Anna had never been more enraptured.
Standing with her left hand pressed to the glass panel of the control booth she was manning, beltpack clenched loosely in her right, she kept her eyes trained on the stage, slightly breathless.
There was a burst of static from her headset. "Spotlight," the disembodied voice reminded her.
Anna continued to stare at the woman effortlessly belting her heart out onstage, her eyes lighting up with soft wonder, zeroing in on the jubilant smile on the actress' face as she sang passionately, how it made her features light up brilliantly...even the subtle, hypnotic sway of her hips as she thrust her hands into the air victoriously, her voice escalating decibels.
Her headset crackled to life again. "Anna, what the hell are you doing? The act's almost finished and you still haven't gotten that damn spotlight -"
Anna jumped as though electrocuted. "Ahh," she squeaked, glancing around wildly as she came to her senses. She pulled a switch, and centre stage was flooded with light.
If the lead actress had looked attractive before, she now looked positively radiant.
"That's better," the voice noted sardonically, jolting her out of yet another awe-induced reverie, and Anna smacked herself on the head.
"Bad, bad, bad," she chided, "don't get distracted when Elsa sings Defying Gravity. Don't get distracted when Elsa sings Defying Gravity. Don't get distracted when Elsa sings Defying Gravity..." she repeated, almost like a mantra, and murmured an apology into her headset.
"Alright, everyone, that's a wrap! That was our first full dress rehearsal, and everything was perfect, except for that minor lighting hiccup near the end of Act One -" here the director paused, and his eyes seemed to pierce through Anna's skull; the redhead shrank back in response "- which won't happen during the actual performance, will it?"
"No, sir," she responded meekly.
"You see that it doesn't. Dismissed!"
Anna sighed as the usual flurry of activity ensued: people hurrying to gather their belongings, crew members running through queues with actors, or weary employees simply anxious to get home. She turned, somewhat exhausted from the day's work-
-and crashed headlong into the lead actress she had been so captivated by, subsequently losing her balance and falling to the floor, her posterior bearing the brunt of the impact.
She blinked, momentarily dazed. An amused, melodic giggle sounded in her ears.
"Careful, there." Elsa was holding out a hand to her, smiling, blue eyes twinkling at her. She had already removed the wig she was required to wear while in her role and most of the verdant makeup from her face, and had reverted back to the casual look many of the cast and crew were familiar with: platinum blonde hair slicked back into a slightly tousled braid and her natural pale, porcelain skin. Hesitantly, she took it, curling her fingers around the proffered slender digits, and allowed herself to be helped up.
"You - you were standing behind me the entire time?" Anna was flabbergasted. "I'm so, so sorry -"
"You were the one who fell," the actress reminded gently. "Are you okay?"
"My butt hurts," replied Anna automatically, before she flushed a deep red, and attempted to retract her words. "I mean - uh -"
Elsa was now laughing at her, a hand pressed to her mouth in a ladylike attempt to stifle her chuckles.
"Sorry," Anna repeated, slightly horrified at having thoroughly embarrassed herself in front of the phenomenal Broadway star. "Um, I'm really sorry - again - about the spotlight thing, by the way -" She stopped midsentence as Elsa placed a gentle hand on her shoulder.
"Accidents happen. If it's any comfort, I didn't notice it. I tend to get caught up in the song I'm performing."
"Yeah, you do," said Anna giddily. Elsa looked at her strangely, and she backpedalled hastily. "I mean, I'm sure you do, every actress is passionate about singing, so it's natural to enjoy what you do."
"I suppose it is." Elsa nodded, and Anna breathed an inaudible sigh of relief. "We should both get some rest; it's been a long day. See you tomorrow, Anna."
"You know my name?" she asked incredulously, earning another chuckle.
"How could I not, when the cast and crew have been working together so closely for the past few months?"
"Ah! Right." Anna slapped her forehead. "Ow. I'd, um, better get going, then. I have a friend waiting for me...see you!" She waved rather sheepishly at the star, then scampered away lest she embarrass herself any further.
"Woah, woah, slow down there, feisty pants!"
"Kristoff," she greeted with some relief. Her best friend and flatmate chuckled affectionately as he ruffled her hair with his large hands.
"Where were you?" She groaned. "Could've saved me from a whole lot of embarrassment just now."
"What, you mean when you were talking to Miss Elphaba over there?" He sniggered. "I was watching the whole thing from afar. Smooth moves."
"Some kind of best friend you are," Anna griped, and proceeded to hit him repeatedly on every part of his body she could reach, ignoring the series of "ow"s and "hey"s that followed. She snuck a peek at where she bid Elsa goodbye, hoping to catch a final glimpse of the beautiful actress as she left the theatre with Kristoff.
At the same time, Elsa happened to glance up from the conversation she was holding with a stagehand, and Anna met her unreadable cerulean stare for a fraction of a second. Blanching, she all but pushed Kristoff out of the door, while simultaneously trying her best to make herself scarce beside his stocky figure.
"Kristoff," Anna moaned dramatically, flopping on his bed, "you have to help me."
"Hmm," her best friend replied distractedly, poring over the papers.
"This is a crisis!"
"Of course it is." He turned a page.
"Way more important than your ice sculpture contests!"
"Hey!" He looked up at that, slightly miffed. "Fine, fine. What's the crisis?"
"I..." Anna trailed off, not knowing exactly how to begin. She shifted uneasily, eyeing him, heat rising to her cheeks. Suddenly her predicament seemed too embarrassing to voice out. "Never mind. It's stupid." She turned to leave, but Kristoff caught her sleeve and tugged her back down into a sitting position.
"If it's an Anna crisis, it's not stupid," he told her gently. Years of experience had made him privy to the fact that when Anna had entered the stage of self-denial, whatever was bothering her was worth at least taking note of.
She exhaled, then jabbed a warning finger in his direction. "Fine. But don't make fun of me."
Kristoff nodded placatingly, waiting for her to continue. Anna took her time steeling herself, wringing her hands and muttering to herself variations of calm down, Anna and you got this. Just as his eyes were straying back to the riveting article written about yesterday's national ice-sculpting contest-
Anna blurted, "IreallyreallylikeElsaandIneedyoutohelpmewithitpleasepleaseplease -"
"Wait, slow down!" A befuddled Kristoff gripped her shoulders. "Enunciate. You what?"
She glared at him. "Don't make me say it again!"
"No, I really didn't hear you the first time."
She sucked in another deep breath. "I can't stop thinking about Elsa."
"I think I may have a serious crush on her," she continued, "and I need you to help me before I go crazy!"
"Wait." His brow furrowed. "You mean, our Elsa? Broadway actress Elsa? Singing sensation, famed celebrity- "
"Is there any other Elsa we know?!" Anna practically shrieked at him.
" -and help you - help you, how?"
Here she stopped short, deflating abruptly. "I don't know?"
He narrowed his eyes at her. "Are you sure this isn't just some celebrity crush?"
"I don't know," she said again, in a small voice.
Kristoff rolled his eyes, chuckling. "So...?" he prompted. "What do you like about her?"
Anna's eyes lit up immediately, abandoning all previous traces of hesitation. "Everything," she gushed. "She's the best singer ever, she's so nice to everyone she meets, even though she's like, I don't know, one of the most famous musical actresses right now? And when she performs - I don't even know how to describe it, you can practically see her passion for singing and performing what people love..."
"You've got it bad," he informed her, watching as a dreamy smile stole across her face, her cheeks suffused with a rosy tint.
"And it doesn't help," she growled, "that she's so gorgeous - have you seen her? She's practically a goddess! She's so perfect! Perfect hair, perfect voice, perfect figure - does she have to sway those hips so much when she performs? Oh my god, Kristoff," she broke off, flinging her hands in the air melodramatically, "those hips don't lie."
"I'm sure they don't," he murmured, looking at her as though he feared for her sanity.
"I mean, come on! I'm surprised she isn't already dating - wait." Anna ceased her enthusiastic tirade. "Is she dating? Kristoff, what if she's already dating?" She began shaking him by the shoulders frantically.
"How should I know whether she's dating?" he retorted, alarmed. "Calm down, she's Elsa, remember? I'm sure the media would be all over her if she started to date."
"Right. Heh. Sorry." Anna patted his shoulder in apology.
"Now that you've actually spoken to her, why don't you start getting to know her better?" he suggested. "Our next rehearsal's Friday, gives you plenty of time to pluck up your courage."
"Two days is not plenty of time," was her huffy response.
Friday dawned far too soon, and brought with it the beginning of another gruelling, but satisfyingly productive day at the theatre.
Anna was pacing impatiently just before the grand stage, stopping every now and then to shoot her silent phone an irate glare. Her best friend was running late (they had promised to lunch together), and she was parched. Most of the cast and crew had already left to enjoy their meal together at one of the nearby bistros, so the theatre was unnervingly empty.
Her flats scuffed noisily against the polished floor as she continued to pace. Where was he? She was going to murder him, and then maybe rant to him about her utterly disappointing lack of success with Elsa; they hadn't even bumped into each other once and the day was nearly half over... Her thoughts grew more and more violent with each successive growl of her stomach.
A thought occurred to her. What if he had forgotten about their plans and had gone off to eat with the rest of the crew? "No, he couldn't have," she decided aloud. Kristoff wasn't the forgetful type.
There was a light tap on her shoulder, and she spun around, eyes flashing accusingly. "You!" she snapped, ready to launch into a full-blown lament on how starving she was, how she might die if he was even a second later, and finally how this would very likely affect her performance for the rest of the day and it would all be his fault, but stopped.
Standing before her was a very bemused Elsa, luscious ice gold locks swept into a high ponytail, looking ridiculously stunning even with minimal makeup on, index finger still extended uncertainly. "Me?"
Anna's mouth fell open comically. "Not you! I thought you were my friend - Kristoff - um, he's on sounds - ohmygod this is embarrassing," she squeaked.
"I was just going to ask why you weren't at lunch with the rest, and whether you wanted to eat with me since I was running through the script when they left." Her delicate brow furrowed. "But if you'd rather eat with your friend, I understand -"
"No, no, no!" Anna interrupted hurriedly, her disbelieving grin stretching to abnormally large proportions, threatening to split her face in two. "Eat with you - of course I'd love to eat with you! I'll just give him a call so he knows -"
She broke off abruptly as piano chords struck the air around them, no doubt amplified by the theatre's quality acoustics.
Elsa glanced around, looking as confused as she felt. "Did you hear that?"
"Kristoff," Anna hissed under her breath. The instrumental continued to play, steadily escalating in volume, sounding more like a cheesy romance track than anything else.
"Strange, I thought we were the only ones left," Elsa commented.
"On second thought, maybe we should just go eat," suggested Anna, pointedly ignoring the music. It switched to an equally cringe-worthy love song from the sixties, and she resisted the urge to groan loudly and bury her face in her hands.
"When I kiss your lips, ooh I start to shiver
Can't control the quivering inside..."
"Do you think the theatre could be haunted?" Elsa was obviously trying not to laugh.
"Wouldn't you agree, baby you and me, we've got a groovy kind of love..."
"I think it's just someone with nothing better to do playing a prank on us," said Anna in a very strained voice.
The track switched again, and Anna seized Elsa's arm determinedly, all but marching her out of the building, her desperation to escape dwarfing the shy admiration she harboured for the older woman. The door slammed shut behind them just as the line you can scratch my back, we’ll get cosy and huddle reached Anna's ears. She knew all too well how the song ended.
Kristoff was so going to get it when they got home.
As it turned out, Kristoff got it much earlier than planned.
Anna was seated in one of the control booth's swivel chairs, idly rolling back and forth, in a kind of contented stupor, waiting for rehearsals to commence: she was well-rested, well-fed, and had just spent one very happy hour in the company of her idol-turned-crush.
"Anna banana," sang Kristoff, popping his head into the control room. Several heads in the theatre turned in their direction, but Anna paid them no heed.
"You!" She launched herself at Kristoff, arms outstretched as if to strangle him.
"Glad to see you too!" He picked her up easily and spun her around, mistaking her murderous stance for an affectionate one.
"Put me down! I'm trying to strangle you!"
"Miss Anna," a voice over the intercom interjected exasperatedly, "There is no need to broadcast your personal life over the talkback system in such a loud manner."
Both Kristoff and Anna froze. "Did you -" he began, his eyes wide.
"I did," she breathed, lunging for the button to power the system off. "Oops."
"That was embarrassing."
"That was very embarrassing," she agreed, dropping her head into her hands. Tentatively, she peeked out from behind her fingers, her eyes darting to the stage, where the rest of the cast and crew had begun to lose interest, turning back to whatever they were previously occupied with. Please, please...shit, she cursed inwardly and quite uncharacteristically as she spotted a head of platinum blonde hair studiously bent over a script, just to the left of the stage.
"What's wrong?" Kristoff inquired, becoming conscious of her distress.
"I just humiliated myself in front of Elsa." She groaned. "Again."
He perked up. "Speaking of which - how did lunch go?"
Her wince subsided into a giddy smile. "Greeeeat. I mean, of course it was a little awkward at first, but we have so much in common - I had no idea she loved chocolate too, we shared that over dessert! - she's so nice, she's so pretty, she's so smart..."
"You shared dessert?" he teased. "Already?"
Anna stepped smartly on his foot. "We were both kinda full and it was her suggestion, quit looking at me like that!"
Two hectic months had flown by, and Elsa and Anna's unexpected friendship had blossomed. Anna was more comfortable in the renowned actress' presence than ever, and had been around Elsa long enough to witness that the woman was, in fact, not infallible, and did have her fair share of slip-ups and shortcomings. This, however, only seemed to make her even more perfect in Anna's eyes, as she adored Elsa for her flaws as well as her admirable qualities. The deconstruction of the pedestal on which she had placed Elsa was accompanied by the abandoning of the now-ludicrous notion of having romantic feelings for her; it was eventually dismissed as, like what Kristoff had conjectured weeks back, a mere celebrity crush. Hence the idea was quashed (but not quite forgotten).
Elsa, on the other hand, found a steadfast and unwavering friend in Anna, and grew to trust her implicitly. Anna was the one she would consult when she wanted to run through her script, the one she would turn to when she needed a well-earned break from work-related stress, and (fortunately for the scatterbrained redhead) the one she would coax the director to let off the hook whenever a mistake was made.
Presently, Elsa was slumped in the chair in her dressing room, repeatedly blowing her nose, Anna looking on worriedly.
"Are you -"
"For the thousandth time, I'll be fine, Anna."
Anna touched her arm. "C'mon, give the understudy something to do," she half-joked, "you'll work yourself to death."
"I said I'd be fine," Elsa snapped. Anna recoiled at the harsh tone, but immediately masked it with another of her easygoing smiles; this did not go unnoticed by Elsa.
"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have -" She placed a hand on Anna's, looking miserable. "I'm sorry."
The redhead waved a dismissive hand. "Please. We're all entitled to our crappy days."
Elsa chuckled despite herself, but stopped as she lapsed into another coughing fit.
"Els, please rest," she pleaded. "You look and sound terrible."
"I've had to perform with worse than this, Anna." The actress sighed. "But you're right. I feel terrible."
"See? I'll tell the director," Anna offered, jumping to her feet. "You stay here. Right here."
"Where else would I go?" she heard Elsa reply, her tone amused, as the door to the star's dressing room swung shut behind her.
"Real snobby, isn't she?" A snide voice issued from her left, and Anna whipped around, startled.
Two unfamiliar women stood before her, carrying an assortment of technical equipment, and casting derisive looks at Elsa's dressing room door. "You're on lights, aren't you? What were you doing in there? Is she making you scurry back and forth running errands for her?" one asked, sneering.
"Personally, I think fame's gotten to her head," the other said, rather nastily. "We went in there and asked to borrow something and she nearly bit our heads off."
"She's sick," Anna countered hotly, "she isn't herself. And I think she's one of the most wonderful people I've met."
"Oh, no." The first looked down her nose at her condescendingly. "You're not one of her blindly devoted worshippers, are you? You poor, deluded little thing."
"She happens to be my best friend." Anna's head jerked to see a weary-looking Elsa leaning against the doorframe, arms crossed. Her voice was calm, but her eyes were flinty and glinting dangerously with the intensity of her displeasure. "Are you finished?"
The women left swiftly, muttering darkly.
"You didn't have to stick up for me," murmured Elsa, "I'm used to this sort of thing."
Anna understood Elsa well enough to know that she was grateful, even if she didn't express it aloud. "But I did," she sang, throwing her arms around Elsa's shoulders. She didn't have to wait long before she felt slim arms encircle her frame in a warm, albeit weak embrace. "I told you to stay put, you stinker."
"I might be contagious."
"And I don't care."
They remained that way for a while, ignoring the passers-by that were shooting them questioning looks, Anna rubbing Elsa's back absently while the older woman shuddered into her with the force of her silent coughs.
"Did you - did you mean what you said just now?" Elsa said hesitantly. "That I was -"
"One of the most wonderful people I've met?" Anna finished happily. "I'm saying it again."
Elsa said nothing in reply, but gripped her more tightly. She didn't need to disengage herself from the hug to know that the older girl's eyes were shining with gratitude.
Anna arrived late to work one day to find things at the theatre already running in full force, a frenzy of props and scripts and the like, which was unsurprising.
What was surprising was that-
"It's stifling," she complained to nobody in particular. "Why is it stifling?"
"Ventilation's malfunctioned," informed a passing stagehand. "And Elsa's asking for you. Rehearsals are starting in half an hour, by the way."
Anna thanked him and sped off, reaching her destination in a matter of minutes. She knocked blithely and waited, tugging at the collar of her shirt. When it opened, she bounded in without hesitation, commenting, "I'm surprised your door's closed, it's scorching."
"Hello to you too. I just closed it for the sake of privacy; I'm melting."
"Are you really?" She faked a gasp, looking up at Elsa with mock-despair. "The Wicked Witch of the West is melting!" She pressed her warm palms to Elsa's forearms, as if to make sure that Elsa was still solidly intact. Her friend rolled her eyes, giving her shoulder a little push.
"How is your skin still so cool?" lamented Anna, now chafing her palms against Elsa's arms. "Melting, huh? Yeah, right."
She guided Elsa to the small couch by her wardrobe and pushed her down, before plopping down beside her. "Anna, what -" Elsa protested, then stopped as Anna pressed her body to Elsa's, sighing in contentment.
"Anna? Can we...talk?"
"Sure!" She snuggled further into Elsa contentedly, only looking up when she elicited a sharp intake of breath from the other woman. "Sorry. Am I crushing you?"
"You're smaller than me," Elsa reminded. "You couldn't if you tried."
"You're not that big either," she retorted. "About that talk?"
"Oh, well -" Elsa was avoiding Anna's expectant gaze. "I - that is - I need to -"
Anna eyed the flustered woman, usually so composed and collected, rather curiously. "Els?"
She blinked as Elsa looked down at her. She was already snuggled in the hollow of the blonde's neck, so this action made their lips brush ever so slightly, jolting Anna's heat-dulled senses. Before she could even register the pleasant tingle on her lips or the sudden thudding of her heart against her ribcage, Elsa's soft, cool lips were on hers, kissing her. She opened her mouth to - she didn't know - shriek? question the other woman's advances? - but Elsa silenced the unspoken protest by taking her bottom lip in between her teeth and sucking gently. An involuntary whimper escaped Anna's throat, and Elsa drew back, gazing at her, icy pools of cerulean burning into her with an intensity that made heat rise to her cheeks.
Her mind was frustratingly blank. The humid air seemed to press down on her skin; it was dizzying, almost suffocating. She stared at Elsa uncomprehendingly.
"Anna?" Elsa breathed, her voice husky. Her fingers touched Anna's hips delicately, and it was the last straw.
Anna got up shakily from the couch, staggering a few steps back. "I - I have to go," she squeaked.
And ignoring the hurt look on Elsa's face, she fled.
"Shh, calm down!"
"I can't calm down! This is a lot to take in!"
"Well, it happened," Anna snapped.
"But you ran? I distinctly recall you saying in this very room how big of a crush you had on her, how absolutely gorgeous she was, how nice, how smart, how pretty, how talented..."
"I don't know, okay!" she cried. "It was a lot to take in at the time...I was kinda overwhelmed..."
Kristoff whistled. "I'll bet."
She hefted a pillow at him. "What am I going to do?"
"Talk to her tomorrow," he said gently, "and just explain why you ran, and that you don't feel the same way -"
"But," she protested, "I don't know if I do - Kristoff, help! This is so confusing!"
Anna looked at him beseechingly, eyes anxious and frantic, and his expression softened. "Okay. Repeat after me: I didn't mean to run. I was just caught off guard, and I'm sorry, but I need time to figure things out. Accurate enough?"
She repeated the words obediently in a murmur, and nodded. He patted her head. "Don't worry, okay? Just tell her tomorrow when you see her. She'll understand, if she's as wonderful as you keep saying she is."
"She is," answered Anna automatically. "So how could someone like her ever like someone like me? Don't you think she deserves someone...well, better?"
"I'm biased, so I'm definitely not the right person to ask," quipped Kristoff, earning him a wan giggle. "But love doesn't work that way, Anna."
"But still -"
"And I think the person you should be asking is Elsa herself."
"Tomorrow, then." She sucked in a deep breath.
"Tomorrow," he agreed.
"I can do this."
"You can do this."
The next day, Anna strode in determinedly, on the lookout for one out of two of her best friends. "Right. Okay. I can do this," she muttered under her breath.
She glanced around, expecting the theatre to be semi-filled with the cast and crew already rushing to and fro, but it was unnaturally empty, save for a lone figure seated at the very edge of the stage, beside a stack of loose papers. She gulped as she approached, noting the head of elegantly braided platinum blonde hair.
Elsa's head was tilted upwards to the grand, intricate ceiling of the theatre, her eyes closed, delicate eyelashes casting faint shadows on her porcelain cheeks. With the soft light blessing every contour of her face and her legs dangling over the edge of the stage, paired with her already ethereal beauty, she looked like an angel. Anna stared for a while, unable to speak.
Then she tripped over a loose wire and toppled into one of the velvety chairs, and the moment was broken. Slowly, Elsa opened her eyes, locking gazes with a very mortified Anna.
"Hi - uh - you, I mean...you're here! Hi!" she stuttered, her carefully rehearsed words flying completely out of her head. She noticed that Elsa's eyes were slightly red-rimmed; her heart sank.
Anna struggled to find the right words to say, to remember at least a fraction of what she was supposed to say, but came up short.
Elsa eyed her for several long moments, and when Anna continued to gape wordlessly, floundering around for something to say, she simply got up, turned on her heel and left.
"Argh," Anna moaned, "stupid, stupid, stupid."
Her phone buzzed, indicating a new text message. It was from Kristoff:
Hey, convinced everyone to head out for a second breakfast so you two could have some alone time. Good luck, Anna banana! :o)
As Anna stared blankly at one of the many smileys with reindeer noses Kristoff insisted on using ("I like reindeers," he had insisted. "Who doesn't?"), she fought the urge to bury her face in her hands.
"I messed up," she whispered.
"So?" Kristoff nudged her. "How did it go?"
"Nothing happened," she replied glumly. "I freaked out and couldn't speak and she just walked away."
"Oh." He exhaled.
"I'm sure you'll get other opportunities," he reasoned. "Like now, for instance!"
Anna shrieked as he gave her a carefully calculated little shove, right into the path of Elsa (whose eyes, Anna would later swear, flashed with alarm as she lost her balance, the first genuine emotion she had seen from her all day). The blonde caught her, grasping her by the elbows, and then let go as though she had been burned.
"Elsa!" Anna called, hurrying after her retreating figure. "Elsa, wait!"
"Best friend, eh?" came a familiar snide, snooty voice. "Sure doesn't look that way."
"I really don't need your input right now." She gritted her teeth.
"Look at her, as high and mighty as ever," the woman continued, and Anna whirled around, flaring up defiantly.
"Don't talk about Elsa like that. She's a better person than you'll ever be."
She snuck a hopeful peek at Elsa, but whether the latter heard or not she never knew; Elsa continued down the corridor and disappeared out of sight. Her face falling, Anna returned to a sympathetic Kristoff's side.
"Do you want me to talk to her?" Kristoff finally offered, watching Anna roll forlornly back and forth in her swivel chair, his brows knitted.
"No, this..." She sighed. "This is really something I should handle myself."
She turned to face him, and noticed he was looking somewhat shifty, fidgeting as his eyes darted to the glass pane of the control booth, and back to her. "What?" she said suspiciously.
"Nothing!" he replied too quickly; her eyes narrowed. "You know, you're acting really heartbroken for someone who wasn't sure last night whether she liked her best friend."
"I've thought about that a lot." Anna rested her chin in the palm of her hand, staring unseeingly out of the booth.
"Why did I run, I'm so stupid." She groaned, disregarding him. "Now she's upset and our friendship is ruined and it's all my fault!"
"You were overwhelmed," Kristoff reminded gently. "Stop blaming yourself. Sometimes you don't think things through enough. It's just who you are."
"Thanks," she said, petulantly.
"Two months ago, it was all Elsa this, Elsa that, Elsa is gorgeous, Elsa is amazing. What changed?"
"You said it was just a celebrity crush."
"Just because I say it doesn't mean it's true!" he said exasperatedly. "Please don't tell me this drama is all happening because of what I said. Really, Anna? You should know your own feelings better than I do."
When she said nothing, he ploughed on doggedly. "When you think of Elsa, what do you think of?"
"How sad she is because of me?" Anna responded miserably.
"Other than that," he clarified drily.
"She's a wonderful person. She's my best friend - you are too, of course," she added hastily. Kristoff rolled his eyes and indicated for her to continue. "Beautiful. Smart. So talented. I don't understand how anyone could ever dislike her, because she's - she's Elsa."
"And I've only heard these words a million times before."
"What's not to like about her, really?" Anna continued, the familiar giddy, faraway look coming into her eyes. "I like the way her eyes twinkle and crinkle at the edges when she smiles, I like the adorable way her eyebrows furrow slightly whenever she's looking over her script, and how she's secretly really ticklish around the middle and no one else knows but me."
"And...now it's not just you."
"The way she contains her laugh in public with a hand, but laughs freely around me, that habit of hers where she tucks a strand of hair behind her ear and sometimes she doesn't have any hands free so I do it for her and she looks up at me and her cheeks are pink -"
"Anna...you might want to tone it down a bit."
"I just - I just don't need to know that much."
"She's so good at everything, too," Anna rambled on. "She's good at what she does, she's good at remembering things for me that I always forget, she's good at knowing how I feel and what exactly I do...and I just learnt yesterday that, well..."
She trailed off, coughing.
"That?" Kristoff prompted.
"She's really good at kissing too."
The intercom crackled. "And that's about all I can stand," came a dry, resigned voice.
Anna jumped to her feet, reddening instantly. "M-Mr Director, sir! I swear I turned it off this time, I really did -"
"Ah, about that." Kristoff rubbed the back of his neck, looking sheepish, but not in the least apologetic. "That might've been me."
"What?" She stared at him in disbelief, then at the cast gathered below them, or more specifically, the blonde whose eyes were on her, her gaze once again unfathomable. "Kristoff!"
He swiftly ducked out of her reach, calling over his shoulder, "You can thank me when you two get married!"
Anna stood rooted to the ground, eyes still riveted on Elsa, who was slipping from sight, disappearing backstage.
"...You know the answer now, right?" Kristoff said softly.
She swallowed, and nodded.
"You're not being very fair," Elsa murmured, as Anna stood awkwardly in the doorway of jer dressing room. "You can't say all those things and not expect me to -"
She looked away, and Anna closed the distance between them, taking both her hands into hers and squeezing.
"But I understand now!" she said earnestly. "I - Kristoff helped me figure things out, and I've finally figured my feelings out."
"And what are they, exactly?" Elsa quirked a brow at her, and Anna beamed.
"I didn't mean to run. I was caught off guard, and I'm really sorry. But I think..."
"You think?" Elsa whispered as Anna touched her forehead to hers.
"I think I'm in love with you."
And Anna kissed her, closing her eyes as she revelled in the heady rush, her knees going slightly weak as she felt Elsa's lips work over hers, her nose filled with the scent of Elsa's perfume, all her senses assailed with everything Elsa, Elsa, Elsa. She broke away when oxygen became a necessity, feeling rather lightheaded.
Elsa was staring at her with something akin to wonder. "Where'd you learn to kiss like that?"
Anna grinned, her fingers sliding over Elsa's hips, mimicking their position the day before; she was so close she could hear Elsa's breath catch in her throat. This time, no one was running away. She made to press her lips to the blonde's, but stopped.
"Something's bothering me," she confessed quietly.
Elsa frowned. "What is it? Those two women that keep plaguing you? I could -"
"No, no," she denied quickly, "forget about them. It's just...you could have anyone in the world, you know that?"
"I wouldn't give you up for the world," Elsa told her fiercely. "You're amazing, Anna, why don't you see that?"
"But you're gorgeous -"
"As if you aren't." A kiss was placed on her forehead.
"- you're singing in Broadway -"
"You're working in Broadway." A kiss on her cheek this time.
"- you're a star -"
"You're my star." A kiss on her nose.
"- you're famous and you probably have hot celebrity friends -"
"But I want you." Elsa kissed her full on the mouth. "Now are you done questioning my judgement?"
"I'm still not convinced." Anna looked at her, her mouth set in an obstinate line.
Elsa's lips curled up in a sly smile. "I'll just have to convince you how much you mean to me, then."
"By all means - wait, what?"
It's opening night.
Anna rushes through the bustling crowd, elbowing her way past racks of costumes and irate prop-bearing stagehands, glancing around frantically, her headset hanging loosely around her neck
"Elsa!" she calls, then yelps as an emerald hand slips over her mouth.
"Mmpf," she mumbles into the offending palm, and it drops. "You're green." She giggles.
Elsa rolls her eyes. "You'd think after so many rehearsals -"
"Nope, still gonna comment on it every time." She pauses, thinking. "If I kiss you for good luck, will I get green lips?"
"You really shouldn't. My makeup artist will murder you," Elsa warns, but Anna kisses her anyway, long enough so that when she pulls back the older woman looks breathless and more than a little disoriented.
"Get out there and knock 'em dead," she breathes, staring into the striking cerulean of her love's eyes.
"Only if you'll be waiting for me in my dressing room when I'm done."
"With the biggest bouquet ever," Anna promises. "Tons and tons of ribbons."
"I don't need a bouquet from you, silly." Elsa laughs.
"Fine, then." She puts a finger to her chin. "Maybe I'll stick a flower or two in my hair and wrap myself up."
Leaving Elsa with that pleasant thought, Anna saunters away, humming cheerfully, pretending not to notice the blush burning through layers of verdant makeup.