|Emerald Limelight by Lumiére & Callita. R 15/?
||[Jan. 9th, 2008|08:09 pm]
Title: Emerald Limelight 15/?|
Authors: Lumiére and Callita
Rating: R (language)
Pairing(s): Idina/Kristin, Elphaba/Glinda (& more)
Summary: Yet more rehearsals for the Broadway cast, while Idina arrives at Elphaba's first party.
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, 240
Chapter 2, Part 1 Chapter 5, Part 1
Chapter 2, Part 2 Chapter 5, Part 2
Chapter 3, Part 1 Chapter 6, Part 1
Chapter 3, Part 2 Chapter 6, Part 2
Chapter 4, Part 1 Chapter 7, Part 1
Chapter 4, Part 2 Chapter 7, Part 2
Chapter 8, Part 1
Elphaba stepped out into the street trying to remember not to be terrified. She’d agreed to do this – for the show, for Kristin, for Idina if they ever switched back – and she was not going to let herself slip up. She stuck out her arm the way she’d seen Kristin do, and felt oddly proud when a yellow car pulled up beside her.
“Gershwin theatre,” she told the driver as she got in, then recited the address she’d learnt off by heart from the back of the leaflet.
“You an actress?” the driver asked in a friendly tone as they drove off. Elphaba hadn’t intended to have a conversation, but he seemed nice enough,
“Yes,” she answered. Then, “I’m in Wicked.”
“Mm, don’t think I’ve heard of it,” he replied. “Hang on! Huge green poster, witches, Wizard Of Oz kinda thing?”
“Um, yes.” Elphaba was rapidly regretting her decision to talk to this man.
“Yeah, I know what you mean.” There was a blissful silence, and Elphaba almost had a chance to relax. Then the driver lowered his voice, and, as though divulging some great secret, said: “I had Julia Murney in my cab once, would you believe it!”
“Julia Murney?” Elphaba asked, trying to mask her total lack of interest.
“Yeah, you know! From The Wild Party. Played alongside that girl, now what’s her name? Played the lesbian one in Rent. With the boots. You know who I mean.”
“I actually haven’t the faintest idea,” Elphaba told him, and her tone must have been sharper than she’d intended, because he didn’t say a word for the rest of the journey, even when counting out her change.
The man at the stage door let her in with a smile and a wave, and Elphaba was just realising that she had no clue where she was meant to go, or how to get there even if she did, when a brunette woman she vaguely recognised appeared, then squealed with delight and ran up to hug her.
“Dee! Joe told us you’d be in for rehearsals today, but he talks bullshit half the time so I wasn’t sure. Is it true you’re going to be our Elphaba again?”
“Um, hopefully, yeah.” Elphaba wracked her brains, trying to place the woman’s face. “Kristy?” The woman beamed at her, though Elphaba couldn’t help but think she looked tired.
“And the amnesia’s lifting too – that’s great, Dee, really great. Listen, I’m just on a coffee run for the kitchen – we’re out again and Melissa’ll skin me alive if she doesn’t get her caffeine fix soon. But I’ll be back as soon as I can. Everyone’s on stage already. See you later, yeah?”
“Yes,” Elphaba said, because it seemed like the right answer. Kristy disappeared and she was left alone again, still without any idea of where she was going. But then she saw the sign by the stairs that had ‘Stage: level 2’ on it with an arrow, and decided that she was at least able to follow a sign.
As she found her way onto the stage, a variety of people she half-recognised ran up to hug her, their expressions similar to Kristy’s: smiling with genuine happiness that didn’t quite mask the hint of exhaustion in their faces. Kristin gave her a shy wave from across the auditorium and, then quickly averted her eyes and went back to her conversation with a man in a black shirt.
“Idina.” The voice was hostile, and she turned to see Joe glaring at her. The last time they’d met, she’d ended up walking out on him, and Elphaba felt her cheeks flush in anger at the memory. “Glad to see you finally decided to make it in.”
“Pleased to be here,” Elphaba retorted with an ice-cold tone. They glared at one another for a few more seconds, before a technician called Joe and he disappeared into the wings. Elphaba, surrounded by people she didn’t really know, felt her earlier terror return.
“You look tense,” Norbert said, coming up behind her. “Lighten up Dee. Forget what Joe says – there’s no pressure on you. We’re just happy you’re feeling ready to start up rehearsals.” He squeezed her shoulder gently. Elphaba flinched. “And don’t worry if you don’t remember everything. Once you get started it’ll all come back to you, just like riding a bike.”
“Remember…” A thought suddenly struck Elphaba. “Would you excuse me please.”
She dashed over to Kristin, who, having finished her discussion, found herself without any reason to avoid her.
“Kristin,” Elphaba hissed urgently. “How long do we have?”
“Before what, honey?” Kristin ran her hands nervously through her hair, scraping it up into a ponytail. “The rehearsal? Well, right now, we’re just waiting for Steven – our stage manager. You remember him, right? And Winnie called to say she’s on her way, but she’s always late so we’ll probably start without her. Why? What’s up?”
“The lines!” Kristin looked at her blankly. “I’ve been listening to the soundtrack and I think I know most of the music. But I didn’t realise I’d be expected to know all the lines!”
“You… don’t know the script?” Kristin asked, blinking at her. Elphaba shook her head despairingly. “No, don’t worry sweetie. Hang on. Eden!” she shouted, with a voice far louder than Elphaba would have expected the tiny woman to be capable of. There was a clatter of books falling to the ground from the front row, and Eden appeared, clutching a copy of Wicked in one hand and a book entitled ‘Finding Your Inner Voice: A Journey Of Discovery Through Meditation And Self-Actualisation’ in the other. She looked even more anxious than Elphaba remembered. “Eden, honey, do you have a spare script lying around? For Dee, to help her remember.”
“Uh, sure, give me a second.” Eden rummaged through her backpack and produced a dog-eared folder with a picture of a kitten on the front. She passed it to Elphaba, her hands shaking. “You keep it. I’ve got another copy in my dressing room. Well, technically your dressing room, of course. I haven’t moved anything, really, I’ve—”
“Eden Espinosa!” a man called from the stage. Elphaba guessed he must be Steven. “Wings, now. We’re ready to start.”
Eden looked at them apologetically before scrambling onto the stage, tripping over her shoelace as she tried to hurry. “Shit!” Elphaba heard her curse, then Michelle’s disembodied voice from somewhere stage right calling: “Don’t worry, chica. It’s not the end of the world!”
“I don’t think I can do this,” Elphaba groaned, sagging against Kristin.
“Of course you can, Dee,” Kristin scolded. She took her hand to lead her down to a seat in the front row. It was the first physical contact they’d had since Kristin’s massage, and Kristin, seeming to realise this, blushed suddenly bright pink. “Darn it, when did it get so hot in here? Anyway, we’re skipping the first number, since you don’t really need to worry about that. Starting at Dear Old Shiz, where we first meet Elphaba, okay? You just watch Eden for now, see how it looks from the audience, and think about how you’ll do it. See if it brings back any memories, yeah?”
“Kristin! We’re waiting for you!”
“Okay then?” Elphaba nodded, and Kristin smiled, then gave her a quick hug before hurrying off to take her place backstage. Joe glared at her from a seat a few rows back, shaking his head as if hugging was against the rules in his theatre. Elphaba saw Eden – ungreen and dressed in baggy trousers and a t-shirt – run onstage with a suitcase, and tried not to feel like she was watching her own funeral.
* * *
Idina couldn't help but feel a little smug. Of course she knew about high society events. Whether it was Oz, or New York, or even highschool prom, it didn't matter. The difference in each event was minor. Being the thirty-two year-old Broadway 'star' and having attended various red carpet events, she knew more than a seventeen year-old Glinda did. For fear of how she looked, she had left Idina behind, with no idea of how to even get there. She had opted to turn up alone (most likely), rather than side by side with the green girl. Only it was Elphaba that would have the last laugh. She wasn't some virus to be rid of. Elphaba was attractive – beautiful even – and it was time that these fickle 'high society' types recognized that. Straightening her back, and giving a well-rehearsed sultry look (albeit not rehearsed on Elphaba's face), Idina reassuringly squeezed Tarren's hand as they neared the door.
The music began to crescendo; the door had been left open; the others they had seen had already entered, seemingly having not noticed them. Only, at the door, Tarren's hand left hers, and Idina didn't have long to be irritated. Once through the door, eyes were on them, and what chatter they had initially heard had ceased. Tarren's tension increased tenfold and she could feel it. She stared out at the sea of astonished faces in the moody lighting. Not all had noticed, but more were being nudged by friends, until quickly it seemed as if the whole grand space was filled with a crowd of aghast expressions. Someone called out, laughing nervously, “Tarren! What's wrong with you! Come here!” His friends. The boy trembled and Idina felt like cursing. “I'm sorry,” Tarren muttered.
“It's fine. Go,” Idina ground out, sickened to her stomach. She could see the rat-faced girl that had invited her, standing there smirking, beside Milla, Shenshen, and an ecstatic looking Pfannee. Of course, beside them, that girl trying her damnedest to disappear, was Glinda. Their apparent glee eradicated any doubt that the silence and stares were the result of astonishment that would lead to mockery. No way would these people suddenly step forward and compliment her on the cut of her dress or the style of her hair. Turning slightly, Idina saw Tarren had already disappeared. Left alone in a room filled with people, Idina realised she'd never felt so stupid in her life. It was the worst of highschool all over again... but she should have known better. The band, presumably across the hall faded into another melodic song, and Idina finally moved from her shameful spot. She began walking toward the side. Drinks on tables; others holding them – thank god. There was a bar here. As she passed, most dressed up socialites were turning away, pressed closer into their little groups, their mouths working frantically to get their gossiping words out. Others still stared; but Idina held her head high. She didn't look anyone else in the eye. As she walked, she took in the sight of the cathedral. Along the stone walls were white silken sheets, draped strategically; they hung from the high ceiling as well, billowing down. On the table tops mostly around the room were more sheets; on the windowsills of the great stained glass windows that depicted stories untold to Idina. She slipped past two uniformed men – perhaps guards – stood stationary with rifle straps across their torsos. She spotted others dotted around. Maybe if she looked back, she would notice some by the door too, but she didn't. She kept going and found the bar. More of the boys were there, drinking and chatting to each other. Some noticed her and moved away; others resumed their drinking. She took a seat and the barman came over; she ignored his momentary look of shock when he caught sight, but he soon smiled. “What do you fancy?” he asked.
“A shot of the strongest thing you have,” she sighed, eyeing the bottles on the shelves behind him.
“Small glass – anything.”
He nodded and moved away, efficiently readying her drink. No questions asked and no small talk, thank God. “Shit,” Idina murmured. She felt like slouching and putting her head in her hands. She wanted to leave, but knew that would be worse. She could hear laughter some distance away, through the music. So shrill. She still felt sick.
“Here. That's two denarets.”
Idina nodded and produced a handful of coins from a hidden pocket, letting the barman sort through them and pass back her change. She took the glass: brown, murky liquid. She swilled it, sniffed it, then and downed half of it and managed not to gag at its bitter taste. She folded over slightly, hunched in Elphaba's jagged way, taking no more care in looking elegant. She had already made a fool of herself. How had she been so stupid? It was the Ozdust disaster, only a different setting and without the damned witch's hat. Of course no one would invite Elphaba to this type of thing and actually mean well. Tarren seemed to genuinely like her, but even that wasn't strong enough to prevent her from being the outcast again. Well dressed or not, she was the retard that had happily gone along with her own social hanging.
After downing the rest of the drink, Idina motioned for another, already feeling its dizzying affect. She didn’t notice Avaric come up beside her, or notice his glance, until the barman was handing him a similar glass just in front of her.
“She's a shark, you know,” Avaric said. “The most vicious little thing.” He sipped his drink, and looked along the bar, as if not even talking to Idina. She just grunted. “You see it too, I'm sure,” he said, and turned. “I bet this was her doing. Sadistic little cunt.” He sipped his drink again, this time regarding Idina. “Who knew you could scrub up so well. Considering.”
“Aren't you the charmer,” Idina monotoned.
“Many would think so,” Avaric agreed, ignoring the dripping sarcasm. “You should be grateful I'm gracing you with my musings on wonderful Miss Pfannee over there. You should be shocked even.”
“Believe me, I've had enough shock to last me a lifetime.”
“I bet it was enough the day you were born.”
Idina raised an eyebrow. “Same goes to you. Such an oversized head while coming out; you must have been damaged somehow. A shock to you and everyone else involved. Your poor family.”
Avaric chuckled. His eyes sparkling as he eyed her in amusement. “How thorny your tongue is, Miss Elphaba. Quite the fatal rose.” He leaned a little closer. “Beautiful and dangerous.”
“Keep dreaming, Master Avaric.”
“With the undersized ice-bitch over there, I fear my dreams are all I have.”
* * *
Eden was singing The Wizard And I to a backing track, and, had she not been so terrified, Elphaba might have found herself enjoying it. Eden sang differently to Idina’s voice on the soundtrack, putting the emphasis in different places, and changing the melody on ‘feeling things I never felt’ that made her sound instantly more hopeful. The song reached its climax, and Eden’s eyes – wide and excited – suddenly locked with Elphaba’s. “The Wizard—” she belted, then started to cough. She glanced away, her cheeks flushed, and finished with “—and I”. Elphaba felt a wave of sympathy for her. In an hour or so it would be her up on that stage.
“She admires you so much, you know.” Elphaba turned to see the blonde woman who understudied Kristin sitting next to her.
“Laura,” she said. Then, because simply saying someone’s name wasn’t really an answer, “She does?”
“Oh, totally. She’s adored you since she saw you in Rent for the first time. You can’t imagine what it’s like to be working with someone you’ve seen onstage from the audience. It’s magical.” Elphaba suddenly remembered that her cab driver had mentioned Rent, after boasting about driving Julia Murney, along with something called The Wild Party. She vaguely recalled having read about Idina starring in both back when she was doing research. Was Julia a friend of Idina’s? She made a mental note to look it up. Eden said “blonde” with such discomfort and disgust that it made her laugh. Laura smiled. “Great, isn’t she?”
“She is.” Kristin tossed her hair at Eden. “She doesn’t seem very happy, does she?”
“She’s been having a hard time from Joe recently,” Laura said, sighing. “Well, we all have, I guess. The guy’s an ass. But Eden... really wants to do well. And she’s put you on such a pedestal, she feels like she has to apologise for not being you. Like this is all her fault. In her mind, she’s letting everyone down by going onstage at all, and so she makes mistakes, and then feels even worse.”
“But… she’s good,” Elphaba said, trying to understand. Laura nodded.
“Of course she is. But she’s not the star – that’s you. Have you ever been a standby?”
“Anyway, you know what it must be like. Trying to stay in touch with a show when you’re only on if someone else is sick. At least the understudies are part of the ensemble as well – it’s easier for them, Kristy and Melissa that is. They have all the other girls, they’re onstage each night, and if they get to take on the lead role some time, well, that’s great for them. But being a standby, that means spending every show watching from the wings, trying not to lose your grip on the character. It’s hard.”
“But you’re Kristin’s standby. How do you manage?” Laura shrugged.
“You just deal with it. When I’m on as Glinda, I don’t think about all the people in the audience who came to see Kristin. I show them the best I can do, and let them like me for myself, not as a Kristin copycat. And this is such a great opportunity for me, I love the show. But understudying is no one’s dream. And when Kristin leaves, I won’t be the next Glinda.”
“Why not?” Elphaba asked, surprised. “You’re the standby. Who else would they choose?”
“Someone older, more mature, with more experience. Joe doesn’t think I have what it takes to be principle Glinda, I can tell. Besides, stepping into Kristin’s shoes is no easy task – especially since she’s something absurd like a size four.” Laura grinned. “I guess what I’d really love to do is originate another role. I miss Hairspray. Not the show – this is way more fun and a great production to be in – but feeling like I was actually a member of the company, and that the part was really mine. I want to start with a new cast, new show, fresh role. I just wish that, someday, there’ll be some young aspiring actress who’ll be all ‘I’m taking over from Laura Bell Bundy!’. Shit, that sounds so arrogant. I’m sorry.”
“No, it’s alright,” Elphaba said quickly. “I understand.” But she didn’t, not really. Laura looked back at Eden, who was being threatened by a group of chorus actors brandishing textbooks. “Does Eden feel the same?”
“Jesus, no.” Laura looked shocked. “Look at her. Can’t you tell? Me, I’m just a standby. Everyone knows that, and I’m cool with it. But Eden’s different. Don’t get me wrong, I want you back onstage as much as everyone else. You have no idea how much we all miss you. But this is her chance, and the only reason she’s wrecking it is because she’s so intimidated by you. When she stops being so scared, well, she’s Elphaba.”
Laura was gazing at the stage, but Elphaba was more concerned with the blonde girl’s expression. Wide eyes, slight smile, and a face that shone with pure adoration.
“You and Eden,” she asked slowly, trying to choose her words carefully, “are you, erm…?”
“I have a boyfriend!” But Laura was blushing. “I’m not, y’know, like that. I mean, I love her, yeah. But we’re just friends.” She looked down at her feet. “Besides, I’m definitely not the one she wants.”
“Who…” Elphaba started to ask, but then Michelle was pushed onstage in her wheelchair and something clicked. “Ah.”
“Anyway,” Laura said with forced-cheeriness after a short but uncomfortable pause. “What about you and Kristin? And don’t say you have a husband. This is Broadway we’re talking about.”
“Me and Kristin? Well we’re friends, of course.” Elphaba remembered the massage and her stomach tingled. “She’s been looking after me a lot.”
“Well duh. But it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that you two have something special. It’s not just the show either. And what happened the night before your accident? You know, we were at that bar for Michael’s birthday drinks, and then you two left early. Together. Next day you’re both hung-over as hell, and you go and fall through the floor!”
“I…” Elphaba stuttered. She had no idea what Laura was talking about. Kristin hadn’t mentioned anything about leaving a bar together. “I have—”
“Amnesia, of course, I’m sorry.” Another awkward silence. “Hey, I’m going to get a coffee. Do you want one?”
“No thank you. I’m not sure my voice could take it.” Elphaba was watching as Norbert spun Kristin around the stage. She was giggling.
“Dee,” Laura sounded nervous. “You won’t say anything, will you? About Eden. Because in a minute you’re going to go back onstage and blow everyone away with how brilliant you are, and Eden will be disappointed and relieved at the same time, and everyone else will just be happy things are back to normal. I know you don’t need any more pressure on you right now, but neither does she. And certainly not from me. Just forget it, okay?”
“Yes, of course.” Laura smiled gratefully and disappeared, apparently in search of coffee.
Michelle was singing excitedly about the wonderful night she was about to have and how kind-hearted Kristin was to have arranged it all, not realising it was all part of her vindictive plan to get Norbert. “Please Elphaba, try to understand,” she begged Eden, taking her arm as she said the line. Eden flinched and Elphaba thought she knew why.
Joe called a halt after the end of Dancing Through Life, saying that they had enough material to start with. The actors took a short break and Kristin came over to check how she was feeling. Laura was talking to Kristy and Norbert. Eden and Michelle didn't say a word to one another. Elphaba realised she couldn’t remember any details about Eden’s performance that would actually help her through the rehearsal herself. She took another of her pain pills and tried not to panic.
* * *
Milla could see that Miss Pfannee had had enough. Her cheeks were blazing pink and her small eyes were narrowed, making her face appear even plumper. She looked for all the world, Milla thought, like an irate Piglet, especially with the corkscrew ringlets she’d forced her hair into and a dress that was a rather unfortunate shade of yellow. Pfannee was standing by the window, and had been tapping her fingernails against the wall for at least ten minutes, becoming steadily redder. Milla could practically see the steam coming out of the short Munchkin girl’s ears.
Shenshen drifted by on the arm of a tall boy in blue velvet, who, Milla was certain, was not the same one who had bought her a drink two minutes earlier. She dragged Shenshen away from him, muttering apologies and ignoring her friend’s sulky expression.
“We need to do something. Fast. This is getting out of control!”
“What? But I’ve only had four glasses! I’m not even—” Shenshen hiccupped “—tipsy yet.”
“Not you!” Milla refrained from calling Shenshen an idiot. “Elphaba!”
“Elphaba?” Shenshen looked dazed. “What about her?”
“She’s still at the bar, flirting with Avaric, and if we don’t do something soon Pfannee is going to kill her! Or explode! Or both!”
“So? Wasn’t that the plan?”
“No! The plan was to make Elphaba humiliate herself in front of everyone! Not for her to flirt with Avaric and provoke Pfannee into attacking her!”
“And you don’t think getting attacked by Miss Pfannee would be at all humiliating?”
“I…” Milla was shocked, but Shenshen seemed perfectly lucid, despite the amount she’d drunk. “You can’t honestly be suggesting that we let this continue? Someone could get seriously hurt. And it’s going to reflect badly on Pfannee, whatever happens. We need to get one of those guards—”
“You mean the charming young men on security?”
“Yes, them. We need to get one of those to tell her that there’s been a mistake and her invitation isn’t valid, could she please leave immediately. That’ll humiliate her enough, and that way there’s no blood spilt.”
Shenshen rolled her eyes. “My dearest Miss Milla,” she said, pausing to blow a kiss at yet another boy who was winking at her, “where is your sense of fun?”
“Miss Shenshen, I am warning you,” Milla growled, her blood rushing. “If you do not get over there and tell those guards that you want Elphaba removed from the premises, I will…” She paused, trying to think of a threat that would have any effect at all. “I will tell the next boy who asks to dance with you that you are suffering from a disease of the nether regions inflicted through fornication!”
Shenshen turned suddenly ash pale. Milla was panting, thoroughly shocked at herself for saying such a sentence, or even thinking of it.
“Would you excuse me,” Shenshen said, her voice a little higher than usual, and glided off towards the guards at the door.
“You know, you’re actually looking almost acceptable this evening,” Avaric told Idina pleasantly, as he ordered himself another drink. “Green bean in a dress, well, it’s unheard of, and I can see why. One might actually think you were human!”
“I’m going to take that as a compliment,” she replied, raising her eyebrows at him. “High praise indeed, from Master Avaric. Exquisite taste as always, I assume.”
“Well, don’t see too much into it, grasshopper. I am courting Miss Pfannee, after all. My tastes are, perhaps, somewhat diminished.” Avaric winked at her and Idina giggled, then stopped quickly as she saw Pfannee – an unattractive blend of blotchy pink and frilly yellow – approaching them. Avaric turned to see her and managed to rearrange his expression into a wide smile in less than a second. “Ah, Miss Pfannee, my beloved. Light of my life, key to my heart, jailor to the very prison I have entrapped myself in. How may I be of assistance?” He reached out to take her hand but Pfannee pushed him away.
“Don’t give me any of that!” she snapped at him. “You may be well-dressed and well-mannered, but your actions this evening have proven you to be commoner than a Quadling.” Avaric raised his hand to chest in mock-horror. “Oh, this is all just a joke to you, isn’t it?” Pfannee fumed. “Inviting me to a party, only to flirt with someone as disgusting as her?”
“Excuse me?” Idina said sharply, getting to her feet. But no one took any notice of her.
“I think you’ll find,” Avaric was saying, a cruel smile still playing on his lips, “that you invited yourself here. I certainly had nothing to do with it. This isn’t my party – if it was there’d be a good deal more to drink, and the music wouldn’t be so dreary.” The music had stopped by this time, and one of the musicians frowned at him. A small crowd had begun to gather around them. “It was you, Pfannee dearest, who suggested, no, insisted that we go together. And even had that not been the case, I reserve the right to speak to whoever the hell I want, however ‘disgusting’ you deem them to be.”
“Excuse me!” Idina said again, more loudly. Everyone glared at her.
“Oh, this is you all over!” Pfannee barked at Avaric. “She’s far too common and ill-bred for anyone to expect better of her – whose idiotic idea was it to invite her in the first place?” Idina noticed Milla, who had been trying to make her way inconspicuously towards Pfannee, retreat hurriedly. “But you! You’re the son of a—”
“I know exactly what I am, thank you very much,” Avaric interrupted. All trace of the smile was gone now, but Idina still thought she could hear something teasing in his tone. “Fuck, you can be a clingy bitch sometimes.”
There was a gasp from the crowd – even the barman seemed scandalised. Pfannee looked positively mortified. Out of the corner of her eye, Idina saw Glinda, subtly radiant in the delicate innocence that clung to her, cover her mouth in horror. Then she felt eyes beginning to settle on her, and Idina raised both her hands as if to surrender.
“Don’t look at me,” she said half-jokingly. “This has nothing to do with me. I’m just the green girl in the corner.”
“Miss Elphaba?” A guard in a smart black and green uniform took her firmly by the shoulder. “I’m sorry, but I must ask you to leave now.”
“What?” Idina demanded. “Me? I’m not doing anything! They’re the ones killing each other in the middle of the room!”
“It’s alright, we were just leaving,” Glinda said quickly, appearing at Idina’s side out of nowhere and tugging at her arm. “Elphaba, come on.”
Idina, taken aback by Glinda’s sudden forcefulness, let herself be led out of the ballroom. Avaric and Pfannee had stopped arguing, and Idina could feel the hostile glares and vicious whispering directed at her and Glinda as they made for the door. Glinda’s fingers gripped her wrist painfully tight, nails digging into her skin and making her wince. Blood pulsed down past her stomach, but Idina told herself firmly that it was just adrenalin and anger, refusing to allow Elphaba’s body to be aroused at such a disastrous time. She remembered the Ozdust Ballroom scene, and decided that next time she was handed a prophecy about a catastrophe that could be avoided, she would listen to it.
“Glinda,” she protested, as the blonde girl yanked her arm particularly painfully. “Can we just—”
“Don’t you dare talk to me,” Glinda hissed. “I don’t know who you are, but one thing’s certain. You’re not Elphaba Thropp.”
“Did I miss anything exciting?”
Milla surveyed ballroom, now in the aftermath of the chaos. Avaric had stormed out shortly after Elphaba had been evicted – on the arm of Glinda, she had been ashamed to note – and had not returned. Pfannee was still crying in the powder room. Most people had gone back to their nervous little groups; the musicians were playing again, and a few brave couples were dancing. But the atmosphere had definitely changed.
She looked at Miss Shenshen, her hair tousled and the skirts of the gorgeous dress crumpled, noticing the sheen of sweat on her face and the slight bruising on her neck. Across the room, one of the guards was straightening his uniform, looking decidedly out of breath. Shenshen was smiling vacantly.
“A disease of the nether regions inflicted through fornication!” Milla spat at her, and even Shenshen’s lost look of hurt and confusion didn’t make her feel any better.