|Emerald Limelight by Lumiére & Callita. R 16/?
||[Jan. 16th, 2008|07:29 am]
Title: Emerald Limelight 16/?|
Authors: Lumiére and Callita
Rating: R (language)
Pairing(s): Idina/Kristin, Elphaba/Glinda (& more)
Summary: Elphaba begins rehearsals, while Idina deals with the consequences of another drunken night.
Disclaimer: This is an entirely non-profit work of fiction. We do not claim ownership of the world or any of the characters we write about. They are either real people, or are fictional characters belonging to Gregory Maguire and the copyright holders of the Wicked musical.
Wordcount: 5, 610
Chapter 2, Part 1 Chapter 6, Part 1
Chapter 2, Part 2 Chapter 6, Part 2
Chapter 3, Part 1 Chapter 7, Part 1
Chapter 3, Part 2 Chapter 7, Part 2
Chapter 4, Part 1 Chapter 8, Part 1
Chapter 4, Part 2
Chapter 5, Part 1
Chapter 5, Part 2
Chapter 8, Part 2
Who knew Glinda could stride so damned fast? They had just left the cathedral, and, Idina would have hoped, the drama too, but her wrist was still ensnared by Glinda's hand. No tugging or grumbling could rectify the restraining situation or the fact that Glinda's face had settled into a perpetual scowl. Each glance had Idina increasingly confused as they journeyed the same route she had taken with Tarren through the trees, but it was dark, and Idina was pretty sure those drinks were kicking in hard and fast. She stumbled again.
“Elphaba! For the love of Oz!” Glinda finally said, yanking her upright. That spreading heat in Idina swelled, and she clenched her jaw. She swatted away a stray branch with the hand that wasn't captured and she glared at Glinda's back. “I'm not a child,” she said. “You can let go of me.”
The grip only tightened, and they found the main path leading to the Crage Hall entrance. “I think not,” Glinda said frostily, tugging Idina along who was on the verge of falling again at any moment. “You might gallivant off somewhere, spreading your insidiousness on some other victim.”
“What?” Idina tried to yank her arm away, but was jerked onward. “Christ, Glinda! The fuck—!”
“Keep your voice down! And, as I said, I'm not talking to you.”
“Well you're doing a great job of that. Well done,” Idina snidely retorted, her heart racing with adrenaline. Glinda was mad—they were all fucking mad! She didn't need to be treated like this. She had done nothing wrong. Did Glinda really think she was so perfect that she could manhandle her? She glared to the side, at Glinda's profile. The angry reddened hue to her face; the set to her usually dainty jaw. Then Idina stumbled again, having not noticed they were at the steps of the entrance. She looked ahead as they entered and stormed down the main corridor. They saw a girl there, who watched them with wide eyes, and Idina felt sickened. A sudden bout of pride, “Fuck sake,” and she finally snatched her arm away from Glinda's grip. “Grow up.”
They walked even faster. Glinda's stormy expression grew redder and Idina thought she could feel heat coming off her in waves. “Grow up, says the drunken harlot,” Glinda as good as growled.
“Are you mad or stupid?” Idina demanded, but Glinda only glanced at her with her nose crinkled as if sniffing shit, and she turned again. “I don't want any part in another public scene with you, Elphaba,” Glinda finally replied. “You would do well to shut up.” She didn't retake her hold on Idina's wrist, and no more was said until they were finally at their room.
It was Glinda who unlocked the door, and quickly went in, jerkily making her way to her wardrobe. All grace having seemingly collapsed under the weight of her anger. Idina lingered at the door, watching as Glinda tore a nightdress off its hanger then hurled it onto her bed. She was still red and blotchy, and Idina's confusion grew even more.
She softly cleared her throat as she closed the door, and slowly went to her own wardrobe, taking care to not seem as drunk as she was. She ran a finger along the hanger of her own nightdress, before stilling altogether and frowning. Glinda was making a racket, and she worried Nessarose would be up and ordering Nanny to bang on their door. Idina sighed. “Don't you want to talk now?” She turned to see Glinda sitting on the bed, and roughly removing her lacquered shoes. “Glinda,” Idina prodded and finally the girl looked up at her, with fury and an eventual hiss of, “Do you despise me so much?” The second shoe came free, almost flying out of Glinda's grasp, but her icy stare remained.
“You made a fool of me tonight, Elphaba.”
“Yes! All over him!” She turned to the wardrobe, and struggled to create space for the pair of shoes in her hands. “Damn it all!” she cried.
“What!” She ended up throwing them at the bottom, where the majority of her shoes lay, now in disturbed rows.
“No. No no.” Glinda whirled round, “I'm the laughing stock! What must people think!” and Idina stepped back. “There was enough talk going round about us before you revealed yourself to be a harlot—”
“You,” Glinda spat, stabbing a finger into the air at Idina, “have destroyed any kind of good my reputation still held! Cavorting with a—”
“I wasn't cavorting!”
“—boy... already taken, no less! And in front of everyone!”
Idina wanted to scream. She stared at Glinda, speechless. Her mouth opened and closed, but still nothing came of it. Glinda slammed her wardrobe doors shut and Idina ran a hand through her hair, shaking her head. “I was only talking to Avaric. That's it. But, to be honest, it doesn't have anything to do with you.”
“We share a room.”
“We do, yeah.”
Glinda heaved a breath as if attempting to calm herself, but her expression remained angry and she grimaced. “You turned up with one boy, and tried to leave with another. Now they're imagining all sorts of terrible things happening behind these closed doors! Between us!”
“No!” Glinda cried. “I told you not to go! I told you, Elphaba! If you've had qualms with me, then perhaps you should have said, rather than publicly humiliating me! How you can be so malicious—You're wicked to the bone!”
“Will you fucking listen to me, you idiot! If you hadn't abandoned me here, I wouldn't have turned up with Tarren!”
“So you know his name!”
“Don't be so fucking jealous!”
Glinda froze, as if struck. She stared unblinkingly and looked to have stopped breathing, all the while Idina had been breathing too much and found herself losing the battle against the unknown alcohol in her system. She fought not to sway, and momentarily closed her eyes, willing the room to still. “You,” she heard, and opened them with reticence. She found Glinda closer, now shaking and with a face verging on purple; but there was only so much shouting Idina could take. She held up a hand, fending off the short blonde. “Look, I'm sorry for yelling at you. I just want to sleep, okay?”
“Another of your acts, I suppose!”
“No, Glinda. I'm kinda drunk. I'm kinda tired. I want to sleep.”
Glinda nodded jerkily, but her eyes were far from understanding. Her jaw was clenched, and her lips had thinned to an angry little line. And she was still a funny kind of purple. Idina inched toward her bed, and Glinda turned to follow with her manic stare. “I'm gonna sleep now...” Idina said slowly. “Okay?”
“So you can seem the better one?”
“No. I'm sick of this.” She realised she was still in her dress. The best dress Elphaba would likely ever own... she should really hang it up. She glanced at the wardrobe.
“How could you have lied to me for this long?”
“I have no idea what you're talking about,” Idina sighed, once again glancing at the wardrobe. “I should hang this up. It'd be hell getting the creases out in the morning—”
“You're a different person!” Glinda shrieked stepping toward Idina, who tried to compensate by stepping to the wardrobe. “You were weird! You didn't like boys, Elphaba!” Glinda's voice was shrill as she continued advancing. In maniac mode, Idina noted. She tried to say that she ‘kinda did like boys’, but was quickly cut off. “You were never interested in make up! Never knew a thing about fashion! Never bought new clothes! Nanny would have to strong arm you into getting your hair cut!” Glinda heaved a breath, and Idina wondered if she was about to burst into hysterical tears. “Er,” Idina managed to say, before Glinda launched again: “And you're gormless!”
“Now that's a lie!” Idina said.
“You speak as if you've got some infection of the tongue! You smile too much!”
“That's not an offence, Glinda.”
“But who are you? The girl I had begun to even like—”
“—or this harlot that seems to lack much of a brain?”
Idina was beginning to feel nauseous and her neck ached. “You're really going for bitch of the year with this – no, don't go nuts at me. I think I might throw up.” She held a hand out to stop Glinda who was about to launch into another tirade again, and most likely step forward into Idina's personal space. “Shit, I have no idea what I drank. Room's spinning.” She turned a little and brought the back of her hand to her lips, as if contemplating loosing the last of her restraint, and closed her eyes.
“You're not Elphaba,” Glinda said. “At all. You've been lying to me.”
“Yeah,” Idina said, still with her eyes closed, and trying to take deep breaths. “I'm not Elphaba. For the love of God, if it would shut... you up... I'll say it. I'm... not... Elphaba.” She almost heaved, and then glanced at the bathroom door. She could make it...
“At least you admit it now.”
“Uh huh,” Idina managed.
“So you decided to get people's sympathy? Act the victim here? I don't understand. Why show your true colours now?”
Idina leant against the wardrobe, head back, and with her eyes still closed. Her skin was starting to tingle, likely from sweat. Soon it would be burning. “'Cause you were shouting and my head hurts.”
“Elphaba! Look at me whe—!”
“I'm Idina. Not Elphaba.”
As expected, Glinda was lost for words. Idina would have found it funny if she didn't believe she was dying from alcohol poisoning. “You...” Glinda began, and Idina coughed, then regretted it. “You... lied about your name?” Glinda finally managed. “This whole time!” Idina opened her eyes, and slowly—very slowly—slid her line of sight from the ceiling, to Glinda... who looked more upset than angry. “I,” Glinda stuttered, “But...” she blinked and Idina swallowed, hoping above hope that she wouldn't heave. “Elphaba... never existed?” Glinda motioned to the adjoining door just to the side, that was mercifully still closed. “But what about Nanny? Nessa. They call... they call you Elphaba.”
Idina groaned. “She existed – she does exist—”
“Oz, you must think I'm stupid!” Glinda laughed humourlessly. “Or perhaps I'm tired. Tired and almost as drunk as you are. Name-changes! Of course!” But then she sobered and cooled. “You're lying again.”
“No. Really, I...” Idina tried to stand up straighter, but then swayed and had to brace herself with her palms low against the wardrobe behind her. “I'm Idina. There were no name changes. I switched with Elphaba.”
“You're not making any sense!”
“Please... no shouting, 'kay?” Idina swallowed and briefly opened her eyes to see if the room was still spinning. It was.
“You're telling me you've switched with Elphaba!” Glinda hissed, leaning forward and ignoring Idina's obvious sickness. “I suppose you just happen to be green as well?”
“I'm in her body.”
“In... her body. I don't know... I think... it was some sorcery thing. I just woke up here... with you staring at me. Two... weeks ago...” Idina hiccuped then groaned. “If I knew what I had been drinking... maybe—ughh!—maybe this wouldn't be... happening...”
“Glinda, please,” Idina groaned. “Really not feeling well here, okay? Less of the shouting.”
“Well I don't know what to think! This evening's been disastrous!”
“And you've been acting weird, Elphie! And you're lying to me! You haven't been yourself!”
“Alright. Okay. Listen to me.” Idina took a deep breath and inwardly prayed to any gods that were listening, that she not throw up right this second. She drew on her hopeful strength and she finally lurched away from the wardrobe, toward Glinda. Hunched over but beseeching, she quickly tried to reason. “Listen. Forget about how I look, okay? Just... forget it. Think about two weeks ago... when things changed. I suddenly had amnesia. Couldn't remember anything. I didn't know who you were and I burnt my hand. I had a freak out. Suddenly I've been... speaking in a weird way—”
“Elphie,” Glinda interrupted, her tone verging on a whine, but Idina took a hold of Glinda's upper arms, pleadingly.
“Listen to me, because I'm going to be sick or pass out any minute.” Idina took a deep breath, and had to pause, grounding herself enough to talk. “You already mentioned my accent. I can't do magic anymore... I walk differently... I...”
“I flirt. Not cavorting; the thing with Avaric was nothing. Where I come from, people do that every day, alright? My name's Idina Menzel. I'm Jewish; I'm from New York—”
“You've gone mad. Elphie... Elphie you've gone mad. That's what's happened!”
“I'm a singer. I also act. I have fans. I'm on Broadway... and I have my own apartment, where, thank God, there are mirrors everywhere. I have a husband, but we're going through a weird... phase, I guess. We rarely see other. I'm thirty-two and—”
“You have to stop!”
“—I guess Elphaba's switched with me. Now I'm reliving the teenage years – which really has some drawbacks. Seriously. I've read about Oz, but again, I'm not from here, and I've never been here before. Where I'm from, Oz isn't real. It's entertainment. Now Elphaba's having to deal with that, and I hope she's not ruining my life. I'm living hers... and she's living mine. I don't know how this happened. I just want to get home. That's all I wanna do. Get home. And have a shower.” Idina was left panting, and staring at Glinda who, she noticed, had finally stopped trying to interrupt her. Idina straightened, releasing the girl. She said, “I'm sorry. I have lied to you—tried to be Elphaba, y'know? I was scared. Didn't know what to do... how to get back...” But another wave of nausea had Idina hunching over again, forcing more deep breaths. She still managed to notice how pale Glinda had got. “I'm really... sorry. Things here are... so different. I really wasn't... prepared.” She watched as Glinda blinked, then blinked again... then took a step back, horror blossoming on her ashen face and Idina realised now was about the right time to retreat into the bathroom. After one more apology that seemed embarrassingly inert, she did exactly that.
* * *
On their break, a fair few of the actors had decided to lazily swarm Elphaba, in her audience seat. Norbert was chewing on a long snack of some kind, which Michelle referred to as a 'granola bar' when she teased him that he would turn into one. All crumbly and ugly. Norbert had begun to choke. Laura had returned with coffee, this time more subdued and Eden seemed depressed as she flopped into a chair a few seats away. Seperate from the crowd. Other people were stretching on the stage; a few of the ensemble members were chatting as if they were in Shiz. Whether the situation was really so surreal, or if Elphaba was, again, starting to feel strange due to pills, she wasn't sure. But she must have been looking around wide-eyed as Kristin, beside her, laid a hand on her forearm, then quickly retracted it. “You'll do great. You can have the script with you,” she said, and sipped from her bottle of water, then hummed.
“You'll be fine,” Norbert said, having finished the rest of his bar in peace, and Michelle had diverted her attention to another victim. She was now poking Eden, who had begun to blush. “It'd be like riding a bike. A little one with a million wheels.”
“We're your wheels,” Kristin pointed out, and made a motion with her hands.
“She's the little runty one at the back, that slows all the others down,” Norbert laughed.
“I love you. You know I love you, Cheno. Runtishness and all.”
“See? You look a little better, sweetie.” Kristin said to Elphaba. “You always enjoyed people poking fun at my incredibly petite frame.”
“Midget,” Norbert offered, with a strange giggle, and Kristin stuck her tongue out at him.
"You should smile more, Dee. You hardly smile these days," Kristin quietly said, and Elphaba then realised she had indeed been smiling. “But now you look high, too,” Kristin pointed out. She leaned closer, whispering, “Are you on the Vicodin again?” At Elphaba's affirmative nod, she leaned back, expelling a deep breath. “Man...”
One of the Melissas had crept up behind them, and prodded Laura somewhere, causing the woman to howl and nearly drop her coffee. The others laughed while Elphaba could only lean forward and try to focus on the floor between her feet. She felt too dazed.
“She okay?” Norbert whispered to Kristin.
Norbert grinned, eyeing a seemingly trippy Idina up and down before turning back to Kristin again. “Think she has any more?”
Kristin hit him on the shoulder, but it didn't dislodge his smirk. “It's Vicodin, silly. For her rib.”
“I think I need some of that,” Eden murmured from her seat, head in hands. Mercifully, Michelle stopped poking her and leaned forward too. She peered at Eden and grinned, before blowing into her ear. “Michelle!” Eden cried, jolting away as the other woman cackled.
“Places!” Joe shouted, emerging seemingly from nowhere, and this time with Winnie beside him. Who smiled and waved. “Hey guys!” she said, then as an afterthought: “I'm late!” and everyone chorused their hellos. Chris, who had been chatting with the second Melissa, went over and hugged her, then complimented her on her tan lambskin boots.
“You'll be fine,” Kristin whispered, then got up, holding her hand out to Elphaba, who looked up with obvious worry. “Bring the script. It'll all come back to you.”
“I fear it actually won't.” Elphaba got up just as everyone else began to disperse, leaving Eden to stretch back in the seat and stare at the high ceiling in morbid contemplation, while Laura, a few seats down, concentrated so very hard on the coffee in her hands.
“So you're starting from The Wizard and I,” Joe called, peering at Elphaba as she stood centrestage. At her blank look, he threw his hands into the air, growling, “Someone explain to her!”
“Joe,” Winnie reprimanded, but he ignored her.
“The Wizard and I,” Kristy called from the wings. Elphaba hadn't even noticed her before now. “There's your suitcase. Sing with it. But, uh, sing with your mouth, while interacting with the suitcase.” Elphaba nodded, feeling sick, and the music started. From the other side of the stage, hidden by a wall of cogs, Kristin beamed and held her thumbs up. Elphaba took deep breaths. She peered up at the stage lights until she was sufficiently blinded, then blinked so much she missed her mark. She didn't even notice until the music stopped and Joe began shouting for someone to pass her music.
“In the script! At the back!” Eden called. “I... well I binded it together. It... I felt it helps.”
“Oh. Thank you,” Elphaba mumbled, fumbling with the heavy booklet. “Oh...” The page. Which page? There had to be over a hundred here. She looked up at Eden, and saw her staring at the ceiling again, while Laura watched Eden. The Wizard and I. Where was it?
“Here. This page,” Kristy said, coming to Elphaba's aid.
“Thank you,” Elphaba whispered shakily, and Kristy smiled as she returned to her spot in the wings.
“Again!” Joe shouted, and the music started. “Now,” whispered Kristy and Elphaba stuttered her first line: “Did that really just happen?” Kristin held her breath; Eden squinted; Michelle puckered her lips and clucked her tongue; Norbert rubbed his hands together, thinking this was finally it... and everyone else did variations of the same. “Have I really understood?” Elphaba continued. She took a deep breath, trying not to shake. “This weird quirk I've tried, to suppress—or hide!—is a talent... that could help me—”
The music came to an abrupt halt, giving way to embarassing silence. Elphaba hyperventilated, squinting through the lights, trying to see Joe who was gesticulating wildly at Winnie.
“Could,” Kristy whispered. “Could is a minim!”
Kristin was making motions with her hands, of something being large – or long. “Half note,” she mouthed, but then tried to actually whisper, “And an A flat,” which only came out as a wheeze.
“It's an A flat!” Joe shouted belatedly and Winnie nodded.
“Of course,” Elphaba muttered, blinking at the nonsense pages. “Absurd of me, really. To have thought it a P.”
The music started again, and Elphaba attempted again, this time getting further. The next time she stumbled, Joe shouted for her to be 'louder', which, Elphaba felt, was ironic, as he seemed quite the madman in his screechy high blood pressure ways. But she tried nonetheless, eventually getting over the almost debilitating embarrassment. Soon the others came and interacted with her while Elphaba hurriedly turned pages and tried to read the script. It felt like they slyly pushed and prodded her into positions, only it was painfully obvious how she was failing to 'remember' where she should be. Dancing Through Life was even worse. “Elphie dance,” Kristin tried to whisper, but again ended up wheezing out the words. “I can't even begin to understand what you're saying to me,” Elphaba had to reply... and the rehearsal ended.
The confused and curious looks on their faces as the actors went to bags and retrieved more drinks and snacks had Elphaba regretting her decision to do this. Some even watched her though tried not to make it too obvious. Norbert patted her on the back; Michelle gave her condolences then, oddly enough, stood squinting at her for an alarming amount of time, until Norbert pulled her away and Kristin was by her side. “See? Not too bad, right?”
“It was absolutely disastrous,” Elphaba monotoned, scanning the pages of the book, as if that would rewrite what had just happened. “Now I'm sure they're aware of just how wrong I am.”
“Aww, sweetie. Just... just a few mistakes,” Kristin cooed. “It's a weird day. You sang great, but you didn't sound much like you. Must be the moon. Mama always said the moon changes things...” She leant to the side for a moment before laying a hand over Elphaba's. “Joe's coming. With Winnie and Eden.”
“Am I about to be thrown to the guards for not sounding like me?”
“I doubt it – Hey Joe,” Kristin greeted with a smile Elphaba thought was far too exaggerated to be real.
“Hey,” he said and immediately turned to Elphaba. “You need work. You need to learn the lines and blocking and you – well, you had the music in front of you.”
“Oh,” Eden groaned, upset. “I wrote all over it. You couldn't read it – I am so sorry.”
“No,” Elphaba said. “It wasn't that. I suppose I've... forgotten how to read music.”
“Great!” Joe clapped his hands, and Winnie stared at him as if he'd gone mad. “More work!”
“Joe,” she reprimanded.
“You,” he pointed at Eden, who stepped back from the offending finger as if sparks would fly out of it, “are going to teach her.”
“Me?” Eden squeaked. “But I... I'm Eden! I...”
“Yes you are, honey,” Winnie said.
“I'm just the standby.”
Joe pointed at Elphaba, and she glanced at his finger before turning her attention to his stony face. “I want you ready in a week.”
“Oh my God!” Eden cried.
“Kristin will help you too.” He stepped back, with a sleazy smile and shrugged. “Hey, all you gotta do is remember, right? Not hard. You know this stuff.”
“Uh, Joe...” Winnie began, hurrying after him. “Joe...!”
“She's on Vicodin!” Kristin called after him, while Eden began taking deep breaths, just like Elphaba beside her.
* * *
“So,” Glinda said after a considerable length of time.
“So,” Idina agreed. She had sobered up completely since throwing up, and things seemed to be slightly calmer. It was the first word Glinda had said since Idina’s drunken confession, and it was a relief just to hear her speak again. She was sitting on the rug in front of the fire, watching the flames with such avid fascination that Idina wondered whether the blonde girl was in some kind of trance. “I’m sorry,” Idina told her, because she couldn’t think of anything else to say.
“You’re really not Elphaba?”
“No. I’m really not Elphaba.”
“I… I should have known. I mean, I knew something was wrong. But back then, when I said you weren’t Elphaba, I just meant that you were acting so strangely. I didn’t mean, that is, I didn’t think…” Glinda shook her head, still gazing into the fire. “I don’t know what to do.”
“Me neither. But you know what? I haven’t had a clue what to do since the second I arrived here, and it’s gone okay so far, right?” When Glinda didn’t respond, Idina got off the bed to sit beside her on the floor. “Right?”
“I still don’t understand. Who are you? You say you’re from another world, but that doesn’t explain how you ended up here. I don’t know anything about you.”
“Like I said, my name’s Idina.” Idina held out her hand to Glinda, who blinked and stared at it for a few seconds, before resting her own fingers lightly on Idina’s palm. “Idina Menzel, nice to meet you.”
“Id-een-ah.” Glinda sounded out her name slowly. “Nessarose thinks you’re a demon who has stolen her sister’s body. I didn’t listen to her because it sounded so ridiculous. But now?”
“Not a demon,” Idina said quickly. “I haven’t done anything to Elphaba. In fact, I think she’s the one who did all this to me.”
“But how did you even know she existed?” Glinda pulled her hand back and gazed at Idina helplessly. “How did you know any of us existed? You’ve been acting so strangely, yes, but you seemed to have some idea about who you were. I think you mentioned entertainment...”
“Well, this is where it gets a little far-fetched. You know about theatre?”
“You mean the Pleasure Faith?”
“Um, kinda. See, in my world, theatre is a massive thing. Telling stories on the stage, sometimes with music and singing – it’s a hugely successful industry. And that’s what I do for a living. I’m an actress.” Glinda opened her mouth to interrupt but Idina held up a hand to silence her. “Often, the plays are books first, then adapted for stage. The play that I’m in now – well, was, I guess – is called Wicked.” She took a deep breath, working up the nerve to say what she’d been keeping to herself since her arrival in Oz. “It’s about your world, Glinda. And I… I play Elphaba.”
Silence. Silence that seemed to stretch out endlessly, cocooning Idina in maddening quiet. Her proximity to the open fire was making her uncomfortably hot, and she tried not to twitch. Glinda was oblivious, her eyes glazing over as Idina waited, every muscle tensed. Finally Glinda spoke, her voice oddly thick, as though she was trying very hard to keep a hold on her sanity.
“You play Elphaba? As a part?”
“What?!” Idina was thoroughly confused. “How am I meant to—?”
“I don’t know, you show me. You’re the actress.” Glinda tone was cool, but her hands, clutching at her skirt, were shaking. “Sing me a song. Sing me an Elphaba song.”
“Prove it. Right.” Okay Menzel, Idina told herself. This is just another audition. You can do this. The Wizard And I hardly seemed appropriate, and her voice wasn’t up to No Good Deed – besides, singing something based so far in the future would probably rip the space-time continuum to shreds, whatever that was. And that just left Defying Gravity. “Something has changed within me,” Idina sang softly, staring at the floor. “Something is not the same. I’m through with playing by the rules,” her voice hitched slightly, but she went on, “of someone else’s game. Too late for second-guessing, too late to go back to sleep. It’s time to trust my instincts, close my eyes, and—”
“Elphaba sings that?” Glinda asked, her eyes wide.
“Uh, yeah. Yeah, she does.”
“It sounds like her.” Glinda sniffed and glanced away again. “It sounds like something she’d say. Or sing. She likes singing, you know. She should be singing it now, not you. She should be here. And you… someone from another world who plays her like she’s just a part in a story, you’ve been lying to me this whole time—”
“—And I believed you because I couldn’t see any other explanation. Why didn’t you tell me before?”
“Would you have believed me? It sounds crazy, and you know it. You wouldn’t have wanted anything to do with me, or worse, you would’ve believed Nessa and thought I was some kind of evil spirit. What was I meant to do? There’s no way I could’ve survived this long without your help.”
“Well, it hardly matters now what I would have thought,” Glinda sighed. “All that matters is that Elphie’s gone, possibly for good, and – and it’s all my fault!”
She burst into tears, hugging her knees to her chest as if to protect herself. When Idina gently put an arm around, she didn’t resist, but leant in against her.
“Glinda, none of this is your fault, I promise. This is just a mistake with a spell or something. There’s no way you could possibly be responsible, okay?”
“I’m sorry.” Glinda jumped up and ran to fetch a flannel for her eyes. “I shouldn’t be crying like this. The party, being angry, and the shock – I just lost it. I thought I liked you, I really did. But… you’re not Elphie. And I’m sure you’ve got a life to get back to somewhere. Yes?”
Idina thought of her apartment in New York, with its shower, and other luxuries she’d just taken for granted. She thought of the Gershwin, and the show she’d worked on for so long that had become her life. Her friends, her family, Taye. And Kristin. Kristin Chenoweth. She looked up at Glinda, dabbing at her face and trying to mask just how much she missed Elphaba. Idina wondered whether Kristin might possibly be feeling something similar.
“Yeah, I’ve got a life. Somewhere a long way from here.”
“And you think Elphie’s there?”
“I guess so. I can’t think where else she’d be. We switched, and unless there’re even more other worlds – there aren’t, are there?”
“Until tonight, I hadn’t even heard of one other world, let alone more.”
“So you don’t know about magic that makes people switch places or disappear to parallel universes?” Idina asked, getting to her feet. Glinda shook her head.
“I’m sorry Elph-Idina. This hardly makes any sense to me – other worlds? Theatre? A play that’s about Elphaba, about her life, when you say people in your world don’t even know we really exist? Who wrote this play? How does he know any of this? And now suddenly there’s a strange girl in my bedroom, and I’m just supposed to accept it and pretend nothing’s happened? I trusted you—her—whoever it was! I can’t do this.” Glinda grabbed her nightdress off the bed and disappeared into the bathroom. “Just… give me a moment.”
Idina stood in the middle of the room, cursing herself for the night’s disasters. Despite the still-smouldering fire, she found she was shivering, and quickly changed out of the dress she had been so proud of. She got into bed, pulling the quilt tightly around her, and ran the conversation through her mind again and again. Glinda reappeared in her nightdress, and got into bed without saying a word. Idina thought she could hear her crying quietly. The oil lamp had almost burnt down and Idina couldn’t see any point in relighting it. The Time Dragon Clock struck one. There was a tinkling of broken glass and drunken laughter from somewhere below the window; the party was still going on. She felt utterly drained, and so lonely her head throbbed. Or was that the alcohol? She shouldn’t have gotten so drunk – drunk was what had ruined her relationship with Kristin. Kristin would never have messed up so badly.
Glinda tossed and turned, unable to get comfortable in the shadowy darkness. The strange girl from the other world was already asleep, and Glinda couldn’t help but be relieved. She stared at the faint light from the glowing embers that were all that was left of the fire, and curled up, facing away from the girl who wasn’t her roommate. “I’m sorry,” she whispered, but Idina didn’t stir; and besides, her words were meant for Elphaba.