Vivian Kensington had a classic upbringing, suitable for a girl destined to marry a man from the right family. She read the great poets, holding slim volumes delicately in her hands, and somewhere there is a painting of her in the drawing room reading Byron. She held the book open to one of her favorites and as the hours passed she memorized it. Her twelve-year-old heart pictured a suitor reciting it to her, someone's proper accent shaping the lines: "She walks in beauty, like the night / Of cloudless climes and starry skies; And all that's best of dark and bright / Meet in her aspect and her eyes." Warner had no poetry in his soul, though. He didn't court her with gentle words but with disdainful ones, inviting her to side with him in superiority. Vivian, twenty-two and prospectless, had accepted.
It was reflex to sneer the first time she saw Elle Woods, habit to smugly agree with Professor Stromwell's suggestion that Elle should leave, automatic to gloatingly smile at Elle's outraged face. Vivian had never been more grateful to know all the moves she was supposed to make and to make them thoughtlessly.
Her mind was elsewhere all the while, Byron floating through her thoughts. Elle didn't have the raven tresses Byron's subject did, but she certainly had beauty that could inspire a poem. She was more a sunrise than a starry night, Vivian thought. And then she immediately amended that, changing the beauty and possibility of a new day dawning to the over-bright colors of a cheap drink. A tequila sunrise - that was a safe comparison for Elle.
They had too many classes together, too many opportunities for Vivian to be mesmerized by Elle's beauty. It was a relief to drive her away from their study group. There had to be some hours in the day in which Vivian's mind remained clear. Elle haunted her all the time now, showing up in dreams that woke Vivian, gasping, and appearing inappropriately behind her closed eyelids as she masturbated in the shower. It was unconscionable - bad enough that Vivian was masturbating instead of saving her passion for Warner, worse that when she came she saw blonde waves and rounded hips. It just was normal competitiveness, it must have been. Warner was so lousy in bed that Vivian hardly ever came with him; her subconscious was probably wondering if he'd been better for Elle, and it got all twisted up with her own lack of satisfaction.
That first time they were really nice to each other, bonding over Warner's helplessness and Elle's adorable dog, Vivian went home and took a fast, cold shower. It wasn't Elle's grey sweatshirt and minimal make-up, the relaxed intimacy of her bare feet curled under her, that made it necessary. It was just how hot they kept those rooms, that was all. Vivian was so grateful she didn't live there.
Interning together required that Vivian put aside all her other responses to Elle in favor of collegiality. They joked about fetching coffee for Callahan, they weathered that awful misunderstanding when he hit on Elle, and Vivian firmly squashed all thoughts that featured her in a position of power with Elle at her beck and call. Those thoughts weren't proper or professional.
Vivian Kensington and Elle Woods are the best of friends now, with 1L behind them. They tell each other about almost everything, from make-up tips to gossip. Vivian reads Elle's Cosmo issues after Elle finishes them and Elle reads Vivian's case notes. They study together, double-date together, and shop together. Vivian's wardrobe has tripled now that she has carte blanche to borrow Elle's clothes, and she's happy to share her meager collection in return. There's only one thing they don't share: the truth of why Vivian was so mean to Elle when they first met.
Elle thinks it was the jealousy of a new fiancee for an ex-girlfriend. She knows that Warner told Vivian about her, knows that Vivian must have recognized her name in that first class even if she couldn't have been expecting Elle to be there. It's not ladylike to lash out like that, but it's immensely understandable. Elle forgave her completely the day they both dumped Warner and put him behind them.
Vivian will never tell her that it was Elle's beauty, and Vivian's unforgivable response.