded. "I sent my driver home."
"Oh…." Elphaba looked down at her book, which she'd left open by the register.
"What about you?" Galinda asked, knowing she would lose Elphaba to the book if she did not say something quickly. "Are you here alone?"
Elphaba nodded in the affirmative. "I have the shift until two."
"Oh…." Galinda looked down at the floor. "Um… have you thought any about—"
"Yes," Elphaba said immediately. Galinda looked up, hopeful, but Elphaba's face gave nothing away. "We'll talk after I'm done working."
Galinda swallowed nervously. "Oh…okay. So I'll…um…see you back at the dorm?" The green woman nodded curly, reaching for her book. "Alright…See you then. Thanks for making me the drink."
"You're welcome," Elphaba replied absently, more out of job-driven courtesy than any actual sincerity. She was already becoming reabsorbed in the pages of her book.
Galinda took that as her sign to leave. She pushed open the door of the coffee shop, the bells above it tinkling happily. Galinda pressed onward back to Crage Hall, swiping her ID at the door to get in. There was nobody at the little front desk, funnily enough, but Galinda supposed even front desk people needed pee breaks, too.
The blonde strolled down the hallway to Room 22, where she slid her ID again and pushed the door open as it beeped. She flicked on the lights as she walked in, and it was almost exactly as she had left it a week and a half ago. Her lights still dangled from her bed and Elphaba's coffee machine still stood on top the top of the bookshelf, the coffee pot half full. The only thing that seemed to be different was Elphaba's bed—she seemed to have forgone her usual hospital corners that morning. The sheets were rumpled and pushed to the side, and Galinda was seized with the sudden inexplicable urge to jump on the bed and bury her nose in the sheets to inhale Elphaba's scent.
So she did. She curled up in the bed, taking a deep breath. Elphaba's pillows and sheets smelled like her and her oils, a combination of dusty books and sandalwood. Galinda let herself get lost in the scent. If she closed her eyes she could imagine leaning back into the green girl, her arm around her, safe in her grasp.
Galinda wasn't even trying anymore. She loved her roommate. She was absolutely head over five-inch pink heels in love.
The blonde sighed and rolled over, burying her face into Elphaba's pillow. She did not know why she was getting her hopes up. From the sound of Elphaba back in the coffee shop, their 'talk' was going to be a rejection.
Galinda wanted to cry.
The blonde was still lying on Elphaba's bed when she came back from work. Elphaba stopped in the doorway, observing her sprawled on the unmade sheets, eye closed.
"Enjoying yourself?" Elphaba asked as she reached up to undo her bun.
"Mmmm," was Galinda's response. Elphaba shook her head and set the bobby pins from her bun in the little container she kept on her desk. The green girl walked over and sat in Galinda's rolling chair, hunched over slightly.
"Galinda," Elphaba began after a minute or two of uncomfortable silence. Galinda rolled over and opened her eyes. Elphaba was still in her uniform, but her braid was down. This displeased Galinda; she liked it when Elphaba wore her hair out, although it was still a rarity.
The green woman also looked nervous, another Elphaba rarity. Galinda sat up and perched opposite Elphaba on the edge of the bed. Elphaba sighed, pinched the bridge of her nose for a moment, then tried again. "Galinda, look, I care about you a lot…."
The blonde's throat constricted. That was not a promising start.
"You're my only friend," Elphaba continued, her hands finding themselves in her lap, "and I've never been in a relationship before…." She bit her lip briefly, then started again. "I've given it a lot of thought since you let slip you had feelings for me. And like I told you, I don't know what love or infatuation or 'crush'—" long fingers separated to make air quotes around the word "—feels like, but I did some research and—"
Elphaba would, Galinda though. If she did not understand something, she went to find a book on it. Or from the length of Elphaba's speech, several books. The blonde zoned back in just in time to hear, "I can't ignore the logistics of it all. By all accounts, I might actually have feelings for you. That being said….Galinda, you must understand, I've never been in a relationship before. I haven't the faintest idea how to even begin to start one, or how they work, or—"
Galinda leaned over, her hands reaching for Elphaba's. Pale fingers covered green ones, and Elphaba looked at her. "But I do. I can teach you, Elphie. It's really not that hard. If you can learn all that biochemistry organic stuff, I'm sure you can learn how to be in a relationship."
Thankfullness flooded Elphaba's brown eyes, but there was something still that bothered her. Desperately, the green girl said, "Galinda, I don't want to hurt you."
The blonde's heart constricted a bit; she squeezed Elphaba's hands comfortingly. "Elphie, you could never hurt me. I should know, I lived with your aciderty for a month and a half back when we hated each other."
Elphaba's lips quirked up into a bit of a smirk. "Was that an attempt at the word 'acidity' or 'acerbity', Miss Galinda?"
Galinda pouted. "Not all of us can be as smart as you, Elphie!"
"No, you're right," the green girl allowed. "But you're plenty smart enough."
The blonde grinned and pulled Elphaba in for a hug. Elphaba gave a little yelp, surprised by the small girl's strength. The two of them toppled back on the bed from the green girl's momentum, narrowly avoiding hitting the cinderblock wall behind them. The two shared a look and then Galinda burst out into giggles. Elphaba, despite herself, cracked a small.
Everything was going to be alright.
"Your first lesson," Galinda declared loudly three nights later, "is cuddling!"
Elphaba, who was currently embroiled in re-reading her notes, did not seem amused by this prospect. "Excuse me?"
Three days had passed since the two had agreed to try out a relationship. They had gone to bed much the same. The next day, Elphaba had returned from work that night to find Galinda still awake. It was then they set down some ground rules for their new relationship.
Elphaba's rules were the following:
1) No public displays of affection. (She did not need to be thought of as a green freak and a lesbian. At least, not yet.)
2) No disgusting pet names. Galinda could keep 'Elphie' but could not call her anything else.
3) The relationship would not interfere with her coursework.
4) They would go slow.
5) No bars or nightclubs.
Galinda has similar rules.
1) All PDA (eventually kissing, hand holding, etc) was to be kept in their dorm room.
2) One date twice a week. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner in the dining hall did not count as a date.
3) Study nights could count, so long as it was not in their dorm room.
And together they made a couple of mutual rules:
When they went out, Elphaba could wear whatever she liked, but Galinda got to style her hair.
Once the rules were laid down, the two shyly bid each other goodnight, and Galinda even leaned up on her toes to press a kiss to Elphaba's cheek before climbing up into her bed.
Now, it was the next night, and Elphaba was studying for the exam she had upon the immediate resumption of break. Galinda, who was bored to tears, wanted to act on the ability she now had to be close to Elphaba. So she had proposed Elphaba's First Relationship Lesson.
"Cuddling," Galinda replied patiently, going over to Elphaba's desk and snatching her notes from out in front of her. "That is your first relationship lesson, Elphie!"
"Galinda, I have to study for my exam!" Elphaba said impatiently, holding her hands out for her notes. "Can't we do this another time?"
"You can study after your lesson!" the blonde replied stubbornly. "Besides, your test in in three days. You have plenty of time!"
"Galinda, what did we talk about inter—"
"This isn't interfering, this is taking a break!" Galinda pouted. "You've been studying all day, Elphie! C'mon."
The two had a brief, intense stare down before, finally, Elphaba conceded defeat. "Fine. You get half an hour."
"Yay!" The blond ether Elphaba's spiral on the end table dragged the gangly green girl out of her desk chair. "Now get in bed!"
Elphaba's eyebrow's winged upwards. "Excuse me?"
"N-Not like that!" Galinda flushed. "I w-wouldn't—I'd never—we just started—"
"Calm down, Galinda. I was joking." The green girl moved around the blonde and sat on her bed. "Now what?"
"Cuddling is like hugging sideways." Galinda came and sat beside her new girlfriend.
"I am well aware of the mechanics of cuddling."
"Oh." Galinda flushed again, but soldiered bravely onwards. "Do you want to be the big spoon or the little spoon then?"
Elphaba's expression was blank.
Galinda tried again. "Do you want to be the cuddler or the cuddle-ee?"
"I'm fairly certain neither of those two terms are actual words."
"Stop stalling!" the blonde huffed. "I'll be the big spoon then." She sprawled out along the wall edge of the tiny bed and motioned the green girl to lie down. Hesitantly, Elphaba did as she was told.
"Loosen up," Galinda chided her as Elphaba lay beside her, facing the other direction, stiff as a board. Her arm rubbed up and down the green girl's arm comfortingly.
Elphaba, who remained as stiff as a board despite Galinda's prompting, griped, "I fail to see why this is so sought after."
"That's because you need to loosen up!" the blond pinched her bony hip. "It's more comfortable when you relax!"
Elphaba sighed in exasperation and tried, but the relaxation was forced. Galinda sighed, accepting it as a start, and leaned forward to nuzzle her nose into Elphaba's braid.
"Galinda….what are you doing?"
"You smell so good. You always smell good."
"It's the oils."
The blonde giggled. "I'd never thought I'd like your aversion to water so much."
"I'm glad it has some use than."
Galinda hummed and slid a hand between then to tug on the tie at the end of Elphaba's braid. It slid off, and Galinda began unraveling the braid, combing her fingers through the long, dark tresses. "Wish you didn't have to put it back for work…it looks so much better down."
"Rules are rules."
"Well the rules are stupid!"
Elphaba chuckled, then there was silence between them. Galinda resumed her combing. Slowly, the green girl began to actually relax under her touch. Galinda stopped her combing after a bit and leaned in to nuzzle Elphaba's loose hair, her arm going to encircle her thin waist and pull her close.
"Mmmm." Galinda nodded. "You?"
"I still fail to see why this is so desired. I have work to do, Galinda."
"You're such a killjoy," the blonde whined, nuzzling deeper into Elphaba's hair. Then she sighed. "Your spiral is on the end table. Go ahead and read or something."
She felt Elphaba shift to reach the spiral, then she heard the rustle of pages and felt Elphaba's body settle in to read. Galinda closed her eyes and tried to imagine Elphaba holding her, and how safe it would feel to be in the green girl's arms. Before she knew it, she had dozed off. She stirred awake perhaps an hour later. Elphaba was still in the same position, and the sound of flipping pages indicated that she was still studying.
"Is this better?" Galinda asked, her voice a bit muffled from Elphaba's hair. "I'm guessing since you're still here…"
"This is more enjoyable, yes." Elphaba set the spiral on the end table and turned over so she could face Galinda and speak to her. Galinda bite back a gasp—the way Elphaba looked, her hair pooling around her face and shoulders, the way the shadows reflects across the sharp angles of her features, and the look of satisfaction from studying that Galinda was certain she had only ever seen in the green girl's eyes before…she looked stunning. Then, softly, "Thank you for accommodating me."
Galinda wanted to kiss her, right then and there, but managed to refrain.
We're going slow! she reminded herself. Slow means no kisses for a while.
"Whatever makes you happy, Elphie." Galinda smiled. Elphaba frowned.
"But what about you?"
"It made me happy. I fell asleep, didn't I?"
Elphaba's lips twitched into a crooked little smirk of amusement. "I thought you were being strangely quiet."
The two fell into a pattern. Elphaba would wake up at her normal ridiculous-o'clock, would do homework and take care of her hygiene, then would return to dress and make sure Galinda was awake. After Galinda woke, dressed, and did her morning routine, the two would eat breakfast together then go to their shared morning class (Calculus II). Afterward, they would split and go on to their second class of the day and lunch separately.
Elphaba and Galinda shared the same last afternoon class each day (Sorcery and Chemistry), so when class ended they would head back to the dorm together and stop by the dining hall for an early dinner. Then they would head into their dorm. Elphaba would change and leave for work while Galinda would shower then start on her homework. She would generally finish about the time Elphaba would come home. Elphaba would check over Galinda's homework while Galinda brushed and fiddled with her girlfriend's hair, then afterwards then londe would insist on cuddling. Elphaba would go over her notes or do reading for class during this, and oftentimes, Galinda would fall asleep in Elphaba's arms. Around midnight, the green girl would kick Galinda out of her bed and the two of them would change and go to bed. (Some nights; others, Elphaba would just her girlfriend sleep.)
They both found solace in their routine and they came to rely on it. Elphaba, who lived on routines and time tables, was secretly glad that her flightly, impulsive Galinda was agreeable to their new schedule. It made it much easier for Elphaba to focus on the growing feelings for Galinda. Soon, a sense of protectiveness that she had only before associated with her sister had emerged, along with a fondness that she had never had for anything before.
These piled upon her other feelings for the blonde. Slowly, resolutely, Elphaba realized that these feelings might be her definition of love.
Nearly two and a half months after they first started dating, Galinda and Elphaba shared their first kiss. The Spring Semester was long over, and Summer Term was well afoot. Elphaba had elected to stay at Shiz over the summer, as had Boq, Tibbet, Crope, and surprisingly Fiyero. Galinda refused to stay at Shiz during the summer on principle, but she visited several times during the semester, unable to bear the distance between her and her green girlfriend.
The weekend Galinda was visiting, Elphaba had the Saturday night off and had already finished her homework. It was a nice night and Galinda insisted they go for a walk. With hardly anyone on the campus, Galinda was comfortable slipping her arm through Elphaba's. Their relationship had not exactly been a public one, but it had not been strictly private, either. Fiyero and Boq had worked it out rather quickly, and Tibbet and Crope had said the two had tripped their gaydar long before the two had gotten together. Pfanne, ShenShen, and Milla had yet to figure it out, and to both Galinda and Elphaba's opinion this state of ignorance was to be continued for a long as possible.
Pfanne, ShenShen, and Milla were not on campus for the summer, and neither was anybody that Galinda deemed to matter, so she happily snuggled up to Elphaba's side as they went. They walked through the cool summer night, watching lightning bugs flicker on and off around them. Galinda's hand found Elphaba's and intertwined their fingers. They walked along the canal that formed the border between the school and the city and Elphaba stopped at the base of the bridge that crossed it. Galinda turned around so she could face her girlfriend.
"Thank you for walking with me, Elphie," the blonde said with a smile, swinging their intertwined hands a bit.
"Of course, my sweet."
Galinda colored pleasantly. The moniker was new, and Galinda loved it. It showed her that Elphaba did really care about her. Sometimes it was hard to tell what she was thinking it feeling behind the stoic green face. It was things like 'my sweet' or the occasions when Elphaba would take the second to brush a curl out of Galinda's face that revealed the green woman's true feelings. It could be frustrating, but also so rewarding.
Elphaba, at that moment, tucked an errant blonde strand behind Galinda's ear. Her green fingers lingered on the blonde's cheek, then moved to cup her face. Galinda was pleasantly surprised by this move—Elphaba almost never initiated physical contact.
"You said when we started dating that I was the one to decide when I was comfortable moving things on," Elphaba murmured, and Galinda had to lean in closer to hear.
"Well…I think I'm ready." Before Galinda could fully process the remark, the green woman had leaned down and had pressed her lips to Galinda's in a feather soft kiss. The kiss lasted all of a moment, but the stupid grin that light up the blonde's face lasted all night.
[Several Weeks Later]
Galinda pulled away from her girlfriend, breaking their kiss gently. "Elphie, I love you, but you're forcing it…"
"You said kissing would come naturally," Elphaba groused, sounding in that moment like a petulant child.
"It does. You're trying too hard."
Elphaba scowled and pulled away. "This is sophomoric, I have a test to be studying for."
Galinda propped herself up on her elbow and looked vaguely amused. "You're just upset because for once you're not amazingtastic and freakishly good at something without even trying."
"Sorcery has addled your brain."
"You're taking Sorcery, too!"
"But you a semester longer than me."
Galinda threw herself dramatically on top of her girlfriend, and Elphaba let out an 'oof' as the weight of her girlfriend forced the air out of her lungs. "Just admit it, Elphie! You're upset because you're not a natural kisser!"
"I will admit no such thing."
Elphaba was not in their room when Galinda moved back in at the beginning of the Fall Semester. Galinda was disappointed that her green girlfriend was not in residence, but she quickly got over it and started setting up her side of the room. In came her posters, her clothes, her sheets and pillows, and her various electronics. She was just straightening up and was about to start down to the Student Union to pick up her textbooks for the semester when Elphaba walked in the door.
"Elphie!" Galinda chirped happily. Elphaba had obviously just returned from work—she was in her uniform, hair back, and she looked slightly frazzled. She must have had the morning shift, which was hard enough to begin with, but when the campus was swarmed with parents on Move-In Day it became worse. It was understandable that even the unflappable Elphaba was a little frazzled after a long morning. However, a little smirk twitched across her dark lips as Galinda rushed forward and wrapped her arms around the green woman's neck, pressing a kiss to her dark lips.
"My sweet," she murmured when they parted.
Galinda nuzzled into Elphaba's neck and took a deep breath. The green woman currently reeked of coffee, but there was the underlying smell of sandalwood and dusty books that always seemed to follow her. "I missed you."
"You saw me two weeks ago."
The blonde pulled back and looked at her girlfriend, slightly aghast. "I still missed you!"
Elphaba rolled her eyes. The she glanced over at the other side of the room. "I see you've moved in."
Galinda nodded. "Uh huh. I just finished up. I'm so glad we're still rooming together!"
"I'm certain you would pitch a fit if we weren't." Elphaba pulled away from her girlfriend to go sit at her desk. It was as pin straight and neat as always. "I have something for you."
"It's not a planner, is it?" Galinda was only partly teasing. Elphaba had gotten her a planner once.
"Not quite." Elphaba turned to her small bookshelf and scanned the familiar titles. She pulled one off that Galinda did not recognize; it was bound in green and had gold lettering on the spine. Elphaba handed it to her and Galinda looked at the cover. Architecture of the Emerald City—Conception to Present. Curious, Galinda opened the book and flipped through it.
It quickly became clear that the book was several years out of date, but Galinda still found it fascinating. She traced her fingers over the glossy pictures of the Ozmopolitan Hotel and the Palace, along the classic Yellow Brick Road and how it wended its way through the great city. She quickly became wrapped up in the book, admiring the designs. Finally, Elphaba cleared her throat. Galinda looked up guiltily.
"Oh, Elphie… it's beautiful. Thank you."
"I thought you would like it. I apologize for not wrapping it."
Galinda closed the book and traced her fingers over the golden letter on the cover. "Where'd you get it?"
"The library was going to throw it away," the green girl informed her. "Apparently they just got the new edition."
"Thank you for thinking of me, Elphie," Galinda hugged the book to her chest then leaned down and hugged Elphaba. Elphaba froze for a second, then hugged her back.
"You're welcome, Galinda. It was intended for your birthday, which was three days ago, so…"
The blonde beamed at her. She pressed a gentle kiss to her girlfriend's lips. "Thank you." Galinda pulled back and went to go put the book on her desk. Elphaba took the opportunity to remove her work hat and pull the bobby pins out of her hair. Galinda turned around and saw her doing it and made a distressed noise in the back of her throat. "Elphie, let me!"
Elphaba obediently stopped and let Galinda moved behind her chair and pull out the rest of her bobby pins. She closed her eyes and felt the blonde's fingers pull her bun down and begin to unravel her braid. Galinda's fingers combed through her hair, her nails scraping against the green girl's scalp. A soft little noise of contentment escaped from between Elphaba's lips—she had missed this.
Galinda moved Elphaba's hair to one side and after a moment of hesitation leaned in and pressed a gentle kiss to the exposed green skin. Elphaba shivered a bit at the unfamiliar contact. They had not yet gotten past making out—Elphaba had gotten very good with her tongue but had not yet allowed Galinda close to her neck. That exposed feeling was something Elphaba had trouble with. So when Galinda pressed her lips to the column of Elphaba's throat, half of her wanted to panic, but the other half of her wanted to ask Galinda to do it again.
"Okay?" the blonde asked softly. Elphaba managed to nod. Galinda's lips turned up into a smile, and she pressed another kiss to her girlfriend's emerald skin.
[Three weeks later]
"Mnnnmm, Elphie," Galinda's moan was soft and breathy in her girlfriend's ear, encouraging her to continue with the loving, gentle kisses the green woman was currently working up and down the blonde's neck.
"Be quiet, my sweet, someone will hear us." Elphaba paused in her ministrations to give her girlfriend a pointed look.
The blonde pouted. "You stopped."
"The door is closed, anyway."
"Dormitory walls are thin, my sweet." But Elphaba went back to kissing Galinda neck, much to the blonde's infinite pleasure.
Their relationship was one of the worst kept secrets on campus. It was a secret, so of course everyone knew about it. Eventually, Elphaba and Galinda just stopped caring. Their rules of keeping their affections inside the dorm room gradually dissipated, and Galinda spent a whole lot of time holding Elphaba's hand and sitting on her lap at friendly gatherings. Occasionally she would sneak the tiniest of kisses when nobody was looking.
The 'crowning moment' of their relationship was when Professor Morrible had the Sorcery 2 Midterm outside in the courtyard to protect the school buildings in case of a backfiring spell. Students had gathered around the safety perimeter to watch the show. The midterm exam was judging the proficiency in which one could conjure a boulder, levitate it, and the push it as far as was possible using magic alone.
Galinda had, with minimum coaxing, produced fairly good results. She had conjured the boulder fine, levitated it a foot or two off the ground, and then had pushed it two or three feet back. Morrible had given her a decent score. Elphaba thought that gathering crowd might have actually helped the blonde perform. As Morrible vanished Galinda's boulder and called Elphaba up, the green woman made a note of this new development. She could definitely use it later to help Galinda study.
"Begin whenever you are read, Miss Elphaba."
Elphaba closed her eyes and shut out the growing crowd. She let the magic flow through her veins, feeling it tingling in her fingertips and began to chant the needed spells. In short order, she had conjured the boulder, made it hover (to the shock of everyone) at head height, and then pushed it so far that it came to a skipping stop at the edge of the perimeter line fifty yards away, sending the bystanders standing there scattering.
Dead silence reigned across the courtyard. Elphaba turned to look at Morrible, who was looking somewhere between looking overjoyed and like someone had forced her to eat moldy bread. It screwed up her features in a resulting expression that was unpleasant on her already fish-like face. The expression lasted for only a moment, before she turned to Elphaba and croaked, "Full marks, Miss Elphaba."
The green girl barely had time to blink at the unprecedented score before Galinda had screeched in excitement and had launched herself at Elphaba. The blonde bowled her over and gave her a full on congratulatory kiss, in the middle of the courtyard, in front of a good portion of the school.
At some point in her distant past, Elphaba would have mortified by such an intimate and public display of affection. But like the leaves currently swirling around the courtyard, she had changed. She was no longer the person she had once been, mostly thanks to the woman who thought nothing of throwing her arms around her neck and expressing her excitement in the best way she knew how
So Elphaba threw caution to the wind, wrapped her arms around her girlfriend's waist, and kissed her back.
A/N: And there it is! Thanks for reading! Leave me one last review to let me know what you think? :)