"This quarantine is the most horrendible and hideodious thing to ever happen!" Galinda wailed as she flung herself onto her bed. She was referring to the Oz-wide lockdown that had started just a few weeks ago after a viral outbreak from somewhere out of Oz managed to infect the country. In response to the pandemic, Shiz was shut down immediately and everyone was sent home. Elphaba and Nessa had gone to Galinda's place rather than traveling home, though, simply because Galinda's place was closer and cleaner. It was determined that it would be a greater risk to send them all the way home down in the south than it would be for them simply to stay at Galinda's place. And Galinda had been so excited by the prospect of bringing Elphaba home with her that she had instantly offered her room to the green girl (a far cry from the way they used to be).
Elphaba and Nessa had been living with Galinda ever since, all three of them rooming together. At the present, though, Nessa was off praying in another room, leaving Elphaba and Galinda alone together.
"Really? Because I can think of at least 20 different things that could be much worse, and I don't need to put much thought into it," Elphaba deadpanned, sitting on her own bed and smirking a little as she watched her friend heave a dramatic sigh.
"Shut it, Elphie," came the muffled reply. Galinda had since buried her face in her ginormous, fluffy, pink pillow. "You never need to put much thought into anything anyway. You're too smart for your own good!"
"Why, thank you very much, my sweet," Elphaba gave the other girl a teasing smile, pleased and amused by the compliment. She expected to get an indignant huff in reply, but, instead, when the little blond finally took her face out of her pillow, she was smiling a little.
"If there's anyone out there who could know how to make quarantine a little more bearable and fun, it's you," she admitted, voice shy and soft and sweet. By the time she finished her statement, although her head was still raised, she was looking back down at her pillow. Was that a pink tint Elphaba saw in the other woman's cheeks?
"Well, I would hardly consider myself very good company for any occasion," Elphaba muttered, her self-deprecating joke coming out as a reflex. "I'm the worst person to come up with "fun" ideas, and no one wants to be cooped up with me anyway, let alone during a quarantine!"
"Elphie!" even though Elphaba's self-deprecating humor was second nature to her, that same sentiment never quite caught on with Galinda and she was quick to hop to her friend's own defense, protecting her from herself. "That's not true at all! You're wonderful company and I always have a fun time with you even if I have no idea what you're talking about! You're just so passionate and intelligent and I really respect and admire it! Nothing you say ever bores me. Maybe it confuses me, but it's always so fascinating and I could never tire of it! You are the best person to get stuck in quarantine with and the only one I'd ever want to be stuck with under any circumstance!"
Once Galinda finished her little, impromptu rant, she gave Elphaba an embarrassed look. Meanwhile, Elphaba could only stare at her with comically large eyes, having not expected such a fiery little speech from the other woman.
"I'm sorry," she said. "I didn't mean for all of that to just… come out all at once like that… heh…" she looked back down at her pillow and that pink tint to her cheeks was now a much more obvious red. For a moment, then, only silence filled the space between them. Galinda was too mortified to speak and Elphaba was too stunned. But after those few seconds had past, Elphaba managed to compose herself, slightly.
"Well. Galinda. I had no idea you felt that way," she said. It was a rather clunky thing to say and the tone she used made it clear she really wasn't quite sure how to respond to all that Galinda had just said, but at least it was a starting point.
"Yeah," Galinda admittedly shyly, still staring down at her pillow. "I do feel that way about you. And I kinda feel a lot more than just that too…"
Elphaba felt her heart begin to pound in her chest and she fought hard to maintain a neutral expression. She could tell from the way Galinda's tone and vocabulary were changing (as well as the meaning of what she had just said) that she was about to say something very heartfelt. Stomach twisting at the prospect of Galinda saying good, warm, nice, fuzzy things about her, Elphaba could feel herself start to shake. Galinda looked equally hopeless and lost, overcome with emotion and affection, but this time, it was her turn to solider on and speak up.
"Elphie, I've been doing a lot of thinking lately, especially because of quarantine and all, and I… think… I… might… be… a… little… bit… in love with you?" her voice got softer and higher until the very last few words came out as little more than a whimpered question. But before Elphaba could reply (or even fully process what Galinda had just said) Galinda quickly sped onward.
"You see, I know they've got to be romantic feelings because the last time we were forced to room together, I absolutely hated it. And you. For every single second of it!" now, Galinda's voice was coming out fast and a little loud. Even though she was still in a very serious mood, though, Elphaba could not stop a laugh at the memory of how the two of them used to feel when they first met. That first time they'd been forced to room together, they had not been half as amicable as now.
"But now I really enjoy it! I look forward to every single second! And I cherish them all! Like, I know quarantine sucks and all, but I'm actually almost sometimes sort of glad it happened because… well… ya know… It means we get to spend more time together… That I get to have more of you more often… It appeals to a selfish side of me that wants you all to myself because, now, I finally have that. And it's all thanks to quarantine! But hey, listen, it wasn't just quarantine that made me… well… fall for you, I actually think I might've been falling for a little while now, but it's like quarantine has only solidified it all, making me more certain that you're the one I want to be with, because now that we spend nearly every second of our time together and now that we have little else to do except talk or think, I've been thinking about this sort of thing for quite a while now. So that's how I know it's real, and that's how I know what it is. Because I've had to do a lot of thinking on it these past few weeks. And now I know that there really is no one else I'd rather spend quarantine, or any other time, with… Ya know?"
Galinda managed to speak her entire flustered, rushed ramble-rant in under a minute, heart roaring louder than a lion the entire time as she focused hard on her pillow. She had wanted to be a bit braver and look Elphaba in the eye while saying all of this, but that thought felt so huge and impossible that she had resorted to simply staring at her pillow and trying just to get the words out. Eye contact would have to wait! She was terrified that if she looked at Elphaba now, she'd lose all her nerve and run. But now that it was all out and over with, Galinda managed to breathe one shaky sigh of relief, still trembling, but feeling a bit better now that she'd said everything she'd wanted to say since quarantine began.
After another silence that seemed too long and too short, Elphaba finally realized that the ball was in her court now.
"Oh… Galinda… I… don't really know what to say," she admitted.
"Ah, well, then, you don't have to say anything," Galinda muttered, shoulders drawing together in fear of the rejection that was sure to come. "I know that was kind of rude of me, to just spring all of that on you so suddenly… I'm sorry…" the smaller woman suddenly seemed to get even smaller, as if trying to disappear within herself. Her heart was pounding again, but not in a good way this time. Instead, she slowly began to shift, ready to get up and leave the room just so the suddenly-awkward atmosphere wouldn't choke her to death. The humiliation and regret were going to kill her faster than any virus could ever hope to.
But Elphaba got up first.
"Wait," she said. "I think you misunderstood me…" then she slowly, carefully curled one finger under Galinda's chin. The touch sent electricity through Galinda's whole body and it took all her willpower not to involuntarily flinch or yelp. But Elphaba was being so exquisitely gentle. Even though her touch had sent fire through Galinda's veins, it was so soft and fragile that Galinda almost couldn't feel it at all.
"I, ah, have never been very good with words in situations like these," Elphaba mumbled. Although it was true that the green girl had quite the reputation for being horribly, painfully socially awkward, this was a new sort and Galinda's heart began to pound again. Elphaba was holding her chin gently and stuttering as she spoke. Did the little blond dare hope…?
She remained motionless, allowing Elphaba to take the lead and raise her chin slowly. Galinda still couldn't bring herself to look Elphaba in the eyes (and she felt like a fool because of it) but she didn't need to in order to see what Elphaba was doing. She was bringing her face closer to Galinda's, slow, in case Galinda wanted to back out, but insistent, in case she didn't. And she didn't. Galinda continued to remain motionless until she felt Elphaba's soft lips on hers, and then another spark surged through her entire body and gave her a renewed strength. Suddenly, she was kneeling, arms wrapped around Elphaba's middle as she made a more active move to reciprocate the kiss.
Elphaba, herself, felt quite shaken. Even though she'd started the kiss, having it reciprocated caught her off guard, and the passion with which Galinda reciprocated only made her feel so warm and mushy on the inside. It was not a feeling Elphaba ever thought she would feel in her life, but here they were. Galinda wasn't exactly being rough, per se, but it still felt like the warmest fire Elphaba had ever experienced in her life and as she and Galinda continued to kiss, right there in Galinda's bedroom with the quarantine still hanging over them, Elphaba felt that warm sensation spread out through her body the way her magic would right before it would let loose. This time, though, it was a wonderful sensation that didn't feel threatening or out of control at all. Instead, it felt perfect and right and wonderful, like all the trials and troubles of the past few weeks had all led up right to this one very perfect moment in time and neither woman would've traded it for anything else in the entire world.
Oh yes, quarantine had had its ups and downs, but silly little moments like these made both Elphaba and Galinda wish it would last forever, so long as they got to be together through it all (and for the foreseeable future, that very much seemed like the case, and neither girl could've been happier).
AN: Very late, but here's the start of my 2020 anthology. As the title suggests, yes, this will be a Quarantine Edition series. Let's do this! Happy Pride Month y'all! Stay safe out there! And yes, as per my personal tradition, Gelphie will lead the way!
(In all seriousness, though, I know times are really hard right now and if anyone wants to talk, please DM or email me! Or find me on discord! I'm always up to talk and I'm ready to talk about anything and everything!)