|Emerald Limelight by Lumiére & Callita. 20/27 R
||[Feb. 25th, 2008|01:15 pm]
Title: Emerald Limelight 20/27|
Authors: Lumiére and Callita
Rating: R (language)
Pairing(s): Idina/Kristin, Elphaba/Glinda (& more)
Summary: Elphaba can't seem to keep her temper around Joe, while Idina struggles equally with a demon-crazed Nessarose.
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, 480
Chapter 2, Part 1 Chapter 6, Part 1 Chapter 10, 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 8, Part 2
Chapter 5, Part 1 Chapter 9, Part 1
Chapter 5, Part 2 Chapter 9, Part 2
Chapter 10, Part 2
“You’re doing great Dee, really great,” Kristin told her with forced brightness as they headed through the stage door. Elphaba remained silent. “The work you’ve been doing with Eden, it’s really paid off. Don’t you think?”
“I suppose there has been improvement,” Elphaba said, when it became clear that Kristin wanted an answer.
“You don’t have to be nervous, you know,” Kristin tried again, desperately attempting to dissolve some of the tension. “Joe can’t do anything to you. I told you that last time.”
“And look what happened there. He threatened to fire me and I walked out. It hardly went well.”
“A lot’s changed since then,” Kristin said hurriedly. “You’ve been a star in rehearsals, it’s all going to plan, and you’ve got a check-up appointment in two weeks, so if he pushes too hard, you can say you have to wait until after that. Just tell him you’re doing fine, but you don’t feel you’ll be ready in a week. Try to keep your temper – not that it was your fault, of course, but it’d make everything easier – and you’ll have no problems. Okay?”
“Fine.” They were climbing the stairs, nearly at the door to Joe’s office.
“Okay then,” Kristin encouraged, as Elphaba nervously stepped towards the door. “We’re on at two, so I’ll be in my dressing room warming up if you want to talk afterwards. I think Chris and Norbert are already here, and Carole said she’d be in early too, just in case you feel like other, uh, company.”
“And if worst comes to worst, just tell him to go fuck himself, and we can make voodoo dolls together in my dressing room, yeah?”
“Michelle, you are not helping,” Kristin said tersely, as Michelle laughed and wandered off, muttering about ordering Cristy to make her some coffee. “So you’ll be okay?”
“I’m sure I’ll survive.” Kristin smiled supportively, and Elphaba raised one hand to knock on the door, hoping she wasn’t shaking too much. She had no reason to be so afraid of this silly man – she’d been working harder than she’d thought possible, so he couldn’t fire her, and most of the cast seemed to be behind her. So why was she so on edge? Or did she have Kristin and the tensions between them to blame for that?
“Come in.” Elphaba did, closing the door behind her and leaning against it. “Ah, Menzel. Nice of you to join us. Please, don’t hover by the wall. Come sit down. Would you like a drink?”
“Just some water, please.” Elphaba edged towards him as Joe poured it.
“How’re you feeling?” he asked, seeming genuinely concerned.
“A little better, thank you,” Elphaba said guardedly, seating herself tensely at the desk.
“Glad to hear it. How’s the rehearsing going? Eden and Kristin giving you enough help? I know Eden's not exactly together at the moment, the girl has no confidence and no style, but it’s too late to worry about that.” He paused, peering at her. “Kristin’s being supportive, right?”
“Actually, Eden’s been wonderful,” Elphaba replied, feeling the need to stand up for the shy, passive woman she’d come to think of as a friend. “Very professional and helpful. I couldn’t have gotten this far without her.” Joe raised an eyebrow. “And of course, Kristin’s helped so much too.”
“You've recalled, even with your ‘amnesia’, that Eden Espinosa's your standby, so it's expected that you keep your relationship with her... purely professional?”
It took Elphaba a second to work out what he was talking about, and when she did, she had to struggle not to laugh at the absurdity of it. Kristin had tried to kiss her whilst wearing only a towel, but it was Eden Joe was telling her to watch. In this mad world, it seemed to make an odd amount of sense.
“Of course I know that,” she said quickly, and resisted the urge to add ‘sir’. He probably wouldn’t notice the sarcasm anyway.
“Anyway,” Joe continued coldly, “it sounds like everything's going to plan. As I said before, I want you on in a week.”
“I was wondering whether we could discuss an extension—”
“Don’t even think about it. Back on in a week. God knows, the musical’s already lost enough money with Espinosa trying to lead the cast. You said yourself how well things are going, so you’ve got no excuse. I’ll schedule a tech rehearsal for Monday, and you can be back on the Tuesday.” He saw her expression and went on quickly, “And before you say I can’t be serious, let me show you the books for the company, and you can see for yourself how much we’re losing because of you. Then you can tell me how ‘serious’ I am.”
“This is madness.” Elphaba could feel herself starting to panic. “I’m not ready, I don’t know it, I haven’t even covered the whole script yet!”
“Well work harder.”
“I am! Just this morning Kristin told me I was close to having a nervous breakdown! Besides, I’ve got a check-up at the hospital in two weeks – I can’t make any decisions before that.”
“Menzel, listen to me.” Joe’s voice was soft, but his tone was far from soothing. “If you can’t handle this, you only have to say. It’s not an easy industry by any means, and I'd hate for you to feel pressured. You want out, you just say the word.”
“And then what?” Elphaba asked cautiously, sensing a trap.
“Stephanie J Block is just a phone-call away,” Joe assured her. “Or we could get one of the others in from the auditions. Ana Gasteyer, perhaps. Or Julia Murney, she was great. Any one of them would snap up the part in a second. You could check into a hospital and have your nervous breakdown quietly and fully supported, without anyone thinking anything of it. Your call.”
“Are you threatening me?” Elphaba asked as steadily as she could, fixing him with an icy stare.
“I’m doing what’s best for my musical,” Joe answered, but he couldn’t hold her gaze. “You can go now.”
“Well?” Kristin asked hopefully as Elphaba flung open the door to the dressing room, slamming it behind her. “I take it the meeting maybe didn’t go so well.”
“He wouldn’t listen,” Elphaba fumed. “He still wants me onstage for Tuesday.”
“What?” Kristin looked shocked. “But what about an extension? I mean, of course you’ll be ready by then, but you deserve more time to recover if you want it, to feel comfortable. What about your hospital appointment?”
“I told him that! He didn’t care, just said he’d get Stephanie in if I couldn’t handle it. Or someone else. Ana somebody. Or Julia.”
“Please, not Ana Gasteyer.” Kristin shuddered. “I could never share a stage with that woman, let alone feign an actual relationship. Did he say Julia was still interested? It’d be good to see her again.” Kristin caught herself, returning to her state of perpetual concern. “Of course he can’t get anyone else in, Dee. And why would he want to? You’re our star.”
“Not to him. I’m just an inconvenience that’s costing him money.” Elphaba sighed and sat down on the sofa, where Kristin instantly joined her. “I want to do this, Kristin, I really do. But I can’t be ready in a week, and Joe’s made it clear that I’m letting everyone down…”
“You can’t drop out now!” Kristin squeezed her hand reassuringly. “Eden and I will make sure you’re ready in time, don’t worry about a thing, okay? You can’t let all your hard work go to waste – you’ve been doing so well. And don’t let Joe get you down. He’s not worth it.”
Elphaba turned to tell Kristin that she’d think about it, but before she could say anything Kristin had flung her arms around her shoulders and was hugging her close. Elphaba coughed, and Kristin let go of her.
“Um, thank you,” Elphaba said, wondering why it didn’t feel as tense as it should have done. Her heart was beating fast, but Kristin embracing her hadn’t felt awkward. Natural, somehow. Maybe even good? “I’m going to go talk to Eden. I should tell her we’re still on for a week, she’d want to know.”
Eden was as supportive as Elphaba had hoped, thoroughly confident that she could be back onstage in a week, and promising to give her all the help she needed. Elphaba wondered again at Joe’s accusation of something going on between them, as she watched Eden paint herself green. The girl really was very pretty, her uncertainty making her seem modest and sweet, rather than awkward. Eden caught her eye in the mirror and smiled at her, and just for a split second, Elphaba felt like she had someone here she could trust.
* * *
“Nessa?” Idina knocked softly on the door to the other room. “May I come in?”
“If you must,” came the sharp reply. Idina opened the door, bracing herself for the exchange she didn’t really want to have. Just pretend it’s an audition, she told herself as she entered.
Nessarose was sitting on her bed, propped up by half a dozen cushions with a large book on her lap. Since Nanny was still at tea with the other Amas, and Glinda had only just arrived with Idina, the armless girl had been left to turn her own pages. She achieved this by clutching a pencil in her teeth, using it to flick over the pages as she leaned awkwardly forward. Idina shuddered.
“Listen, Nessa.” Bad start, very bad start. Dropping musical lines was bad enough when they were hers. “I figured we ought to… talk.”
“What’s there to say?” Nessarose asked coldly. “You’re an ‘Idina’, which I assume is a demon from another world, who has done something with Elphaba. You admitted it to Glinda. I spent the whole of last night and most of today praying for the soul of my sister, wherever she is, and however much she swears she doesn’t have one. There is nothing you can say that I am inclined to hear.”
“See, that was what I wanted to talk about,” Idina sighed. She sat down at the edge of Nessarose’s bed, ignoring the hostile glare she got in return. “Firstly, Idina isn’t what I am, it’s my name. I’m sorry you had to find out like that, with Glinda being high on her meds, but I think it’s better that you know. I was going to tell you—” not really true “—I just didn’t want to upset you.” Partly true. “So, will you listen to me?”
“Crippled and captive as I am, I don’t suppose I have much of a choice,” Nessarose sneered.
“Okay… So most importantly, I’m not a demon, and this switch, or whatever it is, it isn’t my fault. In my world there’s no such thing as magic. This was an accident. I just woke up suddenly and I was here. I’ve been talking about it to Glinda, and she’s pretty sure it was a spell Elphaba – the real Elphaba – attempted that went wrong. As far as we know, she’s taken my place in my world, and I’m… here.”
To her credit, Nessarose remained remarkably calm. Maybe it was because she had already labelled Idina as a demon, so nothing she was told could be any worse, or maybe her religious faith had leant her a kind of stoicism that enabled her to cope with the thought of her sister being transported to another world. Whatever the reason, Nessa spent a few moments staring at Idina with those slanted blue eyes, then nodded.
“So how are you intending to get back to the blazing hell you came from? Or are you intending to stay here while my sister burns to death?”
“Uh, what?” Idina blinked. Nessarose’s mind seemed to have switched completely from accusing Idina to focussing on the next problem to be dealt with. Never mind that she had automatically assumed Idina came from the world of the godless and damned – according to Nessa’s strict morals, New York probably did qualify as hell – now it was time to move on. “You believe me?”
“Well if you are a demon then you’re a very stupid one. Any sensible hellish creature would have fled as soon as someone with my morality saw through their ghastly disguise. And yet you are still here, so I have no choice to assume that you are forced to stay here. However, if what you say is true... that your world has no magic, then my sister is stuck there. You’ll have to be the one to fix this, whether it was your fault or not. No excuses, I don’t want Elphaba there a second longer than she has to be. You’ve been practising sorcery,” she shuddered, “haven’t you? So show me what you’ve learnt.” Nessa shuffled her legs to the end of the bed, twisting her armless body. “Well? Don’t just stand there, help me up.”
Nanny was in the other room with Glinda when Idina helped Nessarose inside, looking thoughtful.
“So our little Fabala has gone and sent herself to another world then, has she? Typical of her! Wilder than her mother, that one. Oh don’t worry pet, Glinda told me. You’re the poor duck that’s taken her place. Can’t have been easy for you, I imagine Fabala’s a little different to what people in your world are used to. Lurline only knows how she’s coping. Still, she’s on her own now, and we have to deal with what we’ve got. You should have told me, Dina, isn’t it? Nanny would have sorted you out, poor little pet, stuck here on your own. Still, I hear Glinda’s been taking good care of you. And I hope Nessie here’s been being supportive, haven’t you Nessie? Oh don’t mind her, she’s been locked in the chapel all night, bound to put her out of sorts. Those places just aren’t healthy for growing girls. I warned your father about it, I did, but would he listen? Stubborn little man, it’s no wonder he let Melena disappear, although that girl was never going to settle. Oh, don’t mind Nanny, I’ll just go bring you girls some supper, shall I? I don’t suppose you’ll be in the mood of the refectory, not with all this excitement. Don’t you worry your heads, Nanny’ll be right back.”
She shuffled out of the room, still muttering to herself. Idina, though still unused to these rambling monologues, felt oddly comforted by the old woman’s babbling. It felt good to let an adult take control again, even if, technically, Idina was more than old enough to be looking after herself.
“I hope you don’t mind me telling her,” Glinda said as she closed the door behind Nanny. “I just thought, if you were explaining to Nessarose, it might be a good idea if she knew too.”
“It’s fine. Thank you. And Nessa—”
“—Has agreed to consider she might not be an evil demon and would like her to get a move on retrieving my sister,” Nessa interrupted firmly. “I want to see what she can do. I told both of you not to meddle with magic, but you never listen to me, and I suppose it’s too late to dwell on that now. Sorcery got her into this, so we need sorcery to get her out. Now, show me some magic.”
“Nessa, that’s a little demanding,” Glinda said meekly. “Idina’s only been learning for a week or two. So far she can’t even levitate a fan!”
“She can throw you into a wall though,” Nessa pointed out.
“Well, yes. But you know what Elphie’s like, sporadic at best.”
“So Idina will have to do better. For all our sakes.”
Idina closed her ears to the bickering around her. How was she supposed to concentrate with Nessa’s annoying voice in her ears and Glinda’s assent in pitch as she protested. Her eyes fell on another of Elphaba’s green glass bottles on the dresser, containing the oil she’d been using to bathe. It seemed like a lifetime ago. She was finding it harder to remember things about her real life back in New York – little things, like the colour of the Gershwin stage door, or whose turn it was to deal with Melissa’s caffeine addiction. The only things that remained branded in her memory were the show, every line and stage direction still crystal clear, and the image of Kristin. The bottle that now held her attention was oddly similar to the prop in the musical, the hastily thrown in link that bound Elphaba to the Wizard. She remembered snatching it from Kristin, night after night, acting nostalgia and sentimentality. Elphaba’s real need for such a bottle was far more practical, the only way for her to keep clean with her lethal allergy to water. It made Idina angry somehow, thoughts of Kristin mixed with Elphaba’s twisted fate, a smear of green and a curl of blonde hair and that damn bottle of oil.
“See? I said she ought to have developed some self-control by now.”
Idina stared at the bottle, now hovering a good five inches above the surface of dresser. There was a faint humming sound. Nessa was smirking and looking smug, while Glinda just gazed wide-eyed. Idina focussed again, and the bottle rose even higher. It began to spin in tight circles. Glinda laughed. Idina lowered the bottle, until it settled back down with a slight clink, unbroken.
“You… you did it.” Glinda stepped towards her, smiling with amazement. “All by yourself, without any trouble, and perfect control. You did it, Idina!” She flung her arms around Idina, who gasped, then returned the embrace. Nessarose coughed disapprovingly. Idina let go of Glinda and turned to hug Nessa instead, who, despite sitting stiff and straight-backed, seemed to relax after her initial hesitation.
“Not bad for a demon,” she said, and Idina couldn’t help but laugh.
* * *
They looked into each others eyes. Blue fusing with green. A breathless palpable connection, but still they held on. Each reaction seeming engrained, as they both stood tall and unmoving as if rooted to the spot, unable to break free, or, perhaps unwilling. Whether the tension had dispersed, or whether it had plateaued, was hard to tell. Elphaba watched the subtle nod from Kristin as they reached a new vocal high, and they both settled into a steady vibrato.
It was a suspiciously heady moment.
They quietened, and finally Elphaba looked away, unfocused, but intense. She had to wonder, again, how much of her reactions were her own or Idina's. This body would have its own recognized routines; it would have expectations. Its senses would heighten at familiar stimuli regardless of its inhabitant. Wouldn't it? But not without its natural mind.
Vocal warm ups should not leave her breathless in this way.
Elphaba relocated her gaze. She didn't notice the almost giddy look, or how the blue eyes drank her in; instead, Elphaba had the worrying thought that it was all her. It was happening again. Not even in a body filled with new burgeoning hormones, as she had learnt, but rather in one that should be settled. Swirling lust... it was all her... and she had no excuse.
“Sweetie? Don't worry.”
Elphaba felt suddenly light-headed, as often was the case when in Kristin's company. She had to take a moment to attempt comprehension of the words spoken, but she was still confused. “Pardon?”
Kristin smiled, stepping even closer and laying a hand on burning pale skin. “The vibrato's good; the pitch is right, and the tone is... exceptional. Better than ever.”
Elphaba nodded. She remembered to breathe. She considered speaking to break the silence. Selfishly, only so she could alleviate the pressure in some way, but she wondered what embarrassment would tumble forth. After all, she had a new concern now regarding the truth in Kristin's words. If the woman felt urges just as Elphaba felt, but was led by them; perhaps, then, it was not in fact the quality of her singing in question, but some other thing entirely. Base instinct. Some form of terrible attraction that Elphaba found she had no say in. She took a deeper breath, then lips parted, tongue moulding around a syllable as if of its own volition. But before it came to fruition, a knock sounded at the door, and was immediately answered by Kristin's call for entry. Elphaba snapped her mouth tightly shut, and she saw Eden stood in the doorway. Unsure and ungainly, twisting her hands and eyes wide as she looked between them. Freshly scrubbed free of the green of the early performance, but still looking terrified in her own skin.
“They're ready,” she said. “Joel's still not here, but Sean's covering for him.” Then she coughed.
“Thanks, Eden,” Kristin said, and stepped away from Elphaba—only a single step—as if there was nothing odd about their proximity. As if it just happened, and in stepping back, she was simply on route to another similarly insignificant destination. “Are you ready?” she asked Elphaba, still with lingering glitter from the Glinda costume, but dressed as casually as Eden.
Elphaba found herself sighing. “I have to be.” She retrieved the overstuffed script from the dresser, and smiled shakily at Eden's offering of herbal tea.
The grand theatre was of course free of audience members by the time they arrived on the stage. It was hard to believe that just over forty minutes before, every seat had been occupied and the space filled with hushed excited whispers concerning the spectacle before them. Now there was no spectacle; just the cast milling about – some stretching, some standing and chatting, and many having turned with smiles in place as Elphaba appeared, flanked on both sides by Eden and Kristin, respectively. As always, they were quick to greet, patting her on the back, arm, or anywhere they could reach, and assuring her how great she looked and how glad they were that she was returning. She could pluck names from memory, but the two beside her were still the only ones she trusted. At least, trusted enough to get her through this. Elphaba nodded, and smiled, and exchanged hollow pleasantries, and wondered at the gentle squeeze Kristin gave before moving off and speaking to Laura. Eden, thankfully, stayed by her side for the moment.
“He'll want you to shadow me again,” she said in a hushed voice as they stood to the side. She looked up when a broomstick entered her field of vision, with Kristy's hand attached to it, and Eden frowned. “What—?”
“I know. It's different,” Kristy said, rolling her eyes, though she briefly smiled warmly at Elphaba. “There was an accident with the last one when the guys were moving the props.”
Eden took the broom into her hands and inspected it. “Did it break?”
“The tip of the handle snapped off, so we're using this for now. It's just a little less crooked.”
“I know, right?” Kristy shook her head, before patting Elphaba on the shoulder. “Good luck, girl. Joe's talking to the tech guys, but don't let him drive you into the ground.”
“Thank you,” Elphaba said, and sucked in a deep breath as Kristy passed them and left the stage. She noticed Michelle beside Norbert at the other end, already having noticed them and pulling faces at a blushing Eden. It made Elphaba chuckle until Joe finally turned up, already in a visibly fowl mood, and he shouted for quiet.
“From the beginning! With props! We're going to do each scene twice – once with Eden, and the other with Idina! We're short on time, people, so no fucking around!” Winnie glared at him, then he added, “The curtain's just risen! Forget the Witch's hat!”
“He's charming, isn't he?” a haughty female voice whispered into Elphaba's ear in an accent much like her own. She turned, immediately curious. “Sorry, dear, for not fully re-introducing myself earlier. I've been in quite the rush the few times I've glimpsed you since,” the woman said. She was plump, with short red hair, and an outstretched hand for a formal shake. “Carole Shelley,” she said. “I play... Madame Morrible, the foulest woman in all of Oz!”
Elphaba smiled, and shook her hand. “Idina Menzel. Pleased to re-meet you. Though, I do know who you are.”
“Her amnesia's lifting,” Eden whispered loudly and with obvious happiness, at which Carole's pencil thin eyebrows lifted.
“Really? Marvellous. But, I must say, your new accent is rather intriguing.” She chuckled, and Eden winced.
“Who knows,” Elphaba said, her smile growing steadily more forced. “An odd sort of side affect. Falling through holes does that to some.”
“Ah! And with British sarcasm! You are quite exquisite!”
“GUYS!” Joe shouted. “GET OFF THE STAGE!”
“Well, we must listen to the short man, mustn't we,” Carole grumbled. “Good luck, dear. I'll be seeing you in scene 2.” She hurried off in a different direction than Elphaba and Eden. “Y'know, I think she likes you more now that you're British,” Eden said.
“I only sound it,” Elphaba replied somewhat absently.
They huddled together in the wings as ensemble members marched out, eyes blazing in defiance and conviction for No One Mourns The Wicked. They spun and leaped in sequence, belting out how happy they felt regarding Elphaba's death. The irony never failed to make Elphaba queasy.
She watched as Kristin came down in her 'bubble', giving details of the absurd melting. Her voice was lower than normal, seeming more aged and affluent than before. Soon Eden guided them both behind the backdrop, and squeezed Elphaba's hand.
“Time to get used to entrances,” she said. “These doors slide open, and you come running through. I thought I'd show you where, but you can watch the scene from the wings.” She laid the broom down and retrieved the suitcase waiting for her. “I guess... you know the drill, right?”
“I repeat the scene after you,” Elphaba said.
“Yeah. I'll give you the suitcase after. Good luck. I think he's in a bad mood.”
Elphaba had returned to the wings, and watched Eden intently, tracking every position and movement. She had to be cheery at the beginning – a rosy hued sort of youth that, frankly, wasn't how things were with her in the real Shiz. She would never come running, beaming as if expecting others to immediately be pleasant to her. Not when she had first started at Shiz, and not now either. But when Eden breathlessly returned to her side, handing her the suitcase, Elphaba strained a smile in place. She returned to her spot behind the backdrop, and forced herself to breath as she waited for the doors to open.
“And we were both... very young...” Kristin said.
The doors opened, and Elphaba dashed toward the front of the stage, showing so much teeth, she felt it obscene. She skidded to a halt beside Kristin, who nodded and smiled in encouragement, before stepping back, arm outstretched at the memory of her childhood friend. Elphaba took a breath.
“Okay! Clapping! They're clapping!” Joe called. “Let them clap!”
The backing track continued, and the others danced and shied away from her. Shielding themselves with their own suitcases. The smile began to drop and her shoulders slumped. By the time Kristin was wheeled out on a pile of luggage and singing, Elphaba had no hint of a smile. They all stared at her, and she stared back. “What?” she eventually said. “What are you all looking at?” She stepped forward, toward them, then motioned at her mouth. “Oh! Do I have something in my teeth? Oh wait, is my underskirt showing—?”
“STOP!” Joe shouted, and they all sighed. “Why the accent! Drop it, already!”
Elphaba turned toward the seats, frowning deeply. “The accent?”
“She's deaf, too. Great,” Joe muttered, and left the seating area. He turned up on the stage, with Winnie trailing behind, looking uncomfortable. “You're not British, Idina. If it's some new kink that you like to do these days, then fine. Whatever. But don't let it interfere with this production!”
“Uh, but, Joe?” Kristin hesitantly called from her throne. “Is it such a big deal?”
“It's a fucking huge deal!” He whirled round. “They're all coming to see Idina in green. Not the Queen.” He quickly turned back to Elphaba, his face flushed despite the tanned skin. “American, Idina. You're an American from the fucking bowels of New York—”
“Joe!” Winnie cried.
“—at least talk like that!”
Now the stares were real. Bated breath; she could hear shuffling. Eden had come forward too, silently offering support, and with Carole beside her. Kristin's face was red. There was a rushing in Elphaba's ears and her skin began to prickle as she fought not to shake with her anger. This man... was utterly foul. How dare he...
“And I suppose you've considered the fact that this might be how Elphaba speaks? British, as you say?” Elphaba sputtered. Someone gasped, and Joe blinked. “What means to say she speaks like you? Have you not noticed the language used in the book? That's sign enough!”
“Are you telling me how to do my job? You? Miss Amnesia who's confused about her roots?”
“Dee,” Winnie whined, “Don't makes things worse.”
“So I must talk like you? Ignoring the ‘T’s in words?”
“Are you fucking nuts?” Joe cried. He turned, “Hey, anyone here a part-time shrink!”
Elphaba stood taller, glaring at him. “I am simply asking if the American accent is compulsory.”
“Well, it is. Is that okay? Is that alright with you?” Joe leaned forward, speaking in hushed tones and jabbing his finger toward her. “You do what I say, or I'll have you fired. I'm this close to doing it,” he said. He continued to glare, for a moment longer. She refused to look away despite the tension and deathly silence. She noticed how his nostrils flared in odd ways, and how his top lip disappeared when he sneered, before he finally turned his back. “American,” he said. “Eden, Kristin? You should be teaching her how to be who she is. Use fucking flashcards if you have to—”
“Joe, calm down!” Winnie pleaded.
He glared at her too, before striding past, toward the wing. “Restart the scene! At least attempt normal speech!”
“Hey, Kristin?” Michelle called, striding up to Kristin, who was crouched over her bag. “Is Dee okay?”
“I don't know. She rushed off – I don't know if I should follow her.”
“She looked sick up there. A little green. Might as well have been her first time on the cherry picker.”
Kristin rose to her feet, having found her water. “I feel awful.”
“Joe was terrible to her!” Kristin yanked the cap off with such force, water spilled nearly as far as her elbow. She glared at it.
“Hey, it's not your fault,” Michelle said. She squeezed Kristin's shoulder. “He's a dick. We all know that.”
“She looked so upset.”
Michelle slowly nodded, settling against the stage beside Kristin. “But maybe he's right, y'know? She sings great, but the press would be all over it. Look, why don't we make her feel better, huh? We could go partying!”
“She's still on pills. She can't drink.”
“Then a movie night. A bunch of DVDs, a bunch of us – y'know, her friends – make her feel loved.” Michelle smirked. “Though you seem to be covering that all by yourself.”
“Just saying. A movie night's the way to go.”
“Finding Nemo!” Norbert exclaimed excitedly while passing.
“Go fall down a well or something!” Michelle replied.
Kristin chuckled. “I guess I could host it.”
“Perfect.” Michelle looked around, at the lingering cast. “Is Eden with her? He'll want to get on with act 2 now...”